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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 20, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 34
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Where It's At: Lady GaGa has clearly earned her fame

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Lady GaGa
Tacoma Dome
August 21


Around this time two years ago, Lady GaGa was on stage in Vietnam performing to an international gathering of pageant enthusiasts, on-hand to witness the crowning of a new Miss Universe. Considering the lowbrow talent usually booked for a sash-and-tiara gala, it was a tacky marketing approach to sing snippets of a track during the swimsuit competition - however, it was the first of many smart moves by this pop icon because she knew it was the easiest and best way to expose her debut single "Just Dance" to a global Gay audience. The song quickly became a worldwide hit, and the rest is butter.

Lady GaGa wanted to be a star like every other artist who lands a recording contract - not just any star, but the biggest of them all: a mega superstar. And she'd work for it, touring nonstop in every major city in every big country on nearly every continent, something Mariah, Mary J or X-tina didn't do early in their careers. But Lady GaGa was willing to do more, like perform midnight shows at Gay clubs (Neighbours, anyone?), do a slew of media interviews with those who saw her potential (um, hello!), and she would even pay for her outlandish costumes and live theatrical elements from her own pocket when she opened a series of dates with the Backstreet Boys. Bottom line: She'd invest whatever it took for success.

Musically, the New York native is more hit-maker, less innovator - her songs are catchy and fun, but not brilliant like Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach" or Cyndi Lauper's "She Bop." Image-wise, her performance art style takes a backseat to truer originals, such as Grace Jones, Bjork, or Nico. But when it comes to fashion steps forward (and back), no one comes close to Lady GaGa - the lobster headpiece was silly, her Armani Prive space diva outfit for the Grammys was a traffic-stopper, and her full-facial veil ensemble at last year's MTV VMAs ceremony was just bizarre. Yet it's this peculiarity of wardrobe choices, coupled with the exploration of fetish lifestyles, that gives her a bold edge over any other pop female artist today.

Why do we love Lady GaGa? Why is she relevant? Because she demands our attention, because she's actually rather interesting, because she tries to be different and makes an earnest attempt at doing so, because she values her Gay fans and puts her mouth where her heart is (remember that Equality speech in D.C.?), and because she's living proof that stardom is an ultimate reward for very, very, very hard work.

Lady GaGa brings her smash "Monster Ball Tour" to the Tacoma Dome this weekend, likely opening with "Dance in the Dark" and certainly including "Bad Romance," "Alejandro," "Poker Face," "Telephone," and "Just Dance." The entire main floor is standing room only, so arrive early if you've got GA tickets. Gay bar Silverstone (635 St. Helens Ave.) is a great place to pre-cocktail, although a lower-key and hipper spot is the Lobby Bar inside Hotel Murano, a terrific overnight option (www.hotelmurano.com) with free light rail service to the Dome just a block away.

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