Last night it was announced that some of the shows where Lady Gaga appeared won 3 Emmy Awards. Respectively, RuPaul's Drag Race episode 'Oh. My. Gaga!' won an Emmy for Outstanding Picture Editing and Outstanding Costumes. The second Emmy was won thanks to her Super Bowl 51 Halftime Show for Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction. This is just 1 out of 6 nominations that Lady Gaga's Super Bowl performance received. Finally, her Carpool Karaoke episode won an Emmy in the Best Variety Special category.
Reminder: the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards are taking place in Los Angeles, California, on the 17th of September.
Lady Gaga premiered her first Netflix documentary 'GAGA: Five Foot Two' at the Toronto Film Festival tonight. Gaga also performed an an acoustic version of her hit single Bad Romance for the public. Right after the end of the live preview, Hollywood Reported shared their first review of the documentary. 'GAGA: Five Foot Two' will be available from September 22 on Netflix. You can ready the first review below, or watch pictures from the red carpet here.
Director Chris Moukarbel pulls back the sequined meat dress to reveal the "real" Lady Gaga in this verite-style documentary.
Premiering, no doubt by minutely planned design, at the Toronto Film Festival just as its subject glides through Canada on her world tour, documentary Gaga: Five Foot Two offers fans of pop star Lady Gaga an artfully casual, precisely spontaneous glimpse into the life of their idol, filmed in 2016 while she was working on her latest album Joanne. Directed and filmed by Chris Moukarbel (Banksy Does New York, Me at the Zoo), and produced not just by him and Live Nation’s Heather Parry but also Gaga herself and her manager Bobby Campbell, this is certainly an entertaining enough watch, even for those without much rooting interest in Gaga. Sure, it’s hardly in the rock-doc hall of fame like Bob Dylan: Dont Look Back (1967) or even Metallica: Some Kind of Monster (2004), but as a canny mesh of artistry, marketing and brand building, it achieves its ends: promoting the star, providing desirable exclusive content to Netflix subscribers (the streaming service is one of the producers) and generating some opening-weekend, red-carpet glamour for Toronto.
Those aims were partly achieved before the film even press screened in Toronto by generating copy in the gossip press. Word on the net was that this would feature Gaga (born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta) exposing herself, talking frankly about her struggles with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress and chronic physical pain from a broken hip, as well as her breakup with fiancé Taylor Kinney.
Sure enough, she speaks up about these things, and even lets Moukarbel’s camera film her visiting a doctor where, clad only in a paper hospital gown, she reels off a long list of all the meds she takes. A few minutes later, she continues the consult as make-up artists apply war paint in preparation for her next appearance. The whole scene starts to acquire a certain ghoulishness, taking exhibitionism to a new level of extremity.
More frivolously, there are shots of her smoking a joint or two, or maybe just smoking (it’s impressive that she can get away with lighting up whatever it is in so many workplaces where mere mortals would be arrested for vaping); accidentally driving into her producer Mark Ronson’s car and totaling his bumper; going topless by a pool while having a meeting with her image consultants and stylists; and having a minor diva fit “meltdown” on the set of American Horror Story when plans change suddenly. Throwing red meat to the campier constituency of her fan base, she throws shade at Madonna — somewhat hypocritically, perhaps — by criticizing her fellow star for talking badly about her to the media, instead of to her face.
Despite all the blurry camerawork and footage of an un-made-up Gaga relaxing around her house while the entourage bustles around her, above all she comes across as an extremely focused, warm but formidable micro-manager. She seems collaborative and affectionate with her team, often dispensing hugs and taking an interest in their private lives, including one colleague on her creative team who’s just been diagnosed with cancer. Gaga exudes nuclear levels of magnetism, and the film captures her intense relationship with her friends, family and fans. Still, one can imagine woe would betide anyone who might neglect, say, to get the lining on a sequined jacket fixed the instant she asks for it, as happens just before she does the half-time show at the Super Bowl.
The scene where she plays her “Joanne,” the title track for her new album, to her aged grandmother, an intense tribute to her late aunt who died after having her hands amputated, is particularly fascinating. Gaga clearly craves approval and validation from the elderly lady and seems to be pushing to create a cathartic drama out the scene, but her grandmother seems resistant to all this emotional hyperbole, insisting that the loss is well in the past now. In a way, it’s moments like this, where Gaga can’t completely control the script, that make the movie more interesting than it realizes.
