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TV and Movie Rumours

Cast The two rumours circulating this week were:

That Cher will star as the nun in the Farrelly Brothers' new Three Stooges movie:

Larry, Curly, Moe and...Cher?

The goal is for the singer-actress to play Mother Superior, the nun whom the Stooges terrorize.

"Cher is just the coolest chick ever," Peter Farrelly told 24 Frames. "It's hard to describe. You meet a lot of celebrities in our business. We're not cowed by many of them. But Cher is bawdy, she's fun, she's cool, she's lived a life, she's got experience, she's humble. It's the humility that struck me the most. She's not really a diva."  A representative for Cher did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Peter Farrelly: “We’ve thought about it for 12 years. I literally lie in bed thinking about every single shot. I’ve never been more prepared to do a movie in my life.”

Chershow And that Cher will be in the 2011 cast of Dancing with the Stars:

Most not likely due to Cher having been very vocal about hating not only all reality shows, but having dismissed that particular reality show, and unlikely due to her having a bum toe, and unlikely just in general for Cher not wanting to expend that much energy.

Besides, The Cher Show was Dancing with the Stars.   



Cher Compilation Catch-Up

I've been avoiding reviewing a stack of Cher compilations, both old and new, that I've been picking up new on Amazon and at Amoeba Records in Los Angeles. May as well get it over with.

Allireallycover cher: all I really want to do: best of the early years
Microwerks, 2009

First, awkward cover photo. Both this one and the inside photo show off her gargantuan rings of the time. This is a modest solo compilation, not the most comprehensive or unique selection, not remastered, has the major hits ("All I Really Want to Do," "Bang Bang,"  "Mama," "You Better Sit Down Kids") and the almost hits or not-really-hits-by-cher ("Where Do You Go," "Alfie," "Needles & Pins"). The fillers are common compilation selections ("Behind the Door," "Hey Joe") and not-so-common ones ("Elusive Butterfly," "I Go to Sleep," "Don’t Think Twice," The Click Song"). Thankfully the packaging is somewhat green. Bill Dahl did the liner notes:

“a beloved entertainment icon for so long we can barely remember a time when Cher wasn’t basking in superstardom.”

How about 1964.

But these liner notes taught me that "Behind the Door" was penned by Graham Gouldman, later of the band 10cc. They wrote these 70s tunes: remember "I’m Not in Love" (Big boys don't cry) and "The Things We do for Love" (like walkin in the rain and the snow when there's no where to go and you're feelin' like a part of you is dyin').

"You Better Sit Down Kids unfolded from the male perspective…Cher’s legion of followers weren’t disturbed by the gender jumble, sudden tempo switches and jazzy sax interjections”

Cher Scholar’s husband was.

Geffen Records ICON series, 2011

The cover is a Herb Ritts chain mail photo…and that's all the photos you get, no liner notes, just a cheap series cash-in from Geffen.

Common of these Geffen releases, there's no "Believe," just "If I Could Turn Back Time" (without the parenthetical title), "I Found Someone," "After All," jumping back to "Half Breed," "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" (spelled right and yet wrong), back forward to "We All Sleep Alone," back to "Dark Lady," forward to "Just Like Jesse James," back to "The Way of Love," up to "Love and Understanding," back to "Living in a House Divided," back up to "The Shoop Shoop Song." This thing gave me whiplash. For no good reason.

Classics Classics Sonny & Cher
Rhino imprint Flashback or Collectables Records (it was hard to tell), 2007

The artwork really annoys me in that it’s clearly a 60s compilation but it uses one 60s pic and two S&C 70s pics (inside) which says to me the person putting this together has no idea about the timeline of Sonny & Cher. This greatly perturbs me. It’s historically inaccurate. Scholars hate shit like this.

Also, here is a compilation without "I Got You Babe" which makes it one people are most unlikely to buy. The hit in the mix is "Baby Don’t Go;" nonhits are "Living for You," "500 Miles" (which I've always liked), "Let it be Me, "Unchained Melody," "Then He Kissed Me," "You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me" (tunes are heavily taken from the Look at Us album).

