Cher as Indian

20180106_150355So this story (finally) broke last year at Christmas, controversy about Bob Mackie and Cher's use of the Half Breed headdress and Cher's presentation as an Indigenous American or American Indian. And I knew I would need to address this story next but I've been putting it off, not because I didn’t want to talk about it, (because I do), but because there is so much to say, so much complexity in this social situation. Could I even sort through it? It involves liberals attacking liberals, it involves conservatives stirring the pot, cultural appropriation, contested appropriation and hundreds of years of history.

20180106_145347I took this image above of the Cher doll as I was taking down my Cher Christmas tree. Amazingly, one of the headdress feathers became caught in the hand of "out-of-the-box" Cher doll, and the image uncannily expresses my ambivalence and sadness around this issue. I'm calling the picture "VAMP with Cultural Feather." That lead me to take this "Sad Stack of Cultures" photo to the right.

I also thought about starting a poll on the controversy but got stumped imagining what question I could ask. Are you Indigenous American or American Indian and offended? Sounds kind of offensive and who would take a poll like that? I’m just hoping for some essay from Indian Country Today to surface on the issue.

So let’s begin with full disclosure, I’ve been a Cher fan for a long, long time and when I was a kid in the 1970s, I thought Cher was and American Indian until I was about 8 years old. I finally found her biography in the local library in St. Louis. And so since then I’ve considered Cher to be half Armenian and half 1950s blond bombshell (although her mom was not a natural blonde). Do most people even know Cher’s heritage? How many have read her biographies? Probably very few. And many may still assume she's Indigenous American (I'm going to stick with that term).

SNegraince the 1960s Cher has been interested in and wearing Indigenous-American-inspired clothing, sometimes on stage, sometimes to major events, sometimes at home. When Sonny & Cher started appearing on variety shows in the last 60s, they started theming their jokes around Sonny’s Italian-ness and Cher’s Indian-ness, to use their word. This was ramped up in their own television shows of the 70s. Cher also moved in and out of other culture areas in her TV performances, including French, Hispanic, American Indian, Japanese, Chinese and African American. Diane Negra talks about Cher’s fluid ethnicity in her book Off-White Hollywood, American Culture and Ethnic Female Stardom. She essentially labels Cher as ethnically indeterminate and therefore map-able to many ethnicities. The cover of the book boldly advertises Cher in the Half Breed headdress.

This flexibility is either a good thing or a bad thing, depending upon if you want Cher representing your community or not. And the gravitas around the issue has evolved over the years. Before the 1970s, ethnicity was avoided on TV or un-apologetically appropriated. In the 1970s, consciousness was being “raised” about the value or “coolness” of ethic differences and this was often explored on hipper TV shows. Looking back now, from where an authentic identity has much more bitcoin, exploration and celebration look very similar to the earlier appropriations.

For years I’ve been wondering how Cher’s identification as Indigenous American and her choices to wear Indigenous-American-inspired clothing has landed from decade to decade. Older Native Americans seemed hesitant to weigh in. But younger activists seem to be taking more offense, but still below the level of what Paris Hilton (Halloween costume) and Wayne Coyne (stage costume) received a few years ago.

The issue is complicated for many reasons:

  1. There’s the song “Half Breed” from 1973 that no one seems to be taking issue with because a) it’s a song about harassment of minorities and b) it’s a bad song living nine lives due to its camp factor. On the one hand it has cheesy drum beats that might indeed be too ridiculous to offend. On the other hand, it showcases details like the offensiveness of calling an Indigenous woman a “squaw.”

  2. HeadlresslesscherThen there are Cher’s stage "costumes" which are the most visible element, the Half Breed headdress Cher has been wearing since 1974 is actually modeled after a male war bonnet and some in the Indigenous American community have equated it with wearing an unearned purple heart. And from their point of view, the bonnet is no more part of a “costume” than a Catholic clergy cassock is part of a “costume.” People don’t like to hear their religious objects demeaned by words with trivial connotations. Regardless, over the years this headdress became an “iconic outfit” for Cher, right up there with the Turn Back Time leather strap-on and the fur (possibly bobcat) vests of the mid 1960s. The controversy over the headdress exploded in December and Cher has since stopped wearing it in her Vegas shows (see a fan's picture to the right). Cher is still wearing the Bob Mackie design that goes with it. It’s interesting to me that the December scandal raised the issue again now when Cher has been wearing the headdress in her concerts since 1999. There may be a reason for that.

  3. Then there's the issue of Cher presenting herself as Indigenous American on her TV shows. And although Cher presented herself as many international and national archetypes on the shows, she was most notably "Indian." A clear story has never emerged with documented proof about Cher’s alleged Cherokee identity. And documented proof is itself a controversy (see below).

  4. And then there was the Twitter fight with the activists, starting from a statement coming out of Donald Trump’s camp. Conservative and liberal politics added another layer of frustrations and communication misfires between Cher and activists and you'd think there would have been a statement ready from Cher’s public relations team, like crafted 30 years ago.

The Trump connection further complicates the issue for sure. (from Jezebel.com)

“In 2017, nobody in their right mind would take this seriously as an emblem of Native American cultures......except Trump’s new Canadian/American pop star appointee for Native American Ambassador on the National Diversity Coalition! Former Pussycat Dolls member Kaya Jones!”

