Moments In The Life Of Mister D & Songs In The Key Of Midler
By Mister D
May 13, 2022
Erratic Publishing Of Bootleg Betty
Songs in the key of Midler, this article, was borne out of fucking anger. I started this post last week, on this very article, and I just finally gave up and posted it today. Since I moved to Florida I have never dealt with anger like I have the last couple of years. And pent-up anger can cause depression, which has not helped with bipolar issues. I have never experienced such mania and such lows that I’ve had since moving here. I don’t blame anyone except the disease I have which I’ve kept pretty much in check for a long, long while. I found out from my doctor the last 2 years created the perfect storm for a breakdown or major trauma. I had but only 2 weeks to move, get out of my house which I loved for 15 years, and find another house which was in Florida, Moving is one of the biggest stressors in your life. I was told there just wouldn’t be enough room for my grand piano that I had entertained with for over a decade. It would be the first time my partner and I would be separated in 30 years. My dad also had died 2 years ago and I had never lived on my own before except for one year when I was 21 within that year I would say I experienced the biggest trauma of my life. When I called my psychiatrist and told him I had moved to Florida he just kept saying no, no, no….that is way too much to handle for you and he decided to stay in contact with me to have some sort of connection that was solid. And it has been hell, For the first time, I can’t seem to move on which is very unusual for me. And I promise you I am certainly not asking for pity, I don’t even come close to playing the victim card. And I think everybody has some type of card to play, some use it, some don’t. But playing it in the end, it’s just not worth it. But not asking for help when you need it is extremely dangerous too. I always wait till the last minute to cry out, but by then there’s all that hurt, pain, and stress that has ravaged your body and mind, and by not asking, I think you possibly played down your own worth, you’ve underplayed the value of your best friends, and in general, you’re own family. They may not know what to do but I’m sure they’d be willing to play your sounding board. Sometimes they give you another perspective you’ve never thought about. I finally found out that putting my thoughts down on paper and being brutally honest is a lifesaver, but if you’ve followed me on Facebook, well, I doubt you’re here reading this. Anyway, please oblige me this time. And I do lose focus and I wander into other waters, but in the end, I get back on track. I feel guilty when I don’t work and I’ve been very erratic lately. For those that have stuck around for so long, I just feel like you deserve where my head is and sometimes it’s not pleasant.
As I’ve chronicled here before moving to Florida after my separation has just been brutal. A new darker side has taken over. If somebody who knew me for most of my life, the words used to describe me were sweet, funny, cute as a button, wow, have you ever seen his…..??? selfless, And I still possess those qualities but tons of past traumas that i had never brought up during 20 years just remained dormant until within the last decade that basically overturned my life, and of course, everyday stuff which made it worse. I just shut down, I wouldn’t leave the house, and still don’t but I grew up a loner and I was perfectly content. I knew how to entertain myself and never got bored. But as I grew older I blossomed, but I knew it was superficial. I just looked good, but like a lot of people I’d look in the mirror and I still saw the quiet, pimply-faced dork. Now when I see pics from the middle period of my life and I’ll think who was that hottie? I’d do him in a second. It’s so sick but laughable, but I rue every day when I kept putting myself down. I learned to stop all that for 3 years and for once I just felt at peace and I knew I had let myself go, but I didn’t care.
Since I moved to Florida, it has been mayhem ever since I moved down here. I felt like President Gerald Ford when I stepped onto this godforsaken soil. (But I have been blessed with good genes and an impeccable sense of self humor.) A couple of writing teachers told me I write about some of the most traumatic things, but it seemed like I could lace it with some humor that gave me the ability to a silver lining strong enough to pull myself up and morph myself into a new beginning. My go-to was always this site or Bruce Vilanch’s but it’s not working this time, and that scares me to death. I know the statistics of men who retired only to die within a few years because they couldn’t handle getting to relax or find new hobbies or hope to do other things. I still love my sites, but Google has all these wicked rules you have to follow for your site to be counted in rankings One is that your headline must be only 6 words. That is really hard to do and a few times it made you come up with clickbait, So I stopped that, But that is just one example. They look at keywords, a number of links in your article that refer to other posts on your site (I have 20 years of shit on my site. I have a backlog of 500 BETTEBACKS which are articles reviews, and snippets that cover Bette’s early years before I started the site in 2002, And some of it is fun stuff that I had forgotten about and you won’t be able to find on google now because they are archived. And updating simple pages like discography, new movies, Broadway…I’m forgetting to update those, I don’t think it’s old age. I think it’s all these new rules that are just smothering me. Back in the heyday I just posted an article in 3 minutes, This article so far has taken over a week. Every time I pull it up to work on it seems different and I see more personal stuff that I don’t remember ever writing. So today, it’s going up as is.
