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September 2007
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November 2007

New Sonny & Cher Compilations

Tin September 2007 gave us two new Sonny & Cher compilations. I was a little hesitant to buy Forever Sonny and Cher by Warner Custom Products because I could find no picture online. I've been burned before on these fly-by-night compilation CDs. But then it arrived and I was so excited. The CD comes in a tin! A Sonny & Cher tin!! Glory-be! The booklet inside is pretty spartan (considering it comes in a tin!) and spells Cher's last name Lapierre and calls her an aspiring singer. But there was a picture in there I hadn't seen before with Sonny & Cher lying on the floor of their house, Sonny in what looks like snake skin boots. This is one of those rare pictures showing Sonny in mustache and Cher still in her 60s bangs.

The compilation itself however is a bit crazy. The tin (a tin!) comes with three CDs, all with different labels, the last one being extra copies of that bad compilation from the 1990s All I Ever Need is You – a title which still confounds Allmusic guide. They think the 90s compilation is the same as the original 70s studio album. See, they’re not so smart.

The first two CDs catalog some S&C 60s hits but is by no means comprehensive or educational. Sprinkled in are some sub-hits and a few B-side rarities ("Good Combination," "Have I Stayed Too Long," "Love Is Strange" and oddly one of Sonny's LP songs "Revolution Kind"). And there is an unusual representation of S&C songs from their freshman album Look At Us.  The third disc picks up with S&C in the 70s and is the aforementioned left-over copies of All I Ever Need Is You including the misleading error that you will hear a version of "United We Stand" live. Back in the 90s I was so excited to read that when I plucked the CD out of a Tower Records bin in Yonkers, New York. But it was just a lie.

Disc: 1 
1. I Got You Babe 
2. Little Man 
3. Just You 
4. Good Combination 
5. But You're Mine 
6. Beat Goes On 
7. Have I Stayed Too Long 
8. Beautiful Story 
9. It's the Little Things 
10. What Now My Love 

Disc: 2 
1. Baby Don't Go 
2. Laugh at Me [Sonny Solo] 
3. Living for You 
4. Love Is Strange 
5. 500 Miles 
6. Revolution Kind [Sonny Solo] 
7. Let It Be Me 
8. Unchained Melody 
9. Then He Kissed Me 
10. You Really Got a Hold on Me 

Disc: 3 
1. All I Ever Need Is You 
2. Cowboy's Work Is Never Done 
3. When You Say Love 
4. Mama Was a Rock and Roll Singer and Papa Used to Write All Her Songs 
5. You Better Sit Down Kids 
6. Crystal Clear/Muddy Waters 
7. Beat Goes On 
8. I Got You Babe 
9. United We Stand 
10. Bang, Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) 

Classics The tin compilation however turned out to be quite normal compared to Sonny & Cher Classics released by Rhino Flashback records. This one is compilation very similar to the one Rhino Flashback did a few years ago I Got You Babe with S&C playing bongos on a red and white checkered background. This compilation spells her last name La Piere and contains only one S&C hit: "Baby Don't Go." The other hit is Sonny's "Laugh at Me" and the rest is a few aforementioned B-sides similar to the other compilation and again lots of Look At Us material.

At the end of the day these compilations make no sense, have no cohesion and contain negligible rarities.

Disc  Tracks:
1. Baby Don't Go. 
2. Laugh At Me 
3. Living For You. 
4. Love Is Strange. 
5. 500 Miles. 
6. Revolution Kind, The
7. Let It Be Me. 
8. Unchained Melody. 
9. Then He Kissed Me. 
10. You've Really Got A Hold On Me. 

But I do enjoy rediscovering "500 Miles," the song they did made famous by Peter, Paul & Mary. 


Miracle Seaweed Pots

I have two new pots to show. I call these two pots my miracle pots. This was for a saggar seaweed kiln project in class. I left them to be bisque fired before I missed a class to go to St. Louis for my high school reunion. Well...here's what happened - apparently when all the class pots were fired, the kiln went all nutty and all the pots exploded! All except for my two pots which came out unscathed for some odd  reason. And no I didn't sabotage the other pots! This apparently happens quite a bit in ceramics...things explode, break or some other such thing. It's a heartbreaking art. Anyway, all the other classmates had to make new pots the next week while I was gone.

