Stories on the Sleeve: Take Me Home

So earlier this year SleeveMr. Cher Scholar found out about a call for submissions from the New Mexico Humanities Council. They wanted stories appreciating record album covers. I knew I could do something good with a Cher cover. I literally starred at them for hours after purchase, memorizing all the names. Cher's first inner sleeve was produced for her Casablanca album Prisoner in 1979, the album after Take Me Home.

I chose Take Me Home and the entry had to be 100 words or less and I kept to that limit (although I noticed many other entries in the show did not). Here was my entry:

I was 9 years old in 1979 when Cher released her only disco album. My mother balked buying it for me, saying the cover was too risqué. Forget side boob; this cover was all boob! She relented and I spent hours perusing the cover and credits to search musicians, like members of the band Toto she usually worked with or whom she thanked. She gave boyfriends and kids affectionate nicknames. I loved the burst of green Barry Levine used for the background of the photographs. A make-up malfunction resulted in the airbrushing of her face. Her outfit was designed by Bob Mackie with inspiration from then-boyfriend Gene Simmons from KISS. It was less a costume than a set piece, Viking plates and capes of shining gold. This was the time of backlash against disco, where angry white boys were gleefully burning piles of records. Cher sat on her fabulous cape, quarter-turned to us with her devil-may-care stare, as if to say “I’m going to outlast your hate and go on to play “Take Me Home,”  (the title song went to #8 on Billboard’s Hot 100), to sold-out shows in big arenas well into my 70s. 
And so she did. -- Mary McCray, January 2019

 

Here are the front and back covers (click to enlarge):

Tmh-cher-front Tmh-cher-back
The reception was last Thursday. My entry was first in the display but last in the discussion. Surprisingly the show was SRO. Here's what the full spread looked like:

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20190404_174314

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Other albums were prestigious competition in record collecting: the obligatory Beatles, Pink Floyd and Rolling Stones covers, but also RUSH, Laura Nero, K.D. Lang, Simon & Garfunkel, Stan Getz, Jackson Browne, Iron Maiden, Jackson Browne, Deep Purple, Joy Division, Sufjan Stevens and two local New Mexican albums. There was thankfully one Dolly Parton album and one other disco album, Donna Summer's Greatest Hits

I paid close attention to what the girl record collectors were talking about.  The Dolly fan talked about growing up in rural New Mexico liking Dolly and feeling Dolly shame in front of her peers. The girl talking about Donna Summer also took pains to say her other cover submissions was a Doors cover.  Girls talked about the Rolling Stones, Deep Purple, Joy Division and Sufjan Stevens entries.

The wife of the Stan Getz collector told my friend he would only listen to cool jazz and so she was unable to play her Miles Davis records. The RUSH and Iron Maiden stories were a bit intimidating in subject matter and funny presentations. But since everyone went before me, I had a chance to reconfigure my speech. Here's me talking about Cher.

20190404_194822

I started by saying how I came from a record collecting family, including my Beatles-loving brothers and my country-and-western collecting Dad, and that when at 5 years old I decided to collect Cher records, this wasn't received well. I also retold the story of my mother not wanting to buy the album for me and what she said recently when I reminded her about it over email. She wrote me, "have I ever denied you anything?!" And I had to admit that was true...but what was the word she used? The word was "risque" and that was also true (considering I was only 9 years old and all). Anyway, I talked about the sexy viking costume design concept by Gene Simmons, who Cher was dating at the time, and how Bob Mackie made it. And how I had recently found a similar design on a Mae West dress so that cut-out boob-design wasn't anything new. Here it is from the 1933 Mae West movie, I'm No Angel:

West

I then talked about how record collecting wasn't easy after Take Me Home because Cher disappeared as a tab in the record bins for almost 10 years and how we all thought her career was over. But she came back to the stores in the mid-1980s and even last year at 72 her last album charted.

I talked about photographer (now movie producer) Barry Levine and the makeup snafu and how they had to do a bad, late-1970s airbrushing of her face. I also went on to talk about the musicians on the album, the three players who were part of the band Toto (and how they were also part of Sonny & Cher's backup band earlier in the 1970s and how Cher used them off and on through the early 1990s) and keyboardist Paul Shaffer.

