Madonna has given a sneak preview of her new stage role as she rehearsed for her West End stage debut. The star posed for a series of arty black and white shots as she prepared to open in the sell-out run of the play, Up For Grabs.
In one shot many Madonna fans would have been left wondering "Who's That Girl?" as she stood in silhouette with light flooding through a doorway behind her. She appeared to be enjoying herself as she ran through the biting satire on the art world which first opened in Sydney, Australia, last year breaking box office records.
Director Laurence Boswell said rehearsals were going well: "Everyone is extremely relaxed. It's a wonderful company." Previews of the show, which also stars Tom Irwin, begin on May 13 at Wyndham's Theatre and the production has its official opening 10 days later. Technical difficulties have meant the show opens three days later than originally planned.
Madonna will make an appearance in the forthcoming James Bond film, Die Another Day, it has been revealed. The cameo was announced by the movie's director, Lee Tamahori, on the American TV programme Entertainment Tonight.
Although it is not yet known whether the Material One will play a goodie or a baddie, it is known that she will be on set for two days alongside Pierce Brosnan and Halle Berry and will wear a 'specially designed outfit'. It has already been confirmed that Madonna is to sing the theme tune for the 20th Bond movie.
There has been no official announcement from the Madonna camp yet...
Pop music memorabilia such as a Michael Jackson glove, a Madonna bustier, and spectacles worn by Buddy Holly and John Lennon, will be displayed for five months at the Experience Music Project in an exhibit titled "(Un)Common Objects: Pop Music's Sacred Stuff."
Preview performances of Madonna's long awaited West End stage debut have been postponed because of technical hold-ups, producers have announced. The complex staging of her production Up For Grabs has meant the first preview will not take place until 13 May. Ticket-holders for the cancelled shows are being offered alternative dates, with three extra performances added. The axed shows, at Wyndhams Theatre on 9-11 May, will be replaced by performances on 13 May, 6 July and 13 July.
A statement said: "The production has developed into a complex synchronicity between moving set, sound, music and projection and realising it in an older style theatre like the Wyndhams has increased necessary technical time."
Ticket holders will be offered either tickets for one of the extra shows or a refund. It is not the first hitch to disrupt plans for the production - daytime performances were dropped due to the singer's recording commitments. Up For Grabs, written by Australian David Williamson, is a satire on the art world.
It broke box office records when it opened in Sydney in February 2001. The play, which has a cast of seven, will be directed by Laurence Boswell, whose recent credits include A Day In The Life Of Joe Egg and Popcorn, by Ben Elton. After the previews, it will formally open on 23 May. A special hotline has been set up to deal with the changes on 020 7369 1796.
Fatboy Slim's Weapon Of Choice has been named the greatest music video ever made. A panel of music industry experts chose the video in a poll for music channel VH1. [...] A poll among VH1 viewers recently awarded Thriller video the top spot, with Madonna's Like A Prayer in second position. Madonna had the highest number of entries in the experts' poll, with seven in the top 100, while Jackson managed six.
VH1 vice president of programming and production, Christine Boar, said: "Our chart verifies the fact that the music video industry has finally progressed on from Thriller. Thriller was ground-breaking for its time, but the industry prefer ingenuity to big budget extravaganzas." The chart will be counted down by DJ Sara Cox on VH1 from April 29, with 20 tracks each day until May 3. The entire chart will be played on May 4 and 5.
MTV held a similar poll: Fatboy Slim's Praise You video has been voted the best of all time by viewers of MTV, on the 20th anniversary on the cable music channel's launch. Michael Jackson's groundbreaking 14-minute Thriller video came a close second in the poll carried out through MTV's website. [...]
Overall, Jackson had three entries in the top 100 videos list. Madonna - a heroine of the MTV generation - had the most with four entries. They included the videos for Material Girl and Like A Prayer. The recent MTV's top 10 videos lists Ray Of Light on no. 4.
A reading of the original script shows that Up For Grabs is not just about art but also about sex and money. Madonna's character (now rechristened Loren) is a wannabe art dealer prepared to try, or turn, any trick to sell a painting.
At one point, she sleeps with a prospective buyer, a bisexual woman, in front of her husband, who, after a botched penis-enlargement operation, has an erection like a "hoop".
Later, Loren offers herself to a married male collector to draw him into a bidding war, only to be handed a large sex aid with which to pleasure him. These scenes, and the play's themes, may go some way to explaining why Madonna chose it. She loves to shock. She's a passionate collector of art. She's a canny businesswoman, fascinated by the interplay between commerce, culture and sexuality. Above all, she likes to reinvent herself, so returning to the stage in a sharp, funny, unknown play must have seemed all the more appealing.
