Cher Convention 2000 Press Coverage

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From the Associated Press:  Superfans get together for weekend Cher confab  Word Count: 402

Associated Press banner APwire
07-17-2000

Fans Gather for Cher Convention
by Bennie M. Currie

CHICAGO - Move over Trekkies, a new fan-fest has landed. More than 500 diva-worshippers came to Chicago for a two-day weekend convention in honor of Cher. Cher Convention 2000 drew Cher impersonators, wannabes and outright look-alikes from across the country to a downtown hotel Friday and Saturday (July 14 & 15).

The gathering at Chicago's Congress Plaza Hotel, which resembled conventions for fans of Star Trek, comic books and sports teams, was organized by three fans who found each other through Cher's Web site. "I've been a fan for years and we all thought it would be good to get together with other fans," said Kim Werdman a real estate manager from Arlington, Texas...

Cher wasn't present. While the event featured kitschy karaoke performances, Sonny and Cher album covers and other memorabilia, it also had a serious side. Proceeds from the sale of T-shirts, photographs and other keepsakes will be donated to the Children's Craniofacial Association, a Dallas-based support group, Werdman said. Cher is the organization's honorary chairwoman. In the 1985 film MASK, she played the mother of a boy who was born with craniofacial deformities, and the singer has since been a benefactor for people who suffer from the disorder.

Since Cher was a no-show, her fans had to settle for the next best thing - impersonator Wayne Smith. Sporting a beaded pink gabardine pants suit, Smith belted out a rendition of "I Got You Babe," the '60s hit duet by Cher and then-husband Sonny Bono. Smith handled both ends of the duet, mimicking Sonny's whiny tone and Cher's husky vibrato by himself. "I'm schizophrenic," Smith joked. His audience included male and female fans who sported Cher-like hairdos in black, red and purple hues. Cher fan Troy Lynn Hershman was dressed more conservatively, but said she's every bit as devoted. "I've been a fan since I was four or five," said Hershman, 33, of Houston. "But I've never been to any of her concerts. I just watch her on cable."

© The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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From The Columbus Dispatch:


July 18, 2000, Tuesday

SECTION: FEATURES - ACCENT & ARTS, Pg. 2B, LENGTH: 445 words
HEADLINE: CHARLES WON'T BE TAKING THE PLUNGE

BYLINE: Compiled by Dave Poole, Of The Dispatch Staff

GRAPHIC: Phot, (1) Cher-ing his talents Cher impersonator Wayne Smith of Dallas gets the crowd in the spirit by singing the Sonny and Cher hit I Got You Babe at Cher Convention 2000, held over the weekend at Chicago's Congress Plaza Hotel. Smith did both sides of the duet, mimicking Sonny's whiny tone and Cher's husky vibrato, to the guffaws of many. The two-day confab drew 500 Cher fans, wannabes and look-alikes. It was organized by three fans who found each other through Cher Web sites. Cher, alas, was a no- show. But the proceeds went to one of her pet causes: the Children's Craniofacial Association, a support group for which Cher is honorary chairwoman. In the 1985 film Mask, she played the mother of a boy who was born with craniofacial deformities, and since then she's been a benefactor for people who suffer from the disorder. (2) MediafaxFoto Indignant soprano Monserrat Caballe rips up that inferior score. Brian Kersey / Associated Pres

Copyright 2000 The Columbus Dispatch

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From the Fort Worth Star Telegram: http://www.startext.com/news/doc/1047/1:ENTNEWS25/1:ENTNEWS250717100.html

Star-Telegram.Com | What Do You Want To Know?
Updated: Monday, Jul. 17, 2000 at 08:43 CDT

Superfans get together for weekend Cher confab

By Bennie M. Currie
Associated Press

Reprint of THE ASSOCIATED PRESS article by Bennie Currie.
------

On the Net: Cher's Web site: www.cher.com

Children's Craniofacial Association: www.ccakids.com

Distributed by The Associated Press (AP)

© 2000 Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas

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From The George-Anne:  http://www.stp.gasou.edu/George-Anne/arc6/fall00/NewEdition0816/Life2.html  scroll down


August 16, 2000

Gypsies, tramps and steves: fans 'Cher' the love at convention

 

By Matthew McGuire
TMS Campus


  CHICAGO - The din of Cher covering The Eagle's "Take it to the Limit" can be heard in the background as small army of black-denim clad Cher fans mill about a banquet hall in a downtown Chicago hotel.
  It's the first annual Cher Convention and about 300 fans from America's suburbs have turned out to celebrate all things Cher. There's even a few drag queens on hand.
  "It's pretty great to have such a mass of Cher items you can buy," says Ralf Simon, a 36-year-old Cher fan from Germany who only recently became a Cher-o-phile. "In Germany, I travel very much to record fairs and I'll really be lucky to find one or two albums."
  Simon is, of course, referring to the "vintage" breed of Cher albums, which he's able to pick up with dumbfounded ease during the mid-July event. He's been eyeing a sealed copy of Sonny and Cher's debut "Look At Us," but the bevy of Cher-related vinyl is admittedly overwhelming.
 
"There's so much stuff here," Simon remarks.
 
The two-day event has everything from impersonators (70s, 80s and 90s Chers) to fashion seminars. A few petitions are even being circulated: a request for a Christmas album and a less-diplomatic demand for another appearance on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.
 
The at-times over-zealous fans may seem ridiculous or to be mounting their efforts in vein, but the legion of Cher fans have made headway in the past.
 
"When Believe [the most recent album's single] came out, the group on her Web site started calling radio stations, started calling MTV, VH1, and we'd report back to each other," said Judy Didelot, organizer behind Cher Fest 2000. "And when the single hit number one we had a big party on the Internet. It was then I thought it was time the fans had a party."
 
Didelot first started listening to Cher when the Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour hit the CBS airwaves during the summer of 1971, and she hasn't looked back since. She estimates that she has 150 Cher titles in her CD collection, and has seen the pop diva in concert countless times (eight on the last tour).
 
And then, finally, a few years ago, Didelot got to meet Cher in person.
 
It was the grand opening of Chicago's Virgin Megastore and Didelot secured a line position of ninth by getting to the store by 6 a.m. The eight other fans had camped out overnight.
 
"I was a nervous wreck, but when you meet her face-to-face she makes you feel very comfortable," Didelot says. "I told her how nervous I was, and she told me, 'You're doing fine.'"
 
Wayne (80s Cher) Smith, a 39-year-old impersonator from Dallas, Texas, has met Cher several times, once in drag. Cher liked it, he says, and later gave him props during an Internet chat room discussion with fans.
 
The idea for the drag show wasn't Smith's (so he says), and he began his life in drag while working for designer Bob Mackie, who produced many of Cher's navel-exposing outfits for the Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour.
 
"One year Bob asked me what I was going to be for Halloween, and I told him either a bag lady or a clown. 'Why don't you go as Marylin Monroe, I think you would look like her,' Bob said, and he helped me with my costume. I won a $1,000 and I thought this could be a living."
 
Smith started performing at the Los Angeles drag club La Cage aux Folles as Marilyn Monroe and one night the Cher impersonator took the night off. The rest is history.
 
He quit the club several years ago, and now completely sustains himself wearing beaded gabardine suits and singing "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves."
 
"A lot of times my agents will say to potential customers, 'We want to let you know that the Cher impersonator is a guy' and the clients will always say, 'Even better,'" Smith says. "A lot of times the girls don't take the extra effort to go completely over the top."
 
Even though Smith does "take the extra effort" he says he was a little worried about strutting his stuff in front of a group of die-hard fans.
 
"I was so nervous. These people are FANS, they have novenas for Cher at home, they pray to her at night. I though if I came in there and they didn't like me I would be so hurt," he said. "But last night I walked in with a big white fur coat and a hat and the crowd went wild."

Copyright © 1999, GSU students. All rights reserved.

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From the Houston Chronicle:

HoustonChronicle.com
July 17, 2000, Monday

3 STAR EDITION, SECTION: A; Pg. 2, LENGTH: 660 words, HEADLINE: Newsmakers

Cher convention

Chicago hosted a convention entirely devoted to the pop icon and actress Cher on Saturday. Events included playing "name that Cher tune" and singing some of her best-known songs along with a Cher impersonator. "She's amazing. She is such an inspiration to me," said impersonator Amy Hohimer, who sported a long black wig similar to the hairstyle that Cher made famous in the 1970s. Fans at Cher Convention 2000 also perused a multitude of photos of the star, who is known for her flamboyant outfits. "We can see beyond the wigs. We see her for a person and a great lady," said Jody Cantwell, convention organizer. All proceeds from the convention went to the Children's Craniofacial Association. Cher directed attention to the group when she played the mother of a disfigured child in the movie, Mask.

