I riffed on The Sound of Music tribute at The 87th Annual Academy Awards Ceremony for ten minutes and twenty-eight seconds: this is the verbatim transcription…
So it would seem the hills are alive with the sound of music… the Hollywood Hills to be exact, this night, this beautiful night, Oscar Sunday… and amidst all of the flashing lights, Mother Monster, the pop mistress, the matriarch of music on behalf of a flailing industry – thought to be dead thought to be gone, thought to be sold out – rose to the occasion only to prove that all the charlatans were dead wrong.
Music is that which cements the experience of any moment, that auditory moment where those aural architects, as I said before, are able to manipulate the invisible… to be able to tap into those currents and those frequencies that you cannot see, but that you can feel stronger than any other sensory experience you’ve ever felt before… when you close your eyes, and you can feel your heart beat. When you close your eyes, and you can feel the goosebumps rising; when you can feel that ugly duckling becoming that beautiful swan, rising above it all because it found the rhythm, and it could never fall – it would falter – but never off that cliff never to never be seen again…
And even if you are blind to it, truly that sound will ascend and create some of the most beautiful artwork we have ever never seen. That artwork that cements the scene. That artwork that travels on those currents on those airwaves… with those shared denizens of that domain, those who dwell in that common assumed misery but they dance so blissfully but you cannot see it because it’s hidden…
It’s something you cannot see, as in cinema, it’s something you can only hear and yet it’s not dialogue, it’s that beautiful rhythmic dance. It’s the choreography of conversation… the choreography of existence, it’s the motion to those the airwaves, those places you tap into beyond the profits.
That intangible space that belongs only to the prophets, those who were wrong in this place and time because they tapped only into the eternal sublime, because they did not hit the charts the way you wanted them to… because they created only art because they needed to, because that’s what the culture was missing in the midst of a marketplace: is that when you worry about the bottom line, you forgot your higher calling… and that’s what she’s here to remind us, and that’s what they’re here to remind us… the commoners, the legends, the baptists, the evangelists, they’re all here to elevate you.
No matter the fact that we’re blind to the sound of the underground, still they emerge. And in the midst of ARTPOP, in the midst of Cheek to Cheek, in the midst of artRAVE, in the midst of “ARTFLOP,” – in the midst of everything that was lost – we have gold gained. In the midst of humanity, in the midst of lost celebrity, we have alchemy. We have a star who becomes a celebrity, who fell beneath the isolation of true artistry, and who emerged a divine human.
We have that with every artist, and yet we have that on this stage. We have a 28-year-old girl, who less than a year ago was turning on a spit, bathing in neon vomit… for the sake of art at the expense of empty pop. We saw her journey. We laughed, we scoffed, we wondered – why Tony? We laid off… and slowly but surely, she popped up in Dubai, she popped up in Tel Aviv, like… why? She showed up with a dog who hearkened to the East, that beautiful, black, wonky-eyed beast, and yet – that dog hit the cover of Bazaar: how strange. And yet she mosied, just dancing around the world, cheek-to-cheek, Heaven, Rocket Number Nine, Lady by day, fxxking Gaga by night, who the, what the … so we just stayed and got right – left out on the right side of history, in my case.
And yet everyone else… it would appear to be a disgrace that we forgot about that New York doll. We forgot about the little Stefani Germanotta who would sing Whitney from the top of her staircase, who would play the piano at 4, get into Julliard at 11, write her first song at 13 – and yet at that stage was still not good enough for pop music. The one who would start singing jazz, the one who was “too theatrical for music,” the one who got tossed in trash cans in high school, the one who left NYU, the one who was too good for Tisch – the one who would eat dirt to prove it. The one who Def Jam turned a tone deaf ear to, the one who time and time again could never prove herself to be “quite pop enough,” in the midst of defining what it meant to be post-pop, definitively.
In the midst of her own shadow she emerged greater than her former self, time and time and time again… and it’s not about Gaga, it is not. It is about all of the Gagas, it’s about the cliches. It’s about the “Gagas in all of us,” it’s about the freak flags. It’s about finding that spark inside you that has no eyes. It has only a soul and that soul hears these invisible currents. That soul lives in these Hills, and it does not throw rocks when it knows it will end up in the Canyons sooner or later, because it lives in that glass house we like to call fame, because it decided: i will take a chance on this love game, because i don’t know from where i came, but i know i will find myself… and at that point i will have no shame, and there’s no one to blame.
because this rhythm is the only thing i know, and in this frequency i will forever flow, and eternally move, eternally create, and never wait to express and to cultivate that love supreme – and that is the realized dream of music, and that is what is alive in these hills… – and that’s artpop. hate to say it, but sometimes it’s hard to see the beautiful truth in something we once found shame in, and sometimes it’s hard to find the meaning when we place a name.
artpop is music: plain and simple. artpop is the elevation of the artists amidst all of the artifice. artpop is the knife under the hood that we deliver to Hollywood. artpop is what killed that false corpse and left it in a trunk on highway 10 – artpop is the reason it rained today. artpop is because she made it reign, and she was born this way. artpop is Sam Smith at the Grammys two weeks ago. artpop is monster balling outta control. artpop is that unspoken… and the Oscars are so lauded, so held in high esteem.
The Oscars are the pillars upon which we posture ourselves as royalty, as American royalty: we lie better than you, we’re show business – because we said so, it’s true. There was no Botox in those hills tonight. There was only the breath in that lung. When she hit that stage, everyone in that room remembered what it was like to be creative and young. To see and to feel and to hear and to experience… nothing but limitless possibilities as to what you could conjure, what you could manifest reality, in this beautiful world of ours. Whether it be a character or a role, an emotion, a feeling, a moment, a story.
That ego is what blinds us so many times, that ego is hidden somewhere in that lens, but never forget that love supreme, never forget what it’s like before you hit that screen. Never forget what you saw in the mirror, never forget what you saw in the reflection of that other’s eyes, and never forget because that’s when you realize the greatness of who you are; the greatness of the collapse and the rise of the star. The hills are alive tonight, and every night, so long as music survives.
freedom in the music – stay jazzed, kids.