The sex acts themselves happen offstage, and if the seductions leading up to them, and Loren's anguished analytical monologues afterwards, are among the scenes being changed in rehearsal, it's likely they will become less rather than more explicit. This could be seen as sudden prudishness by the woman who posed starkers for Sapphic tableaux in her book Sex, and who regularly simulated coitus in her stage shows: Madonna is, after all, now 44, with two young children and a husband who doesn't like her to flash her "raspberries".
What's more likely is she knows that nudity and on-stage nooky are no longer shocking in our no-holesbarred theatre: the only weapon left is surprise, and it's better to tease than to strip. These scenes will be all the more startling for audiences who, having forked out up to £145 for tickets on the internet on the strength of Madonna's name, will have little or no expectations of the play itself.
London's Victoria and Albert Museum is to pay tribute to late designer Versace. The museum is planning an exhibition in autumn. Exhibits will include creations worn by Princess Diana, Sir Elton John, Madonna and Courtney Love. Madonna donated the stunning dress she wore during her Bedtime Story performance at the 1995 Brit Awards.
Seven more prominent recording artists, including Madonna, have become members of the Recording Artists Coalition (RAC), bringing the number of members to 141. Other new RAC members include Puddle of Mudd, Toby Keith, Neil Diamond, Christina Aguilera, Stone Temple Pilots, and Seal. RAC was co-founded in 2000 by Don Henley and Sheryl Crow to create a recording artist-driven organization ensuring that their rights and views are presented in legislative arenas and in private negotiations.
Mad-Eyes offers you short demo clips from two unreleased Madonna tracks: 'Revenge' and 'Gone' (not to be confused with Gone from the Music album; both are leftovers from the Ray Of Light recording sessions). Click to download.
Some Madonna songs were recently added to compilation albums. American Pie features on the Brazilian album 'Simply The Best Movie Album', containing several movie tracks. You'll See is added to a Japanese album 'The Best Of Me', referring to producer/arranger David Foster. Finally the GHV2 Thunderpuss Megamix can be found on Asian album 'Max 9'.
Boy George has removed a joke about Madonna from his '80s musical. Madonna was reportedly upset about George's spoof version of her hit Vogue in his show Taboo. The DJ and former Culture Club star said the jokey reference was "a tiny send-up." The track changed the lyrics of Madonna's Vogue to: "Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, that Madonna, dyes her hair."
George has now removed the song from Taboo. He told The Sun: "I thought she was having a joke. I used to think she was an icon but she's more eyesore to me now. It's all so inoffensive - it's a tiny send-up. We send up everyone in the show. The Human League and Spandau Ballet both agreed. We didn't ask her but, you know, I thought she might laugh. She thinks she's a born-again Brit but she's clearly not. It's a shame because the song was funny but she obviously has no sense of humour."
Country singer Wynonna got fellow entertainers such as Madonna, Britney Spears and Shania Twain to make donations for an Internet charity auction to benefit disaster relief. Airline tickets and a seat for a taping of "The Oprah Winfrey Show"; a guitar autographed by Twain; and a Seventeen magazine signed by Spears are among the items that became available for bidding on eBay on Monday.
The auction continues through May 9. Proceeds will go to the Red Cross. "I was delightfully surprised at the generosity of my fellow artists who committed to this cause," Wynonna said. "As amazed as I am by the talents of Madonna, Dolly (Parton), Rosie (O'Donnell), Garth (Brooks) and Oprah, and all of the others who donated, I am forever changed by the size of their hearts."
Read an interview with Peter Rauhofer at DJ Times, where he talks about remixing for Madonna. He mentions remixing Runaway Lover and how Warner wanted to release it as a single but then changed its mind. I'm sure he means Impressive Instant though.
Check out the new section of Sp!n Online: Sp!n Extended, which features classic Sp!n remixes inspired by the 12" 80s and 70s extended versions. Now ready for download: Another Suitcase In Another Hall and Drowned World/Substitute For Love, with more to come soon.
VH-1 is having a Madonnathon on Monday, April 22 (All times in EDT):
11:00am-11:30am: Pop-Up Video: Madonna;
11:30am-01:00pm: Behind The Music;
01:00pm-04:00pm: Truth Or Dare;
04:00pm-06:00pm: Ciao Italia;
07:00pm-08:00pm: Greatest TV Moments.
