I should know better than trying to sleep on a full moon. Seriously, it's like asking Tristan Risk to keep her pants on after midnight... JUST. NOT. GONNA. HAPPEN. So after 4+ hours of roll-groan-read-toss-repeat, I'm getting outta bed to indulge in one of my most favorite activities ever. Oooh, you guessed it. JUDGING.
Pop-culture analysis (or JUDGING) is still one of my all-time favorite pasttimes. I'm not hella academic about it though, surprise surprise. If you want snotty acedemia-type theory, there's lots of that, and some of its kinda interesting. But I'm more into just being a brat and you know, real talk, R. Kelly style.
Now we all know that there's just no stopping the culmitive effects pop-culture icons have on the impressionable young minds that, I hope, will one day stab Stephen Harper in the face. And I DEEPLY care about said young minds because clearly I am far too busy rapping, stripping and buying hot shoes to do that myself. You can thank Bjork, Courtney Love, and Missy E for that... so, you know, I keep tabs. Plus, some of the shoes in those videos are really fucking awesome.
So today I'mma blog about the Gaga concert I so fortunately got to attend on MOnday night... so yep, this is gonna be all about Gaga. If you don't like it, iz coo', I see you next time. No judgement. No borrowing my shoes either though.
So. 2008. This Gaga bitch turns onto the scene just in time to give Madge the ol' curtain hook she's been beggin' for ever since that fucking song where she raps about yoga and pilates. PUHLAYSEEEEE, grrrrl, you've been dead to me since Evita. Slight ressurection for "Hung Up", but that's it. Can you please shut the fuck up now and go spend your money? It's OVAH!!!!
Meanwhile, Gaga rolls in and is an INSTANT superstar, releasing 2 albums in 2 years and showing up everywhere in the craziest outfits EVER. She goes from the Commodore to the Queen E to 2 sold-out nights at GM Place in two years flat. I witness hundreds upon hundreds of kids dressed in various versions of her much-photographed outfits file giddily to their $150 seats, pausing only to stock up on $40 T-shirts and have their photos snapped in front of large Virgin Mobile logos. I really liked this guy in line trying to eat chicken fingers in his Gaga garb. Ummm...
...might have a bit of a problem there. Here's cute 13 year-olds making each other up. Awwww. They were EVERYWHERE.
And here's a stadium shot of the show (I'm gonna switch to pro pix now cuz they're better quality). Whoa. Can someone say: BUDGET, BITCH.
So - Really? Bitch is 24!!! How could this BE??? Isn't she just another shock-rock glam-spanking gimmick factory? And how come my sister Heather (the littlest one of two, fyi) is on the phone IMMEDIATELY wondering if I got to meet Gaga when normally she ignores any and all of my phone calls??? (Heather, stop doing that. I can TELL when you're screening, I'm cool now. I swear.)
Obviously, being the glamour junkie that I am, I've been following Gaga the whole way. Werd is that Gaga, or Stephani someone-or-other, named herself off of Queen's "Radio Gaga" track. She was, in fact, classically trained as a pianist and singer in NYC. From what I can glean based on several conflicting stories, she left school to become a hip tortured artist with all her hip tortured artist friends, started writing songs & dressing like a freak (WHOA. SHOCKER. NO ONE I know does ANYTHING like THAT). But apparently she began killing it around the Lower East side doing ghetto glam cabaret acts at, you guessed it, neo-burlesque shows.
Her act somehow worked its way into Lollapalooza and Gaga ended up getting noticed and signed, not to be a performer, but to write songs for pop-stars like Britney and Fergie. Apparently it was AKON, of all people, that told Interscope to get their shit together and back her up as a performer on her own. Bet that guy's pretty proud of himself. I bet he even thinks it might make up for fucking with Kardinal Offishall's musical credibility and also annoying the shit out of me for the last four years. Ummm... no it doesn't. Sorry. Nice try though.
But back to the Gaga show and JUDGING. The whole show was pointedly dripping in New York. From the colours (black, grey, green, neon lights, graffiti, blood) to the sets (subway car, scaffolding alluding to Rent-esque scenes, dark knarling trees of Central Park at night). The dancers all looked like they were plucked right out of NY promoter James Coppola's personal entourage: studded vests, chunky eyebrows, shaved sides and all. And then at the end... the Fame Monster came out with giant sparkly teeth and swirling tentacles, ripping off her clothes (I liked that part). It actually felt a lot like burlesque. Really, really expensive burlesque. Check the monster, it was CRAZY:
A word about skill. Bitch PERFORMED. I believed that she sang every note, and well. I would say better than on the recordings even. It looked like her dancing parts were pared down specifically so she could do that. I watched her quickchange like a motherfucker, I saw her rock those outfits weighing whatever they'd have to weigh (more than a steak or two at the Keg, ummkay) and as someone who's worn some heavy-ass shit, I was impressed. And she was STOKED. And she SCREAMED at us. She sang and swore and screamed and carried on and rolled around in blood and played a decreped, burning black piano. Not gonna lie, it was pretty dope. And I'm JUDGING right now. JUDGEMENT.
