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February 2009

The 1975 S&C Press Conference & the Inauguration of Barak Obama

Normal_promo1975_009 How do I even compare these two events, you ask? Well, they were both intense periods on an axis of history, a great shift in hope. In one we left (or thought we were leaving) the era of David Geffen and Gregg Allman. In another we left the era of George Bush. In one Sonny & Cher announced they were reuniting (for television) and in our blind desire for a personal reconciliation, there was a media frenzy...and in the other we have a similar (some say blind) desire for a national reconciliation resulting in an Obama media frenzy.

So okay, the Obama thing is bigger. I get that. I was VERY excited when Obama was inaugurated a week ago. I took the day off to experience this important American moment in history and I was none too proud. I gleefully gave Bush my own private heave-ho and I enjoyed seeing all the first-day protocol of the new President. Can’t say how heartening the day was, including the balls.

Was Cher there? With all the people crowded on the National Mall, I didn’t happen to see her. But the press reports she was indeed at one of the evening's celebratory balls, not one of the ones Barack and Michele attended, but the Feeding America party.

(By the way, I say this to anyone who will listen on a daily basis: I LOOVE Michele Obama. Sort of like I imagine my mother loved Eleanor Roosevelt. With absolute adoration.)

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A New Movie

Cherobama Another Cher comedy. Oh goody. With the Jackass dude Johnny Knoxville. Oh boy. And it’s called Drop Out. Sounds swell. Well, at least the writer is one of the former writers from The Family Guy – it may just be alright. But then again early Family Guy was pretty unfunny.

I’m worried again.

To read more:


A Cher Essay

 Someone wrote an essay defending Cher!

I would be SO excited about this literary event except that it’s so bad. The worst quote I can cull from it would be that the song Half Breed was about:

“the challenges she faced growing up as a half-Cherokee, half-Caucasian woman.”

The author also states that Cher would be a phenomenal commencement speaker which was really hard for me to picture (because that would be a bit of a boring existence for Cher – doing the Bill Cosby at uuniversities and colleges); although I agree she would have good life-experience to impart and two of the speeches I've heard from her (Sonny’s eulogy and her Academy Award acceptance speech, for example) have been good. On the other hand, I do seem to recall a few not-so-hot speeches (Billboard Awards Life Achievement Award speech).

This blogger also claims Cher is a “Diva of bygone days, star of the cinema and wise-worded woman, Cher brings much more to the table than she is given credit for.”

Diva of bygone days? Ummm...she is still kicking ass as a diva in Vegas, still active fodder for the 'bloids, still a big deal when she makes an appearance on TV, still winning awards, still being offered movie projects. I mean why cite Tea with Mussolini to sum up her crowning movie achievements? To not mention Mask or Moonstruck when making your argument, or even her more recent Stuck on You?

You say she “brings to the table” and then list out none of her sweets. I ask for chocolates and I get rice cakes.

Criminey!  I can’t do this by myself! ;-)

Cher and The Ugly Duckling

For those who don’t know, Cher narrated a children’s classic on cassette tape in the early 1990s. When I was a little rugrat I LOVED books on tape so it’s a small crime of happenstance that I didn’t have this waybackwhen. I would have worn the tape ribbon to shreds. This is none other than the famous Hans Christian Anderson story, The Ugly Duckling about an ugo duck who grows up to be a swan (you see? that's why he was ugo? he was swan among ducks...he was just different and had to grow up to find his peoples.

This blog talks about her performance:

Cher's rich contralto voice tells the tale of The Ugly Duckling with dignity and grace. Serving as narrator, and also providing voices of numerous characters, it was clear that each voice was developed and purposeful. I found the older voices she performed to be entertaining and most colorful. You could keenly feel the sorrow of the bewildered water foul. Cher did very well conveying his fellow creatures' bitterness as cold comfort in the midst of unfavorable circumstances. ..Cher narrates over some exquisitely beautiful music performed by Celtic harp player and spoken word artist, Patrick Ball…”

Who doesn’t love The Ugly Duckling story right? Cher, as well as some others of us out there, probably feel we can identify with it. I, myself, feel as if I have failed to fully swan. Zen taught me to accept myself as is, my sort of wabi sabi self. So this story has come to disturb me as time goes by because I think as a culture we have typecast all of ourselves into Ugly Ducklings when we feel alienated and we never really feel self-actualized unless we are Swanned (case in point: the awful reality show a few years ago The Swan which carved up all the women contestants to look all like the same Victoria’s Secret model and then pitted them against each other – it was disturbing and it implied the ideas that “variety is not allowed!" and "Ethnicity is not allowed!”).

The Ugly Duckling also asks us to constantly seek approval from others. And folks, it just doesn’t come. Or if it does, it trickles in with too small of an amounts to appease your insecurities, even if you're Cher.

So you have to let go of the desire to get this mythical all-powerful acceptance and that’s the only way you’ll ever find peace. So what I’m saying little duck is, move on, let go.

I tried to write a poem about it years ago and surely didn’t quite get over what I was trying to say it is:

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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:

Bette's Vegas Show

Showgirlmust Apparently Bette Midler is not selling tickets to her Vegas show as well as Cher's Vegas show is.

I’ve been debating this issue for the last few days. I’m thinking Bette’s crowd may be older or of a more confined age range and that Cher has had a more recent radio hit (1999 – not so recent when you think about it, but compared to Bette it is). Bette hasn’t had but one really monster hit or two (I can only think of "The Rose" and "Wind Beneath My Wings") and ticket buyers may be shopping for value, in other words a hit-packed show.

