Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 25, No. 12, Ed. 1 Friday, August 8, 2008 Page: 24 of 56
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an we possibly be hungry for more ink
about the world's most famous woman?
Of course. In fact, we're starving.
If you immediately dismissed Christopher
Ciccone's "Life with My Sister Madonna"
(Simon Spotlight, $26)
because you suspected it
was a publicity vehicle
for the lame "Hard
Candy" album, think
again. The biography is
surprisingly candid and
depicts a not-so-flattering
image of a complex, tena-
cious and driven
woman. But it's also an
intimate portrait that only Madonna's gay
brother could capture.
Some biographers can chronicle all of
Madonna's career moves, collaborations and
friendships, but no one — not even Madonna's
other siblings — had Christopher's access.
For 20 years, 47-year-old Christopher
worked for Madonna, first as a backup dancer.
But when she started touring and needed help
changing costumes, Madonna begged
Christopher to take the job. He was someone she
could trust seeing her naked. From dresser,
Christopher graduated to set designer, interior
decorator, photographer and tour director.
For a long time, being a superstar's brother
was a cool gig — almost as addictive as actual
superstardom. But like many of Madonna's rela-
tionships, she and Christopher eventually drift-
ed apart. Overcoming his addiction to super-
stardom is partly why Christopher wrote "Life
with My Sister." The other part is that
Christopher hopes to establish his own identity.
That process is already in development. On
Aug. 26, Christopher appears on the debut
episode of the new season of "Janice Dickinson
Modeling Agency." Janice moves into a house in
Mami where all her models will live, and
Christopher has only 24 hours to re-design
Janice's master bedroom, which includes a
secret video-surveillance chamber where she
can spy on everyone. Christopher also hopes to
launch his own reality show.
If you remotely enjoyed "Truth or Dare,"
you'll savor every page of Christopher's book.
It's so good, Madonna should write her brother
a fan letter. "Life with My Sister" is a juicy warts-
and-all tapestry: Some stories are embarrassing,
but Christopher doesn't assassinate his sister.
The book could be viewed as a betrayal, but
in the pages of The Advocate, Madonna once
discussed Christopher's personal life without
permission. And when Christopher confronted
her about it, Madonna just said, "What's the big
Like the other bios, Christopher chronicles
Madonna's relationships With Sean Penn,
Sandra Bemhard, Vanilla Ice, Dennis Rodman,
Guy Ritchie and countless others. But the most
interesting figure in "Life with My Sister" is
Ingrid Casares — the lesbian nightclub impresa-
rio, who ditched Sandra Bemhard for Madonna,
became Madonna's best friend and a good
friend to Christopher as well. Casares often
informed Madonna of Christopher's growing
cocaine use. And if newbie mommy Madonna
needed a reason to banish Christopher from the
superstar mountaintop, cocaine Was the perfect
What disintegrated Madonna and Christopher Ciccone's relationship — cocaine, Ingrid Casares?
A gay brother takes his famous sister down a few pegs and pens the definitive Madonna bio.
Unfortunately, he's not sure they'll be able to patch things up in the near future
Your design career doesn't have much to do with
your sister. If Daliasites wanted to see your fur-
niture, where could we look? Check Bernhardt
furniture. Look for the Prague iine. There are
about seven or eight pieces that I've done.
Do you still design for Bernhardt? I do. But they
moved Into the mid-century modern thing,
which I'm not really interested in because it's
already been done a thousand times.
Can you pinpoint a signature quality that's inherent
in both your interior design and your book? I
like to do things that are very clear and classic.
Things that will hold up in time — that are
beyond the moment. And I think the book will
do that as well.
Can you jostle your "Madonna on Tour" memory
banks — anything interesting ever happen in
Dallas? You want to make this interview perti-
nent to Dallas, huh? The Mansion in Turtle
Creek, is that in Dallas?
Yes, it is. That's where we stayed. I remember it
being quite pleasant, actually. But that was
years ago. I think we even went out one night in
By Daniel A. Kusner Life+Style Editor
With your sister? I think we all went out — me, her
and the dancers. We all went out to some big
gay dance club.
The Village Station? It's possible. That sounds
familiar. But that was years ago.
Is Ingrid Casares the true villain in this story?
There's no villain in this story. There are plenty
of people who are meddling — what you might
call "shape shifters." A couple of people get
more dissected than others— Ingrid is one of
them; Guy Ritchie is the other.
Did you read Ingrid as a villain?
She had both your ear and Madonna's. And like a
"Dangerous Liaisons" character, Ingrid new how
to get close to Madonna, which meant separat-
ing her from the only family member Madonna
really trusted. In many ways, there's that aspect
of it. And Ingrid was incredibly good at it.
Despite those things, I have to give Ingrid her
props. She got me my first music video, which
got me into thinking about film and music
videos and into a world that I had never even
considered before and one that I really enjoy.
And despite whatever her motives might have
been, she still did good for me. And I'd give her
that credit — and I think I do in the book.
Although, I know she's not happy about it.
How do you know Ingrid is unhappy? She's been
sending me messages — on other people's
phones. Which Is alarming because these peo-
ple are good friends of mine, and they didn't
realize that she had gotten a hold of their
phone numbers. It was a bit disturbing but
pretty funny, too.
Do you think readers will assume that your drug
use is what ruined your relationship with your
sister? I don't think it had anything to do with it
to be honest.
Hearing you say that reminds me of when Courtney
Love was shit-faced on that Pamela Anderson
roast for Comedy Central. Over and over,
Courtney kept slurring that she was sober.
Throughout the book you acknowledge your
drugs use and that Madonna keeps calling you
on it. And you explain that you have a little —
just a tiny— cocaine problem. Oh, come on.
Continued on Page 26
24 I dallasvoice.com I 08.08.08
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Nash, Tammye. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 25, No. 12, Ed. 1 Friday, August 8, 2008, newspaper, August 8, 2008; Dallas, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth239024/m1/24/?rotate=90: accessed June 21, 2021), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.