Friday night, in the razzling-dazzling Waldorf-Astoria, Bette Midler entertained a packed ballroom of ghostly and goofy guests, raising over a million dollars and counting, for the New York Restoration Project.
Dressed as a Moulin Rouge madame, Midler and comedienne/gay rights activist, Judy Gold--a theater-joke crackin' Abe Lincoln--worked the crowd, shaking people for $2,500 a tree.
"Everywhere I turn I see hippy bags and beads; it's fantastic!" said Midler, as she cruised by the table of designer Michael Kors, dressed as a musician hitchhiking to Woodstock, 1969. Peace signs, protesting hippies ("No Nukes!") were in abundance, possibly a nod to our growing quagmire in Afghanistan and God knows where else, or the night's special performance by Crosby, Stills, and Nash, dressed as themselves, save for Nash's Guru-gettup, which could be how he normally goes about town.
Other notable costumes included NYRP's executive director, Drew Becher, as a renassiance lord, tights and all, Katie Couric as Kate Gosselin (hilario), Martha Stewart as...a root? (still not quite sure), adorable, soulful Australian singer Sia as a bunny or back-up dancer for the Flaming Lips, Gloria Gaynor as a pirate, and The B52's Kate Pierson went as Annie Oakley.
Whoopi Goldberg, wearing black fairy wings, gave opening remarks, "I love me some Mayor Bloomberg, but Bette is cleaning the city." (NYRP has turned 55 vacant lots into community gardens and planted over 250,000 trees on its way to a million by 2017).
"Who would have thought one tree could make such a difference...I have a cat so I don't f--- with trees," said Goldberg. Commenting on Midler's fearlessness in building the first boathouse in Harlem in over 150 years, Goldberg cracked, "'I'm Jewish, I go where I want!'"
Later in the evening, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, dressed in orange slacks and a black sweater, received Midler's "Wings Beneath My Wings Award," for his support in teaming up with NYRP to green New York.
Midler presented him with two tickets to her Las Vegas show and a signed CD. Bloomberg looked down at the tickets and read off a nose-bleed seat number. He gave brief remarks, that running for re-election is "easier than saying 'no' to Bette Midler" and claimed to be dressed as Matt Damon for Halloween. His hardy sign-off of "Let's go NY Yankees!" got the ballroom chanting,"Let's go Yankees!"
Costume winners of the annual Hulaween Ball, judged by Kors, included half-a-dozen people as ginormous potted flowers and a group of dudes dressed as a stocked liquor cabinet--Jose Cuervo carried a sparkling giant slice of lime--very economically appropriate. Also in that category was a woman donning chains, cobwebs, clutching an assortment of shopping bags, including a white crisp one from Chanel, and wrapped presents, and a book with the big, bold title: "Dow 36,000." With a resigned smirk, she said that she was the ghost of Christmas past, "when we all had money."
Luckily, there are so many insane prizes to choose from on the NYRP online auction [www.charityfolks.com], making it affordable. Prizes include a bike ride through Brooklyn with rapper Matisyahu, meeting Whitney Houston and 2 VIP tickets to her concert, a customized outfit by Christian Siriano, a walk-on role and lunch on the set of "It's Always Sunny in Phildelpiha," a day in the studio with Jackson Browne, and if you want to keep the spooky spirit of Halloween going strong, you can bid on lunch with Jann Wenner or tennis lessons with John McEnroe.
Photo by Stephen Kosloff
More pictures, courtesy of the iPhone!
Sia and Kate Pierson enjoying Whoopi's stand-up
Crosby, Stills, and Nash take the stage