Sonny & Cher on GetTV Weeks 3 and 4

PolkadotsI am getting whiplash or with these shows bouncing around. Week 3 takes us all the way to the end of 1973 in Season 4 for the episode Years Part 2. Yes, it’s true, we haven’t even seen Years, Part 1 yet. But as it turns out, the originals were never aired back-to-back either. They were shown two months apart. These are nostalgic, where-are-they-now episodes with musical guests from the 1960s.

Wolfman Jack starts things out by getting his Sonny & Cher records ready. He has an unbelievably hairless chest. Sonny and Cher come onstage in rainbow, polka-dot ensembles singing the Danny and the Junior’s song, “Rock and Roll is Here to Stay.” All the guests appear on the opening stage to sing the opening medly--all which makes the iconic opening feel cheapened and crowded. The nostalgia feels particularly manic, as well. Neil Sedaka sings “Breaking Up is Hard to Do” at the piano, Peter Noone, who never looks very comfortable, sings “Henry VII,” Paul Anka croons “Diana,” and The Coasters sing “Charlie Brown” with odd hitch-hiking choreography. Sonny & Cher provide backup through all this and everybody has coordinated, white suits. I have to say, I've never liked these Years episodes, back from when I first saw them on our cable access channel back in the early 1980s. It’s like a blast of kitsch coming at you too fast and furious.

In the opening  dialogue there’s a boob joke, a Sonny naked joke, and a Watergate joke. As Cher sings, we get a glimpse of early giggle TV. Her garage-door blue eye shadow is impressive, however. Wolfman Jack introduces another “Sonny & Cher mythology” skit that again tells the story of how they went from rock stars to nightclub entertainers to TV stars. At this time, tabloids had already started publishing stories about big, behind-the-scenes blow-ups between Sonny & Cher, going as far as to dub them The Bickering Bonos. They bicker throughout this skit, too, with short jokes, Indian cooking jokes (Sonny complains about her Buffalo pizza: “I’m still picking arrows out of my teeth”), Italian-mother fat jokes, nose jokes, jokes about Sonny’s musical pedigree. It’s interesting to note how these ethnic jokes might have signified entirely different things to people back in 1973. I would still like to know how the history of Cher’s use of Indian iconography and genealogy is perceived by actual American Indians (then and now).

ComicMurray Langston is seen prominently in this skit at the bar. Mr. Cher Scholar and I just watched Chuck Barris’ The Gong Show Movie (not the same movie as Confessions of a Dangerous Mind) in which Langston’s portrayal of the Unknown Comic stands out. The movie also shows an amazingly young cameo performance by Phil Hartman.

They air an old video performance of "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves," the one with the yellow fringe dress and the gypsy wagon. GetTV airs a skit about fathers in the waiting room that I had never see aired in the TV Land before with Teri Garr playing a nurse among new fathers who are losing their minds.

The concert portion is a medley held together by the song Peter, Paul and Mary song “I Dig Rock and Roll Music.” Cher wears a red dress and a red bobbed wig. Everyone else is coordinated in suits of black and red. It’s all very manic like the opening. It’s interesting that none of Phil Spector’s acts were hired for these nostalgia shows. I’m surprised that Neil Sedaka is taller than Paul Anka and I’ve always had those two confused.  The Coasters sing “Poison Ivy,” Neil Sedaka sings “Calendar Girl, Peter Noone sings “I’m Into Something Good,” Paul Anka sings “Put Your Head on My Shoulder,” S&C sing “All I Ever Need Is You” (hey, these S&C songs aren’t all that nostalgic so far; they’re recent hits!), The Coasters sing “Yakety Yak,” (and I really don’t dig these gimmicky songs), Peter Noone sings “Mrs. Brown,” Neil Sedaka sings “Happy Birthday, Sweet 16,”  S&C sing a very affectionate “I Got You Babe,” Paul Anka sings “Lonely Boy,” and S&C end the marathon with “All I Really Want to Do” in a very similar arrangement to what Cher uses to sing the song to this day.

GetTV does not air the 1960s-era Vamp skit which includes a skit with the Maharishi and Marilyn Monroe. I remember the TV Land version itself included some Batman characters in the recap but an actual Batman skit was missing from the aired sequence.

PantsuitWe fly back to 1972 with Merv Griffin's second appearance on the show in March. This is the season 2 finale. I’ve decided the opening cartoon sequence cartoons probably deserve their own future study. Sonny & Cher sing The Temptations’ song “Get Ready” in yellow and white suit and pantsuit. Cher does hair swings, there are short jokes, mother is fat jokes, sex jokes. Sonny calls Cher a tart. The show is actually pretty good at conversational humor. Sonny gets trumped in a verbal exchange and swivels the dialogue with a “Well, anyway” and this gets a big laugh. Sonny shakes his fist at Cher at one point and they discuss resorting to personal digs when you lose an argument. Sonny shoulder punches Cher and she hits her knuckles into his chin in response.

