I never quite understood the appeal of Lady Gaga until I saw HBO’s Monster Ball Tour concert special from Madison Square Garden last night. It showcased her versatility as a singer, songwriter, musician, and dancer and not just another Madonna-wannabe novelty act. But her message of personal empowerment really came through loud and clear, punctuated by poignant behind-the-scenes lines like, “You know how many times I came to this arena, and now they’re opening these gates up for us?” or “I still sometimes feel like a fucking loser kid in high school,” or her description of the pushback she encountered at NYU’s Tisch School Of The Arts. A well-edited, well-directed Haus Of Gaga two hours on a pay channel I used to watch all the time and now hardly at all. Better programming, please.

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