John and I listened to this one when we were heading up through the Chama Valley in New Mexico. I said "Unchained Melody" has always sounded to me like she’s singing from another room. And then there's that awkward splice at the end. Caesar and Cleo's "Love Is Strange" is also included as are Sonny’s "Laugh at Me" and "The Revolution Kind." We both agreed we liked "You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me" and I promised someday to play for him Cher and Gregg Allman’s version.

While in the car listening to these I was trying to explain to John how these reissues come to be, who picks the songs, what is the defining principle? Without liner notes you can’t usually tell. Hell, sometimes with liner notes you can’t tell either. My theory of creation is pure random sloppiness: seven monkeys in a room picking out song titles from a hat.

The one-page CD sleeve for this one has a very ugly advertisement for on the back. The cover is very fugly and loud too. I hate this thing. It is trash polluting our universe.

Definitive Sonny & Cher The Definitive Pop Collection
Rhino/Atco, 2006

First of all this is a far cry from "definitive" although there are 2 CDs. On this one, I do like the cover art. Very mod. The thing is needlessly overpackaged but I do appreciate the Good-Times-era living room photo inside with Sonny pouring Cher tea. I don’t appreciate the 70s pic in the back of the booklet. No 70s songs, no 70s pics. Cher Scholar law.

Sheryl Farber’s liner notes have been reused from The Essentials: Sonny & Cher and are a good historical review on Sonny’s early efforts in the music business and meeting Cher as “a teen runaway…with dark, mysterious eyes and world-wise alto.”

“The (Phil) Spector presence is so strong on the fisrt S&C cuts…it’s as if the soundboard knobs used to record were still greasy from Spector’s corned-beef sandwich.”

Interestingly, Farber claims the song “Just You” is perilously close to The Ronettes' “Baby I Love You.” And she talks about early evidence of Sonny's politics in his lyrics:

“While the couple’s outsiderness was referred to in many of their songs, the future Republican Congressman Bono managed to keep that image in check by making sure the public knew they weren’t real radicals, but genuine patriots, in 1965’s The Revolution Kind.”

These 30 tracks havebeen digitally remastered and include the big duets: "IGUB," "Baby Don’t Go," "What Now My Love," "The Beat Goes On," and Cher hits: "All I Really Want to Do," "Bang Bang," "You Better Sit Down Kids." Side one is otherwise filler from Look At Us and Sonny’s Inner Views ("Laugh at Me," "The Revolution Kind") and the b-side "Have I Stayed Too Long," ending with filler from The Wonderous World of Sonny &Cher. Side two is filler from In Case You’re In Love with non-album singles "A Beautiful Story," "Plastic Man," "Good Combinations" and "Inner Views ("My Best Friend’s Girl Is Outa Sight") and two songs from Good Times ("It's the Little Things," "Don't Talk to Strangers").

Again…randomness.  My husband (who likes many Sonny songs) gafawed during Sonny’s French hamming in "Sing C’est La Vie." I told him I liked "Why Don’t The Let Us Fall In Love" (a favorite from childhood) and he was appalled when I told him "It’s Gonna Rain" almost beat out "IGUB" as the first Sonny & Cher single in 1965. It sounds so dated and lyrically inferior to "IGUB."  John likes "The Beat Goes On" and "Bang Bang" (who doesn’t) although he didn’t get the gypsy interlude in the western saga. We both snickered through the lyrics of "Monday" but I came to a new appreciation for Sonny's music and lyrics for the song "Cheryl’s Going Home." "Plastic Man" and "My Best Friends’s Girl is Outa Sight" (I don’t get the ending…did his friend get married or was the girl available at the end?) are both painful to sit through. John loves "It’s the Little Things" as do I.

"Good Combination" is manic, as John said many of Sonny’s arrangements were. I said, didn’t you know Sonny was a big proponent of the 60s movement called Speed Saxing? He said, "Really?"

And with a straight face I said, "Oh Yeah."

These compilations will never end; and they already feel dated without Cher’s latest hit from Burlesque: "You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me."


