Nerdy Cher Stuff: Poetry & Statistics

Javier-collectionPoetry

It’s very exciting for me when my poetry and Cher blogs overlap. That’s the kind of nerd I am. And they have been overlapping lately.

I finished another year of the NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) challenge, which involves writing a poem a day for the month of April. No easy feat, especially when you commit to following the prompts, which I did this year.

The prompt of April 26 was to write a poem about how an archaeologist in the future would make sense of our culture. In my poem, archaeologists uncover my garage full of Cher memorabilia. To the left is a picture of Cher scholar Javier Ozuna's very fine Cher collection. Mine is not nearly this extensive but imagine archeologists coming upon this scene and trying to write up a thesis on it.

It’s rare that I do a Cher poem. I don't know why. I think I’ve only done two really crappy ones and those were over 20 years ago. I called this poem “The Relics of Very Tiny Religions.” 

I'm back to enjoying the Cher/Sonny & Cher shows on GetTV. There have also been quite a few skits that are new to me. Either previous TVLand of VH1 episodes skipped them or on was a fully new episodes fro me.  This segment floored me. It's a bad recording from a bad recording but it’s Cher reciting the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling.  Cher references the cartoonist Sergio Aragonés, who you might recognize from 1970s MAD magazines and books. Cher, like everybody else, can’t help but recite in “the poem voice,” a kind of plodding tone everybody uses when reading poems for some reason. There are some prophetic moments of the cartoon and poem, including...

Narcissm If

 

 

 

 


...the bits about narcissism and political corruption.

There’s more Cher/poetry commentary to come because I’m really into protest poetry right now  and reading the mother anthology of protest poetry, “Against Forgetting, 20th Century Poetry of Witness,” the first section of which is poets of the Armenian genocide.

ReadersguideStatistics

At work I often do usage research on Google Analytics and keyword research on Google Trends. When I start to learn any new research tool, I always test it out by plugging 'Cher' into the system to see how it works. I've done this my whole life, since learning how to use the green periodical lookup books at the school library when I was a tween.They were very boring books but led to all the articles of Cher in People Magazine and Ladies Home Journal that I could check out in the library which was a great incentive to plunging into the nerd universe.

Anyway, plugging Cher into Google Trends led me to discover two great new-to-me Cher sites:

Paul_Revere_And_The_Raiders_-_Indian_Reservation And I've had Google Analytics on my blogs for over a year now. The most popular page result is a blog post I did in 2008 about the fact that Cher did not ever release a recording or perform live the song people search for as “Cherokee People” or “Cherokee Nation.” The song is actually a Paul Revere & the Raiders song called "Indian Nation." I tallied up the results from an entire year and 649 people made that search and visited my blog to be disabused of that erroneous belief. A huge amount of people associate Cher with that song.

Last month my search queries also showed a very funny result for “cher all i wanna do is make love to you lyrics” confusing bombastic Heart with bombastic Cher. Due to this I looked up that song. On Wikipedia it says:

Heart-80sAnn Wilson commented on the band's dislike for the song, stating, "Actually we had sworn off it because it kind of stood for everything we wanted to get away from. It was a song by "Mutt" Lange, who we liked, and it was originally written for Don Henley, but there was a lot of pressure on us to do the song at the time." Ann Wilson has made a number of comments on her dislike for the song, calling the song's message "hideous" in an interview with Dan Rather. In that same interview, Ann mentions that she's surprised at how many of their fans, especially in Australia and New Zealand, want to hear the song to this day when Heart plays live (Heart does not perform it live anymore despite the requests).”

Watch the video.


Diva Incarnate

Cher scholar Dishy recently alerted me to the site Diva Incarnate which has some very well-written reviews of Cher performances on older albums AND some rare little publicity shots. I love the way the writer categorizes her oeuvre: "a mix of poppers o'clock dance tracks, soft-core cougar rock and sleepy torch ballads."