Some American Indian activists took issue with Jones’ claimed heritage:

“Since the December 8th announcement that she will represent Native Americans on the national stage, Jones has been tagging herself as a #Halfbreed along with claims that her father is Apache Native American. When asked, she can’t name the reservation her father lived on or his tribal origins...but what she can do to represent Native American peoples is channel Cher. So now people previously unfamiliar with “Half-Breed” are taking Cher to task.”

Those being millennial Indigenous Americans. I don’t feel there’s anything wrong with their feeling what they feel. Why should they remember cultural work that may or may not have happened in their lifetimes? All they see is Cher appropriating.

When Cher was on prime time American television she was a cool, hip superstar and giving airtime to images of minority women rarely seen elsewhere on prime-time, glamour television. Young girls and boys were seeing that and influenced by it. But that was cultural work done then, a perishable credential.  Some day we may look back on the cultural work of Will and Grace and see it as stereotypical, too. 

I’ve always had this gnawing feeling that Cher was somehow “getting a pass” on her “Indian look.” Why, over the last 50 years, was nobody was calling her out on it? That's not to say I didn't like it. But it’s impossible to believe that there have been no American Indian ticket-holders to the last two decades of live shows that have included the song and the headdress.

This was a bizarre related incident. I went to a show in 2013 with a white, Gen Y girl who became greatly offended by Cher’s Eastern Indian sari worn for the song “All or Nothing.” But she had no strong feelings whatsoever about the ceremonial Indigenous American headdress. (I've included a few existing articles below.)

I’m guessing here that Cher’s Indigenous American fans are older and this makes me think younger fans are feeling more offended because they have zero context to Cher’s persona in the 1970s. I could be wrong about this but there does seem to be a response difference in age groups. And newer kids have no context to “the way things were,” which has always been a thin-ice defense as it is.

Quite possibly the idea of Half Breed has outlived its previous pass. Which is making older fans feel very sad because they believe Cher as Indian was doing cultural work. (But maybe it’s also doing cultural damage now.) Older fans also feel the headdress is beautiful and they nostalgically love it and feel bad hearing that their love of something has been construed as bad or wrong. Do they then not have agency to love or appreciate? I feel for the fans here, too.

And that the whole issue beginning as a continuation of anger over Trumps position vis-a-vis Indigenous Americans just makes it all the more tragic, because the headdress issue has been lumped in with frustration over the status of the Keystone Pipeline struggle, Trumps dismissive Pocahontas comments, and his choice of an ambassador a woman with dubious claims to Indigenous American heritage.

And then there’s the very real issue of proving your Indigenous Americaness, which has controversy even within Indigenous American communities and leads to issues like blood quantum and time spent growing up on the reservation, how you get excluded and included even in your own communities.

“If you're Native American, there's a good chance that you've thought a lot about blood quantum — a highly controversial measurement of the amount of "Indian blood" you have. It can affect your identity, your relationships and whether or not you — or your children — may become a citizen of your tribe.” (NPR) 

So what a mess it all is. How can we even separate out all these issues for a second. Again, I keep waiting for a good essay on the Cher problem to appear somewhere. I want a method to proceed, guidelines, context, a way forward. But unfortunately life doesn’t always work that way.

As a word nerd, I’m inherently interested in the evolution of offensive words, including a word like “costume.” We learn in etymology class, that culture is impossible to promote, protect or contain. That’s why it’s so hard to get everyone to use a certain word or not use a certain word, like “costume” or "Native American" or even more offensive words like whore and retard. It’s also why we keep wanting to “dress up” like nuns and ceremonial chiefs for celebratory events. Sometimes when you’re trying to learn or appreciate another culture, you try to wear another man’s hat.

You can say tone means a lot, but quite often even the tone is all wrong. And policing tone is full of problems. It’s unfortunate but culture has a massive mind of its own. Not that we should just let that stand and endure. But we should recognize that not everyone gets the memo, literally. But even emotionally and intellectually. Teaching empathetic understanding takes work, much of it teaching concepts that are abstract and painful to deliver and receive.

The fact that many conservatives dismiss word politics has to be addressed here as well. I have no doubt that if Cher was a member of their circle, they would be defending the Half Breed headdress to the ends of the earth, as part of their ongoing fight against the “scourge of political correctness.” In this atmosphere, other liberals become easier targets because they care at all. Which makes the headdress another casualty of the recent heightened awareness of Trumpian offenses.

So yeah, it’s 2018 and we’re focusing on micro-aggressions, which should be a good thing. We’re finally getting to the micro stuff, unintentional but still hurtful stuff. Problem is we’re losing focus on the macro-aggressions, which in no way have been wrapped up: discrimination in marriage, jobs, housing, physical violence, bullying at an all time high. Our energy seems frayed and raw right now. Do we keep finishing work on the macro but not stop work on the micros?  Will the macro ever resolve itself? Will racism ever stop happening?

Another issue with liberal call-outs is when critics offer no way through. What is acceptable behavior between cultures? What are we working toward? We need examples of that and we need it on TV. What was so great about 1970s television as it began to integrate, (projects of which Cher was a part), was the fictionalization of race issues and examples of how to behave correctly. We’ve completely lost that with network and market-designed segregation of television programming and the self-segregation that occurs with too many segmented channel (and online) choices.

