Lady Gaga's afterparty: The normal came out, but the freaks ruled
All photos by Kate Levy
To be honest, it could have gone either way. I don't exactly spend a ton of time at Tracks, I'll admit, and the venue might -- and probably did -- have had something to do with it. One thing's certain, though: There were a lot of freaks at Lady Gaga's afterparty (see photos from the Lady Gaga concert), and they came out to honor their queen.
From the drag-queens to the myriad shirtless guys to the fishnetted to the just plain absurd -- one girl I saw was sporting a blood-stained outfit that appeared to be made out of medical gauze -- all it was missing to be a scene from a John Waters movie was a guy performing feats of anal flexing. Which, really, I wouldn't have been that surprised to see.
The question of the evening, of course, was "Will She Show," and the expectations were varied. "Wouldn't that be awesome?" speculated a guy who would only identify himself as Dave. "I don't think so, though. It'll probably just be some drag queen."
Not Dylan Deyer, but... wow.
Lord knows there were plenty of drag-queens. Dylan Deyer didn't count himself among those ranks, but he looked the part. "Let me just correct that," he said. "I am not, and never will be, a drag-queen. I'm a gay man, but I'm not a drag-queen."
He was, however, probably the most convincing Gaga I saw all evening, wearing a one-piece yellow lycra jumpsuit, heels and a face that mirrored the Lady's features so uncannily, it was almost disconcerting. "Well, maybe tonight I am," he conceded. "But not any other night. This is the only pair of heels I own."
Others were more convinced the Lady would show. "Oh, she's coming," said Tommy Collier, who had just come from the concert. "I have a very reliable source." He wouldn't say who the source was.
Either way, Collier was happy to be there, saying he was a huge fan of the performer. "She's literally the best thing to happen to the gay community in a long, long time," he said.
Noting that Gaga has been unfailing in her championing of gay causes ("She said she loves her gay fans more than anybody" at the show, he said. "She talks about it all the time.") Collier speculated that Gaga's support from the community stems from the gay community's support for her in her early years.
Whether or not that's actually true, it's a perception a lot of people at the party seemed to have -- that Lady Gaga is, at heart, one of them. "She's not above her fans," said Dylan Cooper (interesting coincidence on the first name, but a female this time). "She could be here right now, and you wouldn't even know it. She could be walking around as one of the people who look like her."
It wouldn't be that far-fetched an idea, and it speaks to what makes Gaga so compelling: The duality of her persona. On one hand, her image is obviously carefully calculated; she's a performer who's always performing, and in that way, there's something patently phony about her image.
And yet, freaks aren't dumb, and they're not easily fooled by fake weirdo-schtick; they know how to spot one of their own. And there are a very few performers who can be so unabashedly Top 40 and still manage to have the kind of outsider credentials Gaga carries -- probably the last performer to come anywhere close was Prince in his heyday. Like Prince, she makes no bones about her mainstream accessibility, but it's the freaks who she really speaks to.
She didn't end up coming (in any official capacity, anyway, by the time I left right before bar time), but nobody seemed very disappointed. Because, at the end of the night, it was less about Gaga than it was about the community she simultaneously manages to love and foster and exploit. And it speaks to her power: She may have filled up the Pepsi Center, but it was the geeks and oddballs who came to pay tribute.
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