Madonna news - Aug. 2006

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15 August - Confessions Tour might become top-grossing ever for female artist
OK, I confess: I wasn't always the biggest Madonna fan. While her pop culture influence is undeniable, her ability to reinvent herself remarkable and her boxoffice feats easily quantifiable, I have always considered her not a musical lightweight, but as something perhaps less than the rock titans of her era.
No more. All respect to the mighty M.

Madonna is on what will likely be the top-grossing tour ever for a female artist. The Confessions tour, which just wrapped in North America, is putting up heavy-duty numbers. The 34 shows on the North American leg drew 467,312 people and grossed $85.8 million. The tour has moved on to Europe and then heads to Japan.

The tipping point for me regarding Madonna's musical viability was in attending the last of six sellouts at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Big Apple is Madonna's kind of town, obviously, and she laid it all down with a performance that was equal parts Broadway, discotheque and rock'n'roll.

This is an athletic, kinetic, enormously energetic show, with inspired choreography, an ambitious stage design and highly creative use of video. The tour travels on 27 trucks, in the league of a Rolling Stones stadium tour, and the convoy's load mostly goes into the production.

If the music is sometimes not so memorable, the delivery is always riveting, and Madonna herself leads a vigorous dance team that expends an impressive amount of effort. This thing rocks, ebbs, flows and erupts, a truly compelling concert experience. And Madonna is a seriously charismatic presence onstage, from the time she emerges from her giant glitter ball well past when she hangs on her disco cross and rides her leather carousel pony.

"She works incredibly hard and expects everyone around her to work hard as well," tour producer Arthur Fogel mused before the Garden show in the 'Arthur Fogel' wing of the venue, where he has presented 14 shows in the last year between U2 and Madonna. "I admire and respect her drive for excellence."

Madonna began her European tour July 30 in Cardiff, Wales, and will play the region until Sept. 11 at Vorobievy Gory in Moscow. Then it's off to Japan toward a gross that could make $200 million - and history. (source: Monsters and Critics)

14 August - Update tour diary
Check the tour diary for an update on the London shows.
If you've seen one of the recent shows, send us your report and add some nice details.

13 August - Madonna abandons movie career
Madonna has begrudgingly turned her back on her movie career, because she is convinced the media is hell bent on ensuring her film projects are flops. The singer was lauded for her performance in the big screen adaptation of the musical Evita, but she has suffered a string of flops, most notably Body Of Evidence and Swept Away , her last movie role directed by husband Guy Ritchie, which failed to secure a cinema release. And the 47-year-old, who is currently in the midst of her Confessions world tour, will concentrate solely on her music career from now on. She says, "I hate to admit it, but I've decided to give that up. How can any film survive if everyone says it's going to be a flop from the very day the project is even conceived? It's already dead in the water." (source: ContactMusic)

12 August - Moscow show sold out
Tickets to Madonna's concert in Moscow have been sold out a month before the scheduled concert in Moscow, PR manager of the US singer in Russia Anton Atrashkin told Tass.
A total of 34,000 people will be present at the Confessions show that will be held in Vorobyovy Hills in Moscow on September 11.

Thousands of tickets to the show were booked by the singer’s Fan Club on the Internet, so that people from many countries will arrive in Moscow to enjoy Madonna’s show. Most of the singers' foreign fans are from the Baltic and Scandinavian countries.
Russia will watch the show of the US pop star after the Czech Republic, where Madonna will perform on September 6. (source: Itar-Tass)

10 August - A third of Moscow tickets sold in 2 days
More than a third of the tickets for U.S. pop star Madonna's sole Moscow concert had been sold by the end of the second day of sales, organizers said Thursday.
Some 16,000 tickets for the September 11 show, part of the diva's world tour to promote her Confessions on a Dance Floor album had been sold by the end of August 9. Ildar Bakiyev, responsible for ticket sales, said the most expensive tickets would be distributed by order and members of the Madonna fan club would be able to buy tickets to the dance floor in front of the stage.

