After decades of dissings, then surprised condescension at her success in the 1980s, then the 1990s of affected interest with the turn into occasional accolades and credit, the excitement of this round's interviewers is palpable. I’m chalking it up to the inarguable facts of her career piling up and The Cher Show kids finally finding their asses in interviewing seats. It’s truly extra-ordinary and Cher is responding with her grown-up voice and is downright verbose in her responses.
One of my favorite pile-ups of accolades was from SoSoGay,
“Before Beyonce, before Gaga. Before Rhianna and before Katy. Before Britney, Christina, Cyndi and Celine. Before Whitney and Mariah, and before Madonna. Before colour television, before the Vietnam War, before man walked on the moon. Before the decimalized pound. Before everything, before time immemorial…There was Cher….this shimmering vestibule of unrelenting fabulousness….her sparkling tsunami.”
Ed Brody, the author, tells me Burlesque was amazing and to get over myself. I laughed at that. I wish I could. But that's the cross a scholar bears.
Here's more overview of the love:
- A Cher fan said she was coolest person ever since he can remember (Watch What Happens/Andy Cohen)
- Andy Cohen said as a kid he watched The Cher Show and "when she came down the ramp, life, hope, goose bumps, gave me fairy dust, inspiration" came too. He said Cher was putting to bed all the kids in America. (Watch What Happens/Andy Cohen)
- Anderson Cooper said he grew up adoring Cher—and his mom (Gloria Vanderbilt) said Cher was her fantasy daughter. Kelly Ripa is also a fan. One caller said he had to get high to talk to Cher (Watch What Happens/Andy Cohen)
- Dan Taylor called her the female artist of rock and roll, the iconic lady (WCBS).
- On Sirius/XM radio's Studio54 channel, the hosts Marc Benecke and Myra Scheer were very excited. (I just got a new car so have free XM for 3 months or something--whohoo!). In their intro, they played “The Shoop Shoop Song,” “Believe,” Turn Back Time,” and “Woman’s World” clips. On the Town Hall interview with Cher, (the inaugural), Myra noted that she was Steve Rubell’s executive assistant at Studio 54 in New York City. They called her major star, a guiding star, a role model with 250 world-wide awards in music, TV and film, including a Golden Globe, an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy, and a hit song in every decade “since 1910” Cher joked. At the first break, they played “Take Me Home” (and noted the song was on the Studio 54 album). The next break “Turn Back Time.” The next break “I Found Someone” (and here a salamander crawled up our faux-bedrock wall and stopped to listen). The next break “Believe," “Strong Enough” next and during the final break “Women’s World.” Many of New York’s straight men asked questions during this interview and I love how straight men in NYC love her. You don't see this so much in LA and the Midwest.
Candidness: Cher seemed so much less guarded in her face, body, and with her words.
- The New York Times said what they used to say about her in the 1980s, “In this age of rigidly controlled star-bots, no topic seemed to be off-limits (except her relationship status).”
- She appeared on The Today Show with Savannah Guthrie, (perky like Katie Couric) and was so nice and comfortable in her PJs. After the interview, Guthrie gushed about Cher to her co-anchors, calling Cher an unassuming charmer. I was impressed how easily Guthrie could kid with her.
- On Z100, the DJ played “Does Cher Care” asking Cher irreverent questions about Paula Dean (Cher feels she’s not misunderstood, just wrong), Sandra Bullock’s new movie trailer: is it overexposed, will it be good? Is Cher even interested (Cher said it looks cool), about the never-ending cupcake craze (Cher said it sucked to begin with and prefers Hostess cupcakes), should Snowden be punished or kicked out of China/Russia? (Cher said this was above her pay grade).
