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“Mr. Peepers Nights: The Bad Girl in the Balcony” : New York Magazine

Madonna - New York Magazine / May 20 1991

Mr. Peepers Nights: The Bad Girl in the Balcony

“Now what do we do?” Madonna asked her retinue, walking in the door of Laura Belle, where there was a big party before Truth or Dare, the documentary of her “Blond Ambition” tour.

“Next assignment?” she said to the people around ready to move her into the throng.

“Hello, I said.

“Hello,”” said Madonna in her squeaky voice as though she were waiting for more, and then she was off through another gantlet of press. She was wearing a jeweled bathing-suit thing under a long black swallowtail coat, and where her high black boots failed to meet her bathing suit, her white thighs were bare. Her hair, now dark again, was folded into a tight pageboy and held back with combs, very demure and Duchess of Windsor. Everything about her was disciplined and yet animated by her beauty and wild rocker spirit.

The guys with the earphones took this little duchess in a bathing suit into the room. Ron Silver sat on a ledge dangling his feet and laughing at the commotion as she passed, and there were other stars in the room, but with Madonna there is only Madonna, for she is now the greatest star. She has crossed the media of rock and movies, and this was her night and her movie.

Liz Smith, who was being trailed by PrimeTime Live, had come in and was waiting to interview her. Ron Delsener and Linda lanklow were there, and the model Beverly Johnson with Naomi Campbell and Steven Meisel. Dr. Mathilde Krim had cooled her heels at the door with Arnold Scaasi, who wanted to see Madonna for his birthday. And many of the people on Peggy Siegal’s regular lists came, dressed younger because this is Madonna. Carol Alt stood there insisting that she be caught in the flashes. Debbie Harry said, “I need a drink. I need several drinks.” And there was much waiting, and the PR girls who were standing around in high heels would take off one shoe and rub one foot on the other leg and consult their lists. But after Madonna appeared, there could only be Madonna.

She was marched through the room for a royal walkabout and up to a kind of Roman-temple pavilion, where in silhouette she talked to Liz Smith, and then she waved from the balcony and was marched down to talk to another camera crew, where she held up the Post front page WHAT A TRAMP! and said, “I’m proud of it.”

Her nose tilts down slightly. She has perfect white fixed teeth, good pale star skin, purple-red lips, and a little beauty mark. She seems more comfortable with the girls around her. She looks like a tough kid who might once have beaten up the other girls who had better clothes. She is a girl without a mother, a star without a child. A disciplined performer. A genius of image, and she looks like trouble, which makes her sexy. She has a slight gap in between her front teeth and a dimple in her right cheek when she smiles. She has blue eyes. All her features are in proportion and all strong, a good chin, a square face—very well made up, a bit of glitter on the top of her lashes, her lips extended to a bow. She does not blink in the camera lights, for they are her medium. The charms hanging from her bathing suit move as her body shifts in the lights. She is attuned to the questioners and the questions that do not matter.

Madonna settles at a table in the rear that immediately fills with all the best-looking young people in the room and others who come to pay court and can get themselves past the big guys flexing their shoulder-group muscles and rolling their necks as “I Got You, Babe” plays. The Herreras and Chessy Rayner and Ron Perelman and Billy Norwich and R. Couri Hay stand in a fringeand stare in her direction. At the Ziegfeld, Madonna sits in the first row of the balcony with her friends and dancers. And she looks like this is what she once was — the bad girl in the balcony, cracking her gum and thruwing popcorn. The naughty girl. The hot girl.

Madonna is an artist with many things to say (express yourself). The theme of her movie is family and going home. She is the mother to the dancers — disciplining them, playing with them, flattering and consoling them, and getting them to do just what she wants — give a good show. “I choose people who are emotionally crippled or who need mothering,” she says at one point. Madonna’s mother died at 30, when Madonna was 6. But there is her father and the brothers who appear and fail to appear. She needs her screaming, dancing, waving audience. She hates when there are nothing but guys like William Morris agents or “industry” in the first rows, sitting with their arms folded.