Honey, He Is Twisted
I want to also say that if you have a site, it is crucial to be on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Even though I have to fork out money each month on programs to help me it gets expensive, but it is still a labor of love. I just wanted a place to make an online scrapbook, It was the only way I could make myself learn to do any of this. I never had any idea it would take off as it did. I remember people trying to make me feel weird for doing it. You know you look like a stalker. It’s just too much. Bette will hate it, I was called names. And with me not doing anything it would have played out fast probably, but Bette’s band in Kiss My Brass discovered it and referred to it every morning to find out what city they were heading to next on the tour. Plus they loved Moronica the Bootlicking Turkey ( a combination of words other Bette fans were calling me). Moronica would relay tidbits she found about what was happening on the tour. She would hide in places where she blended in like the Harlettes’ closets where there were tons of feathery and showbiz garments. Once she put herself in a precarious position as the turkey on Thanksgiving Day. I knew exactly why musicians loved her. Then the Diva Whisperer Richard Jay Alexander got wind from the band. Richard is a kind of dramatic, helper-type, and he was instrumental in Bette and I getting together. I will always love him for that.
Signs started popping up on the Today Show when Bette and Barry were on there, I freaked when I saw Bootleg Betty signs. But in the end, she wanted to meet me. I ended up meeting her in Ft Lauderdale, Chicago, New York Las Vegas, and a one-off place where when she was doing Showgirl, she had to go and do KMB. I got to see backstage stuff, we’d talk when she could. Chicago was my favorite and where she decided to let me in her inner circle but with still a layer of the wall there. But they let me do a few little things and asked my input. She talked about me in an NBC radio interview and one other time. Bruce Vilanch and I became acquainted and I got invited to some cool stuff through him like Hairspray on and off Broadway, a benefit where the cast was going to perform. I sat in on rehearsals. I was in a little room with Marc Shaiman on piano and Scott Wittman, and the first time I met the beautiful Ms.. Charlo. Got to hear all the songs the cast was singing. Bruce introduced me to the conductor who was drop dead sexy. He started plying me with drinks because I thought they were pretty (they were blue) I remember Bruce coming over to me and said be very, very careful about how much you drink. But all of that was so much fun. I wasn’t nervous. No problems talking to anybody. Bruce had warned me to dress warm and bring a muff.lol, I decided to walk from the hotel to the theater in the dead of winter. I had a long coat on as dressing warm. When I got to the theater and walked in the bathroom and cried. It was awful. lol Afterwards I sat with Bruce while he took his make up off and got dressed. We gossiped. Then I said I better go. He said where’s your winter stuff. I said I’m wearing it, I told him I had never ever experienced cold winds like that. I told him I cried in the bathroom when I got there. He said I told you to get a muff!!! That should have clued you in, He said you’re not going anywhere so he and I took his limo and they took me back to my hotel. I gave him a kiss on the cheek and told him I had a blast and thanked him. Probably the kindest man I ever met, I never met anybody I didn’t like that was associated with Bette. After all that I started getting sick. The last Bruce saw me I stood in a corner with my head down and waved. And I stood Bette up when we were supposed to meet after an “I’ll Eat You Last” performance. But both Bruce and Bette have helped me in some way since that. The change is a whole other story and I’ll write about that at some point on my own new website after I get caught up on some Bruce and Bette stuff on their sites. If this openness bothers anybody and thinks it’s inappropriate, bitch all you want, but all are aware that the site is about Bette but sometimes I throw the personal in as it may relate to Bette in some way. But usually in a fun, stupid way.
