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More Rumors: Cher Kids in Crisis

For the last month or so rumors have cropped up about Cher having troubles with her children. In March, The National Enquirer (I hate to even legitimize them with italics) printed a story about Elijah Blue relapsing. This week, stories are all over about Cher being in a rift with Chaz. Chaz recently appeared on the show The Doctors after losing around 45 pounds. Stories are up on:

All sites report the same text, tracking it all back to "a source close to Cher," all tabloidishly vague on the details of the fissure. Meanwhile both Chaz and Cher have posted happy pics together. Nothing we read anywhere is conclusive of anything, even coming from Cher. We should probably wait for the next Chaz tell-all to sort things out.

Cherlij  Cherchaz


American Idol Duet Rumor

LlRemember the rumor that Cher would be performing on The X Factor last December? Well now there's a rumor that eliminated contestant Lazaro Arbos wants to do a duet with Cher on the finale of American Idol because Cher is allegedly a fan and has connected with him on Twitter.

Remember when Cher was going to duet with Britney Spears on the Grammys? If I had a dime for every music show Cher was rumored to be going on, I would have about one-hundred dimes.

If Cher goes on a reality show, that will be news.

Read more at Cher News.


Cher's Second Week of TCM: War Movies

Last weekend was our second week of Cher co-hosting Friday Night Spotlight on Turner Classic Movies. The theme was war movies. I have to say, four war movies in a row sent me right into a funk, especially when they only highlight how far we have not come 60 years later. Humans are still doing the same stupid shit and they probably always will. For this reason, I don't usually watch war movies, but in light of the fact that Cher is so supportive of our U.S. vets and due to the staggering fact that 22+ soldiers and vets are comitting suicde EACH DAY, I feel these movies deserve our attention. As Rachel Maddow writes in her book, Drift, Americans are disconnected from the wars our countrymen are involved in.

Hail1So Proudly We Hail (1943) - stars Claudette Colbert (to the left in a foxhole), Paulette Goddard, Veronica Lake, George Reeves and Sonny Tufts as my favorite character, Kansas. Cher remarked how she doesn't usually like Colbert in movies but likes a lot of movies Colbert is in. I feel this way about Tom Cruise. Cher likes Colbert in strong woman movies and here she is equal to a man and given respect, by being competent and not playing sexy and cute. In this story of U.S. nurses serving in the Philippines, the women all get separated from their new servicemen beaus as they move from one treacherous locale to another. Veronica Lake is great here as a surly nurse but she exits Soproudlywehail too soon and some of the movie's tension flags. Lake's look reminded me so much of a cross between Julia Duffy in Newhart and Juliette Lewis in Cape Fear. The leaders preach "faith to innocent young men" and the movie has both its nationalistic moments and its racist ones. When one of the girls talks to an Asian soldier in pigeon English he replies, "I'm Chinese not Indian" which is insulting to the Chinese and Indians. Veronica Lake's character is hell-bent to kill "Japs" but her monologue about her dead lover describes the very gory aspects of war, "Sixty bullets and his face was gone."

The bombing scenes are well done and tense. Colbert has an interesting line about "until we make he world a descent place to live in" and this was supposedly what the "war to end all wars" was going to achieve. Similar to modern US soldiers, these women are embarrassed to be called heroes. One says, I guess that means we're still alive. We never find out what happens to my favorite characer, Kansas. 

After the movie, Robert Osbourne commented that Claudette Colbert and Paulette Goddard didn't get along during the making of the movie and asked if Cher ever had tension with her co-stars. Cher said she likes harmony and isn't sure if she could work in a situation with tension, that she wouldn't feel safe or free to make mistakes and do a good performance.

SinceSince You Went Away (1944) - Another Claudette Colbert movie, co-starring Jennifer Jones, Shirley Temple and Joseph Cotton, about a mother left on the homefront during World War II and how a family struggles after they lose their income earner and money is tight. Hattie McDaniel has a refreshingly interesting black maid character and Agnes Moorhead does what she does best. Cher loved the fact that Colbert played a mom holding everything together, how Jennifer Jones progressed from teen to adult nurse, and the performance of Joseph Cotton as the grouchy boarder, who at one point surmises with disgust, "I guess we have to have a Navy." I agree about Cotton. He was adorable. At first Jennifer Jones didn't want to take in a boarder, claiming, "Boarders! It's Communism!"

