Madonna news - Oct. 2008
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15 October - Guitar guru helps get Madonna into the groove
Talent, determination, genius. All important qualities if you're shooting for rock stardom.
And then there's good, old-fashioned luck.
A few months after rolling into Los Angeles in 1999 in search of rock 'n' roll glory, Texan Monte Pittman got a call from someone looking for guitar lessons. The guy's girlfriend had given him a guitar to mess around with while he was laid up after surgery. Teaching someone their first G chord wasn't Pittman's end goal, but he didn't have the bank balance to refuse the extra cash.
In a glorious case of right time, right place, the guy turned out to be Guy Ritchie - the gal, Madonna.
"First she got him a guitar, then he returned the favor, so I ended up teaching them both," Pittman said. "A few months later Madonna asked me to go on Dave Letterman with her and then she invited me into her band."
Now Pittman splits his time between guitar duties in legendary underground metal outfit Prong and axe-slinging behind the Material Girl. Pittman's skills will be on display at Madonna's sold-out TD Banknorth Garden shows tonight and tomorrow.
So how does Madge's blond ambition apply to the guitar?
"She's a very dedicated student," Pittman said. "She takes it very seriously. Her assistant told me she's caught Madonna a couple times up at 2 a.m. working on stuff I showed her. If I show her something, she works very hard to get it right and is a fast learner."
At 50, you might wonder if Madonna is taking up guitar so she can take a break from all the singing, dancing and berserk yoga poses she pulls off on stage. Pittman doesn't believe that's the case.
"She doesn't think, 'Oh, I can take a break here and play some guitar'," he said. "She doesn't need a break. There's plenty of songs she doesn't play guitar on where she could, but she likes to keep things balanced.
"That's why this show's got a pimp section, old-school section, acoustic section and futuristic section where the lasers come out," he said. "I don't really know how she could top this show. Maybe if she ran on a treadmill while doing flips." (source: Boston Herald)
15 October - Many remixers for Miles Away
Fansite MadonnaTribe has some information about the single release for Miles Away. A maxi single is expected for worldwide release on November 24th, 2008. The song has been commissioned to a string of remixers, including Peter Rauhofer, Marcos 'Demo' Castellon, Ryan 'Kaskade' Raddon, Headcleanr, DJ Johnny Vicious, Morgan Page & Stuart Price. The cover that we saw earlier for the promo is also used for the official single.
15 October - Official: Madonna & Guy to divorce *official*
Madonna's spokeswoman said Wednesday that the singer and her husband, Guy Ritchie, will divorce after 7 1/2 years together.
A statement e-mailed to The Associated Press from Liz Rosenberg said that the couple had agreed to divorce, and requested the media maintain respect their privacy.
The statement, co-signed by Ritchie's representative, said the couple had not agreed to a settlement. (source: AP via Yahoo)
UPDATE: "The main concern for Madonna and Guy are their children – the security of their children in all senses of the word and the wellbeing of their children," rep Liz Rosenberg tells People. "That's the priority for both of them moving forward. It's a sad situation."
~ Though saddened by this news, the Mad-Eyes team respects the privacy of Madonna and Guy Ritchie. We hope they will be able to settle this matter in the most human manner possible to benefit both parties and especially the children.
13 October - The Dreamhive puts images to music for Madonna
15 October - Justin and Kanye expected to make guest appearances
Madonna made her directorial debut Monday night at the Cinema Society and Dolce and Gabbana hosted screening of her new film Filth and Wisdom, which does not shy away from Madonna's long history of working with provocative material. Her new feature film includes cross-dressing, S&M and stripping, but Madonna had tamer topics on her mind when she talked to Access Hollywood about Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and daughter Lourdes. Although she's in the director's seat for Filth and Wisdom, Madonna hasn't forgotten about her roots in pop music - or the younger pop stars who look up to her.
In one scene of the film, Madonna uses Britney Spears' iconic hit, "Baby One More Time" as the soundtrack for a ballet dancer doing a striptease. "That's my wink and my smile to Britney Spears, whom I love," Madonna told Access. And Spears is not the only young pop star Madonna was breaking news about. She said her Sticky & Sweet world tour has a few more guest surprises in the works. "(Justin Timberlake is) going to make a guest appearance probably in Los Angeles," she told Access. "Pharrell came on stage Saturday, which was great, and I'm hoping Kanye (West) is going to join us in Chicago or Miami." The Sticky & Sweet tour has eight major costumes changes for Madonna, involving 36 different designers and filling 30 wardrobe trunks, but these fashion extravagances are not for everybody in Madonna's household.
