KMB II Interview from Miami (Thanks Brandon!)


Q&A: Bette Midler
Thu Oct 7,11:04 PM ET
By Deborah Wilker

MIAMI (Hollywood Reporter) – Bette Midler (news) has always said she’s “proud” of the trash in her life, whether she’s dishing it out onstage or picking it up off New York streets.

With her Upper East Side wardrobe and the millions she’s raised for the New York Restoration Project — the environmental group she founded — Midler has in recent years become something of a society icon in Manhattan. Yet at the same time, she’s still perfecting the brash, R-rated stage show that has defined her for more than 30 years. Now kicking off the second leg of her acclaimed Kiss My Brass tour, Midler continues to combine live music and stand-up comedy in a way few entertainers do.

Q: The first leg of this tour was a critical and commercial success. So why did you spend so much time rerehearsing it all summer?

A: Tours are always works in progress. I rehearse until the last day. Even on the day we close, I’m still trying to figure out: Why didn’t that work?

Q: This time out, you’re going to many secondary markets. Will you be toning things down to accommodate what might be more conservative audiences?

A: No. Never. Leave your inhibitions behind! Some of the best shows I’ve ever done have been in the oddest places, like Charleston, S.C., and Reading, Pa. I just get the feeling that when you go to the heartland so to speak, they’re very happy you made the effort. It’s a big night out, a big deal.

Q: You’ve lowered the price of your top ticket from $250 to $125-$150 to accommodate these markets. Still, that’s a lot of money for most fans.

A: It is. It’s crazy. It really is crazy. And I’m not so happy about it. I’m not. But my problem is that my show is still a horribly expensive show to produce and maintain. I still have 90 people and 10 trucks. And my ticket price is not the highest. But it is high, and I do appreciate that it’s high. Something’s gotta give in this business. Maybe these shows have to be smaller. It’s just nutty.

Q: Higher costs for elaborate shows like yours seems justified, but how do musicians and promoters explain some of these $250-plus tickets when it’s just a couple of guys standing there in blue jeans? How expensive can it be to cart that kind of show from city to city?

A: Who’s that?

Q: Simon and Garfunkel come to mind.

A: Well, I’ll tell ya — they have that catalog. I don’t have anywhere near their catalog, and that’s what people are paying for. People always love the music that they grew up with. And they wanna hear it live. So if that’s what the market will bear and their audience can afford it … But my dream is … to get it to a point where it is more affordable.

Q: During the summer, you were slated to sing at a benefit for the Sen. John Kerry (news – web sites) campaign, but when the date was changed, you were no longer available to participate. Do you have any last-minute musical fund-raising planned?

A: No. It’s fabulous that Bruce Springsteen (news) is following his conscience. And I’m certainly going to follow my conscience. I’ll work for (voter education organization) Emily’s List and do the best I can. What matters most is that you have to be able to get up the day after the election and say, “Did I do everything I could?”

Q: Are you pulling back because our climate has become so polarized? Because of the retribution that performers like Whoopi Goldberg (news) encountered?

A: Well, they tried to slap her down. But she always rises — and what does she care? People of course have a right to say what they think, but there should be a certain amount of discretion, too. You can’t give anybody any ammunition.

Q: You did go back to (making) movies recently with “The Stepford Wives.” Did you enjoy that? That was reportedly a very troubled shoot.

A: Well, it’s too bad about those kinds of stories. It really is. I did enjoy it. I loved working with that cast. But it was hard work because it was in the middle of the summer and it was hot and we were rained out half the time. It was stressful, but I think it turned out well. My daughter, who is 17, thought it was hilarious.

Q: Your daughter Sophie’s just leaving for college now. Has that been difficult?

A: I’m going on the road and she’s going to college. We’re both packing. It’s rough. I’m excited for her, but it’s very hard. We’re just putting one foot in front of the other.

Q: You have the New York Restoration Project to keep you busy.

A: I do. I work on it a lot. We just built the Peter J. Sharpe Boathouse in Harlem. We now have rowing programs for public and private school kids and university and Wall Street rowers. We’re trying to get recreation back uptown on the water. We also just built a garden with the help of the Walt Disney people up on 103rd Street and Park Avenue. Every week, we do a little bit more. We own 55 community gardens. People grow vegetables and fruits and flowers, and there are playgrounds for their kids. We’re just trying to make life a little more livable.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

Share A little Divinity
Verified by MonsterInsights