Mandonna comes

but once in a lifetime.  You either read about it, were there or you heard about it.  We’re still recovering from it.  For those outside Boston, the way it works is every Halloween, many of the bands in this town take advantage of the occasion to dress up as another band and do a set of their material, just for one night.  In a world where your last release is fresh for all of six or seven minutes, it takes a certain amount of commitment to the spirit of the last pagan holdover holiday to stop writing and pushing for a month to get ready with costumes and 10 other songs that you wouldn’t ordinarily be caught dead playing.  Well, we never cared too much about being that cool, so it was with aplomb, tongues in cheek and socks in bras that we decided this was the year to cover Madonna.  But not just any old Madonna, FOUR different iterations of Madonna.  And since we’re dudes, we decided to grow out some beard action just to round out the looks.  Hence, Mandonna!  I became “Desperately Seeking Susan” Mandonna, Adam transmogrified into “Blond Ambition” (a.k.a. “cone tit bra”) Mandonna, Matt, our Halloween expert, horrified as “Like a Virgin Mandonna,” and Jesse slutted it up as “Like a Prayer Mandonna.”

Speaking only for me, this was the first time I’ve ever been in drag, and ladies, I have an entirely new level of respect for the time, expense and pain of making yourself pretty.  Well, at least prettier than I was before, whatever that means.  But holy crap, what a ritual!  First of all, fishnet tights don’t last very long.  Two wearings, in fact.  But my gams have never felt so supported, encased as they were like two sinewy sausages.  Because the skirt was short, I gained a quick appreciation for the bunny dip.  It’s just not the same when your junk hangs out by mistake and you happen to be a dude.  Guys are all lumpy down there; it ruins the illusion.

We’ve done a couple of these things now, and our rules of thumb are simple: it has to be an artist with enough hits for everyone to sing along to, and the visual appeal has to be there.  Otherwise, why dress up?  Madge offered us the opportunity for a deep catalog of great songs, which it turns out most everyone in the sold-out club, Church, knew by heart, and a lot of different awesome looks to choose from.  And the opportunity to dress like  a chick!  As a raging hetero who long ago came to terms with his latent homosexual tendencies (it turns out they’re latent), it’s the kind of thing where it helps to have an excuse like Halloween to do without inviting the ridicule of your friends and the horror of your family.  Not that I’m agin’ it, you understand.  If you wanna sing out, sing out, and if you wanna cross dress, cross dress.  I think Cat Stevens said that once, before that near drowning in the ocean incident that turned him into Yusuf.  Although he was pretty good at the Rally to Restore Sanity from what I hear.

So anyway, in addition to us, we had our good friends The Luxury in towels and face cream as The Go-Go’s, and Midatlantic as Lady Gaga.  “Guys Doing Girls” was the unofficial billing, and these ladies killed it dead, and the crowd of freaks and naughty nurses, pirates, rock stars, Colonel Sanders(!), et al showed their appreciation in spades.  By the time it was our turn, everyone was good and loose on Saturday night in costume, and when the opening riff of Material Girl first came out of Adamdonna’s axe (we went without keys), the crowd ERUPTED, and I knew it was going to be sublime.  And so it was.  Mattdonna writhed around the stage for Like a Virgin while Adamdonna took over on Bass, then Adamdonna did his best Vogue dance, which was disconcertingly good.  On the last “vogue” the crowd did the delay for us by chanting it over and over.  Brilliant audience participation!  Jessedonna killed it on Like a Prayer, in keeping with his look for the night.  We rocked Papa Don’t Preach like a draggy Bon Jovi who thought they wrote it themselves, replete with fist banging breakdown in the middle.  I heard a lot about that one later.  When it was over we hightailed it over to JustBill’s to rage until Dawn (although I cut out at 4:30, still respectable I think).  All Saint’s day broke over some bloodshot eyes and ringing ears, but we’ll do it again in a bloody heartbeat because Halloween rocks in Boston like nowhere else on earth!  Or even in the darkest chambers of hell.

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