Lady Gaga, Indonesia Protests: Islamic Group Picked on Pop Star to Publicize Its Agenda
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) -- Titin Karisma parades onto the stage wearing a rhinestone bustier and matching bottoms, with sequin fringe that jiggles wildly to the rhythm of the beating drums.
Preteen boys watch the singer wide-eyed as she straddles a speaker, whipping her long hair wildly. She licks the microphone and drops to the ground, repeatedly thrusting her pelvis toward a camera.
Lady Gaga's onstage antics are almost tame compared to this act, known as dangdut, the most popular genre of music in this predominantly Muslim nation of 240 million.
But while the pop star's show was effectively banned from Indonesia, tens of thousands of young women here put on performances like Karisma's every night. They shake and grind in smoky bars, ritzy nightclubs, at weddings, even circumcisions. In most cases the hosts say the sexier the better.
The apparent double standard highlights divisions between Indonesia's largely tolerant majority and a vocal minority of Islamic hard-liners. The conservatives hold outsized influence in government, and have successfully picked high-profile battles like the Lady Gaga show, but they haven't been able to stop dangdut, which has a long tradition here.
Karisma's stage shows have gotten nearly a million hits on YouTube. Julia Perez, an actress and wannabe politician, is dubbed the "sex bomb" for her racy act. Another performer, Dewi Persik, is known for her powerful back-and-forth hip thrusting "saw move" and public acknowledgments that she had surgery to become "a born-again virgin" to please her future husband.
The up-and-coming "Trio Macan," made of three Gaga look-alikes, with dyed hair and catlike poses, often simulate sex with male customers on stage.
Members of the Anti