MoMA’s Joseph A. Berger, who had put together the event - along with other Madonna-themed tributes this month - was totally flabbergasted by La Ciccone’s presence. But that stop didn’t stop him from sticking to his original remarks, which were funny, fierce, personal - he was a 12-year-old gay boy struggling, in 1991, when 'Truth or Dare' hit screens; the daring glimpse into Madonna’s life - her matter-of-fact embrace of her gay dancers lives and issues - altered his own life and perceptions.
AIDS was still pretty much a death sentence in 1991. There wasn’t much positivity for gay youth. The freewheeling, vibrantly liberated 1970s and early 80s had devolved into fear, loathing and religiously sanctioned indifference. Madonna brazenly danced, sang, spoke up and finger-snapped away a great deal of that darkness.
As for the great star, she looked gorgeous, and upon leaving, she appeared pleased, having watched herself at the white hot pinnacle of her fame. The movie is as political, powerful, funny, cringe-inducing, sexy, gritty, without vanity, totally self-obsessed, artful, artificial, genuine and as awkwardly practiced as ever. It’s a genius slice of life. And not just her life, or her particular career.
'Truth or Dare' is fashioned as a vehicle to display fame at its most intense, pleasurable, invading and isolating.
A hundred years from now, the 'Vogue' segment alone - Madonna onstage performing, interspersed with scenes of her being mobbed and adored - will be introduced thus: 'This is stardom. Please stand back.'