More Cher in Art and Literature

Cherart2There is so much Cher to catch up on. To paraphrase Jane in Witches of Eastwick, sometimes I just can't face it. 

Now that my projects have calmed down somewhat, I can get back into the swing of things and start blogging again. But if you ever need timely Cher news (and who doesn't?), you'd be well served to follow Cher Team Universe on Twitter. They get the scoop. I've never been a good scooper, sadly. 

Anyway, I'm feeling daunted by the sheer volume of Cher happenings right now. So I felt today it would be good to start with new developments in Cher in art and literature. Then we can move on to the juicy videos, documentaries, biopics, new music....all that stuff.

My friend Mikaela texted me a photo of the following beautiful, beautiful poem by Chen Chen from the 2017 book When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities:

Nature Poem
by Chen Chen

The birds insist on pecking the wooded dark. The wooded dark
pecks back. It is time to show the universe what you are capable of,
says my horoscope, increasingly insistent this month. 
But what I am capable of is staring

at the salt accident on the coffee table & thinking,
What sad salt. I admire my horoscope
for its conviction. I envy its consistency. Every day. Every day,
there is a future to be aggressively vaguer about.

Earlier today, outside the cabin, the sudden deer were a supreme
headache of beauty. Don’t they know I am trying to be alone
& at peace? In theory I am alone & really I am hidden,
which is a fine temporary substitute for peace, except I still

have email, which is how I receive my horoscope, & even here
in the wooded dark I receive yet another email mistaking me
for another Chen. I add this to a folder, which also includes
emails sent to my address but addressed to Chang,

Chin, Cheung. Once, in a Starbucks, the cashier
was convinced I was Chad. Once, in a Starbucks, the cashier
did not quite finish the n on my Chen, & when my tall mocha was ready,
they called out for Cher. I preferred this by far, but began to think

the problem was Starbucks. Why can’t you see me? Why can’t I stop
needing you to see me? For someone who looks like you
to look at me, even as the coffee accident
is happening to my second favorite shirt?

In my wooded dark, I try insisting on a supremely tall,
never-lonely someone. But every kind of someone needs
someone else to insist with. I need. If not the you
I have memorized & recited & mistaken

for the universe—another you.    

Buy the book.

Then later I was reading the thesis on Cher by Orquidea da Conceição and there's a poem referenced and included in the back appendices called "Thirteen Ways of Looking at Cher" by Margaret McCarthy from the 2015 book Notebooks From Mystery School." The poem is really about aging and the loss of relevance and I feel it misses the cubist focus on its  purported subject that is so interesting in Wallace Stevens' "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird." This poem is really 13 ways of looking about aging instead of contemplating Cher's struggle with same, but there are interesting ideas here about protection by transformation and the avoidance of looking old (the dogs yowling one way or another). Although this is part of Cher's craft, it's not all of her craft. Also good meditations on creating versus re-creating, an interesting switch from the blackbird to a raven, and the reference to Sisyphus (which always reminds me of Cher's 1972 song "Down, Down, Down").  Although I've never written very good Cher poems, this makes me want to do a 13 Ways Cher poem, too. Let's all do one.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at Cher
by Margaret McCarthy

I

Why can't she just accept
it
the gravity
of the situation, the downward tug then spiral?

II

The raven black hair easy
to transform.
The smooth, hard sheen
of protection, her craft.

III

A miracle!
But now we know the nature of the cell is immortal.
She knew this first;
the raven heart told her.

IV

60 years can be called
miss. Is this
what 60 looks like?

V

I do not know which to prefer, creation or transformation; what I make in this world,
or the re-making of myself.

VI

Upkeep's ceaseless effort, Sisyphus
rolling back over
gray time,
over and over.

VII

The mirror's incisor lines, Imagination
flies forward and back

VIII

I know the pressure
of the rock bearing down, and I know that bird vision is involved in what I push.