Madonna says that daughter Lourdes has some rules when it comes to what she can wear. "She wears some of my clothes… she can't wear whatever she wants," Madonna said. "She has to wear belts. I don't want to see her underwear hanging out of her pants." (source: MSNBC)
15 October - Divorce rumours getting stronger
Pop star Madonna and Guy Ritchie, her film director husband, are planning to divorce, British reports said Wednesday. "Despite huge attempts to patch things up they both knew deep down that divorce was on the cards. It wasn't a matter of 'if' but 'when'," a "highly-placed source" told The Sun tabloid. Sky News and The Daily Mail also reported the split. The reports quoted unnamed sources and could not be immediately confirmed. The Sun's show business editor, Gordon Smart, told Sky News that a statement confirming the split was expected in the next few days.
Madonna, 50, has been married to the 40-year-old Ritchie for eight years. "It's very sad. They were a great couple and brilliant parents. They just couldn't live together any more," The Sun quoted the source as saying. Together the couple has a 7-year-old son, Rocco, and adopted son David, 2, in addition
to Madonna's daughter Lourdes, 12. Rumors of marital difficulties have plagued the couple for years. In July, when the wife of New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez filed for divorce, she blamed Madonna for the split. Rodriguez and Madonna denied any romantic relationship. Madonna is currently on a Sticky & Sweet world concert tour, which is scheduled to end later this year. Ritchie's latest crime film, "RocknRolla," had its U.S. premier earlier this month. (source: MSNBC)
~ Lately, there have been many rumours doing rounds regarding this matter, but until we have an official announcement, we are treating this as a rumour.
14 October - Madonna's threat against Sarah Palin is a metaphor
Madonna Downplays Her Physical Threats Against Sarah Palin: 'It's A Metaphor'
Singer addresses comments about the VP candidate at the premiere of Filth and Wisdom, her directorial debut.
On Election Day, it's officially going to be Obama for the Material Momma.
Madonna pledged her allegiance to the Democratic Party at the premiere of her directorial debut, Filth and Wisdom, in New York on Monday night.
The pop icon, in the midst of her Sticky & Sweet Tour, continues to keep politics center stage, launching an impromptu campaign against the Republican vice-presidential nominee, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, during shows in New York and New Jersey last week.
Madonna first banned the governor from the tour. In between sets, she screamed, "Sarah Palin can't come to my party! Sarah Palin can't come to my show!" As the week progressed, Madonna even threatened to "kick her ass."
But Madonna played down the trash talk on the red carpet of her movie premiere.
"It's a metaphor," she said. "She's in the Republican Party, I'm in the Democratic Party."
When asked if it's safe to assume she's voting for the Obama/Biden ticket, Madge told MTV News, "Hell, yeah!"
Politics get a regular slot in Madonna's current concert routine through dramatic video montages. During the song "Get Stupid," John McCain's face pops up on a screen right next to murderous dictators including Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe.
Meanwhile, the next act features happy pictures of Obama, alongside John Lennon, Mahatma Gandhi and Al Gore.
Filth and Wisdom, which opens nationwide Friday, is a musical comedy starring Vicky McClure, Holly Weston and Eugene Hutz, lead singer of Gogol Bordello. (source: MTV.com)
14 October - Madonna shows her 'Filth' at premiere
Madonna switched gears to Filth and Wisdom on Monday night, hitting the red carpet for the New York premiere of her debut as a feature film director. The Queen of Pop, who is circling the globe for her Sticky & Sweet tour, arrived solo, without hubby Guy Ritchie on her arm. "I'm so happy with the finished product," she said. "Writing it was actually my favorite part because it is so different from everything I do and deep down inside I'm really a writer." The songstress showed less skin than usual in a conservative black dress that just grazed her knees. Her black stilettos were the only part of the outfit with a Madonna trademark. The heels of the shoes were in the shape of pistols.
Her Madgesty, who famously flopped in several feature films, directed and co-wrote the musical comedy, which opens Friday. The plot revolves around three London roommates: a stripper, a Ukrainian immigrant moonlighting as a dominatrix and a drugstore clerk who steals medicine for poor kids in Africa. Cast members said the Material Girl was a perfectionist in the director's chair. The film has received tepid reviews from critics. "She knew exactly what she wanted and there was no in between. She made everything very clear," said lead actress Holly Weston, who plays a pole-dancing ballerina. "Everything had to be perfect. I think she was even there before us in the morning."