Here are my miracle pots, fired with seaweed to give them funky designs. I'm still new to the wiley ways of clay so I'm still making safe, small pots.

Miraclebulge    

      
       
            
          
          
               
            
            
            
          
          
          
         

I call this one Miracle Pot #1 with Bulges.

Miraclebulge2       

         
         
          
          
          
         
         
         

Miracle Pot #1 with Bulges from the top.

Miracleribbed_3        

       
             
            
            
       
       
         
       
         
          
         
       
      
   

During the seaweed firing of this pot, the kiln didn't turn off by itself and the pots became over-cooked. So I'm calling this one Miracle Pot #2, Crispy.

Miracleribbed2

   
      
      
         
         
      
   

   

Crispy from the top.

                

Caesar(s) is Dead

Caesardead Et tu, Brute?

So the bad news as of last week was from the Las Vegas review Journal. Which irks me is why this publication feels the need to be both a review and a journal. In any case, they reported that Cher’s negotiations to perform part-time at Caesars next year fell through. El finito. The report stated Caesars was concerned Cher may be over-exposed after her Farewell Tours of the early 00s and not able to fill the 1k seat coliseum. This seems the least likely reason to me. Cher was just as over-exposed (if not much much more) before these negotiations began. As they've drug on, she's disappeared back into the mist. Do you suddenly get more exposed the less work you do?

Caesars has made no official comment and Cher is mum as usual. If this is even true, it’s most likely a save-face measure borne from desperation due to Cher not negotiating for too long for whatever reason. Maybe she couldn’t get a spa installed in her dressing room. Maybe she’s got a sick family member or just doesn’t feel like creating a giant girdle stage prop. Who knows. The only thing that really surprises me is how quiet the fans have been about it on the big list. But then Cher fans have learned to have a heart of stone in such matters.

This Las Vegas review-journal-quarterly-paper-chronicle-record did say however that Cher is one of the biggest selling artists of all time.

And that’s something! :-)

See what we Cher fans learn to live on?

    


Cher's Name

Lanaturner On Friday, December 17 2004 Alicia Q. wrote:
How did Cher get her name?

Cher's birth name is known in biographies to be Cherilyn Sarkisian. I don't feel up to figuring out the mess of her adopted names, including that mess of a name she used circa meeting Sonny Bono. It's never spelled the same: La Pierre/La Piere/Lapierre/Lapiere. Like Susan Sarandon in Witches of Eastwick - sometimes I just can't face it. Sarkisian is Cher's Armenian father’s name. Remember what Dyan Cannon said to Al Pacino in the movie Author! Author!? All Armenian names rhyme with Armenian.

Cher's mother Georgia named her first daughter Cherilyn after Georgia's friend Lana Turner’s daughter, Cheryl Crane. Incidentally, Cheryl Crane murdered Lana Turner’s mob boyfriend Johnny Stampato in 1958. Thankfully Cher is not into mob hits of that nature. I'm sure there must have been a Georgia husband or two she didn't care for.

Ever wonder what the other Cheryl's up to? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheryl_Crane

 


Cher Poems

Diane I promise to you – wherever I am and whatever poem I’m reading from the canon of great poetry being composed even as we speak... if I come across a great poem or a crappy poem that mentions Cher, I will retype it out herein this blog...for you. Because I love you...that much.

It just so happens this is a brilliant poem by Diane Burns, a Native American poet (of Ojibwa and Chemehuevi descent) who passed away last year. Diane won the  Congressional Medal of Merit and attended Barnard College at Columbia University. She was a smart broad. 

