Most of the time Twitter can be an awful, awful place.
But on rare occasions its patrons can band together to answer the most pressing questions that movies and life have to offer. OK, never life, just movies.
In the wake of “A Star Is Born” finally hitting cinemas last week there was one such question that was on everyone who saw the film’s mind; just where exactly does Lady Gaga’s character Ally and her dad, played by Andrew Dice Clay, live at the start of the film?
Buzz Feed’s critic and culture writer Alison Willmore posed that very question to Twitter on Monday, provoking a tidal wave of responses. So when I had the chance to speak to Shangela, who plays the proprietor of the drag bar where Ally performs and wows Bradley Cooper’s Jackson Maine, I just had the find out the answer for myself.
“It is nondescript in the actual film,” explained the glorious Shangela. “But in my mind it is a bar that takes place right where I got my drag start, which is Los Angeles, California, in West Hollywood. Where he roles up on it kind of looks more like off Sunset kind of gig.”
“We actually shot it in Silver Lake area, Los Feliz area, Los Angeles definitely for sure. Someone tagged me, I shouldn’t really say this because I’m not certain, but someone tagged me in a post the other day saying that they were passing the bar where the shot it.”
“The bar is called Virgil’s Bar. It is not an actual drag bar. But is a bar that they used for the location.”
Alison’s question provoked such a crazed response even Warner Bros felt the need to answer, especially as Lady Gaga and her father are seemingly from New York, but the film is obviously set in California, as the opening scene unfolds at a West Coast music festival.
The Warner Bros rep told Vanity Fair that they live in “a house on Kensington Road in the Angelino Heights/Echo Park area, which became the house where Ally lives with her father, a limousine driver who operates his business from home.”
But back to Shangela.
Because after solving that quandary, Shangela then went into more detail about working on “A Star Is Born,” crediting co-writer, star and director Bradley Cooper for giving providing the freedom to create an authentic back-stage drag experience and performance for the film.
“With this character, who is an emcee that not only runs the bar but also is kind of like Lady Gaga’s drag mother. She is my baby and we have really given her the opportunity to let her fly her wings and perform as part of our cast, she is one of our girls.”
“I thought that was amazing to see. On set when we arrived, Bradley Cooper, you could really tell what was going on. He set the scene up, he knew exactly what he wanted.”
“He also invited me directly, saying, ‘Shangela I know you understand this world. Take us there. Go as far as you want and I will take you back if I need to.’ I thought, ‘Honey that’s the green light right there.’”
“So not only did I work on the character itself, but I also got to bring some authenticity from what I have learned, even this year alone I have done a 180 city tour around the world.”
“The things I have seen in those drag bars and dressing rooms I have brought to that character. I was so happy to see how he supported me and Willem in that way and allowed us to bring our experiences to those roles.”
Buy how specifically did Shangela help to make “A Star Is Born” genuine?
“I will say that the chemistry between Willam and I, in the scene where Jackson is playing the guitar, and we are waiting for Ally to come out. Those riffs between Willam and I were based on our natural chemistry together.”
“She and I have worked in films together, like ‘Hurricane Bianca,’ and we have toured the world together. So we have a fun relationship together. In that moment they allowed us to have some fun with our sassy quips back and forth. Those were all us, honey.”
“A Star Is Born” is now in cinemas.