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Category Archives: BetteHeads
Sunday, September 9, 2018
Kathy Najimy finds the funny in feminism and talks about Bette Midler
By Lynda Sturner / Banner CorrespondentPosted Sep 7, 2018, at 9:11 AM
When Kathy Najimy was growing up in a
“I didn’t have the kind of body that someone usually expects of someone going into show business,” she says. “So I would put on plays in my backyard and make all my friends in fifth grade do Bette Midler revues.”
Those childhood plays of Najimy’s have evolved a bit, and now she’s written and starring in a show, “Lift Up Your Skirt,” that will be at the Art House for one night only, on Sunday.
Thursday, August 9, 2018
Sixty Seconds with Mandy Moore
by James Mottram
August 7, 2018
Who was your biggest influence growing up?
Nobody in my family was in the arts. I was obsessed with musical theatre. I was obsessed with Bette Midler. I wanted to be Bette Midler, I wanted to have that career. I wanted to do Broadway and movies and TV and make records and go on tour. She did it all and said it all and was her own woman. I thought, ‘That’s who I want to be.’ And still. To have that career longevity, winning Tony Awards on Broadway… she’s unstoppable.
Sunday, November 15, 2015
“A Note From The Desk of Divine Grace”
I have been asked by so many to recount the goings-on of this last Halloween, that I thought, “Why the Hell am I being so tight-lipped about this?” and share it with you all. I know that I tend to be long-winded on a good day, and write a Magna Carta on a bad one, so please be patient as this shall surely be a little of column A. and a little of column B. (Divine Mister D… please edit however you see fit!)
I was booked for an Off-Broadway show on Friday, October 30th back in August. I thought, “GREAT! I now have justification to fly up to NYC for Halloween (the greatest city on the planet in which to celebrate “Gay Christmas”) so I’ll do up some “Hocus Pocus” drag properly like I’ve never attempted that INCREDIBLY DETAILED AND DIFFICULT COSTUME before, and lipsync “I Put a Spell on You” as only someone who has studied Miss Midler as long as I have could.
Well, shortly before my appearance, the show was cancelled in an effort to move it to a more suitable theater until a later date. I was devastated, but lifted by the notion that, no matter what, I already had travel and accommodations covered for a mini vacation in Manhattan. The fabric and hair had already been ordered, so I thought, “What the Hell?” Let’s do this!
Now, before I go any further, I must confess that I had spent the last month in a terrible state. I was feeling pretty dark. I had been costuming a show for a cruiseline and had worked thirty-two 12-18 hour days STRAIGHT. As a matter of fact, at one point, I had worked a 22 hour day and then was forced to travel home for 4 hours after. The exciting chance for me to complete this work in France (I’ve never been to Europe) was ripped away from me as I was packing my bags just as I learned about the cancellation of my New York show. Add to that a host of family issues, and I was fit to be tied…and burned at the stake! I was a very unhappy queen. In tears, I told my partner, “I really feel like nothing is working out for me. I REALLY need a moment to shine. It’s been so long, I’ve forgotten how that even feels.”
Then, a week before my NYC trip, I got sick. REALLY sick. I was bedridden for a solid week with what I can only surmise was either Kennel Cough or Dutch Elm Disease, so my time sewing on this incredibly complicated costume and wig design was major stunted.
I managed to pull the costume and hair together in two days, (and you Betteheads know that a Winifred Sanderson costume requires sewing, beading, rhinestoning, A LOT of handcrafted artwork, airbrushing, distressing, and TOIL.) I managed, because somehow everything happened without a hitch. Finally, a light at the end of the tunnel.
After sewing and performing on top of my daytime job (and without sleep for FIFTY HOURS) I was at the airport ready to board the plane when suddenly I was stopped by TSA and told that I was being detained for a “suspicious package”. Apparently the 18″x 18″ plain unmarked box containing my wig was a threat to national security, so I was detained for another 4 hours until a Winifred Sanderson wig could be evaluated and labeled fit for flight.
