HomePosts Tagged "Bette Midler"

Bette Midler Tag

Exit Lines LogoThe 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards were held Sunday night. I was there in spirit, as my group (which at long last has a viable website), celebrated the best in New York theatre on, Off, and Off Off Broadway in the 2012-2013 season.

As a former Drama Desk Board Member and nominator (2007-2008 season), I can attest to a rigorous, and fair, process in determining the nominations. My nominating committee looked at about 300 shows from top to bottom, considering all pertinent aspects of each production, and left no stone unturned. Despite some backstage antics my year (you can look it up), it was very satisfying to evaluate all those shows. (And very tiring; many Saturdays and Sundays I saw three or four shows per day, and if you thought nothing’s happening on Monday nights, think again.)

A Drama Desk nomination is especially meaningful for those toiling off the beaten path Off and Off Off Broadway, where the work isn’t as

[caption id="attachment_100933" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Barbara Hershey and Bette Midler in "Beaches" (Walt Disney Pictures)[/caption] "Wind Beneath My Wings" expresses a lovely sentiment: "you're my hero, you're everything I would like to be, whatever I am capable of doing is because of you." If anyone ever said

“Being told that girls can’t play rock ‘n’ roll — I mean, even as a kid, it was so illogical to me. It’s like, what do you mean? That girls can’t master the instruments? I’m in school with girls playing cello and violin and Beethoven and Bach. You don’t mean they can’t master the instrument. What you mean is they’re not allowed, socially — it’s a societal thing.” Joan Jett, Interview magazine, 2010.

Chicks can rock. And they do. Even if they’re not playing rock ‘n’ roll, a female musician has just as much power to melt your face off with their talent and attitude as any male musician. Is it because they have something to prove? Maybe. Is it because they have generations worth of anger at stereotypes and oppression to strike back against? Perhaps. But most likely, chicks who rock do so because it’s in their blood; making music is what drives them, gives them a reason to wake up in the morning. Despite all the bullshit that surrounds being a female musician, they stick with it, thus inspiring legions of other girls to do the same — and inspiring filmmakers to tell their stories.

There are many films about musicians, but not a great deal about female musicians, particularly female rock musicians. Even so, coming up with my list of favorites was tough. I originally wanted to only write about films featuring women rock musicians, but I decided to broaden my scope a little bit when I realized there were a lot of movies about or featuring badass chicks whose music wasn’t rock, but they rocked anyway (does that make sense?).

My list includes both fictional chicks who rock and biopics about kick-ass lady musicians. There is a bit of a blur between those lines with some of these films, as they are not outright biopics, but are clearly inspired by certain female musicians. I’m sure my list is missing some of your favorite chicks who rock, so let me know who makes your list in the comments.

If you are a woman, the relationship you have with your best girlfriends is special. It’s different than any you have with your parents, siblings, romantic partners or even other friends. Your best girlfriend almost always knows you better than anyone else. You trust her with your secrets and you know that she is someone you can turn to no matter what. She’s someone who will listen to your problems and be honest with you, even it if it hurts.

A best girlfriend will be there to console you when you get dumped at 1 A.M. by that asshole you’ve been sleeping with who’s been stringing you along for months. And even though she insisted you could do better and you should stop seeing him a long time ago, but you didn’t listen to her, she’ll take you to an all-night diner and buy you pancakes and coffee and let you cry and bitch and moan without judging you or telling you she told you so.

A true best friend will go shopping with you and tell you when a dress you’ve chosen is totally fug and will help you pick out clothes that hide your fat rolls and make your boobs and ass look amazing. She will talk you out of buying those boots you love that cost almost as much as your rent because she knows you can’t afford them and she doesn’t want you selling any of your other possessions to make ends meet — or asking her for money that she doesn’t have but wouldn’t refuse you.

A BFF will gladly judge horrible skanks that your ex is now sleeping with, but will stop you from making an ass out of yourself when you drunkenly decide to approach the bitch and tell her what you think of her. She won’t judge you when you show up to brunch with greasy bangs and mascara smudged under your eyes, wearing the same clothes you had on the night before.

She will talk to you on the phone for hours about nothing in particular, but won’t be offended if you don’t call her for two weeks. She will organize your wedding and/or baby shower, even if she hates weddings and babies. She will throw you a surprise party when you think everyone has forgotten your birthday. And if something unfortunate happens, like a death in the family or a bout of depression, she will be there with a fresh box of tissues, your favorite ice cream and many, many hugs.

