February 1, 1978
ONLY DIVINE: That’s Bette MidlerÂ these nights at the jam-packed Copacabana in New York. She resembles aÂ feisty little cross between JeannetteÂ MacDonald gone crazy, Nancy WalkerÂ grown taller and Mae West liberated.
The best thing about Miss Trash-and Flash is how she dares to relateÂ directly to her audience on a realisticÂ level. She is one of the big stars andÂ big talents who comes out, gives herÂ all, “gets down” and never conveysÂ the feeling that she might be puttingÂ you on. In other words, she is not fullÂ of it.
Particularly diverting is her chatterÂ in an act that is sometimes totally insane – “Dick Nixon was a Copa girl,”Â she tells the audience, identifying themÂ as Studio 54 types – “Vogue on the outside and vague on the inside.” She says California is a land of “thousands andÂ thousands of beautiful women who areÂ personal friends of Jerry Brown.” HerÂ evocations of Bessie Smith, SarahÂ Vaughn, Sophie Tucker, the ShangriLas and a sometimes touchingly vulnerable Bette Midler are all just fascinating.
She twitted the audience about theÂ use of drugs and noted that on her recent TV special she had been warnedÂ not to do anything that smacked ofÂ drugs. To that she quips, “I thoughtÂ that in network TV drugs were not theÂ problem, they were the sponsor.”