Cher, Elizabeth Taylor and Helen Hardin

IMG_20210315_193844 Notice the caption in the image to the left ("anticipates Cher") from an Elizabeth Taylor biography. 

I'm doing a poetry/story HTML project right now for a class on Digital Literature and I needed to beef up on the subject of Elizabeth Taylor for it. I was never a huge fan because (a) this was my mother's era and (b) Taylor was on somewhat of downward slide when I first learned about her in the late 1970s. But I've gained a lot of respect for both Taylor and Richard Burton since reading more about them.

CleolikeSo it's come as a bit of surprise to see some natural parallels between Cher and Elizabeth Taylor, especially considering Cher doesn't call out Taylor as a major inspiration like she does Audrey Hepburn and Katharine Hepburn, aside from the obvious references to the movie Cleopatra: Cher's eyeliner methods and Sonny & Cher first calling themselves Caesar and Cleo.

But there are a few other connections I:

  1. Elizabeth Taylor loved to make big entrances in shows and in life. Many times in books, people mention her "big entrances." This might go back to the biggest entrance of all in Cleopatra.

  2. She pushed some fashion envelopes. See above. The big headdress screamed Cher when I saw it in one book. The second book I picked up even calls it out. 2.b Costume Changes: apparently Taylor broke a record for most costume changes in a movie with Cleopatra, a record eventually broken by Julie Andrews.

  3. Elizabeth Taylor embraced the good and the bad about being famous and was able to cope with it. Cher often expresses the same kind of ambivalence but not bitterness about having to deal with mobs and the wheels of show biz.

Cherliz
I didn't find a lot of Cher-Taylor mashups online but Cher did appear at Taylor's televised 68th birthday bash.  See the photo below of Taylor and Michael Jackson clapping to Cher's comments.

Liz-mj-clapcher

And here's a link to a 60s-era photo of Sonny, Cher and Taylor

Interestingly, the tabloids were also trying to get rumors going about an affair between Cher and Richard Burton, which seems funny in retrospect.

Cherliz2

1714750Also, I finally came across this picture of artist Helen Hardin on the cover of New Mexico Magazine with her late 60s wings. This photo always reminds me of Cher's wings in 1968:

Wings

And in 1969:

Wings3


More Moonstruck, Bobbleheads, Biden and Interviews

Mooneyes

Another good Moonstruck review appeared in The New Yorker while I was away.

B.D. McClay admits this movie’s “selling points have always been a problem" and then delves into the psychology of our inner wolf-ness. Huh. Something just dawned on me. Anyway, many characters in the movie, McClay notices, are “torn between who [they are] and who [they believe] themselves to be.” Loretta can’t “admit that she is a wolf, too” and “her coverup is a form of agency, ” her “own wish to feel in control, just as nothing is driving her father’s affair but his refusal to admit to his wife that he fears death.” Interesting.

McClay also interestingly notes that Ronny’s exasperation of Loretta in his line “I ain’t no freakin’ monument to justice!’ is ultimately ironic because he has indeed become a monument to his own pain. McClay also feels the idea of family is almost more important in this story than the escapades of the couple, “being a member of a family, you assume a kind of doubleness among people who have known you for a long time, which is part of what makes trying to be somebody else appealing.”

“You could flip over the table and see what happens” McClay says about taking life risks and compares the movie to Shakespeare’s romantic comedies, especially As You Like It. The movie “shares the same spirit. It’s a comedy, but it’s deeply obsessed with death, to the point that it opening a funeral parlor.”

Not many reviews and pieces for Boobleheads came out and they were ultimately unsatisfying anyway. People Magazine interviewed Cher.  She says, “No one has ever asked me to do voice-overs” and called her voice “a strange voice.” She also states, “This is a film for young people. Little kids don’t know who I am.” I wonder if little kids believe Cher is simply just another a character or bobbledom.  “For me, it was a story about being yourself…[a movie] that sends a good message.”

