Lady Gaga Performs After Obama Speech

Lady Gaga performing

President Obama shared the stage with Lady Gaga at the Human Rights Campaign dinner on Saturday night in Washington.

The banquet supports the National Equality March, in which thousands are set to protest Monday for gay rights. The president took the podium first and joked, "It is a privilege to be here tonight to open for Lady Gaga ... I've made it." Obama told the audience he would end the "don't ask, don't tell" policy of the military regarding gays in the service.

Afterward, Lady Gaga appeared on stage in a formal black dress and played John Lennon's "Imagine" on a white piano, according to the Washington Post. The 23-year-old pop star said to Obama, "We will continue to push your administration to bring your promise to reality."

The singer born Stefani Germanotta has toned down her typically skimpy stage attire before. In August, she made her first trip to the Holy Land and arrived in a black leather jacket with a Star of David made of silver spikes on the back. She said she went to Jerusalem looking for "an emotional and spiritual experience" and to swim in the Dead Sea.

The chart-topping singing sensation scored nine MTV Video Music Award nominations earlier this month. She tied with Beyonce for the most nominations, including video of the year and best female video for Beyonce's "Single Ladies" and Lady Gaga's "Just Dance."
Nearby rally-goers screeched her name. She had marched with the crowds from her hotel after shrugging off security concerns, and had just finished a short speech to an enraptured throng of tens of thousands on the West Lawn. Glittery signs reading "Gay for Gaga" and "Lady Gaga {heart} Equality, U Should 2" poked up from the rainbowed masses. "ARE YOU LISTENING?" the pop star screamed out to President Obama. "We will continue to push your administration to bring your promise to reality."
The singer had stepped up from her concert soapbox to a bigger platform. Was this just part of her elaborate performance art, another special effect from an entertainer (born Stefani Germanotta in New York) who only has one album and less than two years of mainstream exposure? If you challenge her on this, she'll squeeze your arm to assure you she's for real.
"I will never turn my back on my friends," said Lady Gaga, before disappearing from the rally. "Today is not a one-off performance."
The gays surged toward her at the HRC dinner Saturday. They went nuts when she appeared, like some modern-day Evita, in the window of the elevated VIP booth at the 9:30 club hours later. She's freaky-deaky, like a female drag queen, a hot mess yet super-savvy, fierce and fab, a prodigious pianist, dressed like a vamp but almost childlike in her sincerity. All of this was on display Saturday night.
She sat front-and-center at the black-tie Human Rights Campaign gala in the ballroom of the Washington Convention Center, where 3,000 gay advocates and allies clinked glasses and liberally exercised the right to give standing ovations (she got two). HRC President Joe Solmonese says she was an obvious invite -- "She pushes boundaries and brings people along" -- and credited her for the dinner's rapid sellout. Even the president of the United States knows his place.
"It is a privilege to be here tonight to open for Lady Gaga," Obama said during his remarks.
Gaga sat at Table 77, looking slightly embalmed, in her version of formalwear: fishnet stockings and a bunchy black dress made of layered mesh below the waist and crushed velvet above. She hid her eyes behind large, circular sunglasses, part circus act, part savior of the moment. Some can't help hyperbolizing.
"It's almost like Martin Luther King and the civil rights speeches," said gala attendee Daniel Campbell, 23, who works at a downtown CVS and at Reagan National Airport. "We have a voice."
People say she's perfect for her time and place. Her music, which she writes herself, is an infectious blend of pop and electronic. The sexual shell game "Poker Face," the club anthem "Just Dance" or "Paparazzi," a self-aware cry for help from within the fortress of fame, will play at least once in any gay club on any given night. Her performance style is raw despite relying on over-the-top production values. She sort of makes fame into an art, and she sounds fervent about gay rights. "Get your [rear end] to D.C.," she demanded in a video released last week.

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