Cher sings “The Way of Love” in a pink dress with a big flower in her hair. This is her ultimate torch song. There are great camera flares off the flower. This is followed by The S&C stomp, a song and dance about “the craze” of their current popularity. Sonny & Cher lead four sets of Sonny and Cher impersonators in a dance celebrating their quirks and postures: Sonny pointing a finger at Cher, Cher throwing back her hair, their hands on their hip, shoulder socking, Cher folding her arms and giving the cold stare. They sing about the “goombah beat” (another slur on Sonny’s Italianness). They are laughing at themselves, figuratively and literally. It’s early meta and proves why Cher would be great singing Ben Folds Fives “Best Imitation of Myself”  because there is nothing impersonators have ever done with her that was anything she hadn't already parodied about herself first.

Cher’s Vamp dress is red, red and her hair is curly. I’ve always wondered why a vamp theme necessitated pizza parlor laps hanging above the stage. In the Bonnie and Clyde sketch, Merv and Cher play Bonnie and Clyde. Cher sings a provocative intro with “Bonnie shows him how to load his gun.” Merv frets about a prison full of “men, men, men” and Cher says “Sounds like fun.” Cher undresses Sonny and they crack up after a mash-up kiss. In the Theda Bara skit, Cher wears a metal bra identical to the shape of her Take Me Home album breast plates. Sonny makes me crack up when he yells “Oh Sheik!” instead of “Oh Shit!” Six men climb out of an urn to expose Cher’s infidelity and she is not only unapologetic but she talks her way out of it. Sadie Thompaon, Cher’s Mae West, does the same. She says, “I can’t change my ways! I can’t even change a tire!” They make an Arthur Treacher joke I completely didn’t get.

Gypsy 9

 

 

 

 

In a Fortune Teller skit (compare Cher 70s teller to the one in 9: The Last Resort), Sonny endures  short jokes while Merv gets delivered Miss Universe. Sonny sings Stevie Wonder’s “For Once in My Life” while photos and video show Cher and Chastity playing on big screens. This is early reality TV. The green screen cuts off the top of Sonny’s head. Sonny & Cher lip sync their hit, "A Cowboy’s Work Is Never Done” with Cher in a bobbed wig, black halter top and fringed skirt. Her rib is sticking out prominently. Sonny has nothing much to do but look tough. I love this song. The line “I play games now but it’s not fun” hangs there in the ether giving the thought time to sink in.

TV Land cuts the Cultural Spot on Vlad the Horror which is a shame because it has a good cameo by Steve Martin in it.

  


Freak Out: Cher Appearances and Concerts

ClassicchersmallNew Cher shows!

I’ve been swamped with life stuff, out-of-town visitors, Cher and poetry news, job stuff (went the Edward Tufte conference this week), I threw out my back this week. And now this!

In a surprise announcement, Cher released dates for new live shows at two venues: http://cher.com/#/. If you join the mailing list on her website, you get emails about these things. Las Vegas Weekly also did a story.

Public sale: Sunday, Oct. 23 at 10am. Check out Cher.com for pre-sales.

Park Theater at Monte Carlo - Las Vegas Dates

Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Friday, February 10, 2017
Saturday, February 11, 2017
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Saturday, February 18, 2017
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Friday, February 24, 2017
Saturday, February 25, 2017

National Harbor - Washington, D.C. Dates

Friday, March 17, 2017
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Monday, March 20, 2017
Thursday, March 23, 2017
Saturday, March 25, 2017
Sunday, March 26, 2017
Park Theater at Monte Carlo - Las Vegas
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Friday, May 5, 2017
Saturday, May 6, 2017
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Friday, May 12, 2017
Saturday, May 13, 2017
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Friday, May 19, 2017
Saturday, May 20, 2017

Cher on TV!

She's also been making a flurry of TV appearances of which I have missed 100 percent. Thanks for the heads up, Obama! Why hasn't she been tweeting about this stuff? (There may be a security reason I guess). 

Cher Scholar Michael says Cher will will be on The Insider tonight on CBS.

Cher was also on The Today Show this week, interviewed by Maria Shriver.

James-cordonWas on The Late Late Show Thursday night with James Cordon. I haven’t seen a full clip yet but here are partials:

James and Cher singing IGUB. Isn't that a Dressed to Kill Tour-fit?

Everyone is talking about this duet today:

Rolling Stone

US Magazine

The Today Show

Entertainment Tonght

Cher talking about the IBUB origin story.

Cher scholar Michael also sent me this episode of The Late Late Show from April that is full of Cher Impersonators from various Cheras.

My friend Coolia also sent me a video this morning of Hillary’s remarks last night from the Al Smith dinner where Cher is mentioned at the minute mark 10:50.

