Lance’s Report from Traverse Film Festival
Our reader Lance has a nice story to share with fellow Madonna fans and reports exclusively for Madonna Tribe News from last week’s Traverse Film Festival. Here comes his exclusive report.
“Kaballah states that what you put out in the world, you get back in return. If you put out positivity, it will come back to you. Pretty easy to understand, but not so easy to follow. My adventure actually begins back in Chicago during the Confessions Tour. I met a very nice girl named Anne at Borderline Music. It’s a small independent music store that was started by a huge Madonna fan. They have some great remix cd’s, dvd’s, etc. We were both there for an in store meet and greet with Donna DeLory. She was going to be signing her newest cd and basically anything you brought in. I took my Confessions tour book and she was more than happy to sign it. Anne and I hit it off immediately. She didn’t have a camera so I agreed to take her pic with Donna and e-mail it to her (which I did). We hung out for awhile afterwards and told eachother where we would be sitting for the upcoming show. Anne wanted a balloon really bad from the “balloon drop” at the end of the concert, but she wasn’t in a good spot to get one. I had a seat in the front floor section so when they dropped, I grabbed a couple and then went to where she was sitting after the concert. I handed her one, gave her a hug and told her how great it was to meet her and then I dashed off to catch a bus back to my hotel before it got too crowded. We had exchanged e-mails earlier and I followed through with sending her the pic, but we never kept in touch after that.
About 2 months ago, I received an e-mail from Anne out of the blue. It said…..”You probably don’t remember me, but my name is Anne from Chicago. You got me a balloon from Madonna’s concert. It meant more to me than you’ll ever know. The reason I’m sending you this e-mail is because I have a connection for tickets with the upcoming Traverse City Michigan Film Festival. Madonna will be premiering her documentary and if youd like to attend, call this # and tell them you’re a friend of Anne’s.” Needless to say, it took me awhile to catch my breath. I’d wanted to go from the very beginning that I heard about it, but gave up hope since there were such few tickets. I called the number and did exactly what she said and in no time, I was sending off a money order for 1 ticket to Michael Moore‘s Film Festival. It came in the mail several days later and I was on top of the world. So, you never know when an act of kindness will pay off. I learned that even though something may not seem that important to you, but a kind word or friendly gesture could mean the world to someone else.
Now, to the present. The day finally arrived that I would fly to Michigan. I was packed and prepared to wait for as long as it took to get a good seat since it was general admission (first come, first serve). I finally made it there around noon the day before Madonna would arrive. I did not have a good flight (almost missed my connection, bad weather, lost luggage, etc), but I made it to my hotel, checked in, got settled in the room, and then with a very heavy back pack, I made my way to the theater. I was prepared to camp out, sleep on the pavement, whatever I needed to do. Anne was going to be arriving later and we had already made our plans to sleep under the stars while we waited to see our #1 star…..MADONNA!! When I got to the venue, I talked to a woman in charge and she could not believe that I was ready to start a line. She kept saying “Honey, it’s not tonight. It’s tomorrow night.” I don’t think she realized how determined I was. She eventually got someone even more important than she was to check things out. They said that there would be no line starting until the next day. They were trying to avoid the fiasco that happened when the tickets went on sale. Apparently people camped out for days since there was such a limited number (500). I still needed reassurance since I was afraid as soon as I left someone else would come up and get the “go ahead” and the woman said, “If anyone starts a line tonight, the police will be called”. Good enough for me!!
Anne showed up around 7 and I told her the change in plans. We walked downtown, past the theater (still no line) and then to get something to eat. We kept checking the theater out until around 11 and then decided we would get a good nights rest and start again early in the morning. At 8:00am we were at it again. Still noone at the theater so we found a bench close by and decided that was where we would spend the rest of the day until we saw some activity. A Madonna fan wandered by and befriended us wanting us to save him a place in line while he set off and played all day, well that didn’t really happen. We waited and waited and waited. We talked to so many different people, but noone could tell us anything. It was almost like they had no idea that the worlds most famous woman was going to be in their little town. A girl joined us around noon and we enjoyed sharing stories. She realized thet we were first in line and we developed a system. As people began to join our group (it was obvious we were there for Madonna), we told them their place in line and everyone seemed to be happy there was some sort of organization and got along great. We were interviewed for the news and newspaper and it was all just very exciting. The officials finally put up a sign that said “The official line for Madonna begins at 5:00“, but of course it didn’t say where. Traverse City is beautiful, but whoever organized this event needed some planning skills. You can’t bring in Madonna, make the tickets general admission, and not expect people to line up before 5:00. Make it reserved seating if you want to do that. Anyway… at approximately 4:30, we were at the beginning of quite a big “unofficial line”. People were joining our group and everything was going GREAT, until around 4:50. A group of people walked right up to the front and totally ignored everything that we had done. They began “talking” to the people who were volunteers (probably knew them). At 5:00 a volunteer yells, “LINE STARTS HERE!!!” All of the people who just “wandered” up at the last minute of course were first in line and somehow I was back to about 20th. I found out later that the guy who managed to get first was one of the people who camped out for so long when the tickets went on sale so I guess he thought he had every right to be in the front of the line. There were people cutting line, bickering, arguing, yelling, almost a fight, and these were adults!!! There was a woman who kept saying, “I’ve been here since 3:00 I deserve this”, well of course I couldn’t let that pass so I had to tell her I had been there since 8:00 in the morning and even showed up the afternoon of the day before and somehow, she was in front of me……..how did that happen?? It was a MESS!! I’ve never seen adults act so childish. I kept telling myself that karma will bite them all in the ass one of these days. I blame the State Theater for not being properly prepared and not having a designated area for people to start lining up as early as they wanted. Or my idea…….pass out wristbands with numbers and then let people line up at 5 according to their numbers. Trust me, it was chaos!!