Long story short (too late) I made it to the Waldorf-Astoria in full Winnie drag. (The best I’ve ever attempted, if I do say so myself.) I made my way to the cocktail hour and nervously mingled with people whose bank accounts and lifestyles shadowed me into abject poverty until fellow Bettehead Matthew Parker walked in, nipples and carved abdominals first (he was perfectly- and-appropriately-dressed as a Ken Doll. For those of you who have seen him, the costume was hardly a stretch. We both relaxed, had a drink, and eventually made our way into the ballroom.
We were seated in the balcony and sat before our appetizer–neither of us with any desire to eat. We were both too excited, and I was wearing false teeth that both made me look like a snowplow and got in the way of any possibility of my actually chewing the tuna tartar in font of me. Matthew and I went downstairs to see if we could get any closer to the action, when I realized that he was doing his damnedest to get me within eyeshot of Her Majesty.
Within minutes, we were. A lady at Bette’sÂ table saw me and pointed, and the brunette she was talking to turned around. It was Kathy Minims (Mister D: Najimy LOL). She excitedly motioned for us to come over. Kathy Minims was as sweet as you’d ever hope for and seemed genuinely impressed by the costume. She said, “She’s got to see this!”, grabbed my wrist, and dragged meÂ around the table for Bette to see. Bette was in conversation, so Kathy yelled, “Bette! Bette! BETTE! BETTE MIDLER!” Bette turned around, saw me, and looked stunned. She then started making buck teeth mannerisms and motioned for us to come over.
From that point, as any of you who have met her know, it all becomes this weird blur. You start walking this bizarre line of trying not to totally lose your shit, play it cool, and worship at the same time. All I remember is her taking my wrist and saying (with that tiny delicate pointed finger that she uses) “You know, I’ve seen a lot of these, and yours is the best I’ve ever seen!” Now, I don’t even know if that’s true or not, but my life as a costumer and Bette Midler impersonator now rests on her seal of approval.
I mentioned that I had been impersonating her for years (maybe not such a great choice as her husband and daughter were smiling and yet somehow staring at me as if I had two heads and was radioactive) and the rest was just me in a daze. I do remember pictures and video being taken (THANK YOU MATTHEW AND CHARLOTTE!) and all the while (and always in charge of her image) Bette kept telling Kathy (I guess we are on on a first name basis now?) to “MAKE THE FACE! MAKE THE FACE!” alluding to Mary Sanderson’s strokey downturned lip.
I couldn’t believe it. I was wedged between Bette Midler and Kathy Minims in full gotdamned “Hocus Pocus” drag.
Finally, Bette said, “Alright, let’s take the selfie”, and of course, I was too flustered to get my phone to operate properly. She became impatient and said, “Okay, maybe later.” My heart dropped a little, I apologized, and she said, “No! I’ll meet you guys after the show.”
We watched the show, she accepted her award, others were given out, and then I was asked to make my way to the stage for the costume contest. I thought it was such treat and bonus, until Matthew said, “um…THAT MEANS YOU”RE A WINNER!” Well, I just about gagged.
Another blur later, I somehow managed to collect a bouquet in front of Michael Kors, Bette Midler and her family, God, and Baby Jesus, and waddled my fat padded ass off stage without falling off of my heels.
After the show, she did in fact come out to take pictures with us. I haunted the background as I had already had my moment in the sun, and watched as Matthew and Charlotte took photos with her–all the while BEAMING. It was wonderful seeing that experience on someone else from the outside.
“What was she like?” That’s all I’ve heard. Well, it wasn’t my first time seeing her up close in person. She’s PETITE. I have to say. Â Something I noticed when I got her autograph a couple of years ago at “I’ll Eat You Last” is her skin; it’s amazing. She looks incredible. Here was an almost 70 year-old woman in gothic smokey eye shadow, and she looked like a goddess. And those HANDS! Those TINY, delicate, little, hula hands!!! She was more patient and accommodating than I’ve ever given her credit. She was everything I ever hoped for. My experience with Bette Midler was monumental.
I also had a chance to meet Bob DeMora, her longtime costume designer known for every look we all really remember her for. BIG deal for me! But the real highlight of the evening was going through this experience with Matthew and Charlotte and other Betteheads, because they understood better than anybody the magic the evening held for us, and were so genuinely happy to witness each of us have our moment. It’s really a sisterhood.
The only negative to the evening came afterward when I bittersweetly realized that Halloween–my favorite holiday ever and for always–will forever NEVER compare to Halloween 2015. The best Halloween of my life. How ever will I EVER top that one?
Finally (and aren’t you happy about THAT!?) Â I have to say that the outpouring of love from you all in the wake of this evening has warmed me to tears often. It means the world to me to see so many people happy for me after such a dark couple of months. I got my Moment in the sun, and now all I want to do is help you all find yours too.
I love you guys.
Saturday, June 20, 2015
When I was born I came out not breathing and the doctors had to pump me for 2 hours and I was in the hospital for 9 days and my grandmother would sing and say every God thing over Me. I came back and the doctors said I hadÂ a disability called cerebral palsy but it does not stop me from anything I can do, I fight to achieve my goals. I had to wear braces to walk straight I hated them so much and I to endure many therapiesÂ and I take speech because I talk different. Now I’m in 9th grade and always stay positive at what life gives me! I inspire many people or I want to inspire many people! I give my life my best and try. People say I’m a gift from God himself! I can’t wait until I see what amazing things that God has in store for me and maybe he has my dream to meet Bette waiting for me at the concert Monday night in Washington, D.C.
Friday, May 8, 2015
Remember all of you going to the concerts, you are my eyes and ears this time around since I can’t make it. Be sure to send me details of set lists, sets, jokes, merchandise, any photos, etc to firstname.lastname@example.org Or message me on Facebook! I appreciate it. Most of all, have the time of your lives! I’ll be sitting here at my desk in drag waiting! Love, Don
Friday, April 24, 2015
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
What kind of Bettehead are you?
This is to categorize what kind of Bettehead you are, and to let you know if you are a big enough of a Bette Midler fan to dub you a bettehead, note: just because you’ve seen beaches and like from a distance, it doesn’t make you a bettehead.
To Take The Quiz: Click Here
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Monday, July 1, 2013
The 17,356,317 minute journey…
Your #1 Fan,
The 17,356,317 minute journey…
July 1, 2013
Have you ever had a secret that you felt like you could not share with anyone? This is an excerpt about part of my journey carrying a secret for most of my life. It is with me every day, when I wake up in the morning until I go to bed each night. It is always there casting doubts, pointing it’s finger at me and laughing. It makes me feel embarrassed and ashamed. It reminds me that I am different. It makes me second guess myself. It has made me see the pain in other people’s eyes, even when they smile. It has shown me that I am stronger than my secret and it cannot destroy me. It has given me a level of compassion and empathy that I am proud to own. It has made me realize that I am not a victim. I am a survivor and this is a small part of my story…
It was December of 1988 and I was with my mom in Fayetteville, North Carolina. We were going to see a movie that day. That movie was called Beaches. I had seen the previews on television and I begged my mom to take me to see the movie. It had two actresses that I had never heard of before because most of my time consisted of exploring outside and taking care of any animal that crossed my path. Those actresses were Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey. When I returned home from the movie, I wrote a letter to Bette Midler. I was determined that she would want talk to me after I wrote this letter. Nothing was stopping me. I needed to talk to her. It was THAT important.
