Madonna 50

Madonna 50: PT 3

Like when Jackie O turned 60 but only better.

In the summer of 2000, California beckoned. We had given up our place after being offered jobs there. It didn’t work. Instead, we got a loft for what we knew would be our last year in Vangroovy.

In August of 2001, We packed everything that we owned in a large U-Haul and drove across the country to Toronto with only leads for jobs. We were leaving behind great jobs, great money, to “come what may”. On our trip, we listed to a lot of Madge of the past: a retrospective; and a lot of heavy dance remixes. Put two gay men in a car-

We arrived in Toronto days before 9/11. 

Glamma took a job in retail management and I took a job with Dior, traveling as their makeup artist. Our intention was to make something happen but we- along with the rest of North America- were still numb from what happened. It was two years later. Everyone seemed to be questioning their mortality; trying more to make sense of what was going on in the Bush regime. He was still trying to smoke ’em out of their holes but it seemed that less and less of us were buying it.

A month after “Operation Iraqi Freedom”, Madge came out with poignant prose. American Life was in stores, on MTV and all over the news. One version of The video depicted a laughing George W whom she blows up. A lot of people cheered while another lot thought it in bad taste. His actions were resonating in so many minds- and clearly, they were resonating in hers. Her comment was strong. We applauded.

A few years passed. Glamma and I made ourselves stuck in jobs we hated. We were less and less inspired although we were enjoying Toronto. We wanted more out of it. So we started clubbing again. And I started writing.

The fall of 2005, Confessions on a Dancefloor came out. We were hooked. It was the first record in years that we LOVED from beginning to end. Although there were many dance remixes made, I preferred the album edits.

Our club anthem, of course, was Hung Up. Get Together reminded me of who would star in the scripted version of the novel I was writing (I don’t know why!); I Love New York, while the lyrics were ridiculous, had a great beat and was easy to dance to. I gave it an 8. 

Glamma and I hit a sour spot in our relationship at the seven year mark (go figure!) but we worked it out! I was listening to Jump a lot. He originally thought that it was because I wanted to break up with him but, in reality, it was because I needed OUT of the job I detested. Isaac was fantastic to me, even though Madge got a lot of criticism for it. I just thought it was a fantastic story from the old world. 

We listened to Confessions over and over for a year before I finally was given the opportunity to jump out of the job that I hated so much. Thank the Universe for down-sizing and lay-offs that buy you out. It was magic. I was finally able to finish writing my novel (three years later, we are still editing it-).

A year later, Glamma got his wish and was out of his no-where job that he gave too much of himself to. With getting nothing in return. 

We were both focused and finally allowed to do what we wanted. What we did so many years before. Work for ourselves. The first couple of years were rocky- and it still is- but then we finally got to work with celebs again. And work in the city that beckoned me for the third time in my life: LA.

Music became so much a part of our lives- thanks to Glamma- and we were hearing things that were art. we were making art again. We were who we were meant to be. 

Quite suiting, Hard Candy came out while we made our first return to LA to work. Give It To Me reminds me of watching Our Boys playing Hacky Sack. In fact, I made an iMovie with Give It to them playing. Our BFF Pamela had gone through a bad breakup and She’s Not Me was part of her rebuild in confidence. The Devil Wouldn’t Recognize You is just great prose put to music (JT convinced Madge to put this poetry to music). 

And here we are today. We have spent the better part of the year traveling, working; together and seperately. When I am away from Glamma, Miles Away makes me think of him. I much prefer working with him when we are abroad. 

SO, Madonna. Thanks for the music. Thanks for the walk down my own Memory Lane. And- Happy Birthday, lady. Here’s to another 25 years of fierce music and memories that will go with them. 

Madonna 50: PT 1

Madonna 50: PT 2


Madonna 50: PT 2

Madonna 50.

Like when Jackie O turned 60 but only better.

This is turning out to be a bit of a novella-

The 90s happened and I was out-er than out. As gay as my friend Muffin’s coined term: the gayest gay that ever gayed

Still in Montreal, I was IN Vogue. 1990 was the summer of Blonde Ambition, my return to University (after taking some time off to become a hair stylist) and the Sex Garage protest against the Surte de Quebec. The Police. At a private party, a bunch of outcast gay men, dykes and drag queens and their admirers danced and gogoed on speakers to some of the most amazing music such as Vogue. The party raided, the Surte de Quebec began to beat all that left the party- peacefully- expressing: “hoste! les tapettes!” [loosly translated: “fucking faggots!”] The next day, an entire group met at a club to decide what the hell to do. We were not going to stand for it. United, we stopped traffic in the middle of a busy intersection in Montreal- outside of the police station- and sat, arms locked. Cops moved in and beat us out of the intersection as we exclaimed: “Shame!” Many were arrested and beaten even more once inside holding cells. One guy had a stick smashed into his testicles, injuring him quite badly.

