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Don’t Cry For Me Cherilina

ProgramAn ironic image for Cher's D2K tour: trapped by a virus.

Last week was a very sad week for me. Indulge me, but I’m thinking to make a list will be a cathartic process.

1. As of Sunday when I stopped in Albertson's to sit at one of those blood pressure machines, I've had to accept that this, my 45th year, I’ve developed high blood pressure. Three out of 5 recent tests over the last 6 months have been too high. Heart issues have felled everyone on my father's side of the family. So this is not happy news.

2. The Bill Cosby story is wearing me down. Not only have 16 women accused him of various sexual crimes, but he’s latest TV appearances (The Colbert Report appearance before the story even broke) and interviews have been eerily self-important and left an unsatisfactory taste in my mouth. It reminds me of the Woody Allen incest saga. I grew up on their work and my esteem has been felled by their tabloid scandals which are both hard to prove or disprove (at this point). But that really doesn’t matter because no outcome escapes a tragedy. In Woody Allen’s case, either he did commit incest with his daughter or Mia Farrow is crazy and has contaminated her daughter’s life. Both scenarios are awful. Likewise, Bill Cosby is a rapist or 16 women are conspiring to ruin his career. Problem is, they have little to gain after the statute of limitations. And if you think it’s impossible to keep such crimes a secret for 40 years within an entertainment organization, let me remind you of Penn State and Jerry Sandusky. There’s no pretty truth here. Just yuckiness. And it reminds me that as a society we place a heartbreaking amount of misspent worship on celebrities (no offence to Cher). From what I've seen, baring a few exceptions, Hollywood does not attract balanced, heroical personalities and heroes don't grow from the seeds of maladaptive narcissists. In any case, as Mr. Cher Scholar says, this story pretty much bankrupts Fat Albert, The Cosby Show, the jello commercials, I Spy, all the standup routines....

3. I found out Thursday my friend has brain cancer. She's been having seizures.This is the fifth calamity to befall her in so many years.

4. That same night the Chiefs lost to the Raiders. This was more depressing to Mr. Cher Scholar than it was to me but it did rub off.

5. Hours later I was online via email helping to talk down another friend from an emotional life-crisis.

6. I started the next day looking at my emails and was assaulted by a Facebook status message made by one of my poetry colleagues. The post, not directed at me, was a rotten spew of hatred regarding last week's political events. It was dumbfoundingly angry, hardly reality-based, and left me disturbed for the rest of the day.

7. The Ferguson story has also depressed me. The grand jury just came out tonight: no indictment on the police officer who fatally shot a black teenager. I grew up in St. Louis where Ferguson is a suburb. I can say many positive things about growing up in St. Louis. I can also say that I know first hand St. Louis has more than its share of racists. I know because many of them used to confide in me their racists thoughts. They did so from high school through my many post-college jobs. I do have friends in St. Louis who are not racists, God bless 'em. But let’s just say I knew more racists there than honest, God-loving people.  Stories appeared last week about guns selling out, the governor declaring a state of emergency and bringing in the National Gard. The KKK is asserting itself with great irony and evil. Interestingly, my St. Louis friends used to chide me about living in Los Angeles, with all its gun violence and rioting. There were zero riots or highway shootings the 8 years I lived in Los Angeles. And as it turns out you don’t have to leave St. Louis for those things. I’m so disappointed that city hasn’t evolved in the last 20 years since I left.

8. My depression and anger over these political events led my cousin, who is a psychologist, to diagnose me Friday night as having "Work from Home Syndrome" - a condition that allows you to stew in your own anger until you become irritable all the time. He suggested I stop listening to the news for a while until my brain resets.

9. Cher has cancelled the remaining dates of her tour. And although she says she hopes she can “finish what she started” and resume the tour next year, this does prove the tour has been sadly ill-fated. It’s also a somewhat drastic and alarming gesture that makes you worry about Cher's health. Upsetting for Cher, her fans, and even Pat Benetar fans. It also means we are coming to the close of an era: invincible Cher.

I was working on a new Cher Scholar site page when I found out, an addendum concert page that lists all her concert dates and available online reviews of each show as I find them. It’s a work in progress but if you want to read old reviews, here they are.

   


Sonny & Cher & Frieda & D.H.