I also talked about why I picked the album cover of all of Cher's over 40 album covers (I mentioned that every album but two have been released on vinyl). I talked about how Cher didn't want to do disco and how Casablanca talked her into it and how unpopular disco was at the time (for possibly homophobic and racist reasons in retrospect) and how looking back I think about the male gaze and how Cher is starring so strongly and defiantly back and how when I was nine (although I didn't know what the male gaze was at the time) I probably understood this as a model for how to be a confident and defiant Cher fan. 

Everyone had the chance to play a sample of a song from their album. So the show ended on the song "Take Me Home."

I was most interested in the women in the show who picked artists who were very unlike them in some way. The Laura Nero album was picked by an African American woman who talked about Nero's quality of whiteness and her facial expressions captured on the cover. The Dolly Parton album was picked by the Hispanic woman from rural New Mexico. These choices opened up conversations about identity and how you relate to each other as women. The Laura Nero woman told me later she really liked my presentation, as did the man who did the RUSH cover. I appreciated that. 

The Iron Maiden cover was picked by a man writing a book about Greek mythology in Heavy Metal. I will be sure to purchase it and discuss.


My Essay: Cher and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Tour2I’ve never been sure to have such a personal response to Cher. It’s probably in there somewhere. I’ve been a fan since I was 4 or 5 and I’m now 50 so...psychologically speaking...

Recently an interviewer asked me what I’ve learned personally from Cher. This was hard for me to answer. I tend to think about Cher in terms of the stuff, or more recently in terms of her impact on culture. I struggled to find something to say, like maybe a lesson about letting small things go, (from Cher’s mother’s edict: “If it doesn’t matter in five years, it doesn’t matter”) or that you should always stay friends with your exes. (If Cher can do it…) Oh, and how to fluff my hair by flipping it upside down. Yes...that I did learn from the Cher show. But that’s it.

And when I think about any Cher essay (something for formal than a blog post), it always wraps around the idea of Cher lacking proper respect in pop culture. And maybe that’s personal in some way, like maybe I had two 70s-rock-loving older brothers who disparaged my taste in Cher or all those years being self-conscious about liking the things I like. This digs to the very concept about what rock and roll is, of which the Hall of Fame in Cleveland is but a part. Whether or not Cher is in the Hall is secondary, symptomatic. She’s not part of the insider’s club and that’s the issue, Chronically snubbed. The perpetual underdog. And this has been the case for much longer than the Hall of Fame has existed.

Cher is bigger than her sequins and Cher impersonations often fail for the lack of Cher’s personality embodied in them. You can slap a gowns on very talented boys and girls, but no dice. Cher is not, as previously claimed (over the last half a century), merely a clothes horse, a hanger, a shallow tower of sequins. She embodies those things and makes meaning of them. But shallow people do not look very deep. And they see shallowness everywhere.

What gives someone rock and roll credibility? Is it an outfit? Tight pants? A scarf? A stance? Is it creation of material? Is it hit-making? Is it breaking Billboard records? Is it a greatest hits compilations? Is it longevity with live shows and ticket sales? Is it respect from critics? Is it longevity across mediums and genres? Some would say it is this idea of authenticity. But can that be possible when so much of rock and roll is a pose and a cliché, a posture of coolness, a sales job.  

To me the idea of "authenticity" is a code for the real judgement: is it "cool."

Sonny & Cher weren’t accepted as authentically folk, authentically hippies, or authentically rock and roll. Maybe Sonny wasn’t but Cher was. Sonny wasn’t even considered to be a legitimate Hollywood mogul and now, ironically, Cher is considered powerful in Hollywood. What that really means though is they were uncool.

And who determines cool? Is it popular audiences, critics, cult followings? Is it a roundtable of select few who decide?

Cher has had Billboard hits in give decades, arena shows in multiple decades AND a cult, gay following, records sold, popularization of a music style (the controversial auto-tune), hits that have bled into our mainstream idioms ("the beat goes on"), a subversive influence in fashion, both in the 60s (flares and furs), the 70s (long, straight hair that thousands of young girls took to emulating with hair ironed on real ironing boards), red carpet fashion, her big circus shows are now imitated by younger pop stars, her tattoos are now ubiquitous on the ass of America...and so on.

But to me what makes Cher really cool is her otherness, her inclusion of various underrepresented cultures all in her one self. Not only did Sonny & Cher bring people of color and international cultures to their 70s television show, but Cher embodied those identities in her performances, and she did so with dignity and power.

