A Star Is Born” Has Solved Lady Gaga’s Musical Identity Crisis


The process of translating pop stardom into cinematic success is a delicate, even dangerous, undertaking. Madonna never got it quite right; Mariah Carey became a laughingstock when she tried it; Beyoncé, Britney, and Christina didn’t get very far with it. But Lady Gaga, an established pop diva playing a fledgling one in the latest remake of the show-business love story A Star Is Born, seems to have successfully made the leap.

Lady Gaga’s performance as Ally is already getting rave reviews and even Oscar buzz. The movie’s theme song, “Shallow,” her duet with onscreen love interest (and the film’s director) Bradley Cooper, has been rising on the charts since it was released last Friday, now joined by the full soundtrack album. Gaga, consequently, is now a bigger star than ever; she’s dominating the zeitgeist again to an extent that feels reminiscent of her early, iconic meat dress era.

Cooper’s A Star Is Born is based on the well-worn story about a woman performer’s rise alongside her lover’s decline, already told in the original 1937 film starring Janet Gaynor and revised twice — first in the 1954 Judy-Garland-as-film-star remake, and, most recently, in Barbra Streisand’s 1976 rock star update. It has always been, as Rachel Syme writes in her recent interview with Gaga for the New York Times Magazine, not only a romance or a tale of stardom, but also “a film about an already superfamous woman shooting a movie.” The movies are designed to work with the existing images of their stars.

Gaga is the kind of complex, multifaceted star the movie doesn’t quite know how to portray — but through the force of her talent, we believe in Ally’s stardom anyway.
Cooper was moved to cast Gaga after he first heard her sing live when she performed “La Vie En Rose”during a private benefit concert; there is also footage of him giving her a standing ovationduring her famous Sound of Music performance at the Oscars in 2015. Both he and Gaga have said that the movie was then built around their behind-the-scenes relationship. Cooper’s script incorporated Gaga’s Italian American heritage (a background they share), and the music her character sings seems to channel Gaga personas from two of her most recent eras: Gaga circa Cheek to Cheek, her 2014 jazz duets project with Tony Bennett, and Gaga circa Joanne, her 2016 retro rock album, which never quite clicked in a contemporary pop landscape dominated by hip-hop. In the imagined world of the movie, however, her Joanne-like persona launches her to stardom almost literally overnight.

Like Kris Kristofferson in Streisand’s version, Cooper’s Jackson Maine is supposed to be an old-school arena rock star of a kind that no longer exists. (The character was inspired, in part, by Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, though the songs were produced or written by Gaga’s usual collaborators, Mark Ronson and Lukas Nelson.) Meanwhile, Gaga as Ally first finds fame through performing a rock ballad with Jackson before going down a pop path — almost a reversal of her real-life career. That contrast provides a powerful subtext for Gaga’s performance, and helps explain why it is helping her connect with mainstream audiences again.

It is no accident that this latest A Star Is Born is especially influenced by the Streisand version, and the script traffics in some ’70s-style gendered binaries: of rock versus pop; authenticity versus artifice. The world Cooper and Gaga create in the movie is an old-fashioned one, where rock can still make you famous, and where belting ballads alone at a piano is somehow more legitimate than taking the stage as a spectacular, fully choreographed pop diva. Gaga’s Joanne-era experiments with retro Americana failed to break through in the real-life pop mainstream, but the imagined world of A Star Is Bornoffers a kind of second chance for her to connect with audiences in that mode; we can now see her abilities in a different light. And while the film is not all that interested in Ally’s artistic vision or desires outside of Jackson’s ideas about her, it still loves (and revolves around) Gaga’s talent as a songwriter and performer.

The two stars, real and fictional, are linked in an interesting symbiotic relationship; Gaga is the kind of complex, multifaceted pop artist the movie doesn’t quite know how to portray — but through the force of her talent, we believe in Ally’s stardom anyway. And in playing this role, Gaga has been able to remind everyone what’s she capable of, and proven that her own star is still rising.

Lady Gaga in 2009.

Stephen Lovekin / FilmMagic

Lady Gaga in 2009.

After blowing up in 2009 with the release of The Fame Monster, Gaga quickly became one of the biggest pop stars in the world. Her hits, including “Paparazzi,” “Poker Face,” and “Telephone,” were accessible dance-pop songs that also offered commentaries on fame and gender, ideas more explicitly brought out in her bold, inventive visuals. She was a self-described “freak,” as she sings in “Bad Romance,” an outsider, a “mother monster” for her fanbase, often coded as queer, which gave her a subcultural cachet that carried through her Born This Way era.

