(Images by Matthew Rettenmund)
I was pissed off when I missed my chance to get a pic-with alongside Cher earlier this year—the unpredictable diva did several meet-and-greet events nearby (Fire Island, for one), but none that worked for me. So I was thrilled when the Hillary campaign announced a new set of events—including one right in Chelsea: Cher is Strong Enough for Hillary in NYC. Thanks to Ben Ryan and Jeff Campagna and all the other chairs, it turned out to be a dream-come-true kind of event.
For $250, you got to share air with Cher, for $1,000 you got a pic-with and I'm sure people paid even more for a private reception, all worth it to help Hillary become president and to help ourselves to some face-time with Cher.
I polled Facebook to figure out what I should wear. I had bought a fake leather (Nasty Pig!) shirt that I thought looked good on me, and that would be very Cher, but I also had a more ME polo. Then there was a sleek black Hillary tee.
People liked the tee the best, but I stuck with my gut (and I'm sure my eventual pic-with will reveal said gut) because I wanted to try something new. I even left the house with stubble! Gasp. (Hey, once I'm totally bald, I'll need options.)
The event was held at The Park on 10th Avenue, which has lighted trees inside and so little other light you could mistake Cher for me, so it had a nice, romantic, upscale-NYC vibe. I hovered near the front, where it was obvious Cher would eventually speak. I was behind a cool chick and her crispy friend (in a cute way), who was angry when he thought I was asking him to take my picture with Cher (since he knew I was getting one anyway!). They were sweet, and they unwittingly held my spot for me when, 45 minutes late, those of us getting pic-withs were called into the receiption area to form a line.
Some queens who'd just met her were talking about her vampiric agelessness, suggesting they'd had long moments to drink it in, and it soon became clear from the slow line that she was taking her sweet time with each person. Right when I got to the door, before stepping into Cher's presence, the handler was saying they needed a better puller because people were taking too long. I said, “Not yet!” and he snapped, “No. We do.” Bad timing ... but they didn't get around to it until I was done, haha.
My shots from the back of Cher's November '88 Marshall Field's Uninhibited event
When it was my turn, I approached Cher, who was luminous under black hair, in a black, cleavage-baring outfit and black accessories (and so tall). I told her I'd been at a Marshall Field's event for her perfume Uninhibited 28 years ago and had been able to ask her a question, which I'd thought was going to be my ultimate Cher moment. (At the event, I asked her what she thought of tabloids, to which she replied, “Just look at the pictures.” I also sent up a tube with her “Skin Deep” 45 sleeve in it and my address and the bitch sent it back to me autographed within days!!! Ah, the '80s.)
“But this is better,” I said, emphasizing how lovely it was to pose for a picture with her. Cher replied, “Well ... yeah!” She then leaned in, pushing her hair in my face, and said, “And I still smell exactly the same—smell me!”
It was, indeed, Uninhibited. Or a reasonable facsimile. Or I just think that's what it smelled like.
I got beside her and two snaps went off before I was ready, but Cher must've felt the same because she asked for a third and pressed her head right against mine. It was so warm of her to do that. I hope I don't look utterly terrified. In pleather.
I thanked her for doing her Hillary tour and went directly back to my front-stage spot, while everyone else was shooed over to the side.
It took her a good 30 minutes more to do the other photos, but she was finally introduced hilariously by an elected official (who noted her use of the toilet emjoi for Trump and suggested it might also be used to represent Comey, Christie, Thiel and Giuliani) and then strode out onto her short catwalk and stood behind a lucite lectern with STRONGER TOGETHER emblazoned on the front of it.
Cher spoke with no notes for about 20 minutes. Here are the highlights (all transcribed by me—please provide link and credit if used anywhere):
On her right to speak up and her empathy for the poor:
Mostly Trump supporters and usually Republicans say, you know, “Libtard, you have no idea what's going on, you have no right to have a voice, just vote and shut up.” And if you read my Twitter, sometimes I'm very pleasant. And sometimes not so much ... I understand shame and I understand poverty. My grandmother picked cotton, my mother when she was 8 years old helped support her family by singing on bartops ... We were poor for the most part, really poor for the most part, but then my mother did marry this really rich guy and we moved to Beverly Hills and it was like the Clampetts. Okay? And I realized that rich is better.
Relating her dyslexia to being simpatico with LGBTQ people: