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“The audience is elated. Hope amidst otherwise jaded youth”


about her empowerment of femininity (in both genders) reflected in songs like Dance in the Dark in which Monroe, Garland, Plath, Jon Benet Ramsey, Liberace, Jesus, and Kubrick are mentioned in the same verse. However, what really had me rapt was seeing her live this past March 29th in San Diego. Known to fans as The Monster Ball, her makeshift instruments, endless wardrobe changes, revolving Rocky Horror-esque stage designs, and heartfelt rants to her audience are things only to be experienced. Gaga mesmerises in black leather undergarments, smeared in blood, slithering on the fog-filled stage under the legs of next-to-naked backup dancers. An angel statue, perhaps the archangel Gabriel, is erected upstage spouting blood and flames, illuminated in contrast to the blackened stage around it. “SHOW ME YOUR TEETH” Gaga howls as a scratchy guitar wails. On the surface these images are provocative, and certainly cynical. But the audience is elated. Hope amidst otherwise jaded youth. It’s as if the images on-stage are directly reciprocating those of her songs. The notion of a glittering surface with dark undertones is now on its head. The undercurrents of Gaga surface, become visceral. As you watch her twirl about, the world stops, her dancers freeze, loose blonde hairs dangle from her bloodied fingers, and she serenades her audience a cappella, professing adoration and instilling self-love to a sweat-frenzied audience. You sense you’re witnessing a merger of opposites; a metamodern strut in the flesh. The Haus of Gaga is sheltering something


renewed and cryptic, aligning with emerging artists around the world. Cognizance is in demand more than ever as the aesthetic borders are dissolving. To take Lady Gaga at face value is a dangerous underestimation.


Notes


“Fast Art”, New Republic, (no author), March 27th 1989: http://www.tnr. com/article/books-and-arts/fast-art


Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Judgment (1790), trans J. H. Bernard, New York: Hafner Pub., 1951. Van Meter, Jonathan. “Our Lady of Pop”, Vogue, March 2011.


VC, “Lady Gaga, The Illuminati puppet”, Vigilant Citizen, August 4th 2009: http://vigilantcitizen.com/musicbusiness/lady-gaga-the-illuminati-puppet/


Vermeulen, Timotheus and Robin van den Akker. “Notes on metamodernism”, Journal of Aesthetics & Culture, Vol. 2: http://www. aestheticsandculture.net/index.php/jac/article/view/5677/6306


Left: Lady Gaga and the blood fountain, 2010. Photo courtesy Gina Ludovici


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