Cher also loved how the movie showed each generation's struggle with the war. This is an epic movie, 3-and-a-half hours long. Heck, the overture itself felt like 30 minutes had gone by. The card introducing the movie said this would be a story about "the unconquerable fortress--the American home" which you can't help but consider with irony all these years later. This movie had its own nationalism (our cause is just) and "Jap humor" complete with a parody of squinty eyes that is still offensive.

The movie had several scenes of party chatter, or overheard dialogue collaged together and the comments were like found poems, very poignant and well-done. We also saw an honest depiction of the struggles of rations, soldiers dying quickly in accidents, coming home without limbs, and the terror of dealing with having loved ones missing in action. The love relationship between Jane and Bill also showcases he pressure couples in the military suffer to experience what "precious time" they have to be together. I also enjoyed every scene with the family dog, who kept breaking the fourth wall by staring into the camera.

Cher said her favorite scene was when Jennifer Jones "drew down" on Agnes Moorhead. Cher said she always has these movies on for background noise while she's working, that she considers them her friends. Which is how I feel about The Mary Tyler Moore Show episodes.

DoverThe White Cliffs of Dover (1944) -Gee, I do love it when my obsessions converge. Today I was able to talk about this movie on my blog Big Bang Poetry. This movie is about an American (Irene Dunne) living in England during World War I and World War II and is a movie I've only ever heard of because it was one of Elizabeth Taylor's first appearances. The movie was based on a poem (or a "verse novel" as Poem Hunter calls it) by Alice Duer Miller called "The White Cliffs." The narration of the film starts out with Irene Dunne reciting the first stanza of Miller's poem and then flips over to poetry written for the film by Robert Nathan, who published 50 books of poetry and fiction in his day. Alice Duer Miller's original poem was influential in many ways. According to Poem Hunter:

The poem was spectacularly successful on both sides of the Atlantic, selling eventually a million copies - an unheard of number for a book of verse. It was broadcast and the story was made into the 1944 film The White Cliffs of Dover, starring Irene Dunne. Like her earlier suffrage poems, it had a significant effect on American public opinion and it was one of the influences leading the United States to enter the War. Sir Walter Layton, who held positions in the Ministries of Supply and Munitions during the Second World War, even brought it to the attention of then-Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Alice Duer Miller was also influential as a suffragette:

She became known as a campaigner for women's suffrage and published a brilliant series of satirical poems in the New York Tribune. These were published subsequently as Are Women People?. These words became a catchphrase of the suffrage movement. She followed this collection with Women are People! (1917)

The movie stars Irene Dunne, Alan Marshal, Gladys Cooper and both C. Aubrey Smith and Frank Morgan (none other than the Great Oz himself) as dueling old men fighting over the future of Irene Dunne. Cher loved the expanse of time covered in the movie. She and Robert Osbourne discuss a brief appearance by Van Johnson and a car accident he had just been in. Cher and Osbourne also admired the huge MGM sets in the movie and Cher loves Gladys Cooper who can play a nice or bad character with the same demeanor. The movie is actually a good commentary on the differences between American and British culture. Dunne is all-American and struggles with English customs. She resents their digs on Americans like, "She's such a nice little thing; not a bit like an American." Again, nothing has changed with Europe's perception of Americans as rude and boorish. The royal party scene is legitimately exciting and afterwards, John Ashwood takes her to where William Wordsworth once stood looking out over London.

Mostly the first half of the movie is a love story. We descend into tear-jearkinRoddyg tragedy as soon as the wars begin.The movie also co-stars Roddy McDowall who plays the young, charming son (left) who flirts with a baby Elizabeth Taylor, who looks very much like Lindsay Lohan and you can see, from watching this, why they cast her to play in Taylor's recent TV-biopic.

They're all just looking for "a peace that will stick" says Dunne and at the end she cries out that, "God will never forgive us if we break faith with the dead." Depressing.

Cher and Robert talk about how Irene Dunne could sing, do drama or comedy. Cher said back then "everyone got to stretch." Throughout the night Robert Osborne always introduces Cher as "Oscar-winning actress" and Cher says she never gets tired of hearing that. They talk about all the great actors who never won Oscars, like Cary Grant. Robert Osbourne notes that Grant was never even nominated for one.

