Lady Gaga = Community

8 Apr

What went through my mind just now…

“Oh crap I haven’t blogged in a while.”
“I’m seeing LADY GAGA tomorrow night, I need to blog about that.”
“Oh look, new comments on my last post. One with a question that I should answer.”

And this is why this post is about Lady Gaga and building community. Mariana asked a great question…how DOES an artist build a community? A large one at that. We all have family and friends, but that community is not usually big enough, rich enough, and really truly supportive enough to sustain a musician. (Your uncle might like your music because he likes you, but he might not be a diehard fan. Sorry uncles).

Costume Accoutrement

This is part of my costume to see Lady Gaga tonight in Houston. Yes, I am dressing up. I am kind of a cranky curmudgeon when it comes to Halloween, but I have had a lot of fun gathering costume ideas and accessories for this show. I got to pondering why that was the case.

Lady Gaga, when you study her, is not the typical pop star. Beyond the things I like about her such as her killer piano skills, her writing credits, her crazy outfits…she most importantly comes with a message that she makes sure her fans know. It pretty much amounts to, “Be who you are.” Not “look at me look at me I’m a skinny pop star let’s all go on diets” or “I’m so angsty let’s all mope.” From the gist I get from her interviews and what people say about her shows, the vibe is “we’re all here to have a good time, whoever we are.”

So yeah. You’ll get a lot of what society would label “freaks” at a show like this (that definition is another conversation for someone else’s blog). I’ll bet money I’ll also see a ton of flip flops and jeans. Completely nondescript white bread (I am one so I can say it) types.

Gaga has created a community among her fan base by not having a definition for them at all. Anyone is free and encouraged to go to a Gaga show. Her message is acceptance, because we’re all there for the music and the spectacle, not to show off our midriffs. This very thing makes me think it’s cool to dress up in something I would not be caught dead in outside the confines of the Toyota Center in Houston. With my midriff completely covered, thank you very much.

It’s almost an anti-definition of pinpointing your fan base…to take anyone and everyone and have that define your crowd. It’s the only way I can think to explain how a folkie like me is going to spend 3 hours among 10,000 other screaming folks tonight singing along to “Pokerface.”

There’s a more concrete answer to this community thing that I will address further, one a little more centered on the singer-songwriter. I’ll get to that, but first I need to attach my orange feather boa to my red cape.

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