Yearly Archives: 2004

Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy New Year! Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Thanks everybody for a wonderful year! May the next year be brighter for all of us. Be safe!

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Another Top 10 List

The State – Columbia, SC ON THE SCENE Why settle for a Top 10? These are my fave 11 By OTIS TAYLOR JR. Staff Writer On the Scene has seen a lot of shows this year. Of course, some were better than others. These 11 were the very best of the best: • George Strait, Feb. 13 at the Colonial Center: The “San Antone, Texas”-style show gave me shivers. I have never been to a country show before or since that stuck with me after I wrote the review. There was something about Strait’s stage presence that captured my attention. He isn’t much into gyrations, just some foot tapping to the beat. All he needs is his rugged yet passionate voice, which was knocking down every note. Why can’t all country music be this good? • Bette Midler, March 4 at the Colonial Center: Bette rocked this show with her jokes and singing. Performers who have a hard time singing live — such as Ashlee Simpson, Britney Spears and Cher — should take a page out of Midler’s book: Work hard and you, too, can dance and sing at the same time. • Pinback and American Analog Set, April 9 at the Echo Lounge, Atlanta: Two of my favorites. Two lush, ambient pop bands with songs to sing along to. I hugged a lot of folks who were singing just as much as I was. It was one of those shows where I had to be at the front of the stage. I think I should start wearing ear plugs. • Prince, April 21 at the Colonial Center: It was (almost) enough to make me cry. Prince should play just his older material at all his concerts. That’s what we were really there to hear. • The Streets and Dizzee Rascal, June 29 at Irving Plaza, New York: Two of the best underground hip-hop MCs, and they’re from England. Labeled as garage or backpack rap, The Streets and Rascal put on an impeccable show. English hip-hop is on the rise. • The Lay All Over Its, July 2 at Hunter-Gatherer: The Chicago duo epitomizes avant-garde jazz noise. The tumbling drums, screeching stand-up bass and chanted vocals make for an interesting background to conversation. This band is freak, emo-jazz at its best. • Eleni Mandell, July 18 at Art Bar: Yes, the Art Bar really does have a listening room. Elements of folk, rock, country and jazz accompany Mandell’s shockingly honest lyrics. Her voice is amazing — excellent for a lazy evening. And she does Tom Waits covers. • From Safety to Where, Rockefeller Horsecollar and Newgenics, Sept. 25 at The Garage: Three of the best bands in town on one bill. Post-punk, blues-punk and hardcore. Rock music is healthy in Columbia. • Blonde Redhead, Oct. 4 at Cat’s Cradle, Chapel Hill: Blonde Redhead’s noisy, dissonant guitars and fractured drum patterns are not something you can dance to. And I like to dance. But it’s nice to just soft tap your way through a show. At the end, all I could say was “wow.” The show was smooth, as noise interludes filled the usually quiet transitions between songs. • Kanye West, Nov. 10 at the Colonial Center: A DJ and a microphone. Peace to the MCs who do it like Kanye. The set was fresh, invigorating and perfectly timed. Only 3,000 showed up. A month later, West was nominated for 10 Grammy Awards. • The Movement DVD shoot, Nov. 11 at Rio Nightlife: The set was hype, filled with The Movement’s best and some covers of Sublime and Fugees. But the freestyle session with DJ Riggles cuttin’ and scratchin’ was insane. After Lyrikal Buddah, Dan Johns and Jwadi Jwad blessed the mic, Riggles tore it up. And yes, I put my cup down so I could do the heel-to-toe
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This is SO Gay…Must Be Why I Love This List!

