Monthly Archives: January 2015

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Rare Footage Captures Bette Midler’s 1971 Farewell Performance At NYC Gay Bathhouse

betteBARRYsdsdsdsdsdsdsd This is my 800th farewell appearance here at the Continental Baths,” jokes a much younger Bette Midler after a rousing opening number singing The Carpenters’ “Friends.” She continues, “I didn’t expect to be back so soon…They had me booked at Fire Island…I was supposed to work at Cherry Grove — I was supposed to sing. But they couldn’t find room for me in the bushes.” In this stunning archival footage, we see what is thought to be Bette’s actual farewell appearance at the Baths, the now-iconic relic of a pre-AIDS existence in the late 60s, early 70s. The Continental Baths opened their basement doors in 1968 at the Ansonia Hotel on New York City’s Upper West Side. Owner Steve Ostrow told Bette’s acting teacher at the time that he was starting a “nightclub in his basement.” Bette had recently put together a solid 20 minutes of material, and booked the gig, later revealing that she was unaware at the time that many of the audience members would be in their towels. But she didn’t seem to mind one bit. This video is thought to have been filmed around 1971. Look closely and you’ll see Barry Manilow backing her up on piano. Setlist: “Friends” “Fat Stuff” “Chattanooga Choo-Choo” (Andrews Sisters) “Superstar” “Empty Bed Blues” (Bessie Smith) “Marahuana” “For Free” (Joni Mitchell) “Easier Said Than Done” (The Essex) “Chapel Of Love” (The Dixie Cups) “I Shall Be Released” (The Band)
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Lily Tomlin Has First Leading Role Since Big Business!

GayStarNews In Grandma, Lily Tomlin has first leading role in a film in 27 years – and she’s playing a bisexual poet Comedy legend was last above title in 1988’s Big Business opposite Bette Midler in 1988 30 JANUARY 2015 | BY GREG HERNANDEZ 454472709 The last time Lily Tomlin had a starring role in a film, the Berlin Wall was still standing, Ronald Reagan was president of the US and it still would be 16 more years before the launch of Facebook. But the 75-year-old comedy legend is back above the title in the comedy Grandma which premiered this week at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. In her first leading role since 1988’s Big Business with Bette Midler, Tomlin plays a feminist poet who is breaking up with her far younger girlfriend and still dealing with the death of her longtime partner. The poet’s granddaughter shows up needing money for an abortion and Tomlin’s character takes her around LA trying to get the money for it. ‘I know I’m putting myself on the line, kind of,’ Tomlin tells the Los Angeles Times. ‘But I trusted (writer-director by Paul Weitz) and I liked the material. First of all, he had written it with me in mind, and he wanted me. Then as we worked through the material, it just seemed like a good thing to do.’ Sony Pictures Classics picked up distribution of the film shortly before its Sundance premiere so the independent movie will make it into theaters. Leading up to Big Business 27 years ago, Tomlin had been a frequent lead in movies including All of Me with Steve Martin, The Incredible Shrinking Woman, and 9 to 5 with Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton. She was also nominated for an Academy Award for her feature film debut in 1975’s Nashville. In more recent decades, Tomlin has been part of many ensemble casts in such films as Short Cuts, I Heart Huckabees, Flirting With Disaster and A Prairie Home Companion.

