Now that DIVA LAS VEGAS had aired in January 1997, I wondered what was next for Bette?

Bette has been an environmentalist most of her life and when her home base was in California she was involved with Adopt-A-Highway to help clean up trash on the highways.

In 1994, L.A. had a major earthquake and Bette decided to move back to New York and make it her home base. Bette has always had a home also in L.A. over the years but her main home is New York.

When Bette moved back to New York she saw that many areas were in need of help with trees and plants. She set out to clean up New York and has done a wonderful job of cleaning it up.

In 1995 Bette started a charity called NEW YORK RESTORATION PROJECT and started to clean up New York with new trees, plants and parks.

NYRP was a success with help of donations from New Yorkers, but Bette knew that she would need more national exposure to raise more money for the bigger projects she wanted to do.


So, in 1997, Bette decided to have a yearly benefit for NYRP and it would be in October around Halloween and being she was born in Hawaii, she would call it HULAWEEN.

I found out about the benefit around August 1997 and you know I had to be there for the first Hulaween in October.

When I purchased my ticket in September I could not wait until the night of the benefit.

I arrived the day before and wanted to check out where it was in The Waldorf-Astoria and the fact that I had not been in The Waldorf since Diana Ross was there in 1971. I wanted to see how the hotel had changed over the years.

The afternoon of the benefit, I walked over to the hotel and when I got about two blocks from the hotel the streets had barricades all around and military people everywhere.

I kept walking and no one stopped me and when I went into the hotel I found out that Bette’s benefit would be held in the Grand Ballroom, which is the same room that Diana Ross performed in back in 1971.

I went up to the Ballroom to check it out and I knew that Rosie O’Donnell would be the auctioneer.
Well, both Rosie and Bette were there rehearsing and I got to wave at them and then someone asked me leave and I said, I’ll be back tonight.

I walked back to my hotel and later when I was watching the news I saw that the President of China was in-town and would be having a dinner party at The Waldorf that night and President Clinton would be attending the dinner.

Now I knew why they had the barricades up and all the military people on the streets.
But, I’ve always said, no one stopped me and I walked around The Waldorf and even went to the second floor to the Grand Ballroom and no one stopped me.

So, I thought that night someone would want to check everyone out before they went up to the Ballroom, but no one even asked where I was going.

Most of time I would go alone to Bette’s shows and now I was alone at Bette’s first Hulaween.
I also knew that this would be a little different with only about 500 people at the benefit it would be an up close time with Bette.

I was nervous, not knowing what was going to happen that night.

So, as always I was early and everyone made me feel relaxed and after a cocktail party, everyone when into the Grand Ballroom and they took me to my table which was near the stage.

It was a table for eight people and most of the people at the benefit were dressed up in Halloween custom, I was in a suit.

I’m not much for dressing up for Halloween and felt kind of out of place.

When the other people at my table started to arrive I would introduce myself and one other person was dressed in a suit and when he indroduced himself, it was David Geffen of Geffen Records and thought wow!, who else will I see tonight and a few minutes later I saw, Barbara Walters, Martha Stewart, Michael Douglas just to name a few.

Then Rosie O’Donnell arrives with her sister and she wanted to take a picture with me, I was in heaven.

A few minutes later Bette and Martin arrive and I could tell that Bette was a little nervous, not knowing how this was going to all work out. I did not ask her to take any pictures with me, but I did get some of her entering the party.

The cocktail party was great, the food was very good and now it was time for Bette to come out on stage. She had a group from Hawaii perform and then she did an Hawaiian folk song with them and I got a photo of her performing.

Then Rosie came out for the auction and she was really good at being an auctioneer and they raised a lot of money that night.

Later Bette came out and did about a twenty five minute show.

When I got back to my hotel I had to call Dave and tell him all about it. It was an evening that I will never forget and I wanted to go every year for two reasons. One to support Bette’s charity and to see Bette in a much smaller place than when she was on a tour.


I was ready to go again and I got into New York again the day before the benefit. This year it was on a Friday again, but the date was October 30th. and it would be held again at The Waldorf-Astoria.
Rosie O’Donnell would be the auctioneer again this year and I could not wait to see what Bette would be this year.

I would walk around to see who was there and this year I saw Martha Stewart, Candice Bergen, Glenn Close, Barbara Walters, Michael Douglas, just to name a few.

When I walking around I ran into Bette and she wanted to take a picture, so a professional photographer was following Bette around taking photos, so Bette said, give him your camera and have him take the picture of us. This is the photo taken that night.

You can also see some photos that I took of Bette with Martha Stewart and Candice Bergen.

(Rosie and Bette auction off cute puppy that goes to Marc Shaiman)

Rosie did the auction in grand style and Bette performed again, but this time doing a longer show.

It was again a fun evening and I couldn’t wait until next year.


This year the benefit would be at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Bette would perform her new show THE MILLENNIUM TOUR and the benefit would follow the show in another part of Madison Square Garden. This year it would not be a sit-down dinner; it would be drinks and hors d’oeuvres.

Bette’s opening night at Madison Square Garden was the night before and you know I had to be there to see her new show. I had a ticket in the second row and was so happy that Bette was doing a new show. I really enjoyed this tour also and will have a story about the tour later.

The next night a group of fans and I met at a restaurant for dinner, knowing that it would not be a sit-down dinner later and it would not be until after Bette’s full show. We all wanted to have a nice dinner together.

We all got to go in the VIP entrance at Madison Square Garden and everyone that was attending Hulaween would have seats within the first ten rows on the floor.

