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Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Damnable Lampoon

Adam Lambert’s burlesque performance at the AMA’s will prove, I believe, much more unfortunate for him than it was for the poor saps who tuned in to watch him. Having the golden opportunity to establish himself as a world class artist destined to shape and define pop music and pop culture into the next generation – as I once believed he had the chops, vision and confidence to do - he instead chose to reduce his number down to the base standard of a float in a gay pride parade, complete with simulated sex acts, whips and men crawling around the stage on all fours being led around on dog leashes.

Here’s how he’s defended the two most ballyhooed of his onstage antics, the one where he engaged in a raunchy same-sex kiss and the one where he simulated fellatio with a male dancer for what seemed like an eternity: “Adrenaline is crazy and sometimes things just happen."

Really, Adam? Really? You have this problem with adrenaline often? Kinda’ like The Hulk, but instead of going all green and raging you go all rainbow and oversexed? What was that then, a performance or some anguished cry for help? Because, spontaneous public outbursts of simulated sex is decidedly not normal and you may be qualified for government assistance. We expect adults to be in total command of their sexual urges and not to demonstrate their foibles to the world at the slightest provocation. To do otherwise is indecent and there are laws against it. If this is true, you are a danger to society. Certainly, at the very least, our children need to be protected from you.

But this is where I get really flamed. Of course! it’s not true. We’d have to be dumb as a lump of mud to believe that. And just because Adam takes us for imbeciles doesn’t mean we have to play along for his entertainment. If it were true, what Adam did on that stage that night would constitute hard-core sexual harassment on his subordinates. Let me tell you something, I was a dancer way back when. And if a lead had deviated from the choreography, without my knowledge or consent, and had taken my head in both his hands shoving it deep into his groin while gyrating his hips like a stud in heat, especially during a performance when I would have been helpless to object, I would have felt deeply humiliated and violated. Indeed, every professional watching or participating would have immediately realized the serious, criminal nature of the offense that had just been committed on me. I would be suing him in my mind while it happened. I would be counting my money from the lawsuit on the way back to the dressing room. ABC, Dick Clarke Productions, and Lambert’s manager would have a diamond necklace, Mercedes, and a fat checking account waiting for me at the flop I shared with four or five other struggling dancers before I got home in an effort to assuage the trauma of the event. If it were true Adam Lambert’s career would be in grave danger. And the very last thing – and by “last” I mean, “wouldn’t happen in a zillion years” – his handlers would allow him to do would be to go on the record admitting those acts were essentially entirely unilateral in nature.

So my question is: Where’s the lawsuits? Are we to believe that his band mates were much obliged for the experience? What? They felt loved and honored by his generous sex gifts to them? “Doing sex to”, as SNL recently put it, your band mates during a performance is bizarre and deviant behavior. If this is Adam’s normal he needs to pull back the black velvet curtains on the group orgy room he’s living in and venture out into the bright sunlight for some fresh air.

But, of course, this foray into soft porn was a calculated strategy to drum up the maximum amount of cheap publicity he could the week before his CD hits the stands and the “spontaneous” story is a ruse to inoculate ABC and Dick Clarke Productions from the short and feckless arm of the FCC. As for Adam, it’s clear that he plans to run behind his twelve-inch platforms and scream, “homophobe” at anyone who objects. And so far it seems to be working.

I say seems, because in my opinion, this has already begun his undoing. It’s sad that Adam chose the path he did. Yes, he’s the most talked about performer today, but only in the same way that Kate Gosselin was the most talked about personality yesterday. They are both empty and eager for exploitation. And that’s where the rub comes in. One can’t claim artistic altruism while prostituting himself for the scandal gristmill. (Oh, and by that analogy take it to mean that I’m calling ABC and Dick Clarke out for being his pimps.)

Adam can claim that he believes in artistic expression but that’s not what occurred on that stage that night. He was given the golden opportunity to reach deep into his tool bag and slay us. We were waiting for it. We thought he just might be that kind of artist. We were hoping to see something that would reach us, linger with us, make us love him. Instead of picking a fantastic song to present to the world on his debut performance as a single artist, he picks a middling to annoying song, something that can hardly be distinguished from the noise of an already crowded, increasingly – by orders of magnitude- irrelevant industry. Instead of moving us with a revelatory interpretation he lambasted us with a performance that was, ironically, a tragic satire of all the worst of homosexual stereotypes. Instead of singing he screeched. His nerves were distinctly audible in his shaky voice. He was pitchy dawg. On top of all that, fell hard and magnificently. He did a stop, drop and roll fire drill in the middle of the song. It was rank amateur night. Here’s a hint, Adam. If you’re going to go to the trouble of putting on a million dollar production: dazzle me. Or, at the very least, don’t trip.

I went into that performance liking Adam as a performer and as a person. What kind of dupe am I, right? I came out of that performance believing him to be a sexual deviant and a cad. He’s a cad because he betrayed the people who brought him to national prominence and soiled the aesthetic of American Idol. American mothers and their teenage children did not vote this man to the next round in order to eventually see what he might look like having sex on stage. This is a man who was given a tremendous gift and owes something to the people who gave it to him. Also, someone needs to tell that spoiled brat that coming in number two on a game show doesn’t entitle one to redefine what’s appropriate material for public airwaves. Those airwaves belong to us all. And he used them like a toy for his own personal monetary gain at the expense of our children's innocence, our nation's culture and our right to safe public entertainment. What a jerk.

His CD debuts next week. We’ll see how he does. My guess is his fans aren’t going to be nearly as grateful for Adam doing sex to them as his band mates seemed to be.

by C. C. Kurzeja
2009 All Rights Reserved