ThreeThree Came Home (1950) - This is a gritty Japanese prisoner of war movie starring Claudette Colbert and Sessue Hayakawa. Cher says she was very touched by Hayakawa's performance and Robert talks about how the injury Colbert received during this film's rape scene cost her the lead in All About Eve. Again Cher loved the strength women showed during their harrowing prisoner experiences. Based on a book depicting the true events of the lead character, the movie follows Colbert while her family is stationed in Borneo working for the British. This is another tear-jerker. When the British colonists are left stranded, the Japanese inter them in prisoner camps. Although Colbert keeps her hairstyle, makeup and false eyelashes intact throughout the ordeal, the movie is surprisingly brutal and harrowing. There are long suspenseful scenes that broke me and I had to get up and make fudge rather than look to see what was going on (the sneaking out the meet the husband scene, the scene with the Australians, the reunion scene). At the end Hiroshima is referenced and the brutality of war deemed senseless for both sides. Colbert connects with her captor through their common love of their children. At the end of the movie, I felt compelled to remember the lyrics to "Russians" by Sting:

How can I save my little boy
from Oppenheimer's deadly toy?
There is no monopoly in common sense
on either side of the political sense.
Mr. Khrushchev says he will bury you.
I don't subscribe to this point of view.
It's such an ignorant thing to do
if the Russians love their children too.

Cher talks about her non-fandom of Claudette Colbert despite picking three Colbert movies in one night and how she prefers Ginger Rodgers and Ingrid Bergman. I have to agree after seeing her in all these movies. She's alright but a bit prissy and stiff. But of all these movies, I would recommend Three Came Home the most for it's ability to jerk you around in a reasonable amount of time.

All the TMC lists online included the movie The Best Years of Our Lives" on Cher's lineup so I taped it but Cher and Robert Osbourne did not discuss that movie. So I'll save that one for later. I'm depleted and depressed at this point. Again I'm left with the feeling that no matter how much things change, nothing changes. I'm looking forward to this Friday's set of movies on women at work. Like Loretta's grandfather commaned in Moonstruck, "Someone tell a joke!"

Read about Cher's First Week of TCM: Motherhood.


Moonstruck Chocolate from Portland, Oregon

IMG_9009My friend Paul from IAIA gave me this lovely Moonstruck Milk Chocolate Sea Salt Toffee bar last week. His wife is the chocolate and tea maestro at the local Whole Foods establishment in Santa Fe.

The bar was creamy chocolate with a toffee crunch. Very tasty.

The proprietors of this bar are Moonstruck Chocolate Company out of Portland, Oregon. Each bar contains two servings (right!) and has 240 calories in each serving of which 140 are fat calories.

Their motto goes:

The first cocoa beans were a gift of love from Venus herself. So, keep in mind the seductive qualities of Moonstruck Milk Chocolate Sea Salt Toffee may make you do unusual things. Love is funny that way. Actually, you can't buy love.

First of all I know what Moonstruck Milk Chocolate Sea Salt Toffee makes me do, it made me eat this whole dang bar. Secondly, I think the Olmec Indians would be surprised to learn that the first cocoa beans were a gift from some Roman lady in the sky named Venus.

IMG_9012The chocolate bar itself is stamped with the words: "Share if You Dare."

I did not dare give my husband a share larger than two squares.

Margaret Thatcher Hashtag Confuses Cher Fans

Cher scholar Robrt sent me this link today: Margaret Thatcher Hashtag Confuses Cher Fans

As I mentioned to him, the headline irks me for two reasons:

  1. Not only fans were confused, and
  2. The headline and article play into the media's idea that Cher fans, particularly Americans it pains to point out, are dumb and entertainment-obsessed. Forget the fact that we do give off this impression for a minute. Did you ever see that story about how certain lawyers were asking jury pools if they were Cher fans...because Cher fans are more gullible:

Howard Varinsky, the jury consultant for prosecutors in the Martha Stewart case, who advises potential jurors be asked who their favorite famous person is. Varinsky told Crowley that a person who chooses Ronald Reagan rather than Cher, for example, might be too smart for defense lawyers to accept in a complex case. “In a case where you have a lot of complex information to process, I think you would want somebody who likes Cher.” Source

Cher fans need to do what that New Mexico liscence plate recommended to me last Thursday, Nerd Up!

#nowthatchersdead -- why are those Brits always so verbose anyway?

Cher's First Week of TCM: Motherhood

Cher did her first guest host stint on Turner Classic Movies in September of 2011. Here are links to my reviews of The Big Street, Follow the Fleet, Hobson's Choice, and Lady Burlesque.

