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Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl Halftime. in bedazzled hot pants, looking like some sort of sequined alien elf, and perched in genderqueer androgynous glory on the roof of a football stadium, Lady Gaga belted out “God Bless America,” sang a few phrases of “This Land Is Your Land,” and recited the unity statement: “one nation under God…” from the Pledge of Allegiance. Then she jumped off the damn building. This is Lady Gaga’s America. And it’s the one I’d like to think I live in.Rumors flew ahead of Gaga’s psychedelic extravaganza of pyrotechnics, athletic dancing, messages of acceptance, aerial stunts, drone choreography, and even a keytar. Beyoncé might come! (She did not, thus making Gaga’s choice of “Telephone” in the medley a cruel tease.) She’ll enter from the roof!
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Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl Halftime
n bedazzled hot pants, looking like some sort of sequined alien elf, and perched in genderqueer androgynous glory on the roof of a football stadium, Lady Gaga belted out “God Bless America,” sang a few phrases of “This Land Is Your Land,” and recited the unity statement: “one nation under God…” from the Pledge of Allegiance. Then she jumped off the damn building. This is Lady Gaga’s America. And it’s the one I’d like to think I live in.Rumors flew ahead of Gaga’s psychedelic extravaganza of pyrotechnics, athletic dancing, messages of acceptance, aerial stunts, drone choreography, and even a keytar. Beyoncé might come! (She did not, thus making Gaga’s choice of “Telephone” in the medley a cruel tease.) She’ll enter from the roof! (She did, descending suspended from wires that continued to whisk her through the sky like the star of the best drag queen production of Peter Pan you’ll ever see.) She’ll get political! (She sort of did.) She won’t get political. (She also sort of didn’t.) And, my favorite, she’ll perform a satanic ritual. (Unless you count the witchcraft required for her to dance like that in those fabulous high-heeled boots, sorry, Alex Jones, she did not.) What did happen was a high-energy one-woman show that soared on the star power and conviction of its tireless performer, whose vocals somehow never sounded better than during what amounted to one of the most athletic Super Bowl halftime shows we’ve seen. More, the performance was akin to Gaga, nearly a decade after her debut with “Just Dance,” planting her rainbow flag atop the mountain she’s spent her career climbing, leading her parade of fans—the outcasts, the outsiders, the rebels, and, yes, the gays—on the march up. On the biggest stage any performer—any human, really—can have, at a traditionally conservative showcase in front of a traditionally conservative audience, at a time when our culture is careening down a spiral of divisiveness, exclusion, fear, and hate, Lady Gaga very pointedly used her own position as a cultural lightning rod to electrify a message that was pro-gay, pro-unity, pro-feminist, pro-weirdo, and pro-fabulous. At a time when we need it the most. Did Lady Gaga keep politics out of her performance, or was the spectacle’s entire existence its own political act?
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Feb 20, 2017