Bruce Vilanch who reads these long stream of consciousness things I write has known me for quite awhile and can read me pretty well, told me I should write a book. He said he found it fascinating the things that have happened to me that might destroy others, but I just get up, don’t talk about it, and just keep going whichever way the wind blows. He’s not saying that is heart-healthy, though. I talked to him the other night because I’ve run out of people to talk to. My mom’s in her 8o’s and it makes her nervous. My brother just is not the type. And if you do it too much with friends, you usually wind up with none. That’s why I don’t like confiding too much with friends. You never know what their breaking is, plus I just get tired of saying anything.
I started on this article again, then got vertigo and had a hallucination. These symptoms came from falling and cracking my head open so many times since I’ve moved here. So far I’ve fallen on my face and busted out all of my front teeth, then I fell down the stairs backward, I fell full force on my knees, then fell forward and hit my head again. The only time I cried was when I fell flat on my knees…oh lord did that hurt. And then there was the morning the police knocked on my door and Baker Acted me bc my new young doctor thought I wrote him a suicide note. I just got tickled at it. I liked him, he’s a hottie, but he didn’t understand my humor or know my humor. I wrote him to tell him I made all these appointments with specialists and then I innocently wrote and can I talk to you about my mother driving me suicidal. I was going to write LOL but there were no characters left. I didn’t think a thing of it, But the police came and I said well you have to ask me two questions and then I gave them two examples and it was like they just didn;t know the law. By then the neighbors were out gawking, They handcuffed me and I said surely you’re going to let me get dressed. This was also at the height of Covid, but they took me to the hospital and I had a blast just saying outrageous things. I was let go after a day and a half even after my assigned doctor said they made a mistake, but she forgot about me so I had one night to cause a commotion and it was legitimate. I was just appalled at the whole system. I had been brought in only wearing tight boxer briefs and I made sure stayed at half mast the whoke time. I had a black T-shirt on and barefoot. it was winter. As they walked me to the car, ladies were gossiping. I said take a good look I’ll be making appointments when I get back, One cop said to the other should I wand him. I said you mean to see if I have a weapon on me? I said what? Do you think I have a knife taped to my dick? They didnt like that. They walked me through a gauntlet where nobody could enter without a mask. I said why didn’t I get a mask? Silence! ER. Met with two doctors and had them in stitches and they said he wont admit you. Talked to the head honcho who turned out to be a big goober via a TV. He talked as if he were going to let me go, then my mind clicked and I said why don’t you skip to the “but” part, and then he just talked about why he was going to admit me. I said so what do you know about me? Tell me. He said I know every thing about you. I said really. I said so you magically got all my files in say 5 minutes and you’ve looked at 2o years of my life. I said that is amazing, I said lift up 3 of those files. Then he said he never said he had any files. I said correct. So how do you know me? He said I got the note you sent to your doctor. Actually I was flabbergasted. Barbara Stone came out in me. I said you low life motherfucking cocksucker, then you are admitting me for one sentence? I said the first sentence negates the whole
I didn’t know who to write to at 2 am so I wrote Mr. Bruce Vilanch and bent his ear or jabbed his eye. He told me to keep sending him my stream of consciousness writing cause he loved them and would encourage me to write more. Anyway, he’s so sweet. Then I wrote this article and Max my 2-year-old troublemaker cat sat on my computer and I lost 2 songs and a bunch of writing so I just said fuck it, I’ll do better next time; plus if you want to do well in Google’s algorithm requirements, well it takes the fun out of it. And they’re about to release what they say will be very difficult. I apologize because I literally was going to go manscaping on myself. Well, sorry I’m too impatient and I get bored, so I miss spots, and there’s always blood to be splattered. So I’m asked a young man next door who just turned 18 and started college He mows lawns to help with money for school, so I asked him “how would you like to mow a different kind of lawn?” Oh come on yall know I;n just kidding, I am the most prudish and naive gay you’ll ever meet. The word I use most in the bedroom is Ewwwwwww!!!! My new site The Gay Pundit will have a variety of stuff like movie reviews, album reviews, cover songs, and the like.