She will tell you when you’re being a bitch and will expect you to do the same for her. And she will always remind you that, no matter what happens,  you’re awesome and fuck anyone who doesn’t think so.

Wow. That all sounded like one of those awful “In honor of women” forwards your crazy aunt who barely knows how to use her Hotmail account sends you every other week, doesn’t it? Well, whatever. I love my friends and I’m lucky to have such fierce ladies in my life.

Inspired by a recent viewing of one of my favorite films, Walking and Talking, and the success of the hit female buddy comedy Bridesmaids (which I still haven’t seen because I’m terrible), I thought I’d revisit some of my favorite female BFFs in film. Whether they’re laughing, crying, talking about sex or plotting murder, these ladies all share a strong bond that (for the most part) can’t be broken. And that’s why I love them.

My list was originally a lot longer than this, but then I noticed that several of the ladies I had listed were BFFs who happened to also be co-workers, so I decided they’d become their own Filminism post later on.

Who are your favorite female friendships in film? Tell me in the comments!

Warning: some of the clips below might be a little spoilery.

Johnny Carson was the king of late night for a reason. He could handle any situation put in front of him with ease and he never lost his cool. When a joke, a sketch or a guest were about to go bust, all Carson had to do was make a deadpan glance at the camera, roll his eyes, or deliver a perfectly time comeback to create a classic comic moment. Together with his trusty sideman, Ed McMahon, and bandleaders Skitch Henderson (up until 1966) and Doc Severinsen, Carson ruled the after hours because he was always in control. Before the airwaves became crowded with late night yap fests, there was only one destination if stars wanted to plug their projects or simply sit down and have a good time for an hour. That place was the couch next to Carson’s desk.

This beautifully packaged box set contains 15 discs of complete episodes (not highlights) covering Carson’s four decades as Tonight Show host. It offers just a taste of the wit and genius that Carson possessed. Starting with his wily days as a young gun in the 60’s, transitioning to the 70’s, when he became the consummate talk show host, sliding into the 80’s when he hit his peak, and wrapping it up in the early 90’s, just before he decided it was time to retire, the 30 hours on these DVD’s offer a chunk of television history. Anyone who enjoys Dave, Jimmy, Conan, Craig, the other Jimmy, Leno, and maybe Lopez, should watch this collection to understand what all of those hosts are trying to achieve each night. They’re all successful in their own way, but  none of them have the same stature as Carson.

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I’m going to issue you a promise — I promise to never Rickroll you again (in this series). I mean, there’s no way I could top last week’s shenanigans anyway.

As a reminder to those who are just tuning in, I only leave each week’s songs up until the next week’s entry is posted. After that you’re out of luck. But as a special treat, I’m going to leave “American Memories” posted for a second week. For those who still haven’t located it, go to the very bottom of last week’s post and look for “an extra song.” Sorry, I don’t take requests, so you’ve got one more week to pick it up.

As far as this week goes, M’s been such a mixed bag so far — we’ve seen some really good artists and heard a lot of rare songs, but this week we visit one of my least favorite artists of the decade. Way to kill my momentum, M!

There’s a whopping 23 songs in this post. Enjoy all but the last six as we continue looking at the ass end of the Billboard Hot 100 chart during the ’80s.

Menudo
“Hold Me” — 1985, #62 (download)

menudoPuberty is bad. Very bad. If you didn’t know that then you haven’t been following Menudo at all. Menudo is a rotating cast of children that got fired when they reached puberty to keep the group young looking. It must have been great for the gaggle of kids that were in this band at one point or another to sing for a while and then have your dreams shattered when you got a little hair on the family jewels. They’ve had like 40 records or so – which I guess isn’t so hard when you’re simply a corporation. “Hold Me” was their only US hit and one of the voices on here is courtesy of the most famous of all members of Menudo, Mr. Ricky Martin.

Men Without Hats
“I Like” — 1983, #84 (download)

I like bacon, long secluded periods of time with only Ambrosia records to listen to and your cute sister. Oh, and I like this song, the follow-up to “The Safety Dance.”

Freddie Mercury
“Love Kills” — 1984, #69 (download)
“I Was Born to Love You” — 1985, #76 (download)

I’m kind of torn what to think of either of these tracks. “Love Kills” is the better of the two, from the soundtrack of the movie Metropolis. But Queen clearly saw something in “I Was Born to Love You,” as the remaining members of the band reworked it for their 1995 album Made in Heaven. Neither of them really blow me away. I think Mr. Hughes likes “Love Kills” more than me, though.

