Madonna news - Sep. 2004
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30 September - Now Madge courts fans *rumour*
Great news for Madonna fans. We hear the superstar is planning
three more dates at London's Earls Court.
Sources say the 46-year-old singer, who makes around £1million
per concert, was so pleased with the response from fans when she
performed there last month she wants to play there again.
An insider tells us: "It's still in the planning stages,
but Madonna can't wait to go back to Earl's Court. She's hoping
the shows will take place next month, we're just waiting to get
Let's just hope the tickets are less expensive this time around.
~ Now, as much as I would want this to be true, I feel I must
warn all of you who are already getting their hopes up: this story
is 99% likely to be untrue. Madonna is someone who always plans
in advance. She's not someone who finishes a tour in style, then
goes off to Israel on a religious holiday, and then comes back
to do encore-shows in a city where she's already given 6 concerts
earlier this summer. The contract of the dancers expired September
15th and to get the show rolling again administratively and technically
is way too expensive and way too much trouble. But... you never
know; we can always hope :-) -Bartie
30 September - Madonna's university challenge
There are a few challenges left for Madonna - and a university
degree is one of them.
Having pretty much conquered the world of pop, Madge is now set
to read Literature at Oxford University.
The Material Girl is to further her knowledge of British literary
greats such as Shakespeare, Thomas Hardy and Jane Austen by studying
for a Bachelor of Arts qualification.
But undergraduates should not get too excited about sharing halls
of residence with her — she will be doing the course from
A source said: “Madonna was always frustrated about having
to sacrifice her education when her music career took off.
"She is fiercely intelligent and incredibly well read and
has always taken a keen interest in literature. She is determined
to get a qualification.
"She sets herself new challenges all the time and the Oxford
University course is her latest.
"It’s an illustrious place to study and she was delighted
to be accepted and will make the most of the opportunity."
Madonna is a dab hand on the computer and researched courses where
she could study from home and submit her assignments online —
from anywhere in the world. And distance learning at Oxford means
Its Faculty of English is the largest in the UK with about 100
professors and lecturers.
Madge was 19 and learning dance after finishing school in Michigan
when her pop career took off.
Since then the Queen of Pop has longed to get her education back
10 songs Madge could sing at uni:
1. Don’t Cry For Me Academia
2. Papa Don’t Teach
3. Die Another Degree
4. M.A.terial Girl
5. Borderline First
6. True Oxford Blue
7. La Isla B.A.nita
8. Crazy For Uni
9. Love Prof-usion
10. (Bloody Long) Holiday
29 September - Eminem is mocking Madonna
The controversial rapper dresses up in drag for footage he’ll
likely use in an upcoming video, appearing as the Material Girl
as she looked during her Blonde Ambition Tour, a source tells
In the scene, Slim Shady wears full make-up, a long ponytail,
and conical bra. He reportedly wants to use the footage in his
video, “Just Lose It.”
“Eminem is really getting into sex and gender issues,”
says the insider, who points out that the rapper recently also
shot scenes for a video while buck naked — except for shoes
and socks and a sock covering his private parts. It’s not
certain that either the Madonna or the nude scenes will be used,
says a source close to Eminem.
His spokesman had no comment. (source: MSNBC
~ We'll have to wait for the actual video to see if he's "mocking"
her. If so, that would be rather stupid and ingrateful of him,
after all the things Madonna said in his defense. But either way,
it's sad to try and revive a career mocking other and bigger artists
or imitating a look of 14 years ago.
29 September - Madge offers newlywed Britney UK honeymoon
Britney Spears and new husband Kevin Federline are coming to the
UK for their honeymoon after being invited by pop queen Madonna.
Madge called the newlyweds to send her congratulations - and then
offered to put the pair up in her sprawling country estate in
The pop stars have had a special relationship since working together.
Madonna sent the happy couple a Kabbalah text as an engagement
present, and Britney has kept it with her ever since.
Britney also sang a medley of Madonna songs, alongside the Queen
of Pop herself and Christina Aguilera, at the MTV Music Video
Awards in August last year.
The performance ensured massive publicity for all three women
after they engaged in a fake lesbian kiss.
Britney's on-stage "lesbian" kiss - which was one of
the showbiz fads of the year - drew the wrath of R&B superstar
Beyonce, a devout Christian, said she had permission from God
to wear sexy clothes and strip on stage - but not to have a girl-on-girl
snog. (source: Sky
27 September - More on possible new single *rumour*
Earlier this month
we reported a rumour about
a possible new single. Fellow fansite DrownedMadonna adds more fuel:
"DrownedMadonna can reveal that during some European rehearsals
for the Tour, Madonna rehearsed a new song but she never actually
put it in the show. Her management wanted her to do it for the
DVD taping but Madonna didn't want to waste it in the RIT DVD.
The song is an electro-pop ballad. As for now it's due in 2005.
The song has been already recorded, and even if it is due in 2005,
at this stage it's too early to state that it will be THE new
single, although insiders say that Madonna is strongly determined
to have a Number 1 single again. Apparently the song was written
by Madonna and Patrick Leonard, produced by Guy Sigsworth and
mixed by Stuart Price."
~ Naturally, this is all unconfirmed so far, but we keep you informed
- as usual. :)
26 September - More on 'The Adventures of Abdi'
On November 8th, Madonna will release her 4th childrens book 'The
Adventures of Abdi'. After the success of 'The English Roses'
(Sept. 2003), 'Mr. Peabody's Apples' (Nov. 2003) and 'Yakov and
the 7 Thieves' (June 2004), Madonna is once again combining entertainment
and morality in this Kabbalah-inspired story. Amazon
has posted a different book cover than the one we posted in February
Here's what they write about the storyline:
"Long, long ago, in a land far, far away, a little boy named
Abdi was given a very big task -- to deliver the most precious
necklace in the world to the queen.