But if there’s no way through for offenders or victims, what could possibly change? Confusion and paralysis sets in. “I’m drowning here and you’re describing the water,” misogynistic Melvin Udall says in As Good as it Gets. At some point, calling out all the drownings becomes absurd. 

But I can hear the response: “it’s not my job to find a solution to the world’s problems.” I wonder whose job it is. And if it’s nobody’s job officially then it’s everybody’s job. So it is your job, long story short. And adding one more voice to the chorus of complaints will do nothing but ensure all our future suffering, and the suffering of all our friends.

 

Some discussion of the issue to date:

  • Native or Not (how controversial was “Half Breed” and were there protests?) (2008) From Mental Floss
  • "Is Cher Indian" (2013) from Waiting to Get There
  • "Cher in a Headdress Again" (2013) from Newspaper Rock
  • "The Controversy of Cher's Heritage" from Native Arts
  • Recap of the December 2017 drama on Jezebel.
  • "My Strange, Strange Holidays Arguing with Cher, yes, THAT Cher" (2017) from TiyospayeNow
  • "Why is Cher Arguing with Native Twitter" (2017) from Storify

Cher Mags, Shows, Movies, Music, TV, Fashion, Merch

Linda_CherWhat a Cher year it's been, starting all the way back in January with "Prayers for this World."  It's a bit overwhelming and I can't believe I haven't blogged since Halloween! My own Fall has been crazy with three sets of house guests and the production of a new political poster for the my art action group ArtBrawl (we decided on a name last summer). We also recently launched a Facebook page that has been tracking our goings-on. Two weeks ago we started screen printing.

For Cher this seems like a critical mass era where she’s producing a plethora of new things, all while older work is getting re-evaluated constantly (her fashion, songs and movies).

Tributes  

Bob's Burgers did a tribute to Cher on their Halloween episode. Technically Linda is dressed as a "Cher-iff," a sheriff dressed like Cher (or Cher with a badge). 

Linda explains her costume as having “handcuffs, a badge and a body that just refused to age!” She also wears a diminutive cowboy hat. “OH, I LOVE her!” she says and then says to Bob, “Snap out of it! From the movie!”

Linda stays in her Cherfit for the whole episode. The outfit is basically the Turn Back Time V-fit with extra Linda coverage, darker stockings and the leather jacket and Cher’s own latter-day boots. I appreciate that the cartoonists put Cher in the original Turn Back Time V-fit and not the concert version hole-fit that everyone now associates with the song.

Some clips:

- Linda explaining the costume
- The family trick-or-treating

While searching for show clips I also came across this story about Ellen wearing the hole-fit version a few years ago. They're very different outfits and now when Bob Mackie talks about designing the Turn Back Time outfit I have no idea which outfit he's talking about.

  VideotbtCher-ellen

 

 

 

 

 

 Magazines

CloserCloser magazine came out with a Cher tribute issue in November which is pretty good. Some new pictures and stories inside. There have also been some new online articles about Cher like these on motherhood and retirement.

Cher scholar Tyler also located this Travel Girl article on Cher: http://travelgirlinc.com/cher-glamorous-gorgeous-still-going-strong/

 

 

 

Charity & Social Causes (Twitter)

Cher has been busy with social and charity causes. She's working with Ben Stiller and others to get supplies to Puerto Rico:

Cher also took part in an auction for veterans on Veteran's Day.

And (thanks to Tyler again) here's a found clip of Cher's interview at the One Young World Conference where she launches Free the Wild and talks about how she's been working with Bob Geldof's manager to launch the animal rescue charity. She talks about her fake fur and a few rescued elephants.  She also says the song "Walls" was from "Believe" producer Mark Taylor.

In the Twittersphere, Papermag has also offered "A close reading of Cher and Rihanna’s Twitter Exchange"

Cher Shows

Las Vegas: There's Las Vegas and then there's the original Las Vegas. I went to them both in the last few months. The older one is actually in New Mexico, an old west town rougher than Tombstone. Mr. Cher Scholar got his masters in archaeology there a few years back (which is why we live in New Mexico now). We took Mr. Cher Scholar's brother to The Plaza Hotel there to do some ghost hunting. Mr. Cher Scholar's brother even has ghost hunting gear. There also happened to be a Halloween party there that night.

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A few weeks later we went to the other Las Vegas where I finally saw the November 11th Classic Cher show. Our seats were not as close as the cancelled show seats we had in spring, but they ended up being better seats than I thought. Cher opened her monologue with "You've probably planned a long time for this." Tell me about it! I was shell shocked the whole weekend worried about a cancellation. Sigh. Sometimes I think I just want it too much. Cher talked about mid-era Sonny & Cher days working show rooms and living in Motel 6 like motels with Cher attempting to cook their diners in the rooms.

It was a great show. I particularly liked the new graphics for "Walking in Memphis" and "The Shoop Shoop Song."

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I really loved the faux Cher Vegas sign. So retro and fun!  

News about the show:

Broadway Show

There's a page for the Chicago shows of The Cher Show. It would be nice to see a bit more of the performers involved and a better logo. An article from Junkee on the show which captures a lot of her tweets related to it.