GRAPHIC: Mugs: 1. Mena Suvari; 2. Moby; 3. Cheri Oteri

Copyright 2000 The Houston Chronicle Publishing Company

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From the Jefferson City News Tribune: http://www.newstribune.com/stories/071700/ent_0717000025.asp

News Tribune Entertainment

Monday, July 17, 2000

Superfans get together for weekend Cher confab

By Bennie M. Currie
Associated Press

Reprint of THE ASSOCIATED PRESS article by Bennie Currie.

On the Net: Cher's Web site: www.cher.com
Children's Craniofacial Association: www.ccakids.com

All Contents ©Copyright 2000 News Tribune Co. All rights reserved.
AP stories © Copyright 2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This
material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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From the NY Postwww.nypost.com/07162000/news/33023.htm   Page has expired.  Cached

nypost.com
News
July 16, 2000

CHER BELIEVES IT'S TIME TO ADOPT
By DAN KADISON

  Grammy-award singing sensation Cher, who's old enough to be a grammie herself at age 54, is looking to adopt a child, a British paper reported today.
  The pop wonder, who dominated American airwaves last year with her song "Believe," is hoping to raise a new kid, after Sharon Stone unknowingly motivated her, said the Sunday Mirror.
  Stone and her husband, Phil Bronstein, recently adopted a baby boy named Roan.
  "When I heard about Sharon, I knew what's been missing from my life," Cher said. "She's so happy and I'm so envious."
  The diva has already raised two children by herself, daughter Chastity, 31, whose father was politician/singer Sonny Bono, and son Elijah Blue, 23, whose father is rock 'n' roller Gregg Allman.
  But Cher feels she can raise a new tot even better.
  "When you get to 40 or 50, you've tried life. You know what the hell is finally going on and can hand that knowledge down," she said.
  "I always feel bad that I was so busy when my other two kids were growing up."
  In Chicago yesterday, fans flocked to the Cher Convention 2000, a festival devoted to the star.
  "We can see beyond the wigs. We see her for a person and a great lady," said Jody Cantwell, who organized the convention.
  All the money from the convention's proceeds went to the Children's Craniofacial Association. Cher played the mother of a boy with a crippling facial disease in the movie "Mask."

New York Post®, nypostonline.com™, nypost.com™ and newyorkpost.com™ are registered trademarks of NYP Holdings, Inc. Copyright 2000 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved

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From The San Diego Union-TribuneFull Text


July 16, 2000, Sunday

SECTION: NEWS;Pg. A-11, LENGTH: 85 words

Chicago is host of Cher convention

BYLINE: Reuters

CHICAGO -- Chicago hosted a convention devoted to pop icon and actress Cher yesterday, with participants playing "name that Cher tune" and singing some of her best known songs along with a Cher impersonator.

Fans at Cher Convention 2000 also perused photos of the star, who is known for her flamboyant outfits.

All proceeds from the convention go to the Children's Craniofacial Association. Cher directed attention to the group when she played the mother of a disfigured child in the movie "Mask."

LOAD-DATE: July 18, 2000

Copyright 2000 The San Diego Union-Tribune

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From The San Francisco Chronicle: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2000/07/19/DD39659.DTL

Chronicle PM
JULY 19, 2000, WEDNESDAY, FINAL EDITION, SECTION: DAILY DATEBOOK; Pg. E12; PERSONALS

BYLINE: LEAH GARCHIK

CHER'S NEW GOAL


Cher, 54-year-old mother of 31-year-old Chastity and 23-year-old Elijah Blue, told the New York Daily News that Sharon Stone's adoption of a baby resulted in her looking into adoption too. "When I heard about Sharon, I knew what had been missing in my life. She is so happy, and I am so envious."

Meanwhile, Cher Convention 2000, a two-day event in Chicago honoring the singer-movie star-saleswoman-goth heroine, had karaoke singers, look-alikes and sales of T-shirts, albums and geegaws, but it didn't have Cher.

The closest substitute was impersonator Wayne Smith, who sang both parts of the duet on "I Got You Babe" and wore a beaded pink pantsuit made of gabardine, a fabric not usually associated with Cher.

Copyright 2000 The Chronicle Publishing Co.

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From the Times of India:  http://www.timesofindia.com/170700/17wrap8.htm

Monday,  17 July 2000
World Rap

Chicago revisits Cher of 1970s, sings her tune

Chicago hosted a convention entirely devoted to the pop icon and actress Cher on Saturday by playing Name that Cher Tune and singing some of her best-known songs along with a Cher impersonator.

"She's amazing. She is such an inspiration to me," said impersonator Amy Hohimer, who sported a long black wig similar to the hairstyle that Cher made famous in the 1970s.

Fans at Cher convention 2000 also perused a multitude of photos of the star, who is known for her flamboyant outfits.

"We can see beyond the wigs. We see her for a person and a great lady," said Jody Cantwell, convention organiser.

Proceeds from the convention go to the Children's Craniofacial Association. Cher directed attention to the group when she played the mother of a disfigured child in the movie, Mask.

(Reuters)

Copyright © 2000 Times Internet Limited. All rights reserved.

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From USA Today 1: http://www.usatoday.com/life/music/music190.htm

Cher convention: Cher impersonator Amy Hoimer of Chicago performs during the Cher Convention. (Brian Kersey, AP)


07/17/00- Updated 10:11 AM ET

Fans gather for Cher convention

Reprint of THE ASSOCIATED PRESS article by Bennie Currie.

 

 

Copyright 2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. © Copyright 2001 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co.

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From USA Today 2:


July 17, 2000, Monday

FINAL EDITION, SECTION: LIFE; Pg. 1D, LENGTH: 600 words
HEADLINE: In focus: A film far, far away
BYLINE: Cesar G. Soriano ; From staff and wire reports

Cher believes in adoption

Following in the footsteps of actress Sharon Stone, who recently adopted a boy, pop singer Cher, 54, says she is considering adopting a baby daughter. "When I heard about Sharon, I knew what's been missing in my life," she told Britain's Sunday Mirror. "She is so happy, and I am so envious." Cher has two adult children, Chastity, 31, and Elijah Blue, 23.

She also has no shortage of fans. More than 500 diva worshipers came to Chicago for the past weekend's Cher Convention 2000. Cher was a no-show.

Copyright 2000 Gannett Company, Inc.

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http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a3975340212dd.htm

                              

                                                                                               July 19, 2000        
                                                                                                                       
Updated at 12:30 a.m.
Reprint of THE ASSOCIATED PRESS article by Bennie Currie.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

                               All site contents copyright © 2000 News World Communications, Inc.

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CHICAGO NEWSPAPERS

From Beacon News:  http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/archives/beaconnews/a11cher.htm

    Suburban Chicago Newspapers


101 South River Street, Aurora, Illinois 60506

07/11/00

A 'CherFest' is coming to Chicago

Wild, wild Web unite's diva's fans


By Mike Danahey
STAFF WRITER

   If you believe the television commercials, the World Wide Web is about making connections, about bringing people together from anywhere and everywhere.
   Next week, it will bring to Chicago a housewife from Valparaiso, Ind., a man from Australia, a woman from Wonder Lake and the owner of a vintage-vinal record store in Carpentersville in single-minded purpose to celebrate a celebrity with a single name:
   Cher.
   That's right, on July 14-15 at the Congress Hotel in Chicago, thousands of Moonstruck fans will come together to trade stories, spin records and purchase memorabilia at a first-ever event called Cher Convention 2000.

