The

Cyndi Lauper Museum

By Curtis Newart

December 10, 2019

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I thought I was the biggest Cyndi Lauper fan in the world until about a year ago when I stumbled across a Cyndi Lauper Museum page on Facebook

 

Oh. My. Gawd.

 

This guy, Joe Salg, who lives in Orlando, Florida, has turned a large part of his home into, well - the Cyndi Lauper museum. 

 

Hundreds and hundreds of Lauper collectables, including autographed memorabilia, concert merch, magazines, radio and record store promo items, her PERSONAL CLOTHING, rare records, custom-made dolls - it's all there. 

 

I've never seen anything like it in my life. 

 

The walls are literally covered from ceiling to floor with items in custom-made frames.

 

Staircases, doorways, retail display racks, props suspended from wires. It is mind-blowing.

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Photo credit: Joe Salg. Courtesy The Cyndi Lauper: Museum

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Photo credit: Joe Salg. Courtesy The Cyndi Lauper: Museum. Insert photo credit: Stefanie Schneider

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Photo credit: Joe Salg. Courtesy The Cyndi Lauper: Museum.

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Photo credit: Joe Salg. Courtesy The Cyndi Lauper: Museum.

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Photo credit: Joe Salg. Courtesy The Cyndi Lauper: Museum.

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Photo courtesy The Cyndi Lauper: Museum.

A sit-down with Joe

"I was 14 in 1984 and hated that song ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun’, said Salg. “So annoying – it seemed it was everywhere I went.

 

One day on MTV I happened to see (as did everyone else on the planet, apparently) the new ‘Time After Time’ video. I was immediately confused. She wasn’t dancing this time. She wasn’t giddy anymore. She sounded stuffed-up. Did she have a cold? Oh no, I thought, she’s crying at the end. She’s so sweet! I was heartbroken by this story and the hushed tones of this lost girl who looked like no one I had ever seen before.

 

As a misfit in Orange County, New York I immediately connected with her feeling of being alone. She was strong enough to be different than anyone, and able to go off on her own after leaving her boyfriend. I immediately believed that I would be okay. Even as a gay teen in the 80s who had no idea what a future would look like being another freak. Just like Cyndi Lauper. 

 

Yet, this bizarre girl was being loved and recognized for being herself. She broke records and became the first artist to have four Top 5 singles on her first album. When I bought her LP record I was intrigued by this cover art, arms and legs flailing in a very non-traditional but pretty way. People loved her. There was hope.

 

I listened to each song every day trying to model confidence and self respect. It started to work…slowly. Her new video ‘She Bop’ came out and I was so excited. I had no idea what it meant, but I was all for it. The TV was going crazy over Cyndi and I would scour the stations and the radio for any glimpse or soundbite I could get of this person.”

 

Who is this girl, Cyndi Lauper, and why is she so UN-USUAL, says Salg, imitating Lauper in his best Queens accent. 

 

As a sheltered Irish Catholic, I believed that she really spoke like this Betty Boop character (whoever that was), and I never questioned her antics with Wrestlemania or any of her quirky life. It all seemed believable enough to me.

One day in 1984 I heard that she was taking her FUN tour on the road and would be playing Middletown, New York (Orange County Community College to be exact). She had hit the big time, I thought to myself.

 

Now convinced that I was her biggest fan, I just knew that seeing Cyndi live in concert would make my life complete. So, nervous as we were, my older cousin Krissy and my only friend John sprayed colored-hairspray all over our completely uncool hairstyles. We put our Cyndi Lauper pins on our jean jackets and were ready to go.

 

I sat in the bleachers with my little brother and our chaperone - my Aunt Deb - who lovingly volunteered to take us because she liked Cyndi, too. It was the best thing ever to me. Not only was I hooked, I was lucky enough to see her a second time on the same tour. This time, though, I was determined to get near the stage.

 

Fifteen years later I finally met Cyndi “in real life” (and many times since). She’s always been very patient with me as I try to tell her who she is to me, and why I’ve been collecting her memorabilia for all these years. I turn 50 this year and not only do I have a collection, I have a museum – but it's even more than that. It’s a tribute to the person who, without even knowing, made it ok to be me."

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Cyndi Lauper and Joe Salg. Photo courtesy The Cyndi Lauper: Museum.

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Cyndi Lauper and Joe Salg during the She’s So Unusual: 30th Anniversary Tour. Photo courtesy The Cyndi Lauper: Museum.

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Photo credit: Joe Salg. Courtesy The Cyndi Lauper: Museum.

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David Taylor, Cyndi Lauper, Joe Salg and Boy George. Photo courtesy The Cyndi Lauper: Museum. Photo credit: Gregory Lewis

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Cyndi Lauper and Joe Salg. Photo courtesy The Cyndi Lauper: Museum. Photo credit: Colie Saw

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Cyndi-worn headdress from the Home For The Holidays concert in December 2018 at The Beacon Theater. Headdress by Veritée Hill. Cyndi opened the show wearing this beauty and singing ‘Classic’ by The Knocks. Courtesy The Cyndi Lauper: Museum.

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This faux-hair hat was worn on the She’s So Unusual Tour: 30th Anniversary. Courtesy The Cyndi Lauper: Museum.

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Cyndi was featured in Billboard Magazine in December 2018 (Photo credit: Ruven Afanador) for her contributions to Women In Music, recognized with an ICON award. TomTom corset worn for the Billboard magazine ICON photo shoot. Courtesy The Cyndi Lauper: Museum.

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Cyndi’s red Bring Ya To The Brink outfit by Betsey Johnson. Top left photo credit: Stefanie Schneider other photos courtesy The Cyndi Lauper: Museum. 

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Photo credit: Joe Salg. Courtesy The Cyndi Lauper: Museum.

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The pod from which Lauper emerged singing At Last: at The Parliament House in Orlando during Gay Pride. Bottom photo credit: John Sullivan other photo courtesy The Cyndi Lauper: Museum.

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Custom leather suit and train worn nightly on the Dressed To Kill Tour with Cher (2014). Courtesy The Cyndi Lauper: Museum.

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Cyndi donated her brassiere for breast cancer awareness. To raise money for Bras For A Cause, she removed it during a radio show and dedicated it to her loved ones who are suffering or have passed due to cancer. Photo credit: Joe Salg. Courtesy The Cyndi Lauper: Museum.

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Photo credit: Joe Salg. Courtesy The Cyndi Lauper: Museum.

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Skeriosities 'True Colors' doll by Keriann Carney commissioned by the museum. Courtesy The Cyndi Lauper: Museum

Salg says he and his husband David intend to continue development of the Museum, including new wood floors and conversion of attic space into a third floor for an additional room.

 

He credits David with his patience on this project, his custom carpentry and framing, and creative ideas needed to convert a home into a formal display center.

 

When asked about his wish list, he replied, “One of Cyndi’s wigs or hair extensions, any prop or wardrobe item from the ‘Time After Time’ or ‘She Bop' music videos, and to continue to meet fans and develop friendships with them."

 

“One day, I would love to have the museum be deemed the Official Cyndi Lauper Museum by Cyndi herself!”

 

Admission to the museum is free to fans with advance arrangements. Salg may be reached through the official website at www.shessocollectable.com or on social media at the buttons below.

 

Don't forget to join his Facebook Museum page for more in-depth fan discussion.

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