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Madonna’s Ray Of Light is #5 on Slant’s “10 Best Albums of 1998” list

5 – Madonna, Ray of Light

Don’t call it a comeback. Because while Madonna’s immediately preceding genres of choice—R&B, adult contemporary, Broadway—were quickly rendering her relevance a thing to be admired only in the past tense, her chart prowess was still in fine form. No, Ray of Light was a rebirth, the sound of a queen, sitting on her throne, taking inventory of her icy, empty fortress—and not liking what she saw one bit. From “Drowned World” to “Frozen” to “Mer Girl,” water is a recurring theme, serving as a symbol of purification throughout. Madonna’s lyrics are notably devoid of any trace of cynicism here, and though it’s tempting to interpret her “answers” as obvious or absolute, it’s her sense of wonder and searching—and, of course, Patrick Leonard’s gorgeous melodies and William Orbit’s immaculate yet playful production—that elevates Ray of Light above mere trend-chasing New Age hogwash. Cinquemani Full list here.

Madonna on Slant's list

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What’s Inside Madonna Biopic ‘Blond Ambition’ and Can She Stop It?

If the Universal project does get greenlighted, it will have to survive the wrath of the Material Girl.
Most scripts on the Black List — an annual ranking of Hollywood’s best unproduced screenplays, voted upon by the people who read them (many of them agency and studio assistants) — remain just that: unproduced.

But not always. Certainly landing in first place on the list doesn’t hurt. Such was the case with Blond Ambition: The biopic from first-time screenwriter Elyse Hollander about Madonna’s rise to fame earned 48 votes on the 2016 list, 13 nods ahead of the second-place entry from veteran scribe Dan Fogelman (This Is Us).

The script impressed Universal enough to snatch up the property, with two major producers — Michael De Luca and Brett Ratner — attached. Still, no director has yet been attached and the film is not yet an official green light.

Definitely not on board, however, is Madonna herself. The singer has posted several Instagram messages denouncing the project. In the first, posted just hours after The Hollywood Reporter broke the news of the project on Tuesday, she writes, “Nobody knows what I know and what I have seen. Only I can tell my story. Anyone else who tries is a charlatan and a fool.”

On Wednesday, a copy of the script now in hand, her criticism crew more pointed and personal. “Why would Universal Studios want to make a movie about me based on a script that is all lies???” she writes. “The writer Elyse Hollander should write for the tabloids.”

As an example of the script’s inaccuracies, Madonna singled out a line of dialogue on the first page, in which Madonna tells Dick Clark in an interview on American Bandstand, “I was born in Detroit. I’m a famed high school dropout.” read more →

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Debbie Harry calls Madonna an a**hole

Here’s an excerpt from The Times interview:

…Harry orders a bowl of tomato soup. The steam hasn’t settled before she calls Madonna, a star heavily indebted to her, an “a**hole”. She is referring to the speech Madonna made during the women’s march in Washington in January, when she talked about having “thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House”. Harry is disapproving. “I don’t feel like I have to be an asshole and say stupid things like ‘Bomb the White House’, but I am speaking out on politics now. I’m sleepless since Trump’s election.”

Debbie Harry

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Geena Davis on working with Madonna

Geena Davis was interviewed about “A League of Their Own” for USA Today, here’s the part about Madonna…

Madonna was a question mark: Davis admits she wasn’t sure what it would be like to work with Madonna, then in her prime.

“She was Madonna. We wondered if we were going to be able to talk to her. Was she going to have an entourage? Were they going to put up walls around her where she stands?” Davis recalls.

Ultimately, Madonna was a team player who trained hard and insisted on sliding head-first into bases. “That was painful. But she was so game. She was a trooper,’ says Davis.

Madonna in A League of Their Own

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Madonna’s Erotica is #2 on Slant’s “10 Best Albums of 1992” list

#2 Madonna, Erotica

No Madonna album was ever met with a louder backlash or was more rampantly misrepresented than this dark masterpiece, so you know it was doing something right. Released on the tail end of AIDS hysteria, Erotica is far from the opus to guiltless sexual fulfillment it—and its even more ridiculed accompanying tome Sex—was made out to be. Though there’s no doubt it espouses taking joy in physical pleasure (“Let me remind you in case you don’t already know/Dining out can happen down below”), no album seems more empathetically haunted by the act’s countless side effects (i.e. “Bad Girl,” “Thief of Hearts,” a purposefully monotonous house cover of Peggy Lee’s “Fever”). Underneath Madonna’s bondage getup and Shep Pettibone’s oversized drum tracks beats a truly pained heart. Henderson Check out the full list here.