Mister D: Fortunate enough to see 2 of these performances live…Bette and Ellen Greene….good for being a blue boy in a red state, I guess! 🙂 From DIVA TALK: The Best of 2004 By Andrew Gans December 31, 2004 Photo: Libby News, views and reviews about the multi-talented women of the musical theatre and the concert/cabaret stage.Hello, diva lovers! This week’s column offers a backwards glance at the year that comes to a close this weekend. This year’s “best of” list includes favorite performances on the theatrical and cabaret stages as well as one television broadcast. I limited my selections to those productions that opened on or after Jan. 1, 2004, so repeat visits to Avenue Q, Gypsy and other favorite musicals that opened the previous year aren’t included. I’m thankful I was able to catch so many wonderful performances, and I hope the year to come brings even more memorable ones. Wishing you all much joy and peace in 2005. THE 10 BEST OF 2004 (in somewhat alphabetical order): BABY I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for the Richard Maltby/David Shire musical Baby, which I first became aware of during the 1984 Tony Awards broadcast when Liz Callaway, Catherine Cox and Beth Fowler premiered the musical’s Act I showstopper, “I Want It All,” for television audiences. If the 20th anniversary production of Baby at New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse still revealed problems in Sybille Pearson’s book, there was no denying the power of one of my favorite scores of the eighties. From the upbeat opening number, “We Start Today,” to the moving finale, the score offered one treat after another. And, what a cast was assembled at the New Jersey theatre to deliver that score: Carolee Carmello, La Chanze, Moeisha McGill, Norm Lewis, Michael Rupert and Chad Kimball. As I’ve written before, Norm Lewis possesses the richest voice of any male performer on Broadway. Whether he was singing “Baby, Baby, Baby,” “At Night She Comes Home to Me” or the Act II duet “With You,” his lush baritone was a delight. And, he and La Chanze — she of the beautiful smile and voice — had the most palpable chemistry of any of the three couples. Then, there was Carolee Carmello — now bringing new life to Broadway’s Mamma Mia! — whose focused performance was the anchor of this Baby. She was at once comic, touching and, of course, vocally astounding. The second-act ballad “Patterns,” which had been cut from the original Broadway run, was restored to the score, and Carmello’s delivery was tremendous. And, of course, the three women — Carmello, La Chanze and McGill — provided one of the most thrilling moments of the show when they exclaimed in the doctor’s waiting room, “I Want It All.” Other highlights: Chad Kimball’s beautiful rendition of “I Chose Right” and McGill’s belty first-act finale, “The Story Goes On.” BETTY BUCKLEY Whether she’s playing on a Broadway stage, the small or big screen or in a nightclub setting, Tony Award winner Betty Buckley always infuses her performances with an emotional honesty that can be heartbreaking (Cats, Sunset Boulevard) or downright shocking (Carrie, Gypsy at the Paper Mill Playhouse). It was in an intimate cabaret where Buckley shone in 2004, offering a program she titled Portraits. It was a more-than appropriate title for Buckley’s beautiful program, since I’ve always felt that the actress approaches her material with the skills of a masterful painter. She is wholly unconcerned with renditions of songs that have come before her own and comes to each as an artist would a blank canvas, bringing her unique gifts to the lyric and melody at hand. If an artist has a palette of colors to choose from, Buckley has her own enormous array of vocal colors. There’s aquamarine, azure, indigo, navy, royal, sapphire and turquoise, and that’s only for singin’ the blues. There are also the velvety browns of her chest voice, the smooth soft yellows of her head tones, the off-whites of her whispers, the dark black of her growls and the soaring, fiery reds of her wide-ranging belt. Yet, it is not just the voice that creates such magic, it is her consummate acting skills as well as her intelligent choice of material. Like a pointillist painting, all these elements somehow combine to form a masterwork, and audience members can’t help but sit back and become mesmerized by the world of her