- ACT OUT Photography by Jim Norrena
- [Left to right] Former Madonna dancers and stars of Strike a Pose: Oliver Crumes III, Salim Gauwloos, Kevin Stea, Carlton Wilborn, and Luis Camacho once tap danced around certain truths.
Madonna’s feature-length rockumentary Truth or Dare spotlighted many of the Queen of Pop’s sexy song-and-dance numbers from her 1990 Blond Ambition Tour. But it was what director Alek Keshishian captured offstage that truly curled mainstream America’s toes and almost garnered the film an X rating. For the seven male dancers — six gay and one straight — that made up Madonna’s dance troupe, however, certain truths were still too shocking to reveal. It took 25 years, but today they’re ready to tell all in a new documentary about the truths behind Truth or Dare, entitled Strike a Pose.
SF Weekly caught up with the band of “brothers,” Luis Camacho, Salim Gauwloos, Kevin Stea, Carlton Wilborn, and Oliver Crumes III, between a Macy’s in-store appearance and their film’s Frameline premiere on June 25, about the secrets that they didn’t dare expose.
Salim Gauwloos: He has some work in New York, so he couldn’t be here.
Switching gears, when Madonna first decided to document her Blond Ambition Tour, did she have a specific purpose in mind outside of just showcasing life on the road? Was she pushing an alternate view of the gay community?
Carlton Wilborn: There was never a conversation with her in regards to the purpose of that particular tour at all. All that we knew was that at some point she wanted to film the life that we were having when we were on the road, and it was just an organic catching of all of who we were and what our experience was.
Kevin Stea: I think she knew very well that she was pulling from the gay nightclub scene in New York and presenting that. Also, her friend world was filled with gay people, and her experience of gay people is that we are normal, friends, human, and the people around you.
It was also a collaborative thing going on with her and Alek Keshishian. Alek is also gay, and I think it was within their conversations. You can see his vision of the movie and his message just as much as hers, so I think he probably influences a lot of that.
One thing that’s certain, according to statements made in Truth or Dare and Strike a Pose, is that the late Gabriel Trupin was Madonna’s favorite dancer. Why?
CW: He was all of our favorites. He was the favorite child.
Oliver, you were not everyone’s favorite off the bat. In Truth or Dare you come off as very homophobic, yet today you embrace the gay community wholeheartedly. What was the turning point for you?
Oliver Crumes III: The day of the Vogue photo shoot. It opened my eyes up. I kind of adjusted, but I didn’t really get to know everybody. We began rehearsing before the “Vogue” video, and it took time. We weren’t close in the beginning, but as the tour went on, I learned everything about everybody.
So was your claim in Truth or Dare that your fellow dancers were all after you true or not?
OC: No. But anyway, I love them. I found out the reason that they are who they are. I found out about their whole lives, and from then on, I went from being ignorant to being mature about it. They turned my life around.
SG: He was also young, and imagine being stuck in a room for one year with six queens.
OC: It was hard, but they made me stronger.
Read the full interview at SFWeekly.com
OOSTERBEEK Filmhuis Oosterbeek vertoont op donderdag 7 juli de muziekdocumentaire Strike a pose, over het leven van de dansers van Madonna na de succesvolle Blond Ambition-tour.
Uitzinnig werd er tijdens de legendarische Blond Ambition-tour met spandoeken gezwaaid. Daarop was niet alleen de naam van Madonna te lezen, maar ook die van Luis, Oliver, Salim, Jose, Kevin, Carlton en Gabriel. De dansers uit de show waren wereldwijd iconen voor de homo-emancipatie. In Strike a pose blikken zes van hen terug op die roerige periode. Nummer zeven uit de groep kon er niet meer bij zijn: Gabriel overleed in 1995 aan AIDS. Een tragisch verhaal, zeker gezien de vergeefse worstelingen die hij na de tour voerde met het management van Madonna. Toch is Strike a pose er niet om de popster zwart te maken. De dansers zijn nog altijd onverdeeld trots op wat ze hebben mogen doen. Maar intussen willen ze ook hun eigen verhaal kwijt. Deze docu gaat over wat er zich afspeelde buiten het licht van de schijnwerpers. Een leven waarvan alleen de pieken bekend werden, terwijl de dalen net zo ingrijpend zijn geweest. Nadat de dansers daar los van elkaar openhartig over hebben verteld, brengen de filmmakers hen voor het eerst sinds de tour in 1990 weer samen, om ze te laten praten over oude herinneringen. Dat gesprek vormt dan niet alleen de climax van een serie aangrijpende interviews, maar laat de kijker ook getuige zijn van hoe de mannen na 25 jaar de cirkel rondmaken. Reserveren voor deze documentaire is aan te raden en kan via www.filmhuisoosterbeek.nl.