The year ensued. We were mad but we were partying and dancing our anger into a new era. It was Montreal’s Stonewall. Segregated gay men, lesbians and queens were slowly coming together. All the while, Madonna was a staple. In November, The Immaculate Collection was released. All of the songs- especially the new ones- were new anthems. Madonna was intensely and unapologetically openly aiming her top market: the gay community. Rescue Me and Justify My Love were quick to become staples. They all related to the events that took place and were taking shape. 

The summer of 91 took me to Europe where I travelled and continuously listened to Deee-Lite and the multitude of versions of Justify. It was a good year.

Having finished enough of university, I thought it hight time to get out. NYC was on my mind for years. It was all that I wanted. The summer of 1992 took me back “home” to PEI where I worked as a waiter. A League Of Their Own came out and so did This Used To Be My Playground. Having left Montreal to work as a waiter in PEI, my thoughts whirled in the lyrics. That summer, I read an unofficial bio on Madonna and read how she landed in NYC with $35 in her pocket and made it. I left for NYC in the fall of 92 with $300 in my pocket, knew no one and became the bohomo, couch surfing until I finally landed jobs bartending, gogo dancing and the like. 

That same fall, Erotica came out. Clinton was running for President. I was in a whirl in NYC. By myself. And frequenting clubs. I hung out with gogo dancers that I worked with but I didn’t make great friends. I didn’t want to. I wanted to discover me. I had boyfriends out of convenience. Everything truly was just about Jake. I had one job that brought me to Connecticut for months on end where all I listened to was Erotica, Fever, Deeper & Deeper (which featured Udo Kier who I lived with for a month) and Bad Girl over and over. Life in Connecticut was– interesting. I needed the escape in the music until I finally got back to the city. Where I finally got a job as a bartender. I could finally focus on performing and becoming a STAR. Oy.

However, working in clubs and partying got the best of me. I remained in Hair and started learning and doing makeup with the group that I was performing with. I became increasingly depressed even though I LOVED the city I had always desired. I had succumbed to the many poisonous fruits that New York is famous for producing. I had friends that were dying of AIDS and breast cancer; and friends that succumbed to an untimely death due to increased drug usage. Many rockers and trannies and freaks.

Bedtime Stories came out and I tried desperately to love my life- my dream- by listening to the many songs She had to offer. Human Nature was a favorite “fuck off” song. I was dating a guy in LA and I was back and forth between the two cities. Secret was a theme. In the interim, Bedtime Story, written by Bjork (who frequented the performance group I was with), reminds me of my F to M illusion friend, Trash. S/he was my BFF for the most part of my time in NYC. We were invincible as we skipped happily from club scene to club scene, gaining notoriety as we hung with club kids Richie Rich and the notorious Michael Alig. My LA boyfriend (now a friend only) moved to NY and, while we just became friends, he died within a year of moving there. Inside of Me and Love Tried To Welcome Me resonated in my mind as did In This Life, the live version from The Girlie Show the year previous, as my thoughts were with him and my friend Wendy Wild who was still battling her last battle with breast cancer. 

I had enough with New York. Or, more specifically, New York had enough with me and spat me back to Canada- to “the island” where I dried out, cried out and kept deep inside me with Something To Remember in my hands. You’ll See and One More Chance seemed to fit my life at that moment. I needed to gain strength and passion again. I was fighting. My cousin Lesley told me once that You’ll See reminded her of me and the fight that I was fighting. Even though she didn’t know what the fight was. That meant the world to me. Those two songs were, again, my themes. I Want You was a song that represented an abusive relationship that I had no business in being in to begin with. I wasn’t ready. I was fragile. But The Universe delivers to you what you need to be dealt. Not that I should have been abused- it just helped me with regaining my strength and I fought back. For the first time in years. I fought for me.

Clawing my way back, I performed in my final musical. Evita was in theatres and it was great. However, none of the songs from that were ever any of my favorites. But it reminds me of getting my strength back.

Ray of Light was released in 1998. I was now living in Vancouver. I needed something light. Drowned World was my solace. She changed her mind and so did I. I was focused and driven to work in film as a hair and makeup artist and Vangroovy, at the time, was the place to do it. Nothing Really Matters and Shanti were mantras. I was dating again but still wearing my heart on my sleeve. I fell for a guy that didn’t want anything to do with LOVE. To Have and Not To Hold was my theme (this video was the best fan art i could find. there is no official video). 

Then I met Glamma. Ray of Light was my light. Glamma CONTINUES to be my light. I think of him whenever I hear it.

Doing the occasional independent film, I was comfortable working as an instructor. I didn’t know what I truly wanted. Music came out and Don’t Tell Me and What It Feels Like for a Girl were powerful driving songs. Driving is all one did in Vangroovy to get from one set to the next to the teaching gig.

We were happy in our new relationship and loving our comfort with both of us teaching and frequenting LA for work related things. We loved LA. I remembered it to be that fabulous when I was going there five+ years previous. 

The record, Music, rocked. But we weren’t rocking in Vangroovy. There was no where else to go. We capped.

Stay tuned for Part III for Madge’s official 50th. 

Madonna 50: PT 1

Madonna 50: PT 3