The Lady Gaga guide to NYC
Celebrate the final leg of Gaga's Monster Ball tour by emulating the pantsless wonder. Don a leotard, get chased by paparazzi, and indulge in a bad romance-or several.
Wed Jan 13 2010
Photograph: ABACA USA
Somewhere, right now, Lady Gaga is preparing to end her Monster Ball tour at five sold-out Radio City Music Hall shows (Wed 20--Jan 24) by purring at herself in a mirror and looking like the amalgam of a woman in an Eliot Spitzer sex tape and Hans Christian Andersen’s Snow Queen. If you want to channel the outr oeuvre of Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta and stun with your love-glue-gunnin’ all over the streets of New York City, follow our seven-step guide.
Launch a Warholian copycat act
Load The Fame and The Fame Monster onto your iPod and cue the former’s title track, an electro debut we believe was the first sign of a new mutation in pop music’s DNA, elevating commercial hook-and-sinker refrains into highbrow performance art. “We gotta taste for champagne and endless fortune,” Gaga’s come-on voice coos. “I’m obsessively opposed to the typical.” Enter the Gaga vortex.
You are who you wear
More people searched Google for the lyrics to “Poker Face” last year than for those of any other song, so fast-forward to that single while you stock up on the proper threads. Where would the Lady’s Haus of Gaga, a team of creatives dedicated to problem-solving her aesthetic proclivities, go if they were on a normal person’s budget? They’d hit up Capezio Dance Theatre Shop (various locations; 212-758-8833, capeziodance.com) for seamed fishnet stockings ($24) and American Apparel (various locations; 212-598-4600, americanapparel.net) for a shiny halter bodysuit in lam gold ($30)—we’ll get to the headgear later. Shimmy into your new finery in the dressing room and hand out a few dozen copies of the preprinted manifesto from tightsarenotpants.com as you undulate across the Lower East Side, where Gaga first made a name for herself in clubs like the Rockwood Music Hall (196 Allen St between Houston and Stanton Sts, 212-477-4155). Smile obliquely as the passersby gape at your bikini line.
Find your funny money retro sound
Journey to Long Island City, where you’ll pause briefly at the Housing Works Thrift Shop (48-49 35th St between 48th and 49th Aves, Queens; 718-786-6160, housingworks.org) to purchase the highest used high heels you can find and a cast-off teacup you’ll daintily carry for the rest of the day. Refreshed, totter to the Steinway & Sons factory for a free tour (1 Steinway Pl at 21st Ave, Queens; 718-721-2600; Tue 9:30am--noon, call to R.S.V.P. two months in advance). Observe pianos in the process of being constructed and check out the lumberyard. All that rough-hewn wood eventually turns into showstopping gems like the limited edition Lagerfeld (designed by fashion kaiser Karl) and the gold Doheny Art Case piano built in the factory in the 1900s. You may not want to plan that far ahead for a glamatronic adventure, though. For a quicker fix, head to the Steinway Hall (109 W 57th St at Sixth Ave; 212-246-1100, steinwayshowrooms.com), where you’ll also want to go if you actually want to play (the pianos in the factory cannot be touched). It’s doubtful they’ll allow you to smash the ivories with your stiletto heels, so pick out the melody to “Bad Romance” with your elbows instead.
Meet the Mad Hatter
Savannah Wyatt’s Bad Romance Lace Half Hat, chosen by Gaga herself for a special online shop (shop.notjustalabel.com), is currently sold out, but no matter. As you hum the melody from the chorus, rah-rah-ah-ah-ah over to Barbara Feinman Millinery (66 E 7th St between First and Second Aves; 212-358-7092, feinmanhats.com) to try on some of the attention-getting caps handcrafted by the owner. Her pieces have adorned the skulls of everyone from Sean Lennon to Eve, and when you settle the enormous Burgandy Cocktail Flower ($175) atop your head (wear it low to obscure your eyes a little; Miss Thing doesn’t like her audience to see her pupils), Feinman will be able to add Gaga Doppelganger to her triumphs.
See into the heart of things
Lady Gaga has a tattoo inscribed on her bicep—it’s a quote from Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet: “In the deepest hour of the night, confess to yourself that you would die if you were forbidden to write.” If you’d prefer to ink a different Rilke verse on your arm, do some research by paging through the hunter green, $12,500 first edition of his Die Sonette an Orpheus, which you can carefully handle with an employee’s supervision at Bauman Rare Books (535 Madison Ave between 54th and 55th Sts; 212-751-0011, baumanrarebooks.com). Purse your playboy mouth and contemplate the role of poetry in art and life while sitting at the long reading table in the library-like shop, which houses more than 4,000 antiquarian and modern leather-bound volumes on various subjects. Don’t be disappointed if the store lacks a tome detailing the proper procedure for manipulating celebrity photographers—that’s all instinct.
Baby, you’ll be famous
As “Paparazzi” blooms on your headphones, count your cash and revel in the services you so cleverly arranged from Celeb 4 a Day (call 646-688-5217 or visit celeb4aday.com to make a reservation; $500 plus tax, book Thu 14--Wed 20 with code TIMEOUTCELEB for a 15% discount). Your personal paparazzi will follow you and your entourage for 30 minutes, screaming your name—perhaps Gaga the Second—and snapping shot after shot of you embodying the pantsless wonder. (You’ll be gifted a copy of a fake gossip magazine with your image festooned upon it for your trouble.) Wave away the hired help and push through the crowd that’s thronged around you as you set out for an evening of “Beautiful, Dirty, Rich” delights. Though critics and DJs trace Gaga’s inspiration back to Queen, David Bowie and Grace Jones, we see more wild Weimar hedonism in her than she gets credit for. Get a lesson in that era’s style at Ildiko Nemeth’s cabaret Oh, Those Beautiful Weimar Girls (La MaMa E.T.C., 74 E 4th St between Bowery and Second Ave; visit lamama.org for a schedule, $15--$20), inspired by the scandal-making, androgynous Berlin chanteuse-prostitute-writer Anita Berber—Gaga’s predecessor? The 1920s starlet appeared onstage naked, with only a pet monkey dangling from her neck.
You’ve had a little bit too much
Double-check that your hair is perfect before you go get shit wrecked at Santos Party House (96 Lafayette St between Walker and White Sts, santospartyhouse.com), the period at the end of the sentence in your quest for a true Gagaism. Amanda Blank and Maluca DJ on January 29 (7pm, $14): Find someone to sidle up to and trill, “I like you a lot, lot” before leaning in to see if they taste like glitter mixed with rock & roll. By the time you’re hosed enough to request “Just Dance,” you won’t remember who you are anymore. Spin that record, babe; it’s gonna be okay.