if that isn't a Bowie reference, then what is?
When bored, I often troll the internet for information about my favorite ladies of the moment, be they the girl-crushes of this past summer (when I had seemingly endless time to surf, ogle, and swoon at all my favorites) or the poets I have spent the past four months resuscitating and re-imagining for Spindle. Today, as fruit of this labor, I bring you my Lady Gaga bibliography, compiled over several weeks of active gleaning and countless more of idle internet-wandering.
1. For the style hounds:
My friend Mara pointed me in the direction of this photo gallery--a year of Gaga outfits to observe, love, and if you are daring, integrate into your style inspiration boards for 2010. There is no questioning the power of this woman as a fashion icon (see White Lightning's crafternoons for representative evidence of DIY attempts), and she pursues the title with a nod to Warhol's silk screen assembly line and a bit of Mark Jacobs and Alexander McQueen, just for good measure.
2. For the make-up mavens:
Whether playing dress up with Cyndi Lauper for MAC's Viva Glam campaign or simply spitting in the face of make-up artists who remind us laypeople to never mix a bold eye with an equally bold lip, Gaga is probably best equipped to color outside the lines when it comes to cosmetology. Looking at her carefully crafted visage, I am tempted to wash my face with rhinestones every morning.
3. For the record collectors:
Though ineligible for Best New Artist at this year's Grammys (pshh, technicalities), no one can argue with the fact that Gaga has had a huge year in terms of record sales alone. 8 millions copies of The Fame sold? Check. Collectable version of The Fame: Monster replete with lock of hair and other completely ludicrous extras? Check. B-sides and remixes enough to compile a dance party playlist the likes of which most artists can only dream of? Just do a general Google search and you are inundated. Kid Cudi's already sampled a stripped down piano performance of Pokerface for his song "Make Her Say", and I'm sure that's only the beginning of such activities.
4. For the gossip queens:
It is safe to say that bloggers are absolutely obsessed with Gaga (ehem, Perez Hilton). And they are probably right to be--every time she leaves the house (typically sans pants) she looks bound for somewhere fabulous, or otherwise ends up doing something scandalous, and usually those two points of interest coincide, creating a meta-gossip-topic of epic proportions. Saucily refuting hermaphrodite rumors? Check. Treating the VMAs as a giant installation space? Check. Meeting the Queen? Check. Is there nothing she won't do?
5. And perhaps most importantly, for the feminists:
While reading her dailies in blog land, Sophia came across this gem on Jezebel, a brief feminist perspective on the Lady's shifting relationship to feminism--initially, she didn't want to call herself that, but it is clearly such a large part of what she does that it should not go unnamed. I've been wanting to write a serious (maybe even ACADEMIC) essay on this phenomenon but have yet to find the time to sit down and so. An artist whose entire life is an on-going cultivation of a persona is tough and tricky work, to say the least, and the endeavor walks a fine line between titillating and alienating (see her thought on this tension here). Some people just cannot be bothered with the spectacle. However, the characters she creates for her music videos celebrate powerful women fighting back against the commodification of their bodies within pop culture--as a performance artist, for she is clearly interested in a lot more than just writing and recording pop songs, she questions the art form she actively participates in so that it may become a more positive space for women (and young girls) it so desperately needs to continue as an industry. I run the risk of getting effusive here, so I'll reign myself in to this final observation: comparisons to Madonna are more than apt (view their SNL face-off here, if you can wade through the field of Andy Samberg's punchlines delivered via lead balloon), because sexual awareness and freedom rank high on the list of issues LG addresses with her music and performance; the celebration of pop culture within a larger critical space is where the genius of both of these women lies.
So, is it art?? Amanda Palmer's got something to say about that. The second coming of Madonna? Madge herself has a few thoughts on that. Are we hearkening back to the heyday of glam rock a la David Bowie??! We should be so lucky.
Regardless of your answers to any of the above questions, she is proving rather impossible to avoid or ignore at this point. Even my dad has opinions on her. It is clear she means something different to every person I've talked to, but what can be agreed upon is that, love her or hate her, she is never boring to watch.