Not great news though as this works against Cher fans’ theory that Cher should do more of an art show.


Ask Cher Scholar: Loretta's Wisdom

Moonstruck-Cher_l On Wednesday, July 20, 2005 Anna Pansini wrote:

How did Loretta, Cher’s character in “Moonstruck”, get to be so wise? I am referring to the scene in the kitchen with Nicholas Cage who says he is miserable because he has no life, but Loretta tells him that he’s afraid because deep inside he knows he’s a wolf that isn’t afraid to cut off his own hand to keep him from getting what he wants in life. My wonderment is from Loretta’s own life – she was married for a short time and then moved back in to live with her parents and has a ho-hum job for a mortician. In the beginning scenes of the movies, she looks and appears drab. She even agrees to marry a drab man with an equally blah life. So where did she get her wisdom?

Loretta is actually a freelance accountant working for a few clients, including her Aunt and Uncle’s convenience store, the mortician and a florist (remember Loretta kissing the rose?). This isn’t spelled out overtly but you can see her jumping from client to client in the first few scenes.

I don’t actually think Loretta is very wise in the beginning of the movie. The movie is really all about her process of getting wiser about the true nature of real love vs. a practical relationship of convenience. The scene in Ronny’s kitchen was really projection and her beginning to think about love in her own life. She can easily tell Ronny what his fears are but she can’t see her own. So she is telling Ronny what she needs to hear herself. Her life has been painful and she has responded by making safe choices or hiding from pain, precisely what she glibly criticizes Ronny for doing. This conversation is the catalyst that gets her to reconsider her choice to marry Johnnie. But at this point, she’s not really wise; she’s just a big talker.

Collecting Cher


At first I got excited that this article on collecting Cher stuff was out there! Finally, something I could send my parents to ensure them I’ve investing my money properly. :-)

Who am I kidding?

This article addressed none of the financial advantages I’ve always hoped there’d be in collecting Cher junk. And the author, Victor, is a bit stodgy to boot.

Typical sentence:

“A complete discography of her collectibles is not something to be taken lightly. Ideally, a complete collection could be gathered, giving you something that can be proudly displayed.”

Proudly displayed? A Cher collection can take over your house. Or Basement. Or parents’ basement. Or storage facility B.

“You could also try collecting her t-shirts from all of her different tours. This could also be quite a task to complete as she has toured a number of different times. Gathering a complete collection of these shirts could prove to be a challenge, yet one that you could have a great deal of fun with.”

Victor lists possible avenues of collection: Records, the aforementioned t-shirts, autographed photos, autographed movie scripts, the S&C model cars, stuff from her perfume line, the “look-alike dolls,”  alarm clocks and night lights (Jesus, I don’t even have a Cher alarm clock!), wristwatches, trading cards, and musical instruments...

“can all bear her name and because of this, you would do well to add any of these items to your memorabilia collection…Cher has certainly always been a vibrant personality in our culture and building up a stock of her celebrity collectibles could not only be a bit of a challenge, but give you a great deal of fun in the meantime.”

Psst...Victor makes it sound WAY more boring than it actually is. I see that this is because he reuses  bland monosyllabic words over and over again in his piece. I’d recommend a thesaurus, which you can also have quite “a great deal of fun with.”

The Captain & Tennille Show

CandtshowFor Christmas, among other things (like the awesome Carol Burnette "Went with the Wind" doll), I received a collection of the Captain & Tennille variety show episodes which aired on ABC on Mondays from September 1976 to March 1977.

I can’t help but compare this show to The Sonny & Cher Show running at the same time. In the episodes I’ve seen so far there are far less skits on C&T and more musical numbers, sometimes more experimental (there was a word jazz segment with Penny Marshall, Tennille and Ron Palillo –Horseshack- and Lawrence Hilton Jacobs -Freddie Washington- from Welcome Back Kotter which was good) but for the most part the show is heavy on Tennille singing alone or with musical guests, including an amazing duet with Dionne Warwick. The Captain actually speaks on the show and is actually pretty charming and has good comedic timing. I like him. They’re talented to be sure. And I do love variety shows, pretty unconditionally, including this one. Trouble is, the show lacks something sparkly that S&C had, despite all the required rhinestones on Tennille’s dresses.

And in the premiere episode they go through a long joke setup with Jackie Gleason, mistaking each other for other iconic celebrities of the time culminating in Gleason confusing them with Sonny & Cher. Which was probably the big elephant in the room. “We’re not Sonny & Cher” the joke seemed to say.

Which is something all new variety seems to feel compelled to say, especially if co-hosted by a man and wife. Nick and Jessica Simpson were emphatic before their TV special a few years ago -- we’re not trying to be Sonny & Cher.  Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne also recently declared their new show would not be a new Sonny & Cher. It’s kind of a back-handed compliment. They’re saying simultaneously, we’re not trying to copycat what has become known as the standard of couple-variety shows and we intend to be much cooler than that.

And that’s the fascinating paradox of Sonny & Cher. When they hit town in the 60s, they were hyper-cool, then in the mid-60s they were perceived as waning-cool. Then in the late 60s definitely not cool due to their anti-drug stance and the changing musical culture. Back on TV, they were cool kinda but not cool kinda because older people were now watching them.

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