By Sharon Eberson / Friday, Nov. 14
Is it a good thing when performers declare that they have an alter ego? It would seem to be the kind of thing best left up to superheroes who need a secret identity.
Some celebs live in the made-up persona, such as Sacha Baron Cohen, who, when he's got a project involving a Borat or a Bruno, becomes the character for all public appearances.
Now comes Beyonce Knowles.
L.A. Times pop music critic Ann Powers writes that "for her ambitious, somewhat befuddling new double album, ‘I Am ... Sasha Fierce,' she reveals an alter ego she describes as a "Bootylicious" party girl.
Wouldn't that be Beyonce as Foxy Brown, from "Austin Powers in Goldmember"?
When the movie "Borat" came out, I did a story on Cohen and some of the other actors who live in the skin of their alter egos full-time when seen in public. Here are other performers who spend or have spent time pretending to be someone else as part of their art.
I don't know if Boy George (George O'Dowd) or Meat Loaf (Marvin Aday) should count - do stage names count as alter egos? Just thinking about their last names gave me an Oprah-Uma moment (O'Dowd-Aday), but that doesn't seem to fit. Then I'd have to put Slash (Saul Hudson), Moby (Richard Melville Hall), Common (Lonnie Rashid Lynn), Queen Latifah (Dana Owens), Ludacris ... no, simply stage names just won't do.
Garth Brooks as Chris Gaines
David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust
Jiles Perry Richardson Jr. as The Big Bopper
Stephen Colbert as Stephen Colbert ... (OK, maybe that's stretching it. But I've rarely heard Stephen Colbert stray from his "Colbert Report" character in broadcast interviews).
This is harder than I thought.
If you can think of any true musical alter egos - let's use Brooks/Gaines and Bowie/Stardust as the touchstones of meaning for this exercise - please let me know by commenting below.
‘Sasha Fierce' is due for release Nov. 18. MySpace Music has the first official preview of the CD.