15 September - Malawi captial pins water hopes on Madonna
Pop diva Madonna has decided to extend her charity work in Malawi to the country's water supply when she visits next month to set up an orphan care center in the southern African country, local officials said.
Expectations are running high in Malawi, an impoverished country dependent on tobacco exports, as Madonna prepares to join a flood of stars searching for a good cause in the world's poorest continent.
The advance party preparing her first visit to Africa was shocked to see young girls in the capital Lilongwe walking long distances with buckets of water balanced on their heads.
"The team was appalled at what they saw and how women and children walk long distances to fetch water," said Adrina Michiela, principal secretary in Malawi's Ministry of Women and Child Development.
"Her team immediately pledged to support any government initiatives to improve access to water points," Michiela told Reuters.
No date has been announced for the visit, during which Madonna has said she will set up the Raising Malawi center to feed and educate about 1,000 orphans, many of them left by parents killed by AIDS, a major scourge in the region.
In plans announced in an interview with Time magazine last month, Madonna said she was raising $3 million to fund programs mostly to help orphans in Malawi.
Malawi has a population of 13 million, an estimated 1 million of them children who have lost at least one parent.
While her plans have excited impoverished local people, many of them villagers who had never before heard of the mega star, many critics in the West say the project is little more than a publicity stunt by one of the world's best self-promoters.
The fact that orphans at the center will be taught a curriculum based on Spirituality for Kids, linked to the Kabbalah school of mysticism to which Madonna adheres, has added to the cynicism. (source: Yahoo/Reuters)
15 September - Madonna visits Russian orphans and brings 20 cakes
Ten inmates of Children’s Home No.80 are the only Russian citizens who can boast of having autographs given by world’s pop star No.1 – Madonna.
Shortly before her departure from Moscow on September 13, the next day after she gave a hugely successful performance on Moscow's largest Luzhniki Stadium, Madonna visited orphans living in Children’s Home No.30. Correspondents of the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper visited the home as well to ask for children’s impressions of meeting one of the greatest singers of our times.
Children were told about Madonna’s visit only 20 minutes before her arrival. Boys rushed to pick flowers that they were growing on a flowerbed. The bouquet of flowers for Madonna was made of five roses. "We gave her the flowers which we had grown ourselves," tenth-grader Viktor Nosov said. Viktor was beaming with happiness demonstrating a photograph on his cell phone showing himself and Madonna hugging.
Madonna was given a tour of the orphanage and answered all the children’s questions even though she was tired after performing last night. She advised the children to read more and watch less television!
"At first I thought that she was telling me that she loved me. I misunderstood her at first. When she entered our ward we all jumped off our beds. I was the closest one to her. And then she said "How do you do ?" I forgot my English entirely, I thought that she said "I love you" to me. I was standing there all blushing and speechless. I came back to my senses only when a translator told me that Madonna was asking how I was doing," Viktor said.
Madonna’s bodyguards were trying to play the role of men on duty in the beginning. They could not stand near their client and watch little kids pulling her sleeves. The bodyguards relaxed several minutes later when one of the boys, Anton (8 y.o.) started jumping on his bed and screaming: "Look, this is my bed!"
"Little kids did not realize how lucky they were. Smaller children were pulling Madonna’s sleeves saying "Mama, mama." Madonna smiled when she heard that," another teenage boy Viktor Lakeyev said.
The superstar brought 20 boxes of cakes with her and several winter coats for the children.
"In addition to the flowers we gave her a mascot. It was a so-called guardian doll (a traditional Russian fabric-made stuffed toy). Children make those dolls here themselves. It is believed that those dolls bring happiness to their owners," the Director of the children’s home, Yuri Yevdokimov said.
However, Madonna did not donate any money to the children’s home that she visited. "The singer promised to donate a certain amount of funds to charitable foundations Pomogi.Org and Naked Hearts. The foundations will distribute the money between children’s homes and boarding schools. Probably we will receive a little of it for our children too," Yevdokimov said. (source: Pravda.ru)
15 September - Confessions On A Dance Floor 4x Platinum in Europe
Enduringly popular 'Queen of Pop' Madonna has seen sales of her latest album Confessions On A Dance Floor go from strength to strength, as it also gains its fourth Platinum Europe Award since its release last November. The disco-inspired album is the eleventh studio offering from the American, who has sold over 200 million albums worldwide throughout her illustrious career. Madonna is currently on the European leg of her Confessions world tour, still wowing her army of fans with show-stopping performances after more than two decades in the business. (source: IFPI)
15 September - Candy Perfume Girl guitar auctioned
Madonna's Gibson Les Paul Custom guitar, personally autographed, will go up for auction on Ebay starting on October 6, 2006, at 7:00 P.M. PST, ending on October 16, 2006. The guitar is the only surviving guitar of two that were custom made for Madonna and played by her on her 2001 Drowned World concert tour. This tour was the first time Madonna every played a guitar in concert. The Drowned World tour ended on September 15, 2001 in Los Angeles. After the show, Madonna autographed this guitar "Love, Madonna" in gold paint pen and gave it to her Guitar Technician, John Griswold, as a big "Thank You" for all his services.
