As my blog followers know, I travel year round for my job and mostly abroad. And wherever I go, I try to log as many experiences as I possibly can. Last year, I found myself in San Francisco for a two-month stint and I knew that the historic Fillmore was a place that I always wanted to experience. So, I looked up its schedule and I saw that Dita Von Teese was going to be there. Burlesque, check. Dita, check. The Fillmore, check. Three birds, one stone. My first time seeing Strip Strip Hooray made me a Dita admirer forever. She is pure class and the people working for her clearly know how to show appreciation for the people who attend her shows. After that night, I decided if I’m ever in the same city as her, I’ll always check out her show. Then, off to Colombia, Mexico, then Venezuela, I went, and when I did return to the states, she was never performing in the same city I was in.
Then came this month and she was doing a week long gig at the Gramercy Theatre at the same time I was working in New York. Theoretically, due to my constant moving (no rent, no car payments) and thirst for shows, I could have gone to every show of the week (except Friday, which was long sold out.) But, I feared her MC Murray Hill may publicly proclaim me a stalker, as he would easily recognize me (haha), so I decided to play it cool and just go to the first two nights, The first night was a great reintroduction for me. The ‘powderpuff’ act was replaced with the “Birdcage.” The second night, I thought ‘what the hell, I should meet her.” Why? No idea. Maybe I was hoping she would do something to disappoint me and break the spell and then I wouldn’t be inclined to have to see her shows all of the time. But, no, she doesn’t disappoint.
Stupidly enough and out of nowhere, I got nervous and my heart literally skipped beats. Why? Ridiculous. When the time came, I went in to see her. Murray, funny guy that he is, asks “are you a lesbian?” And looking at Dita, I said “I am tonight.” Which caused her to laugh. So I sat down and said “I have three things to say!” Dita: “Ok.” Me: First, I saw you in San Francisco last year and thought you were amazing! Dita: Thank you. Me: You do the best Vines EVER! Dita: Oh! Thank you! Do you know the man who invented it is here tonight? Me: And you have the sexiest cat. DIta: Oh! Thank you! Have you seen I haven’t done as many Vines lately? People may think there are too many of my cat. Me: No! You must! He’s funny. DIta: Oh, thank you!
I mean, yeah, I’d love to sit with her for longer, sip a Margadita, and tell her more about my life which she would surely find intriguing, but no, when you get 5 minutes with someone like that, those are the kinds of things that come out. Anyway, she was kind and gracious. And I’ll see her again for sure.
People ask me why I like her. First of all, I wouldn’t call myself a fan, as that creates a line and separates people. Fans tend to look up to people that they don’t know and treat them as though they are better than them. This isn’t the case. My life is awesome and I wouldn’t trade it for anyone else’s. I admire Dita. And you can admire people and remain at the same level. She’s self-made. She has gone through public duress and come out pure class. I mean, I can’t stand it if ONE person in my circle says something about me, can you imagine having to deal with your life so publicly?! I don’t envy that at all. She is clearly someone who is passionate about what she does and she has sought ways to make her dream a reality. You can see she has worked and continues to work so hard. Those are the reasons I admire her. It’s not the other ‘obvious’ factors that cause people to take someone like her at face value. I could go into more details, but here are the images from the week (no pictures of the actual show are allowed):
The posters around the city:
The sign at the Gramercy and a Graffiti sticker tag:
Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine at the Lady Gaga concert at Madison Square Garden in February 2011. She was a total fan, up and dancing, taking pictures of the show with her iPhone…New York City. (Canon 550D, Canon EF Lens 70-300mm)
I had been abroad never touching foot on U.S. soil from August 2003 until February 2011. And from 2006 until 2011, I was in Vietnam and Africa, so concerts weren’t common occurrences. Except for Paul Oakenfold in Tokyo and Coldplay in Hong Kong, I hadn’t really seen anything live. And Gaga wasn’t that big in Vietnam, but as I was leaving, Just Dance, Paparazzi, Bad Romance, and Alejandro were just starting to play a lot in bars and clubs. I wasn’t much of a fan at all, but I did like Alejandro. A lot. So, off to Africa for 4 months and then finally, I returned to the States in February. I was working in Manhattan and just in awe of Big City Life again. And it hit me that there’s probably a concert there every night. And naively I walked up the steps to Madison Square Garden and saw posters and posters of everyone famous in the world it seemed, and they were all going to be there that month! Then I saw Gaga. And I was like, ‘No way.’ Again, still not really a fan at that point, but committed to having all kinds of experiences… I walked up to the window and asked for two tickets to her show in mid-February. The man stifled a chuckle, but humored me by, I think, pretending to touch the keys on his computer keyboard. He then looked up and said, “No. Sorry. It’s sold out. Let me try looking for just one.” And smiled again. And back to his ‘air tapping’ of a keyboard. “Nope. All sold out.” I wasn’t dejected, though, I was just like, Ok, I’m going to have to bolt over straight from work and scalp away. Longer story shorter…that Monday night of her show, I got a ticket in…but mostly saw her ass for most of the show. Not that I’m complaining, but the show was so fantastic…phenomenal, that I knew halfway through, that I’d have to come back the next night. And I did. And this time I knew the layout of the Garden better, so I got a great ticket, just two rows behind Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine. And this picture above was from that second night’s seat. All I can say, is that you don’t have to be a Gaga fan at all to appreciate her talent, her passion, and to embrace the feeling that you couldn’t escape even if you wanted to: the feeling of freedom and letting go and just believing that it is 100% ok to be exactly who you are. Madison Square Garden. NYC. FEB2011. (Canon 550D, Canon EF Lens 70-300mm)
Ok, I’m the first to admit, I’m not a very good stalker. I don’t push my way in too close and I certainly don’t care if Gaga ever sees me. For me, it’s about just ‘trying to get that shot’ just for your pure aesthetic joy. Here she is entering the underground parking garage at the Rockefeller Center to get ready for her appearance on the SNL Season Finale. Don’t blink or you’ll miss her. New York City. Summer/Fall 2011. (Canon 550D, Canon EF Lens 70-300mm)
One Sunday afternoon, I was sitting on a bench outside a coffeehouse on 4th Street in the East Village.That’s Carey Mulligan in the flower-printed skirt heading for the entrance of the theatre. She was in New York to do a two-month stint in the play “Through a Glass Darkly.” Summer 2011. (Canon 550D, Canon EF Lens 70-300mm)
The official website reads: “…a non-stop collision of dynamic music, visceral emotion, and kinetic aerial imagery.” The show ends its spectacular run in NYC on November 11th, 2012. Daryl Roth Theatre, New York City. Summer 2011. (Canon 550D, Canon EFS Lens 18-135mm)