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Midler in fine form at D.C. show

Legend hits perfect balance between zany and poignant

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Bette Midler, gay news, Washington Blade
Bette Midler, gay news, Washington Blade

‘Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most’ and ‘Stay with Me’ were highlights from Bette Midler’s concert Monday night, her first D.C. show in more than a decade. (Photo by Julia Kennedy)

The Divine Miss M brought her dazzling “Divine Intervention Tour” to the Verizon Center on Monday evening, her first time back in Washington since 2004’s “Kiss My Brass Tour.” Gratefully, not much has changed in 11 years as the 69-year-old legend still has it.

Opening with the tongue-in-cheek “Divine Intervention,” the title song crafted just for this show, Midler enthusiastically welcomed her audience in a blue sequined romper while accompanied by her longtime (and constantly changing) trio of backup singers the Harlettes.

Though she’s promoting her latest album,” It’s the Girls!” — a covers album of hits from famous girl groups — Midler could easily have toured without a new release. Strictly incidental, she performed just three songs from this new album, the most notable being her stripped down and heartbreaking version of TLC’s “Waterfalls.”

Always self-depreciating and in on the joke, she made a few jabs at her own age as well as the age of her typical fan, at one point asking who in the audience drove to the concert and then quipping, “I’m so glad to see that so many of my fans are still able to drive at night.” Though, nearly within the same breath she asked the audience “Don’t I look fabulous?” And she did indeed.

Her voice has held up just as well as her legs. She did not disappoint when delivering her top three signature hits: “The Rose,” “From a Distance” and “Wind Beneath My Wings,” from “Beaches.”  Two other “Beaches” cuts also made it into the show, the haunting “I Think it’s Going to Rain Today” and the whimsical “I’ve Still Got My Health.”

Raunchy Sophie Tucker jokes have been a part of Midler’s act since the mid-‘70s. Always beginning a joke in character with the phrase “I will never forget it, ya know…” and ending with a hilariously vulgar punchline, she donned a campy feathered costume (think chicken showgirl) in this well-crafted segment singing “A Bird in the Hand” in between her rapid fire delivery of classic jokes.

While Sophie Tucker jokes remain part of her act today, sadly there is one long running bit she has permanently retired. Delores De Lago, Bette’s mermaid in a wheelchair character, was given a tasteful sendoff a la an Academy Awards Show in memoriam tribute. One imagines Midler is simply no longer up for jumping around in a fish tail.

The biggest surprise of the evening, and a nod to her fans from the Millennial generation, was “I Put a Spell on You” from the film “Hocus Pocus” dressed as the character Winifred Sanderson, with the Harlettes backing her as her sister witches. She has never referenced this movie in any of her live acts, so this was definitely an added treat and proof that she has finally realized the lasting impact of this film.

Further surprises were the inclusions of her cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Beast of Burden” (probably the most rock she’s ever been) and “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most,” a gem of an album track from her 1990 release “Some People’s Lives” (still her most polished studio album to date). She mentioned how “Beast of Burden” was a flop upon its release in 1983 and joked that she blamed it on the fact that she wore a leather jacket and mullet in the music video with Mick Jagger. Perhaps.

Toward the end of the show, Midler commanded the stage in a sparkling pink sequined gown and delivered a restrained, yet powerfully emotional cover of Lorraine Ellison’s “Stay with Me.”  Though not as raw as the version on her “Divine Madness” tour in the late ’70s, it has evolved and changed with her over the years into a softer and more mature performance. She ended the show with one of her earlier hits, the song she said “started it all”: “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” an Andrews Sisters cover she has made her own over the years. The only glaring omission from the show was her signature hit “Friends” from her debut album, “The Divine Miss M.”