Cher Music

"Ooga Boo" is now for sale and when you buy through smile.amazon.com, money goes to charity.

Cher did an interview for the BBC ostensibly about her new song "Walls" but the interview is kind of fluffy and truncated before we get to discussing the song.

Music History

Cher scholar Robrt found this 2016 commercial that uses Cher’s 1967 song “It All Adds Up Now.”

Cher scholar Tyler found this clip of Cher lip synching her way through "I Found Someone in chain-mail-fit"

Cher Movies

It was announced that Cher will play the part of Meryl Streep's mom (in flashback) in the sequel to the movie version of Mama Mia.

OrgasmicMovie History

A great article about Witches of Eastwick seen from 30 later.

 

Television History

CbMy favorite Cher wig is the multi-bun. It's best seen on The Carol Burnett Show. Here's a clip of the sketch.

I heard news that the Get TV Cher shows were coming back. But there's no sign that they will air any new episodes. Last night they played the same Christmas show they aired last year.  This run of shows has been mildly disappointing.

But we can console ourselves with this: Cher scholar Tyler located an opening segment of Laugh In with Sonny & Cher. See Sonny in his groovy scarf. And wow! Some Cher eyelashes there! Cher also gets on a bike. Here's another Laugh In segment with Cher and Tim Conway.

And the full episode of Sonny & Cher on The Glen Campbell Show

And another tribute to Sonny & Cher on David Letterman 30 years ago!

Fashion Influence, Peripherals and Stuff

Ode to an Idol: https://www.image.ie/fashion/in-ode-of-an-idol-the-iconic-and-timeless-wardrobe-of-cher-88368

The New York Times ran a story about a republican mayoral candidate who happens to be a big Cher fan.

Cher is planning to release more Christmas merch on her site soon. See the products on her Twitter. It looks like the themes will be Chercophanie and Black Rose. You can still buy scarves, too!


Tweets & Cruises

Chertweet2Cher made the top page of Yahoo! for one of her Trump tweets.

She's also involved in a new lawsuit over her investments.

Cher gave comments on the new trend of Cher hair in In Style:

"It's a good look! I saw Kim [Kardashian West] do it, and thought it was so great," Cher said. "I've worn my hair like that ever since I was a girl. For now, it's back, but then girls will start doing something else when they get bored." 

In Closer Weekly, she talks about relationships with past loves.

CrewzAnd hey! There’s a Cher Crewz in November 2018. You can hang out with other Cher fans and two top notch Cher impersonators, Chad Michaels and Candi Stratton.

Check out the website: https://www.chercrewcruise.com/

And Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CherCrewCruise/ 

I can't go but you should!


Cher Slays the BBMAs

BillboardmagIt took me a moment to gather my thoughts this week and this is going to be a long post. Very exciting stuff going on and some of it very important to Cher scholarship.

The 71st Birthday Tributes

Remember last year on Cher’s 70th birthday when we had a plethora of celebratory articles? This year there were far fewer but then people were already talking about Cher’s Billboard award instead. Still there were some:

10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Cher - They even take issue with the fact that she’s not in the Hall of Fame yet.

Cher's Most Iconic & Controversial Fashion Moments of All Time (E! Online)

Our Favorite Quotes (Biography)

Cher: A life in photos

A Star Is Born: Cher turns 71 today (LA Times!)

Midriffs, Wigs, Sparkles & Boots: Cher’s Glam Concert Style Over the Years (Footwear News) - Footwear News??

Cher: See Her Top 10 Most Outrageous Outfits Ever

#BornThisDay: Cher (World of Wonder)  (thanks to Tyler)

Cher at 71: Her most incredible outfits in pictures (thanks to Tyler)

Bonus! Tour Cher's California Homes (Architectural Digest)

Kim Kardashian even had her own subset of birthday tweets and articles resulting from those tweets:

Billboard Sweetness

So, in support of Cher’s Icon award, Billboard Magazine did a series of tributes to her (see more in my opinion post, Cher’s Musical Oeuvre).

The interview: Cher Sounds Off on Trump's 'Cheating' & Why She's 'Not a Fan' of Her Six Decades of Hits

The article tallies up more famous Cher fans, (so now we have Pink, Christina Aguilera, Lady Gaga, Gwen Stefani, and the already-mentioned Tracy Chapman and Chrissie Hynde). Pink calls Cher a smart “sharpshooting rock star.” The article covers facets of her reputation: her blunt opinions, clothes, her swearing, her “fearlessness.” It culls out her award winnings and record breaking chart appearances. This is an old school article that actually sends a reporter to visit Cher in her Cher lair. (Remember those interviews?) The article touches on her androgyny and how she solidified an image on her television shows as “a woman who claimed privileges usually reserved for men, including honesty, independence and confident sexuality.” That’s even understated IMHO. The article also talks about The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour’s technical innovations with chroma key. Author Rob Tannenbaum calls her current live show set a Parisian flophouse (nails it there) and says the show is “dizzying, festive and cheeky.” He calls her image during Geffen era the MILK of hair metal (funny and not totally off the mark).

