Streisand announces retirement; sets final concerts

Female impersonators, you’ve just got a shot in the arm.

Barbra Streisand, second only to Judy Garland in being personified by drag performers, announced her farewell tour Wednesday. The golden-voiced one sings in public twice in Los Angeles and twice in New York before she ends her already infrequent concert career. “Ms. Streisand, 58, has chosen to conclude her public performance career in the two cities most closely associated with her work,” said her manager, Martin Erlichman. The California Shows at the Staples Center in Los Angeles are Sept. 20-21, with tickets going on sale July 30. Tickets for the Sept. 27-28 shows at Madison Square Garden go on sale July 31.

REPORT FROM THE MEDICAL FRONT: Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper columnist Art Buchwald was released from the hospital Wednesday after suffering a serious stroke and was transferred to a rehabilitation center in the Washington area. “He’s slowly improving. We’re hoping for the best, and he’s got a great spirit, which is demonstrated to us every day,” said his son, Joel Buchwald of Washington. Daughter Jennifer Buchwald of Boston said doctors have not given a prognosis. “They don’t know how well his recovery is going to be. It was a long haul and a really bad stroke,” she said.

The 74-year-old political satirist was hospitalized at the Georgetown University Medical Center on June 16. He was visiting his son, Joel, for Father’s Day, at the time. Newspapers have been running reruns of old columns since the stroke. Buchwald plans to work from the rehabilitation center.

THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF POE: Once upon a roadway weary, Edgar Allan Poe lived a life quite literary, near many a quaint and curious crowd of misbegotten lore. Now preservationists are all aglower, over a 13-story tower, which will be built after the razing of his chamber door. Only this, and something more.

The tenants, by the end of July must move, from this Greenwich Village groove, according to the New York University School of Law. That building will indeed be felled, and a nearby Greek revival church as well, and boy, does it stick in residents’ craws.

Yet the school’s Poe scholar makes claim, that the 85 W. Third Street home does not look the same, hardly the same as it did so many years before. Its entrance has been moved, and the stoop entirely removed, from this building where “The Raven” was born so many years before. Only this, and maybe nevermore.

BORING? DWINDLING RATINGS? ADD ANOTHER NIGHT: You can just hear the network executives greasing up the brainworks. Despite critical yawns and dwindling ratings for the reality show “Big Brother,” CBS will add a Wednesday 9 p.m. showing to its five-night schedule. This will pair up the rooming house show with its island inspiration, “Survivor.” Apparently, the show does well enough with the coveted 18- to 34-year-old audience, and CBS hopes the more successful Wednesday night mainstay will give it a boost. The votes on who stays in the two-bedroom house will also be aired on Wednesday instead of Thursday.

DIDJA EVER NOTICE ANIMAL HOSPITALS ARE ALWAYS NEAR RESTAURANTS?: Not only did Taco Bell Corp. fire its head enchilada, president Peter C. Waller, in favor of Emil Brolick of Wendy’s International Inc., it dumped Waller’s little dog, too. Apparently TB chairman David E. Novak no quiere el perro, or at least he wants no more of the advertising agency that thought up the Taco Bell Chihuahua. Not to worry, the Chihuahua who has made the voice and person of former Concord resident and comedian Carlos Alazraqui verrry well-off may not entirely follow the Spuds McKenzie fall from grace. Novak said the burrito-sized star might have a cameo role now and then. Meanwhile, the chief executive of the ad agency TBWA//Chiat Day doesn’t think the fast-food chain should have muzzled its spokescanine. “People like the dog,” said Tom Carroll. “It’s just that simple.”

SOMEBODY SLAP A TOBACCO WARNING ON THIS HOME PAGE: One piece of advice to groom wannabes: If you’re going to post your mug in cyberspace, don’t choose a Reanimator photo. According to, tobacco heir Patrick Reynolds, the black sheep who eschews smoking but apparently not the money it brings in, has put himself out there as an eligible bachelor in search of his “True North.”

The divorced “successful entrepreneur” wants a Caucasian woman age 27-34 and taller than 5’5″ (Reynolds does give his 6’2″ height, but not his age). Not only that, he pictures her with a “warm heart, good natured and kind in spirit. She would have no children yet, and want a family Her career would leave plenty of time for motherhood, family life, and taking time for romantic travel together.” The Web site,, details his background (which included playing Mandroid in the sci-fi spoof “Eliminators”) and his philosophy on life and love. And yes, there are more Reanimator photos, with his sailing photo captioned: “Still at sea but getting ready to come into port. How about you?” Pass the Dramamine.


Appearance rescheduled: For Donna Hanover. The actress, who is separated from husband and New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, will appear in the off-Broadway play “The Vagina Monologues” Oct. 15-Nov 5. She had planned to begin May 30, but dropped out due to family circumstances.

Birthdays: Actress-singer Sally Ann Howes (70), video artist Nam June Paik (68), rockabilly singer Sleepy LaBeef (65), Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md. (64), actress Diana Rigg (62), rock musician John Lodge of the Moody Blues (57), country singer T.G. Shepherd (56), singer Kim Carnes (54), rock musician Carlos Santana (53), rock musician Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols (44), actress Donna Dixon (43), country singer Radney Foster (41), actor Frank Whaley (37), rock singer Chris Cornell (36), rock musician Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam (34), actor Reed Diamond (33), actor Simon Rex (26), actor Charlie Korsmo (22).

Today’s People Column was compiled by Vera H-C Chan from staff and wire reports. Comments? Write to us c/o the Times, P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94596-8099. Or call 925-943-8262, fax 925-943-8362, or e-mail