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Cher Streaming Stuff Catchup

DatelineI went to categorize this post as "Television" but I don't even know what the word means anymore. Sigh. 

Anywhere, there's been a ton of Cher content in the last 6 to 9 months. Here's a partial catchup. Last week Cher was on Dateline: White House with Nicolle Wallace. It was a great interview about Celebrity civic action and Cher and Dr. Irwin Redlener's mobile Covid vehicle. 

LonelyCher's documentary Cher and the Loneliest Elephant came out a few months ago on Paramont Streaming/Smithsonian. It's not yet available on other locations but hopefully it will end up on Amazon Prime or DVD eventually.

It was a very moving story, mostly focusing on the trials of Dr. Amir Khalil from the Four Paws animal rescue. Despite the title and trailer, Cher has only a peripheral role in the movie. Which is why it's good to also watch the For your consideration video which is a solid hour of Cher and the film's producer. It's an incredible behind-the-scenes conversation about the many of the challenges both Cher and the filmmakers experienced before cameras started rolling, many challenges not even mentioned in the documentary. You come away thinking it was a miracle the film ever happened at all, let alone the rescue itself. It shows the power of perseverance and Cher's mantra of not taking no for an answer (which is a mantra reiterated in all three video clips here).

Hsn3The lightest appearance was HSN's Beauty Report talking about Cher's 2020-Fifi-award-winning new fragrance. Apparently the Fifis are the Oscars of fragrance. Far from saving the world with COVID vaccines or elephant-rescues, this kitschy girl-fest felt very personal yet still newsworthy. 

In all the clips Cher says she loves the people she works on these projects and she loves making things. They discuss the fragrance's color (Cher doesn't like the whiskey look) and  the notes, the bottle corset with the little baby studs.

The whole thing feels like fun girl-time (no matter your gender preference).  Listening to fragrance nerds talk about smells is funny (and interesting) but funny. They ogle the purse-size's twist-top bottle (so it doesn’t leak in your purse). Then they bring out Theo Spilka from Firmenich Fragrance who says they went through 57 trials and it took 4 years with 2 perfumers working on it. He says Cher knew what she wanted and he Hsn2described her initial conversations about an Istanbul incense she liked and how she "rolled up her sleeves literally." He said Cher is so loved all over world Clement Gavarry (the perfumer) was able to get quality raw ingredients like:

  • Orange flower and jasmine from France
  • Neroli from East Africa
  • Bergamot from Italy
  • Sandalwood from Australia

Spilka says it's hard to verbalize what you want making perfumes, but that this perfume is 150% Cher.

Cher drops hints of some Christmas surprise that doesn't sound like a Christmas album although she admits she would do one. She says her favorite Christmas song is (still?) "O Holy Night." 

Cher says she doesn't plan anything and that she was "talking to Herb Alpert the other night" and they both agreed that luck played a large part in their careers. 

Cher tells a story about how she was told a woman with brown eyes and dark hair would never make the cover of Vogue. As we know, Cher soon afterward was on the cover of many Vogue magazines. She says charity blesses the giver and that she really wants to tour again but she wants people to be safe. She says, "I have as good a time as you do." David, the Cher fan talking to her right then says, "I don’t know about that." They talk about a nail polish bottle Cher helped designed for Deb, her manicurist. They talk about how Cher's mom is still stunning in her 90s.

Cher-stare-kunisCher's biopic was also officially announced recently and people are speculating on who will play Cher. Because Cher is completely inimitable, (as drag queens and impersonators have scientifically proven), this will be a challenge. Talented as she may have been, the Cher cast for the TV movie And the Beat Goes On, (yes, this will be Cher's second biopic), was completely off-the-mark. 

For years I've been thinking Mila Kunis would be a good Cher although I have no idea whether she can sing or move like a groovy coolnick. She's got the comedic sense and she has a similar je-ne-sais-quoi quality, part of which is the deadpan Cher-stare.

 


Stinky Cher Words

Review"It hugs my body and caresses my soul"

This is the subject line of the latest email from Scent Beauty on Cher's Eau de Couture. "It gives me peace and comforts me. It makes me happy and gives me strength."

I'm all for aroma therapy but this ad sounds like we're pitching a magic, superfine, sunshine elixir!