The Cinema Society-sponsored premiere drew an audience filled with the singer's celebrity pals, including the very pregnant Naomi Watts and partner Liev Schreiber, Lindsay Lohan and Brooke Shields. Jessica Alba was also there along with America Ferrara, illusionist David Blaine, newlywed Beth Ostrosky, Katie Lee Joel, Padma Lakshmi, Jason Lewis and designers Marc Jacobs and Rachel Roy. (source: NY Daily News)
Backs up pop sensation's music for Sticky & Sweet tour
The Dreamhive animation studio provided dynamic music video background imagery for Madonna's
recent Sticky & Sweet world tour
, visually backing up
two of the singer's latest music hits.
For Madonna's Sticky & Sweet world tour
appearances, The Dreamhive created striking animated background imagery for two of Madonna's most
popular songs -- 4 Minutes
Give It 2 Me
. The imagery was then played during
Madonna's exciting stage performances of the songs during the Hard Candy
and concert tours.
For 4 Minutes
, The Dreamhive created footage with
a flashing countdown clock that paid homage to Madonna's music video for the song. Using reference
images from the original music video, The Dreamhive created a dynamic CGI version of the practical
digital countdown clock, which they then rendered using custom real-time shading code. Additionally,
The Dreamhive re-created and animated the "black onyx" effect element seen in the music
video, and also generated new effect passes that were then composited into live-action footage shot
during the original video production.
"It was a terrific and extremely cool experience, to be adding our visual effects into footage
from the set of the music video," comments Wes Grandmont III, Senior CG Supervisor at The
Dreamhive. The Dreamhive's images mimicked the strong pulse and irresistible hook of the song,
and as the images played behind Madonna onstage for the tour, Justin Timberlake then frequently
joined the singer for the rest of the 4 Minutes
For the disco anthem Give It 2 Me
, The Dreamhive
created CG laser work that had an evocative, poppy, 80's look and feel, and which combined with
a live laser show to create a pulse of green and pink light beams flickering disco-style across
the dancing crowd.
The Dreamhive created all of the imagery using Autodesk(R) Maya(R) software, outputting to
1080p resolution for the shows. On the laser creative work, The Dreamhive worked from
storyboards of possible laser movement options, and then generated creative variations
for use in the live shows.
The Dreamhive team on the project included Tom Angus, Wes Grandmont, Billy Harper,
and Mathias Lorenz, all working with Chris Kantrowitz from Frank the Plumber.
"We'd like to thank the crew at Frank the Plumber, as well, who
worked with us on this," adds Billy Harper, Character Director and
Director of Client Affairs for The Dreamhive. "This was an awesome
opportunity for our studio and very much appreciated. We were all
incredibly proud to be able to provide images for a true music legend." (source: PRWeb via Yahoo
) 12 October - Pharrell joins Madonna onstage at NYC show! Last night, Madonna gave her 3rd Sticky & Sweet show in
New York City's Madison Square Garden and for the first time on the tour, a special guest joined her onstage,
none other than Pharrell Williams of The Neptunes. Read more details of the special
appearance in our tour diary!
BBC also reports:
Rap star Pharrell Williams has made a surprise appearance with Madonna in a New York date on her world tour.
Williams, who co-produced and sang on Madonna's Hard Candy
album earlier this year, joined her on stage during her final song of the show - Give It 2 Me
Madonna also continued her recent attacks on Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
Playing a screeching note on her guitar, she said: "This is the sound of Sarah Palin thinking."
After singing an a capella version of her 1989 hit Express Yourself
, she told the crowd: "I'd like to express myself to Sarah Palin right now."
She also threw condoms into the crowd at Madison Square Garden, saying that they promoted safe sex as they had a picture of Mrs Palin on them.
The anti-Republican barbs came a few days after Madonna told another concert audience: "Sarah Palin can't come to my party. Sarah Palin can't come to my show. It's nothing personal."
Throughout the tour, which started in Cardiff on 23 August, Madonna had stoked political controversy with one video segment which splices an image of Republican presidential nominee John McCain among those of Adolf Hitler, Robert Mugabe and scenes of destruction and starving children.
A spokesman for Mr McCain's campaign has called Madonna's actions "outrageous, unacceptable and crudely divisive all at the same time".
Pharrell Williams has appeared on the Sticky and Sweet tour
before, but only in video form.
During previous dates, he and Madonna's other recent collaborators - Justin Timberlake, Kanye West and Britney Spears - have "performed" in the show as lifesize images on moving video walls.
At the New York show - the 21st date on the four-month world tour - there was a more tender moment as Madonna dedicated a song to her eldest daughter Lourdes to mark her 12th birthday.