Last Friday, Cher and Robert Osbourne launched her month-long program of guest hosting in April starting with a theme of Motherhood. I have to say all these movies were winners for me. I watched three of them Saturday and the last one this morning.

MildredMildred Pierce (1945) was the first movie in the lineup starring Joan Crawford in a hit after she had been dropped off the MGM roster. Cher liked that fact about this movie saying, "That's very me" and Robert (or Robby as Cher calls him) added that like Cher, Crawford was "a great survivor." Cher liked Jack Carson playing friend Wally and they talked about how Carson started out in comedies and ended up playing very mean (passive-aggressive, Cher said) characters. They both also loved Ann Blyth playing the evil daughter Veda and Eve Arden as Joan's sassy confidant and co-worker in the restaurant. Kids my age will remember Arden's as Principal McGee from Grease. Cher talked about how Arden's timing was so good and how hard it is to be a character actress as you have to "fight for your positioning." Cher loved how Crawford underplayed her performance and Osbourne said she won her Oscar for this "fair and square."

This is a black and white whodunit murder story that takes place in Los Angeles by the beach. Although I found it hard to identify or root for any in this bunch of manipulative characters (even Mildred manipulates Wally from beginning to end), I loved how this movie was shot, the special effects (the cigar smoke over Crawford's face in Wally's pier-side restaurant), the sound effects (the police station clock), the lighting (the fireplace in the beach house), the interrogation room architecture of the movie (I love those), the script was excellent, understated, interesting. Amusing moments included Crawford doing ladder work in a long skirt, Monte Beragon's hilarious swimsuit/sweater ensemble, and dated movie lovetalk like Crawford's saying, "You make me feel...I don't know...warm." My favorite line is from Veda refusing a hug from her mum: "I love you too but let's not be sticky about it."

Two of these movies had single mom situations and three of them dealt with women trying to be upwardly mobile in some sort of way. Mildred Pierce is a mother-daughter struggle where the daughter is the one trying to move up socially at any cost.

StellaStella Dallas (1937) was another good mother-daughter story, except this time the relationship was a loving one and the mother was the social climber in Boston, although she stopped for some reason with the party set. But these two movies are still about bad mothers of one sort or another. But like Cher and Robby warned us, this one is a real tearjerker. I counted four sob scenes at least: the sad, sad birthday party scene; the sad, sad train scene; the sad sad scene with Helen Morrison; and the sad, sad wedding scene). Barbara Stanwyck plays Stella with great pathos and verve. For some reason these first two movies have giggly silly black maids.

Stella (her mom is played Marjorie Main whom we know as Ma Kettle) marries up in the class chair and she has a daughter but the marriage doesn't last. Stella hangs out with the wrong crowd and this affects her daughter socially. When Stella finds out how her gaudiness has ruined her daughter's chances at young love, Stella makes a grand sacrifice. This is the kind of movie many daughters and mothers would be able to relate to in terms of social awkwardness and affection. Totally recommend this one.

The supper club dress Stanwyck wears is awesome. In fact, this movie supplies Stanwyck with many interested and evolving looks.

At the beginning of the movie Cher and Robert Osborune talk about Stanwyck and her "dame" quality and Cher somehow forgets the name to the movie Lady Burlesque and Robert Osbourne reminds her, which seems odd considering that movie was one of the four in Cher's first set of TCM movies. Afterwards, Osbourne also asks Cher why she doesn't make more movies. Cher says she always thought she wouldn't make many movies. But she'd like to play something out of character, like a bag lady. (How about a villain?)

AwkwardPenny Serenade(1941) stars Cary Grant and Irene Dunne and Edgar Buchanan as the crusty old sidekick. It's a story about newlyweds losing their baby in a sort of Japanese earthquake abortion, the dramas of adoption, and other tragedies of parenting. Cher was right, this movie has a great performance by Cary Grant (his monologue in front of the judge is notably good). The story is told through memories recollected from Julie Adams playing her old record albums after her particularly sweet marriage breaks up (how would an iPod change this story?). The opening scene at the record store (when records were 78s and sold in books) reminded me of my first job at Camelot Records at Chesterfield Mall in St. Louis. It was 1986 and there was not a single Cher album or cassette tape to be found in the entire store except that odd cassette compilation called Half Breed. Hb

Anyway, I liked how many scenes of this movie were shot through doorways (train doors, bedroom doors, stairways), and how this was a weird alternate universe where somehow older children were harder to adopt than newborn babies. I appreciated seeing Dunne's normal lips on an actress. The movie also had funny new parent scenes and Grant and Dunne had good chemistry.The Christmas play scene was toots adorable.

