Mister D: I forgot I had this. How is that even possible? This was a video sent to me by a kind, wonderful Bettehead who filmed it for Miss M at one of her Spring Picnics. Her name is Becci S. and I will always be grateful. I just can’t remember what year it was. I didn’t make a big deal about it at the time because I know human nature and I was afraid. When BLB was at its peak you could get some bizarre emails, like death threats, jealous fans, people just out to lunch, and then a bunch of great people. There are those genuine people who are happy for you, but I can guarantee you a lot hold resentment. It’s kind of like that Bette quote about people not feeling happy for you if you’re successful.
I laughed because, for one, not many people knew about it, but I noticed one dislike. It’s funny because someone just disliked that Bette did something for a fan. What is there to dislike about that? So really it’s just aimed at me. Maybe two decades ago and before I would be crying over that “one thumb down” because I was so hypersensitive, but those days are long over. I would suggest that anyone who is oversensitive, hypersensitive, or maybe just angry to start studying the philosophy of Stoicism. I started studying it when I just happened in a NY bookstore. As sometimes happens with me I’m just called or directed toward something, and it was some book about stoicism. I perused through it and thought it might be good for me.
I was in town to see Bette Midler in I’ll Eat You Last. I was bummed out because earlier before the play even opened up, she had invited me to come backstage. I knew how everything worked, but I was in the worst depression I had ever faced, I probably sabotaged it, cause I was not the same person she or Jill was used to. I was really at the nadir of my life at that time.
I was also invited to see Bruce Vilanch doing his comedy set at 54 Below. I was with my mother and Barry. After the show, we were to go over to his table, but I just couldn’t talk. I could tell he knew something was wrong cause I never spoke a word to him, and he was used to me being pretty talkative and animated. Thank God my mother was there and she can talk anybody’s ear off.
In fact, she met Bette before I did. Hulaween had been canceled due to Sept. 11, 2001, but Mayor Guiliani asked her to still have her gala, because he really wanted people to see that we, as citizens, could carry on. Many entertainers were afraid. I mean a lot of people were afraid. But we all know Miss M is a Divine Trooper. I don’t know if everybody knows but she sang at a lot of funerals. She sang in Boston. She sang at Yankee Stadium, and she sang an incredible, divine and inspired version of The Star-Spangled Banner for the newly minted Mayor Bloomberg. I had never heard such a version that captured the mood at the time. It was tender, bittersweet, melancholic, but Bette brings it home at the end where you can hear the hope and healing coming at the end of the song. I was mesmerized that they had harmonies, and I can’t help but think Bette Sussman had something to do with the arrangement. Just stellar to do it anymore.
Anyway, I went looking for where the event was going to be held. We were staying in the same hotel and I heard her rehearsing, I was on the balcony floor, A security guard saw me with my ear to the door and he smiled and opened the door and let me go in. I watched her from above with the band. She sang I’m Walking On Sunshine (with changed lyrics), she practiced her monologue. There was one part where she refers to balls and the drummer kept hitting a cowbell or something twice and she hated it and told him not to do that at the gala. She wasn’t mean about it, but she just felt it was too low-rent. I heard her do How About You (changed lyrics) and a ballad but I just can’t remember it, but I want to say, Laughing Matters, Anyway, we went to the event and after Bette’s performance and after she ate, people started walking around. My mom said Don go down and meet her, but at that time I didn’t have the courage, so my mom says, “well, I’m going to meet her and tell her about you.” I was so embarrassed, but off my mom went, they were talking and Bette kind of looked my way, but I turned the other way. Then I saw them hugging and Bette took her over to meet Liz Smith, a southerner like my mother, and they talked. Then my mom came back to the table and told all of us there how nice she was and that we should go meet her, but nobody at my table would go down, My mom said she told Bette my son has been in love with you since he was 14 and now he’s 40 something, And Bette said well how old are you? And my mom told her her age and Bette said, Girllll, don’t you look good, And then she said Hell, we both look good! I think my mon brought up Liz Smith so Bette took her to her table where Liz was sitting, I can’t remember what they talked about. I didn’t regret it. I wasn’t ready. I knew how I wanted to present myself which was not to act like a fan but as an equal. I never thought that would ever happen though, but when I did meet her, I was ready.