She performed You Must Love Me
, which she originally sang when she starred in the 1996 movie adaptation of the hit musical Evita
. Madonna told the crowd: "My beautiful Lola is 12 today but when I first sang this song she was growing inside me." 10 October - Miles Away digital single available
Several European iTunes stores, including Belgium, The Netherlands and the UK released the digital single
of Miles Away
. unfortunately it's nothing new for fans as
it's just the regular album version, that's been available for nearly 6 months already. The cover picture
used is the same used for the promo CDs. We currently have no info whether this ballad is going to
get a physical single or a digital remix EP, without those or a music video, it promises to be Madonna's
most pointless single release ever that's not likely to make a dent on the charts. The final Warner
Bros Madonna single is not really giving justice to a 25-year long partnership... 10 October - New greatest hits in first quarter of 2009 As reported last month, the new Madonna compilation is postponed to 2009. This is now confirmed by another source:
To give you some idea of how strong the marketplace will now become, consider that the Warner label was
preparing a Madonna Greatest Hits collection, which would surely sell in the millions.
Madonna's contract with Warner is now up (she's moving to Live Nation), and it's traditional
that labels cash in on such a departure by releasing a Greatest Hits. But Warner took one look
at the release schedules for the next few months and cautiously chose to put Madonna back to NYQ1
(that's January/February/March 2009
What was Warner so scared of? New albums by Oasis, Metallica, AC/DC, Razorlight, Beyoncé,
Dido, Snow Patrol, Kaiser Chiefs, Pink, Take That, Sugababes and Girls Aloud. Also huge-selling
best ofs from Katie Melua and Eva Cassidy, as well as a slew of re-mastered/ repackaged/previously
unreleased material works from The Clash and The Smiths. (source: The Irish Times
~ This is very unfortunate, since a Madonna compilation could have sold well in the holiday season of 2008 at the height of the Sticky & Sweet Tour
in the USA...
10 October - "She still works harder than anybody"
the man who signed Madonna, The Ramones and Talking Heads, he is one of the most influential record executives
and talent spotters of the last 40 years.Now 66, Seymour Stein says he will keep seeking new stars until
the day he dies.
It was 1955, when rock 'n' roll was beginning to bubble up, that a young boy from Brooklyn decided he had
to make a start in the music industry. [...]
But his greatest coup came in 1982, when a DJ called Mark Kamins suggested he listen to a new singer
Stein was recovering from a heart infection at the time. "I was in the hospital, I had her come
see me in the hospital," he says. "We talked a deal in the hospital and we did the deal in the hospital.
"Within days, even before I got out of the hospital, she was starting to record what became her
first single, Everybody
, and we were off and running."
Madonna's desire to succeed "clinched it" with Stein, he says.
"I saw her staunch determination and I knew she would work as hard as I did and much harder, in
fact. And that's what you need in an artist.
"She worked harder than anybody. I just saw her perform in Berlin, and she still
works harder than anybody."
Sire became part of Warner Bros Records, where Madonna stayed until this year, when
she signed a radical deal rumoured to be worth $120m (£59m) with touring giant Live Nation.
"Being an Italian-American girl, she was made an offer she couldn't refuse," Stein says. (source: BBC
08 October - Madonna heckles Palin at NYC concert
Madonna isn't "hung up" on Sarah Palin.
The singer, 50, made repeated swipes at the Republican vice presidential candidate while
performing her Sticky & Sweet Tour
NYC's Madison Square Garden.
During her tune I Love New York
, Madonna told
the audience - which included an enthusiastic Diddy, Rosie O'Donnell and designer Michael Kors
- "you know who can get off of my street? Sarah Palin! I'm gonna kick her ass if she
don't get off of my street!
She then mocked the Alaska governor's accent, sarcastically telling the crowd, "I love her.
Later, while screeching her guitar, she made yet another crack: "This is the sound
of Sarah Palin's husband's snowmobile when it won't start up in the wintertime.
then performed her hit Hung Up
Madonna also heckled Palin at her show Saturday at the Meadowlands in New Jersey, the New York Post reports.
She shouted: "Sarah Palin can't come to my party! Sarah Palin can't come to my show. It's nothing personal.
" (source: US Magazine
~ Check out our tour diary
for more on Madonna's swipes at Sarah Palin. 07 October - Filth & Wisdom: everyone has a good and bad side, and so does this film
Like many other fans who had travelled from abroad to see Madonna's Sticky & Sweet Tour
in the Stade de France, I took the occasion of making it a long weekend in Paris. A bunch of us (Josh, Wladi, Daniel, Uriel & me) got together on the Monday after the 2nd show and strolled down the Champs Elysées towards the movie theater that played Madonna's Filth & Wisdom
. The Paris streets were filled with the poster of 'Obscénité & Vérité'. Fortunately the French made an exception and didn't dub the movie but subtitled instead. After all, losing Eugene's accent would've done damage to the story.
