Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Madonna among the most significant Americans of all time.

A special issue of Smithsonian magazine selected Madonna among the 100 most significant Americans of all time.

Steven Skiena and Charles B. Ward (Skiena is the Distinguished Teaching Professor of Computer Science at Stony Brook University and a co-founder of the social-analytics company General Sentiment. Ward is an engineer at Google, specializing in ranking methodologies.) rank people according to their historical significance, which they define as “the result of social and cultural forces acting on the mass of an individual’s achievement.” Their rankings account not only for what individuals have done, but also for how well others remember and value them for it.

Here’s the Pop Icons list:

Mark Twain
Elvis Presley
Bob Dylan
Michael Jackson
Charlie Chaplin
Jimi Hendrix
Marilyn Monroe
Frank Sinatra
Louis Armstrong
Mary Pickford

There’s only one Queen and that’s Madonna!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Dianne Houston (Take the Lead) has signed on to adapt Rebecca Walker’s memoir for the big screen, marking Madonna’s next directing project.

The film centers on a 19-year-old American student raised in a Christian and Jewish home who travels to Africa and falls in love with a young Muslim man on an island off the coast of Kenya. Their hastily made plans to marry, however, get blown away by cultural and political forces. Walker, who also hails from a Christian-Jewish home, is the daughter of The Color Purple author Alice Walker.

Bruce Cohen, Jessica Leventhal and Walker are producing. CAA, which reps Madonna, will be taking the project out to financiers in the coming weeks.

Adé marks Madonna’s follow up to the period romance W.E., which was released by The Weinstein Company in 2011. The book was published in 2013 by Amazon’s Little A imprint.

Houston, who has an untitled Missy Elliott project in the works, is repped by Kaplan-Stahler Agency.

Source : TheHollywoodReporter

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


This is the 10th stop for The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, which he flew in to launch. But, despite the repetition that comes with a travelling exhibition, Gaultier is excitable, as if this is the first time, because fashion – even that which he creates – has a way of drawing attention to new details every time you view it.

“I noticed some tulle in a dress I forgot I had created,” he says, pointing to a gown in the yonder.

“The way the light draws your attention to certain pieces reminds you of things you once forgot. I have been designing for 38 years so it’s easy to forget every intricate detail to every dress.”

His beautiful French accent, wave of silver hair and childlike smile draw attention to the first corset dress he designed in the early ’80s. It is in the boudoir part of the exhibition’s themed rooms. This early dress is where Gaultier’s now famous cone-bra concept began, before the look was made famous by Madonna on her Blond Ambition tour. As a young boy, Gaultier drew cone-like impressions on his teddy bear called Nana – she is also featured behind glass.

“There is nobody like Madonna,” he says. “She directs herself, is talented, tough and interesting. She inspires women and men to follow her. She rules her own world.”

The relationship between the designer and his muse drew much interest and Gaultier admits he was always attracted to Madonna’s enigmatic presence. He always attracted to Madonna’s enigmatic energy. He says he first saw her on television singing Like A Virgin and was gobsmacked by her mix of sexy moves and religious connotations.

“I proposed to her three times, but she refused me every time,” he says, revealing something he’s kept under his hat for decades. But he then adds, “People change, and we don’t speak much anymore.”

Source : TheWeeklyReview

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Madonna Songs Help Kindergarten Students Learn The Alphabet

Kindergarten teachers Arturo Avina and Katey Bolanos, along with their classroom of child prodigies from the Olympic Primary Center in Los Angeles, have taken the alphabet to a whole new level by setting it to an all-Madonna soundtrack.

“In a nutshell, my colleague and I had our kindergarten students reinvent the alphabet by filming 26 mini-music videos set to 26 different Madonna songs,” Avina tells Queerty. “Who knew Madonna songs could teach the alphabet, right?”

Mr. Avina and his voguing kindergarteners pulled out all the stops for this epic, 12-minute video. Costumes. Masks. Lights. Elaborate sets. Dance moves. You name it. And the results are truly Madonnalicious.

Saturday, November 15, 2014


This November is the 30 anniversary of the release of Madonna’s second album, Like a Virgin. Thirty years – digest that for a moment. If you’re shrugging and asking “What’s to digest?”, you’re probably under 30 and have never known a world without Madonna – you don’t know how different life was for young women before she became a lightning rod for debate on Western female sexuality, and changed the way women view sex, love and ambition.

