Cher Over the Holiday Break

Elton-chershowBefore Christmas, my husband and I watched the SCTV Christmas Episodes on DVD. I’ve been interested in this video ever since I spent the last year watching old variety shows and trying to get an intellectual handle on the genre. My only experience of SCTV as a variety-show parody is from the performances of the hilarious Juul Haalmeyer Dancers, a very camp and hilarious send up of variety show dance troupes. Watch a five-minute documentary on them: http://vimeo.com/82136213).

RickmoranisIn one SCTV episode there is a very funny parody of a piano-duel between Liberace and Elton John that originally aired on Dec 18, 1981. Elton John, played by Rick Moranis, is dressed in what strikes me as a spoof of the outfit and he wore on the Cher show premiere and special from 1975. (See video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgH286eOni4).

For Christmas, Mr. Cher Scholar and I (plus the dogs) drove to Pennsylvania to see my parents. It was cheaper and more fun than flying. We stopped along the way in Fort Smith (for historical work Mr. Cher Scholar is doing for the show Quick Draw), Memphis and Nashville. Definitely want to go back to Nashville and see a show and the Country Music Hall of Fame.

PodunkWe played the iPod shuffle for three days both ways. That was plenty of time for the song “Podunk” to come up. I have always been confused by this song and what it was trying to do. Mr. Cher Scholar thankfully did some scholarin and cleared up the mystery for me. He said that Cher and Sonny are actually doing impersonations of Mae West and W.C. Fields. Oohhhhh. But you all probably knew that already. So ok, that makes it mildly better.

SadieTruly, I am a fan of Cher’s Mae West impersonations, both her straight-out Mae West and her Sadie Thompson version. In fact, I think her Mae West is an essential component of her oeuvre of characters on those variety shows and, on top of that, emblematic of the larger media character she came to be. I believe in some ways this song "Podunk" is a very raw precursor to those impersonations. I just think she got better and more organic the next decade.

The Byrds version of “All I Really Want to Do” also came up on the iPod shuffle and I was able to think more about why their version failed in competition with Cher’s in 1965. I think there are definitely tonal problems with the Byrds version. Their version is too crisp and neat for one thing, almost bourgeois neatness, if you can accept the Byrds as bourgeois for a moment. Cher’s version is rougher, more Dylanish, hippie-er, scragglier, much more believable as a hippie/feminist creed coming from Cher. Which brings me to my second point: this song needs to be sung by a woman. It sounds like a creepy manipulation coming from a man. “Suuuurre you just wanna be my friend. Uh huh. Friends with benefits.” From a woman it sounds like an emancipated idea/argument. For these two reasons, Cher’s versions comes across as more authentic.

Over the break I also received this message from my friend Julie about a Cher tweet, She said:

I was looking at something else on twitter so decided to take a look at Cher’s page. This is my favorite one.

.@manthon25 U Haven’t LEARNED!! EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE--My Grandma Picked Cotton,My Mom Scrubbed Flrs,My Shoes had Holes--,I SING IN ARENAS

Cher also popped up in one of my dreams. I was driving a car and she was in the passenger seat complaining to me about how many factual errors this blog contains. I was complaining back to her that perfection is impossible and any attempts to be perfect are paralyzing. This excuse brings to mind a quote Mr. Cher Scholar just gave me from Ben Franklin, (“He who is good at making excuses is rarely good at anything else.”). Anyway, I was discussing with one of our LA friends who visited last week that fan/celebrity meetings seem impossibly stressful and who would want to do it because I would expect a similar dressing-down about my blog’s inaccuracies in person (and that would pretty much rob the fun right out of it). Besides, I’ve always said I'm a fan of the stuff, my activities are rebelliously unofficial and unsanctioned and I have never looked to my celebrity-obsession as a role model or idol. Although, ever since that Miley Cyrus fiasco, I have been brushing my tongue.

On eBay, I purchased recently two magazines from Argentina called Holofote (which means "spotlight"), one on Cher and one on Sonny & Cher (Cher's is entitled, “Cher Super Musa”) and honestly they were too expensive for their size and the very little verbiage they contained (which is all in Portuguese). But for some reason I like them because I like to see how Cher comes across in other cultures. There are 18 pages of photos in each booklet but they are not in any chronological order, which bugs the scholar in me. It looks to be a fan production of "PHOTOS MARAVILHOSAS."

MoonstruckdvdCher-related Christmas presents included this odd ornament-packaged version of the movie Moonstruck and this button ("Ask Me About Cher") which looks like legitimate tour or label produced Cher paraphernalia. My friend bought it at Rockaway Records in Silverlake and he said it was perfect for my Cher Scholar “duties.” He closed the note with this post script: “All I see is Reeeeeeeeeed.” 

ButtonAnyway, I hope you had a good winter break. I came home from Pennsylvania with a cold and have spent the last few weeks hosting out-of-town guests. I’m back in the saddle and ready to blog about the latest Cher bio, Strong Enough. However, I have so much to say about it that I’m going to take it in small chucks: childhood, the 1960s, the 1970s, etc. Can’t wait to get started.

   


Cher Doing Promo Work for TCM and Mother's Day Special

ChermomDetails are coming together on Cher's Mother's Day tribute to Georgia Holt. It will be titled "Dear Mom, Love Cher" and will air on Lifetime, May 6 at 10 p.m. PT/ET. Press information states,

Dear Mom, Love Cher provides a rare peek into Cher’s family history and features interviews with not only with Holt and Cher, but also Cher’s sister Georganne LaPiere Bartylak, and Holt’s grandchildren Chaz Bono and Elijah Blue Allman, promises Lifetime.

The documentary begins with Holt’s beginnings in rural Arkansas and runs through her six tumultuous marriages while pursuing a career among Hollywood’s elite as a singer and actress.

Dear Mom, Love Cher includes a never-before-heard duet performance with Holt and Cher, along with the long-lost recordings Holt taped more than three decades ago that Cher has re-mastered for commercial release later this year.

“This project started as a gift for my mom’s 86th birthday,” says Cher, 66, in the release, adding: “Like most things in my family, it was initiated by my sister Georganne, who asked me if I could update mom’s album. So I went BIG (I’m known in the family for doing that),” said Cher. “My sister and I are proud of our mom and we want to share her with the world. My mom is EXACTLY like ‘Rocky.’ She NEVER gives up! Well…if we must nit-pick, they aren’t totally alike. Rocky is a fictitious boxer and mom’s a singer. He’s younger and a man. Other than that they are the same person! FIGHTERS.”

This should be a great special. To publicize her latest projects, Cher has been doing some interviews including,

  • Cher and her mom posed for Entertainment Weekly online.
      
  • A phone interview with Patricia Sheridan from the Post Gazette. Listen to it here or read the pared down transcript here. What's interesting to me about this interview is the comment, "I could answer every question that you would ask and you still wouldn't know me. I would still have my privacy. I wouldn't lie to you....I have such a private core." And I just blogged about that recently. I so should get an A in Cher class! I also enjoyed hearing Cher talk about how she would sing with her mother and her grandfather and uncle would play guitar. All those childhood details are so interesting. I didn't even know how well she knew her grandfather.
      
  • Cher did an interview with Michael Logan for TV Guide about her co-host gig on TCM with Robert Osborne. This is an interesting discussion where Cher talks about why she finds older films more progressive than current films. And she calls Robert Osborne Robby. Of course. And she talks about whatever happened to her dream of remaking The Enchanted Cottage.
       
  • Cher also spoke about having done an interview for People Magazine. Be on the lookout.

 


Bric a Brac

Cherallman

Cher's new single, "The Greatest Thing" has turned into a duet with Lady Gaga. And the world is agaga waiting for it. It's being tweaked even as we speak. The new album is set for Christmastime but that sounds like a hard deadline to meet when they might still be recording tracks.

The movie Zookeeper came out on DVD and Blu-ray yesterday.

And Cher-scholar Rob sent me a great copy of Cher and Gregg Allman singing "Love Me" -- see screen shot above.

 


Auctions & Charity

Heroes In the news of fundraising, Cher announced an Ebay.com auction to help her Heroes Project,

"a non-profit organization that works with veterans, soldiers, and the families and organizations that support them on all levels. Its mission is to improve the care and protection of heroes through individual support, community empowerment and systemic change. The core work of the Heroes Project includes three initiatives:

