I Would Say “Divine” All Of The Time!

Mister D: In this interview Bette says she doesn’t think she ever sang a Bob Dylan song…LOL Hello!!!! “I Shall Be Released” and “Buckets of Rain”….Bette!!!! Take some more Ginkgo biloba!!! LOL

Bette Midler still divine most of the time
By John Tanasychuk
Staff Writer
October 28, 2004

Bette Midler is nursing a sore foot. It was in either Providence or Richmond where she hurt what she thinks is her plantar fascia while breaking in a pair of new boots she wears onstage.

But her Kiss My Brass tour must go on. And on. And on.

It began 10 months ago and included a February stop at the Office Depot Center in Sunrise. She’ll be back in South Florida on Saturday at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami.

She’s resting at home in New York and has granted 30 minutes on the phone. Thirty turns into 15. Fifteen becomes eight minutes, and while we want to talk about her personal life and unique worldview, Midler seems to want to talk only about her tour.

Your choice: Laura Bush or Theresa Heinz Kerry?

“Bette Midler,” she says.

Midler’s showbiz career began in 1965 with a move from her hometown Honolulu to New York, where she went from taking over the role of Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof to gaining notice for her raunchy song-and-comedy show in a gay bath house. It was 31 years ago that she released her first album, The Divine Miss M.

And at 58, she’s still very much working her divine.

Back to the show: “This is the prettiest show I’ve ever done. Everyone says they think it’s the prettiest show I’ve ever done.”

Midler acts as both producer and “most of the time” director of her stage shows. Unlike her screen work, she calls the stage her “art.”

“I don’t really feel that I have the control on the screen that I have on the stage. I never fought for that and I don’t think I would have gotten it anyway. People don’t trust creative types. I would have to say the stage is where I do most of my best work.”

The Kiss My Brass set, she says, “is loosely based on Coney Island at the turn of the 19th century, which was mostly wooden, but framed in light bulbs.”

The set includes an amusement park, a midway and a freak show. “As it turns out, most of the music that I sing has some relationship to all of those things. It works really well as a whole evening. It doesn’t really kill me. It’s not the kind of show where I say: `I could never do this again.'”

But we want to know what she wears relaxing at home: Louis Verdad pants, a vintage sweater she bought at Doyle’s auction house and 7-year-old Nike sneakers.

And what about the South Beach Diet? Still on it?

“Yeah, a modified version of course because I’m working so hard that I really do need my carbohydrates. I have to eat a potato every night. I just have to. Otherwise I just collapse.”

Are there songs she loves that she’d never sing onstage?

“There’s so many songs that I love that I know I never will sing. I love all of Bob Dylan and I don’t think I’ve ever sung a Bob Dylan song. There’s plenty of Joni Mitchell. There’s plenty of Prince. There’s plenty of Carol King. There’s plenty of Oasis.”

And then she hums a few bars of an obscure Laura Nyro song.

Midler says she’s always buying music, but barely has time to listen to it. On the road, she’s had more time and has been listening to Doc Watson, the Carter Family and catching up on some Joni Mitchell compilations.

“You’re always looking for inspiration when your interests flag and you think maybe it’s me. If you take it a step at a time … a lot of it has to do with despair and depression. Where you think your party is. Where you think your country is. Where you think your world is.”

She’s sounding very un-divine. But a few seconds later she’s back.

“You have to remember that there are beautiful things coming out of individuals in the world and a lot of it is artists. You have to search those things out.”


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