“Truth or Dare”
Monday, Sept. 12
8633 Colesville Rd.
Silver Spring, Md.
“Madonna: Truth or Dare,” the landmark 1991 documentary (aka “In Bed With Madonna”) is widely remembered not only as an eye-popping memento of the singer’s legendary “Blond Ambition Tour,” but also as a gay cultural touchstone.
In some ways, it’s the gay equivalent of classic rockumentaries like “Gimme Shelter” or “The Last Waltz” but it’s more than that, too. Not only because it captures Our Lady at the peak of the zeitgeist, but also because its depiction of Madonna’s back-up dancers (of the seven, only Oliver Crumes was straight) being so matter-of-factly out that it felt almost otherworldly to the gay boys who lapped it up in Peoria and everywhere else.
In honor of its anniversary — it screens twice in the coming days at the AFI Silver — we caught up with Salim “Slam” Gauwloos, one of the “Blond Ambition” dancers whose onscreen kiss with the late Gabriel Trupin is one of the film’s most memorable moments. His comments have been slightly edited for length.
WASHINGTON BLADE: Before we get to “Truth or Dare,” tell us a little about “Strike a Pose,” the reunion documentary you’re in with the other “Blond Ambition Tour” dancers. When will we get to see it in Washington?
GAUWLOOS: It’s a great movie, you’ll enjoy it. They’re working on a U.S. theatrical release early next year. Before everybody downloads it. You’ll see it soon. It’s a beautiful movie. They did a great job.
BLADE: But it has already been on the festival circuit, right?
GAUWLOOS: Yes. We mostly go out in twos, only in Berlin and Amsterdam they flew everybody over, but mostly just two of us to wherever. I went to Colombia, to Tel Aviv. It takes a lot of time always, but it’s fun. Almost like being on tour again.
BLADE: How did they pitch you on “Strike a Pose”?
GAUWLOOS: They approached me in 2013. I was doing a job, this big dance festival in Vienna and they contacted me. I said, “OK, I’ll meet with Reijer Zwaan,” one of the directors. He came to meet me in Vienna and we must have talked for about eight hours. It just felt right, I don’t know. I think the directors, Ester Gould and Reijer Zwaan, these directors from Holland, they’re amazing storytellers. I did kind of think, “Do I really want to throw myself out there again to be judged really in some kind of way, I want to be careful about that,” but I had a really good feeling about it.
BLADE: Did you talk to the other dancers before agreeing to it?
GAUWLOOS: No. I think the last one to jump on board was Jose (Gutierez). I felt it really should be all the dancers. Of course Gabriel (Trupin), he passed away a long time ago, but his mother represents him in the movie and that’s really beautiful. It wouldn’t have been the same without all the dancers so in the end, we all agreed and started shooting in 2014.
BLADE: Had you seen the other five any since the “Truth or Dare” premiere or kept in touch with them at all?
GAUWLOOS: No. For example, Carlton (Wilborn), Oliver (Crumes) and Kevin (Stea), I hadn’t seen for probably close to 25 years. Maybe 24 years. And Luis (Camacho) I’d seen a little bit here and there but that was probably like 12 years. Jose (Gutierez) and I both live in New York so I saw him a little bit here and there but with most of them, I’d had literally no contact at all. It was so amazing to see them all again after 25 years.
To read the full interview by WashingtonBlade click here