Bob Einstein Helped Rescue Me From Nightshift Madness

CurbLast week was quite a bit challenging for me. The company I work for, ICANN, held a high-profile meeting in Nairobi, Kenya. Terrorists threats were made against the meeting venue, notifications from high levels, many participants backed out, and therefore remote participation (meeting video, audio, transcripts) was in demand unlike for other more typical international meetings. My team coordinates with other IT personnel to make this remote participation work. Long story short, my work day morphed into a schedule that went from 2 am to 10 am. 

To keep awake, I played crime shows like Cold Case Files, First 48, Snapped, and The Investigators in the background (hoping to glean fodder for a novel) while I worked. All the murders...oh, the many many pointless and gruesome murders.. and the late nights of solitude drove me slightly bonkers. One night I saw an Investigators episode about LA celebrity-stalker prosecutor Rhonda Saunders who talked about Madonna's nutty stalker among other lesser-known cases. It was truly frightening, a notable quote being: "There's a thin line between a dedicated fan and a stalker." God, help us.

This quote inspired me to forgo visiting Elijah Blue's art show and instead spending my first day off, Friday, at Dog Beach with Franz and the hubby. There's always time for an obsession check, no?

Do one for yourself.

BrothersbiopageBut a Cher-connection-free  weekend in LA is slightly improbable.

On Sunday night I was fortunate to have been able to attend the Curb Your Enthusiasm cast panel at PaleyFest 2010. The awesome lineup included pre-teen pals Richard Lewis & Larry David, Cheryl Hines, Jeff Garlin, Susie Essman and Bob Einstein, who plays the always-disgruntled Marty Funkhouser on the show.

Young people may only know Bob Einstein from Curb Your Enthusiasm. Or you may be familiar with the character of his alter ego Super Dave Osbourne going back all the way to the 1970s John Byner Show or the 1980s John Byner show Bizarre.

Or you may know the quirky bit of trivia that Bob Einstein and Albert Brooks are brothers. See them above with their other brother, Clifford. How bizarre is that? They seem at total odds: Funkhouser and Nemo's father Marlin, Super Dave and the comedic schlub of many an 80s movie, including most notably Broadcast News and Lost in America.

Or you may know that Bob Einstein and Steve Martin where the famous writers to come out of The Sonny & Cher Comedy HourSONNY-CHER-tvs freshly plucked from their historic tenure as writers for The Smothers Brothers.

Again, there's a world of difference between the comedy of not only what came before Sonny & Cher's show, the political and sexual boundary-pushing humor of the Smother Brothers' show, but what comedy came after Sonny & Cher: The Jerk, Super Dave, Let's Get Small and the hilariously vulgar and cynical humor that Bob Einstein displayed Sunday night for the Curb Your Enthusiam panel, jokes that made even the stoic Larry David laugh and Jeff Garlin hoot like an owl. He stole the show from a panel of brilliant comedians discussing today's leading cutting-edge television comedy.

I've been retelling his jokes all day. The guy's still got it.

Reasons Why I Will Never Run a Cher Fan Club


Last week I joked about running an underground Cher fan club. But I've come to realize I am not a person who would ever do this.



  1. I am antisocial and the last person on earth who should be running a social club. I recently told my therapist that if I could get away with it, I would be one of those creepy persons who never left their house and had food delivered once a week. I’d only come out for my periodic garage sales which I would have in order that I wouldn’t end up in a Collier’s Mansion. I may be antisocial, but I hate clutter.
  2. It would leave me no time for Getting a Life. Time consuming.
  3. It's a muddy and thankless job and attracts fan-freaks like a mad-magnet.
  4. It would step on somebody's sensitive toes. Cher fans and their competing turf wars depress me.
  5. If you want a snarky Cher newsletter, hit File on your browser menu and click "Print"

The MIA Fan Club

Fanclub Saying that Cher World rocks is a good segue into something that does not rock. The Cher Fan Club.

Some history as I know it: this club has been controversial from time to time. I was a member the first year it existed, back when I lived in Yonkers, New York and we were snail-mailed black-and-white newsletters. I got the requisite autographed picture but didn’t love the newsletters; so I dropped out. Years later I heard stories of fans paying but getting locked out of the online version of the club. There were some bad-blood posts on the Cher lists.