To read all about this guitar and get more information about the eBay auction, go to www.pscelebrities.com/madonna. Opening bid is at $ 49,999 USD (= 39.336 EUR)
14 September - Yes to Confessions, no to Re-Invention? *rumour*
According to Madonnatribe, Madonna's management is aiming to release the Confessions Tour DVD for the Christmas rush, but currently there are no plans to release the long-overdue Re-Invention Tour DVD. It seems the I'm Going To Tell You A Secret documentary is the only way to see a bit of a professional recording of that tour...
14 September - History on Jump single *rumour*
Latest rumour is that on Madonna's upcoming single Jump is going to have an unreleased song from the Confessions On A Dance Floor sessions, written and produced by Madonna & Stuart Price, called 'History'. It is said to be an uptempo dance track. Moreover, the video of Jump is supposed to be a studio video, not a video of the live performance. (thanx to Drownedmadonna & Madonnatribe)
14 September - Proposal for Madonna space trip rejected
Madonna will not be sent into space, despite a lawmaker's proposal to book a seat for the pop star on a Russian flight to the international space station, news agencies reported Wednesday.
State Duma member Alexei Mitrofanov, referring to Madonna's reported expression of desire to become a "space tourist," proposed that the lower house of parliament send a formal inquiry to the Russian space agency about organizing a space trip for her in 2008.
"Because of the television possibilities, it would be a pretty serious event in the year of elections in the United States and Russia," he was quoted as saying by the RIA-Novosti news agency.
The Duma turned down the proposal, agencies reported without specifying the vote tally.
Later, space agency spokesman Igor Panarin was quoted by RIA-Novosti as saying no seats on the Soyuz spacecraft would be available until 2009.
"Taking into account her good physical preparedness and financial capabilities, the dream of (Madonna) Louise Ciccone of a space flight could be realized in 2009," Panarin was quoted as saying.
Like many Russians, he didn't use the 48-year-old pop singer's first name, apparently sensitive to the Russian Orthodox Church's objections to her use of religious imagery, especially crucifixion, in her Confessions world tour performances.
Madonna took the stage at Luzhniki Stadium on Tuesday night, where a crowd of about 35,000 watched her perform in spite of religious protesters' threats to disrupt the concert. No disorder was reported.
Three private individuals have paid a reported $20 million each to be launched on 10-day trips to the international space station. American Anousheh Ansari is to become the fourth - and the first female - in a Sept. 18 launch. (source: AP)
12 September - Madonna will not change her act
Pop star Madonna will sing suspended from a cross in the finale of her Moscow concert on Tuesday despite a plea from the Russian Orthodox Church to drop that part of her act.
The 48-year-old U.S. pop star has outraged Christian groups across Europe by staging a mock crucifixion and wearing a crown of thorns on her global "Confessions" tour.
"This will be absolutely the same show as Madonna has performed in other European capitals," Anton Atrashkin, press chief for Madonna's Russia concert, said as the star prepared to take to the stage in Moscow's Luzhniki stadium.
Madonna, a lapsed Roman Catholic whose shows have been denounced by the Vatican, has attracted accusations of blasphemy throughout her career.
In the finale of her Confessions show, she sings while suspended from a cross.
The Orthodox Church has called on people to boycott Tuesday's concert, though the show was a sell-out and she was expected to draw an estimated 50,000 people.
"We are not against Madonna. We're against her blasphemous acts during the concert," Father Sergei Zvonoryov, a member of the Moscow patriarchy press department, said.
"Crucifixion, cross, diadem of thorns on her head. All this is a parody on the crucifixion of Christ," he said.
Riot police and lines of army cadets monitored thousands of Madonna fans who streamed to Moscow's Soviet-built Luzhniki stadium, the main venue for the 1980 Olympics.
Police detained a handful of radical Orthodox believers protesting against Madonna by singing hymns and holding crosses outside the stadium, local news agencies reported.
But fans had only words of support for Madonna's intention to stick to the original performance plans.
"It's misunderstood. It's pop music and modern art," said Igor Antipov, 27, who had traveled from St Petersburg for the concert. "The Church is another part of our life. I'm an Orthodox believer and I can see the distinction."
