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Sonny's Film Festival Vision

Psfilmfestlogo_2 Last week when I was writing about Steve Martin and searching for the spelling of the name Denis Pregnolato, I came across this article on Sonny’s struggle to put together The Palm Springs Film Festival and how it interceded with his forays into local and national politics. The 10-year anniversary of his death intersected with the January movie festival’s 19th year and the festival saluted his vision and this piece ran in The Desert Sun paper.

Interesting to note:

  • Sonny’s campaign started in 1986 after joining the chamber of commerce but before he even ran for mayor.
  • Early supporter and Sonny-tennis-partner was Dick Van Patten who became the festival King.
  • Sonny’s motive was more to entice tourists and celebrities to Palm Springs in order to help business owners (such as his restaurant-owning self) through the seasonal slump than it was for the betterment of the motion picture arts.
  • Sonny did his own fundraising and received a 4-year allocation of $150,000 a year from the city council. The festival is now sustained by sponsors of which the city is now one.
  • Sonny gathered support from hoteliers who banded together for the first time.
  • To run the festival, Sonny hired Hawaiian International Film Festival director Jeanette Paulson and Seattle Film Festival programming director Darryl Macdonald.
  • Sonny wanted Hollywood films to attract big stars but Macdonald talked him into showcasing foreign films instead. The Italian film Cinema Pardiso won an academy award and helped The Palm Springs Film Festival find its niche as the festival that showcases Oscar winners. So Macdonald got his freedom to develop the festival’s film program and Sonny and Mary focused on celebrity hob-knobbing with an annual Founder’s Party at their house.
  • Sophia Loren attended one of the founder’s parties and ate a bowl of Sonny’s pasta on his back patio.

More about The Palm Springs Film Festival: http://www.psfilmfest.org/index.aspx
   


Life’s Doggerel

Good Life is sometimes cruel and unusual punishment. That’s all I can say. It’s seems you’re cooking along with gas and then suddenly the Universe squeezes your heart like a nerf-ball in its fist. How’s that for a mixed-up metaphor?

I recently moved as you may know. Now I normally find moving to be very exciting. I love packing up all my crap in boxes completely unlabeled so I can open them weeks (or sometimes months) later and exclaim, “OMG, I forgot I had these pot holders with irreverent and sarcastic sayings on them!”

And this move was exciting in its own way. Aside from the hard deadline of find-a-new-place or risk-losing-a-chunk-of-relocation-cash, aside from the fact that the move from Venice to South Bay killed all my plants, and aside from the half-hour break up with my bf, I actually enjoyed perusing Craigslist, The Daily Breeze and Westside Rentals for new places and driving around new neighborhoods.

I actually discovered one frustrating thing about Los Angeles; it’s getting so crowded and expensive that everyone is building rental houses in their back yards for extra cash. We never knew when were answering an ad for a “house” whether we’d end up touring someone’s former one-car garage. One landlord had her married daughter with a newborn baby living in such a former garage in the back and they actually wanted us to pay all their utilities because “it was too much trouble to split the single-home meter bill.” Oh, we met many interesting landlords last December.

But the moving itself was fine, although it rained for most of our week-long move and we had to finish over Christmas. That turned out to be okay, too. In fact, it was one of my favorite Christmases, so stress-free in comparison to other years. I was more than happy to receive less presents and instead fully appreciate unpacking all the stuff I already had.

We ended up finding a nice little house to rent with a huge (by LA standards) private back yard. There’s even an extra room for pilates/yoga/meditation/martial arts – which seems either awfully pointless or particularly fortunate to me at this time as I’ve just scarfed-down a big Chipotle burrito with chips because the Ralphs supermarket near my work was closed today for a half hour and I couldn’t get a salad.

In any case, we’ve been putting the finishing touches on everything, hanging pictures, purchasing a new washer and dryer, finally buying a bed. And then, after unpacking the last book and frying pan, the long awaited “dog weekend” arrived. Baby sitting The Edgar Winter Dog over the last year had taken a toll on what little mothering instinct I have. We really missed him when he went back to his primary mummy and I’d been ready to get a dog-of-one's-own for about 9 months.