Back to I’ll Eat You Last, I just felt confused and I hadn’t talked to Jill beforehand, so I said they probably forgot. Bette’s only other guest that night was Donald Sutherland who I would normally talk to easily, He’s a big Bette Midler fan and you can usually find pictures of him attending her concerts at least as far back as “Clams On The Half Shell” I could tell my mom was itching to talk to Mr. Sutherland, but I just had to get out of there. I felt like I was going to have a panic attack. I didn’t feel right; I kind of knew I was on my way for some kind of fall, so we left. I really was just dead weight on this trip. I think Jill contacted me the next day and emailed “what happened to you?” And I said I just thought I couldn’t go back cause I didn’t hear from you and Then Jill said: “you knew you were on the list and we waited for you.” And I said, “so in other words, I stood up Bette Midler?” She said, uh yes! I just couldn’t do anything but laugh at the absurdity of it all. No one was mad. It just happened.
I’m pretty sure when we left New York and my mom went back to Florida, it was a few weeks later i checked myself into the mental ward of Centurian Hospital for Electro Shock Therapy for 2 weeks. I lost some of the memory before checking in and some afterward. I forgot to tell you that on that trip Barry and I had separated after 30 years and he moved into a townhouse in the city. I got the house in the country, I was literally devastated and wasn’t coping well, and Barry was nice as can be, He treated me like a Queen (pun intended) for 30 years but it’s like we were in one of those movies where you somehow magically change bodies. Barry wanted to socialize and I wanted to be alone.
When I came out in the ’80s I was a hot target for a couple of years, but I never got into the sleep with everything that moves thing, I am a real romantic and I knew exactly what I wanted, but I was miserable with the guys I’d date and then when they were through with me, they would automatically try to foist me onto some other bad boy loser. I had been drugged by a best friend, got in physical fights, and my brother’s best friend tried to blackmail me into sleeping with him or else he was going to tell my brother. I just said no. I thought he wouldn’t do it, but he did and I just wasn’t ready for it, I had always seen Barry across the room and he’d smile at me, and when people picked a fight with me, or sexually assaulted me right in public, Barry was always there pushing people off or helping me up off the floor. One night I think I left early, crying, I was miserable. I openly told people what I wanted and it was a life partner, a house with cats, lots of music, and TV and we would be together. I was always getting the reality check from the drag queens who said that ain’t ever going to happen. But Barry made me sit down one night and he said why do you date those guys who treat you so badly? You need someone to take care of you and treat you like you should be treated. I asked “are you asking me out on a date? He said yes, A real one where we go out to dinner and a movie and then I take you home, and we go out again, but we’re not going to sleep together right away. And the rest was history. I was very happy. I never once questioned it would ever end. So when it did, I was just in a state of shock or something. It was like all life had been sucked out of me.
So I did end up in the hospital. I never remembered my mom or Barry even visiting me. I think I got 26 treatments and they said for the first time in their history they had to use the full juice on me to get me to go into a seizure. I ended up leaving early because some horrific things happened that I’m not going to go into here. I probably will when I open up my new page. So Barry picked me up and took me home and then he said, well, I’m going to head over to my apartment. I said what are you talking about? And then he realized that my memory had been wiped clean and I didn’t remember that we broke up. It was just horrible, but I had to man up. I swore I would never, ever go back to a mental hospital again, and I haven’t nor have I needed to. I did a lot of reading, studied stoicism, worked on BLB, started exercising, and things started coming together. And when 2016 came along, I was on fire. Not only did Trump and Sanders expose so much corruption, but I also studied media, politics, researched, learned that to get a more realistic picture of things you had to read good writers from both sides, study foreign policy, develop your voice and if you saw something bad you called it out. Well, as you know, things got bad.
I was always smart about not mixing politics with celebrity. But it is sad to see so many blindly follow their favorite celebrity. Big no-no. Unless ya’ll just magically align with each other. But nobody should ever tell them to shut up and sing. You can then apply that kind of logic to a plumber or whatever. But too many people view them as superheroes and that’s not fair to them nor is it healthy for you. Do your own research. I learned about not leading with emotion because it clouds your logic and rationale. You know when something bad but just coming up with flowery words and feeling sorry for marginalized people was not enough. But that’s all you hear from the left with no solutions. There’s just so much lying and political theater to make groups hate each other. I found out about media propaganda…I mean it’s all so clear for me now and I just can’t understand why most can’t see it. But I’m not afraid of either party or either of their supporters. I definitely have witnessed celebrity anchors just blatantly lie about things. So I have always had an obsession with truth and hypocrisy, so my main targets are the corrupt politicians and the media which is definitely left-leaning, But there are some great independent journalists on the left and right. And I point out what I see and as a country, we’re drowning in our own bile. MSM is dying, we just need to set standards for any new media, Ok, this is enough. Wow, that was wordy for like a minute video.