Tag Archives: White House

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Year When Bette Stormed Broadway, and Trump ‘Died’ in Central Park: NYC Theater in 2017

Daily Beast The Year When Bette Stormed Broadway, and Trump ‘Died’ in Central Park: NYC Theater in 2017 TIM TEEMAN 12.19.17 5:00 AM ET The best NYC theater of 2017 spanned Bette Midler in ‘Hello Dolly,’ Jake Gyllenhaal in Sondheim, and Tony Kushner telling The Daily Beast he was planning a play about Donald Trump. It is rare for theater to make the news. CBS may give one Sunday a year over to the Tony Awards (and here is what won what this year), but these celebrate the best of Broadway; theater made as safe and glittery as possible. Any edge is left to the winners’ speeches and hosts’ japing. 2017’s year in New York City theater was not notable for a fairly mild Tonys ceremony (and Kevin Spacey’s now especially lame and grotesque joking about coming out of the closet), but rather for the controversy that raged over The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar. The play featured a Trump-like version of Julius Caesar, played by Gregg Henry, being assassinated. A few years previously, a Barack Obama-like Caesar had been killed. But oh, the fury that rained down on the Public in 2017. Future performances featured right-wing picketers, who would stand up to disturb the performances. Theater companies with “Shakespeare” in their titles faced death threats.

“Julius Caesar”

The fulminating conservative critics had missed the point of the production: The death of the Trump-like figure happened midway through the production and was hardly celebrated. Caesar’s death opens the door to social chaos throughout the kingdom and more bloodshed. The death of Caesar is the death of democracy in the play; the death itself is far from cheered by characters or audience. Then there were the media reports of fainting and other horrified audience responses to the graphic violence in 1984, a stark adaptation of Orwell by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan that came with its own inevitable Trumpian overtones. That’s if you could get past the unsparing torture scenes. To lighten the mood, in feathers, extravagant outfits, and a crowd screaming every time she merely nodded, the glorious Bette Midler fully deserved the Tony she won playing the title role in Hello, Dolly! The production, directed with full-bodied exuberance by Jerry Zaks, was a beautifully performed blast of joy—a joy only a smidge tainted by Midler not performing at the Tonys. But the best… well, Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford reopened the beautifully recast Hudson Theatre with Sunday in the Park With George, finding the perfect way to navigate through Sondheim’s complicated lexicon of love, loss, and artistic fulfillment.

“The Little Foxes”

There was more divine Sondheim at the Barrow Street Theatre—re-outfitted for a delirious and tasty production (it’s true, you can order your own pies) of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street by London’s Tooting Arts Club. Sit amid the action, and if you have a beard, prepare for the attentions of the terrifying barber himself. A more innocently joyous musical surprised the critics who went to see Spongebob Squarepants on Broadway and were utterly won over by the brightly surreal sets, fantastic singing and choreography, and utterly charming acting. However, the most charming musicals were the ones that surprised you also with their brave and inventive takes on thorny topics or epic Russian works of fiction. Come From Away, which landed on Broadway in time for Tonys consideration (its main rival was Dear Evan Hansen—this is how it turned out), is a rollicking show about the many foreigners who suddenly landed in Gander, Newfoundland, when planes were forced out of the sky. The Band’s Visit, my favorite new Broadway musical, follows what happens when a Egyptian band ends up in an Israeli town for an enforced stay. It is a joy to watch and beautifully written, and beautifully performed, particularly its two leads, Katrina Lenk and Tony Shalhoub.

“The Band’s Visit”

Way away from Broadway was Town Bloody Hall, the Wooster Group’s characteristically oblique and arresting interpretation of what happened when Norman Mailer and a group of feminists including Germaine Greer held a fiery debate in New York in 1971—or an interpretation of the famous documentary that recorded it. Of every piece of music heard on Broadway this last year, everything paled before Bruce Springsteen. His Broadway residency was one of the most stunning shows of the year. Do all you can do to see it; Springsteen takes the audience through the story of his life, and he does it with speech and song, with him playing piano and guitar. It is spell-binding.  Of the plays of the year on and off Broadway, Osloan intelligent and nail-biting examination of a peace process—was a deserving Tony Award winner. Sarah DeLappe’s The Wolves also arrived at Lincoln Center, a fizzing drama about a teenage girls’ football team. The excellent playwright Annie Baker returned with her most challenging play to date. The Antipodes was set in a modern office, with all kinds of threats, real and existential, baked into the relationships. The meeting around the table was unlike any other meeting, apart from its sense of endlessness.