  


Sonny & Cher on GetTV, Weeks 2 & 3

Believe-magicWeek 2 with Andy Griffith, 12/1/1972 (Third Season)

So we skip way ahead to Season 3 for this episode. Sonny & Cher sing The Lovin' Spoonful cover of "Do You Believe in Magic?" Cher did a much more mellow version on her 1968 album Backstage. Check out the study in eyeliner that is this video version. In their opening dialogue, Sonny covers his Detroit roots and Catholicism. All the while, I can't help but wonder what direction Sonny is hanging in those white pants.

BackbittersweetCher does the solo medley of "Sonny Boy," "My Mammy" and "Rocka-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody" that we've come to love from her 1973 Bittersweet White Light album. In this TV version, she looks androgynous in a suit and tie. Where is her hair under that short wig??

In the Vamp sketch they talk about Cher as a royal floozie and a common tart. The GetTV version skips the Cultural Spot sketch and Andy Griffith singing “Something Bigger Than You and I.” They did air "Headlines in the Paper" which is just a quick one-liner collage on current topics. I can't get into it.

BabyThe In Concert duet is an awesome one, Sonny & Cher singing Mac Davis' "Baby Don't Get Hooked on Me." I love this song. I love their version. Cher again wears the afro-extension wig, big earring hoops and they use those awesome, white 1970s mics and sing with such sincerity. I love it!

Mac Davis' version.

 

LoveWeek 3 with Danny Thomas and Telly Savalas, 9/19/73 (Fourth Season)

Late into this show they changed the animated intro and added Chastity who paints a subway scene. These subway intros showed mostly men riding into work, (with the exception of a female guest or Teri Garr). This skit makes a Lebanese joke on Danny Thomas' behalf and a Greek joke on Telly Savalas' name.

Sonny and Cher sing “I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love,” the Petula Clark song from 1966. Sonny is wearing a distracting amount of Italian jewelry bling, including the Sicilian horn and what looks like an Italian flag, along with some dramatic sideburns. Cher's eye makeup is great. She's wearing great earring hoops again and does some awesome hair flips. Sonny makes a Tiberius Bono Roman joke. They've started to cut up the opening song with short skits before the break point of the dialoging. I have to say I've always hated this (even as a little kid watching). It's too much song cut up. It feels chaotic and the skits are rarely worthy of any song interruption. Unfortunately, they ended up keeping that break-up formula for their divorce show.

There's a Civil War Confederate piece that's a play on sex roles: after a tearful farewell with Telly Savalas, Cher pounces off to battle in her Scarlett O’Hara dress. Cher, as Barbara Nauseous (is this a slam at Barbara Walters? And if so, why so harsh?), interviews Telly Savalas about posing nude in “women’s lib” magazines. Ahh, the 70s.  They were so quaint with words like "lib" and male nude centerfolds. I do a spoof on this phenomenon in the centerfold of Cher Zine 3.

LlBy now, the Vamp sketch has been replaced by the Lady Luck series. Here's an example of Lady Luck. The song is awkward in its low parts and so flat in comparison to the Vamp song. The series scope is also much more opaque. Plus this is just not a flattering dress. The S&C lore goes that in 1973 when S&C were fighting to the death Cher was depressed and getting thin. She is really thin in this episode. There's a Spanish skit with Cher in a very pretty traditional Spanish Senorita dress with a mantilla veil and Sonny playing a masked bandit. Cher also plays as old lady in a park and a jinked redheaded wife to Telly Savalas. Cher looks very thin in the housewife skit. In the green-screen finale where all these characters gather to sing the Lady Luck song there are three yellow-outfited characters, including Freeman King, who weren’t in any of the previous skits. WTF!

Sonny’s Pizza sketch is next. I'm hot and cold on this skit. Sometimes I love it. Sometimes I'm feeling eh. Sonny wears an almost-funny pizza clown outfit and Cher looks great in that curly wig and green eye makeup. The skits always feel so slow with lots of dead air between lines. I loved that pizzaria door, however, and wish I could find a picture of it.

The In Concert segment starts with their ceiling bank of lights being raised up. I love it when they do that! They sing the Temptations song "Get Ready.  Here is The Temptations version. Sonny wears a tux and Cher wears a gold dress and an uber-short wig. Again, where is her hair?? Could it really all fit under that short wig? We even get a back shot while they sing. Her hair is not hiding. That drives me nuts!

They to a Love Story spoof where Cher gets kisses with boys from Harvard, Princeton and Yale and a preview of The Village People. More great eye makeup and she looks good but tiny in a preppy outfit.

There's a Laverne sketch, At The Laundromat. For all the banter, no washing ever gets done. Cher arrives, dumps a hamper, folds a thing, and leaves.

GetTV doesn't air Danny Thomas singing “If I Didn’t Care” or Cher’s solo spot (WTF) of the band Bread's sappy hit “If.” Interestingly, Telly recorded this song in the mid-70s. His spoken word version was produced by Snuff Garrett and reached #1 in both the UK and the Republic of Ireland in March 1975.

