News is that the ink has been signed. Cher will play Tess, a former dancer who runs a burlesque club on Sunset Boulevard and Cher will be singing onscreen. The Cherlist tipped us off to the fact that Burlesque (another on-word movie title for Cher) was written by and will be directed by Steve Antin, onetime boyfriend of David Geffen during the mid-to-late 1980s.
Here's a sweet quote from Variety:
Movie studio Screen Gem's president Clint Culpepper tells Variety, "She brings a soulfulness and gravitas to this character that will ground the story.
But wait, there's more! (Can you believe it?) Cher will also do voice work in the movie Zookepper - where she will play the character of a giraffe:
Variety released the names of actors set to voice animals in Happy Madison's 2010 live action comedy, The Zookeeper, which centers on zoo animals that try to convince a trainer to win back his dream woman. The list of actors on board: Adam Sandler, who will voice a capuchin monkey, Cher, a giraffe, Jon Favreau, a bear, Sylvester Stallone, a lion, and Judd Apatow, an elephant. Jim Breuer, Faizon Love and Bas Rutten will also lend their voices The film, which also stars Kevin James and Rosario Dawson, will begin shooting in late summer.
That’s just around the corner! I wonder if there's a Zoo-protest in the script and all the fur-people break out. I love the idea of Cher as a giraffe. I really do. I think I found a picture of one that really captures Cher's attitude, too.
My friend Christoper told me during our reading group session Monday night how surprised he was that the story of Chaz came and went in the media.
It certainly hasn't been cover-story news on shows or magazines, getting mostly a kind of "what do you think of it" gossiping embedded in other stories and interviews....such as this one where Kathy Griffin appears on Larry King and one question deals with her being bbfs with Cher and Griffin's support of Chaz:
And here is actually some touching analysis by blogger Kenneth of Cher’s comments to People Magazine:
Truthfully, I find Cher's acting "like a mother" to be kind of an endearing …She said she will "strive to be understanding" and reaffirmed her "abiding love" for her child. That's all I would hope for from my parents if I announced I was a woman 20 years into being a gay son. When someone's lack of understanding DENIES someone else the right to do something, that's unacceptable. When someone's lack of understanding causes that person uncertainty -- even a gay icon! -- that's just called being human.
A poet named Aaron Smith did the Cher essay in the book My Diva, a book of gay male writers making tributes to their females muses. I wondered if Smith might also have a Cher poem. He did!
His first collection, Blue on Blue Ground, has a poem called “Cher Uncensored” (although one wonders exactly when Cher is censored). The poem is a prose poem, which means no line breaks, a relatively new form (your ballads, ssonnets, villainies being older ones) of the last 30 or so years. Prose poetry is sometimes compared to what fiction writers call sudden fiction, meaning really short, short stories. So where does sudden fiction end and prose poetry begin? There’s no academic answer; it’s a fuzzy line there.
Line breaks serve to focus attention on pacing in a poem. Line breaks also focus your attention to certain words or literary devices, like alliteration, going on in the poem. For me, different forms have their different physical movements, somewhat similar to visual art. For instance, paper-cutting pictures are detailed, precise, somewhat placid; Jackson Pollock paintings are fast and full of action. As a writer, when you feel your poem is speeding toward its conclusion, sometimes line breaks make no sense or seem arbitrary, and they should never arbitrary in good free verse.
In this case, the poem can almost be considered one continuous line. You can also see prose poetry as more of a complete scene of fiction than a typical lyrical poem involves, ssomething between an image captured in time and a full-blown narrative story.
Walking to lunch I am Cher in Moonstruck, freshly fucked, kicking a can down the street in last night’s sultry, strapless gown the color of pennies, my thick black hair still stunning, lips swollen from kisses, coat dark as the heart-shaped hickey on my neck. I think of Nicolas Cage and falling for his speech after our secret date when those damn snowflakes fell on cue like they do in movies, his annoying lecture on their imperfection, like the imperfection of love, and the bullshit of fairy tales, how nothing turns out as we plan, and taking his wooden hand I follow him up the stairs to his surprisingly well-decorated apartment out of the cold and out of my panties into his bed where we do it for hours like rock stars, the naked moon exposing itself like a pervert. I clutch his unusually hairy body to mine, and our oily screams drench the room in a disjointed operatic soundtrack: Oh Nicolas! Oh Cher! Oh Nicolas! Oh Cher! Oh Cher! Cher! Cher! Cher!