For the page on Bonnie Jo Mason (1964): Bonniejo

"Forty-five years later the track still sounds fresh and remarkably intense...deliberately borrowing ideas from The Beatles' 'She Loves You.'"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the pagStars2e on Stars (1975):

  • The site calls the album a "torch song bender" and a masterpiece, one very special album and "her real Oscar winning performance, a souring artistic triumph of alarming beauty, disarming characterization and profound dignity...Cher puts one on a gripping journey...the album displays a poignant maturity she is rarely given credit for. This album is her real autograph."
  • "Bell Bottom Blues" is "a gorgeous battle against downtrodden, drunken piano-laden sadness. Cher sings with rare grit and passion that someone like Pink would saw her dick off for...[it's sung] like a shooting star with an exhaust pipe."
  • "Love Enough" is "a thing of whimsical beauty...so swoonsome and cradles your heart with horrific tenderness."
  • "These Days" [has] "a wilting orchestra that folds over like lace curtains inside her gypsy caravan...Cher's voice glides like flowing ribbon."
  • "Just This One Time" has "a choir that threatens to steal Cher's thunder before the dark lady brings out her rare and privileged falsetto. Cher's mountain climb of a vocal is jaw-dropping."
  • "Stars" is "a gorgeous finale, sung with private grace...desolated loneliness."

For the I'd Rather Believe in You (1976) paIdrather5ge:

  • "Cher's voice is a throaty elixir of hot lead and ash."
  • "The title track is the album's real winner: sad and joyful in equal measure, the gorgeous piano rouses Cher's authentic 'yeah oh yeah.'"
  • "A fine record but not an exceptional one...the vivid emotion conveyed on Stars is sorely longed for."
  • "Cher is a cement-cracking architect of her own material, despite hardly ever writing any of it; she wastes no time with uncertainty, and her 'deadpan' portrayal is what makes her so real." [Check out Cher Zine 2 for complete explication of Cher's deadpan strategy from variety TV to film to music.]
The page of mid-1970s Phil Spector singles: Hair
  • "A Woman's Story" is "a slow burning candle, a languid brewing stew, and the results are dense and hotter than a Turkish bath....the seething and cutaneously operatic backing vocals blister with burning inferno whilst Cher flatly grimaces 'hell no.'"
  • "Baby I Love You" is "crestfallen and dewy, oozing into hibernating meditation. Cher draws out new-found tenderness to the lyric, usually full of so much joy."
  • "A Love Like Ours" has "over-yelping and [is] slightly out of key as she belts 'knock knock knocking every day.'"
  • "These lingering recordings...pack more heat than all of her oil-gargling cougar schlock-rock from the mid-80s to early 90s."

For the Black Rose (1980) Page: Br6

  • This album served "as basic training and skid-marks the debut of the leotard."
  • On "Never Should've Started" her "chainsaw vocals rip the material to shreds...with a witch-crackling hostility... and ballsy performance."
  • "Julie" is "heavy chugging."
  • "88 Degrees" is "more 'tart with a heart' rhetoric but they are tying themselves in knots with this train wreck."
  • In "You Know It" it is "always great to hear Cher sing alongside a man, usually emasculating them."
  • After "Fast Company" "someone give her a made-up phone number already! Doo-wop backing vocals hurry her out the door. Lord knows who with."

For the I Paralyze (1982) pagParalyze7e:

  • "Cher Paralyzes Her Chart Positions"
  • "It was the first of 4 schlock rock affairs and by far the best...her next three albums would rely heavily on their boxer-in-the-ring style singles."
  • "It has been argued that her voice was simply too big for the lead single, the 60s girlband pastiche "Rudy."
  • On "Games" she "sings so deep it's hard not to wonder if she's deep-throating the microphone."
  • "I Paralyze" is "pure Elvis...so visceral it's a wonder her vocal chords aren't sharp enough to shred timber."
  • "When Cher quips 'you're as real as a dollar bill' her innate pronunciation manages to make the couplet rhyme."
  • "Book of Love" is "worth a million bad album tracks for the throwaway lyric 'hey-ho' inadvertently being one of the familiar quirks used to impersonate her.

For Believe (1999): Believe

  • "The exotica heavy-breathing of "The Power"...its bridge is gorgeous, one of parental disdain and caution."
  • "The female Elvis sound sensual on the sturdy hell-no anthem "Strong Enough" but this is throwaway stuff."
  • "The sumptuous fast-lane craziness [and] mesmerizing poetry of "Taxi Taxi" and the sensual aroma of "Love is in the Groove" [has] pulsating elegance....[both] are floating and sublime and I just love their dreamy lyrics."
  • "The euro-pop of "All or Nothing" is incredibly cheesy (and wonderfully so) but she injects so much euphoria into it, as do those tremoring guitars."
  • "Takin Back My Heart" is "weak (Diane Warren has a lot to answer for)."