The closing segment is one of the best. Chastity thinks Cher is old and says she thinks Cher is 4 years old. Sonny, she thinks, is 6 years old. They all discuss who holds the baby and when: Sonny on the show, Cher at Kiddie Land. Sonnny puts Chastity down and says, “Ret goes to s much trouble to match your outfit to mommy’s” [meaning costume designer Ret Turner] and we all get to see she's wearing an adorable version of Cher’s pink dress. Cher picks her up and tries to tell a story about the time Chastity didn’t want to be a girl anymore. Chastity covers her mouth and they all laugh. They end with a very affectionate version of "I Got You Babe."

The world is a very mysterious and surprising place, no?

AliThe Cher and Muhammad Ali Poem

Recently, in the service of art and literature, I decided to transpose the Cher and Muhammad Ali poem from the later Sonny & Cher show. Here it is with my commentary.

Announcer: Welcome, sports fans, to the Wide World of Poetry. Tonight we have a dandy [a shockingly dated slur against the masculinity of poets, a fob, a glamour boy…turn-of-the-century prejudice against men in the arts], the heavyweight poetry championship of the world.

Ali prepared by reading a rhyming dictionary and listening to a Rod McKuen album. McKuen died just last year.  Cher Bono Allman prepared by  sparing with Nipsy Russel.

Don Diphthong (Sonny) is the referee. [A Diphthong is a sound formed by the combination of two vowels in a single syllable like the word "coin."] Sonny says he will announce 15 rounds of poetry. Keep voices up and no iambic pentameter [five metrical feet, each foot with a stressed and unstressed syllable] allowed. In case of a pun [a joke exploiting the meaning of a word], go to a neutral corner. Shake hands and come out rhyming!

Sonny introduces Ali at 216 pounds of poetic power. The only man who actually did write a sonnet [fourteen lines, typically with a formal rhyme scheme] about an Easter bonnet. The Louisville Laureate, Muhammad Ali.

Ali: When a man sees you it on your nose he dwells.
It’s larger than Howard Cosell’s.

Cher: You know they’re filming your life story and there’s really no cause.
Cause it’s been on the screen once and they called the film Jaws.

Ali: I love your show and I admire your style.
But Cher, your pay is so cheap I won’t see you for a while.

Cher: You know I’m glad you turned to acting and writing.
Because my daughter could punch out those bums you’ve been fighting.

Sonny: Keep it moving. Watch the meter [the rhythmical pattern in a line of poetry].

Ali: I view your face each day although I’m not an admirer.
I always see your face on the
National Enquirer.

Cher: You know when you’re through fighting what will you do then?
You can’t be a ref cause you can’t count to ten.

Ali: That remark you just made was lower than low.
Just like the ratings you got when you had your own show.

Sonny: Good one Muhammad.

Timeout: Ali reads a book; Cher files her nails.

Cher:  You know they say you’re a giant from Maine to Montego,
but you’re really a shrimp with a six foot three ego.

Ali: You think you’re so smart but I’m gonna tell you something that’s funny.
It don’t take much smarts to be smarter than Sonny.

Sonny: Hey, that’s a low blow Muhammad. Not complaining.

Cher: You just got a divorce and one fact that’ll amaze you,
alimony can hit harder even than Frasier.

Ali: I changed my name once and they said I was a scamp
but in changing one’s last name, I believe you are the champ.

Cher: You know that last fight with Norton was rampant with friction,
did you win that fight or was that science fiction?

Cher:  You know you’re not like you were in the old days, mister.
You float like a hippo and you sting like my sister.

Cher: Your next fight with Forman they’ll call you the broom
cause old George will use you to sweep up the room.

Ali is knocked out. Sonny counts One, two, buckle my shoe. Three, four, close de door, five six pick up sticks. [English nursery rhyme from 1805]

Cher has won and agrees to a rematch but says Ali will have to beat Marie Osmond first.

Ali says she was in great condition. I never knew she had such great couplets [this match was in couplets, two lines of verse of meter and each line joined by a rhyme]. I was dancing, I was on my toes for the first four rhymes but the she hit me with a left quatrain [a poem stanza of four lines]. I was expecting a classical dactyl [meter consisting of one stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables; ex: tenderly]. But then she came in with an anapestic [meter consisting of two short unstressed syllables followed by one stressed; example, the word "understand"] roundelay [a short song with a refrain; famous examples]. I want a rematch. I know I can beat that Marie Osmond.

[This was some effective acting by Ali who pretend to be out-of-breath during the fight.]  Watch the video.


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.

 


Sonny & Cher on GetTV, Weeks 1 & 2

BubbleOkay this may get monotonous, but I've never had a blog before while Sonny & Cher shows were airing. So I'm going to try to recap them.