'The coolest voice'
Snared in the Web that created this Cher fest is one unlikely fly: Bob Sluyter, owner of Shooting Stars Records and Collectibles along Main Street in old Carpentersville.
   Sluyter has been helping a frequent customer track down old, unwrapped vinyl featuring the music of Cher — recorded both with and without her first and best-known husband, Sonny Bono. Sluyter scrounged the Chicago area and found seven albums, two at a store in an African-American neighborhood on Chicago's South Side.
   Sluyter is doing the chasing for Diana Fields, 42, who lives in Wonder Lake, works in Schaumburg and likes Cher enough to donate five of these albums to the people running Cher Convention 2000.
   While growing up in Oklahoma, Fields would watch Cher on television and even had a poster of the singer dressed as the main character from her song Dark Lady.
   Cher "has the coolest voice and really pours her heart into it," Fields said.
   Her taste in music, she added, is varied — "from Led Zeppelin to light jazz" — but Sonny Bono's death a few years ago rejuvenated her interest in Cher.
   Using the Internet, she came upon the cher.com Web site, where she learned about plans for the Cher convention. She left a note on a message board there and heard back from Judy Didelot, one of the Cher Convention 2000's planners.
   With that, Fields became a volunteer, finding items to auction off at the convention and putting up convention posters at places such as Shooting Stars in Carpentersville.
   Didelot said the impetus behind the event was twofold: fan unity and fan appreciation.
   "I thought it was time fans got together and had a party," she said. "If it weren't for fans, celebrities wouldn't have their parties."
   The www.cherconvention.com Web site puts the reasons for the first-of-its-kind convention in more dramatic terms. According to the site, with the use of the Internet, people have found their "Cher family."
   "We know we are not alone when we ask ourselves, 'How can we give back the happiness she has given us for so many years?' " posits the Web site. "But what can we give a woman who has everything she could want? A woman who has heard, 'I love you, Cher,' a million times? As organizers of the Cher convention, we have come up with a unique way to say, 'Thank you, Cher.' "

Fans 'Believe'
Didelot, 48, said she's never done anything like organizing a convention before. She's been a fan since she took her young sister to her first concert, a Cher show in 1972.
   "I love her music, her movies and her honesty. I like the fact that, de-spite what life gives her, she doesn't give up," Didelot said.
   Being a fan of the Academy Award-winning, fiftysomething di-va is why she got onto the Internet in the fall of 1998, Didelot said. Once online, the Valparaiso housewife quickly found the cher.com site.
   Fans in a chat room there were discussing Cher's most recent recording, the dance pop anthem Believe, and the album of the same name. According to Didelot, the virtual pals banded together to help take the song to the top of the Billboard charts, where it would stay for four weeks — the longest of any Cher song.
   Didelot said fans pushed each other to request Believe from their local radio stations, sent e-mails to cable music channels VH1 and MTV requesting the video, and wrote to Cher's record label asking to release the song as a single.
   Flushed with their success, the fans decided to plan a Cher conven-tion.
   "We owe it all to Believe," Didelot said.
   In 1998, Didelot got to meet her idol. Cher was present for the grand opening of the Tower Records on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, and Didelot got her to sign a promotional vinyl copy of Believe. It's her most prized Cher possession, along with a signed color photo of Cher sent in response to a fan letter in 1992.
   Fields admitted she was "kind of surprised there will be a Cher convention," and even more surprised that a male fan from Australia plans to attend.
   Shooting Stars Records owner Sluyter, however, was nonplused by the thought of a Cher event. After all, he knew of conventions for 1980s teen heartthrobs in the band Duran Duran and a convention held in Los Angeles for the campy, late 1960s soap opera Dark Shadows.
   In the Internet age, "There's a niche for everything, I suppose. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a Flock of Seagulls convention some-day," he quipped, referring to the big-haired New Wave band of the early 1980s. On the Net
www.cher.com
www.cherconvention.com

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From Beacon News:  http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/archives/beaconnews/a12cherside.htm

    Suburban Chicago Newspapers


101 South River Street, Aurora, Illinois 60506

07/12/00

Fans to take 'Cher-cago' by storm

   They'll be coming from all over to attend Cher Convention 2000, hundreds of them, according to Judy Didelot, an organizer.
   Crowds are expected for the convention — which will be held Friday and Saturday at the Congress Plaza Hotel in Chicago — because Cher appeals to all people of all ages, Didelot said.
   Didelot said 500 people already have committed to attending the two-day event, including fans from Europe and Australia.
   The public is invited to the afternoon of the second day for a $12 admission charge — $10 for those wearing Cher T-shirts. Organizers have dubbed the Windy City "Cher-cago" for the weekend.
   Money from the event will go to the Children's Cranial Facial Association, a group helping youth suffering from the same disease that inflicted the character in Cher's film Mask. According to Didelot, the charity is Cher's favorite, and she holds annual summer retreats to benefit it.
   The convention will feature Cher bingo, Cher trivia, a "Name that Cher Tune" game, a Cher museum, an auction of Cher items, and seminars on her films and music.
   Fans can meet a man who touched the hem of Cher's garments, Wayne Smith. Smith worked with fashion designer Bob Mackie, who made most of the fabulous, outrageous wardrobe Cher wore on her '70s television show. During the early 1980s, Smith shopped for material for Cher's outfits.
   Nor would it be a Cherfest without a gaggle of the best in Cher impersonators imitating their favorite diva.
   Although there's no telling whether she will attend, Cher has been invited to the convention through her personal secretary, Didelot said.

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From the Beloit Daily News:  http://www.beloitdailynews.com/700/3ill17.htm


149 State Street, BELOIT, WISCONSIN, (608)365-8811

Reprint of THE ASSOCIATED PRESS article by Bennie Currie.

 

 

 

 

Copyright & copy 2000 The Greater Beloit Publishing Company

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From the Chicago Free Press: 3714 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL 60613-4105


July 19, 2000

CHERSTRUCK
Fans Worship in Chicago
by Lisa Neff

  Thirty-five years ago, Helen Thomas gave birth to her first daughter. She named her Cherilyn Sarkisian Thomas. She named her daughter after Cher. "She's been an inspiration to me for all those years," Thomas says of the celebrity. "It's not just her talent, which is so great it's beyond description. It's her whole existence."
  Thomas is one of the more than 500 Cher fans at Chicago's Congress Hotel and Convention Center for Cher Convention 2000 July 15. It is the first -- but probably not the last -- convention of it's kind in the world. The fans -- most of them straight, middle-class women -- have come from across the country to exchange memorabilia and stories of Cher encounters and concerts.
  Sally Johnson has come from St. Louis with about 1,000 of the more than 7,500 items in her Cher memorabilia collection. She became a collector in 1965, the year Sonny and Cher released their sweet jangly ode to hippie marriage, "I Got You Babe".
  "I was a singer in a band and I just loved the music," Johnson recalls. "I just think she's a phenomenal person. She can do anything. And there's so many things in my life she got me through."
  Johnson's convention display includes autographed photos, t-shirts, music videos, film videos, posters, computer games, records, magazines. Some of the items are ordinary -- old TV Guides and concert shirts -- and some are extraordinary, such as two Cher gold records autographed by the late Alabama Gov. George Wallace.
  "Over there I have her Bonnie Jo Mason record ("Ringo I Love You")", Johnson says, pointing toward Cher's earliest solo effort, recorded under the Mason pseudonym. "And I also have the Don Christie record Sonny recorded before he was Sonny Bono."
  It's not the late congressman Johnson cares about. It's Cher that Johnson worships. "She doesn't get the credit she deserves," Johnson says. "I feel like as much as she's done for everyone in four decades, it should be 'Cher, Cher, Cher' all the time!"
  Johnson has met Cher several times backstage at concerts. At the initial meeting about 15 years ago, Johnson began crying. "Cher said, 'You just dry those tears,'" Johnson recalls, her voice going deeper in an effort to mimic her idol.
  Johnson's interrupted by Dennis Stewart, of Chicago, who wants to know how much money she'll take to part with an oil-on-canvas painting circa 1989 -- Cher with big black hair. "If she was here to sign it, it'd be priceless," he says.
  Stewart shares a singular prayer with many convention-goers -- that there might be a visitation from their goddess. "Someone told me they overheard that she might fly in for tonight's dance," says Randall Kaufman, of Naperville.
  Rumor begets rumor.
  "People are saying Cher might come to pick up the proceeds," says fan Kim Swanson, adding that the money from the convention will benefit Cher's favorite charity, the Children's Craniofacial Association.
  The press catches the buzz. Journalists trade numbers with convention organizers. "Please, call me if she shows."
  There is no visitation, but there are Cher impersonators at the Congress. Several -- including Amy Hohimer, Wayne Smith and Chicago impersonator Jeffery Thomas -- opened the convention July 14 with a retro-Cher show. In the cult of Cher, impersonators are the second-best thing to the real thing.
  "They're fantastic girls," Helen Thomas says. "You close your eyes and some of them, their voices sound just like her. Cher loves them, too -- all her drag queens."
  Thomas reaches into her purse for a notebook of Cher quotes. She reads from Section D under "drag". "It's been a long time, you know? It's been 35 years of drag queens, so I'm a connoisseur." Thomas describes herself as dull, straight as an arrow. "I'm just a jeans and t-shirt gal," she says. "I don't know much about gays or this camp."
  She says Cher taught her to appreciate drag, as well as to accept gays and lesbians. "Cher met Sonny at a lesbian nightclub," Thomas says. "And then there's Chastity, Cher's daughter. She's a lesbian. Cher loves her and she's worked for gay rights."
  "Cher has just given me so much. She gives to all her fans," Thomas continues. She returns to her notebook and turns to Section F. "Here, Cher says right here, 'What I do, I do for myself and my fans -- the new ones and die-hard ones. The other people, the critics, what they say is like the poison of the business.'" Thomas reads on, deleting the expletives in Cher's criticism of critics and send-up of fans. "I think my fans have been unbelievable, because they just stuck by me when it looked like I was dead to the world and never coming back."
  Thomas giggles. She says the critics have thought Cher was "dead" several times over the past 35 years. "She just keeps proving them wrong," she boasts.
  Philip Finegan of Cleveland smugly says, "Cher's had more comebacks than plastic surgeries." Finegan gets sharp looks from a circle of fans who don't want to hear even a slight joke aimed at Cher. The fans do, however, want to hear dish about other divas of drama or pop. For trash talk, they turn to Wayne Smith, who in addition to doing a dead-on Cher impersonation, worked on Bob Mackie's costumes for the stars.
  "Barbra Streisand, is she like the major bitch everyone says she is?" a man shouts during Smith's seminar on "Cher Fashion".
  Smith stumbles over his answer. "She's very particular," he says. He schools the audience on the different standards for men and women. "People say she's a bitch because she's a woman."
  But Smith lets the nails rip on Diana Ross. "There's some people," he says, "you just want to shudder."
  The impersonator, wearing a pink pantsuit decorated in beads and a black wig teased 6-inches high, gets wide-eyed looks when he tells fans how he carried Cher's bags during a shopping spree on Rodeo Drive. Afterward, he says, Cher offered him a sip of her soda and didn't mind that he drank from her straw. "She's real that way," he says.
  Smith's celebrity status rises another notch when he recalls another encounter with Cher -- backstage at a concert in Dallas. "She offered me some of her peanut M&Ms," he says.
  "That sounds like Cher," Thomas says later. "Always giving of herself."