The Gogol Bordello lead singer plays the leading role and is also the story teller. He explains how every person has a 'bad' and 'good' side. Bad & good. Filth & wisdom. Those trying to hard to be good, will eventually end up craving to be bad. That's the red line of the movie. Eugene himself, in the role of A.K., dreams of his moment of glory with his rock band Gogol Bordello, but to make a living he plays a cross-dressing dominatrix who entertains kinky men. Eugene flatmates struggle between good and bad as well. Holly is a ballet dancer without a job, until Eugene convinces her to become a pole dancer at a strip club. Juliette works at a pharmacy, where she steals medicins to help the starving children in Africa. We get a voyeuristic peak inside the lives of several other people in the environment of these 3 main characters.
As the theme suggests, it's a pretty dark movie. However, to compare with the movies of this dark genre, Madonna still keeps it clean. Her craving for happy endings doesn't really fit this kind of reality films. At the end of Filth & Wisdom, everybody is happy after all, which breaks down the strong initial message. Still, we should give Madonna credit for this directorial debut, as she brings some food for thought in an original and realistic way. The philosophical monologues of A.K. are sometimes a bit too long, but he was a good choice for this leading role (I heard Madonna allowed him to include some of his own dialogues).
The most interesting thing about this movie are the many Madonna references hidden inside, which can probably only be detected by Madonna fans. Each character seems to carry some aspect of Madonna: the battle between filth and wisdom, which has been a constant in Madonna's career as well; the ballet girl who strips to earn some money; the experiments with S&M and free sexuality; the idealistic girl wanting to help starving children in Africa, etc. The professor, who lives in the same apartment building as A.K. and for whom A.K. goes grocery shopping, is even called Christopher Flynn, referencing to Madonna's old dance teacher. Much like her song lyrics, Madonna seems to draw from her own life experience for the movie script. However, this could mean that her directorial efforts will suffer the same faith as her acting: it's only any good when it's like the real Madonna. In that case, let's hope she doesn't go for a totally different, fictional main character next time. 04 October - Candy pictures galore on Mad-Eyes
While within a few hours Madonna's tour is about to embark onto the US, Mad-Eyes brings you some sticky & sweet picture galleries from the European shows.
Madonna fans Josh Brandao, Daniel Jimenez, Maria Tranou have shared with us some of their great pictures from the shows in Cardiff
. Also a special mention to the gorgeous pictures of Daniel Pater which you can find in the extended Paris gallery
Want more sticky & sweet stuff? All the juicy details of the European shows can be found in the diary
. And there's also the tour book
, press articles
and fan reviews
. Have you seen the show yourself? Then send your review and/or pictures to Mad-Eyes
and we'll post them. 02 October - Press release: Back home after record breaking European tour
Following one of the most successful runs in European concert history, Madonna returns to the U.S. for the start of her mammoth Sticky & Sweet Tour
with five sold out shows in the New York area. The Sticky & Sweet Tour
is scheduled to open October 4th at New Jersey's Izod Arena with four Madison Square Garden dates to follow on October 6, 7, 11 and 12, it was confirmed today by Live Nation, the tour's international promoter. "Now that I've warmed up in Europe, I'm ready to come home and do the show for my U.S. fans,"
remarked Madonna about her tour that includes 3500 wardrobe elements, 36 clothing designers, 100 pairs of kneepads, 12 trampolines, 69 guitars, a traveling personnel of 250, five keyboards for Kevin Antunes the musical director, three members of the Russian Romani (Gypsy) group the Kolpakov Trio, 18 dancers, one set of Swavorski crystal encrusted ear phones and one Material Girl.
Some of the rave reviews thus far: "In the premiere league of song-and-dance spectaculars, the queen of pop remains unrivalled and undefeated" raved the London Times. "Those who took in this spectacular opening to Madonna's world tour have seen anything as slick, innovative and energetic in recent months, then please point it out. The choreography, visuals and live talent were world class and mind-blowingly well executed, intelligent and witty" glowed The Independent (UK).
Following the NY area performances, The Sticky & Sweet Tour
is scheduled to play multiple dates in North America including Boston, Toronto, Montreal, Chicago, Oakland and Denver before wrapping up in Miami on November 26th.