When asked, she admits she does have a bobblehead of herself (I’m assuming custom made) and says she “might be a little bit old [for them].” Well, not me sister. For some reason this movie has made me feel insatiable with the desire to own a Cher bobblehead. There's also a mention in Entertainment Weekly and Exclaim for some reason only reviewed the trailer. Dude, we can all watch the trailer. What purpose do these trailer reviews serve?

CookiecherThere were also some bigger general interviews:

Good Housekeeping

Kayla Keegan notes Cher’s “fearless devotion to being herself” and catalogues all of her public activities of 2020 and summarizes her life a bit. Most interesting was Cher's memory of the first book she actually enjoyed reading (after struggling with dyslexia), a book given to her by Sonny called The Saracen Blade

The Guardian

Simon Hattenstone elicits some good comments in this Guardian interview. He notes on the outfit that made such a splash in London in December, the “two-tone black-and-white beret, matching jacket, skinny jeans, black boots, black mask, and an elephant-shaped knuckle-duster.” They discuss  Trump and Biden, Kaavan the elephant, her Free the Wild and Cher Cares charities, the California fires that burned the side of her house, the price-tag for her Vegas show (an estimated $60 million a year but she defends that this supports 100 staff…Hattenstone also notes her estimated worth of $360 million). Sonny is referenced as her “Svengali and lover” and they talk about her feelings about him after he took all their shared earnings and then some. She talks briefly about Camilletti and Allmas as well.

Hittenstone notes that Cher “has a touch of Mae West about her” and “a surprising stillness.” He calls her a “serious, understated actor” but also notes her recent “gloriously camp cameo” in Mama Mia. (You could say that about all her recent roles.) He says she’s “never quite received the acclaim she deserves” and that “very few women have been so empowering for other women” due to her independence, longevity, chutzpah and level-headedness. He also remarks on her “steadfast” sobriety despite her very public dramas.

He mentions that in his experience other “megastars are evasive, talk in soundbites or reel off anecdotes on autopilot. Cher answers fully, as if considering every question for the first time. She doesn’t pretend to be your friend or feign intimacy.”

Although she refuses to accept his linking her past plastic surgeries to the current trend of teenage girls going under the knife. Hittenstone calls her “freakishly fit” which seems like only something you would only say in 2021.

She mentions in the piece that she’s working on saving a gorilla and another elephant now.

CNN

Oscar Holland at CNN talks to Cher about gay men, her son Chaz, Kaavan and Biden and the recent news that she may be directing a movie soon, tangentially related to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. She’s also working on a new album, which begs the question of where the ABBA2 album got off to. Maybe it succumbed to Covid-19. Hopefully not.


Cher Copies at the Met Gala 2019, a Cher Meme and Vincent Price

Dresses

Looking at a recap in Cosmopolitan magazine, I noticed two dresses at the 2019 Met Gala that seemed very derivative of past Cher dresses. I don't know why but the Kim Kardashian dress reminded me of Cher's 1998 dress for the Academy Awards. Is it me? 


Kimk Kimk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


And Jennifer Lopez wore Cher's "Take Me Home" dress (live version).

Jlo19met Jlo19met

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cher  Meme (I’m here)

Imhere

Cher set off a meme October 21 when she simply texted "I'm here" after being away from Twitter for awhile. Many people responded to finish the thought.  For example, Alanis Morrissette replied "to remind you." 

My version was "I'm here...I said to the cobwebs forming in the bathroom we use everyday."

Read other responses:
https://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/cher-im-here-meme

https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop/9472313/chers-im-here-tweet-alanis-morissette


VpVincent Prince on the Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour

A few months ago I watched the early 1970s Dr. Phibes movies and got really into Vincent Price, "the Gable of Gothic," even buying one of his cookbooks and reading Vincent Price, A Daughter’s Biography by Victoria Price.

I found I have a few things in common with Vincent Price, including St. Louis, Missouri (growing up there I already knew that), Albuquerque, New Mexico, a love of Native American art and a love of the horror genre. So I've been watching a lot of Price movies on streaming.