"We agreed that they would write an official letter with a list of all the fan club members, so that I was sure that the tickets would not go to touts," he said.
A total of 10,500 tickets were sold Wednesday and 6,000 for the dance floor were sold for 1,500 rubles ($56), well under the European-low of $90, on Tuesday when sales began. Tickets for Madonna's concert in Moscow are the cheapest in the world.
The 40,000 tickets for the show fall into six price categories, from 3,000 rubles ($110) to 25,000 rubles ($935).

Anton Artashkin, Russia's PR manager of Madonna's tour, said Web sites selling tickets experienced many technical failures as many people were willing to order tickets online.
Religious leaders, however, have been less enthusiastic about the 47-year-old's controversial show, which features a song in which she is apparently crucified during her concerts on a giant cross studded with small mirrors.
Vsevolod Chaplin, head of the Moscow Patriarchy's department for external relations, said Tuesday, "For an Orthodox believer there is no point of attending her [Madonna's] concerts or helping her propagate her spiritual problems via self-advertisement."

Damir Gizatullin, deputy head of Russia's Council of Muftis, echoed him, saying, "I believe Islam believers in Russia will not support Madonna's show, and she will not be a success here contrary to her expectations," he said.
A total of 200 metric tons of Madonna's stage equipment will arrive in Moscow in 57 trucks after her September 6 concert in Prague. The singer will be accompanied by a staff of 200 and will perform onstage with a team of 27 people. (source: RIA Novosti)

10 August - Diamonds are Madonna's best friends
Diamond necklace by Chopard Madonna has long been a fan of Chopard – she wore its baubles to the launch of her new album, the Brits, the Grammys and at the Oscars. And now the French jewellery house has designed the world's most famous singer her very own necklace. Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele, designed this stunning necklace, to celebrate the title, Hung Up, of the hit song on Madonna's latest album, Confessions On A Dance floor, in 18 ct white gold set with 1.95 cts white diamonds and a mobile diamond mounted on an Indian-style chain of eight brilliants. Look out for it on stage during the current world tour. (source: British Vogue)

10 August - Madonna Plays with Fire, Brimstone
If ever anyone was due for a smiting, surely it's Madonna. At least, an increasing number of Italians seem to think so.
Fresh off her Vatican-disavowed mock-crucifixion performance in Rome, the erstwhile Material Girl has drawn the ire of yet another group of Catholics, this time over her H&M clothing ad draped over the scaffolding of Milan's landmark Duomo.

Surprisingly, it's not the "Papa Don't Preach" star's pose or wardrobe that's causing the controversy--it would be a feat to find offense with the image itself, which features Madonna donning a fully-zipped white sports jacket and looking downward.
Instead, protestors have found fault with the ad's placement, gracing the outside of the cathedral less than a week after the Confessions on a Dancefloor singer went ahead with plans to stage her cross-writhing routine at a concert at Rome's Olympic Stadium, just a mile away from Vatican City.
Timing is apparently everything.

Last Sunday, the controversy-courting singer pulled off a Jesus-channeling performance on stage, suspending herself on a 20-foot mirrored cross and donning a crown of fake thorns while singing the '80s ballad Live to Tell.
Despite increasing protests over the H&M banner, the revenue from which is helping bankroll restoration of the cathedral, the Duomo's Monsignor Luigi Manganini said the ad would stay up for the duration of H&M's contract.

"It's just an ad, certainly not a canonization," Manganini told Italy's Ansa news agency, per Reuters. "When it was accepted, the poster seemed all correct and appropriate for its place, and it still is."
The head of culture for Milan's city council agreed, claiming the complaints, primarily by a Catholic parents' association and Milan's Advertising Progress Foundation, was much ado about nothing and that the ad might even be in keeping with the decor of the 14th century cathedral.

"The other parts of the building are full of devils and demons," Vittorio Sgarbi told the city's Corriere della Sera newspaper. "So an infernal Madonna shouldn't hurt us too badly."
It's not the first time an Italian church-side advertisement has drawn the ire of watchdog groups.
Last spring, Rome's St. Pantaleo church was blasted for agreeing to hang a giant movie poster promoting The Da Vinci Code on its outer scaffolding.

