4. Lady Gaga (subscription only)
Last summer Neil Strauss flew to England to sit down with Lady Gaga before a show, hear tracks from her upcoming LP and ask her about the difference between Stefani Germanotta and her alter-ego Gaga. "When I wake up in the morning, I feel just like any other insecure 24-year-old girl," she said. "But I say, 'Bitch, you're Lady Gaga, you better fucking get up and walk the walk today,' because [my fans] need that from me. And they inspire me to keep going." She also spoke out against the media for spreading insane rumors about her. "When they start saying that you have extra appendages, you have to assume that they're unable to destroy you," she said. "I've got scratch marks all over my arms, and they say I'm a heroin addict. It's from my costumes. When I pass out onstage, they say that I'm burning out, when I have my own (A) personal health issues and (B) it's fucking hot up there and I'm busting my ass every night. I've heard that Audrey Hepburn used to faint on the set all the time, and nobody thought she was a burnout."
5. Mad Men (subscription only)
With the possible exception of The Wire, no television show of the past decade has been praised as much as Mad Men. The newest season may have been its finest yet, even as the previously unflappable Don Draper's personal and professional life collapsed around him. Writer Eric Konigsberg checked in with the show's creator Matthew Weiner and the cast during the filming of an episode late in the season. "I am a mixture of Roger, Peggy, Don, Pete, Joan, Betty," Weiner said. "They all behave in ways I'm embarrassed to behave, and they all have qualities I wish I had. There's a lot of Joan in me: She has sexual confidence, which I wish I had. Pete is the guy I tried to be in high school: I was the towel snapee. I'm attuned to moments of humiliation. When Peggy is dancing in one episode and Pete says, 'I don't like you like this,' it was a hard thing for me to admit that I had been him — jealous and cruel. If you're a mean or vindictive person, I don't think you can learn it. You have to be raised with it."
6. Roger Waters (subscription only)
Pink Floyd's original Wall tour of 1980/81 only played to four cities across the globe, so when Roger Waters finally revived it this year the shows sold out as quickly as they went on sale — even in the worst year for rock tours in recent memory. Rolling Stone's Brian Hiatt sat in on rehearsals for the epic show, and chatted with Waters about his relationship with Floyd guitarist David Gilmour. "We don't see each other socially," Waters said. "He very much lives in the middle of the countryside in England, and I very much live in Manhattan, so our paths don't cross — but a couple of times when we end up being in England, we'll probably have dinner once in a restaurant. But yeah, there's no fussing and fighting going on." He feels that a reunion tour remains highly unlikely. "David and Nick and I might do a one-off somewhere, but there's no way we're going to do a tour," he says, suggesting that they might consider a single benefit concert: "Like a Live 8 but probably just with us. It's such a shame that we didn't get around to it before [keyboardist] Rick [Wright] died [in 2008]."
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