Because I was a really aggressive woman, guys thought of me as a really strange girl. I felt inadequate," Madonna told the US gay and lesbian magazine The Advocate in 1991."And suddenly when I went to the gay club, I didn't feel that way any more.The main club that Flynn took Madonna to was Menjo's.Originally a ritzy supper club where Al Capone used to take his mistress, it opened as one of Detroit's premier gay night spots in December 1974. We were open seven days a week from noon to 2am, and there were always people waiting in line," recalls one of the co-founders, Randy Frank. I remember her eyes – God, they were beautiful." She has described herself as a "gay man trapped in a woman's body" , motivated by the Hollywood sirens of high camp.She was in the thespian society, and she didn't shave her legs anymore, you know, like all of us did, and she didn't shave her armpits. '." Madonna, the stage persona, was an invention, a powerful projection fed by a childhood diet of Hollywood films, Broadway musicals and offbeat poetry.
Right back to her early childhood in the working class suburb of Pontiac, she had a strong interest in black style.
I remember going to the store and seeing her face on an album. She read more than your average high-school student," says Cooper, now a poet living in Vermont. I had a Mercury Capri with an eight-track tape player.
" says Wyn Cooper, one of Madonna's former boyfriends and, in 1972, director of the first film she ever starred in, aged 14 – a short Super 8 student movie that featured her with a fried egg on her stomach."She was a little bit aloof.
As soon as she started ballet with Christopher Flynn, a charismatic, gay dance teacher who ran classes in Rochester, Madonna's life took off.
He encouraged her interest in the arts, taking her to concerts, art galleries and gay clubs in Detroit.
He met Madonna when she was 14 and had just started at Adams High in their home town of Rochester, an affluent rural suburb just north of Detroit. "I remember thinking, there's an interesting, pretty girl. Madonna and I would hop in the car, drive around and listen to [David Bowie's album] Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars while enjoying a little marijuana." It is stories like these that fascinated me when I was writing a biography of Madonna.