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Friday, January 30, 2015

BetteBack November 13, 1988: Bette Signs On To Oliver And Company

Syracuse Herald Journal November 13, 1988 Georgette-oliver-and-company-movie-5937588-302-466 Animation is painstaking, time-consuming work. For every 5 to 7 feet of-hand-drawn figures, amounting to a fleeting five seconds on screen, an artist labors an entire week. One 70-minute feature film, like the studio’s new release, “Oliver and Company,” which opens nationwide Friday, spreads over four years. A full year of that four is. devoted solely to the animation. It seems hardly worth the trouble. But within four years, the number of animators at the Disney emporium has leaped from 170 to 400, causing the one-floor building in suburban Glendale to strain at the seams. When “The House the Mouse Built” officially opens its new Florida, studios this spring, 80 more will be added to the payroll IS IT A MATTER of pride over dollars? Scarcely. Although ^Walt’s nephew, Roy E. Disney, serves as vice chairman of the board and corporate officer, the day-dreamifigdays of his uncle are over. Hard dollars are at stake and the new Disney regime, headed by studio chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, president Michael Eisner and .Frank Wells, means to put them in the company coffers. “Animation is not perceived as merely a children’s vehicle. It has a wider univers e to it,” says Katzenberg. That wider universe is the ancillary market where product spreads from theater to home .video to cable. A few years ago, only network TV and theatrical rerelease brought additionaTrevenue from showing movies. Ancillary also includes the lucrative licensing of toys, recordings of tunes from musical films, story and comic books and, in the Disney realm, attractions in its theme parks. STILL. LIKE ANT other industry, animation thrives on constancy, not on churning out all these products once every four years. For Disney, it has been successful because the classics, such as “Snow White,” “Pinocchio” and “Cinderella,” are ever green, as are those park rides. ‘•’_” • Several years ago, Disney thought it had found a solution to speed up production when computer technology changed the face of the art But critics and the public alike rejected the results in “Robin Hood” Animators literally went back to the drawing board. And a compromise was arrived at where characters would continue to be hand drawn while computers would -be used for the backgrounds. “Oliver and Company” marks the dawn of a new era — one animated feature per year. Besides the combination of computer and hand drawn, the process has been stepped up with the addition of more animators and the expansion of project development. Next year, Disney has its choice of three features. In various stages of development are “Rescuers Down Under,” sequel to the 1987 hit, an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, “The Little Mermaid,” and an Arabian Nights fantasy ALTHOUGH INSPIRED by Charles Dickens’ classic, “Oliver Twist.” there is a contemporary spin on the 27th animated film from Disney. The simple fact that the story has been updated to the ’80s and has been set in New York City, rather than London, indicates a shift from the traditional approach More significant is the presence of a pair of superstar rock singers, Billy Joel and Huey Lewis Joel was approached to sing one of the tunes, but was so enthusiastic that he wound up doing the scroungy dog, Dodger. Also important is the casting of Bette Midler as Georgette, the pampered poodle. Her last four films all were hits for Disney. A couple of new-to-Disney musical voices were recruited for the score. Barry Manilow, Midler’s former accompanist, favored his friend with “Perfect Ain’t Easy,” while the “Little Shop of Horrors” composer, Howard Ashman, turned out Lewis’ solo, “Once Upon a Time in New York City.” Like the look of Manhattan in the movie, these performers and composers bring a more hip look to the film. Katzenberg admits reflecting the ’80s pleases him. So does having such popular music artists as Joel and Lewfs. But he contends that the studio never will buckle into casting a performer for marquee value. NOR DOES HE believe the look and sound of “Oliver and Company” will become dated and cost the studio money in rereleases down the line. The executive says, “I don’t believe it will hurt the shelf life Even the music won’t date. Lewis’ ballad should be valid for 50 years Even Billy Joel’s song is a classic piece of music. Look at ‘West Side Story.’ I£ hasn’t aged a bit.” However, casting can and does influence animators. Voices are recorded before the characters are animated So, although a semblance of character has been sketched, the addition of voices often changes the final look on screen. In “Oliver,” animators say they were inspired by Cheech Mann’s “spontaneity and energy” as the chihuahua Tito The ratty-looking canine emerges as the scene-stealer of the film. Creating performances in this style would give method actors gray hair. They would have been stunned, as well, to learn that Midler and Mann didn’t record at the sametime, despite acting, singing and dancing together. WHETHER “OLIVER and Company” rockets to the top matters only marginally. It is “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” that sealed the happy fate of animation at Disney With more than $100 million already in the till, its lure of both adult and child audiences and its praise for ground-breaking techniques, Disney and “Rabbit” partner Steven Spielberg have agreed to agree. Katzenberg ended the rumors by announcing officially a sequel will be produced, adding, “It’s too early to say when, but everyone wants to do it.” Two other projects will spin off that megahit, the studio chairman revealed. “We are exploring the notion of a featurette involving the primary characters. And we’re going to do a couple of Maroon cartoons. You know, like the one with Roger and Baby Herman that opened the film.” Featurette, a once proud word that had vanished from studio vocabulary for many years, looks to become a staple once more. Besides the Maroons, Katzenberg said the addition of the Florida studio will mark the rebirth of cartoon shorts, starring Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and other favorite characters. •
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Thursday, January 29, 2015

