She's mildly unusual 


"Run over there! She's coming up over there!" bullies the tattooed Harley guy to the right of me. Gay, but only ironically so, said facial-hair-foible is, hear told, one of Cyndi Lauper's close and personal friends. I'm only a little bit jealous.

"Yeah, I know," I harrumph. "I'm interviewing her tomorrow."

It's middle school all over again, except this time I'm not peering over the trash-can rim I've just been thrown into at the seventh-grade dance while Cyndi belts out "Money Changes Everything." This time I'm side stage in the press area, drinking a beer.

Lauper's in town to open Cher's spooky farewell tour, in which we see Cher climb down from a chandelier and climb up from inside an elephant, still acting unusual and still agelessly, helplessly fantastic. Indifference from whoever Cher attracts (fags, housewives, flies) is countered with Cyndi running into the audience and belting out songs into people's faces. By the end of the show everyone is bouncing and waving to "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." Just like they ought to, dammit.

"I love you Cyndi!" someone howls from the floor.

"Yeah, but you don't have to live with me," Cyndi Brooklyns.

I, however, have to interview her, a task I've completed at least three times before, including the time that I was really too drunk to stand up and missed the opportunity to take her out afterwards to gay bars and stuff.

Cyndi, who's known for saying things like, "Sometimes when I'm singing, I feel like I'm floating," isn't the best interview subject. But why should she be? She's already been a pro-wrestling bitch, on the cover of Time, and in the ruts of post-pop stardom. In short, she's been raked and hoed by the Lifetime/Bravo/VH-1 docu-circuit, and doesn't really have anything else to say. So just tell me you love me, Cyndi.

"I love you," she fakes.

I love her.

"So how do you do it?" I Hello magazine.

"Is this black pepper, white pepper, or red pepper, or is it hot?" she ignores me. "What do you think? It must be red pepper. No, I like it!"

Excuse me?

"I can't think about it, because if I think about it, I scare myself. And then I don't know how I do it."

OK, clearly I'm less important than the seasoning in Cyndi's mouth, so any in-depth discussion is duly salted.

"So I punched a lady last night while dancing to your set!"

"Did you apologize?" she moms.

"Of course I apologized. But she still gave me a really mean look," I lie.

"I'm sorry that happened!"

"I blamed you."

"You blamed me?"

"No."

"She didn't care about that, did she?"

Jesus Christ, she's scolding me! Was that the sound of my career shattering on the floor, or just the quiet gurgle of bile climbing up my throat? I can't be sure. I just want to be Cyndi Lauper, I don't want to talk to her. I wouldn't run out in the audience, though. Too much work.

"I think that I need to connect with people," she disconnects. "I think it's what I should be doing for Cher, too. So when she comes out, it's real up-and-at-'em."

"Let's talk about Cher. Do you love her, too?"

"Yeah, she's a good gal. I really love her."

Liar. "Do you guys hang out and exchange, um, wigs?"

"No. Not really," she wipes her mouth, then she starts chattering at someone else. "Can I have some, too? Small, small. Really?"

What? Would you like fries with that? Anyway, Cyndi's been the subject of much cheeseburger revisionism, most recently with VH-1's "Behind the Music," which was sweet, but not very peppery.

"I don't have anything in the middle that says, Ã?Oh, man, she became a drug addict, now she's doing so much better.'" she reveals. "Just real-life things that happened."

"But they spoke with your ex-boyfriend." (Note to self: Kill all ex-boyfriends.)

"Yeah. I mean, he remembers those things the way he remembers them, and I remember them the way I remember them."

Attagirl. This week, the barely-reputable US Magazine devoted its back page to Cyndi's years of fashion overhaul, coining her the "original Kelly Osbourne." Not very flattering, really.

"Y'know what? She has like rock and roll parents. What do you expect her to look like?" she Osbournes. "I don't know too much about her except that she's Ozzy's daughter, and the both of them are very sweet. And, uh, y'know I like them. Y'know what?"

"What?"

"Nothing."

I give up. "Tell me Cyndi. Tell me what we should know about Cyndi Lauper that we don't know already." Sheesh.

"You're scaring me. What do you think, I think of myself in the third person?" she scares me. "I don't, ever. Cuz that's just scary."

"There's nothing scary about you!"

"Oh, yeah!" she taunts. "You don't live with me."


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