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From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Chicago Sun-Times
July 14, 2000, FRIDAY, Late Sports Final Edition

SECTION: WEEKEND PLUS; OUT & ABOUT; Pg. 52; NC   LENGTH: 220 words

      Fans of pop diva and actress Cher will gather this weekend for Chercago Cher Convention 2000 at the Congress Plaza Hotel and Convention Center.
  The convention tonight and Saturday will feature performances, games, seminars, music, a Cher Museum, movies, videos, photographs and Cher memorabilia. The convention also is an the opportunity to meet others who share the belief that "Cher is one of the greatest modern entertainers," a spokesman said.
  An opening banquet will be held at 8 tonight at the convention center. The event will feature a "Cher Impersonator Show" featuring Chicago Cher impersonator Amy Hohimer as well as other Cher performers. Admission is $75.
  Admission to the convention on Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., is $ 12 (a $ 2 discount applies for those who wear a Cher T-shirt). Another banquet begins at 8 p.m. Saturday featuring a dinner, auction and a dance to DJ music. Admission is $ 75; $ 10 for just the dance.
  A ticket to all three events is $ 150. Proceeds benefit the Children's Craniofacial Association (CCA). For many years, Cher has been the honorary chairperson of CCA, which provides support to children born with facial deformities.

The convention center is at 520 S. Michigan. For more information, call (734) 279-2141;
the Web site is www.cherconvention.com.

GRAPHIC: A "Chercago Cher Convention 2000" honors Cher today and Saturday.

Copyright 2000 Chicago Sun-Times, Inc.

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From the Chicago Tribune 7-17:

Chicago Tribune
July 17, 2000 Monday

EVENING UPDATE EDITION, SECTION: News; Pg. 2; ZONE: C; EVENING. People., LENGTH: 202 words

CHER WORSHIPERS TREK TO CHICAGO FOR CONFAB

  More than 500 diva-worshipers came to Chicago for a two-day weekend convention in honor of Cher. Cher Convention 2000 drew Cher impersonators, wannabes and outright look-alikes from across the country Friday and Saturday.
  The gathering at Chicago's Congress Plaza Hotel, which resembled conventions for fans of Star Trek, was organized by three fans who found each other through Cher's Web site.
  "I've been a fan for years and we all thought it would be good to get together with other fans," said Kim Werdman, a real estate manager from Arlington, Texas, who served as convention vice president.
  Cher wasn't present although organizers had expected her to attend. While the event featured kitschy karaoke performances, Sonny and Cher album covers and other memorabilia, it also had a serious side.
  Proceeds from the sale of T-shirts, photographs and other keepsakes will be donated to the Children's Craniofacial Association, a Dallas-based support group, Werdman said.
  Cher is the organization's honorary chairwoman. In the 1985 film "Mask," she played the mother of a boy who was born with craniofacial deformities, and the singer has since been a benefactor for people who suffer from the disorder.

LOAD-DATE: July 18, 2000

Copyright 2000 Chicago Tribune Company

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From the Chicago Tribune 7-19:

Chicago Tribune
July 19, 2000 Wednesday

CHICAGO SPORTS FINAL EDITION.  SECTION: Tempo; Pg. 3; ZONE: C, LENGTH: 851 words

CHER-HOLDERS HAVE A BIG GET-TOGETHER TO WALLOW IN THEIR ADORATION

TRUE BELIEVERS by Etelka Lehoczky Special to the Tribune.

  What does it take to make a diva? She -- "diva" always equals "female," with the exception of Elton John -- must have an opera star's grandiosity and a flamboyant sense of personal style. She should be more ambitious than talented, with a history of being misunderstood, even picked on, by the media. Another necessity is a cult of ferociously devoted fans. Think Barbra Streisand and Madonna. And, if you haven't already, think Cher.
  It's hard to pinpoint exactly when Cher became a full-fledged diva, but a diva she is, beyond doubt. That was evident last weekend at the Congress Plaza Hotel, site of the first-ever (as far as the organizers can tell) Cher Convention. Several hundred fans from all over the country gathered to watch clips from Cher's movies, listen to Cher impersonators cover her songs "Believe" and "Turn Back Time," play Cher bingo, browse the Cher museum and talk about why they're so obsessed with their idol.
  "These people live, sleep, pray to Cher," said Wayne Smith, a Cher impersonator from Dallas. "If I stepped out and didn't look like what they expect, I knew they would kill me."
  Smith needed not to worry on that score. With his male form hidden beneath an elaborately beaded pantsuit and a sculptural wig augmenting his already considerable height, Smith looked uncannily like the woman he was imitating. Wherever he went at the convention he attracted a circle of onlookers, still and video cameras in hand, for whom he was the next-best thing to the diva herself.
  "I paid one of the impersonators to have my picture taken with her, and she had her arm around me, and I just -- this is the closest I am ever going to be to [Cher], you know?" said Sherry Duciaome, a fortyish fan from St. Louis decked out in a Cher T-shirt and numerous buttons that, she explained, she bought on eBay. "This whole thing has been just overwhelming. If you can see me now, I'm just shaking." As proof, she held out her hands, which were, indeed, shaking a little.
  "I even want to keep this," she added, indicating the words "Cher Convention 2000" stamped on her hand in purple ink.
  Not all of the visitors were as agitated as Duciamoe, but most seemed to agree with her that there's something almost magical about Cher. No one seemed fazed by the more worshipful items in the Cher museum, which included everything from paintings of the star to framed concert tickets. One gilt-framed rendering in oils approached four feet in height, as did the bristling copy of one of Cher's feathered headdresses.
  For those who wanted a Cher painting of their very own, a dealer offered framed watercolors with titles like "Believe," "Half Breed" and "Turn Back Time" for $300-$500. There were less expensive souvenirs too, of course, some of the most popular of which were white cotton sailor hats emblazoned with "Cher Convention 2000." Since Cher's comeback hit, "Turn Back Time," featured sailors in the video, fans have associated the hats with their idol. Now, for a mere $10 (to go, like all the convention's profits, to charity), they can sport an unmistakable sign of their devotion.
  The source of the Cher mystique is a subject of some contention. All agreed that it stems from her failures as much as her successes -- it's a diva hallmark, after all, to have some tough times in your past.
  "She always comes back. No matter what happens, she'll always come back," said Leanne Oldham, a 17-year-old from Kentucky wearing an oversized T-shirt with "Believe" emblazoned across the back. "She came out with the `It's a Man's World' CD and it totally bombed, but then she came out with `Believe' and it totally rocked, so there you go."
  "Before MASK, the tabloids really trashed her," agreed Oldham's friend Chris D'Auria, from Tampa. "She's so talented, and people don't give her credit for it."
  But it doesn't take talent to be a diva. For some, it's precisely Cher's lack of special ability that makes her so appealing.
  "She's not really talented, but she's done it all," said Dan Fleck, a self-described "35-year fan" sporting one of the jaunty sailor hats. "The gold records, the Oscar. So if she can do it, anybody can do it."
  Certainly Cher's voice is duplicable -- Smith did a fair job of copying it when he belted out "I Got You Babe" that afternoon. And Cher herself has gone out of her way, Madonna-style, to emphasize that she's not particularly talented. Watching one of the convention's presentations, a videotape of clips from her interviews over the years, it's clear that she's cultivated the image of everywoman. In one interview, she says she was painfully shy as a child, while in another -- obviously from years later -- she reveals that she was known in high school as "the weird girl."
  Clearly, it's the fate of a diva to be misunderstood -- a fate shared by the diva's fans. "My folks are anti-Cher," Oldham said ruefully. She was echoed by others at the convention who described being teased by family and friends about their devotion.
  The only place these fans could find solace, they agreed, was on the Internet, in chat rooms devoted to Cher.

