A former boyfriend of Barbra Streisand's has put three, 50-year-old tapes of her singing in his Greenwich Village apartment on the web site, MomentsInTime.com with bids starting at $1 million dollars. Barry Dennen met Streisand in 1959, having taken over for an actor who'd dropped out of an off-off-Broadway production of "The Insect Comedy," a play in which Barbra and Barry both appeared as butterflies. All the fluttering, not surprisingly, led to their becoming lovers, making me curious about whatever happened to the original butterfly who'd been replaced. Whom did he pollinate?
Dennen claims he put Streisand on the road to stardom by exposing her to chanteuses and cabaret singers, which, without his assistance, would surely have escaped her notice with all the other distractions of New York City. Details of their relationship are available in a book he wrote in 1997, "My Life With Barbra: A Love Story." According to his web site, "He is currently very active doing voice-overs for vidoe (sic) games, including the voice of FatMan in the hugely successful video game Metal Gear Solid II, and Master Li in the recently-completed Jade Empire." He is planning a new book. My guess: "My Life With Barbra: The Law Suit."
Were we all remiss not to have gotten pre-nups, pre-shtups or pre-artistic agreements before we shared our creativity, beds and bodies? This raises the issue of what moral and legal obligations we have to former lovers, particularly those who pre-dated the sexual revolution. Isn't there a statute of limitation on our personal lives?
Am I in danger of an old boyfriend writing, "My Life With Sybil: A Love Story?" Will someone claim to have introduced me to "Leave it to Beaver" and, thereby, take credit for my career as a television comedy writer? Will riddles, pissy letters, yearbook inscriptions and autograph books I signed that ended, "2 good, 2 B, 4 Gotten?" be auctioned off? Worse, will I face the embarrassment that the starting price will be considerably less than $1 million?