Friday, June 02, 2006

I Made It Through the Wilderness

and at the other end was beautiful inglewood, california, where i saw Madonna perform the other week. madonna. madge, madge. fucking madonna. the one, the only madonna. in inglewood, at the Great Western Forum, where the Lakers used to play before the Staples Center, named after a bank that no longer exists.

i was stoked on getting the tickets, figuring i would never again have the opportunity to see my childhood idol shake her 47-year-old moneymaker. i paid a fortune for the seats, which were among the crappiest in the house, just five rows away from being the row farthest from the stage. greedy bitch charged about 350 smackers for the floor seats closest to the stage, meaning the crowd consisted of professionals who could pay that ticket. not a kid in sight. plenty of fags in sight, however, many with their fag hags. my extra ticket went to my bi friend Dee, the hetero hag i’ve known since college. we arrived late, of course, reaching our nosebleed seats about 10 minutes into the show when “Like a Virgin” was ending.

Like a Virgin. that song is THE madonna song for me. i remember singing it around the house, completely oblivious to what it meant, gyrating my pre-puberty hips, arms overhead, determined to become the virgin Madonna made sound so fantastic. it became my grade-school quest. i think i even asked my mom once, “how can i be like a virgin?” i must have been 8 years old.

the thing about Madonna is that everything she touched she legitimized, from sex and blond hair to marriage and motherhood. she owned it. androgyny, disco, fashion, religion, gayness, england. she embodied it. she made being a slut respectable and never apologized for a damn thing. Madonna was the secret alter ego every girl wanted to have. and as this was a time before Angelina Jolie, Madonna was also every girl’s secret lesbian fantasy.

sadly, i had long thrown out my black spandex bicycle shorts and the ruffled skirt i would wear over them. i also couldn’t find a lace bow to put in my hair for the show, but i had some bangles -- though none rubber -- which i piled onto my wrist. i almost shed a tear when i realized i missed the song, my song, coming into the packed Forum as the chorus of “whoa-whoa-whoa-oh” was ending. fucking traffic.

but she made it up to me... kinda. on the whole, the show was great, the performances energetic and the dancers very sexy, but the music just blew. she performed too much new stuff, much of it from her last few albums, none of which i was interested in. i kept waiting and waiting for the hits -- and she threw me a few bones a la “La Isla Bonita” and “Live to Tell” but i still left feeling cheated.

come on, Madge. i know you want to stay relevant and be the artist of today, but admit that your best work is behind you, far behind, like in the ’80s. don’t fret, because the world is still interested in everything you do, but as a musician you’ve peaked already. it’s not a secret and it’s ok to play the old stuff. you are the artist of my youth, the powerhouse who taught me to Express Myself and to Justify my Love. i haven’t bought a new album of yours in ten years and i don’t plan to. i wanted to see you Vogue and wear that pink Material Girl dress and you insisted on closing with Hung Up.

also, Madge, and don’t take this wrong, but your live show could use some work. something about it was strangely out of touch, especially that bit about gang violence. and we’ve all seen you playing with crucifixes and crowns of thorns before; it’s not shocking the millionth time. i did appreciate all the motivational altruism on display, with images of starving kids in africa and videos of Bush and Blair being assholes, but the moving stage, overdone lighting and big-screens made it so theatrical, so Cirque du Soleil. plus, your live singing voice was mneh and all that interpretive dance was tiresome.

but hey, i still love you. you’re Madonna and you’ve earned the right to do whatever the fuck you want without having ungrateful little shits like me judge you. you and that midas touch of yours will always stay on my radar. your impact cannot be overstated or paralleled. you are still the answer to the fourth wave of feminism. and from what i could catch on that big-screen, your ass looks amazing.

still forever your fan.

No comments: