Monday, April 20, 2015

Bette Midler on Extra

Bette talks to Extra’s Adam Weissler about her Divine Intervention Tour 2015, and more.

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"Find your Light; They can't love you if they can't see you" ~ Bette Midler

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‘20 Feet From Stardom’ puts a spotlight on Darlene Love

Bay State Banner
‘20 Feet From Stardom’ puts a spotlight on Darlene Love
Colette Greenstein | 4/15/2015, 12:14 p.m.

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Introduced by Bette Midler and inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2011, Darlene Love has long been “the voice” heard in the background of some of music’s biggest artists from Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, The Righteous Brothers and Tom Jones to Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick and Cher, just to name a few.

Since the release of the documentary 20 Feet From Stardom in 2013, which also won the 2014 Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, Love’s life and her music have finally hit center stage. Directed by Morgan Neville, the film puts a spotlight on the untold and true stories of backup singers Merry Clayton, Claudia Lennear, Lisa Fischer, Judith Hill, Táta Vega, The Waters and Love, who were the voices performing behind some of the biggest names in the music business.

Since appearing in the documentary, “wonderful doors have opened for me,” says Love by phone in a recent call with the Banner. In February of this year, the 70-something singer won a Grammy in the category of Best Music Film for 20 Feet From Stardom, which she shares with Merry Clayton, Lisa Fisher and Judith Hill.

Earlier this month, Love was one of the signature speakers at the 2015 Simmons Women’s Leadership Conference which was held on Thursday, April 2 at the Seaport World Trade Center. It was her first time speaking at the conference and she was thrilled to be invited.

“They want to hear about my life and they want to hear me speak,” says Love of the invitation to attend the conference.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Dare to Compete” and of its meaning to Love, she says “you have to recreate yourself.”

“To compete you have to be what they want you to be and still be yourself,” she said, adding that her love for music and performing “is about lifting up the audience.”

With a career spanning over 50 years, Love’s journey has included being a part of Phil Specter’s legendary “wall of sound” hit factory, a recurring role as Danny Glover’s wife in the Lethal Weapon movies, and roles on Broadway in Hairspray and Grease. Over the last 25 years, Love has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman during Christmas week, singing her holiday classic, Baby Please Come Home.

Other opportunities have come her way including singing with Bette Midler on her song, He’s Sure The Boy I Love off Midler’s latest album It’s the Girls!, singing at the White House and performing now throughout the year at festivals which she hadn’t done previously.

And, a movie about her life, based on her memoir My Name Is Love: The Darlene Love Story (which is being re-released by Harper Collins’ on June 4), is in the works under Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network. Love, who is an executive producer on the film, mentions they’re currently in production and looking for writers now. The hope is that “if 20 Feet From Stardom made people cry and laugh then the movie needs to make people feel the same way,” says Love of the upcoming project.

In the meantime, Love continues touring with concerts this month at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, N.J. and in June at B.B. King Blues Club in New York. With the success of the documentary, she’d like to do another television show, a situation comedy to “let people see the funny side of me,” she says.

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"Find your Light; They can't love you if they can't see you" ~ Bette Midler

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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Shoe collection extension of foot doctor’s profession

Star News Online
Shoe collection extension of foot doctor‘s profession
April 10, 2015

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Shaquille O’Neal wears a size 22 shoe. It’s enormous. To say it looks like a boat would be an understatement – it looks like a yacht, a ship, an ark.

The only thing larger in Dr. Robert McConekey’s unusual collection is a plaster cast of Sasquatch‘s foot. And that’s only about an inch longer than the basketball star’s sneaker.

McConekey is a podiatrist, a foot doctor. He and his wife, Dr. Carine Khouri, operate Southeastern Foot & Ankle Associates.

He has a shoe collection, which he displays in a glass case for the amusement of his clients. He rotates the items on display since he doesn’t want to turn his 17th Street office into a full-fledged shoe museum.

He’s got Cher’s shoes and Bette Midler’s, both very stylish. Football great Paul Hornung‘s has a foothold in the collection, and there’s a pair of shoes from the movie “Forrest Gump.” Tiger Woods‘ shoes are out in the waiting room.

There’s a pair of World War II boots and a single shoe from the bloody Civil War battle at Shiloh, in Tennessee.

“Who knows, maybe this was on an amputated limb,” he said. “Or maybe it got stuck in the mud.”

Not far from Shaq’s huge shoe is a tiny Lotus shoe, made for a Chinese woman whose feet were bound in childhood. It was a cruel practice, now outlawed. A little girl’s feet were folded so the toes touched the heel and then tightly bound to remain that way.

McConekey’s shoe is four inches long and belonged to an adult.

