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February 2010
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Two New Great Mashups

Rem Or new to me rather.

R.E.M. vs. Cher - "Losing My Believe"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6kY3o5TjnQ

Cher vs. Alice Deejay - "Better Believe Alone"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nZ1o-ypo2M

Both are top notch. "Better Believe Alone" actually works like a call and response, one song arguing with the other.

Alice These are actually my favorite of all the "Believe" mashups (so far); but seriously, who do we have to f*%k to get a mashup of "Gypsies Tramps and Thieves?



Cher Party!

400_cher_100thshow_091202 Cher parties for her 100th Caesars show; Cher Scholar parties for the sake of scholarship.

Yes, I missed a week of blogging and I have no real good excuse. All I can say is that I've been very tired from overtime at work and negotiations and all I've wanted to do was read the novel The Lost Night by Rachel Howard.

However, I did do my Cher duties last Saturday night when I threw a dinner and video-viewing party to gather some material for the next Cher zine. My husband was an amazing sport about the whole thing, helping me cook for 7-8 fans, semi-fans and non-fans, including me. All were tasked with sampling food for the obligatory zine food article and commenting on 27 of 28 Cher videos. I cut the live video "All or Nothing" when guests started getting antsy. Yes, I realize the irony of cutting a song called All or Nothing from a long Cher-video-watching party. But I was facing a mutiny! Sacrifices had to be made for the more artistic "The Music's No Good Without You" and "Song For the Lonely" videos.

John cut his finger cooking, among other sacrifices, but helped me pull it together. Overall it was a trying and tiring party. People crapped out at pretty much at video 16…but we had some interesting discussion as to what makes a legitimate video. Most agreed TV and movie segments do not count, only  a promotional film EXCLUSIVELY made to sell a single, not as content for one’s other projects. The food was a hit (with everyone else, not so much with me). My friend made a very delish jello though, as a cross-over project for her blog, Julie and Jello, which is a take-off on the book Julie and Julia.

Anyway, there are some awesome, awesome things coming in the next zine. Notes on the director's screening of Mask, interviews with pop-culture feminists (so awesome), an essay on the Phoenix, Arizona, sites for the movie Chastity,and a new piece on the new Cher dolls that have come out since the last zine.

However, we can still use a bit more content. If anyone has any personal experiences of being a Cher fan that you would like to share, please contact me.


The Jam of Cher

Moonstruckmarmalade Cher's sweet tooth has spoken.

http://www.jammiesjams.com/index.php/cher-picks-jammies-moonstruck-marmalade/

Cher Picks Jammies “Moonstruck Marmalade

Cher has spoken, and she’s picked Jammies’ Moonstruck Marmalade as her favorite organic jam.” Jammies Jams taste like fresh fruit in a jar. Of course I am partial to “Moonstruck Marmalade” but they’re all great!”

There's a lot of love for Cher over at Jammies Jams. There's also a non-marmalade Moonstruck jam and Snapoutofit a "Snap out of it!" jam. Buy your set today.

I have a general question: what’s the difference between jam and jelly and preserves and the nebulous "spread"? Jam has seeds? Anybody? Is it me?

These flavors also look promising:

Ladymarmaladeborder Bloodymary  

 


   


Chaz in the Media

12_chaz_bono_mh Can you believe I found a pic of Chaz in front of a step and repeat wall?

Since December, Chaz has been doing some light press. There was a People article I missed from December. You can see this, as well as all things Chaz on his website: http://chazbono.net/press03.html

Recently, he also did some interviews with CNN and Anderson Cooper to help publicize the CNN documentary on transgendering "Her Name Was Steven."

Chaz said:

Starting the hormone therapy was "like going through puberty as a 14-year-old." "Your voice starts to deepen. You start to grow hair. You start to gain muscle mass."

Chaz says he's "so much happier, more confident... My life just feels right now. And there was always some kind of disease within myself before that just doesn't exist anymore."

As for how his family is dealing with the change, Chaz says they've been "pretty good" — though he doesn't speak about his famous mother specifically.

