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New Interview with Madonna by Liz Smith

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If there is one quality that marks my long professional relationship with Madonna, it is her matter-of-factness. She never ever beats around the bush, acts coy, promises what she cannot deliver. When I got through to her here in Manhattan, on the eve of her six-night sold-out stand at Madison Square Garden, the star said, “Liz, I’m glad to do this for you, but what more do you need to know about me? You know more about me than I do myself.” I promised I wouldn’t ask her more than 20 questions. She laughed, “Oh, I’ve heard that before!”

The funny thing is, for all the column space I have devoted to this remarkable woman, I had to be prodded to pay attention to her, back in the day. She was already a big star by the time she appeared on the cover of Time magazine in 1985, but I was keeping my distance. Others then clued me into MTV, to her videos, her persona, her daring. When I spoke to Rosanna Arquette, on the eve of “Desperately Seeking Susan” being released, she claimed Madonna – who had a supporting role in the film – said to her, “Wouldn’t you give anything to be me for just an hour?” Rosanna demurred, but I loved that remark. It reminded me so much of other great ego-driven stars – Streisand, Diana Ross, Mae West!

And so Madonna became a column constant. I didn’t always agree with what she said, or what she did, but the hysterical over-reaction to her caused me, if not to defend her, then at least try to put a more balanced perspective on her astonishing ongoing saga – which the rest of the media kept insisting was just about to end. She gave me access and trusted my judgment. She gave me the scoop on her first pregnancy – “Liz, I’m pregnant!” she barked without preamble, all the way from Budapest, as filming began on “Evita.” She was generous. When I met her face to face for the first time, at the premiere of “Truth or Dare,” I was being profiled for “Prime Time Live.” The producers wanted her to talk about me. I did not think this would happen. I was wrong. Madonna said, “I like Liz Smith because she has big balls, just like me!”

And, at the height of her “Sex” book/”Body of Evidence” notoriety, Madonna called from the out of the blue. “Hi, it’s Madonna,” getting right to the point. “I just want to say thanks for the all the support. I know you get a lot of crap because of it.” I did. I still do. And I couldn’t care less.

Liz: Are you happy to be back in New York, performing your shows at the Garden?
Madonna: I am always happy to be back here, because, as I’ve often said, this is where it began and I still consider New York home. I didn’t leave Michigan and go to Hollywood. I came to New York, which was the center of the world to me then. My connection to this city and its people will always be very strong. I’ve had plenty of fun in this city and the audiences are always fabulous.

Liz: You say it was the center of the world “then.” No longer? You prefer England?
Madonna: England is where my husband is from and I made the choice to live there with him. But the center of my world is my family. We travel back and forth and I feel privileged to be able to live in the U.S. and in Britain.

Liz: If your family is your center, why do you work so much?
Madonna: Because I love my work, too, and I have much to say and so much to do.

Liz: What’s the best part about being a mother?
Madonna: Not thinking about yourself all the time.

Liz: And the worst?
Madonna: Not thinking about yourself all the time!

Liz: And marriage?
Madonna: Diane Sawyer once said that marriage is a contest of generosity and I agree but sometimes I lose and sometimes I win. But I am still in the game and this game has taught me the art of compromise and the art of diplomacy. These two qualities have served me well.

Liz: Did kaballah help you adjust?
Madonna: Having a spiritual life has forced me to be less selfish. Not that I’m serene by any means. I’m still driven by big fat ego and all my insecurities, but I manage better.

Liz: You never seem insecure, in what ways are you?
Madonna: Ha-ha. Don’t get me started, I’m never good enough.

Liz: Why do you continue to provoke such controversy in your work?
Madonna: Because I want my audience to think. But I also want them to have fun. I think the two can co-exist in entertainment.

Liz: So the crucifix you are suspended on –
Madonna: Is what you make of it. If you want to be shocked, be shocked. As I’ve said, I don’t think Jesus would be mad at me, as my message during that song is not so different than his. I want to help make the world a better place. I want to open people’s eyes to the suffering that’s going on in especially the children still dying of AIDS in Africa. Besides, Jesus was not the only person who died on a cross.

Liz: Are you as manipulative with your image as you are often accused of being?
Madonna: All entertainment and art is some form of manipulation. There is nothing wrong with it. The question is what is the intention? To make people laugh? To seduce people into being sheep? Or to wake people up and make them think and ask questions. The latter is obviously my game.

Liz: I heard you are doing a sequel to you enchanting children’s story “The English Roses.”
Madonna: The sequel is coming out in the fall. It’s called “The English Roses-Too Good To Be True.” My daughter and I really had a great time following up on the adventures of these five close friends.

Liz: And you’re expanding into the retail world?
Madonna: Yes, another reason to go on calling me “The Material Girl!” Actually, my dancers and I just shot an ad campaign for H&M. I worked with their designers on a track suit that will be in the stores by August. It’s Gaultier onstage and H&M off.