Come along with Abdi on his fantastic journey into a magical world
of ruthless rogues, savage snakes, and deadly dungeons, where
he remembers the wise words of his mentor: "Everything we
have been given in life is always for the best"."
'The Adventures of Abdi' at Amazon
According to Amazon, the release of the fifth and final book,
titled 'Lotsa de Casha', has been postponed to June 2005.
23 September - Madonna is one of UK's 'best-planned business
Manchester United, Lego, easyJet and pop queen Madonna have been
named as the four best-planned business organisations in the UK.
A new book, Business Plans for Dummies, by Colin Barrow from the
Cranfield School of Management, says the 40-something "Material
Girl" is a model to other businesses.
Mr Barrow says the way she has expanded, planned, managed her
image and kept her customers - the fans - satisfied is particularly
"She manages her own career, chairs her own group of companies
and charts her own path based on an uncanny instinct for knowing
what the public wants and what it will tolerate."
Manchester United, which is reporting its full-year results on
Monday, is praised for "developing an organisational culture
based on winning everything it does".
Mr Barrow says this culture is now so embedded at Old Trafford
that winning is "simply expected". (source: Manchester
23 September - Parliament forbids the entry of Madonna into
Egyptian Parliament members have submitted an order to Government
demanding that American singer Madonna be prohibited from entering
Egyptian soil. Parliament members also included a number of other
international singers on their list of people forbidden from entering
Egypt and called on all their embassies abroad to not grant any
of them visas into Egypt or be allowed to shoot any of their music
videos on Egyptian soil.
The demand came after Madonna announced that she will celebrate
the Jewish New Years in Israel and that she had converted to Judaism.
On a similar note Arab Parliament member, Ahmad Al Taibi, in the
Israeli Knesset turned down an invitation from Madonna to an event
she held after she showed inconsideration for the sufferings of
Palestinians, especially children, under the occupation of Israeli
Ahmad had stressed that he wished the singer would try and learn
from other international stars like Richard Gear and Julie Christie
who came to the occupied lands and showed their support for the
suffering of Palestinians.
Madonna had announced that she has changed her name, which has
become a marker throughout her career, and now demands to be called
by her new Jewish name Esther. The singer who has adopted the
Jewish sector "Kabbalah", revealed that she has become
so affected by her religion that she felt she must change her
name to go with her belief. The well known Material Girl was named
after her mother who died when the singer was young and said she
wanted to be attached to the "energy" of a new name.
During an interview in the United States, the Catholic born singer
said that since following the teachings of the Jewish mystical
faith Kabbalah - whose principles she said were very "punk
rock" and anti-establishment - Madonna has learned to follow
Adopted by gurus of popular culture, the Kabbalah, an ancient
Hebrew mystical system of thought, embodies the mystical side
of Judaism and teaches one to embrace small sparks of daily experiences
and the seemingly insignificant moments of life.
Madonna stressed that she will not answer to her old name and
will only accept being Called Esther from now on. One of the key
changes to date has been her name, "I was named after my
mother. My mother died when she was very young, of cancer, and
I wanted to attach myself to another name. (source: Albawaba.com
~ Just thought I'd comment: while on tour, Madonna has joked herself
about the press articles claiming she completely *changed* her
name to Esther. She just considers it as an extra name, like she
once chose Veronica as her Christian name. The press has - once
again - just blown this all out of proportion. Bartie -x-
23 September - Sex bondage outfit up for auction
Christies auction house pop department employee Katherine Williams
puts finishing touches on a display of a black leather bondage
costume worn by Madonna for her 1992 book 'Sex' in their central
London auction rooms Wednesday Sept 22, 2004. The outfit is expected
to fetch between $7,200 and $11,000) in the auction to be held
Wednesday Sept. 29, 2004. (source: AP Photo/Adam Butler)
Comprised of a backless bra and thong connected with a network
of straps, the naughty ensemble is signed by the pop star –
along with an affectionate XOXOX – in a not-so-discreet
spot. (source: Hello
23 September - Madonna: 'I've not been tamed'
Pop superstar Madonna is adamant marriage and motherhood haven't
Now 46, married to director Guy Ritchie and with a daughter, Lourdes
and son Rocco , the Material Girl has been performing for 20 years.
She has also found god, in the form of her interest in the Kabbalah,
a mystic branch of Judaism - but the singer insists she hasn't
lost her edge.
Madonna tells Pagesic.com, "I am happier now than I've ever
been in my life. I have two beautiful children and a brilliant,
gorgeous husband. I have my work and I have my faith. None of
that means I've lost my sense of humour or my sense of fun. If
that's boring to some people, I can't tell you how much I don't
care." (source: ContactMusic
23 September - New tour goodies
We've added some new avatars and wallpapers inspired by the re-Invention
tour. Check them out in our Mad-Goodies
section! We also updated the tour
with more details and pictures. Enjoy!
23 September - Worldwide re-Invention tour grosses
Billboard has reported the official numbers and figures for the
re-Invention tour, which confirm that the tour was indeed sold
out. Only for Slane Castle Madonna sold "only" 62.000
tickets out of the available 70.000. For the 56 shows there were
almost 900.000 tickets sold, grossing almost $ 125 million! Naturally,
this was the top grossing tour of 2004.