Honestly, all official things get punched about by fans. So I decided to see for myself what being a member of an online fan club was all about, especially as an experience for this blog. But as it happened, the club was offline when I started the blog. So I waited for over a year for the re-launch. I was prepared to do a decent review of my year’s experiences. It wasn’t the greatest thing ever but it was fine. I received mostly friendly emails and they had some fun, Cher-related contests and giveaways...none of which I ever won but I was looking forward to a new year of trying.

But then...I tried to renew.

Continue reading "The MIA Fan Club" »

Circling Back


So the wedding is in high gear, just under 60 days away. We’re busy deciding things, arranging things, assembling things. The table cards that I made, like the seating cards, had to be redone by the designer who did the invitations (I have good ideas; but suck at execution). We’re getting great feedback on the invite and I’ve been stressed about the more Me elements of the wedding, like my hair, my skin, my weight. But we’re scanning for readings, organizing favors and all that stuff.

Meanwhile, I saw Big Fantwo weekends ago and although it was really good and Patton Oswalt’s performance was Oscar-worthy, I was essentially disappointed that his character never, not for a moment, was able to see his own self-destructive behavior. Not even a glimpse of it sideways in a mirror. So there was no growth there, which to me was essentially nihilistic and depressing.

And maybe character growth wasn’t this writer/director’s big aim; but seeing the failings of the modern celebrity-obsessed for an hour or so on the big screen without some kind of insight seems like pointless entertainment, or rather...more of the same thing that it describes.

But I did take time to watch the Roseanne video of Cher and Chaz, mostly due to the good comments it received in response to my last post. Let me just say comedy is highly subjective and there were no big LOLs for me here.

Cher is dressed circa the 90s, but makes asides to the camera like on her TV show in the 70s. Chaz is just a big bear of a guy in a blond wig and rainbow shirt. I get it.

I did get some low-level chuckles: rhyming beaver (bevah) with diva, the basement full of Sanctuary knick-knacks, the pink berry joke got a snort, as did the f-ing retarded headdress line. But Cher’s actress sounded too whiny for me and the writing was way too talky.

By the way, Roseanne didn’t write or appear in these skits. She just produced them.

In episode 2, Sonny makes an angelic appearance, but looks more like Michael Jackson. The Elijah reference is surprisingly insider (Elijah just isn't as famous as Chaz), and Cher’s headdress keeps bouncing around in the over-the-shoulder shots, annoyingly upstaging the Sonny (which is just an overkill short joke).

For me, this skit tries a bit too hard, goes on for too long, and has the quality of amateur night. And the theme song is just dippy. If you love Family Guy and Flight of the Concords  or read any kind of snarky celebrity blog Dlisted or Defamer, the bar is set awfully high for irreverent, snarky pop culture roastings.

The kids today are faster, meaner, smarter and at the end of the day funnier.

Again, Eddie Izzard – what say you?

In other news: William Shatner came out recently in support of Lucy the Elephant. The USS Missouri is dry docked. And predictably the Witches of Eastwich TV show sucks.


Healthy Perspectives and Fan Obsessions

Big_fan_377x566 Not only do I wade in my own celebrity obsession (a fact proven by the existence of this very blog) without apology and quite naturally if I don’t say so myself (I have some mad skillz in this particular brand of nuttiness); but I also partake in studying and discussing the larger issues and problems with celebrity obsessions in general, which are many.

Two pieces of pop culture have come to my attention this week dealing with the topic on fandom gone bad. First I plan to see the new movie Big Fan this weekend starring Patton Oswalt and written and directed by Robert D. Siegel (of The Wrestler).

The synopsis of the movie from imdb:

Big Fan follows the life of Paul Aufiero (Patton Oswalt), a devout New York Giants fan, and parking garage attendant. Paul plods along through his life, living with his mother (Marcia Jean Kurtz) in Staten Island… We soon see that the only thing that Paul really cares about is football, or more specifically, the New York Giants. Paul meticulously crafts rants about why his Giants are "destined" for glory and calls in to a local late-night sports radio show where he is a known contributor and enemy of Philadelphia Eagles fan, Philadelphia Phil. Things then take a turn for Paul as a night out with his best friend Sal (Kevin Corrigan) results in a sighting of his favorite player Quantrell Bishop (Jonathan Hamm). Paul finally builds up the guts to go over and talk to Bishop and in a drunken state Bishop misinterprets something Paul says and beats him to a pulp. The rest of the film follows Paul and his struggle to figure out his life as everyone around him tries to get him to sue, and imprison his hero, all while his Giants stumble and fall from their path to "destiny"

Wow…this goes right to the jugular of the problems of living your life inside of another life (your celebrity’s) instead of your own.

