Monday, February 13, 2012


Ahh, that half time show at the Super Bowl ...

For weeks before the big day, we heard about the ads, what they cost, the show, and Madonna.

I'm an Elvis fan. I'm a fan of Michael Jackson -- the magic, the electricity --there's something in the way he moved that I'll never forget. I'm not a sports fan or a Madonna fan, but when Madonna's on stage doing her thing, I'm a fascinated Madonna watcher.

I remember when she was arrived on the scene -- her name delighted and bothered people even before they saw her. Here she is in 1984.

What a zoom it was, from the unknown new girl on the block to celebrity -- headlines, boyfriends, lovers, marriages, blockbuster hit songs. And while she was rising and astounding us, Michael Jackson was rising and astounding us -- lighting up the sky.

Fun to see them together -- the gloved one was Madonna's date for the 1991 Oscars.

I think MJ was much more startling, amazing, and inventive creatively. I think Madonna's fame-name comes from her gutsy, outrageous display of her sexuality and her need (her own words) to display "truth or dare" revelations of her "blonde ambition."

I looked and looked for a video that shows why audiences are crazy about her. Despite too many credits at the end, IN BED WITH MADONNA shows off Madonna the actress, singer, choreographer, producer, star, uninhibitedly expressing herself.

Yes, she's aging. She's had many hits and still wins awards. Just recently she won the Golden Globe Award for 2011, for MASTERPIECES, a song she wrote and performed, that's just been released.

Well, there she was at the Super Bowl, the star of an expensive half-time show that reminded me of the Olympics. There were marching bands, choruses of men, choruses of women, acrobats, fabulous set changes, light changes, crowds of extras that suggested a gathering of people who were carried away by the spirit that was generated by their voices and bodies reacting to music.

The songs, some hers, some belonging to others, seemed to blend. I found myself focusing on the super high stilettos Madonna was wearing as she marched, knees-up, knees- down -- as she plied -- bent her legs in what we dancer's call "second" position, with her turned-out knees and her stilettoes (her feet) about three feet apart. Once she sort of skipped; twice guys flipped her in a cartwheel slightly awkwardly; she perched on someone's shoulders, stood on someone's shoulders; she was lifted and tossed and sang and sang. What the words were I couldn't really comprehend. I only remember a huge bunch of chorus girls chanting "we love Madonna, Madonna, Madonna" in an snap-your-fingers, clap-your-hands rhythm.

The words and music were sort of drowned out by all the stage effects. I was very impressed by the white-suited group of acrobats, though they upstaged Madonna. I remember her suddenly in a shiny black gown, singing, down on her knees worshiping Cee Lo Green, male singer, also in a shiny black gown. I wondered for a second if it was supposed to be sexual.

I have a strong impression of a slender, beautiful face, framed by long blond curls -- Madonna the star -- a bit stiffly, often in second position bump and grinding, knees up, knees down marching through the entire half-time show, showing me that Madonna was indeed it's star and main attraction.

"You never know exactly the minute, the place. You climb the hill all your life and you're going on and on. You reach a flat place now and then but a flat place is going someplace on the way up your hill. And then ... well, it feels the same. The wind's the same. You're still walking but ... but the top of the hill is gone and done with and you're going down. Not up. Going down. You don't quite know how or when going up got to be going down. But you're going ... down ..."

That's a quote from a play I wrote that comes to mind when I think about what she's doing and thinking today -- she's on a world tour now, being praised and undoubtedly also disparaged, singing, dancing, partying, living -- being "Madonna."

If I could, I'd tell her: As you've grown up over the years, you are what you wanted to be -- blonde ambition, truthful and daring. At the Superbowl, perhaps too much "ambition" was showing Give us more YOU, as you are right now.
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