Susie Coehlo & The Sonny Bono Cookbook

CoehloMy friend Coolia picked up this Susie Coehlo book Style Diva as a remainder and sent it to me. So you see, I am such an obnoxious Cher fan, my friends know the names of Sonny’s other wives.

Anyway,  I never wanted to like Coelho to be honest. I mean, it was one thing Cher getting remarried to the redneck (that's honestly what we thought) but Sonny getting remarried was most upsetting. Remember the People Magazine article about the wedding…wasn't Sonny in a full, wilderness beard and the officiant mispronounced Susie’s name Cherie? Sonny was supposed to pine for Cher forever. And then Susie popped up in Sonny's Melrose restaurant publicity…I just didn’t like it. I never watched her gardening show on HGTV. And I was prepared to not like this book.

But…she won me over. And not just because of all the name dropping of Sonny and Cher. (Who’s gonna clean up all these names!?) Even though I have only a mild interest in home decor, the book went beyond that and the tips could easily be extrapolated to real smart life lessons: especially the end of the "Keep Creating" section with life tips that explore the ideas of putting aside perfection,  how your failure help you to succeed, the 24-hour holding pattern of not over-reacting to initial impressions, and my favorite tips about learning to relax when things get overwhelming and why you should embrace chaos. It was really a fine mentoring kind of book. AND it had a few surprising Cher and Sonny tales.

From "How the Style Diva Got Her Groove On"

One Memorial Day weekend, my roommate and I decided to take off for Palm Springs for a getaway. That weekend, I met my first husband, Sonny Bono—an event that changed my life. I was taken by his tenacity, his sense of humor and-–believe it or not—his sense of style. He had fantastic taste in just about everything, including homes. His house in Palm Springs was filled with Indian fabrics and organic textures. Just the kinds of things I grew up with. The house was small and quaint and I felt right at home...Our Bel Air home was another story. It was a grand Italian villa. I’ll never forget the first day I drove up to the house. Everything was on a huge scale—big gates, long driveway, high ceilings, and enormous rooms. It was almost empty except for the bedroom and breakfast room. It was a huge decorating challenge. Luckily we had a famous decorator on board. I was excited, but also a little overwhelmed….when he finally did the installations, he sent us out of town. When we came back four days later the entire house was done all the way down to the smallest detail….(I can related to the joy that homeowners feel with my television team and I swoop in to remake their backyard in one day.) I'll never forget the impact that it had on my life…

While I loved our homes, I also spent lots of time with realtors looking at other properties just to see what was out there and to get inspired. So while other people went to the beach on the weekend, we would go house shopping even when we had no immediate intention of moving…We sold the Bel Air home to purchase the rustic four-acre property just up from the Beverly Hills Hotel …You thought perhaps the “Surprise Gardener” had a formal degree in landscaping? Nope, I learned the hard way—by doing my own backyard!...

Restaurant I was shooting a TV movie in Hawaii when I got a call. “Guess what? We’re in the restaurant business.” Sonny had always dreamed of opening a little mom-and-pop Italian restaurant where he could serve his famous Steak Bono, a classic family recipe.  Dreams often come and go with most people but not with him …We had to choose a direction for the style of the restaurant before we could even begin constructions..We knew we wanted a relaxed, fun and inviting atmosphere…inspired by my memories, I chose a Mediterranean palette featuring a burnt orange, dusty sage and a cream combination …for the wait staff I designed long aprons in the same burnt orange. I also used bromeliads as our flowers to give the room an exotic feel but I put them in small low vases to keep the style casual.

You have to understand that neither Sonny or I had a clue about the restaurant business. Yet we dove in headfirst, talked to those with more experience, used the information we gathered and trusted our instincts. Wolfgang Puck was already having great success with Italian nouvelle cuisine in his famous Spago Restaurant which was just up the street. He...supported our mission.

“Sonny had been a huge inspiration to me and I remember very fondly my nine years with him. But the time had come for me to find myself and create my own life outside of his world.”