First of all, these shows are airing with terrible commercials (Tom Selleck...ugh). I'm trying to figure out the demographic and all I'm coming up with is 'old people.' Of which I am now one because I'm watching all these old GetTV and MeTV shows, particularly enjoying Barney Miller.

The first episode turned out to be the actual first episode with Jimmy Durante from August 1971. I was hoping GetTV would show these episodes in order. But they aren't. The second episode already jumps to Season 2 in 1972.

But from the very first episode you can see that all the iconic elements are present: the hands on the hip, the pointing at each other, Sonny tapping Cher’s nose, the nose jokes, the Italian jokes, the sexual innuendos, (Cher can make any line sound naughty. She says to Jimmy Durrante when the gramophone prop horn falls off, "Why look, my horn fell off."), the awesome lenses flares, the lip licking, the lusty belting out of solos, the hanging hand, the hair flip, Sonny sticking his hand in Cher’s face as they say goodnight. Bob Mackie and Ret Turner are also there from the start.

ISonny_and_Cher_live_1971t’s all there from the beginning. And the show even begins with their nightclub banter from their Live LP of 1971 (right).

Sonny also does something interesting after their initial duet of “The Beat Goes On” ("Hot pants are the current thing, uh-huh"). He announces an official beginning to the show already 5 minutes in, something Cher still does in her live shows.

GetTV episodes are also not complete episodes. And, as it turns out, neither were the  TV Land airings. It's like a shrinking can of tomato sauce, we get so much less product these days with all the added commercials mixed in. The TV Land airing cut out their inaugural "In Concert" duet of “United We Stand" and "Suspicious Minds.” GetTV included that duet but cut the Cultural Spot of commercial spoofs.

Many of the recurring features were also present in episode one: the torch song, the vamp segments, (although this inaugural Vamp contains a prologue song called "Woman Is" that is both pretty and pretty dated), Cher is also already being fashioned into a femme fetal.

Song links: "You Made Me Love You" with a typical, lusty blues interlude and her first afro-extension. There is also a blurry, bad-quality full version of the show online. Here is one piece of it that shows "Woman Is."

Cher-jeanWeek 2 was from the second season, with Mike Connors and Jean Stapleton, and the opening dialogue includes the fact that Cher made a list of the 10 best dressed women that year. Crossed arms, the deadpan looks, short jokes--more iconic gestures. The solo spot really highlights the red circle of light that hangs like a blood moon. Cher is practically howling to it.

There are two missing skits in the GetTV airing, Jean dancing with Cher and a skit called Meet the Candidate, which I remember liking, (you can see those here with a Gypsy Fortune Teller skit). The odd "Bono Award" is introduced here. I still don't know what that thing is visually. I'll try to take a screen shot of it. Awards go to daytime TV shows such as General Hospital and the Galloping Gourmet (I loved watching old episodes of this on The Cooking Channel back in 2009).

Another award goes to “the most cooperative contestant on the Dating Game” and Teri Garr comes out pregnant. Yikes!

Cher plays a great dumb redheaded starlet in a talk show skit (see left pic) and the concert duets are always exciting with the microphones, the full band and the light banks. In this episode, they sing "United We Stand" and "1-2-3," a Len Barry cover I looked up today. Hullabalo dancing always cracks me up. It’s so abrupt.

Spoofing The Carol Burnett Show, Sonny & Cher ask audience questions. One of the cast members pretends to ask them a question about how they started out and they launch into The Sonny & Cher Story, a mostly fictional skit about how Cher’s mother (Jean Stapleton) and their manager (Mike Connors) helped them rise from prom-band folk singers to glamour goons in Las Vegas to having their own television show where they have “50 million fans.” It brings to mind the many fictional elements in the Sonny and Cher mythology that had been provided up to that time. Steve Martin and Bob Einstein are in the writers room by February 1972 and seven months later you can really tell Cher has gained confidence and conviction in her performances.

Link to songs: People Got To Be Free and Body and Soul.


Are You Cher Music or Cher TV?

SonnychershowI mean if you had to give up one thing? Forget the movies for now. Are you Cher Music or Cher TV? I came into this obsession at four or five years old. I have no personal recollection of what came first: the albums or the TV shows. But one thing I do know: the TV shows are much harder to come by.

Music has its ways: bootlegs, leaks, re-releases. The TV shows have only aired about once a decade, if that. I remember The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour first coming back in the 1980s on my local UTF channel, a small spattering of episodes airing on Friday nights. I had no VCR and was forced to tape the shows to cassettes. This meant I had to be home on Friday nights and one night the power went out and I lost my f*cking mind. Yes, this is where the crazy Cher zombie makes an appearance in Cher Scholar.