I made various online attachments to dog pictures on websites for shelters all across LA as I waited for the weekend we would finally be ready. I even called a few rescue groups but they refused to even meet me after finding out my bf and I both worked full-time jobs. This infuriated me. My family and I have always had jobs and we’ve always had happy, spoiled dogs. My own former dog, Helga, had emotional and behavioral issues but I stuck by her, working all the way. She lived 16 healthy years until finally succumbing to kidney failure in 2004. She even ran for California Governor. Hell, my friend and former roommate and I passed rigorous applications from TV station Animal Planet and The US Humane Society to be on the show Who Gets the Dog, actually winning the right to get the dog at the end of the day. So I would say I’m most fucking qualified to adopt a dog -  with full understanding of the challenges and obligations.

So my bf and I visited the Pasadena and Downey shelters, eventually meeting two dogs at the Downey Shelter. The experience of walking through the cages was extremely saddening. By the time I passed through the Pasadena shelter and many hallways of the Downey shelter with endless dogs imploring me to love them I felt as if I couldn’t breathe anymore.

Which is exactly the feeling that made it impossible for my bf and I to choose between the little black male terrier that looked like a cross between Taylor Hicks and Toto and the little white male Jack Russell terrier that looked like the RCA Victor dog. It felt like Sophie’s Choice and I felt guilty whichever way I chose. So my bf and I asked each other if we could adopt them both. We knew friends with two dogs and it seemed do-able. So we did it: we named the Taylor Hicks/Toto dog Franz and the Jack Russell dog Victor.

We got them home and they immediately commenced trying to kill each other. Victor seemed to be the instigator. We were disturbed but committed to the idea that we could become dog whisperers. My bf started reading Caesar Milan’s book and I started Tivo-ing his shows (except we don’t have Tivo; we have Comcast – which I call Crap-o).

The Edgar Winter Dog was over visiting for the weekend and he  gallantly tried to mediate, placing his Edgarsweater2_5 husky self in between the other two at all times. When they fought, he would look on sadly, sometimes putting himself away into the bedroom. Victor then bit my bf twice when food was near. Victor started behaving antisocially: not wanting to sleep near us, staring into space for long periods of time. We thought maybe he was shelter-shocked and starving so we decided to give him time, feed him well, and hire some outside help (maybe a few weeks of boot camp).

Over the course of the whole weekend, we tried to figure out a way to make it work. But as each day passed, the fights grew more intense and harder to break up. We all felt terrible and depressed. My bf started sleeping all day. Edgar stopped trying to play and once or twice even growled at Victor himself. And Edgar loves everybody. We felt sorry for Victor, like we were his only chance and we didn’t want to return him to the shelter.

I started researching Jack Russell rescue groups online to see if we could find him another home but couldn’t find any in LA. I did find a string of articles on how Jack Russells cannot live well with other Jack Russells or even other male dogs. One online story claimed a Jack Russell pet killed her other dog while she was at work. She warned readers not to think it would eventually get better between fighting dogs. We read that and became alarmed. Although we loved Victor (he had very sweet moments), we couldn’t choose to save him over the other two dogs, Franz and the occasionally visiting Edgar. So we reluctantly decided to take him back the next day. However, things ended even sooner when I sat down to eat chips and salsa which instigated a fight to the death between Franz and Victor. We couldn’t break it up and I ended up having to pull Franz out of the fray by the neck with his leash! And even then Victor kept attacking him in my arms. I ran from room to room trying to separate them but Victor was at my heels the entire time, my bf making futile attempts to cover him with a blanket to calm him down.

Finally I dumped Franz yipping into the office and slammed the door. Franz and Victor each started attacking the door! I called the shelter breathless explaining the situation and they said to bring Victor back. I cried the whole way there and as we watched Victor being lead back into the kennels. We told the shelter there had been food aggression but that there was a good dog in there, too. I felt I had to tell them about the aggression in case a family with little kids tried to adopt him. I was imagining some rug-rat getting bitten in the face after petting him while he was chewing on a rawhide. Even so, it felt very much like ratting him out.

Taking a dog back is a big bad thing where I’m from (“They’re not returnable merchandise”). I wasn’t raised to do that. It felt wrong and awful - but unavoidable given our limited resources that weekend. I felt abandoned for him. That probably comes from reading too many homeless dog novels from the Scholastic book catalog when I was nine.

I feel it was irresponsible of us to adopt two dogs on a guilty whim without doing our homework.Withed2_4  Come on: two male dogs? One a Jack Russell? Where we totally retarded? Victor, Franz and Edgar paid the price for our impulsive, thoughtless compassion. Definitely not something I’ll get over soon.