IX

The dogs yowl
at imperfection;
the dogs yap
at perfection's attempt.
The sweet bird flies
above the noise of beasts.

X

Must the crone die?
Is the perpetual maiden the proper keeper of spirit's wisdom?

XI

The shadow of each equinox casts fear.
She thought the nature of cycles impossible.
Is balance possible?

XII

Is it culture's rock or time's?
The bird's eye sees time's river moving around rock and our desire
to transcend 
rock and river.

XIII

The bird's shaman heart understands
evening is going to cast its shadow all afternoon. Matter
has been brought or bought
to match spirit.
In my raven heart I know
she's right.

Buy the book.

The pop-art piece above is available from https://artandhue.com/shop/cher/.


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 in the Time of Covid

WalkaisleSo where the hell have I been? Well thanks for asking. As I said in my last post, my 80-something parents (right, 1958 in Carson City, NV) came down with Covid in Cleveland mid-November. I spent the end of December through the beginning of February (alternating with my brothers) helping them get back on their feet. When my mother was on death's door  back in November, I promised her that if she made it home I would learn to cook (finally, after 50 years) and make her a bunch of Hello Fresh dinners. And that's what I did, in the process learning the many joys of a bubble whisk.

I anticipated catching up on all-Cher-things while I was gone but that did not happen. In fact, the whole experience made me question fandom entirely (and not for the first time). I asked myself what purpose it serves, does it make my life better, does it make the world better? And because of all of the most recent events in the world, the answer was a soft no. Not that much different from stress shopping, I figured. But then I came around to the idea that in some way, like a carrot on a stick in front of a mule, it gave me something to look forward to, some relief of entertainment just slightly up ahead. And that was comforting in the trenches of things. 

New Video

Stopcrying1I will be slowly catching up over the next few months. So much has happened, first of which was the video release of "Stop Crying Your Heart Out" which I loved. Although I could not follow it's directive, I really loved the perfectly-edited video, which felt oddly cohesive considering all the personalities involved:

Stopcrying2You can still donate:

Stopcrying3

New Movie

IMG_20210220_181043Then last weekend I finally watched Bobbleheads: The Movie:

This felt like a watered-down Toy Story with bobbleheads. There wasn't much background on the cartoon family but that the parents were theme park designers in a world that looked like the cheap cousin of Pixar. But this is a good movie for kids under ten (and hopefully Cher’s brand can successfully extend into this demo).

Some oddities: these were scary parents who kept a fish tank on the coffee table and no baby gates at the top of the stairs, fully expecting their tween daughter to deal with it. There was also a Cher poster inexplicably in the office. Who is the fan here? The wife, the husband, both?

The story is basically the bobblehead toys avoiding pitfalls in the house like  a visiting dog and nefarious relatives squatting there. Lots of references to collectors of the bobbleheads and collector culture. There’s also a sub-world bobble creed and anxiety around the toy's relationships to their real life prototypes, some protos who have let down their bobbles and some protos who bobbles cannot live up to.

This is where it gets weird because Cher is a real life prototype to her bobble equivalent (meaning she really exists in real life) but the other bobbles are fictional characters to their fictional prototypes. The rules of the world bobble here. It probably would have been better for all protos to have been fictional.

Cher’s bobble appears in spaceship (in reference to her big concert entrances) at the toy's darkest hour and gives the group a mentor of bobblishiousness (very similar to her role in 2017’s Home: Adventures with Tip and Oh and even in Mama Mia 2 to some extent). She comes as a representative of The Bobble Council.

These are flat roles that are getting old for fans but maybe helpful in introducing Cher’s brand to new generations. This makes me wonder if this is what it felt like for original fans of the great Mae West getting flat 1970s facsimiles in later years.

All that said, there are still some good messages here. Cher clarifies the bobble creed: "Bobbles bobble and bring joy" which sounds a bit like Cher's own entertainment ethos. She also has this good advice: "Don’t be prototypes, be you." Then she tells the cat he’s one of a kind and to embrace that. "That’s what my proto did,” she says.

