Hers has been a triumph achieved with the help of wild image-making, infectious pop hits and a teasing strand of ambiguous sexuality that has turned her into a gay icon. At heart it’s the story of a unique self-made phenomenon – a Madonna for today.
As an adoring fan of Freddie Mercury and David Bowie, Lady Gaga took the essence of 80s glam and reinvented it for the digital age. Commercially successful and critically accepted she shot from obscurity on Manhattan’s Lower East Side club scene to worldwide fame in just a couple of years. This is the story of her high-speed rise in the fame game, told with a mix of admiration and sharp journalistic insight. (goodreads.com)
I’m a total Gaga convert. When I first heard ‘Just Dance’ I thought, ‘Holy crap. Not another pop part. That’s the last thing the world needs.’ I never paid her any attention. Then I watched her performance at the VMA’s, the one where she did ‘Bad Romance’ and hanged herself. Yeah. Hooked. That voice? Are you kidding me? That’s not a tart voice. AND she’s a classically trained pianist? Done. I’ve been a fan from that moment. And she’s proved to not be your standard, run of the mill pop tart. She is an artist. All you have to do is watch her music videos to see that. Or look at what she wears. It’s not about sex. It’s about expression.
So when LOOKING FOR FAME came across my inbox I jumped at it. Just to know a little more about this woman who’s younger than I am who become such an influence not just in music but in life. It is an unauthorized biography and it’s formulated mostly through quotes Gaga made but most of it went along with information I’d gleaned since I started taking an interest in her.
I think because of her age her rise seems a little too good to be true but to say she didn’t work for what she has would just be a downright lie. If LOOKING FOR FAME is to be believed, she went so low as to be a stripper, not necessarily for money but as a means of performance, and became heavy into cocaine so she could recreate the artistic expressions of her idols, like Warhol. She kicked both habits quickly and learned from them. I guess it’s just shocking to see someone with such a mind to learn that quickly and move on from it. For most that can take years. But Gaga was so driven to make her life the way she envisioned it that she knew she couldn’t let that stuff get in her way. And it didn’t.
I’m not one to idolize celebrities. I just don’t think they’re worthy. They act, the sing, in many cases they do nothing but whore themselves out. They’re not curing cancer or ending world hunger. But I can’t help but admire Gaga’s drive, her will power, her sheer force to make her world her own. She’s empowering and I can’t help but be lifted up when I hear some of the things she says. Lester does a great job of amplifying that in his book. It’s all about Gaga’s rise. He doesn’t sugarcoat anything but you can feel the admiration in the reading.
LOOKING FOR FAME is a good peek into the life of Gaga before she was Gaga. You get to see her young, before her craziness took her over. You get to see what it took for her to get where she is. And, for the most part, she’s really sedate. There’s no mention of backstabbing or throat slashing. Gaga didn’t step on faces to rise. She may have been unmoving in some of her requests but people didn’t get crunched under her boots as she stepped up. That I find pretty cool. And I think you will too if you’re even a nominal Gaga fan.
And then you’ll want to go crank at least one of her songs.
Ban Factor: High – Just because it’s Lady Gaga and so many people think she’s corrupting the world’s youth with her indecency.