Kabuki Theatre | Monster Ball Tour


This weekend the HBO channel featured Lady Gaga's 'Monster Ball Tour.' It was during a channel surfing session that I happened upon the show midway through the concert.  It was a captivating spectacle replete with imaginative and outlandish costumery that kept me riveted to the program even though the music she was performing at that moment was difficult to hear and overshadowed by the choreography.

Earlier in the day  news releases  and op-eds announced that Lady Gaga has more than 10 million followers on  Facebook. According to one report it was alleged that she beat out this era's other most controversial, charismatic global personality, President Barak Obama by nearly 1 million  followers.

This confluence of events resulted in me watching nearly half-an-hour of the concert. Since Lady Gaga wasn't performing either one of my favorite tunes ('Paparazzi' & 'Born This Way'), I turned down the volume and watched in silence.  What struck me most about the production was the elaborate choreography and make-up.  It reminded me of Kabuki theater.

Kabuki theater is "classical Japanese dance-drama known for the stylization of its drama and for the elaborate make-up worn by some of its performer.  The word kabuki is believed to derive from the verb kabuku, meaning "to lean" or "to be out of the ordinary", kabuki can be interpreted as "avant-garde" or "bizarre" theatre.[1] (Source: Wikipedia)

The most remarkable aspect of Lady Gaga is not her vocal talent which I believe is marginal but her marketing prowess.  She is a "monster" sales woman and in my opinion even surpasses Madonna in her ability to leverage a non-traditional fan base to propel her into the awareness of most Americans even the traditionally staid.  There are not many people out there who can say that they haven't heard the name Lady Gaga.

They may not know her music but her Kabuki brand is unmistakable, unshakable, and all too recognizable.  Love her, hate her, one can't argue with the numbers.  As an artisan I marvel at her showmanship which doesn't mean that I approve of her politics, agenda or sexual  flagrancy. That said, I enjoyed her fantastic spectacular version of Kabuki theater from the comfort of my home.  It provided an amazing feast for the eyes minus the price of a ticket, the cost of a CD, or the cacophonous roar of a crowd overcome by Gaga worship.