If her only achievement had been to expand what was considered possible for women in pop music, she still would have been remarkable. Her influence is felt so far beyond pop, however, that she even inspired a strand of academia known as Madonna Studies, which examined her effect on sexuality and feminism. She’s sold 300 million records – more than any other female singer – and may be the only pop star to have generated a new word, “wannabe” – coined in the ’80s, when the aspirations of every teenage girl were summed up by the phrase “I wannabe Madonna”. Though not a conventionally gifted singer, she’s pushed through every barrier that stood between her and success, showing what can be accomplished by unyielding determination and a gift for being one step ahead of the zeitgeist. During her golden years – 1983 – 89, say – she was the zeitgeist.

Around 10 years ago, she was asked by an interviewer how she thought she was seen by the public. “I guess I’m known for being disciplined,” she replied, but she could also have said “controlling”, “independent” and “tough” – traits female singers weren’t supposed to possess, at least not openly, when she started out. It’s now routine for women musicians to call the shots in their careers – or to claim they do – but when Like a Virgin appeared, her insistence on making her own decisions was unique.

It was the album that made her commercially and culturally unstoppable. The cover photo of Madonna acting out the virgin/whore dichotomy by wearing a wedding dress and a belt that spelled out “Boy Toy” was only the start. The album’s title track – which spent six weeks at the top of the American chart – went where no pop single had gone before, equating the experience of falling in love to being sexually untouched. No other female singer had ever shoehorned the subject virginity into a pop song so bluntly, or made it clear that no matter what you were – virgin or sexually experienced – it was absolutely fine.

One of the album’s other massive hits, Material Girl, was about her being motivated by money rather than love (which greatly riled middle american parents, as did almost everything about her). The song was a typical mix of bluntness and coquettish sweetness – boys were okay, the song said, but the one she really wanted was “the boy with the cold hard cash.”

From the start, she knew exactly what buttons to push to be the centre of outraged attention. While writing a new biography of her, Madonna: Ambition. Music. Style, I was struck by the rage she incited in the ’80s: the religious right hated her for saying she found crucifixes sexy because there was a naked man on them; feminists were angered by the Boy Toy belt and others were concerned by her blithe habit of cultural appropriation.

She also lost an endorsement deal with Pepsi by dancing in front of burning crosses and kissing a black Jesus in the video for Like a Prayer. At times, her main occupation seemed to be breaking taboos – “If you want to be a whore, it’s your fucking right to be so” was a typical edict, one of many that encouraged women to celebrate and control their sexuality.

Her own celebration of her unquenchable appetites peaked with the 1992 book Sex, which featured explicit photos of her and male and female partners. To her undoubted delight, many bookshops refused to stock it. “Is it degrading to women? Well, sure, and to men, too,” said the New York Times. Naturally, that didn’t stop it selling 1.5 million copies.

Thirty years later, she’s not going gentle into that good night.

Monday, November 10, 2014 Madonna one of 12 women who 'redefine age-appropriate style'.

12 Stylish Women Who Are Redefining the Notion of Age-Appropriate Dressing: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Madonna, and More

There are certain women whose fashion choices transcend the very notion of age-appropriate dressing, those for whom age is nothing but a number. Starting with the classic elegance of the Olsen twins and the quirky grandma stylings of Tavi Gevinson straight through to the eternally youthful exuberance of designer Diane von Furstenberg,few exemplify that idea with as much flair as these twelve.

The singer and actress has conquered everything she’s put her mind to in her 55 years and doesn’t seem be giving up her fighting spirit. Whether it’s vogueing in cone bras or rocking ten-gallon hats, Madonna is constantly changing her look (not to mention her accent) based on mood. Her latest fashion triumph? The Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci look she sported to the 2013 Met Gala sans trousers.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


She is known to the pop world as the original Material Girl.

And Madonna certainly didn’t disappoint as she arrived at WSJ. Magazine’s Innovator Of The Year Awards at the Museum Of Modern Art in New York City on Wednesday.
She looked fabulous in an ornate ruffled black blouse teamed with black elbow-length gloves, midi-skirt and rather clashing light brown shoes.

With her hair in loose blonde curls, she was on hand to present street dancer Charles ‘Lil Buck’ Riley with the award in the performing arts category.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


In We’re No. 1, The A.V. Club examines an album that went to No. 1 on the Billboard charts to get to the heart of what it means to be popular in pop music, and how that concept has changed over the years. In this installment, we cover Madonna’s Like A Prayer, which went to No. 1 on April 22, 1989, where it stayed for six weeks.

