Monday, October 21, 2013

If she could turn back time ... Cher!

HALLIE EPHRON: In the mid 80s they filmed the movie Witches of Eastwick in my town and my daughter got to be an extra. Of the witches -- Cher, Susan Sarandon, and Michelle Pfeiffer -- Cher was the one who was approachable. She'd talk to the kids. Joke around. Sneak them cokes. As my daughter said at the time, "She was real."

Even at her most artificial, Cher has always felt real. Now comes the headline: At the age of 67, Cher's going on tour! The exclamation point goes with the headline. Her Dressed to Kill tour kicks off in Phoenix next March.

And I say:"You go, girl!
After all the plastic surgery and ridiculous costumes, I still root for her.

I feel as if, along with Gloria Steinem, she led us through "the change" -- from being magician's assistant to magician, superhero's girl sidekick to superhero, Tina to Ike, secretary to boss, cheerleader to athlete. She started as arm candy and emerged as a star in her own right and on her own terms, strutting her anatomy decades before Miley stuck out her tongue.

In my family, some of us even been known to dress up like her for Halloween. A true homage.

Are you a fan? Or is she just too much leather, feather, and plastic to be taken seriously. Maybe Madonna or Joan Baez or Carole King is more your kind of pop icon?

And I'll be getting tickets! Cher is my idol. And for all the reasons you so eloquently (must be a writer...) listed.

She's reinvented herself countless times - and you get the feeling it's not because some some exec advised her to. She seems fearless and I love that. I can still watch Mask and cry and Moonstruck and laugh out loud. "Snap out of it!"

Years ago, I saw her in a small shoe store on Rodeo Drive, she was sweet. Stephane Kelian. I wanted to buy the same boots she was trying on.

 But she's had plastic surgery...really? ;-)

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: LOVE CHER.  Oh, my goodness. Don't we remember her with the weird Sonny-- and she was the coolest, the smart one, right? And that voice! She's brave and hilarious. And incredibly talented.

My sister is a caterer, and handled a few events for her--she said Cher eats Cheetos and hot dogs, all kinds of junk food, and that her face close up is PERFECT, but sculpted for makeup. My sister was blown away with admiration and affection.

Oh, I wish we had tickets, too. Ro, we hope for a full report! And would that we're even close to that cool when we're 67.  (Which will be soon...)

RHYS BOWEN: When I saw the newscast that she was going on tour and saw her again on TV,
 I blurted out to John "But she's my age!"  And still looks young and sexy.

I'm sure she's had facelifts etc, but that great bone structure makes her look fabulous. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that she's still working. After all, I'm still working and don't intend to slow down any time soon.

I had just started working at the BBC in London when there was buzz about a new young singer called Cher. Then she joined Sonny and I remember thinking WHY? Why take a step down from being a serious singer to being half of a goofy comedy team. Of course he was so small and unassuming that she looked even more glamorous and gorgeous. And I did love I've got you, babe.

Also it's so reassuring that women of sixty plus are not automatically expected to wear granny shoes and sit at home doing knitting. It's great that society admits we can still be vibrant and useful and even sexy.

LUCY BURDETTE: I love Cher too, and wish her the best. (Though I also love the other women/icons you mentioned Hallie.)

Moonstruck is one of my all-time favorite movies--I need to watch it again. Loved her duets with Sonny!

I have to tell you, if you're ever in Key West on a Monday for happy hour, you must come to the Aqua nightclub on Duval Street. Two of the drag queens do an absolutely hysterical rendition of Sonny and Cher singing "I've got you babe"...not to be missed. Here's Randy Thompson, aka Victoria, doing his/her half of the song--he is a character in TOPPED CHEF too!

All you Cher fans, are you watching The Voice this season???? Cher is mentoring the singers on Blake Shelton's team. 

From what I've seen so far, she is funny, down-to-earth, and sharp as a tack.  She also seems genuinely interested in helping the singers improve.  Her advice is spot on.  And yes, she's still glamorous, but with her bone structure I think she'd have looked even more fabulous WITHOUT the plastic surgery...