1. Inglewood, Calif.: $6,965,055 - 3 shows - 43,158 attendance
2. Las Vegas, Nev.: $7,005,548 - 2 shows - 28,341 attendance
3. Anaheim, Calif.: $4,164,450 - 2 shows - 24,250 attendance
4. San Jose, Calif.: $5,543,715 - 3 shows - 40,205 attendance
5. Washington, D.C.: $3,486,684 - 2 shows - 26,788 attendance
6. New York, New York: $12,674,925 - 6 shows - 88,625 attendance
7. Boston/Worcester, Mass.: $6,439,890 - 4 shows - 46,075 attendance
8. Philadelphia, Pa.: $4,134,478 - 2 shows - 30,575 attendance
9. East Rutherford, N.J.: $4,437,345 - 2 shows - 29,315 attendance
10. Chicago, Ill.: $7,894,105 - 4 shows - 59,591 attendance
11. Toronto: $5,322,703 - 3 shows - 52,167 attendance
12. Atlanta: $3,450,874 - 2 shows - 25,627 attendance
13. Fort Lauderdale/Sunrise, Fla.: $3,834,522 - 2 shows - 28,208
14. Miami, Fla.: $4,145,760 - 2 shows - 30,580 attendance
Totals for North American leg: 39 shows reported to Billboard
- $79,500,054 - 553,505 tickets
1. Manchester, England: $5,136,114 - 2 shows - 27,320 attendance
2. London, England: $6,356,207 - 2 shows - 34,087 attendance
3. London, England: $9,809,717 - 4 shows - 45,267 attendance
4. Meath, Ireland: $6,575,339 - 1 show - 62,275 (only non-sellout
5. Paris, France: $7.357,529 - 4 shows - 68,000 attendance
6. Arnhem, Nethlerlands: $6,759,661 - 2 shows - 73,300 attendance
7. Lisbon, Portugal: $3,286,166 - 2 shows - 33,460 attendance
Totals for European leg: 17 shows reported to Billboard - $45,280,733
- 343,709 tickets
WORLDWIDE TOTAL: $ 124,780,078 - 56 dates - 897,214 tickets
(source: Billboard; thanks to Jim Radenhaus from MIR)
20 September - In Israel, Madonna finds little solitude
Madonna wanted to see Israel, and Israelis yearned to see Madonna.
But in the end, each side managed only a glimpse of the other.
Madonna came to Israel with some 2,000 fellow followers of cabala,
a form of Jewish mysticism, and spent most of her five days here
holed up in the luxury David Inter-Continental Hotel, across the
street from the Tel Aviv beachfront.
Her planned tour of Jewish holy sites was curtailed, most notably
in the early hours of Sunday, when her heavily guarded convoy
pulled into the stone plaza near the Western Wall in Jerusalem
around 1:30 a.m.
Despite the hour, a large gathering of Jewish worshipers were
taking part in prayers linked to the Jewish New Year, which fell
last week. In addition, several dozen photographers were prowling
the grounds. Madonna looked out the darkened windows of her van
for several minutes as the crowd gathered around. The van then
drove off without Madonna's ever opening the door.
Secular Israelis have been starved for big-name international
acts in recent years and were ready to embrace Madonna, who sang
here in 1993.
But she came to pray, not to perform. She and her husband, the
British filmmaker Guy Ritchie, took part in cabala sessions in
the hotel's conference room, which was converted into a synagogue,
with segregated men's and women's sections.
Madonna's only formal public appearance came Sunday night, when
the Los Angeles-based Kabbalah Center, which organized the trip,
staged a children's program at the hotel that featured Jewish
and Arab youths and drew more than 1,000 guests, including Israeli
"I was a bit hesitant to come here after seeing so many news
reports about terrorist attacks," said Madonna, wearing a
low-cut dress with a black and white leopard print. "I realize
now that it is no more dangerous to be here than it is to be in
Madonna has been exploring cabala since 1997 and now dresses and
often performs with symbols of Judaism and cabala. She sometimes
wears a Jewish star and often has a red thread on her wrist, a
cabala trademark intended to ward off the evil eye.
When she visited a Tel Aviv restaurant, she wore a glittery necklace
with a large letter E, apparently a reference to her recent adaptation
of the biblical Jewish name Esther.
But Madonna said she was not representing a religion. "I'm
here as a student of cabala,'' she said. "A cabalist sees
the world as a unified whole. A cabalist asks why. A cabalist
believes that he or she has the responsibility to make the world
a better place."
The Israeli government seized on the singer's visit for tourism
promotion, and Tourism Minister Gideon Ezra presented her with
a Byzantine-era oil lamp and a coin on Sunday. Earlier he had
suggested that it would be helpful if Madonna would pose for a
picture with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, though there was no
sign that this materialized.
Madonna arrived in Israel on Wednesday night, at the beginning
of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and organizers had announced
planned visits to several religious shrines. But whenever she
tried to venture out, she found herself surrounded.
After the Friday night dinner in Tel Aviv, two of her bodyguards
were arrested after scuffling with and injuring two photographers.
Just after midnight Saturday, she made a pilgrimage to the Jerusalem
grave site of the cabalist sage Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag.
Madonna and her husband, with police and photographers in tow,
spent more than an hour inside the stone mausoleum. She prayed,
chanted and placed candles on the tomb, and shortly before leaving
wiped tears from her eyes.
Afterward, she made her abbreviated trip to the Western Wall,
the holiest site for Jewish prayer. Other planned visits, including
a trip to the tomb of the biblical matriarch Rachel, which is
in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem in the West Bank, never took
While Madonna has studied cabala for seven years, there are still
plenty of skeptics questioning her commitment to a form of study
traditionally reserved for men over 40 who have mastered the Torah
and the Talmud.