Technically, the package is assembled with competence and style, with graceful editing by Greg Arata helping to create a strong sense of story and continuity. Moukarbel and his sound editors frequently use swelling soundtrack choices and a flurry of fast edits to suggest the frenzy of Gaga’s life.
This article originally appeared here.
The official press conference for Lady Gaga's upcoming documentary 'Gaga: Five Foot Two' took place earlier today in Toronto, Canada. The event was live streamed on TIFF's YouTube Channel. In case you missed it, you can watch it again below! Click here, instead, for the pictures of her arrival and here for the press conference photos.
Netflix just posted a teaser trailer of Lady Gaga's upcoming documentary GAGA: FIVE FOOT TWO. The teaser gives us a glimpse of Lady Gaga's every day life and shares moments of her interacting with fans, making Joanne and preparing for the biggest performance of her career, the halftime show at Super Bowl 51. Watch the teaser trailer for GAGA: FIVE FOOT TWO below.
GAGA: FIVE FOOT TWO will stream worldwide on Netflix starting on September 22nd.
After nearly a decade of redefining contemporary pop music — and, for that matter, celebrity culture — the 31-year-old is giving fans an intimate peek behind the sequins, shoulder pads, and disco sticks that catapulted her to international stardom back in 2008, teaming with Me @ the Zoo filmmaker Chris Moukarbel to craft an eye-opening documentary about her struggles with fame, loneliness, chronic pain, and her evolution as an artist during the recording sessions for Joanne, her most personal album yet that carries on the spiritual legacy of her late aunt, whose death in 1974 at age 19 catalyzed a period of “intergenerational pain,” as Gaga describes it, that lingered over her family as the years went on. The resulting album — and the film built around it — is rife with reflections and odes to memory and resilience, ushering in a new era of fresh sounds and unique fashions starkly contrasted with Gaga’s previous outputs.
“[You will see] a woman who’s an artist, creates all day, thinks all day, and also has the experiences [as] both an artist and a celebrity. Those two things collide for me, and you’ll see how they’re conflicted,” Gaga tells EW, additionally noting that she’s currently working on a new album. “I am 100 percent at my lowest common denominator. Nobody [is] explaining what I am or putting a label on me as a female artist in this film. That’s what this documentary is about.”
“Gaga was really supportive of the creative process and I felt like she wanted to give me the space as a filmmaker to make something that I believed in,” Moukarbel adds. “The one thing I said to her early on was that I would be her shadow and would shoot everything I saw, but that I wasn’t interested in [making] an exposé. I just wanted to be there as her life unfurled and create a portrait of her interior world.”
Gaga: Five Foot Two will have its world premiere as part of the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival next Friday, Sept. 8, before its Netflix launch on Sept. 22. Read on for more secrets about the film, as told by Moukarbel and the Lady herself.
Filming began in June 2016, and mostly captured the creation of the Joanne era
GAGA: “This was a true documentary made of my life, meaning I gave everyone access to what I wanted everyone to have access to. I decided what they could and could not film and [what could] be in the movie. I’m excited for people to see it, but it’s not intended to lay a framework for anything. It’s intended just to be true and honest.”
MOUKARBEL: “I started shooting casually last June [when Gaga finished writing Joanne]. I started rolling as soon as I walked through the door. She was very friendly and also told me right away that she wasn’t going to do anything special. She would just be getting ready to go to the studio and I was welcome to tag along. That whole first day ended up as the first scene of the film. I really didn’t expect that at all. The film follows her through her creative process in writing the record Joanne. We see her shooting American Horror Story and coping with some heavy personal issues including chronic body pain that she’s been dealing with for five years. We’re also alongside her as she prepares for the Super Bowl halftime show.”
Gaga’s planned documentary with Terry Richardson has no relation to this project
Prior to Artpop‘s 2013 release, on Christmas Day in 2012, Gaga announced that she would collaborate with the notorious photographer on a nonfiction film about her life, the creation of the album, and her relationship with her fans. Moukarbel stresses that this film is a completely fresh project, and no ties exist to previous plans for a documentary. “It was really important to both of us that this was a completely new project, separate from anything she had done before,” he explains. “This film is a frame around a very specific time in her life. That was the hardest part! How do you compress such an enormous life into 100 minutes of film? There were dozens of ways to approach it and I realized quickly that I had to focus on the present moment. She does more in a day than most people do in a year, so it was about limiting the scope to a specific window of time.”