Madonna on Slant's Best albums of 1990 list

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Timbaland on recording “4 Minutes” with Madonna

The Queen of Pop brought the heat when she teamed up with Timbaland and co-producer Pharrell Williams for her Hard Candy LP — and not just metaphorically. Madonna has been known to turn down the air-conditioning at concerts and during recording sessions over concerns that colder, drier air could affect her voice. “The studio was hot,” Timbaland remembers. But apart from her high-temp preferences, there was no diva behavior in the booth. “She was down-to-earth Madonna,” he says. “She’s just brutally honest about a lot of stuff: ‘I’m doing this, I’m not going to sing that.’ She’s very matter-of-fact but still very fun and loving and into her craft.”

Madonna with Timbaland

EW

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Katy Perry talks Madonna

Katy is on the cover of the latest issue of Vogue, she mentions Madonna in the interview:
…Nevertheless, “I miss references all the time,” she admits. “Amy Grant was our Madonna. We knew about Madonna and Marilyn Manson in my family because we picketed their concerts.” At a Manson concert in Santa Barbara, she handed out pamphlets titled How to Find God. She ended up going in to watch the performance with her youth pastor and, to her surprise, found it “really interesting and weird—I got it. But my house was church on Sunday morning, church on Sunday night, church on Wednesday evening; you don’t celebrate Halloween; Jesus gives you your Christmas presents; we watch Bill O’Reilly on TV. That was my whole childhood and youth and early teens. I still have conditioned layers dropping off of me by the day.”

Later in the interview, she says about Madonna: “She did the art of evolution so well.”

Katy Perry on Madonna

Vogue

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Video: Sheryl Crow on Madonna’s Billboard Speech

“For the women that are out there now, I would always ask the question, “Do you feel more empowered by using your body to draw attention to your art? Or do you feel more empowered by wielding a talent that moves the molecules?” And to me, I choose the latter, because – I mean, I wouldn’t put it all on Madonna – but there’s a certain part of me that says when you start exploring sex as a woman’s power and you project that into art as a business form, you change the way women are forever looked at.” – Sheryl Crow on The Big Interview show

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Shep Pettibone is suing Warner over Vogue royalties

A long-running legal dispute over alleged sampling on Madonna’s “Vogue” now has producer Robert “Shep” Pettibone in court alleging that Warner Music is wrongfully withholding royalties from the 1990 hit.

Madonna's Vogue Single

Madonna and Pettibone were sued by VMG Salsoul, the owner of a 1976 song called “Love Break,” for copyright infringement. Last June, the two prevailed when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a decision that the taking of a short horn hit from “Love Break” for “Vogue” was de minimis copying. While Pettibone enjoyed the outcome, the appeals court did vacate the lower court’s award of attorney fees. That meant more than $730,000 in reimbursement wiped out.

Who is responsible for that?

In a lawsuit filed Monday in New York, Pettibone now alleges Warner Music and Warner/Chappell “have admittedly withheld and failed to pay Pettibone royalties owed to Plaintiff for its defense of the VMG Salsoul lawsuit despite Plaintiff’s demand that they pay these royalties to him, and despite giving them notice of breach.” read more →

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Debi Mazar Remembers Her Friend Keith Haring – and Madonna’s Unforgettable Wedding Weekend

On Friday morning, actress Debi Mazar saw a familiar photo in her Instagram feed: a shot of herself and her late friend, artist Keith Haring, taken by their friend, artist Maripol. In the picture, a young Mazar peers at the camera as Haring, more clearly in focus, looks on behind her. Mazar shared the photo on her own account immediately. “I was like, ‘Aw, Keith,’ ” she told Vanity Fair on a phone call Friday. “I think of Keith all the time, because his work is so present, and being much a part of what is so present and current in today’s climate—in terms of equality, immigration, sexuality, so many things.”

Debi Mazar with Keith Haring

As she looks more at the photo, though, Mazar said she also thinks of the weekend in 1985 that it was taken, which happened to be the weekend of her friend Madonna’s wedding to Sean Penn in Los Angeles. Those few days marked Mazar’s first-ever trip to L.A.—and a memorable one, at that.

“We kind of had a whole weekend planned, where the wedding was one day, and another day we went to restaurants and different activities, she said. “That particular day, we went to Mr. Chow’s,” she said, recalling the site of the photo with Haring.