Several clergymen called the advertisement's presence "blatant provocation" as it came on the heels of mounting Vatican protests against the film, which questioned key tenets of Catholic beliefs.
The poster, which featured the face of Da Vinci's Mona Lisa along with the film's premiere date, remained up for three weeks before the Italian Interior Ministry agreed to remove it.

Madonna, meanwhile, has moved on from her Roman protests and is back on the road, already courting the wrath of another religious body, the Russian Orthodox Church.
Church officials have already jumped on the boycott bandwagon, urging Christians to sit out her concert when she stops in Moscow Sept. 11. (source: E! Online)

09 August - Bartie's report for Rome
Check out the Confessions tour diary for a full personal report of the show I attended in Rome. Enjoy!

09 August - Madonna at Milan's Duomo
Madonna poster at the Duomo in Milan Photo (by AP): As part of the H&M advertising campaign, a giant poster of Madonna hides scaffolding of the Milan gothic cathedral known as the Duomo, in downtown Milan, Italy.
Not surprisingly, some conservative catholics protested against the Madonna poster at the Duomo after learning about the "blasphemous" crucifixion on her Confessions show in Rome.

09 August - Russian fans queue all night for tickets
Fans lining up outside the Detsky Mir department store Tuesday to buy tickets for Madonna's Sept. 11 concert.
Hundreds of Madonna fans lined up overnight outside the Detsky Mir department store to buy the first tickets to the U.S. pop star's Moscow concert.
The 2,000 cheapest tickets went on sale Tuesday, costing 1,500 rubles ($56) for a spot on the dance floor of the outdoor concert at Vorobyovy Gory on Sept. 11.

The tickets cost almost half the price of the cheapest ones in other European countries where Madonna is taking her Confessions tour, said Mikhail Shurygin, president of NCA, the St. Petersburg-based organizer of the concert.

Madonna poster at the Duomo in Milan The other 40,000 tickets for the Moscow concert will cost 3,000 rubles ($110) to 25,000 rubles ($935).
The first fan appeared on Teatralny Proyezd outside Detsky Mir at about 7 p.m. Monday, and the line had grown to 300 people by early Tuesday, RIA-Novosti reported. The box office in the department store opened at 10 a.m.
In Prague, where Madonna will perform Sept. 6, all 36,000 concert tickets sold out in nine minutes.

Shurygin said free tickets would be handed out to disabled people but that Madonna's management would determine how many would be made available, RIA-Novosti reported.
The Russian Orthodox Church is warning believers not to attend the concert. "For an Orthodox believer there is no point of attending her concerts or helping her propagate her spiritual problems via self-advertisement," a church spokesman, Father Vsevolod Chaplin, said Monday, RIA-Novosti reported.

Damir Gizatullin, deputy head of Russia's Council of Muftis, agreed, saying Tuesday: "This is in conflict with the traditions of our people. Such things do not do credit to people like Madonna," the news agency said.
Madonna staged a mock-crucifixion before a sold-out crowd of 70,000 people in Rome on Sunday, ignoring a storm of protest and accusations of blasphemy from the Roman Catholic Church.

The singer will bring 200 tons of stage equipment on 57 trucks to Moscow. She will be accompanied by a staff of 200 and perform onstage with a team of 27 people. The stage will be set up in front of the main building overlooking the city at Moscow State University and be protected by a police cordon and a fence. (source: Moscow Times)

09 August - Russian Orthodox Church calls for boycott of Madonna concert
Russia's Orthodox Church accused US superstar Madonna of exploiting Christian symbols for her own ends and called for a boycott of her first-ever concert in Moscow.
"The US singer Madonna exploits Christian symbols -- the cross, rosary beads and the crucifix -- and tries to equate human passions, including her own personal passions, with something sacred," the spokesman for the patriarch of Moscow said.

"I don't think that Orthodox believers should support this lady by going to her concert," father Vsevolod Chaplin said on Echo of Moscow radio station.
She "needs spiritual help because she swings between Christianity and Kabbalah," he said, referring to a branch of Jewish mysticism that the singer follows.