Cher said this movie takes you to beautiful places and that the death of a baby is a hard thing to pull off and come back from. Cher and Osborne commented on how much older the actors looked and Cher said life was harder then and you couldn't look as good for as long. Osborne said people also acted and dressed their age. He said this without any seeming irony and Cher took the opportunity to laugh at herself self-deprecatingly.

GingerBachelor Mother (1939) was my favorite movie of the night and the one I least expected anything from (judging by the title). My husband watched this one with me this morning while he worked on his thesis papers. We both laughed out loud throughout the funny storyline. Ginger Rogers and David Niven had lovely chemistry and I appreciated seeing Niven in a character that wasn't a British lothario. Cher says she can't turn this movie off if she comes across it. This must be like for me with Along Comes Polly--don't ask! Robert Osborne and Cher talked about how this wasn't a screwball comedy because as Cher says, it's too fast to be screwball.

I would definte it as more like snowball comedy, that is like a snowball, working off very interconnected and complicated misunderstandings.

Osbourne and Cher also talk about how great Ginger Rogers is without Fred Astaire. Cher says Rogers is her favorite female tap dancer because other women are too cloddy. This movie was directed by Garson Kanin and is about a single woman who happens upon a baby everyone assumes is hers. I was struck by how willing all the characters were to push a woman into single motherhood back then. Refreshingly, Rogers wants nothing to do with any upward mobility and her pride is stronger than any designs on marrying the rich department store owner's son, although the story does deal with the clash of class.

I love that it's a big fat baby at the center of everything. One of my favorite lines was, "Is it hard for a girl to get in the Navy?"

Cher and Robert Osborne talk about how this film got lost under all the great movies of 1939. And they're right, there's a Wikipedia page dedicated to the movies of 1939, which included two of the most famous movies ever, Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz and many other classics like Dark Victory, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Love Affair, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Ninotchka, Of Mice and Men and Stagecoach. 


A Look Back at Roger Ebert's Reviews of Cher Movies

EbertWe lost the second half of Siskel and Ebert this week. I'm a bit sad and their sardonic reviews aired every late night of my childhood weekends. I thought it would be fun to cull some of Roger Ebert's reviews of Cher's theatrical releases, which were often, of late, very generous:

Zookeeper: "Look, a great movie this is not. A pleasant summer entertainment it is. I think it can play for all ages in a family audience, it's clever to have the animals advising humans on their behavioral strategies, and besides, I'm getting a teensy bit exhausted by cute little animated animals. The creatures in this zoo all have the excellent taste to be in 2D."

Burlesque: "In this scene and throughout the movie, Cher looks exactly as she always does. Other people age. Cher has become a logo...Is this the movie for you? It may very well be. You've read my review, and you think I'm just making snarky comments and indulging in cheap sarcasm. Well, all right, I am. Burlesque shows Cher and Christina Aguilera being all that they can be, and that's more than enough."

Stuck on You: "The movie is funny, but also kind-hearted. Much screen time is given to Rocket (Ray "Rocket" Valliere), a waiter in the burger joint. He's a mentally challenged friend of the Farrellys, who makes it clear here why they like him. Their approach to handicaps is open and natural, and refreshing, compared to the anguished, guilt-laden treatment usually given to handicapped characters in movies. The fact that Walt hopes to be a movie star is less amazing, really, than that the Farrellys had the nerve to make a comedy about it."

Tea with Mussolini: "I enjoyed the movie in a certain way, as a kind of sub-Merchant-Ivory mix of eccentric ladies and enchanting scenery. I liked the performances of the women (including Cher; people keep forgetting what a good actress she can be)...But the movie seemed the stuff of anecdote, not drama."

Faithful: "Faithful is the kind of movie that's diverting while you're watching it, mostly because of the actors' appeal, but it evaporates the moment it's over, because it's not really about anything. Nothing is at stake, the relationships are not three-dimensional enough for us to care about them, and it's likely that nobody will get killed. That leaves the physical presences of the actors and the wit of the dialogue--enough for a play, but not for the greater realism of a movie."

