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Madonna Deserves More Than A Key to Bay City.

By Marvin Kusmierz
August 16, 2008

On August 16, 2008, the most famous female entertainer in history marked her 50th birthday. While the world tuned in for the special celebration, the home town of her birth was wondering when, if ever, they'll get a reply to Mayor Charles Brunner's letter offering her the Key to Bay City, Michigan.

The absence of a yes or no to the mayor's request send out a couple of months ago may be due to lingering effects from long ago when city officials shunted her sensual style that gave rapid rise to her fame as singer. Bay City folks at the time were not Sex in the City type of people, at least not openly.

Another explanation could very well be in answering the question, “What has Bay City done to demonstrate its pride in being the birth place of Madonna?”

I'm old enough to remember Elvis' emergence as a pop-star and how much commotion his hip-shaking caused the older generation at that time. But once the up and coming singer became the King of Rock-n-roll his hip-swinging antics became less of a concern in turning teenagers in to sexual beasts. A concern that seems to confront most every generation – remember the invasion of the long-haired Beattles?

Bay City would do well to look to Graceland for clues on what it should and can do to let Madonna, and the world for that matter, know just how proud (and lucky) it is be the place where the “Queen of Entertainment” was born.

An invitation letter offering the “Key to Bay City” falls way short of the mark. The city has not single piece of public evidence proclaiming its pride as Madonna's place of birth. If I were Madonna, I think I'd be a little more than dismayed that a symbolic “Key” is the best her hometown can do for the worldwide success she has earned.

The fact that there is not a single public sign in the city stating, “Bay City – The Birthplace of Madonna,” is shockingly! Especially for a city that is struggling and looking for ways to promote itself as a tourist destination. Bay City has an “Aladdin's Lamp” for marketing itself. It just needs to rubbed it!

The issue in my mind isn't why Madonna has not replied to the mayor's letter, but why Bay City is waiting to do what's in their own best interest? We need Madonna's fame more than she needs our “Key.” Until we understand our truly good fortune and begin rubbing the “Madonna Lamp,” I see no compelling reason for Madonna be go out of her way to pick up a Key to the city.

We can begin the healing process with the city's most famous daughter by celebrating the fact by proclaiming it in meaningful ways that publicly demonstrates our pride.

There are many ways Bay City can and should do to get the ball rolling:

1.Post signs on I-75 exit and billboards proclaiming, “Bay City – Birth Place of Madonna.”

2.Post a heritage sign at the old Mercy Hospital where Madonna was born.

3.Rename Water Falls Park to Madonna Heritage Park and create a theme honor her history associated with Bay City. The park is only a few steps from one St. Laurents Candy Store, one of her favorite places in the city. Change the name of Third Street from Water to the river to Madonna Park Lane.

4.Name the band shell in Wenonah Park after Madonna. Create a new week long festival celebration devoted to Madonna to be held annual during the week of her birthday:

  • Make it Big!
  • Madonna music everyday at the Madonna Heritage Stage in Wenonah Park! Get businesses and others to participate in the Madonna theme.
  • A Madonna history display during the month of August at the Bay County Historical Society museum.
  • Heritage bus tours to the places frequented by Madonna during her youthful years.
  • Madonna films/videos at the historic State Theatre and Bay City Players theatre.

These are ony a few ideas of what Bay City can do show its pride in a demonstrative way not only to Madonna, but to her fans around the world. There is no good reason, that I can think of, why Bay City cannot be to the “Queen of Entertainment” like Graceland is to the King of Rock-n-roll.”

{Post} your comments and/or take the Madonna Poll!

Pictorial History

Madonna Louise Ciccone,
born August 16, 1958,
at Mercy Hospital
in Bay City, Michigan.

Mercy Hospital -- a star is born

Young Madonna and her mother, Madonna Louise (Fortin) Ciconne.

New pop music star status.

but effective promotional kiss!

Hollywood Star.

Rock-n-roll Hall of Fame.

Author of children books.

Reaching out to orphans.

Mother and her children.

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