  • Hope for Heroes –As one of the Heroes Project’s founders, Cher helps organize and lead volunteer groups and outreach efforts to support the military community. The Heroes Project promotes and augments the good work of organizations working with this community across the country.
  • Voices for Heroes –The Heroes Project conducts media campaigns to highlight Heroes2 success stories in   veterans care as well as conduct educational activities targeting decision makers and the general public about the needs and successes in caring for veterans and military families.
  • Climbs for Heroes – Under the leadership of Tim Medvetz, the Heroes Project  supports climbing    programs for wounded soldiers and veterans. After a serious accident left Tim injured and in long with a wounded veteran. Tim is now planning climbs to the “Seven Summits” of the world, each with soldiers and veterans, as part of the Heroes Project. term physical therapy, he vowed he would climb to the summit of Mt. Everest, which he ultimately did in 2007. The comeback Tim experienced inspired him to share the challenge and triumph with those who need it the most—wounded veterans. Recently, Tim reached the peak of Elbrus in Europe
You might remember Tim Medvetz as the fellow Cher was romantically linked to a year or so ago. For  more information visit www.theheroesproject.org

Chermemorabillia

Meanwhile, there was the Vegas Memorabilia auction with a spattering of Cher stuff: Lot6364

The most expensive Cher costume sold at the auctions was a tiny two-piece, barely-there  costume including wig worn by Cher during her Living Proof Farewell Tour for $24,000. The auction house originally estimated the costume to be worth between $1,000 and $2,000. Another costume worn by Cher in a 1975 episode of The Cher Show sold for $21,000.

Story beginning the auction: http://www.cherworld.com/news/?p=1131

Story ending the auction: http://www.cherworld.com/news/?p=1139

Beware of the Sconces

Sanctuary2 I’ve found it really hard to get back into the swing of blogging since the holidays came and went. Post-Wedding, then Thanksgiving. Christmas.  Parents visit for New Years. House is a mess. My space is cluttered. My head is feeling cluttered and lethargic. There are poetry and other writing projects I’m itching to do. But all I seem to have the energy for is curling up on my couch with my Furkid, a mimosa, and a book. I’ve got about six of them going: The book of essays about Sarah Palin, Going Rouge, Pattie Boyd’s biography, Wonderful Tonight (I can’t resist co-dependent rock-star wife stories), Mastering the Art of French Cooking (to read for tips, not to make any of the recipes, are you kidding me?), The Collected poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay,  and Richard Wright’s biography.

Wright is one of my favorite writers and I’ve always wanted to explore more about his writing style, there’s so much going on there, not to mention the drama surrounding his life. There's the dramatically racial component of his life which overshadows his craft, for better or worse. I just wanted to learn what his influences were. But it's impossible to separate that out from his experiences inter-racially.

I'm tempted to cope with my lethargy by shopping. Buying a sconce wason my list of things to do. However, Cher Scholar, Robrt Pela, recently commented to beware of the sconces.

Are they flammable? Are they agents of big brother? In poor taste? Are they a portal to the netherworld. A poor investment? All of the above? 

Well, lucky for me I am broke. Or at least I plan to be broke after I purchase the new Google Phone tomorrow.
  


Worth a Sniff – An Uninhibited Revew

Cher-Uninhibited There's a cool page on Cher’s 80s perfume venture Uninhibited on the site Perfume Posse (their tag: “Perfume is our poison”): http://perfumeposse.com/2009/07/26/cher-uninhibited/

First of all, I love the idea of a “perfumista cult” – and I love that perfume experts are dissecting Uninhibited so expertly, so scholarly! They’re using jargon like “notes"and “drydowns”! How exciting!

The best line:

[the perfume] “manages to convey both sensuality and aloofness.”

That’s seems Cher-like, no?


So I’ve gotten to try one of those perfumista cult perfumes – Cher’s Uninhibited, thanks to Melissa!   I love the bottle, isn’t that a gas?  I had a heckuva time finding a decent image.  This is allegedly a factice, which I think looks like the parfum bottle, with a frosted glass (crystal?) half moon stopper.  The stopper on the EdT bottles is silver toned.

I personally would expect Cher’s fragrance to suck, only because so many celeb fragrances do.  According to Basenotes, Uninhibited was inspired by two fragrances Cher wore together: Charles of the Ritz and Jean Laporte Vanilla. Since I don’t have either of those I can’t say, but Uninhibited has been discontinued for some time and fetches premium prices online.  It shows up on eBay and it appears to be available at a couple other sites.

Notes are lily, peony, dried fruits, ylang, orris, magnolia, vanilla, heliotrope, musk. I’m finding that list a little suspect, only because Uninhibited doesn’t smell as sweet as that list would suggest.  In fact, the opening smells like aldehydes to me; for the first few seconds you could be smelling some chilly Chanel.  It’s a dry cocktail of a thing at that point.  Then the fragrance opens up and sweetens on my skin, but never gets all that sweet.  It’s powdery the way orris can be powdery, and the heliotrope isn’t overwhelming.  The drydown’s really nice, a slightly tart musk that manages to convey both sensuality and aloofness.