artistry. Among the gems that comprised Buckley’s compelling Portraits were “As Time Goes By,” “Where or When,” “Time After Time,” “Dimming of the Day,” “I Am a Town,” “Blues in the Night,” “How Glory Goes,” “Unchained Melody,” “On the Street Where You Live” and “I Could Have Danced All Night.” Cabaretgoers will have another chance to witness her artistry when Buckley returns to the Carlyle with an all-new program March 1-April 9. And one can only hope Buckley is back on Broadway shortly thereafter. THE CALLAWAYS (Ann and Liz) In terms of pure vocal tone, the most beautiful sound of the year past may have been the blending of voices of sisters Liz and Ann Hampton Callaway in their new cabaret act, Relative Harmony. In fact, when the siblings joined together in perfect harmony at Feinstein’s at the Regency, the sound was, simply put, exquisite. After the success of their Sibling Revelry pairing at Rainbow & Stars in the mid-nineties, the talented duo reteamed for this brand-new show, and it was a virtually flawless evening from start (Gypsy’s “Some People” with a few changed lyrics and a cute gag that set up many of the evening’s sometimes-corny-yet-charming jokes) to finish (a reprise of their “Huge Medley” that now also boasts tunes from Wicked and Side Show). In fact, I was sorry when the “Huge Medley” ended — I could have listened to the duo sing all evening. Ann’s dark, husky and jazz-flavored sound was the perfect complement for Liz’s clear bell tones, and whether they were dueting on Van Morrison’s “Moondance” or the jazz favorite “Cloudburst,” the results were glorious. They also scored with a medley that featured Ann’s belty “Stormy Weather” and Liz’s equally belty “When the Sun Comes Out.” And, when they sang the two standards at the same time, it was pure magic. The sisters also offered the tongue-in cheek “Here Come the Callaways,” written by Ann that enumerated the many sister-acts that have come before: “There’s Zsa Zsa and Eva, the sisters Gabor/And don’t forget the Olsen twins — which one do you like more?/There’s Liza and Lorna — we could go on for days, but/Here come the Callaways!” Should the Callaways come your way, be sure to check ’em out. ELLEN GREENE The more I see Ellen Greene perform, the more I realize that she is as engaging a concert artist as anyone working today. To borrow a lyric from Jerry Herman, Greene — best known as the original Audrey of the Off Broadway and film versions of Little Shop of Horrors — is her own special creation. This past October marked the third time I’d seen the actress-singer perform at Joe’s Pub, and she never fails to bowl me over. Greene completely throws herself into each and every song, physically and emotionally: A steady stream of tears flow from her eyes during most of the numbers, and she is never less than riveting, whether she’s singing her signature tunes, standards or pop/rock ballads. Not only extremely moving, she can also be funny, sexy and frighteningly intense. Much of Greene’s recent show featured songs from her debut solo recording, the superb “In His Eyes,” a disc she recorded with pianist-musical director (and husband) Christian Klikovits. Among the many highlights of her most recent evening of Torch were a touching “The Man With the Child in His Eyes,” her unequaled version of Peter Allen’s “Pretty Pretty” and the ferocious “Throwing Stones.” She also scored with her two Little Shop of Horrors tunes, a comical yet moving “Somewhere That’s Green” and a belty “Suddenly Seymour” that featured audience participation. Other mentionables: her terrific version of Tori Amos’ haunting paternal tribute, “Winter”; Klikovits’ “When Love Is Gone”; Jane Siberry’s emotional “Love Is Everything”; and a thrilling encore of Kurt Weill’s “Pirate Jenny.” PATTI LuPONE Nearly 20 years after she thrilled Broadway audiences in Cole Porter’s Anything Goes, Patti LuPone again demonstrated her many talents in another Porter musical, the City Center Encores! presentation of Can Can. It was impossible to deny that the power and presence of LuPone — both her vocal prowess and her comedic talents — lifted a rather dated musical to a joyous celebration. And, what a celebration it was! LuPone was given five Porter tunes, and she triumphed with them all. She somehow managed to make each song fresh and exciting, whether it was the sensuality she brought to “C’est Magnifique” (has anyone ever made more of that song’s “ooh-la-lahs”?), the life lessons she explained in “Never Give Anything Away,” the fiery passion she conveyed in “Live and Let Live” (she’s got to record this at some point), the charm, sophistication and belting power she added to “I Love Paris” (some audiences were even treated to an on-the-spot encore) or the zest and lust for life that she brought to the title number. One can only hope that LuPone’s performance gets the talented actress back where she belongs — on Broadway! BETTE MIDLER It took me 35 years to finally get to see Bette Midler live in concert, and now I understand why she is, to fans and critics alike, simply divine. I was able to catch the first leg of Midler’s Kiss My Brass tour — directed by Richard Jay-Alexander — at the Meadowlands Continental Arena, and onstage she was a thrilling mix of singer, comedienne and social commentator. I was utterly impressed by Midler’s musicianship during her rendition of the Johnny Mercer-Hoagy Carmichael standard “Skylark” — she played off the melody line at the song’s beginning and then offered a beautiful take on the classic tune about searching for true love. I also particularly liked the staging of her signature tune, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”: As she belted out the Andrews Sisters hit live, three split screens featured Midler — dressed in various outfits — performing the song on a seventies television special. Other highlights included terrific takes on two Rosemary Clooney signature pieces, “Come On-A My House” and “Tenderly”; the moving “I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today” from “Beaches”; a belty “When a Man Loves a Woman”; the first-act finale, “Shiver Me Timbers”; a medley of Broadway tunes; and a touching and thought-provoking “From a Distance.” “Do You Want to Dance” preceded the show’s finale, a full-voiced, joyous “Wind Beneath My Wings.” Midler returned for two songs from her Oscar nominated turn in “The Rose,” “Keep On Rocking” and Amanda McBroom’s title tune. The latter brought the sold-out crowd to its feet. Midler, unlike anyone else on the concert circuit today, is a true force of nature. ELAINE PAIGE Britain’s leading musical theatre actress scored another success on this side of the Atlantic when she played the pie-baking Mrs. Lovett in City Opera’s limited engagement of Sweeney Todd. Paige, who made her Broadway debut as silent-screen star Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, brought her golden tones and her impeccable comic timing to the staging of the Stephen Sondheim masterpiece. She sounded terrific singing such tunes as “The Worst Pies in London,” “Poor Thing” and “By the Sea,” drew laughs from her duet with Mark Delavan in the first-act closer “A Little Priest” and was appropriately desperate in the show’s final sequence. I’ve now been lucky enough to see Paige in four musicals — Piaf, Sunset Boulevard, The King and I and Sweeney Todd — and she was truly wonderful in each, always managing to create a complete, believable character. TONYA PINKINS Hands-down the most dramatic performance in any Broadway musical that opened within the past year was given by Tonya Pinkins, who starred in the title role of Caroline, or Change. Pinkins portrayed the down-on-her luck Caroline, an African-American maid for a Jewish family in 1963 Louisiana who must feed, house and clothe her children on $30 a week. Pinkins, who scored a Tony Award for her performance in Jelly’s Last Jam, was simply remarkable in the Tony Kushner-Jeanine Tesori musical, which began life at Off-Broadway’s Public Theater before reopening on Broadway at the Eugene O’Neill. From the moment she stepped onto the stage, she was never less than captivating. Pinkins, who was Tony-nominated for her work, completely inhabited the role of the dispirited and physically and emotionally exhausted Caroline; the anger she felt about her lot in life was palpable, and Pinkins exploded with rage several times during the through-sung musical. Possessing a thrilling, rich belt that she poured out repeatedly in the poignant production, Pinkins literally stopped the show with her second-act tour de force, “Lot’s Wife.” The song, the emotional equivalent of Gypsy’s “Rose’s Turn” with the vocal demands of Dreamgirls’ “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going,” was