This woman couldn’t walk. It was a status symbol for men to have as many feet-bound women as they could afford to keep, a mark of beauty and dependency.

Sasquatch’s “foot” is cast from a footprint supposedly found in Washington state.

“I have to assume that somebody made this, and it had to be somebody with a little knowledge” of foot physiology, McConekey said.

The toes go in slightly different directions, he noted, an irregularity that makes the footprint seem more realistic than a perfectly shaped foot might appear.

McConekey’s favorite shoe doesn’t involve celebrities or abominable snowmen.

“It’s my father’s baby shoes, his bronzed baby shoes,” he said. McConekey’s mother sent them to him about six months after his father passed away.

McConekey and his wife moved to Wilmington in 2003, taking over the practice of the late Dr. Frank Costin, who was transitioning into retirement.

So what is podiatry like?

“We see everything from toes to heel,” McConekey quipped.

He said there’s a seasonal aspect to podiatry, with more sports injuries in the summer along with the hurts that come from going barefooted.

Fall brings a return to closed shoes and accompanying bunions. Bone spurs pinch more in the shoes of autumn.

Serving our market, the couple sees occupational injuries that occur in a service economy from people who spend long hours on hard floors, working in restaurants and medical facilities.

McConekey laments that people often wear the wrong shoes.

He’s not a big fan of “minimalist” shoes that provide little support and cushioning.

“Some people like the way a shoe looks rather than how it feels,” he said. “You want a shoe that feels good rather than looks good.”

Our feet swell during the day, so for a better fit buy shoes in the afternoon, not in the morning.

He recommends women wear heels of an inch or less.

“High heels change the center of balance,” he said, putting more pressure on the ball of the foot.

And a pointed “toe box” is trouble. Just look at them: Pointed shoes don’t look like feet. Squared-off or rounded shoes will cause less damage.

“Be kind to your toes, leave them a little more space,” he said.

Column idea? Contact Si Cantwell at 343-2364 or Si.Cantwell@StarNewsOnline.com, or follow him on Twitter.com: @SiCantwell.

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Bette will be on NBC’s The Today Show Tuesday, April 28th. Don’t forget to DVR!

Bette will be on NBC’s The Today Show Tuesday, April 28th. Don’t forget to DVR!

 

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"Find your Light; They can't love you if they can't see you" ~ Bette Midler

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The music industry has a math problem

Quartz
The music industry has a math problem
April 10, 2015

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The standard music superstar critique of services like Pandora and Spotify (there have been a lot of them lately) goes something like this:

My song was played millions of times on [insert service here] and all I got was a lousy few dollars.

For specific examples see: Pharrell Williams, Aloe Blacc (the singer on Aviici’s “Wake Me Up,” the most streamed song on Spotify) and um, Bette Midler.

Taylor Swift didn’t get into this level of detail when she criticized (and then withdrew her back catalog from) Spotify last year. Neither did Jay Z when he launched his competitor to Spotify last month. But their concerns about streaming are broadly similar, and have fed into the narrative that digital music services are shortchanging artists by paying minuscule amounts in royalties for huge numbers of track spins.

These royalties often are contrasted with bigger payouts from old-fashioned broadcast radio. The problem is that this is a completely misleading comparison. And here is why:

A single stream of a song on Pandora or Spotify typically reaches an audience of one person. A single spin of a song on radio reaches an audience many times bigger than that, depending on the actual size of the station’s listenership.

This matters because the US government officials are currently considering sweeping changes to the system for music licensing in the US and, perhaps influenced by the rhetoric, they are expected to rule in favor of publishing companies and songwriters by changing arrangements that have been in place since the 1940s.

The fuzzy math was on display at a Senate hearing (video) in March, when the songwriter Lee Thomas Miller contrasted the payouts for a song that gets played 1 million times on radio (which he said was the “threshold” for a hit) with the smaller payout on songs streamed many multiple times of that online. Pandora’s vice president of business affairs, Christopher Harrison countered: “To reach a million people on, for example, Z100, the largest radio station in New York City, you would only have to play that song 16 times.”

David Oxenford, an copyright lawyer based in Washington, also wrote about the confusion in a blog post this week.

[E]quating a million spins on over-the-air radio to a million spins on an Internet-based digital music service is a meaningless comparison. To be equivalent, that million spins on over-the-air radio, when spread across stations around the country may mean that a billion impressions were made on people who heard the song played – the equivalent to a billion spins on a digital music service – a much rarer feat.

It’s a bit like what Steve Albini, the famous record producer, told Quartz last year: “I think there is incorrect calculus being done by the people who are upset” over streaming music services.

