Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Madison-Felix Awards: The Ways of 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 several blogs are dedicated to their memory.
Unfortunately we have come to an end in our reflections of the great show. There's not much more to tell, we scoured every nook and cranny , but I couldn't leave without one final word. A person may ask, as I sometimes am, what set the Madison-Felix’s apart? True it wasn’t a “real” awards show. Legally speaking it was a private party. Everyone who came was specially invited- except for one year when a series of old people kept blundering in asking if we were showing Metropolis.
Our first difference is not giving awards to films which had been released that year. We felt we had 90 years of films to catch up on, so our nominees ran the gambit from the recent to the cinematic stone age of silent films (BTW everyone should take another look at the old pre-Hays code silent. There was plenty of discussion of drug use, alcoholism, homosexuality and heterosexuality. On par with modern films). Our initial intent with the Madison-Felix’s was to show only good films and opening the range allowed us to display as many as we wanted. But as with all things that Big Brian and I tried it degenerated quickly.
A little anecdote here- Big Brian and I had tried something similar before. Four of us, Myself, Big Brian, Jeff Death (RIP), and Dr. I (a madman of a different stripe) had all left the cast of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. We then founded the Dashwood Society and vowed that we would, instead of Rocky Horror, on Friday nights, watch the greatest films of all time like the sophisticated individuals that we were.
That lasted two weeks. From there we quickly descended into series of low grade slashed flicks (where we discovered the glory that is The Love Butcher- The Citizen Kane of Crap), then pornography, then oddball subsects of porn such as bestiality and coprophagia clips- which was damn difficult to find in the pre-internet days.
The Madison-Felix’s went the same way. By the third year we wanted to show off as much weird, disgusting, offbeat material as we could lay our hands on. Now, we were never sure who would win as we did have people vote on it. Yes it was legitimate, but Big Brain and I were the ones who chose the nominees and often we would “guide” the voters to a specific choice by padding the nominations with items that they would dislike. Sometimes that worked, others time it didn't.
      The Madison-Felixs' were a cheap joke that bloomed into the best party of the year. For all of us involved, it was never about the show by itself. It was a party. It was about showing off. It was about reconnecting with people you might never see again. It gave everyone a chance to perform and be the center of attention.
      In a strange way The Madison-Felix's were a show without an audience, because everyone was involved with the performance. Whether it was a speech or skit before giving away an award, reciting a bit of poetry or a story, or just general cat calling, everyone played a part in the show. Everyone added to everyone else's enjoyment. Everyone made it special. Big Brian and I mad have stuck the match, but everyone lit a torch from it, spreading the flame wide.
     The show was cheap and grungy at times, but that added to its charm. Will it be remembered by people beyond this generation? No. It will be lost the mash of history along with the other awards and festivals that recorded history has abandoned. But it is still alive in our hearts and memories for decades to come. It was our show. Done for us, by us. And that's something we will never lose. For everyone who came, for everyone who said their piece, The Madison-Felixs' were as much your show as it was mine.  Thank you, relax and enjoy. We all made it great and we all deserve applause. Free beer!

... And llama fucking!