Madonna, still weird and wonderful at 57 years old. “Almost Famous” turns 15, and Cameron Crowe celebrates. And a man wakes up from an 11-year coma, stunned to find Federer still rules.


It was a typical weekday phone call from my wife, one we have 2-3 times a day.

Usually it’s “Did the boy nap well?” or “did you remember to pick up the dry cleaning?”
This was different.
“Wanna go see Madonna at Madison Square Garden?”
It took about four nanoseconds for me to respond “YES!” when she asked that last week, after her great boss said they had been invited by a law firm that represents my wife’s company.
No matter where or how you grew up in the 1980s, Madonna was impossible to avoid. I, of course, loved her: Her music, her fearlessness, her dancing, her total disregard for “rules” and authority, just her … Madonna-ness, if you will, had me entranced.
I lost the love for her a bit in the 1990s, like I’m sure a lot of us did, when she started acting like a total fool on TV (that Letterman appearance was atrocious), making terrible music, and we won’t even talk about her “acting” career, which was an affront to all thespians everywhere.

But you know what? She’s ended up having a lot longer career than any of us could have predicted in the 1980s. She moved to England, took up Pilates, and played a kick-ass set at the Super Bowl a few years ago.

So going to MSG last Wednesday night to see her, I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting.

The show was … weird. And great. Some dispatches from a unique couple of hours:

— Ms. Ciccone was in incredible shape for 57. Incredible shape for 27. She doesn’t dance nearly as fast or as intricately as she used to, but she can still move really well.

— Of course, I couldn’t help noticing that the dancers she was writhing around with on stage were young enough to be her kids. Or (gasp) grandkids. Yikes.

— Definitely the highest percentage of gay people at a concert I’ve ever been to. (As “Seinfeld” would say, not that there’s anything wrong with that.) And I say that having seen both Tori Amos and Indigo Girls.
Amy Schumer, the filthy but funny opening act, said something like “I’ve never been around so much dick that didn’t want me.”

–In case you were wondering, Madonna is still obsessed with sex; it seemed like all of the songs she played off her new album “Rebel Heart” were about sex, S&M, or some other kind of masochistic relationship. Again, she’s Madonna so there are no rules, but seeing a 57-year-old woman have simulated sex on stage is a little bit icky.

— I was wildly surprised to hear my favorite, mostly under-loved Madonna ’80s song performed: “Dress You Up.” We were dancing big-time to that one.

— Lastly, we’d heard that Madonna goes on stage absurdly late for concerts, so we were definitely worried we’d have to miss most of the show if she went on at 11 or something. But happily, she pranced on stage at 9:45 p.m.

Because Madonna, like her fans, can’t stay up as late as she used to.


**Next up, as I’ve stated on here before, one of my all-time favorite movies is “Almost Famous,” Cameron Crowe’s pitch-perfect ode to early 1970s rock and roll.

The fabulous flick turned 15 this month, and Crowe released some great behind-the-scenes photos to celebrate the occasion.

The one above is great, but all of them are terrific. Check them out here, and below, because we all miss him so, all of the Philip Seymour Hoffman scenes from the movie. My favorite is the one starting at 7:05, when Lester Bangs counsels young William Miller about being uncool.

**Finally today, one last tennis story before I stop writing about my favorite sport for a while. This one is too good not to share.

In 2004, Seville, Spain native Jesus Aparicio was a huge tennis fan, specifically a huge fan of Roger Federer. The 18-year-old Aparicio just watched the Swiss star win three of the four Grand Slam tournaments that year, and was excited to see how much better Federer would get.

On Dec. 12, 2004, while celebrating his 18th birthday, Aparicio was in a serious car accident, and was in a coma for 11 years.

He awoke, miraculously, on Aug. 27, and as he regained the power of speech in coming weeks, he asked whatever happened to Federer.

When his family told Jesus that Federer was still a major force in tennis, ranked No. 2 in the world, he was stunned.

“I thought he had retired. When I knew that at 34 years old, he is still playing and is number two in the world, I thought they were kidding me. I could not believe it,” Aparicio said.

“When I heard that he reached 17 slam titles, I put my hands on my face.“I knew Federer was very good but I never thought he could win all he has won.”

Aparicio’s family is hoping to give him his dream of meeting Federer. Sounds like a fantastic Kickstarter or GoFundMe fundraiser to me. I’d kick in money for sure.

Amazing stuff.


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