"[Gaga Stigmata has] very modern, edgy photography to free flowing, urban narratives without censure to analytical essays, et cetera—like Gaga, imagination without ... limits. And the beauty is that anyone can submit work to the site, so artists and writers from all over the [world] have joined this experiment." -The Declaration.org

"Since March 2010, [Gaga Stigmata] has churned out the most intense ongoing critical conversation on [Lady Gaga]."
-Yale's The American Scholar

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Introducing: Our New Creative Editor!

Gaga Stigmata is delighted to announce our new Creative Editor, Samatha Cohen! Below, a message from Sam to our readers.

XO
Kate & Meghan

Hi Everyone!

I am beyond thrilled to be joining Gaga Stigmata as Creative Editor!  I’ll be curating the site’s creative works, including fiction, poetry, visual, video, mixed media, & performance art, as well as Bled Threads.

I had amazing talks with Kate and Meghan and we’d like to see Gaga Stigmata’s creative section expand to include not only art that considers Gaga-ness directly, but also art that is conceptually or aesthetically linked to Gaga’s project in any way.  My pet Gaga-related interests include identity performance, post-humanism and cyborgs, sex, queerness, myth, genesis, trickster, monstrosity, artifice, subjectivity, social justice work, fashion, and flux.  Please send me work that deals with any of these, or any other obsession you & Gaga share.

Look out for new calls for submissions coming soon, and changes to the creative portion of the site.  I can’t wait to see your work!

Love,
Sam


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

STIGMATAVISION EPISODE 2: FORTHCOMING

Traductor, Traditore: (Un)translating Born This Way’s Duplicitous Message

By Samantha Cohen

It’s taken a long time for me to respond to “Born This Way.” It took a long time for me to watch the video, even. The first time I heard the song, I had to close its window before it ended. Oh Gaga, I thought. No.

Maybe it is silly, embarrassing even, to have such a prolonged emotional response to a pop song. To be actually saddened. But in the bio-deterministic world of mainstream media, Gaga had been an anti-essentialist beacon, beaming into the living rooms of, like, all U.S. families. In a world where female pop stars are packaged to be palatable, commoditized and literally defined by the gaze, Gaga’s art and fashion said fuck the gaze and fuck gazing into mirrors, even. Invent an identity. Invent another one. Become who you want to be and then become who you want to be and then become who you want to be again.

My love for Gaga had been based on her performative assertion of performance as identity and it broke suddenly and crushingly with three words: Born this way. I don’t get to love a lot of things in this world and so I hold on fiercely to the things I do. Lady Gaga was the only contemporary mainstream pop artist I was able to love and now what.

I still have complicated feelings, but I’m ready, I think, to work through them, here. It was Meghan Vicks’ article on Gaga as trickster that sparked a bit of hope toward the reignition of my Gaga love. What proceeds will be an argument that “Born This Way” marks Gaga’s self-outing as a trickster figure and that in “Born This Way,” she uses her trickster status to further the cause of gay rights. It will be, too, a personal attempt to redeem Gaga, an elaborate excuse-making for an artist I want badly to love.

***

So, trickster: Coyote, Raven, Prometheus, Loki, Eshu, Hermes, Mercurius. Et fucking al. All mythologies, all cultures, have a trickster figure, and at the site of any change in the social fabric, there s-he is. Trickster is shape-shifter, gender-transcender, a two-spirited seducer. Trickster embodies both sides of any binary opposition. Trickster is culture hero and amoral jokester. S-he is sacred and hilarious, ridiculous and godly, good and evil. Do I need to go on to convince you that Trickster is Gaga?

Okay but what I do need to convince you of, maybe, still, is that Gaga identifies herself as Trickster in the “Born This Way” video. So here: The video opens on a pink-triangle-contained Gaga with legs up where antlers might be, an animal (but still human) Gaga, a between-genders Gaga high-heeled and bearded.


