Help Cher Save the Elephant

Billy Cher is asking her fans to help her save Billy the elephant from the LA Zoo. She has offered half-a-million dollars to help get him released to an animal sanctuary in San Andreas, the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS).

Like Cher I love elephants and have my own diminutive elephant collection (that I will be unloading at a garage sale next spring). And similarly, I dislike zoos and circuses. So joining this effort seems like a done-deal for me.

Billy is an Asian elephant. You can tell by his little ears. This is an African elephant (dressed like an Indian)...

African elephant

Cher said, "Billy has weighed heavily on my mind for many years. I would give half-a-million dollars for his release to the place that Bob Barker talked about (PAWS). LA Zoo holds Billy hostage! LA Zoo has abused him until all he does is rock back-and-forth, alone."

She continues, "Go to this site: Earth in Transition. 14 Elephants have died in LA Zoo and Billy has spent almost all of his 27 years in a tiny space. Think! You are all so smart and kind, please put your heads together! I've just signed a letter that will be read Downtown tomorrow. Boycott circus!"

This is a continuation of Cher's efforts from 2009.

How you can help:

I'm not a resident of California anymore (although that doesn't need to stop you from contacting local legislature there) but I did donate some cash to the cause (which was super easy via PayPal).








Wig Art

Wig2MY MOVE IS OVER. Finally! Geesh.Thank god.

In 1977, I left Albuquerque in the middle of watching The Sonny & Cher Show (1977, age 7). Thirty-seven years later I’ve moved back to Albuquerque at age 44 and am again watching the show by way of TV Land's old airings in a Cher Scholar special request research project to find the Vamp episode that contains “Wine for Caesar.”

Cher’s new video coincides with my quest because I’m assuming Renate Leuschner created the amazing paper wig in the video. I’m seeing some amazing wigs again on the Sonny & Cher shows…not just by “Rena” as she went by in the show's credits, nor "Renata" as she went by in Celebration at Caesars or Renate Leuschner as she appears in the the  Wig1credits of some Cher movies (like Mask) and concert programs. This woman is a brilliant wig artist. I have many favorites re-watching the shows (some are not quite culturally appropriate anymore but that’s another essay). My all-time favorite (started by the prior wig maker on the show Jim Oertel), is the bun made up of many buns. I also love the wig of braids that look like the wig-equivalent of a jungle gym.


Happy Birthday Cher

CherloveI'm back! Just a day late of Cher's 67th birthday!

This graphic was very elegantly put together by the site CherLove,the ultimate site for great Cher photos.

The site Queerty, (Free of an Agenda, Except that Gay One), has a nice Cher timeline set up in honor of her birthday. Of course there are errors and it's fun to catch them:

  • Cher's mother didn't marry her father three times, only two times.
  • I never heard she was a Sunset Strip dancer but...
  • She didn't date Eric Stoltz but was seen out dancing with him during Mask filming.
  • I thought Cher received 60 million dollars for all three years in Vegas not $60 million for each  year.

I know Cher isn't too keen on aging but I visited the Philmont Boy Scout Ranch over graduation week and I bought a book of Waite Phillips' epigrams. Waite Phillips was an oil tycoon who gave away most of his wealth before he died, a huge chunk to the Boy Scouts for New Mexico adventurings. Btw, I found out that girls can now join the Philmont Boy Scout Ranch summer treks through their co-ed Venturing programs. Although I'm skeptical of the recent decision by the Boy Scouts regarding gay counselors, I wish I would have had Adventuring programs when I was a kid. Girl Scouts never did anything too adventuresome and I dropped out after one year. Maybe they should have invented FagHag Scout Camp for me. I would have fit in well there: hiking treks by day, glitter crafts by firelight.  

Anyway, there was one epigram in the book that reminded me of Cher and aging:

The best insurance against melancholia, depressions, and sense of futility in old age is the development of wide horizons and the cultivation of mental elasticity and interest in the world. Many of the happiest individuals in the world are men and women in their sixties, seventies, or eighties who have contributed richly to human betterment during their maturity and at the same time have cultivated activities to make retirement a pleasure. The older men grow, the more they should realize that it is only by putting the focus of their activities in some movement or activity greater than their individual ego that can attain reasonable peace in old age.
W. Beran Wolfe

So I'm sure Cher would think what a stuffy bit of crock but nonetheless, words to the wise.