The Edgar Winter Dog and Franz Alonzo say "Hi!"
   


Steve Martin: Born Standing Up

Martin (Jan 24, 2008, at The Wilshire Theater Beverly Hills)

Imagine my glee finding Steve Martin’s latest book, Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life, sitting in a stack at a Santa Monica bookstore and discovering that it was not another piece of fiction but a biography about his long-lost life as a stand-up comedian. And here I’ve been kvetching so much about his abandonment of the art form for more well-heeled work in academic theatricals intermingled with big-budget, saccharine movie turds. (I’ll take fifty Lonely Guys any day if we can just forget that movie with Queen Latifa ever happened.

My brothers and father would re-tell scenes of The Jerk at the dinner table. I knew the entire “he hates cans!” routine before I ever watched the movie like I knew “it’s only a flesh wound” years before watching Monty Python’s Holy Grail). My brother also had the King Tut Martin Steve Martin album which we both loved (the embezzling cat story, the France bits). However, my admiration of Martin didn’t survive past the movie Roxanne, which was so sweet it hurt my teeth. And his appearances on SNL and talk shows struck me as cold. Then he did that great Oscar hosting job and I was back yearning for his old days of stand up. Then the bad movies with too many weddings and kids and Goldie Hawn romances happened and I was put off again.

Let me tell you, Martin's new book did wonders for showing a much warmer human being. And it’s a recommended read for his insight into how a comedy act is assembled, structured and crafted over years of sweat and experimentation, also delving into what it feels like on the other side of 40-thousand fans who know your routines by heart.

Good enough. But then it was announced that Steve Martin would be talking with Carol Burnett at a special event in LA at hosted by the group Writers Bloc. I was in heaven!

The theater was huge; the event was sold out so we had to sit in the balcony where I was too far away to ask my big Steve Martin question at the Q&A, which was: As a writing team for The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, why didn’t more of Bob Einstein and Steve Martin’s early-70s brilliances end up on the show? Sonny & Cher’s show is now remembered as an amazing variety show...but not for its comedy. It’s loved for its eclectic guest roster, Bob Mackie costumes and torch musical numbers.
Even the opening monologue (the only comedic bit every discussed today) mostly succeeded on S&C chemistry.

Cher’s deadpan delivery is much-ballyhooed and somewhat interesting in a nightclub setting but not brilliant by any stretch of TV variety rubrics. In fact, her deadpan serves her music more effectively, which I talk about in my Cher Zine Vol. 2.

And Martin was working on some cutting-edge material at the time; his own act was about to explode. Bob Einstein was already doing Super Dave Osbourne on The John Byner Show.  I just don’t get it. What the heck happened? Did Martin and Bob hesitate to even share the more progressive comedy pieces or did they hoard their best stuff? Did producers Chris Bearde and Alan Blye or even Sonny Bono veto the more risky ideas? The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour could have been so much better. Or maybe Martin would have been more successful working across the hallway of CBS Studio City writing for The Carol Burnett Show.

Who’s to blame? I want names.

Asked what bits Martin did for The Smothers Bros Show (one of Martin's writing gigs before S&C), he joked that “all the best stuff you remember...I wrote that.” But alas, for the S&C show there was no best stuff. The comedy was weak and I can barely generate a chuckle or two watching it today. Carol Burnett routines are still interesting and often funny. But Steve Martin’s late 70s stand-up material as found on his records and movies like The Jerk – holds up admirably. It’s the definition of lost opportunity in my little book.

I imagine it was a difference in comedic taste between Martin and Sonny and others on the show. Because Martin never waxes happily about his experiences working on their show and mentions it rarely as even a career footnote. In fact, it’s the show that inspired the end of his television writing career. In his book, he only mentions the show with one anecdote and not a very positive one. He describes being approached by Sonny and his friend, manager, business partner Denis Pregnolato. They met with Martin one day to express an interest in developing a show entirely around him.

Which is an interesting idea because it hearkens back to Sonny’s phase of mega-media mogulship and also makes you wonder why he never did launch any other major show business project that didn’t involve Cher.

The sad thing was that Martin was excited about the idea and Sonny and Denis never brought it up again. At the end of the anecdote I wasn’t sure if Martin’s point was that Sonny and Dennis were hair-brained and couldn’t get 'er done or that they were never really serious about the venture in the first place.

