Friday, December 03, 2010

A Night at the Wiltern

Was thrilled that celebrity photographer uberfan Alan Light -- after reading about my time in the City of Angels in the early 1990s -- recently sent me these photos taken at APLA's big Commitment to Life fundraiser back in 1990. I have none of my own and, as hard as this may be to believe, didn't even have a camera during that period of my life (I don't even have a photo of the first time I met Debbie Harry!). Madonna, David Hockney, Ian McKellan and Rep. Henry Waxman were each honored for their effort to fight AIDS at a star-studded event at the Wiltern Theatre (Waxman is still a congressional ally to this day). Rod Stewart was the show's "headliner," but all anyone could talk about that night was the opening number, when Madonna -- at her peak -- did an encore performance of "Vogue" in full Marie Antoinette regalia (she had debuted the dazzling number the night before at the MTV Video Music Awards). Volunteering for AIDS Project Los Angeles was one of the best experiences from my time in L.A., an otherwise turbulent period filled with sex, drugs and far too much drama. But being an "AIDS buddy" -- as we were known then -- was a source of great fulfillment, and something I took very seriously when not being serious was what I took most seriously of all. Here are my favorite photos by Alan from that night. His access was clearly a bit more VIP than mine:

Madonna, Tony Ward and Donna De Lory at the afterparty

Ricki Lake watches the Madonna Mania!

Lovey Dovey: Natalie Schafer, aka Mrs. Howell

The ever-"gracious" Bette Midler signs an autograph for Alan's friend Terry

Terry gets a "pic with" Teri Garr, one of my all-time faves

Together, again: Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson

That's Alan along with Kim McGuire, who played "Hatchet Face" in John Waters' film "Cry Baby"


Alan Light said...

I'm pleased that you shared my photos of that evening with your readers, Kenneth. Thanks.

As I recall, I got the great access by purchasing the top-priced ticket, $1,000, which included admission to the after-party.

I am not a professional photographer but always kept a small snapshot-type camera in my pocket at Hollywood events and wasn't shy about using it. I amassed quite a collection of star photos, which Wikipedia now uses to illustrate hundreds of their entries.

I still vividly remember Madonna got angry at me for taking those two top photos. After I snapped the second one she said "Stop taking my f---ing picture. You didn't even ask me."

Matthew said...

Oh, I love these. We are all Alan Light! Alan: It's a great story, being snapped at by Madonna. Can totally see her point, but am of course always on the side of the, "You woulda said NO!" fanboys. :)

alejandro said...

THAT WAS TRULY FANTASTIC TO SEE!! do you have anymore rare photo's and stories of MADONNA we can see?

anymore stories about the crowds reaction to MADONNA's performance that night?

nojarama said...

Ahhh, the APLA days (I volunteered there when I lived in LA as well)! Still can't believe we never ran int one another then. I worked the "green room" for the Danceathon the year Mo & her troupe "showed up" (the Truth Or Dare period- 1990/91?). Almost ran OVER Nikki Harris trying to get to somewhere I was supposed to be at (I was constantly being yelled at by higher-ups. Thank God I didn't quit). She was very gracious (I spent the rest of the evening continually apologizing to her) & then she magically introduced me to Mo. It was a very surreal moment for me (and, like you, had no camera). I can't believe how creepy Madonna's height is. She's evenly proportioned (And never has looked as good as she did back then IMO), but she's about as tall as one of those Tracey dolls (the 4 foot versions that were just wrong to begin with.

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