New York Observer
Bette Midler’s Staying in Vegas, Baby!
by Matt Harvey | November 3, 2008
For her “Hulaween” party this year, which benefits her New York Restoration Project, Bette Midler wore a white chef’s costume (complete with toque) splayed with fake blood, and carried a cleaver. “If factory food doesn’t start changing its ways, people are going to start dying in the streets. Amputations and blindness isn’t any fun,” Ms. Midler announced to the press assemblage. (The chef Alice Waters would be honored that evening for her advocacy of locally produced food.)
Later, finding Ms. Midler chatting with a family of fans dressed as the Palins, the Daily Transom asked her if there would be any Songs for the New New Depression, now that the boom is over. “I have a job–I’m in Vegas all year round, so I’m not worried,” the songstress replied. Ms. Midler would only say that it was “thrilling” to have a fellow Hawaiian a hair away from the presidency.
Fellow presenter Kathy Griffin–dressed in sequined red-white and blue–was more vocal with her politics. “No, I’m not dressed like John McCain,” she told the Daily Transom. “I’m Aunt Sam. Well, I don’t know if I’m an aunt or an uncle. I don’t want to be put in a box. It’s about Prop 8. Vote no on Prop 8,” she added, referring to the California ballot measure to amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage.
John McEnroe was wearing a four-foot tall wizard’s hat. “I’m going to be upset if Obama loses, yes, but I don’t think he’s going to lose. John McCain was a hero of mine way back when, but I’m a little worried about him now,” he said.
“You should have seen him trying to get in the cab,” said his wife, pop singer, Patty Smyth (not to be confused with Patti Smith!), of the ’80s band Scandal.
New York Post gossip Cindy Adams was doing some old fashioned shoe-leather reporting, scribbling on the back of a tip sheet as she interviewed Kate Pierson of the B-52’s, who was dressed as a pirate. “Why should I talk to you? The Observer pees on me. Pees on me!” Ms. Adams, who is 83, told the Daily Transom. We flattered Ms. Adams and she relented. “I love to do it. I feel like it’s good to get out in the trenches. I’ve had 500 front pages and I’ve worked so hard for every single one of them.”
Ms. Adams doesn’t “do” Halloween. “I always thought it was for women who needed to let loose their inhibitions and I’m not inhibited. So I’m just winging it with some jewelry and coming as an overdressed New Yorker.”
The Daily Transom asked the columnist how she felt about the Post’s political coverage. “It’s absolutely fine to me,” she said. “I’ve never been close to a liberal in my life.” With that she trotted off with two gentleman dressed as a sailor and an infantryman.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly–sans costume–was standing near his table holding a plunger. “Watch what questions you ask him, he might plunge you,” a cop standing nearby joked when we asked Mr. Kelly if he had any qualms about the recession. “I’m worried about a reduction of resources as opposed to a crime wave specifically due to the recession,” he said. “Crime has been down steadily the last 18 years and there were some low economic points. But we need to be able to put cops on the streets.”
Then it was time for Ms. Waters to collect her award. “I hope there is a president giving a press conference in front of a compost heap next year,” she said to the audience. Passing Western-attired Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the hallway, the Daily Transom asked the basketball player about the election. “I only wished my parents were alive to see it,” he said. “This nation has changed somehow and it makes me very proud.”