I could see this poem working either with line breaks or without. The run-on nature of this rambling re-creation of scenes in Moonstruck does work as a prose poem and Smith flows seamlessly between typically vulgar language to funny asides. The point of view also seems to float from a his own perspective on these movie scenes to a full inhabiting of Loretta’s character. There's jjuicy alliteration in “freshly fucked” and “sultry strapless” and his sentences are full of floating, sexy rhythms.
The book is full of other good stuff, too: another great prose poem called “Keep Him There” about going back through a relationship with tender regret, back to the first street-corner greeting. Smith also has other celebrity-related poems on JFK, Brad Pitt ("Have you ever been fat, Brad?"), and Matt Damon. Good lyrical pieces include “Psalm: West Virginia,” “Dr. Engel Teaches the Poet How to Swim,” and “Notes Composed on a Sidewalk.”
His book also deals with his struggle with his sexuality and how he relates to his primary family relationships. One poem in particular, “Things I Could Never Tell My Mother” skillfully gets under your skin with its pacing, allowing you to inhabit his character’s full-blown rage.
I was also inspired by the Cher poem to do a quick Internet scan on visual Cher art.
...so yesterday I had just gotten off the phone to tell my friend that the Branson, Missouri, documentary at L.A. Film Fest was sold out, when I walked into the living room and gave Franz and my bf some hassle-ment for napping and then started to walk into my kitchen when out of my periphery vision I saw a car fly out of nowhere into my neighbor's house. It was very odd and loud. It was like the woman in the car was time traveling and had mis-set her coordinates back to the future. I expected Christopher Lloyd to step out. The woman suffered injuries but I'm not sure to what extent. She was taken away on a stretcher, but she was talking. Thankfully, the boy and the two German Shepherds who play often in the yard and the parents were safe, literally minutes from returning from a baseball game. Click pics to enlarge.
10 Songs on my latest iPod list: Foreground - Grizzly Bear Wavin' Flag - K'naan I Will Survive - Cake We Both Go Down Together - The Decemberists Fight Test - Flaming Lips Laughing With (God) - Regina Spektor Tell Me It's Not Over - Starsailor St. Kitt's Woman - Tower of Power Fighting My Way Back - Thin Lizzy Chastity Sun - Cher
10 Songs on my latest iPod list:
Foreground - Grizzly Bear
Wavin' Flag - K'naan
I Will Survive - Cake
We Both Go Down Together - The Decemberists
Fight Test - Flaming Lips
Laughing With (God) - Regina Spektor
Tell Me It's Not Over - Starsailor
St. Kitt's Woman - Tower of Power
Fighting My Way Back - Thin Lizzy
Chastity Sun - Cher
Cher has apparently released a statement through People Magazine:
Cher is speaking out for the first time about daughter Chastity Bono's decision to become her son Chaz.The 63-year-old entertainer tells People magazine exclusively,
"Chaz is embarking on a difficult journey, but one that I will support. I respect the courage it takes to go through this transition in the glare of public scrutiny, and although I may not understand, I will strive to be understanding. The one thing that will never change is my abiding love for my child."
That's a good and touching statement.
The only tragedy I can see in the amazing-but-not-completely-unforeseen news that came out last week, my cher peoples, is that it is forcing me to put off some really, really awesome posts.
