It’s barely halftime, but already Super Bowl 50 has its highlight reel intact: the performance of the National Anthem by Lady Gaga. We already love Gaga, and know she can really sing based on her Oscar performance last year. But this was Whitney-level amazing. Enjoy! And go Panthers!
(OK, so the NFL won’t let you watch this on our site anymore. But go to YouTube and you can see — and hear — her sing.)
Out actress Sarah Paulson in the acclaimed new drama ‘Carol.’
By Chis Azzopardi
What does Sarah Paulson remember about the first time she kissed a girl? “Nothing that I’m going to tell you!” she teases, laughing as if to say “nice try.”
Not that the actress’ entire life is a secret. It hasn’t been. In 2005, when then-girlfriend Cherry Jones was named a winner at the Tony Awards, Paulson planted a sweet kiss on Jones’ lips. But the 40-year-old acting dynamo isn’t one to kiss and tell — a practice extending to many aspects of her public life, which she’s regulated for a reason: so as not to distract from the stories she’s a part of telling.
Those stories are wide-ranging. In addition to her chameleonic roles in Ryan Murphy’s FX hit American Horror Story, where she’s currently playing a hip ’80s-inspired druggie named Sally, she stars as Cate Blanchett’s former flame, Abby, in writer-director Todd Haynes’ powerful lesbian love story Carol, reviewed in this week’s Hollywood Issue of Dallas Voice. In the film, Blanchett plays a married woman with a passionate desire for a department store clerk named Therese (Rooney Mara). But it’s the 1950s — homosexuality is taboo, and the closet doors are closed. Paulson’s story is a different one, however. And the doors? They’re mostly open.
Dallas Voice: How do you reflect on your accidental coming out? Sarah Paulson: I was very young, and I was in love. It was the reality of the person I was with. She just won a Tony Award — I’m not gonna pat her on the back, give her the big thumbs up and say, “Go up there and get your award, sweetie.” It was not a really conscious thought. I didn’t think of what the implications were gonna be. I just did what was true and honest to me in that moment.
The truth is, it was early enough in my career that there have been no attachments made to me as a performer. I think the thing that makes it somewhat easier in terms of there not having been ramifications is that I’m a character actress — nobody is assigning a particular kind of sexual anything to me, I don’t think. Maybe that’s totally not true. But it just seems if you’re sort of known for being a sex kitten and that’s how you come on the scene, and then you end up being a total femme fatale actress, and then all of a sudden you make a statement about your sexuality, it becomes news. Whereas I’m a character actress; I can do a lot of things. I don’t think anybody’s made one particular association with me that would then make them go, “Well, I can’t see her this way now.”
You do seem to put your career before your personal life. I do think it’s more important, and I know that Matt Damon got a terrible amount of flak for the way he phrased those things [earlier this year, he said: “People shouldn’t know anything about your sexuality because that’s one of the mysteries that you should be able to play”], but the sentiment is still true: My personal life… I’m not gonna hide it from you, but I also don’t want you to think about that before you think about the character I’m playing. And so I want that to be of paramount importance — it’s of paramount importance to me that you believe the story I’m trying to be a part of telling you, and if my personal life is going to get in the way of that, I don’t like that at all.
Have you been strategic, then, in what you reveal to the public? The thing with Cherry was very accidental. And, again, I was very young. If it happened to me today, I don’t know what I would do necessarily. I really don’t. I think what I’d like to think is that I would just be who I am and whomever I was with, if I had won an award or they had won award or if it was some kind of public thing, I would not do what I would do simply because I was afraid of being revealed. I don’t think that would be a choice I would make. But I think it was hard a bit because when she and I broke up [in 2009] there were some public statements said by her in, I think, an accidental way that ended up being hurtful to me, so I’ve been very kind of careful now about what I’m willing to talk about in terms of specifics.
