Feature Response: We blinked… and Poof! Gaga took over the world

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

New York Magazine’s Vanessa Grigoriadis is responsible for “Growing up Gaga;” a feature story about… yes, “her.” Lady Gaga currently reigns as the biggest pop star in the world. In March 2010, Grigoroadis published the story that had been in the works for a year.

Rewind to March 2009: Grigoroadis landed a one-on-one interview with the then up-and-coming Gaga, who had just released her low-budget video for “Just Dance.” This is the basis for the first part of the feature story.

Grigoroadis begins by giving a detailed description of where she met with Gaga; The Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. This is where the rendezvous took place, and this is what will carry her story. She gives a brief bit of background on Gaga at the time (“opening for New Kids on the Block), which gives emphasis to how quickly Gaga rose to fame, and literally how far she has come. Grigoroadis also recalls some of her own expectations for Gaga back in 2009, before meeting with her: “I assumed that someone with a stage name of “Lady” was going to be a bit standoff-ish.”

The bulk of the first page of the story is derived from the interview itself. In both detail and content, Grigoroadis paints a clear picture of both the scene and the mood of the meeting. She also does well quoting Gaga, implementing her banter strategically throughout the piece.

Moving on, Grigoroadis focused her research solely on Gaga’s claim to fame over the course of the last year. This was part of her section called “How a pop-star is manufactured.” In this part, she writes about how Lady Gaga was in the right place at the right time with the right sound and the WAY right look, calling her “visually iconic.” Sayonara, Madonna! Grigoroadis also gives credit to Gaga for her willingness to be “a mutant, a cartoon.”

The rest of the feature focuses on the true transformation from Stefani Joanne Germanotta to Lady Gaga, even going so far as to detail where she got her stage name from to how she channels Andy Warhol (another subject of her research for the piece).

Other aspects to the feature story were a few multimedia pieces (i.e., a “look-book: 101 Gaga Outfits”). The pictures chosen in throughout the story are brilliant and really add emphasis to Grigoroadis’ idea of how Gaga was “manufactured.”

Grigoroadis did a brilliant job at taking the reader on Gaga’s journey from an amateur New York singer to nearly overnight sensation. From the organization of the article to the detail Grigoroadis uses to elucidate to the research that was obviously done, this piece is an iconic look at the biggest modern day icon.

Arian Foster- NFL star running back and… behind the scenes poet?

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Talk about staying grounded!

Arian Foster, running-back for the Houston Texans, has made quite a name for himself in his first years in the NFL.

But that is not all he is known for- Foster is an avid poet, writer, and literary junkie. As this article says, Arian is “not just poetry in motion, but a poet in motion.” Also included in the article is a sample of some of Fosters’ work.

Don’t let the muscles fool you!

The Poetry Foundation: Poetry at your Fingertips

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

The Poetry Foundation’s website seemingly has it all:  They broadcast poetry, they broadcast critiques of poetry, they run a poetry magazine, they feature video and audio of poets and artists, and they have interactive tools to allow for more convenient and user friendly access to poetry.  The Poetry Foundation lives, breathes and yes, eats poetry!

One of the leading literary foundations in the world, the Poetry Foundation was established in 2003, developing out of the Modern Poetry Association, which was founded in 1941.  The non-profit organization is working to raise poetry awareness, so to speak.  Poetry POWER!  They aim to make the art form a more influential in American culture. The Poetry Foundation is leading the way in helping to re-frame the receptivity of poetry by creating new methods for availability and encouraging new kinds of poetry, poets, and readers.

The website generates news about poetry per day for dedicated readers.  It also has more simple tools, such as the “find a poem,” where viewers can navigate their way to poems by searching by category.  They also have a “poetry tool,” where viewers can limit their experience by occasion, poet, keywords, or titles.  These features are perfect for students in school who are assigned a project on poetry or a specific poet.

Also online is Poetry Magazine, which was founded in Chicago by Harriet Monroe in 1912, and is published by the foundation.  Online viewers can access limited content of current and past issues before deciding to subscribe.  There is also an opportunity for poets/writers to submit their work for possible publication.  Another piece to the website is “Harriet: The Blog.”  Harriet is a news blog on the website and provides online discussion about poetry.

If I could contribute to the Poetry Foundation’s website, I would pitch the following three concepts:

One: Implement an online video forum for poets and fans to connect.  Perhaps, run a week out of the month where poets with new material come to talk about poetry and answer questions about their work via live chat.  I think the poetry world is not only niche enough to have people be interested in something like this, but specific enough to foster a friendly and mature atmosphere for discussion.

Two: I have this idea of a piece on the Marilyn Monroe book, “Fragments,” that was released this month.  (onMason interstitial here) Though I am not completely sure how it would work, I want to do a slideshow of her most iconic pictures, and pair them with an excerpt from the book that corresponds chronologically to when each picture was taken.  This would aim to demonstrate the contrast between her public image and her private-self.

Three: I would like to see something on the website that dives into “How-to’s.”  For example, how to critique a poem could possibly be featured in a section of the website.   Or perhaps, how to write certain type of poem would be useful.  I see this bringing traffic to the website and consequently, increasing the reputable image that it already has.