On the scene as Madonna reigns over an elated crowd with New York Pride performance
The music icon sang a couple songs and raised a whole lot of money for LGBTQ causes.
She came, she sang (two songs), she raised $200,000 for LGBTQ causes with a few asks and a finger snap: That's about the gist of Madonna's appearance Thursday night in New York City at the luxe cocktail-lounge-turned-floor-show of the Boom Boom Room, though it hardly begins to cover the surreal star-spangled chaos inside.
A VIP crush of attendees - everyone was on the list, sweetie, and still hundreds couldn't get beyond the golden door - crammed into the Art Deco jewel at the top of the Standard Hotel, beautiful sardines in glitter and leather and impossible shoes. Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen were there; so were Lance Bass and Adam Lambert and Billy Eichner. Zachary Quinto played MC (and matched the last $25,000 donation).
The champagne was free, but they all had to wait till nearly 1:30 a.m. for the lady of the very late hour to make her appearance. Until then, the room released its pent-up energy to ecstatic '90s-heavy set lists from Misshapes, Kaytranada, Honey Dijon, and Eli Escobar under a flashing video loop - it premiered simultaneously in Times Square - and blood-red projections of words like "Courage" and "Resist."
Around hour four, it took courage to resist the urge to go home; when the opening notes of "Vogue" finally rang through the sound system though, day jobs and half-drunk cocktails were thrown aside as the crowd surged toward the makeshift stage at the center of the bar. (Essentially, it was the bar.) Surrounded by a latex-and-fishnet phalanx of dancers, Madonna emerged in orchid-pink elbow-length gloves (a nod to Girls gone by?) and a Pixar-blue bob, poured into a sort of PG-13 lederhosen still emblazoned across the back, perplexingly, with a rhinestoned "Not My President."
Her vocals on "Hung Up" were nearly drowned out by shouting voices, and the full call-and-response that followed. She accompanied "I Don't Search I Find" with a little light voguing, pelvic swirls, and a playful hump of a cabinet stacked with glassware, then stopped for a while to talk about her love of New York and the importance of Pride and how if we can't stand the heat we should really stay out of the kitchen. (In fact, the room was pleasantly ventilated; but you know, metaphors.)
Soon she was shifting from performer to fundraiser alongside a dapperly dressed Quinto, cajoling the high rollers to bid on Polaroids for five-figure sums, the proceeds of which will go to two advocacy groups, the Ali Forney Center and Haus of US. "You're here at the best f----ing pride party, in the best f---ing city in the whole f---ing world," the actor admonished the crowd. "Now it's time to make sure that other people get to be here, too."
Once they f---ing did, Madonna's duties were done; with a few last words, she was swept back by security. Exhausted and elated, dozens of showgoers filtered out into the New York night, but many more - still high on Material Girl proximity and not nearly done with the open bar - stayed on the dance floor.