From "Believe in yourself"

One of the best examples of this I have ever seen was my former husband Sonny Bono. He never learned to play the piano—or any other instrument for that matter—and some say he could barely sing. But he refused to let that stand in his way.  He would get an inspiration in the middle of the night, so he would go down to the piano and bang out a song with the only five chords he knew...Sonny believed in himself when no one else did. That is one of the greatest lessons I learned from him. He would make a decision then jump in. If he didn’t know how to swim, he'd figure it out along the way. Sonny believed in himself so powerfully that he eventually became a congressman of the United States—and mind you, he didn’t even have a high school diploma.

From "Don’t follow trends-set them"

I’ve met some pretty daring trendsetters in my life, but I think the trophy has to go to Cher. I learned a lot watching her. She was family…like a sister-in-law. Cher is a trendsetter, always looking to be unique, to find something different and to push the envelope. Whether she and Sonny were wearing bobcat vests or she was showing her navel on national television, she has always lived her life on her own terms, regardless of what anyone else might think. She’ll dress is some wild outfit by Bob Mackie at the Academy Awards if she feels like it or star in an off-beat movie (for which she then wins an Academy Award, of course).

And by pursing this ongoing creative approach to life, she has stood out, been successful, and been the one to set many a trend. She doesn’t let people deter her from her vision, and she is not afraid to follow her instincts. If anything, she actively looks to be different from everyone else—which is why she has such a distinctive sense fo style...

A great example of Cher’s approach to life and her ability to set trends is the time she bought a plot of land in a rustic part of Benedict Canyon in Los Angeles…this was by no means prime real estate. The property was pretty run down and dilapidated, the kind of dusty, arid spot that always seems to attract rattlesnakes and tumbleweeds…Cher had a vision: She was going to transform this bare lot into a spectacular Egyptian mausoleum…I think a few of the neighbors thought she was nuts, but Sonny and I knew better. There are no rules in Cher’s book.

Years later [it] became a magnificent estate with grand gates and spectacular drive. It was a huge, two-story  house with exceedingly high ceilings. All the lines were very clean on the outside, yet the inside was filled with lots of softer exotic elements and wonderful textures. I especially loved the wonderful array of nubby, fuzzy and textured fabrics and materials used…That arid, rattlesnake-laden section of Benedict Canyon in now one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Of course, Cher has moved on to a new creative endeavor. You can’t keep a Diva down.          

The mention of Steak Bono reminds me that we need a book of Sonny's family recipes. I propose something as follows:

Women & Food: What’s Cooking with Sonny BonoSonnysusie1

It amazes me that no biography has yet been published about Sonny. This cookbook could serve as a casual one with memorials to Sonny around the topic of the food he loved. If she is able, his mother could talk about his childhood and where he learned to love food, Cher could talk about what they ate in the 60s and 70s, Susie Coelho could talk about what was popular in their restaurant, Bono’s on Melrose, his first daughter Christy could talk about her restaurant experiences with Bono's and Christy's Ristorante and how her menus have evolved, what recipes she likes best and are most popular. Mary Whitaker Bono could then talk about what Sonny was cooking up late in his life.


Georgia O'Keefe on Press Misinformation


To the left is my favorite photo taken of Georgia O'Keefe now on exhibit at the Santa Fe Georgia O'Keefe exhibit "O'Keefiana." It was taken by Yosef Karsh. I love the way her hands are positioned touching the wood, the light coming in through the door, the textures on the wall and (you can barely see it in this copy) but the texture of the dirt on the ground.

Last weekend Mr. Cher Scholar and I celebrated Valentine's Day at the Abiqu Inn in Abiqu, New Mexico (a town famous for where Georgia O'Keefe settled to paint the stunning rock formations of the Chama Valley, the Catholic Penitente Morada there and the Genizaro Indians who settled there). John and I keep returning to the area, first attracted to it by my cousin's camping/cabin/fishing recommendations and our wanting to learn more about the subject of John's employer here, The Georgia O'Keefe Museum. While we were staying at the inn, I picked up a book of poems written about O'Keefe by her friend and sometime-librarian C.S. Merril.