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"Find your Light; They can't love you if they can't see you" ~ Bette Midler

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Friday, April 17, 2015

Barry Manilow: In An Age Of OverSharing, He Did It His Way

The Telegraph
Marrying a man isn’t the most curious thing Barry Manilow has ever done
April 10, 2015

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The news that Barry Manilow has married his long-time manager Garry Kief, and can therefore be legitimately described as gay, belongs in that dusty drawer of the long-distance pop watchers’ memory labelled “didn’t we know this already?” The really surprising thing about Manilow’s marriage, which he hasn’t bothered to officially confirm, is that it took place months ago at his home in front of 30 friends, none of whom felt tempted to tweet about it or post a picture of the happy couple on Instagram.

In my time as a pop-watcher, I have seen the sexuality of performers move so far from being something it would be impolite to enquire about to being the subject that everybody expects to be front and centre that I have naturally assumed that all the artists who wished their public to know about their lifestyle had taken the necessary steps. It appears not.

Back in the late 60s, when homosexual acts were first de-criminalised, the line used to be “Legal? It should be compulsory!” – but it was still only uttered behind closed doors. In the current climate of over-share, it can only be a matter of time before some pop stars desperate for the exposure invites us to witness their first gay experience live via Periscope.

Let me tell you, it wasn’t always this way. When Barry Manilow first came to prominence in 1971 – as the pianist and arranger behind the up-and-coming Bette Midler – it simply wasn’t discussed.

The first gay rights demonstrations might have been taking place that year, but when Midler went on Johnny Carson’s show to talk about the audience of towel-clad, moist young men who packed into New York’s Continental Baths to hear her torch songs and camp classics, she described them as “happy” rather than gay. Of course, Carson was in on the gag, but it wouldn’t have been acceptable to share it with his viewers.

Newspapers, whatever their politics or claims to be catering for the family, would not have printed an interview in which any artist talked about being gay and therefore the question wasn’t asked. Back then, let’s not forget, Elton John was straight, as was Rock Hudson, along with every other actor and actress on TV, every sports star in the world and all politicians. Outside of the magic circle of intimates, where someone’s sexuality would be taken for granted, it simply wasn’t an issue.

Like Reg Dwight from Pinner, Barry Pincus from Brooklyn was classically trained and tethered to the piano, the instrument behind which it’s impossible to be successfully charismatic. Like him, he got his first job as a musical director, on the last episodes of the Ed Sullivan Show. Like Elton, Manilow did commercials, jingles, anything that would pay. Like Elton, he married a woman, Susan Deixler, when he was 21, but evidently thought better of it.

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Bette Midler provided his big break. He co-produced her 1972 debut album The Divine Ms M, but wasn’t content to remain in the supporting cast. He refused to go on tour with her in 1973 unless she gave him a featured spot. “I told her, if I don’t sing for me, I don’t play for you.” She had a tantrum but gave in. Nobody wants their musical director walking out on the eve of a big tour.

The other key figure in Manilow’s rise was Clive Davis, who by then was the boss of Arista Records. Davis has a genius for recognising what kind of artists middle America will take to its heart and he saw something in Manilow he could work with. He forced him to record somebody else’s song “Brandy”, because he thought it could be a hit. He even insisted on changing the name to “Mandy” to avoid confusion with an earlier hit. Manilow was, Davis recalled, “a little insulted”. Since it was a number one single for him in 1975 and for Westlife in 2003, we can assume he got over it.

That was just the beginning of a succession of songs – “Could It Be Magic”, “I Made It Through The Rain”, “Weekend In New England”, “Can’t Smile Without You”, “I Write The Songs” (which was actually written by Bruce Johnston of the Beach Boys) and “Copacabana”, songs which will be familiar to anyone who’s wandered around a supermarket or attended a wedding in the last 40 years.

When Manilow found that his audience no longer wanted his self-penned material, he made the move into duets, Christmas albums and the same classic American songbook that’s been profitably mined by that other evergreen crooner, Rod Stewart. He has triumphed at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, a city that handsomely rewards the ability to look as if you’re having the time of your life when you must be bored out of your mind. Like all the great troupers, he understands that while for you this may be the umpteenth time, for the audience it’s the one and only time and so you’d best make it feel that way. That’s why half the songs Manilow performs seem to have a slow wind-up before the finish, as if it would be short-changing an audience to send them into the night with anything less than 20 climaxes.

There is a theory that pop stars remain emotionally frozen at the age at which they first become stars. Nowadays, the technology is available to make sure that they can be physically frozen in the same way as well. When Barry goes on stage today, he certainly doesn’t look like a man in his seventies, not even one who reputedly brushes his teeth every two hours. He’s had a lot of trouble with his hip, and there have been times when going on stage causes him physical pain.

