Friday, May 1, 2015

The Madison-Felix Awards- Guess Who's Coming to the Madisons?

The Madison-Felix Awards was an awards show in Buffalo New York, which ran from 1995-2005. It was put together by my friend Big Brian and I. In reality it was a parody of an awards show mixed with an open bar drinking contest. Still it was fun and irreverent and some of the best parties I've ever had. But like all good times, they eventually drifted off to the land of nostalgia. The next four blogs are dedicated to their memory.

     An ordinary evening, or was it?
     Big Brian called me up excited, “Rex get over here. You’re not going to believe this shit!”
     Getting ready not to believe this shit, I sped on over to Brian’s. I had no idea what to expect, but I was sure it would be hilarious. All I knew was that it had something to do with the Madison-Felixes.
     It had always been our practice with the Madisons to send invitations to anyone that was going to receive our award. Those whom we could locate. I mean how do you find Alan Ormsby from “Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things,” or Eric Stern from “The Love Butcher?” For the first couple of years we actually held out hope that someone might condescend to reply, but by the 10th year all of those ideas were gone. We only sent them out as a joke, and sat around snickering when the “I regret to inform you that we cannot attend” letter (when they even bothered to do so) rolled in.
     This was the end of the Madison-Felixes. The last show. I actually lived in North Carolina, so most of the burden was on Brian, and he was getting tired of handling everything himself.
     The old days of it being just fun fun fun were over, and now it was more of a hassle. We worked harder at it, and the shows improved, while our enjoyment waned.  Gone were the days of creating our master tape, by hooking two VCRs together, the night before the show. I asked Brian how this happened, and we remembered back in time we would show up drunk to the show and go from there. Remember when I inaugurated the 3rd Madisons by drinking a 21 shot salute. The last being a flaming shot of Rumple Mintz? I kind of do.
     When we first started the show, our intentions were to pay tribute to the less known and forgotten masterpieces with a few jokes tossed in. That lasted a year. We quickly followed suit and descended into clips of llama fucking, Divine eating dog shit, unspeakable horrors from Salo, men getting their dicks chopped off, old women playing Russian roulette, boy in the Nazi uniform getting a blow job from his sister, an accident clip were a man gets hit by a car and flying 20 feet (met with uproarious applause) and the unforgettable girl-masturbating-with a-severed-arm clip from “Entrails of a Virgin.”
Classics like this!
     Our normal stable consisted of films like: Night of the Bloody Apes, Make ‘Em Die Slowly, I Spit on Your Grave, Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things, Brutes and Savages, and our ultimate award winner (7 Madison-Felixes) The Love Butcher. A film I could see win over and over and over again with out getting tired of it.
        One thing we always had each year, was our Lifetime Achievement Award, with accompanying song. It was called the Mike Horner award, after the first winner, a porno star that we enjoyed watching. Other noteworthy recipients were Don Knotts, George Peppard, Jabba the Hutt, Christopher Reeve, Alan Hale Jr., Bob Newhart etc. The purpose was to give an award to a person that everyone knew, but that was never honored. No one ever honored us back by showing up. Except for now.
     I arrived at Brian’s and bounded up to his apartment “WHAT‘S UP?” I yelled. He stood there massively, smoking a cigarette, and handed me a piece of paper.
    “Remember who we're giving the Lifetime Achievement Award to this year?” He asked with nervous excitement. Somewhere between hysterical laughter and panic.
    “Yeah, Charles Bronson.”
    “Well read the letter.”
     I looked at it. “Dear sir, I am delighted to inform you that Mr. Bronson will be honored to accept your very prestigious award…”
    I glanced over at the “prestigious” award, sitting on a dusty shelf above Brian’s TV, wedged in between his Bob and Doug MacKenzie Action Figures, and some George Orwell books. A plastic tape glued to a fake marble base. I looked at Brian.
    “What the hell are we gonna do?”
     The only other time something like this had happened was when we received a threatening letter from Faye Dunaway’s lawyers. It stated that criminal prosecution would take place if we did not cease and desist our correspondence. I say “our” correspondence, but it was really Brian’s last letter that had spawned this response. I never read it, but it went along the line of him getting upset with her ignoring us, how it wasn’t nice of her, and if she needed a place to stay then she could stay at his. Brian states that this was a joke, like when he sent out Christmas Cards full of Bible-beating “Praise Jesus” material to every Jewish name he could find in the phone book, and I believe him. Everyone who knows Brian could believe this. Still, he always had a thing for redheads.
     Charles Bronson coming to the show? THE Charles Bronson, of The Dirty Dozen and Death Wish fame. Christ? What’s he expecting? I supposed a lot of fancy big star treatment, like a place to stay or food. How cheap were the Motel 6 rates again? I suppose we could pick him up in my Mom’s Honda Civic hatchback. Does he like Cheetos? Because I could get a lot of them cheap from the corner gas station. Oh God. I’ve seen his movies. If he doesn’t like the show, he might machine-gun our entire families.
     Now it might be pointed out that he had been deceptive in offering him the award in the first place. It was a Lifetime Achievement Award, and may be flattering for someone who hadn’t received attention for some time. I believe his last film had been Death Wish 4, and for a man who had a lot of staring roles in good films, it might be a bit of disappointment to have been almost forgotten. If indeed he was. Still in your declining years and all that comes along is a pack of lunatics from Buffalo, putting on a mockery of a show, simply to have a good laugh. Is it better than nothing? Perhaps.
     Then I thought of the collection of clips we had prepared in Mr. Bronson’s honor. It consisted of lots of scenes with him killing, stabbing, shooting and garroting people, all to the tune of The Partridge Family’s “I Think I Love You.” What was he going to make of that? 
     We’ll never know. Those who attended the final outing of the Madison-Felix Award will note that there was no celebrity present. We went out as we went in. Completely ignored by the film industry at large. Bastards. While it might have been a disaster, we would have at least tried to handle it, but Charles Bronson did something to make the entire potential-fiasco go away. He died.

Hopefully doing what he loved!
     Perhaps it was the knowledge that at least someone somewhere remembered his work and that felt it was deserving of recognition, and at last he could die in peace, content that he was not forgotten. Perhaps it was the heart attack. It will be a mystery lost to the ages.
      Still to the end the Madison-Felix Awards always remained a place where those of dubious credentials and past glory could, for one night, remain among the stars.
Charles Bronson 1921 - 2003. RIP!