“Oslo”

In Zoe Kazan’s After the Blast, a cute robot became the balm and bane of a young couple’s lives. The farcical and madcap Play That Goes Wrong features collapsing sets, actors on hyperdrive, and will make you laugh even when you’re not sure why you are laughing so hard. Charm was the true story of a “charm” school for LGBT-identifying young people in Chicago. 

A Doll’s House, Part 2 ...  Read More

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Friday, December 8, 2017

On AIDS and lack of Leadership circa 1991:

On AIDS and lack of Leadership circa 1991: “No matter what anyone is doing now, it’s not enough,” says Midler. “I have to admit at the moment I’m very disheartened at the lack of leadership. And I really do blame the White House. As the saying goes, the fish stinks from the head. Who do they care about? Maybe a couple of people in Europe, but certainly not Americans. If Watts went up in flames tomorrow, and everyone died, I don’t think they’d care. Such an incredible lack of humanity and compassion. It’s appalling.” (1991) – Bette Midler Image may contain: 1 person, closeup
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Thursday, December 7, 2017

On AIDS and lack of Leadership circa 1991

On AIDS and lack of Leadership circa 1991:Â “No matter what anyone is doing now, it’s not enough,” says Midler. “I have to admit at the moment I’m very disheartened at the lack of leadership. And I really do blame the White House. As the saying goes, the fish stinks from the head. Who do they care about? Maybe a couple of people in Europe, but certainly not Americans. If Watts went up in flames tomorrow, and everyone died, I don’t think they’d care. Such an incredible lack of humanity and compassion. It’s appalling.” (1991) – Bette Midler Image may contain: 1 person
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Friday, October 20, 2017

On The People In The Hollywood Industry: “Everybody {in the industry} is having a rough time because the people in charge are not so sure what stories they want to tell and they don’t really know anything about stories.

On The People In The Hollywood Industry: “Everybody {in the industry} is having a rough time because the people in charge are not so sure what stories they want to tell and they don’t really know anything about stories. They’re not people who read, and a lot of people in charge don’t have very good taste.” (The Washington Post, 1991) Image may contain: 2 people, people standing
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Sunday, October 1, 2017

On AIDS and lack of Leadership circa 1991:“No matter what anyone is doing now, it’s not enough,” says Midler. “I have to admit at the moment I’m very disheartened at the lack of leadership.

On AIDS and lack of Leadership circa 1991:“No matter what anyone is doing now, it’s not enough,” says Midler. “I have to admit at the moment I’m very disheartened at the lack of leadership. And I really do blame the White House. As the saying goes, the fish stinks from the head. Who do they care about? Maybe a couple of people in Europe, but certainly not Americans. If Watts went up in flames tomorrow, and everyone died, I don’t think they’d care. Such an incredible lack of humanity and compassion. It’s appalling.” (1991) – Bette Midler Image may contain: 2 people, people standing, people sitting and outdoor
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Friday, June 30, 2017

‘Freak Show’ tackles cliché with ‘trans-visionary’ grace (featuring Bette Midler)

Daily Californian THURSDAY, JUNE 29, 2017 ‘Freak Show’ tackles cliché with ‘trans-visionary’ grace BY SOPHIE-MARIE PRIME 2017-02-09_2-39-50 Editor’s Note: The arts and entertainment department is adjusting its grading scale from a letter-grade system to a numeric score out of 5. This change is intended to increase accuracy and consistency between reviews. Director Trudie Styler described “Freak Show” as a “story of resistance” — and that’s right on the mark. Adapted from the James St. James novel of the same name, the film follows queer teen Billy Bloom (Alex Lawther of “The Imitation Game” fame). Lawther’s performance is spell-binding and genuine — Billy is radiant in extravagant costumes and possesses unapologetic confidence to boot. The film is fast-paced, moving quickly from Billy’s upbringing with his glamorous mother (Bette Midler) to moving in with his estranged father (Larry Pine), who lives in a conservative town that is not only incompatible with Billy’s lifestyle, but also actively rejects him. After facing abjection and violence in his daily life, Billy decides to join the race for homecoming queen against an Ivanka-Trump-esque Lynette (Abigail Breslin). Lynette is laughably hateable — but her comical ignorance does not diminish the threat she and other students pose to queer safety and equality. She faces off against Laverne Cox, portraying a television journalist, who (of course) is having none of Breslin’s queerphobia. The film overthrows the tropes of typical high school films: gym class snafus, cliques of outcasts and athletes and ignorant bullies. We see characters who are sympathetic but too fearful of being socially ostracized by association to stand up for Billy (or even elect him homecoming queen). The narrative interpellates the social caste system of typical high school films in order to subvert the generic tropes by giving us characters that refuse that system altogether: namely Billy and the “shadow people” — kids at the social margins of their conservative private high school. “Freak Show” is an uplifting story, with clearly intentional set and costume design that reflect queer pride as much as the script does. The film even mirrors some scenes from historically queer cinema, including “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Author St. James and director Styler were both present at the film’s North American debut in the historic Castro Theatre. St. James noted that Billy’s experiences — particularly those from the first half of the film — were based on his own life in high school. He celebrated Lawther’s performance and noted that Billy’s pursuit of the homecoming queen title was a projection of who St. James wishes he could be. Billy publicly declares himself a “trans-visionary” and a “gender obliviator” as he struts in glitter-laden gowns and makeup done to perfection. At one point in the film, Billy’s friend Flip (Ian Nelson) suggests that he tone down his femininity as a means of staying safe, going stealth. The film does well to recognize from the beginning that this can be a measure of safety for some folks and a harmful one for others. Billy’s persistent resistance, as well as his unending creativity, make him a visionary — a heroic icon that will be both influential and memorable.
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Saturday, May 27, 2017