When I moved to NYC to attend Sarah Lawrence College to study poetry, the shows came on once again but only through a new channel called TV Land, a channel my stupid Warner Bros cable would not carry until after the series stopped airing entirely. I was only able to nag one friend into taping a handful of episodes for me. This threw me into the jaws of some very friendly bootleggers who have since disappeared into the night.

The shows have made me a crazy, hot mess. So true to my fate, this headline caused quite a ruckus while I was on vacation: Sonny & Cher and Cher shows returning to TV. It's like a lifelong pattern of elation followed by despair. The shows are airing on GetTV starting next Monday, September 12....if you have Dish TV as your cable subscriber. Direct TV viewers are out of luck. 

Luckily, I was out-of-contract with DirectTV but it was a massive soap opera to make the switch because Dish TV does not supply the NFL package or much of a football package worth a dime. Supposedly, according to our Dish installer, (who doesn’t even watch TV and uses Sling TV like a good millennial), Direct TV paid 2 billion dollars to give Direct TV the exclusive on all NFL games. Did you catch that? Mr. Cher Scholar will be out of his Chiefs games on TV!

It was like Kramer vs. Kramer for a minute in our house. Mr. Cher Scholar’s obsession vs. my obsession. Mr. Cher Scholar eventually volunteered to give up his games on TV because he can still get them online but after his vacation of power washing and being a super son-in-law, this was a huge ask. And I'm sure the lack of football in the house will continue to be very distressing for him.

New Album?

There was also new album news. What kind of album I wonder?

Believe it: Cher confirms that she is working on brand new music (Digital Spy)

Cher hints at new music release (Pink News)

Cher teases new album (Entertainment Weekly)

Cher heads back into the studio to record new music

ChercyndiFan Finds

Cher scholar Jeffrey sent me this, an article I missed on Cher's birthday, 70 reasons to love Cher at 70.

Cher scholar Tyler sent me this Elvis-Cher mashup: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMfNFI5oi4w

Cher scholar Michael sent me this recent clip of Cher singing backup for Michael McDonald: https://youtu.be/oP6plRUU668

Cyndi Lauper was also on the latest cover of AARP. Years ago I was visiting Las Vegas and the husband of a friend of mine living there tried to tell me these stories he believed about Cyndi Lauper and Cher not getting along and about how jealous Cher was of Cyndi and her fans. Well, the decades have proven that story was full of bunk as I knew it was. Not only do Cyndi and Cher continue to work together tour after tour, Cyndi never stops singing Cher’s praises. It’s even evident in this AARP piece which has a lot of great Cyndi material but also ends by saying:

“[Lauper] has no script for aging gracefully. “It sucks. That’s it,” she adds, but you get the feeling she’s not really minding it too much. Apparently, she has discussed the matter with another great female music—and fashion—icon who also has no plans to go gentle into that good night. “I really think that when Armageddon comes, it’s gonna be just cockroaches, me and Cher,” Lauper jokes. “And we’re gonna do the ‘End of the World Tour.’ I’ll probably open for her.”

A Newish Music Book

RocklovestoriesMy mother-in-law gave me a Barnes and Noble gift card for my birthday and I used it to buy a book in their weird coffee-table/novelty-book section, Rock and Roll Love Stores, True Tales of the Passion and Drama by Gill Paul published in 2014.

Here’s the list (guess how many are Hall of Famers): Johnny Cash, Ike and Tine (not so much a love story), Elvis and Priscilla, Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, S&C, George Harrison and Pattie Boyd, John and Yoko, Mike and Marianne Faithful, Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, James Taylor and Carly Simon, Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson, Debbie Harry and Chris Stein, Sid and Nancy, and Kurt and Courtney.

I asked Mr. Cher Scholar to guess the couples in the list and he guessed a bunch who should have but in the book but weren’t included: Paul and Linda, Ringo and Bach, Jerry Lee and Myra (pretty scandalous one as they go), and Tammy Wynette and George Jones.

The book has interesting things to say about rock love: rock stars don’t seem 'on the whole' great lovers despite every song about love. Long tours, availability of ready sex, drugs, booze, antisocial tendencies, cynicism about monogamy, love perceived as being too square....Does love damage one’s “cool credentials”?

And did any of these issues apply to S&C?

It's also interesting that Marianne Faithful and Carly Simon might have been vilified for having multiple partners. Cher always received the obligatory break-out box of boyfriends in magazine articles but I don't feel she was actually vilified. Madonna is listed as the first female performer allowed to flaunt her sexuality. But wasn't Cher the foundation for that?

Also, glam rock is listed as being camp, with glittery clothing, and presenting a reassessment of gender roles. With that definition, how glam was Cher?

The book talked about the many ways fans follow their star obsessions, showing interest in their homes, clothes, hairstyles, cars, relationships, personas, and lyrics.

Fact Checking Fun: The book says Sonny was 2 ½ inches shorter than Cher and that Sonny’s dad was a truck driver and played the banjo and accordion. It also states that Cher hated short skirts because her legs were bowed. Is any of that true?

