Eager to impress fair Kayla, I jack up big green on the secondary market to acquire two VIP seats for Madonna’s concert at Madison Square Garden. I wear my best and only suit, and Kayla styles herself in a long sleek dress sophisticated New York fans will admire.
“Look,” she whispers, slightly moving her head to the right. Jennifer Lopez, wearing blue jeans that on her look dazzling, sits just a few seats away. “I hear she doesn’t like Madonna.”
“They must be rivals.”
I can easily look at Jennifer as she’s aligned slightly in front of the face of Kayla, and become rather excited by her combination of beauty, celebrity, and hubris, the latter I may be imagining as she only talks to and smiles at the young man, perhaps a boyfriend, who’s escorting her.
“The concert’s starting,” said Kayla. “I hope it’s not an interruption.”
Kayla stands and claps for Madonna, who for me always evokes two thoughts: physical fitness and sex. She’s indeed a remarkable specimen for a woman two years shy of sixty, and toned enough for one of any age. Wearing divinely scanty costumes she dances like a demon but sings rather like a backup singer blessed with charisma, and lectures a bit about politics and social morality, and after several numbers waves for her dancers and musicians to relax a moment.
“I see we have Ms. Jennifer Lopez in the audience tonight,” Madonna announces. “That’s very gratifying because when artists come to my shows, they’re studying me. I hope you’re learning a lot, Jennifer.”
In an instant she stands and replies, “Matter of fact, I’m not learning anything except not to pretend I’m young when I’m your age.”
“Come on up here, Jennifer. We need to talk.”
The baddest ass from the Bronx waves left-handed, right-handed, and both-handed as she walks to the stage and devours the steps like a cat, moving toward Madonna, who watches, arms on hips.
“Can I borrow your mike?”
“Bring her one,” Madonna tells someone offstage.
Jennifer soon has a microphone into which she says, “I imagine many of you know I pored over photos, articles, and books about Madonna when I was a kid. She inspired me to sing and dance and work hard and follow my dreams. When I was a little girl I used to watch Madonna jogging in Central Park, and that taught me you have to be dedicated.”
“You talk like I’m a generation older.”
“You are, pretty much.”
“I’m only eleven years your senior.”
“A long time in show biz.”
“I know how to keep the public fascinated,” Madonna says. “You, on the other hand, are seriously overexposed.”
“Who’s prancing half-naked tonight.”
“For a packed house in the Garden.” The fans roar.
“Madonna, I came here for a good time because I admire your work.”
“Then why do you keep telling people I can’t act.”
“Because you can’t. When I see you on screen, and thank god that’s rare, I’m embarrassed for you. Don’t pee on my craft. Stick to this.”
“I wish you’d quit your uninspired singing and dancing and stay in front of the movie cameras, which you’ve avoided for years in your pursuit celebrity and silliness and cheap TV.”
Jennifer Lopez drops her mike, takes two strong steps to Madonna, and with a sweeping left hand slaps the Material Girl’s right check. Madonna responds with a right slap to Jennifer’s left cheek, and Jennifer right smacks Jennifer’s left side, and Madonna left slaps Jennifer’s right cheek, and they continue this sequence in delightful rhythm as the band ignites and fans demand mayhem, and you’d think this is the Garden in 1971 when Ali fought Frazier the first time.