Brunch Chronicles: Joanne


By day, Peter Nguyen slays behind a double monitor and marketing optimizations. By night, he slays in 6-inch heels within New York's drag and kink scene. These are his chronicles as told over croissants and coffee.

 Lady Gaga, courtesy of Peter Nguyen

Lady Gaga, courtesy of Peter Nguyen


     “Take the tickets, just take the tickets” my friend says with in a frenetic tone as a woman hands a ticket to me. “What? What’s going on? What’s this for?” “It’s for the pit. We’re getting tickets to the pit.”

Just moments before, I had turned to my other friend who was donning full drag saying how the view from our 508 section nosebleeds were not so bad. He and I, searching for a bright side told ourselves that we were appreciative of the fact that we had an uninterrupted view and wouldn’t need to stand for three-plus hours at Lady Gaga’s “Joanne’s World Tour.”

Now my friend who was talking to the woman was having a small panic attack. He begins frantically calling our other comrades who were downstairs trying to double-fist cocktails before the show. They finally pick up after a few attempts and he bellows “drop everything you’re doing and run to your seats! We’re getting pit tickets. Stop asking questions. Get here now!”

If I was any closer, I could lick the sweat off her

These scouts, the woman pulling us into the pit, saw my friend’s glittery pink hat and approached us. Their job was to fill the small area by the stage with "Little Monsters," diehard Gaga fans. They were having a difficult time finding people dressed up in Citi Field (a venue of 40,000+) to fit that bill. Granted, it was also a Monday evening and Citi Field is on the edge of Queens so not everyone is trying to turn out lewks.

We make our way downstairs and enter the fenced off pen that fits maybe no more than 100 people at most. I was standing next to super fans in amazing recreations of some of her most iconic looks from each album mixed in with your standard drag/kink crossover.  


I experienced religious ecstasy that night… standing a mere few feet away from her. If I was any closer, I could lick the sweat off her. I could see her crisp facial expressions, the details and texture of her costume, and I would argue at one point we made eye contact for a split second. Her musicality never ceases to amaze me, jumping from the stage to the piano, to the guitar. 


To all the people who side-eyed us at the Lady Gaga concert for being extra… I’d like to think we were “just enough,” thank you.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Peter Nguyen is a contributing writer to Smoke Signals with the ongoing series, "Brunch Chronicles". Peter is a 29-year-old Gaysian with creative aspirations who sold his soul for a corporate paycheck. Self described as a marginally disappointing millennial first-born child to refugee parents of the Vietnam War. He's a west-coaster turned New Yorker, popper sommelier, voracious eater, aspiring food critic, future benevolent dictator, a serial procrastinator who loves mid-century modern furniture and burgeoning professional dom. Peter lives for the stories best told over brunch the morning after. 

Follow Peter on IG @peteronpost

Peter Nguyen