“Barbra Headlines BookExpo America.”
May 26, 2010, 2:00am

Barbra attended the BookExpo America (BEA) Opening Night’s Keynote Reception last night at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York, in an event that was open only to members of the book trade. Barbra was there for one reason only — to talk about her forthcoming book “My Passion For Design” which will be published by Viking on November 16, 2010.

In her first candid conversation about the book, Barbra sat down with Gayle King, editor at O, The Oprah Magazine. Barbra revealed how she actually started writing her greatly anticipated biography — but admitted “This is hard. I better write a book about design.”

Gayle King, wearing white/blue admitted that she originally planned on wearing yellow, but went on to say “I read in the book that you don’t care for yellow.” “Certain kinds of yellow, yes” Barbra replied. When King went on to say her second choice was orange, Barbra quickly made it clear that Orange was also a color that she disliked, and wasn’t sure how anyone could ever consider wearing it. Gayle laughed, and explained she even repainted her toenails to please Barbra. Later, Barbra declared that her favorite color was in fact Burgundy after a sweater she remembered from her childhood.

Barbra spoke about her early years as a child growing up in Brooklyn, without a father. He died when she was 15 months old. When asked if she kept anything that reminded her of her New York Childhood, Barbra replied “We lived in a $40-a-month apartment. Five people shared one bathroom. I have nothing that reminds me of that. We didn’t have a couch until I was 8. Maybe that’s why I love couches,” she said. “So a couch was very special. My friends had couches. We only had a dining room table with stiff chairs so we sat around the dining room table.”

In 1994, Barbra’s passion for designing houses and for architecture, reached new heights. Barbra was due to direct Larry Kramer’s play “The Normal Heart”, but when those plans fell through, Barbra put her energy into designing a house. “A house became my project. I made a house instead of a movie”.

Barbra showed photo-slides to the audience of her designs, most of which she took herself, including a mill house and an elegant barn that she had built, which included a “Wizard of Oz” storm cellar. Smaller details weren’t missed out either. Barbra described how she felt that Queen-size beds are too small, and King-size beds are too big — so she designed one that’s in between.

Finally, Barbra was asked to pick her favorite song of all that she has recorded. “… that’s a terrible thing to ask. I don’t want to offend the songs!” The audience agreed.

“My Passion For Design” is out November 16, 2010.