- Andy Cohen launched CherMaggedon with a plethora of games, including Truth or Cher—the Truth question being who her greatest lovers were (She said they’d all been exceptional. Andy said “That’s a list!” and she answered, “Not a long list but a good list.” He got her to admit Tom Cruise in the top 5 when prompted). In the Dare, Andy Cohen quoted Moonstruck and asked Cher to slap him while saying "Snap out of it." In another segment Gypsies Tramps and Tea, Andy Cohen asked for Cher’s opinion on: Elvis (didn’t know him), Whitney (didn’t know her), Nick Cage (he’s crazy but I love him), Meryl (my idol), Phil Spector (he’s crazy and only paid me $25 for a year’s work), Michael Jackson (I have TMI!), Tom Cruise (He wasn’t a scientologist then and they were hot and heavy for a minute), ever having a lesbian lover? (who hasn’t). She said she stole a horse when I was 13 and took it to Santa Ana. If she could meet anyone? She’d ask Jesus “Dude, what’s the deal?” Her favorite decade was the 80s (so much fun, could go naked swimming). On her bucket list? (I thought she said to build Balobgese house but is that right??). Her best movie role was Moonstruck. Does she have a boyfriend? (The moment anyone knows, you don’t have one; so she keeps that on the low down now—that's a great answer actually). For the Jackal of the Night: Cher picked Senator Ted Cruise because he’s an a-hole who doesn’t like gays or foreigners. According to Andy, the show said "Cher" 29 times – which was a record.
- During Andy Cohen’s Aftershow, he asked her what sent she would use for a scented candle (Uninhibited); she says she watches CNN/MSNBC. Anderson Cooper made a surprise appearance and said Cher calls in all the time to help people but low key (that she did so with Hurricane Katrina). They asked her about the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage (about time, she said) and they tried to play Kiss, Marry, Shag with her (with Quaid who she’d say she’d marry and Nicholson & Cage but she never finished the list.) They ran a Hair Chertrospective at the end.
Cher was great fun through all these shenanigans.
- On Live Chat NY, Cher said the video wouldn’t be released until September (which is very strange since a video might have helped the single). Cher said the newspaper wig was her wigmakers idea and kinda a nightmare. She said her favorite songs on the album are “Lie to Me” (a Pink song), “My Love” (a future single), Take It Like a Man” (a future single), and Dressed to Kill.” She said she recorded “Woman’s World” in an hour (on Z100 she said the song sang itself) and she co-wrote the song “Lovers Forever” which is actually old and was written for the movie Interview with a Vampire. She said the album has dance, rock and ballads and she hopes it will generate three videos.
- On Z100 Cher said recording is still scary and tenuous and she is not Cher fan, that recording studios are not her favorite place to be, that she feels more confident on stage (where I shine) because she feels she’s a good entertainer (vs. a singer).
- To Andy Cohen, Cher said Lady Gaga didn’t like their duet but that she felt it was good. Cher said this was her best album and her best songs and she loved that she didn’t have to lower her keys.
- WCBS noted that this is her 26th album. She said here it was very eclectic with dance, ballads, a country song, and some funky banjo in one song and a U2-sounding 9/11 song called “Sirens.”
- On XM she talked about the writing of “Woman’s World.” As she said in "Believe"-era interviews, there's no overt personal connection to the song. She said the writer was a guy and his idea was that women are strong and now demand their rights. (In this light, I think the setup suffers from slight condescension, which isn’t the writer’s fault, but a generational interpretation, ex: we don't need men to tell us this.) Myra said the song was very “I Will Survive of the 21st Century.” (I thought that label should have been applied to the song “Strong Enough” with its 1970s sound). Cher said the song was like “Believe” in that she didn’t like the second verse, which was too similar to “Believe.” Cher said she won’t cry twice, which is why in "Believe" she added the more empowering line: “Maybe I’m too good for you.” She wants to show that women are resilient. Myra said although Cher didn’t write it, she owned it. Cher’s mom said that about her The Voice performance.
- On Live Chat NY, Cher said she turned down “Turn Back Time” around 1000 times and then did the song in an hour. She said her favorite song of her own is “Song for the Lonely.” The interviewer said she loves “Baby Don’t Go” and Cher said that was a great song and very definitive Sonny & Cher.
- On Z100 the DJ said Cher has embraced change through the eras vs. musicians who say “this is the kind of music I make” and aren’t flexible. Cher said she gets bored and likes to try new ideas. Cher said she can’t think of anybody my age who is making records to get on the charts or anyone who performs onstage with no clothes. (She’s so funny!) They talked about “Believe” and auto tune and the vocoder and pitch machines. I get confused during such tech talk.