"It is forbidden to teach a non-Jew cabala," Yitzhak
Kadouri, a leading cabalist, recently told the Israeli newspaper
But the Kabbalah Center says the cabala is open to all. (source:
20 September - Madonna speeches for peace
Madonna was the center of attention at Sunday night's Spirituality
For Kids (SFK) in Israel foundation gala dinner, held at the David
Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv.
The guest of honor, however, tried to move the focus to the Kabbalah
Center-sponsored foundation. Madonna was toasted by everyone from
Karen and Michael Berg, leaders of the US Kabbalah Center, via
a recorded message, to her guru, Eitan Yardeni, to the night's
host, TV personality Dan Shilon. After a standing ovation, Madonna
took the microphone and presented a prepared speech promoting
"We're teaching children about the laws of cause and effect.
We're teaching them that for every action there's a reaction.
We're teaching them the concept of responsibility," read
the singer, who is the mother of two. "We teach children
what we're trying to learn as adults. The difference is children
are more open, they are more alive, they are more pure, and they
do not see the world in a fragmented way. They are closer to God."
She went on: "When a child sees another child they just want
to play. They're not thinking, 'Oh, he's Muslim' or 'she's a Jew.'
They do not judge one another by the color of their skin or the
style of their headdress. It's adults that put these ideas into
Madonna also made reference to the Kabbalah Center's holiday conference,
noting that despite the media attention she has garnered here,
she is really just like everyone else. "I am not here representing
a religion or any religious group. I'm here as a student of Kabbala,"
said the superstar. Tourism Minister Gideon Ezra told The Jerusalem
Post that he read that the Kabbalah Center has 22 million supporters.
"That's more Jews than there are in the world. If all these
people are sympathizing with Israel and the Jews then I am happy."
Her fellow enthusiasts say her star status hasn't detracted from
the spirituality of the holiday get-together. The singer famous
for her overtly sexual and controversial antics is described by
fellow Kabbalah students as "modest" and "a serious
student." "Everyone's the same here, Madonna hasn't
been a distraction," said Mezada Petilon of the Manhattan
"Madonna's real. She is into the stuff like the rest of us,"
said Don Ellis, a Christian from Texas who got hooked on Kabbalah two years ago after hearing the CD Power of Kabbala. "She
just has a bigger name than the rest of us."
While the Kabbalah Center gathering was promoted as spiritual,
there was also a commercial aspect. At booths set up in the lobby,
Kabbala-inspired goods such as backpacks, jewelry, stuffed dolls,
and children's clothing all emblazoned with one of the 72 names
of God were on sale. They were even tequila shot glasses (NIS
125 each) with one of God's names on them. "We want to have
more things relating to Kabbala. They help us with our transformation,
with developing a change from within," said Rachel Roded,
of the LA center.
"You wouldn't understand, it's hard to explain to you,"
Ellis said of the wide variety of goods on sale. The fact that
the Catholic-bred Madonna is the symbol of the Kabbalah Center
hasn't seem to bother anyone either. "I think it's inspiring
that people of all religions are here because that's what will
bring peace," said 28-year-old Petilon. As for the pop icon
herself, she said, "In the past four days, I have met people
from all over the world... held hands, sung, danced, and prayed
with Sufis, Christians, Jews, and Muslims. We all have one thing
in common. We want to create peace in the world. We want to put
an end to chaos and suffering but most of all we want to put an
end to hatred for no reason. That is why I am here."
Singers Ahinoam Nini and Amal Murkus, a Palestinian, performed
John Lennon's song Imagine - the song Madonna ended each of her
concerts with during her latest "Reinvention" tour.
Tickets to the gala were much sought after and many journalists
and fans waited outside the door. Among the guests who did get
in were many local TV, theater, and movie stars who came to see
their idol. Madonna told Sunday night's crowd - who payed $500
per person to attend the gala - that she was hesitant to come
to Israel but is happy she did. "I'd like to say how happy
I am to be back in Israel. I promise not to stay away for another
10 years," said the singer, who was last in town for a 1993
"To be perfectly honest, I was a bit hesitant to come here
after seeing so many news reports about terrorist attacks and
reading travel warnings about how dangerous it is for Americans
here. I realize now it's no more dangerous to be here than in
New York. I feel very safe and welcome. The most dangerous thing
I've encountered here are the very naughty paparazzi waiting outside
Said Ezra: "It's very important to Israel when a personality
like Madonna comes here. I hope other people will follow her example
and come too." (source: Jerusalem
; picture courtesy of AP)
20 September - Madonna visits Western Wall in the middle of
Pop star Madonna is so desperate to avoid being mobbed by photographers
during her spiritual quest to Israel, she visited Judaism's sacred
Western Wall in the middle of the night.
The Material Girl -- who has joined 2,000 fellow followers of
the Kabbalah to celebrate the start of the Jewish New Year --
was driven to the historical site early Sunday morning, after
making a midnight pilgrimage to a Jerusalem cemetery.
But Madonna remained inside her car when they arrived at the Western
Wall, where the biblical temples once stood, and admired the spectacle
from afar -- much to the disappointment of many visitors.
"Why did she not come out of the car? We were waiting for
her," said Hadass Chen, who made the trip to see the singer.
"You don't feel the vibe if you don't touch the wall."
The singer -- who is an avid follower of the mystical Jewish offshoot
-- paid homage to Kabbalist sage Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag with her
film director husband Guy Ritchie at the Kiryat Shaul cemetery,
and held a ceremony at his grave, before heading off to the Western
Wall. (source: SouthFlorida
20 September - Nothing phony about Madonna's spiritual journey
Leave Madonna alone.
You didn't like her when she was emphasizing materialism.
You called her a hedonist.
You didn't like her when she was flaunting her sexuality.
