New York Film Locations

Madonna and The Breakfast Club

18 March 2019

With the recent DVD release of the documentary story of Madonna's struggling days in New York with her first band "Breakfast Club", the low budget production gives reference to The Music Building on 8th Avenue between West 38th and 39th Streets, which was where Madonna first starting singing lead vocals, and which would eventually lead up to her first solo record deal.

Location: The Music Building at 384 on 8th Avenue in New York City

The building at 584 on 8th Avenue is the largest music rehearsal facility in Manhattan with 69 studios on 12 floors that are leased to musicians. It is located near Times Square and allows 24/7 access to musicians. Notable musicians such as Madonna, Interpol, Billy Idol, Joey Ramone have been tenants at The Music Building, which was founded in 1979. There were initially two locations in Queens and Manhattan with Queens having more rap and heavy metal bands and Manhattan having more punk, rock, and pop bands. The Music Building in Manhattan became the focal point for all musicians when the Queens building was destroyed by fire in 1996.

Madonna at the Music Building in the early 1980s

The building is currently filled with graffiti art from various artists who have been tenants or have visited other musicians who were tenants in the building. Musicians have stated that instead of living there, The Music Building is like an apartment building where you can rent a room and play 24/7. In addition to renting space to known musicians, The Music Building rents space to local bands and musicians who are just starting in the industry.

Location: The Music Building on 8th Avenue in New York City

Though otsoNY tends to avoid reviewing films, ''Madonna and the Breakfast Club'' has already featured on the popular Rotten Tomatoes website with Peter Sobczynski from commenting on the film by saying that it is a largely bewildering and mostly tedious docudrama hybrid that focuses on the musical icon's pre-fame days as seen through the eyes of a few people who happened to be there at the time and held onto just enough mementos and memories to finally cash in on their bystander-to-history status, and he is not far wrong.

Film Poster: Madonna and The Breakfast Club

Sobcynski goes onto say that the main focus is on Dan Gilroy, a New York City musician who met Madonna when she arrived seeking fame and fortune in 1979, hooked up with her both personally and professionally and eventually made her a part of The Breakfast Club, the band that he formed with his brother, Ed, until Madonna’s undeniable talent and unstoppable ambition led her to go off on her own to superstardom within a couple of years. There are interviews with the Gilroys and other people hanging around during that period, ranging from the director of ''A Certain Sacrifice'' to a deejay who is still inexplicably proud of the fact that he wouldn't play her tapes, but, in a bizarre twist, director Guy Guido also employs actors to play the characters and act out events even though most of this footage is combined with the narration of the real people instead of the dialogue from the actors, such as newcomer Jamie Auld, who so accurately resembles what Madonna looked like in that period, though unfortunately, she demonstrates none of the personality or raw charisma that allowed Madonna to strike such a chord with people when she first burst on to the scene.

Film: Madonna and The Breakfast Club

Film: Madonna and The Breakfast Club

Sobcynski’s closing statement turns back to the film highlighting the fact that it contains no Madonna music to speak, no actual appearances by Madonna outside of bits of archival footage, old photos and an audiotape of a conversation between her and Dan that is not exactly Rosebud in terms of personal revelation, and no real insight as to who she was as a person back then and how those events helped make her into the global phenomenon that she would become.

Film: Madonna and The Breakfast Club

The film is expected to be added to the Film Location section on otsoNY in the coming months.


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