- On WCBS, Cher says she almost threw away “Believe” although she thought it was a “beautifully constructed idea.” She talked about the first time she heard herself on the radio, for her song “Baby Don’t Go.” They were at her mom’s house where their managers were living (because they were all poor). They were in the living room listening to KFWB and had all been calling on all their phones to the radio station to get it played. Cher said it was an out of body experience with everybody screaming when the song came on. They said they all wanted to go to the Cadillac dealership with bag full of money and buy a Cadillac.
- On XM, Cher said she hasn’t a clue about her longevity in the business. She agreed with a fan that she liked the “Walking in Memphis” video and was the first to play Elvis. (Like originally? Like in 1971, which is my theory that she’s been doing Elvis since then?)
On Live Chat NY, Cher says she Pink, Adele, and Amy Winehouse; On XM she said she still has her favorite go-to song (but said it makes no sense) as Procol Harem’s “Whiter Shade of Pale.” SoSoGay reporter mentioned that her song from Not.Com.merical, “With or Without You” taps into that Procol Harem sound.
- According to Live Chat NY, Cher has no word on the status of Drop Out or Bet and Flo, movies once listed on her IMDB page. For her next movie, she seeks a non-glamorous role in an independent film. She says she will never do Shakespeare.
- She also says she got her Silkwood offer on a Wednesday matinee of her Broadway show, Come Back to the 5 & Dime, and she liked doing a play, found it comforting. (Live Chat NY) She said Broadway was not easy but you get an immediate reaction. (XM)
- According to Live Chat NY she’s still writing for her Logo show.
- The DJ of Z100 told Cher he used to watch Mask over and over with his sister. On Z100 and XM, Cher said she was sick during the offer to do Thelma & Louise but that what belongs to you comes to you. She regrets not being able to do it but feels it was meant to be “Sue’s” part.
- Andy Cohen during his Aftershow asked Cher if she keeps in touch with the Mermaids daughters, Winona Ryder and Christina Ricci. Cher says they grew up and she hasn’t seen them lately. She said “Noni” went through a strange period but seems back on track and she remembers sneaking Christina M&Ms during the shooting when directors thought Christina was too chubby and banned them from her trailer. Cher said she loved the family-feeling of movies and talking to the tech people. She said she had a great time on Burlesque.
- On WCBS, Cher retold the story about a crowd laughing at her name during the Silkwood preview (Nichols told her the previews were out and she went to a Tom Cruise movie in Westwood to see it with her sister and her manager, Billy Sammeth). She said it was organic laughter and therefore pretty painful. At the eventual premiere the audience clapped at her name in the credits.
- On XM, Cher admitted not knowing how’s she’s persevered in a youth-oriented film industry. Myra calls her fearless. Cher said you evolve. Mark said she has communication with audience. Cher said she is likable. She said her most memorable moment was winning the Oscar. It was amazing to her since it took so long to get an acting job. She said Robert Altman was such a rebel. Mike Nichols told her when he saw the Saturday matinee about the character of Dolly that they couldn’t find anyone for the role before they found Cher and so they we were just gonna write her out; Mike said, “She’s a lesbian, but really lovely.” A fan asked if she would do more musicals? She said she wasn’t planning any but she enjoyed singing in a film.
- One fan on XM commented on her sexy glamor and sensitivity in movies from Moonstruck to Jimmy Dean. Cher joked that she could multitask. She said, I am who I am for better or worse, a lot of worse. She said she likes play in her work and that sometimes she stops doing it when she feels she has nothing to offer.
Twitter & Star Fights:
- On Live Chat NY, Cher admitted on Twitter it’s hard to read jokes and emotions, saying, “Words can’t see a smile, can’t get emotions." She said she tweets in the middle of the night like a vampire. To Andy Cohen she says she’s good with Madonna.
- Andy Cohen asked her about Nicki Minaj throwing shade on her. She said people come and go. Snap!
Exercise & Free Time:
- On The Today Show Cher says for free time, she sees friends, goes to the Bahamas, paddle boards, goes hiking, or somewhere like Nepal.
