Little Legends

Little Last weekend I went to Vegas to meet up with an old chum from graduate-school dayz at Sarah Lawrence College in New York City. We visited our favorite spots: The Peppermill, The Liberace Museum and we saw a trashy show at Planet Hollywood casino (formerly Aladdin), 'Little Legends' at the Harmon Theater. I was lured by the possibility of seeing an unusual brand of Sonny & Cher impersonation as done by diminutives, little folk, short people. The show wasn’t so great. The tall magician/host Jeff Hobson was funny enough (he did a hilariously tall and gangly 60s version of Cher partnered with a tiny 60s version of Sonny), but there Elena_4 was little actual impersonating going on of a professional nature. Imagine lip syncing worse than by Sonny himself. The outfits were half-assed and about the only thing I could recommend about it were brothers Abdoule and Adama Kone who are in their 30s and from the Ivory Coast. Of a cast of four little  people, they had dancing talent of their own and scored with routines to The Temptations, Michael Jackson and Milli Vanilli. However, the biggest cheer of the night came from the guest star of the show, in casino cross-marketing for the late-night show Lucky Chengs Drag Show, Elena Perez doing Cher’s "Turn Back Time." See her picture to the right. I've cut myself out because I look fat and celebrity obsessed.

According to reports, the show usually closes with Elvis but a few of the little people were MIA for our show. Again, the fact that Cher was a showstopper here is significant. Like Elvis, she is ubiquitous for larger than life. So not only has she sung like Elvis and dressed like Elvis, she seemed to have earned a likeness of his gravitas.

Another review of Little Legends

Their website

Cher Impersonator Elena Perez

Lucky Changs Site


The Internet, Video and Links

Barilan_internetthumb I don’t feel much like blogging today but here goes. Yesterday as part of a work excursion I attended part of ICANN's (Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers) 30th public meeting. You probably don’t know ICANN (and their name isn’t very sexy for sure) but they do things like run the Internet - make sure it works and isn’t hacked into and all that sort of thing. It was fascinating - the three session I attended.

The Internet is one of those things you take for granted but is so crucial to life in the modern world. My favorite quote from the meeting was from ICANN-ite George Sadowsky who said “All forms of human behavior have moved to the net and magnified.” And he went on to say how that included both good and bad forms of human behavior, saints and thieves. Do you consider how important the Internet is to your modern life and how crucial it is that it doesn’t break down?

I definitely feel mentally exhausted today. The energy there was calm but intense and now my brain is completely fried. Just listening to the translations was exhausting but very cool.

I’ll just leave you with these links for thoughts...

Cher single "Believe" was huge. Least we forget how big it was, this Today in Music article coves the basics, how it was the dance record of the 90s and probably the biggest selling dance record of all time.

Here's more news on Cher swearing on TV and whether or not that’s a good thing or a bad thing according to US courts. Ugh! I wish this story would just go away! I’m so friggin over it already. Grant on Ghost Hunters says "What the Frig!" all the time and I think it's so funny. My bf said yesterday that he was suffering from a bad case of the friggits.

Here's a clip of Sonny & Cher singing "We’re Gonna Make It." Wow! First of all, didn't we associate that song with the Allman and Woman album. Sonny & Cher did it too? Just like "You Really Got a Hold on Me." Was Cher trying to recreate Sonny & Cher with Allman duets? It seems so beyond comprehension - how could we have considered it? Or did Sonny & Cher cover so many friggin songs it would be impossible not to re-cover her covers? Of course, Cher and Allman didn’t make it, Sonny and Cher didn’t make it either but it would be hard to top their version. Bobby Sherman, that ridiculous dance, the screaming kids, the sudden appearance and disappearance of backup singers (if it wasn’t the 60s I’d think they were CGI’d in there), Sonny going absolutely crazy at the end. Wow!