She’s also a living example of a single woman taking control of her career in show business and having the audacity to survive and tell the story. She’s a survivor, making no apologies for any of it, crossing genres, moving from glitz to the realism (in shows and in movies). And that very realism that works in her movies is the same authenticity working in her music videos and in her live performances.

So can we stop with the authenticity thing?

Over the years my interest has gravitated to figuring out the gap between what Cher means and how she’s perceived by the rock-and-roll-establishment. Cher says it best herself: “Singers don’t think I’m a singer. Actors don’t think I’m an actor.”

Arguably there are fewer women at the top of the music business. Thus,  Brook Marine points out women make up only 13% of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. There should be more.

It’s been rumored there is this issue of Sonny at play: Cher might be resisting nomination herself, preferring to be inducted as Sonny & Cher. I don’t know if this is true, but she does reference Sonny & Cher whenever she’s confronted with the lack of a nomination. It would seem a likely holdup. Cher has always felt Sonny was entirely responsible for her career. “There would be no Cher without Sonny” has been Cher’s mantra since the mid-1980s.  And they didn’t call him a Svengali for nothing. He had ideas about their inception and architecture, he created their act, as well as writing some of their music.

But Cher brought things to the table, too. She had ideas about their look that Sonny was game to pursue.

Cher also had the budding charisma, the sex appeal and that “special something.”

But arguably Sonny not only discovered Cher but set her up to thrive for five decades. Can you get into the HoF for that? Orchestrating a Cher?

They were a recording team and his influence was life changing (as Cher illustrates in her Broadway musical) and life-testing (you could argue Sonny was her drug).

Cher loves rock and roll. Elvis is an obvious influence. (Someone recently called her Chelvis;  but I prefer to think of her as the female Fonz.) Imagine how easy it would be for Cher to stand over Sonny’s grave and say, “Hey, I tried. They wouldn’t let you in. But hey, I got in!”

As my grandfather used to say, “she’s got the courage of her convictions” if she is, in fact, holding out for Sonny in the face of the prime accolade of one’s pop recording career. To take a stand against the defining group exercising power over the rock canon and Meriam-Webster defines establishment as “an institution or group in a society exercising power and influence over policy or taste.” The Hall of Fame as it sits in Cleveland is by definition a rock-and-roll establishment.

Yeah, she knows you don’t like Sonny & Cher even if you might begrudgingly like Cher. Standing her ground as a Sonny & Cher inductee could be showing all of her integrity and authenticity and, you could argue, an almost heroic love against the pressures of the in-crowd. To stand up for someone you love, particularly someone not many others appreciate, takes monster balls and a big middle finger to the powers that be. And even if Sonny & Cher aren't the issue and Cher is simply suffering the eternal, hypocritical debates around authenticity, to stand up for your sequins, to be apologetically who you are...if that isn’t rock and roll, I don’t know WTF we’re talking out.


Our Local

PetroglyhsSo part of last year's drama was we had to move suddenly at the end of summer. And we're old and so this was painful but we moved into a much nicer place with room for a Chersonian Institute proper and so all that ended up a good thing. And now we even have our our own mini-pedernal hill similar to Georgia O'Keeffe's because we're situated near the Albuquerque petroglyphs. 

Mural2We've also been exploring our new neighborhood haunts. Once Saturday we poked our head into our nearest pub called Spinns and saw they were playing a Chiefs football game. The screenshot to the left is from that day watching our new celebrity player, Patrick Mahomes.

This was great and as I turned around I saw a big celebrity mural painted on the entire north side of the place. 

And who should I see featured most prominently: Cher herself! She is portrayed as a waitress serving beer circa the turn of the decade. How strange and great! The likeness is pretty good, as Cher art goes.

Mural1

I even questioned at first if this really was Cher considering the waitress aspect,
but the outfit and face do indicate Cher circa the early 80s and who else has that face?

Mural4

The full mural with Marilyn Monroe, Nat King Cole and some other celebs I can't identify.

Mural3Parts of the mural are very New Mexico-ish, like this picture within the mural of a New Mexico-styled graveyard. 


Sometimes When I'm Down and All Alone

Cher-1There’s so much to catch up on. It’s very daunting, all the words we need to think up for this year's Cherness. And I’m so, so very tired.