Over the credits, Cher’s bobble tries to teach the other bobbles to be dancers in her live show. They’re all flat feet, so to speak.

New Cover

KaleoAfter listening to the Cover Channel on SiriusXM for a few years, they finally played a Cher cover, "Bang Bang" from the Icelandic band Kaleo. It starts slow like a lot of the Sinatra-esque versions already out there but then it starts to veer away with new embellishments, then unfolds into its own unique, less controlled thing. Great cover.


Moonstruck for Christmas

MoonstruckOy vey. Good grief. All the things.

I feel like I've been living in a funhouse for the last month and a half. Some of the scenes have been a complete nightmare (like the Trumpers post election still denying covid, the day when we thought we were losing my mother for good) and other things amazingly good, (like being home with my parents for Christmas today). But by the end of it, I'm not sure I'm the same person anymore.

My elderly parents both came down with Covid-19 in mid-November and have been in the hospital literally on death's door (more so for my mother with her breathing ailments).  Thankfully, miraculously they both made it back home in Ohio and are slowly on the mend. I'm now in the Cleveland area helping them out. 

So I've missed pretty much all the Cher stuff. Which has been quite a few things I will need to catch up on in the coming months: the Cher tour cancelled, Cher on The Late Late Show, the "Stop Crying Your Heart Out" video, all the Kaavan stuff,  the bobble-head movie, all the press interviews, the scam gargoyle I got on eBay in a moment of weakness, a piece that was purportedly a Sanctuary item but is nowhere in the catalogs and is assuredly nothing Cher would have in there. All the things.

But I didn't want to let Christmas go by without a Moonstruck post. It's been such a success this year.

Continue reading "Moonstruck for Christmas" »


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 at the 'I Will Vote' Fundraiser

JoeI tagged this as "television" but then realized it was really paid-streaming and I had no category for that. Times have changed. 

Just documenting some late news here we already know about but Cher created a new song and performance for a Joe Biden fundraiser right before the election. It streamed on Sunday November 1 and the single was made available the following day on streaming and download locations.

Watch her segment: "Happiness is Thing Called Joe

You can listen to the single on YouTube Music, Spotify or Amazon. Amazon also has a copy for purchase.

The other amazing video from the fundraiser was Will.i.am and Jennifer Hudson redoing "Where is the Love" in a mash-up with a Joe Biden speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jk7LPpY8pXM.

Rolling Stone's coverage and background on this old Broadway song she refurbished: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/cher-happiness-is-a-thing-called-joe-biden-1081007/

The night of the show, Mr. Cher Scholar also received an email from Cher which read:

John,

I first met Joe Biden in 2006. I saw a speech he’d given, and it was love at first speech. So I went to his office to grill him and I asked him really pointed questions -- and unlike most politicians, Joe actually listened to me and cared about what I had to say.

I know he’s the kind of leader our country desperately needs, and I’m so proud to support his campaign. That’s why I’m so excited to be a part of tonight’s I Will Vote concert, and why I hope you’ll reserve your ticket to the event right now.

I’m asking you personally, John: If I’ve ever made you smile, laugh, cry, dance, or just brightened your day -- will you donate $50 or whatever you can afford to make sure Joe, Kamala, and other Democrats win on November 3rd and get your ticket to tonight’s event?

[Payment options]

The choice couldn’t be more clear, John. I’ve fought for causes I believe in for a long time, and I know that together, we’re strong enough to make change in this country.

So if you’re with me in these final days of this battle for the soul of the nation, I hope you’ll join me tonight at 8 PM EDT for the virtual I Will Vote concert. We’ll hear some great music, talk with hosts George Lopez and Ana Navarro, and hear from Joe Biden, Jill Biden, Kamala Harris, and Doug Emhoff about what this election means for all of us.