      

Sure You Can Ask Me a Personal Question

How do you do?
      No, I am not Chinese.
No, not Spanish.
      No, I am American Indi-uh, Native American.
No, not from India.
      No, not Apache.
No, not Navajo.
      No, not Sioux.
No, we are not extinct.
      Yes, Indin.
Oh?
      So, that’s where you get those high cheekbones.
Your great grandmother, huh?
      An Indian Princess, huh?
Hair down to there?
      Let me guess, Cherokee?
Oh, so you’ve had an Indian friend?
      That close?
Oh, so you’ve had an Indian lover?
      That tight?
Oh, so you’ve had an Indian servant?
      That much?
Yeah, it was awful what you guys did to us.
      It’s real decent of you to apologize.
No, I don’t know where you can get peyote.
      No, I don’t know where you can get Navajo rugs real cheap.
I don’t know if anyone knows whether or not Cher is really Indian.
      No, I didn’t make it rain tonight.
Yeah. Uh-huh. Spirituality.
      Uh-huh. Yeah. Spirituality. Uh-huh. Mother
Earth. Yeah. Uh’huh. Uh-huh. Spirituality.
      No, I didn’t major in archery.
Yeah, a lot of us drink too much.
      Some of us can’t drink enough.
This ain’t no stoic look.
      This is my face.

The poem was transcribed from Songs From This Earth on Turtle’s Back edited by Joseph Bruchac. For more on Diane Burns: http://www.thevillager.com/villager_198/dianeburnsnative.html
    


Art in Ojai

Eve_alone_web John and I and my friend Christopher made a trip to Ojai last Saturday to take the Ojai studio art tour – it was sort of a field trip for my ceramics class. We saw some kewl pottery (I bought a little Leslie Thomson pot which reminded me of Zuni pots I’d seen in New Mexico but much cheaper – I suppose because she’s not Native American), some amazing wood pieces, not so many great paintings unfortunately but there was much more to see than we could get to in one day.

The highlight was our last stop, a huge gated compound. We thought “Oh great! Rich bored woman tried to dabble in art.” But then we met Sylvia Raz  – she was an amazingly warm and funny person with a life story that was made our heads spin. Her parents were holocaust survivors from Russia aided by an Uncle who paid for all his siblings to escape but didn’t make it himself at the end. The uncle transplanted them to Montevideo, Uruguay. Inspired by her uncle, she became a Zionist and moved to Israel where she lived for ten years, experiencing three Israeli wars with a day-job being head nurse in a psychiatric ward.

You see a South American influence immediately but something seems different...a precise and non-equivocal Jewish voice. Her work is cross-culturally powerful, more vibrant and thought-provoking than anything we’d seen. She did some work in stone (a Madonna and Child in pullover and jeans!), but due to arthritis was now working primarily in clay and mixed media. She had knitted a giant woman who appeared to be sewing her toe. It was eve sewing herself! Eve didn’t come from Adam. Eve created herself! I get a shiver just thinking about it. Her latest projects use Barbie dolls in feminist commentary. My favorite piece was a male Barbie (not Ken) pushing a shopping cart full of inverted, disembodied Barbie legs. Amazing, amazing.

Due to an upsetting episode at the Vagabond Inn we ended up coming home a day early. I was depressed about that (no diner breakfast, no hike in the Ojai hills, no more art) and I spent the rest of the weekend moping and working on some Buddhist poems. I read an interesting story about Japanese tea ceremonies. Rikyó, founder of the tea ceremony cult in Japan, visited a man who brought out his best, most expensive tea pot to impress the master; but it was ignored completely. This greatly upset the man so he smashed the tea pot into many pieces and said what is it good for if it doesn’t impress the master? A friend picked up the pieces and lovingly and carefully glued the pot together again. But it had many, many cracks. Rikyó came to this man’s house and made much ado over the tea pot which he said looked familiar but now represented wabi or poetic poverty.

In another story, two men were having ceremonial tea and the guest noticed a vase was leaking water onto the table. He asked his host why he couldn't just fix it. The host said it was perfect just the way it was...because it had sabi or the pleasurable beauty of its weathered age.

This site has a nice description of wabi and sabi.
   


