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      Learning To Love Again - A Star is Born Review

      "The following review contains spoilers"
      “I want you to look right in my eyes

      To tell me you love me, to be by my side..."
      It seems like a simple request: To have someone look at you and see you for who you truly are. Having someone like what they see – and want to stay – isn’t as easy. On the surface, A Star Is Born may be a film about the rise of Ally’s (Lady Gaga) career, and the demise of Jackson Maine’s (Bradley Cooper), but beyond ‘the shallow it is about their complicated and unyielding love for each other.
      From their very first encounter, we can feel the beating hearts of both characters on screen. One of my favorite moments in the entire film is when Jackson comes backstage to meet Ally after her performance at the drag bar. Jackson asks if he can take off one of Ally’s taped eyebrows. He is so gentle when he peels off the thin black piece of tape, and when he looks at her, it is a look of admiration, never judgement. As both the actors and characters, Gaga and Bradley never have an ounce of judgement toward each other. They share an electric and singular chemistry that is difficult to fabricate.
      Of course, not all relationships are perfect. Jackson’s alcoholism and drug abuse is the ticking time bomb of their union. Ally is very patient and at one point she even says, “It’s not your fault. This is a disease.” However, as much as she wants him to be alright, it isn’t her choice. Jackson was already deteriorating before he met her, and continues to do so even if she gives him the best years of his life. Bradley Cooper is at his best. With a single glance, we can see when he is sober and when he is wasted. Beyond the slurred speech, and stumbling, his eyes radiate years of pain and, when he’s looking at Gaga, glimmers of hope. As Ally, Lady Gaga is a selfless actress and focuses on intently listening to Bradley and empathizing with his character, never once shying away from trying to alleviate his pain.
      It is no secret that Lady Gaga and Ally are quite similar: Italian American aspiring singer- songwriters who are given an opportunity to succeed if they conform to the music industry. This role was familiar territory for Gaga, but that’s what would make it all the more challenging. Nobody likes confronting their fears or vulnerabilities, but A Star Is Born forces Gaga to hold up a mirror to herself and deal with the aspects of her life and career that scare her the most. The most difficult part about acting is being believable – being human. Lady Gaga has proven herself to be a natural by unapologetically revealing her humanity on screen without trying to hide behind wigs, costumes, or even music. Every lyric she has written, and every note she sings, only elevates her authenticity and thus our compassion for Ally. The songs in the film are truly of musical theatre standard. A song comes when words are not enough to convey emotion. Bradley and Gaga may not be breaking into song, but the film’s music is a heightened language for the two of them to communicate their love for each other.
      In the final scene of the movie, Ally sings a song that Jackson wrote for her: “I’ll Never Love Again.” It is one of the most beautiful songs in the film. Back to her natural hair, stripped of the pop facade she created, she pays tribute to Jackson. She may have lost the great love of her life, but he helped her fall in love with herself. Jackson helped her believe in herself and gave her the push she needed to chase her dreams. The great love story of A Star Is Born is actually the one Ally has with herself. Through Jackson’s love for her, Ally finds who she is as an artist and the belief that she’s worthy to succeed. Sometimes it only takes one person to believe in us, as Lady Gaga says of her director and on screen partner Bradley Cooper, but you have to be willing to agree with them.
      Bradley and Gaga are exceptional as actors and musicians and leave you wanting to experience the journey of their love story over and over again. This is a true marker of the beginning of Lady Gaga’s career as an actress, and what an explosive way to start.
      - Marc Cohen