This is a white-hot Cher year for sure. And so much is worthy of scholarship: reviews, commentaries (all more positive than we’ve ever seen them: a good Rolling Stone review? A good Entertainment Weekly review? What alternate universe are we living in?). So much amazing stuff: personal essays about Cher that you find here and there on the internet, canonization in Mama Mia 2 (with Cher-tapping no less), a plethora of personal appearances and interviews, Broadway, Vegas, a new tour, a new album. It’ll probably takes us many years to process it all, like dutiful curators in the museums of Cher.

So wow. My year was just...wow. I’ve never experienced a year quite like it. Both awful and awe-ful in so many ways. Heartbreaking, a lot of it. I’m sitting in a new proverbial chair surrounded by an entirely different world than I started with back in January. Everything has suffered through the metamorphosis: activism (although I created three new voting ads this month for ArtBrawl), poetry (although I published my second book at the end of August), Cher blogging (although I’ve been hanging in there with about 75% of the product and appearances). The job changes have been daunting alone but there were also family illnesses, three family trips (one amazing Arizona trip tracing family history) and we were forced to move. I say 'forced' but really we just realized our rental situation was untenable and it was time to stop living like transient drifters. Brave. New. World. Moving was not easy and the pressures all year happening at the same time made me literally crazy (not that far to go, quite frankly). To date, I’m slightly more damaged than I was. I’m not living in the same house. I’m not working the same job. My friends have changed. I’ve had to put my coping mechanisms to the test and sometimes I failed to live up to them. But I’m here. And I am grateful to friends, my parents, and Mr. Cher Scholar for continued support during the mess of it.

Every time in “Chiqutita” when Cher sings “your life’s a broken feather,” I start to tear up. Indeed, this year was a broken feather. And I’ve loved that song since I was a tween, but never could parse what that phrase way saying: “your loves a broken tether?” I had no idea. “Your love’s a blown out candle”...also big news to me. But these things are so lovely to discover….finally.

Anyway, we need to get going and digesting all of this good media and “try once more like we did before” to blog about Cher stuff.


Where We Are Now (with Great Cher News)

BuddhaBefore we start, I'd like to share this zen parable I learned many years ago. This story has helped me in both good times and in bad:

There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. “Maybe,” the farmer replied. The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed. “Maybe,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. Now he would not be able to help on the farm. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “Maybe,” answered the farmer. The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “Maybe,” said the farmer.

Where I Am Now

So...I haven't been posting for the past three or so weeks. First it was the week before the U.S. election and work was very busy at CNM. Then the week of the election happened and many of us, (I would argue the majority of us) , were feeling stomach cramps and living the U.S. Electoral nightmare. And I have to tell you, something in me changed on November 9. It was as if the election showed me what my special purpose was, to quote Navin R. Johnson. I've been spending the last few weeks organizing and setting up some new messaging initiatives against what I see as the encroachment of Fascism and racism in my country and around the world.

Elections have consequences, as President Obama has often said. For our purposes here at I Found Some Blog, I no longer will have the time to post long, academic Cher tracts beyond the latest news. Something's gotta give after all. I'm working on a novel and two other writing projects. I can't take on the new commitments of activism without giving something up. So no more play-by-plays of the television shows and long reviews of albums. I actually had three of the last four Sonny & Cher show wrap-ups ready to go. But there's no time to finish them now. My gift of gab is now "going to the cause" and that means getting active in my community, motivating Democrats to vote, and wearing my safety pin as a reminder to fight racism and hatred every single day.

If these are values you share, please come by my new Facebook page "BTW New Mexico is a U.S. State," LIKE the page, and SHARE some of the posts with your friends. I would sure appreciate it.

Television

CherxmasBut even Dark Ages had good times. There has been some great Cher news over the last three weeks and we're thankful for tender mercies, we are.

Cher scholar Bruce Barton notified us recently that on Monday December 5 GetTV will be airing the rarely seen 1975 Cher Christmas show. He also linked us to a clip of the festive intro. Can't wait!

And according to the GetTV schedule, there are other goodies in store.

This Monday, November 21, we can binge on three episodes we've already seen: (1) Jean Stapelton and Mike Connors, (2) Jimmy Durante and (3) Andy Griffith.

