August 6, 2011

Eco-Friendly ‘Green Room’

The location of this Cher impersonator gig was a major film studio backlot.  Impersonators on the gig - me as ‘Cher’, ‘Marilyn Monroe’, ‘Austin Powers’ and ‘Jay Leno’.  And The Beach Boys - the real ones!

After schlepping my suitcases (one for costumes, one for wig) from the off-site parking structure to a studio side entrance, through a security check point, I walked the faux streets until I spotted the water tower looming in the distance - the staging area for the entertainers.

Around the base of the water tower, numerous 8′ tall potted Ficus trees had been placed side by side to form an enclosed area for the ‘green room’.  This truly ‘GREEN rooom was stocked with sandwiches, vege trays, cookies and soft drinks - so it was a popular spot for cast and crew.  How intimate!  As we gazed up at the underbelly of the water tower at the starry sky above, ‘Marilyn’ and I determined this would not do!

As we set out in search of an alternate ‘green room’ with some privacy, guests started to filter in through the not-quite-real city streets.  We found an employee Women’s restroom - OK, not quite the privacy we were looking for, but at least we were all the same gender!  The Women’s restroom may not have been an eco-friendly green room with 8′ Ficus trees, but it was the best darn ‘green room’ on the lot!

March 4, 2011

A Game of Polo, Anyone?

Some years back, I was contracted to do a Cher impersonator gig at polo grounds in the desert; I worked the gig with ‘Marilyn Monroe’ and ‘Tom Cruise’.

Polo grounds generally don’t have dressing rooms for entertainers, they have stalls for horses.  Fortunately though, we didn’t have to get ready in a horse stall; there was a restroom on-site near the field.  However, this restroom did not  have A/C and it was 95 degrees outside.

‘Marilyn’ and I shared (or would that be ‘Chered’) the tiny restroom, which had one stand-alone sink, no counters and one toilet stall.  As we juggled hand-held mirrors, false eyelashes, make-up brushes and costumes, the temperature in this little space began to rise until it became quite stifling.  It became so hot and sticky, I could not pull on my faux leather pants.

I began to panic - guests were starting to arrive.  I quickly patted face powder all over my legs, which allowed the pants to slide on, but left powdery hand prints on the black pants.  I quickly wiped  the prints off with a damp paper towel (luckily the restroom had paper towels).  I squirmed into my bustier as my skin glistened with sweat.  I threw everything into my suitcase, trudged to my car and stashed everything in the trunk.  Whew!

I glided into the party feeling as though I had just played a polo match from all that sweating in the un-airconditioned restroom.  Maybe the horse stall would have been a better dressing room after all!

August 9, 2010

I’m Melting, I’m Melting

This ‘Cher’ impersonator gig was a few years ago in a coastal city back East.  I worked the gig with ‘Boy George’ and ‘Madonna’ (Like a Virgin era) impersonators.

Guests mixed and mingled in the beautiful outdoor patio area of this nightclub/restaurant/bar where water trickled from a center fountain surrounded by elegant food and drink stations.  It was a chilly evening so everyone was glad for the patio heaters provided for the comfort of the guests.

While the lure of the Karoke machine was too much of a temptation for ‘Boy George’ and ‘Madonna’, I opted to huddle with other guests around the patio heaters as the temperature dropped.

When the gig ended, we were limoed back to our hotel.  As I de-Chered, I noticed a crusty, flattened area in the back of my black, curly 80s Cher wig.  Well - in my desire to stay warm that night, I got a bit more than I bargained for - MY WIG HAD MELTED!!!!!!

Fortunately, my wig was the only thing that melted that night - Glinda must have been nearby!

May 31, 2010

‘La Dolce Vita’?

Early in my career as a Cher impersonator, I agreed to appear at the opening of a beauty salon in a strip mall; I was just starting out - what did I know!  Impersonators hired on this gig - yours truly ‘Cher’, ‘Marilyn Monroe’ and ‘Mae West’ - the living, the dead, and the really dead.

Music blared outside in the parking lot while plastic flags and colorful balloons seemed to flap and bob in unison to the music.  Inside the salon, the three of us - Cher, Marilyn and Mae - greeted curious guests, who wandered in after shopping for bird seed and dog biscuits at the pet store next door.

‘Marilyn’ who wore the iconic halter dress (in updated red sequins and matching red boa), while ‘Mae’ could be heard frequently delivering the famous “Why don’t you come up and see me sometime”, and me (’Cher’) in black leather trying to do my best “Whoa Babe!”, mingled with visitors while they browsed the shampoo displays and nail polish racks.  The scene was quite bizarre and could have been the set of a Federico Fellini movie.

OK - the beauty salon gig was definitely no ‘La Dolce Vita’; but maybe could have qualified for an anti-Oscar!

March 17, 2010

Sign Sign Everywhere A Sign

One of my early Cher impersonator gigs was participating in a parade, along with ‘Liz Taylor’ and ‘Linda Evans’ impersonators (Shoulder Pads Linda).

It was a beautiful So. California afternoon.  Each impersonator was to ride in separate cars.  As I approached “my” car, I noticed a rather large sign attached to the side of the car reading “CELEBRITY DOUBLE”.  Really!  Was this necessary?  Suddenly, I felt like a carnival side show.  Maybe I’ll stop by the local zoo on my way home and see if they need a new exhibit!

I positioned myself atop the back seat of the convertible as the parade commenced.  Feeling embarrassed and humiliated, I reluctantly waved to the onlookers (mostly kids - a tough crowd).  A breeze soon kicked up and my big, black curly 80s Cher wig was flailing in all directions.  Could things get any worse?  Well, it could rain!

