Monday, March 25, 2013

La Cage Aux Folles & Gay Pride

Dear Muse,

I first heard of La Cage Aux Folles through a misunderstanding made in a newspaper article. That is, I was the columnist who made the misunderstanding.

Source: via Ariel on Pinterest

During the last two years of college, I wrote for St. Olaf's newspaper, the Manitou Messenger. One article I signed up to write focused on the college's 2011 LGBTQ (Lesbian-Gay-Bi-Trans-Queer) Week - or as we called it, Pride Week. The endeavor was fun not only because my interviews taught me much more about LGBTQs than I'd ever bothered to figure out before, but also because my job required me to attend a Pride Week showcase: "Gender Bent."

"Gender Bent" was one of the greatest drag-focused, sexuality-embracing eye-openers I'd ever seen. Mainly because of the way it incorporated its songs : "Take Me or Leave Me" (Rent) sung by two guys; "Green Green Dress" (tick, tick...BOOM!) sung by two girls; "The Bitch of Living" (Spring Awakening) sung by an all-girl cast; etc. It was stupendous to hear these students roaring out their pride, especially one of my freshman friends (a high-energy strawberry blonde with a personality like an electric whirlwind) who later went into acting.

They yelled this at the end of the show. 

Where I flubbed up was in citing the show's "We Are What We Are" as a Ke$ha song. For some reason, my Internet research hadn't led me to the source of the song, so I just assumed it had been transcribed wrong in the program and declared it a representation of Ke$ha's "We R Who We R." And hey, since the song's wikipedia article said that she wrote it "in hopes that it would become a pride anthem," my assumption seemed to fit with "Gender Bent."

Strangely enough, some LGBTQs don't like being associated with Ke$ha. One of St. Olaf's LGBTQ leaders/ show producers e-mailed me shortly after my article was published, protesting that the song was from La Cage Aux Folles, and that they weren't "belting out some Ke$ha." He sounded ticked off about my faux pas.

The reprimand stung and shamed me. Still, since I knew virtually nothing about Ke$ha OR La Cage Aux Folles at the time, I couldn't understand why such a little misunderstanding should earn me such flak. Or, for that matter, why St. Olaf's LGBTQs had such a problem with the pop singer.

(Now, having seen some Ke$ha videos for myself, I get it. Perhaps you would too if you saw her "Tik Tok" video.)              .... -_- ....

As for La Cage Aux Folles, what can I say about it? Ehhhhh....

  • It's less brassy than Cabaret
  • I like that it's set in France.
  • Doesn't leave much of an impact on me. Except for the "We Are What We Are" song - that at least defines the pride of the "Gender Bent" crew much better than Ke$ha does. (Abbreviated version of song attached below.)

LGBTQ Pride, as declared by la strawberry-blonde.

I can't be too harsh about this musical, since I didn't feel too strongly about it.... but just wait until my next musical review.  

                                                                                               'Till next time,

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