GRAPHIC: PHOTOPHOTO: Cher impersonator Wayne Smith of Dallas sings to Bert Marino of Mastic Beach, N.Y., at the Cher Convention in Chicago. Photo by Brian Kersey/AP.

Copyright 2000 Chicago Tribune Company

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From Copley Newspapers:  http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/archives/copley/e09cherfest.htm

Suburban Chicago Newspapers

07/09/00

Cher: The Experience

Wild, wired world of the Web brings diva's fans together


By Mike Danahey
STAFF WRITER

   If one believes the television commercials, the whole World Wide Web thing is supposed to be about making connections, about bringing people from anywhere and everywhere together to do whatever they want for whatever reasons they might have.
   In the case of this story, that reason is a celebrity who goes by one name: Cher.
   Its connections include a housewife from Valparaiso, Ind., a man from Australia and a woman originally from Oklahoma who has been using a record store in old Carpentersville to find vintage vinyl Cher albums, still in their shrink wrap.
   Shooting Stars Records and Collectibles along Main Street in old Carpentersville is the shop in question.
   With its bins of hard-to-find record albums, black light posters on the wall and garage band music playing on the turntable, the store seems more suited for a college town than a suburban thoroughfare near Otto Engineering — a company with big government contracts owned by a conservative businessman.
   It also seems an unlikely place to find music from a decidedly middle-of-the road artist like Cher.
   But the store's owner, Bob Sluyter, has been using his contacts to help frequent customer Diana Fields track down old, unwrapped vinyl featuring the music of Cher — recorded both with and without her first and best-known husband, Sonny Bono. Sluyter scrounged the Chicago area and found seven albums for Fields, two at a store in an African-American neighborhood an Chicago's South Side.
   Though she wanted some of the work for her own collection, Fields gave five of the albums to the people running an event called Cher Convention 2000, to be held July 14-15 at the Congress Plaza Hotel in Chicago.

'The coolest voice'
   Fields, 42, lives in Wonder Lake and works in Schaumburg. While growing up in Oklahoma, she used to watch Cher on television and even had a poster of the singer dressed as the main character from her song Dark Lady.
   Cher "has the coolest voice and really pours her heart into it," Fields said.
   She added that her taste in music is varied — "from Led Zeppelin to light jazz" — but Sonny Bono's death a few years ago drew her back to being interested in Cher.
   Using the Internet, she came upon the cher.com Web site, where she learned about plans for the Cher convention. She left a note on a message board there and heard back from Judy Didelot, one of the Cher Convention 2000's planners.
   With that, Fields became a volunteer, finding items to auction off at the convention and putting up convention posters at places such as Shooting Stars in Carpentersville.
   Didelot said the impetus behind the event was twofold: fan togetherness and fan appreciation.
   "I thought it was time fans got together and have a party," she said. "If it weren't for fans, celebrities wouldn't have their parties."
   The www.cherconvention.com Web site puts the reasons for the first-of-its-kind convention in more dramatic terms. According to it, with the use of the Internet, people have found their "Cher family." As friendships through common interests have grown, there has been a call to come together to celebrate Cher.
   "We know we are not alone when we ask ourselves, 'How can we give back the happiness she has given us for so many years?' " posits the Web site. "But what can we give a woman who has everything she could want? A woman who has heard, 'I love you Cher,' a million times? As organizers of the Cher convention we have come up with a unique way to say 'Thank you, Cher.' "

Fans 'Believe'd
   Didelot, 48, said she's never done anything like organizing a convention before. She's been a fan since she took her baby sister to her first concert, a Cher show in 1972.
   "I love her music, her movies and her honesty. I like the fact that, despite what life gives her, she doesn't give up," Didelot said.
   Being a fan of the Academy Award-winning, fiftysomething diva is why she got onto the Internet in the first place back in the fall of 1998, Didelot said. Once online, the Valparaiso housewife quickly found the cher.com site.
   Fans in a chat room there were discussing Cher's most recent recording, the dance pop anthem, Believe, and the album of the same name. According to Didelot, the virtual pals banded together to help take the song to the top of the Billboard charts, where it would stay for four weeks — the longest of any Cher song.
   Didelot said fans pushed each other to request Believe from their local radio stations, sent e-mails to cable music channels VH1 and MTV requesting the video, and wrote to Cher's record label asking to release the song as a single.
   Flush with their success, the fans decided to plan a Cher convention.

   "We owe it all to Believe," said Didelot
   In 1998, Didelot also got to meet her idol. Cher was in town for the grand opening of the Tower Records on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, and Didelot got her to sign a promotional vinyl copy of Believe. It's her most prized Cher possession, along with a signed color photo of Cher sent in response to a fan letter in 1992.
   Cher's fan base does include a large number of middle-aged women, gay men and drag queens, Didelot agreed. She guessed that drag queens dig Cher's wild and crazy outfits, while gay men may be attracted to her as a strong, independent woman.
   Fan Fields admitted she was "kind of surprised there will be a Cher convention," more so that a male fan all the way from Australia is planning to attend.
   "But there are ones for bands like The Beatles every year," she reasoned.
   Shooting Stars Records owner Sluyter, however, was nonplused by the thought of a Cher event. After all, he knew of conventions for 1980s teen heartthrobs Duran Duran, and even a recent one held in Los Angeles for the campy, late 1960s soap opera Dark Shadows. That show's main characters included a fey vampire and a hunky werewolf.
   Sluyter himself had just gotten back from a garage rock convention in Las Vegas.
   In the Internet age, "There's a niche for everything, I suppose. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a Flock of Seagulls convention someday," he quipped, referring to the big-haired New Wave band of the early 1980s. On the Net
www.cher.com
www.cherconvention.com

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From Copley Newspapers:  http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/archives/copley/a11cher.htm

Suburban Chicago Newspapers

07/11/00

A 'CherFest' is coming to Chicago

Wild, wild Web unite's diva's fans


By Mike Danahey
STAFF WRITER

  If you believe the television commercials, the World Wide Web is about making connections, about bringing people from anywhere and everywhere together to do whatever they want for whatever reasons they might have.
 
Next week, it will bring to Chicago a housewife from Valparaiso, Ind., a man from Australia, a woman from Wonder Lake and the owner of a vintage-vinal record store in Carpentersville in single-minded purpose to celebrate a celebrity with a single name:
   
   Cher.
 
That's right, on July 14-15 at the Congress Hotel in Chicago, thousands of Moonstruck fans will come together to trade stories, spin records and purchase memorabilia at a first-ever event called Cher Convention 2000.
 
'The coolest voice'
Snared in the Web that created this Cher fest is one unlikely fly: Bob Sluyter, owner of Shooting Stars Records and Collectibles along Main Street in old Carpentersville.
 
Sluyter has been helping a frequent customer track down old, unwrapped vinyl featuring the music of Cher — recorded both with and without her first and best-known husband, Sonny Bono. Sluyter scrounged the Chicago area and found seven albums, two at a store in an African-American neighborhood on Chicago's South Side.
 
Sluyter is doing the chasing for Diana Fields, 42, who lives in Wonder Lake, works in Schaumburg and likes Cher enough to donate five of these albums to the people running Cher Convention 2000.
 
While growing up in Oklahoma, Fields would watch Cher on television and even had a poster of the singer dressed as the main character from her song Dark Lady.
 
Cher "has the coolest voice and really pours her heart into it," Fields said.
 
Her taste in music, she added, is varied — "from Led Zeppelin to light jazz" — but Sonny Bono's death a few years ago rejuvenated her interest in Cher.
 
Using the Internet, she came upon the cher.com Web site, where she learned about plans for the Cher convention. She left a note on a message board there and heard back from Judy Didelot, one of the Cher Convention 2000's planners.
 