This particular O’Keefe contemplation that seem Cher-related.


O’Keefe dressed in black suit
silver flower “OK” Calder pin
white scarf at her neck
hair in french roll at the back
felt like riding to the ranch
to get warm things
velvet hood,
quilted Chinese coat, gloves
kleenexes for watering eyes
talking about a critic
who said she was influenced
by Thoreau and Emerson.
“I’m supposed to have read
Thoreau as a child.
I don’t remember that.
I don’t remember anything
about him.
I have found
When something is written
which is untrue,
it is best
not to comment
because that only
draws attention to it.
Otherwise it disappears
And fewer people
notice it.”

March, 1977

From O’Keefe, Days in a Life by C.S. Merril

Cher Gives Award to David Geffen

Chergrammys1 Cher attended the Pre-Grammy Gala last week to give David Geffen an Icon Award in a somewhat surly manner.

In honor of Geffen, Mary J. Blige sang a spirited version of A Free Man in Paris (Joni Mitchell wrote the song about Geffen). Cher presented the Icon Award to Geffen, her longtime friend and ex-boyfriend. She told the audience she had been instructed to speak from the heart.

"I would rather stick needles in my eyes than speak from the heart to a bunch of strangers," she said before sharing poignant and amusing details of their history together.

"He has a very soft heart," Cher said. "He's always the smartest man in the room. He falls asleep at the beginning of every movie we've ever seen. I have no idea what this (bleeping) award is. Whatever it is, I'm sure he deserves it."

The Recording Academy-event was also dedicated to David Geffen, who was given the academy’s59-145Clive_Davis_Gala_sff_standalone_prod_affiliate_70  President’s Merit award. The co-founder of Dreamworks is also a legendary and influential music figure and played a pivotal role in the careers of acts ranging from Joni Mitchell to Nirvana.

Longtime friend Cher, dressed in a sequined mini-dress, paid tribute to Geffen in a touching yet irreverent speech:

“When David asked me to do this I just wanted to kill myself, but you can’t say no to him,” she joked.

LA Visit

IMG_4767 My blogs were recently interrupted by a job-related trip to Los Angeles, where I promptly met a bunch of sick, near-sick, were-sick-last-week people in the office and within 48 hours I too was sick. It was a hard week to get through due to the sniffles and all, but good food did keep me hanging in there. I stayed in Silver Lake with my friend Natalie for the weekend. We ate at my favorite LA mexican restaurant, Malo on Sunset Blvd. She also treated me to an awesome breakfast at The Village Bakery and Cafe on Los Feliz Blvd. In Redondo, my friend Julie and I tried the gastro-pub Chez Bydoor Melange on Catalina Ave, which was great. I got my fix of sushi with a sushi boat in Santa Monica (Main Street) and had great drinks at The Arsenal (my friend Ken's sort of Cheers bar). Julie, her bf Dave, and I also had good Thai at Palms Thai in Hollywood before we snuck over to Grauman's Chinese to catch photos of Cher's footprints. Cher is right by the front door between Julie Andrews and Rhonda Fleming. It was dark. My pictures weren't that good. We were double parked. No time to be artistic about it.

While I was in LA, Cher did her last Vegas show on February 5. Robin Leach estimates she earned nearly $200 million in ticket sales.  Las Vegas host Robert "Bubbles" Ubriaco also died shortly after Cher's farewell party in Vegas:

Las Vegas lost one of its most colorful characters Thursday. Rao's host Robert "Bubbles" Ubriaco died at Desert Springs Hospital, surrounded by many of his friends. He was hospitalized on Wednesday, after what friends believe was a stroke.

A week ago Thursday, Ubriaco was in his glory while facilitating Cher's farewell party for her cast and crew at Rao's. With Cher running 90 minutes late, "Bubbles" chatted with Roman centurions who were waiting to carry Cher into Rao's, ala Cleopatra.

A friend came by and had "Bubbles" pose for a photo with the centurions. "Say Chucky Cheese," said Ubriaco, his signature line. It was one of the last photos of the legendary greeter.