Now that I think about it, I wish it had rained - my wig would have stopped flailing, the kids would have gone home and “CELEBRITY DOUBLE” would have dissolved off that blasted sign.

November 27, 2009

Is There A Doctor In The House?

Some years ago at an exclusive desert resort, as ‘Cher’ I worked with ‘Liz Taylor’, ‘Michael Jackson’ and ‘Rocky’ (facial bandages included) impersonators.

The gig involved working the final party on two separate evenings for a company who was introducing and promoting a new heart drug to cardiologists.  These events were lavish - each place setting at the dining tables contained no less than eight pieces of silverware; dining chairs covered in what appeared to be gold lame (too bad Elvis had already left the  building); chandelier and floral centerpieces standing 3′ tall; and of course, a hosted bar.

Doctors and their wives had been flown in from all over the country to attend a week of daytime business sessions, culminating in the gala affair where everyone was dressed to the nines!  Guests dined on seven courses, sipped champagne and danced well into the night.

Fortunately, no one needed a doctor after all the partying, but if they did, there were plenty of them in the house!

February 22, 2009

Party Fit for an Egyptian Princess

This Cher impersonator gig was a costume party thrown annually by a wealthy family on the grounds of their Arabian horse farm.  Impersonators hired for the party included ‘Elvis’, ‘George Michael’, ‘Barbra’, ‘Dolly’, ‘Joan Rivers’, and yours truly, ‘Cher’.

As the impersonators and guests arrived in limos, we were served champagne through the car windows by waiters wearing only tight black pants and black bow ties.

When everyone had arrived and were standing around waiting for the guest of honor, our attention was suddenly directed to eight hot-looking guys, carrying a gilded bed on their shoulders, supporting an Egyptian princess - the Guest of Honor, arriving fashionably late.

For the show, an enormous stage had been erected, complete with a first-class light and sound system.  The impersonators soon learned, however, that “our stage” was a foot-high riser about the size of a dining room table, located off to the side, complete with plastic lattice-work and an artificial plant.  (I am sure Cleopatra never would have allowed plastic lattice-work in her palace!)

It was a wild party as only an Egyptian princess could throw, and would have been the envy of both Bacchus and Dionysus.

October 12, 2008

Tongue ‘n Cheek Nuptials

A few years ago, I did a Cher impersonator gig at an exclusive beach area country club where I was hired to be one of the guests at a wedding, and a Jack Nicholson impersonator was hired to be the “minister”.  Seriously!

The bridal couple had actually been legally married at a private ceremony a month prior to this bogus wedding, but the guests were completely unaware.   And who better to have at your tongue ‘n cheek nuptials, but ‘Cher’ and ‘Jack’!

As the guests anxiously awaited the arrival of the bride, I entered fashionably late from the back of the room, dressed in black lace and leather (of course), talking in my best Cher voice (“babe”) as I looked for a place to sit.  Guests were surprised and excited to see ‘Cher’ and graciously helped me find a seat.  Then ‘Jack’ entered carrying a Bible (yes, a Bible) and took his place in front to perform the ceremony.

The event was so well organized and choreographed, guests had no idea the “wedding” was not real, even with the arrival of ‘Cher’ and ‘Jack’.  The tongue ‘n cheek nuptials were such success, I think ‘Jack’ is considering performing the ceremony at more “weddings”!

September 9, 2008

‘Once Upon a Mattress’

This Cher impersonator gig was on the East coast.  When I arrived in town, the booking agent took me directly to the hotel to check in.

As I unpacked, it became quite clear that the insulation in the walls was not sufficient to muffle the party going on next door to me.   I thought “no problem”, I have ear plugs.

As I settle into bed, I quickly discover my ear plugs are on the West coast.  Great!  I tried wedging little balls of facial tissue into my ears, but to no avail.  Additionally, the party going on next door was not the only source of noise pollution.

It turns out the hotel was located in and amongst an elaborate freeway ramp system.  I tried counting cars to lull me to sleep, but I wasn’t being lulled to sleep.  I decided this situation called for drastic measures.

So I lifted the top mattress off the bed and dragged, wedged and squeezed it into the bathroom.  I flattened it out as best I could, slammed the bathroom door and slept peacefully for the remainder of the night, whatever was left of it.

August 18, 2008

‘Cher’ Flips Her Wig

Here’s another story about a Cher impersonator gig at a private country club.

There was no real green room, so the restroom for the club members would serve as my dressing room. I unpacked all my things and started to get into costume when suddenly all the lights went out. Within a few minutes, a maintenance person entered and said power might be restored in 45 minutes. MIGHT be restored! I frantically packed up and looked for someone to find me some kind of dressing room. As I passed through the lobby, guests were starting to arrive.

I was taken downstairs in a freight elevator, led down a ramp and through a long hallway to the employee’s restroom. At least it had lights, even though they were only 25 watt. After getting into costume and touching up my make-up (even though I really couldn’t see what I was doing) I started to prep my big black curly Cher wig. I was holding the base of the Styrofoam head to which it was pinned, when suddenly, as I was brushing the hair on top, the wig and Styrofoam head flew out of my hand, flipped backward and landed upside down in a pile in the corner on the not-so-clean floor.

Gee, what else could happen tonight? How about ‘Elvis’ arriving a half-hour late, smelling like he had been hanging with his buddy, Jack Daniels.

Fortunately, the event went off without further incident, but if the guests had known the chaos that preceded - they would have flipped their wigs!

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