The tour then travels to Mexico City where the scheduled November 29th and 30th shows sold 100,000 tickets in just three hours. The South American leg of the Sticky & Sweet Tour
has had a phenomenal response as well. With three shows and over 210,000 tickets already sold, a fourth performance was just added on December 3rd in Buenos Aires, followed by sold out performances in Santiago December 10 and 11, Rio De Janeiro on December 14 and 15 and Sao Paulo December 18, 20 and 21 due to unprecedented demand. (source: Press release via Yahoo Finance
) 02 October - Sticky & Sweet Tour European leg attendance/gross revealed
Just in time for the US launch of the Sticky & Sweet Tour
, Billboard finally revealed the boxscores of the whole European tour! Madonna once again proves to be the world's biggest female touring act as she grossed an unbelievable $116 million dollars with only 17 shows! All but one shows were sold-out
, the only show that did worse was Seville
, which was added less than 2 months before the actual concert and after the other Spanish date went on sale, so Seville did pretty good as well. Madonna's total audience in Europe was an impressive 883,418
fans! The biggest single-date gross was in Wembley Stadium, London
, plus Madonna had 4 European shows with above 70,000 attendance, with Athens
being the highest! Great to see that in spite of media reports and fan speculation, Cardiff, both Paris and all the German shows were sold out. The Sticky & Sweet Tour
is easily on its way to become Madonna's biggest tour ever! Congratulations to Madonna, let's hope the North & South American legs will have these impressive numbers as well!
Here are all the numbers:
Millenium Stadium, Cardiff
Aug. 23, 2008
33,460 / 33,460
Stade Charles-Ehrmann, Nice
Aug. 26, 2008
41,483 / 41,483
Aug. 28, 2008
47,368 / 47,368
Dubendorf Airfield, Zurich
Aug. 30, 2008
70,314 / 70,314
Amsterdam Arena, Amsterdam
, The Netherlands
Sept. 2, 2008
50,588 / 50,588
LTU Arena, Dusseldorf
Sept. 4, 2008
35,014 / 35,014
Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Sept. 6, 2008
57,690 / 57,690
Sept. 9, 2008
39,543 / 39,543
Wembley Stadium, London
Sept. 11, 2008
73,349 / 73,349
Parque da Bela Vista, Lisbon
Sept. 14, 2008
75,000 / 75,000
Estadio Olimpico, Sevilla
Sept. 16, 2008
47,712 / 59,258
Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo, Valencia
Sept. 18, 2008
50,143 / 50,143
Stade De France, Paris
Sept. 20-21, 2008
138,163 / 138,163
Danube Island, Vienna
Sept. 23, 2008
57,002 / 57,002
Jaz Beach, Budva
Sept. 25, 2008
47,524 / 47,524
Olympic Stadium, Athens
Sept. 27, 2008
75,637 / 75,637 01 October - What it feels like to work for Madonna
Madonna's Sticky & Sweet Tour
touches down in the New York area Saturday for five sold-out dates. The extravagant production has already broken attendance records in Europe and is sure to do the same here.
But the Queen of Pop is only as good as her courtiers. A skilled creative team carefully collaborates to match Madonna's tour theme with costumes, choreography and video clips.
And with multiple themes, that's no easy task. Four different acts move Madonna through her set list. It starts with "Pimp," paying tribute to gangstas, then "Old School," which honors her early days in New York. A "Gypsy" act is next, followed by "Rave" - featuring dance hits and robot-like fashions.
Here are some of the hardworking staffers who make it all happen: 5 Questions for the costume designer
Arianne Phillips Age
: Won't say Job
: Costume designer Hours
: 13 hours a day, 6-7 days a week Months on the job
: 4; she started prepping for the tour in May, and then attended the first three shows in Europe. Phillips worked on Madonna's previous four tours and has helped wardrobe the star offstage for 11 years. How many costumes did you have to put together for the show?
There are 25 performers besides Madonna who change six to eight times. Madonna has eight costume changes. And everyone gets doubles of everything, including the shoes, to last the duration of the tour. Madonna sometimes has up to six copies of one particular outfit so that it always looks fresh and great. What lengths do you go to to track down pieces or materials?
We develop a lot of her clothes ourselves. So we go to the end of the earth if we have to to find the right fabric. Or if we have shoes made, we collaborate with wonderful people at Miu Miu and Prada. Madonna gets to play different characters, whether it's a sexy robot or a gypsy. Which is your favorite of the four acts in terms of the clothing designs?
That's like asking me to choose which child is my favorite. But I particularly love the rave/futuristic section. It was daunting because I always have issues with futuristic costumes. I wanted to make sure that it was going to have some value to the contemporary eye and mean something. We came up with this hybrid of Sexy Robot Joan of Arc for Madonna. What was the toughest act to design costumes for?