For Living Proof (2001):

  • "The Music's No Good Without You" is "a monotune affair Whitehairwith expressive verses and an emotional soliloquy she wrote herself. I wasn't completely sold. That is, until I saw her music video, which was a tribute to Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings and I felt better."
  • "The unyielding pathos of "You Take it All"...is mesmerizing and emotional to say the least (the middle eight is heroic)."
  • "When the Money's Gone" is "basllsy kitchen-sink Hi-NRG....[and] just daft fun."
  • "Real Love" sounds "like a robot with bulimia."
  • "This will hopefully be the last dance album from Cher of this kind; the album proves there was little for her left to do in this genre...What the album does have is coherent and plaintive elegance."

I loved reading these takes on some of Cher's great albums and definitely think 'tart with a heart' is a very common Cher meme we could really explore further.

 


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" »


Rejected Blog Title #5: My Bloggie Shot Me Down

Cstyle I’ve been a bit down this week. Oh, I definitely have PEW: post election withdrawal. I learned about that condition on the radio this morning. Glad there’s a diagnosis for that. I’m definitely there. I now have now two friends with elderly parents in critical conditions and I’ve been working on a care package for my D.F. sis who lost her bf last week under tragic circumstances. Add to that I found out today I’ve been under-paid by a significant amount all year long.

Okay...we could dwell on those things until I start to hyperventilate or I could just review a Cher website instead. How’s about a Cher site review kids?

A few months ago a Cher scholar brought to my attention Cher Style (http://www.cherstyle.com/). And I’m glad they did. Cher Style  is an awesome site and I love the soothing, balmy blue theme. Every time I visit I have a pleasurable experience and I think it’s this very agreeable blue business.

For the viewer the site is clean and well designed. Some tend to be a tad over-designed and often “less is more.” I’m not talking about code here. Is it designed with tables instead of divs? My boss would not like that so much. But the site takes you where you want to go without pesky seconds of delay and the top nav links are clear.

There’s special real estate for audio/visual which includes some radio clips and rarities and a good hodgepodge of video from the 70s to recent. That content is displayed with a lovely and proper use of tables.

There’s some action in the forum but I didn’t join in. I do like the forum-themed Cher pic posted there – a great play on words. The site also has chat. I’ve never done live chatting with Cher fans. I'll save that for a special occasion.

The biography page (courtesy of Warner Bros.) is outdated...woefully back to "Believe" news which kids, do we realize, is about ten years old? Ten years! I can't fault Cher Style too much because Cher’s own fan site has the same issue. There’s a decade of Cher-livin missing! No information about the farewell tour records that were broken, no info about the Caesars project. This lacks 10 years or about 1/6 of Cher’s life, granted not the most drama-packed 1/6 but a decade nonetheless.

The music section is simply a list of her albums, however many of the year dates are incorrect and studio albums are mixed in with re-issues and compilations and this is one of the nerdy things this Cher scholar likes to fuss about.

Likewise the Movie section is really a DVD list and includes exercise videos, tv shows and music DVDs.

What the site excels at: aforementioned slick design (which includes creative Cher-media-mashups), good selection of photos, up-to-date news feed (which takes diligence), and some good items in the Multimedia section including lush wallpapers, fun icons and wicked cool avatars. My favorite sections include the Photos (I love the way the decades are displayed), a fabu selection of quotes by and about Cher, and style corner (some critical Cher scholarship here of her contributions of fashion).

Almost hidden on the home page, you also have:

  • a good farewell tour retrospective with radio audio, tour pics and a smattering of tour ads
  • a section on the Sotheby’s auction with photos
  • a section on Cher at the Caesars with pictures of the store and an adorable bulletin board graphic
  • a super fine section I almost missed: eCards. This site’s eCards are actually outstanding, very well matched to some unique and handy occasions.
Cher Style’s strengths are more presentation and media than informational. I’d come back to find photos, eCards or a visual review of Cher’s career. You wont find detailed statistics on record singles or such here but this is the best lookin Cher site I’ve seen. Check it out.

    


New CherScholar.com Cooking

There is a lot I wan't to talk about right now that I hope I can get to next week: a very interesting French/Italian collection of 60s Sonny & Cher songs a diligent Cher scholar sent me last week and my first experiences after joining The Official, International, World-Renowned Cher Fan Club. It was actually fun and I'll divulge my journeys into that early next week. In the meantime, I've been revamping CherScholar.com.