December 28, 1988
Dear Ms. Midler,
Hi. My name is Valerie Draughon. I am 12 years and I live in North Carolina. I saw your movie Beaches today and I wanted to write you a letter. See, I am a lot like C. C. Bloom. I have never ever fit in anywhere. I want to be an actress or a veterinarian when I grow up. Maybe one day you can show me how you learned to act and sing so well. I have been taking voice and piano lessons but I don’t like the piano lessons that much because when I make a mistake, my teacher hits me on my hands with a fly swatter and it stings. But, I love singing. I sing to my two dogs Buddy and Pookie all of the time and I pretend they are my audience. I have never written to anyone famous before but I can tell that you are an amazing person. I hope that one day I can meet you. I will even sing a song for you and maybe you can sing a song for me too. Thank you for reading my letter. I know that you are very busy. P.S. I love your red hair. My hair is auburn and everyone tells me I look like my grandmother.
Your #1 Fan,
Valerie Marie Draughon
Friday, October 5, 2012
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Mister D: And thanks to Allison and Darrell for turning me on to Ms Arden’s music! The songs on this CD that will interest Bette Midler fans are…You Don’t Own Me, Glory of Love, and Is That All There Is?
The Windsor Star
The Windsor Star
Jann Arden uncovers pop standards
September 20, 2012
Jann Arden has only just started working on her personal songbook.
â€œIf I can, I have every intention of doing Uncover Me 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. As many as I can.â€
Itâ€™s not merely a stopgap between albums of original material, she insists. Itâ€™s a passion.
â€œGrowing up I copied everybody I listened to, I copied every nuance of Carly Simon, Janis Ian, James Taylor, Bette Midler, you name it. Doing covers is a humbling experience, in a way, to be able to do such great songs by great artists.â€
Uncover Me 2 contains popular music from the last six decades, from Peggy Lee to SheDaisy. An alternative rock song by The Smiths, Last Night I Dreamed That Somebody Loved Me, is alongside Doris Dayâ€™s Que Sera Sera. Stevie Nicksâ€™ Dreams shares time with The Motelsâ€™ Only the Lonely (Can Play).
â€œI know Iâ€™m taking a chance doing songs by the likes of Peggy Lee and Stevie Nicks,â€ said Arden. â€œTheir voices are so entwined with the songs. Iâ€™m setting myself up to be massacred by the fans and the media. But people for the most part have been kind.â€
The first Uncover Me in 2007 contained songs by Janis Ian, Cat Stevens and Carly Simon.
â€œI grew up listening to these songs, and I love recording them. It has turned out fantastic for me.â€
As soon as it became known in her inner circle she was planning another Uncover Me, Arden started getting suggestions from family and friends.
â€œPeople were coming out of the woodwork, my producer, my mom,â€ she said.
Her manager Bruce Allen came up with Peggy Leeâ€™s Is That All There Is? â€œI thought he was nuts,â€ Arden said. â€œOut of his mind. But it worked out great.â€
Love Hurts, the Everly Brothers song, actually was inspired by the Nazareth cover version, a blast from her own past and her brotherâ€™s record collection.
The one recent song, Mr. McLennen, which Arden co-wrote with SheDaisyâ€™s Kristyn Osborn, grew out of a visit to Alberta by the American country trio.
â€œI took them out to Bragg Creek and introduced them to some of my friends,â€ Arden said.
The people in the song are real, she said. True to the facts, the title subject actually dropped dead in the post office after buying a newspaper.
â€œThe other people mentioned in the song are all real, too,â€ she said.
Having penned several Canadian popular hits herself, including Could I Be Your Girl?, Good Mother, and The Sound Of, Arden knows a good thing when she hears it.
The songs she covers, like the ones she writes, must possess a grain of truth. She acts as narrator of the stories in the songs.
â€œI donâ€™t make crap up,â€ said Arden, describing her own songs. â€œI could sit in front of a piece of paper for 10 years and not come up with something fictional.â€
Tickets for Ardenâ€™s concert Friday at 9 p.m. at Caesars Windsor are $31.86 to $82.71, including taxes and surcharges. They can be purchased at the Caesars box office or ordered online at ticketmaster.ca.