Strap-on Sunshine

k.d. lang keeps it real

When the crowd's standing ovation called her back for an encore, lang re-emerged in femme-drag as the title character of her 1992 song, "Miss Chatelaine." Wearing a lemonade-yellow sleeveless party gown and a tall black wig with a white flower tucked behind one ear, lang sang a high-speed rendition, garnering a mixture of hysterics and awe from the crowd. In the midst of a storm furiously flowing from a bubble machine, she leapt awkwardly, tipped her wig forward to punctuate the music, flung her see-through wrap for emphasis, and flicked her arms. One high jump revealed that she still was wearing her oversize jeans underneath the dress. Expressing false dignity, Miss Chatelaine posed with a hand to her face as if for a camera and walked prissily until she began to swagger like a butch, messing with our expectations.

"Take it all off!" someone yelled, and she did. In one fell swoop, Miss Chatelaine was in a heap on the stage. "Poor, poor, Miss Chatelaine," sympathized lang in a faux French accent. "She looks so empty. Like a lemon chiffon gone terribly wrong." A sweaty k.d. remained, revealing a loose blue tank top and an anchor tattoo on her right bicep. She asked the audience slyly: "Can we ponder for one second the convenience of a strap-on?" If Invincible Summer was meant to welcome mainstream listeners to lang's music by presenting an upbeat persona, her clever live performance leaves no doubt that she still has plenty of other costumes left in her closet.

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