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The Monster Ball
It was a warm September afternoon in the D.C. area and everyone was already back to the humdrum activities that their work consisted of. The massive “lunch break attack” that devastated each restaurant and diner in the city had ended about an hour ago and all the chefs were preparing for a new wave of customers that would sweep through the city around dinner time. We drove into D.C. at this time to avoid the traffic that would be rush hour and thankfully the streets were calm and only a few passerby’s’ who were late to work were running down the street. However, in the road, cars zoomed by and still continued to jam up every street corner and intersection that they possibly could, but this was typical D.C.
When we drove into the heart of the city, the amount of people that were around gradually increased and the apparel began to become very abnormal and increasingly eccentric, not exactly what I thought it would be. People were walking around wrapped in bandannas and home-made “The Fame Monster “shirts and the occasional pair of razor-blade sunglasses, most donned a blonde wig and some had a spectacular bow-tie hair piece atop their blonde heads, this is not what I expected of D.C., the amount of personal expression really showed as the groupseccentricic Fashionista’s walked up and down the streets and in and out of stores and restaurants.
We finally parked only a few blocks away from what seemed like the central location that all of these dedicated fans were coming from and soon to be flocking to. As I slid out of the car I noticed three large windows to my right, and on the inside it seemed like a palace. Gold accents and rich colors flooded every part of this building, I couldn’t tell if it was a palace of a wealthy king or some other strange place where multiple people were seated and eating. I soon realized it was a restaurant, and all I could think was, “I want to eat there.”
When I came back to reality I saw that the group of people I was with had already began to walk away from me. My father, uncle, cousin, and my cousin’s friend were making strides down the sidewalk faster than my mind could realize that they were moving.
My father turned around and noticed that I was falling behind and began to speak.
“Zack, hurry up, we have reservations!”
“I’m coming!” I said softly as I stared at the small group of young adults that walked past me.
Each person in the cluster of colors was dressed to impress, like the others, these people took time and love and put both into every piece of their outfits. Long pieces of hair fell from their heads and flowed carelessly around their shoulders. Rainbow tape wrapped around their legs and feet to create some sort of slipper that seemed unable to withstand the abuse that walking entails. Each of the girls had a different shirt on that was cut off at the stomach and at the neck, this produced a retro look with a modern twist. Their idols face was plastered on their shirts and I knew that they were going to the same place I was, I just wasn’t sure that I would feel as free as the other fans that felt so secure and happy.
I caught up to my family and soon we rounded the corner and there in front of me was the grand entrance to the “palace” that I saw getting out of the car.
My father turned and looked at me and said, “This is where we are eating our dinner! Well, our lunch slash dinner, we can get stuff later if you are hungry at the concert.”
I was so overjoyed, this palace was a restaurant and we had reservations to eat there. We walked in and the walls were large and tall, the ceiling was molded and sculpted to perfect shapes and sizes, a grand balcony swooped across the upper part of the building, and it seemed so sophisticated and beautiful.
The waiter brought us to our table, we ordered, and our food came. The actual time spent in the restaurant is actually a blur; I was too concerned with what’s to come.
We ate fast, and soon we were leaving the restaurant, passing a few more “Little Monster’s” on the way out. It was as if I was living in a dream, watching people who idolized the same person that I did, walking around strutting their individuality, flaunting their over-the-top costumes. I felt like there was no judgment to be had, only creativity and passion, freedom and expression.
Eventually I came back down to earth and realized that the “perfect world of freedom” was nothing but imaginary. We left the restaurant and the “normal” people were making comments as anyone who was dressed up walked by, I thought, “why do they care,” but that question has always been asked, and left unanswered. I continued on behind my family and soon we were at our destination.
In front of us stood a monster of a building with flashing lights and just a huge sense of craziness. People were flocking to it, countless pairs of high heels, and caution-tape suits walked into the enormous building, people were selling tickets outside, hopefully fulfilling some fan’s dream of going to the concert of a lifetime.
We walked through security, I bought a special magazine, a shirt, a bracelet, and a water bottle, and then we found our seats.
I walked into the main stadium room and I was shocked at what I saw, thousands of people, dressed up and not dressed up, all filling every single seat, standing down in the pit, it was completely full. I was astonished at how many people my idol could pull in, I realized that it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise, but either way, it was an intense feeling.
As I sat there and waited, I could feel the energy and excitement building in the atmosphere, the air was static, and everyone got excited when the lights went down.
The band Semi-Precious Weapon’s opened up and it seemed like they were on forever. As soon as they ended, everyone was ready for the main show.
It was about twenty minutes before the anything happened again, but soon enough the curtains parted, and I saw a video of my idol playing on it.
I saw how much she cared and how much she loved each and every one of her fans, all in a two-minute video. It was chaos, the whole room was filled with so much love for our idol that we looked up to, the person who has touched and changed our lives.
Among all of the chaos, I felt welcome, I felt at home. And as the lights went down, and the music started to play, I knew that The Monster Ball was more than just a concert, it was a place of individuality, expression, and freedom.
Lady GaGa took the stage and welcomed all of us to the concert graciously after she sang her first song. She commanded the attention of everyone in the room, and when she spoke, we listened, to every last word. We were her little monsters, and she was our Mother Monster, she was our role model, our inspiration, and her show was her creative vessel to each and every one of us.
Her words were warm and filled with meaning when she said:
“The best thing about The Monster Ball is that I created it so my fans have a place to go. A place where all the freaks are outside and I locked the f***ing doors. It don't matter who you are, where you come from, or how much money you got in your pocket because tonight and every other after night you could be who ever is that you want to be.” (Lady GaGa, The Monster Ball, 1)
The Monster Ball is a home for all, filled with love and acceptance, a place where you can find yourself, just like I did.