Madonna in Exile

The details of last week´s Broward exclusive were so outlandish, I figured they had to be bullshit.

One copy of Madonna´s new CD, Confessions from a Dance Floor, was supposedly being flown to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport as the first leg of a national nightclub CD-listening tour, timed to promote Tuesday´s release of the first album from the Immaterial Girl since 2000´s Music.

First stop on the tour: Pangaea Lounge at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. And not only had our town been chosen for the disc´s national debut but the precious CD, according to a cheeky news release, would occupy its own seat on the airplane, accompanied by an armed guard. After arrival, it would be picked up by Madonna brother Christopher Ciccone, who would deliver it to local DJ giant Tracy Young. After a single playing, the disc would be demolished.

Such drama. And best of all, Miami wouldn´t get its own listening party for five days — until this past Sunday, when Tracy played a fresh disc at Crobar.

Take that, Magic City.

And it turned out that this was no hoax. Well, I can´t vouch for whether the CD was actually buckled up in its own window seat with a bag of peanuts, but at the appointed hour, Madonna´s new disc did arrive amid much fanfare at the club, carried to the DJ booth by an entourage of tough-looking dudes toting metal briefcases.

Young pulled out the laser platter and held it up for the crowd to worship with outstretched arms.

Madonna couldn´t have created a better-staged spectacle if she´d been there herself.

The Broward debut even lured Madonna´s famous lesbian gal pal, petite Miami nightclub czarina Ingrid Casares, north of the county line for a rare visit.

When else was I going to see her in these parts? So, what the hell. I messed with her head.

I spied Ingrid chilling in a VIP area marked off for media and acted like I was there to muscle her out. ¨Sorry, but these seats are reserved,¨ I said.

She looked at me like I was out of my mind.

After I reassured her I was just there to gauge her shock at having to come to Broward for such a blowout, she acknowledged that it was her first visit to the Hard Rock. But it was no accident, she said, that Tracy Young was getting to spin Madonna´s disc.

¨Tracy´s come into her own. She´s very close to Madonna and grateful for the chance she gave her,¨ Ingrid said, referring to Tracy´s mixing Music in 2000. ¨Anywhere Madonna asked her to go, she´d do it because Tracy is a very loyal person.¨

Oh, we adore Tracy too. Night Court last fulminated about the fab disc spinner in our column about White Fort Lauderdale, and this time, Tracy agreed to sit down with us several hours before the big CD arrival and shared with us some club wisdom before things got amped up.

Madonna´s go-to DJ, who cut her teeth as a radio jock at WPGC in Washington, D.C., before moving to Miami´s Power 96 in the late ´90s, still takes her mother´s advice on the nightscape: ¨My mom always said, Club life and night life is a lonely place for lonely people.´ And she was so right. I´ll never forget that comment.¨

Young just released her sixth album, Dance Culture, which features remixes of Madonna´s ¨Easy Ride¨ and Cyndi Lauper´s ¨Walk on By.¨ She´s a hot circuit DJ, which has meant constant world travel since she crossed paths with Madonna in 2000.

¨I started working with Madonna, and I was thrust into the circuit. I remember wanting to play for gay boys. I wanted to experiment in that scene.¨ But she´s also all business. ¨I enter the club and I´m quiet. People want to come up and talk, then I´m a bitch. It´s my office.¨

She went right to work on Madonna´s album after its flashy arrival, cueing up the first track, ¨Time Goes By,¨ and playing it for a few seconds before it skipped to a stop.

Was it a major snafu with a precious disc?

No — someone had forgotten that Casares needed to make a speech. Ingrid took a mic and proved that she isn´t known for her oratorical powers, especially.

¨I have the privilege of introducing the next album. Madonna outdid herself. It´s for the fans and people who go out dancing.¨

And with that cleared up, the CD started again, to the general appreciation of the crowd.

I waded into the dance floor to see how exciting this debut really was for the locals and convinced David, 26, and Robert, 33, to hold still for a moment. Dressed in white suits with big wigs, disco ball earrings, and a fancy-pants attitude, they were pretty much poster boys for Madonna´s demographic, not that there´s anything wrong with that. ¨We weren´t invited, but we came anyway and crashed the party,¨ David said. ¨I think it´s absolutely awesome that we have the chance to hear something absolutely exciting. God was with us and Madonna. We´ve been with her since she came out. We grew up with her, and we´re still growing up with her. We love everything she´s about.¨

Robert, meanwhile, couldn´t help feeling that his heroine was present, somehow. ¨She was here in spirit. She is truly a spirit. She shares her experience in her music and poetry. She´s accessible as an artist. If Madonna was here, we would bow to her.¨

Well, apparently Miss Ciccone couldn´t make it across the pond to join the party. But at least she´d thought enough of Broward to launch things on the western periphery of our suburban sprawl. And hey, was it a good thing that SoBe-style snobs, hot DJs, and bona fide culture vultures were bouncing around Broward?

Sure, why not? Throw a little spice into our nightlife smorgasbord. I´ll bite.

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Courtney Hambright