This seems like a typo though: “There was one problem: no evident lack of talent.” Why would no lack of talent be a problem? There’s also at least one factual error,  stating that since Believe Cher has only released one album on a major label. She’s released two (Living Proof and Closer to the Truth on the same label).

The article states Cher has 3.3 million twitter followers and that Buzzfeed calls her “the world’s most beloved Twitter user.” (Sweet.)

Chad Michaels on Cher's Musical Legacy & What It's Like Impersonating the Pop Icon to Her Face

Michaels credits Cher with pioneering the music video on her 70s TV shows and talks about age-bracketing his shows for content. He calls Cher not only the Goddess of Pop but the Queen of Rock and Roll (yeah, let’s get that one going). He admits “it must be strange for any celebrity to come face to face with an impersonator” and he talks about working on stage parodies of Witches of Eastwick.

RaptureWhy Cher Is More Musically Radical Than You Think

This is an awesome piece by Joe Lynch who  talks about the sexism inherent in rock criticism. He gives only a partial list of Cher’s accolades, (awards, sales, endurance, record breaks), and says “Cher’s impact as a musical force is unfairly disregarded or minimized.” He says music history is “refracted through a male, rock-privileging lens. But it’s also a casualty of music fans’ obsession with authenticity.” I would argue that even under the authenticity rubric, (which is ludicrous in what is essentially a posing industry), the standards are not evenly applied depending upon the rock clique you belong to.

Lynch argues that it’s not even fair to judge artists who don’t have full control over their material because even auteur-film-directors don’t have full control of theirs. I think we can look even closer than film: did The Ronnettes fully control their material? Did any Phil Spector artists have full control? Because many of them are in the Hall of Fame. Lynch gives Cher credit for auto-tune and she should get credit for fighting for it if not coming up with the idea for it on her song “Believe,” (even though I think that is a problematic accolade in rock music, again around issues of authenticity).

We can all agree, like Lynch says, that Cher didn’t pioneer genres or “take lyrics to new poetic heights” but she did “forge an iconoclastic path for vocal and visual androgyny in pop culture that’s frequently overlooked.” (I would argue she also did that with glam rock).

And for the storyteller songs most derided in Cher’s catalog Lynch says, “It’s absurd to argue those songs could have been as effective in the hands of another singer—sure they’re good story-songs, but Cher’s delivery is what makes these admittedly dated pop songs resonate…” Lynch says Cher “teed things up for people like Bowie and Patti Smith, and the world would certainly be different if she hadn’t stayed so irrevocably Cher from the start.”

A Look Back on Her Film & TV Career

GwenHow Cher Transformed Fashion And Became One Of The Most Influential Style Icons In Red Carpet History

This article notes Cher’s influence on Katy Perry, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, and Rihanna, saying she has “left a trail of glittering breadcrumbs across the mood boards of designers and musicians.” Author Brooke Mazurek calls her “the original red carpet renegade and provides quotes from Michale Kors, Vogue Editor Andre Leon Talley and the Fashion Institute of Technology’s curator Kevin Jones. Mazurek also draws a line back to Marlene Dietrich and Josephine Baker and has Bob Mackie crediting Cher with bringing ethnicity to 1970s TV. (That is also a big thesis of the book Off-White Hollywood by Diane Negra).

Cher's 'Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves': Why It's One of the 20th Century's Greatest Songs

This is a great piece by Rob Tannenbaum who wrote the lead story. Cher is dismissive about the song and the length of the recording session but Tannenbaum calls the song “one of the most majestic pop hits ever made…a tale recounted at breakneck speed, of sexual hypocrisy…female and class consciousness…voyeuristic like a pulp novel…redeemed by a brash confidence Cher gives the narrator.”

Tannenbaum goes on to explicate the complicated story line, the implications of which most people blithely ignore as they sing along. This is real professional scholarship here! This could be a undergrad lit paper! Tannenbaum even deconstructs the song musically:

“The song feels urgent partially because of the breakneck pace: the band plays at 171 beats per minute. (For comparison, the Ramones’ “Beat On the Brat” is 157 BPM, and Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” is 164.) When she reaches the chorus, Cher suddenly sings way in front of the beat, an expression of anxiety. The lavish arrangement feels vaguely “ethnic” or “exotic,” thanks to mandolin and calliope, and also threatening, due to the irregular meters and some shreds of dissonance. It has the grandeur of a Phil Spector production, but with B-movie horror mixed in to it.”

He points out that Cher is never sexually “apologetic or sorrowful…but savoring freedom and rebellion… delivers the line [“Papa would have shot him if he knew what he’d done”] with chilling delight…[making] it one of the most lurid and sexy lines in pop music, merely through implication.”

The song, written by Bob Stone, has “plot, detail and emotional complexity, and Cher belts it with a punkish defiance. As a song about prejudice, poverty, and the consequences of pregnancy for working-class women, 'Gypsys' has aged beautifully.” Yes, indeed.

Cher's 10 Best Trump Tweets

I love Billboard Magazine’s implicit affection for Cher’s anti-Trump tweets here. It’s their own condemnation of Trump and such a reflection of the mainstream, they let it go without any qualification or judgement. The article credits Cher as an advocate of LGBT and women’s rights, her political activism. Lauren Tom calls her a “a pioneer of female autonomy during a male-driven era.”

