Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Lady Gaga attended the MTV Awards as her male alter-ego, Jo Calderone. Naturally, this caused quite a stir among the media, which immediately began digging up all the tidbits on the performance (for it was a performance, make no mistake) that they could. Some of the resulting coverage was obviously put out by people not familiar with drag ("OMG! SHE WORE A FAKE PENIS!!!" Uh... it's called packing.) while some of it was pretty interesting.

For example, apparently Jo used the men's restroom. If it's true (I take all celebrity gossip rags with a mountain of salt), it's a neat commentary on how silly gender-segregated bathrooms are in general.

I also found it amusing that she went in drag for her award in the Best Female Video category. I'm positive that was entirely intentional. After all, what is "female", anyway?

I noticed that a lot of the responses to Jo were that the character was "exhausting" and "annoying." The accent certainly was grating after a bit (And the slouching! Stand up, man!), but overall I found the performance entertaining. It hit on the major theme of Gaga's schtick - the idea that she is constantly performing. And I was intrigued that Jo hinted that was not a good thing. (But what is the alternative? We are always performing for someone, even if it is just ourselves.) I also liked that he highlighted the ultra-femininity of Gaga's usual persona, as opposed to, well, him. Some times it seemed like the (probably mostly, if not entirely) cis male backup dancers were dancing more femininely than Jo was. They certainly did more pirouettes, which actually made sense considering they weren't holding microphones.

I'll be interested to see if Jo appears more often in the future. Admittedly, I haven't been keeping up with all things Gaga because her latest album was rather meh, IMO. But I'm sure that the media will get all aflutter again the next time Jo shows up, so I'm bound to hear about it.

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