"Now gather round folks. I heard you say you wanna pick-me-up that won't let you down. You're looking for a cure?....It's gotta relieve your sore bones, your aching tones and your runny nose!"

It's a good scent. But it does not exactly 'caress my soul.' In fact, this advance on my soul is not required from my beauty products. 

IMG_20210616_100953__01

My mom recently sent us boxes of keepsakes from our childhood, including art attempts, grades, our birth announcements... all that stuff. I've slowly been working through it. I can only take small amounts of my little-shit self so I have no idea how my mom put up with me. As the budding writer in the family, there are copious amounts of notes requesting sleepovers with Krissy (who lived behind us) and petitions to redress unfairnesses unspecified. 

The above letter was written on clown stationary and I had a vague memory today of covering it with the balloon stickers it came with. The letter starts by introducing myself to my mother (in case she doesn't remember me) and then launching into my Christmas wish list, which includes the overbearing request depicted above for "a sher doll" and a dog and a cat. I go on to concede that a cat is unlikely (some of us were allergic), but this was probably just a negotiating tactic on my part to leave room for bargaining down to the doll and the dog. I proceed to explain to her how much I like her and then attempt to illicit from her some positive feelings toward myself. 

I have to report the scheme worked as I did get 'a sher doll' that year. And Sonny too. But we already had a dog and I didn't get another one. 

Which is all to say I've been a fan since before I could spell Cher, which makes my appreciation almost pre-verbal. Almost. Clearly, I already had a very big mouth. 


Cher, Big Data and Influence

The Cher Hot Sheet below was created as fan art by The Hot Sheet on Twitter. What a great piece of data visualization!

Years ago the visual-data software company Tableau gave a demo to Central New Mexico Community College and included an amazing public interactive visualization of some Beatles data with headings like What Are Most of Their Songs About and Which Songwriter Has the Largest Vocabulary. You can even roll over their cartoon heads with your mouse to see which Beatle wrote which hits. Big data, maps, trees and graphs! Nerdy fun! It was so awesome in fact that CNM couldn't afford it. But I always hoped someday there'd be a Cher Tableau. 

The Cher Hot Sheet below is the next best thing: albeit static, it aggregates the data (which is some kind of objective reality, you have to admit) and continues to beg the question as to why artists with lesser numbers are in the Hall of Fame but not this stealthy trailblazer. 

(click to expand)

Hotsheet

In my mind the relevant numbers are this:

  • Cher ranks 16th on Billboards Top 100 female artists of all time.
  • Cher ranks 47th if you include the boys.
  • Her chart span is 38 years! Including 19 years of actual chart activity.
  • She has spent an accumulated 420 weeks on Billboard charts.
  • She is the oldest female to achieve a #1 hit (still, after 20 years!)
  • Cher also holds the record for longest gap between first and last #1 hits (24 years and 355 days)
  • These numbers don't even include Sonny & Cher's contributions (their act had 18 entries of their own).

Thank you, Twitter Hot Sheet person! This is an invaluable contribution to Cher scholarship.

But rock-and-roll isn't about numbers, Missy. It's not all about sales and breaking records. I hear you.

Then your suggesting it's about another kind of influence metric like inspiring other artists?

To which I would say,

I loved Cher's appearance in this video although I would have preferred she be cast as something on the level of the protective pookie-bear, something short of a God figure, the religiousness of which undercuts the influence argument by being too much worship. And a little less spouse abuse would be nice, although this is probably meant to be a metaphor or hyperbole, both of which are sometimes lost on people unfortunately and are dangerous to use in conjunction with violence.


Updated: Cher and the George Floyd Tweet

PhoneUpdate:

What are the odds that the day I posted this summary of the Floyd tweet,  Cher would get embroiled in another Twitter-snafu (another Twitterfu)?? All you have to do now is google "Cher apologizes" and there you get:

Cher apologizes for confusing Sinema, Gillibrand (The Hill)

Same (CNN)

You kind of think maybe Cher should run all tweets by someone and then you think, nah, this is better. Uncensored Cher is a better thing.


So it’s time to blog about this year’s Cher twitter controversy (or this season’s maybe). I've been putting this off until I could get my thoughts written out. And I was worried I wouldn’t get it right. But this fear of saying the wrong thing can't shut the conversation down so here we go...