Older related links

Bob Mackie's Archives Unveiled: Iconic Designer for Cher & Diana Ross Gives Billboard a Peek Behind the Curtains (Oct 2016)

See Bob Mackie's Sketches for Classic Madonna, Cher & Tina Turner Gowns

Press Before the Show

SpeechThe internet was also full of stories rehashing the Billboard interview and reacting to Cher’s admission, (not nearly a new one), that she hates her own music. Every time she says that, people respond in such surprise.

After the BBMAs Coverage

My two cents: award shows seem now to be just excuses for launching elaborate musical performances from big arenas. I'm bored with it already, especially the Byzantine performances of Nicki Minaj (and ten variations of her throughout the night). I did enjoy the Chainsmokers (although it sounds like nobody else did), Julia (I like that funny "Issues" song), and Lorde's very inventive performance pretending to be at a karaoke club. I thought Celine was understated but great per usual (that crazy dress!). She had a lovely chandelier to sing under.

Gwen Stefani introduced Cher who then sang "Believe" and then we watched a career reel while Cher changed into the hole-fit and sang "Turn Back Time" and then accepted her award. I liked her speech which threw some props to Phil Spector, the Wrecking Crew, her mom, Sonny, David Geffen, Diane Warren and luck. Watch Celine Dion sing along to Cher.

GIF of Cher saying she can do a five minute plank.

Spend an afternoon with Cher GIFs!


Movie and Concert News

ConcertThere's been so much Cher news over the last month and a half, I feel like I can’t keep up sometimes. So I have great sympathy for Daniel of Cher News when he announced recently that he is going to stop posting again. Such a good news source, especially for overseas stories.

There was plenty of Flint water crisis movie news this week, (all the way to Belfast!), especially when last week news broke that Cher was dropping out due to a family crisis, which allegedly involves her ailing mother, Georgia. Our thoughts and prayers to Georgia and her many loved ones.

Here are the news stories about it:

- ET Online
- TV Line
- PageSix
- Ace Showbiz  

The documentary Cries from Syria also came out on HBO along with versions of Cher's new song "Prayers for the World." I’ve recorded the movie but I've been afraid to watch it. The violence and suffering warning has scared me from it. I need to grow some stones and do it already. Here's a review of the movie, Cher's song with film footage, Cher's song without film footage.

Cher also tweeted about an Armenian genocide movie she found moving called The Promise. Thank you to Cher scholar Tyler for that link and for also locating this news footage about Cher’s visit to Armenia.

Classic Cher is now in Washington D.C. for a spell and apparently has a new “Lie to Me” interlude.

Some local reviews of the show:

Other interviews & promotion for the tour:

The Washington Post did an interview with Cher that's annoyingly showing up verbatim everywhere else: "Cher on EGOT-ing, politicking and touring once more (Watertown Daily Times) and "Cher still rocking in new shows" (Journal Gazette) are two examples.

ViewCher was also on The Talk for a full hour. It was fun to see the hosts dressed up as Cher, (Sharon Osbourne is tiny!), and you can really see the influence of Graham Norton and Andy Cohen on talk shows now which are mostly a sequence of Cher games. How else do you come up with original questions to ask someone who has been interviewed over and over again for over 50 years? It was nice to see Bob Mackie brought into the interview mix for some variety.

Reviews of the show:

Cher also did new Entertainment Tonight appearances. Some clips:


Online Cher Stuff: Tweet Fails, Song Covers, Summits and Plays

CowboyThe Internet is great. It gives us Cher coverage in various forms almost constantly. It's become hard to keep up.

The Tweets

There was a "latest Cher Tweet snafu" when she accidentally forwarded a tweet with a penis avatar in it. What's to apologize for this? I don't know but drama did ensue.

Cher Logs Off Twitter After Accidentally Retweeting A Dick Pic

Cher Takes a Break from Twitter After Accidentally Retweeting a Dick Pic Avatar

Okay the headlines are hilarious and it gives new punch to the term Freudian Slip. Cher is right: Twitter is unforgiving.  And very funny. Cher is, after all, only human. She's made mistakes. But she's "in command of lost control."

The YouTubes

At work one day last week I was in the mood for some "Cowboy’s Work Is Never Done" and since my iPod is a busted mess, I went on to the dark interwebs and found this amazing thing of pronoun weirdness from Diego's Umbrella's 2012 gypsy rock version.

Recaps

The show ‘Last Man on Earth’ invaded Cher’s house in a latest episode. Spoiler and fragile-fan alert, in the "cameo" clip Cher has passed on to that Bob Mackie closet in the sky. Kristen Schaal is seen below trying on Cher outfits as the group hides out in Cher's Malibu house. I can't really tell but this almost looks like her house. What do you think?

Cherhouse

Cher attended the Young World Summit in Ottowa and spoke about elephants and Trumps. Here is video from the UK's Independent and summary text with video from Cher World.

Ottowa

ChernymagArchives

A few weeks back I found this online version of New York Magazine with Cher and Robert Altman on the cover with a story about Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean on Broadway. Read a more in-depth story about Cher's near-death experience with a monster vitamin. Scary.

