And FINALLY… FINALLY I received my Burlesque book! Jesus but this took effort and the patience of some higher power than me. Because I was DYING to get my little hands on it! My first order accidentally went to my old Redondo Beach address. And the forward didn’t work. Calling Amazon and the post office got me nowhere, the book was lost in postal space…so after two weeks I just reordered the darn thing. I was a bit unsure what to expect. People on the Cherfreaks lists here and there were NOT raving about it…in fact they were complaining about the dearth of Cher pics in it.
The book is smaller than your typical coffee table book but I have to say I really like it. It begins with a very generous 3-page introduction by Cher. She talks about her first magical movie experience seeing Cinderella at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in LA and memorizing “A Dream Is a Wish Your Hearts Makes” so she was able to sing it for her parents on the way home. Very cute. She talks about coaching “this beautiful child” Christina Aquilera, Stanley Tucci (Cher agrees with Meryl Streep…although Cher gives no last name, just Meryl…that Stanley never has a false moment in his performances). She calls “K-Bell” a fire cracker, Peter Gallagher wonderful and fun. Eric Dane full of charisma, and Cam Gigandet a sort of James Dean. She talks about writing a scene from the movie and I wont tell you which one but it has to do with her mother and her friends. She says “They were all so beautiful and I was an ugly duckling” a comment which of course reminded me of sad things women continually say on Ru Paul’s Drag Race (of which I’ve been watching reruns I’ve already seen and been crying all over again!).
Cher’s essay reminded me again of how long her professional relationships have lasted. Not the situation of a nasty DIVA. She lists a long line of long-time compatriots, her agent, her managers, the professional advice of David Geffen, her makeup artist, her costume wrangler, and the loooong-time assistant of many-trades Deb Paul. She also thanks newbies like the movie’s Director of Photography Bojan Bazelli (“I will never look this good again”), the movie’s wigmaker Carol Robinson and most incredibly her assistant on set, Jennifer Ruiz (“she’s the girl you want in your foxhole”). It was a very generous of her to use the space to thank everyone.
Christina also adds a forward in which she calls Cher her mentor and working with her a “dream come true.” She ends by saying she thinks the film is something Etta James, Josephine Baker and Bob Fosse would be proud of.
And beyond that, the book is full of tidbits about the making of the movie. Antin defines burlesque as he sees it, and the many stories of it taking nine months of chasing Cher “shamelessly” to make the film. He calls Cher “the coolest chick I’ve ever met." Choreographer Denise Faye talks about how they created organic routines to match the storylines, set people talk about the dramatic look they were going for, inspired by the paintings of LaTour (1st above) and Caravaggio (at right), how they researched the “main character”, the burlesque lounge, and what inspired them. Designers discuss the specialized costumes and wigs, the use of Swarovski crystals, they symbolism of the color red, the use of monochromatic lighting for non-club scenes, the special Christian Louboutin shoes for Christina, the bartenders outfits, and even the zinc bar top. The book talks about who greenlit the movie, what producer gave it credibility, the makeup methodology, how the footlights work to serve the opening scene, how Steve Antin grew up in LA and particularly appreciated the sunlight at Hollywood and Vine. Even the news that Bob Mackie designed Cher’s “Welcome to Burlesque” outfit. This book is like a Burlesque CliffsNotes.
Julianne Hough says “no detail was sparred and nothing is boring.” Alan Cumming says “If you like Cher, you’ll love this movie…this movie is Cher Christmas.”
It’s about time for some Cher Christmas!