Alina Simone is a Brooklyn-based author and singer. Her first book of essays, 'You Must Go and Win', was published in 2011. She has also written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, McSweeneys and BOMB Magazine.
When Alina Simone agreed to write a book about Madonna, she thought it might provide an interesting excuse to indulge her own eighties nostalgia. Wrong. What Simone discovered instead was a tidal wave of already published information about Madonna-and her own ambivalence about, maybe even jealousy of, the Material Girl's overwhelming commercial success. With the straight-ahead course stymied, Simone set off on a quirky detour through the backroads of celebrity and fandom and the people who love or loathe Madonna. In this witty, sometimes acerbic, always perceptive chronicle, Simone begins by trying to understand why Madonna's birthplace, Bay City, Michigan, won't even put up a sign to celebrate its most famous citizen, and ends by asking why local bands who make music that's authentic and true can disappear with barely a trace. In between, she ranges from Madonna fans who cover themselves with tattoos of the singer's face and try to make fortunes off selling her used bustiers and dresses, to Question Mark and the Mysterians-one-hit wonders best known for 96 Tears -and Flying Wedge, a Detroit band that dropped off an amazing two-track record in the office of CREEM magazine in 1972 and vanished, until Simone tracked it down. Filled with fresh insights about the music business, fandom, and what it takes to become a superstar, Madonnaland is as much a book for people who, like Simone, prefer dark rooms, coffee, and state-subsidized European films filled with existential despair as it is for people who can't get enough of Madonna.