delivered by the actress with a chilling intensity. It was an often grim, devastatingly real performance, and Pinkins was consistently moving, whether she was letting her anger spew at her college-attending friend Dotty or her employer’s son Noah, hugging her daughter Emmie, or opening her soul and battlefield-of-a-heart in the aforementioned “Wife.” ALICE RIPLEY It was during two concert evenings this past year when Alice Ripley once again proved that she is the most exciting belter of her generation. During the first — Broadway Unplugged at Town Hall — Ripley wrapped her wonderful (unmiked) voice around Triumph of Love’s “Serenity.” The performer, who is currently appearing in the Kennedy Center’s The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber weekend, began “Serenity” gently, building to a stunning climax, belting “and suddenly, serenity, is merely a word I heeaaaaard, soommmmewheeeerrrrre!” It was not only powerfully sung, but beautifully acted. Ripley also scored in a recent evening at the Duplex, Belters We Have Heard on High, which celebrated the wonderful, often-touching lyrics of Bill Russell. The former Side Show star performed the title song from Russell’s Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens; though I’ve heard numerous renditions of the song throughout the years, none moved me as much as Ripley’s. She was particularly touching, infusing the song’s final line with a tremendous amount of pathos: “And I sing this song for the souls who have gone—sweet angels, punks and raging queens.” Ripley also thrilled that evening with everything she touched, including “She’s Gone,” a song cut from Russell and Henry Krieger’s Side Show; “The Last Smoker in America,” a tune from a new musical of the same name; and an a cappella version of Side Show’s “I Will Never Leave You” that was exquisitely rendered. Though she’s great in a concert setting, I’m particularly pleased that Ripley will be back on a theatrical stage this spring when she stars in the title role of the Paper Mill Playhouse’s production of The Baker’s Wife. Ever since the New Jersey theatre announced it would present the Stephen Schwartz musical, I had been not-so-secretly hoping that Ripley would land the lead role of Genevieve, the part created in the original, ill-fated production by Patti LuPone. I can hardly wait to hear Ripley pour out her voice and emotion in the beautiful Schwartz score, which features “Where Is the Warmth?,” “Gifts of Love” and, of course, “Meadowlark.” 58th ANNUAL TONY AWARDS From Hugh Jackman’s spirited opening number through the final, surprising Best Musical of the Year announcement, the 2004 Tony Awards turned out to be one of the most exciting telecasts in years. The broadcast was exactly what the Tonys should be — a joyous celebration of the theatre. And, in Jackman the Tonys finally found the perfect host — he was charming, modest, talented, appealing and loved being onstage. That love of performing was palpable even through the air waves and made for exciting television. In fact, Jackman’s first number — “One Night Only” — was the most enjoyable opening since Betty Buckley, Patti LuPone and Jennifer Holliday joined Rosie O’Donnell for a diva lover’s delight in 1998; Jackman’s routine also featured three trios of divas — the Hairspray Dynamites, the urchins from Little Shop of Horrors and the radio from Caroline, or Change. And, what fun to see this boy from Oz high-kick with the Rockettes and then be joined by cast members from the nominated musicals and revivals. I particularly loved seeing Jackman flanked by Avenue Q’s Kate Monster and Lucy T. Slut. The telecast also featured moving acceptance speeches (especially heartwarming were those made by Caroline, or Change’s Anika Noni Rose and Wicked’s Idina Menzel), terrific musical numbers (rousing versions of Avenue Q’s “It Sucks to Be Me” and Wicked’s “Defying Gravity”) as well as several other memorable moments (John Tartaglia as Rod flirting with host Jackman and the meeting of Carol Channing and Sean Combs to name but two). And, who could have predicted the show’s final moment — the astonishing, joyous victory of Avenue Q as Best Musical? It was the first Tony Awards in several years that left me on a complete high.
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Thursday, December 30, 2004