Mermaids: "The mom in Mermaids is played by Cher. Not only played by Cher, but in an eerie sense played as Cher, with perfect makeup and a flawless body that seems a bit much to hope for, given the character's lifestyle and diet...The central pop culture detail here is Cher, who, like Bette Midler in the somewhat similar Stella, does not entirely suffer her famous persona to disappear inside the role....And yet, perversely perhaps, I found this an interesting movie. I didn't give a bean how it turned out, and I found a lot of it preposterous, but I enjoyed that quality. Why do we look at movies? To learn lessons and see life reflected back at us? Sometimes. But sometimes we simply sit there in the dark, stupefied by the spectacle. Mermaids is not exactly good, but it is not boring. Winona Ryder, in another of her alienated outsider roles, generates real charisma. And what the movie is saying about Cher is as elusive as it is intriguing."

Moonstruck: "The movie is filled with fine performances - by Cher, never funnier or more assured; by Dukakis and Gardenia, as her parents, whose love runs as deep as their exasperation, and by Cage as the hapless, angry brother, who is so filled with hurts that he has lost track of what caused them. In its warmth and in its enchantment, as well as in its laughs, this is the best comedy in a long time."

Suspect: "Suspect is fun when Cher and Quaid interact; she does a convincing job of playing a lonely career woman, and he's a slick lobbyist with more charm than substance. There are lots of good supporting performances, including a tricky one by Liam Neeson as the deaf-mute who gradually reveals his true history. But the closing revelations made me rethink the whole plot, and made it look less like a case of jury-tampering than audience-tampering."

The Witches of Eastwick: "The women are played in the movie by Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer and Susan Sarandon, and they have a delicious good time with their roles. These women need to be good at double takes, because they're always getting into situations that require them. When they're together, talking up a storm, they have the kind of unconscious verbal timing that makes comedy out of ordinary speech. We laugh not only because they say funny things but because they give everyday things just a slight twist of irony. But it's Nicholson's show. There is a scene where he dresses in satin pajamas and sprawls full length on a bed, twisting and stretching sinuously in full enjoyment of his sensuality. It is one of the funniest moments of physical humor he has ever committed...Fantasies usually play better on the page than on the screen, because in the imagination they don't seem as ridiculous as they sometimes do when they've been reduced to actual images. There are some moments in The Witches of Eastwick that stretch uncomfortably for effects - the movie's climax is overdone, for example - and yet a lot of the time this movie plays like a plausible story about implausible people. The performances sell it. And the eyebrows."

Mask: "Cher, on the other hand, makes Rusty Dennis into one of the most interesting movie characters in a long time...Mask is a wonderful movie, a story of high spirits and hope and courage. It has some songs in it, by Bob Seger, and there has been a lot of publicity about the fact that Peter Bogdanovich would rather the songs were by Bruce Springsteen. Let me put it this way: This is a movie that doesn't depend on its sound track. It works because of the people it's about, not because of the music they listen to."

Silkwood: "It's a little amazing that established movie stars like Streep, Russell and Cher could disappear so completely into the everyday lives of these characters."

Come Back to the 5 and Dime, Jimmy Dean: "A richly textured mixture of confessions, obsessions, and surprises . . . Cher’s performance here is a revelation.”

Chastity: Not reviewed.

Good Times: "Good Times has its moments. Sonny and Cher are asked to make a movie, and look for a story. Their search takes the form of spoofs on established film cliches: The Bogart-type detective movie (with camera angles lifted from "The Maltese Falcon"), the Western, the jungle tale. Friedkin is inventive with his camera, and Sonny and Cher, although they lack the Beatles' spontaneity, work the veins of comedy and pathos with some success. There are moments that sparkle. And Cher, in a solo, reveals a surprisingly gifted singing voice. Good Times is no classic, but in ambition and achievement it's better than most movies of its type. Adults may find it diverting. and the kids, I suppose, will go because they want to see Sonny and Cher singing all those songs."


Cher as the Madonna: a Compelling Case

MadonnaThe Armenian Reporter is doing a story about an 89-year old Arizonian, Christian, Armenian painter Charles Garo Takoushian, (you know he's Armenian because his name rhymes with Armenian), who has refashioned the Madonna holding Jesus in Cher's image.

