Anne the Barbra Fan
I am Anne Zarraonandia, known by many as “Anne Z”. To others, I was the person behind the “i love barbra catalog” for many, many years. My Barbra collecting hobby turned into a mini business, first by mail order, now on eBay. I am a tennis teaching professional (now retired) and live in Marin County, California with my partner and 11 year old son. I have been a life long Barbra fan and am now one year older than Barbra was when she toured during Barbra The Concert. You do the math! I have met and photographed Barbra in person, heard her sing in concert and most importantly played tennis on her Malibu complex tennis court during one of the Barbra Reunions! No, sadly, it was not with Barbra.
How Did I Find Barbra?
As a child, my father played Barbra’s first record albums on a turntable that stacked about a half dozen LP’s on top of each other and the music would play over and over for hours. I listened and memorized the Broadway Funny Girl album without even knowing it. A few years later when Funny Girl the movie was released and I went to a matinee. The curtain went up, the overture played and Barbra came out singing “I’m the Greatest Star” and what do you know, I knew ALL the words. Wow! That moment was IT for me! I had to watch Funny Girl over and over again. I was hooked! Records, books, movies, anything Barbra. It was not something you shared with other teenagers during the rock music boom of the late 1960’s and 70’s. However, when “A Star is Born” was released and “Evergreen” became a number 1 hit, she did become cooler to young people my age. I remember lip syncing “Watch Closely Now” while standing on the top of my 1969 Camaro as the 8-track played the finale song. My college tennis teammates cracked up every time! I even performed an encore as Esther Hoffman Howard at one of the Barbra Reunions wearing a red, curly wig! All good fun and good memories!
How Did Barbra Influence Me?
As a young teen, I had to find everything BARBRA! I read all the movie star rags, had subscriptions to Rona Barrett’s Gossip and Hollywood magazines. I convinced my sister into spending HER weekly babysitting money on buying every Streisand album there was. We bought at least one a week until we had them all starting with “Color Me Barbra”. As a present for my sixteenth birthday my parents bought me “Live at the Forum”! I have bought every album since, on the day it was released! Back in the 70’s I placed classified ads in Barbra Quarterly and Rona Barrett magazines and had pen pals with many folks who were doing the same (obviously pre-internet!) I was lucky to meet other Barbra experts like authors James Spada, Karen Swenson and Allison J. Waldman through other Barbra friends, Rain and Rafe in those pre-internet days. Allison and I spent many hours talking by phone on the latest Barbra news!
There were many other Barbra moments in my life: I learned to play the guitar after reading that Barbra was doing the same for “A Star is Born”. I started making small 8mm films and have continued to love film making ever since. I became a Democrat (which wasn’t easy coming from a house where both of my parents voted for Nixon, twice) after reading about Barbra’s views on politics, on which I also believed. In essence, I studied Barbra. I drove by Barbra’s house on Carolwood Drive during the opening weekend of Yentl and saw Barbra driving a VW bug inside her gates at 4pm that Saturday. She looked at me through her rear view mirror. Pictures later confirmed it WAS Barbra. My youngest brother, Mike got his first job at the local movie theater that was playing Yentl and I saw that masterpiece over 50 times in the theater for FREE!
Through the years I’ve met people who worked with her on films, records and concerts. Of course, I always tried to stay calm when listening to their stories about Barbra and what she was really like. And then, the moment we ALL were waiting for, for so many years: The Concert on New Years Eve at the MGM Grand. How special was it that with all the anticipation of hearing and seeing Barbra Live in Concert, that it would actually exceed your wildest dreams? THAT was an incredible moment. And in one week in June 1994, that I would hear and see Barbra, not once, but three times in concert…in the same week? San Jose, two nights and Anaheim that weekend. How lucky can you get?
What Would I Say to Barbra in Person?
When I did get the chance to meet Barbra in person, I was so overwhelmed at the moment that all that came out of my mouth was, “Congratulations, Barbra” when she was honored with the NOW and SCOPUS awards in 1984. I shook her hand, which was really like BUTTAH. She was very soft-spoken and looked me straight in the eye and said simply, “Thank you”. That was it, life complete……. Earlier that evening I was able to secure a press pass to photograph Barbra at the Scopus Dinner and with her back to the photographers, she said, “bad angle, bad angle” and as she turned towards the crowd, her hands uncovered her beautiful face. She got into position and the camera clicks went into rapid fire. She knew exactly how she wanted to be photographed! I almost forgot to click my own camera. I couldn’t believe she was standing right in front of me in that amazing, gold metal dress.
Now, this many years later, if given the opportunity to say something to Barbra, I would probably just say “Thank You”. You have been a part of my life, even though you don’t even know me. I have had many little exchanges with some of her friends and coworkers through the years. They describe a small, quiet, thoughtful, generous, inquisitive person who really cares about the world. Thank you, Barbra. You’ll never know how much you’ve influenced my life and many other fans.