Madonna with Cher, Debi Mazar, Amy Schumer, Gloria Steinem and Michael Moore at the Women’s March on Washington (January 21 2017)
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Madonna with Cher at Women’s March in Washington today
The pop icon on election-night prayers, aging, and bad wine.
Madonna has no patience for bad wine. I learned this while sitting in a well-appointed living room at her New York City home, with Nina Simone playing softly in the background. I must tell you, Madonna’s house smells amazing—something delicious, maybe roasted chicken, was cooking in a kitchen elsewhere in the manse, and there was a gentle fragrance in the air, jasmine, perhaps. While I waited for Madonna, her day-to-day manager, her publicist, and I chatted while reclining on gorgeous cream-colored furniture set upon the largest rug I’d ever seen, on top of immaculate black wood floors. On the wall behind me was a black-and-white photograph of a woman perched on the edge of a mussed bed, scantily clad, sucking on a gun, it’s Helmut Newton’s “Girl with Gun” photograph. Of course.
Madonna was late, but that didn’t matter because she is Madonna. What is time, really? She was all apologies when she arrived, and we quickly got down to business. She was in the process of planning a fund-raiser at Art Basel in Miami Beach, and like any perfectionist she wanted to taste the wines that could be served. She knelt on the floor as she considered various reds and whites and a rosé—or “summer water,” as she called it. “Roxane,” Madonna said. “You don’t have to wear that dress tonight. …” That’s when I exhaled. This was familiar territory. My name is part of a well-known song or two. I smiled and said, “No, I do not.” At one point she asked me for my opinion on a particularly troublesome wine, handed me her glass, and swore she didn’t have anything contagious. I believed her and took a sip. To be fair, the wine was terrible—it tasted like vinegar—and the year on the bottle said 2016, so it wasn’t really wine yet. It was the suggestion of wine.
Madonna is very good at multitasking. While she was considering the wines, she held forth with me, and before long she was done with the bad wine. “Take the mediocre out of here,” she tells Dustin, the strapping young man who served all the wine and apologized for its mediocrity even though that mediocrity was not his fault. “I’ll go broke before I drink bad wine,” she declared, and I was entirely in agreement. I wanted nothing more than for Madonna to offer her opinions on wine for the rest of the evening. Dustin promptly brought us the good wine, served in a crystal decanter. I drank it, and it was, indeed, good.