 


Cher and Hills Force One

Cher-provincetSo I went on vacation in August to see my parents in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. A lot happened while I was gone. A lot. Cher did quite a bit of stumping for Hillary Clinton over the last few weeks and kept up her pressure on The Hairpiece.

Before the fundraisers

Cher Joining Hillary Clinton for Provincetown Fundraiser (Out.com)

If you’re on Hillary’s mailing list (I donated once just for the Woman Card), you got a chance to meet Cher in Provincetown. I didn't see the email when it came in, (because I disconnect completely on VACA!), so Mr. Cher Scholar entered us to win. That was just one super-husband thing he did while we were in Pennsylvania. He also power-washed and stained my Dad’s deck in 90-degree heat.

Oh, and he gave up NFL football on Direct TV so I could get The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour but more on that in another post). :-/

Here's the email for the Provincetown contest:

Hillary Clinton <info@hillaryclinton.com>
Aug 18 at 1:15 PM
To: [Cher Scholar]

Mary, I’m really excited about this one: Cher will be joining me on Sunday for an event in Provincetown, Massachusetts -- and you could be there.

Will you add your name for the chance to join us?

It’s bound to be a fun time, but more than that, it’s a chance for us to check in before we reach the final weeks of this campaign. Knowing that I have the support of a team like you keeps me going out there on the trail -- so I’d like to say thank you and hear what you’ve been up to while I’ve been campaigning.

We’ll even cover your transportation and hotel, so you can relax and enjoy the evening.

Don’t miss this chance to join me (and Cher!) in Provincetown on Sunday:

Add my name [button]

Thanks,
Hillary

Cher-providence-2016After the fundraisers

Raising Money for Clinton, Cher Sounds Off (and Not Just About Trump) (New York Times)

Audience video of Cher speaking in Provincetown (Facebook)

Another perspective of the same event (YouTube)

Cher Spills the Tea on Her Pal Hillary Clinton (The Advocate)

‘Miserable’ Cher Wages Bizarre Twitter War On Donald Trump (Radar Online)  - Right wing spin continues to describe Cher as has been (“Fast-fading Cher” s waging an internet war against Donald Trump to get attention and restart her fizzled career — but the crafty presidential candidate has devastated the “Believe” singer by leveling her as a washed-up has-been.") Facts never seem to back up their hopes that she is a flash-in-th- pan…as these headlines show…

Cher, Hillary Clinton wow crowd at Provincetown fundraiser (Cape Cod Times)

Cher Raises Cash for Hillary, Calls Trump 'the Worst Person I've Ever Seen' (Extra)

Clinton Raises Cash During Campaign Events on Cape and Islands (Cape Cod Times)

Ptown swoons for Hillary and Cher (Washington Blade)

Cher insults Trump, with gusto, at Clinton fundraiser (Yahoo! News)

Cher defiant after harsh takedown of Trump (CNN)

They also went to Miami: Cher raises $130,000 for Hillary Clinton in Miami (Tampa Bay Times)

Then we received an email from Cher herself:

From: Cher <info@hillaryclinton.com>
Date: 8/20/2016 8:30 AM (GMT-05:00)
To: [Mr. Cher Scholar]
Subject: Hi❗❗

Mr. C.S. --

I'm known for my emoji-heavy tweets, so I wanted to send You an emoji-heavy email (a.k.a mail emoji).

I'm Proud 2 Support Hillary, Mr. C.S.‼️

Earlier this summer, I had the honor of speaking at a concert for her in Los Angeles -- and spent [clock emoji] with her too. I CALLED HILL “MY PRESIDENT” -- it meant SO MUCH to watch her win the nomination [tears of joy emoji] .

She’s sincere, I admire her hard work, & I like her. NO MATTER WHAT PPL THINK  [sparkling heart emoji]. #ImWithHer, and I’m going to be so proud to join her at an event in Provincetown tonight.

If you're #WithHer too, chip in RIGHT NOW to make sure she [bee emoji] comes our next POTUS❗❗

You’re one of our most committed supporters. Because you've saved your payment information, your donation will go through immediately:

Mr. Cher Scholar Donate [Buttons: $75, $25, $50, $100, $200]

Provincetown Wc


Election Tweets, the Tabloids, I Paralyze and the Importance of a Good Wig

Trainofth2It seems I've developed an inability to blog in the month of July. And a lot seems to happen in Julys. Here's the recap:

Political Tweets: The Train of Cher's Thoughts

Cher attacks Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson in epic Twitter rant (Metro UK)

Cher: Trump a ‘f---ing traitor’ (The Hill)

Cher Just Shared a Hilarious Photoshopped Snap Of Donald Trump (Billboard)

Conclusive proof Cher is the greatest political commentator of our time (Metro UK)

I’m with Cher is the Anti-Trump Swag You Need (Paper Mag)  Get "I'm with Cher buttons because this fan wants to "Make America Cher again!"

Cher Fan Creates 'I'm With Cher' Campaign to Celebrate Singer's Political Punditry (Billboard)

The I'm With Cher page: http://imwithcher.com/

Debbie Wasserman Schultz Has Had Such a Bad Week Even Cher Is Ripping Her a New One (The Independent Journal Review)

I communicated like Cher for the day and people didn't know what to make of it (Mashable) - this was hilarious.