First of all, I found an amazing poem about Moonstruck to share with you, written by a fabulous new poet whose first book primarily explores gay and coming-out themes, as well as family relationships in that vein (a really well-written book in all aspects)...but that has to be put off. Another item: I was at a Culver City birthday party two weekends ago and met someone there who works as an accounting consultant for Universal (but the publishing side) and I intended to post my longer exchange with him. The jist of it: while I was interviewing the accountant regarding Cher’s recent lawsuit for royalties, the birthday-party host, (who once playyed in Johnny Thunders’ band but now is in the music-marketing biz), waltzed by and declared loudly. “People are suing Universal all the time, Mary. You only care because it’s Cher.”
Okay, fair enough. Turns out there’s a spreadsheet for all ongoing lawsuits, how much cash they have in the kitty to deal with it, and what they’re going to counter-offer. Imagine some Cher line-items in that .xls. Also at the same party, I learned that Preston Sturges’ son Soloman lives in the accountant’s garage apartment...which has become somewhat of a Collier’s Mansion. The accountant defined Collier’s Mansion for us all a few times so we’d know what that meant.
But all that LA gossip is tidily-winks now! Although you could draw out a larger discussion about celebrity kids trying to survive in LA and how many of them spontaneously combust in various sorts of ways...that’s for another day. Because I was ALSO contacted a few weeks ago by Sonny & Cher’s 70s-era album engineer Lenny Roberts who found some errors in my comments about him (since corrected) in my "All I Ever Need is You" review (long form). I was able to interview him. But that awesomeness will also have to wait, because I have been completely upstaged by the formerly-Chastity-Bono’s announcement that she is becoming officially Chaz Bono, a he.
This news is a real bombshell all over, although Cher fans probably remember rumors stating Chastity has been thinking about this. I actually had friends call, email and facebook-poke me about it. My first question is will he keeping his middle name? Because Chazsun really runs together quite nicely.
So in a nutshell, Chaz is getting what is technically called a gender reassignment (and I have never understood the assignment word in that phrase which sounds more like a school project than a physical reality). He will be doing this through hormone treatments and/or surgery which could possibly involve a legal gender switch as well as a biological one.
Reports are that Chas has the support of his family, including Cher and Mary Bono, her father’s widow. He has also received support publically from Neil G. Giuliano, the president of GLAAD; Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese; and Casey Schwarts, a trans youth specialist -- and probably others by now. All are emphasizing Chaz’s courage and honesty in his decision. It’s hard to say Chaz has gone public with his decision, since going private with the decision was simply never an option for someone so famous.
A Chaz Bio Review
One thing that fascinates me about this story is how news outlets perceive both Chaz and Cher. Chaz seems best known as a political and social activist. But he has had a checkered career as media advisor for GLADD (which led to a public feud with Ellen DeGeneres over her sitcom Ellen and its possible “gayness”), memoir author (of sorts—both books under the Chastity name were co-written), a musician in the band Ceremony, and a journalist for The Advocate, among other vocations.
Likewise, Cher in one report was described as an LGBT icon. This is new. I have never seen her identified as an icon for lesbians, not to mention bisexuals and transgenders. For years I’ve been meeting many lesbian Cher fans at shows and conventions, but no one in the media seems to fully recognize this fan base.
To review, Chastity came out to her family in 1987 while a freshmen at NYU. She was outed forcibly in 1990 by a tabloid. Chastity came out herself in a 1995 cover article of The Advocate. She chronicled her relationships in her book “The End of Innocence.” She has said her coming-out helped her mother see her as a full person –- which is interesting because this seems to be a common Mother/Daughter struggle for many women, as opposed to men. Which seemingly has more to do with how mothers perceive their daughters vs. how they perceive their sons. And I wonder if Chaz's gender reassignment will alter this aspect of the mother/child relationship.
You know there’s always a freakin’ hate-take. So skip over this section if you have a low tolerance for hate...or if you’re so over it.
Some quick news items and links this week – however, I have some good things are cooking for the end of the month. Next week I’ll be gone on a trip to Arizona for my bfs birthday and to shop for silver wedding rings. We’re excited about staying at an old refurbished Harvey House hotel.
Meanwhile Cher has been shopping in Kailua Hawaii.
