An Open Letter Regarding an Open Letter to Adam Lambert
By Noah Michelson
When Adam joined us, the publicist left, and Adam and I sat down for a little over an hour on our own. You can read a transcript of Part One here and Part Two here. (It was very lightly edited, mostly to remove blathering set-up for questions on my part or redundant or vague discussion of an album that, in early October, didn't even contain a track listing.) He clearly has no trouble expressing himself on any issue, be it political, cultural, sexual or musical.
I still wish I'd been more surprised when I was met with such a ludicrous and offensive request. I am a journalist. I ask questions. Out is a magazine whose primary audience is gay men. Is anyone confused about that? I've been doing this for a long time and though I've been generically warned in a similar fashion before -- "let's make it upbeat and fun!" reps often say, or "just talk about the album/movie/TV show!" -- it's never been quite so egregious or with such an obvious expectation that I would comply.
When I filed my piece I included in the email what happened that day, and like Aaron's letter from the editor, it was full of anger. (Aaron at least has the excuse of being British, and in my experience when he's pissed off, everything he writes sounds more formal.) This is our profession, as much as Adam's is singing and entertaining. A decision to celebrate and respect that talent is why none of the circumstances surrounding the interview were mentioned in my piece within the actual portfolio.
I think Aaron's very right to point out that this scenario -- a pop star at this level out from the get-go -- is basically unprecedented. I've seen such striking change in even the last two or three years of how comfortable industry gatekeepers and their clients are in handling such new territory. We're witnessing a changing of the guard, and it's bound to overlap a bit in the middle, creating these strange moments where we work with both proudly out stars and their reluctant handlers, sometimes at odd with each other even when they have the same ultimate goals. I'm sorry it happened like this, too. But I'm looking forward to Adam Lambert having a long career, and to him proving every single one of us wrong in one way or another.
Right now I'm going to go back to what every other Adam fan is also doing today: listening to his album streaming on his MySpace page.
-- SHANA NAOMI KROCHMAL
To see the 2009 Out 100 portfolio, featuring Adam Lambert, Cyndi Lauper, Wanda Sykes, Neil Patrick Harris and more, click here.