"My family's been pretty supportive," he says. "Everybody kind of comes to different points of understanding at different times...I've been talking about this for years, because this has been something I've been struggling with for years, so it wasn't really a surprise... And everybody's been pretty good. Pretty good."

Read more on the CNN Story:
http://www.starmagazine.com/chaz_bono/news/16617

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/matthew-balan/2010/03/12/cnns-cooper-interviews-chaz-bono-part-pro-transgender-publicity

By the way, Newsbusters is a right-wing news website that claims to "expose liberal bias in the media" similar, I suppose, to Media Matters on the left, a website which calls out conservative lie-making. I find it very interesting that Newsbusters covers gay issues at all, as if accepting gay and transgendered people takes a liberal bias. Which is, by the way, exactly what they believe. Their title is telling "CNN's Cooper Interviews 'Chaz' Bono as Part of Pro-Transgender Publicity." So, CNN is being implicitly criticized for interviewing Chaz "sympathetically."

These site's usage of terminology exemplifies how progressives and conservatives typically use language. Conservatives bust and bash with force. Progressives whine about what matters. I find It frustrating.

Video of the CNN interview: http://x17online.com/celebrities/chaz_bono/chaz_bono_to_anderson_cooper_i_felt_like_one_of_the_guys-03122010.php

It doesn't seem that Chaz is hugely comfortable being a spokesperson yet, although he is confident about his decision. You still see a lot of brow wrinkling in interviews.

   


Bob Einstein Helped Rescue Me From Nightshift Madness

CurbLast week was quite a bit challenging for me. The company I work for, ICANN, held a high-profile meeting in Nairobi, Kenya. Terrorists threats were made against the meeting venue, notifications from high levels, many participants backed out, and therefore remote participation (meeting video, audio, transcripts) was in demand unlike for other more typical international meetings. My team coordinates with other IT personnel to make this remote participation work. Long story short, my work day morphed into a schedule that went from 2 am to 10 am. 

To keep awake, I played crime shows like Cold Case Files, First 48, Snapped, and The Investigators in the background (hoping to glean fodder for a novel) while I worked. All the murders...oh, the many many pointless and gruesome murders.. and the late nights of solitude drove me slightly bonkers. One night I saw an Investigators episode about LA celebrity-stalker prosecutor Rhonda Saunders who talked about Madonna's nutty stalker among other lesser-known cases. It was truly frightening, a notable quote being: "There's a thin line between a dedicated fan and a stalker." God, help us.

This quote inspired me to forgo visiting Elijah Blue's art show and instead spending my first day off, Friday, at Dog Beach with Franz and the hubby. There's always time for an obsession check, no?

Do one for yourself.

BrothersbiopageBut a Cher-connection-free  weekend in LA is slightly improbable.

On Sunday night I was fortunate to have been able to attend the Curb Your Enthusiasm cast panel at PaleyFest 2010. The awesome lineup included pre-teen pals Richard Lewis & Larry David, Cheryl Hines, Jeff Garlin, Susie Essman and Bob Einstein, who plays the always-disgruntled Marty Funkhouser on the show.

Young people may only know Bob Einstein from Curb Your Enthusiasm. Or you may be familiar with the character of his alter ego Super Dave Osbourne going back all the way to the 1970s John Byner Show or the 1980s John Byner show Bizarre.

Or you may know the quirky bit of trivia that Bob Einstein and Albert Brooks are brothers. See them above with their other brother, Clifford. How bizarre is that? They seem at total odds: Funkhouser and Nemo's father Marlin, Super Dave and the comedic schlub of many an 80s movie, including most notably Broadcast News and Lost in America.

Or you may know that Bob Einstein and Steve Martin where the famous writers to come out of The Sonny & Cher Comedy HourSONNY-CHER-tvs freshly plucked from their historic tenure as writers for The Smothers Brothers.

Again, there's a world of difference between the comedy of not only what came before Sonny & Cher's show, the political and sexual boundary-pushing humor of the Smother Brothers' show, but what comedy came after Sonny & Cher: The Jerk, Super Dave, Let's Get Small and the hilariously vulgar and cynical humor that Bob Einstein displayed Sunday night for the Curb Your Enthusiam panel, jokes that made even the stoic Larry David laugh and Jeff Garlin hoot like an owl. He stole the show from a panel of brilliant comedians discussing today's leading cutting-edge television comedy.