With that, Fields became a volunteer, finding items to auction off at the convention and putting up convention posters at places such as Shooting Stars in Carpentersville.
 
Didelot said the impetus behind the event was twofold: fan unity and fan appreciation.
 
"I thought it was time fans got together and had a party," she said. "If it weren't for fans, celebrities wouldn't have their parties."
 
The www.cherconvention.com Web site puts the reasons for the first-of-its-kind convention in more dramatic terms. According to the site, with the use of the Internet, people have found their "Cher family."
 
"We know we are not alone when we ask ourselves, 'How can we give back the happiness she has given us for so many years?' " posits the Web site. "But what can we give a woman who has everything she could want? A woman who has heard, 'I love you, Cher,' a million times? As organizers of the Cher convention, we have come up with a unique way to say, 'Thank you, Cher.' "
 
Fans 'Believe'
Didelot, 48, said she's never done anything like organizing a convention before. She's been a fan since she took her young sister to her first concert, a Cher show in 1972.
 
"I love her music, her movies and her honesty. I like the fact that, de-spite what life gives her, she doesn't give up," Didelot said.
 
Being a fan of the Academy Award-winning, fiftysomething di-va is why she got onto the Internet in the fall of 1998, Didelot said. Once online, the Valparaiso housewife quickly found the cher.com site.
 
Fans in a chat room there were discussing Cher's most recent recording, the dance pop anthem Believe, and the album of the same name. According to Didelot, the virtual pals banded together to help take the song to the top of the Billboard charts, where it would stay for four weeks — the longest of any Cher song.
 
Didelot said fans pushed each other to request Believe from their local radio stations, sent e-mails to cable music channels VH1 and MTV requesting the video, and wrote to Cher's record label asking to release the song as a single.
 
Flushed with their success, the fans decided to plan a Cher conven-tion.
 
"We owe it all to Believe," Didelot said.
 
In 1998, Didelot got to meet her idol. Cher was present for the grand opening of the Tower Records on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, and Didelot got her to sign a promotional vinyl copy of Believe. It's her most prized Cher possession, along with a signed color photo of Cher sent in response to a fan letter in 1992.
 
Fields admitted she was "kind of surprised there will be a Cher convention," and even more surprised that a male fan from Australia plans to attend.
 
Shooting Stars Records owner Sluyter, however, was nonplused by the thought of a Cher event. After all, he knew of conventions for 1980s teen heartthrobs in the band Duran Duran and a convention held in Los Angeles for the campy, late 1960s soap opera Dark Shadows.
 
In the Internet age, "There's a niche for everything, I suppose. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a Flock of Seagulls convention some-day," he quipped, referring to the big-haired New Wave band of the early 1980s. On the Net
  www.
cher.com
 
www.cherconvention.com

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From the Courier News 1:  http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/archives/couriernews/e09cherfest.htm

    Suburban Chicago Newspapers
300 Lake Street, Elgin, Illinois 60120

07/09/00
Cher: The Experience

Wild, wired world of the Web brings diva's fans together
****************************
   Shooting Stars Records and Collectibles along Main Street in old Carpentersville is the shop in question.
   With its bins of hard-to-find record albums, black light posters on the wall and garage band music playing on the turntable, the store seems more suited for a college town than a suburban thoroughfare near Otto Engineering — a company with big government contracts owned by a conservative businessman.
   It also seems an unlikely place to find music from a decidedly middle-of-the road artist like Cher.
   But the store's owner, Bob Sluyter, has been using his contacts to help frequent customer Diana Fields track down old, unwrapped vinyl featuring the music of Cher — recorded both with and without her first and best-known husband, Sonny Bono. Sluyter scrounged the Chicago area and found seven albums for Fields, two at a store in an African-American neighborhood an Chicago's South Side.
   Though she wanted some of the work for her own collection, Fields gave five of the albums to the people running an event called Cher Convention 2000, to be held July 14-15 at the Congress Plaza Hotel in Chicago.

'The coolest voice'
   Fields, 42, lives in Wonder Lake and works in Schaumburg. While growing up in Oklahoma, she used to watch Cher on television and even had a poster of the singer dressed as the main character from her song Dark Lady.
   Cher "has the coolest voice and really pours her heart into it," Fields said.
   She added that her taste in music is varied — "from Led Zeppelin to light jazz" — but Sonny Bono's death a few years ago drew her back to being interested in Cher.
   Using the Internet, she came upon the cher.com Web site, where she learned about plans for the Cher convention. She left a note on a message board there and heard back from Judy Didelot, one of the Cher Convention 2000's planners.
   With that, Fields became a volunteer, finding items to auction off at the convention and putting up convention posters at places such as Shooting Stars in Carpentersville.
   Didelot said the impetus behind the event was twofold: fan togetherness and fan appreciation.
   "I thought it was time fans got together and have a party," she said. "If it weren't for fans, celebrities wouldn't have their parties."
   The www.cherconvention.com Web site puts the reasons for the first-of-its-kind convention in more dramatic terms. According to it, with the use of the Internet, people have found their "Cher family." As friendships through common interests have grown, there has been a call to come together to celebrate Cher.
   "We know we are not alone when we ask ourselves, 'How can we give back the happiness she has given us for so many years?' " posits the Web site. "But what can we give a woman who has everything she could want? A woman who has heard, 'I love you Cher,' a million times? As organizers of the Cher convention we have come up with a unique way to say 'Thank you, Cher.' "

Fans 'Believe'd
   Didelot, 48, said she's never done anything like organizing a convention before. She's been a fan since she took her baby sister to her first concert, a Cher show in 1972.
   "I love her music, her movies and her honesty. I like the fact that, despite what life gives her, she doesn't give up," Didelot said.
   Being a fan of the Academy Award-winning, fiftysomething diva is why she got onto the Internet in the first place back in the fall of 1998, Didelot said. Once online, the Valparaiso housewife quickly found the cher.com site.
   Fans in a chat room there were discussing Cher's most recent recording, the dance pop anthem, Believe, and the album of the same name. According to Didelot, the virtual pals banded together to help take the song to the top of the Billboard charts, where it would stay for four weeks — the longest of any Cher song.
   Didelot said fans pushed each other to request Believe from their local radio stations, sent e-mails to cable music channels VH1 and MTV requesting the video, and wrote to Cher's record label asking to release the song as a single.
   Flush with their success, the fans decided to plan a Cher convention.
   "We owe it all to Believe," said Didelot
   In 1998, Didelot also got to meet her idol. Cher was in town for the grand opening of the Tower Records on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, and Didelot got her to sign a promotional vinyl copy of Believe. It's her most prized Cher possession, along with a signed color photo of Cher sent in response to a fan letter in 1992.
   Cher's fan base does include a large number of middle-aged women, gay men and drag queens, Didelot agreed. She guessed that drag queens dig Cher's wild and crazy outfits, while gay men may be attracted to her as a strong, independent woman.
   Fan Fields admitted she was "kind of surprised there will be a Cher convention," more so that a male fan all the way from Australia is planning to attend.
   "But there are ones for bands like The Beatles every year," she reasoned.
   Shooting Stars Records owner Sluyter, however, was nonplused by the thought of a Cher event. After all, he knew of conventions for 1980s teen heartthrobs Duran Duran, and even a recent one held in Los Angeles for the campy, late 1960s soap opera Dark Shadows. That show's main characters included a fey vampire and a hunky werewolf.
   Sluyter himself had just gotten back from a garage rock convention in Las Vegas.
   In the Internet age, "There's a niche for everything, I suppose. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a Flock of Seagulls convention someday," he quipped, referring to the big-haired New Wave band of the early 1980s. On the Net
www.cher.com
www.cherconvention.com

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From the Courier News 2:  http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/archives/couriernews/e09cherside.htm

    Suburban Chicago Newspapers
300 Lake Street, Elgin, Illinois 60120

07/09/00

Buffs to take 'Cher-cago' by storm

-- Mike Danahey

   They'll be coming from all over to attend Cher Convention 2000, hundreds of them, says Judy Didelot, one of the organizers.
   Big crowds are expected for the convention — which will be held July 14-15 at the Congress Plaza Hotel in Chicago — because Cher appeals to all people of all ages, Didelot said.
   Didelot said 500 people already have committed to attending the two-day event, including fans from as far away as Europe and Australia.
   The public is invited to attend the afternoon of the second day for a $12 admission charge — only $10 for those wearing Cher T-shirts. Organizers have dubbed the Windy City "Cher-cago" for the weekend.
   Money from the event will go to the Children's Cranial Facial Association, a group helping youth suffering from the same disease that inflicted the character in Cher's film Mask. According to Didelot, the charity is Cher's favorite, and she hosts annual summer retreats for it.
   The convention will feature Cher bingo, Cher trivia, a "Name that Cher Tune" game, a Cher museum, an auction of Cher items, and seminars on her films and music.
   Fans even can meet a man who touched the hem of Cher's garments, Wayne Smith. Smith worked with fashion designer Bob Mackie, who made most of the fabulous, outrageous wardrobe Cher wore on her '70s television show. During the early 1980s, Smith shopped for material for Cher's outfits.
   And it wouldn't be a Cherfest without a gaggle of the best in Cher impersonators imitating their favorite diva.
   Though there's no telling whether she will attend, Cher has been invited to the convention through her personal secretary, Didelot said.

