I had the pleasure of helping my friend Matthew Rettenmund celebrate the release of not one, but two exciting new books -- "Encyclopedia Madonnica 20" and "Starf*cker: A MEME-oir" -- at a lively gala last night in Manhattan. Since he shelled out the money for a real PR firm to issue a press release, I'll leave the five W's and one H to the pros. What I can add, though, is that the party's Madonna-heavy set list had the room full of handsome gays moving, and that a sample copy of the new "Encyclopedia Madonicca" was all but dogeared on the Plastic Surgery entry! I, of course, went for the Regina section after "Baby Love" started blasting over the speakers, duping one of my plus-ones into thinking it was old-school Madonna! Congrats, Matt, on this HUGE accomplishment!
From a release:
"Encyclopedia Madonnica 20," with a stunning cover by Richard Corman and a previously unseen back cover photo by Kiri Teshigahara, is the 20th-anniversary update of the 1995 classic. The 582-page “Madonna bible” covers Madonna’s life and career in witty, exhaustively informative alphabetical entries from birth to “Bitch I’m Madonna.” Designed by Anthony Coombs, the full-color book is filled with never-before-seen photos, images of unusual collectibles, and original illustrations.
"Encyclopedia Madonnica 20" contains interviews with Madonna’s legendary stylist, Maripol; her first photographer, Linda Alaniz; "Desperately Seeking Susan" actor Robert Joy and publicist Reid Rosefelt; gossip icon Michael Musto; former MTV journalist John Norris; auction expert Darren Julien of Julien’s Auctions; Thomas De Pascale, who produced Madonna’s first show in Boston in 1984; and many others.
The book also contains one-word descriptions of Madonna from 80+ entertainment luminaries, including Carol Burnett (“Talented!”), Andy Cohen (“Queen”), Billy Eichner (“Determined”), Perez Hilton (“Forever”), Cyndi Lauper (“UNSTOPPABLE”), Liza Minnelli (“Sensational”), and one-time boyfriend Tony Ward (“Relentless”).
Rettenmund says: “I’ve been obsessed with Madonna almost as long as Madonna has been obsessed with Madonna. What I think readers will love about this book is that it’s both a lighthearted answer to every fan’s like-a-prayers and a serious assessment of Madonna as an artist and pop cultural phenomenon.”
No matter how you define it, Matthew Rettenmund readily admits to being one. The ultimate pop-culture enthusiast, he has been fascinated by celebrities since birth. This funny, sexy memoir (arranged by memes) documents Rettenmund’s life via his affection for movie, TV, and music stars … as well as those famous for being famous. From his years as a starstruck gay-by, to his haunting of autograph shows, to his careers in porn and as the founding editor-in-chief of a teen pinup magazine (“Zac Efron can’t be gay because he never made a pass at me”), Rettenmund details and deconstructs his—and our—passion for celebrity with humor and insight.
Rettenmund says: “I’m not Shelley Winters, let alone Barack Obama, but I wrote a memoir because I felt my preoccupation with celebrity could be put to some good use besides enriching autograph dealers. I wanted to make people laugh in recognition and horror. I conceived it as a high-minded think piece on fandom, but it doubles as an excuse to talk about childhood obesity, Dungeons & Dragons, racism, Debralee Scott, people who’ve screwed me over, and pre-condom gay porn.”
Host Chip Duckett, Matt and Michael Musto (HeyMrJason Photography)
With Damian and Chad
With the man of the hour
With Peter Michael Marino, Greg, Chad and Damian (HeyMrJason Photography)
UPDATE: Read Matt's write-up about the party HERE.