Lady Gaga: love and hate
It was no surprise that Lady Gaga's first of two concerts/spectacles/runway-shows Monday at Xcel Energy Center offered as much to applaud as it did to boo.
- Loved ... All the teens and preteens wearing Gaga-esque wigs, face paint, bubble-wrap dresses, Coke-can hair rollers, etc., all very reminiscent of Madonna's young Material Girl copycats from 25 years earlier. Hated ... All the women around Madonna's age who were wearing the same things.
- Loved ... When Gaga twice dissed the value of money, including her introduction of "Teeth" when she said, "Do you know what I hate almost as much as money? The Truth." Hated ... The truth was, her merch stands were some of the costliest and crassest money-driving machines ever to accompany a pop tour, including $100 "Gaga Heart Beats" headphones, $40 T-shirts, $30 programs and $10 for cheap little glow-stick bracelets.
- Loved ... The idea of calling a fan in the crowd from the stage on a cell phone midconcert. Especially when the fan here turned out to be named Alejandro (for real). Hated ... That it was such shameless shilling for Virgin Mobile.
- Loved ... How often Gaga strayed from the hokey scripted bits and talked directly to the crowd between songs. Hated ... How loudly and painfully she would scream in her New Yorker nasal voice to make her point.
- Loved ... When she finally sat down and proved how well she can sing and play piano during "Speechless." Hated ... The fact that Kiss didn't previously think up the flaming piano top that burned through that song.
- Loved ... Gaga's many canned speeches about being yourself, especially, "Let go of all your insecurities. Reject anyone or anything that ever made you feel like you don't fit in." Hated ... The fact that no other pop artist of late has made me feel like I personally don't fit in more than Gaga has.
- Chris Riemenschneider
Gaga spotted at Turf!
We knew Lady Gaga was likely to pop into a local club over the course of her two-night stand in St. Paul. We never thought she would show up at a place with Neil Young and Replacements posters on the wall and Hamm's beer decor in the basement. Twitter and local blogs lit up Tuesday night with news that the 24-year-old party girl pulled up to the Turf Club in an Escalade with a security crew and hung out after her second Xcel concert. Various reports say she was noticeably drunk but surprisingly friendly, stepping into the photo booth with some locals. "She really came off like a normal person -- or at least a normal person who goes out wearing black hot pants, a sports bra and fishnets," cracked Machen Davis, a staffer at First Avenue who was part of the in-crowd that showed up once word spread via Twitter. Davis' favorite moment was seeing Gaga dance a little bit when Guided by Voices' classic "Glad Girls" came on the jukebox.
- Chris Riemenschneider
On the heels of Vita.mn's "Mad Men" premiere party in July, several Twin Cities "Maddicts" are in the running in AMC's official "Mad Men" Casting Call Contest, in which the winner gets a walk-on slot on the show. Voting ends Sept. 17 at madmencastingcall.amctv.com. Here's a look at four of our favorite Minnesota contestants.
- Jessa Alt - The highest-ranking Minnesotan in the running is Alt, 25, a nurse by occupation. "I have a huge appreciation for vintage styles and am pretty sure I grew up in the wrong decade," Alt said. "I've been told many times, 'You belong on that show.'" Current ranking: Ninth (19,127 votes).
- Jake Rudh - Another top entry comes courtesy of the premiere party's co-host, Jake Rudh, 36. Asked what inspired the longtime DJ for the Transmission night at Clubhouse Jäger to enter, he responded wryly, "A dirty martini." Rudh's a true midcentury-modern enthusiast, from his home décor to his wardrobe. Current ranking: 39th (6,611 votes).
- Ashley Barlow - For Barlow, 25, the 1950s lives in her art as much as it does in her closet. The multimedia artist, whose work consists of vintage textiles, acrylics, fonts, metals, plastics and print media, has a show coming up titled "On the Rocks: Re-imagining the '50s." Current ranking: 789th (251 votes).
- Hannah Von der Hoff - While Von der Hoff, 23, fancies herself a musician/creative director/actress/model, she's perhaps best known around town for her retro bombshell style that's equal parts Marilyn Monroe, Veronica Lake and Joan Holloway Harris. Besides, she figured, "How could I pass up the mere chance to be zipped up by 'Mad Men' stylist Janie Bryant?" Current ranking: 940th (193 votes).
- Jahna Peloquin