Cher and well-known L.A. interior designer Martin Bullard made a stop last Thursday with their entourage at Kailua's Lanikai Bath and Body — known for its all-natural, made-in-Hawaii collections of lotions, creamy butters and sea salt and cane sugar scrubs. The two picked up lavender lotion with essential oils of lavender plumeria lotion and body butter, Tahitian gardenia butter, lip balms, Hawaiian bath salts, poi dog shampoo, naupaka massage oil and pohaku body wash.
Sweet...lavender. But now I predict Franz will be demanding poi dog shampoo now.
Cher last week Cher also filed suit against Universal Music Group for trying to hide her royalties:
Although it must be a major pain in the tukus to deal with litigation, this actually rocks that Cher is fighting back for her cash. As an established artist with some money and heft to hurl, she might break ground for many other artists currently getting screwed.
Among other things, the suit claims:
… the label's creative accounting has shortchanged her and the heirs of her late ex-husband Sonny Bono to the tune of $5 million. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims an audit of UMG's accounting to the singer-actress from 2000 to 2003 showed that UMG execs "engaged in wrongful tactics" designed to hide revenue from two hit compilation albums.
….breach of two recording contracts Cher had with UMG predecessors, one with MCA division Kapp Records in 1972 and another 1987 deal with the David Geffen Company. Cher claims that those deals entitled her -- and, in the case of the 1972 deal, Bono -- to receive up to 50% of net royalties received by UMG. But the complaint alleges that UMG later made a deal with Warner Music U.K. to distribute a 1999 compilation called "Cher The Greatest Hits," then funnelled the money through UMG's international arm to conceal the amountof royalties owed to Cher and the Bono heirs.
Cher also challenges accounting on a second compilation, 2002's "The Very Best of Cher." UMG allegedly allowed the album to be distributed by a division of Warner Music Group but accounted to Cher on a royalty basis as though UMG had sold the records itself, thus decreasing her share.
When Cher and Bono divorced in 1977, they agreed to split revenue from the songs recorded together. When Bono died in a ski accident in 1998, one-third of his interest passed to wife Mary Bono-Mack, and one-sixth interests were split amongst his kids. Bono-Mack, as well as Cher's daughter with Bono, Chastity Bono, are plaintiffs in the case, as well as Bono children Christy Bono, Chianna Bono and son Chesare Bono.
Music producer Snuff Garrett is also a plaintiff. He claims he is entitled to a 50% pro rata share of royalties from some of the recordings based on a producers deal with MCA Records.
This reminds me of reading the story of Allman Brothers earlier this year (which I need to review soon) and Cher’s many attempts to get Gregg and the Gang to investigate and stand up for what money was due to them and they weren't getting paid. They didn't heed the advice for a long time and were royally screwed. It's great that Cher is ON it.
Cher’s Augustus Pugin chandelier is up for sale again if anyone has 24,000 spare dollars. Is that the chandelier...to the right?
Phil Spector was sentenced last week: 19 years to life.
Sonny & Cher's ‘Stangs have been harshly critiqued –- but hey, what wasn’t tacky in the 1960s? The link has lots of pictures of the interiors.
We get it, the times were weird, everybody was experimenting with things other than music, and free expression was the mark of the day, but stuff like Bobcat fur upholstery is way too much for our tastes.
From a sheetmetal perspective, the cars are basically identically modified. Each gets a twin grille, Frenched Thunderbird tail lights, relocated and flush-mounted door handles, rolled and flared fenders, faux hood scoops and 40 coats of hippy-tastic paint. Each was a 289 car with the automatic transmission, but there the similarities end. Inside, the "Sonny" car has some nasty shag "Bobcat fur," antique leather and funky suede. Cher's car got Ermine fur and Scottish leather upholstery, trimmed in pink suede, oh and a white fur trunk. Gag, times two.
The two cars are being sold as a pair with an asking price of... get this... $400,000.00. We could have named this post "Nice Price or Crack Pipe: Columbian Drug Lord Edition."
And last for news/links, dearly departed Estelle Getty and Bea Arthur do a Golden Girls send-up of Sonny & Cher.