I've been retelling his jokes all day. The guy's still got it.



North Hollywood History

6a00d8341c630a53ef0120a8b27e51970b-600wi Who was the popcorn girl at the El Portal in North Hollywood? Well this was news to me when I visited the theater about five years ago to see Stephen Colbert and Amy Sedaris in the reading/play Wigfield, but it was "Cherilyn Sarkisian, now known as Cher."

You can take in a play there and see the tiny concession stand where Cher might have once doled out buttery popcorn and soda pop. Debbie Reynolds is there now: http://www.elportaltheatre.com/elportal.html

More North Hollywood history: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/home_blog/2010/02/walking-tour-north-hollywood-history.html

  


Celebrity Scholarship by Elijah Blue

Elijahstuff There was some real Cher peripheral news buried in last week’s paparazzi blitz and blurbs about Chaz and Cher attending the Melrose art opening at Kantor Gallery, that being that it was Elijah Blue’s inaugural  show “Step-and-Repeat” they were there to see.

Slideshow the exhibit (seems to work on and off): http://www.kantorgallery.com/exhibitions/elijah-blue/

Full Press release by Kantor: http://www.hustlerofculture.com/me_we/2010/02/la-elijah-blues-stepandrepeat-022410-042410.html Excerpts:

”Step-and-Repeat” reflects on the amalgamation of the corporatocracy and celebrity cultures through use of the step-and-repeat wall, a staple at red-carpet events.  Manufactured quickly and brandished with corporate logos, these backdrops are signage for the biggest sponsor, lacking any aesthetic substance; Blue has shifted the paradigm and forged carefully hand-painted panels.  Using a photorealistic approach, he suggests that celebrity personalities have merged with these backdrops, becoming a single entity of commerce. “The celebrity and the backdrop are the same thing, they are both billboards, they have fused,” says Blue. The wordage of Blue’s logos, such as ‘Ivory Tower’, are the punch line and heart of his reflections, underlining his conclusions on the condition of celebrity, aiming fame back at itself. The installations themselves are so meticulously crafted that it is hard to differentiate between these process heavy painted panels and the “one-night-stand” of traditional, cheaply made step and repeat panels.

I love this idea, I really do. I guess it could have been more sassy and less realistic, or more claustrophobic to show the proliferation of these events/brand-attacks. But as they were hand-painted, okay it may have taken some time to do. Which is all just to say I crave more of what is a good thing.

In addition to the three large installations based on the traditional step and repeat wall, the exhibit will feature five smaller works that have the essence of the larger pieces as they reflect through Blue’s carefully chosen logos the relationship between celebrity and the corporatocracy.

The Artinfo.com review:  http://www.artinfo.com/news/story/34030/elijah-blues-step-and-repeat-at-kantor-gallery/

For his first fine art exhibit, Elijah Blue chose the ubiquitous "step and repeat" wall as his medium — the bland, heavily-branded backdrops that lurk behind celebrities at red-carpet events. Impersonal yet intimate, familiar yet sinister, "Step and Repeat's" underlying irony was so pointed it may have traveled directly over the heads of the dozens of celebrities who attended the opening Wednesday at Los Angeles' Kantor Gallery. "A lot of people in the room were looking at art that they may or may not have realized was commenting on their very existence," said Blue via phone the next day. "And that was, in retrospect, crucial to driving the point home."

Hand-painted with precisely chosen faux-corporate logos, Blue's seemingly innocuous walls are a scathing commentary on "the contemporary celebrity condition, it's arc over the last 50 years, and the cheapening of fame," as the 33-year-old puts it. It's a wry, post-Jersey Shore commentary that Blue, whose mother happens to be Cher and whose father happens to be Gregg Allman, is eminently qualified to make.

I hate it when anyone says “scathing commentary”…it’s  so overused that it has become very un-scathing sounding and cartoonish.

Blue, primarily known as a musician before now, has been working on the pieces for a year, but has been transitioning from music to art for nearly a decade. "Even with music, I had always come from a place of art theory and philosophy — I just wanted to have a rock and roll band be the medium."

