Emission TV spéciale de 30 minutes avec une nouvelle interview de Madonna sur la chaîne argentine Channel 13 en août 2012.
30-minute TV special on Madonna’s life including a new Madonna interview on Argentina's largest stations "Channel 13" in August 2012.
The interview with Madonna will be filmed tomorrow in London, July 20, 2012.
Bay City Entertainment
This Just In: Rift separating Madonna, Bay City evident in filmmakers' tour of Material Girl's birthplace
Published: Thursday, July 19, 2012, 8:45 AM
Updated: Thursday, July 19, 2012, 9:45 AM
By Justin Engel
Mariano Valdivieso and Juan Pablo Chaves had to travel from Argentina to learn something Bay City residents have understood for decades:
Madonna may have been born here, but there are few traces left of the Material Girl in this town.
Valdivieso and Chaves, two Buenos Aires journalists, traveled to Bay City on Wednesday to film segments for a 30-minute TV special on Madonna’s life, scheduled to air in August on one of Argentina’s largest stations, Channel 13.
Their endeavor turned into an afternoon searching for Madonna landmarks in Bay City and, eventually, landed me in front of their camera as an authority of sorts on her beginnings.
It was a fun few hours spent exchanging Madonna stories and comparing mid-Michigan’s perspective on Madge compared to the attitudes of Argentines, the people that produced the real-life Evita.
What the South American journalists found — and, more importantly, what they didn't find — was telling of the Material Girl’s absence from the community where she spent her earliest years.
Madonna, one of the world’s largest cultural icons of the last quarter-century, was born here. Yet you probably wouldn’t know that unless you leafed through enough newspapers. Indeed, the filmmakers main reference material for her Bay City history came courtesy of a 2008 Bay City Times article printed when she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Like a blonde breeze that's long left the air, only stories remain of Madonna's origins here a half-century ago. Her separation from Bay City is part of community lore these days.
For those unfamiliar with the stories, the split only began when she left the region as a child.
Most attribute the chasm to an unflattering comment Madge made — she called Bay City a “smelly little town” — during an August 1987 interview with Jane Pauley on the “Today” show. Others say the rift goes back to the 1980s, when former Mayor Timothy G. Sullivan refused her the honor of a key because of her provocative ways during her “Like A Virgin” days.
Regardless — whether Madonna or anyone else likes it — she is Bay City-born, unveiled to this world at Mercy Hospital on Aug. 16, 1958. Back then, she was known as Madonna Louise Ciccone.
She lived here for a short time and spent summers at her grandparents' home. She’s reportedly visited family over the years, most recently when her grandmother died in 2011.
Some of those old Madge stomping grounds were on the tour for Valdivieso, a 35-year-old producer, and his 32-year-old cameraman, Chaves.
They visited the original home of Madonna’s grandparents; the church where she sometimes attended and where her parents married, Our Lady of the Visitation; and Monitor Township’s Calvary Cemetery, site of the graves of Madonna’s mother and grandparents.
“They gave me this opportunity to tell her whole story,” said Valdivieso, whose previous films include a documentary on Bob Marley. “It’s very interesting.”
What did they find?
Her grandmother’s home now is a senior care center. Workers there didn’t want to be part of the documentary, Valdivieso said.
Later, no one was available to interview at the church.
And it took Internet browsing on an iPhone to find the gravesites of her mother and grandmother, whose tombstones blend in with the hundreds of other markers there.
The duo searched Bay City throughout the day, looking for a Madonna aficionado. Surely there must be someone from her hometown with extensive knowledge of those beginnings, right?
Maybe. But that sort of resource isn’t easily discoverable as the filmmakers discovered. So instead they relied on a local journalist (me) to tell the early story of one of the world’s most famous living icons.
Their search isn’t over. Valdivieso and Chaves plan to seek more interview subjects today in Bay City before traveling to the Detroit area, where Madonna grew up.
On Friday, they will fly to New York City and speak with some of the figures who helped her ascend from nightclub sensation to global superstar in the 1980s. A colleague, meanwhile, will interview Madonna herself in London that same day.
Hopefully those later interviews will answer a question many in her hometown have asked for years:
Where is Madonna?
Madonna performs in 1987 at the Pontiac Silverdome.
Photo: The Bay City Times.