Our Year with Lady Gaga

9.16.2009

By Noah Michelson

The woman’s schedule is a nightmare (her agent originally told me that every moment of every day was booked solid until “at least January 2010”). One day she’s in Milan and the next she’s in Borneo. Finally she found a few hours to do the shoot -- I pitched the concept of ‘50s B horror films after reading an interview in which she said she was currently obsessed with the genre -- in Belgium (in a random stroke of cosmic luck there just happens to be a club in Brussels called The Coffin filled with skeletons and graveyard backdrops) and, as you can see, the results are stunning.

Scheduling the interview was equally difficult, with the first half happening while she was on her tour bus about to go through a border crossing somewhere in Europe and the second half three days later when she was backstage in Paris. Complicating matters was the fact that I was co-writing the story with Joshua David Stein who was vacationing in Europe at the time. In order to get him the transcripts of the interviews in time to turn the story around, I was in the office until 1 A.M. on my birthday rewinding and fast-forwarding through our conversations.

But in the end, it was all worth it. Joshua and I wrote a piece we’re really happy with, the photos are some of the most exciting, and, I’d argue, intimate, she’s done, and the reaction to the issue, from the press to our readers, has been almost universally positive.

Last night marked the culmination of Out’s collaboration with Lady Gaga, at the party held in her honor at The Box on New York’s Lower East Side. Gaga arrived around 11:15 dressed in white PVC with a fishnet veil snug across her face and I got to spend a few minutes with her toasting the issue. We chatted about how much had changed since we first talked almost a year ago and I told her that, more than anything, it was her refusal to shy away from her association with the gay community, especially after achieving mainstream success, that I was most impressed with. Her level of visibility provides her with a platform that few others have, and when I heard her thank “God and the gays” for her MTV Video Music Award a few days ago I thought about all of the people across the country, especially in places that aren’t gay-friendly meccas like New York, who are struggling to deal with their sexuality -- and their community’s feelings about their sexuality -- and what that must mean to them.

Where will Gaga go from here? With a co-headlining tour with Kanye West due to kick off in a few weeks and the re-release The Fame (plus a handful of brand new tracks) in November, she won’t be disappearing anytime soon. It remains to be seen if the world will be able to -- or want to -- keep up with the constant, and for some people surely exhausting, spectacle that is Lady Gaga. If she’s smart she already has a game plan to ensure she doesn’t go stale or become overexposed. But that’s the thing about Gaga -- for her, there is no such thing as overexposure. And that’s part of the reason she’s one of the most exciting performers to emerge since the rock stars of the '70s and '80s like David Bowie, Grace Jones, Michael Jackson, and Madonna. She knows how to push buttons, she lives for her art, and above all, she’s willing to sacrifice almost anything to put on a killer show. Come what may, we’ll continue to document all things Gaga and I look forward to many more years filled with whatever craziness she cooks up.

To see our Lady Gaga '50s B horror flick–themed photo shoot, click here.

To read our Lady Gaga cover story, click here.

-- NOAH MICHELSON

Previously > A Bloodbath at the MTV VMAs

Tags: Popnography
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