It’s Gonna Rain and the Sun Isn’t Coming Back...Ever

YouTube Master Tyler posted a link to Sonny & Cher singing "It's Gonna Rain" -- consider that this was going to be their first single if Ahmet Ertegun had won the first-single fight with Sonny. This video brings up these thoughts:

  • It’s interesting to me that Sonny would write a song like this living in a city where it never rains.
  • Sonny is terrible at lip syncing, worse than Britney.
  • This is the only part of the movie Wild on the Beach you ever need see.
  • You wouldn’t break a sweat dancing like Sonny & Cher. It’s a dance that says I’m groovy yet bored.
  • That woman dancing in her chair – too funny. I’m gonna try that out the next time I hit the clubs. Because I like dancing. But not as much as I like sitting.

I found these other links under related links.  I wasn’t sure what they all had in common at first and then it occurred to me: they’re all weather-related Cher songs.

The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Mix

The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine from Top of the Pops
   


Fan Clubbing

Dumbo4 As part of my day job, I've been reading books on website usability, learning about how web surfers typically behave on websites and what they hate most. Some things used to big usability problems, but aren’t so much anymore: for instance putting on a background of wallpaper that takes five minutes to download or putting up an “under construction” sign. As it turns out, people hate that with at passion. But its not a modern usability issue anymore because rarely do designers still do it.

Well, turns out one site is still doing it: The Official Cher Fan Club. Mr. Nielsen of the Nielsen Norman Group, “the world’s leading expert on web usability” (according to his book jacket), says there’s no “coming soon” about it.

You either have it or you don’t.

And the official fans have had that silly message posted for over a year now...which means:

  1. Fanclub_2 They don’t know the definition of soon.
  2. They’re probably waiting for Cher to do something which would be very frustrating if they’ve been waiting like that for over a year.
  3. They’re officially dead to me, and
  4. I completely missed my blog’s one year anniversary! Happy Birthday, My Blog! I can’t believe I’ve been bullshitting about Cher for over a year. Time flies when you’re blogging about celebrity obsession. 

Sometimes I feel there should be Cher usability studies for all the “coming soon” rumors in her oeuvre. Mame, Vegas, the next CD or movie rumors.

It’s been a few days of weird gossip, actually: Sonny’s son Chesare’s rumored affair with Lindsey Lohan while in rehab (and strangely, it’s not the Lohan angle of that story that bothers me most), no CD, no Vegas show. I think we’re all just feeling restless for Cher product. Constant delays to current projects have prompted recent chattering on the Cher list that Cher might be seriously ill. Someone brought up the idea that she counseled Farrah Fawcett on cancer treatments in Germany because she had personal experience with said treatments. This is just a rumor, of course; but we’re feeling preemptively sad about that kind of possibility. Like Sonny was Cher’s Dumbo’s Feather, for many fans, Cher is their Dumbo’s Feather. :-(

    


Danish Talk Show Circa Believe

Danishinterview_2 CherWorld.com posted this Cher interview from a Danish TV show circa Believe or rather at the last turn of the century. There were very interesting tidbits throughout this unique show. She talked about her interest in fashion and childish things. It was interesting when she said she didn’t care about not knowing things she didn’t know and that she would describe herself in a few words as “on the brink.” Very interesting.

I was surprised to see her play along with the show’s little reindeer games and so good naturedly, too. Although she did seem a little stiff, as I would expect a star of her stature to be, a star of her longevity and old-Hollywood temperament. I was surprised she hadn’t met Bill Clinton or been to China. I keep assuming, despite her claims otherwise, that she’s met everybody and been everywhere. She said it’s a sin to have it and not use it and that she doesn’t like oysters. I love this show for digging up pointless facts like this, I really do. 

And then she lip synced "Believe."

There was one point in the show where the interviewer asked Cher about Cherilyn Sarkisian. That person is non-existent; haven’t seen her in a coon’s age, she said. (This is actually generational Americana speak I cannot translate). I thought how sad that sounds. Cher likes childish things but not her past child. I did a little tsk tsk.

Maybe I was being a dolt or maybe I was just re-enacting my own innocence-to-experience drama, akin to a Sonny Bono song about cowboy games.  I truly thought for a minute that I loved my former child self. That kid was adorable and so able to entertain herself herself for long periods of time.