How To Help Tsunami And Earthquake Disaster Victims

Mister D: Isn’t it telling that the Christian Right takes a holiday on moral values during this time of crisis….but I’m not surprised. However, visiting some of these sites brought chuckles and a bit of horror. If we survivie the next 4 years under Bush, the rest of my life will be a holiday. These people are creepy!!! ( But I did get a chuckle out of Falwell’s site….Cruise with Dr Falwell on the Queen Mary!!!! LOL….Mary, puh-leeeze!!!!….and isn’t that slightly elitist????….just asking….) The following aid agencies are accepting contributions for disaster relief in areas hit by Sunday’s tsunami and earthquake. The U.S. organizations are members of InterAction, a coalition of relief, development and refugee assistance agencies. Action Against Hunger 247 West 37th St. New York, NY 10018 212-967-7800 ADRA International Asia Quake Fund 12501 Old Columbia Pike Silver Spring, MD 20904 800-424-ADRA (2372) Air Serv International 6583 Merchant Place, Suite 100 Warrenton, VA 20187 American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Inc. DC-South Asia Tsunami Relief P.O. Box 321 847A Second Ave. New York, New York 10017 212-885-0832 American Jewish World Service 45 W. 36th St., 10th Fl. New York, NY 10018 212-736-2597 AmeriCares 88 Hamilton Ave. Stamford, CT 06902 800-486-4357 Baptist World Aid Asia Tidal Waves 405 North Washington St. Falls Church, VA 22046 703 790 8980 B’nai B’rith International B’nai B’rith Disaster Relief Fund 2020 K. St. NW 7th Floor Washington, DC 20006 212-490-3290 Brother’s Brother Foundation 1200 Galveston Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15233 412-321-3160 CARE 151 Ellis St. NE Atlanta, GA 30303 800-521-CARE Catholic Relief Services 209 West Fayette St. Baltimore, MD 21201 877-HELP-CRS Christian Children’s Fund Child Alert Fund PO Box 26484 Richmond, Virginia – 23261-6484 800-776-6767 Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC) South Asia Earthquake 2850 Kalamazoo Ave. SE Grand Rapids, MI, 49560 800-55-CRWRC Church World Service PO Box 968 Elkhart, IN 46515 800-297-1516 Direct Relief International 27 South La Patera Lane Santa Barbara, CA 93117 805-964-4767 Food for the Hungry, Inc. Food for the Hungry Asia Quake Relief 1224 E. Washington St. Phoenix, AZ 85034 800-2-HUNGERS International Aid 17011 W. Hickory Spring Lake, MI 49456 800-968-7490

International Medical Corps ...  Read More

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Celebrate Bette With

Greetings, Join ‘Seasons & Celebrations’ , Free Online Radio at, for Ten Minute Back to Back Birthday Spotlights on Bette Midler and John Denver, Friday, December 31 at 9am & 3pm (PST). Enjoy tender and spunky tunes by ‘The Divine Miss M’ and the soothing and wonderful words of John Denver. ‘Seasons & Celebrations’ presents music for every month of the year with selections for monthly holidays and birthdays. Happy New Year! Tom Callahan ‘Seasons & Celebrations’ Music For Every Month of the Year 24/7 Free Online Radio at ******* USA Today Hot Site ******* ...  Read More

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Wednesday, December 29, 2004

“In The Pink” Movie Rumour Has Legs

Photo: Libby I had scores of emails yesterday about “In The Pink” and to make sure to watch Entertainment Tonight….which I did. Of course, they brought it up during the segment on Britney, saying she was to star in “In The Pink” with Bette, Cher, and Tim Allen. However, nothing was said about when it was to be filmed or when it was coming out. I thought the rumour had some truth to it because of an interview with Tim Allen during his Xmas with the Kranks movie… To make a long story short…I swallowed my pride and asked about it to those that might know…I just got that info about Australia, so I didn’t want to wear out my welcome, but so be it…. This is the most I could get: Bette IS involved with the movie, but it is not known when filming will begin. The rumours say January, but with Cher still touring…I don’t think so….unless she is finally pulling the plug on that tired ole show. :-)That would give Bette a couple of months to do her work before her Australian tour. I just don’t know. I think we’ll start hearing more about it soon on our own…it’ll give us something to do….sleuthing!!! Love, Mister D PS: Now Back to my beauty sleep!
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It Was An Honor To Be Nominated! :-)