Why does he continue to do it? Why do any of these people who’ve had all the wealth and acclaim anyone could ever want? Ask Bob Dylan, who stopped Manilow at a party in the late 80s, looked him in the eye and said: “Don’t stop doing what you’re doing, man.”

Manilow is shrewd enough, and self-doubting enough, to have stepped out of the party after that because he needed to ponder whether Dylan was having a joke. Of course it could be that with people who’ve been stars this long, there is no longer any division between the performance and the person. Barry Manilow has a lot in common with Bob Dylan. It’s an act that goes so deep, it’s no longer an act.

 

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"Find your Light; They can't love you if they can't see you" ~ Bette Midler

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

6 Secrets Of ‘Badass Babes’ Who Never Age

Huffington Post
6 Secrets Of ‘Badass Babes’ Who Never Age
April 14, 2015

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Here’s the thing about “Badass Babes”, we don’t wait for anything. It’s a part of our charm. A Badass Babe” doesn’t wait for her knight in shining armor, for happily ever after, or for someone else to create the awesome in her life. She creates it.

Badass Babes know how to stick out one hip defiantly at life, while simultaneously winking seductively. She can figure out how to make things “all better” for herself, and isn’t stuck waiting for the next bus to drive by. She knows how to hail a cab.

She’s the kind of woman that walks courageously into the middle of everything and literally creates her own universe. Let’s face it; a Badass Babe knows how to spin adventure, create fun and turn on the sexy. And of course Badass Babes share our secrets, because there’s no great fun in being a “Badass Babe” all alone! We love to run in packs.

Badass Babes Ageless Tips:

1 Screw your reputation: This is the code of the truly ageless Badass Babe and Rumi wrote it hundreds of years ago:

“Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.”

Badass Babes know this famous poem by heart and even have the magnet on their refrigerator door as a daily reminder. Get it. Read it. Live by it. Stuffing down who you really are is a waste of time and can lead to blocked chakras. Do you want a blocked chakra? Of course you don’t!

You know when you have entered the realm of the Badass Babe when you have finally figured out that you only have to answer to yourself. You have stopped worrying about showing your upper arms in public, putting a purple streak in your hair, and frankly what other people think. You no longer need anyone to tell you that you are getting it right or wrong. You trust your own passion and desires; and you are willing to change course in mid life and go after your hearts desire. Badass Babes make U-turns sometimes without signaling, and sometimes cause the occasional scandal. Come on, don’t you want to give “them” something to talk about ?

2. Badass Babes own their Own Bodies: And that can mean deciding to sculpt and color and decorate their bodies as they desire; so from going gray to purple streaks it’s up to them. So Badass Bad Girls may tattoo their skin to mark stages of their lives, or just for beauty. They may pierce. And they may visit the Plastic Surgeon. The magnificent Helen Gurley Brown was the baddest, badass babe around, and she said it best when challenged around her devotion to plastic surgery: “Capped teeth, hip replacements, dyed hair, pace makers, blood transfusions and polo vaccines are not natural either!” Amen sistah. I recently asked Dr. Richard Swift, M.D., F.A.C.S., a board certified plastic surgeon, while I was sitting in his office getting “botoxed” what kind of woman comes into his office these days. “Are they frightened of aging?” I asked him. Dr. Swift laughed. “No, they are wanting to live from the inside out; and wanting their outside to continue to reflect that fire that is wildly alive inside of them.”

Exactly. Badass Babes own their bodies. It’s our own canvas to do with what we desire and we can paint whatever picture we would like. From Botox and fillers to deciding to eat a hamburger instead of a kale salad (in public!), we recognize that our bodies belong to us in every moment to give us pleasure and that we have the freedom to choose what we want to do with it. Want some real-life examples? Check out Cher, Bette Midler, Madonna and even Dolly Parton! They are bringing their inside to their outside shamelessly!

3. Badass Babes Attract Lovers: Let’s face it. Badass Babes are flirty, funny and playful. We are the kind of woman that could be compared to an exciting roller coaster ride. Do you like sharp curves and deep dips? Hold onto your safety belt! Do you like to squeal? Badass Babes do. We are adventurous in bed; and we are curious about our own sexual bodies.

Badass Babes want to understand their own pleasure and their own desire. If they read about “the g spot” they want to find it! When you finally have gotten it deep in your own pores that you belong to you; anything is possible. And that’s why Badass Babes are ageless and frankly attract the hot lovers.