For my novel I’ve been researching New Mexico history, artists and writers. You keep coming across D.H. Lawrence (who wrote Lady Chatterly’s Lover in 1928) as an icon of Taos, New Mexico -- this even though he only lived in Taos a brief time and made disparaging comments about his time there.

In any case, this below is a picture of D. H. Lawrence and his wife, Frieda, (who did go back to Taos after her husband’s death), and was taken in Mexico. It's a very famous and often used photo of D. H. Lawrence.

This is all to say this famous picture reminds me of another, quite obscure, Sonny & Cher photo below which was part of a Billboard ad for "The Beat Goes On."

Friedadh   What the


Cher Postpones More Concerts, Memoir Notes, Q&A

KidConcert Delays

I almost made a renegade trip to Lubbock, Texas, last weekend to see Cher's concert there. But then I found out it has been cancelled anyway, along with a slew of other November dates due to Cher's recent viral illness.

This has been the most dates postponed on a Cher concert tour that I can think of, a fact that is alarming some fans. Then Daily Mail broke a story about Cher having to wear a heart-monitor and it all sounds pretty scary so I asked Mr. Cher Scholar (who rates claims for Veterans Affairs and has a head full of medical knowledge) to tell me how alarmed we all should be and he said there's a danger of virus infections spreading to the heart. Cher-camp says it's all a normal part of recovery.

I first read about the postponed tour from an Allentown paper that called her tour "ill-fated." Besides the delay to the second leg, what the hell is so ill-fated about it?

Memoirs

But it all gets you thinking about mortality. So does the fact that Angelica Houston's two-volumes of memoirs are now out. Yes, Angelica Houston has unveiled her saga already.

I came across two blurbs about celebrity biographies that seem pertinent to Cher's possible look-back at her life. Young actress Lena Dunham of the HBO show Girls has a memoir already called Not That Kind of Girl. Referencing it in The Atlantic, James Parker says:

"So there's the id, the ego, the superego, and then there's the part of the psyche that writes the memoir. The latter function, in most humans, is inadequately developed until late middle age, which is why memoirs by young people are usually terrible. It's a syndrome, rather embarrassing: premature autobiography."

In an Entertainment Weekly interview, Angelica Huston also weighs in on memoir. Keith Staskiewicz says,

Many celebrity memoris are like bags of potato chips--mostly air and a little bit of salty stuff--but Huston wanted to avoid the anodyne politesse or, worse, self-delusion that can make for boring reading. "It doesn't necessarily have to be a confessional, but it does require a certain amount of looking inward," she says. "If you're gonna write a memoir, you have to talk about yourself. You have to talk about your feelings and you have to talk about who you are. Otherwise don't do it; it's a waste of paper. The trees could have lived."  

NPR on Believe

BelieveOn the bright side, last week I did find something I've been looking for for years. When the song "Believe" started to hit in the United States, I was living and working in Yonkers, New York. I'd hear the song on the radio when I drove home. It was both exciting and unusual to hear Cher's song with the other hits of the day, like Madonna's "Ray of Light," Whitney Houton's "It's Not Right, But It's Okay;" at least those hits were by somewhat older women, too. But then you had Monica, Britney Spears, and TLC. (See a review of 1999 number one hits). One day I was driving home and NPR was talking about the Cher/Believe phenomenon! Like in that breathy-really-serious-NPR way. I missed half of the conversation and for years I've been waiting for it to show up online in NPR archives. Here it is. It's worth a listen.

Halloween Q & A

Cher did a fan Q&A on Facebook on Halloween. There were almost 5,000 comments made and so many pages of questions I couldn't read them all. Cher answered maybe the first 30 of them. Highlights include the following:

Mary Pat Blockel O'Donnell: Hi beautiful Cher:-) Happy Halloween! Love u tons&what is your favorite memory of Chaz&Elijah as babies/and or little children at Halloween?or even teenagers?

Cher: My favorite - I have a couple of favorites. My first was Chaz's first Halloween and I sewed a cat suit, a little kitten suit and painted whiskers and it was so hard making the tail. And the other was when we all went out and Elijah wasn't old enough to walk and we had him in a devil costume and Chaz was the Fonz and we walked around the neighborhood. It was really fun. Halloween is for kids and it's fun when you have kids.

Kaylee Rudnik: Do you think there is any place that you can go without being recognized anymore???

Cher: Hell, and I'm not so sure about that. I'm pretty positive I will be recognized.

John Nicholas Ward: What is the secret behind ur eternal youth??

Cher: Makeup and childishness

Amanda Darby: If you could change one thing forever what would you choose and why?

Cher: I would change how people get along. I would make people get along.

Dean Menc: What is the best thing about being Cher?

Cher: I don't know. You don't have to wait in line.

Goran Srdija: Why u love Gaga and what's ur favourite Gaga's song? Xoxo

Cher:I appreciate her whimsy. And re-creativity.

Doug Wemple: Didn't David Bowie crash one of your house parties? Did hilarity ensue?

Cher: I don't think so. Andy Warhol did, crashed Chaz's birthday party with Keith Haring and hilarity ensued. I loved him, he was so much fun.

Leonardo Esteban Lizama Órdenes: Did you ever met Frank Sinatra? And if so, What was your fist impression?

Cher: I did meet him. I actually saw him on stage. I was following him into Caesars. I thought "HMM, he's old but he can really sing. It's amazing." He was cool.

Mike Scott Uetrecht: How has Rolling Stone never put you on their cover? Not even a review for CTTT. Disrespectful.

Cher: Well, you know, obviously I'm not their cup of tea. Never thought I was cool enough, certainly missed the boat on that.

Christopher Fox Tyler: Whats the fastest way for a man to win your heart/affection?

Cher: Oh - I guess being funny and cute doesn't hurt

Sara Oldani: Hi Cher have you ever thought of doing a concert in Italy? What's your favourite song inyour discography (either original or cover, whatever ) LOVE from Italy!!!!!!

Cher: I guess Song for the Lonely, if I had to be buried with something that would be it

Chad Eric: Happy Halloween Cher! What was your favorite memory of Halloween as a child & adult?

Cher: My favorite memory when I was a kid was when I was 9 and it was the first time I wore makeup. I was totally decked. My mom dressed me in this peasant skirt and she tied the belt so it didn't fall off, and she put on lipstick and curled my hair. That was the BEGINNING of the BEGINNING. I didn't want it to be over, I wanted to go to school the next day in my Halloween costume.

Bob Radmore: What is it like to be famous?

Cher: It's hard for me to say it. I've been famous since I was 18, so I don't know what it's like not to be.

Brooke Bryant: What is your biggest pet peeve?

Cher: iPhones

Nick LeBlanc: Hi Cher, what is your favorite city/place that you've been at in the world whether on tour or vacation?

Cher: Bora Bora

Guillermo Issac Trevino: Do you have a favorite Stevie Nicks song?

Cher: Landslide

Mark Carder: Hey @Cher What is your favorite HORROR FILM

Cher: I'm such a gigantic chicken. I was watching Hell House last night and I was afraid to look at it. I don't do well with horror films they make me terrified. One of my closest friends made a blockbuster movie and it was the Exorcist.

(It was mildly exciting to think Mr. Cher Scholar and I were watching The Legend of Hell House on TCM at the same time Cher was. I even decided to use some of the character names for a novel I'm working on. Mr. Cher Scholar and I also watched The Excorcist again -- Cher is referencing director William Friedkin there who, as we know, also directed Good Times -- and Mr. Cher Scholar and I decided we were kind of burned out on the gory parts -- although the special effects still hold up -- but we really got into the quieter, character development of the movie this year. In fact, I don't think the movie would be quite as frightening without the quiet, ominous soundtrack.)

Annette Eland: Do you meditate?

Cher: Yes

Raymond Donahue: Is it true that you & Sonny were neighbors with Farrah Fawcett ?

Cher: I don't think so

Michele McLey: A couple of question's first what to you like to do when your not touring? And will you do a tour DVD? Oh and please say you are doing another movie, soon!

Cher: Be grubby and go to the movies. Swimming and hang out with my friends. Just nothing, the same thing everyone else likes to do. It's hard to be grubby nowadays though, it's hard to be yourself.

Jennifer Fontana: Hi Cher! What is your favorite moment from your legendary career?

Cher: Ppppssshhhh. I guess winning the Oscar was pretty hard to beat.

