Attitude was the wind beneath Bette Midler's boa-dacious wings

1972 Calling herself "the last of the truly tacky women," Bette
Midler won a camp following by belting out ballads for towel-clad
men at Manhattan's Continental Baths.  Dressed in platform shoes
and toreador pants or strapless lame' gowns, Midler performed
"trash with flash and sleaze with ease."
Always at home in a pose, she left her beloved Greenwich
Village in the eighties for a blossoming film career in L.A.
Though time tempered her outrageousness, after she moved
back to Manhattan with her family in the nineties she could
still claim the title 'Queen of Trash' - for starting the
New York Restoration Project to clean up the city's parks.
~ ~ ~
In the early days, Bette Midler was feathering her nest as the
Divine Miss M.
1972 "I've never really had a home," Bette Midler confessed
after she had moved into this Greenwich Village brownstone.
Midler was newly flush after the success of her debut album,
'The Divine Miss M.'
But the singer, who went on to snag a Grammy for best
new artist the following year, had already found a place
to roost:  at New York City's all-male Continental Baths.
Her flamboyant costumes - turbans, halter tops, and forties
gowns found at thrift shops - lent her diva status among
the towel-clad crowd, and her eclectic song repertoire,
including the future hits "Do you wanna dance?" and
"Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," earned her a cult following.
"The essence of who I am was created in that hothouse
environment," she later said.  "I was able to take chances
on that stage that I could never have taken anywhere
else."  Not even at home.
InStyle 2003





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