Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commentary: Subject to Change: Show Me Your Teeth

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commentary: Subject to Change: Show Me Your Teeth

Article excerpt

Text messages do a good job of distilling the very essence of what you want to convey.

Me: "Section 107, row A, seats 1-4!"

Rebecca: "OMG!!!"

Me: [Photo]

Rebecca: "Wowwww!!"

Me: "She's in there." [Photo] [Photo] [Photo]

Me: "There is a whole arc of hell, heaven, sin, redemtion [sic], pain, joy."

Me: "Circumstance to choice. Satan to Queen."

Rebecca: "Wow! I MUST go to one of her shows. She is so amazing!"

Me: "Lots of LG talking about LG."

Me: "She's fascinated with her own train of thoughts."

Rebecca: "Really?! That kinda sucks."

Me: "Yes, but still impressive."

The Gaga experience is every bit the zeitgeist it's cracked up to be. Lady Gaga is derivative but fresh, outrageous but reverent. She's dynamite - a sign of the times and an amalgamation of every great pop star to come before her. Even her stage name comes from the Freddy Mercury song, Queen's Radio Ga-Ga. Comparisons to Madonna are unavoidable, from the triple-sexed-up choreography to the Herb Ritts-style photography looping on the video screens. The similarities are apparent in the costumes, too, which show off Gaga's terrific figure, particularly the Material Girl's pointy brassiere, this time kicked up a notch with fireworks (I don't mean that figuratively). When I saw Lady Gaga on Larry King on June 1, she seemed to bristle at the Madonna correlation, and frankly, who can't appreciate the desire to distinguish her work? After all, conjugal union, freedom, and religion are universal themes, all literature ultimately about sex and death. So is Lady Gaga.

Envelope-pushing at its core, here is the overall scene: Epic Broadway-quality staging depicts a red-light district that supplies shame, self-destruction, and social alienation (I still wince at the "injured children" neon sign). Then a giant shroud reveals a resurrected angel-queen. Finally, a little girl slays the monster within. It's all designed to embrace the unembraceable, forgive the unforgiven, and love those who feel unloveable. Lady Gaga sets herself up to be the prophet of your release, a purveyor of your freedom, and an agent of your psychological repair. …

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