Pop icon Madonna is no prima donna. So said her publicist Thursday, dismissing media reports that the superstar had made a string of unreasonable demands before her London stage debut next month in "Up for Grabs".
Madonna was said to have demanded a raised stage to stop fans rushing her, theater staff were told not to have eye contact with her and cast members were firmly told not to use her nickname 'Madge'.
"It is absolute rubbish," spokeswoman Barbara Charone told Reuters when asked about the press reports. The London box office was besieged last month when it was announced that Madonna was to star in Australian playwright David Williamson's hit play about an ambitious art dealer.
A spokeswoman for the producers said: "She has been utterly charming in rehearsals. Everyone is very relaxed and she is mucking in like a trouper." Matinee performances for the play, which has its first night on May 23, have had to be canceled because of Madonna's recording commitments.
She last appeared on the stage in 1988 when she played a secretary on Broadway in American playwright David Mamet's satire on Hollywood, "Speed the Plow".
Check the Brazilian fansite Madonna Online for scans of ICON Magazine #37, which has been sent out to members.
Soon the new version of Madonna's Ashram will be launched, but now you can check the site to listen to a short, previously unheard sample of Madonna. To know what it really is - possibly a demo from an old recording session - we'll have to wait for the launch early May.
Michael Lerner will co-star with Madonna in Up For Grabs in the West End. Lerner earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the film Barton Fink. His other film appearances include The Mummy, My Favourite Martian and Radioland Murders.
The cast of Up For Grabs also includes the British actresses Megan Dodds and Sian Thomas. The show is at the Wyndhams Theatre from May 23 to July 13.
The writer of Madonna's new play says everyone calls her M because she hates the nickname Madge. David Williamson has been working with her as she prepares to make her West End debut in Up For Grabs. He says Madonna hates the nickname British newspapers have given her.
"They call her Madge to try to domesticate her and she hates it," Williamson told news.com.au. "One of the actors didn't realise and called her that in rehearsals and got a fairly sharp response."
He admits the pair have clashed over the play's ending. "I'm not a pushover, and I've had a couple of arguments with her in the rehearsal room," he says. "I'm not doing everything she tells me by any means.
She would ask 'David, are you telling me I have to do it that way?' and I say 'M, I would never tell you what to do, I'm just suggesting'." Up For Grabs opens at Wyndhams Theatre on May 23.
If some new pictures of Madonna are anything to go by, it looks like the 43-year-old may well be expecting her third child - and that son Rocco is in on the secret.
Rumours that the pop icon is again pregnant by film director husband Guy Ritchie have been doing the showbusiness rounds for weeks but photographs, taken during a shopping trip in Beverly Hills, seem to indicate there may be some truth in them. The photographs appear to show Madonna raising her top and encouraging her son by Guy Ritchie to pat her stomach.
The health-conscious yoga fanatic certainly looks more shapely than her usual muscular self, and what would be more natural than to lift her top to show young Rocco where his new brother or sister is growing? Crucially, speculation has been reported on the celebrity gossip website - which correctly predicted her last pregnancy and even the couple's choice of the name Rocco.
It may also explain why she chose to cancel all the matinée performances of Up For Grabs, the play in which she is set to make her West End stage debut next month. Of course publicists for the stars will be reluctant to confirm if their client is pregnant in the critical early stages up to the three-month scan.
However, often months after that - even right up to the birth - a star's pregnancy will still be officially denied. Madonna's press agent, Moira Bellas, told the Standard today: "We have been inundated with calls over the last 10 days about this. I have personally been in contact with Madonna's camp more than once about it and am reliably informed she's not pregnant."
Publicists also denied Madonna's first two pregnancies with her daughter Lourdes and then Rocco, until it became too obvious. This time Madonna might feel it is even more important to conceal the pregnancy, given the fact that there are more risks attached to older motherhood. It was also claimed last year in the unauthorised biography, Goddess, that Madonna had 11 abortions by the time she was 18 years old - a claim which, were it true, would also affect her ability to have children.
Those claims were strenuously denied by the star at the time, though Madonna did not take any legal action against author Barbara Victor. Rocco was born in August 2000, a few months before Madonna Ciccone married Ritchie at the Highlands castle of Skibo. Lourdes, now five, is her child by personal fitness trainer Carlos Leon.
