I discovered Lady Gaga relatively late in the game when everybody on my friends list seemed to be posting the video for "Bad Romance".
There are a few times in my life when the world seemed to stop and allow itself to be perforated for an album. Guns 'n Roses Appetite for Destruction, Nirvana's Nevermind and Pearl Jam's Ten all come to mind as times I could walk from the car to the mall to a party to the boardwalk and not miss a track. And like Nirvana and Pearl Jam and Guns 'n Roses, this didn't happen by accident for Lady Gaga -- they're good albums. Though I'd vowed years ago to never go to a stadium show again as long as I lived, I was willing to make an un-grudging exception and really looked forward to the show.
There was a wonderful joy outside the Enormodome in Boston, people shrieking and hugging and dancing in what I suspect was the largest micro mini-skirt convention Beantown has seen since 1969; everybody was friendly, lots of people were dressed up. Amanda and I decided to livetweet it -- which is one of the things that Twitter has to offer in conjunction with blogging -- and for the next two hours I found, perhaps sadly, but perhaps not, I was watching the show through my phone, relating it to other people as it happened.
It's difficult to attach meaning to songs like "Cherry Cherry Boom Boom" and "telephone", but there was an explicit message to the concert which was "it's okay to be weird, it's okay to be yourself" -- which is, I suppose, nothing new, it is, for all intents and purposes, the same message Twisted Sister had, but every generation needs to hear it again, and hear it expanded, and hear it retooled for them. And were I 17 and standing there, as I remember being 17 and standing in the back row of The Rocky Horror Picture Show -- I probably would have been profoundly affected by this.
As it was, the Monster Ball was not the Riot of Awesome I was hoping for (though I loved the giant Chuthulu Anglerfish), but my yardstick isn't the one that Lady Gaga should be measuring her shows against. I found it an entirely passable stadium extravaganza, with dancers, pianos that came through the floor, subway cars that descended from the ceiling, smoke, lights, harps and a mad-max car, but without anything, apart from the experience of being in the room, that left me stunned.
The thing that the show did, more than anything, I think, was offer a platform for me to evaluate my own life. Afterwards, Amanda and I sat out in her back yard talking about life and careers and such and I realized that I'm about the happiest person I know -- I feel very fulfilled by this life. I work with amazing people, I'm happy with my peer group, I feel invigorated and challenged by them, I feel my life is pushing onwards and upwards, that I'm driven but not overrun, and, I think very importantly, I feel in control of my life. Earlier in the day I'd sat in on a photography class in Brookline and listening to the professor I suddenly felt very happy about the lines I've delivered in the conversation that is photography -- people know who I am, I feel my work is respected, but it doesn't hamper my ability to do anything. Walking past a television playing CNN a couple of weeks ago, I saw that it was news that Lady Gaga had gone to a baseball game with friends. Cameras zoomed in on her and their every move was scrutinized and, eventually, after numerous obscene gestures at the media who still wouldn't leave her alone, Jerry Seinfield invited her up to his luxury box -- which it seems is really a privacy box, a price that Jerry and Lady have to pay to have the same type of conversation that Amanda and I could have in her yard, or in a restaurant, and the worst thing that ever happens is that someone comes up and asks for an autograph on a napkin.
I'm not saying I don't want to be more well known, but I am saying I'm happy with my trajectory.
Wherever you are Lady Gaga -- I hope you're happy. You made a good album, you made people happy, you deserve it.
And Amanda, you too.
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