|If you were anywhere near New York in October, then you
probably have fond memories of the mega-Madonna convention put on by
Jeannie Buxo from Madonnasworld.com. For the rest of us who
unfortunately missed out, let's live vicariously through this great review
and awesome pictures! Thanks, Jeannie!
L to R) Jonathon - Me (Joey) - Jeannie (from
- Tricia - Tom
courtesy of Joey Angeli
NZ SUNDAY STAR TIMES
star of the show wasn't there. But the ardent fans at New York's
official Madonna convention didn't care. There were still posters,
all. Kirsten Matthew reports.
in Chelsea, on one of the few seamy streets remaining in
60 winter-wrapped bodies are pressing towards the doors of a
Surrounded by warehouses and standing in the shadow of a grimy
the Roxy is an enduring legend known for its big dance nights,
indoor roller disco, and gay clientele. It's also the nightclub
20 years ago Madonna, then a struggling dancer and singer, first
so it's fitting that tonight the club will host the inaugural
Madonna convention in New York City.
Jeannie Buxo looks tired. A 24-year-old secretary from Queens,
is the prime mover behind the convention. Thin with wavy brown hair
prominent teeth, dressed in a Madonna singlet and white jeans, Buxo
been working on this project since January. She's done this not as
paying member of Madonna's staff or as a representative from Warner
(which in its capacity as Madonna's record label has given the
official status), but as an ardent fan.
first became aware of Madonna at the age of six when she saw the
Star music video. Buxo joined the fan club which led to meeting
Madonna lovers. When the internet came along, she joined mailing
and chat rooms that revolved around Madonna. She designed her own
madonnasworld.com, and started making pilgrimages to the annual
in Detroit, Michigan (where Madonna grew up).
of Buxo's meagre salary goes on feeding her addiction. Her house
stuffed with Madonna memorabilia. She has travelled around the US
see her idol perform. In 2001 she went to Paris to attend Madonna's
World tour. While there she got a photo of Madonna leaving her
hotel with husband Guy Ritchie by staking out the hotel. She is
copies of the photo, blown up to poster size, for $20 - the
will go to charity, she says.
met Madonna once, in 1999. She had wangled her way into the MTV
Awards as a seat filler. In an ad break she spotted Madonna talking
Donatella Versace, took her chance and rushed over. "Madonna, you're
greatest," she blurted out. Madonna responded with a mere smile.
7pm the Roxy's doors swing open and the small crowd shuffles into
black foyer that reeks of cigarettes, booze and sweat. The mob is
as flamboyant as you'd expect: there's not a lace glove or pointy
in sight. There are a few young women paying homage to one of the
Girl's more recent reinventions with cowboy hats and low-cut
but the group is mostly made up of gay men in their 20s.
the demographic, this lot know what they're here for is the free
Sponsors have furnished stacks of promotional posters, copies
the novel Swept Away (on which Madonna's latest movie, directed by
is based) and a video of Madonna's new BMW commercial. The fans
only too happy to pick up these additions to their collections that
stashed under beds and piling up in garages at home.
an hour the horde has spent a lot of money too, at the 10
where merchants are hawking calendars, photographs, records
T-shirts. At one end of the room a chubby man and a blonde in a
jacket peruse the merchandise on Steve Caraco's stall. Caraco,
middle-aged balding man who lives upstate, makes a living out of this,
via his website madonnacatalog.com. As we talk a tall man hands
$160 for a fistful of memorabilia. By 8.30pm the room has emptied
only the hardcore fanatics remain. Like Buxo, Tricia Hayes and Tom
have spent thousands on Madonna. The New York residents travelled
London earlier this year to see Madonna in the David Williamson play
such a terrible actress in the movies, but she was really good on
24-year-old Zaremba, resplendent in a home-made Madonna T-shirt,
He's the DJ at the after-party tonight and like many here
Madonna's mid-80s music - Like a Virgin, Crazy for You, Papa
Preach - to her newer tunes.
most extravagant Madonna-related purchase was a CD cover,
Madonna toe-sucking, that was pulled before its release in
early '90s. He paid $4000 for one of 138 surviving copies.
Angeli, a 30-year-old trainee manager at Starbucks, is sure he will
Madonna one day if he makes it as a dancer. He's excited by the
discovery that one of her ex-dancers now teaches at the Broadway
he attends. "I love her for her performance - that's where I'm
obsessed," Angeli says.
loves Madonna's "perfect face", while Buxo is fixated for
cerebral reason. "She always sends out a positive message to me -
acceptance, a lot of valuable lessons," she effuses.
devotion to Madonna is unwavering, even though they concede that she
be caught dead fawning over anyone. "I can't see her obsessing
someone, so she probably wouldn't understand," Angeli admits.
a little more realistic. "I think she could care less,"
this is what makes this clique so intriguing. They all realise Madonna
someone they will never be friends with, and that she certainly doesn't
about them, but they keep obsessing all the same. Perhaps that's
they enjoy the camaraderie with their fellow Madonna enthusiasts:
seem to care for each other as much as they do for the object of
collective affection. They look forward to meeting at conventions
concerts and talk regularly over email and the telephone. This
they're excited about spending time together at the party tonight
on the five-hour walking tour tomorrow, which includes visits to
first New York apartment, to Studio 54 where she worked and
the Star Hotel and the Empire Diner, both of which have featured in
Perhaps, in the end, the person they're united by is secondary.
taught me that dreams can come true," Buxo says when asked why
want to organise such an event. "I'm not looking for any kind of
yous. I'm just so pleased - I can't believe how it's all turned