- On XM she talked about working out, working her “ass off” now because when you’re older it gets harder. But she was always into sports and running as kid, climbing trees. She had “so much energy.” Official exercise started for her during The Sonny & Cher shows where she took a dance class during their lunch breaks. She said you have to change it up to trick your body. The same exercise stops working. Now she does yoga, pilates, weights and the trampoline to music, bouncing, she says, makes her happy.
- In the New York Times, Cher said her favorite dress was the Oscar Snub Dress: “If you could have seen it up close. It was cashmere, the beading was beautiful, they made earrings and the headdress was exquisite. It was impeccable. It was beautifully done.” (And Cher would know a headdress). She also stated “Camp is in the eye of the beholder.”
- On The Today Show she said she doesn’t mind people hating what she wears.
- On Andy Cohen she wore space platforms shoes and black and white geometric jacket and pants. Cher scholar Robrt Pela noted that this outfit matched the back cover of Sonny & Cher’s In Case You're In Love album. She stated her that her favorite outfits where the Oscar dress, and her first Indian “costume,” and the "Turn Back Time" outfit (Which one? The concert hole fit or the video V fit?)
- On XM, a fan asked what her outfit inspirations were. She said her first inspiration was Bob Mackie. She loved that her friend said her hair on The Voice looked like a chicken from the 4H club. She says she has a good humor about it. But she said the outfit and wig didn’t translate on the show (I agree: too many cuts and closeups). Cher said art should provoke conversation, not that she can say my hair was art, but she was going for Luxe Punk.
- On LiveChat NY, Cher talked about her first live appearance in bowling alley and Sonny pushing her on stage. She said about her Caesars shows: “They were very staid.” (New York Times) and that fans couldn’t afford the show so there was an older, low energy audience. She came to understand “you don’t get to decide how they’re gonna enjoy it. They get to decide.” She said on tour she saves her voice and doesn’t talk, lives like a nun. She said in the 1960s people threw rings on stage, in homage to the fact she had rings on every finger (I did not know that.). She said “Song for the Lonely” is impossible to sing and she didn’t tape Caesars show. (Live Chat NY)
- The New York Times was with Cher at the Marquee during a very long wig change. Manager Lindsay Scott was asked, “How much of his life is spent waiting for Cher to change her outfit and get trussed up?” “A good amount.”
- In the Marquee video itself, Cher made a speech about when she was uncool and a has-been, “you guys have always been there.” Cher watched some drag queens/impersonators dance to a mix of her songs and she danced and sang along, smiling.
- On Z100 she said she might tour next year. The DJ asked her about seeing all those cell phones now at shows. She said smart phones weren’t around yet during her farewell tour years.
- During the Macy’s 4th of July Spectacular, I loved the long hair and the pants. Is that chain mail back in action? Mr. Cher Scholar made many positive remarks, (She looks cool here, looks younger, like the big hoops, she looks great). The women in audience really seem into it. Cher smiles a lot and throws out sultry looks. She did lip sync but in the bootleg pre-tape, you can hear her singing. She comments about dressing age-appropriate (not quite yet; age appropriate would be dressing like Helen Mirren above...can you believe they're less than a year apart in age?). She talks about her choreographer, Doriana Sanchez, and about getting free M&Ms vs Dr. Pepper backstage.
- Cher announced she’ll be performing a Today Show concert on September 23. The hosts said to “expect a legendary crowd.”
- Cher said her least favorite song to do live is “Jessie James.” She talked about touring with sonny in early 70s on the club circuit where they had to cook in our room but used Chastity in act; She used to lead the orchestra. (Watch What Happens/Andy Cohen)
- On XM, Cher said hearing her records again, she felt they sound better. For live shows you need to speed them up because the audience needs excitement. She said singing live is a crap shoot. She said sometimes her musical director Paul Mirkovich changes up arrangements. A fan asked if there was a drag queen better than she was? She picked Elgin Kenna and called him a genius artist.