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From The News Sun:  http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/archives/newssun/w17cher.htm

    Suburban Chicago Newspapers


1615 Lakeside Drive, Suite 100, Waukegan, IL 60085

07/17/00

Superfans get together for weekend Cher confab

Reprint of THE ASSOCIATED PRESS article by Bennie Currie.

 


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MAGAZINES

From Billboard:  http://www.billboard.com/daily/2000/0713_07.asp

Billboard

Click Here For More Daily Music News
July 13, 2000, 4:45 p.m. EDT

Edited by Jonathan Cohen

Billboard Bits: Rage Against The Machine, King & Clapton, Cher

...Cher Cher fanatics will converge on Chicago July 14-15 when Cher Convention 2000 convenes at the Congress Plaza Hotel and Convention Center. Featuring music, movies, and rare Cher memorabilia, the convention will donate proceeds to the Children's Craniofacial Association (CCA), of which the artist is the honorary chairperson.
For more information, visit the convention's official Web site.

© 2001 Billboard and BPI Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
BPI Electronic Media includes Adweek, Amusement Business, Back Stage, The Hollywood Reporter, MC, Mediaweek, & BPIQ.

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From dnevni elektronski magazin:  http://corner.boa.hr/1/viva/glazba/arhiva130699/arhiva28072000/arhiva28072000.asp

Cher konvencija 2000
19-07-2000 - Vjerovali ili ne, ali više od 500 obožavatelja filmske i glazbene dive Cher sastalo se prošlog vikenda u Chicagu na dvodnevnoj konferenciji u njenu čast. Cher Convention 2000 okupila je sve njene imitatorice, obožavatelje i likom slične ljude na okupljanju u Plaza hotelu. Na istom mjestu gdje se okupljaju i obožavatelji Star Treka cijelu zabavu organizirala su 3 obožavatelja koji su se međusobno upoznali na njenom siteu- Iako su svi očekivali kako će se prava Cher pojaviti, zabave nije nedostajalo tako da su se gosti provodili uz karioke, razgledavajući omote njenih albuma i ostale sitnice koje pripadaju zvijezdi. No, sve je imalo i svoju ozbiljnu stranu. Dobit od prodanih majica, fotografija i ulaznica biti će uplaćena Udruzi za dječju facijalnu kirurgiju.

© CORNER dnevni elektronski magazin 1999.- 2000.
Sadržaj Cornera ne smije se reproducirati ili prenositi mehaničkim, elektronskim ili bilo kojim drugim sredstvima
bez pismene dozvole izdavača. Ako vam je nešto baš zapelo za oko, obratite nam se pa ćemo se dogovoriti :o)
Prijedlozi i kometari: corner@boa.hr
Stranice su optimizirane za MS IE 4.0 i više pri rezoluciji 800*600
webwitch: SheDevil .                                Prvo postavljanje: 08.03.1999.

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FROM Entertainment Weekly:  http://www.ew.com/ew/daily/0,2514,3314,britneyspearscancelsshow.html

 

 News
Posted: 
 July 17, 2000, 11:45 a.m.

CHER- ING Some 500 Cher devotees descended on Chicago last weekend at a convention held in honor of, um, Cher. The gathering, which rivaled Trekkie meetings for its slew of impersonators, wannabes, and look- alikes, was organized by three star worshipers who had found each other over the Internet. Every day we see how digital networks truly broaden our horizons.

Copyright © 2001 Time Inc. & Entertainment Weekly

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From Newcity Chicago:  http://www.newcitychicago.com/chicago/features-2000-07-20-521.html


(07/20/2000)

GYPSIES, TRAMPS AND THIEVES
Hanging around at Cher Convention 2000

Claire Zulkey

  "We Believe... Chercago!" is the motto that greets Saturday entrants to the Congress Plaza Hotel. And while it might seem unbelievable, fans streamed in, ready to plunk down $12 for a chance to attend the Cher Convention 2000.
  Why? "We met over the original Cher Website," says Kim Werdman, who started the event with two friends. "And we started talking, and just figured after a while, 'Why not have a convention?' We're all just huge crazy fans." An apt description for Cher devotees, coming from as far as Mexico and Germany, whose entrance fees went to Cher's favorite charity, the Children's Craniofacial Association, with which she became involved after starring in the movie "Mask." But donating to Cher's charity only gets you a chance to see exhibits from the personal Cher museum of Columbus, Illinois' Sally Johnson ("I've got a twenty-six-foot room full of pieces at home, with full-size paintings over my fireplace, in my dining room and in my bedroom"). However, you also get a shot at Cher Bingo, a Cher Movie Seminar, Cher Karaoke, Cher Trivia, a Cher Silent Auction and, oh yes, a Cher Impersonator Show, with awards given in the categories of seventies Cher, eighties Cher and Cher of Today.
  "You know, she's just such a pure person," gushes Wayne Smith, aka Eighties Cher. "She's so real." "She's totally cool," agrees Jeffrey Thomas, Cher of Today. "She's just this mother figure." By the way, Jeff, of all the different Chers, why the current one? "Well, I was the eighties Cher for about thirteen years, but then, you know, I decided it was time I branched out. You know, it was the millennium--time for a change."

Copyright 2001 Newcity Communications, Inc.

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FROM TV GUIDE:  www.tvguidelive.com/newsgossip-archives/00-jul/07-18-00.html


Tuesday July 18, 2000

Jennie Garth, Cher, Meredith MacRae

Cher Your Love

Do you believe in life after love? Well, Cher (left) sure does. After numerous failed relationships and a couple of sub-par marriages, the 54-year-old diva tells Britain's Sunday Mirror that she wants to adopt a baby girl.
 "When you get to 40 or 50 you have lived life," she explains. "You know what the hell is finally going on and can hand that knowledge down." The Oscar-winning actress also revealed that Sharon Stone's recent adoption awakened her mothering instinct. "When I heard about Sharon, I knew what's been missing in my life. She is so happy and I am so envious."
  While Cher ponders motherhood, approximately 500 of her fans attended a Chicago convention in her honor. Rivaling a Star Trek convention in sheer kookiness, impersonators and mega fans packed the Congress Plaza Hotel this past weekend, buying everything -- old memorabilia, T-shirts and photographs. In true diva fashion, Cher didn't attend. The first annual event was organized by three fans who met on the Internet. Proceeds from the sale of Cher stuff was donated to the Children's Craniofacial Association. You may remember in the movie "Mask," Cher portrayed the mother of a boy who suffers from the disease.

TV GUIDE and TV GUIDE LIVE are trademarks of Transcontinental Publications Inc.
© 1996-2001 Transcontinental Publications Inc. All rights reserved.

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TV

From Calgary Global TV:  http://www.calgary.globaltv.com/ca/entertainment/news/stories/news-20000718-032103.html

From Montreal Global TV: http://montreal.globaltv.com/ca/entertainment/news/stories/news-20000718-032103.html
 

From Vancouver TV for BC:  www.tvforbc.com/ca/entertainment/news/stories/news-20000718-032103.html
GlobalTV.com Vancouver Vancouver

From Victoria Chek TV:  www.chektv.com/ca/entertainment/news/stories/news-20000718-032103.html
CHEKTV.com
Victoria

Posted 11:21 p.m. EDT July 17, 2000

ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

Move Over, Trekkies, Fans Gather For Cher

Convention-Goers Honor Pop Diva

CHICAGO -- More than 500 diva-worshippers came to Chicago for a two-day weekend convention in honor of actress-singer Cher.

Cher Convention 2000 drew Cher impersonators, wannabes and outright lookalikes from across the country to a downtown hotel Friday and Saturday.

The gathering at Chicago's Congress Plaza Hotel, which resembled conventions for fans of "Star Trek," comic books and sports teams, was organized by three fans who found each other through Cher's Web site.

"I've been a fan for years, and we all thought it would be good to get together with other fans," said Kim Werdman, a real estate manager from Arlington, Texas, who served as convention vice president.

Cher wasn't present, although organizers had expected her to attend. While the event featured kitschy karaoke performances, Sonny and Cher album covers and other memorabilia, it also had a serious side.