Jason Andrew: Dear Cher, Once you are canonized as a saint, what will you be the patron of?

Cher: Lost causes

Sam Durbin:  If you could be any item in a walmart, what would you be and why?

Cher: I would be in Target

Sam Durbin: What CD is in your car right now?

Cher: MY CD. Because I'm singing tracks to the show, I rehearse. The CD that is in my car is boring.

Christopher Eklund: What is your favorite memory of filming Burlesque?

Cher: HMm. The song, Welcome to Burlesque. I was kind of nervous. No, it's not really my favorite. One scene I had with Stanley, and the makeup scene with Christina. I don't have any favorite ones. Maybe You Haven't Seen the Last of Me.

Lorenzo Morrison: Hi Cher. No Lady Gaga. No Madonna. I would like to know what do you you think about Annie Lennox! Is there a song by her you particularly appreciate?

Cher: She's a genius. Everyday we play "Take me to the River" and do our ab exercises to it.

Amanda Jean Bedwell: Is there anything you haven't done yet but you would love to do next

Cher: A million things I want to do. So many things. I can't believe I got this OLD and there are still so many things I want to do.

Dawn Decker: Will you ever do a meet n greet? The only thing on my bucket list is to meet you!!!

Cher: Oh gosh. Elvis, James Dean. There weren't many women icons when I was young with my mom watching old movies - there was Katherine Hepburn. But I identified more with Elvis and James Dean and I identified more with that. The women were more cute and I couldn't identify with them at all

Caricatures

HirshFinally, when we were talking about caricatures a few weeks ago, I forgot about a very famous Cher caricature done by Al Hirschfeld in 1974! 

Okay, I think the height thing is a little exaggerated there.


Radio Interview, New Mix, Clips

AlbummysteryOld Video

Cher scholar Tyler sent me this clip, the Hell & Keller Pride remix of "The Beat Goes On." Thank God somebody out there is remixing something besides "Believe." I liked the video editing job, too.

I also found the original promo video sampled in the above remix, Sonny & Cher at a record store performing "The Beat Goes On." The clip opens on the record bin at left.

What record is this? Something about "Vol. 2." Is this a compilation album I've never seen before? Does anyone out there have this record?

This is now a good time to say I've always hated that boring ATCO logo.

Comrades in Retirement

In Entertainment Weekly for October 31 there's an article called "Retired? Not So Fast" Listed are people who made big claims about retirement but came back. The list includes Garth Brooks, Ozzy Osbourne, Jay-Z and Barbara Streisand.

In the same issue, Nancy Sinatra’s version of "Bang Bang" is also listed as part of a killer playlist for Halloween.

Costumes Through the Years

As I lamented earlier, I missed the People Magazine detailing all of Cher's concert outfits. I broke down and found a copy from eBay. What's ironic about the article is Bob Mackie does brief commentary on the evolution of some of his common designs. Problem is, he didn't design the new outfits in review. The D2K Egyptian opening-fit is compared to the one Mackie designed in Cher and Other Fantasies (1979). The full-fringe disco outfit from the Farewell show (red version) and the Cher at Caesars Believe-fit are compared. This comparison is very odd. First of all, this outfit and song are not even in D2K (yet) and they could have used either the Cher at Caesars fringe-fit (blue) or the older, original version back from the Take Me Home tour in 1979 (silver).

Red Blue Clear 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The current gypsy outfit is compared to the Farewell Indian sari instead of maybe to the original one from The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour. The newer hole-fit (Mackie calls it "The Swiss Cheese") could also have been compared to her 1979 Take Me Home concert tour version instead of her 1980s video version. The Half Breed photo uses the version Sonny & Cher toured with instead of the iconic TV show version from 1973. Kind of wonky choices here.

Obsessing about these things…it’s what Cher scholars do.

Radio Interview

LimpetCher News linked to a new radio interview for Cher. In the interview Cher says she loves the movie The Incredible Mr. Limpet. I would love this movie, too, because I love Don Knotts except for the fact that I have a very bad association with it due to Mr. Cher Scholar and a disastrous birthday night with him that included this movie back in 2006.

Anyway, Cher laughs a lot in the interview and talks about the Broadway play based on her life.

Mrlimpet