Russia's Orthodox Church has been able to fill a vacuum in faith since the fall of Communism in 1991 and has grown in influence and power.
But Russians also lap up visits by Western pop stars who have made sporadic trips over the last 15 years and the event has been an instant sell-out. (source: Reuters)
12 September - Madonna: New Time, Same Controversy
Madonna's first-ever concert in Russia is going to be a day late and a blessing short.
In what has become routine on her latest world tour, the Material Girl is once again heading into a city where a number of residents are up in arms (or up in posters, at least) over the mock-crucifixion she stages during each show's finale.
A handful of peaceful protests have broken out in Moscow in recent weeks, mainly populated by members of the Russian Orthodox Church who have no interest in seeing Madonna sing Live to Tell while suspended from a gigantic mirrored cross. In turn they are encouraging people to boycott Tuesday night's concert.
"This lady has been glorifying human passions with the help of religious symbols for years--crosses, statues and beads," said church spokesman Father Vsevolod Chaplin, per the Russian newspaper Pravda. "Now she thinks it is time for her to crucify herself in public. It means the singer is in need of spiritual help."
But try telling that to the more than 50,000 people planning to descend on Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium tomorrow, a day after the concert was originally scheduled so as not to fall on the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S. Police have promised that extensive security measures will be in place to monitor excited concertgoers looking forward to expressing themselves.
"About 3,500 policemen, including 400 Omon fighters [riot specialists], as well as police with dogs, bomb technicians and soldiers from the Dzerhinsky special task division, will be ensuring security," General Vyacheslav Kozlov, chief of Moscow's public security police, told Interfax news service.
Those who purchased tickets for the Sept. 11 date were asked to head to the venue ASAP for exchanges before the madness begins Tuesday. (Although about 100 fans were already camped outside Madonna's hotel as of Monday.)
"We decided that to hold the concert on that day [Sept. 11] would have been unethical," Vladimir Kiselyov, general director of concert co-organizer GFUP Kreml, told the Russian television station NTV. The concert also underwent a change of venue last month, with organizers thinking that the Luzhniki soccer stadium would do better to accomodate the crowd than would the hilltop Vorobyovye Gory near Moscow State University.
The Times of London reported Monday that tickets in all price ranges were still available because many disgruntled fans sought refunds after learning that the passes they bought for the dancing zone at Vorobyovye were being replaced with seats at Luzhniki Stadium that are higher up in the stands.
Whether Madonna is having a spiritual crisis or not, we do know that she doesn't need help in the revenue department. Fans haven't bristled (much) at shelling out $50 to $350 per ticket, and, according to Billboard, the pop icon's Confessions tour is on track to rake in $200 million this year and could conceivably be the highest-grossing tour ever for a female artist.
Religious groups of all faiths and sizes in the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and England have already voiced their discomfort, indignation, rage, etc. over Madonna's imagery-laden finale, with German officials threatening to crucify the singer in court if she went ahead with her biblical allusion during an August show. They ultimately let her off the hook, admitting that no crime had been committed.
A small crime was committed in Amsterdam, however, when a priest confessed to calling in a phony bomb threat in an attempt to stop a couple of September shows from taking place.
Meanwhile, Madonna has continued to defend her T-shaped position, which she assumes to raise money and awareness for Third World residents whose lives have been devastated by poverty and AIDS. (source: E! Online)
12 September - Dutch Christians file complaint against Madonna
The youth chapter of the protestant Dutch party SGP have filed a legal complaint against the singer Madonna for blasphemy and insulting a religious group.
The group objected to a mock crucifixion scene featured in Madonna's European tour after the US pop star gave two sell-out concerts in Amsterdam this month.
Chairman Jan Kloosterman told the ANP news agency that the complaint was supported by 50 different organisations.
Madonna's Confessions tour has also drawn protests from religious leaders in Moscow, where she is due to play on Tuesday, and from the archbishop of Prague.
Last Friday, a 63-year-old Dutch clergyman confessed to making a hoax bomb threat in an attempt to stop Madonna's concert because he objected to the crucifixion scene. (source: AFP)
11 September - Madonna may attend Moscow party Monday night
U.S. pop diva Madonna is expected to attend the Europa+ Madonna Party organized by Europa+ radio and a major automotive company at the CabareTT club Monday evening, organizers have told Interfax. There is no official contract between the automotive company and Madonna, an organizer said. Earlier Anton Atrashkin, PR manager of the Madonna's Russian tour, confirmed that the signer would arrive in Moscow Monday afternoon. Her concert is due to take place on Tuesday evening. (source: Interfax)
10 September - Madonna to arrive in Moscow Monday
The world pop star Madonna is expected to arrive in Moscow on Monday, Madonna's international tour promoter Arthur Fogel has announced.