So, it’s not been strategic; it’s been life experience. I’ve learned lessons, and therefore I behave in different ways now, and they are not in ways I’m upset about or ways that I think are not good. But like for Therese in Carol, you live and you learn and you come into your own and you start to be responsible for your own power and your own choices and what you’re willing to reveal. At the end of the day, I put enough of my interior life on camera when I’m acting by giving as much of myself as I possibly can – I don’t have to give everything to everyone.
Did working on a movie about repressed sexuality have you reflecting on your own sexuality? What it really made me think about is the power of love and how, at the end of the day, love is love, period. The end. It sounds cliché, but I think most clichés are clichés because they’re very, very true. And it’s very interesting, because I’ve been with men and women, and [the movie] puts a very fine point on that truth, which is that it’s very personal and that love is love, and sometimes you love a person you weren’t expecting to love — and how glorious is that?
How would you describe Abby’s relationship with Carol? Carol and Abby were former lovers, for sure. But it was brief and it was much more meaningful to Abby than it was to Carol. In the scene with Cate at the bar, when we’re having our martinis and I say, “I hope you know what you’re doing,” about Therese, I basically say, we can just go back and have that furniture store in New Jersey and Carol basically says no. That is my 1952 way of saying, “Let’s try this again.” It’s code for, “Let’s make out.” Carol doesn’t want that with Abby. For me, what I was interested in portraying and making sure was there was that sort of sadness that Abby has — that light and love for Carol that’s not reciprocated – but still, that she would rather be in Carol’s orbit in any way that she can be, so she will be a friend to her no matter what.
Lady Gaga, ARTPOP. So much for that high-concept, post-modern ingenuity that ARTPOP promised even before Lady Gaga hawked it as the album of … not the year, not the decade, but of the millennium.
This isn’t that album. Not even close. Not when it comes to the innovativeness it touted, anyway. If this is art, so is “Poker Face.” And so is dressing up in a frock made of dead cow. This is Gaga to the extreme; everything is done with more cartoonish flamboyancy, and — if it’s even possible at this point — exaggerated to the fullest. While Born This Way was at least, despite its exhausting preachiness, an evolution that demonstrated sophisticated vanguard where self-importance at least felt musically validated, this takes three steps back. Neither as clever nor avant-garde as it thinks it is, ARTPOP is a straightforward, ’80s-fashioned electro-pop piece that, with a satirical edge, riffs on fame, drugs and other vapidness … the very themes of queen Gaga before she led her misunderstood Monsters down the road to empowerment.
With B-52s camp, “Donatella” and “Fashion!” fit the homo bill, and they’re both amusing … if you were amused also by the unintentional awesomeness of Showgirls. Part horror show, part whore show, ARTPOP is gaudy (see “Swine,” where this meat obsession of hers translates into metaphor), but it’s hard to turn away from something that tries so hard to be tacky and messy and just so … weird. Even an R. Kelly cameo, on “Do What U Want,” seems out there — and then it all comes together pretty perfectly. But it’s “Dope,” a rollicking power ballad that endears, and the smashing Springsteenian “Gypsy” that our Mother Monster should keep in mind next time she tries to hustle pop music as high art.
Two-and a-half stars.
Arcade Fire, Reflektor. Not long into Arcade Fire’s 80-minute epic of rhythmic mythology — where themes of rebirth thrive amidst the usual sociopolitical go-tos — is an empowering statement of visibility that can’t help but be heard as a queer affirmation. With frontman Win Butler championing the oppressed, the song is called “We Exist,” but it’s not the only one that’s outcast-minded: David Bowie vibes pipe through the garage-rockery of outsider anthem “Normal Person,” a challenge to societal conformity.
But the Montreal troupe doesn’t just tackle the bigger picture; they look inward and tear down their own conventions — their own “normal.” Reflektor breaks the band’s rules, abandoning the Neil Young-inspired ’70s sounds of The Suburbs, their Grammy-winning LP and last release, for an adventuresome, dance-inspired work that radically shifts from quintessential Arcade Fire. With former LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy on board as producer, Reflektor breaks into the dance-punk that is Murphy’s forte, winding up somewhere in the realm of the band’s older “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains),” an electro triumph. Here, a frantic parade of noise simmers into a charged punk anthem on the defiant “Joan of Arc,” disco-era strings line the slow-burn of “Porno,” and “Afterlife” — with Butler and wife Régine Chassagne’s poignant exchanges, also heard on the transcendent standout “It’s Never Over (Hey Orpheus)” — is a euphoric jaunt of survival on the album’s back, and better, half.