Before you lose it, (with outrage or laughter, depending upon your religious point of view), listen to his argument:

"As for the image of Cher as a Madonna, I thought --- well --- she is a Madonna," he explains. "When I first saw Cher's picture on the cover of a magazine, I felt there was a similarity to Madonna. When you get down to the reality of it all, who knew what the Madonna really looked like?"..."In Cher's case, her beauty continues to prevail, despite the years that have befallen her," he points out. "She's accomplished so very much with her life and hasn't forgotten her Armenian heritage. I took some liberties with the painting."

The Cher painting served as a focal point during an exhibit at St. Apkar's Armenian Church festivities last November. But speaking of stars who ignore thair fan mail (or fan Madonna paintings), the Armenian Reporter asked him if Cher will ever get to see it? He says,"I offered it to her but never got an answer from her agents."

Well, imagine all the fan portraits that have "befallen her" along with all those years. However, this one gets the Cher Scholar blue ribbon for fan-tastic originality.


Cher Doing Promo Work for TCM and Mother's Day Special

ChermomDetails are coming together on Cher's Mother's Day tribute to Georgia Holt. It will be titled "Dear Mom, Love Cher" and will air on Lifetime, May 6 at 10 p.m. PT/ET. Press information states,

Dear Mom, Love Cher provides a rare peek into Cher’s family history and features interviews with not only with Holt and Cher, but also Cher’s sister Georganne LaPiere Bartylak, and Holt’s grandchildren Chaz Bono and Elijah Blue Allman, promises Lifetime.

The documentary begins with Holt’s beginnings in rural Arkansas and runs through her six tumultuous marriages while pursuing a career among Hollywood’s elite as a singer and actress.

Dear Mom, Love Cher includes a never-before-heard duet performance with Holt and Cher, along with the long-lost recordings Holt taped more than three decades ago that Cher has re-mastered for commercial release later this year.

“This project started as a gift for my mom’s 86th birthday,” says Cher, 66, in the release, adding: “Like most things in my family, it was initiated by my sister Georganne, who asked me if I could update mom’s album. So I went BIG (I’m known in the family for doing that),” said Cher. “My sister and I are proud of our mom and we want to share her with the world. My mom is EXACTLY like ‘Rocky.’ She NEVER gives up! Well…if we must nit-pick, they aren’t totally alike. Rocky is a fictitious boxer and mom’s a singer. He’s younger and a man. Other than that they are the same person! FIGHTERS.”

This should be a great special. To publicize her latest projects, Cher has been doing some interviews including,

  • Cher and her mom posed for Entertainment Weekly online.
  • A phone interview with Patricia Sheridan from the Post Gazette. Listen to it here or read the pared down transcript here. What's interesting to me about this interview is the comment, "I could answer every question that you would ask and you still wouldn't know me. I would still have my privacy. I wouldn't lie to you....I have such a private core." And I just blogged about that recently. I so should get an A in Cher class! I also enjoyed hearing Cher talk about how she would sing with her mother and her grandfather and uncle would play guitar. All those childhood details are so interesting. I didn't even know how well she knew her grandfather.
  • Cher did an interview with Michael Logan for TV Guide about her co-host gig on TCM with Robert Osborne. This is an interesting discussion where Cher talks about why she finds older films more progressive than current films. And she calls Robert Osborne Robby. Of course. And she talks about whatever happened to her dream of remaking The Enchanted Cottage.
  • Cher also spoke about having done an interview for People Magazine. Be on the lookout.


What Should Celebrities Do with Fan Mail?

FanmailIs this photo staged or did Elvis really pour over his fan mail? 

A week or so ago, BBC News posted a story about how a bag of Taylor Swift's fan mail (complete with sparkles and glitter and gushing love from pre-teens) was found unopened in a trash bin. The story went on to say what a burden the thousands of letters from fans can be to a celebrity. Some hire people to read them. Some, like Ringo Starr, just tell us outright they will not be reading any more fan mail.

I don't know if Cher reads her fan mail. When I was eleven I did write an impassioned letter to both Cher (about an outrageous story I saw in The National Enquirer) and to Richard Simmons (about following my dreams). I actually received a very warm and personal response from Richard Simmons (which he probably dictated to an assistant) and an autographed photo from Cher. Years later in my late teens I wrote a rambling and incoherent letter to John Waite and received a postcard back. In each case, I felt a kind of nerd's remorse at having broken the fourth wall.

I really don't know what good can come of fan mail. Cher gets into the muck too much answering twitter questions, our modern way of trying to touch a celebrity. Although I feel Swift's office should have been more discreet with her fan mail, I don't really blame her for not reading all of it.