Plus, one of the long lost episodes of The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour is the Vincent Price episode so I was interested to know if Victoria Price would mention this episode in her book. I actually had trouble finding it at first. Turns out her parents were going through a divorce that year which took up most of the chronological section of the book in 1973. In chapter 29 where she catches up with Vincent Price’s early 1970s TV appearances she covers the show:

“…I did meet a few famous people who really impressed me. During my one allowed hour of television I often watched reruns of I Love Lucy, so when my father guest-starred on The Lucy Show in 1970, my mother took me to watch the taping…A few years later, my father took me with him to tape an episode of The Sonny & Cher Show [really really the Comedy Hour]. I had seen the famous duo on TV, and was causally interested in meeting them. Their daughter Chastity was a baby, and I was introduced to both mother and daughter in what seemed more like an exotic boudoir than a typical studio dressing room. But much more exciting than meeting Cher was meeting their other guest star, George Forman, who had just been crowed heavyweight boxing champion of the world. He seemed so big that when he shook my hand I was afraid he would crush it. But he had the gentlest handshake. I was thrilled to meet him because I was a sports fanatic. Growing up in Hollywood, I never idolized movie stars. I never found them glamourous because it seemed to me that they were simply my father’s colleagues. But sports were another thing. And animals. For my tenth birthday, I was taken to meet my favorite movie star—Lassie.”

Chastity too was duly impressed by Lassie when the dog appeared on The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour.

George Foreman actually didn’t end up airing with the Vincent Price episode. This isn’t unusual as guest stars were probably filmed, cut and aired as needed. Vincent Price’s episode aired with The Temptations on December 5, 1973 (Jerry Lewis had the Halloween spot for some unfathomable reason). George Foreman ended up in the #56 and #60 episodes which aired on December 12, 1973, and January 16, 1974 respectively.


Cher in Vogue, November 1969

Right around the time Sonny & Cher appeared on The Mike Douglas Show in the fall of 1969, Cher also appeared again in a 10-page Vogue spread in November. Her hair is the longest I’ve seen it here. Was this before the live performance she recalls when her hair got caught in her dress zipper and she had to cut it off? Anyway, the photo spread is a great example of this transitional period where some pics look like Cher circa the 1970s and some still look like her 1960s self. The spread is called “Fashion to Enjoy/The Price is Right/The Girl is Cher” 

SweepThe first pic reminds me of Cher's 1971 album cover, the long eyelashes, the eyebrows.

She wears a $13k bracelet,  2 of them in fact set with 16k diamonds into platinum and the rest is 18k gold and an Etruscan finish. The credit talks about "total cartage...Considering all this, the tab figures. Right? Right.”
(ugh, how the rich talk)

In the second photo you can see Cher's bangs growing out. I love the flowing dress. It's really a long leotard and a long wrapped skirt, all for $123. The copywriter loves her "glorious hair." The credits say, “She of Sonny-and-“ 

 

SandalsShe wears a bun on her head for this one and Egyptian sandals. Cher, like Ali McGraw, has big feet.

This is a Paynne velvet silver dress for $36 and at the time could be found at Sax Fifth Avenue.

 

 

 

 

KnitThis is a $110 silver colored knit once to be found at Bloomingdales. Some great bang flowing out there. And look how long that hair is!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OddI think of this first outfit as the odd Phyllis Diller Dress. It's $90 chiffon from either Lord & Taylor or Famous-Barr.

More big boots in the second pic, a $35 star dress from Lord & Taylor. The caption references her 30-inch hair…did they measure it?

 

 

 

 

WrapHard to believe she just had baby 10 months ago! This is a $135 purple Halston dress. The caption says that "after her success in Chasity" she's planning another movie, title undecided.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TiedyeThey caption calls this $300 Halston tie-dye tan and brown pantsuit $300 “pas sic Cher” (thus everywhere)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AngelI love these next two outfits. This is a $130 semi-see-through gauze apricot. One of the sandals is too small for Cher's foot. The caption talks about her “3614 Jackson Highway album in Muscle Shoals, Alabama”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PleatsThe accordion dress! Mauve gauze in "a cloud of pleats" including pleated sleeves and scarf. This could be found at Saks Fifth Avenue or Neiman Marcus

 


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):

20200805_18542720200805_185427

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

20200805_185447

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

20200806_102153

Chervogue67-alt2-store

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I must say I love these jumping pics though.