As a reminder, here are some of the stories about the tweet that broke Twitter:

Cher divides Twitter wondering if she could’ve prevented George Floyd’s death: ‘Maybe if I’d been there... I could’ve helped’ 

Cher apologizes for 'not appropriate' George Floyd tweet 

And this rough read for a Cher fan: Cher’s George Floyd tweet of white fantasy is part of a dangerous pathology 

During the murder trail of police officer Derek Chauvin, lots of people around the world were expressing horror at the details of George Floyd's gruesome death. Cher herself said this: "Maybe If I'd Been There,...I Could've Helped." Some tweeters (both white and people of color) defended Cher and others expressed disgust and annoyance. Some examples on both sides:

“Oh yay another White person centering themselves around blk ppls pain. I wish I was there to stop you from tweeting this.” (@Iconiecon)

“If I Could Turn Back Time, I would stop Cher from tweeting this.” ( @geeta_minocha)

“I mean — maybe she could’ve helped. We’ll never know. Lots of us wish we could’ve done something to change the outcome. Lots of things to be mad about but this tweet ain’t it.” (@flywithkamala)

“She could have worded it differently but I think her intentions were true. She wishes she could have helped. She’s an ally. People need to let this one go.” (@CDonatac)

As part of the turmoil going on last year, the company I consult for provided us with free LinkedIn inclusivity training. One of the people who really impressed me was corporate trainer Mary-Frances Winters and so I bought her book Inclusive Conversations, which I’m still in the middle of reading. Anyway, she talks about being an ally for your co-workers who feel marginalized and she says being an advocate as a white person means more than silently supporting them, but actually speaking out on their behalf, among other things. And for this to happen, we all have to create a safe space and have patience when people make mistakes while speaking out. If not, advocates won’t speak out and our friends will feel completely or inadequately supported. Allies can't be too afraid to say something wrong.

I feel Cher has always been an objectively strong ally, albeit an imperfect one. She has always braved the trolls on Twitter and spoke out for communities in distress. She makes mistakes yeah. Unfortunately on Twitter, groups on the extreme right and left have a zero-tolerance outlook that makes allyship particularly harrowing. It’s to Cher’s credit that she hasn’t stopped for long. She just apologizes and perseveres.

That’s not to say white savior syndrome isn’t a real thing. Just watch some well-meaning white suburbanites descend on an inner-city school with a list of sure fixes, with no comprehension of the experience of poverty or diverging cultural factors. White saviorism is a thing. It needs to be checked. But there are worse things. Much worse things.

This is also not to say celebrity narcissism isn’t a real thing. Cher has admitted her own narcissistic tendencies and I for one believe she does better in this area than many other celebrities of her stature and iconic, practically mythmaking, category. She was just cast as God in a Pink video. For the love of...

And some of that was probably all in that tweet. But it’s not all white savior celebrity narcissism. They way we can tell is to replace George Floyd in the tweet with an Armenian or a white woman who was murdered. Although this isn't as likely and this scenario is not part of the national crisis, it does happen and we can explore the whole tweetstorm again in this light. 

There is this very human element in play, one not based on race, gender or orientation, a human ideal we’ve all had in the fantasy crisis of our own mythmaking minds, this absolutely firm belief, especially strong when we were young adults, that we will be the kind of person to help a person on the street, a person who would stop for an accident on the road, someone who would rescue all the lost dogs in the neighborhood.

But then decades roll by and you see all the accidents, street dramas and wandering dogs you didn’t help. There are reasons: you once heard a story about that guy who got shot helping a stranded motorist, maybe the dog isn’t lost by a free-roamer, and are you going to get yourself killed doing this Good Samaritan thing? The mind scrambles with doubt when the situations actually present themselves. The hard, cold fact of life is that enough of us don’t stop. We all feel this commitment to stopping but stopping isn’t easy. We need to learn to do this. Bravery needs to be modeled and learned, the same sad way we’re now learning to throw our cell phones at madmen in Active Shooter training.

So I greatly sympathize with Cher’s impulse in the tweet, which ultimately all feels sadly human and heartbreaking.