Cher in New Diana Vreeland Documentary

VreelandMy cousin sent me news that a new Diana Vreeland documentary is scheduled to be released September 21. Diana Vreeland met Cher in 1967 and told her she had "a pointed head." However, it was Vreeland who introduced Cher to modeling in countless Vogue spreads from the late 1960s throughout the 1970s.

In the documentary trailer, Vreeland is credited with the idea of pushing a photo subject's faults, imploring her artists to "make that the most beautiful thing about them."

So brilliant.

And when legal wrangling with Sonny kept Cher off of television in 1974, Cher said it was these modeling projects that kept her afloat.

More information on Cher and Vreeland:

For more information on the movie and to see (clips of Cher) in the trailer:

How can we forget the following amazing collaborations between Cher, Vreeland and photographer Richard Avedon...

VogueCher doing one of many interpretations of Native American. Cher scholar Bruce points out that this photo is by Stephen Paley and not Richard Avedon, as part of the late 60s Jackson Highway album photo shoot. But it's super kewl so I'm keeping it up.





Cher 60sCher in 60s mod-mode.










Cher vogue 2Elaborations on hair poses.










  Cher70sFull 1970s awesomeness!










StaircasesMore elaborations on hair and some of my favorites, the staircase photos.









Bangs are Back Baby!


Two days ago I decided to get bangs. I only made the decision Wednesday because Mr. Cher Scholar was also going for a haircut. I'm starting a new phase of my life and this calls for a new least in terms of hair...the front side of it anyway.

Ironically, Huffington Post put up an article about bangs that very same day and until yesterday Cher's photo to the left was posted at the top of the page.

The feature includes a lovely little photo gallery of over 100 famous ladies with bangs.


What the Reaction Says About Women, Class and Liberals

CherI’ll be offline for a few weeks. I’m wrapping up my five-year gig at ICANN next week in Los Angeles. It’s been an awesome experience and with many mixed-emotions I leave to refocus on other projects. Until I'm back, have a good two weeks.

Meanwhile...Cher has been ranting on the republican party in tweets for over a year it seems. It hasn’t been news. She’s been tapping into some rarely-expressed liberal anger as far as I’m concerned. She’s not debating, politicking or doing any public relations. She’s just venting. Last week her anti-Romeny tweet went viral before she had a chance to snuff the flame.

Cher scholar Dishy sent me the first news of it from The Hollywood Reporter:

"Thank God I got the half that thinks," she writes in response to an assertion that a series of tweets -- now deleted -- has cost her 50 percent of her fans.

Cher went on an anti-Republican tirade early Tuesday morning that went viral courtesy of the Drudge Report, and by noon she had deleted the offending tweets.

“If ROMNEY gets elected I don’t know if I can breathe same air as Him & his Right Wing Racist Homophobic Women Hating Tea Bagger Masters,” the entertainer tweeted referring to Mitt Romney, the Republican's likely nominee for president.

After some criticism -- some of it profane -- Cher tweeted: “TOO HARSH? That’s me Holding BACK! They care nothing about the POOR The OLD The SICK The HUNGRY CHILDREN & People striving 4 a Better LIFE ! –"

I then heard the tweet-storm discussed on The Stephanie Miller Show (Cher would be a super guest on that show!) and even posted about it: "The Words That Started A Twitter Storm: Cher’s Famous Tweet About Romney" where they quoted her apologizing, “Im not sorry 4feelings, but i was not kind.’

I haven't heard any fans trashing Cher over her initial comments and even my mother said she shouldn’t have apologized. There may have been personal reasons why she did.

In any case there are three issues at play here:

  1. Liberals and their Feelings: the Right (and the celebrity Right) is never apologetic about their angry feelings. See Ted Nugent as a most current example. Liberals are always encouraged not to take it into an angry place. That restraint can't hold forever.
  2. Girls and their Feelings: women aren’t supposed to get angry or express their anger. Women constantly get pressure to back down from their expressing their anger while the same expressions are seen as appropriate for men. (see the book The Unruly Women by Kathleen Rowe)
  3. The Struggle of the Lower Class and their Feelings:  Cher comes from a working class background; she has working class friends; she cares about working class people (as her tweets and comments have shown throughout the years). She expresses herself in a way that some criticize as being crude, low-rent (i.e. low class), “She talks like a truck-driver; she swears like a biker.” Comments when they are expressed in this way tap into this country’s deep-seated issues about class, especially when unruly (outspoken) women are the ones expressing liberal feelings about class. 

