Word on the street—or maybe on this largely rural island you have to say "word on the dirt road"—is that pop superstar Lady Gaga is house-hunting here. We even have an idea of where the little cabin in the woods will be located. (The “little”, “cabin” and even “woods” part are, of course, facetious.) If she does sign her name to a deed—and realistically some power-of-attorney attorney will be signing his name to a corporation called, taking a wild guess, Haute Cholesterol Couteur—then we’ll have the biggest celebrity on our shores since Princess Di tried to nibble an ice cream cone in Edgartown and ended up fleeing to Nantucket.
We’re talking helicopters swooping low like they do in the city when you’ve got a burglar on your roof. We’re talking dopey tourists sitting in cafes wondering whose yacht she’s sunbathing on. And we’re talking paparazzi, the human equivalent of fire ants. This is what Lady Gaga’s presence on island will bring us.
Unless . . .
Unless she can ratchet it down a few notches. She has plenty of role models for ratchet-downers. Jackie O. used to stroll through our towns dressed in jeans, a bandana and huge sunglasses obscuring her uncommonly wide-set eyes. Larry David and David Letterman are so low-key they could be taxidermied in their dens and no one would know the difference.
Islanders appreciate this because, for us, casual Friday occurs seven days a week. We often run our first errands of the day wearing sweatshirts over pajama bottoms. That’s why we leave our celebrities alone, because we want to be left alone and it works both ways.
Okay, so how will Gaga settle in? Something tells me she’ll ditch the yellow fright wigs, the meat dresses and those gruesome lobster claw heels that look like a ballerina contracted elephantiasis of the feet and had special slippers designed for her.
Here’s how we know Gaga can make herself, as they say in spiritual circles, small: I spoke with a Vineyarder who’s had a chance to get to know her. Photographer and local luminato Peter Simon was hired to shoot the Boston part of Gaga’s Monster Ball Tour. He met her backstage in her dressing room and later told me, “Without her wig and costumes and makeup, she’s just this regular girl from New York’s East Side. She’s sweet. She loves the peacefulness of the Vineyard. She said she wanted to get together with Roni and me for a glass of wine.” And will she ask them to call her by her real name, Stefani? Or Ms. Germanotta?
And she’s dying to meet Peter’s sister, Carly.
We know from myriad press reports she’s been property hunting on the Vineyard. A realtor with ties to Chappaquiddick, Fred Roven, was under the impression the pop star may have put in an offer for a $1.6 million tract of land on Chapel Avenue. “It has an old house and some dumpy out-buildings. All of it would need to be bulldozed,” he said. “It isn’t even on the water.” Basically, Fred and I agreed that most of us would be delighted to plunk down $1.6 million on Island property, but it’s chump change for a star of Gaga’s magnitude. (And even for the lousy $1.6 million, we’d want something on the water.)
Yet Gaga’s Chapel Avenue deal looked more and more promising when a man I know who manages a number of Chappy properties said that a contractor had been interviewed and apparently hired. Also on the Chappy meter, Judy Federowitz of Landmarks Real Estate heard through the grapevine that Meg Ryan was selling her place and that Lady Gaga was buying it. Boo hoo. We hate to give up the nicest movie star ever for, well, a pop diva whose official website shows the full Monty of her perfect, porcelain-white fanny.
But, folks, it looks like Gaga’s bought—or is readying to buy—a place in Chilmark. She may have learned that the last ferry to Chappy leaves at midnight—11:15 in the off-season—and couldn’t imagine herself kayaking home at three o’clock in the morning.
The way we know Chilmark’s the It Place is that real estate agents will schmooze till their lips turn blue but, once they have a buyer in hand, mum’s the word. I spoke with an agent in Chilmark who snapped at me that she could lose her license if she disclosed anything about Lady Gaga’s plans—that is, if she had anything to disclose. I left a charming and chirpy message with the realtor who runs this same company and she never called me back. Not that unreturned phone calls are unheard of in this business of gossipy reportage, but still . . .
Oh, also Peter Simon said Gaga was consulting with a famous architect whose name he’d forgotten (is there any way to slap someone over the phone?!) about building in Chilmark.
I think Lady G. will love the peace and quiet of Chilmark. And when she gets tired of it, she can descend into her basement, hit the karaoke machine and accompany herself letting rip with “Just Dance!”
She may have to visit Bobby Pacheco at the butcher section for a new outfit.