The film unfolds through the eyes of her close friends
GAGA: “It really and truly is my life, but as made in a documentary by friends who simply wish to show the world a look into who they know me to be. It’s really for art’s sake. You know me; I’m not only a ‘making the money’ kind of girl. For me, doing things with people that I love is important. The filmmakers are my friends, and I believe in them as artists, and I was happy to have them create [this movie.]”
MOUKARBEL: “There were some things that she felt strongly needed to be included and she had a clear vision as to how to represent these aspects of her life. One of those story lines is her chronic body pain. It was very important that we represented this experience in a way that could be helpful to other people that might be struggling with chronic pain. She was also generally sensitive to the perceptions of young women and girls. Her role as an influential woman is something she took really seriously.”
GAGA: “It’s my gay friends [in this movie]. They see me and love me in a very special way, and yet they know me through my relationships, through my family, through my business, in every aspect. No matter what they see me go through in my life, they still have the ability to lift me up, and that is what I’m so grateful for.”
We might see how the ‘Artpop’ era played a role in shaping Gaga’s approach to ‘Joanne’
The official TIFF synopsis indicates the film “follows the artist as she recovers from the mixed reviews that greeted her Artpop album and faces deadlines to deliver its 2016 follow-up, Joanne,” noting that she’s “in a reflective mood, looking back on her dazzling flurry of work and image shifts, and trying to find a new definition for herself.” Though Artpop contained one of the biggest hits of Gaga’s career, “Applause,” and has sold around 800,000 copies in the U.S. alone since its debut (hardly a small feat in a market where streams dominate physical sales), critical reception was lukewarm. The aftereffects of the album’s release could play a large part in setting the stage for Gaga: Five Foot Two and its chronicling of Gaga’s search for a new creative voice on the rock-influenced Joanne, named after Gaga’s late aunt, who died from lupus-related causes in 1974.
GAGA: [Responding to a question about Artpop‘s inclusion in the film]: “You have to be sure about who and what you are, and have that be the most important thing. If every time somebody has a comment about what to do or makes a statement about your work, if you shift as if the wind were blowing, you have no perspective or spinal cord as an artist. Every single one of my albums, no matter if they were received with critical acclaim, commercial acclaim, or artistic acclaim, [after the release] I plant my feet further into myself, and that is what I believe to be honorable as an artist. You fall on the sword always. It’s your work, and when I make my work, there’s a reason and I think about it and I love it, and that’s what matters.”
Moukarbel shot in vérité style and didn’t conduct interviews with people close to Gaga
Though music documentaries typically unfold with commentary from people close to the subjects’ lives, Moukarbel felt it important to limit the number of voices making observations about Gaga’s life in an effort to preserve the natural, organic feeling of the film — though her father, Joe Germanotta, and Florence Welch, who features on Joanne cut “Hey Girl,” are in the film.
MOUKARBEL: “Gaga has created an extraordinary life through force of her own personality but when you’re inside her world you’re immediately struck with how laid-back and familial she actually is. She’s warm and genuinely interested in the people around her. I approached the film in a vérité style. That way I could focus on Gaga and her experiences so the viewer gets a sense of the world through her eyes. I didn’t do any interviews with people around her. If they happened to be present while I was shooting, then they might end up in the film, but it was really about her surroundings at that moment. She is incredibly close with her family and they are around her all the time. They have a naturally loving relationship so I hope some of that comes across in the movie.”
The film will explore Gaga’s legacy and evolution as an artist and as a person
GAGA: “[The film is not me taking control of my narrative] more than I have before. When I’ve chosen to wear big shoulder pads and avant-garde clothes back when it wasn’t sexy to do it in 2008, I was doing it because I refuse to let anyone around me tell me what is beautiful about a woman or how a woman should be sexy or how women in the music industry should sell their bodies to be sexy. I’ve always done that.”
MOUKARBEL: “I always got the feeling that part of her creativity comes from an internal struggle. She has an outsized amount of talent and ambition but also needs to have real human connections to be happy. Those needs can often be at odds because one is usually at the expense of the other. She’s definitely fighting for balance. I like to think of this film as a simple portrait of a truly complex person. She’s put herself in such a position of influence and is really thoughtful and hyper aware of that power. One of my personal takeaways is that there is a lot of power in allowing yourself to be vulnerable.”
As Lady Gaga saddles up to trot her Joanne World Tour to even more cities around the globe, she’s also dusting off another set of traveling boots for a venture of a different kind: her next album.