The idea for this came to me last year when I realized I needed to professionalize my publishing credits page and CherScholar.com looked pretty amateurish as it was inter-woven into my other sites. It needed to grow up a bit. Not that it's completely mature now, but it's better.

Newcs  

It's up and surf-able but only in a sort of beta form. When I transfered all the text, encoded punctuations became garbled and I now need to re-read every freakin word of the damn thing to find unfortunate parentheses and dashes a global search and replace surely missed. And that's a major pain in my ass and will take me a few days. I blame Microsoft products. But it's readable at this point.

I've organized the site more like a learning institution and expanded out some of the sections a tiny bit (tabloids, records) and added whole new sections on books on Cher, television, photographs and concerts. And there's a new glossary of Cher terms I hope you'll enjoy.

If you can stand to wade through the typos, spelling errors and punctuation tragedies, check it out at www.cherscholar.com. Otherwise, wait a week!

Yours in Cher scholarship...

   

My Whereabouts

JurydutyThe Cher Fanclub is back up (sort of) after a few years of going dark. A week or so the site said it was only open to past members for the time being and I must admit, I feel a little shut out, like a second-class Cher-citizen, as it were.

Now the Join page says “sign up today” but there’s no link, only a button that says “instant enrollment coming soon.” But to clarify: soon is not today. In other words, join today, but not today... soon. Capiche? The site's frames are very complicated and heavy to load. But still...I’m ready to plunk down my $25 smacks a year as soon as someone...returns.. to the register. http://www.officialcherfanclub.com/

This week the 5th Cher Convention happened in Las Vegas this week at Caesars Palace to coincide with the current block of Cher concerts. I haven’t seen any Cher group posts about it yet but initial newspaper reports say there was a low turnout and Cher didn’t show. You can lead a Cher Convention to Cher...

2737211608_40ab0a4fab It’s hard to be a super-Cher fan sometimes. It really is. But as Cher has proved recently, her show is selling out amongst American hoards. She don’t need no stinkin’ superfans. Sigh.

Lots of links happened last week. More later as I settle back in to my life! Not to be melodramatic about it but I’ve had a rough two weeks. Where the hell have I been? I was on jury duty (with loud court-disturbing coughing bronchitis no less) and when I got home was too exhausted to even type out a distress message to y’all about where I been.

Imagine Cher Scholar driving to a criminal courtroom in the Compton area of Los Angeles for a gang trial with intent to sell cocaine allegated, a defense attorney who looks and talks like Yeardley Smith and a prosecutor who looked like Tyra Banks. A petite and pretty Japanese-American judge who proceeded at the speed of frozen molasses. Imagine a deliberation scene somewhat like 12 Angry Men. An acquittal struggling to happen: 4 to 8, then 9 to 3, then 11 to 1, then 11 to 1, then 11 to 1. Almost a hung jury until the white Redondo Beach juror releases a angry fist of his racial-profiling-prejudices against the face of a melting pot of peer pressure.

It was stressful but I learned a lot. Did you know the Bloods wear St. Louis Cardinal and Boston Red Sox gear cos it’s red?

In the Cher-meanwhile, my bfs co-worker gave him an article to give to me with some fabulous pictures of Cher’s live show in full-spread-out color. The article is about how her stage and effects were built. The magazine is Live Design and the issue is August 2008. I have no idea where one would get a copy of one’s own. Start with http://www.livedesignonline.com/ and have a good, healthy, stress-free, jury-duty-free weekend.


Big Happy Sigh of the Week

Chercom Cher.com has changed!! OMG. Nothing really on it except Vegas tickets...but a change of any kind...is a good thing in web world.

The news is already outdated and the forum is only linked from the bottom of that god-awful scroll-box that’s hard to use (style without style); but at least that useless initial refresher page is gone.

Find the forum directly here http://cher.yuku.com/directory. Is it me? Why can’t I get into forums? Like Susan Sarandon says in Witches of Eastwick, “sometimes I just can’t face it.”

Fanclub And...after years of leaving us on the edge, Cher Fan Club also promises big things "coming soon." Am I a fool to keep believeing? 

It looks like there are only two promotional photos left in the Cher universe.

Don’t mind me.

(I’m really not that catty in person.)