Madonna will perform in Russia for the first time on September 11 as part of her "Confessions" world tour. The concert will take place on a specially constructed stage on Sparrow Hills overlooking the city centre, close to Moscow State University.
The pop diva will arrive in the Russian capital with 57 trucks and 200 tonnes of equipment in tow, the organisers said. Tickets cost between 1,500 rubles (55 dollars, 45 euros) and a hefty 25,000 rubles (930 dollars, 730 euros).

Madonna kicked off the European leg of her world tour in the Welsh city of Cardiff on July 30 where she gyrated on a saddle floating above the stage and sang from a crucifix in a performance involving provocative dance routines.
She has often sparked outrage among religious leaders with raunchy video clips, notably when she kissed a black Christ in front of a burning cross in her 1989 hit Like a Prayer.

09 August - Madonna the wedding crasher
A British couple have had an unexpected celebrity guest at their wedding reception - pop queen Madonna.
The music legend was in Rome to play a concert at the Olympic Stadium, when she noticed the wedding party going on in the hotel restaurant she was dining in.

At first guests politely ignored the singer and her husband Guy Ritchie who were having a quiet candle-lit dinner for two.
But when the star discovered it was a British wedding party, she stopped, joined them for a chat and wished them good luck.

Neil and Imogen McCarthy's surprise happened at the luxury Hotel De Russie in central Rome where they had booked a wedding reception for 70 guests who had flown in specially from Britain.
Onlookers said the couple seemed delighted. They are now on honeymoon. (source: ITV)

07 August - Back from Rome
I just got back from a wonderful weekend in Rome. The show was simply AMAZING! It's 1am, just got back from the airport and I'm totally exhausted. Check the tour diary tomorrow for a full report and more updates.
~ Bartie

04 August - Madonna and Ritchie to renew vows
Madonna and Guy Ritchie are planning to renew their vows in a simple ceremony at their home in Wiltshire, as soon as the pop queen finishes her Confessions tour this autumn.
The golden couple spent last year fighting off rumours their marriage was in a mess - but their romantic gesture will prove the critics wrong, according to website Celebrity Week.

A friend says, "They want to show the world how committed they are to each other. Because they've been living in Los Angeles, they've missed spending time in the English countryside with friends and family." (source: WENN)

04 August - Madonna to help orphans in Malawi
Madonna is always reinventing herself. In her latest role, she is a humanitarian with an ambitious plan to care for orphans in the AIDS-ravaged African country of Malawi.
"For the last few years - now that I have children and now that I have what I consider to be a better perspective on life - I have felt responsible for the children of the world," the 47-year-old pop star tells Time magazine in its issue on newsstands Monday. The singer has two children, a daughter, Lourdes, 9, and a son, Rocco, 5.

"I've been doing bits and bobs about it and I suppose I was looking for a big, big project I could sink my teeth into."
She has found one — and it's as about as high-profile as her ongoing Confessions world tour.
Madonna plans to raise at least $3 million for programs to support orphans in Malawi, and is giving $1 million to fund a documentary about the plight of children there, Time reports.

The singer, who plans to visit Africa in October, credits her faith in Kabbalah with shifting her priorities.
"One of the main precepts of Kabbalah is that we're put on this Earth to help people," she says. "And your job is to figure out how you can help, and what it is that you can do."

An orphan care center, being built with a goal of feeding and educating about 1,000 children a day, will have programs based on Spirituality for Kids, Kabbalah's children's program, Time says.
That's not all. She has teamed up with developing-world economic leader Jeffrey Sachs on programs to improve the health, agriculture and economy of a village in Malawi, Time says. She's also met with former President Clinton about bringing low-cost medicines to the area. (source: AP)

04 August - Rome Church condemns Madonna's crucifixion stunt
Rome's Catholic, Muslim and Jewish leaders have united to condemn pop star Madonna's decision to stage a mock-crucifixion when she performs in the Italian capital on Sunday a stone's throw away from Vatican City.

