Last night, at Bette Midler's annual Hulaween Ball in the Waldorf Astoria, the eco-diva raised $2-3 million for New York's Restoration Project. Ticket prices were $630 for balcony seats to $63,000 a table to raise money for an organization that clean-ups and revitalizes community gardens and underserved parks in NYC.
The evening started off with Ms. Midler, dressed as a bloody chef, working the room with the evening's MC, comedienne Kathy Griffin--in an Uncle Sam-like get-up, urging guests to buy trees at $100 a pop for the City of New York.
It's an amazing feeling to buy a tree; something that's going to last through many a' economic cycle. It could in fact be the best investment around. You can buy one too at NYRP's Plant a Tree.
Speaking of the economy, guests included Jimmy Buffett, dressed as Christopher Walken's SNL character The Continental, the smoking-jacket-wearing, champagne drinking cosmetics king. Buffett is set to ride this economic tsunami, considering he's in the market of escapism and tailgating parties, which should be resilient and up in this recession.
Other guests included pop rocker Pink, wearing a huge, frothy magenta wig, Jann Wenner dressed as Jann Wenner, designer Michael Kors sported a rug-size mane of black, thick luscious hair as Priscilla Presley, and Suze Orman looked like a bush of money with hundreds of fake dollar bills glued or taped or whatever on her gold jacket.
A man coyly smiling behind a giant frame dressed as Mona Lisa won the best costume award. Other notable costumes included a group of dudes wearing sparkling, shimmering head-pieces modeled after Las Vegas Casinos, a glittering Marilyn, and of course, a Sarah Palin, or two. When one Palin walked by my table, I made sure to pull an Alec Baldwin and tell her: "You're a horrible person." "I know, don't vote for me!" came the response.
Having gone last year, this year's Hulaween was jam packed, with dozens of people hanging from the balconies. Cobwebs, spooky trees as table centerpieces, snakes, and glowing skulls decorated the tables of the Waldorf's grand ballroom.
The night came to an energetic close with a live performance by Gloria Estefan and her Miami Sound Machine, all in Goth. Estafan rocked it, wearing a long black wig with bangs, looking very Elvira. They performed the hits: "Get on Your Feet", "Y Tu Conga," and "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You" with Midler and Griffin dancing and getting some mic action on stage.
After the performance, Midler ecstatically thanked everyone for coming out, acknowledging that these are "tough, tough, tough, tough times."
When that's the case, it's always nice to get transported to Miami through the Sound Machine and do a little greening for New York.
Now I'm off to Virginia for a few days to do some canvassing. The state is being buzzed about as this election's Florida. But is Virginia ready for its close-up? Hopefully it won't come to that and we will know this Tuesday, and at a reasonable hour, which poor bastard is to inherit the Bush Chernobyl.
Follow Andrea Chalupa on Twitter: www.twitter.com/LifeB4Tw1tter