In 1991, a landmark concert film and documentary shook the landscape of pop culture. The film was TRUTH OR DARE, which told the tale of Madonna’s immensely popular Blonde Ambition Tour. The movie captured a pop icon at the top of her game; a moment when she was at her most provocative.
Besides giving us a long look at the Material Girl herself, the film heavily featured scenes with Madonna’s band, crew, and especially her back-up dancers. Several of the men striking a pose behind her grew to high notoriety for things they did and said in the doc, and now STRIKE A POSE has taken a moment to catch up with them a-quarter-of-a-century later.
Madonna looms large over this film, and not just because she is the catalyst for everything we see and hear. After a while it becomes undeniable that she changed every life we encounter in this film, and not always for the better. Her hiring them, her interactions with them that were caught on film, all of it left an indelible impression…and that’s the extent of her input on the state of their being now. We never hear from Madge herself on what happened, or what’s happening. What’s more, we don’t really want to.
This film is not about getting all a-tither and asking these men “So what was it like working with Madonna??!!” This film is about understanding that there are lives to lead when the applause stops and the music ends. This film is about realizing that a brush with greatness does not mean that you are likewise destined for it yourself. This film is about how difficult such facts can be to accept, and how hard it can be to be honest with ourselves about such things.
So perhaps it’s fitting that in-keeping with the Roman Catholic iconography Madonna enjoyed citing so often, this film feels like a confession. Whether it’s the regret these men have that one of their own didn’t know how dearly they loved him before he died, or the secrets they carried in the days of the tour that they are only now ready to share with one another, we feel like many scenes in this film could begin with “Bless me Father, for I have sinned…”
It’s nice to reminisce on a singular moment in time, but if you reminisce too long, your whole life becomes about the past and you lose the future. STRIKE A POSE isn’t interested in that. If TRUTH OR DARE wanted to give these beautiful boys a story, then STRIKE A POSE wants to tell that story more clearly. Where TRUTH OR DARE wanted to provoke, STRIKE A POSE wants to inspire, and we are so much the better for it.
From the throng of the crowd, we often imagine how glamorous life is for those on-stage. We know how large the star must live, but we want to believe that every band member, dancer, and back-up vocalist is getting a taste too. We can easily forget that being twenty feet from stardom is still a long distance to overcome. We can also forget how being immortalized for one moment in time can make every moment that follows exceedingly difficult.
For the men of The Blonde Ambition Tour, “expressing themselves” has been easier said than done for twenty-five years. Now though, a ray of light has appeared…and most of them should be proud that they have lived to tell.