Saturday, August 16, 2008

Happy Birthday to Madonna

Happy Birthday to Madonna Louise Ciccone Ritchie - who turns 50 today! When I first heard Madonna in high school, I had no idea that I would still be paying attention to her over twenty years later.

My friend Stacey was the first in my high school gang to discover Madonna. She bought Madonna's self-titled first album (on CASSETTE!), her car had a cassette player, and Madonna was always playing when we went anywhere. And we went EVERYWHERE in Stacey's huge blue battleship of a car. My favorite song from that album - Burning Up.

Later on in high school, my town didn't have MTV (remember the "I want my MTV!" commercials? - they were aimed at towns like mine), and I didn't want to miss out Madonna's earliest videos. So, like many of my friends, we would stay up and watch Friday Night Videos on NBC to catch the latest Madonna (or Wham!, or Culture Club) videos.

After I graduated from college and moved back to Pennsylvania - I started going to gay bars and meeting other gay people. Anything Madonna did was the hugest deal, and I remember when Erotica and her book Sex came out - the queens I knew were just aflutter! During a trip to NYC, I saw Madonna's documentary Truth or Dare in Chelsea -NYC's gayest neighborhood at the time. It was jammed pack with gorgeous gay men, and I knew I wanted to live in New York City.

A short time later I did move to New York, and started working in the office of the Hard Rock Cafe. Through my job, my best friend Michael and I were able to get free tickets to Madonna's The Girlie Show show at Madison Square Garden. Our seats were excellent - we were sitting near Gloria Estefan and singer Jon Secada (I wanted to go sit in his lap) and Madonna put on an excellent show.

A couple of years later, we managed to get on the guest list at Webster Hall for an MTV event to promote Madonna's Bedtime Stories album. Legendary DJ Junior Vasquez provided the music, and Madonna read us bedtime story, danced onstage, and carried on in a nightgown. Later that evening, as Michael and I were wandering around the club, security BURST into the stairwell where we were standing and whisked Madonna right passed us. Michael reached out and touched her arm. To this day, he raves about how soft her skin was. "Like buttah", he always says.

Michael was also with me at the Roxy nightclub - waiting for Madonna to come onstage - when I saw Boy George and freaked out. I may have been a big Madonna fan growing up, but I was a HUGE Boy George fan.

Years later, my connection to Madonna consists mostly of seeing her BabyDaddy, Carlos Leon, on the subway. Often.

I know it's cliché to say that gay men love our gay icons - but we do. Madonna is to my generation of gays what Judy Garland was to an older generation. I don't know if younger generations will continue to revere female entertainers - I have a feeling they might not. After all, who would be the new Diva? Miley Cyrus? The Jolie-Pitt kids? Random American Idols?!? None of them will ever be able to hold a candle to Madonna - or wear a cone bra nearly as well!

But what about Madonna's daughter Lourdes? Hmmmm..........

Please read Joe.My.God's touching annual post in honor of his late friend Ricky. Like many gay men, Ricky loved Madonna.


curt said...

Madonna is, as a matter of fact, the same age as my mother. Sometimes to get her going, I'll point that out and say, "And what have YOU done with your life?"

It is, of course, a joke between us.

But I still run like hell first, just in case.

Kitty Bradshaw said...

This explains a lot...

David, why in the hell has the song "Borderline" been in my damn head for the last 2 weeks. I haven't heard it recently and I refuse to acknowledge it by downloading the album. The more I try to ignore it, the more it pops into my head and I start singing it. I think Madge is trying to communicate with me subconsciously.

Jennie said...

She still looks awesome and I'm still a material girl wannabe. Rock on, Madonna!

Berry Blog said...

Hey got your own memory lane going and it's pretty snappy. I'm the generation who clung to Judy and the like but unable to make the leap to Liza. Madonna was a relief with a whole fresh charisma after the long line of classic Broadway leads.God, Elaine Stritch had to simply outlive them all to make it.She preserved herself in alcohol didn't she?
Love ya

William said...

I am attending my first Madonna concert October 26th. Very very veeeeeeery excited to finally see Madge in all her 50-year-old (simply amazing) glory.

jen said...

OMG I loved watching Friday Night Videos! Mine was also a small town who wanted their MTV too. I remember a girl in middle school who would dress like Madonna. She seemed to be the only one who did, and OOOH BOY did she get attention from all the guys!! ;)
I can only wish I'll look as good as Madonna when I hit her age!

mistress maddie said...

I agree with what you said to girl!I love Madonna! and can't believe that were still listening to her all these years later.My favorite period was the erocitica and bedtime story and vogue and then again with confessions on the dance floor.She is definelty the Judy Garland of our time and the talent now dosen't seem to have the staying power.I CAN'T STAND MILEY CYRUS girl!I thought I would bark a little by seeing her name.

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