This Gaga is revealed to have two heads and two faces, symbolizing Trickster’s dual nature. Gaga’s second face tells us a creation myth. A creation myth that breeds both good and evil. Wherever there’s a creation story, there Trickster is.

Plus, Trickster is able always to descend to the realm of the dead – to play around and shift things down there. At various points in the video, Gaga enters a sort of underground meat locker where a dead guy dwells. Gaga herself’s in death drag. We know it’s death drag because while the actual dead guy’s catatonic, Gaga’s dancing vigorously, chest-beating, even. She’s physically manipulating the dead guy, presumably for her own ends. Gaga’s down in the death realm for a shifting.

***

But so here’s the thing about Trickster: Trickster’s ends are always the ends of creation, of social change. Trickster is thief, outlaw, destroyer, and ultimately, creator. Trickster uses the Lorde-ian “master’s tools” to dismantle his superstructure, all while entertaining and enchanting, distracting and seducing the fuck out of him. Or H-I-M. Coyote, Loki, Anansi, and Prometheus, for example, all charmed their ways into stealing fire from the gods in order to bring the sun, moon, and stars to the people of their respective cultures.

Trickster uses the language of the dominant culture to get the job done.

“Born This Way” is essentialist, for sure – but Gaga knows that essentialism’s what gay-basher bullies are able to hear, what those in power to change the gay rights situation know how to respond to: There is no other way. You were born this way.

In his book Trickster Makes The World, Lewis Hyde argues that Tricksters are “joint-disturbers” (256) – that Trickster pinpoints the joints of any being, culture, or idea it plans to attack and, in a sense, lubes up these joints in order to move around the more solid pieces they connect, to slide them smoothly, smilingly, and reconnect them elsewhere. Trickster must fit easily into either side of the joint, must seduce both sides in order to slide them so smoothly. Gaga recognizes where the joint of the gay rights debate is, and she works that joint.

Gaga’s aware that U.S. gay rights hinge on proof (or at least belief) that homosexuality is biological. The rhetoric surrounding the U.S. gay rights debate has been, on the right side of the joint, that homosexuality is a sinful choice (God says), and, on the left side, that homosexuality is genetic, and therefore cannot be sinful, since it’s not a choice at all (Science says). “Born This Way” sides with the science of the left, functioning as an anthem self-assured enough to fill in any gaps the scientific studies might leave. Simultaneously, it challenges the right by bringing their God into its message and subtly questioning their faith in H-I-M: Gaga’s God makes no mistakes. Gaga’s God didn’t mess up in creating the gays.

***

Hyde claims that Trickster always serves as translator between two realms. The realms between which Gaga translates in “Born This Way” are actually not the realms of the right and the left; they are the realms of born-this-way gay rights activists and anti-essentialist self-performers. While pro-gay equality and anti-gay equality sides of the argument are essentially speaking the same language (no choice vs. choice), we (queers, academics) are literally speaking a different language than those who seek proof of genetic gayness. We require a translator. And Hyde reminds us of the Italian saying, “traductor, traditore,” or, translator = traitor (264).

Signifying Monkey defeats his Lion oppressor using verbal tricks and witty discourse the Lion is unable to understand. Though Monkey is speaking Lion language, Monkey twists this language. Monkey uses symbolism and the Lion can only understand what is literal. Br’er Rabbit, too, despite being rabbit-sized, uses wit, trickery, and the invention of a new symbolism in order to dismantle the enslaving social rhetoric.

It’s important that, just as Signifying Monkey speaks in Lion language, Gaga doesn’t use academic jargon or the language of queer subcultures. Her litany of identities doesn’t include butch, boi, bear, or even queer. She is speaking the language that the dominant culture understands to be theirs.

One thing Gaga’s use of the language of the dominant culture enables her to do is insert the word “transgender” into the mainstream lexicon. Transgendered life, is what she says. LGBT has sort of just become code for “gay,” while its other initials get lost. The word transgendered is still underlined in red by MS Word’s spell check where I’m typing this.

***
   
Gaga’s creation myth is pretty clearly for us, the anti-essentialist self-performing ones, the academics, the artists, the queers. Who else cares about origin stories or the “multiverse” or mucus-y glittery cell division but the same freaks who care about performance as identity? And one way to read Gaga’s creation myth is as a form of extended justification, an apology for the essentialism to come. The final line of Gaga’s creation myth: “It seems easy, you imagine, to gravitate easily and unwaveringly towards good. But…how can I protect something so perfect, without evil?” As she says this, Gaga holds a machine gun, rendering actual the metaphorical master’s tool.

And when Gaga descends from her heavenly Mother Monster throne and enters the world of the song, she’s wearing (comparatively) subtle makeup and a bikini with dainty chains. Her attire is decidedly normal, pop-video appropriate. At first glance, it’s something Britney might wear. But Gaga’s prosthetic cheekbones and strange magazine glossiness exaggerate her normalcy in a way that lets us know that Gaga hasn’t walked away from her monsters, but is adopting the uniform of the mainstream in order to work inside the system, for us.

***

But so by showing us that she identifies as Gay Rights Trickster, Gaga invites us to look beyond the platitudinous words of her almost-parodically reductive anthem, or to look deeper into them. But then what is she saying beyond the seeming-essentialism?

First, the vaginas through which Gaga’s new race are birthed are made not only of shiny pink membrane, but also of black patent and glitter and silver chains, dissolving the boundary between nature and artifice. And, then! Post creation-myth, in the first shot of the dance floor, the dancers are hunched and shadowed to be shaped like uteri and ovaries.


We might miss this had the video not primed us (at least) twice already with ovary/uterus shapes during the creation story, but since we’re primed, we totally see it. And what it suggests is that we can form ourselves into our own uterus-and-ovaries, into our own self-birthing centers. That we can curl in on ourselves and gestate, any time we need to, and be reborn.

The factory rows of Gaga heads, inchoate and waxy, suggest that there are multiple possible selves for all of us, that we simply have to call on one of our own partly-formed baby heads, to shake it awake and wash it off, in order to be new. I love this.

***

I’ve convinced myself now that Gaga has not had an essentialist conversion. But I still have tangled feelings about whether it is okay to put such a strong essentialist message out into so much of the world. I’m pretty sure most people who hear “Born This Way,” or even watch the video, will not see past the apparent biodeterminism. Isn’t it destructive to tell gay kids, or “orient-made” (I won’t go into this term’s issues here) kids that the have no choice in who they become, that they are victims of the circumstances of their births?

But then, shortly after Gaga’s Prime Rib of America speech, DADT was repealed. Months after the release of “Born This Way,” gay marriage was legalized in New York. On June 24 just after New York legalized gay marriage, Gaga tweeted “I can’t stop crying. We did it, kids.” Maybe this is not self-puffery but just…somewhat accurate. We could ask whether these huge systematic changes are worth the propagating of an essentialist message, but I think a better question is, is there another way to create change? Or do we need this trickstery use of (which is also a propagation of) the dominant language, even if that language is harmful?

I don’t find “Born This Way” inspiring or beautiful. What I wish the whole world would watch instead is the scene in Paris is Burning where two joyful-looking transwomen frolic on the beach singing, “I am what I am / I am my own creation!” But what does this accomplish, social change-wise? 65 million people have watched the “Born This Way” video on YouTube alone. Paris is Burning, I think, is relegated mostly to the academy, or to queer living rooms only.

Angela Carter wrote that “a free woman in an unfree society will be a monster.” Gaga extends this monster-ness to all of the disenfranchised, the bullied, and the pushed-out who are dancing in 5-inch heels and hair dye (or in bowties and suspenders, or in A-shirts and Dickies). And maybe part of the monster quality is that we monsters can’t speak in our own language if we want to be taken seriously by the dominant culture, if we want to create big systemic change. Monsters have to skew, to craft, to seduce. Gaga, as self-appointed Monster Representative to the dominant culture, must be Trickster. We can go on speaking our language in our queer living rooms. We can create spaces for monster discourse and monster love. But if we want equal rights, we need a Trickster representative.

Before “Born This Way” begins Gaga tells us to “Put (our) paws up.” Not our hands. Our hands are for holding our lovers, for cutting friends’ hair and watering plants. Our hands are too pure for this kind of work. No, for Trickster work, we need our paws – our Monkey paws, our monster paws.

Author Bio:
Samantha Cohen is a writer living behind the Scientology building in Los Angeles.  Her fiction can be found in PANK, Black Clock, Storyglossia, The New Orleans Review, and Mary Magazine.  She's teaching a class called Semiotics of Fashion in the Critical Studies program at CalArts this fall.

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Hair Textiles and Gaga

By Tove Hermanson


We all know Gaga loves her wigs, but she also dabbles with clothes that resemble wigs, as with this LaVer dress she recently wore to a taping of The View:

Gaga on the View, May 2011
LaVer couture hair dress, 2010 collection
Since medieval times, locks of hair have been given to lovers as amulets, and the Victorians wove hair of the deceased into jewelry (more on fashion and mourning). These customs reveal the sentimental properties we imbue hair with (in a way we do not imbue, say, fingernail clippings or dead skin), as a representation of a greater spiritual, emotional, and sensual body.

Victorian hair jewelry
Hair is one of those components of the body that has a split personality: one the one hand, it's a sensual symbol of youth, fertility and sexuality; on the other hand, when it is removed from its proper (that is, expected) source, it becomes something horrible and icky (in a tub drain, on your clothes, etc.). Alexander McQueen tapped into both the marvelous and the macabre associations of hair (specifically that Victorian prostitutes would sell theirs for kits of hair locks, which were bought by people to give to their lovers[i]) by sewing clear packets of neatly coiled tufts of hair into the linings of his garments as his signature label; in early collections, it was his own hair:

Alexander McQueen hair label
While hair from a loved one may conjure desire, longing, or melancholy (relatively benign emotions), a clump of unfamiliar hair is typically met with repulsion. Kate Kretz explored the comfort, familiarity, sentimentality, and seemingly contradicting uneasiness displaced hair elicits from us by embroidering human hair directly onto a pillowcase; the hair could just as easily be a blood stain, so wrong does it seem, severed from the body that produced it (imagine laying your face onto that!):

My Young Lover, 2005 by Kate Kretz
Humans are obsessed with caring for the hair on our heads (the hair product isles in any drug store is testament to that), and equally obsessed with removing hair from “undesirable” places (legs, underarms, bikini areas, backs, chests). Body hair on women has been considered undesirable in many cultures for millenia. Since the great Ancient Egyptian and Middle Eastern cultures, women having been mixing their own version of Nads (a sugary depilatory, if you haven’t seen the hilarious infomercials) and home-brewed bleaches to remove and conceal unwanted facial and body hair: golden razors were even found in the tomb of Egyptian Queen Hetepheres[ii] (so she could shave in the afterlife?).

Simply moving hair from a “desirable” location (head, eyelashes), to an “undesirable” one (anywhere else) grosses most of us out. Lady Gaga loves to push the boundaries of psychological comfort, and she revels in the sartorial social statement. To wit, in performances of her new song “Hair,” she has been appearing in a series of dresses made entirely of hair extensions (frequently matched to her wigs). In her recent performance ofHair on the Paul OGrady Show, she wore a bald cap over her natural mane while serenading her wig (which matched her hair dress), and put it on halfway through, to complement the chorus “I am my hair”:

Gaga on Paul O’Grady Show with dyed hair dress by Charlie Le Mindu, June 2011
The piano itself is covered with a textile of darker, curlier fake hair that looks not unlike Alexander McQueen’s synthetic hair coat from a decade ago:

Alexander McQueen “Eshu” collection, Fall/Winter 2000-01
Words like “freak” and “free” appear in Gaga’s “Hair” and also the song “Hair from the ‘60s musical Hair, as well as an ambiguous social agenda that is nonetheless important to the singers, embedded within their respective ‘dos (long and natural as in Hair, or long and fake for Gaga). Each song’s lyrics refer to parental disapproval, judgement from the public, and an overwhelming urge to fight this prejudice against nonconformist appearance, with hair as the symbol of individuality.

At a Good Morning America Summer Concert, Gaga shared with the audience, “People used to make fun of me for my wigs, and I’m just telling you without my wigs I feel like I can only be one person and I want to be so many.” She then proceeded to don not one, but several wigs over the course of the song.

Compare Gaga’s blonde hair dress and blonde wig to Maison Martin Margiela’s hair dress from a couple years ago:

Gaga in blonde hair dress, October 2010
Maison Martin Margiela, SS09
Like Gaga, Margiela also paired the wig jacket with a wig of identical false hair that tumbles into the garment, burring the boundary between desirable (i.e. head) hair, and undesirable (i.e. body hair).

Until the last few decades with the emergence of the so-called “metrosexual,” men’s body hair has gone largely unnoticed and unregulated, while women’s body hair has been increasingly vilified: women’s shrinking underwear and swimsuit styles have corresponded to shrinking stylized pubic hair surface area. Compare this illustration from the original The Joy of Sex (published in 1972, a singular decade when body hair of men and women was encouraged to grow undisturbed), to this more recent photo of Gisele Bundchen in a bikini-- Gisele’s pubic hair must be depilatoried to the size of a quarter for none to show:

Left: from The Joy of Sex, 1972; Right: Gisele Bundcen

The delightfully vulgar electroclash-y singer Peaches pushed the limits of “acceptable” female hair in her music video Set it Off. Over the course of the video, her hair grows – head hair and eyelashes, but also underarm hair, her treasure trail advances on her belly, and her pubic hair creeps down her legs. Gaga wore a similar merkin, underarm hair, and head wig in teal for a performance of Born This Way” at the MuchMusic Awards:

Peaches in Set it Off video (excuse the terrible quality of the video still)
Gaga at MuchMusic Awards, 2011
Beyond the pure gross factor (which in and of itself is satisfying, I think), by experimenting with hair dresses and body hair wigs, Gaga contributes to this commentary on controlled female sexuality via (head) hair care and (body) hair removal/censorship.

Though her underarm and pubic hair is not usually depicted, Mary Magdalene of the Golden Legend is frequently portrayed with her (natural) hair so long that a) she can wash Jesus’ feet with it, and b) she can wear it as a flimsy dress of sorts. John the Baptist is also said to have worn a shirt of hair, though it is not his own (the itching was a perpetual, self-inflicted punishment):

Penitent Mary Magdalene by Titian, c. 1531 – 35
Maesta: St. John the Baptist by Simone Martini, 15th century
In the collapsing of Biblical stories there are three Marys that are merged into a single figure: Mary of Bethany, Mary the Magdalene, and Mary the Prostitute. In Western Christianity (i.e. Catholicism), Mary is the redeemed prostitute who meets Christ, abandons her ways, and goes on to preach the Gospel to the idol-worshippers in Marseilles. Eventually, following the Golden Legend, she becomes a hermit. She resides in the desert, and every day is lifted by angels to receive nourishment from God. While she originally wears a hair shirt (or simply covers herself with her long flowing hair), in artistic representations her hair shirt is sometimes depicted as actual body hair.

Mary’s hair is a symbol of her sex’s sensuality, an instrument of charity and redemption, and it also hints at her profession’s presumed immodesty. Like Madonna, Gaga returns again and again to themes of religion and sex in her performances; as a prostitute-turned-Christian, Mary Magdalene literally embodies both. In the Judas video, Gaga places herself in Mary’s role (albeit not in hair dresses).

Mary Magdalene is a likely reference point in the phenomenal “hair sculptures” of stylist duo Gregory Dean (the first of which resembles Gaga’s LaVer dress, yes?). Note how the model’s ponytail merges seamlessly into her dresses, eradicating the boundaries between head and body tresses, “acceptable” and “unacceptable” hair, simultaneously rebellious, political, and irreverently religious:


I don’t know about you, but I kinda want one.


[i]Alexander McQueen quotation from “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” by Andrew Bolton, Yale University Press, New Haven: 2011. p. 35.
[ii]Virginia Sarah Smith, Clean: a history of personal hygiene and purity, Oxford World's Classics, Oxford University Press, 2007, pp.66f

Author Bio:
Tove Hermanson is a freelance writer and lecturer on fashion history and culture with a background in English, Film Theory, Art History, and Costume Design. She explores everyday culture through a fashion-historical lens to gain insight into politics, social and class struggles, gender and sexual identity themes, race issues, and more. She currently publishes articles in the Huffington Post, the academic fashion blogs Worn Through and her own Thread for Thought, in addition to ad hoc lectures. Additionally, she is the Editor of the Costume Society of America's monthly E-Newsletter.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

YOGAGA

By Meghan Blalock


Cut the ignorance-born doubt abiding in your heart by the sword of Self-knowledge, and get up (to fight), O Arjuna. In the battlefield of our hearts we all must face both our virtues and our vices, our Jesuses and our Judases. Sex, money, vanity. By approaching both the dark and light parts of ourselves, we aim not to destroy but to acknowledge them as inextricable and equally powerful elements of our Selves. They will aid us in fulfilling our destinies, in realizing the Highest version of our Selves. Jesus is my virtue, and Judas is the demon I cling to. Without the Fame there would be no Fame Monster(s) and without the Fame Monster(s) we could not have been Born This Way. A Karma-yogi gets freedom from both vice and virtue in this life itself.

My cocaine soundtrack was always The Cure. I would lock myself in my room and listen to “Never Enough” on repeat while I did bags and bags of cocaine. Bullying damaged Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta’s ego and her damaged ego drove her to anger and her anger drove her to self-worship. Then her self-worship unconsciously drove her to achieve self-realization and her self-realization has spawned the self-realization of millions. Therefore, Gaga is a yoga teacher. Because yoga is learning to deal with the consequences of who you really are.

She leads us by example, a warrior queen living passionately tonight. Considering also your duty as a warrior you should not waver. Because there is nothing more auspicious for a warrior than a righteous war. Only the fortunate warriors … get such an opportunity for an unsought war that is like an open door to heaven. Warrior queen, warrior one, warrior two. It is this that constitutes the essence of yoga: this self-realization that we are all seeking, consciously or unconsciously, and towards which we are all gradually evolving. Reverse warrior.

It is only our own ignorance, our inability to discriminate between the real and unreal, that prevents us from realizing our true nature. In typical Gaga fashion, it is through her yoga that she also defies yoga, as by all accounts she is realizing her true nature precisely by refusing to discriminate between the real and the unreal. I know not the difference between the hair that grows from my head and the teal wigs that grow from my imagination. They are the same. When we practice yoga, we are encouraged to penetrate illusion to become one with the true nature of our Selves; Gaga continues to discover her core Self by not only penetrating illusion, but also by immersing herself in it, so that there is no meaningful difference between what is illusory and what is real. I’m in a permanent state of Gaga.

It’s important, though, to discern between illusion as performance and illusion as expression. Yoga teachers young and old will warn against yoga as fashion show. Yoga, they will say, is for the practitioner to work on herself and not to create a display for others; the former aims to transcend the ego – the ultimate goal of yoga – while the latter feeds it. One may ask which, if either, if both, Gaga has achieved. People criticize her for trying to divert attention away from her music by wearing “outlandish,” “weird,” and “bizarre” things. But that verbage only has meaning in the context of a subject judging an object. Does her motivation for wearing teal wigs originate from her Self or from the desire to please others? The former is yoga, the latter is not. We all exist as images in the minds of others, but yoga and Gaga posit that even without those subjective minds making us into objects, we would still exist. Life is not slain! Never the spirit was born; the spirit shall cease to be never; Never was time it was not. Birthless and deathless and changeless remaineth the spirit for ever. This reflects Gaga’s now-infamous philosophy of Fame: I want people to find a sense of inner confidence and Fame for themselves that has nothing to do with being famous.