“I’ve started writing,” Gaga tells EW of the planned LP, which is in early stages of conception and might proceed another single from Joanne, though the Oscar nominee was coy — “I’ll let ya know,” she says playfully — when asked if she plans to release another cut from her fifth studio effort (fans have campaigned on social media for “Dancin’ In Circles” to get the single treatment since the album’s release last year). “I have a lot of ideas and a lot of things I want to create, so you’ll see in a bit. I need some time to create.”
It will be no surprise to die-hard fans that Gaga is already cooking up another musical project while deep into the era of the impending release’s forebear, which became her fourth consecutive No. 1 album in the United States upon its release in October 2016. Large portions of her 2011 hit Born This Way were devised as she toured in support of The Fame Monster the previous year.
Gaga’s also known to unveil still-unreleased songs like “Princess Die” and “Living on the Radio” in concert, though she admits the current tour will see fewer setlist changes than previous concerts, thanks to its complicated technical setup — which includes multiple stages, heavy strobe effects, pyrotechnics, and mobile rigs that double as projections screens, ascending and descending during the performance to bridge the gap between each platform.
“That’s not to say I won’t do songs here or there that I can call during the show,” she assures, having hinted earlier this year that new music would “absolutely” play a role in the Joanne World Tour cycle. “But, this show’s actually extremely complex and complicated, and the stage is coded with a computer. It’s intense and the cues all have to be met at a particular time. It’s high stress and tense backstage to make sure everything happens at the exact moment it’s supposed to. So, the setlist might change a little bit, but mostly you’re coming to see a piece that we’ve created for you. It’s two hours and fifteen minutes we’ve thought about very closely. It’s from our heart, and it’s from a band, dancers, artists, and everyone we’ve worked with in the 10 years we have behind us together.”
One thing concertgoers can bank on this year, however, is Gaga returning fan affection she’s cultivated since catapulting into the world of mainstream music back in 2008. Verizon has partnered with Gaga to give wireless customers the chance to redeem rewards points for exclusive concert experiences as part of its new loyalty program, Verizon Up.
“Verizon likes to give back to their fans, and so do I. So, we’re just doing that together,” she says of the program, which offers select backstage meet-and-greet opportunities, a special VIP seating section, and other perks for the carrier’s best customers.
“They come backstage, get a picture with me, and get to sit close to the stage and see the stage before I go on, check out the crew, and the hustle and bustle of the backstage area,” Gaga continues. “Then, there are other fans [who] can activate [their rewards] with Verizon Up outside the venue, and they get ticket upgrades to the show when they get there. They get to see the stage and what I’ve created with Joanne really close!”
Gaga is perhaps the most appropriate pop star to work with Verizon on the endeavor, as she’s largely come to redefine the word “loyalty” when it comes to the relationship she has with her fans.
“What has bonded Little Monsters and I together, since the beginning, is spreading a message of love and unity and acceptance to the world, so as the years have gone by, we’ve all grown up and changed, but it’s our values that stay the same,” she explains. “It keeps us strong. No matter what happens in our lives, in my life, the world, we always have that common ground and value system that we care about. The Joanne World Tour so far has been really exciting for a lot of reasons, mostly to reunite with my fan base and feel that love they bring every night, and I pray that multiplies.”
That passionate union has endured throughout the various stages of Gaga’s career, which has surged to new heights this year, following her record-setting headlining performance at Super Bowl LI in February. Though public perception of her highly personal work fluctuates (“I put this album out, and I know I do things sometimes that people don’t understand… I do that on purpose. Maybe I did try to become my dad’s sister to heal his pain, maybe I tried to heal my family by putting out a record and singing her name, and, f–, am I so glad that I did,” she told the crowd of Joanne‘s namesake inspiration at Monday night’s tour stop in Queens, New York), Gaga’s commitment to herself — and her vision — remains unwavering.
“You have to be sure about who and what you are, and have that be the most important thing. If every time somebody has a comment about what to do or makes a statement about your work, if you shift as if the wind were blowing, [then] you have no perspective or spinal cord as an artist,” she says. “Every single one of my albums — no matter if they were received with critical acclaim, commercial acclaim, or artistic acclaim — every time I plant my feet further into myself, and that is what I believe to be honorable as an artist. You fall on the sword always. It’s your work, and when I make my work, there’s a reason and I think about it and I love it, and that’s what matters.”
