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October 2009

I See Black People!

Chain-mail-and-jewels

Here is an interesting peak into Cher's 1980s Egyptian-style house and working with Cher and her team from a photographer's point of view, Anthony Barboza in particular.

Remember that chain mail and jewels look?

But what is the black-people obsession about in this article? Kind of an explosive issue and I thought it should either be eliminated by Barboza or pumped up a bit more. As it was I couldn’t tell what his point was. Did he think Cher's entourage was racist? This is a surprising idea to me. But what do I know? Was Barboza overly sensitive to what was more of a photo lighting issue than a race issue?  Or did he suppose the lighting issues were code for racism?

We’re all tuned in to issues of race right now with the President and the protests, so it’s a timely topic but the article was kind of a tease. How refreshing if he would have just come out and talked about it fully. Because I’m liked a dog with a cocked head, like did I just hear something juicy?

Full story on: http://www.cherworld.com/news/?p=821

His celebrity gallery has a very cool alternate take of Cher from the session described in the article; Cher is surrounded the fur of her white couch: http://www.barbozastudio.com/celebrities/galmain.htm

  


Designer Jill Stuart Inspired by Cher

http://blogs.wsj.com/runway/2009/09/14/not-for-the-shy-jill-stuarts-neo-cher-collection/

Stuart’s noon show at the New York Public Library today. Stuart says this collection’s “angel rocker girl” look was inspired by Cher. A silver mesh dress was cut so low in the front and back that it prompted the question about what underthings one would wear with it. “You can’t,” Stuart said with a laugh. “You have to be pretty risky to wear that.”

Her clothes were described as Neo Cher. I don’t know what Neo Cher means. Do you?

  


Circling Back

EddieIzzard

So the wedding is in high gear, just under 60 days away. We’re busy deciding things, arranging things, assembling things. The table cards that I made, like the seating cards, had to be redone by the designer who did the invitations (I have good ideas; but suck at execution). We’re getting great feedback on the invite and I’ve been stressed about the more Me elements of the wedding, like my hair, my skin, my weight. But we’re scanning for readings, organizing favors and all that stuff.

Meanwhile, I saw Big Fantwo weekends ago and although it was really good and Patton Oswalt’s performance was Oscar-worthy, I was essentially disappointed that his character never, not for a moment, was able to see his own self-destructive behavior. Not even a glimpse of it sideways in a mirror. So there was no growth there, which to me was essentially nihilistic and depressing.

And maybe character growth wasn’t this writer/director’s big aim; but seeing the failings of the modern celebrity-obsessed for an hour or so on the big screen without some kind of insight seems like pointless entertainment, or rather...more of the same thing that it describes.

But I did take time to watch the Roseanne video of Cher and Chaz, mostly due to the good comments it received in response to my last post. Let me just say comedy is highly subjective and there were no big LOLs for me here.

Cher is dressed circa the 90s, but makes asides to the camera like on her TV show in the 70s. Chaz is just a big bear of a guy in a blond wig and rainbow shirt. I get it.

I did get some low-level chuckles: rhyming beaver (bevah) with diva, the basement full of Sanctuary knick-knacks, the pink berry joke got a snort, as did the f-ing retarded headdress line. But Cher’s actress sounded too whiny for me and the writing was way too talky.

By the way, Roseanne didn’t write or appear in these skits. She just produced them.

In episode 2, Sonny makes an angelic appearance, but looks more like Michael Jackson. The Elijah reference is surprisingly insider (Elijah just isn't as famous as Chaz), and Cher’s headdress keeps bouncing around in the over-the-shoulder shots, annoyingly upstaging the Sonny (which is just an overkill short joke).

For me, this skit tries a bit too hard, goes on for too long, and has the quality of amateur night. And the theme song is just dippy. If you love Family Guy and Flight of the Concords  or read any kind of snarky celebrity blog Dlisted or Defamer, the bar is set awfully high for irreverent, snarky pop culture roastings.