John, will I see you there? Chip in $50 or whatever you can afford, and the Biden Victory Fund will send you all the details about how to join us.

Later,

Cher

Later,

Cher Scholar


Keep Moving with Cher Workouts

BodycWow. The last few weeks have given me a crick in my neck. Civil War is no joke. It's very stressful here on the brink.

So you have to stay hydrated. (Oy.)

You can't just melt into the couch. (Good grief.)

I had a lot of these blog posts prepared before the U.S. election but the week prior I got sick (again) and last week was just a hot mess. But here's some diversion for you.

I received the February 1993 issue of Vogue with a review of Cher's second workout VHS tape, Body Confidence. Her first VHS tape, New Attitude came out in 1991 and Body Confidence came out in 1992. I purchased them both but didn't really have any sense at the time of what else was going on in the celebrity fitness market or how well Cher's VHS tapes were received. Since then, the workout videos have been released on DVD but only for the PAL format. But happily you can get DVD players now which play any format for about $40 on Amazon. 

Bodyc2This Vogue review is from a fitness column by Rachel Urquhart. Here she reviews many celebrity offerings including tapes by Cindy Crawford, Marla Maples and Cher among others.

“In Cher Fitness: Body Confidence, the sequel to Cher’s best-selling fitness debut, there’s an even greater credibility gab to negotiate [than for Marla Maples]. It is, after all, a little hard to feel inspired by the figure of a woman who is rumored to have had ribs and teeth, among other nonessential body parts, surgically removed in order to look slimmer. [Cher never had body parts removed and it's irresponsible of Vogue to repeat it]. But that said, it’s hard to resist Cher’s approachable manner—not to mention her novel workout fashion sense.  Why not forsake baggy gray sweats for a strapless black vinyl leotard with heavy metal zipper? As for what to wear during evening sweat sessions, her sheer black body stocking covered with well-placed webs of sequins, sequined garters, and thigh-high opaque stockings seems to set just the right aerobics-goddess-cum-street-walker tone. [This is Vogue so of course they’ll notice her outfits.]

Bodyc3As for the actual workout, Cher aerobicizes through a 38-minute, easy-to-follow series of dance steps designed to get your heart rate up and shape your body without the aid of a scalpel. I liked the 45-minute muscle-toning workout that follows even better. Dressed in black shorts, fishnet stockings, and a wide vinyl belt, Cher is a relatively sedate presences here as she follows her no-nonsense personal trainer through more exercises than I ever dreamed were possible using a two-foot long rubber band. [Bands were a novelty at the time I guess]. Another reason this tape stands out is that Cher uses semi-real music-—soundalikes belt out the tunes of Chaka Khan, The Kinks and Marvin Gaye, to name a few—instead of the usual dreck heard only on exercise tapes and when the Amtrak reservation desk puts you on hold. And she does her best to seem human; she trembles when the exercise get hard; she complains; she jokes about her ‘weird elbows”; she talks about shopping. She’s not being a star—she’s just being Cher."

Work along with YouTube:

New Attitude: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1kp9fbBoqA

Body Confidence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhXcQsfqTJQ 


New Criterion Moonstruck Release

MoonstruckThe Criterion Collection is releasing a new Moonstruck Blu-Ray and DVD on November 17.

Special Features

            • New 4K digital restoration, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
            • New interview with screenwriter John Patrick Shanley
            • New interview with scholar Stefano Albertini about the use of opera in the film
            • Introduction from 2013 featuring Cher
            • Interviews from 1987 with director Norman Jewison and actors Cher, Nicolas Cage, Vincent Gardenia, and Olympia Dukakis
            • Interview from 2002 with actor Danny Aiello
            • Audio interview from 1989 with Shanley about screenwriting and the development of Moonstruck
            • At the Heart of an Italian Family, a 2006 program about the making of the film
            • The Music of “Moonstruck,” a 2006 program featuring interviews with Jewison and composer Dick Hyman
            • Audio commentary from 1998 with Cher, Jewison, and Shanley
            • Trailer
            • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
            • PLUS: An essay by critic Emily VanDerWerff

Oooh, essay. I love essays! To order: https://www.criterion.com/films/29154-moonstruck


Typical Cher Tabloid from November 1975

20200829_125805For my birthday, my friend Julie sent me this tabloid magazine TV Radio Mirror from November 1975. It's a good sample of tabloid coverage of Cher in 1975...

