Monthly Archives: December 2003

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Happy New Year!

I had wanted to have everything updated by tonight, but unfortunately I came down with one of those nasty migraines. Nobody is probably sitting on their computer tonight anyway… Nonetheless, I just had to pull my booty out of bed to wish you all a very Happy New Year and hope it beats whatever kind of year you had this past year… I don’t see how mine could get much better…this year has been awesome for me…Due to the success of this site and Mister Vilanch’s I’ve made a lot of new friends in places I never thought I would….and, dang it, if I didn’t maintain my everyday friends…didn’t lose a one this year:-) BLB and We Got Bruce are growing in leaps and bounds that I almost need worker bees…and some of you have really come through for me….sending me photos, reviews, stories, and/or just to offer some kind support. Funny how it all comes just in time…right when I think I’ll have to retire:-) So thank you one and all…even if you come here only to read…it’s a sign I’m doing something right…. Hope everyone gets to see Bette’s show…all involved worked their asses off. Those of you who can’t go….hopefully the site will help relieve the pain somewhat….with the reviews, pics, and maybe one day, audio….at least you can experience it to some degree. And that’s what the site is all about…just a nice place to get away and experience Ms. Midler when the going gets rough:-) I’ll try to have some new music up tomorrow and hopefully some news of her New Year’s Eve performance…. Everybody be safe and careful tonight…Happy New Year! Much love, Mister D
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KMB Hershey Review: Thank you Amy K.!!!

Midler’s show proves she’s still best Bette Wednesday, December 31, 2003 BY BARRY FOX Of The Patriot-News At one point during her show Monday night at Giant Center in Hershey, Bette Midler was waist-high through the roof of a tent, wearing a ridiculously large umbrella-like hat. “I have to keep this … hat on my head and remember the joke too?” she said to a packed house. “No wonder nobody else does this.” Wardrobe snafus aside, few performers could do what Midler does. The 58-year-old is part stand-up, vocalist and cartoon character in the three-hour spectacle titled the “Kiss My Brass Tour,” Midler’s first in four years. Riding in on a carousel horse suspended above the crowd and announcing, “I have returned. I’m fabulous. Don’t I look it?” set the tone for the evening. Three dancers/singers, a dozen musicians, lights and video screens provided the lavish production audiences have come to expect from the Divine Miss M. Pacing back and forth across the stage with mincing little steps Midler mixed jokes about the towns of Intercourse, Blue Ball and Lititz with catty swipes at Mary Tyler Moore, Winona Ryder, President Bush and Rush Limbaugh. The 1960s hit “Chapel of Love” served as the soundtrack for photos of defunct famous couples — Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton, Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee, Liza Minnelli and David Gest, Lisa Marie Presley and Michael Jackson — with Midler providing a running commentary on love lost. A bit of self-mockery was also on the agenda with a “Judge Judy” video featuring the case of CBS-TV. Bette Midler in which Midler is sentenced to apologize to all TV owners for her disastrous sitcom. She began to pay her debt to society with Brenda Lee’s “I’m Sorry” but couldn’t finish. “Maybe my show wasn’t must-see TV,” Midler said. “Maybe it wasn’t might-see TV. But there are worse things on TV. I’m too much of a lady to mention them but … Anna Nicole Smith!” Her infamous alter-egos “Soph the Spinster” and the mermaid “Delores DeLago” are along on the tour, telling hilarious, naughty, pun-heavy jokes and/or riding a motorized wheelchair while performing fish-altered versions of “All That Jazz,” “Hello, Dolly!” and “Oklahoma!” But in addition to the kitsch and glitter, Midler is a powerful and commanding performer. Alone on the stage singing “Skylark” or her versions of the Rosemary Clooney hits “Come On-A My House” and “Tenderly” from her Grammy nominated album or the 9-11 song “September,” Midler showed her voice to be as supple and full of emotion as ever. A duet with a video of Mr. Rogers singing “I Like To Be Told” revealed the divine one’s tender side. Her hand gestures, facial expressions and the phrasing of “When A Man Loves A Woman,” “From A Distance,” “Wind Beneath My Wings” and “The Rose” were simply mesmerizing. In an era of one-dimensional, quickly forgotten pop “stars,” Midler’s show is truly a night to remember from a singular talent and a bona fide star.
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Monday, December 29, 2003