Developing the "Old School" section was tricky and it took a lot of prototypes. That particular costume, which I thought initially would be the easiest because she was being herself in the early '80s and it's the most casual, was the most difficult to develop because of the choreography and the active quality in that section. Also, we had to make sure that it was theatrically worthy and exciting enough for the audience. What was the result?
A pair of jersey shorts that changes color depending on what night you're there. There's a T-shirt that Prada made for us, a little hoodie that we made with Swarovski crystals. Everything is embellished with Swarovski crystals. We have over $1 million worth of crystals in the show. We're very sensitive to the fact that Madonna's performing in stadiums and not just arenas like last time, so we want to make sure that everyone can see her and the dancers. So the crystals are really helpful. 7 Questions for the show director
Jamie King Age
: in his 30s Job
: show director Hours
: about 16 hours per day, including e-mailing through the night, 6-7 days per week. Months on the job
: more than 4 This is the fourth tour you've directed for Madonna. Why did the two of you decide to do four separate acts?
In the Drowned World tour
in 2000, we established that four-act sectionalizing of the show, so we've just stayed with that format. It's good for us creatively because it allows us to change the look of the set, the stage, [and] adapt song arrangements. Madonna's perched on top of a car in one scene from the show. What's that about?
We used an old-fashion car in our "Pimp" section. We thought if we were going to pimp it out, let's not do something contemporary, but let's do our own version of a classy pimp and what that would look like. So our car looks more like a Rolls-Royce, but we still blinged it out. The license plate says M-Dolla and it's for a song called, Beat Goes On
. And why does she jump rope at one point?
She's doing Double Dutch, which was birthed in the streets of New York City. It's in our "Old School" section and Double Dutch is really of that kind of early breaking, pop-locking period on the streets. You've directed recent tours by the Spice Girls, Celine Dion, Avril Lavigne, Christina Aguilera and Ricky Martin. How does working for Madonna compare?
I don't know any other artist who pushes the envelope more than Madonna. It's because she's always willing to try new things and wants to explore. The Sticky & Sweet tour recently stirred up controversy with a video montage that's shown during the song 'Get Stupid', which compares John McCain to Hitler. How did that come about?
Madonna is very political, and it's important for us to always express every side of her when she goes onstage because her show is an extension of her. Madonna's changed the views of the world and how things are perceived - whether it be sex or politics or image, and since she's very political, we have to incorporate that into the show. Is there any concern it might alienate fans who may be Republicans or fans of McCain?
Madonna's message has always been stand for what you believe in, no matter what it is. At what point do you get to sit back and enjoy the show?
I never stop freaking out. I'm always nervous and I think that's the great thing about both Madonna and me. We're always nervous because we want to make sure that the audience gets a great show. 3 Questions for the video director
Tom Munro Age
: 43 Job
: Video clip director for Die Another Day Hours
: Four or five hours per day for two or three weeks, including research and preparation; video was shot in one day. You directed a video of Madonna boxing for the song Die Another Day that's shown during a break. Why is that an important part of the show?
It's played on three enormous monitors while Madonna is changing, so she's not actually on stage. The video keeps everyone entertained while she's off [stage]. And then there are dancers on stage - two guys who are choreographed in a dance-move boxing thing. Where'd you shoot the video?
We shot it at Steiner Studios in Brooklyn in June. It was a one-day shoot. The preparation for it was a lot longer because I did all the lighting as well, which was quite involved. So we had a day to set up the props and create the environment, a day to test the lighting, and then, on the third day, we shot Madonna. I also shot all the stills for the tour book, so it was a busy day. How does Madonna compare with other artists you've shot?
Madonna is the biggest icon in pop culture, and she's an incredibly inspiring subject. In my career, I haven't worked with anybody that gives as much to the camera and the creative process as Madonna has done. And for a photographer/director, that's a great treat because you can only do your best if you're being given the material to work with. (source: New York Daily News
) 01 October - Makeup artist helps keep Madonna en vogue
When Madonna's Sticky & Sweet tour
kicks off its North American leg at the Izod Center on Saturday, you'll surely see quite a stage show, with dramatic costumes, dazzling dancers and huge video screens.
Apparently, though, it can't compare with the show you won't get to see - the one that takes place behind the scenes. According to Gina Brooke, Madonna's makeup artist for the past six years, there's so much action that backstage wizards actually rehearse their routine for a month before the tour begins.
