Bette Midler has a golden voice and a green thumb


The mile of the Long Island Expressway that Bette Midler is responsible for cleaning has always kind of amused me. I perk up driving into Manhattan from Long Island, just for that one stretch of road where an outside chance exists of spotting the Divine Miss M (in high heels, I imagine, with her capri pants rolled up past her knees) standing in dirty grass, one of those trash spears in her hand. As most of the Bette Midler-themed scenarios in my imagination do, this one has Bette singing to herself, backed by a slew of lovely chorus girls with feathers on their heads … and, yes, trash spears in their hands. This scenario remains in my imagination, though, as I’ve never actually spotted Ms. Midler on the LIE.

Her Vegas show, The Showgirl Must Go On, has been running since February — the one where she’s backed by 18 sets of well-sculpted chorus girl legs, sans trash spears. But meanwhile, back in the City, Midler’s backing one million well-sculpted tree trunks. Her effort to green NYC started back in 1995, when she founded the New York Restoration Project. Now, she’s teamed up with Mayor Bloomberg to plant one million trees by 2017.

Obviously, Bette believes as much in preserving New York’s urban forests as she does in preserving the fabulousness of the Showgirl. She’s taking this au natural thing very seriously, although it means something entirely different in New York than it does in Vegas. According to her appearance on the Late Show last week, The Showgirl Must Go On is full of almost-nudity.

Are you a fan of Ms. Midler, or at least her efforts to aid NYC’s greenery?