Look Back In the early days, Bette Midler was feathering her nest as the Divine Miss M.
Byline: Jeryl Brunner Publication: In Style Issue: August 2003 Vol. 10 No. 9 Publication Date: 08-01-2003 Page: 272 Section: Look Back
“I’ve never really had a home,” Bette Midler confessed after she had moved into this Greenwich Village brownstone. Midler was newly flush after the success of her debut album, The Divine Miss M. But the singer, who went on to snag a Grammy for best new artist the following year, had already found a place to roost: at New York City’s all-male Continental Baths. Her flamboyant costumes–turbans, halter tops, and forties gowns found at thrift shops–lent her diva status among the towel- clad crowd, and her eclectic song repertoire, including the future hits “Do You Want to Dance?” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” earned her a cult following. “The essence of who I am was created in that hothouse environment,” she later said. “I was able to take chances on that stage that I could never have taken anywhere else.” Not even at home. –Jeryl Brunner
COLOR PHOTO: DOUGLAS KIRKLAND