Ritchie has described fatherhood as one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of his life, and he has also expressed his desire to have more children with Madonna. Of course, the pictures, published in Heat magazine today, could simply show an intimate moment where mother and child compare belly-buttons, but it is certainly unusual for the off-stage Madonna to be this demonstrative in public.
Madonna has been a devotee of the ancient Jewish teachings for years - and she credits the Kabbalah with her successes over the past few years.Now she's determined to make sure she gets her dates right for new projects, which include a new album and a stage play insider says, "Devotees of the Kabbalah believe there are perfect times for launches of business ventures.
Madonna has always made sure she seeks advice on good dates to release albums and the like." Madonna is holding up plans to begin a new vacation venture in Los Angeles - the brains behind the project shares her Kabbalah guru, and he's in London with his famous devotee.
Check Madonnarama for a scan of the Madonna's letter that's being sent out with the latest edition of ICON Magazine.
In an unprecedented move into supporting football, Madonna is backing the England World Cup squad, writes Paul Thomson. The superstar American singer and her English film-director husband Guy Ritchie are backing Sven-Goran Eriksson's England team by signing a joint message on a St George's Cross flag. Madonna's message to the team said: "Come on chaps. Ra, ra, rattle rattle - bring that ruddy cup home."
The gesture is just the latest tying Madonna, 43, to her adopted home. She lives near Marble Arch and has chosen to bring up and educate her two children, Rocco and Lourdes, in England. Her husband Ritchie cast footballer-turned-actor Vinnie Jones in his hit film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
The Football Association and sponsor Nationwide want to create theworld's biggest fans' flag, which will measure 20 x 10 metres. The flag can accommodate up to one million signatures of support from England well-wishers. Fans can go online to www.TheFA.com/flag to register their details and leave a good-luck message.
Other celebrities including Davina McCall, Tim Henman and Johnny Vaughan have joined Madonna to pledge their support by signing a smaller version of the flag. All proceeds from the sale of the flag - which will be taken out to Japan and presented to the England players - will go to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
Eriksson is also a big fan of the flag and said: "This campaign is amagnificent way of symbolising the entire country's support for the national team. "We will travel to the World Cup with wonderful support behind us, it will mean a lot to me and all the players."
Material Girl's football duets: Don't Cry For Me Argentina (with David Beckham), Gambler (with Kevin Keegan), Jimmy Jimmy (with Jimmy Hill), Like A Virgin (with Dwight Yorke), True Blue (with Ken Bates), Causing A Commotion (with Alan Smith), Who's That Girl (with David Seaman).
Madonna is moving into the world of television. Her production company Maverick is to make a new game show for American network NBC. A pilot version of Truth Or Dare has already been filmed, and a series is looking likely. NBC's Jeff Gaspin told HollywoodReporter.com the show is a half-hour "slightly edgy adult game show" based on the game of the same name. The series will include lie-detector tests to assess the truthfulness of the answers.
Madonna's first stage appearance in 13 years has developed into the West End's hottest ticket - all seats have sold out and the touts are already charging up to £150 [about 250 €]. Even higher prices are expected as the 9 May date of Madonna's first preview performance of Up For Grabs looms ever closer.
Many agents have been unable to source supplies of the in-demand tickets. Those that have are charging no less than £100 [about 167 €] for stalls seats with a face value of just £37.50 [about 62.50 €]. Madonna first appeared on stage in David Mamet's Speed-The-Plow on Broadway in 1988.
~ Like most articles this one also forgets about Madonna's short theatre debut in 1986's Goose And Tom-Tom.
Check out this funny quiz to find out which Madonna video describes you best! :)
"CNN International will air a Madonna profile as part of their 'People In The News' programming. The show will air on the 13th & 14th of April and the 4th & 5th of May at the following times :
Saturdays - 08.30 GMT (Asia/South Asia); 14.30 GMT (Europe); 18.30 GMT (Latin America); 21.30 GMT (Asia/South Asia)
Sundays - 11.30 GMT (Europe/North America); 20.30 GMT (Latin America)."
My question involves the ever-fascinating Madonna. It occurs to me that Madonna has had a song on the Hot 100 in every calendar year since 1983. I think the only exception could be 1988 -- I'm not sure if Like A Prayer debuted in late '88 or early '89. I wonder if you could tell me who the record-holder is for most consecutive calendar years with a song on the Hot 100."
Colby Ryan, New York
It depends how you qualify Madonna's achievement. She didn't have any songs debut on the Hot 100 in 1988, but she did have a single on the chart that year -- just barely. Causing A Commotion peaked at No. 2 the week of Oct. 24, 1987. The single's final week on the chart was Jan. 9, 1988, when it was No. 98, down from No. 97.