I apologize to those that don’t understand. But I feel some of my long-time readers deserved to know what the fuck is going on. I also never see but a few write about mental illness and there is still so much stigma around it. I’m not crazy, well, at least when I want to be. I’ll get better, but right now I;m stuck and I truly believe this, but I’m heartbroken. I just never dated much and everything has changed and I just get overwhelmed and there really is nothing more to say except I will do better. Thanks to those who’ve stuck around and to the newbies….welcome! I promise it is just usually never like this, so please stick around. Love, Mister D
A Wonky Little Gallery Of Photos/I’ll Get Better LOL
Bette Midler – Am I Blue? – The Johnny Carson Show – August 12, 1
This was the first song I ever heard Bette Midler sing, Am I Blue?, on her premiere of The Johnny Carson Show. I had a curfew and should have been in bed. I always thought she looked like an actress then or a chanteuse from the 20s. I remember she had a long body-forming black evening dress with barely a hint of jewelry on her. Her hair was pulled back very tight, but not sure if I remember braids or not. Looking back, it’s hard to tell or remember things as they really were.
I wasn’t prepared for the performance. It was like a throwback to another time. It was an old song but beautifully sung and acted out with just the right nuance using the voice as an instrument to convey whatever emotion was needed. And then there was this beautiful face that could bend, flex, and mold itself to coincide with the emotive notes she was singing. Then every once in a while that contagious, charismatic, and dare I say signature smile that was so unique to her, would flash sparingly (it was like, yeah, wait’ll you get a gander of this smile), then the song ended on a beautiful note and you know the man she loved so dearly had left her. And you are left with a single tear streaming down her face. It was gut-wrenching. I had called my mom down to see and said look at this lady, she’s going to be huge. Then Johnny said it.
I never saw her as what the people defined her to be. Of course, I was only 14 and my favorite band was THE ARCHIES. I could have cared less that she was discovered in a Turkish bathhouse for homosexuals. I didn’t even know what that meant. It was a great narrative to wrap her into gay liberation and she did an awful lot of good for the community. But deep down I don’t think she liked being pigeonholed either. And it reminds me of the time she castigated a mostly gay crowd in concert when she sang “Am I Blue” and when she got to the part that says, “but I remember, I remember when I was gay…” some bozo’s in the crowd started giggling and cheering, she stopped the show and explained the word had different connotations and basically to grow up. Then later on she stated that she hoped they knew she was going to have to change. I may have been still in high school, but even I knew what she meant by that.
Bette Midler: Walking On Sunshine – New York Benefit Live Oct 2001
Anyway, this was the only year, Bette did not have Hulaween per se. 9/11 just happened the preceding month and Bette was going to cancel, but Rudy Guilliani and Gov. Pataki begged her to go along with it because people were fearful and traumatized, so Bette came through and renamed the event New York, New York, no costumes but people wore somber attire. I happened to be walking through the Waldorf when I heard singing, music, and some lady saying stop, stop, stop…so I followed the music and opened a door. I noticed immediately I was on the second floor of the small banquet room and then I looked forward and there was Miss M, Ever since I was 14 I acted like a child about her. Collected stuff, ripped newspaper articles out of newspapers and magazines, I was shy about giving my opinions on any subject, but if Midler came up good or bad, I took control of the situation, Throughout my life, anybody who knew me, knew that I was possessed. I never got to where I wanted to be musical because something held me back. I was talking to a therapist one day and she wanted to tackle the problem some. She said listen carefully to what I’m saying and I’m going to let you think about it. You put her on such a high pedestal and I wonder do you try to emulate her. Of course, the answer was yes, She said do you have any other rock music you play, and do you try to emulate them. The answer was no. Sometimes the songs sounded better than the originals, It was hard to say it, but I heard it enough times to believe, She goes but is your ultimate goal is it to be like Bette, and I said that seems on the money. She goes, but you know you will never be as good, so you need to find your own voice. And sure you can incorporate all your influences and make them yours. Well, I just decided to put piano playing away for a while and sing which was so stupid. But I give up at the least bit of criticism. But when I started again, boy it was something.