Another thread in Gaga’s narrative is the transformation of reality into dreams, and the melding of the two so they are intertwined as to be inseparable, in the same vein as reality and illusion. We just told lie after lie after surreal dream after moment, ‘You can do it, you can do it, you can be it.’ And then we woke up one day and we were like, ‘We are. It worked.’ I told so many people for so long that I was a superstar [when] I wasn’t, and one morning I woke up and the delusion was real. This yoking together of dream and reality is in line with the textbook definition of yoga: The word yoga means literally “joining.” Of course, in yogic tradition, the two aspects of Self being joined together are body and mind (the third element being the manipulation of breath as a method of tying the two together), but this body/mind duality parallels both Gaga’s reality/fantasy and reality/dream dualities. 26 postures to freedom. Possible yoga junkie, is there such thing as Bikram rehab? Before you can get into Bikram’s standing head-to-knee posture, you have to have an idea of what that is; Gaga teaches that by simply having that idea, by imagining it to be real, we manifest its reality.


The underlying purpose of all the different aspects of the practice of yoga is to reunite the individual Self (jiva) with the Absolute or pure consciousness (Brahman). It might be argued then that what Gaga has done is to reuinte her Self (reality) with the Absolute consciousness (fantasy and dreams): she continues to yoke together Stefani and Lady Gaga, Judas and Jesus, human and pop superstar, pedestrian life and theater. While we know Gaga practices yoga – I’m feeling great! I just went to yoga in Singapore. Red lipstick all over the place. – we  can see that she also lives it.


Yoga is to put together your spirit with the movement. You become.
And this is what life is - to become.

The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.

Don’t believe your limitations.


Works cited:
1.     Krishna, The Bhagavad Gītā
2.     Lady Gaga, “Judas”
3.     Krishna, The Bhagavad Gītā
4.     Lady Gaga: Just Dance: The Biography, Helia Phoenix; Orion 2010
5.     Sam Chase, Yoga Teacher, New York City, June 2011
6.     Krishna, The Bhagavad Gītā
7.     The Sivananda Companion to Yoga, The Sivananda Yoga Center; Simon & Schuster 1983
8.     The Sivananda Companion to Yoga, The Sivananda Yoga Center; Simon & Schuster 1983
9.     Lady Gaga, V Magazine, July 2011
10.  Lady Gaga, Gagvision #4
11.  Krishna, The Bhagavad Gītā
12.  Lady Gaga, Gagavision #7
13.  Lady Gaga, The Backseat Prayer, HBO Special, May 2011
14.  The Sivananda Companion to Yoga, The Sivananda Yoga Center; Simon & Schuster 1983
15.  Lady Gaga, Twitter, November 2010
16.  The Sivananda Companion to Yoga, The Sivananda Yoga Center; Simon & Schuster 1983
17.  Lady Gaga, Twitter, July 2011
18.  Michel Swornik, Yoga Teacher, Student of Swami Rama, New York City, July 2011
19.  The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran; Wordsworth 1996
20.  Michel Swornik, Yoga Teacher, Student of Swami Rama, New York City, July 2011

Author Bio:
Meghan Blalock is a writer living in New York City. She writes for Gotham magazine, and has also written pieces for the local music blog Sound System NYC, The Rumpus, Southern Living, Gaga Stigmata, Woman's Day, and other publications. Her poetry has also been published in amphibi.us. Her work is viewable here and here. She's currently training to be a Yoga instructor.

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