Three Cheers for the Prince of Pain
By Alex Wilburn
Photo: Getty Images
Sunday was Lady Gaga's 24th birthday. I'm sure there was plastic-fanastic celebration over in the Haus of Fame last night, rooted deep somewhere in a nook between the antebellum and the cerebellum, through a Narnia like door located in the back of a SoHo strip lounge so secretly cool the sound of its name would render you deaf. A dive where the call-girls order the clients. Evolution wound backwards to the sounds of glitter-punk thunderbolts as guests became monkeys and turtles, circling in a Caucus Race of unbridled human sexual expression as boys, stripped and painted with love notes penned by Haruki Murakami and exploding psychodelcious tats by Takashi Murakami, smoked cigarettes under the low green lights of an actual cosmic star, strung to the ceiling by Dior jewelery and bubble tape. Then David Bowie popped out of a layer cake, Lady Gaga finally appeared wearing nothing but a cloak of 10,000 butterflies stitched together and set on fire, and then time itself gasped and bent backwards as five hundred Fashion Weeks happened in the single blink of fake eyelash and everyone just died.
But, unfortunately, this all occurred on a Sunday and Popnog was on it's weekend break so we couldn't announce it. However, the world more than made up for us, and you can see Lady Gaga's nine-plus minute birthday card here - an overwhelming confection of affection that makes you wonder what would happen if she passed suddenly instead of just turned 24.
Meanwhile however, a day later, we turn our attention to a hotel room somewhere in Europe where, laying on top of the maid-folded sheets, chocolate left untouched, Jay Brannan flops onto his back and stairs at the ceiling, counting the names of boys he should try not to drunk text anymore, the names of boys who've heard him crying on the telephone, the number of steps it would take to get to the next closest supermarket and just how many calories are in one packet of ramen.
Yes, it's the 28th birthday of the owner of a lonely heart, who strums so furtively that he knows you hate him, he's a perceptive guy, there's no love left in the big city, no God is coming to save us, and being a half-boyfriend was only half-bad. It's always that day you just got dumped within the chords of Jay Brannan's songs, and thank Gaga for that. The true male successor to Janis Ian's "At Seventeen," our birthday boy is like a dude-version of Taylor Swift, minus the happy endings and bouncing blonde curls. Having seen him perform live twice last summer, in such contrasting settings as Dublin and Hoboken, I can say there's truly a universal quality to Jay Brannan's self-mocking and utterly sincere ever-breaking heart. Throngs of single boys from 16 to 35 crowd the stage, fingers clutched wantonly in their Levi pockets and around their Corona bottles as they gaze starry-eyed as Brannan croons the perils of lending trust to another male while his audience confuses his delicate blue devils as a real life Craiglist invitation. They all want to be in love with the loveless three songs into the show. It's a strange spectacle to behold.
So a hip-hip and three cheers to the lonely but never alone. I couldn't tell you how Jay might spend his birthday, but it just might involve plucking the chords of "I want to be a housewife..." to no one in particular as he sits in the dark with a cake, fully lit with sixteen candles, waiting for Jake Ryan to come and deliver him with that perfect birthday kiss.
Or maybe old reruns of Melrose Place poorly dubbed in Italian. Just don't over do it at the Soda Shop.
-- ALEX WILBURN
Previously > In Living Cover