That means Madonna has been on the Hot 100 every year from 1983 to 2001 (and seems certain to chart in 2002 with the title song to the next James Bond flick, 'Die Another Day').
She's at 19 years and counting. Just considering the Hot 100, Elvis Presley charted every year for 20 consecutive years, from 1958 to 1977. Of course, Presley also charted on the Billboard pop singles chart before the Hot 100 was introduced in August 1958. If we count his entire rock-era career, he had an uninterrupted 22-year run, from 1956 to 1977."
Madonna is currently rehearsing at Sadlers Wells in secret for her May West End debut. Large areas of the theatre are now off-limits to staff. The stage at Wyndhams Theatre, where she will be appearing in Up For Grabs, has been raised three feet for security reasons.
Madonna is also responsible for another West End first: two security guards are to stand on eitherside of the stage. Even Nicole Kidman didn't get that in the Blue Room. (FYI On a recent visit to the Wyndhams, she was asked what she wanted to drink. Her reply: "Do you have wine in both colours?")
Madonna's love of the theatre seems to be growing and growing. Not content with actually appearing on stage in the forthcoming Up For Grabs, Madge has decided to become a patron of the arts as well.
Mrs Ritchie has been named as one of the backers of a new play, Jesus Hopped The A Train by Stephen Adly Guirgis, that is to open at the Arts Theatre in Leicester Square on 24 April.
Clearly aware of the impact of the names Madonna and Jesus together on the front of a theatre, the canny producers have decided to credit Madge by placing her name on the front of the building.
Madonna first saw the play at the Donmar Warehouse and has made a significant donation to the play's £200,000 budget.
I Want You (the collaboration between Madonna and Massive Attack), is included on a new U.K. compilation album. The album, entitled "Instant Karma" is a two-disc set of 'chill-out' tunes released by the Warner Dance label.
Madonna has commented (briefly) on Peter Howson's artwork which has been unveiled this week. Her spokesperson, has told U.S. television programme Entertainment Tonight that she denies being unhappy with the portraits and 'she would never stand in the way of someone's artistic expression'.
Among the already known details about Swept Away, UpcomingMovies.com reports the following update: first off, the title has been confirmed by Sony as Swept Away. They are also now planning on a September, 2002 release. Finally, the rumors of an appearance by Jennifer Aniston have been confirmed, though it's just a cameo.
Splashed in lurid colours across a series of huge canvasses, new images of Madonna were unveiled Wednesday - one showing the pop diva squatting naked in a graveyard and another sprawled luxuriously on a bed.
Previewing the new exhibition of his work at a small Scottish gallery, celebrated artist Peter Howson said he painted the 10 nude portraits from imagination, after the singer declined to pose for him. And although he said he was sure the paintings would "flatter and please" the subject, Howson said he was less confident about the reaction of Madonna's husband, British film director Guy Ritchie, who reportedly barred her from posing naked for the paintings. "I think he'll probably come and hit me. But if he's a man of wisdom and integrity he'll be quite pleased with them, I imagine," he said.
Howson, whose work is displayed in museums around the world and has been bought by stars including David Bowie, Sylvester Stallone and Madonna herself, said the new portraits showed the queen of pop as a powerful and charismatic person and touched on her religious upbringing.
But the images also explored a darker side to the famous singer, beyond her public image as a performer and mother, he said. One six foot by four foot (1.8 meter by 1.2 meter) canvas, titled 'Madonna 2002', depicts the star reclining on a sumptuous bed. Her limbs are twisted and distorted, her oversized hands rest on powerful thighs and her haunting eyes stare into the distance.
Religious symbols, representing Mary, the mother of Jesus, the head of John the Baptist, Eve and a tree of knowledge litter the crumpled sheets. "It is not a pretty representation," Howson was quoted by The Herald newspaper as saying in a recent interview about the 'New Works' exhibition. But to me she still looks beautiful. There must be millions of photographic images of the woman by now, but I wanted to show something deeper than that, what she means to me."
Another canvas, 'Death on Madonna', is a more stylised image of the singer, crouching on mighty haunches in a graveyard, with her head thrown back. Her rippling, taut physique, painted in bright yellow, dominates the scene and dwarfs a gravestone in the background. "The graveyard is basically just to do with mortality, the beauty of the flesh that dies," the artist was quoted by The Sunday Telegraph as saying.
Howson, 44, rose to prominence in the 1980s as one of the so-called New Glasgow Boys, a group of painters who depicted the gritty, harsh reality of poverty and violence in the industrial, Scottish city. His works hang in the Tate and National Portrait Gallery in London, New York's Museum of Modern Art, and the National Gallery of Norway in Oslo.
In 1993, he was commissioned by the Imperial War Museum in London to travel to Bosnia to capture the Balkans conflict on canvas. Howson said Wednesday that he had met with Madonna on several occasions, since they first met in the United States 13 years ago.
He said he'd been working on the paintings for ten years and repeatedly had to alter his approach as the singer's image and style shifted. "I knew she'd have changed again by the time they went on show," he said.
The singer, who appeared naked in her own book "Sex" and has often cavorted on stage in revealing costumes, declined to pose for the series of paintings, however. According to her staff, Howson said, she was scared he would make her look ugly. Reports in the British media also said Ritchie had forbidden her to pose naked for the paintings.
The artist said he had sent Madonna photos of the paintings several weeks ago, and was disappointed he had not heard from her. Madonna's spokeswoman in London declined to comment on the exhibition and said she did not know whether the star had seen the paintings.
The collection, which also includes works depicting scenes from Afghanistan, portraits of miners and a series of paintings of a drunken man, opens at the McLaurin Gallery in Ayr, Scotland, on April 13. That will be followed by the Flowers Central Gallery in London from April 18.
An article in an Australian newpaper the Sun-Herald (April 7th) details the influence Madonna is having over the play 'Up For Grabs'. The article details how Madonna, David Williamson (the play's writer) and the director have been emailing each other furiously in relation to changes for the play, in particular the ending. (Other minor changes previously known relate to the setting of the play being changed from Sydney to New York).
David also discusses the possibility that the play may move to Broadway and may enjoy an extended run on the West End (with no reference to Madonna). Most importantly he states that the first readings of the play will be beginning THIS WEEK in London.
Here's what David Williamson had to say about Madonna: "I've been involved in a very instructive and constructive debate with her... she's very sharp, she's had script change suggestions that work very well... it'll be a different play by the time it hits the stage... I think, as a result it's improved. I think she's a very, very good actor... anyone who says otherwise is talking through their necks. Anyone who has the kind of vocal skills she has, has amazing control and strength. And she has enormous charisma"
The artist behind two nude paintings of Madonna has claimed there is "a great weakness" at the heart of the Queen of Pop, as he prepares to unveil the works. The oils are to be exhibited at the McLaurin Gallery in Ayr, Scotland, from April 13, with artist Peter Howson claiming they have struck fear into the camp of Madonna.
Howson, whose work will also be displayed at the Flowers Central Gallery in London, said he had received an uncertain response from his subject. "The reaction from her camp hasn't been good", he explained.
"I think they're frightened of what she'll think", added Howson, who has not been told if Madonna will accept his invitation to view the works. She is believed to be a fan of Howson, who has used his imagination, rather than a string of photos and videos, to capture Madonna's figure, reports Reuters.
"Nobody knows the true Madonna, not even herself," Howson claimed. "The thing that strikes you about her is her strength, but there is a great weakness underneath all of that."
~ Seems like someone is quite disappointed about Madonna's negative reaction. Quite a 'weak' way to sell his paintings.
Dmitri Hvorostovsky, who once beat Bryn Terfel in a singing competition, has been dubbed 'the Elvis of opera'. But he won't be tempted into 'tacky' cross-over.
He tells me that back in Siberia he was the singer in a rock band who played heavy metal numbers - "it was a way to become a local hero". All of which might make you think he would be tempted by cross-over pop projects beloved of record companies. But Hvorostovsky is not interested - in fact, he says one of the reasons why he fell out with his last record company, Philips Classics, was its attempts to push him into "tacky" collaborations.
If he were offered a million dollars for a duet with Madonna, I ask, would he really turn it down? He pauses. "It would be painful, I would be embarrassed but I would turn her down."
The DVD for 'In Bed With Madonna' will finally be released on April 22nd in Europe, Middle East and Japan. Here are the details of the release:
- Format: DVD Region 2 (Europe, Middle East & Japan only)
- Catalogue Number: 21389DVD
- Further Information: PAL, Black & White, Colour, Widescreen
- Running Time: 114 Minutes
- Certification: (18)
- Director: Alek Keshishian
- Synopsis: An in-depth look at Madonna, set against the Blonde Ambition Tour, where director Alek Keshishian was told he could film anything and everything. Numerous numbers are listed, including 'Like A Virgin', 'Papa Don't Preach', 'Promise To Try', 'Vogue' and 'Like A Prayer'.