20200805_185502

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

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. 


Cher and Gene, Billy and Christie

I came across a picture of Cher and Gene Simmons from the late 1970s that reminded me of the paparazzi pics of Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley, the joking way the couples dealt with the press. This was before the craziness of late-80s aggro paparazzi.

Back then Gene Simmons did not appear in public without is KISS makeup on. So when the couple went out or did publicity, Gene would have to obscure his face or hide behind Cher.

Chergene4 Chergene4 Chergene4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this snapshot, Cher is obscured but seen to be joining in the game of wearing a handkerchief. 

Chergene

 

 

 

 

 


Which reminded me of this shot of Christie and Billy (I actually remembered this pic from seeing it in the 1980s!):

Getimage


Stuck at Home with Somebody Variations

Cherathome

Stuff to Hold Us Over

Cher tweeted the picture (right) of herself staying at home. Which is what most of us are doing right now, give or take an ocean view.

A small list of things cancelled on me recently:

- Cher concert in Kansas City
- My 50th birthday Rio Grande rafting trip
- A local family reunion
- Mr. Cher Scholar's mother's internment
- All plans to leave the house

It sucks to be human right now but you have to keep reminding yourself, it could be much worse. Crazy enemies could be bombing your house. That would be a lot worse, especially because you'd lose your internet connection.

We're so spoiled.

Anyway, this month was to be my first visit to see a Cher show this tour but, as we all know, everyone's everything was cancelled this season or postponed and all our plans were given wedgies. 

Maybe this will give me time to catch up on tour reviews. 

In the meantime, hopefully you aren't going crazy by forced inactivity. Like toilet paper and frozen pizzas, here are some things to hold you over:

20200330_104618A few year's ago Cher scholar Dishy sent me a song on a 45 record. I didn't have a record player at the time. I dug it out last weekend and played it, Sonny singing "I'll Change."  Cher scholar Robrt informed me recently this was originally a Don Christy (Sonny's pseudonym) track on Rush Records in 1961. It was released a few times after Sonny became well known, including this misleading 45 label indicating Cher had anything to do with it.

CfbThe lovely CR Fashion Book cover is out. Read the interview, see the pics here.

Along with the 45 above, I dug out all copies of my favorite Cher song, "Somebody." Here's a breakdown of the versions:

  • The LP version without the gospel wailing outro. I didn't know this version even existed until one of the compilations came out. My first LP had the outro, but I've since found LPs that didn't have it. 
  • The LP version with the gospel wailing outro and the single version (this is also the single version, the B-side to "A Cowboy's Work is Never Done"). My parents had the LP album with this version on it. So from my narcissistic viewpoint, this feels like the canonical version.
  • There is also a radio edit version that's so dramatically different it will blow your mind.

20200330_104602 20200330_104602

 

 

 

 

 

And finally, for years I've been trying to locate a picture of Sonny & Cher's wedding rings together. I know I had seen that somewhere. I was looking through the opening credits of the movie Good Times when I found it. Now I've totally forgotten why I was looking for this but...here it is. I'll remember someday and by that time completely forget that I left it here.

Rings


New Cher Ad for Jeans

ChericonA new DSQARED2 ad with Cher arrived recently including photography by Mert & Marcus.

It looks great. 

Read more about Dquared2 jeans and the campaign

There's a video too. Somewhat obscured but interesting with "Shakedown" by Los Tones playing.

And everyone is saying how this look, especially the quality of the black and white, reminds us of early 1970s Norman Seeff photographs that were included on both Cher's Stars (1975) and I'd Rather Believe in You (1976) album covers. 

 

 

 

Including these shots:

Cherjeans1 Cherjeans1

 

 

 

 



And this great one:

Cherjeans4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the one Kim Kardashian recently recreated less naturally:

Kimjeans

Kimjeans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In any case, Cher still rocks some jeans.