A Round-Up Saloon patron says he fears the bar is discriminating against Hispanic clubgoers who have permanent resident visas, but management says it accepts them.
Eddie Munoz said he and a friend visiting from out of town went to the Round-Up on Tuesday night after the Lady Gaga concert. Gaga was expected to appear at the club after her Dallas performance.
But when Munoz’s friend presented his permanent resident visa — commonly called a “green card” — the doorman told him that management had changed the policy to no longer accept them as valid IDs. When Munoz and his friend asked to speak to a manager, Munoz said they were rudely told to wait outside.
“It was a perfectly legitimate ID. We never had issues before,” Munoz said. “I was infuriated.”
While waiting, Munoz said he saw a group of women who looked Hispanic being turned away with their IDs in their hands.
Munoz ended up texting a friend already inside the club to seek out a manager to address the issue. His friend spoke to a manager who then approved the ID and let them in.
But Munoz said his friend, who is from Mexico but lives in South Texas, had been admitted to the club last Saturday and Sunday using the same ID, so he wanted to know why the policy had suddenly changed, but he said they were never given an answer Tuesday night.
The zipper vagina from which Gaga emerged prior to the namesake song of her ‘Born This Way Ball.’ For more photos from the concert, go here.
Somehwere in the middle of last night’s show, Lady Gaga paused for one of her many monologues. I forgot what she was going on about — self-love, growing up or something we’ve heard before — but then came the poignant truth for the evening.
“I may ask you, who is Lady Gaga?” she said, followed by a full-on dramatic pause. “I am you.”
Amid over-the-top theatrics, high-energy songs and calorie-killing dancing, this was the message that Gaga reinforced throughout her marathon Born This Way Ball. How Gaga straddles the line between ridiculous and heartfelt may be her real talent because the near-capacity crowd at American Airlines Center was under her spell and roared about it.
When the curtain fell to reveal what I could only describe as Castle Grayskull without the skull, the excitement level amped up from zero to 60 in a nanosecond. From her entrance on a (human) horse amid a flag corps for “Highway Unicorn” to the inflated bottom half of female torso giving birth out of a zipper vagina for “Born this Way” (duh), expectation was thrown out the window early because that all happened in the first trio of songs. Yeah.
Checking off the stage antics, there were floating brides for “Bloody Mary,” the now-famous Grammy egg for “Bad Romance,” meat couture for “Americano” along with a meat couch and her entrance as a living motorcycle for “Heavy Metal Lover” that overloaded all senses. What more could she give in such a packed show? Oh, lots.
Gaga jam-packed the show with a set list that counted up to 25 songs. She really pushed tracks off of Born This Way but she’d hardly forget her first hits. When the synths began “Just Dance,” she described it as the song that changed her life. Gaga relishes in her fame but doesn’t disregard its impact whether on her or the fans (she asked if we remembered first hearing the song). Will she do that in 20 years? Who knows, but the way she made it sound, her rise to fame was a journey for all the people.
Is that kind of self-indulgent talk worthwhile? Anyone (minus the few conservative, straight men that had perplexed looks on their faces the whole time) in that building would say yes. And they’d be right. Gaga reinforces her own story, her fight for equal rights and embracing your inner freak over and over, and although sometimes it just felt like a rehash of Monsters Ball chatter, it worked just as well. Her one-of-the-people posturing felt genuine and was only added to when she brought fans onstage. The most touching moment of the night happened when she sat at the piano with a four lucky fans singing a scaled back reprise of “Born This Way.” It was the time to catch your breath and even shed a tear.