      Our 3 days with Lady Gaga in Toronto

      “Lady Gaga is the most beautiful, down to earth, kind person I’ve ever met”, said literally every person that has ever met her. And if you thought that’s how I was going to start this article, you’re absolutely right.
      Lady Gaga was in Toronto for the North American premiere of A Star Is Born at the Toronto International Film Festival 2018. Over the weekend our small group of fans managed to meet at least five times, have very sweet conversations with her, give her gifts, letters and of course take photos and get signatures. I decided to share some of our experiences with everyone, even though I can’t fit everything in one article.
      Before I start, though, I would like to highlight a few important points. First of all, Gaga, as a human being, has a right for privacy and respect. If you’ve watched her Five Foot Two documentary, you know how much “crazy” fans that yell at her, touch her, pull her clothes etc. scare and disturb her. These kinds of things are highly disrespectful and creepy, and let me assure you that if you act that way, she will not be willing to engage with you.
      If you do get a chance to meet her some day, please be respectful towards her, keep it quiet, don’t touch her without her permission. Try to have an actual conversation with her, ask her how her day is, how her family is, tell about how her music has helped you or how you’ve been a big fan since forever, show her pictures of you at her concerts and so on. Gaga is SUCH a nice human being, she is an excellent person to talk to and she actually likes to engage in such kind of conversations wit her fans. Treat her as the beautiful princess that she is and trust me, you will have a great experience.
      Second of all, there are many fans that think Gaga’s fiancé, Christian hates us. That’s absolutely absurd and wrong. Christian is an actual sweetheart and likes us, but he cares about Gaga and knows about how she feels about the things discussed above, so if you act like a crazy freak he is going to try to protect her and try to pull her away from the crowd, for Gaga’s good, not because he hates us. In fact, we as a group were so respectful and quiet towards both of them, even Christian said “You guys are the most polite group of fans ever”.  So that’s it on that.
      Now let’s talk about our weekend.
      DAY 1
      I noticed the tweets about her being at the Graffiti Alley and of course, Starbucks during Friday afternoon. I was still at work and started freaking out because she appeared to be about 10 minutes away from me. I wasn’t sure if the tweets were true or somebody was trolling us, so kept digging Twitter for more information and photos, and eventually linked up with another monster who was visiting from New York and was trying to locate Gaga as well.
      While I was at work, he and his (now also my) monster-friends wandered around the city looking for her and eventually ended up finding out where she was staying. He messaged me and I quickly ran there (the hotel was two subway stations away from me). I was so happy to meet them that night and we have become such good friends ever since!
      There was only the four of us waiting by the hotel. We went back and forth between different entrances hoping to catch Gaga when she arrives. Finally, after about 30 minutes, a black SUV pulled up to one of the entrances and when the back window of the car rolled down, we all froze in our places. In front of our breathless bodies was Lady f-cking Gaga, sitting in the car with Christian. There is only one word that could describe what we felt at that point, and if you are on stan twitter, you know exactly what word I’m referring to.
      Gaga looked fantastic, but that’s no news. She said hi and told us how much she loved us, but couldn’t stop for photos as she had to go to bed and get ready for the upcoming busy day. While talking to us she made sure to make eye contact with each and every one of us, which was a small detail in her communication language that really impressed us. As her car left, we tried to convince ourselves that wasn’t a dream and we actually just met Gaga.
      We decided to go home to get some rest and come back in the morning. I barely got any sleep that night, as I too excited from seeing God herself. But I woke up at 6 am and was by her hotel at 7 am.
      DAY 2
      Next morning two other little monsters that were close with my new friends joined our group. After waiting for about 4 hours in freezing cold and discussing how much we were excited for A Star Is Born and Enigma, we finally saw Gaga’s car leaving the hotel. She stopped to say hi and take a few quick photos with us. Trust me when I say this, she is the cutest, purest, the most beautiful woman on this planet, and as you can see in the photo below, she looked absolutely gorgeous.

      Even though we were all shaking, we managed to get very organized on spot. While one of us was taking the photo of the other, the third person was messaging the rest of the group that was waiting on the other side of the hotel.
      When my turn came, I asked her if I could give her a small gift to which she replied, “Of course!” I handed her a small box with my gift, a note about its meaning and a personal letter and she said “Thank you so much, you are so kind”. Honestly, I couldn’t feel my legs when I heard her say that and felt like I was melting away. Her voice has the magical ability to warm one’s heart.
      Unfortunately Gaga had to leave before the rest of the group would get there from the other side of the hotel, so she asked us to come back later that night.
      We made a deal that when we saw here again that night, those who didn’t get to see her that morning would be the first to take photos and talk to her, and only after that the rest of us would try to get something signed or talk to her.
      In general, our group was really organized, loving and respectful. We made sure nobody was left out and everybody got a chance to be a part of this special experience. I believe this is what made this this weekend so successful and fun.
      That night we were back at the hotel after several failed attempts to take a nap during the day. The waiting period was very exhausting - we would have a heart attack and jump every time a black car passed by us. 
      Gaga stopped when she saw us waiting for her, which was so kind of her. This time she had a bit more time to chat, so we all got a chance to tell her how much she meant to us, how she saved the lives of many of us and how we all became friends because of her. When we told this to he, she said “Well, we are all bonded by love, right?”. I almost cried at that point.
      Then those of us who hadn’t taken photos with her earlier got to do it before she left to get some rest and get ready for the next day. We had already started a tradition of having a group hug and screaming “Joanne” every time after meeting Gaga, just like she and her dancers did in the Monster Ball HBO Special. I think that’s super cute. We then left to get about 3 hours of sleep before we’d head to TIFF to secure our spots behind the barricades.
      DAY 3
      Sunday was a busy day for Gaga. She had the TIFF press conference in the morning, the red carpet and the premiere of A Star Is Born, with many interviews in between.
      We were at TIFF very early in the morning. The weather was even worse than the day before - we had multiple sweaters and winter coats on and were still freezing. Canada, eh? But nothing is better than having a couple hot teas and chatting with a group of monster-friends waiting for Gaga.