At one point, Burnett explained how she wanted to share good comedic material with her co-stars and second-bananas Vicki Lawrence and Harvey Korman. She learned this on The Gary Moore Show, that spreading the laughs made the show stronger, hoarding them made the show weaker. This also reflects negatively on the Sonny & Cher shows where bit players like Teri Garr got not even bare scraps for punch lines. Garr mostly did non-stop set-up work as Olivia in the Laverne sketches. Once in a great moon Ted Zeigler would over-mug a joke but that’s about it.

The closest Burnett  got to mentioning The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, an immensely popular variety series at the time Martin and Burnett were working at CBS, was when Burnett rhapsodized about how much fun they were all having with all the variety shows in full swing in the CBS building. Martin only added a story about a nutty comedian he would always overhear in the bathroom.

As far as Cher connections, Martin also mentioned meeting Frank Oz on his Muppet Show appearances (Martin was on the TV show with Carol Burnett and in the inaugural Muppet Movie) and forming a life-long professional relationship with Oz who went on to direct some of Martin’s movies. Interestingly, Cher didn’t get along with Frank Oz on the set of Mermaids where there were rumors that Cher actually had Oz fired somehow. In any case, Oz left in anger and went on to direct What About Bob. Now although Frank Oz doesn’t sound like a great Muppet-of-fun-joy to me either, I have to be honest here, What About Bob was a funnier movie.

There was on irritating aspect of this “conversation” between Burnett and Martin and it was Carol Burnett. Press lead us to believe this would be talk about Martin’s new book. Burnett however seemed disinterested in interviewing Martin at best, dead set against asking any questions at worst, letting dead silence hang in the air instead of doing any work. She asked him probably a total of two questions, both lame. One question was who his favorite movie star was. This turned into an excuse for her to segue, with neck-breaking speed, into an anecdote about that particular movie star, Cary Grant and how Grant loved her show. Frankly, she seemed only motivated to tell Carol Burnett Show anecdotes about herself.

Her other question to Martin was about how he started out as a TV writer which only betrayed the fact that she hadn’t read the book or even done a quick IMDB or Wikipedia search for a brief timeline on his career.

To Martin’s credit, he made gentlemanly (as in gentle) attempts to keep the conversation going, respectfully taking the piss out of Burnett’s strange reluctance to engage in any real “conversation” about comedy. At one point Martin joked, “I DARE you to ask me a question.” She never really did.

And it pains me to complain about Burnett because she is one of my comedic idols along with Steve Martin and Harvey Korman. I believe The Carol Burnett Show was one of the three most influential comedies of the 70s (along with The Mary Tyler Moore Show and All in the Family) and a landmark moment for women in comedy and a variety show of superior quality. And she deserves to be knighted for that. But the truth is, she hasn’t done anything worthy of knighthood since then (although I loved her in Annie and The Four Seasons).

And I’ve heard all the Carol Burnett anecdotes many times, have taped all the reunion specials, read her autobiography (One More Time) her biography (Laughing Till It Hurts by J. Randy Taraborrelli).

Steve Martin has been far less available for public introspections of this kind. It would have garnished Burnett extra kudos for showing some interest in this comedic trailblazer she was sitting next to.
Instead she came off as Hollywood, as a self-absorbed scene-stealer. And too make matters worse, her anecdotes took too long to perform. She sunk too many details into each story, making sure we knew the name of every person in the business she ever worked with or talked to. I kept thinking “can we get back to Steve please?”

On the other hand, Martin was accessible and pleasant with the fan Q&As and showed true affection for Burnett. I wished he would have showed more interest in contemporary comedians, however, when asked for his favorites. His disinterest in even knowing the names of his most recent famous co-workers felt a little isolationist.

But I’ve come a far ways if that’s the worst thing I could say about Steve Martin. His book went a long way to showing a person with flesh and feelings, portraying a modest, thankful kid from Orange County after years of seeming affected and quietly arrogant.

View photos of the event.

