Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Wait, don't run away! I'M YOUR BIGGEST FAN!!

When I was about 7 years old my best friend and I watched the movie Big Business, with Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin (I'll save my love fest for Lily Tomlin for another time - I know you are disappointed). When I mention this movie to people, they almost always have no idea what I'm talking about. I'm fairly certain we were the only two 7 year olds who were more obsessed with a cheesy Bette Midler movie than The Little Mermaid. For some reason, that particular movie really made an impression on us. Perhaps it was the yodeling or Bette Midler's giant hat. From that point on there was a period of at least 2 years when we were pretending to be Bette Midler. We watched the movie over and over and over until we could re-enact almost the entire script without the TV on. This probably explains a lot.

Shortly afterwards Beaches came out and her popularity soared. I figured everyone else was finally realizing what we already knew. Bette Midler was the coolest thing since side-ponytails and garbage pail kids. I started asking for Bette Midler movies for my birthday and Christmas and I did 2 reports on her in school (that was when she filed the restraining order - totally unnecessary).

Once I found what I believed to be her address in one of those teen magazines, but because this was no frivolous affair, I put off writing to her until I was older and wiser. I hoped to be able to say what I wanted without sounding like every other fan. So I never wrote the letter. Because when it came down to it, I was just another fan.

But come on, who doesn't like a little Bette Midler now and then? Especially in her early years when she was wild and outspoken with live shows that were totally unpredictable, like this one described in an article for Circus:

"Since California state statutes were being changed at midnight to reduce the penalty for possession of small amounts of marijuana to misdemeanor, Bette wanted to tape a joint to the bottom of every seat of the theater as a New Year's surprise. Her staff had purportedly rolled 1800 joints before word leaked out and the project was halted by the district attorney's office. Still determined to give her audience that little something extra, at the stroke of midnight, goes the story, Bette dropped the top of her dress and manager Aaron Russo dropped the curtain."

I think the main thing that made Bette Midler stand out to me was her honesty. She didn't tiptoe around something, she just said it. She knew she was good at what she did and wasn't afraid to show it. She didn't care what the critics said, because she was doing what she loved to do and she wasn't even apologetic for being tacky, she reveled in it.

"I married a German. Every night I dress up as Poland and he invades me."

"I never know how much of what I say is true."

"Group conformity scares the pants off me because it's so often a prelude to cruelty towards anyone who doesn't want to - or can't - join the Big Parade."

-Bette Midler

1 comment:

cameo said...

hear hear bette!
personally, i love women who have clogged filtering systems.
we have a way of weeding out the crap a whole lot faster that way!!!
and i'm totally all for the joint under the chair thing. i think more people should smoke. the world would probably be a much beter place if they did.