Liz: You were already around 25 when you hit really big, a grown woman, with a lot of experience. Do you think that helped you – that you didn’t become a sensation at 18 or younger?
Madonna: I was hardly a grown woman at 25, but it was good to have that much time to be anonymous and learn how to survive privately. I certainly knew what I wanted by the time I was able to get it. But, I wasn’t prepared, could never have been prepared for the scope of what happened to me. You might fantasize about being famous – and I did! – but never that famous. Luckily I really have managed to carve out a life for myself that is mine and mine alone.

Liz: There’s a major equestrian theme in this show, yes?
Madonna: Yes, I love horses. They are the most beautiful creatures I think I may have been one of Henry the VIII’s knights in another life, riding through the great forest.

Liz: What did the success of this album mean to you?
Madonna: Well, first of all – and nobody believes this when I or any artist says it – I don’t write songs or record because I’m thinking “big hit!” I have to be satisfied with what I do. Not that I ever am. I mean, I’m always thinking something can be done better. But, I absolutely appreciate commercial success and it means so much if my fans, who have been devoted through thick and thin, like what I do. When this album debuted at No. 1, when it was No. 1 around the world at the same time, I opened up a bottle of champagne and I cried.

Liz: Is it true you’ve given up on movies?
Madonna: Actually, I’m more interested in directing at this point. I have so many tales to tell. Making movies for me was never about being a big movie star, it was about being a good actress. But it’s not easy with critics going after you before the movie is even released. It’s easier to be a visionary as a director.

Liz: Do you have any beauty secrets?
Madonna: Somebody told you to ask me that, right? I love it. I have no secrets. I get incredible facials. I take good care of myself. I eat healthy food. And when and if I ever decide to have plastic surgery – because I know that’s the next question – I’ll do it. But I won’t be holding a press conference.

Liz: Hmmm … I think I’ll skip the retirement question then.
Madonna: Oh, no, please. When I was 30, it was all … “she’s 30, when is she going to quit” … then 35, 40 …all this speculation that once you reach a certain point you have to stop doing what you love doing. And don’t you dare look good doing it, either. It’s the furthest thing from my mind. I tell you what, Liz. We’ve known each other for a really long time. I’ve always admired your energy. I’ll quit when you do.

Liz: Madonna, you and I will be the last girls standing at the rodeo.
Madonna: Yeah, we can ride off into the sunset together.

source : NYPost

I’m Going To Tell You A Secret CD/DVD debuts on UK Album Chart

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18 (-) Madonna – I’m Going To Tell You A Secret (Warner Bros)

Grand tour vs. not so grand?

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Madonna doesn’t forget.
Years ago, Mariah Carey paid Her Madgesty a backhanded compliment by telling an interviewer how she grew up listening to the songs of the 11-years-older star. So, sources claim, it’s no wonder the 47-year-old diva is taking delight in measuring her ticket sales against those of the 36-year-old songbird.
Last week, a spy tells us, Madonna was getting ready to go onstage in Chicago when someone told her Carey had been forced to cancel three tour dates. (Billboard reports that Madge’s “Confessions” tour is on track to gross a record-breaking $200 million.)
“Madonna laughed hysterically,” according to a source. “She has been asking her tour promoters to E-mail her Mariah’s numbers!”
Madonna is also said to have been tickled to hear that Carey didn’t appreciate her musical director, “American Idol” judge Randy Jackson, revealing on TV that he’d been inspired by Madonna’s show in L.A.
Madonna’s rep, Liz Rosenberg, argues that Madonna doesn’t give a fig about Carey’s ticket sales – and “she has no negative feelings toward Mariah.”
A Carey rep argues, “Her tour is selling really well. She’s canceled a few cities so she can add shows in larger cities. Toronto and Vancouver are sold out. So is her Madison Square Garden show. She’s adding a Jones Beach show Sept. 3.”

source : NYDailyNews

Madonna on Billboard Charts – Update

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Hot 200 Albums :
140 (124) Madonna – Confessions On A Dancefloor

Billboard Comprehensive Albums :
154 (130) Madonna – Confessions On A Dancefloor

Hot 100 Singles Sales :
04 (02) Madonna – Get Together
14 (14) Madonna – Sorry
28 (36) Madonna – Hung Up

Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles
— (06) Madonna – Get Together

