Lady Gaga gagged–and going for the jugularBy Nestor U. Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Asian leg of Lady Gaga’s new concert tour was momentarily hobbled by a ban in Indonesia, but its shows in the Philippines went as scheduled—and, as expected, hotly and feistily.
The contrast speaks volumes about “them” and “us,” and the different wavelengths we’re flying on, and coming from—not the least relevant of which is the importance and power of religious persuasions, and persuasiveness, in both our climes and times.
There were some efforts to curb the show locally, as well, but nowhere nearly as strong or loud enough to rain on Gaga’s psychedelic parade.
Instructive in these developments is the fact that the controversial singer-dancer’s career is following pretty much the same template and trajectory as Madonna’s over a decade ago. It’s no wonder, therefore, that some veteran show biz observers have dismissed Gaga as “the poor man’s Madonna.”
The similarities are clear. Both Madonna and Gaga aren’t fantastic singers, so they’ve resorted to visual “distractions” like freaky costuming, weird antics, “shocking” emblems and “black” and even devilish totems to keep viewers watching in shocked fascination—and to make headlines that further their careers even more!
Madonna was at least a looker, but Gaga isn’t even that, so she’s had to work harder to make an impact on the show biz scene. She’s upped her act’s sexy ante—and antics—and her bizarre costuming has gone way beyond Madonna’s then shocking “cone” bra, and includes a gown festooned with (gasp) meat! Talk about a look that has a radically abridged shelf life—this is it!
Pluckily for her, Gaga’s extremely weird promotional antics and literally crudité costume capers have succeeded in making her a big star, so she had no trouble luring thousands upon thousands of similarly flashy fans to her two Manila shows—which, unlike her aborted Indonesian foray, came through un-gagged.
In fact, Gaga sometimes went straight for the jugular, asserting her artistic right to express herself honestly in her far-out performances—as long as they broke no laws. Sometimes, eyebrows arched way up to the stratosphere are par for this freaky course, but just how high are they aiming for?
What’s next for Lady G? Madonna’s own world concert tours are record-holders in terms of income generated, so the younger Gaga has to hustle much harder to come up to parity financially.
Queen of Reinvention
For her part, the older Madonna has been around so long that, even if she’s the biz’s acknowledged Queen of Periodic Reinvention, her acts as performer have become rather predictable. Which is why she’s been flying off in different directions—such as trying to make a name for herself as a film director with her movie on Wallis Simpson—with decidedly mixed results.
Perhaps she would do better if she included in her act her lovely and sultry daughter, Lourdes—potentially an emerging star of the first magnitude.
As for Lady Gaga, we think that, as she runs out of kooky, furry, scaly, pickled, and raw things to wear, she should go for broke, take it all off, and launch her very own line of—wearable perfume!
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