At about 7:15, 3 huge black SUV’s pull up in front of the theater. The road is blocked off and there are people everywhere trying to catch a glimpse of probably the biggest thing to ever happen to Traverse City. The door opens and out steps Madonna and Lola. She’s dressed in an awesome black dress and of course, looking very much the star, she has on her dark sunglasses. She waved to the people and posed for pictures. It was all very quick. The media was moved away before she arrived and they were not allowed to ask questions. Michael Moore was outside to greet her and pose for pics. After about 5 minutes, they went inside. At this point, I want to say, the picture that has been passed around the internet with Madonna looking painfully thin and gaunt is either a FAKE or just a freak occurence because she looks NOTHING like that. There’s no way she could have changed her appearance that quick from when that pic was taken to the film festival. She was beautiful!!.
Shortly after Madonna entered, we were allowed to enter. Anne and I were able to get 3rd row in the center (AMAZING!!) We kept getting different info. about cameras inside the theater, but finally it was decided that cameras and pics were allowed as long as no flash was used. If you did use a flash, you would be escorted from the building. There were African dancers for pre-show entertainment. Closing in on 8:00, Lola, Guy Oseary, Madonna’s father and stepmother all walk down the aisle to their seats. People yell at Lola, but she keeps her head down and ignores them. Michael Moore comes on stage and gives Madonna a rather lengthy introduction. Finally, she comes on stage and I’ve never been so close to this woman in my life. It took me awhile to get my breathing pattern in sync again. She talks to Michael and us for about 20 minutes. I’m snapping away, trying to get at least a couple of good pics. Madonna and I actually make eye contact several times and smile. I probably wouldn’t believe it myself if I didn’t have pics as proof. There was one time where she’s looking at me and almost posing with a look on her face that says “Would you hurry and take the fu***** picture!” LOL Again, she looks stunning and is very articulate. She finally exits the stage and walks down the aisle to the last row of seats where she takes a seat and watches the entire movie with us… YES… watched a movie with Madonna!!! The movie was amazing.
There were so many haunting images that you just can’t get them out of your mind. Madonna is in the movie, but very little. She narrates the movie. There’s a part about David’s adoption, but a very small part. It doesn’t exploit and it’s almost as if Madonna wants to keep that part of her life to herself. Everyone needs to see this movie when it is released. It’s quite an achievement for her and she has every reason in the world to be proud of it. I’m not sure how critics will be able to take a shot at her for this one, but I’m sure they will find a way. After the movie, she walked back to the stage and brought up the director who used to be her gardener and “manny”. Michael joined them and they all talked for about another 15 or 20 minutes. Madonna was suppose to take questions from the audience, but she didn’t. I’m sure she was afraid someone would ask about her personal life (and I’m sure someone would) so she thanked everyone for coming, we sang happy birthday to her, and then she exited. Supposedly, she was flying out that evening so she could get back to rehearsals for the upcoming tour. Michael and the director stayed on stage and answered questions, but I think it was more of a tactic to let Madonna get out of there without being mobbed.
After we left the theater we hung around out front. We met the director and had him sign our programs. We took several more pictures outside, and then “IT” happened!! The door opens and out comes Mr. Ciccone himself (M’s daddy). I swear it was like meeting the Virgin Mary!! :o) I introduced myself and ended up talking to him for a little while. He’s a very nice man and has a vineyard not too far from there. He posed for a picture with me and couldn’t have been any nicer. Hey, you might think I’m crazy, but this may be as close as I ever get to having a pic with Madonna!! We then went to get something to eat and discuss everything that had just happened. Time went by so fast!
After watching the movie, I’ve never been so proud to be a Madonna fan as I was at that moment. She is an amazing talent!! It was quite an adventure. There was the good, the bad, and the ugly. I would do it all over again. If Anne is reading this, thank you from the bottom of my heart! I’ll never forget my trip to Traverse City for the rest of my life!!
Thanks MadonnaTribe for all of your hard work and keeping us informed.