Gaga’s third album, Artpop, was widely considered a flop compared to her previous success. As she started to lose her commercial grip, Gaga got off the pop escalator in 2014 with Cheek to Cheek, an ultimately successful venture that showcased her musical versatility and introduced her to new, older audiences. In the interim, pop was becoming more specifically personal, and the personal was political. Beyoncé, for instance, turned to intimate lyrics about love and infidelity that became statements about black womanhood and captivated the zeitgeist. Gaga returned with a proper studio album, Joanne, in 2016, announcing she was stripping down and presenting the “real” her behind the meat dresses and wigs.

The album’s turn to the personal was inspired by her family history and a late aunt, but the connection didn’t quite work. Gaga’s celebrity narrative was always about a kind of universality in difference — everyone can be a star; identity is always mutable. Suddenly confronted with the need to go specific and intimate, she turned to nostalgic Americana; the album’s sound aimed to evoke authenticity through a rather conventional turn to the musical past, specifically ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s rock idioms.

The Joanne narrative didn’t have the cultural resonance of Gaga’s earlier, more deliberately strange and provocative commentaries on fame — which started to look quaint in the reality television era — or her use of queerness as a metaphor for outsiderness. Gaga also struggled to find a place for the album’s songs in contemporary radio and culture, in part because the idea of rock as the popular genre for political commentary or singer-songwriter depth has long lost cultural capital — exactly the shift that makes Cooper’s Jackson Maine, in A Star Is Born, feel transported in from another era.

Still, the record’s mythology was embraced by Gaga’s fanbase, and it eventually went platinum. The ballad “Million Reasons” revived the album and ended up a top 5 hit, after she presented it as a minimalist piano moment in her hit-centric retrospective Super Bowl show last year. The public responded to that kind of unvarnished performance — and that’s the kind of performance A Star Is Born believes in. The film rewards Ally, Gaga’s character in the movie, for the supposed sincerity and depth of performing with no frills. The celebration of “authenticity” as nonspectacular is the kind of gendered conventional wisdom about pop music that Gaga’s early career was a statement against.

But the film makes Ally’s raw vocal performances central to her charisma. Through Ally and the world of the film, Gaga has reclaimed her recent retro phases for a pop audience, and created yet another iteration of her real-life career — this time, as a movie star.

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born.

Clay Enos / Warner Bros.

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born.

During the first half of the film, as Jackson falls for Ally, the audience falls for her too. Maine first lays eyes on Ally as she’s performing a version of “La Vie En Rose” in a drag bar. The setting was Gaga’s idea, and it becomes an effective way of infusing the movie with the queer subcultural cachet she became famous for earlier in her career.

Ally finds herself as an artist as she falls in love with Maine, and she just happens to write songs in a style that fits his aesthetic. One of the film’s early emotional climaxes comes when Maine invites Ally onto the stage to sing a song she wrote inspired by their romance, a duet called “Shallow.” The powerful rock ballad, which Gaga wrote, sounds like a mash-up of “Million Reasons” and the nostalgic title song from Joanne, and has become the movie’s memeable anthem, with over 14 million views on YouTube already.

The song in many ways encapsulates the film’s themes, and the characters’ visions of each other. In her own lyrics, Ally wants to assuage the male character in his vulnerability. “Ain’t it hard keeping it so hardcore?” she asks. Jackson’s opening lyrics, “Tell me something, girl / Are you happy in this modern world?” are a kind of projection of nostalgia and feminine innocence onto her, a vision that pervades the movie.

A scene from A Star Is Born.

Neal Preston / Warner Bros.

A scene from A Star Is Born.

Once Ally is launched by the song going viral on YouTube, we never get a real sense of her perspective on her own music. Before performing “Shallow” together, which launches her to stardom, Ally talks to Maine about how record executives have told her that she’s not pretty, and his love of her “ethnic” nose becomes part of their personal connection. These are all things we recognize from real-life Gaga’s struggles, ones she has spoken about throughout her career. But after her star begins to rise, and she begins writing and performing pop songs, how Ally works this out through her music and image isn’t actually part of the film’s story.

This is decidedly not a pop-star narrative from a woman’s perspective like, for instance, Gina Prince-Bythewood’s Beyond the Lights or Brady Corbet’s Vox Lux, starring Natalie Portman (in which the main character was actually inspired by Lady Gaga). Paradoxically, there is no space in the film’s world for provocative, meta–pop star Gaga. Even the name Ally, which is also the name of the character’s self-titled album, evokes the more straightforward stardom of someone like early Britney.

