Ms. Midler, who was fully clothed in a pale green tuxedo that made her look like a psychedelic grasshopper, was particularly pleased to chirp about her beloved cause. “Green space is an inalienable right,” she said, as pounding music gave way to ominous organ chords urging guests to take their seats for dinner in the sanctuary.
She made a point not to curse in a cathedral. “My eyelashes are so long that I can’t read,” she said in frustration as she greeted and addressed the cathedral full of guests eating “Before the Fall” roasted mushroom salad and a “From the Rib of Adam” entree with bone-in short rib. “But I’m not swearing tonight.”
Michael Kors did. He wore a bright suit festooned with red apples and a fake snake with an apple in its mouth wrapped around his neck. “I just said to Bette, ‘Only for you would I wear a print,’” he told the crowd.
His choice for one of the evening’s best costumes was a man who dressed as Kellyanne Conway, wearing the red, white and blue military-style coat that she wore to the inauguration. He called the winner “The Antichrist.”
Other than that, the sacrilege was kept to a minimum. Ms. Midler, with support from her “Hello, Dolly!” cast, including David Hyde Pierce, performed a family-friendly parody called “Hello, Dollars!” to thank the evening’s most generous benefactors.
Ms. Gold, taking turns with Ms. Midler as host, made a few lewd jokes including one about Harvey Weinstein and another about Kevin Spacey, but unlike Ms. Von Teese, she did not end up in purgatory.
Before adjourning, Ms. Midler, with wig towering and long green eyelashes fluttering, encouraged all the guests to go to the front of the church for the after-party.
“I know some of you have to work,” she said. “But who gives a darn?”
The Divine Miss M wasn’t risking offending St. John the Divine.