How Trudie Styler’s Experience Being Bullied Inspired Her Directorial Debut ‘Freak Show’

Variety How Trudie Styler’s Experience Being Bullied Inspired Her Directorial Debut ‘Freak Show’ By Brent Lang Senior Film and Media Editor MAY 25, 2017 trudie-styler Trudie Styler, best known as Sting’s better half, doesn’t like an audience. As she sits down at the rooftop restaurant of a Cannes hotel to discuss “Freak Show,” her feature film directorial debut, she gently asks if her publicist can grab a coffee, saying she gets nervous talking in front of several people. “I’ll make sure we don’t talk about tantric sex,” she jokes, a nod to the much-picked over aspects of her love life with Sting. At 63, Styler is elegant and regal, every inch a rock star’s wife, but she connected with the story of “Freak Show” because of her own sense of being an outsider. The film follows Billy, a gay teenager, who struggles to fit in after being transplanted to a high school in the deep South. Despite facing harassment, he decides to run for homecoming queen. It’s based on a book by James St. James, best known for his involvement in New York City’s club scene in the 1980s and ’90s. “Freak Show” will be released in the U.S. by IFC later this year. “Every teenager feels like a freak,” Styler said. “It’s part of being a teenager, part of the individuation from child to adult — those teenage years are who am I? What am I? Where am I going? We all struggle to find our place and schools can be cruel to kids who aren’t part of a pack.” For Styler, finding a safe haven as a child was difficult. An accident with a truck when she was two and a half, and subsequent surgeries, left her face lined with deep, red scars. She remembers having a group of kids stand in a circle around her, calling her “scarface.” “That wasn’t great,” Styler said. “That didn’t do a lot for my self esteem, but as the scars faded, and I became an older teenager and started to date, things got better.” Styler said she became an actress in order to experience other lives, to play queens and powerful women, as a way of coping with that childhood trauma. “It let me get away from me,” she said. “Becoming an actor let me escape the me that I had in my heart, which was I’m a loser.” Styler had been thinking about directing for a while, but she only decided to slide behind the camera after the filmmaker that had originally been hired for “Freak Show” left at the eleventh hour. A relative novice, she decided to concentrate heavily on assembling her case, imploring Bette Midler, a friend, to take the part of Billy’s mother, and tapping Alex Lawther from “The Imitation Game” to play the main role. She had met Lawther at a film premiere and was impressed with his way with a bon mot. The project was shot before Donald Trump was elected president, but Styler believes that his election gives the picture and its message of tolerance and compassion greater resonance. It also hits as North Carolina’s “bathroom bill,” which states transgender people must use the bathroom corresponding to the sex on their birth certificate, continues to be a hot button issue. “We’re marching backward,” Styler said. “The environment has changed since Obama has left. It’s become meaner. It’s become, for people who are figuring out gender issues, terrifying.” Though Styler didn’t originally intend to direct “Freak Show,” her move behind the camera is in keeping with her work in recent years. In 2011, she joined with “The Kids Are All Right” producer Celine Rattray to form Maven Pictures, a company dedicated to promoting female talent. Together they’ve backed Andrea Arnold’s “American Honey,” Maggie Betts’ “Novitiate,” and Kasi Lemmons’ “Black Nativity,” acclaimed works by women. The push to close the gender gap comes as female filmmakers account for just 7% of directors on top-grossing films and 24% of producers. “When you look at the majority of narratives in most movies, they are male-driven narratives because in almost every aspect of the entertainment industry, from the exhibitors backwards to distributors and financiers, it’s a male-driven society,” Styler said. Maven, she hopes, will be part of a larger change. “We are a small company, but we’re making our mark,” Styler said. “I hope when people see that female-led production companies are working, there will be more of us.”
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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Ready to rumble? Sean Hannity challenges Bette Midler to a debate