We know Gaga wrote this song, and that in her own career she’s never played the supporting role to anyone.

As Ally prepares to release her debut album, Maine is constantly warning her that she has to dig deep within her soul if she wants to succeed, as if she’s not already doing that. There are some allusions to Ally not wanting to “sell out” — she refuses to dye her hair platinum blonde (instead she goes for a violent orange, as if in a sort of compromise) or to perform with coordinated backup dancers — but the movie never really embraces her pop music. The two pop songs we hear, one with ass-centric lyrics that Jackson mocks, are the least memorable songs in the movie. But more importantly, they don’t get a big “Shallow”-style moment where both the audience of the film and the audience in the film’s world are meant to fall in love with them.

In the final scene, after Maine’s death, Gaga reemerges, in a demure strapless gown, with her original light brown hair, to sing an old-school ’90s, Whitney-style ballad, “I’ll Never Love Again.” She belts out the last song he wrote for her, in an homage to Maine, her vision now fully enmeshed with his. After having transformed into a bedazzled jumpsuit–wearing pop star, she seems to have gone back to a more “real” version of herself — the natural hair color, the ballad, the tasteful dress. And this is the other moment in the movie, where, as during “Shallow,” we are entranced with the full power of Gaga as a performance artist.

Even as she’s playing the role of the supportive, mourning wife, we know Gaga wrote this song, and that in her own career she’s never played the supporting role to anyone. In the final moments of the concert scene, Ally stares directly at the audience, and we see the complex interplay of all the layers of this performance: Stefani Germanotta, who has transformed herself into Lady Gaga, playing Ally, who is singing to the crowd, as we — sitting in the theater — witness all of it. Knowing that this is yet another incarnation of the performance art project known as Lady Gaga, we are able to suspend any disbelief or doubt we might feel toward Ally, and see her as a more complex star than the one who’s written on the page.

This article was originally writing by Buzzfeed

Benefit concert celebrating Mac Miller featuring Travis Scott, Chance The Rapper, and more announced


A benefit concert celebrating the life of Mac Miller has been announced for later this month. The rapper was found dead in his San Fernando Valley home last month (September 7). No cause of death has been confirmed at present but it is believed he died from a suspected overdose. He was 26 years old.

On October 31, artists will come together and perform at Los Angeles’ Greek Theatre in remembrance of Miller. Travis Scott, Chance The Rapper, SZA, Vince Staples, Action Bronson, Earl Sweatshirt, John Mayer, and more have been confirmed to appear at present. You can see the full line-up so far below.

The concert will also mark the launch of the Mac Miller Circles Fund (MMCF). In a statement, Miller’s mother Karen Meyers said: “The support we’ve experienced is evident in this amazing lineup and is a testament to Malcolm’s incredible life.

“He was a caring, loving human with a smile that could light up the sky and a soul that was out to make the world a kinder place and the MMCF will continue to do just that.”

Cardi B Is Living Her Best Life At Paris Fashion Week


Forget the runways, the real attraction for Fashion Month these past couple of days has been Cardi B. She made her return this weekend in an all-leopard outfit (complete with furry glasses) during Milan Fashion Week—and has been serving consistent looks since. For her first Paris Fashion Week appearance, she wore a stunning peacock print Michael Costello gown complete with a matching hat. “I’m Mrs OMG that bitch is shameless,” she captioned the picture on Instagram.

Then, last night, she wore a purple ostrich-esque pantsuit by Christian Cowan for her performance during ETAM’s show. To make it a true lewk, Cardi also matched her hair to the color palette. “Thank you @etam for having me perform at your amazing show tonight!” she wrote on Instagram. “Your lingerie collection was sooo sexy I wanna fuck my man in all the pieces!”

Today, she found her way back to the front row wearing a black blazer and black tie-up bike shorts to the Mugler show.

This article was originally writing by Nylon

Ariana Grande’s ‘Sweetener’ Is Getting A Pop-up Museum

Ariana Grande’s ‘Sweetener’ Is Getting A Pop-up Museum


Looks like Ariana Grande’s Sweetener is officially considered a work of art. Spotify is creating an immersive pop-up exhibit inspired by the singer’s latest studio album.