KMB Review: The Citizens Voice

ADSC00587_edited.jpg Photo: Mr. Brian P. The Divine Miss M transcends just about every label the thesaurus can deliver. By Alexander Choman Citizens’ Voice Music Critic One of show business’ most outrageous performers, Bette Midler proved that her moniker is well deserved by staging a lavishly excessive stop on her “Kiss My Brass” tour at the Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza on Saturday night. The sold-out performance featured songs from throughout the 58-year-old performer’s career, including several multi-million selling albums as well as music from some of the 19 motion pictures in which she appeared. From the opening of the show, in which she rode in on a carousel horse high above the stage and audience, and throughout the two-and-a-half hour show, Midler never disappointed once those expecting her either to sing or act outrageously. She paced the Wachovia Arena stage nervously throughout the night telling stories, cracking jokes and just being Bette. For the most part, her humor was whip-crackingly sharp. Whether it was about Rush Limbaugh, Barry Manilow or even herself, the Divine Miss Excess knows how to be funny. When she performed “Chapel of Love,” video images of couples that have long since split rolled by on the drop-down video screens. She quipped, “I remember when exchanging vials of blood used to mean something!” as pictures of Angeline Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton rolled by. The audience devoured it. Even those that consider her in excess (really?) had to be moved by Divine Miss M’s vocal contributions. After all, this is how she started her career, folks. Versions of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” Buzzy Linhart’s “Friends” and “Chapel of Love,” all from the first album, were superb. Likewise, “Skylark” from the self-titled second album and Randy Newman’s “I Think It’s Going to Rain Today” were simply outstanding. Probably the greatest thing about this show is that never once did Midler let her penchant for excess distract from her singing. The backing orchestra, directed by Bette Sussman, was outstanding. Midler’s selections from her most recent recordings, “Bette Midler Sings the Rosemary Clooney Songbook,” were excellent. “Come On-A My House” and “Tenderly” were thoughtfully arranged (via Manilow) and exceptionally presented. Midler shined brightly on vocals during both songs. While the first part of the concert Saturday evening relied much more on earlier material, the second portion leaned on songs like “Wind Beneath My Wings” and “From A Distance,” which continued to cement her reputation into the 1980s. Watching her Saturday evening, it reminded me of how far this Jewish girl from Hawaii has really come. From performing free at New York hot spots like Hilly’s and the Improvisation decades ago to becoming the darling of late night television via Johnny Carson and then sound and screen, she really has earned her way along the entire journey. Can you imagine seeing her in the early days with her rock quartets and Barry Manilow as the musical director? Saturday evening, Bette gave us her all. From Dolores de Lago to a video bit with Judge Judy and her failed television series, to the show stopping “The Rose,” the Divine Miss Excess gave us everything. Bette Midler, singer, comedienne and outrageous provocateur. The Divine Miss M transcends just about every label the thesaurus can deliver. But simply put, what she is, is an entertainer. And a very, very good one at that!
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A Portrait of an Aging Webmaster…That’s Me!!!

I just learned this song today, so Barry put my voice and piano to work for the pleasure of a few (or less):-) This little ditty is dedicated to Darrell and my brother, Woody. It’s an old Tom Waits song that Bette performed in her tour called De Tour….It’s entitled, “Broken Bicycles”. No bells and whistles here…just me on baby grand and vocal…..hope some of you enjoy: Broken Bicycles written by: Tom Waits performed by: Mister D (vocal and baby grand)
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Bette’s A 5, I’m a 5, What the hell are you?:-)