Madonna is arriving in Russia tomorrow and will reside at a hotel. She is eagerly awaiting her Moscow performance and wants to come to Russia, Fogel told the press in Moscow on Sunday.
It will be the best show in her world tour, Fogel said.
The pop star will sing 18 songs - a special set for the whole of her world tour. She did not demand anything special for her stay in Moscow and has yet to make up her mind on the sightseeing program, Fogel said.
In remarks about the Luzhniki stadium, where Madonna will sing on Tuesday, Fogel said it is a world-class venue for both sports competitions and shows.
The pop singer's tour manager Chris Lamb said rain would be an unpleasant occurrence. Madonna will dance a lot during the show and the stage must be dry, he said.
The organizers have been following weather updates. The forecast has been good thus far, he said. (source: Interfax)
09 September - Billboard reviews new single Jump
Producer(s): Madonna, Stuart Price
Label: Warner Bros.
Fourth time's a charm, right? As her smash concert tour winds down, Madonna has released Jump, the fourth single off Confessions on a Dance Floor. Maybe its radio fortunes will be better than her last single, Get Together. But we're being realistic here: If programmers turned up their collective noses at the super-catchy Sorry, then why would they suddenly come to the table for Jump? That said, the song is a pulsing pop tune that has a positive, universal message about believing in yourself, not wasting time and taking a chance in life. Dance clubs will obviously jump all over the single, while adult top 40 radio seems like the natural starting place for the tune to get its footing. (Keith Caulfield @ Billboard)
09 September - Dutch priest charged in Madonna threat
Amsterdam prosecutors said Friday a 63-year-old priest has confessed to phoning in a fake bomb threat to a Madonna concert in the Dutch capital city last week.
"He was hoping to stop her from performing her famous 'crucifixion' act," prosecution spokesman Robert Meulenbroek said, referring to a scene in the 48-year-old pop star's latest show.
The scene, a mock re-enactment of the crucifixion of Christ, offended some Christians during earlier concerts in Italy and Germany. Two Amsterdam concerts went ahead as planned on Sunday and Monday, despite a handful of protesters.
Meulenbroek said it was likely prosecutors would seek a community service punishment for the priest, since it was very likely this was his first such offense.
The priest was arrested almost immediately after making the threat Sunday, since he used his home phone to make it, and he called an emergency services number where the call was automatically traced.
The priest was brought before a judge Friday and has been released pending judgment, Meulenbroek said. "We take bomb threats seriously, but in this case it was clear very quickly that it was not real," he said.
"Maybe he should have to learn all her lyrics by heart" as punishment, he quipped. (source: Yahoo)
Havel join the performer's team in their customary meditation before the show, Havel's secretary Jakub Hladik told CTK Thursday, adding that the meditation with Madonna was a great experience for Havel.
Havel attended the show with his wife's daughter Nina.
"Neither the meditation nor the subsequent performance offended Christian symbolism, according to the former president," Hladik said.
The show, in which Madonna stages her own crucifixion on a huge cross, a stunt which the performer included in her performance in Prague, has been criticised by the churches in the Czech Republic and abroad.
Havel is a devotee of rock music and counts among his friends Lou Reed and The Rolling Stones and has attended their concerts in Prague. Havel also met pop singer Michael Jackson in Prague in 1996 and said that he considers him to be "a significant civilisation phenomenon." (source: Prague Daily Monitor)
07 September - Madonna as the Witch of 'Into The Woods'
EDIT: Madonna won't play the Witch, it was just a rumour, already denied here.
For two charity performances, pop icon Madonna will take on the role of the Witch in the Royal Albert Hall's gala benefit performance of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Into the Woods, which will be presented on Sunday, October 22nd at 3 PM and 7:30 PM.
Into the Woods will also star Joanna Riding as Little Red and Olivier Award-winner Laura Michelle Kelly (Mary Poppins) as Cinderella. Other previously announced cast members include Anita Dobson and Vinnie Jones.
With music and lyrics by Sondheim and a book by Lapine, Into The Woods "combines classic fairy tales into a story about 'the complications of living in modern society and the difficult choices we encounter on the paths of our lives'. The stories - including Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, and Rapunzel - are joined with a new creation; the tale of The Baker and His Wife," according to Royal Albert notes. The show premiered on Broadway in November 1987 and ran for 765 performances at the Martin Beck Theatre. Lapine and Sondheim - as well as actress Joanna Gleason - won Tonys for their work.
