On Tuesday, July 6, my sister and I saw Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball. Being big enough fans to call ourselves “little monsters,” Emmie and I had greatly anticipated this day and this show for months. And, believe me, Gaga did not disappoint. Next time (yes, I will pay to see this woman perform more than once), we will have to splurge a bit to get up closer, because we had a pretty dead-on side view. (Hey, at least we could see her exits and entrances, which made for a “behind-the-scenes” experience!)
Gaga/Stefani Germanotta embodies a lot of what I believe in and try to touch on through my TBL writing. She’s sexually open, political, outspoken, empowered and bold. She’s confident–but modest, she has recently owned the label of feminist, she’s been through hard times with her physical/emotional/mental health and come out on top. Many of these themes play throughout her whimsical, outrageous, sexy, poignant performance. And because of that, there’s a lot going on beneath the surface of the experience. That’s why I thought it’d be fun to break down the…5 Lessons Learned from The Monster Ball:
5. Everyone’s insecure. Sadly, this often compromises our emotional and sexual well being.
The Monster Ball opens with the silhouette of Gaga behind a giant, green, laser lit video screen, behind which she performs “Dance in the Dark.” By waiting to present herself fully to the audience, Gaga is surely toying with her audience’s sense of anticipation, but she’s also making a statement about insecurity. As Gaga told Ann Powers back in December: “The record is about a girl who likes to have sex with the lights off, because she’s embarrassed about her body. She doesn’t want her man to see her naked. She will be free, and she will let her inner animal out, but only when the lights are out…These lyrics are a way for me to talk about how I believe women and some men feel innately insecure about themselves all the time. It’s not sometimes, it’s not in adolescence, it’s always.”
4. There are so many definitions of ‘sexy.’
At some point between smearing blood makeup over her chest, wearing a clear rubber nun costume and laying between the legs of one of her bisexual male dancers, Gaga shouted, “Do you think I’m sexy?! Because I think you’re sexy!” When it comes to being a little monster, you don’t have to be clad in black leather from head to toe, wearing 5 ft. platforms and fishnets, blonde or painfully thin to be sexy. You just have to be a free…bitch.
3. No matter how much Fame you have, you can’t go it alone.
The show’s Wizard of Oz-ish storyline follows Gaga from her Lower East Side roots to Brooklyn, Central Park and eventually, to The Monster Ball. You could say it’s a mishmashed freaky-deaky love letter to NYC. And Gaga, always effusive about her devoted fans, paid special tribute to her hometown when she said, “Without New York, I would not exist.” She also praised her pops, stating before her performance of “Speechless,” “Of all the drunk men in my life, Dad, you’re my favorite.” I also adored when Gaga sang “You and I,” a new rock-and-roll ballad that was supposedly written about Stef getting back together with her ex-bf, Luc Carl. The bottom-line: When making your dreams come true, prioritizing love is a must.
2. Fantasy is central to a life worth living.
Between songs, Gaga talked about how bullshit can get you pretty far and admittedly, she’s “the most delusional bitch on earth.” Thank God for that, because a healthy dose of over-the-top theatrics, escapism, fantasy and indulgence—themes thread throughout The Monster Ball—makes anyone richer.
1. Beauty is being your freaky or comfortable, half-naked or costumed-to-the-max, sexy or grungy, drunken or sober self.
Em and I were sure that we’d be plain Janes compared to the little monsters who were dressed up in elaborate “Telephone”/futuristic Russian brothel/disco stick tributes. (Even though Em bravely picked up a hot metallic silver body suit and paired it with her black band-aid mini.) Turns out, for every pair of fans wrapped in caution tape or sporting sunglasses made of cigarettes, there were twice as many girls in cute, comfy sundresses and flip flops or sexy heels and guys in jeans and Gaga image-adorned tees. No matter how they decided to flaunt it that night, all the fans were gorgeous in their own right.
As you can tell, The Monster Ball made me love Gaga even more than I did before, as if that were possible! I can’t wait to see her again–hopefully in February when she returns to the city that adores her as much as she loves and appreciates it.
If you’re also a little monster—or even if you’re not—what have you learned from Lady Gaga?
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