The first leg of Lady Gaga’s Joanne World Tour continues through Dec. 18. For more information on Verizon Up, head to the company’s website here.
This article originally appeared here.
Lady Gaga is on the September cover of V Magazine with a brand new photo shoot by Hedi Slimane, the same who shot Lady Gaga's The Fame Monster album shoot. The full interview is available for you to read below. The issue is set to be available on Aug. 31st! Make sure to grab your copy.
I keep seeing this girl. It’s in a dream. In the dream I’m playing at an amphitheater, outdoors, and beyond the seats there’s a field in back—it’s the cheap tickets. That’s where the girl is sitting, dressed in a Hanes sweatshirt, wearing her mom’s rolled-up jeans. She has three babies, two are running around her. There’s a cigarette in her hand, a glass of Pinot Grigio. She’s got on a lot of jewelry, mostly fake, but she also has on one heirloom piece. This girl is singing every word and she thinks, How is it possible that Lady Gaga understands how I feel? That girl—it’s me. She’s the one I’m writing to. With Joanne, I wanted to reach people, I wanted to bring all parts of the country together through this record.” —Lady Gaga
As a reader of a “celebrity profile,” I want the dirt, the gossip. I want to know what makes someone tick. I want to delve deep and get at the heart of who they are. When the chance to interview Lady Gaga came up, I was curious to understand the source of her drive. Where did all that energy, enthusiasm, and ambition come from?
My youth was spent in a New York reigned over by Andy Warhol, so I know a thing or two about superstars. Warhol would have loved Gaga. Had she been on the scene in the 1980s, Andy would have gone out with her every night, happy to take her places, to dinner, to art world events—someone to travel and spend time with. He would have been painting her portrait and collaborating on projects with her. Both Catholic, creative, ambitious, not nasty or grandiose—both lonely and both wanting to see the planet, explore, and grab the world. He would have been full of admiration for her.
There’s always a buzz of excitement surrounding Gaga, and when I mention I will interview her, everyone from my 21-year-old daughter to my middle-aged friends instantly knows who she is. Even where I live—upstate New York, Schuyler County, where the usual radio stations are turned to country—Gaga’s instantly identifiable voice can be heard in Walmart. The people I know may not be listening to her, but everyone sure knows who she is. How has this happened? Gaga is barely over 30 and the world has become a place separated into small categories of personal interest. She has, in 10 short years, seemingly melted into the global consciousness. And as she readies for her upcoming Joanne World Tour from August to December in support of the album of the same name she released almost a year ago, Gaga is as much at the forefront of pop music as ever.
The build-up before meeting her is dizzyingly complex. In the days leading up to the interview, numerous calls arrive: One moment the interview may take place on the 22nd, then the 23rd, and finally the 24th. The on-set time will be in the morning, then the afternoon, and on the date itself the shoot is moved from AM to PM, from five, then six, and so on. When I finally get the call to come to set, it comes with the caveat that the interview time will have to be pushed further back. Gaga, I’m told by one of her handlers, has decided to shoot a low-key video for one of her songs from Joanne. I wonder to myself, After a full day on set—endlessly exhausting!—which Gaga will I meet?
Those who have achieved this level of success have often entered zombiehood, frozen in a space reserved for those who inhabit a glazed-over world of flashbulbs and handlers, unable to trust anyone outside other “equally important” celebrity acquaintances or their immediate entourage—P.R. companies who notify the press of the arrival and departure times of their flights, handlers, secretaries, stylists, people around whom they can act natural. These are their friends, all of whom are getting paid. They’ve been followed, photographed, maligned, sneered at, trashed, and they have had to develop a steel coat of armor. They are in a bubble.
Even when I’ve gone to the homes of major celebrities to conduct interviews, the person will often have no interest, and perhaps no skill, in showing themselves as anything other than a well-rehearsed, inhuman star. By the time the public has gnawed off their shell, it seems there is nothing left inside to give.
When I arrive at the studio, there is a phalanx of people: bodyguards, car drivers, studio employees. Then there’s an inner sanctum of magazine staff, and beyond that, surrounding the temple altar, are the lighting and sound guys, photographer, and stylists—with Lady Gaga at the center of it all, the nucleus around which a million frantic atoms spin, forever in orbit, held steadfast by some mysterious gravitational pull. She’s got a guitar and she’s strumming it casually, unable to get the F chord right. All the while, she’s fussed over by makeup artists and stylists making various adjustments to the clothes hanging off her body.
