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Chaz v. Chastity Bono

20200815_104846To the left is an article I found in the Chersonian Institute a few weekends ago. It was a prescient find because I'm up to about episode #50 in documenting the Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour and it was about episode #48 that Chastity started guesting in the Vamp sequences. 

Chaz Bono's appearances on her parents' shows and articles like this (predicting a very feminine future) always raise issues of transgendring and how to refer to the person of the past. 

When I started documenting Chaz on the variety shows I had to think about whether I should refer to him as her/Chastity or him/Chaz. I opted to use her/Chasitity only because back then Chaz was a cultural artifact of the show, a character as well as a person behind-the-scenes. This is further complicated by the fact that Sonny & Cher and the show's creative team tried to present the family as transparent, very what-you-see-is-what-you-get, not an artifice of characters. 

This was not only debunked at the breakup of their couple-hood, but is a practical impossibility of show biz. Everything is an artifice once the camera stars rolling. So the character Chastity on the show is definitely not the same as Chaz the person. Not only that, but eliminating her/Chastity might be confusing to some people who have strong memories of Chastity, the character. 

This is all to explain one thing I just noticed from re-watching the ending goodbye "I Got You Babe" scenes of the show, something quite extraordinary. Cher consistently pulls focus from everybody everywhere, intentionally or not, on TV shows, movies, at the airport. It's like a superpower she has.

There's only one person I’ve ever seen with the power to pull focus from Cher (aside from Sonny, occasionally) and that’s Chaz Bono.


Cher Once Did Needlepoint; Now She Valiantly Defends the United States Post Office

Cher Works to Save the Post Office

Excuse my title up there. I really didn't know how to tie all these disparate stories together.

First off, fans have been delighted to see Cher fighting for the U.S. post office in recent protests, phone calls and Twitter pics.

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Cherpo1Cherpo2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope if she starts volunteering for the post office, Bob Mackie designs her some "sensible shoes."

Cher and Needlepoint 

Months ago someone was requested photos of celebrity needlepointers like Dinah Shore and Rosey Grier. I found as many as I could but one photo I remembered proved elusive to locate. Then Cher scholar Drew asked me a question and I went searching for the answer to that but instead found the missing needlepoint pic. Maybe someday I'll locate the answer to Drew's question while I'm looking for something else. 

Anyway, Cher once did lots of needlpoint. She did so much she joked, "Then I took up needlepoint—my God, I needlepointed everything. I could have made a needlepoint stove!"

Cher needlepoints on airplanes:

20200815_10501820200418_173755 20200815_105018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cher needlepoints circa 1978/9.

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I also captured an image of Sonny pretending to needlepoint in episode #49 of The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour:

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And here are some needlepoints of Cher:

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Time Time

 

 

 

 

The Time Magazine pillow belonged to Bob Mackie and sold for $448 on Julien's Acutions.

You can buy the Moonstruck needlepoint pattern on Etsy with a companion Nicholas Cage!

What is a Silkwood Shower?

For the Chersonian Institute, I was filing old magazines and found something interesting. Remember when Entertainment Weekly did a Bullseye pieceon the last page? Do they still do that? Anyway, one I found had a disparaging arrow regarding a rumor that Bret Michaels and Miley Cyrus’ mom were dating. ET says the rumor has sent them “running for a Silkwood shower.” Ok, that's a big rude. And I wondered if that was like…a saying. Apparently it is. Urban Dictionary has a listing for it with this example:

“I had to take a Silkwood shower when I got home from that party since I smelled like an ash tray cooked on an open flame BBQ grill covered in hot sauce.”

So "snap out of it, Moonstruck eggs and the Jack speech are not the only iconic references from a Cher movie.

Here are some shots of a Silkwood shower. It's a pretty serious and scary thing and Meryl rocks it (as did Sudie Bond earlier in the movie). 

Silkwood2 Silkwood2 Silkwood2

 

 

 

1999showCher Concert Reviews

Concert reviews have changed. I've learned this lesson over the last year from various sources from current reviewers and from the deceased reviewers. Is this overwhelming evidence of capitalism taking over PR? Probably. Which is no such a great thing. Buyer beware, there are no objective reviews in the land of corporate conglomeration. 

So it’s good to look back at a positive review and interview from 1999 (when bad reviews still existed) and this one was by T’cha Dunlevy at the Montreal Gazette is one of those. She was 30 when she reviewed the Believe-era concert and said she

“regularly feels aversion to refuse-to-die ‘60s rock acts. I had no convulsions of revulsion at the Camp Queen’s coup. Maybe it’s her synthetic, timeless beauty or her go-with-the-flow versatility, but Cher has somehow kept her proverbial cool over her three-and-a-half decades in the spotlight…a repetoir of personae, including pop-ditty princess, serious actor, 'I’m-in-love-with-a-man-half-my-age' bachelorette, reactionary mother of a lesbian [remember this was 1999] and, in her 50s. back to the top of the pops without coming off like a circus side-show act.”