November 28: The 1973 Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour Christmas Special

December 5: The 1975 Christmas Special with Redd Foxx, The Hudson Brothers and The Lennon Sisters. It looks like it's the full hour show.

Concerts

ClassiccherYou may have heard that Cher is doing some limited shows in Las Vegas and Washington, D.C. next spring. Miraculously I was able to get tickets to one of the Vegas shows. Check out Cher's site for details.

Cher as also on James Cordin's late night show around the time the tickets went on sale. Watch Cher and James singing "I Got You Babe" and  Cher talking about "I Got You Babe".

She was also on The Today Show.

Broadway

So the Broadway show is also actually coming together. From Playbill:

There will be a two-week staged reading in New York City January 2-14. Pitch Perfect’s Jason Moore will direct. It's being called The Cher Show. Flody Suarez and Hamilton’s Jeffrey Seller are producing. And some details were revealed. The characters of Cher are Babe (teenager), Lady (solo) and Star (which sounds like her evolution to icon). Other characters include Sonny, Georgia, Bob Mackie, David Geffen, Gregg Allman, Robert Altman, Rob Camilletti, and Sigmund Freud. Different era Chers may also talk to each other. The book was written by Tony Award-winning Rick Elice (of Jersey Boys, Peter and the Starcatcher). Cher songs in the show may include  “I Got You Babe,” “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves,” “Take Me Home,” “Believe,” and “If I Could Turn Back Time.” Tony winner Daryl Waters is musical supervisor.

Our Beautiful Friends

Farm-storyCher scholar and one of the contributors to Cher Zine 3 has published a memoir called Farm Story! I'm very excited to read this as soon as I can finagle a copy.

Cher was also interviewed for the Fast Company Innovation Festival, "Cher on Creativity and the Power of Authenticity."  I was disappointed with the piece but the "big show" comments were interesting and her ideas around emojis, which are now considered fine art!

 


Cher Scholar Talks Politics

CherhillaryA few weeks ago I linked to a Cher World story about Cher’s appearance at a recent conference where Cher made comments about Hillary Clinton. Often I talk about Cher’s tweets or Republican site attacks on Cher but I have tried to refrain from going personally into this season’s politics. It’s been so contentious between Bernie, Trump and Hillary supporters. But unfortunately I linked to the Cher World piece without reading it first and linking without comment feels too much like an implicit endorsement, and one I can’t just let sit there like a wet turd. This has nothing to do with Cher World specifically or it’s hard-working founder. I was never able to find where the article text came from (outside of Cher World) and the piece is not credited to any site or writer. By linking to it, I am now forced to take issue with its anti-Hillary propaganda messaging.

The piece says that Cher admits Millennials may not trust Hillary due to ‘sins’ and that at the World Conference, Cher stated that “If you delve into some of the things she’s being accused of—she’s screwed up and that’s for sure.” It's a pretty vague statement on the surface but then the piece speculates that “Maybe Cher is referring to the following?” and goes on to list the same anti-Hillary talking points both Bernie-or-Bust and Trump supporters have been using. It reads like the Greatest Hits of ineffectual propaganda.

Bullet 1: “33,000 deleted emails from her illegal private server.” The server was never deemed illegal nor was the usage of a personal server unprecedented. She violated department policy. The FBI only found the potential for violation, but not an actual living, breathing violation of the law. Both the right wing and Bernie-or-Bust speculate with ever-increasing hyperbole that the server was illegal and that she was willfully reading confidential documents on it. This is the same system of email Colin Powell used (and deleted emails from) and one he might possibly have encouraged Hillary to use. Different parties, different rubrics.

More information:

NPR story http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/04/02/396823014/fact-check-hillary-clinton-those-emails-and-the-law
The factcheck.org story http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/a-guide-to-clintons-emails/

Bullet 2: Lied about terrorist attack that killed 4 American’s in Benghazi.

The interesting thing about this drama is that it follows the Republican template Ken Star created for the Whitewater-to-Monica-Lewinski circus. In this case, first Clinton and President Obama weren’t naming the happening right. That morphed into some hidden knowledge she might have had prior to the attack. Then Republicans demanded access to her emails to uncover said hidden knowledge. That turned into Server-gate. Years of these investigations and faux scandals never produce any bang for the buck but they never stop trying. It was a wartime event. Just like similar attacks under Reagan and Bush.