They try to shut her down. You go girl!


Plastic Surgery in "Joyful Noise" and Other Recent Books and Movies

Dolly1With Mr. Cher Scholar and our recent visitor, my Los Angeles friend Christopher, I've been seeing a lot of movies and discovering some interesting book-fare from watching Book TV.

Christopher wanted to see Joyful Noise because we both like Dolly Parton. I was hesitant because the trailers looked pitiful. But he talked me into it and I must say I enjoyed it much more than I expected to. You might chalk that up to lowered expectations but I would defend the musical numbers as fun, kind of like a gospel Glee episode. Also, Queen Latifah (who I love dearly but cannot continue to support her crappy movies) had an absolutely awesome performance in the movie in a scene where she chews her daughter out in a hotel elevator bank. And finally, you have to see the thing just to make some sense out of Dolly's latest plastic surgery.

Cher's usually our fall-girl for this kind of gripe to be sure. And how frustrating because this is a ridiculous no-win situation for our aging Joyful-iamwhatiam female stars. I heard my friend watching TV and saying about one star, "she really should get her neck fixed." But she can't win because if she "fixes it" we get this, the latest face of Dolly, which clearly doesn't look right. All through the movie, she had to overact to get her face to even work, and her smile resembled the face of The Joker's. Her lips didn't fully close! It was creepy. To stay-off the aging process, Dolly went right from pretty (if pancaked with makeup) to grotesque. Surely this wasn't the goal. In fact, this is a sure backfire.  I watched the movie thinking Dolly looked like a frail grandmother. She's Cher's age!

This insanity must stop. To see the beautiful Dolly Parton come to this.

SergeWe also saw the documentary Urbanized at the local Santa Fe art house. It was a fascinating look at how cities are thinking creatively about how to handle urban problems. The city of LA was noticeably absent from the world-wide cities showcased and citizens of LA could surely gain something from watching it. One South American mayor changed my whole idea about the usefullness of subways!

My husband and I also saw Gainsbourg (Vie Heroique), the French movie about Serge Gainsbourg. With animation, a puppet altar-ego, much music and beautiful surreal elements, I only wish Cher could have a biopic this cool someday. My favorite songs from the movie were "La Javanaise" and "Initials B.B."

Book TV also lured me into purchasing Justin Frank's Obama on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President. Frank also covered George W. Bush with this psycho-analytic treatment. We learn how Obama's early childhood and lack of contact with his parents possibly shapes his behavior in the White House and with the Republicans. Ross-hollywood-left-right-440x668

Book TV also showcased a book I haven't purchased yet, Hollywood Left & Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics by Steven Ross. He explores in depth Charlie Chaplin, Louis B. Mayer, Edward G. Robinson, George Murphy, Ronald Reagan, Harry Belafonte, Jane Fonda, Charlton Heston, Warren Beatty, and Arnold Schwarzenegger and recounts that although the Left gets a lot of screen-time, the Right has actually made further inroads in Washington with their cadidates and policy. And at one point he says something like "because you're a celebrity doesn't mean you give up your citizenship." Very true. Sometimes I am critical when celebrities endorse candidates (more because I feel the clash of their celebrity brands working against the cause). But all citizens have the right to feel the passion and get involved.


Proud Mama Cher

10133920-smallI threw a small dinner party last week and could never find the time to blog. But last week was a good one on Dancing with the Stars. Chaz did a tribute to his dad by dancing to the 60s song "Laugh at Me" written by Sonny. Chaz even wore the fur vest. The cover version was odd in that it replicated Sonny's phrasing exactly...and included his spoken-word intro to Cher ("I never thought I'd cut a record by myself but I got somethin' I wanna say, I want to say it for Cher and I hope I say it for a lot of people").

Unfortunately, rumbas are boring. And although the judges always love Chaz's courage and find him inspiring, they said this dance was not his best performance. They said he seemed distracted. And yet they gave him his best scores of the season. Huh? In any case, he retained his spot as the lowest on board.

John and I just hope he lasts longer than Nancy Grace. I still don't fully know her story but she does not connect with the audience at all. She's in her own dance bubble. Last week Kristin Cavallari was booted off. My friend Julie surmised this was because she had that bad reputation from the show The Hills. I also thought she might be hurting by being confused with Chynna Phillips, who is good but John and I find her too perfect to root for. JR did the most moving dance last week and I was glad David Arquette didn't get kicked off because he seems so fragile, I worry he would cry. I've grown tired of Hope Solo but Ricki Lake continues to float like a dream.