“...'How many fingers and toes have you got?’ she asks, queried about whether she’s ever thought of giving up. ‘(It happens) all the time. It’s frustrating. I’m a very mercurial, emotional person, more childish sometimes than grownup. I’m not very calculating. But it’s the only think I know how to do and really love.’”

The end of the interview also notes that both Cyndi Lauper and Wild Orchid were opening for Cher at the time, the same Wild Orchid that produced Stacy Ferguson a.k.a. Fergie Duhamel a.k.a Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas. 


Sonny's Solo Single of 1973

Rub-nose1Who even knew this song existed? Thanks to Cher scholar Robrt who informed me of its existence a few weeks ago, a Sonny solo singled called "Rub Your Nose." It was written by Irwin Levine and L. Russell Brown.

The Cashbox review:

SONNY BONO (MCA 40139)
Rub Your Nose (3:15) (Levine & Brown, BMI, I. Levine, L. R. Brown)
Already picking up some air action, the not-as-pretty half of the Sonny & Cher team comes through with his first major chart item in some time as a solo. Reminiscent of the type of material that Cher’s been hitting with, this one looks headed for the Top Twenty. Flip: Laugh At Me (2:40) (Cotillion/Chris —Marc, BMI—S. Bono).

I don't think it made it to top 100. And how is this in any way reminiscent of the material Cher has been hitting with? Those would be hits produced by Snuff Garrett. This is a song produced by Sonny himself and Denis Pregnalato and arranged by future-Toto member David Paich, son of Sonny & Cher's musical arranger Marty Paich.

Here are the lyrics below that I have tried to transcribe. Does it provide any insight into Sonny's illicit and philandering ways? Or is it a critique of a famous wife starting to do the same?

Me and my woman, you and your man were having dinner
all together at the Chinese restaurant
Remember the signals, the ones that we made up in the laundry-mat [that's how he pronounces it]
where I held you and we stole a kiss or two?

Rub-nose2Oh rub your nose means I love you,
pull your ear means late tonight. [No, it means Carol Burnett saying hello to her grandmother]
While they're soundly sleeping we'll be doing it up right.
Tap your foot means you want me
right this minute if we could.
Oh, rub your nose, pull your ear, tap your foot.

Show your affection like I'm showing mine.
Pretend you love him.
You're an actress. [Yikes!]
Why you're almost fooling me.
Leave him an egg roll. I'll pass her the rice
and while they're eating in their frenzy
I'll {something, something} once or twice. [Oh dear, what is that he's doing once or twice?]

Oh rub your nose means I love you,
Pull your ear means late tonight. [No, see above.]
While they're soundly sleeping we'll be doing it up right.
Tap your foot means you want me
right this minute if we could.
Oh, rub your nose, pull your ear, tap your foot.

Oh what fun. Feel the danger in the air.
Careful, girl, 'cos you're starting in to stare.
Danger in the air!

[guitar bridge]

Oh rub your nose means I love you,
Pull your ear means late tonight. [No, see above.]
While they're soundly sleeping we'll be doing it up right.
Tap your foot means you want me
right this minute if we could.
Oh, rub your nose, pull your ear, tap your foot.
{whispers} Rub your nose, pull your ear, tap your foot.
Rub your nose, pull your ear, tap your foot.

Ok, who feels like Chinese food right now? Anyone? Give it a listen and help me decipher the missing words: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYPgxAKREGA


Cher in Furs

We've all seen those iconic photographs of Sonny on the phone brokering business with Cher in the foreground in a black and white fur coat. I always thought maybe this was their house office.

Vogue67-alt1 Vogue67-alt1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, those photos are from the Vogue shoot from November 1967 as it turns out. And it also turns out that this room is “Sonny’s Sunset Strip office.” Well, what an affectation a Sunset Strip office is! 

The article says, “Sonny is all business, of course. He has to be, what man isn’t…” Apart from having two sentences needlessly separated by a comma, that casual sentence is hilariously sexist. 

What is Cher doing while Sonny is all business? “Cher diligently reads her fan mail.” Not business-related I guess.

Here are the actual photos that ended up in the magazine (click to enlarge):

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Cher is also shown in her Excalibur “tooling” around.

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She’s also shown shopping at The Sunset Strip store The Psychedelic Conspiracy. The first picture is in the magazine, the second is an alternate image online.

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I must say I love these jumping pics though.

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BlackgamaAll photos display Cher wearing her fur coats and include notes on the stores where she purchased them. It reminds me of Cher's 1986 Blackgama ad.

I could be wrong, but it seems doubtful she would do a fur spread these days.

She seems much more furry-friendly and less fur-friendly now.