The kids today are faster, meaner, smarter and at the end of the day funnier.

Again, Eddie Izzard – what say you? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjC3R6jOtUo

In other news: William Shatner came out recently in support of Lucy the Elephant. The USS Missouri is dry docked. And predictably the Witches of Eastwich TV show sucks.

  


Healthy Perspectives and Fan Obsessions

Big_fan_377x566 Not only do I wade in my own celebrity obsession (a fact proven by the existence of this very blog) without apology and quite naturally if I don’t say so myself (I have some mad skillz in this particular brand of nuttiness); but I also partake in studying and discussing the larger issues and problems with celebrity obsessions in general, which are many.

Two pieces of pop culture have come to my attention this week dealing with the topic on fandom gone bad. First I plan to see the new movie Big Fan this weekend starring Patton Oswalt and written and directed by Robert D. Siegel (of The Wrestler).

The synopsis of the movie from imdb:

Big Fan follows the life of Paul Aufiero (Patton Oswalt), a devout New York Giants fan, and parking garage attendant. Paul plods along through his life, living with his mother (Marcia Jean Kurtz) in Staten Island… We soon see that the only thing that Paul really cares about is football, or more specifically, the New York Giants. Paul meticulously crafts rants about why his Giants are "destined" for glory and calls in to a local late-night sports radio show where he is a known contributor and enemy of Philadelphia Eagles fan, Philadelphia Phil. Things then take a turn for Paul as a night out with his best friend Sal (Kevin Corrigan) results in a sighting of his favorite player Quantrell Bishop (Jonathan Hamm). Paul finally builds up the guts to go over and talk to Bishop and in a drunken state Bishop misinterprets something Paul says and beats him to a pulp. The rest of the film follows Paul and his struggle to figure out his life as everyone around him tries to get him to sue, and imprison his hero, all while his Giants stumble and fall from their path to "destiny"

Wow…this goes right to the jugular of the problems of living your life inside of another life (your celebrity’s) instead of your own.

From the Sundance Film Festival website:

What starts out as a dream come true turns into a nightmare as a misunderstanding ignites a violent confrontation, and Paul is sent down a path that will test his devotion to the extreme. Patton Oswalt is perfectly cast as Paul, infusing him with a humanity that renders him empathetic instead of pathetic. Siegel has an innate understanding of—and reverence for—his characters but finds humor in every scene by perfectly capturing the details of their world. From the posters on the walls, to the NFL bed sheets, to the ""spontaneous"" smack talking, he nails it. Big Fan resonates with truth and insight, and the result is a film that will make you laugh and wince at the same time—a very winning combination.

The Rolling Stone review:

Paul is a setup for an easy joke on losers. That the joke never comes is a tribute to writer Robert Siegel who makes a potent directing debut with a scrappy movie that refuses to sentimentalize or ridicule its besieged hero worshipper. His pain, like his loneliness, is palpably real.

A film all obsessed Cher fans should see. http://www.bigfanmovie.com/

Secondly, my friend Christopher also sent me an album by a band-or-singer (I'm not sure) called Fisher. The second song on the album is another gem about fan obsession called “Biggest Fan.” The lyrics are a bit chilling:

You go outFisher-thelovelyyears_large
You hide out
But we all want to know you
Every once in a while
You send a photograph

And if I met you on the street
Would you be really nice to me
Or would you ignore me and make me feel stupid
I feel like I know you like a friend
Seen every movie you’ve been in
If you ignore me, I’ll hate you
Cos I am your biggest fan

I love your garbage
To touch it is to touch you
Every once in a while I sell a piece for cash

Of course the story denegrates from there into screaming and an arrest. Get a copy at your nearest iTunes location.


The CCA and Craniofacial Acceptance Month

Scott & Mitch Daniels I received two missives this week from our friends over at the Children’s Craniofacial Association or www.ccakids.org announcing September as Craniofacial Acceptance Month. The first email was from Executive Director Charlene Smith. As you recall Cher spent many years as spokeswoman and retreat-facilitator for the CCA after being inspired by her role in the movie Mask. The CCA has also been a big part of Cher Convention through the years.

