Thursday, January 7, 2016

Caught in A Bad Romance, or Thoughts on Lady Gaga in American Horror Story: Hotel

Here’s a portrait of Lady Gaga I did for you in Adobe Illustrator (18 layers, if you care about such things), because this blog needs graphics in order to get ranked by Google and I am nothing if not a shameless click-whore.


LADY GAGA is divisive to viewers of a certain age, especially those who remember seeing Madonna roll around in a wedding dress at the MTV music awards.  But if we were all on the Titanic and I only got to save one of them I’m afraid I’d have to pick Lady Gaga.  And what about Celine Dion, singing her little Canadian heart out up on the bow?   Somebody else can save her, she’ll be fine…
Lady Gaga seems to have genuine affection for her fans.  Madonna always appeared aloof and elitist in her interviews.  It’s not fair to compare these two divas at different stages of their careers and I honestly think Madonna could have easily played the Countess in American Horror Story: Hotel.  But that doesn’t detract from Lady Gaga’s excellent and charismatic performance as the lonely and isolated vampire hotel maven.
Granted, the role has been meticulously crafted around her skill set; all she needs to do is swan around the gorgeous Art Deco sets like some goth Hitchcock platinum blonde, supported on all sides by scene-stealing performances from her magnificent cast mates.  This is not a criticism; Hollywood has always had a tradition of turning our pop stars into movie stars, Frank Sinatra, Elvis, Barbara Streisand and Cher immediately come to mind.  (It just didn’t work for Madonna, despite her best efforts & even marrying Guy Ritchie).
Jessica Lange was not missed this season, except perhaps by Denis O’Hare, whose character is always obsessed with her character whatever the incarnation.  I think we were all  distracted by Lady Gaga’s performance; some of us may have been waiting for her to fail, while I was pleasantly surprised and relieved to see her playing essentially the vampire version of an avant-garde pop star.
It was nice to see Finn Wittrock again, aka Dandy Mott and Sarah Paulson as Sally, a 90’s phantom junkie with sadly, only one head.  Also enjoyed Evan Peters finally playing a grown-up with an authentic 30’s movie star twang.  Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates, Chloe Sevigny are always a treat to see on the screen, and always bring their acting A-game.
The genius of American Horror Story is how they reshuffle these actors into new characters and new plots, reinventing the show every year whilst retaining certain key themes.  Those themes being that ghosts can hurt you in many ways, including sleeping with you or just plain killing you, and that the supernatural coexists in equal billing with the banal human evil supplied from an assortment of serial killers, Nazi war criminals and date rapists.  Each season has a clearly defined arc from the first act to the finale, and you should know by now how much I enjoy a proper ending.
Also lost in the smoke and mirrors of freaks, witches, alien abductions and haunted houses, you forget that at the core of each season a family is falling apart.  More obvious in Season One, but also in Season Two you have Lana Winters and her estranged son and Kit Walker’s abducted wife.  Season Three gives us the lovely toxic dynamic between Fiona Goode and her daughter Cordelia.  In Season Four we have the extended family of Fraulein Elsa’s Cabinet of Curiosities and here in Season Five we are watching Detective John Lowe’s downward spiral as he loses his wife and family to madness, murder and vampirism.
Will Gaga return for Season Six?  That’s the question on everyone’s lips.  Personally, I would prefer Jessica Lange, simply because she’s more versatile and has been central to the series.  I can’t see Lady Gaga playing anything other than another indifferent goddess.  Again, that’s no criticism, we all need a bit of glamour and magic in our lives, and that’s part of the appeal of American Horror Story.  Except they supply a darker magic, a glamour reflected in a broken and bloody mirror, like an overdose in front of the Viper Room.  It’s American Horror Story, as quirky and horrific as The Twilight Zone, except way sexier.



my first novel? thanks for asking:) I wrote a 4 book supernatural martial arts series concerning the ongoing feud between a group of kung-fu killer witches in san francsico’s chinatown.