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I'm so jealous! I had no idea so many of you have had actual Cher

moments. What do you suppose the odds are on that?
I remember watching the Sonny and Cher show as a kid, sitting on my grandmother's battleship-sized sofa in my flannel nightgown (kids had to bathe before TV in those days.) Three generations watching (and other variety shows like Donny and Marie and The Carol Burnett Show) and everyone enjoying it. Good lord, it sounds like Laura Ingalls Wilder recalling hoe-downs on the prairie, compared to today. I had a friend who had long straight black hair lke Cher's and we were all envious.

I always loved the contrast between Cher's extreme glamour and her abilities as a comedienne. She was, and is, very, very funny. It's also amazing when you think what her career has straddled - starting as a singing act and going into a TV variety show was the sort of thing Dinah Shore did back in the fifties. Yet here she is in the Internet age, tweeting like a madwoman and releasing electronic dance music. You go, girl.

HALLIE: So please, share your memories of Cher! Have you seen her perform? Did her acting or singing or outspokenness speak to you at some time in your life?


Joan Emerson said...

I never saw Cher perform in person, but like everyone else has mentioned, I remember watching her on television . . . along with all that’s been mentioned already, I’m a fan because of Hallie’s initial comments: “Cher was the one who was approachable. She’d talk to the kids. Joke around . . . She was real.” The fact that, despite her success, she did not become one of the “Hollywood Diva” types, speaks volumes to the person that she is. I’m sure her tour will be a huge success . . . .

Kristopher said...

Huge Cher fan here. I would love to see this tour, but I just can't bring myself to pay the astronomical prices they are asking for most seats that are not so far away I might as well be listening to a CD.

Like Lucy, I am also a huge fan of the other icons mentioned. Of them, I have seen Madonna and Joan Baez perform live. Would be nice to see Carole King.

My favorite Cher movie is still Silkwood, simply because I had no idea at that point that she could act so well. She proved to be a powerhouse and then went on to Mask, Moonstruck, Mermaids (lots of "M" movies, lol).

Long live Cher! And all of us!

Hallie Ephron said...

I love all movies too, Kristopher. She stunned Hollywood, too, and got nominated for an Oscar for Silkwood. My favorite has got to be Moonstruck. The chemistry between her and Nicolas Cage was phenomenal. And even he was funny in it.

Kaye Barley said...


And being a woman of 64 myself, I applaud the hell out of everything she does.

I saw her perform in Atlanta many, many years ago and remember standing on my feet the entire show. I would love to see her on this tour.

I remember watching her and Sonny on TV and cutting back on sweets and chips in hopes of ever getting as trim. (HA! as if!).

I remember being SO blown away by her in Silkwood. Moonstruck remains a favorite movie.

When she and Sonny appeared together on one of the late night shows after many years of not being together, I cried like a baby when they sang "I Got You, Babe."

The woman just rocks.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Oh gosh, talk about turning back the hands of time.

The very first concert I attended was the Beach Boys at the Rochester, NY War Memorial. The price of admission was I had to take my sister who was five years younger--the things we do for fandom.

And the opening act was Sonny & Cher - who had just recently broken into big time play. It was like hitting the perfecta.

I'm guessing this was circa 1963, so 50 years ago +/- memory lapse.

~ Jim

Hallie Ephron said...

Oh, Kaye and Jim - so jealous! Wish I'd seen her. (I saw Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Martha and the Vandellas, Grace Slick, Janis Joplin...)

Linda Rodriguez said...

Love Cher for all the reasons already listed. And Joan Baez--what a class act!

Another of whom I was a huge fan was Carol Burnett. Remember the article about Bob Mackie designing both their dresses and they had exactly the same measurements, but neither could wear the other's clothes?

Lucy Burdette aka Roberta Isleib said...

Meanwhile, due to an enormous teen crush on Mickey Dolenz, I was busy seeing THE MONKEES:(

Rhonda Lane said...

I remember my grandparents jeering at the TV when Sonny and Cher showed up in their fur vests. :) They were born in the late 1890s, so you can imagine. :) Good thing they never saw Miley. =:-D

Anyway, fast forward to the 1990s, when Cher went through a merchandising phase and I was all in. :) I used her signature fragrance, skin care line and even her workout tape. Sure, I tried all that stuff because of her name, but I also liked the products."Her" tightening facial mask was terrific. Her workout was my fave because it used covers of energizing hard rock tunes instead of not-quite-there pop, and her personality shone through. She made working out fun.