It does correctly state that S&C popularized bell bottom flares and that Cher was the first to expose navel on TV and that in 1999 she was given an lifetime achievement award by the Council of Fashion Designers of America. The book calls her “the original style queen who blended ethnicity with bling.”

The book also states that Cher once drove Excalibur car, Sonny an Aston Martin and a motorcycle. And that their first TV show had 25 million viewers which represented 35% of the public viewing audience.


Cher and Muhammad Ali

Cher-aliYou'd have to be in a news blackout not to have heard that entertainer/boxer Muhammad Ali just passed away.

Ali was a guest on the later Sonny & Cher Show and after his death last week this reel of his poetry, including the Cher vs. Ali boxing match, was distributed around Facebook. It's from  the January 14, 1977 episode.

Billboard.com published a retrospective of Ali that included Cher.

Cher's tweets:

Didn’t know Muhammad was dead At T.Hearns/Sugar Ray Fight in Vegas he explained boxing 2me.I Yelled,He Said Ooo-Wee Cher u got a mouth on u.  (from 4 June 2016, 1:22 a.m.)

Ran out of room,got caught up in memories.it was so much fun to be in ring with him.Son was like a kid. (from 4 June 2016, 1:38 a.m.)

Muhammad-Ali-and-Cher-billboard-1548

 


Today is the Celebration of Cher at 70 (With Over 40 Tributes)!

Pool2 PoolThere’s lots of love spilling over on the web-o-shere. It’s literally a virtual Internet Party! Just look at all the hip (and some unusual) sites and magazines celebrating Cherness today!

This is a saying I learned from the McCray family: Cher, I’m glad you were born! You are 70 years of fabulousness today! I feel like the ball on Times Square should drop or something.

Here’s the massive list of love (and one snipe) as of 2 p.m. MST. I’ve broken it down into scholarship categories. Fun with essays, accolades and photo reels!

Straight-out Birthday Wishes

Cher prepares to celebrate her 70th birthday (Reuters)

Happy Birthday from Money Magazine

Singer Cher turns 70, fans pay tribute (Townhall.com) 

Love for Defying Age

Cher just turned HOW old? (Mercury News)

Cher Can’t Turn Back Time: She Turns 70 Today (WBT—Conservative Talk Radio) -- Remember, these are the folks who said Cher is some has-been no one remembers!

Maybe she can turn back time: Cher at 70 (Deutsche Welle)  - SNAP!

Cher Turns 70, Still Knows How to Turn Back Time (Inquisitr)

Can you tell if these celebs are older or younger than Cher (Metro UK)

Turning 70, Cher still a 'hot artist' after 50 years (Inforum)

Love for the Music

10 Reasons Why Cher's “Believe” Is the Biggest Club Record Ever (Thump)

Cher's Official Top 20 biggest selling downloads revealed (Official Charts.com)

Mashable Cher in the studio (Mashable)

Love for the Television

Happy 70th birthday Cher! Relive the time she played every single part in this West Side Story medley (Digital Spy)

Cher turns 70 Today – watch her take a massive tumble in this rare vintage clip (Daily Star UK)

Love for the Film

Happy birthday Cher! Celebrate with her 5 greatest film roles (Arizona Central) - good to see Jimmy Dean love in there but you know how I feel about Mermaids!

Love for the Style

See the Evolution of Cher’s Style (Time)

All Hail Cher, Queen of the Red Carpet Rebels (Vogue)

Can You ‘Believe’ How Many Hairstyles Cher Has Had Over The Years? (Huffington Post)

Cher’s Show-Stopping Style Redefines What It Means To Be 70 (Huffington Post)

Cher's Most Outrageous Outfits (Huffington Post)

Cher at 70: seven iconic style moments (The Guardian UK)

23 of the singer's most outrageous fashion over the years (BT)

The many looks of Cher (CNN)

Cher’s Changing Looks (Wonderwall)

Cher Turns 70! Celebrate By Revisiting The Pop Icon’s Most Glamorous Looks (Idolator)

Cher Hair! Celebrating the Singer’s 16 Best Hair Moments (Vogue)

Love for the Sass

24 Times Cher Was Sassiness Personified (Elle UK) 

10 Times Cher Nailed Twitter (Newsweek)

Her 5 Most Shocking Moments (Express UK)

Cher’s Most Outrageous Tweets of the Past Year (Hollywood Reporter)

Happy 70th Birthday, Cher! 23 Times The Dark Lady Wasn’t At A Loss For Words (Logo)

Love for the Whole Thing

A Look Back (ABC)

You Haven't Seen the Last of Me: The Phenomenon of Cher (Biography.com)

Legendary singer’s best moments (OK! UK)

70 Things we love about Cher (Gay Star News)  -- 70 things! That's impressive!

A look back at her outstanding singing and acting career (DW.com)

Inside the glamorous life of Cher (Marie Claire)

10 amazing facts about the pop superstar (Digital Spy)

The living legend’s most iconic moments (Attitude UK)

Celebrate Cher's 70th birthday with five memorable moments (Lancaster Online)

Cher then and now (WTAE-Pittsburgh)

Cher’s Career in numbers (International Business Times)

CNN’s Cher Fast Facts (CNN)

Fast-Forward Through 5 Decades of Cher (Yahoo! News) 


RIP Ret Turner

Cher-retCostume designer Ret Turner has died. He started working with Cher back on the Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour.

