|Bette Midler, Bernadette Peters & Susan Sarandon|
Beloved columnist-superstar Liz Smith reported in the New York Social Diary, Huffington Post and Chicago Tribune on Wednesday's promotional luncheon to get the documentary film, 20 Feet from Stardom, nominated for an Oscar.
Wrote Ms Smith: "Girl, what the hell is the matter with you. How come you're having a heart attack? Explain this to me!"
That was the great Darlene Love, doing her best Bette Midler imitation (and it's very good!), telling what Bette phoned and said to her, a week after Darlene's heart attack several years ago. Bette knew Darlene was out of danger. She called her old friend to make her laugh.
Darlene told this story the other day at a celebration for Morgan Neville's fantastic documentary, "20 Feet From Stardom."
This tells the history of back-up singers -- you know, those girls who stand in the back harmonizing with the star, filling in notes the star can't hit, and sometimes -- as in Darlene Love's case, singing the whole damn song, and then seeing it released under some other group's name! So this is an extraordinarily poignant, life and talent affirming look at these women, some of whom -- like the majestic, incredible Lisa Fischer -- seem content not to have made it "big" as a solo performer. There are others who have regrets, but concede that perhaps they didn't have the stamina, confidence or "killer instinct" to go it alone.
La Liz ends by saying: I attend so many events, luncheons, celebrations of this and that. Many are amusing, some are valuable for gathering bits of news, a great many produce nothing but a pain in the ass and a ridiculous taxi fare. Very few hit you in the heart and soul. This did. And so will "20 Feet From Stardom." Remember this the next time you listen to your favorite singer. If you hear voices in the background -- though one hears less now, with the rise of technological post-recording gimmickry -- just realize those voices belong to women, and men, who give their all for somebody else. And maybe you'll realize that you too, are a "back-up singer" in life.
Meanwhile, a reporter from Showbiz 411 wrote: I asked Darlene if she ever talks to her “Lethal Weapon” co-star Danny Glover. They played husband and wife in the four Richard Donner films.
Darlene, ringed in Shirley Temple curls, said: “I don’t speak to him. Keep that man away from me.” That was a surprise because I thought she reserved such sentiments for Phil Spector only. What’s the issue?
“He wanted to sleep with me, it was a big problem. Once he called me at home and said, I’m looking at a picture of you right now. You don’t know what I’d like to do with you.” Love laughed, but she was dead serious.
Meanwhile, the new Pope, "Eggs" Benedict, was in the news this week with his generally well-received comments on the gay community that, at least, signals progress of sorts. Time magazine wrote:
...[I]t was a question [the Pope] was asked on the flight back to Rome, about homosexuality, that has come to define the trip and has sparked hope that the Roman Catholic Church might be softening its stance on being gay. (Even using the word gay, which Francis did in English while otherwise speaking Italian, is unprecedented for a Pope.)
Is there anything new in what he had to say? Well, yes, in terms of tone. And this is no small thing. Francis' immediate predecessors called homosexuality an "intrinsic moral evil" and branded homosexuals as "intrinsically disordered." Instead of mirroring those blanket condemnations, Francis offered kindness and compassion. Then, in an act of genuine humility, he asked, "Who am I to judge?" It is telling that this rhetorical question got so much attention, since Jesus, who Christians believe was the perfect revelation of God, warned, "Judge not, that you be not judged." Yet previous Popes have shown no hesitation in being judgmental about homosexuality. This change in tone is significant.