On August 16, Madonna turns 53. This amazing woman has brought me so much joy and been such a great influence on me and my life. I would like to share some thoughts on her through the years.
I remember hearing “Holiday” for the first time. I went to the record store and debated about getting her album or the debut album from Shannon (who had a hit with “Let the Music Play”). I got the Madonna album, and never did get the Shannon one.
When Madonna first came on the scene, I was just coming to terms with my sexuality. I realized I was gay, and there was just something about this woman who “wanted to conquer the world” (as she famously told Dick Clark) that drew me to her. She was someone who was very confident in herself and not afraid to take risks. Traits that I wish I had in myself.
In 1985, I ventured out of my comfort zone and went to the Gay & Lesbian Center in Hollywood. I had been going to therapy at college, but my therapist suggested I try the Center for therapy. And from there I learned about the young men’s rap group that they had on Friday nights. Madonna turned out to be very popular among the other gay guys. When I started going to clubs, she was always on the DJ’s playlist: “Holiday,” “Burning Up,” “Lucky Star,” “Like a Virgin,” “Material Girl,” “Dress You Up,” and “Into the Groove.” The floor would always be packed when her songs came on.
In 1987, my friend Damon and I drove all the way out to Anaheim Stadium to see Madonna in concert for the “Who’s That Girl” tour. I had to pick Damon up in Hollywood and then drive all the way to the venue…probably about 75 miles each way. It was back in the days of general admission tickets. So we waited all day to get into the stadium. But it was a fun crowd, and the time went fast. I remember running into some other friends from the Gay Center also. It was my first time seeing Madonna and it was definitely worth the wait.
By the time of Madonna’s next tour, I was with my partner, Rasheed. He came over to my parents house and stayed the night as a my “friend.” We had to get up early the next day to get in line to get tickets for Madonna’s Blonde Ambition tour. This was back in the day of waiting in line at Ticketmaster outlets to get tickets. You had to get there early to get a wristband with a random number on it. Then they picked a number and you lined up to buy your tickets. There was a couple hundred people there easily… good thing that added more shows.
Rasheed and I had moved in together by the time of the actual concert itself. Our first place, a 1-bedroom apartment in North Hollywood.
One of my favorite Madonna memories is when I got to be in the stands for the premiere of “Evita.” I won 2 tickets from the Fan Club. The premiere was at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. I went with my friend Lee. It was fun to be with other big fans. Local radio DJs were there to get the crowd pumped. We even played some Madonna trivia. I won some prizes that day: Evita bandanna, Evita T-Shirt, baseball cap and even tickets to see the movie later that night. We waited a long time for the celebrities to show up…Sandra Bernhard, Rosie O’Donell, Antonio Banderas, Melanie Griffith and finally the star of the night, Madonna herself with Carlos Leon. This was only a few weeks after she had given birth to their daughter Lourdes… she looked amazing! The stands were shaking because everyone was excited and jumping up and down. Everyone was screaming “MADONNA, MADONNA, MADONNA” Surprisingly I was able to get a few good photos that day.
Beside those I have mentioned, I attended Madonna’s “Drowned World,” “Reinvention,” “Confessions” and “Sticky & Sweet” tours. Seeing her live is always different and amazing. She is the hardest working woman out there.
Recent years have seen her spending more time with family as well as ventures besides music like the gyms, clothing line, children’s books plus directing a movie. But she has started on new album finally! Yeah… I am anxiously awaiting it!
Thanks, Madonna for being a fantastic performer, songwriter, singer, dancer, humanitarian, all-around great human being and inspiration to many. Happy Birthday!
And lastly, if they ever do a “Celebration 2” CD. Here’s my wishlist for it:
You Must Love Me
This Used to Be My Playground
Don’t Cry for Me Argentina
Nothing Really Matters
Give It 2 Me
What It Feels Like for a Girl
Drowned World/Substitute for Love
Causing a Commotion
Keep it Together
Deeper and Deeper
Me Against the Music