Proceeds from the sale of T-shirts, photographs and other keepsakes will be donated to the Children's Craniofacial Association, a Dallas-based support group, Werdman said.

Cher is the organization's honorary chairwoman. In the 1985 film "Mask," she played the mother of a boy who was born with craniofacial deformities, and the singer has since been a benefactor for people who suffer from the disorder.

Since Cher was a no-show, her fans had to settle for the next best thing -- impersonator Wayne Smith. Sporting a beaded pink gabardine pants suit, Smith belted out a rendition of "I Got You Babe," the '60s hit duet by Cher and then-husband Sonny Bono.

Smith handled both ends of the duet, mimicking Sonny's whiny tone and Cher's husky vibrato by himself. "I'm schizophrenic," Smith joked.

His audience included male and female fans who sported Cher-like hairdos in black, red and purple hues.

Cher fan Troy Lynn Hershman was dressed more conservatively, but said she's every bit as devoted.

"I've been a fan since I was 4 or 5," said Hershman, 33, of Houston. "But I've never been to any of her concerts. I just watch her on cable."

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From CNNhttp://www.cnn.com/2000/SHOWBIZ/Music/07/17/cher.confab.ap/index.html    Page has expired.


- July 17, 2000

Superfans get together for weekend Cher convention

Reprint of THE ASSOCIATED PRESS article by Bennie Currie.

 

 

 

 

© 2001 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
An AOL Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.

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From ET:  http://www.etonline.com/html/NewsItems/31737.html



(NEW YORK) - Cher fanatics will converge on Chicago July 14-15 when Cher Convention 2000 convenes at the Congress Plaza Hotel and Convention Center. Featuring music, movies, and rare Cher memorabilia, the convention will donate proceeds to the Children's Craniofacial Association (CCA), of which the artist is the honorary chairperson.For more information, visit the convention's official Web site. (Billboard Online)

 

© 2000 BPI Communications

TM & Copyright © 1996-2001 by Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

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From MSNBChttp://www.msnbc.com/news/434061.asp  Page has expired.


July 17 —

... Unconventional convention
       Meanwhile in Chicago, fans gathered over the weekend at Cher Convention 2000 where they played “name that Cher tune” and sang some of her best-known songs along with a Cher impersonator.
       “She’s amazing. She is such an inspiration to me,” said impersonator Amy Hohimer, who sported a long black wig similar to the hairstyle that Cher made famous in the 1970s.
       Fans at also perused a multitude of photos of the star, who is known for her flamboyant outfits.
       “We can see beyond the wigs. We see her for a person and a great lady,” said convention organizer Jody Cantwell,
       All proceeds from the convention went to the Children’s Craniofacial Association. Cher directed attention to the group when she played the mother of a disfigured child in the movie, “Mask.”

  MSNBC © 2001

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FROM RTE TV:  http://www.rte.ie/tv/2tv/popgossip23072000.html


Radio Telefís Éireann - The Irish National Public Service Broadcasting Organisation.

23 July 2000

POP GOSSIP

More than 500 Cher worshippers travelled to Chicago last week for a 2 day Weekend Cher Convention. Hundreds of Cher wannabees were there but the Real Thing wasn't.

 

 

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From VH1http://www.vh1.com/thewire/news/article.jhtml?ID=675    scroll down


07/14/2000

WIRE: SLASH JOINS AC/DC; NEW R.E.M.; CHER CONVENTION 2000
By C. Bottomley

• If you're a Cher fan - and who isn't? - then you'll want to attend Cher Convention 2000. It's being held at Chicago's Congress Plaza Hotel and Convention Center this weekend (July 14-15), so you'll have to hurry. The convention features exhibitions of rare Cher memorabilia, by which they must mean wigs, music, and Cher movies. So here's your chance to see 1969's Chastity.

©2001 The MTVi Group, L.P.

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WEBSITES

From Creative Music:  www.creativemusic.com/news_archive_2000_07.html
 

7 17 00

Following in the footsteps of actress Sharon Stone, who recently adopted a boy, pop singer Cher, 54, says she is considering adopting a baby daughter. "When I heard about Sharon, I knew what's been missing in my life," she told Britain's Sunday Mirror. "She is so happy, and I am so envious." Cher has two adult children, Chastity, 31, and Elijah Blue, 23.

She also has no shortage of fans. More than 500 diva worshipers came to Chicago for the past weekend's Cher Convention 2000. Cher was a no-show.

© 2000 Creative Music Co., Inc.

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From Daily Radar:  http://www.dailyradar.com/news/showbiz_news_1141.html

 
7/17/00

Cher's Jealous Of Sharon Stone

  We're not sure which is more scary: the fact that 500 diva-worshippers gathered in Chicago for a two-day Cher Convention, or that the 54-year old singer/actress is considering adopting a baby girl -- keep in mind that some of her boyfriends were young enough to be adopted by the chanteuse.
  According to Reuters, Cher told Britain's Sunday Mirror that her decision has been heavily influenced by the actions of 42-year-old actress Sharon Stone, who just recently adopted a baby boy.

  © 2001 Imagine Media. All Rights Reserved.

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From Michigan Live:  http://www.mlive.com/music/index.ssf?/entertainment/stories/20000717chercon.frm

Michigan Live

Music
Monday, July 17, 2000

Fans Gather for Cher Convention
ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

By BENNIE M. CURRIE
Associated Press


Reprint of THE ASSOCIATED PRESS article by Bennie Currie.

On the Net: Cher's Web site: http://www.cher.com
Children's Craniofacial Association: http://www.ccakids.com

Copyright 2001 Michigan Live Inc. Michigan Live is a Registered Trademark of Advance Internet, Inc.

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From New Media Music:  www.newmediamusic.com/editorials/maiscott_121100.html


December 11, 2000

Charities of the Rich and Famous
By Mary Lyn Maiscott

  If you've ever wanted to buy a clock imprinted with the likenesses of Sonny and Cher, but were just too embarrassed, now's your chance to do it for a good cause-and, hey, it's on sale. (Or what better gift if you've got a Cher-smitten friend like Jack on the sit-com "Will and Grace"?) All the proceeds from this and other merchandise sold under the auspices of the Cher Convention 2000 (see this and other links at end) go to the Children's Craniofacial Association, which helps children with facial disfigurements. Cher got involved after playing the mother of a boy with a craniofacial condition in the movie "Mask." (Who could forget Cher in her short skirt scaring the doctors with her rock-star attitude and taking off on a motorcycle?)
  Cher's website includes a link for the association, but she's hardly the only celebrity who endorses a particular cause. Among music stars, there's a wide range of degree of involvement in charities-from lending a name to starting a foundation. Curious in this holiday season-when people, perhaps in an attempt to suppress their inner Scrooge, tend to be generous to those in need-I surfed the Internet to get a sense of who was doing what...
  ...So look around, and put your money (if you have it) where your admiration is. But you may want to check out the organization first. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns that a celebrity name does not guarantee proper accountability. Its website suggests asking for written information on the charity's programs and finances and seeking additional information from the BBB or your state Attorney General's office.
  And then you can buy that clock.

Links:
www.cherconvention.com

www.ccakids.com

www.artistdirect.com/auctions
www.bosbbb.org (Better Business Bureau)

CopyRight NewMediaMusic.com - All Rights Reserved 2001
NewMediaMusic.com headlines are featured on MusicNewswire.com

 

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From Ohio.com:  http://vh80022.vh8.infi.net/bj/porter/2000/July/docs/027310.htm

OFF THE WAGON

Ohio.com
Published Thursday, July 27, 2000,
in the Akron Beacon Journal.

...A bundle of joy

  Cher, 54-year-old mother of 31-year-old Chastity and 23-year-old Elijah Blue, told the New York Daily News that Sharon Stone's adoption of a baby resulted in her looking into adoption, too.
  ``When I heard about Sharon, I knew what had been missing in my life. She is so happy, and I am so envious.''

Meanwhile, Cher Convention 2000, a two-day event in Chicago honoring the Goth heroine, had karaoke singers, look-alikes and sales of T-shirts, albums and gewgaws, but it didn't have Cher.

The closest substitute was impersonator Wayne Smith, who sang both parts of the duet on I Got You Babe and wore a beaded pink pantsuit.

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ChicagoFun.org - Best Entertainment Newsletter!
... Recommended: * X-Men The Movie opens at on Fri. * Cher Convention 2000 at Congress
Plaza Hotel on Fri. * Bliss (art by couples) show at Inside Art begins Sat ...
www.chicagofunnews.com/20000714.htm - 69k - Cached - Similar pages

 

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