This last clip is about a Joni Mitchell impersonator. It’s tone irked me...a lot. The article begins by indicating how high class it is to be a Joni Mitchell impersonator and how that possibly elevates the act to cabaret. First of all, you could argue that a Joni Mitchell impersonator is even more ridiculous of an act than a Cher impersonator...that is if you think impersonations are ridiculous in the first place which you probably do if you’re a close-minded Joni Mitchell fan. Then there’s the implication that other impersonators are of a lower-caste, being reduced to hand out pamphlets on the streets of Provincetown to their shows because “Ms. Mitchell appeals to far more rarefied tastes.” I can personally attest that you can be both a fan of Cher and Joni Mitchell. (I have her collected lyrics in my library for frig's sake!). This was a subtle Cher-shaft in action and I had to say something.

The picture above is Bar Ilan University's map of the Internet. The Internet. What an awesome thing. Just this one post has brought us a blog conversation, a youtube video, factual information on a pop song and potential opinions blossoming out of billions of brains worldwide.

      


Olivia Newton John, Les Dudek and the Marijuana Video

Thruglass I was remiss in posting last week due to being at a work retreat for three days. As a result, the other two days I was a complete zombie. The retreat was exhausting but amazing and at a fabulous venue, the posh Fess Parker’s Inn in Los Olivos. I spent my very few spare minutes ogling the funky, overpriced art at one of the many galleries nearby.

This week I head off early to my 20th high school reunion in St. Louis (hopefully I’ll have wacky photos coming soon...or photos of myself in tears like Romy and Michele ). Sadly, I did not lose many pounds these last few months but I did gain quite a few muscles in all my Tamilee workouts. Come on...I just can’t work out to Cher with that hole fit on! Besides, Tamilee is so friendly and encouraging. She reminds me of Olivia Newton John.

And I read an interesting article about ONJ by Wendy McClure in the Aug/Sept issue of Bust Magazine. Titled “Reviving Olivia,” it dealt with Wendy’s late 70s, early 80s childhood obsession with ONJ and hearkened back to a more innocent time of celebrity obsession. “They don’t make pop stars like ONJ anymore,” Wendy says as she describes her fantasies “where I got to be her best friend.” She describes ONJ as both exotic and friendly...wholesome and hot.

“The celebrity world has changed for the worse: it’s become too fast, too fickle, too irreversibly fucked-up to give us another like her…[back then it was a time] when female teen stars were still more likely to be seen as artistic ambassadors from the next generation than fresh meat with a legal-age countdown.”

So true. Which brings us to the next topic. I finally watched the Sonny Bono marijuana film again to try and find Cher’s cameo in it. Cher looks so young in her bit, I can’t help but be reminded of Paris Hilton when I see it. In fact, you can also read the film as The Lindsey Lohan Story. Cher appears early on (approx. 7:44) during discussions of alcohol abuse. She’s briefly seen careening over her boozeSlumpoverphone  and finally slumping over a phone. Her mascara’d eyes through the glass, those long fingers and cascading black hair are unmistakable. The closing credits don’t show on YouTube as they do in my cassette version, but a freeze-frame of her eyeball through the booze glass makes a reprise there. In the film someone asks, “What’s so bad about feeling good?” Sonny answers very creepily, “Nothing, baby, nothing.” Ick. Sonny says “the young people” a lot and calls everybody “Bud” (including Cher if I remember Good Times correctly). Every time I watch this thing, I see new disturbing things. The most upsetting image this time was the monkey in the lab with surgically implanted wires coming out of his skull cap. Criminal.

The video can be seen here on YouTube. YouTube poster "blackpimp4u” has interesting footage posted there...and the related file is where I found Sonny & Cher singing more anti-drug messaging in their video for “Circus.”

On an unrelated topic: last Friday night Les Dudek played a show at the Malibu Inn on Pacific Coast Highway. My most celebrity obsessed friend was pressuring me to go to the show but I chose to not be celebrity obsessed last Friday and saw 3:10 to Yuma instead. And I’m not sorry I did because that was the best western I’ve seen since...well, forever. So far I can’t find reviews of Les’s show; but here’s his MySpace page.