Babymary 

   

    

 

 

   

   

 

Then I went to my high school reunion. It was no disaster by any means but it was just okay, mostly depressing ‘cos nobody showed up I was looking forward to seeing. But that wasn’t the worst of it. Later on after the reunion in our hotel room (the fabulously kitschy Cheshire Lodge), after John had fallen asleep, I read my "Senior Destination," my prediction for my life 20 years down the line. I got mildly excited thinking I would see a heart-rendering clue into the fabulous person I became, a hint of the impending launch into an adventurous 20 years.

Alas...no.

It was all about poppin’ out babies and being June Cleaver. I was crestfallen. Who was that person?? It was alarming to me that I didn’t even recognize myself. I guess only my pre-teen self was so adorable. That teenager, she was a blank slate. It’s not that I judge a life of homemaking. It’s just that I so completely changed, I forgot who I was. And then I mourned the loss of both my old friends who didn’t turn up and the girl-in-me who couldn’t yet see her true nature.

Read more about my reunion and see photos from our trip to St. Louis on Ape Culture.
   

   


Master of YouTube

Glen Cher fan Tyler is the master of YouTube. Over the last few weeks he has posted some fabulous links to the Cher Yahoo! Group. Speaking for myself, I am like a kid in a candy shop on YouTube. When I start surfing Cher videos, I soon get hyper and start foaming at the mouth as if overdosing on SweetTarts. Soon I’m on Ritalin with no TV privileges.

Glen Campbell’s Good Time Hour 
I loved this clip so much I went out and bought the whole DVD. This is an early 70s Cher appearance on Glen Campbell’s variety show (yes, everyone who was anyone had one). And it’s an amazing thing. They sing Dylan’s “All I Really Want to Do” and punch life into the dern thing. Never before have I dug this song so much, has it seemed so buoyant. I love the horns! It also shows Cher in pre-TV-show innocence, slacky hair, not much confidence with the camera, and all that innocent clapping. Also of note is the easy and casual relationship between Cher and Glen. It’s lovely to watch. And his set! Is that a bed they’re sitting on? That would be scandalous! Is this some swinging bachelor pad he’s lured Cher into? All I really want to do indeed. I don’t buy it for a minute. I’ve seen his Surreal Life lair!

Live in Monte Carlo
I haven’t seen this whole show from start to finish, I’m very sorry to say, only clips and chunks. Maybe someday the Monte Carlo Gods will smile upon me and I will snag a bootleg copy. In the meantime,  Montecarlodinne Tyler posted a clip of “Easy to Be Hard.” I’ve heard versions of Cher singing this song on both a bootleg of this Monte Carlo show and on out takes from the Jackson Highway album. And I have to say I just can’t get comfortable with Cher singing it for some reason. There is something too pedestrian about those lyrics (I love this song, by the way – have the Broadway and Movie soundtracks to Hair...but I love the movie version the best). Cher seems too exotic to pull it off...no matter how down to earth she may be behind closed doors. It just feels funny. I like all the copious amounts of audience shots in this live special, however. What are they eating do you think?

We also have “Take it To the Limit” from the same show. Is that Cher sweating?? Cher sweats??? I don’t believe it. See for yourself.

Celebration at Caesars
Then there’s the Celebration at Caesars version of “Take it To the Limit” which we’ve all come to know and love.

Tonightshow The Tonight Show
But here is the gem: The Tonight Show version of “Take it to the Limit” circa 1983 (not sure on that date). This is the most yummy version ever in the whole world-wide tarnation of Cher versions of this song. The outfit so perfect for the Vegas show, so brazen for The Tonight Show. Her phrasing and singing on this version are almost perfect. And that pink 80s makeup is so...well 80s!

Cher sings another Eagles song on The Tonight Show, “Those Shoes.” I can’t believe they got that big shoe moved all the way over to the Burbank studios. Kudos! I love how the dancers come out of the wall. It doesn’t have the sexy lighting of the Vegas version but its fun.

These clips give me hope for the next incarnation of Cher in Vegas, if it ever arrives next year. Maybe she’ll have a big bolo tie this time or a big loafer or (dare I dream?) synchronized dancing!!

Here a video I found myself, one of my favorite things in this world. “I may not win…but I can’t be thrown!”  No one can sing that like Cher.