BetteBack November 13, 1988: Bette Midler Gets Early Oscar Buzz For Beaches

Pacific Stars And Stripes November 13, 1988 426557_215182075244920_1071125889_n LOS ANGELES (AP) — Oscar campaigns begin earlier every year, and already the guns of autumn are firing for such potential nominees as Tom Hanks, Jodie Foster, Sigourney Weaver and Don Ameche. The studios and publicity offices are readying trade paper ads to offer films and performances “for your consideration.” The champ in that department is Tom Hanks. THE AFFABLE Hanks has been the subject of the biggest publicity blitz since last year’s blast for Cher, who ended up with the best-actress Oscar for “Moonstruck.” First with “Big” and then with “Punchline,” Hanks has been the recipient of glowing reviews, many of which mentioned his Oscar chances. A Hanks nomination seems certain, but for which movie? If academy voters judge by financial success, they might choose his role in “Big” as the youngster who is transformed overnight into a 30-year-old. But they might consider his troubled comic in Punchline more of a comedic challenge. SOME OBSERVERS believe Weaver is overdue for an Oscar, and she is likely to be nominated for her role as the obsessed naturalist Dian Fossey in “Gorillas in the Mist.” If the academy had an award for bravery, she would certainly win it for working intimately with the wild gorillas. Two recent performances have drawn academy predictions from many reviewers: Jodie Foster’s rape victim in “The Accused”; Don Ameche’s innocent among the Mafia in “Things Change.” As with last year, the strongest race appears to be among the female stars. Aside from Weaver and Foster, other performances which have attracted strong support include: Shirley MacLaine , “Madame Sousatzka”; Barbara Hershey, “A World Apart”; Meryl Streep, “A Cry in the Dark“; Whoopi Goldberg, “Clara’s Heart”; Sally Field, “Punchline”; Gene Rowlands, “Another Woman.” Joining Hanks and Ameche as possibilities for best actor: Forest Whitaker, “Bird”; Sam Neill, “A Cry in the Dark”; Ben Kingsley, Pascali’s Island”; Willem Dafoe, “The Last Temptation of Christ”; Edward James Olmos, “Stand and Deliver”; Kevin Costner, “Bull Durham.” HOWEVER, so far no runaway has been cited for best picture of 1988. Here are some possibles: “Big”; “Gorillas in the Mist”; “Punchline”; “A Cry in the Dark”; “Bull Durham”; “Madame Sousatzka.” The Oscar race will undoubtedly change as new entries reach the marketplace. The most promising works include: • “Rainman,” with Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise. • “Torch Song Trilogy,” starring Harvey Fierstein in the film version of his hit play, with Anne Bancroft and Matthew Broderick. • “Mississippi Burning,” starring Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe. • “Talk Radio,” with Ellen Green and Alec Baldwin. • “The Accidental Tourist,” co-starring William Hurt and Kathleen Turner. • “Beaches,” with Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey. • “Working Girl,” starring Melanie Griffith, Harrison Ford and Sigourney Weaver. The 61st Annual Academy Awards will arrive early next year — March 29. For the second year the ceremonies will be held at the Shrine Auditorium.
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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Bette Tweets: 2015 Tour

100 days until the tour starts! The countdown is on….and I’m off to start packing!   1922526_830541943671942_2444606014340519275_n (1)
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We Are The World Turns 30!

USA Today ‘We Are the World‘ at 30: 12 tales you might not know Brian Mansfield, USA TODAY 10:11 a.m. EST January 28, 2015 The all-star recording session for We Are the World, the biggest charity single of all time, took place 30 years ago Wednesday. On Jan. 28, 1985, at A&M Recording Studios in Hollywood, following the American Music Awards, more than 40 artists gathered to record a song Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson had written to raise awareness of widespread, life-threatening poverty in Africa. Most of that show’s winners — including Cyndi Lauper, Hall & Oates, Bruce Springsteen, Huey Lewis, Willie Nelson, Tina Turner, the Pointer Sisters, Kenny Rogers and the Jacksons — participated. Inspired by the U.K. all-star charity single Do They Know it’s Christmas?, released a few months earlier, We Are the World was released March 7, 1985, and went on to sell more than 20 million copies. The more than $75 million raised by non-profit organization USA for Africa helped to fight poverty on the continent. The song also won three Grammy Awards in 1986, including song and record of the year. “A great song lasts for eternity,” says Quincy Jones, who produced the track. “I guarantee you that if you travel anywhere on the planet today and start humming the first few bars of that tune, people will immediately know that song.” Here are 12 things you might not know about the song and the recording session: Stevie Wonder, not Michael Jackson, originally was supposed to be Richie’s co-writer. “I was really trying to get in touch with Stevie and couldn’t do it,” Richie says. “Stevie was touring a lot. He was doing a lot of stuff.” A phone call with Jones got him and Jackson involved. “I got Michael before I could get Stevie,” Richie says. “We said, ‘If Stevie calls me back, we’ll get him in. In the meantime, I think we can get it done with Michael.’ ”

Richie and Jackson listened to national anthems to get in the proper frame of mind to write. ...  Read More

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Darlenne Love’s Upcoming Album Will Feature Bette Midler Duet

Mister D: Just found out this will be the same song that’s on Bette’s album! 458211948 Longtime fan Steven Van Zandt is producing an album for Love with material written specifically for her by himself as well as by Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Dion, Joan Jett, and Jimmy Webb. The album also will feature a duet with Bette Midler.
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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Who’s getting excited about the upcoming tour?

Who’s getting excited about the upcoming tour? 11166679-standard
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Bette-Toons by Scott Clarke

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BetteBack October 30, 1988: Lainie Kazan Plays Bette Midler’s Mother In Beaches

Anderson Herald Bulletin October 30, 1988 309602_221807927892852_221327031274275_536500_813791325_n QUESTION: What’s this about Lainie Kazan, the ever-chubby singer-actress, losing a lot ofweight? Is she sick or something? CW ANSWER: It’s true that Lainie has dropped some weight. But she did it voluntarily; It had nothing to do with being sick. In quite another sense, however, Kazan tells me she is indeed sick — sick of playing fatsos on the screen. Once a voluptuous sexpot nightclub singer, she now yearns for the old days. So she went on a tough diet-exercise regimen and dropped some 39 pounds. In her latest flick, “Beaches,” opposite Bette Midler, Lainie plays yet another overweight mama. The film is due around Christmas. After that, she promises, It’s going to be strictly lithesome Lainie.
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