As 1989 dawned, it seemed like business as usual for Madonna. Her movie career continued to chug along: She was in throwback starlet mode in the forgotten Bloodhounds Of Broadway and gearing up to play the coquettish caricature Breathless Mahoney in Dick Tracy. Meanwhile, her personal life was attention-grabbing tabloid bait. Her tumultuous marriage to Sean Penn finally ended in divorce and she was making Pepsi gunshy about their endorsement deal, because people mistook the edgy “Like A Prayer” video—which featured burning crosses, among other things—for part of its ad campaign. (In reality, the Pepsi clip’s main emotional tug was rather innocuous black-and-white footage of Madonna as a beatific child.)

All of this turmoil overshadowed the fact that as a musician and songwriter, Madonna was looking to deviate from the formula that made her famous. For 1989’s Like A Prayer, that meant a serious musical upgrade from popcorn-flick dance-pop fluff and faux-retro Top 40 cuteness. Working again with Stephen Bray and Patrick Leonard (who had helped her take baby steps toward maturity on 1986’s True Blue, including the trembling ballad “Live To Tell” and the strident hit “Papa Don’t Preach”), Madonna debuted a more sophisticated approach. “In the past, my records tended to be a reflection of current influences,” she told Rolling Stone. “This album is more about past musical influences. The songs ‘Keep It Together’ and ‘Express Yourself,’ for instance, are sort of my tributes to Sly & The Family Stone. ‘Oh Father’ is my tribute to Simon & Garfunkel, whom I loved.”

Despite her assertions, Like A Prayer was Madonna’s most contemporary-sounding record to date—from the stellar Prince collaboration “Love Song” (a slinky, slow seduction with plenty of Purple One falsetto) to the painfully 1989 “Keep It Together,” a fleet-footed funk-pop number with multi-tracked vocals all over the chorus. Yet, the album also boasted some energetic imperfections—she worked with live musicians and declined to polish many of the vocal tracks—and thoughtful arrangements that created complexity. Gospel choirs and stern organ cushion the title track, while “Till Death Do Us Part” veers between ominous spoken-word choruses, a bluesy guitar bridge, and bustling synthpop verses that resemble Talking Heads’ hyperkinetic rhythms. “Dear Jessie,” meanwhile, is a mincing, string-dusted minuet with latticed harmonies, and the waltzing “Oh Father” blooms with syrupy orchestras. Especially on the latter song, Madonna pushed herself vocally, becoming more comfortable connecting to (and conveying) the emotional content of the lyrics. Even the record’s more universal songs—the girl-group-glossy “Cherish” and the horn-bolstered “Express Yourself,” a bold-and-underlined female empowerment anthem—sound like the work of a woman more confident in her skin.

All of this pointed to Madonna establishing herself a serious artist (emphasis on the “art”) who had significant things to say. Lyrically, Like A Prayer certainly felt weightier. In the case of “Till Death Do Us Part,” she dealt with violent power dynamics and their aftermath; it’s “about a destructive relationship that is powerful and painful,” she told Rolling Stone. “In this song, however, it’s a cycle that you can’t get out of until you die. It’s futile. I wanted the song to be very shocking, and I think it was. It’s about a dysfunctional relationship, a sadomasochistic relationship that can’t end.” But instead of continuing to rely on sex for controversy, she staked her reputation on something much more meaningful and personal: religion.

The title track conflates a higher being with a lover, adding sexual undertones to the cries of faith, while “Oh Father” and “Express Yourself” similarly hint at religious imagery. “Spanish Eyes” is skeptical about God’s existence (“And if there is a Christ, he’ll come tonight / To pray for Spanish eyes”), and “Act Of Contrition” takes a facetious look at repentance. Madonna juxtaposes sentiments from the Catholic prayer with sizzling Prince guitar, “Like A Prayer” played backward, and a bizarre non-sequitur that skewers high-maintenance divas: “I have a reservation! / What you do you mean it’s not in the computer?” The effect is dryly funny. She toyed with religion, its iconography and its tenets—which was both radical and taboo—but in questioning, not sacrilegious, ways. “I don’t make fun of Catholicism,” she told Vogue. “I deeply respect Catholicism—its mystery and fear and oppressiveness, its passion and its discipline and its obsession with guilt.”