      She arrived at about 10am, looking gorgeous as always and the crowd went wild. When she approached us from the other side of the barricade, I  told her she looked beautiful and she  thanked me in such a humble way. When she was done taking photos with fans and giving out signatures, she rushed to the conference that was about to start.
      Later that afternoon my friends spent a few hours in the line for red carpet, but the lack of sleep and the freezing weather were doing their thing to me and I had to go home to get some rest while my friends got to see Gaga’s fantastic red carpet look in person.
      Most of our group also went to see the premiere of the movie that night, too. When it was done, everybody started sending selfies of them crying in the group chat, and that said a lot about the movie. They were all so shocked and emotional. WE ARE NOT READY!
      Our group waited for Gaga by her hotel for another 3 hours. It was already midnight, some of us had to get up for work by 4 am and others had school/work next morning. We had been up since 5 am, stayed in cold for most of the day and hadn’t gotten much sleep throughout the weekend, so were pretty exhausted.

      Luckily Gaga and Christian showed up shortly after midnight, and she was so excited to see us again! Christian said “Look, it’s the same party!” And even though she was wearing diamond earrings worth $50 million, we were chatting like regular friends, talking about how her day was and how good the movie was. She was especially excited to hear about that, as we were probably the first fans that got to talk to her after the premiere. She teared up when one of us told her her acting was fantastic and people were going to love it. Some of us asked Gaga to sign on them/on a paper to get it tattooed later, which she gladly did. She also told us she wished we were at the party she was coming from!
      I still cannot believe this weekend was real. In all honesty, those three days were some of the best in my life. I met Gaga in person 5 times, I got to talk to her, give her a gift, letter, take a photo with her, get her signature… I also made incredible new friends who I’m so grateful for. This weekend many of my dreams of 8 years became true, and I couldn’t be happier.
      Don’t forget to be kind and polite towards each other and towards Gaga. She lives for our love, so make sure she feels it if you get a chance to interact with her.
      Follow our squad on twitter! @teasiswbk @electracore @idkjenna @goddessnuknoit @mattytoophatty @ITSWH0RECHATA @mikefoucault 