Photo: Libby (Bette and Pink) Well….the results came in and we’re LOSERS!!!! WWWAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL Actually, I was quite surprised we got in any category, so this whole this was really special to me…and I doubt Bette even knows there was a vote….but we did get her nominated. We lost to Madonna, MTV, and Hansen. With the first 2 I will continue to hold a grudge against, but for the latter….sorry, the guys a are just too cute and talented to dislike! 🙂 Anyway, thanks to everyone who participated … I think we gave it a good try…. Here are all the results: Click Here
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Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Bette Will Be Going Down…..under!

Look for Bette to grace Australia at the beginning of April to the beginning of May

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Friday, December 24, 2004

I’m Still On Hiatus, But!!!!….Bette Bytes

I thought I’d jump in one more time and wish everyone Merry Christmas or whatever you are celebrating….the main thing to me is to celebrate goodwill to all mankind, especially during these chaotic times. Thanks to those who sent me emails and snail mail with Christmas wishes and “thank yous”….I haven’t had time to get back with everybody and am afraid some of you might fall through the cracks…just know it’s not because I don’t care….it’s just the busy, busy, business of the season. My parents are coming up to Nashville for their first Christmas here…I feel the pressure already!!!! 🙂 Anyway….while I’m on here blathering like an idiot….here are a few Bette bytes (computer reference for those who don’t get it!) Anywho….some have written and couldn’t find the new music I put up…so here is the direct link: Click Here! I feel a tad guilty about it, but I know some people who are selling it…so hopefully this will put a little crimp in their profit venture. Get it while you can because it will go down January 2, 2005…. Also, I’m getting some feedback through trains, boats, planes, the internet, and more about Bette’s Australian gig. The chances are looking divinely good…according to those who’ve written and the things I have read between the lines…look for this to happen, if it does, in late March thru April. I have no clue about any other dates…like the UK and Europe…I really hope this happens for you gus and gals…you’ve waited long enough and now is the prime time to do it…this show is fabulous! Pollstar came up with their own Top 25 concerts of the year….for North America: 2004 Pollstar Top 25 Tours of North America Top 25 tours of North America for 2004, according to concert industry trade publication Pollstar. 1. Prince, $87.4 million. 2. Celine Dion, $80.4 million. 3. Madonna, $79.5 million. 4. Metallica, $60.5 million. 5. Bette Midler, $59.4 million. 6. Van Halen, $54.3 million. 7. Kenny Chesney, $50.8 million. 8. Sting, $50.1 million. 9. Toby Keith, $43.7 million. 10. Elton John, 43.3 million. 11. Rod Stewart, $42.5 million. 12. Dave Matthews Band, $41.2 million. 13. Tim McGraw, $40.1 million. 14. Jimmy Buffett, $34.6 million. 15. Shania Twain, $34.5 million. 16. Alan Jackson/Martina McBride, $34 million. 17. Cher, $29.1 million. 18. Usher, $29.1 million. 19. Eric Clapton, $29 million. 20. Josh Groban, $28 million. 21. Aerosmith, $25.6 million. 22. George Strait, $24.8 million. 23. Phil Collins, $23.8 million. 24. Kid Rock, $23.7 million. 25. John Mayer, $23.6 million. I think that’s about all I have to say….everyone just be kind to one another, be safe, and remember to send your best wishes to the troops and their safe return….whenever that will be….I’ll see you all in 2005!!!! Love, Mister D PS: Oh and this from Sara, one of the The Divine Dutchies (from The Netherlands!)