When we arrived to the area of our seats we all would watch for stars in the audience. I saw Rosie O’Donnell talking to Rosemary Clooney (George Clooney’s aunt) a great singer from years past.
Rosemary Clooney and her husband were sitting in the row behind me and I wanted to take a photo with Rosemary. So, I turned around and said, I would love to have picture with you and she said, “honey if you want to take a picture with me you have to come back to me, I’m not getting up”.
I love this photo with her, my parents would have been proud of me for this photo they both loved her singing. I did not know at the time that Bette would be putting an album out of all Rosemary Clooney songs.

The show starts and I was really getting into it this second night of seeing it. At one point Bette says, “tonight all my peeps are here for Hulaween, will all my peeps, please stand up”. “I want to thank you for your support of the New York Restoration Project” and then Bette went back to the show.

After the show we all had to go to another floor of the Garden. It seemed like it took forever to get to the room for the Hulaween party. They had tables of food everywhere and many bars everywhere.
At one point Bette walked around talking to everyone. She looked so good that night! These are some of photos of Bette that night.

Also, two photos of two fans and friends, Judy and one of my best friends that I met through Hulaween, Albert.

(Ray and Judy)

(Ray and Albert)

I really did not enjoy the post-performance reception as much as the sit-down dinner benefits. The show was great but I have always called the reception, “the feasco at the Garden”.


This year again it would be a little different. It would be held at the Manhattan Center and Bette would not perform this time. Rosie O’Donnell would be the auctioneer and Jackie Mason would perform, plus Hawaiian singers and dancers would perform.

The Manhattan Center is a bigger venue than the Grand Ballroom at The Waldorf.

It was on a Monday night, October 30th.

Bette had starting taping her new TV series “BETTE” for CBS and she looked fabulous that night.
Enjoy some of photos I got of her that night and in a couple of them she is talking to me as I’m taking the photos.

Some of stars there that night were, Susan Lucci, Sarah Jessica Parker and Michael Douglas (see photo), plus many more.

Bette’s sister Susan was there that night and I spoke to her for a few minutes and she so nice to me.

Later in the evening Bette was on stage thanking everyone for the support they had given to NYRP.

Please enjoy the photos of Jamie and (you know who) Don aka Mister D and Nigel, (he would fly all the way from England to attend Hulaween.)

(Mister D and Jamie)


A funny story for you!

When I would go to Hulaween the weather in New York would be very different every year. This year it was very cold with some snow. Well, most of the time it was not that cold for me to wear just my Hawiian shirt to Hulaween.

When I went down to the street to get a cab it was very cold and snowing. It was hard to get a cab right away and when I finally got one he looked at me like I was crazy for just wearing a Hawiian shirt and slacks.

It was also very cold going back to the hotel that night.


This year Hulaween was just a few weeks after 9/11 and Bette did not feel that it should be called Hulaween after what had happened.

It was called “an Evening Celebrating the People and the City of New York”.

The beginning of the evening, the New York Fire Department bagpipe band played and it was very moving.

This year it was at the Mariott Marquis Hotel on a Monday night, October 29th.

Joy Behar was the auctioneer this year. Bette would perform this year. It was dark in the room, so hope that you will still enjoy the photos of Bette that night.

Also, there was Nathan Lane, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Liz Smith and Ann Richards (former Texas Governor) who now lived in New York and was at most of Bette’s Hulaweens.

When I would see Ann Richards I would always say hi! to her and this year when I went to speak to her, I said, “you know we miss you back in Texas and now that George W. is President we can’t shut him up, when he was Governor of Texas we never heard peep out of him”.
The person sitting next to Ann said, “can I quote you on that” and I said, to Ann, “who is that”, she said,” Liz Smith”, and I said, “Raymond Cooper” and Liz Smith laughed.

Later that night both, New York Governor Pataki and Mayor Giuliani gave a speech about New York City coming back after 9/11 and how much Bette’s NYRP had done for the city.

I was a very humbling evening!

I did not go to another Hulaween until 2005.
Many things were going on in my life and we had to close down our business and then in 2004 we moved back to Houston.


I was so excited to be going to Hulaween again and it was back at The Waldorf-Astoria on a Monday night, October 31st.

This was a special celebration, the 10th. Anniversary of the New York Restoration Project and Bette’s 60th. Birthday Party.

The auctioneer this year was Martin Short doing the auction as Jiminy Glick.

The performer was Elton John and Bette would sing a couple songs with Elton.

I think that this year I saw the most stars of any Hulaween, some of them were, Glenn Close, Mariah Carey, Regis Philbin, David Geffen, plus many more.

Enjoy the photos of Yoko Ono with Martin, Martin Short, Sophie, Sting and Eartha Kitt.
Also, a photo of two of my best friends, Bruce Vilanch and Albert and a photo of Jamie, Albert, Don (standing), Me and Barry.

(Sting and Eartha Kitt)

(Yoko Ono and Martin)

(Martin Short)


(Bruce Vilanch and Albert)

(Jamie, Albert, Mister D(standing), Me and Barry)

I was a wonderful evening and so glad that I could be part of it.

Over the years I have taken many photos at the Hulaweens I’ve attended, but most of them of Rosie doing the Auction or Bette perform are too far away ( I buy cheap cameras) for you to see them clearly. So, that is why I have only added a few of the best photos.

Hope that you have enjoyed this tour of six Hulaweens I’ve been to over the years.

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