More information:

The Washington Post has a good story about the difference between lies versus the fog of war: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/10/30/is-hillary-clinton-a-liar-on-benghazi/

Bullet 3: War on women covering up her husband’s long history of sexually abusing woman and rape.

I said the phrase "Hillary's War on Women" to my co-worker just now and she looked at me like I had two heads. It's a pretty far-out stretch. The Huffington Post does a good job covering all of the Bill Clinton sex-scandal allegations and what happened with each on in this piece. The "freeing the child rapist" story was debunked by Snopes. Even Fox News’ Megyn Kelly recently defended Clinton: “All women had serious problems with proof.” (Megyn Kelly and Judge Andrew Napolitano). It’s possible Trump accusers would have had issues with proof as well if Trump hadn’t already implicated himself on various radio shows and hot-mic recordings.

Bullet 4: Pay for play corrupt Clinton Foundation which provides special favors to donors and access to Hillary in her role of Secretary of State in return for millions in donations and speaking fees.

It's so easy to accuse, so much harder to prove. No pay-for-play has yet been found. There was the unseemly possibility but no evidence found that favors actually occurred. Read the Politifact article that states, a “tangle of relationships...doesn’t prove wrongdoing.” Trump is meanwhile fighting scandals of his own surrounding The Trump Foundation.

Bullet 5: Millions of dollars collected from Sharia Law abiding Islamic countries that throw gays from rooftops and stone woman for not conforming to their husbands.

As political donations? All Republicans would fall and die by this sword.

Bullet 6:  Responsible for $6 billion missing in the State Department due to the improper filing of contracts during the past six years.

This one is hilarious and was used when Trump's tax-return losses came to light. It’s been debunked by Snopes. The money was never lost. It was mislabeled.

It seems the right likes to call Snopes itself a liberal conspiracy. However, Snopes is an equal-opportunity debunker. Check out this left-wing talking point that got debunked. Turns out Trump didn’t say Republicans were the dumbest voters.

Then the Cher World article links to the Clinton Cash documentary which has been heavily promoted by the extreme, Breitbart-wing of the Republican party: “Reporters React To Trump’s Clinton Cash Citations By Noting 'Widely Discredited' Book's Factual Problems."

DiscussionSo this idea that Hillary is “untrustworthy” and that somehow Trump is the last trustworthy Republican is beyond the pale of not only myself but seemingly the mainstream voter. And many, many Republicans know this. It's why they've jumped ship. What pisses me off is that I've had to re-research all this shit for the Cher blog and that extremist voters won’t even bother to read or consider it because they’ve picked their team and no ideology or rationality will keep them from cheering for their side.

It would fair to to counterpoint at this time with a lists all of Trump’s scandals from The Atlantic: The Many Scandals of Donald Trump: A Cheat Sheet).  Lying hasn’t worked in the last three presidential election cycles, but the extremist leaders always respond by lying even more and more aggressively.

My Cornish grandfather used to always invoke the phrase "the Human Element." Politics can get you in such a state of anger and hate that you speak and act irrationally. When facts come out, when you get discredited, when you get caught over-exaggerating, you can accept it and move on or you can just get more entrenched.

It’s cult behavior. Both Mr. Cher Scholar and Rachel Madow apparently recently invoked a Chicago cult study from 1956 in relation to the far-right extremists. From Wikipedia:

When Prophecy Fails: A Social and Psychological Study of a Modern Group That Predicted the Destruction of the World is a classic work of social psychology by Leon Festinger, Henry Riecken, and Stanley Schachter which studied a small UFO religion in Chicago called the Seekers that believed in an imminent apocalypse and its coping mechanisms after the event did not occur. Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance can account for the psychological consequences of disconfirmed expectations.

Their first response was shock, then anger. Then they doubled down. It’s like hitting rock bottom and then declaring everything is rigged because you can’t handle being wrong.

