x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Book review: Lady Gaga's rise from go-go dancer to pop star

Brendan Sullivan paints an intimate portrait of pop Diva Lady Gaga in Rivington Was Ours.

Rivington Was Ours: Lady Gaga, the Lower East Side and the Prime of our Lives

Brendan Jay Sullivan

Fourth Estate

With Lady Gaga's third album, Artpop, hitting the shelves in November, it is easy to be cynical about Brendan Jay Sullivan's "intimate portrait" of the pop star with Rivington Was Ours.

Sullivan, billed as Gaga's "old friend and former DJ", offers a few revealing glimpses on her rise from New York go-go dancer to pop queen.

He gushingly states, for instance, that Gaga's intimacy with fans stems from her early days as an empathetic social butterfly.

But it's not all platitudes.

Sullivan says Gaga's air of supreme confidence was hard earned; despite landing success at the age of 20 with a record deal, she was stuck in an emotionally abusive relationship with a heavy-metal drummer and bar owner.

While these little insights help in painting a more complete picture of the image-savvy Gaga, Rivington Was Ours works best as a musical memoir of the New York go-go dance scene with its mix of desperadoes and wannabes.

Sullivan treats them all sentimentally, praising their determination to dream; and in Gaga's case, hers came true.

* Saeed Saeed