From the Sundance Film Festival website:

What starts out as a dream come true turns into a nightmare as a misunderstanding ignites a violent confrontation, and Paul is sent down a path that will test his devotion to the extreme. Patton Oswalt is perfectly cast as Paul, infusing him with a humanity that renders him empathetic instead of pathetic. Siegel has an innate understanding of—and reverence for—his characters but finds humor in every scene by perfectly capturing the details of their world. From the posters on the walls, to the NFL bed sheets, to the ""spontaneous"" smack talking, he nails it. Big Fan resonates with truth and insight, and the result is a film that will make you laugh and wince at the same time—a very winning combination.

The Rolling Stone review:

Paul is a setup for an easy joke on losers. That the joke never comes is a tribute to writer Robert Siegel who makes a potent directing debut with a scrappy movie that refuses to sentimentalize or ridicule its besieged hero worshipper. His pain, like his loneliness, is palpably real.

A film all obsessed Cher fans should see.

Secondly, my friend Christopher also sent me an album by a band-or-singer (I'm not sure) called Fisher. The second song on the album is another gem about fan obsession called “Biggest Fan.” The lyrics are a bit chilling:

You go outFisher-thelovelyyears_large
You hide out
But we all want to know you
Every once in a while
You send a photograph

And if I met you on the street
Would you be really nice to me
Or would you ignore me and make me feel stupid
I feel like I know you like a friend
Seen every movie you’ve been in
If you ignore me, I’ll hate you
Cos I am your biggest fan

I love your garbage
To touch it is to touch you
Every once in a while I sell a piece for cash

Of course the story denegrates from there into screaming and an arrest. Get a copy at your nearest iTunes location.

Cher Zombies Unite

Zombies We've made a lot of wedding planning progress over the weekend. My bf and I met with the caterer about our food options--I was looking for some warm comfort foods like soups and squashes seeing as our event will take place in an old library in the fall. We also found a do-able rehearsal dinner space (which has been vexing us--our favorite Mexican restaurant was too ho-hum about hosting a smaller party so we switched to a chain place--not ideal for food but should work well). And my friends Julie and Christopher and I found a great dress for my Maid of Honor on Monday--although we still might keep looking around. I also went thrift shopping with my friend Natalie and found some nifty trinkets to display on the old library shelves.

But now I really want to talk to you about a serious topic.

Cher Zombies.

Earlier this year on the Cher list someone was getting their usual verbal ass-kicking for daring to criticize her new show. This happens all the time, whenever anyone expresses dismay at a Cher activity or product, be it the auction, the new show, the false stops on the farewell--even folks who have build shrines to her on other days will get sold for scrap on the day they say something negative about Cher. I wrote a letter back sympathizing with both sides (as an artist it sucks to be second-guessed all the time but as a consumer you need to have judgments in order to sort out your world). But I stated that becoming a obsessive loyalist would not make you a fan but a Cher Zombie (and fanatical danger to your society).

This phrase was taken up humorously as a badge of honor by both sympathizers to my point and those who disagreed with me. A few on the list started signing their posts Cher Zombie including "the Texas Cher fan" Terry Stout (is there only one Texas fan?) Terry also started a more adult-content Cher fan list called Cher Zombies.

Now he’s gone and made this awesome shirt which cost him over $500 for rhinestones and letterings. He said it weighs a ton.

I really hope Cher Zombies takes off like Betteheads and Parrotheads.

(btw, I went to a Jimmy Buffet show last week and again this one of the most violent party concerts I’ve ever been to outside of mosh pits--a dangerous drunk happy mob!)


Cher Signs

Sign I am drawn to this and yet so very repelled by it at the same time.

Your celebrity obsession needs some restraint and should not spill out into your parking spaces, not to mention the very undemocratic idea of parking-space segregation.

Also, Mary Poppins says some outdoor time alone...away from your celebrity obsession is probably a healthy thing.

To buy your own:


Fanclub I joined the Cher fan club and lived to tell you about it. It was $25.