You called her a slut.
You didn't like it when she became a disciplined practitioner
You called her a poseur.
And now that she's found what, to me at least, appears to be a
serious spiritual discipline that seems to have transformed her
into a more serious, modest and generous mother, wife and entrepreneur,
you call her an opportunist.
You say she's faking it.
Will Madonna forever be damned by the sins of her past, incapable
of genuine transformation and beyond redemption?
It's as if her interest in Kabbalah, the esoteric Jewish mystical
tradition that teaches, among many things, that humans can overcome
death and illness by the way they behave and think, somehow detracts
from or sullies the tradition itself. As if a single person could
diminish such ancient, enduring wisdom.
Even if Madonna's approach to Kabbalah is more neo-mystical than
traditional, how is that a bad thing for anyone besides, perhaps,
herself? And who, exactly, is she hurting by wearing a piece of
red string around her wrist and spending time studying spiritual
Grew up Roman Catholic
This week, Madonna and her family have traveled to Israel during
the Jewish High Holy Days to attend the Los Angeles-based Kabbalah
Center's International Congress with 2,000 other Kabbalah enthusiasts.
She arrived Wednesday, on the eve of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish
It's a visit that has been almost universally mocked by the media
and has managed to unite some of Israel's Jewish, Muslim and Christian
leaders in their condemnation of the pop star's presence in their
troubled land. Because they don't have enough to worry about already.
The Kabbalah is considered an extremely serious -- some even say
dangerous -- discipline. Historically, women were forbidden to
study it, and men had to be at least 40 years old and married
with children to begin their Kabbalistic practice. There are even
tales of students who went insane studying its main text, the
Zohar, which first appeared written in Aramaic in 14th-century
Reportedly, Madonna and others who traveled to Israel for the
Kabbalah Center's congress plan to visit Jerusalem's Western Wall;
the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai who is believed to be the
author of the Zohar; and the tomb of the Matriarch Rachel. Before
it is cut into individual pieces, the red string she and other
Kabbalah practitioners wear around their wrists is wound around
Rachel's tomb. The red bracelet is supposed to ward off stink
eye, or envious stares.
Most traditional Kabbalists in Israel and elsewhere insist that
Kabbalah is not supposed to be taught to non-Jews. So some would
say Madonna really has no business studying Kabbalah in the first
She was reared Roman Catholic. I haven't heard her give her spirituality
a particular religious label lately, so I don't know if she still
considers herself a Christian. But I haven't heard her say she's
converted to Judaism, either.
Perhaps it would have been more acceptable if she had embraced
Christian mysticism, or traditional Catholicism, instead of Kabbalah.
But somehow I think she would be condemned no matter what path
Such is the curse of celebrity.
Madonna has been criticized for allegedly making herself out to
be an ersatz poster child for Kabbalah. But I have not read or
heard her say that she is any kind of Kabbalah expert. Instead,
she presents herself as an enthusiastic student who is, at worst,
evangelical about sharing lessons that have been helpful to her
"My Kabbalah teacher, one of them, used to say to me, 'When
in doubt, act like God.' And then you think, well, what does that
mean? You know, it's like -- describe God. God would be compassionate.
Unconditional. All-giving. All-loving. So, when in doubt, behave
that way. You'll never go wrong," Madonna told Cynthia McFadden
of ABC News in a television interview that aired in June.
"I'm getting better. I mean, I'm a very judgmental person.
I mean, I always have been. And, you know, I see people, I put
labels on them, I put them in boxes. They behave badly and I immediately
want to say they're a jerk. But in Kabbalah, you learn that, you
know, you never know, you never know about people," the 46-year-old
What, exactly, is controversial or scandalous about a statement
like that? She sounds to me like someone who is trying to clean
up her act, an example that all of us would benefit from following,
whether we buy into Kabbalah -- her version or someone else's
-- as a spiritual path or not.
As for the oft-reported bit about her changing her name to Esther,
she explains it this way: "Well, let's say -- I don't go
by the name of Esther. But, yes, that is my Hebrew name. Yep."
I can understand this. When I studied French in college, my French
name was Chantal. Cathleen sounded funny when pronounced in French.
I didn't change my name, I just used a different name that made
more sense while I was studying.
Madonna told McFadden that she chose the name Esther herself,
and explained why. "I was named after my mother. My mother
died when she was very young, of cancer," the singer said.
"In the metaphysical world, I wanted to attach myself to
another name. So -- and this is in no way a negation of who my
mother is. So, I read about all the women in the Old Testament.
And I loved the story of Queen Esther. She saved the Jews from
If Madonna is guilty of anything, it may be Jewish envy. And I
can understand that, being a fan of Judaism myself.
Out to make the world better
I'm not Jewish, but as I sat through my first Rosh Hashana service
Wednesday night, I was transported and inspired by the spiritual
beauty unfolding before me in the liturgy and Scripture.
I don't know from Hebrew, but as the congregation lifted their
voices to sing Hash-kiveynu Adonia, Eloheynu l'shalom ... the
words of an evening prayer, I found myself attempting to join
them. There's something implicitly edifying about singing praises
to God, of being part of a tradition -- even for a moment, even
if it's not your own -- with such estimable, ancient roots.
Madonna seems to be attracted to the same thing.
After years of what she admits was a self-centered existence,
she says she wants to learn, to make herself more godly and the
world around her a little bit better.
Would that we were all guilty of that.
19 September - Ultra-Orthodox prevent Madonna from visiting
Since landing in Israel to attend a Kabalah conference, mega-star
singer Madonna has managed to stir quite a bit of commotion. Last
night, hundreds of ultra-Orhotox Jews prevented her from visiting
the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
While approaching the area, her convoy was surrounded by hundreds
of Orthodox men who chanted "Shabbis" (Sabbath in Yiddish).
