2014 Holiday Gift Guide online special: ‘Cher’-ing some holiday cheer

Cher Upon a Midnight ClearWe gay people love our divas, and Cher is one of the diva-est. So it seems only fitting that there should be a book in which Cher saves Christmas.  “If 8-year-old Luca can’t convince his parents to give him the white ice skates he has his heart set on, Christmas is going to be ruined. Who does a child turn to when he can’t even county on Santa Claus?” Why, Cher, of course. Cher Upon A Midnight Clear is the “Christmas fable for children of all ages and the homofriendly/genderqueer holiday story your modern family has been waiting for.”

Cher Upon A Midnight Clear, by Matteo B. Bianchi. $8. Available online at FourCatsPress.com/new-releases.

—  Tammye Nash

No Tie giving away Cher concert tickets

CherDo you believe in life after an Oscar, a variety show, an ex-husband dying on a ski slope, a transgender child and gazillions of gay fanboys? Then you believe in Cher, who’ll be playing in Dallas on March 26, the third stop on her Dressed to Kill Tour. The gays love their uber-diva more than Judy herself, and the No Tie Dinner and Dessert party knows its audience. So, before the big fundraiser for AIDS Services of Dallas on April 12, the group is giving away tickets so any gypsies, tramps and thieves can see Cher in concert. Just pre-register for the No Tie Dinner now through March 19 at NoTieDinner.org, and you’ll be entered in the drawing. Don’t be late, though, because you can’t turn back time.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

CD REVIEW: Cher, ‘Closer to the Truth’

CHERTo find the truth on Cher’s first album of new material in 12 years, look beyond that over-polished, Britney-circa-Femme Fatale-era cover art on Closer to the Truth, wherein our leading diva confuses an album shoot for a JCPenney underwear catalog. The truth, it turns out, isn’t immediately apparent; it exists not in a 67-year-old woman trying to be a pinup girl, but in the frankness of Cher’s always-authentic self, when she preaches feminism (“Woman’s World”), tells a prospective lover to “Take It Like a Man” and, at her most honest, warns of her lethal wig-wearing, sequin-shimmering style (“Dressed to Kill”).

Picking up where 2001’s Living Proof left off — when Cher, impossible as it sounds, got even gayer — Closer to the Truth (her 26th LP) keeps the queers at her feet and on their knees; all three of the aforementioned songs pulse and bounce and bang like the icon never left the dance floor. And that’s only somewhat problematic, since some of these aren’t quite as ageless as the diva herself. “Woman’s World,” the first single, sounds very turn-of-the-millennium. One of two Pink-scribed contributions, “I Walk Alone,” exercises a country march that both befits early-era Cher and shakes up the sameness of the more vanilla-produced dance jams. Then she gets back to ballads, making magic out of “Sirens,” a glorious slow tempo that proves the timelessness of her voice, and breaking your heart just a little on her cover of Miley Cyrus’ “I Hope You Find It.” The truth is, Cher doesn’t need to turn back time. She’s fine right where she is.

— Chris Azzopardi

 Three-and-a-half stars.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Cher reunites with ‘Burlesque’ co-star on ‘The Voice’ … sort of

burlesque photocall 091210Cher and Christina Aguilera, who starred together in the camp classic film Burlesque in 2010, will be reunited again this fall … sort of.

Cher has been added to the cast of The Voice — not as a “coach” (the foursome that sit in revolving chairs and pick the singers they want to mentor) — but as an “adviser,” a behind-the-scenes expert who counsels the coach on how to bring out the best in each contestant. Aguilera, of course, is one of the coaches.

Only Cher won’t be on Aguilera’s team — she’ll be the adviser to Blake Shelton. Christina’s adviser will be Ed Sheeran.

The Voice returns Sept. 23.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

REVIEW: Joan Rivers at the Winspear

AWJ Joan HLR

“It’s great to put a face to a voice,” Joan Rivers told me when I met her after her show last night at the Winspear (I’m pictured, from left, with her her and Voice contributor Howard Lewis Russell). “Phone interviews are hard, but you were a good one.”

Even if she hadn’t paid me a compliment, it would have been easy to say nice things about Joan’s 65-minute act, where she stays in constant motion and talks even faster. (After the set was over, Howard and I were exhausted from laughing; only then did we realize Joan never so much as took a sip of water the entire time.) At 79, she’s an unstoppable force, going to far as to do a sight gag involving climbing on top of a piano — what septuagenarians do you know that still do physical comedy?!?!

But that’s Rivers, who famously never slows down — not in her career, and not onstage. The jokes were more rapid-fire than a sub-machine gun: Some induced groans from audience members uncomfortable with jokes about pedophilia (read: Michael Jackson) and how Chaz Bono needed liposuction more than a new penis. But, as Joan says, if you don’t get some walkouts, you’re not doing your job right.

Of course, she embraced “my gays” — her shout-out to them (“Where are you?”) resulted in a roar and nearly the entire front two rows standing up and hollering. “I love my gays — my one great disappointment is my grandson is not gay,” she joked. “Who else is going to say to me, ‘Really, you knew Judy Garland?!’” Still, she said, gays don’t like two kinds of jokes: Those that poke fun at Princess Di and at Barbra Streisand. She did jokes about both.

