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Lady Gaga Gets Garland's Ruby Slippers At The Monster Ball @ Staples Center, 3/28/11

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Covered in fake blood and dressed in costume couture resembling Carol Burnett's famous curtains, the now 25-year-old Lady Gaga brought a special birthday-edition of her Monster Ball tour to the Staples Center on Monday complete with a flame throwing bra, a piano built into the hood of a car and a powerful new rhetoric for her global and growing army of believers.

With paws in the air and a loose storyline to lead her monsters (fans), Gaga's "Born This Way" message is more than a mantra, and it's strongly resonating with the people of earth despite cynical inclinations to dismiss the fervor as ingenuous, 2-way puffery.

Fittingly, as the Monster Ball was created to be a "punk rock answer to the Wizard of Oz," the wardrobe department gave the birthday girl a pair of Judy Garland's ruby slippers, a present with special meaning for the performer who recalled being bullied in school and demoted to the ranks of 'chorus' during a school production.

After due congratulations to her team and her fans she shared an emotional birthday message, "I didn't used to be very brave. In fact I was not very brave at all. But you have made me so brave." With glittering validation in hand she remarked, "i just wanted to say on behalf of myself and all of those bullied around the world, now these fucking ruby slippers are mine."

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With escalating volume and emotion she continued:

"Tonight I want you to forget all of your insecurities, I want you to reject anyone or anything that's ever made you feel like you don't belong, or you don't fit in, or you aren't good enough, or thin enough, or pretty enough, or can't sing well enough, or write a song well enough, or dance well enough, or you'll never have a #1, or you'll never walk a runway, or you'll never fill an arena, or you'll never win a Grammy, you just remember that you're a goddamn superstar, Hollywood."

There was much dancing.