I'm getting a kick out of seeing her on The Voice, too.

Ramona said...

Cher earned her acting kudos. I also love Moonstruck, Mask, and Mermaids. Silkwood--yes. She was such a wonderful surprise.

When I think of Cher, I think of Sonny. After he died, long after their rather acrimonious divorce, she was distraught. I recall an interview, and her grief seemed so deep and genuine, and that really touched me.

She's an artist who continued to grow and challenge herself. That is to be admired. Plus...the Bob Mackie clothes! That took guts.

JKW said...

OMGosh Hallie, You saw Janis Joplin. . .I'm Green. I thought Cher was the Best actor EVER and loved that she could play any part. I loved ALL her movies and watch them over and over. The fact that she's serious, funny and sings fantastically. . .well, what more is there. She's tall, of course she's skinny (just kidding). Great article, all of you. Thanks for sharing. Blessings, Janet

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Oh, of course the MOnkees. SO funny.

I saw Judy Collins, and Joni Mitchell! SUch cons.

But you know Cher, you;re so right, is incredibly multi-talnented. SHe's hilarious, and self-deprecating, and still a huge star. Plus, how about Chastity?

And my brain is failing me, but wasn't Sonny elected to--congress, or something?Mayor of someplace?

Edith Maxwell said...

What a great post. I love Cher, too. I used to pretend I was her singing "I got you, babe." Yeah, like we look SO much alike, and our height? Identical! (Not, for those who don't know that I'm 5'1" when I stand up real tall.) LOL.

Hallie Ephron said...

Sonny, I do believe, was mayor of Palm Springs. And as a politician well respected.

What I'm just remembering is the Cher hair fling. I had long black hair, too, but mine wasn't silky and wouldn't fling.

Lucy Burdette aka Roberta Isleib said...

Back in my thirties, we threw a number of lip-sync parties. Everyone came dressed as a singer and had practiced lip-synching the song. My biggest moment was appearing as Tammy Wynnette singing STAND BY YOUR MAN while dancing with a big green frog.

but two of my friends came as Sonny and Cher--they were absolutely brilliant. Sadly (or maybe not), I accidentally erased the tape...

Deb said...

We all sang "I got you, babe." Right of passage:-)

Looking forward to seeing her on The Voice tonight (although I do hope Blake doesn't win again this year. Time to share!)

Sandra Gardner said...

hi hallie,
I absolutely love Cher. Even bought her CD (or was it a tape?) of Turn Back Time. Sometimes I find myself humming it without even realizing..... May she never grow old/up/retire..
sandy gardner

Edith Maxwell said...

The hair fling, exactly!

Invidious Literatus said...

My mother and Cher were born just days apart, so Mom always had an affinity for Cher. She was a music, and later acting, staple in our household.

I think Cher is greatly misunderstood, but what's awesome about it is that she could care less. She does her thing, and if you don't like it, she's unbothered. I remember watching an interview with in which she said, "I answer to two people: myself and God, and I don't give a sh*t what anyone else thinks about me."

At the time I thought, "what a great philosophy." Here's someone who lives life according to her own rules and standards - which are quite rigorous - and who doesn't depend on the validation of a fickle public or a callous press. She just lives her life.

I also don't think people appreciate just what a good singer she is. They hear the hits and see the videos and they talk about her plastic surgery or her outrageous costumes. Rarely is her voice given the consideration it deserves. It's incredibly rare for a vocalist to be so unique, that they're recognized immediately upon singing a single note. She knows exactly what her voice can do and she chooses material which maximizes her ability.

I took Mom to see the Farewell tour and can honestly say no one puts on a show like Cher. She sings live (though her electronic songs have embellishments) and often sounds better than her recordings. After Mom died, I listened to a lot of Cher's records and it helped me with my grief. Her songs are as timeless as she is. They're about love and hope and pain, and ultimately survival.