Check out fansites Madonnapolis and Little Star for scans of the new MadonnaStyle book by Carol Clerk. The book looks at Madonna's image from the very beginning of her career, and ends at the Drowned World Tour.
When you read the words "role model," it's often a man who comes to mind. But why should this be the case? We've all looked up to someone at one time or another in our lives or careers - whether they be our mothers, our sisters, our teachers, or our friends - and been inspired, guided, and encouraged by another woman's example.
The 20th century has been particularly rich with strong, take-charge, empowered females, any one of whose lives and achievements stand as a wonderful example for the rest of us to emulate and admire. With that in mind, the experts at eHarlequin.com have compiled the following list, in no particular order, of the Top 10 Female Role Models:
1. Eleanor Roosevelt: in many ways the ultimate First Lady, she was not content to simply be "the wife of the president." She made kindness and charity part of the national agenda, setting the definitive example for future First Ladies to follow.
2. Madonna: whether you admire her in-your-face sexuality or wish she'd tone it down a notch, we can all agree that the Material Girl is one driven, successful career woman who has made her way on her own terms, not on any man's coattails. [...]
Dutch Madonnafan Mark has redesigned and re-opened his great fansite The M-Files. Besides the traditional biography, discography and filmography pages he has added some very interesting and original content, such as a closer look at the irony used in Madonna's work ('Ironica') and an interpretation of Madonna's influence on religion, feminism, postmodernism, etc. in the Science Files. Much more to discover in The M-Files, a great site that soon will be added to the no. 1 Madonna portal Annodam.com.
The portraits, which are the result of over six years of attempts by Howson to paint Madonna, will be the centrepiece of the new exhibition at the McLaurin Gallery. Howson was once described as Madonna's favourite contemporary artist and she has several pieces of his work.
They first met over 15 years ago. But the pair have not spoken for years and she failed to invite Howson to her Skibo Castle wedding over a year ago to film director Guy Ritchie. Relations between the two are expected to cool even further following the unveiling of the nude paintings and ten similiar sketches of the pop star.
"I am told that people around Madonna are not that happy. She did not co-operate for the work. I did the paintings from my imagination which is more real than reality," said Howson. "Who knows maybe Sean Penn will buy one as a dartboard? I hope she is not offended. That is not the intention. It is just something I have always wanted to do. I would like her to be happy with them."
One portrait 7ft by 5ft shows Madonna naked in a church graveyard, while another 6ft by 4ft shows her "intimately" lying on a bed. (source: Westen Isles News Agency, thanx to Madonnarama)
Also read the article in the Sunday Herald in which Madonna's art consultant Darlene Lutz condemns the nude portraits as 'voyeuristic', 'self-promoting' and 'not the done thing'.
A new computer virus is spreading over the internet, disguised as Madonna MP3s. Users receive an email which seems to contain a Madonna MP3 (e.g. Don't_tell_me.mp3). Usually however the file has a double extension (.mp3.vbs) and when executed it searches for .exe files that are in the same folder as the virus and overwrites them by a copy of the script. Such files cannot be repaired and must be deleted.
UK paper The Sunday Times has posted their Rich List of 2002. Madonna and Guy made it to no. 4 on the list of richest husbands and wives, with a shared fortune of £ 200 million [about € 326 million].
Fansite Where Life Begins has managed to get scans of the indeed rather unrecognizable nude Madonna portrait by Peter Howson. The pictures will be exhibited at the MacLaurin Art Gallery in Ayr, Scotland from April 13th till June 4th.
Madonna has won an award at the 17th International Dance Music Awards held at the Winter Music Conference in Miami. Madonna won in the category "Best Solo Dance Artist".
Ozzy Osbourne's teenage daughter Kelly is to record Madonna's Papa Don't Preach with members of Incubus. The track is expected to feature on the soundtrack for the MTV series The Osbournes. Papa Don't Preach was a number one hit in 1986.
Kelly told MTV: "I didn't choose the song. My mom did and asked me to do it. "I'm kind of crapping myself because I don't think I'm a very good singer." Her brother Jack is producing the track and the members of Incubus, minus frontman Brandon Boyd, will provide the backing.