36636_250.jpg =&0=& Just for the record, my birthdate is: July 14, 1955 The Victoria Advocate Birth Numbers figure personality types Sunday, December 28th, 2003 To close out 2003, I think you will enjoy calculating your Birth Number. It may or may not describe you and absolutely is not based on any solid research. Regardless, take a few moments to see if you fit the descriptor. Also, if you know the birth dates of your ancestors and always wondered what they were really like, you can calculate their Birth Number and determine their personalities. The source is from somewhere far away in Internetland. Our Birth Numbers describe who we are, what we are good at and our inborn abilities. They also point to what we have to learn and the challenges we are facing. To figure out your Birth Number, add all the numbers in the birth date together as in the example until there is only one digit. A Birth Number does not prevent you from being anything you want to be, it will just color your choice differently and give you a little insight. Example: If your birthday is March 20, 1950, add 3 + 20 + 1950 = 1973. This is calculated as 1 + 9 + 7 + 3 = 20 = 2 + 0 = 2. Therefore, 2 is your Birth Number. Below are the designations for each number and a descriptive statement of who you are as a result of your birth date. 1 = THE ORIGINATOR, 2 = THE PEACEMAKER, 3 = THE LIFE OF THE PARTY, 4 = THE CONSERVATIVE, 5 = THE NONCONFORMIST, 6 = THE ROMANTIC, 7 = THE INTELLECTUAL, 8 = THE BIG SHOT, 9= THE PERFORMER THE ORIGINATOR – 1s are originals. Coming up with new ideas and executing them is natural. Having things their own way is another trait that labels them as being stubborn and arrogant. The 1s are extremely honest and do well to learn some diplomacy skills. They like to take the initiative and are often leaders or bosses, as they like to be the best. Being self-employed is definitely helpful for them. Lesson to learn: Others’ ideas might be just as good or better and to stay open-minded. Famous 1s: Tom Hanks, Robert Redford, Hulk Hogan, Carol Burnett, Wynona Judd, Nancy Reagan and Raquel Welch. THE PEACEMAKER – 2s are born diplomats, aware of others’ needs and moods and often think of others before themselves. Naturally analytical and very intuitive they don’t like to be alone. Friendship and companionship is very important and can lead them to be successful in life, but on the other hand they’d rather be alone than in an uncomfortable relationship. Being naturally shy they should learn to boost their self-esteem and express themselves freely and seize the moment and not put things off. Famous 2s: President Bill Clinton, Madonna, Whoopee Goldberg, Thomas Edison, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. THE LIFE OF THE PARTY – 3s are idealists. They are very creative, social, charming, romantic and easygoing. They start many things, but don’t always see them through. They like others to be happy and go to great lengths to achieve it. They are very popular and idealistic. They should learn to see the world from a more realistic point of view. Famous 3s: Alan Alda, Ann Landers, Bill Cosby, Melanie Griffith, Salvador Dali and Jodi Foster. THE CONSERVATIVE – 4s are sensible and traditional. They like order and routine. They only act when they fully understand what they are expected to do. They like getting their hands dirty and working hard. They are attracted to the outdoors and feel an affinity with nature. They are prepared to wait and can be stubborn and persistent. They should learn to be more flexible and to be nice to themselves. Famous 4s: Neil Diamond, Margaret Thatcher, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tina Turner, Paul Hogan and Oprah Winfrey. THE NONCONFORMIST – 5s are the explorers. Their natural curiosity, risk taking, and enthusiasm often land them in hot water. They need diversity and don’t like to be stuck in a rut. The whole world is their school, and they see a learning possibility in every situation. The questions never stop. They are well advised to look before they take action and make sure they have all the facts before jumping to conclusions. Famous 5s: Abraham Lincoln, Charlotte Bronte, Jessica Walter, Vincent Van Gogh, Bette Midler, Helen Keller and Mark Hamil. THE ROMANTIC – 6s are idealistic and need to feel useful to be happy. A strong family connection is important to them. Their emotions influence their decisions. They have a strong urge to take care of others and to help. They are very loyal and make great teachers. They like art or music. They make loyal friends who take the friendship seriously. 6s should learn to differentiate between what they can change and what they cannot. Famous 6s: Albert Einstein, Jane Seymour, John Denver, Meryl Streep, Christopher Columbus and Goldie Hawn. THE INTELLECTUAL – 7s are the searchers. Always probing for hidden information, they find it difficult to accept things at face value. Emotions don’t sway their decisions. Questioning everything in life, they don’t like to be questioned themselves. They’re never off to a fast start, and their motto is slow and steady wins the race. They come across as philosophers and being very knowledgeable, and sometimes as loners. They are technically inclined and make great researchers uncovering information. They like secrets. They live in their own world and should learn what is acceptable and what not in the world at large. Famous 7s: William Shakespeare, Lucille Ball, Joan Baez and Princess Diana. THE BIG SHOT – 8s are the problem solvers. They are professional, blunt and to the point, have good judgment and are decisive. They have grand plans and like to live the good life. They take charge of people. They view people objectively. They let you know in no uncertain terms that they are the bosses. They should learn to exude their decisions on their own needs rather than on what others want. Famous 8s: Edgar Cayce, Barbara Streisand, George Harrison, Jane Fonda, Pablo Picasso, Aretha Franklin and Nostrodamus. THE PERFORMER – 9s are natural entertainers. They are very caring and generous, giving away their last dollar to help. With their charm, they have no problem making friends and nobody is a stranger to them. They have so many different personalities that people around them have a hard time understanding them. They are like chameleons, ever changing and blending in. They have tremendous luck, but also can suffer from extremes in fortune and mood. To be successful, they need to build a loving foundation. Famous 9s: Albert Schweitzer, Shirley MacLaine, Harrison Ford, Jimmy Carter and Elvis Presley. Happy New Year!
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Sunday, December 28, 2003