Certainly Madonna was a savvy marketer, and knew that pushing her art in this direction would garner attention. Yet, Like A Prayer wasn’t cheap provocation. While approaching religion—in addition to sex and glamour, or love and loss, or her family—Madonna did so from an insightful, adult perspective. “Oh Father” captures the relationship shift that happens as a daughter grows up—but while the song starts off taking a slightly defiant pose (“You can’t hurt me now / I got away from you, I never thought I would”), she ended up in an empathetic place: “Oh Father, you never wanted to live that way / You never wanted to hurt me.” The lovely “Promise To Try” honors the memory of her mother, who died when she was young; her absence looms large in the song, which is wracked with regret, loneliness, and longing—as well as tough truths: “Don’t let memory play games with your mind / She’s a faded smile frozen in time.” And “Keep It Together” is an ode to family values: “’Cause blood is thicker than any other circumstance.”

These sentiments were not surprising topics of discussion—Madonna freely talked about her roots and family in interviews—but they did provide new, more nuanced musical fodder. And it had a humanizing effect: Rather than coming across as a one-dimensional character in her songs, she gave listeners glimpses underneath the superstar facade. “I didn’t try to candy-coat anything or make it more palatable for mass consumption, I guess. I wrote what I felt,” she told SongTalk in response to a question about the record’s honesty, before later clarifying, “In the past I wrote a lot of songs that [revealed my inner self], but I felt they were too honest or too frightening or too scary and I decided not to record them. It just seemed like the time was right at this point. Because this was what was coming out of me.”

This placed Madonna in the unique position of being both bulletproof and vulnerable, making her an even more intriguing pop star. She saw the writing on the wall with changing pop trends (see: Milli Vanilli creeping into 1989’s mainstream music landscape) and knew she had to evolve to stay on top. Being bold enough to delve into her parental issues was a start; starting a conversation about religion—which remains one of the most incendiary topics a musician can address—was even braver.

Like A Prayer was Madonna’s first truly substantial record, the dividing line between her chirpy club-kid days and the mature sounds and themes that increasingly marked her ’90s work. The album’s sustained run at No. 1 buoyed her self-assurance and bravery, and validated that people were willing to follow her even as she transitioned into adulthood. And even today, Like A Prayer remains provocative and progressive: The racial tension alluded to in the “Like A Prayer” video is striking, while the album’s themes of religious and sexual oppression still feel all too relevant. Madonna dictated pop’s future direction while also being firmly in control of her own fortunes.

Source : AvClub

Monday, November 3, 2014


Observe this picture of Pop queen Madonna licking the side of Nas’ face. You can almost see the exact moment when he starts realizing what that tongue has done, where it’s been and how much soap and hand sanitizer he needs to correct the matter.

But with millions of albums sold, “The Material Girl” can still provide any rapper with the proper crossover appeal—even at the ripe age of 56. She can keep those “Vogue” raps, but when it’s time for a mean 16 bars, she knows how to enlist the proper heavy hitters. Hit the jump and check out Madonna’s history of run-ins with rappers.

- The Beastie Boys can attest to Madonna’s love of Hip-Hop. She brought the legendary trio on tour for her 1985 Like A Virgin Tour.

- Madonna’s 2009 greatest hits album, Celebration, featured a Lil Wayne cameo on the track “Revolver.” That would be the first of her YMCMB collaborations for those of you keeping track at home.

- The Chicago rapper was visited by Madonna backstage last year, and his social media profile rose exponentially.

- Proving her ear for relevant Rap sounds, Madonna enlisted Nicki Minaj on the single “Give Me All Your Luvin’” from Madonna’s 2012 album MDNA. Nicki also appeared on the track “I Don’t Give A.”

- After presumably being left on the cutting room floor from Madonna’s Hard Candy sessions, “The Beat Is So Crazy” was a match made in Interscope heaven between Madonna, Eve and Pharrell Williams. After being locked in the vaults, it was liberated in August of 2014.

- Hip-Hop doesn’t really claim Vanilla Ice, and rightfully so. But the motocross racer-turned-rapper also appeared in her Sex book, and by all accounts Madonna made Vanilla Ice one of her many boy toys.

- Calling now-defunct duo LMFAO rappers is a rather loose interpretation of the word. But they supplied Madonna with a remix of “Give Me All Your Luvin’” in 2012.