Good Girls often color within the lines and do activities that are acceptable to others. Badass Babes have found the extraordinary pleasure in being deeply vulnerable and honest with themselves. If you can bring that deep raw vulnerability to yourself; you can bring that to your lovers — and that’s hot.

4. Badass Babes Do Not Settle: They have learned that you can pay for things in many ways such as with money or your self esteem. They have stopped the credit line on their self esteem; no more withdrawals.These women have also learned that the more they are willing to own their own desires the sexier they will become. The truly badass amongst us will not settle in relationship; “just to have one”. The Badass Babe flies her own flag and that is a magnet for lovers who want a woman who is so self confident that she would rather walk alone than give up her self esteem for someone that isn’t right for her. It’s all about how we value ourselves. And the Badass Babe understands that if they are holding onto a lover for security, there is no room for the right one to come along. Badass Babes say “No”.

5.Badass Babes Have Learned to Listen: It can really be badass work to truly listen to someone. To truly listen can take time and a dropping of our body armor. Deep listening is also vulnerable work. It’s not just listening in the moment. It’s sitting in the messages and the possible discomfort that really listening can bring. We tend to defend, attack or even dismiss when what is being communicated feels threatening on some level or other. The Badass Babe has learned to open her heart to really listening to what has been said and what has not been said — to the communication in the silence as well as the words shared.

6. Cutting Back: The Badass Babe has learned that when you cut back you can expand your life. It’s one of the best paradoxes around to living agelessly. Try it and get ready for a new expansion.

Christiane Northrup new book; “Goddesses Never Age” is a New York Times bestseller. And I love that. But not everyone is a Goddess; some of us are “Badass Babes” It’s hard for me to picture myself in a soft white transparent toga and gold leaf crown. But damn I can still look hot in a leather jacket and climbing onto a motorcycle. Yet, I’m sure that Badass Babes and Goddesses can be ageless together. We are probably more alike than we are different.

Warming: Badass Babes can be high maintenance, but if you ever had one you would know that it is worth it. If you cannot emotionally hold a wild flowing river — go swim in the kiddie pool with the “Good Girls”.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

25 Years Ago I Wrote: “Hollywood’s Female Stars An Endangered Species”

IndieWire
Thompson On Hollywood
25 Years Ago I Wrote: “Hollywood’s Female Stars An Endangered Species”
April 10, 2015

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This “Risky Business” column lays out the landscape of the conventional wisdom of the time–that has remained remarkably unchanged since then. I doubt some of these people would say all of these things for the record now, however.

This article was originally published by the LA Weekly and distributed by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate in May 1990. I found it while I was looking for references to Marvin Antonowsky, who was an innovative executive who brought TV marketing techniques to the studios Universal and Sony/Columbia in the 80s and 90s. He taught me a lot over the years. He died April 7 at age 86.

What’s interesting about the piece below is that there are more powerful women stars because they are now able to carry action movies, from Angelina Jolie and Sandra Bullock to Katniss Everdeen Jennifer Lawrence and Avenger Scarlett Johansson.

“I don`t fit into a high-concept idea,” Sally Field recently told NBC’s Tom Brokaw, complaining, as many other actresses have, about the dearth of decent starring roles for women in the movies. And in a business dominated by the bottom line, that could mean the extinction of the woman star.

A star, in industry terms, has a following-like Eddie Murphy or Tom Cruise–that guarantees an opening weekend, no matter how bad the reviews. Only one great woman star still does that, Barbra Streisand. And she gets paid for her labors: an estimated $6-7 million for writing, producing, directing and starring in the upcoming “Prince of Tides.” She proves that box-office longevity-not popularity in Hollywood-dictates salary clout and the ability to get projects made.

No matter how sexist Hollywood executive suites may be, money still talks. But when Streisand retires into a strictly behind-the-camera role, will there be anyone to inherit her mantle? Not the way things are going.

Back in the `30s, an average of five women were included in the exhibitors` annual poll of Top 10 moneymaking stars, from siren Greta Garbo to tough comedian Marie Dressler. In the `40s the number declined to three, including Bette Davis and Betty Grable. In the `50s and `60s, sexpots Marilyn Monroe and Kim Novak alternated with the squeaky-clean Doris Day and Julie Andrews.

Streisand held down the fort almost single-handedly through the ’70s. The next decade began auspiciously with four actresses on the 1980 list, but the 1983 poll included no women at all. Although Jane Fonda, Goldie Hawn, Dolly Parton, Sally Field, Meryl Streep and Bette Midler were all moneymakers during the ’80s, last year “The War of the Roses”‘ Michael Douglas ranked fourth out of nine men; his co-star Kathleen Turner ranked 10th-and she was the only woman listed.