The way Midler meshes class with trash is a testament to her impressive versatility. One moment she is making a hilarious dirty joke while dropping the F bomb and in the next set belting out an inspirational ballad with unbridled sincerity. Making you laugh one moment and cry the next is a unique ability she has always possessed and is what sets her apart from her diva contemporaries. While her act does not have the production values of a Cher extravaganza, the softness of a Streisand concert or the soul of an Aretha show, it’s effortlessly sincere and incredibly entertaining.

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Arts & Entertainment

Rapper DaBaby pulled by Lollapalooza over homophobic comments

“Lollapalooza was founded on diversity, inclusivity, respect, and love. With that in mind, DaBaby will no longer be performing.”

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Screenshot from Rolling Stone Magazine's YouTube Channel

CHICAGO – In an announcement Sunday morning, the organizers of Chicago’s Lollapalooza Music Festival said they had pulled artist DaBaby from tonight’s closing show after a series of public homophobic remarks by the rapper last weekend in Miami at the Rolling Loud music festival.

On Twitter Lollapalooza officials wrote; “Lollapalooza was founded on diversity, inclusivity, respect, and love. With that in mind, DaBaby will no longer be performing at Grant Park tonight.  Young Thug will now perform at 9:00pm on the Bud Light Seltzer Stage, and G Herbo will perform at 4:00pm on the T-Mobile Stage.”

The Grammy-nominated rapper’s comments onstage at the Miami festival last weekend brought swift condemnation from other artists in the music industry including British Rockstar Elton John and Madonna among many others.

In the middle of his set last weekend in Miami the rapper told the crowd, “If you didn’t show up today with HIV/AIDS, or any of them deadly sexually transmitted diseases, that’ll make you die in two to three weeks, then put your cellphone lighter up! Ladies, if your pussy smell like water, put your cellphone lighter up! Fellas, if you ain’t sucking dick in the parking lot, put your cellphone lighter up!”

DaBaby later issued an apology via Twitter that read, “Anybody who done ever been effected by AIDS/HIV y’all got the right to be upset, what I said was insensitive even though I have no intentions on offending anybody. So my apologies” However, the addendum in the same tweet of; “But the LGBT community… I ain’t trippin on y’all, do you. y’all business is y’all business.” was immediately decried as further proof of the rapper’s intolerance of the LGBTQ community.

Michael J. Stern, a Los Angeles attorney and a former federal prosecutor who is now a noted featured columnist for USA Today blasted DaBaby’s ‘apology;’

In his response to Dababy’s remarks Elton John, who founded the Elton John AIDS Foundation in 1992, a nonprofit organization which funds frontline partners to prevent infections, fight stigma and provide care for the most vulnerable groups affected by HIV, responded in a lengthy series of tweets:

Madonna took to her Instagram telling the rapper to “know your facts,” before spreading misinformation. 

“AIDs is not transmitted by standing next to someone in a crowd,” she wrote on Instagram. “I want to put my cellphone lighter up and pray for your ignorance, No one dies of AIDS in 2 or 3 weeks anymore. Thank God.”

This year’s Lollapalooza festival, which is one of the first major festivals to return in full force since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, concludes Sunday with headlining performances by musical acts Brockhampton, the Foo Fighters, and Modest Mouse.

Dua Lipa ‘Horrified’ at DaBaby’s Homophobic Remarks at Rolling Loud | RS News 7/28/21

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Music & Concerts

Greyson Chance releases ‘Trophies’ in time for Pride

Chart-topping singer-songwriter pushes envelope on musical boundaries

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Greyson Chance (Photo by Broderick Bauman)

As the tall slender dark-haired young musician prepares for a sound check on stage preparing for his Oklahoma City Pride debut, back in Los Angeles his team released his highly anticipated new album via all digital and streaming platforms.

Greyson Chance, a critically acclaimed, chart-topping and singer-songwriter, with this new album Trophies- a follow up to his 2019’s critically praised ‘portraits’ EP, continues to display sharp writing chops, as well as his ability to push the envelope on his own musical boundaries.