Music

IpIn this news sent to me by both Dishy and Robrt Pela, the album I Paralyze is sort of getting a new re-release: Back On The Street Again: Vibe On Records Reissues, Expands Cher’s “I Paralyze

Céline Dion impersonates Cher, Rihanna on Jimmy Fallon's late night how.

Tabloids and Peripherals

Jennifer Aniston published a personal essay about the tabloids I thought was particularly good. Of particular note:

“In this last boring news cycle about my personal life there have been mass shootings, wildfires, major decisions by the Supreme Court, an upcoming election, and any number of more newsworthy issues that “journalists” could dedicate their resources towards.”

I couldn't find a picture of Cher and Jennifer but, as they knew each other in high school, there is a picture out there of Chaz and Jennifer.

Chaz-and-jennifer

Speaking of Chaz, there's an article out there on AOL where he "opens about his mom Cher's support and why he's finally ready for his big break in acting" and it lists his recent guest appearances.

WigStyle

In reading through all my old issues of Entertainment Weekly, I came across a Melissa McCarthy interview from the summer 2015 issue where she says:

“I always start with the wig. It keys everything for me. You look so different in a wig that it changes your posture, how you carry yourself.”

I feel like Cher has said that before, too.


The Best of Vacation Times, The Worst of Twitter Times

Icecream"Everyone’s a critic today."
--  Sonny, Good Times

Vacation

It's an ice cream vacation and Daily Mail is stalking Cher through every spoonful.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-3649725/Cher-cuts-laid-figure-white-leather-vest-black-yoga-pants-eats-ice-cream-Saint-Tropez.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-3654774/Cher-showcases-quirky-fashion-sense-monochrome-ensemble-enjoys-realxing-day-Portofino-pals.html

However, there have been some funny titles about Cher's vacation in light of recent rumors and events:

Cher shows off her fit physique at 70 years old

Cher vacations in Italy amid reports that she’s dying, broke and alone

Cher Broke and Near Death Reports Refuted by Italy Vacation Photos – 70 Year Old Singer Looks Healthy, Happy

Motorcycle Fan

If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead, (and I was for like three episodes before I dropped out realizing the thing was a soap opera), you might be surprised to know that Norman Reedus has come out saying his number one choice to ride bikes across America with is Cher: http://www.cinemablend.com/television/Celebrity-Norman-Reedus-Wants-Ride-With-Most-Who-You-Guess-143557.html

In Elephant News

Cher is still working for our elephant friends.

Cher aims to free lonely, chained elephant in Pakistan

Cher aims to free lonely, chained elephant in Pakistan through adoption

Tweet Drama

Drama #1: The Brexit

Cher got flack this week for her tweet about the UK vote to leave the European Union.

Brexit
Stories:

http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/cher-backs-brexit-vote-immediately-regrets/#gs.TGCvH3Q

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/06/27/cher-forced-to-defend-herself-after-confusing-fans-with-views-on-brexit/

Obviously her initial tweet emoticon was misinterpreted. She never "appeared to back the vote and then regretted it." At least if you can read a tweet. She says literally "Pray it's best decision" but if you ignore the praying hands emojii, (is there such a thing as emoji blindness?), it looks like she's saying "It's the best decision." I guess this is why emoticons aren’t admissible in legal documents. It does surprise me that Twitter Followers can't follow.

Drama #2: Then there was the bomb emoji drama which included the words "Cher slammed" in many online article titles.

Bomb

The stories:

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/cher-slammed-bomb-emoji-tweet-turkey-article-1.2691823

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/turkey-cher-slammed-after-using-bomb-explosion-emojis-tweet-about-istanbul-airport-attack-1568007

http://www.tv3.ie/xpose/article/entertainment-news/208406/Cher-apologises-for-Turkey-bomb-emoji-tweet

She's literally saying: "We all pray for innocent people in Turkey airport. Bomb explosion." But I get it: (cartoon bomb ≠ real bomb) = insensitive. Terrorism isn’t a loony toon after all. So I guess a few severed limb emojis are not appropriate either. Hey, dark days call for dark-humor emojis.

But this, my Cher friends and Cher Twitter "followers," is what we call a language problem over in literary-theory land; and some kid will soon be doing a college dissertation on it, if we should be so lucky. Emojis are in fact so new, it’s hard to know officially which of them can officially classified as useful or inappropriate. But Cher seems willing to be the leading test case on the issue.

My beef with emojis is that they evolved from emoticons like this :-/ (which, because I’m old-school, I still use), a system of willfully misusing punctuation marks in order to insert some added layer of emotion into the deadpan language of email communications, (“Is he trying to being a dick with that comment?”), where in olden days people found it hard to decipher contextual humor or anger or sarcasms or winks or any other kind of extreme feeling in email missives and misunderstandings consistently arose, friendships ended,  wars ensued, and jokes failed.

NerdThese days artists are paid (or not) to create little cartoon pictures for us to communicate with instead of us having to use those pesky little Latin letters or instead of getting paid to, say, solve world problems or teach children to communicate better in emails without the aid of stupid little cartoons and then get offended when some celebrity doesn’t use the little pictures right which ironically was a problem the little cartoons (via the misuse of punctuation) was supposed to freaking solve in the first place!

We can all blame Twitter now.