16 February 2016

To Peter, on Lady Gaga

Dear Peter,

I just watched Lady Gaga's tribute performance to David Bowie at the Grammys, and I wept. I wish you were here to talk to about it. Gaga's androgyny recalled Bowie's perfectly. Her high accented cheekbones were not a portrayal of conventional white femininity; they honoured Bowie himself. The line of her cleavage left no doubt that she was presenting female, but the minimized breasts beneath it reminded us that there is more to gender than hypersexualized femininity/masculinity. Gaga's tenor was remarkable: She sang everything in Bowie's range with depth of sound and feeling. Her broad-shouldered white jumpsuit and laced oxford dancing shoes... They teased "Under Pressure" but didn't sing it, and I got really disappointed by that.

I want to talk with you about it. I want to smoke a bowl and watch the video twice in a row, once in silence and once for critique. Then I want to listen to Ziggy Stardust on your record player and recognize you as a teenager. I want to read the Pitt News article you would have written reviewing the Grammys, with specific emphasis on her performance.

We never read much of each other's writing. How ironic.

We did go to that Lady Gaga concert together. I remember you telling me, "This is like seeing Madonna at the height of Vogue. We'll be able to say we were there." The Monster Ball, after the "Born This Way" single had been released. That poster is still waiting to find its place in my home. You looked so happy dancing there.

I miss you. I love you.