There she is, Lady Gaga, the larger-than-life star, unbelievably tiny and luminously beautiful as she smiles and waves hello to me. She has more than $200 million to her name and has met, or so it seems, everyone on the planet. And yet, in that moment, in her cut-off jeans, white T-shirt, and cowboy boots, she appears to be just another person. Of course, it’s an illusion, because she is anything but. Even when stripped of all the heavy makeup, the enormous shoes, and costumes, even after a 12-hour day of what must have been hard, unending work, she’s encased in her own sparkling magic.
I’m expecting someone ferociously ambitious, a petulant commander-in-chief, a force of nature that must achieve and succeed with such intensity that you can feel or sense it in the person. But from behind the lights and various rigs, watching it all unfold, the Gaga before me seems almost blithely unaware of the frenzy around her. She’s just sitting there, childlike and waifish. A man tunes her guitar and returns it. One of Gaga’s breasts is exposed, pressed against the guitar’s back. She’s beautiful in a wistful way. And while there is no denying that her vocal talent has propelled her to the heights she has achieved, it’s that mysterious quality, the one we all yearn to brush up against, that has provided the fuel for her rocket ride to fame’s outer limits.
She launches into a song. It’s from her most recent album, Joanne, which is vaguely...country-western-ish. It’s very pleasing: the simple chords, the sad, plaintive singing. She’s clearly experienced sincere sadness and it comes out in the way she sings. I’m usually appalled at phony “artistic” emotion, but I’m not getting that sense at all. I sit on a barstool, watching—and waiting.
Hours pass. I wander into the other rooms. I’ve been waited on by her assistant, her manager. They’ve procured champagne to tide me over and sent out for a bottle of Pinot Grigio (which is what I’ve requested). Apart from Gaga’s flickering light, you can
feel, after such a long day, that the energy in the studio has begun to fade like a dying bonfire. By the time she’s done with a last-minute decision to record a song, alone, acoustic, it’s after 10 PM. The staff disappears. She bops around the studio, grabbing a hat and sunglasses for the picture of both of us I need so desperately to impress my friends with—particularly my 21-year-old (my status has gone up in big percentages by my meeting her). Gaga is dressed casually, but is practically naked, her tiny shorts revealing her plump derrière, her T-shirt cut so high that her breasts are exposed. I wish I had this kind of ease with my body. I have the feeling that, alone at home, she’s probably naked all the time. Gaga’s manager and I go into the makeup and dressing room. We sit on high stools in front of the mirror, the lights around them bright. I’m drinking the Pinot Grigio, she’s puffing on a clove cigarette.
“For me, Joanne, in the simplest terms, it’s the classic stories of our lives that help us return to who we really are, no matter how lost we get.” She leans forward, eager to explain. “You can always go back to a loss, or the pain of a pending loss, or a challenging struggle in your family life, or your childhood. And when you go back to that place, it somehow brings you back to where you were in the beginning. And for me, that’s what writing this album was all about. Because after The Fame Monster and subsequent albums, I felt that there was a part of me that was connecting on a human level with the public and part of me that was connecting on a whole new level, one that I had been wanting to connect with them on, a sort of fantastic magical level. And now, I want more of that connection.”
At this point, we’re gabbing like old friends and all my questions about what makes her tick somehow vanish. As the interview progressed, I wanted to protect her. Maybe it’s similar to the way people must have felt when they met, say, Audrey Hepburn or Marilyn Monroe, women who appeared fragile and damaged but who were, at the same time, extremely strong. It’s the same feeling, too, that I would have when I spent time with Andy Warhol. Back then, on nights when I would go out and hit the town with him, there was frequently an almost palpable anger and hostility in the crowds that gathered around him. Those of us who were with him made sure that Andy was whisked off into a quieter, more isolated room. But Andy did not seem to notice. He was oblivious, or perhaps even pleased with the attention.
Bobby, her manager, runs to get a cassette player—Gaga wants me to hear her song about Pinot Grigio, which is what she and her girlfriends drink all the time.
“I want to connect with people on a deeper level,” she tells me. “And I wanna be able to see all those other things I’m interested in, but slowly and differently. Joanne is about living every day as if it’s my last. My father’s sister died when she was 19—that was Joanne, my aunt. This was the center of the pain in my family. Growing up, I never understood what the tears of my family were about.”