Meer op Hoogenlaag.nl
Strike A Pose, de documentaire van Ester Gould en Reijer Zwaan over de dansers van Madonna, heeft de kristallen status bereikt. De film trok ruim tienduizend bezoekers naar de bioscoop.
Strike A Pose wordt internationaal geroemd. De tv-rechten zijn al verkocht aan Duitsland, Frankrijk, Zweden en Israël. Woensdag gaat de documentaire in première in België, later dit jaar verschijnt de film ook in de Italiaanse bioscopen
Congratulations to Ester Gould, Reijer Zwaan and the stars of ‘Strike a Pose’ for receiving 10.000 visitors in Dutch film theaters! Ester Gould, Reijer Zwaan and producer Rosan Boersma were given the ‘Crystal Film’ award yesterday to celebrate its success on behalf of the Dutch Film Festival and Dutch Film Fund.
If you still haven’t seen it, what are you waiting for?
Fifteen years ago I saw Madonna perform live in person for the very first time. June 22, 2001 Berlin Germany is where it happened. I didn’t see The Girlie Show in Frankfurt as it got canceled and was too young going elsewhere, every opportunity to see Madonna live simply failed. I knew for the next big tour I was on board and as unexperienced I was, I booked various travel arrangements which did not make sense at all.
I ended up witnessing four Drowned World shows live, two in Berlin and two in Paris. I remember getting my Berlin tickets by mail and feeling like it was the winning lottery ticket, it was simply priceless to me.
Going to the extremely tiny Max Schmeling Halle by subway, arriving in a total Madonna frenzy. Literally feeling like I had just come home, I have never felt so in place and so welcomed as I did back then and there. Madonna fans everywhere; fans dressed up as Madonna, wearing t-shirts with her face or name on it and of course TONS of cowboy hats.
I almost shat my pants when I realized just how incredibly intimate the venue was, it was so tiny! I ended up front row on the left side and no more than ten minutes later the lights went off. I panicked instantly, what to do? Where to look? Seeing Donna and Nikki in person for the first time was so surreal that I even panicked more thinking I was about to see Madonna……MADONNA!! The intro to the show gave me goosebumps all over, that music, the set, the screens…..
There she was seemingly coming out of nowhere, at this point I panicked so much that I didn’t know whether to cry, scream or sing-along. So I kinda did a bit of it all at once. Seeing Madonna in person was probably the single most surreal moment of my life. She actually existed, she actually was a real person. I know it sounds crazy, but I had idolized her for years wondering what she was like in person.
The show was brilliant from start to finish, everything about it just rocked my world and sent chills up my spine. The brilliance of opening with a ballad, going into the fantastic Impressive Instant, that absolutely mindblowing geisha section (her most theatrical performance ever), the fabulous cowgirl section, the breathtakingly beautiful latin section and ending it with that thumping finale of Holiday and Music.
After the show I was a in a daze and just did not want to leave the venue, wanted to stay in that moment forever. I was in such a natural high and was so shocked by what had just happened. That night I dreamed of the show seeing Madonna perform Nobody’s Perfect throughout the entire night.
To this day I still think it is the best show she’s ever put on, the darkness of it, the absolute sheer brilliance behind it. There is absolutely nothing like it and the DVD just somehow never captures ‘that’ feeling, ‘that’ moment. I would KILL for a European professional recording of this tour.
I have seen all of Madonna’s tours since then; the Re-Invention Tour and Confessions Tour were fantastic. The MDNA Tour in 2012 was absolutely the best thing since the Drowned World Tour, it brought ‘Madonna’ back. I never cared much for the Sticky & Sweet and Rebel Heart tours, it just wasn’t a Madonna show to me.
Drowned World to me was Madonna at her very best and I feel thankful to have seen it live. If I coud turn back time, I am sure I would’ve booked every single European night instead of doing only 4. But hey….I was just a kid….
