Monthly Archives: July 2009

Friday, July 31, 2009

Divine Downloads: Bette & Kelly, Rachel Ray (Thanks To Mihai)

Divine Downloads of Bette and Kelly, Rachel Ray, and 3 Songs from the Today Show 2003! Thanks to Mihai!

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New Article Up At The Examiner

If you’d like to read my new article at the Examiner, it’s entitled “One Million Moms accuse Home Depot of recruiting kids to be gay” Ain’t that something???? Boo! To read: Click Here

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The Divas’ Director – Richard Jay Alexander Takes On “Guys And Dolls”

A Guy and His Dolls
Don’t hate Broadway vet Richard Jay-Alexander for thinking Jessica Biel has the chops to pull off Guys and Dolls in concert. After all, he considers Barbra, Bette and Bernadette close personal and professional friends.
By Brandon Voss
July 30, 2009
A Guy and His Dolls

Got a star-studded show or an A-list diva in need of direction?
Give Broadway veteran Richard Jay-Alexander a call. After helming Les Misérables in Concert last summer, Jay-Alexander returns to the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles from July 31 through August 2 to direct a concert version of Frank Loesser’s classic 1950 musical Guys and Dolls starring Scott Bakula, Beau Bridges, Ellen Greene, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Jessica Biel. A former Broadway performer, stage manager, and longtime executive director of über-producer Cameron Mackintosh’s New York office (where he was in charge of Mackintosh’s North American operations), Jay-Alexander has more recently staged concerts and produced albums for a holy trinity of indisputable icons: Bette Midler, Bernadette Peters, and Barbra Streisand. The out 56-year-old opens up to about these famous friends and defends his curious casting of Justin Timberlake’s girlfriend.

(Richard and I at Bette’s Hulaween 2005) Your Guys and Dolls concert sounds like it’s going to be an unforgettable event.
Richard Jay-Alexander: I’m really excited, and I can’t believe we got such an amazing cast and the incredible Donna McKechnie to choreograph. I know this is sort of queer, but for me there’s just nothing like a musical. It can affect your whole day. Directing Les Misérables at the Hollywood Bowl last year was one of the greatest experiences of my career. When an audience of 18,000 people stands up to applaud, you can actually feel wind.

You’ve gotten a lot of press for your brow-raising casting of Jessica Biel as Salvation Army missionary Sarah Brown. What made her right for the part?
Jessica Biel came to New York to sing for me at musical director Kevin Stites’s apartment. I walked in and said, “Jessica, I know you’re a movie star, but I wouldn’t know a Jessica Biel movie if it punched me in the face.” She started laughing and said, “Well, don’t start watching them now.” When she sang I got chills three times. I said, “I don’t know about you, but I think you’re ready to put on a pair of false eyelashes and do a musical.” She just burst into tears.

Wait, so you never saw her fine work in I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry?

I didn’t even know she was dating Justin Timberlake. But she’s enchanting. She told me about her grandmother who teaches dance in Colorado, and she told me this great story about how her mom used to go to voice lessons when Jessica was a kid and then started putting the money toward voice lessons for Jessica, so this show is sort of a prophecy fulfilled. Someone just had to give her the opportunity. I said to her on the phone, “I’m so excited for you. I’m going to give you one of the greatest experiences of your life.” It’s not unlike when I put Ricky Martin on Broadway in Les Misérables and people thought I was nuts. At that time nobody had ever heard of Ricky Martin, but my dad is Spanish and my mom is Cuban, so I had heard of him. His grandmother had never been on a plane, and I flew her up from Puerto Rico for his opening night. When he took his bow, he saw his grandmother in the fourth row and lost his shit. I live for that stuff. You’re talking to somebody who’s been nuts about theater since he was 10 years old. All my dreams have come true and then some, so I feel like everybody’s should.