- In one of those random Grammy mash-ups, Madonna joined Queen Latifah, Macklemore, Ryan Lewis and Mary Lambert for a performance of “Same Love” at the 56th annual Grammy Awards.

- Check the credits for Madonna’s 2008 Hard Candy album, and you’ll see Pharrell Williams name a lot. Williams shares writing credits for half of the album’s 12 tracks, and the Neptunes are credited as producers on six tracks as well.

- When Madonna appeared as the featured performer during the Super Bowl XLVI halftime show, she wasn’t even the most controversial performer on stage. That distinction belongs to M.I.A., whom the NFL attempted to sue for $16.6 million after she flipped her middle finger to cameras on live television.

- Big Daddy Kane was featured in an incredibly provocative, staged ménage à trois photo with Madonna and model Naomi Campbell in her 1992 book, Sex. But Kane says, contrary to popular rumors, it was only a few pictures, and he never smashed.

- Madonna has posed with pics with Kanye West and Amber Rose in the past, and she recently caught up with West again at the Keep A Child Alive’s 2014 Black Ball. West and Madge actually made music together on the song “Beat Goes On” from her 2008 album Hard Candy.

- If you still care about that Nas versus Jay Z thing, then notice that Madonna didn’t actually appear on Jay Z’s “Justify My Thug,” but she is logging time (and face licks) with Nas. Score one for Nasir Jones.

Source : HipHopWired

Friday, October 31, 2014


The producer is one of the most crucial yet anonymous figures in all of music. Every now and again we aim to illuminate these under-heralded artists with Beat Construction. Today, in a special Beat Week edition of the column, we caught up Mike Tucker, bka Blood Diamonds, the LA-based producer who’s best known for the rave-ready dance tracks he’s dreamed up with close friend and collaborator Grimes. But Blood Diamonds’ blissed-out sounds are echoing beyond his inner circle; the 24-year-old’s productions have turned up on Charli XCX and Tinashe records, he’s crafting beats for nascent rap stars Rome Fortune and Little Simz, and he’s part of the core team—that also includes Diplo, DJ Dahi and Ariel Rechtshaid—working behind the boards on Madonna’s as-yet-untitled 13th studio album.

You two are working on Madonna’s new record together, right?

Yeah, we have been working on that for the last month. It’s been a lot of fun, definitely a big project. It’s me and Dahi, Diplo, Ariel [Rechtshaid] and Jimbo. I think it’s definitely going to be a good Madonna record. There are moments when you’re like, Oh this is definitely fucking Madonna.

Are you guys aiming for something really contemporary sounding with it?

I wouldn’t say were trying to nail 2014. With most artists, Dahi and I try to approach it from a longevity standpoint. Especially if we’re pitching beats to someone its like, Is this fucking hot this month? Because this record won’t be out for another year. That can be stressful, but the bottom line is like making room for the song, because the song is really what stands the test of time. I feel like right now a lot of pressure to get that single, and get that dance tune. That’s probably the coolest thing about Madonna. She has been doing so many records for so long, it’s kind of irrelevant to try to fit into the now.

Source : TheFader

Madonna Looking Stunning at the Black Ball 2014 Photos.


Halloween came early for the Material Girl last night when she wore a bustier number best described as Gothic milkmaid – albeit teamed with those lace gloves and crucifix of Like a Virgin days.

But it’s the boots we care about here at Fashion Finder. In another instance of a celebrity dressing straight off the Spring/Summer 2015 catwalk in clobber that lesser mortals will have to wait til the spring to bag.

Yes. These Givenchy over-the-knee boots actually feature in the house’s S/S15 collection so actually we’re not surprised it’s feeling like a good idea to wear them now.

Even her accessories were a clear nod to her Desperately Seeking Susan character in the 1985 cult flick who clothes herself in various designs picked up at second hand stores.
Black leather lace-up booties by Givenchy and black lace mitts were a dressy touch, and a heavy crucifix pendant adorned her throat.

Madonna’s magical attire mirrored the one she wore to the 1985 American Music Awards.

Earlier in the day, the Express Yourself megastar shared an instagram where three assistants helped to lace up her boots, while the singing siren herself lay on the floor in all her dark finery.
‘These Givenchy boots tho…………#unapologeticb****,’ Madonna captioned the snap.
Once at the charity fundraiser, Madonna continued to look and act far younger than her years as she rubbed elbows with other stars appearing for a good cause.

Source : DailyMail