Spotify teased the event, called “Sweetener: The Experience,” via social media: “Come explore the world of the album, track by track.” Upon seeing the announcement, fans immediately went to the pop star for confirmation, which she gave without hesitation.

The same teaser later appeared on a website, along with news that the event will be free to all but that admission is not guaranteed. It’ll take place this weekend, September 29 and 30, in New York City. It looks like the initial times may be sold out, but Spotify notes that additional tickets may become available so check back in.

The singer did not reveal any more details about the exhibit, but confirmed to one fan that it would have “a room for each song.”

Think about all the possibilities! Dance around in some indoor rain for “Raindrops?” A shrine to fiancé Pete Davidson’s BDE for his namesake song? I’m so ready to find out.

Katy Perry y Orlando Bloom finalmente llevaron su relación a un nuevo nivel y caminaron juntos por la alfombra roja.

La estrella pop de 33 años y el actor de 41 han salido desde 2016, y han sido inseparables desde que retomaron su romance el año pasado. Ellos han sido fotografiados en público con bastante frecuencia, incluso en eventos de celebridades, pero nunca se habían tomado una foto llegando a la alfombra roja como pareja… ¡hasta este miércoles! Este día, Perry y Bloom fueron puras sonrisas en la alfombra de la Gala Global Ocean, presentada por el príncipe Alberto II de Mónaco, en la Ópera de Monte-Carlo.

Perry usó un vestido asimétrico color rosa pálido con mangas en un plateado brillante. Mientras que Bloom usó un traje negro, con camisa blanca sin corbata.

Orlando Bloom, Katy Perry

David Fisher/Shutterstock


Antes de llegar a la gala, Perry publicó en su Instagram Stories un video de Bloom modelando sus pantalones y bailando al ritmo de Baby Got Back (I Like Big Butts) de Sir Mix-A-Lot, desde su cuarto de hotel. “Déjame tocar tu trasero”, comentó Katy junto al clip.
Esta no es la primera vez que Perry demuestra su afecto hacia el trasero de su novio.

En mayo, Bloom compartió en Instagram un teaser de su nuevo proyecto actoral, la obra Killer Joe que presentó en el London West End.

“Necesito un pase de temporada para ese trasero”, comentó Perry, y luego agregó, “Oops quería enviar eso por privado”.

En marzo, Bloom publicó una foto de sus increíbles abdominales en Instagram, haciendo que su novia comentara, “¡Oh, hola! De hecho estaba buscando una tabla para lavar mi ropa

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Netflix anuncia la fecha de la segunda temporada de ‘Making a murderer’


La serie documental true crime que revolucionó el género y arrasó en la crítica tendrá una nueva tanda de episodios en unas semanas

Netflix anuncia la fecha de la segunda temporada de ‘Making a murderer’

Una de las mejores producciones propias de Netflix, Making a murderer, volverá pronto con su segunda temporada. La compañía ha anunciado hoy que la serie documental centrada en la historia de Steven Avery llegará el próximo 19 de octubre.Lo hará con diez nuevos episodios que, en esta ocasión, pondrá mayor énfasis en el trabajo legal en los despachos pero, evidentemente, sin alejarse de Avery, Brendan Dassey y sus familias. Esta segunda temporada, de hecho, presentará a Kathleen Zellner, Laura Nirider y Steven Drizin, los abogados de ambos después de sus condenas. Será un cambio de enfoque para una historia que cautivó e indignó, a partes iguales, con su fenomenal primera tanda de episodios.

Laura Ricciardi y Moira Demos, creadoras del documental, han declarado lo siguiente:

“Steven y Brendan, sus familias y sus equipos legales y de investigación nos han vuelto a permitir acceder a sus vidas, dándonos una visión de la compleja red que es la justicia criminal americana. Creciendo sobre lo que hicimos en la primera parte, que documentó la experiencia del acusado, esta Parte 2 funciona como una crónica de la experiencia de los convictos y encarcelados, dos hombres cumpliendo penas de muerte por crímenes que, aseguran, no cometieron.”

Making a murderer narra el caso de Steven Avery, un hombre condenado por agresión sexual, que fue exonerado por las pruebas de ADN 18 años después. Unos años más tarde, fue acusado del asesinato de otra mujer. El trabajo de Ricciardi y Demos es excepcional y uno de los mejores documentales true crime, así como uno de los que reavivó el subgénero, mejor valorados por la crítica y los espectadores, habiéndose llevado a casa el Emmy a mejor serie documental.

This article was originally writing by
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