When Madonna makes her West End stage debut in the art world satire Up For Grabs next month, her opening night audience will include more than a few female gallery owners keen to cast a professional eye over her performance.
In the British premiere of this new Australian play, the 41-year-old star is cast as a ruthlessly ambitious dealer who manoeuvres her wealthy clients against one another. When a Jackson Pollock painting comes on to the market, she stakes her career on manipulating their greed, lust and competitiveness towards a risky endgame.
Madonna's role as sexy broker has already captured the imagination of theatre-goers: tickets for the three-week run have sold out. What London's female art dealers will make of the portrayal, however, is another matter.
According to insiders, playing an art dealer will be "a dream" for Madonna. Although, as a collector, she is best known in Britain for lending one of her Frida Kahlo paintings to the Tate, her collection is apparently as eclectic as one would expect.
"A lot of people in the entertainment industry invest in contemporary art, but Madonna has, more unusually, also ventured into the rather more rarefied realms of Old Masters," says one New York-based female art dealer who has worked with her.
Madonna's collection includes more than 300 European works, among them paintings by Dali, Fernand Leger and Tamara de Lempicka. She also possesses a world-class array of European photographs from the Twenties, Thirties and Forties, and it is rumoured that she may have been the "private American buyer" who paid £1.5 million for a Cranach at Sotheby's last December.
"She has an art adviser, as do many Americans, but I've spent time at her apartment and I found her to be knowledgeable, intelligent and keen to learn - a little shy, even," says the dealer.
A nude portrait of Madonna is to premiere in Scotland before touring the world. Artist Peter Howson was offered substantial fees to open an exhibition containing the work in New York, Paris, Los Angeles and Italy. He insisted, however, on opening it in his homeland instead and the work will go on display at the MacLaurin Art Gallery in Ayr from April 13.
It is believed that Howson had to paint the work from imagination as the Material Girl's husband, British film director Guy Ritchie, did not want her posing nude. Madonna is an avid collector of Howson's work and has in the past posed, fully clothed, for the painter.
The exhibition, entitled New Works, runs until June 4. A source at the gallery said: "The figure in the painting is not really recognisable as Madonna. You wouldn't know it was her unless someone told you."
Even as I write, knives are being sharpened in some quarters to carve up Madonna and Guy Ritchie. What is providing the strop is Ritchie's latest film, formerly entitled Love, Sex, Drugs and Money, which observers claim is heading for the dumper.
Guy and Madonna insist that making a film brought them closer together. These same "observers" extrapolate the film's troubles as a symptom of the couple's marriage. Of course, none of these "observers" can lay claim to having actually seen the movie, but when has a little thing like ocular proof ever hindered the merchants of speculation and gossip? Trying to separate the truth from the tosh is no easy matter.
A late-night conversation with Ritchie's producer, Matthew Vaughn, revealed that there are indeed changes being made to the film, not the least of which is the title, which is reverting to the original upon which it is based, Swept Away. "We are reshooting a couple of scenes at the moment," confirmed Vaughn. "They were in the original script, but for various reasons we didn't film them at the time. Guy is still editing and the music still has to be finished."
Contrary to popular reports, it is the music that has proved to be the biggest headache so far. Ritchie and Vaughn are aiming for "an old-fashioned romantic sound like a Maurice Jarre score for a David Lean movie. We are currently on our third composer." All of which may be a little uncomfortable for those involved, but none of which indicates that the film is "in trouble".
Last-minute adjustments, fine-tunings, editing and soundtrack re-recordings are pretty well de rigueur for movies these days, especially given the propensity for previewing early cuts of movies for selected audiences. This is a subject that most exercises Vaughn. "We made a mistake," he admits, "by showing an unfinished cut. We just used 'found' music from a variety of sources and some of the people at the screening didn't understand that. It also had a lot of brutal stuff, with a lot of beatings on screen that didn't go down at all well. So we've cut back a bit on that."
Whatever the result of all this, would it not be fairer to assess the film on its merits when we have actually seen it? And as for the dubious speculation that the film has caused a rift between Mr Ritchie and his missus, I offer part of a conversation I had with Guy earlier in the year about working with his wife for the first time. "It was a bonding experience, actually," he said. "We are better off as a couple after it than we were before. We were getting along well enough before the film but the experience certainly did us both a lot of good."
Having spent much of last year being beaten up for the cameras, Madonna will doubtless relish the relative peace and quiet of the recording studio, where she is about to record the song she is currently composing for the latest James Bond film, 'Die Another Day'.↑ Back to top of page