"If you believe in things you don't understand, you suffer." Stevie Wonder


The Best of Vacation Times, The Worst of Twitter Times

Icecream"Everyone’s a critic today."
--  Sonny, Good Times

Vacation

It's an ice cream vacation and Daily Mail is stalking Cher through every spoonful.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-3649725/Cher-cuts-laid-figure-white-leather-vest-black-yoga-pants-eats-ice-cream-Saint-Tropez.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-3654774/Cher-showcases-quirky-fashion-sense-monochrome-ensemble-enjoys-realxing-day-Portofino-pals.html

However, there have been some funny titles about Cher's vacation in light of recent rumors and events:

Cher shows off her fit physique at 70 years old

Cher vacations in Italy amid reports that she’s dying, broke and alone

Cher Broke and Near Death Reports Refuted by Italy Vacation Photos – 70 Year Old Singer Looks Healthy, Happy

Motorcycle Fan

If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead, (and I was for like three episodes before I dropped out realizing the thing was a soap opera), you might be surprised to know that Norman Reedus has come out saying his number one choice to ride bikes across America with is Cher: http://www.cinemablend.com/television/Celebrity-Norman-Reedus-Wants-Ride-With-Most-Who-You-Guess-143557.html

In Elephant News

Cher is still working for our elephant friends.

Cher aims to free lonely, chained elephant in Pakistan

Cher aims to free lonely, chained elephant in Pakistan through adoption

Tweet Drama

Drama #1: The Brexit

Cher got flack this week for her tweet about the UK vote to leave the European Union.

Brexit
Stories:

http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/cher-backs-brexit-vote-immediately-regrets/#gs.TGCvH3Q

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/06/27/cher-forced-to-defend-herself-after-confusing-fans-with-views-on-brexit/

Obviously her initial tweet emoticon was misinterpreted. She never "appeared to back the vote and then regretted it." At least if you can read a tweet. She says literally "Pray it's best decision" but if you ignore the praying hands emojii, (is there such a thing as emoji blindness?), it looks like she's saying "It's the best decision." I guess this is why emoticons aren’t admissible in legal documents. It does surprise me that Twitter Followers can't follow.

Drama #2: Then there was the bomb emoji drama which included the words "Cher slammed" in many online article titles.

Bomb

The stories:

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/cher-slammed-bomb-emoji-tweet-turkey-article-1.2691823

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/turkey-cher-slammed-after-using-bomb-explosion-emojis-tweet-about-istanbul-airport-attack-1568007

http://www.tv3.ie/xpose/article/entertainment-news/208406/Cher-apologises-for-Turkey-bomb-emoji-tweet

She's literally saying: "We all pray for innocent people in Turkey airport. Bomb explosion." But I get it: (cartoon bomb ≠ real bomb) = insensitive. Terrorism isn’t a loony toon after all. So I guess a few severed limb emojis are not appropriate either. Hey, dark days call for dark-humor emojis.

But this, my Cher friends and Cher Twitter "followers," is what we call a language problem over in literary-theory land; and some kid will soon be doing a college dissertation on it, if we should be so lucky. Emojis are in fact so new, it’s hard to know officially which of them can officially classified as useful or inappropriate. But Cher seems willing to be the leading test case on the issue.

My beef with emojis is that they evolved from emoticons like this :-/ (which, because I’m old-school, I still use), a system of willfully misusing punctuation marks in order to insert some added layer of emotion into the deadpan language of email communications, (“Is he trying to being a dick with that comment?”), where in olden days people found it hard to decipher contextual humor or anger or sarcasms or winks or any other kind of extreme feeling in email missives and misunderstandings consistently arose, friendships ended,  wars ensued, and jokes failed.

NerdThese days artists are paid (or not) to create little cartoon pictures for us to communicate with instead of us having to use those pesky little Latin letters or instead of getting paid to, say, solve world problems or teach children to communicate better in emails without the aid of stupid little cartoons and then get offended when some celebrity doesn’t use the little pictures right which ironically was a problem the little cartoons (via the misuse of punctuation) was supposed to freaking solve in the first place!

We can all blame Twitter now.


More Than Politics

Hillary

The tragedy Sunday morning at Orlando’s gay nightclub Pulse has prompted some sad Cher tweets. And there are three somewhat sobering aspects of this monstrosity: the attach was (1) on a gay nightclub, (2) with mostly Hispanic victims, (3) who were killed with an assault riffle. These three facts should underscore the importance of this year's election and the real moral backsliding occurring in major parts of our communities.

This week radio host Norman Goldman invoked the sobering poem "First They Came" by Pastor Martin Niemöller. Read it and think about it. 

Cher brought her support behind Hillary Clinton before the recent California primary at a concert event. Read the stories:

We’re beyond fighting over idealism in this election.