By the way, I was a member during the inaugural year of this club back in the late 90s and you got a folder in the mail back in those days -- which I still have. I can’t remember what they charged…maybe $15? Total guess. Years later I also bought the late-70s Cher fan club packet on eBay. I have no idea who ran that club but I loved that it was this kit in the mail with a letter from Cher, a poster and these official-like documents. I love the secret nature of official fan clubs and start to want it to get all CIA with dossiers, passports, ID Cards (Barry Manilow’s fan club actually had those), and local meetings to discuss affairs of the Cher state.

I enjoyed reading the official newsletters in the mail so I’m wondering how a web-style organization will feel. So far, I like the little touches on the site like the floating butterflies on the secret members-only submenu. On the downside, those frames get really screwy if you use your back button (usability issues – it’s my bag.)

And I actually read the user agreement before signing up – which as a normal person I normally wouldn’t do. But this is a fan club so I was interested to see how much of a legal binding agreement I was getting myself into. The thing was 20 printed pages – longer than wedding reception contracts I’ve seen – by like 18 pages!

We’ve come a long way, baby, from that pink one-sheet sign-up in 1977.

Continue reading "The OCFC" »

Angst in Vegas (Concerts and Conventions)

Tewd I’ve been reading the latest fan posts on Chergroups and the tiny bit of the user forum in search of posts of good times at last week’s Cher convention (which I did find, btw.) Things they loved were seeing the new costumes of the impersonators and catching up with everyone.

However, a few fans who attended the actual Vegas Cher shows last week expressed their disappointment with the show. One fan posted this version of Steve Friess’ review from May, a much more passionately negative review than the one I had read and quoted from in my Vegas show synopsis. It was interesting to read another version of it.

I do agree with Steve on this point (among others), the Cher Vegas show will most likely not change for our opinions and fantasies. Just like the Farewell Tour didn’t change in so many years, except by getting shorter. As I see it, what sells goes – the circus provides endless huckstering income. As has been said once so eloquently before, “You got to have the one and only...genuine, super-fine, Sunshine Sonny’s Elixir!"

“How much does it cost, this stuff?
Lady, what’s in your purse is good enough.”

I myself exuded a chortle of disgust at this post  - all the alleged retooling apparently resulting in...(gasp!) one new outfit. Well, one new costume is not a press release and is hardly worth another pilgrimage to Mecca.

Then there was the 2008 Cher Convention. There was a squabble on when everyone got their neck fur in a ruff about the other Cher fan-fete, The Cher Expo. Someone associated with the Expo was accused of slyly hatin' on CherCon. A few years ago CherCon was accused of shutting out volunteer help from the Expo peeps.

The Expo is basically new and started running on odd years out on the east coast whereas the CherCon’s runs on even years and has been mostly westcoast/southwest. CherCon has put on five conventions total, three in Las Vegas, one in Los Angeles and the inaugural in Chicago.

As a former CherCon worker-bee, I have tried hard to stay out of the fray. I love the idea of conventions and I generally feel the more the better, right? But my own particular fantasies of a convention always involve an interview with Snuff Garrett and a gay-pride parade hosted by Ru Paul. So far, the Expo and CherCon have failed to be that off da hook. Which is not to say they don’t work hard for their events. Truly, Cher-fetes are life-consuming events. And they are great peoples. I love the CherCon peeps and have had many good times at the Convention. But I had more fun attending than volunteering. Why? There’s entirely too much chaos surrounding those three convention days for my obsessively organized brain. And then there’s always been trouble getting the word out about the event (as again reported this year when Caesars' own concierge and workers in the Cher store didn’t even know about the Cher Convention occurring under their own roof. The problem is publicity and for for a by-your-bootstraps kind of an event like this, it takes a type of aggression, a terrier doggedness of a publicist beyond the skills and pay-grades of the available and willing pool of helpers.

I’ve never been to the CherExpo, but I would go if I had the funds to do so. Because variety is the spice of life and you can always learn about different ways of celebrating Cher, even though it would seem she’s not too enthused about being celebrated by a bunch of Cher nerds in this way.

Bottom line is throwing conventions is hard work and no one should be disrespected for hosting one. Both fan gatherings have their pros and cons. Save your ire for the Cher show set list, which seems to have been chiseled in stone by Moses himself and will soon be made into a movie entitled The Neverchanging Setlist, staring The Edgar Winter Dog (pictured above) as the dragon who flies fans to the Cher show in a doomed land called Fantasia.