Peter Penny and Paul Savident will produce the event for The Childrens' Society.
The chameleonic Madonna has been a cultural icon for over two decades. A multi-Grammy Award-winner, she has sold more than 200 million albums worldwide. Her stage credits include Speed-the-Plow on Broadway, as well as (more recently) Up for Grabs in London. She also won acclaim for taking on the title role in the 1996 film version of Evita, and previously performed songs by Sondheim in Dick Tracy. Other film credits include Swept Away, The Next Best Thing, Body of Evidence, Shadows and Fog and Desperately Seeking Susan.
05 September - Madonna to work with Lenny Kravitz?
Pop queen Madonna is reportedly planning to hit the studio with rocker Lenny Kravitz, after the star duetted with her on stage in Paris, France, on the weekend. The 'It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over' star thrilled fans when he joined Madonna on her celebrated Confessions tour for a rendition of I Love New York. And Madonna was so inspired by Kravitz's performance, the twosome are believed to be preparing to lay down a track together later this year. (source: Contactmusic)
04 September - Live updates from 2nd Amsterdam show
The second Amsterdam show has started, follow it in our tour diary page!
04 September - Williams' crush on Madonna
Robbie Williams has confessed he has a crush of pop queen Madonna, but fears retribution from her husband Guy Ritchie.
The singer insists his infatuation is a recent one - he fell for her when he saw her dressed as a cowgirl in the video for Music.
He says, "I do fancy Madonna.
"I didn't fancy Madonna in the 80s or the 90s. Since the cowgirl video. I've fancied her since then."
"I think she's sexy. I'm probably gonna get beat up by Guy Ritchie. He's hard.
"He spends all week wrestling with men." (source: Yahoo)
04 September - No bridge gig for Madonna
Prague has tossed Madonna off its historic Charles Bridge, right. Not literally of course. But protests have led to cancellation of plans to close the bridge, built in 1357, for a V.I.P. party at which she was to sing on Saturday after her two sold-out performances in the city, Variety.com reported. The cancellation was announced after Vladimir Vihan, the mayor of Prague, encountered vehement protests for deciding to close the bridge for the party, given by Louis Vuitton, the luxury-goods concern.
Among those who objected were preservationists and city council members, irate because they were not given a vote in the matter. Martin Mejstrik, a member of the senate of the Czech Republic, said the plan for the party amounted to “turning this piece of cultural heritage into a cultural whore.” Vuitton canceled the event and expressed hope that its $50,000 fee to the city could be put toward an alternate site where V.I.P.’s could meet Madonna and hear a brief private performance. The bridge, a major tourist attraction, has not been closed since 2002, when there were floods. (source: New York Times)
03 September - Live updates from Amsterdam
Check out our live updates of the first show in ArenA, Amsterdam in the tour diary!
01 September - Paris updates in tour diary
Check out our tour diary for a huge update after the four Confessions shows in Paris, Bercy. You can find an update by webmaster Bartie about the 4 shows, a long but great review of the 2nd show by assistant Dani, and great pix of the 3rd show by Danielillo. Enjoy!
01 September - Huge album sales jump in Denmark
After the August 24th show in Horsens, 8 Madonna albums jump back into the Danish Top 40, with her latest CD going straight back to the top!
#1 - Confessions On A Dance Floor
#10 - I'm Going To Tell You A Secret
#22 - Like A Virgin
#23 - Ray Of Light
#24 - Music
#26 - Like A Prayer
#29 - True Blue
#31 - The Immaculate Collection
On the singles chart, Sorry is at #19 while the EP Remixed & Revisited is at #3!
(thanx to Madonnanation member thenabo)
01 September - Madonna writing new album already?
Madonna may be 48 but we're all still hung up about her.
Furthermore, it's great to learn that her maturing years do not mean the pop icon has any intention of slowing down.
She told me recently: "I basically see no limits to what you can achieve. Why would I not want to make more music? I love it and so do my fans."
The lady has a point. And she also plans to keep the glitter ball spinning over the dance floor.
She let slip: "I have more club music in mind. It's where I started and funnily enough, it's now huge again.
"I'm writing the new album now, while we're on tour."
There's just no stopping her. (source: Sky News)
~ Please note that a few weeks ago in another interview Madonna said she wouldn't want to do dance music again, not to repeat herself
01 September - No VMAs for Madonna
Madonna was nominated for 5 Video Music Awards last night, but she lost all of them, all to different people (Shakira, Kelly Clarkson, The Pussycat Dolls, Pink, Panic At The Disco). Maybe next time...
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