Charlene’s emails says,

Being accepted by others is a natural human desire, but it’s not often easy for the 100,000 children born each year in the United States with facial differences. September is Craniofacial Acceptance Month. Please join Children’s Craniofacial Association in their vision that all people are accepted for who they are, not how they look, and realize that beyond the face is a heart. Please visit: www.ccakids.org

Please help CCA touch as many lives as we can during the month of September by forwarding this email to all of your friends.

Our mission is empowering and giving hope to individuals and families affected by facial differences. CCA envisions a world where all people are accepted for who they are not how they look.

I also received another letter from Paula Guzzo, the mother of Scott Guzzo, both Cher fans many Cher Conventioneers have met and become friends with over the years at conventions. Paula writes:

As many of you know, I serve on the Children's Craniofacial Association's Board of Directors. CCA envisions a world where all people are accepted for who they are, not how they look. Gov. Daniels has proclaimed September as Craniofacial Acceptance Month in Indiana. Our family and CCA thanks him. A copy of Gov. Daniels' Proclamation is attached. So is a picture of Scott and Gov. Daniels. [both pictured above]

Please help me spread the word. If you're affiliated with an organization that posts these things to a Web site or a social network, please do so.

So forward this to your friends and help spread the word!

   


On Roseanne Barr

Roseanne_Barr_5518 I don’t know what else Roseanne is up to other than running a website.

Roseanne Barr just launched "Cher and Chaz," her hilarious Web sitcom on Roseanneworld.com, imagining what it's like at home for Cher as her transgender daughter Chastity turms into her son.

I can’t believe there are actually news items on this comedy web sketch:

http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/2009/08/23/2009-08-23_side_dish.html#ixzz0P9M8GCPG

http://www.akawilliam.com/the-cher-and-chaz-show/

And news about Cher not diggin it: http://www.pr-inside.com/cher-not-laughing-about-roseanne-s-online-r1454775.htm

I haven’t watched it yet, I must admit. But although I have nothing against this sort of send-up (I’m mostly in the nothing’s-sacred/anything-goes comedy camp), Roseanne is datedly and decidedly not funny in general so I don’t have high hopes for this sketch of hers. 

My resistance to sacred cows is what allows me to enjoy Howard Stern, a true provocateur. But if Roseanne were a true provocateur, she’d have the pulse of the people and the power of moral authority behind her. And she’s repeatedly failed to prove she has this power, many stunts after trying (the baseball game howling of the National Anthem and crotch-grabbing being the most infamous example of a failed attempt). She just misses the mark most of the time. No -- Lenny Bruce she is certainly not. And I wonder why. I think it’s because she comes across as a mean-spirited loner, honestly, whether she intends to or not. The perception is that her shit seems self-serving, never sincerely self-deprecating.

This can also be seen in the trajectory of her old 80s sitcom, Roseanne, which I initially adored, by the way, for giving American TV a somewhat normal, lower-class, non-skinny Midwestern family to watch. However, the more control she exerted over the show, the less typical the family became, the more melodramatic the plots were, and the more she tried to hit us over the head with laboriously provocative material.

Meanwhile, provocative dramas and comedies have come and gone from TVLand with real moral pathos and authority. The Roseanne circus ruined her show and, as a result, it jumped the shark much sooner than it deserved to. Somehow she just misses the boat comically. Bc5c8d3517a7bc84

Seriously, I’m not opposed to poking fun of Chaz’s somewhat historic story. Humor is not always mean-spirited; sometimes it’s cathartic for a society to process its dramas with laughter. Never a party when you’re the subject of it; but we all take a turn in this life or the next. Still, Chaz deserves a higher-caliber ribbing than what Roseanne can provide. And don’t send me Bruce Vilanch, please! Eddie Izzard could seriously do this.