Listen To My Body Tonight: How Prince's Transgressive Spirit Broke Boundaries

April 22, 2016 5:45 AM

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Somewhere in the back of my closet is a torn photograph from a party in Seattle in 1982. Dig if you will the picture: It's me, in a second-hand chiffon dress that (though the photo is black and white) I'm sure is violet. My hair is a two-toned mass of strawberries and cream, my neck's draped in my mom's big costume pearls; a bracelet of pretend diamonds dangles from my wrist. This is an ordinary look for a college girl with a nightlife obsession in 1982. I'm gazing into a mirror; behind me is my friend Pete, holding the camera, laughing his head off. The room's as off-kilter as we are — chairs pushed toward the wall, wine bottles covering a coffee table, the multicolored throw rug trampled. My eyes, cast upward, communicate a challenge: Can you be as free as we feel right this moment? And I know what's behind that dare; every time I've looked at this blurry chrome snap I hear it. 1999 has just been released, and we're dancing to Prince.

This image is my own reversed portrait of Dorian Gray. (Prince apparently had one, too, at least in his brilliant mind.) It doesn't stop me from getting older; I'm firmly in midlife now, just as the 57-year-old Prince Rogers Nelson was when he inconceivably departed this plane. But even thinking abo...

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