A MADONNA PHOTO & STORY YOU’VE NEVER SEEN OR HEARD
A lifetime ago, I produced “found money” stories for a daytime talk show. We spoke with regular people that had genuinely amazing stories of discovering something extraordinarily valuable.
We had a fantastic, feisty retired man from Florida who ultimately found nine panels of burlap at the Salvation Army which Christie’s verified as one of the first flat maps of the world. It sold for $23 million.
For me, the most exciting story was one of a middle-aged textile designer who in the late 1990’s purchased a locked, beat-up trunk at a Soho flea market that was believed to be filled with vintage fabrics and costumes. When he opened it, he saw the trunk contained something much more valuable.
The designer found four notebooks outlining the life of a young dancer in New York City from 1982 to 1984. But not just any dancer. The diaries belonged to artist Martin Burgoyne, Madonna’s East Village roommate, choreographer for the “Everybody” music video (and also her first tour manager). The two lived together on the Lower East Side. Their emotional connection was clear.
Those notebooks chronicled some of the initial obstacles and steps to stardom by an observer with an incredible point of view. “Dishy,” “steamy,” “name-dropping,” or even “jaw-dropping” just doesn’t cover the content.
Most of all, they are compelling because they give an unedited look at the life of a superstar whose public image has always been micromanaged.
Burgoyne wrote about two years with Madonna – from the incredibly everyday mundane to his pride and excitement over the first time the singer performed “Everybody” at a hole-in-the-wall club.
And extensively detailed a medical issue they resolved together.
He also wrote about two men who later would become, the most powerful music executives in the world. Among the many first-name references that could be identified with a good guess, Burgoyne shared their friendship and experiences with a brother in a huge 70’s band.
One of the notebooks seems like a late-night brainstorming session between Burgoyne and Madonna. At least five pages were dedicated to the choreography for the “Everybody” video filmed at a gay dance club. There were sketches of what ultimately became the cover for Madonna’s “Burning Up” EP. The spiral-bound book also contained pages of doodles or sketches signed by Madonna [image upper right], in handwriting authenticated to be the singers. She drew a self portrait of herself nude in high-heeled shoes, captioned. Repeatedly, she wrote “Martin loves me” and referred to herself as “Madonna Ciccone.” He was clearly crushed when their lives diverted as her super-stardom grew.
Ultimately, the books were bought and sold and bought and sold for the mid and then high six figures. Her representatives definitively stated to us that the singer had no interest in them. The books would still make a great movie but the people mentioned who are still alive would never allow it.
The last owner of the books, that I am aware of, isn’t the singer but someone who was referenced a lot by Burgoyne. You can likely guess who.