Anyway, I kept going in and out the door while Bette was rehearsing because I was so afraid of getting caught. Finally, a security guard came up to me and the first thing I said was I’m sorry. He just smiled at me. He said to relax, keep quiet, and just enjoy. I thanked him profusely. Bette had written her own lyrics to Walking On Sunshine which was funny. She and the drummer could have had a shouting match if had his way. He thought one way was funny and Bette thought it was tasteless. I could have gone either way. I found it fascinating the things one frets over and how I imagined how it could get gnarly over the big things. Especially if you’re a perfectionist. I’m very familiar with that. Anyway, Bette and whoever was playing the drums weren’t really fighting, but during her monologue every time she said the word “balls” the drummer would play the cowbells. You could hear some chuckles from the guys in the band, but Bette stopped the music and said she didn’t think the cowbells thing was funny. She thought it was tasteless or cheap. I was interested because a lot of her persona has been about the cheap and tawdry, and I wondered what made her feel that crossed the line. Those are the questions I’d be asking as a journalist. So they started playing the song over and when she said “balls” again, the drummer clanged the cowbells again, and quickly she said well now I know I don’t like that, so nix it. When the real show started I wondered if the cowbells were going to show up, but they didn’t. Thank God. I just found that particularly interesting.
Bette went through a middling set and sang How About You, songs about New York, and WBMW’s. I’m sure I have the songs listed in a post around that time. We ate. My mom is very vibrant and outgoing so she went over to Giuliani and they talked and laughed. My mom said try it, so I did. I got a hello out and then he said, I’m trying to eat, which is understandable. That was the first time I think my balls dropped, bc I said well, you just talked to my mom. Then my mom said down the front are all people I know a lot about. She said, look at all those people talking to Bette. She’d love to know you weren’t scared to fly all the way here from TN. All I knew is that I would not meet Bette with my mother in tow. So she made her way down to meet Bette. Bette threw her arms up and had a big grin on her face and they hugged and chatted. Bette took my mom over to Liz Smith, a southern gal herself and somebody my mom loved, and I saw my mom having such a good time, but I made the right decision in many ways, so I had no regrets over not meeting Bette that night. Little did I know.
Bette Midler – Blue Rondo A La Turk – The Depression Tour
March 12, 1976
Now this song was from the Depression tour and I dare say we should have a sequel to that concert today! Hey! Hey! whattaya say? Anyway, my college friends took me on a road trip to the Shady Grove theater in the round in bumfuck Maryland and I loved it. It was so small every seat was a great seat. It didn’t have many sets to it, because it was in the round. There just was no way ARRROOOUUUNNNDDDD It. They had to bring Bette out in a stretcher down to the stage covered in a sheet and when she bopped out and started running around the stage my best friend could not stop laughing. It was weird so I asked him why he couldn’t stop laughing and he said that poster in my room made her look like a tall linebacker. I wasn’t expecting her to look so tiny with that big voice and that tiny little walk. So he went back to laughing. And I have to say it was an amazing show. We got some different songs than other venues, but the show clocked in almost at 3 hours. The HBO show was very close to 2 and a half hours or more. A bunch of people at our show left during the finale. Bette used that opportunity run to up the stairs while singing “Up The Ladder To The Roof” perfectly, I say while making poses like old-time pin-up girls. And I was so excited to hear her sing Neil Young’s Birds and gave it that Paul McCartney ending. It proved to be a much stronger performance than the one in the HBO special.
The girls we were with did their best to try not to like the show, specifically her, because Bette had 100 times the energy than they could ever muster in bed. They were like dead salamanders. And my best friend was just laughing still. He became a lifelong fan, though.
But Bette doing this was so odd and I thought it was genius. This was jazz instrumental by the Dave Brubeck Project, a very experimental jazz number, and I believe it went to Number One in the charts in 1959. But I was fascinated that Bette and the Harlettes were singing using words. You’ll see what I mean. I can’t decipher it, but I thought wow, this is something. And there were words written by Moogy Klingman and Jerry Blatt, who worked with Bette a lot. See if you can decipher it. I heard Al Jarreau had put lyrics to it and he won a Grammy. A couple of other people tried.