Hollywood: Madonna Vs. Lady Gaga
By Tim Parks
Ok, if I hear one more twenty-something gay guy profess that Lady Gaga is the “new” Madonna; I will seriously lose my collective brown expletive!
This bit of exchange was overheard during a recent “spirited” conversation between me and one such dandy fellow, which left me nonplussed.
It was in reference about how Madonna is only good for “buying children” and “can’t sing or act.” Then there was this corker that he hadn’t really listened to her “because she’s Madonna!”
Oh, really!? Nice blanket statement and I didn’t know my eyes could roll back that far.
That’s like saying I hate pickles (uh, no, pickles are what I meant) and having never put my lips around one (again, a pickle is just a pickle).
But, it did get me to thinking and a slew of questions immediately rose up in the murky depths of my mind: “Isn’t there some way for these two musical talents to co-exist?” “Why not a good old fashioned Thunderdome match, where two divas enter and one leaves to reign supreme?” “What will they wear?” Hey, it’s my brain, ok?
Most importantly was how to convey that Madonna is still as viable as Gaga. But how to do so? I know, I’ll write about it…duh!
So, it’s a diva smack down, but I’m probably the one who’ll get beeyatch slapped for what I am about to say…as I try my damndest to explain that without the chicken hawk (or its female counterpart, the cougar) there couldn’t have been an egg arriving at this year’s Grammys.
The Mo You Know
I love Madonna so much, that I have given her the nickname of Mo, as she’s been ingrained in my mind, ever since our you-can-dance-for-inspiration release “love affair” began in 1983 to present – and beyond to her forthcoming one, due out next Spring, with the first single coming our way in February or March (I am not being cagey about its impending release, it’s all she would say about it, ok?). And she’s re-teaming with William Orbit (they worked on Ray of Light together) and she’s also enlisting the sevices of Jean Baptiste Kouame – who worte a good majority of hits for the Black Eyed Peas last CD, including “Rock Your Body” – there, now don’t you feel well-informed? Oh, who asked you!
Now, back to our story, already in progress…Her persona of this-is-who-I-am-you-can-like-it-or-not resonated with me, along with her take-no-prisoners approach to staying in the limelight. It only waivered once around the time of her Sex book, because I didn’t need to see her hitching a ride naked; and no, it was not because she was starkers (I had seen her Playboy and Penthouse, uh, spreads – underarm hair, gross), but because Madonna shouldn’t have to hitchhike, so gauche!
Anyhoo, I can’t believe Bruce Willis said on “Moonlighting” that no one would want her phone number after 1985! Oh, really, Brucie? Just like now when they can’t say your name without mentioning Ashton Kutcher schtuping your ex wife? Oh, you got served!
The point is… even back then I wondered why anyone would want to cross one of the most powerful, successful and richest women in showbiz history? Oh, that’s because everyone saw her as a flashin’ the panties performer, with as much staying power as a case of the clap, pre-penicillin shot (I heard that from other kids!).
Let me give it a stab, though, for s’s and g’s (shits and giggles for the abbreviation impaired).
Besides, she is also a work out, yoga and Pilates fanatic – and she’s checking out the bodies and drinking a soy latte, but we won’t go there on the rap portion of “American Life,” girlfriends. Let’s do with two words: Bad. Idea.
Oops, there’s a good chance she might either shank me to death with her money clip, or give me the squeeze of a lifetime with her freakishly buffed arms or legs, should I cross her.
And, at great personal risk, I know she doesn’t chart as high as she once did, (duck!) but I still love her music from all eras, as it reflects the changes in her personal life – so glad she got divorced, and is literally being a boy toy again.
She has stayed in our collective conscious for 28 years now, still fascinating us almost three decades (in 2015) after she rolled on the floor during her “Like A Virgin” performance at the first MTV Music Awards, and 20 years have passed since her documentary “Truth or Dare” afforded us a glimpse into her true persona (so bitchy, yay!). Yet, her career isn’t “just dust,” like her graveside observation that her mother was probably ready for a vacuum… nice manners, Mo. She’s still selling out arenas worldwide; as her “Sticky and Sweet Tour” was the highest-grossing female solo concert in history, suck on that.