Police did not take any chances and refused to allow her passage.
Thousands of religious Jews pray at the Wall every night ahead
of Yom Kippur (day of fasting to repent sins).
Madonna’s private Boeing 737-800 arrived in Israel on the
eve of Rosh Hashana (Jewish new year). She was then escorted to
the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv.
The majority of her visit is defined as private, but tonight she
is expected to take part and perhaps even deliver an address before
an official event of the “Children’s Spirituality
Fund”, which is to take place at her hotel.
Over 2,400 people, including Madonna and her husband Guy Ritchie,
attended Sabbath prayers. She was also present during Torah reading,
the blowing of the Shofar and her spiritual mentor’s lecture.
On Friday, the conference’s participants performed the ritual
of Tashlich, but Madonna or Esther (her Kabalah name) did not
take part. However, her husband, Ritchie, joined the worshipers.
According to the organizers of the event, Madonna’s presence
isn’t causing a great deal of commotion as expected. Fellow
conference participants are acting as usual while organizers insisted
there have not been any special problems.
However, during a visit to a Tel Aviv restaurant, a brawl erupted
between Madonna’s bodyguards and several paparazzi photographers
who tried to get close. As a result, several photographers sustained
light injuries and were evacuated to a Tel Aviv hospital for further
treatment. (source: Maariv
; picture courtesy of AFP)
19 September - Madonna: Israel is as safe as New York
Pop-star Madonna said Sunday she found Israel just as dangerous
as New York.
Madonna arrived Wednesday night to celebrate the Jewish New Year
and study Kabala (Jewish mysticism) in a hotel opposite the Dofinarium,
site of one of the worst intifada attacks.
Speaking at a gala event Sunday evening Madonna attributed her
hesitation to come to Israel to "so many news reports about
terror attacks" and State Department travel warnings.
"I realize now that it is no more dangerous to be here than
it is to be in New York," she said.
Madonna benefited from special security precautions: bodyguards
surrounded her and clashed with photographers, the hotel was closed
to people who were not its guests, and a police motorcade accompanied
Her complaint was about the paparazzi whom she claimed were "naughty."
At Sunday's gala event, an Israeli children's choir and a Palestinian
sang to more than 1,000 people and Tourism Minister Gideon Ezra
praised Madonna for having come to Israel.
The Tourism Ministry was hoping her visit would boost Israel's
image as a tourist destination. (source: Washington
; picture courtesy of Reuters)
19 September - Madonna fends off fans and protesters to finish
Madonna, the Catholic pop diva turned Jewish mystic, ended a five-day
retreat last night with 2,000 fellow searchers in the comfort
of a five-star Tel-Aviv hotel. She was flying home to London with
her film-director husband, Guy Ritchie, in their private jet.
In one of her few forays outside the seafront David Intercontinental,
Madonna made a midnight pilgrimage at the close of the Jewish
New Year on Saturday to the tomb of Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag. The Polish-born
sage, author of Sulam, a commentary on the Zohar, the kabbalistic
"Book of Splendour," died in 1954.
Madonna, sporting a diamond-encrusted letter E for Esther, her
new name, meditated inside the limestone mausoleum for more than
an hour, circling the grave, praying, chanting and lighting candles.
The singer, her wrist draped in a red cord against the evil eye,
wiped tears from her eyes.
From the Givat Shaul cemetery at the entrance to Jerusalem, Madonna
drove to the Western Wall. By arriving late at night, she had
hoped to avoid publicity, but the paparazzi were waiting - and
refused to be shooed away with an imperious wave. Madonna fretted
inside her armour-plated limousine on the edge of the plaza, then
drove off under heavy security. Bodyguards kept the photographers
at bay, but there was no repeat of a brawl on Friday night when
they came to blows and had to be separated by police.
Contrary to advance reports, she did not visit Rachel's Tomb,
where barren women pray for fertility, on the outskirts of the
besieged West Bank city of Bethlehem.
Pro-Palestinian protesters had planned to greet her with "Don't
Cry for Me, Palestina". They mingled instead with fans gathered
outside the David for last night's gala finale of the five-day
Awe-struck local media reported that their royal suite boasted
a specially built yoga room, its own coffee machine, crates of
holy mineral water and a chef. At the opening ceremony on Wednesday
night, Ritchie was said to have danced while embracing a Torah
"I am very enthusiastic about Israel," Madonna told
one of the local participants at last night's gala. "I thought
that everyone here would be extreme and fighting. I love the country
and the great spirituality it has." Not a word to the Palestinians.
; picture courtesy of AP)
19 September - Paparazzi Madonna's only fear
US pop diva Madonna today said paparazzi and not Palestinian suicide
bombers had been her only fear during a four-day visit to Israel.
"I would like to emphasise that I felt very safe and very
welcome," she said at a gala reception in Tel Aviv following
her much publicised spiritual retreat. "The most dangerous
thing that I encountered were very naughty paparazzi in front
of my hotel," she said, alluding to yet another bust-up between
her bodyguards and press photographers. The weekend incident outside
Madonna's hotel on Tel Aviv's Mediterranean seafront led to two
of her bodyguards being arrested and two photographers being taken
to hospital. The Material Girl, a keen aficionado of the ancient
Jewish mystical tradition known as Kabbalah, arrived in Israel
last week for a three-day retreat, which began with a traditional
blessing ceremony to welcome in the Jewish new year. Madonna turned
to Kabbalah in 1997 after coming into contact with the Los Angeles-based
Kabbalah Centre which, according to its website, offers a path
to spiritual enlightenment through an eclectic mix of Orthodox
Jewish tradition, visualisation and positive thinking. Two months
ago, she took the Hebrew name Esther and is now reportedly observing
the Jewish sabbath, although she has not converted to Judaism.