And she was right: The gays were out in force. The line at the men’s room before the show looped around the lobby. “Why is the line here longer than at the ladies’ room?” wondered one man aloud. “Because,” I said, “Joan Rivers has turned the Winspear into Dallas’ largest floating gay bar.” “Oh, right,” he agreed.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Chaz Bono to receive Elizabeth Birch Equality Award
 at Black Tie Dinner


Chaz Bono

Chaz Bono will receive this year’s Elizabeth Birch Equality Award, co-chairs of the 2012 Black Tie Dinner announced today.

“While Chaz has found fulfillment in his work as a national activist, one of his greatest values in the GLBT community lies in reaching out and raising awareness on a grassroots level among young minds,” said Black Tie Dinner Co-Chair Chris Kouvelis. “Via his high national profile, Chaz continues to create visibility, increase awareness and impact change for transgender issues.”

Chaz Bono is an LGBT rights advocate, author and speaker. Most recently, Chaz received the GLAAD Media Award and was honored for his OWN documentary, Becoming Chaz, which chronicled the struggles of his gender reassignment journey. He also received the Stephen F. Kolzak Award, which is given by GLAAD to an LGBT entertainer for promoting equality. Chaz embarked on uncharted territory last fall when he appeared on Dancing With The Stars.

Born Chastity, to Sonny and Cher Bono, Chaz came out as a lesbian to his parents at 18 in 1987. He did not come out publicly until April 1995 in an interview with The Advocate, and spoke about it publicly on the air for the first time ever on Lambda Weekly when he was in Dallas for National Coming Out Day

Chaz has contributed as a writer-at-large to The Advocate and became spokesperson for the HRC, promoting National Coming Out Day. Chaz also served as Entertainment Media Director for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).

The Elizabeth Birch Equality Award honors national leaders, and is given in recognition of the inspirational leadership of former Human Rights Campaign Executive Director Elizabeth Birch. This award is given to an individual, organization or company that has made a significant contribution of national scope to the LGBT community.

Birch received the first award and last year decorated veteran Eric Alva, the first servicemember injured in the Iraq War received the honor. Other recipients have included Showtime Networks/Robert Greenblatt, Alan Cumming, Sharon Stone, Bishop V. Gene Robinson, Judy Shepard and American Airlines.

—  David Taffet

Cher is the latest gay icon to get a comic book

I’m not sure who’s running things over at Bluewater Productions comics, but they know their gay audiences. Following up on previous celebrity bio-comics like Lady Gaga, Madonna and Ellen DeGeneres, the publisher announced today that Cher will get the comic treatment this December. Her story will be the latest issue of their series Female Force. The 32-page comic will feature art by Zach Bassett and Warren Montgomery. The cover is by DC Comics Joe Philips. From BlueWater Productions:

Writer Marc Shapiro said Cher’s life and career “reads like a comic book.” “The clothes, the times, the attitudes of the decades she’s lived through. The different styles of music she’s been involved in. So much of what Cher has experienced is so flamboyant, over the top and just plain out there,” said Shapiro. “She has been very much the real life equivalent of a superhero, and writing about Cher, to a large degree, has been just about letting my imagination go.”

With no specific date mentioned, Bluewater says to expect the comic in the month of December at comic book shops, Barnes & Noble bookstores and Amazon.

—  Rich Lopez

Chaz Bono attacked for inclusion on ‘DWTS’

Earlier this week I reported that Chaz Bono, the transgender child of Cher and Sonny Bono, was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars. What a great bold move for ABC, I thought. Well, apparently a lot of people think differently.

TheWrap.com is reporting that ABC’s message board lit up with hostile, hateful comments about Chaz. “How low can this show sink” was one comment. Others suggest that is was “sickening” and simply a media conspiracy to “flaunt” gay culture.

Maybe we need to stick up for our community. If you’re so inclined, you can go here to the DWTS message board and post your own comment. Don’t let the haters win.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Chaz Bono among the celebs on next ‘DWTS’

Chaz Bono, the transgender son of gay pop icon Cher and the late Sonny Bono, is one of the new contestants on the upcoming season of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. He becomes the first trans person ever on the show. The season will also feature one of the few other gay competitors on the show, former Queer Eye style guru Carson Kressley. (Several seasons ago, Lance Bass made it to the finals of DWTS.)

Chaz and Carson join a (typically) quirky lineup that also includes goofy actor David Arquette (Scream),  shrill conservative talking head Nancy Grace, singer Chynna Phillips and famous-for-nothing celeb Rob Kardashian.

The season premieres Sept. 19.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Nuclear gay bomb alert: Cher & Lady Gaga to duet

It’s not breaking news that Cher has recorded a song for her new album that was written by Lady Gaga. Towleroad posted Cher’s tweets about recording “The Greatest Thing” last week. Now, Out’s Popnography has posted Cher’s tweet today that leads us to believe Gaga herself will be on the song.

Talk about a glitter-bomb!

But is the effort already being undermined? The below demo recorded by Gaga is already all over the interwebs, so there goes the initial surprise for what the song sounds like. Still, it’ll likely be a big hit for Cher and just another day at work for Gaga.

Earlier this year, Jennifer Lopez released a Gaga-penned song on her album Love? “Hypnotico” was actually one of the better songs on the entire album, but has yet to be released as a single.

—  Rich Lopez