The Influence of Movie Stars: Mae West and John Engtead Photos

MaewetitudeMy friend Christopher sent me a stack of books his grandmother had before she passed away. One of them was a thin book on the movies of Mae West. Immediately I recognized something about Cher in Mae West, a sort of Mae-Westitude. Did Cher borrowed anything from Mae West? It's an interesting idea. 

BreastdressFirst it was the dress from the movie I’m No Angel with the looks-more-revealing-than-it-is with its skin-tone material (so similar to Bob Mackie's dresses for Cher) and the cut-out breast plates similar to Cher's Take Me Home album cover.

Then it was Cher's Sadie Thompson but really Mae West impersonations (3:05).

It's also Cher's own sexual self confidence and personality.

Mae was said to be immediately recognizable and confident in her dresses, wigs and with her “insinuating sneer.”

Oh yes, and the wigs!

West is described in the book as tough, resilient, bold, self-mocking and good natured, all synonyms for Cher too.

Mae was also noted for her androgyny. Fans called her “Queen of the World.” The verb vamping was literally used in the book. So much in common.

Here are some other similar outfits...

Belle

Town

West

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



West in Belle of the Nineties / Going to Town / Go West Young Man 

Pretty provocative.

Mae West also had a multi-faceted career from vaudeville to Broadway to Hollywood. And for those who bemoan Cher’s lack of commitment to any one facet of show business, Mae had something to say about that, too: "It wasn’t what I did but how I did it.” 

West was credited with bringing “an entirely new attitude toward sex on the silver screen. Before Mae, the Hollywood siren had been heavy and sinister, a wrench in spangles or clinging black velvet gown who lured men to their doom. With Mae, sex became breezy and humorous, a light-hearted activity without guilt, recriminations, or emotional involvement of any kind.”

I also recently found a book called “Movie Star Portraits of the 1940s” and there were some photos there by John Engstead. You might remember his photos of Cher photos circa 1975, when her promotional materials were black and white, very soft focus, glamorous and hearkening back to this very Hollywood era. 

Eng1 Cher-75

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black and whites with light and shadow, soft makeup similar to his work stars like Lana Turner, Marlene Dietrick and Loretta Young, whose photo with flowers reminded me of his portraits for Cher in 1975. 

Bergman-eng Bergman-eng Bergman-eng

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingrid Bergman / Loretta Young / Lauren Bacall

There's something about these images that is not weak or vulnerable seeming, but headstrong…just straight on, and as the book states these images contain “allure and glamour imbued with intelligence.”


Fashion and Fumes

20190612_141854Cher is soon to launch a new perfume,  a scent she’s calling ungendered and named Eau de Couture (not quite the sparkle the name Uninhibited had). But Cher’s got a great nose for a perfume as we know. Musty old bottles of Uninhibited are still smelling nice are still selling on eBay. Someday the liquid will run out and maybe 10,000 years aliens will find it.

Speaking for myself, my Cher she-shed shelf is stock full of Cher product. I will find room.

Cher’s been working on the project for four years with with perfumer Clément Gavarry. More info: https://wwd.com/beauty-industry-news/fragrance/cher-plots-fragrance-and-discusses-emojis-retirement-1203133815/

20190612_141835I love perfume. My favorite is Flower Bomb right now. Recently my friend Christopher bought me the Bob Mackie brand. It smells very strong with the following notes of pineapple, raspberry, peach, tuberose, orange blossom, narcissus, jasmine, ylang-ylang and roseand. Very floral and yet it smells very gendered to me. 

Cher-perfWhen I was going online looking for a preview of the new Cher bottle (another aspect of perfume I love), I couldn’t find one but I did find this perfume called CHER. Did anyone know about this?

Shouldn’t CHER be trademarked by now.... if it wasn’t for being such a common French word?

My friend Christopher has also been sending me subscriptions to Cosmo magazine and InSTYLE magazine. A month or so ago InSTYLE magazine had a picture of Sandra Oh wearing this Gucci dress. Does it remind you of anything?

Oh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


...like these Bob Mackie dresses Tina Turner and Cher wore in the late 1970s?

Cher-tina Cher-tina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I was kind of shocked by that.