The lapsed-Catholic diva's latest irreverent performance sees her wearing a fake crown of thorns and descending on a suspended, glittery cross as part of her worldwide Confessions Tour.
Having already been criticized in the United States, Catholics priests from across the Eternal City have gone one further saying the act "comes close to blasphemy."
"It is disrespectful, in bad taste and provocative," Father Manfredo Leone from Rome's Santa Maria Liberatrice church said late on Wednesday about the star's latest stage stunt.

"Being raised on a cross with a crown of thorns like a modern Christ is absurd. Doing it in the cradle of Christianity comes close to blasphemy."
In an unusual show of religious solidarity, Muslim and Jewish leaders added their condemnation of the self-styled Queen of Pop, famous for peppering her concerts and videos with controversial religious and sexual imagery.

"I think her idea is in the worst taste and she'd do better to go home," Mario Scialoja, head of Italy's Muslim League said.
Riccardo Pacifici, spokesman and vice president of the Roman Jewish community, added Madonna should have pulled the routine considering where she was performing -- a stadium a mile from the gates of Vatican City.

It is not the first time Madonna, who has a Catholic Italian-American father, has raised the ire of the Catholic Church.
Catholic leaders condemned as blasphemous her controversial 1989 video for hit song "Like a Prayer," featuring burning crosses, statues crying blood and Madonna seducing a black Jesus.
In 2004, a Vatican group warned that her latest religious belief "Kabbalah," a mystical form of Judaism, was a potential threat to the Roman Catholic faithful.

Madonna, 47, has refused to kowtow to Italy's Catholic sensibilities, but in an interview published on Thursday she had nothing but praise for her Italian background.
She told Italy's edition of Vanity Fair her "good Italian genes" were the reason for her staying in shape, famously allowing her to writhe in a leotard in a recent video. (source: Reuters)

03 August - Jump release dates
Websites of music stores have posted a tentative release date for Jump, the fourth and last single of Confessions On A Dance Floor. In the US it is expected on August 29th, while the UK would receive it on November 6th (almost a full year after the album release).

03 August - Simpson admits single was influenced by Madonna
Jessica Simpson has confessed her latest single was accidentally influenced by pop superstar Madonna's Holiday. After posting A Public Affair on her website in June (06), Simpson has received a barrage of criticism claiming the song is too close to Madonna's 1984 hit.

But Simpson retorts that's exactly what her fans need and is refusing to apologise for the retro sound. She tells MTV, "I think people are ready to hear something that Madonna used to do. We all need to hear that every now and again. "It wasn't a sample or something I meant to do, but she did influence me and still does today. I hope to have the longevity of her career." (source: ContactMusic)

02 August - Moscow officially added
While it had already been announced by news agencies and Russian media, the Confessions tour stop in Moscow has now been officially added to the tour schedule on The show will take place on September 11th at the Moscow University (Sparrow Hills). It is expected that a second show for September 12th will be added after the first has sold out. No details about the ticket sale have been made available yet.

Reminder for the Japanese fans: this saturday, August 5th, tickets for the second show at the Osaka Dome will go on sale.
~ Check the now completed Confessions tour schedule.

02 August - Madonna tops world's best body poll
Currently writhing around in riding leathers on her UK tour, Madonna has the best body in the world for a woman over 40, according to a new poll.
The fiercely-honed pop diva - a yoga devotee - beat svelte stars like supermodel Elle Mapherson, Twiggy, Sharon Stone and Oscar-winner Halle Berry to take the top spot in the survey by Top Sante magazine.

Although Madonna, 47, evidently loves flaunting her curves right now in leotards and jodhpurs mostly, she has hinted she would consider going under the knife if her super-firm body ever started to sag.
But the mother-of-two has said she would probably keep it a secret if she ever did have surgery.
"I think about it, like everybody, and I don't rule it out," she has been quoted as saying. "But I am not going to hold a press conference if I have plastic surgery."