I have to say, after seeing her show up close and personal (thanks & love to Rita Star for hooking that shit up, btw, so baller, I'm a lucky-ass bitch): I'm pretty convinced that Gaga's the real deal. It seems like she really, honestly, is coming up with this shit herself, and that whole show was a representation of her specific vision. It was DEFINATELY something you wouldn't see a label or sponsor come up with. It wasn't one of those no-brainer, this-is-pretty, it matches the video, you're-gonna-love-this-trick-now kind of show. In fact, the whole thing was pretty grimey, and as a neon sign blazed in the background "ugly-pretty"... and admittedly, not what I was expecting at all. I was kind of expecting Cher. Young, trashy Cher. I got schooled. It was like, art.
This was about as close to Cher as Gaga got... except that this dress was BREATHING. I don't know how else to describe it. It was expanding and colapsing on its own, not mechanically, but fluidly, naturally. It was mental. And look at the shiny!!!
Ooh, and one more, just a minor keytar. You know, whateves.
Ok, and I should put up at least one of my own pix so you can see that I was actually there and not just making all this shit up. But most of my pix are un-blog worthy... time to stop being so drunk all the time, apparently. Here's one of of the crazy plastic dress subway car routine:
Notice how the camera dude is TOTALLY IN MY WAY. Geez, guy. You think I'm this close to the stage so I can LOOK at the BACK of your HEAD? Who CARES that you're doing live feed???? Oh the abuse I suffer. Honestly.
Now I wanna get one thing straight. Just cause I was impressed doesn't mean that the show was completely to my taste. It wasn't, not completely, and to be honest, in general, a lot of Lady Gaga's stuff isn't, particularly her music. Personally, as far as pop goes, I'm into sick, crunkin', modern hiphop. "Slave 4 U" had that, and it murders me still to this day. And "Vogue" captured that early nineties house vibe from whence it came so DAMNED WELL. But "Bad Romance"? I dunno. I'm always waiting for that little kick of the new shit, something to make the song new, fresh... "of this time". Haven't heard it yet. "Just Dance" comes the closest, I think. It's the only one I've listened to alone in my underpants.
Also: grrl is dark. The monsters are for real. Subjectively, I'm really into funny as much as I'm into glam... especially when things are so funny they're just plain ill. But that's CP-steez. Gaga-steez is dead fucking serious. It's a whole other realm of Diva, far beyond the tongue-in-cheek place where I like to hang out. And she's RIGHT IN THERE with the politics, right on the mic, which is something she could get away with but that I couldn't really do. For me I'm into lyric-embedded propaganda and number themes; she just went right off. HEAVY on the homophobia rejection tip, which is cool obviously, giving the gays props for being brave and shit. And for buying her records, natch. Not a dumb bitch. And although I still kinda winced as I always do, when it comes to mid-show pop-star PSA's, I have to say she was sweet about it. That is, if you consider someone who says "motherfucker" about ten times during the course of the night sweet, which I do (again, friends with Tristan Risk). Then she plugged her sponsor for giving $25 K to homeless LGBT youth for every show she did, which was interesting to me because I was wondering what the hell they were doing there. That show sure as hell didn't need them. It's sold out across the continent. Hmmm. Corporate slanging for homeless gay youth? Yeah, I'd do it.
And then she said to everyone: "This is for everyone who's been told they weren't pretty enough, or smart enough, or skinny enough, or talented enough, or a good enough singer or a good enough songwriter or a good enough dancer... because everyone told me I'd NEVER, EVER be a pop star..." - insert gutteral scream - "... but now I'm here to SET YOU FREE. When you go home, don't love me more. Love YOURSELF more."
Was it a bit cheesy? Yeah. But it did sorta feel sorta poignant what with all the electricity in the room and her being the big famous superstar with the mic and all. It also seemed pretty genuine coming so intensely out of her gut like that. It was a LOUD scream, my friends. Like, um, grrl. Settle down cuz I'm scared you will lose your voice and apparently you're gonna need it for the next 30 years.
So in the end, even though I'm still not ok with peeing on your hair and calling it a dye-job, I'm pretty much down with anyone that famous busting out their true artistic visions all over our asses. For such a hi-seller, she's definately not a sell-out. And if she's telling the younguns (and me) that not everything needs to be like-able or coated in pretty, you know, I'm down. That's art, baby. Nice to actually see some on that there MTV these days.
FINAL GAGA JUDGEMENT: Approved.
Now if she could just tell everyone to STAB STEPHEN HARPER in the FACE.
Oh yeah, and if you're wondering where my "What I Did on My Summer Vacation" blog is... guess what. It's still summer, bitches!! Now go milk that sun this wekend so I can put my final touches on it. MWAH.
smilez n' stilettos,