“How did she die?” I ask.
“Lupus,” Gaga replies.
“Oh. Like Flannery O’Connor,” I say, in reference to the brilliant writer who died from the disease.
“It’s a terrible autoimmune disease. [Joanne] died in 1974, but they had no idea why she died. They didn’t know what it was. And so when she was really, really ill, she had these lesions on her hands and the doctors wanted to take her hands off. She was a painter, and she did needlepoint and crochet, and she was a writer and a poet. As Joanne neared death, my grandmother said, ‘I can’t let my daughter’s last moments on this earth be without her hands.’ The spirit of Joanne is very much alive within my family. My dad has a restaurant called Joanne, and for me, personally, it means I must live every day as if it was my last. Catholic guilt. It’s those stories, those classic stories, that made me tough.” Gaga’s sincerity—her openness and enthusiasm—are touching, seemingly at odds with the exhibitionist/provocateur/larger-than-life entity who can perform at the Grammys with Metallica or headline a Super Bowl halftime show.
“Tell me about the horses,” I ask her instead, switching the topic to something I’d learned about Gaga, a passion of hers that honestly surprised me.
“I guess, when I moved to California, the sunlight was really good for me—I was happy. The sunshine helped to keep an optimism in my music. And while out there, I developed a special connection to horses. It began when my record label gave me a horse for my birthday: an Arabian mare named Arabella. I had never taken a horse-riding lesson. I literally did not know how to ride a horse. But I just grabbed her by the mane and rode her bareback.” An avid equestrian myself, I was curious to learn more.
“Was she very well-trained?” I asked her.
“She’s so well-trained that when I was about to fall off her, she stepped to the side to collect me. I also got her a boyfriend, Trigger—a stallion—because I didn’t want her to be alone. With him, I have to ride with a saddle. When I ride him, it always makes me feel so powerful, because he is so powerful. There’s no pressure. I just get on the horse and go. It’s sort of a metaphor for all the guys I’ve been with.”
“I still don’t understand how you can do this,” I say. I’m a rider, a trail rider. I have my nice American Quarter horse, but even after years of lessons, I can’t imagine getting on her and galloping off bareback. On the other hand, I couldn’t wear 10-inch platform shoes and not fall over, either.
“My body’s been through a lot over the years. Riding has forced me to be fearless pretty quickly. It’s all about down here,” Gaga notes as she points to her crotch, “in that woman area.” She adds, “Balance, strength, persistence.” It’s a routine that Gaga seems to have found strength and inspiration from: “I go on trails, ride, gallop, I’m not a ‘planning’ type of horse rider. I wake up, write songs, go for a ride.” To be sure, it’s an existence that sounds divine to me, but also one I know is very much a fairytale for most of us, if not for the quotidian practicalities alone. Reflecting on her bucolic pleasures, Gaga pauses, noting, “It’s all so antithetical to the me when I’m in NY, having grown up here. I went out today in Manhattan. It was pouring, but with my newfound appreciation of the city, I said to everybody, ‘Hey, isn’t it great!’”
“Who’s everybody?” I ask. “I was talking to my team,” she answers. “The girls that take care of me. I have these wonderful powerful women in my life. They wake me up every day and make sure I am powerful, feeling good and strong. And also the gay men in my life. I would be lying if I said there weren’t some straight men on my team, but to me it’s the women and the gay men around me who give me strength.”
As the interview winds down, I’m curious where she’ll go after the cameras, stylists, and handlers disappear. “Are you going out?” I ask, picturing an exclusive, underground wrap party.
“No, I’ll go home,” she replies. “I’ll listen to music, play the piano, probably stay up until around three. Normally, I wake up and go to the studio when I’m in NYC, but I happen to have the day off tomorrow.” As I’m about to leave, she presents me with a huge bouquet of beautiful hydrangeas and calla lilies. If I wasn’t won over before, I am now.
Long after the interview, I miss her. I’m not trying to be gushy after hanging out with her, but I just have to admire this creature, the same as I would admire a brilliantly colored hummingbird or flower, a rose in full bloom, the petals not yet starting to droop. It’s the first occasion in a long time that I’ve wanted to make a new friend, to watch as her crazy life unfolds in front of me, to grab the tail of a comet and hang on for the slipstream ride. I still don’t know what makes her tick, but I can say—and with an acute radar for phoniness—I walked away from our interview with only praise and awe for Gaga.