The old studio system helped. When movies were the only major source of entertainment, there was room for a wide variety of genres geared to every audience segment. The studios shaped their contract players’ careers, and every star knew what role to play: glamor queen, ditzy blonde, ingenue.

Today’s actresses must be lucky enough to catch a hit in their 20s and hope their agents give them good advice through their 30s. Otherwise they’ll play girlfriends as long as their looks last and then fade from view. “Women`s careers don`t last as long as men’s,” says Interscope production executive David Madden. “`There’s a romanticism of the older male, not the female.” And American actresses are as unclear about their screen roles as American men and women seem to be about their roles in real life.

“Many women in the film industry are confused,” says agent Nancy Nigrosh. “They often don`t know what they want to express.”
With the ground constantly shifting under them, it`s no wonder many actresses are having trouble finding their identities as stars. “The nature of femininity and glamor are evolving,” says producer Carol Polakoff. “Today it’s Kim Basinger and Daryl Hannah.” Jessica Lange, Debra Winger and Michelle Pfeiffer are “smart and gorgeous,” says Polakoff, “and attract men.” But they have yet to prove their box-office muscle.

Many actresses, including Lange, downplay their funny and sexy side in favor of the “noble heroine syndrome” that has afflicted Jane Fonda, Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton, Sissy Spacek and Sally Field. Despite upbeat reviews, few people went to see “The Music Box” or “Men Don’t Leave.”

“Women rarely carry movies themselves,” Madden continues. “`They work best in a romantic vehicle with a man or in comedies.” Goldie Hawn was smart enough to know that comedy was her ace in the hole; she hit her stride with “Foul Play” and “Private Benjamin,” but stumbled with the period drama “Swing Shift” and a string of other disappointments.

The versatile Streep, recognizing that romantic comedy could save her flagging fortunes (she complained that Jack Nicholson earned twice her salary on “Ironweed” but wasn’t credited with a flop), is currently shooting her second in a row, Albert Brooks’ “Defending Your Life.” “Cheers” star Kirstie Alley, fresh off the smash comedy “Look Who’s Talking,” has leaped into the $1 million-plus salary range with the upcoming “Sibling Rivalry,” another comedy. Time will tell if Meg Ryan and Melanie Griffith are more than ingenues. And Julia Roberts is the hottest of the young stars thanks to a role as a submissive prostitute in “Pretty Woman.”

Part of the problem is that the studios don’t make movies for women anymore. “Most moviegoers are men,” says Twentieth Century Fox production executive Melissa Bachrach. “You can`t make movies just for a women’s audience anymore. There has to be broad appeal.”

“Fan club members are women who basically want to see men,” asserts marketing consultant Marvin Antonowsky. Since the `50s, when the studio system fell apart under pressure from TV, the movie audience has become smaller. The studios discovered the blockbuster, and more recently, the box-office potential of the foreign market. “Women got pushed aside,” says screenwriter Michael Mahern. “Movies today appeal to both men and women. Relatively few women go to the movies alone. It’s easier for men to be appealing to both men and women.”

The white men who write most screenplays have written more high-paying vehicles for Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis than for Jessica Lange and Debra Winger, who “have a fraction of their appeal,” says Polakoff. “Most people are more comfortable seeing males in jeopardy than women.”

With the exception of Sigourney Weaver in the “Alien” series, audiences have embraced few women in action roles. Tri-Star just turned down Kathleen Turner as a hard-boiled woman detective. Adds Nigrosh: “There`s a disbelief in women in aggressive roles.”

Although current releases “Blue Steel” (Jamie Lee Curtis) and “Impulse” (Theresa Russell) are trying to test the possibilities, there just doesn’t seem to be a large enough demand-from audiences-for movies about strong women. “They’re too threatening,” says Polakoff. “Im sure many women wish they could be strong-but aren’t-and hate the stars for it.”

Thus the women’s picture–especially the melodrama–has become the province of television (which boasts a much higher percentage of women writers, producers, directors and executives-and viewers-than the movie business).

Only three stars–Streisand, Midler and Cher–have maintained consistent track records; none of them is conventionally beautiful, but all have a strong sense of their identity. (And all of them sing.) Still “men have the power,” Bachrach reminds us. “And women respond to that power: to Sean Connery, Kevin Costner and Cruise.”

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Jennica McCleary: Something divine at the Legends of Branson – Thru May 19th

Mister D: I have met Jennifer and she is fabulous, not only as an entertainer, but as a person. Very warm, gracious, great peronality, and witty. I believe it was Vegas where we met. So if you get the chance to see her work her magic, please do. She’s a hard worker at her craft and loves it to boot and would love to see other BetteHeads in the audience. Oh, and she’s gorgeous!

