She's nothing short of a polarizing figure - who happens to be from Bay City. This week kicks off a big push to reconnect Madonna with her hometown. 'You love her or hate her. I don't think that everyone approves of what she's done, but you know what? So what. We're going to have fun,' said Chris Girard, Bay County 6th Ward Commissioner.
That effort begins Saturday afternoon at the Bay County Historical Museum with a screening and discussion of the Material Girl's music videos. 'Starting out with Burning Up, the first video she ever produced, right through some classics like Material Girl, Like a Virgin,' said Gary Johnson, Rock 'n' Roll historian.
Johnson hopes this will help to reignite Bay City's relationship with one of its most famous natives. 'We're lucky enough that she came from Bay City, and I'd like the city to take advantage of that,' he said.
Johnson hopes that maybe this will lead to some of the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Famer's personal memorabilia ending up in the museum. 'We would attract visitors from all over the world to Bay County, and there are a lot of economic possibilities,' he said.
Speaking of those possibilities - Girard is putting together a Madonna festival for May 31. 'I've got to get my Vogue down. We're going to do things like bring people in that want to dress like Madonna, she's got a great following,' he said.
The event will feature Madonna films at the State Theater, tribute artists, and a Madonna-themed tour around town - all while bringing in money for a variety of causes. 'We have programs at our organization Do-All that provide assistance, material assistance, so what better way to raise funds and raise awareness than to connect with the Material Girl,' Girard said.
This year's inaugural Madonna festival in Bay City will be a one-day event, but organizers have some big hopes for what might develop down the road. 'Someday, we'll be able to have her here for this large, week-long event and she kicks it off. Who knows? You don't know unless you try, and that's what we're going to do. We're going to try.'
The Madonna video fest and symposium begins at noon on Saturday. It's free, but seating at the Bay County Historical Museum is limited.