If you live under a rock you may not know that, last Thursday, Lady Gaga finally graced Connecticut with her Monster Ball Tour at Hartford’s very own XL (Civic) Center. She arrived amidst a tempest, which I thought was fitting. The weather was dramatic, and so is Lady Gaga…pretty neat trick controlling the weather like that to make an entrance, Gaga!
How I arrived at the Lady Gaga concert was something of an accident. It would seem, sometime this spring while I was drunk at Tommy’s Gay Night, the subject of Gaga’s ticket sales came up. At some point or another I slurred to a friend, “Buy me a ticket, and I’ll pay you back.” Then proceeded to completely forget the conversation…and probably everything else I did that night. So, it was quite to my surprise when several weeks later, my friend called me to say, “Hey, do you have money for that ticket?”
After whirling into the city through the Hartbeat’s rarely utilized, tight, little back door, if you will, I managed to avoid the media and get a fabulous parking space an hour before the show. I trudged across downtown in the pouring rain to meet, fittingly enough, the owners of Tommy’s Restaurant at a surface parking lot on Asylum Street. I was soaking wet (from the rain, just to be clear) but shortly after I got to their car…the rain stopped.
My friends somehow finagled what would prove to be one of the best parking places in the city for the pre-show, pre-game, and spectating. As we stood and drank beer in the open parking lot, a seemingly endless parade of “Little Monsters” stormed by on their way to the XL Center. There were guys dressed as Gaga, girls dressed as Gaga and lady-boys dressed as Gaga, a plenty. Mixed with a smattering of hot straight men being dragged by their girlfriends and the hapless parents being dragged by their little queerling children, it was all so wildly entertaining. And oh…the precious little queerlings!
Now, I love Hartford. Sure as far as Connecticut cities go, it’s a fart in the wind of New Haven’s awesomeness, but still, it tries. However I was forced to re-learn a forgotten lesson that, drinking beer and smoking cigarettes in view of the downtown Hartford public is the equivalent of wearing a sandwich board that reads, “Come. Ask me for beer and cigarettes!” We were approached no less than three times. We stayed in the parking lot until we figured the opening act we had no interest in seeing was over, then made our way past the Anti-Gaga/Pro-Jesus contingent, into the XL Center.
Once inside the XL Center, we made a b-line for the “adult beverage center.” (Did you know they serve actual booze at these joints? Woo Hoo!) While waiting in line, a mass of blonde hair caught my eye as it moved quickly through the crowd….and then cut me in line. Could it be? Did Gaga herself just cut me in line? No darlings, what did cut me in line was a fabulous Lady Gaga impersonator, and when I say “cut me in line” I mean literally, bitch took out a knife… Apparently I wasn’t the only one excited to hit the sauce. I snapped a picture (and came pretty close to losing an eye for it) just before she whispered her drink order in a friend’s ear, announced she had to pee, and took off to find a bathroom. I imagine she set out for whichever ladies’ or men’s room had the shorter line….and I envied her for that.
The halls of the XL Center quickly turned into my own personal gay hell: 1) it was jammed packed with people, and The Gay Guru is not all that big a fan of crowds 2) I kept running into guys I hooked up with and never planned on or really wanted to see again. Oh, don’t you judge me, like you’ve never blocked out a random hook up…or 20. So, drinks in hand, we high-tailed it to our seats.
Once at our seats, we were met with a charming pair of almost uncomfortably “super pro-gay”, early middle-aged women. After flirting with a devastatingly attractive guy behind us, and gushing how all the hottest guys are gay, one of the unfortunate straight women confessed a crush on Pauly D from MTV’s Jersey Shore. I tried to tell her that just because she’s a heterosexual woman and the pickins of heterosexual men are slim and require relaxed standards, it doesn’t mean she didn’t have to have any standards at all. But, similar to my reaction to the preaching of the Anti-Gaga/Pro-Jesus group, she shrugged me off. Clearly, she didn’t know who I was.
The show was amazing. I don’t have a lot of words to describe the power or energy inside the XL Center, but for lack of a better word, it was electric. Gaga’s message, though a little pounded down your throat, was that of love, unity, and strength. I think Gaga herself summed it up when she said, “Tonight, the ‘freaks’ are outside!” Come to think of it maybe that’s why the Anti-Gaga/Pro-Jesus people were protesting…or maybe it was the 6-foot-tall winged statue of Jesus that was dripping blood and shooting fire out it’s back. Who can be sure? The point is, it was a great night to be queer and I think the world would be a better place if we could just somehow get every single person to see a Gaga concert.
I high-tailed it out of the XL Center and out of Hartford ahead of the crowd. I know….lame… but darlings, I was motivated. I had a giant sized puppy I was charged with babysitting for some friends. But remember that Lady Gaga impersonator I mentioned? Well, it was New Haven’s very own Sylvia Heart of Down Town New Haven. I caught up with Syl the next day to hear about the after party scene. Which was, like Hartford, a little dull.
Sylvia hopped on the autograph table for that opening band no one cared about, Semi Precious Weapons and made them sign her hairbrush. She then stalked the Gaga tour bus, in hopes of meeting The Lady herself and finally, retired to Salute for some after concert drinks. Sylvia told me of the people at Salute: “They couldn’t keep their fingers off the flash buttons! Apparently, not a lot of Drag Queen’s go out in Downtown Hartford.” I said, “Darling….the people of Hartford just aren’t used to that much fabulous. Really, can you blame them? I don’t think so.”
As for Gaga, I’m not sure when she’ll be back. I can tell you this though, I’ll be there whenever she schedules, cancels, and re-schedules her next tour. As for the delightful (and knife wielding) Sylvia Heart of Down Town New Haven, you can catch her performance every Friday at Partners Café in New Haven. My advice to you darlings is, just like Gaga, see Sylvia’s show quick, before she’s hospitalized for exhaustion!