I think Cher Uninhibited fits in nicely with Cher’s image of the time – it’s fierce and strong and yet retains a sense of humor.  It also has that pre-gourmand vibe when “sexy” smelled like musk and patch and civet instead of like baked goods.  I’m not sure I’d go to the ends of the earth to get my hands on a bottle, but if some comes your way it’s worth a sniff.

  


Cher Link Zoo

For quite some time there has been a ton of links clogging up my blog to-do list. I’m just gonna throw them all up here now just so I can move on with my life. You can link wherever strikes your fancy. My take for must see items have a star (or two) next to them.

Continue reading "Cher Link Zoo" »


Cher and The Ugly Duckling

Uglyduck
For those who don’t know, Cher narrated a children’s classic on cassette tape in the early 1990s. When I was a little rugrat I LOVED books on tape so it’s a small crime of happenstance that I didn’t have this waybackwhen. I would have worn the tape ribbon to shreds. This is none other than the famous Hans Christian Anderson story, The Ugly Duckling about an ugo duck who grows up to be a swan (you see? that's why he was ugo? he was swan among ducks...he was just different and had to grow up to find his peoples.

This blog talks about her performance:

Cher's rich contralto voice tells the tale of The Ugly Duckling with dignity and grace. Serving as narrator, and also providing voices of numerous characters, it was clear that each voice was developed and purposeful. I found the older voices she performed to be entertaining and most colorful. You could keenly feel the sorrow of the bewildered water foul. Cher did very well conveying his fellow creatures' bitterness as cold comfort in the midst of unfavorable circumstances. ..Cher narrates over some exquisitely beautiful music performed by Celtic harp player and spoken word artist, Patrick Ball…”

Who doesn’t love The Ugly Duckling story right? Cher, as well as some others of us out there, probably feel we can identify with it. I, myself, feel as if I have failed to fully swan. Zen taught me to accept myself as is, my sort of wabi sabi self. So this story has come to disturb me as time goes by because I think as a culture we have typecast all of ourselves into Ugly Ducklings when we feel alienated and we never really feel self-actualized unless we are Swanned (case in point: the awful reality show a few years ago The Swan which carved up all the women contestants to look all like the same Victoria’s Secret model and then pitted them against each other – it was disturbing and it implied the ideas that “variety is not allowed!" and "Ethnicity is not allowed!”).

The Ugly Duckling also asks us to constantly seek approval from others. And folks, it just doesn’t come. Or if it does, it trickles in with too small of an amounts to appease your insecurities, even if you're Cher.

So you have to let go of the desire to get this mythical all-powerful acceptance and that’s the only way you’ll ever find peace. So what I’m saying little duck is, move on, let go.

I tried to write a poem about it years ago and surely didn’t quite get over what I was trying to say but...here it is:

Continue reading "Cher and The Ugly Duckling" »


Collecting Cher

Watch

At first I got excited that this article on collecting Cher stuff was out there! Finally, something I could send my parents to ensure them I’ve investing my money properly. :-)

Who am I kidding?

This article addressed none of the financial advantages I’ve always hoped there’d be in collecting Cher junk. And the author, Victor, is a bit stodgy to boot.

Typical sentence:

“A complete discography of her collectibles is not something to be taken lightly. Ideally, a complete collection could be gathered, giving you something that can be proudly displayed.”

Proudly displayed? A Cher collection can take over your house. Or Basement. Or parents’ basement. Or storage facility B.

“You could also try collecting her t-shirts from all of her different tours. This could also be quite a task to complete as she has toured a number of different times. Gathering a complete collection of these shirts could prove to be a challenge, yet one that you could have a great deal of fun with.”

Victor lists possible avenues of collection: Records, the aforementioned t-shirts, autographed photos, autographed movie scripts, the S&C model cars, stuff from her perfume line, the “look-alike dolls,”  alarm clocks and night lights (Jesus, I don’t even have a Cher alarm clock!), wristwatches, trading cards, and musical instruments...

“can all bear her name and because of this, you would do well to add any of these items to your memorabilia collection…Cher has certainly always been a vibrant personality in our culture and building up a stock of her celebrity collectibles could not only be a bit of a challenge, but give you a great deal of fun in the meantime.”

Psst...Victor makes it sound WAY more boring than it actually is. I see that this is because he reuses  bland monosyllabic words over and over again in his piece. I’d recommend a thesaurus, which you can also have quite “a great deal of fun with.”