Hey Don, The Dutch Radio 2 top 2000 best songs ever list is out… Bette (and her fans!) did good: 36: The Rose (last year on 44) 547: Beast of Burden (last year on 751) 756: From a distance (last year on 847) The belgian radio station Radio Donna won’t publish her list of 2004 best songs until tomorrow… Love, Sara ...  Read More

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Thursday, December 23, 2004

There Is A Santa Bette Afterall

The Charlotte Observer Kiana’s heavenly visit with the Divine Miss M BARBARA THIEDE Special Correspondent One year, Kiana Stewart showed up for Halloween as an Oompa Loompa. Another time, she came as Cruella DeVille. Kiana likes to sing. Kiana likes to act. Her inspiration? Bette Midler. “When we’re watching a movie I say, `Kiki, shhh! I can’t hear Bette Midler,’ ” says her 14-year-old older sister, Eboni. “And she says, `But I know all the words!’ ” Seven-year-old Kiana does, even though she has Noonan syndrome, a disease that presents a multitude of physical and developmental difficulties. In her case, it has resulted in two heart defects, delayed development and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Kiana has been a Bette Midler fan since she was a tot. At 3, her mother, Tisha Stewart, remembers, her youngest daughter sat completely still, absolutely transfixed by Midler’s “Beach Music.” “Who’s that?” she asked. “She’s good.” Over the past four years, Kiana has memorized Bette Midler’s songs, Bette Midler’s roles and Bette Midler’s films. For Christmas each year, she gets pictures of the vivacious singer and actress to add to her collection. No wonder Kiana dreamed of meeting Bette Midler someday. Mom on a mission When Stewart’s boss, Latimer Williams, gave her tickets to the Bette Midler concert in Raleigh last fall, Kiana’s mom went on a mission.”If someone says they are Bette Midler’s fan,” she wrote, “they are sadly mistaken. My daughter Kiana is, without a doubt, her No. 1 fan.” “I sent that letter to anyone I thought might have met Bette Midler,” Stewart says. She sent e-mails, hard copies and hope. Shortly before the concert, a mysterious e-mail from a “Miss M” arrived. The e-mail promised to send Stewart and her daughters backstage. When Stewart arrived at the concert with Eboni and Kiana, she found that her tickets had been upgraded. The family watched the performance about a dozen rows from the stage. Afterward, an assistant came to find the family and escorted the Stewart women backstage. After about 15 minutes, tiny Bette Midler appeared in high-heeled shoes and jeans. “Is that my girl?” she called out. Kiana bolted into the actress’ arms. “And then,” Stuart says, “Bette Midler said, `I’ve been waiting a long time to meet you.’ ” Songs and conversation “She sat down,” Kiana remembers, “and then she lowered me down and put me on her lap.” The two cuddled on the floor while Stewart, Eboni and Midler’s personal assistant stood nearby, tears in their eyes. Later, Midler told the Stewarts to head to her dressing room. She would join them there in a few minutes. “I met her little puppy,” Kiana remembers. “That poodle licked me and kissed me right on my lips!” A few minutes later, Midler arrived. “She picked me up,” Kiana remembers, stretching out her arms to demonstrate. Ready to re-enact the whole scene, she leans back. Her eyelids fluttering, she whispers, “And then I said, `Bette Midler, I think I am about to faint.’ ” “We have a little drama queen here?” Midler asked. Over the next hour, there were songs and play and conversation. Midler left the room for a few minutes and came back with two white Care Bears for Kiana and Eboni. “That was my sister’s day,” Eboni says, “so for her to bring something for me — that was sweet for me.” `She is real!’ Stewart wrote out the whole story for Kiana’s teachers and the administrators at Concord’s Beverly Hills Elementary School. Long before the concert, they had gotten together and wondered aloud. Would Bette Midler know what meeting her would mean to Kiana? When Kiana got off the bus, Assistant Principal Delea Beane was waiting for her. “What was meeting Bette Midler like?” “Ms. Beane,” Kiana answered, “she is real! ” Why is Kiana so in love with Bette Midler? “They are one and the same,” says Beane. “Little bitty wild woman,” she says, pointing at a picture of Bette Midler. “Little bitty wild woman,” she adds, looking at Kiana.
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