On Sunday Madonna finally kicked off the opening night of the European leg of her world tour. The queen of pop entertained a crowd of 59,000 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff with an erotically-charged performance. It was the first time her Confessions tour had been seen outside America and in a stadium. She said: "It's also our first show in Europe. I'm sick of people sitting down in concerts. It's really boring." (source: PA via Yahoo!)

01 August - Madonna honoured in Square of Fame
Pop queen Madonna said she felt like "an honorary Brit" as she unveiled a cast of her hands striking a pose outside Wembley Arena.
The diminutive singer's tiny hands had been cast in bronze to become the inaugural star at Wembley's new Square of Fame.

Madonna at the Square of FameCast makers flew out to New York while Madonna was on the US-leg of her acclaimed Confessions Tour to prepare for the plaque. They used Alginate, an organic moulding material used by dentists to make casts of teeth, to create the original imprint.

They then brought the impressions - created while the star was in her dressing room preparing to perform at Madison Square Gardens - back to the UK to turn into a bronze plaque.
The Material Girl took 15 minutes out of rehearsal time to unveil the cast and the Square of Fame.

Madonna at the Square of FameOrganisers hope it will become the British equivalent of Hollywood's famous Grauman's Chinese Theatre.
The singer's hands have regularly attracted attention as the only part of her anatomy which betrays her age.
But the 47-year-old, wearing sunglasses, a white tracksuit and matching trainers, was delighted to receive a cast of her hands to take home with her.

After kneeling on a cushion to pose with the casts she said: "They're great, it's a great honour. I did it because it makes me feel like an honorary Brit."
Asked which name she would like to see join her on the Square of Fame she said: "Tony Blair and other world leaders." (source: Launch/Yahoo)

01 August - Cardiff fan reports
We'll be following the European tour more closely, so keep an eye on our tour diary. We've added lots of press reviews for Cardiff, as well as a fan report by Marcin, who's best known in the Madonna community as the photographer of the Sorry cover.

01 August - Five VMA nominations
MTV has announced the nominees for the 2006 Video Music Awards, which will air live from New York's Radio City Music Hall on August 31. Madonna - who won't be attending the show since she'll be performing in Paris that night - received five nods for her Hung Up video, in the categories Video of the Year, Best Female Video, Best Dance Video, Best Pop Video and Best Choreography. Only Shakira and the Red Hot Chili Peppers received more; both 7 nominations. Now, it's up to YOU to make sure Madonna gets the awards she deserves. Everyone can start voting now, and as many times as you want. So get over to the MTV website and cast your Madonna votes!

holiday Christina Aguilera: "Ain't No Other Man"
into the groove Madonna: "Hung Up"
vogue Panic! at the Disco: "I Write Sins Not Tragedies"
like a prayer Red Hot Chili Peppers: "Dani California"
like a virgin Shakira f/ Wyclef Jean: "Hips Don't Lie"

re-invention tour Christina Aguilera: "Ain't No Other Man"
confessions tour Kelly Clarkson: "Because of You"
the english roses Madonna: "Hung Up"
i'm going to tell you a secret Nelly Furtado f/ Timbaland: "Promiscuous"
swept away Shakira f/ Wyclef Jean: "Hips Don't Lie"

confessions on a dance floor Madonna: "Hung Up"
jump Nelly Furtado f/ Timbaland: "Promiscuous"
get together Pussycat Dolls f/ Snoop Dogg: "Buttons"
sorry Sean Paul: "Temperature"
hung up Shakira f/ Wyclef Jean: "Hips Don't Lie"

madonna ciccone Christina Aguilera: "Ain't No Other Man"
rocco ritchie Madonna: "Hung Up"
lourdes maria Nelly Furtado f/ Timbaland: "Promiscuous"
guy ritchie Pink: "Stupid Girls"
sex Shakira f/ Wyclef Jean: "Hips Don't Lie"

movies Christina Aguilera: "Ain't No Other Man"
lyrics Madonna: "Hung Up"
music Pussycat Dolls f/ Snoop Dogg: "Buttons"
singles Sean Paul: "Temperature"
songs Shakira f/ Wyclef Jean: "Hips Don't Lie"

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