See his obituary in The New York Times.

Turner often worked alongside Bob Mackie. I was never sure who did what. I always thought maybe Mackie did the big pieces and Turner did the rest. Does anybody know?

Here are some of the Comedy Hour pieces that were memorable to me. Send me pics of yours favorites.

(click the pics below to enlarge)

 Raggedyann Kingandi Sonny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Football Haloween

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Chaz on OWN, The Leopard Moment, Feminist Anita Sarkeesian

ChazChaz on Own

Mr. Cher Scholar and I have been home sick for the past two weekends. So it was a home-bound surprise to find that my DVR had taped Chaz on Oprah’s Where are they Now? show (first air date: 2/6/206) a few weekends ago. Chaz looked good, talked about new ventures including a clip from a new movie. Orpah and Chaz also had further discussion on life before and after transitioning and whether Chaz’s experience reading as a woman gives him any insight into that gender (spoiler: no it did not). There was also an update in regard to his relationship with his mom (sounds much better).

Disappointingly, I find Chaz can be kind of Sonny-ish on the topic of women. Interviewers probably set him up for this, as if to say “you’re a man now…say something sexist!” For instance, his example about not understanding women involved a comment about how they are so mysteriously offended all the time. He still doesn’t have any more insight into that.

How many stoic women do I know in relationships? A lot. How many men do I know who get easily offended, much more so than their wives and are uncommunicative about why? A lot.  I’ve never heard Mr. Cher Scholar say anything like this. I rarely, if ever, hear my contemporary male friends say this about their spouses. I don't think I've even every heard my Dad make a comment like that. But I have heard some of my friends with same-sex partners complain about it with their partners. The issue seems to defy sex and has more to do with character and relationship dynamics. So it’s kind of an guy trope, this thing complaining about how sensitive women are, and an old-man trope at that.

Having read as a woman for so long should have provided Chaz with some insight into the idea of, shall we call it, female hysterics, simply for the fact of possibly once being erroneously accused of it. I simply don’t buy the idea that you’re born with male prejudices. You opt to have them. Maybe I know some extraordinary guys. Chaz has the option to be an extraordinary guy.

The episode also included an awesome update on Linda Blair where she revisits her feelings about The Exorcist. As you know, William Friedkin is one of our peripherals here because his directorial debut was the Sonny & Cher epic Good Times. In just over a decade he would go on to make his most iconic classic. I still maintain that if you carve out all the gore and bugaboo from this movie, the scenes are quietly and delicately constructed. It would seem Linda has made peace with that movie and is also working an adorably furry charity venture. Her eyes still creep me out a bit though! Watch the show’s trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31SUgyocMZo.

Cher History

LeopardRemember the scene in Cher and Other Fantasies  where they tie Cher's hair and outfit up into a tree? A good tribute to that popped up online last week.  I love how Cher specials are getting some well-deserved revisionist love.

Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.

Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900)

There's also a great new interview/dialogue between Cher and Zendaya where they talk about girl power and fashion as empowerment. Great candid and friendly tone from Cher.

Relative?

Every few years my nieces or nephews will solicit me for magazines subscriptions for school fundraisers. I always purchase Time Magazine for a year and then spend three years reading it in the privy. In one issue from 2015 I recently came across a familiar name in their most influential people list: Sarkeesian. It’s only one letter away from Sarkesian! Amazingly I’ve been reading about this woman for years but have never put a name to a story! From Time:

SarkeesianAnita Sarkeesian, 31 year old activist  and gaming feminist advocate, one of Time’s 2015 most influential people. She became the “target of vicious, misogynist harassment, death and rape threats and pornographic vandalism on her Wikipedia page and an effort to have her Kickstarted flagged as terrorism. All of this because she wanted to have a conversation about the way women are portrayed in video games. Anita is just the latest women writer to prove the law coined by journalist Helen Lewis: that the sexist comments onany article about feminism justify feminism…Anita has refused to back down…As her detractors grow increasingly unhinged, we have proof that her efforts are working.” Written by Wil Wheaton.

Anita is actually Canadian but she went to college at Northridge in the Los Angeles area. She is the other Sarkesian you should be following. Wow. I never thought I’d have occasion to say that.If you don’t think we are still in need of feminists in the new millennium, just read her Wikipedia page.