- To Andy Cohen, she talked about Farrah Fawcett’s appearance on The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour. “She had tits and I didn’t” so Farrah got all the crews attention. She said one of her favorite things with Sonny was the Raymond Burr blooper (long form) and on XM she said the blooper was “so us.” She also agreed she loved her West Side Story performance. She said there were 14 costume changes on her show with Sonny.
- On WCBS, she said her appearance on The Voice was awful and scary. Before the show she told her mom she would either be the greatest reinvention of herself or it would be “get thee to a nursing home."
- Cher said her mom would be a guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race and Chaz was great performing in “30 Minute Musical” (Live Chat NY), the episode spoofing Independence Day and Chas played the president. (Watch What Happens/Andy Cohen)
- Cher said Sonny’s funeral was very Italian with everybody cooking. “The only person not there was Son.” Cher said they didn’t sing to Chaz at bedtime, they read her stories. (Watch What Happens/Andy Cohen)
- ON WCBS, Cher said her mom’s best advice was to never litter and that Cher has never seen Chaz better in his life.
- On XM someone asked for Cher’s advice to new artists. Cher said entertainment and fame are so different now, everyone has an immediate clothing line (I wonder how Sonny would have operated in this era). Cher said Sonny instilled in her the idea never to believe in a no. She said she should have stopped years ago when all signs pointed to no, but like a bumper car she keeps going, it’s in her family DNA. She said far more talented people don’t make it. She hears friends saying older people should move over to give the kids a shot, but the women in her family are not moving out of the way.
- On XM they asked her for her best personal and professional decade. She said all decades have had their over parts and have also spiked up. “They said I reinvented myself but it was untrue…I’m just me.” She couldn’t decide on a best decade, saying the 1960s were the beginning, the 1970s had the TV show, the 1980s had the movies and was the best decade personally.
- On WCBS Cher said she was still working with Children’s Craniofacial Association.
- In The New York Times, Cher said Robert Camilletti was her easiest relationship and of her two husbands, Sonny she was most attached too: “It wasn’t like anything before or after. And it wasn’t all roses. It was very Russian roulette.”
- On XM she said her true love was Robert Camilletti and Ronnie Zimmerman was the one who could make her laugh so hard she cried.
- XM asked her for advice for parents. She said I’m on twitter with your kids. She said it's hard to stop telling your kids what to do but you need to think of them as people and cut them some slack and do fun stuff with them. You're not just there to boss them around. But teenagers are crazy. You need to guide them more because you worry about them all the time. Her mom told her never lie, litter, or talk back. But she learned to drive when she was 11 and her mother assures her she was a mercurial child. "Chaz was an angel all the time. Elijah is like me."
- Calls herself mercurial (Sirius/New York Times) and says her worst habit is worrying too much (Live Chat NY). If she could go back in time as superpower to meet an Egyptian whose name I couldn’t catch or to send the paparazzi into space (Live Chat NY). She said her biggest obstacle is her up and down moods and she works to stay in the center and not be over emotional (WCBS).
- On XM she was asked if she would change anything she’s done. “How long do we have,” she asked and then said the truth would be too personal. She believes what belongs to you comes to you.
In the New York Times, Cher admits her limited movie offers might be due to her wrinkle-free visage, that her look might make it “hard to be anyone but Cher.” She said this idea “didn’t feel very good. But it was true. I get that. I understand that.” She was also asked about Chad Michaels allegedly having surgery to look more like her: “If it doesn’t bother him, it doesn’t bother me. I don’t feel creepy. I don’t.”
To Andy Cohen, Cher admitted she once wrote "a half-assed book." But before she write the bigger book, people have to die off. She said she and friend, Paulie, talk about it all the time.
Shy Kid to Superstar:
My iPod shuffle served up the Sonny & Cher b-side “Hello” during Cher’s big June/July press push. I was taken by how far she’s come in her confidence.
We've also come to a point of critical mass in her career, where no one (including Cher herself) can pretend this is her first album, movie or project and dismiss or ignore all the preceeding history. I love it when she talks about experiencing showbiz over so long a period of time and, as you can see, all these interviews reflect the breadth of her work, from live shows to TV shows to music albums to being a fashion icon. It's all here.