Stages, or Staged?

I just bought Britney’s “Stages” DVD, a new official release that looked like it was going to be like Madonna’s “Truth Or Dare” – a real documentary where the camera captures what the performance artist deals with. I thought it was made as means of providing a safe and accurate peek into how she feels offstage. I thought she’d be sweating, talking, or otherwise dealing with life in some way.

I was wrong.

The cover of this product, a huge photo book, has a black and white of Britney from her chest down, back against a wall, with a phone in front of her, as if to seem anti-glamour. When I was trying to judge from the photo, I read it as “I’m sitting in a hotel hallway, beat and anticipating a phone call in my well worn, I’m-Like-You clothes.” Less than half way through the program, Britney walks out to one of the rooms in her suite…and proceeds to do a photo shoot of all of these “real life”, “practical” images. My heart broke, a little bit.

I watched in disbelief as they moved her hair around her shoulders for just-right-messiness. A plate was ready and sitting on the bed, so she could climb right on and pose as though it had really been where she was lounging, with breakfast half gone. Usually when you buy a Britney anything, you get exactly what you saw in the store; the outside is screaming “lights! Camera! Makeup!”. “Stages”, on the other hand, would have been better titled “Staged”. But determined to enjoy this broken promise, I put some gummi bears into my mouth and carried on.

What proceeded was paranoid blabber from the rich men in her company. If a fanatic tried to jump a fence, Mr.Kingshit made love to the camera like a big, bad ass from “Cops”. And you think Britney seems ditsy? Her crew is far worse, and, sadly, allowed to speak throughout the final cut of this project. What does Brit have to say, you ask? Beyond phone calls to her mom, “I love you momma, I love you so much” and “I’m so tired/I’m so excited”, not a whole hell of a lot.

“’Why did you give your people the bird’, they kept askin, and I had to keep sayin’ that I’d already covered that!” she defended in an after-interview (where she was harassed “could you stand up and turn around for us” and badgered for personal answers). Did we, the fans who’d given her money to see something exclusive, get any answers that she was claiming had been already revealed? No, but we sure got her talking about how annoying repeating herself is. Apparently, if we weren’t there that day to hear her answer the first time, we’re shit out of luck.

The last half tries to excuse her canceled tour in Mexico due to excessive rain, but never really apologizes. All we get from the artist is her saying, “I had my rain shoes on for that one, and I still fell.” All tell and no show makes me wonder if anything’s true at this point.

The recurring theme of “she goes through so much and gives them everything – can’t she have anything to herself” was finally drilled into my brain and I understood that I would never get the intimate look that her marketing suggests. I was a fool for thinking that the world behind those brown eyes would ever be released to fans beyond a few “shits” she let slip, and it cost me $30 for this lesson. In temporary denial, I wondered, “Why would they release something like this for people like me to see? Don’t they realize that they’ve chosen to show the trick before the magic? So, is nothing there to see or is her reality still just a big secret?”

That mystery is one of the few things that haven’t been exploited, and I’m not sure if I want to know the truth, anymore. They’ve been feeding me glitter and hairspray for so long that a good helping of meat could seriously damage my system. Worse yet…I dare ask…what if this is the main course?

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