I think that sometimes all of this has left me wanting to yell with clenched fists and teeth, “Hey you kids! Get off my diva lawn!” And, that’s because I think that for those of us who lived through Madonna’s “heyday” remember the collective impact she had on an entire generation afraid to face an uncertain future, with AIDS looming large on the horizon. Too deep? Too bad, it’s the truth, Ruth.
Her safe sex messages in concerts like the “Who’s That Girl” Tour and “The Girlie Show,” were clear indicators, that while she didn’t always practice what she papa don’t preach(ed); Madonna was, and is, worried about us as a community.
Surprisingly, she is sometimes mum, even with her old English accent, about what all she has done for us, and doesn’t Lourdes it over our heads that she has been our champion for, lo, these many years.
But what of the Lady?
Goo Goo for Gaga?
I’ll have to admit something that will dig me deeper into a gay hole. Hold up, like that’s a bad thing. I mean, I am cementing my fate with the gays. I said ce-men-ting, hee hee. I was late in boarding the Lady Gaga train, but “Paparazzi” did make me enjoy the ride to Gay Town that she has afforded fans.
So, when she came out with “Born This Way,” and it was said to be an homage, (achoo, rip off) to “Express Yourself,” well, it started this whole thought process. Please, don’t send her any hate mail, as for me, bring it!
Contrary to my laundry list of what I like about Madonna, I do enjoy Gaga for being herself; and even though all artists do borrow from each other – can you spare a cup of controversy by her trotting out of Madonna’s much-loved, ahem, trick of using religion to garner publicity? Yup. GaGa is courting said controversy with her turn as Mary Magdalene in her “Judas” video. Oh, go skin a Muppet!
Or don’t, as it might give your Little Monsters the wrong idea, like 20-year-old Angelina Barnes who skinned a cat to wear to a recent concert…poor pussy, poor pussycat! Sick! Trust me, my mom wasn’t too thrilled when I borrowed her black bra to dress as a Madonna wannabe, it got stretched out. Moving along, and we’re walking.
Sorry to be a drag or just an “old” queen, but, before I come off as too bitter (little late?); there are some things I am Gaga about with ole Stefani Germanotta.
There is the empowerment inherent in her music, I love that she won’t stand for a “Bad Romance,” and introduced taking “a ride on a disco stick” into our vernaculars, and has some of the best videos around – even if you spelled bathhouse wrong in the aforementioned romance gone south one. Plus, Born This Way sold a staggering 1 million copies its first week, so there?
Gaga does have a strong commitment to the gay community and has made it known in interviews that we made her what she is today, and, in turn, she made us shake our collective money makers (hey!) at the drop of a hat.
I do have some words of caution about her career trajectory, though. Just be careful on flaming pianos, girl! They burn! Seriously, (no, really) I just worry that Gaga and her meat dresses, et. al will shoot their proverbial wads too soon, and her star will fade away. Speaking of stars…opinions are like chocolate starfish, if you get my drift…oh are you downwind from my chocolate starfish? My bad! Layman’s terms, it’s just my opinion/observations through a pop culture landscape darkly.
Cut. Print. That’s A Wrap!
In a way, I could trot out the old commercial adage of “There’s always room for Jell-O,” in summarizing why these two can co-exist in a modern world. Much like the lime green with pineapple “dessert” – perhaps my affinity for Gaga has to thicken upon standing and congeal?
Since I am a die-hard Madonna fan (no, say it ain’t so!), it may have clouded my potential love affair with the Lady everyone is Gaga for. That’s not to say, I can’t open my heart to me baby, err, to GaGa, and become a Little Monster to the inth degree. I am practicing my rah rah rah rah rahs right now. Until next time, that’s all of the news that’s fit to print!