Hey, hey, hey! It’s Friday, and you know what that (sometimes) means! That’s right, it’s time to take a look at another Billboard Top 10 from ages past, and today we’re heading back a full 20 years to see what the charts were like on May 13, 1989!

10. Wind Beneath My Wings — Bette Midler Amazon iTunes
9. Patience — Guns n’ Roses Amazon iTunes
8. Rock On — Michael Damian Amazon iTunes
7. Second Chance — 38 Special Amazon iTunes
6. After All — Cher and Peter Cetera Amazon iTunes
5. Soldier of Love — Donny Osmond Amazon iTunes
4. Forever Your Girl — Paula Abdul Amazon iTunes
3. Real Love — Jody Watley Amazon iTunes
2. Like a Prayer — Madonna Amazon iTunes
1. I’ll Be There for You — Bon Jovi Amazon iTunes

10. Wind Beneath My Wings — Bette Midler

I try to stay away from directly quoting Wikipedia entries, but this sentence is just perfect: “Because of the song’s soaring imagery and the extreme earnestness of Midler’s iconic performance, the song has become ripe for parody.” I mean, that’s totally it, isn’t it? It doesn’t really get any more earnest than this, unless you count “From a Distance,” which was totally Midler’s (successful) attempt to repeat her newfound success as an inspirational singer. Midler didn’t actually care for the song when she first heard it — she was convinced to do it by Marc Shaiman, her long-time musical director (as well as the genius behind the songs in the Broadway version of Hairspray and a million other movies, including South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut and Team America: World Police). The song won Grammy awards for both Record of the Year and Song of the Year, but strangely lost the Earworm of the Year award to “Love Shack.”

Although the song will always be tied to Bette Midler, she was far from the first person to record it. The song was written in 1982 by Jeff Silbar and Larry Henley, and was first rejected by Kenny Rogers and Barry Manilow. (When Barry Manilow is turning down your sappy song, you know you’re in trouble.) Artists who recorded the song before Midler include Roger Whittaker, Sheena Easton, Lou Rawls, Lee Greenwood, B.J. Thomas, Gladys Knight (her version was called “Hero”) and Gary Morris, who recorded a country version, much to the chagrin of Silbar and Henley…until it won Song of the Year at the Country Music Awards. Apparently when Morris performs it, he often says “Bette is free to sing this however she wants, but personally, I think she butchered it.” Har!

My favorite version, however, is the duet between Midler and Krusty.

9. Patience — Guns n’ Roses

Written by Izzy Stradlin, “Patience” peaked at #4 on the charts and, recorded in a single session with three acoustic guitars, clearly showed a different side of the band. It very clearly said to audiences that Guns n’ Roses wasn’t just happy getting with teenage girls backstage. They wanted their mothers, too. Even my Lionel Richie-lovin’ mother liked this song…until the end when Axl started that “awful screaming” (which is kind of my favorite part of the song). By the way, I wish people would take that specific vocal section into account before they decide to sing this song at karaoke. It’s always painful.

8. Rock On — Michael Damian (download)

What’s sadder: the fact that I hadn’t heard “Rock On” before Damian’s version, or that I can immediately tell you that this was on the soundtrack to Dream a Little Dream, the movie starring Corey Feldman and Corey Haim? Both are pretty sad, don’t you think? I agree. (I’m sure Kelly Stitzel is with me on this one.)

You may be thinking what I’m thinking: Michael Damian, “Rock On,” total one-hit wonder, right? Actually, it turns out that he’s had two other hits in the Top 40, both in 1989: “Was It Nothing At All” made it all the way to #24, and “Cover of Love” reached #31. Damian had recorded “Rock On” a couple of years earlier in his garage with his two brothers, but it was rejected by most record labels. Dream a Little Dream director Mark Rocco asked Damian’s brothers if they could write some music for the soundtrack, and they brought him “Rock On.” The track reached #1 in early June and surpassed the original, a #5 for David Essex in ’74.

Apart from “Rock On,” Damian’s had numerous successes: he played a lead role on The Young and the Restless for 18 years, appeared in the revival of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (and earned a Grammy nomination), and even won the BMI Songwriting Award for “Was It Nothing At All.” Furthermore, he’s directed two award-winning independent films! So there’s no mocking Damian here, folks. This guy hasn’t really done anything to…aw, Jesus. Wait a second.