For some reason I feel art theory works better with a fine art. Music is so tied to our emotions and precognitive emotions (early childhood and even prenatal experiences), theory is hard to define within our highly subjective and irrational response to it.

He may reside at the epicenter of his own subject matter, but Blue says he tried to take a detached approach to the work. "Here's the thing: I look at myself and everything about myself in a real sterile, anthropologically removed way," he said. "That I am from this world is of course a factor in the work, but I am able to really disassociate." (The goal being, we assume, some kind of well-informed impartiality.)

This is a gift to be able to detach from such an intense child-of-celebrity experience; but I would argue…also a safe-zone area from which to pontificate. What do we feel as artists being attached to our individual world? Before he committed suicide, I heard David Foster Wallace stand at a podium at the Hammer Museum, read a heart-wrenching short story and then declare, this master of the ironic movement, that irony is dead. He said we have run it out and we now yearn for sincerity and to feel.  I think about this a lot. What do we have to say when we move back in from being removed. Maybe even a mash-up of distance and something revealing, I don't know...but it is essentially personal experience translated and communicated combined with theory that really gets the spot.

The show was dominated by three pieces: Ivory Tower, Lucky Jean Club, and Johnnie Kum L8 Lee. Ivory Tower, based on the Ivory Soap and Tower Records logos, is perhaps the most powerful, and personal, of the pieces. "Ivory Tower is a term I have paid close attention to my whole life, because it's about people who are isolated, breathing their rarefied air, people who don't have time to deal with the realities of the world — this is obviously a very common outcome of celebrity."

Critique of celebrity culture. You know I love this stuff.  

Lucky Jean Club examines the "dynastic nature" of contemporary celebrity, lambasting the stars whose inherited fame is "undeserved and unqualified," while Johnnie Kum L8 Lee — featuring the Johnnie Walker and Lee jeans logos—is about the new generation of Insta-Stars, faces from the realm of reality TV perhaps, who rocket to fame despite having very little actual "art" to offer the world, "people who blow in from the hinterlands and overnight are made into these demigods — and it's like, 'What the hell is going on?'"

And it stands to be called out, two of these three aspects of celebrity criticism have been aimed at Cher. In the 1960s, she was accused of rocketing to fame without substance and has consistently been accused of having undeserved tabloidesque fame. And as an elder statesman of that fame, she has lived a somewhat secluded life. She has stood in front of an infinite amount of red-carpet sponsorship walls, unassumingly shilling for corporate brands from here back to surely Ivory Soap itself. Chaz and Elijah themselves could be accused of a dynastic celebrity.

Which brings up the point of using celebrities to make his art come alive on premier night. It simultaneously questions his very existence. Without his uber-celebrity mother there to be part of the exhibit, it may not have been seen, talked-about, produced or literally conceived (as she would never have met Elijah’s father to conceive of him outside of her life as a famous person meeting Gregg Allman at a Hollywood "event").

So he is a part of the wall. A thought I’m sure does not escape him.

That said, he is not in any way immune to the virus he is criticizing. "I watch Jersey Shore," he admits. "I love it. I watch it and I am corrupted, and I am the symptom. I am not above any of this — there is no escaping what we have become. I am just commenting on it."

It is good to hear him say that he is not above it. Which is an important quagmire facet of the whole entertainment industrial complex (hearing Maureen Orth talk about this subject is truly fascinating). I can relate to this…because it combines the emotional and intellectual response as one.

I myself do not watch Jersey Shore. I buy Cher records.

Non-Cher-child celebrities who were there: http://www.patrickmcmullan.com/site/event_detail.aspx?eid=32338&home=1

Chaz 
Chaz Bono and Jennifer Elia

Elijah2 
Elijah Blue

Normal_cher21 
Cher

Elijah's show in the context of other LA art openings last week:
http://coagula.com/2010/03/elijah-blue-jonathan-lasker-weekend-bender/

The "art" celebrity event of it all (coupled with the "real" celebrity event it turned out to be) kind of makes the paparazzi outside seem a bit staged. This isn't reality, after all. It's art.