In keeping with the Alex Morris article from a little while ago, here's some more gender stuff. This is maybe more personal, less academic - the way I experienced the show last night. Don't expect too much coherence.
"When she cums, it's like she covers her face, because she doesn't want me to see, like she can't stand to have one, honest, moment where nobody's watching! I want her to be real. But she says, Jo, I'm not real, I'm theater. And you and I? This is just rehearsal."
That monologue is absolutely fucking brilliant.
"Hey! My name is Jo, Calderone, and I was an asshole. Gaga? Yeah, her! Lady Gaga? She left me! She said it always starts out good, and then the guys, meaning me, I'm one of the guys, we get crazy. I did, I got crazy. But she's fucking crazy too, right? I mean, she's fucking crazy!"
Is it weird that I find Gaga-as-Calderone hotter than Gaga in her other (feminine) costumes? This greasy-haired, cigarette-smoking, beer-throwing, t-shirt-wearing, piano-falling-off persona has a vibe to him that I dig the hell out of. Maybe it's a West Side Story flashback (I always did kind of have a thing for Rif).
Clearly, everything is costume. More clearly with Gaga than with most other folks, probably because she makes a point of the performativity of selfhood. Everything's an act, a character, an image.
"But she says, Jo, I'm not real, I'm theater. And, you and I, this is just rehearsal."
This happens with everybody, though. I shave my head, bury my accent, wear black, wear boots, swagger a little bit to make myself look more masculine, less fuckwithable. Some folks put on makeup. Warpaint. Low-cut shirts. Thick black glasses. More on him later. It's all theater, right? We all figure out what we want people to think about us - and, yes, "I don't care what people think about me" is an image, too - and dress, walk, talk, move, gesture, think so as to make it happen.
Like these guys aren't performing gender? Look at the way Kanye's walking when he comes out - it's barely human, and certainly not sustainable for more than a few minutes at a time. That's not even getting started on the class dimensions - Ye's denim, Jay-Z's work boots and plain white t-shirt (an uncanny echo of Calderone's costume) - or the flag tucked in Mr. West's back pocket. Or the fact that they walk out from a giant flaming vagina and perform on an inverted swoosh...