Monday, April 04, 2011

Flash a Self-Portrait: Lady Gaga on Purim

Franny Silverman, Storahtelling Maven and Lady Gaga impersonator

"I want women -- and men -- to feel empowered by a deeper and more psychotic part of themselves. The part they're always trying desperately to hide. I want that to become something that they cherish." 
 Lady Gaga

I may not be Jewish, but I know what it means to flash a self-portrait, flip it to the negative and show it to the world.  Isn't that what Purim's all about?
That's what my dear friend and teacher Rebbetzin Hadassah Gross taught me.
When I met her she said, "You must me a Purim baby like me."  She taught me a niggun that followed me for days and I took it with me into the studio and that became the inspiration for the chanting in "Bad Romance": 

Rah Rah Ah Ah Ahh
Ramah Romemah
GaGa Oooh La La
Want your bad Romance

And then she invited me to her birthday and of course, when the Rebbetzin invites you to her birthday bash, you don't say no.  
You say, "Yes!"  You say, "I'd be honored!"  You say, "What shall I sing?"
And I did. 
And she told me the story of Purim and I felt for the hero, Esther.
This marriage was about survival, not about love and romance.
It's about how sometimes we want and need things that desperately serve one part of ourselves and leave another hurt or lacking.
And so, together, the Rebbetzin and I decide Bad Romance would be the song - complete with my version of her ancient niggun.
It was exciting to dive into a performance with a new band, on a complicated stage covered in holy contradiction and reminiscent of my own upbringing. 
My first performance on the altar since...the new pope. 
And as all performances are, this too was exhilerating and libertating.
Of course they told me not to climb on the altar vestments and of course I did and of course it was absolutely necessary.
The Rebbetzin also warned me of another high profile female guest that was joining us.  
And though normally I'm not a Tea Party kind of gal, I thought the best way to use my sway with Sarah Palin, was to simply and subtly seduce her with my performace.
She took the bait immediately and by the end of the night, I was helping her write her speech rescinding her former views on gay marriage and instead, coming out in favor of it. 
A very merry Purim indeed.
And now, I'm just trying to change the world, one sequin at a time.

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