Kimberly van Pinxteren
Gabriel Trupin was a gifted San Francisco dancer who performed on Madonna’s 1990 Blond Ambition Tour and, along with two other dancers, later sued her for not getting their permission or paying them for appearing in her 1991 backstage documentary, “Truth or Dare.”
Trupin, who pleaded with Madonna not to use the now-famous footage of him kissing fellow dancer Salim Gauwloos (mainly because he didn’t want his boyfriend to see it) received a settlement from the singer that allowed him to live well until he died of AIDS in 1995 at age 26. His mother, Sue Trupin, speaks for him in the new Dutch documentary “Strike a Pose,” which screens Saturday, June 25, at the Castro Theatre as part of the LGBTQ Film Festival.
“What’s lovely about this movie is that it’s not at all about Madonna, it’s about what happened to these guys,” says Trupin, a retired nurse who worked at San Francisco General Hospital’s infection disease clinic for years and now teaches smoking cessation at UCSF. She was married to the late, great drummer and composer Eddie Marshall, who wrote a tune called “Genius Sue.”
Trupin was always bored by “Truth or Dare,” a film her son clearly didn’t relish participating in but to which he could hardly say no, given the plum job with Madonna. She never knew until she attended the recent Tribeca Film Festival premiere of “Strike a Pose” just how important “Truth or Dare” had been to gay men’s self-acceptance and validation.
“Gabriel didn’t want to be known for that kiss. He wanted to be known for his dancing,” says Trupin, who said she loved the way filmmakers Ester Gould and Reijer Zwaan wove the stories of the surviving six male Blond Ambition dancers (Oliver Crumes, the only straight and not-classically-trained one, is now a waiter and hip-hop dance teacher in Las Vegas).
Working with Madonna was a great gig “but wasn’t supposed to be the pinnacle of his career. … He wanted to live and be a dancer; doing ‘Truth or Dare’ was her agenda. But that kiss ended up being very important. People hadn’t seen that onscreen before.”
Gabriel Trupin, who didn’t play to the camera like some of his associates, “didn’t want to carry a flag or be an advocate. That’s not who he was at 20,” Sue Trupin says. “He wasn’t there yet. He just wanted to get paid. But I’m positive that if Gabriel had lived, he would have come to be extremely proud of the role that film played in helping gay men around the world. It’s ironic that this kiss he didn’t want to be known for ended up being an incredibly noble legacy, in a way.”
Trupin couldn’t believe the reception she and the remaining six dancers got when they came onstage after a New York screening of “Strike a Pose.” People were standing and shouting, “Thank you!”
The dancers are now approaching 50, and “they’re a lot more interesting now than they were in ‘Truth or Dare,’ when they had nothing to say,” Sue Trupin says. “What happens when you have that fame at 20 and then it starts to fade? It’s a very moving story, and very well told.”
For more information, go to www.frameline.org.
Between 1980 and 1994, Laura Levine photographed more than 500 bands and musicians for outlets ranging from Rolling Stone to influential punk magazine New York Rocker, where she worked as photo editor. Though she shot many live shows, Levine is best known for her expressive portraits, taken in her Chinatown apartment or Soho loft, or on the streets of New York City.
Levine’s work can currently be seen in the exhibition “Laura Levine: ALTHIPHOPINDYPUNK Picture Show: Intimate Portraits of Musicians, 1980-1994” at San Francisco’s DZINE Gallery. Click through our gallery to see a selection of images from the show and read Levine’s recollections of photographing legends such as Madonna to Grandmaster Flash.
In 1982 I was assigned by Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine to photograph a new singer named Madonna, whose very first single (“Everybody”) was about to be released. She arrived alone, climbing the long four flights to my small Chinatown tenement apartment. She was very easy to work with and took direction like a pro. Even when I asked her to do seemingly ridiculous things like wrap herself in my backdrop and pretend to scream, she just went for it. (All in the name of a good photo, of course!).
Read more: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/pictures/see-intimate-eighties-portraits-of-lou-reed-madonna-beastie-boys-and-more-20160622#ixzz4CKuwDGTi
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Concluding the series of cameo’s, Madonna starred as a nightclub owner in the very funny Spike Lee film ‘Girl 6‘.