And then a meat grinder came out for “Americano” as she hung with other carcasses in her meat-mini and meaty bikinis for the dancers. Did I mention the meat couch that was also a part of the set?
Clearly she was relentlessness in giving a dynamic performance, making it feel like it was the first show of her tour. She shocked, she touched, she served diva realness, and like those four fans onstage (as well as the ones who joined her in the “Marry the Night” finale), she made everyone feel special.
As most Little Monsters probably know, Lady Gaga is not allowing media photo coverage of her Born This Way Ball, which stopped at the American Airlines Center in Dallas last night. But our Chuck Marcelo went as a spectator and managed to grab some pretty decent shots anyway. Unfortunately, for the first time in three tours, Gaga didn’t show up at the Round-Up Saloon afterward, leading to some hurt feelings since the bar had announced earlier in the day that she would be there. The Round-Up has since pulled its original post advertising Gaga’s appearance. As of this morning, the bar hadn’t posted an official apology, but this thread on its Facebook page seemed indicative of the back and forth:
Check out the rest of Chuck’s pics below. To read Rich Lopez’s review, go here.
Everyone’s talking about Rebel Wilson lately. A scene-stealer in last year’s Bridesmaids — she played Kristen Wiig’s trashy roommate and mistook her live-in’s diary for a “very sad, handwritten book” — the Australian actress became a breakout star in two other roles earlier this year: What to Expect When You’re Expecting and Bachelorette; her pilot for the ABC series Super Fun Night also just got the green light.
It’s now, though, that’s she’s becoming a household name as Fat Amy, the I-am-who-I-am collegiate mermaid dancer who gets all the boys and belts her butt off as part of an all-girl a cappella group in the his new film in Pitch Perfect.
Our Chris Azzopardi sat down with this Rebel (prawled on a couch all cozy-looking in a track jacket and hand bling that spells out her name, Wilson) and out director Jason Moore, directing his first film. They chatted in her dry-wit way about stealing the role from Adele, why the gay community will find Fat Amy empowering and her tips for killing an a cappella audition (hint: Lady Gaga).
Pitch Perfect star and director on what’s so gay about the movie, outsiders and spotting lesbians
Dallas Voice: This is a gay press interview, so all of these questions will be very gay. Rebel Wilson: Oh, cool. It’s a pretty gay movie. You’ve got a lesbian character, and I think most of the Treblemakers, the boy band, are gay. What about that scene where there’s, like, nine dudes in a hot tub … naked? That’s totally gay.
The gay community can be fickle about gay characters. Did you worry about portraying the lesbian character a certain way so it wouldn’t come off as stereotypical? Jason Moore: I don’t know what you’re talking about. [Laughs] In a way, we were looking at all stereotypes. So yes, she’s a lesbian and they mistake her for a man at the beginning — but also, she’s got this beautiful shock of hair, she is quite fun and feminine in the way she moves; she’s got an amazing voice and she’s not afraid to be herself in the world. Are lesbians going to take offense to that character? I don’t think so, but we’ll ask them.
Our correspondent Chris Azzopardi got a sit-down (well, via transatlantic phone) with pop star Katy Perry, just in time for the release of her concert documentary, Katy Perry: Part of Me 3D, which comes out today. The patriotic pop princess talks the film, kissing gay boys and fighting hate with love bullets.
KATY PERRY IN 3D
It was not really last Friday night, but it still happened: Katy Perry called from London, where it was nearly 1 a.m. If life really does imitate art, she smelled like a mini-bar on a night that’s soon to be a blacked-out blur, right?
“Not tonight,” she insists. “I have to play and be professional tomorrow, but maybe after the show I’ll be having a couple of Shirley Temples with some adult juice in them.”
We spoke with Perry just after she made a surprise appearance in London for a screening of her new film, Katy Perry: Part of Me 3D, a docu-concert chronicling the California girl’s evolution from gospel-singing daughter of two pastors to international pop phenom … with the most lethal boobs in the world.
During our interview, Perry told us what else they shoot besides whipped cream, how the gay community can relate to her movie and why Madonna doesn’t scare her.