Cher is the epitome of a survivor. In an industry which throws people away on a weekly basis, Cher is entering her sixth decade as a musician. That's an amazing feat.

She's a talented singer and a gifted actress, but when I think of Cher, I mostly think of what a cool person she is. She's not afraid of change; she embraces it. She was changing her look and style way before Madonna came on the scene. She flaunted her sexuality but, at the same time, you always recognized that she was in control of it, she was marketing it, but she wasn't dependent on it. She had the talent and experience and intelligence to back it up. That's something the Mileys and the Gagas and the Rihannas have yet to figure out.

Cher kicks ass.

Pat D said...

I agree with all your comments, guys! She is just a few years older than me and I appreciate her not going little old lady on us. She is so talented and funny and as un-diva as one could be. No, I've never seen her in concert, but have enjoyed her music for years. Always watched the Sonny and Cher Hour, and then the Cher Hour after the split. To see her laughing and making fun of herself is pure joy!

Rhys Bowen said...

Lucy--can we find a video of you singing "Stand by your man" while dancing with a big green frog?
I'd pay anything!!!

Hallie Ephron said...

Invidious - You brought tears to my eyes. And you are so right - all you need to hear is one syllable of a song and you know it's Cher.

Elizabeth D said...

Hey, folks -- while celebrating women and how we can do what we want no matter what age, don't fall into the boring old trap of stereotyping the knitters. . . we're no less interesting, varied, energetic, creative, and timeless than the writers, performers, and other fascinating people out there.

Elizabeth D said...

That was in reference to Rhys Bowen's remark "Also it's so reassuring that women of sixty plus are not automatically expected to wear granny shoes and sit at home doing knitting. It's great that society admits we can still be vibrant and useful and even sexy. "

Hallie Ephron said...

Wish I could knit. Always have. Never could. My rows are an uneven mess. I'll bet Cher can knit.

Lucy Burdette aka Roberta Isleib said...

Hallie, exactly. Invidious kicks ass. Very moving tribute to Cher--and your mom. Performers may have no idea how they are affecting people's lives!

Rhys, I was sick when I realized I'd taped over that tape with a dumb tennis tournament. I bet you would be an amazing addition to a lip-sync party!!!!

Denise Ann said...

Cher! Love her and all the posts today. Especially: watching tv after bath!! And "I Got You, BABE." The great actress, singer, performer.

I am Cher's age -- dunno how she does what she does, and looks soooo good.

I saw Joan Baez twice -- another great one.

What joy these women have brought.

Triss said...

I love Cher. She is always who she is and the heck with anyone who doesn't like it. But she does it with humor. And her singing ain't bad either. Putting on a Cher CD is the perfect cure for a bad day.

Some years ago, (2000-2001, maybe?) Cher and Sanatana and another old star (Tony Bennett?) had three of the bigest hit albums. Loved, loved, loved seeing them showing the kids how it's done.

Hallie Ephron said...

Tonight I'm watching The Voice. If only to find out who's Blake. And I'm blaming Debs.

Deb said...

Hallie, you've been watching too much public television! (I say this only as a lifelong devotee of PBS:-)

Blake is Blake Shelton, gazillon award-winning country singer, married to gazillon award-winning singer Miranda Lambert.

The other three coaches are Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera, and CeeLo Green. (Don't be put off by CeeLo's weirdness--his voice is amazing.)

A singer from Blake's team has won three seasons in a row.

After the coaches choose their teams in blind auditions, they bring in mentors to work with their singers for the rest of the competition. Blake's chosen Cher this season, and from the little clips I've seen, it's going to be great fun. Cher may seem an odd choice for a country singer, but Blake's a very smart and savvy guy.

All the coaches are very smart and very talented--one of the reasons I like the show so much. Hope you enjoy!

Reine said...

Hallie, I adore Cher. When I saw her in Mask she became my goddess. If she never sang, danced,or acted she would still be that to me for her outspoken socio-stance.

Dru said...

Now the song is stuck in my head. But I do love Cher. She was so real she's definitely a great performer.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said... all are amazing. So proud to know you. ANd lucky.

Reine said...

Lucy, thanks for sharing the video Randy Thompson— great fun!