NewPort Independent
Something divine at the Legends of Branson
by Tommy Jackson
April 10, 2015

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There is something “divine” going on at Legends in Branson. Thru May 19 anyway.

No, the real “divine Miss M” is not there in person, but Jennica McCleary as Bette Midler is about as close as it gets.

You guys know about Legends. It’s great bands, great dancers, and great performers. You have five performers honing the crafts they have practiced tirelessly for years. Typically the end result is five great sets in a Legends show… two hours or so of wonderful entertainment.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a mediocre act at Legends in fact. But Ohio native Jennica McCleary takes her 20 minutes on stage a step above. She’s spectacular! Not that those who precede her and follow her aren’t multi-talented, it’s just when “Bette Midler” takes the stage, it’s hard to follow. Sorry, I said “Bette Midler”, didn’t I? After you see Jennica, you will see how easy it is to make such a mistake. Jennica bears an almost eerie resemblance to Bette; she also sounds like her, a lot if you will.

She is in complete control on the stage. This is not the irreverent, bawdy Bette Midler tribute you would see if it were watching Jennica in Vegas, but we all but guarantee you are going to come away more than pleased with the “Branson” version. I loved and tapped my foot to “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy“; I loved and had a lump in my throat during “Wind Beneath My Wings“. Every number I heard was memorable!

Visiting by phone with this quickly likable individual a few days ago, I learned her opening night in Branson was almost one for that tourist mecca’s book of unforgettable moments. First the strap on her swimsuit broke during rehearsals. Later her shoe came unstrapped, but those two mishaps were mere trivalities when she came dangerously close to experiencing a major wardrobe malfunction as her dress was literally coming apart, during the actual show no less. However in the best tradition of the show must go on, Jennica repaired her dress as she continued to perform, and in a response we believe would have warmed the real Bette Midler’s heart, Jennica said, “Hey it’s opening night; what do you want for $30?” She probably already had them before, but after her brilliant recovery, the audience was hers!

Jennica is a tall, statuesque redhead, and if you think she looks like she’s been in a beauty pageant or two, she has. She is a former first runnerup to Miss Ohio where she won preliminaries in talent and swimsuit.

Jennica is a Canton native and graduate of Fairless High School. Her many talents started to come out early on in musical theater when she appeared in the likes of “Man of La Mancha” among others. Winning rave reviews in each production she appeared, Jennica opted to go on the road to similar results. It was during that time that she decided to follow her dream of creating her own tribute show to the Divine Miss M.

After studying Midler’s live tapes to get the star’s walk and other nuances mastered, Jennica kicked off her Midler tribute in Las Vegas at the Aruba Hotel in May, 2007. The complete show covers all facets of Midler’s great career, up to the gut-wrenching “One For My Baby” which she performed as the final guest for the final show of her dear friend Johnny Carson.

As luck would have it, just as Jennica was getting her Midler show established, the real Bette signed with Caesar’s Palace to do a two-year run. At that point, Jennica put her Bette on the shelf and went back to her pre-Bette Vegas routine of singing with three bands and two vocal groups.

If you haven’t already guessed by now Jennica McCleary wears a lot of hats and from what we have seen (and read), she seems to wear them all well. For example, she is a great singer, dancer and actor. She’s been in regional productions all over including “Titanic” and “Jekyll & Hyde” among several others. She has choreographed other well known productions including “The Rocky Horror Show”. In addition, she worked in wig styling for the Broadway production of “Pajama Game” and has served as a dance/voice instructor at the Las Vegas School of Dance and Music.

One of the many questions I had for Jennica was “has she met the ‘real’ Miss M?” She has indeed, and there is a funny story there. The time was 2005 in New York City. Jennica had gone to a record shop to pick up a copy of Bette’s latest CD. The deal was that if you bought the product, you got a wristband and could come back that evening and have the Divine Miss M sign the CD. Jennica remembers freezing rain was falling on the bitter cold night. “My fingers were frozen”, she recalled. She was clutching an early promo picture of herself as Bette when she approached where the star was signing. “Just for the heck of it,” she laughed. The store manager who was standing by the seated entertainer wanted to take a look at the photo. He was impressed enough to show it to Bette, who took a look and quipped, “I thought that was me.” I think you will think she’s the real deal as well when you see her at Legends (on the strip in the former American Bandstand Theatre). Check their website for schedules and ticket information.

Jennica dreams of taking the full two-hour show to opening off Broadway. She will likely be in that area later this spring when she heads to the Northeast after her Branson run comes to an end. Someone will be calling her soon for work you can rest assured. She’s too talented for that not to happen. On down the road, she would also love to star as the Divine Miss M in a television Movie of the Week. I can see that happening certainly. The sky is the limit for this amazingly talented performer.