      


10 Years Ago

Sonnyfuneral Sonny has been gone ten years now. Can you believe it? Seems like just a few years ago when I bolted out of my Yonkers bed during Matt Lauer’s Today Show intro.  As soon as he said “Sonny Bono, Congressman from California...” I knew Sonny was dead. How? Because, Today Show anchors Matt and Katie only introduce people trailing a somber title like that when someone was dead. I was half asleep and I knew right away. I ran to turn my VCR on. That’s what a Cher freak I am. I also excused myself from work for a few extra hours to "attend the funeral on CNN." I couldn’t believe the amount of coverage that story got and how obsessed everyone was with finding Cher (who was in London at the time). The tabloid pics of the funeral were heartbreaking, actually. It was an amazing story. Although the butt of some jokes for the way he perished, most people were affected by the story which goes to show there’s more to Cher’s popularity (and unpopularity) than most people yet believe.

1998 was also the year I started working at Ape Culture.com and newly discovered eBay. I was getting Cher-mail everyday and learning all about zines. My favorites were 8 Track Frame of Mind, Bust, Beer Frame, and The Curmudgeon’s Home Companion (which stopped publishing this year, sad to say). I just realize I’ve been gone from New York City for almost 10 years myself and I’ve been in LA for six years already! Jesus, it’s probably time to move. ;-)

   


Little Legends

Little Last weekend I went to Vegas to meet up with an old chum from graduate-school dayz at Sarah Lawrence College in New York City. We visited our favorite spots: The Peppermill, The Liberace Museum and we saw a trashy show at Planet Hollywood casino (formerly Aladdin), 'Little Legends' at the Harmon Theater. I was lured by the possibility of seeing an unusual brand of Sonny & Cher impersonation as done by diminutives, little folk, short people. The show wasn’t so great. The tall magician/host Jeff Hobson was funny enough (he did a hilariously tall and gangly 60s version of Cher partnered with a tiny 60s version of Sonny), but there Elena_4 was little actual impersonating going on of a professional nature. Imagine lip syncing worse than by Sonny himself. The outfits were half-assed and about the only thing I could recommend about it were brothers Abdoule and Adama Kone who are in their 30s and from the Ivory Coast. Of a cast of four little  people, they had dancing talent of their own and scored with routines to The Temptations, Michael Jackson and Milli Vanilli. However, the biggest cheer of the night came from the guest star of the show, in casino cross-marketing for the late-night show Lucky Chengs Drag Show, Elena Perez doing Cher’s "Turn Back Time." See her picture to the right. I've cut myself out because I look fat and celebrity obsessed.

According to reports, the show usually closes with Elvis but a few of the little people were MIA for our show. Again, the fact that Cher was a showstopper here is significant. Like Elvis, she is ubiquitous for larger than life. So not only has she sung like Elvis and dressed like Elvis, she seemed to have earned a likeness of his gravitas.

Another review of Little Legends

Their website

Cher Impersonator Elena Perez

Lucky Changs Site


S&C on Hullabaloo and The Beat Club

Morosecher Whoops...I was wrong about the Sammy Davis Jr. medley last week when I was talking about Shindig. The Sammy Davis Jr. medley was from Hullabaloo and it was a Beatles medley. I blame my incomprehensible note-taking last December for the error. On Hullabaloo S&C join in the medley with "I Cant Get No Satisfaction" which just sounds silly. Later they join Sammy in singing "I’m Henry VIII I Am."

They also sing "I Got You Babe" live, Cher in one of her Good Times top and dancing with insane jerky movements.

My favorite of all of these 60s TV appearances has to be from The Beat Club. It’s so European! Cher is Morosecher2 in a long-sleeved turtleneck. They sing "And Then He Kissed Me." The camera does a closeup of Cher’s moccasins and pans the small audience and I think kids today - err, yesterday! Sonny and Cher say something like "Danka" when they finish singing. This must be a German show. Those must be German youths. And are those bad German teeth?

Cher sings alone on "I Feel Something in the Air" – her head down like a morose teen. This is a very raw Cher performance. You know how the song (written by Sonny) turns in the middle? A sudden girl group song appears, then it’s a downer again with vague references to pregnancy, so vague as a poem it wouldn’t make it through an MFA workshop. I’m sure the kids were confused by it all but maybe not seeing as they were Germans. I like the crazy moodiness of the song and Cher is good at looking teen tragic. Sonny pops back in wearing stripes! Then the video cuts off as if Sonny’s outfit has caused apocalypse.

Sonnysuit

   


Sonny & Cher on Shindig

737973_356x237_2 Have Sonny & Cher ever played with the Stones?

Hell yeah!

This is my second installment on the fabulous 60s TV appearance DVD I received from a stranger in the mail after an eBay purchase: this is The Shindig Episodes.