Midler and Band Wow the Wachovia

Posted on Sun, Dec. 28, 2003 By ALAN K. STOUT WILKES-BARRE TWP. – “I’m not retiring and you can’t make me!” shouted an energetic Bette Midler as she strutted across the stage during the opening number of her show Saturday at Wachovia Arena. Midler, perhaps taking a lighthearted jab at the abundance of “farewell tours” always on the concert trail, made it clear she isn’t going anywhere and, considering the excellent and highly entertaining show she delivered, there’s no reason she should. Midler, 58, is still sexy, still a fine singer, and when she descended to the stage riding a white wood carnival horse while flashing her trademark big smile, she immediately proved she’s still a great showman. Throughout her performance, she seamlessly combined music with theater and, equally important, engaging wit. Her humor, which was sometimes political, sometimes social, sometimes self-deprecating and sometimes crass, was one of the highlights of the evening, as were fun musical numbers such as “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and soulful songs like “When a Man Loves a Woman.” Midler’s lighting was glitzy yet tasteful, and her powerful band, which featured a booming brass section, was excellent. The staging, which carried a carnival/beach theme, helped set the tone for many of the show’s songs and added to the Broadway feel of the performance. In addition to her own hits, Midler offered a few selections from her latest CD, “Bette Midler Sings the Rosemary Clooney Songbook.” She also offered a dazzling mini-play within the show, featuring mermaid-style costumes and colorful stage props. Later, Midler, courtesy of video screens, offered a sentimental duet with the late Fred Rogers of “I Like to Be Told.” Her performance of the children’s number, like everything in the show, worked very well and engaged the sold-out crowd of 8,000. Midler’s performance of “From a Distance” displayed the strength and beauty of her voice, while “Do You Want to Dance?” featured her ability to sing various musical genres – this time dipping into the world of R&B. Other highlights were a stirring performance of “Wind Beneath My Wings,” which drew a standing ovation and, of course, “The Rose.” “I’m not retiring and you can’t make me?” Who would want to? Miss M. is still most divine.
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Alan Bates Died Today…BetteHeads Know Him As “Rudge” In “The Rose”