      Lady Gaga's music helped me when I got kicked out of my house

      Hello Monsters 💖 
      My name is Venus (yes, really), I am close to turning 19 by now, I am originally from El Paso, Texas where I grew most of my life alongside Ciudad Juárez in Mexico. I was 8 years old when I first found out about Lady Gaga, and since then been totally obsessed and have been following Gaga since. 
      When I was 16 I got in a big fight with my mother and I ended up getting kicked out. I had nothing with me, all my clothes , my belongings, everything was left behind. Some Random person that I didn’t know and had just been speaking  online with decided to help me. I thought I had nothing else to loose so I took the chance. The day after I got kicked out he drove from Odessa Texas to El Paso (it’s about a 4 hour drive) and picked me up with his other roommates, I left to Odessa and started a new life. I was working at a McDonald’s to pay rent and going to High school at the same time... Everything was working out fine for me, until around 10 months later when I got in an argument with my roommates about the rent and I had lost my job... so me and my best friend were just left behind like nothing. 
      When that happened there was no school. It was during the week of spring break. Me and my best friend left to South Padre Island to enjoy the beach and the spring parties with our Friend Cyann. When we headed back to Odessa, I had nowhere to go, I didn’t know a lot of people there, all of my family was miles away, my friend left the city and went back to his mom’s place and I was completely alone, homeless, sad, hungry. I spent a couple weeks in the street with no food, just walking around in 100 degree weather, and, the only thing that distracted my mind was Gaga’s Music. I would break in my old apartment, through a window, to charge my phone and shower in the middle of the night.
       After a couple weeks, a friend of mine offered me a room in a hotel he worked for. I stayed there for around a week, after that he bought me a bus ticket to go back to my hometown. So I left. When I arrived I had nowhere to go, I was staying in a park downtown alone for like a month and a half, now I was homeless and I was tired of it. One night I was thinking and I was devastated, I wanted to end everything, I saw an abandoned/burned building and I went to the top, I was sitting on the edge, crying, my mind was set. Sooner or later I was gonna let go and jump from the edge, I was just playing music on my phone, and I remember having downloaded Gaga’s unreleased song “Princess Die”. 
      Right when I was gonna jump, the song played, and for some reason it got me to the Core, I saw my life in a second, I had my family in my mind, my siblings, and I realized I wasn’t ready to let go of them. 
      Gaga truly saved my life! Even with an unreleased song she touched my heart. 
      After that my mindset was Different. I Couldn’t believe I was that close to ending my life. A fire sparked inside of me and I decided I wanted to end it but in a better way. I decided to pursue my dreams. I always admired Gaga for her fashion, her makeup, her art. And I kept that in mind the whole time.
       I had been homeless for around two months by now, and I had gotten money to fly out of Texas and go to Miami. 
      I wanted to go there because, I wanted to start doing Drag, create a persona with no issues, happy, perfect, fun , someone who would make me forget all my issues and leave the past behind. 
      Things didn’t exactly work out for me and a “friend” I went to Miami with, this “friend” and they abandoned me as soon as we arrived, I was on the street while he left with a sugar daddy he had found...
      After a couple weeks the guy dumped him so he came back to me, we would be asking for money in south beach to pay for a Night at a hostel.
       I would spend most of my days in the beach enjoying the water, the sun, relaxing. We were in Miami for like a month, me and my friend both didn’t like it there, it was nice and everything but I didn’t feel at home. We planned on asking for money on the streets, After a few days,  we got enough for a plane to New York (we had agreed on that).
      The next morning, my plane left first to New York. When I was at the airport waiting for my “friend” to arrive, he messaged me sayin he was going to Philly, and that I should go with him to pick up the rest of his belongings. I had 30 dollars in me and that was good for a bus to philly.
       When I arrived and met up with him, he told me he wasn’t going to New York, and that he wasn’t gonna help me in philly, cause he was not gonna bring me into his apartment. It was close to midnight and I started getting lots of messages on my phone. I had random people messaging me cause my “friend” was offering me on Grindr, he was sending pictures of mine and my phone number to other people, telling them to let me stay with them and I will be giving them Sex.
      This was wrong and first of all  I was 17 at this time. I got in a big argument with him  right outside of his place he left me... 
      One of his roommates saw what happened and he helped me, I told him I wanted to go to New York and he helped me get there. I had always dreamed about living in New York.
       I arrived in the last few days of  of July 2017. Then I met someone who offered me to stay at his place, no strings attached, he didn’t ask me for nothing, but truth is he was a Dealer, he lived with another guy who was also one. And pretty much just asked me not to touch anything, and everything would be cool.
       After about like a month I got to a place where my life was Stable, I found a place that was great for me in Brooklyn and moved in, in the last few days of August. 
      First thing I did when I had finally moved in, was get ticket for Gaga’s concert at Citi Field on the 29th. It was raining, and the Concert could have not been more perfect!
       It was the first time I had seen Gaga up close, I was mesmerized by her talent, her beauty, and the rain just made it better. 
      Now I am happily living in New York finished high school, now I am trying to enter the Fashion institute to follow my passion for Fashion and makeup, living as happy as I can be.
      Now, every time that I listen to Gypsy (which has been my fave since forever,) I feel Gaga’s love, and it brings me joy. I feel like Gaga made that song specifically for me, because just like a Gypsy moving across the country I finally found my Home. 
      Since I moved to New York I’ve seen Gaga in concert, at her hotel the day of the Grammys this year, the day after the Grammys when she was heading to the Elton John salute (I got my first picture with her, and she signed my album). 
      It was amazing, when I was going home I couldn’t believe it I threw up out of excitement. And lastly saw her a few times, waiting for long times out of Electric Lady Studios. I got no pictures with her but I got to tell her how beautiful she looked and she thanked me. 
      Now I live happy and I am proud of myself, at my age I’ve experienced things people don’t ever experience, and I am able to say I can live in New York, and that I got out of being homeless on my own. New York is really the city of dreams! And my dream is lady Gaga, every time she motivated me, she pushed me to keep moving forward and for that I am truly thankful. I love you Gaga 💖 thank you.
      That’s my story monsters. Paws Up!
      p.s. You guys can follow me on Instagram: @Venushartt          Twitter: @itsjustVenus       And Snapchat: @Venushartt
      Venus Hart 
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