As I survey her trajectory as an artist, I wonder what it means in the bigger scheme of things when we encounter the sudden emergence of stars of this magnitude—say a Madonna or a Michael Jackson. In some cases, virtuoso talent ascends and fades rapidly, a burst of creative dazzle akin to a roman candle. While for others, their work, their reputation, outlasts their lives—Elvis Presley, perhaps. The Beatles. I’ve known many who have come to New York City, formed a band, played every gig in town, and made an album. For a moment, “success” must have seemed so readily within reach. But where are they now? Dig through the bargain bins at any of Manhattan’s dwindling number of music stores and you’ll find their albums selling for a dollar or two. But it seems unlikely that Gaga’s desire to consume the universe will be easily quashed, and her ambitious world tour this year is another expression of that passion.
In many ways, Gaga’s stardom has moved her farther from the paradise that most of us already think she has achieved. Sure, she has her ranch to retreat to, but the arcadia of her own making, as in mythology, reminds us there are greater forces waiting at the gates. Gaga has rocketed to fame’s greatest heights and landed upon its Elysian fields. In so doing, she is, like the girl that she speaks of, alone in the distant field, wearing jeans and a Hanes sweatshirt.
But Gaga is also gentle and brave, more resolute than any I’ve met before. I think—I know—the summits she has reached, while not removed from epic tribulations, are assuredly her very own Mt. Olympus, and she our bright-eyed Athena, a goddess to be admired—and protected.
Astounding voice. Style icon. Awarded actress. Lady Gaga is all of this and much more. With her very own brand of theatricality, style and charisma, Lady Gaga keeps millions of fans and the fashion community on their toes.
6 Grammy Awards. 1 Golden Globe. Countless MTV awards. 150 million singles and over 30 million albums sold. Lady Gaga has achieved a level of fame and respect few entertainers ever have. This is a result of her unique recipe for success: raw talent, hard work, bold choices and immense gratitude to her fans, her “little monsters” as she calls them.
When you try and think of a daring individual in today’s popular culture, it is hard to find anyone more fitting the description than Lady Gaga. Behind the glitter and glam, her provocative style and political statements, she is about total showmanship. A singer. A composer. A performer. A dancer. She stages herself, crafting a revolutionary image as a way to reach the public through a comprehensive approach to art. Writing her own lyrics, playing the guitar, the piano, dancing, asserting her unconventionality, she raises awe, attention and awareness.
Lady Gaga captures the current vibe with her mastery of all types of pop and her acute sense of style. Her amazing vocal abilities belong on every stage. From the little known NYC clubs where she made her debut, to the 25,000-seat arenas she fills to the brim with her current Joanne World Tour, to a jazz club, singing the best of the past standards with her full, warm tones.
Lady Gaga is not just about entertainment and show business. She shakes things up. With undivided commitment she is a vocal activist. Her message takes many shapes and forms, among which music is the main but not the sole medium. Lady Gaga stands out in the way she dresses, but also with her charity agenda and non-profit work.
Being in the public eye, supporting political and social causes against the political tide, demonstrating and championing charities requires facing her fears. Raising awareness, money and helping Haiti in 2010, Japan in 2011, she is a champion of the fight against fur, an advocate for the rights of the LGBT community. Yet she’s not poker faced about her religious beliefs.
Her Born This Way foundation is committed to supporting the wellness of young people and empowering them to create a kinder and braver world. Leveraging rigorous academic research and authentic partnerships it provides young people with kinder communities, improved mental health resources, and more positive environments – online and offline.
Lady Gaga is a global, leading fashion icon, mindful of everything she wears. She has turned celebrity into a comprehensive art form. She knows full well that an outfit is a powerful message, an art performance. Every accessory is a way to shape her image, a means to an end.
Lady Gaga wears the Black Bay. This 41-mm automatic timepiece is the interpretation of a famous tool watch. Versatile, timeless and authentic, the Black Bay is Lady Gaga’s choice.
You can find the promo picture in high quality here.
Last night, Lady Gaga brought the Joanne World Tour to the Wrigley Field in Chicago. During her performance of The Edge of Glory, she shared a very intimate moment with her fans. She first dedicated the song to her late friend Sonja, who died of cancer a few months ago, then she went on and told the public that some of her ashes were spread on the venue's field right before the show.
Lady Gaga was also the very first singer to perform solo at the Wrigley Field of Chicago, and she decided to dedicate this moment to her friend Sonja. Watch the video below!