From his recently released, dance-inspired hit “Hellboy” to his latest uplifting anthem “Nobody,” to the beautifully arranged, emotion-provoking ballad “Violet,” the piano aficionado openly takes listeners on a tour of his life. 

Friday is also the day Chance gets back on the road for his Trophies World Tour, starting in his hometown with the headlining spot at Oklahoma City’s Pride Festival.  Additional summer dates include shows in major cities across North America, as well as, European and South American dates to follow in the fall and winter of this year.

Chance will also embark on a second round of North American dates set for January 2022; full tour schedule below for reference.

TROPHIES releases after a long-awaited break for Chance. He last released his current single and dance-inspired anthem “Hellboy” after a strong slate of single releases through the pandemic, including well-received titles “Boots,” “Dancing Next To Me,” the revealing “Bad to Myself,” in which Chance opened up about his battle with an eating disorder, and this past January’s “Holy Feeling.”  Chance’s last EP was 2019’s critically acclaimed portraits, which to date has accumulated over 40 million streams, and topped #5 on iTunes’ Pop Charts, #1 on Apple’s Music Breaking Pop Playlist, and #3 on Apple Music’s Best of the Week Playlist upon its release. A portraits Word Tour followed that included 50+ sold out dates in North America, Europe, SE Asia, and China.

TROPHIES is available now on all streaming platforms. TROPHIES North American tour dates:

July 07 – Tampa – Crowbar

July 08 – Orlando – The Social

July 09 – Atlanta-  Masquerade

July 10 – Charlotte – Neighborhood Theatre

July 15 – Richmond – Canal Club

July 16 – Washington DC – Union Stage

July 17 – Nashville – The High Watt

July 23 – Indianapolis  – The Irving Theatre 

July 24 – Detroit – Magic Stick

July 25 – Grand Rapids – The Stache at Intersection 

July 29 – Des Moines – xBK Live

July 30 – Milwaukee – Miramar Theatre

July 31 – Minneapolis – Studio B – Skyway Theatre

August 4 – Chicago – Lincoln Hall

August 5 – Lawrence – The Bottleneck 

August 6 – Austin – The Parish

August 7 – Dallas – Trees

August 11 – El Paso – Ricky D’s

August 12 – Phoenix – Crescent Ballroom

August 13 – Salt Lake City – The Complex

August 14 – Denver – The Bluebird

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Arts & Entertainment

Demi Lovato comes out as gender non-binary in Twitter announcement

In 2017 Lovato had invited Danica Roem, the 1st openly trans lawmaker in Virginia to the American Music Awards to speak out against bullying

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Photo by Kathclick BIGSTOCK

STUDIO CITY – In an announcement Wednesday, two time Grammy nominee, actor and singer-songwriter Demi Lovato revealed that they are identifying as gender non-binary. Taking to their Twitter account, the 28 year-old Lovato said; “The past year and a half, I’ve been doing some healing and self-reflective work. And through this work, I’ve had this revelation that I identify as non-binary,” they said in the video. “With that said, I’ll officially be changing my pronouns to they/them.”

They went on to note, “I feel this best represents the fluidity I feel in my gender expression and allows me to feel most authentic and true to the person I both know I am and am still discovering.”

 

They continued in the thread adding; ” I’m doing this for those out there that haven’t been able to share who they truly are with their loved ones. Please keep living in your truths & know I am sending so much love your way xox”

Lovato also expressed gratitude to the various LGBTQ advocacy groups for their support; “Thank you for your love & support today. Here are a few great organizations and leaders who actively offer education and support:”@glaad, @HRC. @TrevorProject, @LALGBTCenter, @alokvmenon, @mattxiv, @them.

In November of 2017, Lovato invited Virginia Democratic State Delegate Danica Roem, the first openly transgender person seated in a state legislature, to walk the American Music Awards red carpet with them to speak out against bullying. Lovato and Roem were brought together as part of GLAAD’s Together initiative, a campaign for all marginalized communities to stand together.

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