New in our Filmography, we have compiled the following:
- Memorabilia – video & more
- Press pictures
- Video – see the promo and the trailer
- buy the film
Enjoy Girl 6…..and on to EVITA!
The Tonight Show hosted two of its biggest possible guests in one episode on Thursday night. President Barack Obama and Madonna popped by the show, and the latter surprised the audience with a slowed-down rendition of her first Top 10 hit, “Borderline.”
“Oh I love her so much,” host Jimmy Fallon said reverently as he introduced the singer. As Questlove drummed behind her, the pop star belted the song that made her a star while showing off a few solo dance moves, including many from the song’s original video. At the end, she laid on the stage with Fallon and asked the host to “push me over the borderline” before rolling towards the front of the stage.
Though she did not share a stage with Obama during the taped show, Madonna posted multiple photos on Instagram before and after the show expressing her excitement over spending time with him. “For once I’m speechless,” she wrote in the caption of a photo of her staring at the president as he speaks to her. In another photo, the pair is seen posing for another picture together with the caption “a meeting of the Leo’s [sic] … A Cosmic Convergence.”
Watch Madonna and Stevie Wonder Pay Tribute to Prince at the Billboard Music Awards.
Look: Madonna‘s been going on about pushing her love over the borderline for well over thirty years now. It’s about damn time someone went and pushed her already.
Inexplicably, but not undesirably, the Queen of Pop showed up during President Barack Obama’s first-ever appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon this evening (June 9) to perform a song. Rumors ran rampant this week about what she might be singing, but none of them correctly predicted a rendition of her 1984 classic, “Borderline.”
No interview, no rhyme or reason or #RebelHeartPromo — just crooning a fan favorite in front of super-fan Jimmy and company. (No doubt, she also wanted a chance to rub elbows with POTUS backstage — and perhaps offer him a free membership to Hard Candy Fitness once he’s done with the whole presidential thing.)
The performance was a solid and straightforward affair, as M passionately crooned her tune and slowly spun around the stage. It wasn’t until the very end, as Jimmy started to walk over to greet the icon, that she pulled a M-Dolla stunt, dropping to the floor with a devilish grin.
“Push me over the borderline. Push me!” she demanded of the late night host. And so, he did! Or, well…she rolled herself almost off the stage entirely. She does love a good push.
Never a dull moment when it comes to Madge. All hail!
Read More: Madonna Finally Got Pushed Over the ‘Borderline’, Thanks to Jimmy Fallon | https://popcrush.com/madonna-borderline-jimmy-fallon-tonight-show-live-watch/?trackback=tsmclip
How do you follow up having the President of the United States as a guest on ‘The Tonight Show?’ By having Madonna come on and perform and that’s exactly what Jimmy Fallon did in the most epic hour of late night TV ever!
Madonna, 57, is not one to ever accept second billing at anything, but she happily played runner-up to President Barack Obama, 54, on Jimmy Fallon‘s super epic June 9 episode of The Tonight Show. Keep reading for how the pop icon performed her first hit “Borderline” for the leader of our land.
Madge looked stylish as ever, in a menswear look with a short-sleeved black satin blouse and a black and white striped necktie. She matched it with a pair of black and white checkered trousers and black gloves and looked so stylish and fabulous. She had a major treat in store for her fans, as she sang her first ever top 10 hitBorderline, and the audience went completely crazy. The song is such a classic and she sounds even better than when it first came out way back in 1983.
She did a slow and sexy version of the classic song, with simple backings but it made the timeless tune seem super modern. On a show where she came on right after the President of the United States, it was the perfect tone. She didn’t even do any of her intense dance moves, just showcasing how her voice has grown in the 33 years since the song came out.
While her performance was amazing for viewers, her appearance marked a special personal milestone as she finally got to meet the president for the first time. Even though she campaigned for President Obama over the years, she still never met him until their epic Tonight Show encounter, Instagramming how the encounter left her “speechless.” Stream Madonna’s music, completely unlimited and ad-free, RIGHT HERE.
She told Us weekly in 2015 that, “The person I most want to meet is President Obama. When the heck am I going to meet him? He just needs to invite me to the White House already. He probably thinks I’m too shocking to be there,” but Jimmy helped make her dream come true by booking them together on his show.