It goes all the way back to our response to tragic fairy tales like Hans Christian Anderson’s “Little Match Girl.” Surely this girl would not have frozen to death under our feet. I used the Anderson story to process this whole situation in a poem for NaPoWriMo 2021: marymccray.com/napowrimo-2021-by-mary-mccray.html#april7

  


Cher Is Reunited with Scooby-Doo

Scoob1The last time Cher joined the shenanigans of Scooby-Doo and his friends it was October of 1972 and they were solving "The Secret of Shark Island." 

There were a few notable aspects of this adventure. First, it has Sonny, who is a pretty good comic foil for the other characters (with his big ego and grandiosity). 

Scoob2

In this story, Sonny & Cher meet up with the Scooby-Doo gang while on their second honeymoon. Because Sonny is so cheap, he's booked them into a dilapidated, gothic haunted hotel perched precariously on a cliff.

Shark_Island Shark_Island

 

 

 

 

 

This is interestingly similar to their Cliff House sketches on their current hit TV show of 1972.

There's a ghost smuggler shark scaring everybody who turns out to be....well, I won't spoil it for you. But suffice it to say we all should have known something was up when the shark-guy starting running around the wine cellars on back feet.

Cherhips

The way they drew Cher in 1972 she always appears with her hands on her cocked hips because that's the slightly annoyed, yet terminally hip stance she was known for having at the time.

The episode is also notable because it was as close as any one of us would ever get to seeing what Sonny & Cher looked like before they went to bed. I'm taking this very literally until evidence surfaces to show me otherwise.

Cherscoob2The whole thing is an ironic moment of fantasy anyway because Sonny never let them go on a vacation during this time, so busy were they with tv shows, records and concerts. I wonder if it was aggravating for Cher to pretend Sonny & Cher actually took vacations like this, even to dilapidated gothic hotels perched precariously on cliffs.

There have been about 101 manifestations of the Scooby-Doo franchise. I can think of about 4 incarnations in my childhood alone. Honestly, Scrappy worked my last nerve and I really didn't appreciate the watered-down celebrity appearances on a show what were originally a very scary series. I watched the headless horseman episode with the afghan my grandmother crocheted for me stretched over my head (for protection) and I peaked out of the yarn holes. It was great. 

All the big names of the day appeared on the show. like Don Adams, John Astin, Tim Conway, Sandy Duncan, Don Knotts and even Cass Elliot. As I said, I preferred the closed circle of the original five without the hobnobbing riffraff. I actually had no idea Sonny & Cher made an appearance until I saw a rerun in my teens.

Now the episode is available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

Chersargasso2So flash forward a zillion different Scooby-Doo tv shows and movies later and the latest incarnation is Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? another celebrity filled series. Cher appears in a season 2 episode called "The Sargasso Sea" (which keeps reminding me of the novel Wide Sargasso Sea). For some reason, this episode is not yet available in the U.S. but has been shown in Turkey, Canada and Australia. 

But don't worry because the seasons look like they eventually end up on Amazon Prime and DVD. 

There are copious screenshots already available online and I'd like to review them here.

Chersargaso1 Chersargaso1

 

 

 


First of all, for some reason Cher looks younger in this episode created almost 50 years later. It's a goddamn miracle of science.

Cheryaght Cheryaght

 

 

 

 

Secondly, it appears in this episode Cher apparently owns the yacht depicted above, which feels a bit too much living like the Burtons for someone who helped turned the tide of the new thinner, bohemian woman in the 1960s away from full-figured women like (but especially) Elizabeth Taylor. As a couple, Sonny & Cher were also the anti-Liz & Dick image-wise, their pseudonyms Caesar & Cleo aside (I mean, it wasn't like they were Antony and Cleopatra). 

And you may remember there were scuba-villains in the 1972 episode.

ScubavillainsWell, this episode has both a Scuba-Scooby and a Scuba-Cher!

Scubascoob Scubascoob

 

 

 


This production can't get here fast enough, as far as I'm concerned. 

The celebrities on this series are again a good snapshot of the day, but maybe skewing a bit cooler with stars like Sia, Steve Buscemi, Ricky Gervais, Gigi Hadid and Neil deGrasse Tyson among others.

More information:
https://hanna-barberawiki.com/wiki/Cher,_Scooby,_and_the_Sargasso_Sea!

Watch a clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFIxkTPbwUo

Not only does Cher reunite with the gang but with another Shark-villain (with two feet). Cher even refers to her first appearance, which is a comforting bit of symmetry for Cher scholars out there.