Tommy Jackson is a former newspaper editor who now writes a weekly entertainment column. Contact him at tommyjackson1a@yahoo.com

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"Find your Light; They can't love you if they can't see you" ~ Bette Midler

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Monday, April 13, 2015

25 MORE VICIOUSLY ENTERTAINING COMMENTS — THE SHADIEST OF THE SHADY

PaperMag
the musto list
25 MORE VICIOUSLY ENTERTAINING COMMENTS — THE SHADIEST OF THE SHADY
by Michael Musto

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Not long ago, I served you an array of colorfully nasty comments and reviews from the history books, creating a veritable feast of viciousness. Well, there’s more! In fact, there’s apparently an infinite amount of gleefully bitchy remarks out there, and I’ll gladly compile them again and again, just so we learn how it’s done. Here goes:

“I’m glad I’ve given up drugs and alcohol. It would be awful to be like Keith Richards. He’s pathetic. It’s like a monkey with arthritis, trying to go onstage and look young.” — Elton John

“Elton’s writing is limited to songs for dead blondes.” — Keith Richards

“I want to thank everyone who worked on the film, except for Bruce Willis, who is a fucking dick” — Kevin Smith at the wrap party for Cop Out (2010)

“Michael Jackson’s album was only called Bad because there wasn’t enough room on the sleeve for Pathetic.” — Prince

“His music used to be original. Now it’s aboriginal.” — Sir Ernest Newman on Igor Stravinsky

“Someone should make a Kickstarter to get Taylor Swift a booty” — Diplo’s tweet about Taylor Swift

“Should we do something about your tiny penis while we’re at it?” — Lorde’s response to Diplo

“What the hell do people see in Russell Brand — a major loser! Katy Perry must have been drunk when she married Russell.” –Donald Trump’s tweets about Russell Brand in 2014

“@realDonaldTrump are you drunk when you write these tweets? Or does that foam you spray on your bald head make you high I don’t think your daddy left you any witty ripostes, and everything you have you inherited” — Russell Brand’s response

“As the heroine, Meryl Streep tousles her shag-cut brown hair, chews gum, and talks with a twang; she eyes a man, her head at an angle. She has the external details of ‘Okie bad girl’ down pat, but something is not quite right. She has no natural vitality; she’s like a replicant — all shtick.” — Pauline Kael’s review of Silkwood (1983)

“I hate Houston. It’s crawling with bugs. Oh, wait, that’s Whitney Houston. I’m sorry, my bad. Can I just mention that Whitney looked fabulous at the Grammys? She was in mahogany from head to toe.” — Joan Rivers

“Elizabeth Taylor is so fat, she puts mayonnaise on aspirin…I took her to McDonald’s and she got stuck in the arches. I had to butter her thighs to get her out….I took Elizabeth Taylor to SeaWorld. It was so embarrassing. When Shamu the whale jumped out of the water, she asked, ‘Does he come with fries?’ ” — Joan Rivers

“If I found her floating in my pool, I’d punish my dog.”– Joan Rivers on Yoko Ono

“A buxom milkmaid reminiscent of a cow wearing a girdle, and both have the same amount of acting talent.”–Mr. Blackwell re Brigitte Bardot (1962)

“She has a face that belongs to the sea and the wind, with large rocking-horse nostrils and teeth that you just know bite an apple every day.” — Cecil Beaton on Katharine Hepburn

Joan Crawford has slept with every male star at MGM except Lassie.” — Bette Davis

“I wouldn’t piss on Joan Crawford if she was on fire.” — Bette Davis

[After being told that she should only say good things about the dead] “Joan Crawford is dead. Good!” — Bette Davis

“I have more talent in my smallest fart than you have in your entire body.” — Walter Matthau to Barbra Streisand

“Has all the fun and gaiety of a burning orphanage.”– A 1971 Variety review of Harold and Maude (1971)

“Dreadful enough to make most viewers consider gouging out their eyes in order to avoid seeing a second time the spectacle of the world’s most wooden actor pretending to undergo a spiritual crisis.” — Sight and Sound on the Arnold Schwarzenegger film End of Days (1999)

“The movie is of an unbelievable badness; it brings back clichés you didn’t know you knew — they’re practically from the unconscious of moviegoers. To criticize this movie is like tripping a dwarf.” — Pauline Kael on Song of Norway (1970)

“Helen Reddy should be arrested for loitering in front of an orchestra.” –Bette Midler

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"Find your Light; They can't love you if they can't see you" ~ Bette Midler

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