"We choreograph our movements," says Brooke. "In between the numbers, we have less than a minute and a half to change her entire outfit, fix her hair and her makeup, and so, when she takes off her boot, one person steps on the other side [to work on her]. If you're out of sync and you mess up, she can miss her cue, and it can [throw off] the whole show in terms of timing."
On the phone from Vienna - one of 14 European cities she'd been to in the previous three weeks with the tour - Brooke talked about how she keeps 50-year-old Madonna looking beautiful and her exciting but exhausting job.
"Oh, my God. It is pressure, but that's what makes it fun," says Brooke, who's also artistic director of Shu Uemura; the product line, including eyeliner, eye shadow and eyelashes, is what she uses almost exclusively on Madonna. "The makeup has to be precise for every single show. And the great thing about working with Madonna is, she keeps you on your toes. She just notices every detail."
For Madonna's 2006 Confessions tour
, Brooke worked with her to create a "retro-glam" look. This time, she says, "the look is all about the eyes and the really beautiful radiant skin."
Brooke's philosophy - whether she's working with Madonna, Naomi Campbell or David Beckham (for his eye-popping new Giorgio Armani ads) - is to take the person's best attribute and enhance it.
"With Madonna, her best attributes are her skin and her eyes, so I always focus on that," says Brooke. "Madonna, she's all about her liquid eyeliner."
Brooke first draws a thin Sophia Loren-like line on Madonna's eyelid, adds a gunmetal-colored eyeshadow (Pressed Eye Shadow in ME Black 990), then, on top of the shadow, she draws "tiny little [horizontal] black lines."
"She's a perfectionist, and trust me, if there's one line that's out of place, or one eye has more lines than the other, she will let me know it," Brooke says.
And the lips?
"I felt like the softer the lip, the softer and younger she looks," says Brooke, who uses a lip liner (called Nude, "but it's really kind of pink"), a lipstick (Rouge Unlimited 945) and, in the middle of the lip, a product called Crystal Shine, "which makes the lip look fuller."
Before the show, Madonna's hair and makeup are done simultaneously, which takes about 45 minutes. "Then she does her stretching and her vocal warm-ups. And then we're under the stage with her, in a very small room with a wardrobe rack and a mirror and a light, and we're all getting her ready," Brooke says. On Madonna's "very fair" skin, Brooke uses oxygen skin treatments and a hydrating face mask, then moisturizer, before applying the makeup.
"If one preps the skin properly you don't have to worry about your makeup coming off. In all the years that I've worked with Madonna - I've done three world tours with her plus three world promo tours with her - I've never had an issue with makeup coming off. Ever."
Not even when it's raining, nor when it's really hot, as it was in Spain, where Madonna was "much dewier than in other cities."
The look of the show and the star is a collaboration among Madonna's hair and makeup artists, her stylists - and the Queen of Reinvention herself.
"Madonna usually knows or has a strong idea what she wants in her show," says Brooke, who pulls pictures from art books and creates a story board to present at the creative meetings. "She decides whether she likes them or not. And then we all talk about whether it's going to go with the wardrobe and the hair."
A New York City native, Brooke was studying to be a fashion designer at the Fashion Institute of Technology when a girl who modeled her clothing asked if she'd do her makeup for a test shoot.
One thing led to another, and "the next thing you know, I was making so much money, I was like, 'I'm quitting school and being a makeup artist.' "
In 2001, she moved from Manhattan to Los Angeles. The following year, through a neighbor in her building, she met Jordana Steiner, who was starting an artist management company.
Three days later, Steiner called. "She said, 'Are you sitting down?' I have some good news for you. … You're flying to Europe Tuesday. I got your book to Madonna and she loves your work."
In turn, Brooke loves having Madonna as a client, "first and foremost, because she's a trendsetter, and she's known for reinventing herself," she says. "I run into women who, when they hear that I work with her, say, 'Can you please tell me how you did that eye in Elle magazine?' It's such a great feeling." (source: NorthJersey.com
) 01 October - Trailer of Madonna's directorial debut Filth and Wisdom
The trailer to Filth and Wisdom
has been released, introducing some of the characters involved in the movie. The drama comedy is the directorial debut of pop queen Madonna that has received mixed reviews when it was premiered at Berlin International Film Festival on February 13, 2008.
Centering its story on the narration done by Ukraine native Andriy Krystiyan who travels to England and live with two female flatmates, Filth and Wisdom
is cinematic tale of everyday life about people who are obliged to take on jobs just to earn a living. Whether we take the path of wisdom or the path of filth, we will eventually arrive at the same enlightened place.
It will be released in theaters on October 17. (source: AceShowbiz
~ Watch the trailer here!
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