...with the exception that this one has a crazy cover of text, so tickled were these editors with their story they used actual newspeak verbiage instead of pictures. The gravitas of the gesture!

"The Taming of Cher: One woman has reportedly committed suicide over him. And now Cher, the cream of the female crop, is desperately running in circles trying to please him. Who is Gregg Allman and what is this strange, compelling power he has over women? Does he use drugs to cast his spell, or is his mere sexual intensity enough to (continued on p.40)."

That’s the cover! And make sure not to miss “Tony Orlando’s Childhood Memories: I rubbed elbows with pimps, junkies & murderers!"

Or "Rock Hudson Uncensored" (I'm pretty sure this 1975 story was completely censored.)

Wow. Just Wow. But it doesn't stop there!

This issue is interesting in a few ways. One, it gives more detail about the Jenny Arness tragedy because it had just happened. So this article includes a bit more about how her family was doing (not good). For those who don't know, this was a very sad story about how Gregg Allman’s prior girlfriend committed suicide.

Secondly, it's interesting how the writer, Amanda Murrah Matetsky, treats the idea of female self-agency and being in love (there is none). The article details the tumultuous first months of Cher’s relationship to Gregg Allman and then dives into speculation.

20201020_105044 (1)To be sure, Gregg Allman was so different than Sonny, everyone in America (including fans) were having a whip-lash moment. So the struggle to understand is maybe understandable but the dated-sexism is still pretty shocking. She says,

“He must have some kind of power over her and his mere presence in her life to muddle her head so effectively.”

Then she speculates about their possible drug use (to explain it all) and Cher's having just saved the life of Alan Gorrie of the Average White Band at a Los Angeles party on September 23, 1974. Read more about that: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Average_White_Band

But then the writer changes her mind to say,

“But Cher is probably too smart to succumb to any of the lures of the drug motivated (or unmotivated) culture….it is far more likely that our heroin’s head has been turned around by love—or sex (or both!!). It is most always through sex that a man gains his initial power over a woman....How long can Allman’s power last. For the present, Gregg has tamed Cher—just as one of Shakespeare's immortal characters tamed the proverbial shew. But there are those who feel that it’s just a matter of time before Cher slips through Allman’s musically talented fingers...When asked if he’s planning to marry his new girlfriend, Suzi Cuelho, Sonny Bono answers, 'We’ll see how it goes. I think I’ll let Cher get married a few more times first!'"

Invoking Shakespeare and Sonny Bono in the same piece. Who would have thought? The article then goes into speculating that this is a rebound relationship or fueled by Cher's mother’s many divorces and the kinds of statements Georgia was giving to the press at the time about marriage ending loving relationships…comments which our author is very critical of:

“Since this is the kind of motherly advice Cher receives, we shouldn’t be surprised if she has filed for another divorce by the time you read this.” [She didn’t.]

20201020_105117The article talks about the $24-million dollar lawsuit Sonny has pending against Cher and David Geffen. And yet Sonny tells the press,

    “I talk to her all the time. We’re closer than anyone will suspect.”

The article then discusses how Cher missed the first week of taping her new season’s show due to being in Buffalo “patch[ing] up her marriage.” [Allegedly, Allman was really in rehab in Buffalo at that time and Cher was lending support.]

The article ends by directly hinting to Cher that she needs to focus on her TV show more and avoid the pitfalls of Jenny Arness. Yikes!

Overall, an icky, manipulative little piece.