   


Another Day of Not Being Official

Imnoangelmirage90I am struggling through another day of not being an Official Cher fan. This never bothered me until the opportunity was gone. I always thought my being an outsider to official Cher-fandom was a personal choice. Now I just feel marginalized and downtrodden.

 

In today’s Los Angeles Times Book Review, there is a story called “The Botox Generation” which reviews two books, “The Female Thing (Dirt, Sex, Envy, Vulnerability)” by Laura Kipnis and “Beauty Junkies (Inside our $15 Billion Obsession with Cosmetic Surgery)” by Alex Kuczynski. I was reminded of my last post about Cher’s cheekbones...and discussions in general about of Cher and plastic surgery. Why plastic surgery bothers us as a culture; why Cher has become a poster-child for plastic surgery; and what fans admit to or think about the whole thing.

   

Plastic surgery along with yo-yo dieting makes for big business hinging on feelings of inadequacy no matter how you'd like to spin it. Kipnis believes women have a constant need for radical and dangerous self-improvement because they carry a subconscious belief that their bodies are repulsive and their “vaginas are dirty” hence the disturbing rise in labiaplasties, a procedure that reshapes a woman’s external genitals. "A young woman is a swamp" as Enid Dame says in her poem "Cinderella." However, the most succinct text on body self-hatred is probably still “The Sneetches” by Dr. Seuss. It’s timeless really, showing how extreme body alterations are not only expensive but arbitrarily devised. Who decides you need a star on your belly? Who decides you labia is unattractive? Why is the natural always made to be so un-natural in all areas of the female body?

   

In the past, Cher has made a business case for her decisions (not that she is required to defend herself for her private issues and choices). Show business, after all, demands a youthful look. However, plastic surgery hasn’t equated to more Cher movies. And Rock and Roll seems more accepting of an aging woman; artists like Patti Smith and Bonnie Raitt pride themselves on their battle scars.

   

My theory: there’s special public discomfort over Cher and her plastic surgery. The reason is two-fold. First of all, it suggests maybe Cher is not her public image at all. Maybe she’s got very real weak spots and poignant fears of aging. That 80s big-hair image seemed fearless, in contrast. Accepting that disconnect is always uncomfortable. Secondly, that image meant something to us. Her F. You attitude seemed impenetrable. Is our collective fear of aging and imperfection so powerful that even a tough broad like Cher could succumb? I believe it is. And that's scary. "She too undone." We mourn the loss of that particular Marine in our struggle.

   

And I'm not judging. Who out there can pass judgment, honestly? Who out there over the age of 37 hasn’t slathered on some anti-wrinkle eye cream yet? I look in the mirror and exclaim “I’m not even grown up yet! I’m still a kid!”

   

And who can fear a physical death when we are so active in our own self-destruction? Today, in an anthology of fairy-tale poems called "The Poets’ Grimm" (edited by Jeanne Marie Beaumont and Claudia Clarson), I read poet Ogla Brouma’s “Little Red Ridding Hood” where she sums up the situation: “…across this improbable forest peopled with wolves and our host, flower-gathering sisters they feed on.” Feminism accurately shakes its academic little finger at the problem but hasn’t changed anything. What we really need is a Katharine Hepburn to come along and say “I’m freaking wearing pants and that’s the end of it.” We need to see it. Hepburn’s feminist mother discouraged her career in Hollywood as an unserious and unimportant feminist pursuit. How ironic then; she sent a little feminist-fed Hepburn onto the world stage to be feminism embodied, an image of how a woman can be.

   

Kuczynski’s book disparages our culture “in which images hold more power than words.” But honey, this aint new. I just returned from Lexington, Massachusetts, where I visited a Revolutionary War tavern where propaganda art, not just speeches, were used to ignite the passions of the locals. We’ve always responded more to the power of images. And that should be our ace. For the image is where Cher excels.