; picture courtesy of Reuters)
18 September - New single? BS video and BA Tour on DVD? *rumour*
David Figueiredo from MIR reports the following rumours:
" Warner in the US is trying very hard to rush out a new
single ... my source would not say if it's Imagine
or something else ... but just said for me to be patient and that
if it does happen that I would be very happy ... ultimately the
decision to release it is Madonna's ... but Warner is trying to
push for it to go ahead.
Also, reports are that several remixers have already completed
* The full Bedtime Story
as a separate video "extra" on the DVD
* The Blond Ambition Tour
18 September - Madonna ends Re-Invention Tour on high note
Madonna wrapped her Reinvention tour [Sept. 14] with the second
of two sellouts at the Pavilhao Atlantico in Lisbon, Portugal.
The tour, destined to be the top-grossing trek of 2004, grossed
$124.5 million and played to 880,000 people, according to producers.
The tour was produced worldwide by Clear Channel Entertainment's
touring division. "Madonna's Reinvention tour was a brilliant
success on every level," Arthur Fogel, president of CCE Touring,
Madonna was particularly hot in the U.K, where she grossed $9.8
million from four sellouts at Wembley Arena in London, $6.3 million
from two sellouts at Earls Court in London and $5.1 million from
two sellouts at the Manchester Evening News in Manchester, England.
Reinvention's North American run was topped by six sellouts at
New York's Madison Square Garden that grossed $12.7 million; she
also took in $7.9 million from four sellouts at the United Center
in Chicago, $7 million from two sellouts at the MGM Grand Garden
Arena in Las Vegas, $7 million from three sellouts at the Forum
in L.A. and $6.4 million from four sellouts at the Centrum in
Worcester, Mass. (source: Ray Waddell; thanx to Jim Radenhaus
17 September - English Roses clothing & dolls features
on Today Show
Madonna fans be sure to tune in to NBC's The Today Show on Friday
September 17th! Steven Cojocaru will be unveiling Madonna's new
line of English Roses Girls Clothing, Raincoats, Tea Sets &
Tea's, and Jewelry. The English Roses line is designed by Madonna
and based off of her bestselling children's book. (source: Madonna.com
17 September - Madonna thanks fans for attending tour
Madonna's official site has been updated. Instead of the tour
picture and schedule, the homepage features a dreamy picture of
the tour book and a thank-you message from Madonna: "Madonna
thanks all of you who attended her re-invention tour and proved
once again that music makes the people come together." There's
also a quote from John Lennon's Imagine
next to the 'register to vote'-button. Let's hope our American
friends will take her advise in November... There's a link to
a nice new Re-Invention Tour section, including the setlist, the
tour schedule, merchandise, some pix, wallpapers and reviews.
Click here to
16 September - Madonna visits Israel on spiritual quest
Israel was abuzz with excitement Wednesday over the arrival of
Madonna, its biggest celebrity visitor in years.
The pop star came to the Holy Land on a spiritual quest, including
visits to the graves of revered rabbinical sages. Yet some were
perplexed by the raunchy diva's interest in the esoteric Jewish
mysticism called cabala or Kabbalah, and rabbis said she had no
business studying holy texts.
Raised a Roman Catholic, Madonna has adopted the Hebrew name Esther,
wears a red thread on her wrist to ward off the evil eye and reportedly
refuses to perform on the Jewish Sabbath. She also has incorporated
Jewish symbols into some of her music videos, much to the consternation
of religious leaders.
The organization hosting her in Israel ordered news reporters
to wear white clothes and not to take notes when covering Madonna's
appearances during the New Year's holiday, or Rosh Hashanah.
"This is entertainment, not Judaism," said Uri Orbach,
a popular talk-radio host and Orthodox Jew. "I think the
general public will celebrate this, but the religious public will
Madonna and friends flew into Tel Aviv Wednesday evening on a
private jet and drove straight to their downtown hotel in a convoy
of limousines escorted by police. They did not speak to journalists,
who were kept well away from the celebrities.
Fashion designer Donna Karan and Marla Maples, an ex-wife of Donald
Trump, were other celebrities among some 2,000 students from 22
countries, according to the Kabbalah Center, sponsor of the trip.
The Los Angeles-based center teaches Jewish mysticism as a spiritual
tool regardless of religion.
Liora Goldenberg-Stern, a culture writer at the Maariv newspaper,
said Madonna would be welcomed by Tel Aviv's rich and famous,
which has embraced cabala. "It's a social thing, very trendy,"
Madonna's picture appeared on the Maariv back page, while the
mass circulation Yediot Ahronot announced the visit on the front
Inside Yediot, a half-page spread included a photo of Madonna's
luxury hotel suite as well as the special holiday meal she would
be eating, including salmon mousse, steak and chicken in mustard
sauce and honey cake.
Madonna was not scheduled to perform during the five-day visit.
Earlier this year, she canceled three Israel concerts, citing
security concerns after Israel assassinated the leader of the
Hamas militant group.
Israeli police spokesman Gil Kleiman said more than 1,000 officers
were being deployed to protect the Kabbalah delegation, although
no special precautions were being taken for Madonna, who has a
private security detail.
On Sunday, Israeli Tourism Minister Gideon Ezra is expected to
give Madonna an ancient oil lamp and a coin from the Byzantine
period. The ministry also hopes to use images of Madonna to promote
the country abroad.
But not everyone was so welcoming.