I'm also wrapping up a David Foster Wallace Infinite Jest reading group and his amazing commencement address in 2005 was passed around the group yesterday. It's all about how to get to the place where it's not all about you. Highly suggested reading.

Cheratgreek2016 Hillary2


Cher for H, Cher or Jaden Smith, 15 Facts, 1975 Tabloid

HAgh! I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed lately. And I'm ridiculously exhausted. But I....must....blog.

I’m in an Infinite Jest reading group (we do only 100 pages every two weeks but it’s a challenging novel so that’s not saying much). I’m taking a New Mexican art history class. I’m in the middle of a whole survey of American poetry online courses with HarvardX and the new class starts Friday. I’m in physical therapy for my knee. I'm attending a Google Analytics training workshop next week. I’m still trying to fart out some chapters for a novel. I'm planning trips to help my parents who are moving. And on top of everything else it’s already National Poetry Writing Month challenge again and I'm trying to keep up with the poems! (This year my theme is election angst.)

Speaking of which, Cher threw her support behind Hillz last week in a very interesting logo graphic mashup. I myself will be also throwing in for Hillz (and am enthusiastic about it) but I also like and would vote for Bernie in the general election.

On another Cher note, here is a website that challenges you to guess whether tweets are written by Cher or Jaden Smith: http://www.gq.com/story/cher-jaden-smith-twitter. And here are "15 Interesting Facts You Don’t Know About Cher" from ppcorn.com. But who are they kidding because Cher fans already know all these things.

There's also more news on an upcoming bio-musical, the title announcing that something is confirmed. Is that meaning the rumor is confirmed or the progress of the work has been  confirmed? This is a far cry from the theater space at The Ethyl Barrymore being confirmed. Just the plans is all. You wonder how many news stories plans can generate.

ChergreggMy LA friends and I celebrated a late Christmas two weeks ago and one of my gifts from Coolia was a Motion Picture Magazine. The magazine looks like a tabloid and possibly was considered a tabloid back in 1975 but the strange thing about these old rags is that the articles are actually more legit and quoted than you would think.  The titles are actually more tabloidy than the features. Gregg Allman was quoted heavily here and the article catalogues the time between Cher’s first divorce announcement from Gregg Allman to her appearance on The Tonight Show with Sonny (Sonny's swath of chest hair never gets old) after rumors Allman had beat her up (there were rumors like this too when she divorced Sonny) to her return to Gregg in New York state and their marriage.

After unwrapping the magazine I kept starting at Gregg's unruly hair and commenting about how young Cher looks on the cover. It was only later when I took the magazine into another room I even noticed the watermark overlay of Sonny & Cher on Allman's head. What a bizarre photo layout. Sonny doesn't even look like Sonny when you see it closeup. How did I even miss it? The magazine is also a bizarre collection of weirdly sexist cigarette ads and vibrator classifieds.

Ah, the nostalgic 70s.


Movies, Musicals and Music, Oh My!

BroadwayCher, The Musical...Still in Progress

Recently Cher met with Tony Nominee Rick Elice to pen the book for her biographical musical. Read more about it at Broadway.com, Contact Music, Out.com, Yahoo!

 

Witches of Eastwick

WitchesLogo TV just did a series of shorts on Witches of Eastwick for Halloween. (Thank you Cher scholar Tyler!)

Cher Scholarship

Dolls2If you loved volume 1, Tamara Lorenz Hampton’s book The Fabulous World of Cher Dolls Volume 2 is out just in time for Christmas.

Here's a great discography of Cher discovered by Cher scholar Dishy: http://www.45cat.com/artist/cher

Bob Mackie, Johnson Hartig Discuss Cher, Kim Kardashian at LACMA (Woman’s Wear Daily)

Here's some bad scholarship for you. Two weeks ago, I reported Cher had never been on X Factor. The scholarship gods had a laugh when I was walking on my treadmill and Cher's X Factor appearance from 2013 came up on YouTube. Who could forget that light show? Me apparently.

Lasershow

Cher-cnmBecause I work at a very cool place, the social media gurus at Central New Mexico Community College posted an alert about the time change this past Sunday with Cher's meme. Pulled through to our website, it looked something like this (see right).

Because I have Cher-radar, I can't help but notice it on there!

Turn Back Time: Don't forget to Cher with your friends. It's a daylight savings time tradition now.

Thanks CNM!