But compared to the rest of the cast, Biel has very little professional stage experience. Are you sure she has the chops to pull off the role?
You know how when somebody opens their mouth you know that they’re either born to do something or they’re not? All the characters in Guys and Dolls are bigger than life, but Sarah Brown is actually the most earthbound of everybody. Jessica’s face is a palette that can be as plain or as gorgeous as you paint it. She also has a natural ear for dialogue, and she’s a risk-taker. I remember first singing “If I Were a Bell” with her and letting her loose. When you throw someone a hook and they come back with a fish, that’s how you find out if you’re dealing with an actor. Anybody who knows me knows that I’m not going to cast a stunt. I know some people want to see her fail, but it’s like I told her the other day: “I’m all about ‘fuck you’ cards, and I’m here to get you one.”

Last season’s Broadway revival of Guys and Dolls was not particularly well received. Did you see it or study the reviews for research?
I didn’t see it and didn’t want to pollute my brain, but the names of the stars didn’t really speak musical theater to me. I also heard it was very high-tech, and I really believe in my heart that if a show is any good, it will work in a rehearsal room with just benches, chairs, rehearsal skirts, and a piano; the rest is just stuff. I did see the Jerry Zaks production on Broadway in the early ’90s and enjoyed it very much, but that’s still not what I see in my mind’s eye. I want this production to float two inches off the ground, and I want the audience to have a blast.

Speaking of big names, you’ve worked with some of the most famous female performers in the world, including Bernadette Peters, Bette Midler, and Barbra Streisand. What makes you so ideally suited to direct divas?
It’s a really interesting question, and nobody’s really asked it before. I’m not sure I know the exact answer, but I will say this: They found their way to me. It helps that I really know these people and what they stand for, because I’m a fan also. And being an artistic entity myself, I know what people want. I don’t pretend to have everyone’s tastes, but I have good taste. It’s like when Bernadette asked me to do her Carnegie Hall concert for [Gay Men’s Health Crisis]. At first she didn’t want to do songs from Dames at Sea, Mack and Mabel, and all that, so I said, “Well, I’m not the right guy, Bernadette, because you’ve got to give the people what they want. This is Carnegie Hall. These are career gigs.” The one thing I have learned over the years is that you can’t beat truth. We sometimes sell trickery and concepts, but truth will never fail you. That’s why I work with people with real gifts.

Do you think that your being gay has helped you work with or relate to these women in any way?

That would be stretching it. I like to think of myself as knowledgeable person who happens to be gay, and it’s not really a topic when I’m with them. I once said to Bette, “I’m not gay,” because my ongoing joke was that I hadn’t dated or slept with anybody in years, and you had to be with men to be gay. She said, “And that’s why I love you.” But I’m fascinated by the idea of the gay icon, because these singing actresses, as I call them, are dazzling to me too. I never thought of it as a gay thing, but I am wildly attracted to it. Gay people do have a heightened sense of drama, though, and that’s for certain. A heightened sense of drama and a good key change will always work your nerve.

(Bette in Kiss My Brass)

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Divine Downloads: The 1978 World Tour (Thanks Berlin Dirk)

Mister D: Another big thank you to Berlin Dirk for his generosity. He said the Quality is not the Best and the End is missing some minutes, but thats how he has it. So for all you whiners, as Kathy Griffin would say, “Suck it, bitches!” LOL I’ll also put this under Divine Downloads

  • Bette Midler – World Tour 1:

  • Bette Midler – World Tour 2:

  • Bette Midler – World Tour 3:

  • Bette Midler – World Tour 4:
  • Read More

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    Bette Sighting: Grace Jones Show, Hammerstein Ballroom, NYC.

    Mister D: I’ve always loved Grace Jone’s style. Check out some of her photos from the show: Click Here

    Grace Jones Shows GaGa How It’s Done During Outrageous NYC Show
    Check out her many eye-popping outfits here…
    Friday 31st Jul 2009

    Grace Jones could teach Lady GaGa a thing or six about crazy!