A small group of peace activists demonstrated at Rachel's Tomb
in the West Bank -- one of the stops on Madonna's itinerary --
to draw attention to the plight of Palestinians living under Israeli
"I hope she's aware of where she is going," said Angela
Godfrey-Goldstein, one of the protesters.
The itinerary also includes stops at the Western Wall in Jerusalem;
the northern city of Safed, a center of Kabbalah; Rachel's Tomb,
the traditional burial place of the biblical matriarch; and the
grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, author of the Zohar, the core
text of Kabbalah.
Rabbi Yaakov Silber of the Merkaz Harav Jewish seminary in Jerusalem
said it was hard to imagine a rabbi would be willing to teach
He said religious study frowns upon raunchy, materialistic values
the singer has promoted in the past. "Maybe she has changed,"
he said. (source: CNN
16 September - Palestinians protest against Madonna's visit
Israel might be preparing to honour Madonna for her devotion to
Kabbalah, the cult which has its roots in Jewish scriptures, but
the pop singer's visit to the country for a five-day spiritual
fest for the Jewish New Year, which began last night, is already
marred by controversies.
According to the Telegraph, Madonna's pilgrimage has aroused anger
amongst the Palestinians ,who have accused Madonna of neglecting
their plight, as well as the Jews who find her 'religiously insensitive'.
The protestants, reports the paper are particularly enraged about
Madonna's visit to Rachel's Tomb, the Bethlehem shrine where a
security barrier is being erected for Madge's protection. This
has angered the Palestinians living in the area, who believe that
the barrier is a mere guise being used by the Israeli authorities
to capture their land and legitimise the occupation.
"Rachel's Tomb has become a symbol of our misery. What they
are doing when they come here to the tomb is endorsing the misery,"
Michel Nasser, a Palestinian leader of Bethlehem's Christian community,
was quoted by the paper as saying. (source: New
16 September - Heightened security for Madonna's Tel Aviv
Security was watertight in and around the hotel where American
star Madonna kicked off a three-day spiritual retreat cum Jewish
New Year celebration in Tel Aviv.
Hundreds of identification badge-clad Jewish followers of the
ancient mystical tradition known as Kabbalah had also gathered
at the David Intercontinental hotel to take part in the Roshashan
festivities, quite at ease with the celebrity's appearance.
"It's OK, same to me, I'm here to rejoice," said Mikhail,
a Russian man who recently immigrated to Israel.
Iris, a 35-year-old Israeli woman, said Madonna's presence attested
to "the Kabbalah's great attraction."
"One doesn't have to be a Jew to embrace Kabbalah which is
about knowledge and making the world a better place," she
Reporters could hardly get a glimpse of the once self-proclaimed
Material Girl owing to an impenetrable security cordon, but a
lucky few managed to attend part of the celebrations which started
without Madonna's attendance.
Renowned American Kabbalahists delivered recorded speeches, broadcast
on large video screens, calling for world peace and peace of the
mind and simultaneously translated in Hebrew, Spanish and Arabic
to a joyful audience.
Men and women, sitting apart in a large conference room serving
as a synagogue, applauded in unison at the end of the feed.
They went on chanting a peace song that mixed Hebrew and Arabic
and then stood up clapping and shaking their left hands up in
the air to repel evil.
"It's like imagining you're throwing away a ball of fire
which represents negative energy or evil," explained Iris.
Men donning white clothes stepped up on stage and danced rapt
and entranced with a Muslim sheikh in their midst.
Organizers from the Kabbalah Center explained that the dress code
was commanded by religious reasons, although most women at the
event -- most of them American and Latin American -- had opted
for colorful evening gowns.
Madonna is due to visit several Jewish religious sites after her
Tel Aviv retreat, including Rachel's Tomb in the southern West
Bank town of Bethlehem.
A group of Israeli pacifists urged the superstar in an open letter
Tuesday to stay clear of any controversial visits as it underscored
the need to understand the plight of the Palestinians living under
"This visit takes you to the heart of occupied territory
in Bethlehem: a closed-off prison, a ghetto, whose civilians now
have no work, no freedom, no life," said a statement by the
Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.
"Are you being used to legitimize the occupation of Palestine?
Are you being exploited, without your full awareness? Has your
wish to bring peace been co-opted by other forces?" it added.
Israel's tourism ministry has vowed to use Madonna's visit to
boost tourism. "Madonna's visit to Israel is very important
for promoting tourism to Israel ... the tourism ministry intends
to use her visit to promote Israel as a tourist destination,"
it said in a statement.
Tourism Minister Gideon Ezra is set to present Madonna with an
antique oil lamp and a coin from the Byzantine era at a ceremony
Sunday in Tel Aviv, the statement also said.
Prominent American fashion designer Donna Karan, who joined Madonna
in her Israel tour, will also receive a gift from the ministry.
Madonna turned to Kabbalah in 1997 after coming into contact with
the Los Angeles-based Kabbalah Centre which, according to its
website, offers a path to spiritual enlightenment through an eclectic
mix of Orthodox Jewish tradition, visualization and positive thinking.
Two months ago, she took the Hebrew name Esther and is now reportedly
observing the Jewish Sabbath. (source: AFP
16 September - Re-Invention picture galleries
A few days ago we presented our picture
gallery for the re-Invention show in Paris Bercy
. We have
now added two galleries for the first show in Arnhem
Holland. Our personal photographer Marcin had a great general
view from his 1st category seats that night and took a bunch of
great pictures, some close-ups and some overviews. People that
were lucky enough to be in the pits that night, might be able
to spot themselves! Click here for gallery
I (from The Beast Within till Lament)
II (from Bedtime Story till Holiday)
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