On one episode we find S&C, Bobby Sherman, The Rolling Stones and lot of other peeps I didn’t know. First of all, Cher was in a jumper. A jumper! Sonny in a suit. They do a medley, a crazy jam…with the cast and The ROLLING STONES! Shindig_3

Totally happening! Super groovy!

Could this host, Jimmy O’Neill, (right) be any more dapper?

S&C don new outfits where they sing “We’re Gonna Make It,” a clip that has been making the rounds of email and Cher list postings over the last two years; I reviewed this clip back in November - the highlights:

Here's a clip of Sonny & Cher singing "We’re Gonna Make It." Wow! First of all, didn't we associate that song with the Allman and Woman album. Sonny & Cher did it too? Just like "You Really Got a Hold on Me." Was Cher trying to recreate Sonny & Cher with Allman duets? It seems so beyond comprehension...or did Sonny & Cher cover so many friggin songs it would be impossible not to re-cover her covers? ...it would be hard to top this version. Bobby Sherman, that ridiculous dance, the screaming kids, the sudden appearance and disappearance of backup singers (if it wasn’t the 60s I’d think they were CGI’d in there), Sonny going absolutely crazy at the end. Wow!

The clip has since been taken off YouTube. (sad face) Find it...it's unlike any other S&C clip I've ever seen. Back in November, fellow Cher Scholar, Robrt Pela of the Arizona New Times among other things wrote to say:

I DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW THIS CLIP COULD POSSIBLY EXIST.

I mean, this looks way early, circa "Look at Us," and it just doesn't make sense that they would use crucial TV time at that point to do a song that a) they hadn't recorded and b) therefore weren't promoting.

How is this clip POSSIBLE?

This DVD brought me the answer to that very important and mysterious question: why indeed were Sonny & Cher wasting valuable airtime to scat? And Robrt was very astute to recognize the clip as a promotion for their first album. I look at all these 60s videos and get confused. Unless i see her bangs starting to grow out (see top pic) and only then I can identify it as late-decade.

Anyway, this was filler material for "I Got You Babe" promotion.  S&C do "IGUB" later in the show...with props. Cher is in one of her Good Times outfits, the ruffle-covered bell bottom outfit from "Trust Me" where she skips around LA. Interestingly, this Shindig performance of "IGUB" is excruciatingly shortened and you don’t see Cher’s face for much of it.

Sonny then sings "Laugh At Me." At first I thought it was his usual bad lip-syncing but then I realized he was trying to sing over the record! (Cher Scholar shakes head)

In another Shindig episode, S&C star with Aretha Franklin, Marianne Faithful and The Kinks. I don’t remember any groovy American-Idol style medley but I do remember Sammy Davis Jr. making maudlin over current hits. Marianne looks completely uncomfortable and bored. S&C sing "It’s Gonna Rain" and Cher sings "Dream Baby" – both are sung live. I’m surprised how often "Dream Baby" was promoted on Shindig and Shivaree.

In the next segment Sonny dresses like Caesar and Cher like Cleo. I couldn’t place the song for the life of me but Cher looks great in her dress and they've got 'a look' even with her stringy hair and their big noses. It's fun to see Sonny make her laugh.

Then the host, Sammy Davis Jr., introduces the pick of the week, "IGUB," calling it a masterpiece and outa sight. Cher wears her union-jack-fit. Why does Sonny shake his head like that when he sings. Cher has an epileptic moment at the end and then PDA. Eewwww!

To cleanse yourself, you may want to look for Cher in this long ABBA retrospective video: Terishivaree_2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gz_1g9kwBUM

Although Shindig Cher clips are not available at the moment on YouTube, here is a hilarious Rollings Stones clip from around that time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXb5UL0dwLc

And before I was mentioning Teri Garr was a dancer on Shindig and Shivaree. Here's a pic (I think she's on the far right).

   


'Do you believe' in life after rumours?

Parisvegas It’s hard times for Cher fans when you don’t know what to believe. Take the recent news of the last month: Cher is gravely ill, Cher is trying to hock around a bad-reality show idea, Cher's going to Vegas, Cher's not  going to Vegas, Cher IS going to Vegas, Cher's growing pot in her basement, Cher's  forcing forcing Chastity to enroll in clown college, Cher's moving into a shoe. It's crazy.