    The original outrageous pop star unleashed her trademark brand of out-there in front of a rapt audience at the Hammerstein Ballroom, NYC.

    With her statuesque body still looking fabulous at 61, Jones wowed the crowd with one outlandish – and often revealing – outfit after another. Read More

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    Paying To Rub Elbows With The Stars

    The Spectrum
    July 31, 2009
    Have a grand time with the Divine Miss M
    Crusin’ The Strip

    Whether we admit it or not, we all like to brush elbows now and then with celebrities.

    Thing is, there aren’t a lot of opportunities for that and when the opportunity arises you, for the most part, can’t pick your shot. I mean, although you might really want to bump into Mick Jagger in a one-on-one situation, odds are you’re more likely to come face-to-face with Donny Osmond. The party just wouldn’t be the same, know what I mean? Read More

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    Thursday, July 30, 2009

    Bette And Kelly Taped Show Today

    Celebrity Gossip
    July 30, 2009

    Making for quite the tandem, Bette Midler co-hosted alongside Kelly Ripa on the “Live! With Regis and Kelly” show on Thursday (July 30).

    The two women chatted it up with comedian Adam Sandler, with Miss Midler looking classy in a black dress and red cardigan.

    During the course of their time together on-set, the hosts were able to watch unusual talents as they continued Top Dog Week.

    Then making their way outside, Ripa and Midler intently watched on as a chef cooked a delicious grilled dish for the “Ultimate Hometown Grill Off.” Read More

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    Bette On “The Today Show” This Morning….See Video (Thanks Natalie)

    Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

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    Reminder” Bette Midler To Co-Host ‘LIVE!’ Alongside Kelly Friday, July 31

    Bette Midler To Co-Host ‘LIVE!’ Alongside Kelly Friday, July 31
    by BWW News Desk

    The Divine Miss M herself, Bette Midler, will join Kelly as her guest co-host on “LIVE! with Regis and Kelly” tomorrow, Friday, July 31. Featured on the show will be Comedian Adam Sandler plus TOP DOG WEEK continues and another chef prepares a tasty grilled dish for LIVE’s “Ultimate Hometown Grill Off.”

    Live with Regis and Kelly” is executive produced by Michael Gelman, and is distributed by Disney ABC Domestic Television. Produced by WABC-TV in New York, “Live with Regis and Kelly” airs in more than 200 markets across the country. Read More

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    Pink: “That’s why Bette Midler…is my f-ing hero”

    Adelaide Now
    It’s no fluke Pink’s still a rock star
    July 29, 2009 12:00am

    PINK is deep in her inner sanctum. She’s backstage at Rod Laver Arena – a venue she’ll visit no fewer than 15 times in 14 weeks during her Funhouse Australian tour.

    She’s Alecia in here, still a few hours away from showtime and still in her civilian clothes, not the Bob Mackie-designed outfits only someone bold and fit can pull off (his other main client is Cher).

    A bar fridge bursts with her beer of choice – VB. She’s tweeting like someone deranged, her laptop next to newspaper reviews of her Melbourne shows.

    She’s just had dinner with the crew in the venue’s John Farnham Room. Yes, when you’ve played more than 95 shows at Rod Laver Arena – to more than a million people – you get a room named after you.

    Farnham has the numbers on Pink overall, but with her 15 Rod Laver shows she’s broken his record of 12 on one tour. Last week Farnham told the Herald Sun: “Bloody good on her.”

    Pink says: “It’s awesome he’s given me his blessing. But I want a room here, dammit! I want the Pink bathroom. Gimme a bathroom!”

    By the end of her tour, Pink will have sold about 180,000 tickets for Rod Laver. More than 550,000 have been sold for the tour nationally. In an era when even superstars struggle to sell CDs, Pink’s entire back catalogue is trucking out of shops.

    Her two most recent albums, Funhouse and I’m Not Dead, between them have sold more than 1.2 million copies in Australia. All four of her albums are back in the Top 60 this week.

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