Last week Cher tweeted that she would come sit in the audience to cheer Chaz and this week she did. It was movie theme night...full of songs that don't lend themselves to good dancing...especially the mission impossible song Ricki Lake was given, the Psycho theme. She pulled it off though. It was amazing. JR, Hope, Carson and David all did well but Chynna choked for some reason. I felt bad for her and thought she would be spared since she's one of the top-four best dancers on the show. Alas, she was booted off anyway. I hope she keeps on dancin' because she's a natural. John remarked that all the hotties have been voted off already. Is this an anti-hotti-conspiracy?

Cher's first few shots from the crowd looked stern (she tweeted she was nervous) but by the time Chaz finished dancing she was crying  and seemed to almost hesitate with the urge to stand up, which she finally did. The pictures tell the story. It was an amazing moment of pop culture. Cher in proud mama mode. So sweet and touching. Not a side of herself she gives us much (for reasons understood) but it pulls me heartstrings it does.

Apparently grandma Georgia, brother Elijah and step-mum Mary Bono also came. They got zero airtime. Cher sat next to ex-Mrs-David-Arquette Courteney Cox. To her credit, Courteney has been at every show. Every time they come on camera I think David, Courteney and baby Cox-Arquette made a very adorable albeit shaky family unit.

Chaz ended up moving up on the board when Carson earned the lowest score.

Cher's appearance became a media blitz in papers and websites all over the country. Even early-morning radio shows. It seems Cher sneezes these days and it makes headlines. It wasn't always this way.

Here's a typical story from US Magazine: Mom is moonstruck by her dancing baby!

As anticipated, Cher was in the audience at Monday's Dancing with the Stars to cheer on her son Chaz Bono.

Flanked by other family members (her mother Georgia, her younger son Elijah Allman and Mary Bono, Chaz's stepmom and the widow of the late Sonny Bono), the Oscar and Grammy-winning star, 63, chatted up the famous family of another DWTS contestant: Courteney Cox and daughter Coco plus Rosanna and Patricia Arquette (all cheering on David Arquette, whom Cher called "darling").

Beaming and watching intently throughout the night, the "If I Could Turn Back Time" singer got emotional after her 41-year-old son (the show's first transgendered contestant) performed with Lacey Schwimmer -- along with her mom and Mary Bono. "She looked so proud!!" a witness says. 

After the show, she lingered on set chatting with her family and other DWTS castmembers, and posed for pics with Chaz, Schwimmer and other family members.

So besides Cher, there were many other stars in the audience: Donny Osmond (who was on Cher's 1975 TV show with his brothers and on a Sonny & Cher Show with Marie), Dr. Phil (Cher's been on his show), Pee Wee Herman (Cher's was on his show too), Bruce Jenner and Mama Kardashian, Courtney Cox, Chynna's own Baldwin Billy, and Patricia and Rosanna Arquette (Cher and Rosanna both have a connection having both dated members of the band Toto).

The judges remarked that Chaz had improved and had fighter qualities (he danced to the Rocky theme). Judge Carrie Ann was crying too, saying she roots for Chaz because he's gotten under her skin.

On the results show, Susan Boyle sang "Unchained Melody" which reminded me of Cher singing that song as her first solo in 1965 as Sonny & Cher. That performance also showed Cher showing vulnerability. Like in her movies, Cher cries and we cry. Sure there's some art to showing us her tough chick side. But Cher seemed so authentic and moving rooting for Chaz.

Maybe there's a strategy in keeping that side of her rare like a pink panther diamond.

I'm just waiting for my friends to ask me why Cher is wearing an early-period-Madonna amount of bracelets, dread locks and an Indian blanket.

Cher Dancing With The Stars Cher







Cher...showing the gamut of emotions.

Cher's tweets after the show:


Last nite was GLORIOUS 4 me ! When Chaz 1st.decided 2 make the Transition I had fear,confusion & yes a little sadness,BUT LAST NITE I

I looked up at him brave! Giving 1001% & I thought ! U R BRAVE STRONG FEARLESS & LOVING PERSON BUT WHAT MOST IMPORTANT.. U R HAPPY !



That would be sweet!