That stop at Mr. Chow’s was only one highlight of the weekend. The wedding itself was Mazar’s first experience with a high-profile event of that magnitude. As she and her friend Lance Loud tore down the Pacific Coast Highway on their way to the ceremony, Mazar said she marveled at the beauty before her. It wasn’t long, though, before she noticed the buzzing of helicopters overhead, making a beeline toward Madonna and Penn’s wedding: “I thought the helicopters were chasing us, even though they weren’t,” Mazar recalled, chuckling. read more →

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Nile Rodgers honored at the R’N’R Hall of Fame

Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” producer, Nile Rodgers, has received an award for Musical Excellence at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame today.

Madonna with Nile Rodgers

Here is his speech (mentioning Madonna):

“So I’m a New Yorker. I was born not very far away from where we’re standing now. It’s funny, I was saying to Pharrell almost everybody on this stage, as a matter of fact almost everybody who’s been in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I’ve worked with. [Applause]

I started out; I was just a little kid on the side of my bed just playing guitar hoping to get one hit record. Yo, it’s 3 billion dollars now. [Applause] Yeah, they just told me a couple of months ago that I’ve sold over 300 million albums and 75 million singles. I just wanted to have one hit record.

My life has been so amazing. When I met this gentleman named Bernard Edwards, a bass player who started out as a guitar player who had this interesting style of playing and he told me about chucking and he just said, “Man, you need to change your shit up. You got all this jazz knowledge but if you learn how to play this thing, we could change music.” I didn’t believe him until this young kid plugged into my amp that was our opening act and he sounded 10 times better than me but I knew that harmonically I had more knowledge than he did.

All of a sudden, I said OK, cool. I went and I traded my guitar, my expensive big, fat jazz guitar for this little Fender Stratocaster that was like a hundred and seventy-something bucks and it was ugly because I hate solid body sunburst guitars. So, I adored Hendrix; so I went home and I painted it white myself. That same white paint job is the same paint job I did 40 years ago when we were the opening act for the Jackson 5.

From that journey from just being a backup guy I have [pauses; applause] When people work with me, they think that I’m the boss. But believe me, every record I do I join the band. I try and make every artist believe that all I have is their best interest at heart. I remember saying to Madonna, when we finish this record it’s going to say MADONNA [whispers] produced by Nile Rodgers. My name doesn’t mean sh*t; it’s going to be this big.

This award, which is amazing to me, is really because of all the people that have allowed me to come into their lives and just join their band. Be it Mick Jagger, be it Madonna, be it Duran Duran, be it Daft Punk, be it Pharrell Williams, be it Diana Ross, be it Sister Sledge. I mean it just goes on and on and on. Thank you all.”

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Madonna Throws Shade at Pepsi

Madonna is letting everyone know that she’s aware of Pepsi‘s marketing misfire by throwing some shade at the soft-drink company, which she once had beef with in the past.

Hours after the brand pulled Kendall Jenner’s protest-themed commercial, the Material Girl, 58, shared a throwback photo of herself holding a can of Pepsi’s rival Coca-Cola. She captioned the 1999 Grammy Awards photo with a first place gold medal emoji, and offered a close-up of the red can to further emphasize her point.

Madonna may be on team Coca-Cola these days, but she also had her very own Pepsi commercial that caused a stir among viewers and consumers.

In January 1989, the singer inked a $5 million endorsement deal with Pepsi that led the company to release a two-minute television ad and featured her singing and dancing.

The fairly innocuous ad reached an estimated 250 million viewers in over 40 countries, but was subsequently revoked in April 1989 after it generated controversy when Madonna premiered the full-length music video for “Like a Prayer” on MTV the following day. The video’s imagery, which included burning crosses, stigmata and the seduction of a saint, drew the ire of religious groups and customers, who assumed it was part of the Pepsi ad.

At the time, the Vatican condemned the video and religious groups threatened to ban the commercial and boycott Pepsi products. Not only did Pepsi eventually pull the commercial but the company also canceled Madonna’s sponsorship contract.

Fast forward to present day, a variety of people from Lena Dunham to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s daughter have weighed in to call Jenner’s Pepsi ad tone-deaf.

In her “Live For Now Moments Anthem” commercial, the model and Keeping Up with the Kardashians reality star leaves her photo shoot behind to join a march before handing a police officer a can of Pepsi, causing her fellow protesters to erupt in cheers as he takes a drink.

Many detractors accused Pepsi of blatantly appropriating the spirit and imagery of the anti-Donald Trump resistance, Black Lives Matter and other movements in order to sell their product.

In response to the backfire, Pepsi defended the ad in a statement: “This is a global ad that reflects people from different walks of life coming together in a spirit of harmony, and we think that’s an important message to convey.”

People

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