Twitchy Ready to rumble? Sean Hannity challenges Bette Midler to a debate May 11, 2017 By Sarah D. So, who’s up for a battle royale? Yesterday, Bette Midler took a swipe at Sean Hannity over his comments on the Comey firing: Bette Midler   ?@BetteMidler

This is hilarious! says Comey is a national embarrassment because of his erratic behavior! Obviously he has him mixed up w/POTUS! https://twitter.com/Carol_24_7/status/862340796669755393 

  2016-08-07_4-47-44 This afternoon, Hannity responded by challenging Midler to a debate on his turf at Fox News: Sean Hannity   ?@seanhannity

Hey Bette, how about a one on one debate. 1 HR FNC, We can do it for charity. Topic; Did HRC break laws, and lie to the American people? https://twitter.com/bettemidler/status/862425592037289984 

Think she’ll be up for it? Jay Cost ? @JayCostTWS

Hannity and Midler could charge $59.99 on pay per view, and I would gladly watch. https://twitter.com/seanhannity/status/862750681664557057  ...  Read More

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Bette Midler could have a shock new role planned for 2020

Starts At 60 STARTS AT 60 WRITERS May 17, 20172017-05-17_23-09-01 Bette Midler‘s made no secret of her disdain for Donald Trump. We’ve seen her sing, dance and act her socks off, but Bette Midler for US President? Don’t rule it out. The sassy showbiz legend has gone into meltdown on Twitter over what’s being reported as President Donald Trump’s latest blunder – giving US state secrets to Russia. Midler asked where all the great White House advisers had gone, naming some of the most celebrated men to have advised presidents in the past, including Clark Clifford and James Baker, and it was all in capitals, just to underline how infuriated she was. But it was her next tweet that got her followers excited, when she suggested that even she make a better president than Trump. =&0=&@BetteMidler

FYI. Morons “R” Us: Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador http://wapo.st/2pPSCIo?tid=ss_tw&utm_term=.ffdc432fb55c 

Photo published for Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador

Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador

The president was boasting of the ‘great intel’ he receives when he discussed intelligence provided by a U.S. partner.

washingtonpost.com Twitter Ads info & Privacy =&1=&@BetteMidler

WHERE ARE THE CLARK CLIFFORDS, JIM BAKERS AND BOB STRAUSSES OF THE WORLD? EVEN KARL ROVE? MR TRUMP IS SLOWLY, AND SURELY BURYING HIMSELF.

Twitter Ads info & Privacy =&2=&@BetteMidler

Honest to God, I’d make a better President than this guy, and I’m about clueless! At least I’d have the good sense not to blab to the enemy! ...  Read More

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Bette Midler: I’d ‘make a better president … and I’m about clueless!’

The Hill Bette Midler: I’d ‘make a better president … and I’m about clueless!’ BY JUDY KURTZ – 05/16/17 01:41 PM EDT 2017-05-08_3-02-09 Bette Midler says even though she’s “about clueless,” she thinks she’d “make a better president” than Donald Trump. The 71-year-old, currently starring in a Broadway revival of “Hello, Dolly!” and a vocal critic of the commander in chief, took to Twitter on Tuesday to blast Trump following a bombshell report that he disclosed classified intelligence information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador during a White House meeting last week. Midler wrote to her more than one million followers: 2017-05-17_4-03-44 The Golden Globe winner wrote a day earlier that Trump “is slowly, and surely burying himself.” Shortly after The Washington Post reported Monday that Trump revealed highly classified information to a U.S. adversary, Midler tweeted a link to the story and wrote, “Morons ‘R’ Us.” It’s hardly the first time the politically active singer — who appeared at a fundraiser for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton last year — has denounced the president on social media. Midler and Trump tussled on Twitter back in 2012 2017-05-17_4-08-29
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