Gaga for the Lady

Lady Gaga cavorts in couture. She only dons platinum wigs that suggest the presence of radioactivity. And she yells for you to dance, all in tribute to her favorite muse -- fame.

BY Louis Virtel

November 13 2008 12:00 AM ET

The racy Lady
Gaga, née Stefani Germanotta, entered hard on singles
charts (particularly on iTunes) with the Colby
O’Donis-aided single "Just Dance" off her
recently released debut, The Fame. Now her candor and
showmanship have earned her a Billboard Top 20 album,
comparisons to Madonna, and frequent championing from
that ubiquitous gay force Perez Hilton.

Gaga sees
celebrity behavior as ritualized art form, a Noh drama in
which limousine arrivals, saucy Maxim interview
quotes, and prison mug shots are all equally rehearsed and
mastered. Though Gaga looks like a Gwen Stefani take
on T. Rex, her intentions, to some degree, are as
serious as a textbook. She believes pop music is
vital, never lowbrow. And maybe she would know best, having
worked with and written tracks for Britney Spears, the
Pussycat Dolls, and New Kids on the Block.

The Advocate phoned Lady Gaga to discuss her
influences, her raunchy persona, and the salacious lady she
calls her "total girl-crush." Oh, and the story behind
that highly suggestive "disco stick" she brandishes
onstage like a titanium emblem off a homosexual
spaceship.

You approach fame like a pop archaeologist,
studying its bizarreness and machinations. Now how does
it feel to experience fame so suddenly?
Oh, it’s really overwhelming and very
exciting. It’s interesting, because you usually
think about fame a certain kind of way in your head, but I
really didn't have a real moment of it until I saw myself on
iTunes at number 1. Because that's your music, you
know? So that was a really different moment for me, as
someone who analyzes fame and celebrity obsession and
media culture and, you know, fame as an art form -- it was
kind of a real moment for me to have my first real dose of
it.

Your bluntness and defiance are signature
attributes. What made you this way? Do you always seek
to defy?
No, I guess it’s just that New York girl
in me. I've got a pinch of some punk in my blood. I've
always been that way; I was always pretty bad-ass
growing up, trying to stay out late. I was always in bands
with boys. I just always wanted to be independent,
making music, and a free woman. It’s just kind
of always been in my blood.

You're a fixture on Perez Hilton’s site. Do you
devoutly follow celeb gossip as part of your interest in glamour?
I used to be more in tune with it than I am now.
Now I'm a lot more focused on, you know, my project,
and more focused on articulating how I'm going to
bring all of my ideas about fame into fruition in my work.
But, yeah, I'm certainly up to date on pop culture -- I read
Perez’s site all the time. I have a tremendous
amount of respect for him as a pop culture journalist.
I'm for sure up to date. It’s funny, I do a lot of
research, if anything, on YouTube and the internet a lot.
Kind of seeing what other artists are doing, fashion
overseas, things like that.

What artists are you watching out for right now? Right now I'm excited that Marilyn Manson's
working on his new album. I'm kind of gearing up for
that.

The influences you've cited in past interviews are
totems of gay culture -- Madonna, David Bowie, Boy
George, Sinéad O'Connor, Andy Warhol. What
draws you to these people? What do you glean from them?
They're performance artists. They go much
further and much beyond being a singer and musician.
It’s about being a visionary and a storyteller. I
just use these artists as a template as the kind of artist I
want to be and the kind of figure that I want to be
remembered as. 

Tags: Music

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