Filmed in beautiful downtown Cleveland in February of 1976, it catches Bette Midler at the height of what might be thought of as her First Era. The next year she became a network television phenomenon thanks to her first special, and soon after that was The Rose and her rise - uneven, but eventually in her '80s comedies for Disney, tremendous - to Hollywood stardom.
I have for years practically had Live at Last memorized ("In a fit of sisterly generosity, I have donated my tits...to Cher!"), but I've only just stumbled on this, and it's enormous fun. While it omits my favorite track from the album - the strange and oddly haunting "Bang You're Dead" - it nonetheless has riches aplenty, ranging from her spectacular take on tawdry loungedom, The Vicky Eydie Show, to an excellent iteration of her trademark ability to shift at lightning speed from utter vulgarity to heartbreaking tenderness (just watch as she tells the Fried Egg Lady story and then goes into its totally unexpected segue).
But perhaps my favorite bit that did make the cut is when she and the Harlettes cut loose on a minor late Supremes song, "Up the Ladder to the Roof." Is there anything more purely summer than this song, than its hope that some special someone will come along and "run across the sky / And illuminate the night"?
I suppose that kind of good feeling is on my mind this week, for among other nice things that have been happening, the Mister and I celebrated our second (legal) anniversary (in this our twelfth summer together). Now that we're legal pretty much across these United States (a couple of Luddite holdout neighborhoods in benighted places like Kansas aside), it's all the more satisfying.
We had a lovely and unexpected anniversary dinner, at which our dear friends the Superannuated Bikers sprung on us spectacular and matching bouquets. Here is mine, an intoxicating mix of lilies and white roses, in a quiet corner of our drawing room, just to add a celebratory note. Mister Muscato's is a riot of vast yellow roses edged in a sort of ombré way with crimson. How those two knew exactly what we like, I shall never know, but the house smells divine.
And in general, life goes on apace. I had a vigorous session with Kevin-My-Trainer this morning, and he put me through my paces with a decreasing level of Mercy-to-the-Invalid which is probably good for me, but goodness, I'm feeling parts of my body that I don't think have come to mind since the end of my dancing days a few decades back. Still, I've been a busy boy, and on the stove is sitting a most promising turkey tarragon mustard ragoût, and I think we'll have a lovely Sunday dinner, once the sun sets. Ramadan ends on Thursday, and I can't tell you how I look forward to eating at a less civilized hour...