BaltoBoy Bette Scans 178.jpg Scan by BaltoBoy Steve British actor Alan Bates dies LONDON, England (AP) –Alan Bates, who first gained fame on the London stage and went on to star in a string of successful 1960s movies including “Zorba the Greek,” has died, his agent said Sunday. He was 69. Bates died of cancer in a London hospital Saturday night, said his agent Rosalind Chatto. His first important film role was opposite Laurence Olivier in 1960’s “The Entertainer.” In 1964 he played Basil in “Zorba the Greek,” and two years later acted in “Georgy Girl” with Lynn Redgrave. Bates was nominated for a best actor Oscar award for his work in 1969’s “The Fixer” and played Rupert Birkin in “Women In Love,” based on the D.H. Lawrence novel, the same year. He won a best actor Tony Award in 2002 for his portrayal on Broadway of an impoverished nobleman in “Fortune’s Fool,” Ivan Turgenev’s dissection of mid-19th century Russian country life. An Associated Press review praised the actor’s “accomplished and affecting portrait.” “Bates is remarkable in carefully negotiating (his character’s) foolishness and faith,” it said. Bates, who was born in Derbyshire, central England, studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London and made his stage debut in 1955. He first gained attention for his role as a resentful young working class man in John Osborne’s “Look Back in Anger” and also starred in playwright Harold Pinter’s “The Caretaker” on stage and film. More recently, Bates played the butler Mr. Jennings in Robert Altman’s 2001 aristocratic murder mystery “Gosford Park” and also had a role in 2002’s “The Sum of All Fears,” which starred Ben Affleck. Bates was made a Commander of the British Empire in 1995 and knighted at the end of 2002. His son, Tristan, 19, died of an asthma attack in 1990 and his wife, actress Victoria Ford, died in 1992. He is survived by two brothers; his son, Benedick and a granddaughter, Chatto said. Funeral arrangements were not yet final, she added.
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Wilkes-Barr Show…Song Changes…Thanks Joseph!

Thanks to Joseph who went to the show last night, we now know she has changed a couple of things…of course, this doesn’t mean it’s permanent, but maybe experimental… She dropped “The Perfect Kiss” and replaced it with “I Think It’s Going To Rain Today”, and for the encore, “Friends” took the place of “White Christmas”. Of course, both were awesome…but if I had MY say so…..oh never mind!:-) Love, Mister D
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Saturday, December 27, 2003

Bette Takes Out The Band

A wee Bette Midler Minneapolis Star by CJ Bette Midler bought out Babalu for a holiday party for her crew. Midler, who was here a couple weeks ago performing at St. Paul’s X, didn’t perform at the club, but members of her band played with members of a Babalu house band. Midler’s band seemed to enjoy playing jazz, which doesn’t make up much of her stage show. Midler dined and walked around, very low key. If you didn’t know who she was, you might not have noticed her. She’s a lot smaller in the real life than her enormous stage presence.
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CD Review: EnjoyThe Music.Com (Thank you Manilow Elf)

live5.jpg A BaltoBoy Steve Scan This recording was entirely the brainchild of Barry Manilow. He wanted to pay tribute to that outstanding pop vocalist of the nineteen fifties, Rosemary Clooney. In case you did not know, she was the well-known actor, George Clooney’s aunt. I had the privilege to have heard Rosemary live many years ago. I also was fortunate to have been watching and listening to the Today Show some months ago when this recording was being discussed. It was revealed that Barry Manilow had decided that Bette Midler was his first and only choice to help reinvent these marvelous songs. It was a project dream that took quite a bit of time to finalize and it was done properly. It was not meant to be an imitation of Rosemary Clooney. Both Barry and Bette wanted to be respectful to these “Rosemary Clooney songs”. They were all recorded by her in the fifties, mostly between 1951 and 1954. While being respectful, both wanted to add a bit of something new and so most of these oldies do feature new arrangements. Barry Manilow had a hand in most of the arrangements. Ray Ellis had his hands into a bit of everything here, including arranging and conducting. There are literally too many well-known musicians to list all, but I will mention Robbie Buchanan, Jorge Calandrelli and Pat Williams. This CD offers no more music than Rosemary’s old vinyl albums did fifty years ago and that is a shame as far as I am concerned. In addition to seven beautiful ballads and the well-known upbeat titles “This Ole House, Come On-A My House” and “Mambo Italiano”, there is a seemingly out of place “White Christmas”. Linda Ronstadt’s duet with Bette seems particularly appropriate and very well done. The same can be said of Barry Manilow’s duet with her and a bit of “tinkling the ivories” but the added dialogue, seemingly heartfelt, may be regarded by many as kind of corny. The entire album is very well performed by top-notch musicians. Bette Midler shines here, perhaps particularly well on the upbeat titles. The recording or audio quality is definitely very good overall with no significant flaws. I cannot put my finger on the reason or reasons why but somehow I cannot quite put the audio quality into the “as good as it gets category”. That said, and nothing more implied, both Rosemary Clooney and Bette Midler fans should be happy and satisfied – very well done.
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