I’m looking back on some quirky stories I covered in 2011. None compare to when I walked into a taxidermy shop in Burbank, and met the man who preserved Lady’s Gaga’s raw meat dress. The dress is now on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. From my story (Daily News, August, 2011):
Before Lady Gaga and her dress made of meat came into his life, Sergio Vigilato worked quietly in his taxidermy shop in Burbank, where he also crafted guitars and sang classic rock tunes.
But when word got out that he’d been the craftsman who preserved the pop star’s iconic ensemble for display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Vigilato was unexpectedly thrust into a worldwide spotlight, his name now linked with Lady Gaga, flank steak and haute couture.
“I get calls now from all over the world,” said Vigilato, 66. “They all want to know how I did it.”
The asymmetrically styled dress, shoes, purse and headpiece – all made of raw beef – became an instant sensation when Lady Gaga wore them to the 2010 MTV Music Video Awards show. The ensemble drew curiosity about the performer’s message, criticism from animal rights groups like PETA, and kudos from Time magazine, which named it the top fashion statement of 2010.
In June, the dress was unveiled again – this time preserved and displayed – at music’s Hall of Fame in Cleveland, as part of its exhibit titled Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power.