Odd sources have resurrected the gay-reality show story last week but it just never seemed swallowable, even before Liz Rosenberg denied the rumor on ABC News. I’m talking about the show where Cher and Chastity help people come out on television. Cher dying like Greta Garbo in Camille was easier to believe, especially a year or so after Cher was seen shopping for a grave site at Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris and months after she was reported to have given Farah Fawcett German doctor tips for cancer.

Where did this story about Cher forcing Chastity into intense anti-gay therapy come from? Was that in either of Chastity’s books? I don't remember it but ABC news claims it was there. Why wouldn’t I have remembered that? I do remember Chastity being booted from the New York Penthouse – almost as if it had happened to me!

The ABC story also discusses the idea that Cher had several female trysts in the 70s. This seems vaguely familiar from the Cher/Chastity interview in the Advocate. I wish all my Cher mags weren’t molding in my parents basement as we speak. No way am I gonna ask mom to dig one out and mail it to me. Did I tell you my family greatly disapproves of my celebrity obsession? I hope no mysterious fire destroys my collection. I guess if it's true about shoes, it's true about storage: payless, get less.

Anyway, the story came from such pitiful sources: Newsbusters, Malaysian News (how did the Malaysians get the scoop?) and the quotes just seemed absurd. Cher saying they’d be “as big as The Osbournes.” I can’t picture Cher saying that or saying she saw herself and Chastity “like Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, [not] afraid to have a rant at each other on camera,” or Cher plotting any bidding wars with TV stations (okay maybe she would do that last one).

I can’t picture either Cher or Chastity gung ho to share their private lives with TV Land. As public as America thinks Cher is – she’s not really that public. I just couldn’t see it. Unfortunately one gal blogger fell for the story and posted an angry rant about it on her blog: http://rjr10036.typepad.com/proceed_at_your_own_risk/2007/12/holy-crap.html

Then this week Robin Leach resurfaces, yammering on with more Vegas news: http://www.cherworld.com/news/?p=450

The news is good but why must we hear it from Robin Leach? I’m sorry; but I was forced to avoid too many Lives of the Rich and Famous shows in my wonder bread years.

According to Leach, Cher headlining in Vegas is not a dead deal and confirmation from Cher is just a breath away. According to him, here are the pertinent dates we should keep in mind so we can watch them pass on by.

  • 28 January – a very important announcement – or an announcement sometime in the last week of the month (he’s talking about 2008 right?)
  • 28 January to February - A 24-hour media blitz (would she cross the writer strike picket line?)
  • 1 February tickets should go on sale
  • Last week of April - first week of May - the actual show run will start

Of course, there’s not a spec of information to be found on Cher.com, per usual. Not only is that site news-pointless but it’s a usability nightmare (and that’s my late reading of Prioritizing Web Usability talking). Her latest news is from the auction over a year ago. And that news itself takes forever to load. That site is what I like to call “style over style.”

In honor of the latest Vegas rumors: here is a clip of the Alive again remix.

Btw, I’m going to Paris myself. Not to pick out a grave but to finally get out of the USA at the ripe old age of 37. This is the first extended vacation I’ve ever been on for myself. I’m very excited and going to try to do a carnet de voyage with my bf.
   


My Class is over....here are my last pots

The last thing I made that I really liked was a box. I'm putting packs of flower seeds in it. Seeds in my box. Keep on moving. Nothing to see here.

Box   

   

   

   

   

   

 

 

That's not true...I also made this pot over Thanksgiving - a sort of ode to my birth state of New Mexico.

Mompot         

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

And the best assignment was to create a mask. I loved this assignment but there are still some fixes I want to make to my mask...some gold and silver sparkle to his skin. I gave this to my bf as he inspired it.

Mask   

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had to make a big vase. I almost had a meltdown during this assignment because my base kept collapsing - the walls were too thin. And then it looked bland so I added a snake that turned out to look more like an eel and then the glaze turned out red and now brown. Sad times.

Vase   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And these last two were my first attempts to make pots on the wheel. That was freakin hard! I ran out of time to glaze them (emergency apartment hunting interfered) so I raku fired them. One turned out shiny black and one turned out funky green. Stud-student-helper guy told me he ran out of newspaper to fill both pots so the green one didn't turn out...however, the green color was what the raku glaze tub predicted it should look like and I like that one better, personally.

Raku_2   

 

 

 

   

      

   

Raku2_4