Janefondacher Cher also attended the premiere of the new play with Jane Fonda in it “33 Variations” at the Ahmanson Theatre. My friends and I were discussing this due to my odd need to now do Jane Fonda workouts. In fact, I visited Hollywood's Amobea Records last week and bought $50 worth of Cher stuff and Jane Fonda's Fit and Strong DVD (it looks like a good low-impact one for old gals like me). I also found a Nelly workout DVD for Julie and due to her buying Nelly's latest CD, I became obsessed with his recent "Just a Dream" single.

Anyway, Jane is getting good reviews for the play. LA Times called her riveting. The premiere audience was stuffed with celebs:

Also taking in the show was writer-director Richard LaGravenese (seated with Cher), Tony Award winner Ben Vereen, “Smallville’s” John Glover, Tony winner Adriane Lenox, Michael Emerson (the creepy Ben from “Lost”), Corey Stoll of “Law & Order: Los Angeles,” Joan Van Ark and Mary Hart.

More Grauman's photos:

Obligatory fan's appendages (mine) in the celebrities hand print.

Julie's tootsies in Jack Nicholson's feet.

I don't know why that feels so necessary. But it does.


Harry Nilsson and Tina Turner DVDs

Harry-nilsson-poster-1A few weeks ago I netflixed Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talking About Him) to get some better insight into Cher and Nilsson's unusual pairing for their Phil Spector single. Cher was not mentioned in the documentary, but then not many women were. Most of his compatriots were the big boys of the 70s, Monty Python, The Beatles, Van Dyke Parks, Randy Newman, Paul Willams, Brian Wilson, Cher-producer Jimmy Webb and Cher-friend Mark Hudson (with rainbow colored beard). Other than comments from his ex-wife and widow that is. There was seemingly no collaboration with women artists. Which makes the Cher duet even more interesting and mysterious.

Although most know Nilsson for his bursting ballad "Without You" which he hated, he also wrote "One" the song Three Dog Night made famous, "Cuddly Toy" made famous by The Monkees and "Girlfriend" which was edited to best friend for the theme of that 70s show The Courtship of Eddie's Father. You'd also recognize the "Coconut" song from the 70s and "Everybody's Talkin'", the hit from Midnight Cowboy. A singer's singer and a writer's writer, he was more popular among his peers than he was on the charts. He also refused to perform live or do a single tour, which may have limited his reputation. His newly released Greatest Hits has many of the best songs from the documentary (which was long and repetitive, but kept thinking his hard partying was going to lead to a bad end...but it didn't really).

I learned a lot about producer Richard Perry and the making of Nilsson's biggest album Nilsson Schmilsson. The song "Remember" I like but it almost sounds more like Leon Russel. Other good musical finds were "1941", "Me and My Arrow," "Jump into the Fire" (my favorite), "You're Breakin' My Heart" (reminiscent of Cee-Lo Green's recent hit "F*#k You") and his tracks from the album of standards "A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the NIght".

His voice is sweet and contemplative with a mad edge and his melodies are meandering and experimental. Probably deserves more credit than being a one-hit-wonder. If only he had toured...


I also finally watched Tina Turner Celebrate!, the concert special with sound bites of celebrities wishing her a happy 60th birthday back in 1999. Cher has a few interesting sound bites. She calls Tina "a hurricane, a tornado, a force of nature."

Cher and Tina also discuss (painfully briefly) their meeting during 1975 on The Cher Show where Tina questioned Cher about leaving Sonny and thereby gained the courage to leave Ike Turner. Tina said she and Cher "came along the same way although hers wasn't Nutbush."

I loved the venue for this intimate. Tina's show is incredible high energy and her duet with Bryan Adams was awesome. I also loved her dancers: clean, fun, and throwbacks to the Ikettes yet totally different. I also fell in love with the song and video "Whatever You Need" which I soon realized was filmed in Paris near where John and I stayed. The video takes place at those the Roman ruins found under those apartments near The Latin Quarter and Jardin des Plantes.

Such fond memories!