Pop 100
— (84) Madonna – Get Together

Hot Dance Music/Club Play :
02 (01) Madonna – Get Together

Dance Radio Airplay :
02 (01) Madonna – Get Together

Hot Dance Singles Sales :
01 (01) Madonna – Get Together
03 (03) Madonna – Sorry
05 (07) Madonna – Hung Up

source : Billboard

Madonna madness takes Montreal

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Madonna madness gripped Montreal on Wednesday and fans paid up to $600 to see the pop star on stage.
Fans lined up hours before the doors opened at the Bell Centre, where the singer descended onto the stage in a giant crystal ball just before 9 p.m. in the first of two concerts that are the only Canadian stops on her current world tour. Earlier in the day, they paralyzed a section of downtown Montreal as they staked out the hotel where the pop star is staying.
Police had to shut down a section of historic Old Montreal due to the number of fans congregated outside the St. James Hotel in hopes of catching a glimpse.
“The only reason we’re here is for Madonna,” one fan said.
“She’s an icon,” her friend told the television station.
Madonna smiled but didn’t otherwise address the mob of fans as she walked a red carpet from the hotel door to a waiting limousine around 3:30 p.m.
Fans came from as far as Mexico and Florida to take in the show.
The music superstar, who last performed in Montreal 13 years ago, is to perform Wednesday and Thursday nights at Montreal’s Bell Centre.
Some 36,000 tickets, costing as much as $360 at the box office, sold out in 40 minutes. Scalpers reaped as much as $600 per ticket.
Madonna is scheduled to perform 54 such sold-out concerts around the globe.
In addition to her own formidable private security, Montreal police also escorted the 47-year-old singer from the airport to her hotel and from there to the Bell Centre.
No less than 24 trailer trucks pulled into town with the massive amount of equipment needed to mount the show. It took technicians 15 hours to set-up.
At previous concerts on the tour, Madonna has been accompanied on stage by 22 dancers. Approximately 600 costumes were used in the spectacle and the singer herself made at least seven costume changes.
More than five million copies of Madonna’s latest CD, Confessions on a dance floor, have sold since it was released in November.

source : 570News

Madonna to get bill for police escort from Montreal

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Musical superstar Madonna is about to learn the cost of a Montreal police escort.
Madonna is performing tonight and tomorrow at Montreal’s Bell Centre. They are her only Canadian concerts. The 47-year-old singer will be sent a bill for the motorcycle cops who escorted several black limousine SUVs on Tuesday from the airport to the swanky St. James Hotel in Old Montreal.
As admiring fans waited by the freshly laid red carpet, the American singer entered through a side service entrance.
She later exited through the front door but didn’t respond to the enthusiastic screams of fans.
A TV news helicopter aired the 10-kilometre journey along city highways.
Local taxpayers will pay for police protection outside the arena, as is customary for these type of events.

source : canadian press

Madonna’s back!

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Remember the old Madonna?
The one who used to simulate masturbation on stage and fellatio off in the days of her Blond Ambition tour, immortalized in the Truth Or Dare documentary?
Or later the gal who gamely appeared naked, in various states of undress and sexual positions with both male and female partners, in a book called Sex?
Then it seemed to be just about provocation for provocation’s sake.
Now the grown up Material Girl — a twice-married 47-year-old mother of two children — shocks us to make a point. Or so the lapsed Catholic — now a Kabbalah follower — claims about crucifying herself on stage during her latest so-called Confessions tour.
The show touches down in Montreal tonight at the Bell Centre for the first of two sold-out shows, which sadly, given her huge Toronto fanbase, are the only Canadian dates of the trek.
Naturally, the 17,000 available seats for each night at the Bell Centre sold out in the blink of an eye and you can expect lots of Torontonians to be making the trek to La Belle Province to catch Madonna in all her glory.
But back to that crucifixion.
According to reports from her May 21 tour launch in Los Angeles, the stunt occurs during the fifth song of the night, Live To Tell, with Madonna wearing a crown of thorns and rising out of the stage on a six-metre-high mirrored cross.
Behind her on huge video screens are images of Third World poverty, reminding us that 12 million African children are now orphans due to the AIDS epidemic.
Madge has claimed that the iconic image was only to spur audience members to donate to her AIDS relief charities.
“I don’t think Jesus would be mad at me and the message I’m trying to send,” she told New York Daily News. “Jesus taught that we should love thy neighbour.”
But the crucifixion immediately raised the ire of the Church Of England.
“Why would someone with so much talent seem to feel the need to promote herself by offending so many people?” said the Church in a statement.
Frankly, I’m just glad to see that Madonna has tongues wagging again after two completely entertaining, highly theatrical, but far from shocking tours — 2001’s Drowned World and 2004’s Re-Invention.
Her latest live show, in support of the disco-soaked Confessions On A Dancefloor, begins with her making an entrance via a one-ton disco ball.
From there, it gets all horse-set-meets-S&M-bar as Madonna — dressed in a Jean Paul Gaultier riding outfit with top hat and mane of black hair — disciplines dancers decked out in kinky, S&M leather equestrian gear. At the same time, X-rays of her broken bones from a horse riding accident last summer are shown on video screens. And that’s just the first four songs.
It’s all a nice contrast to her new yawn-inducing documentary, I’m Going To Tell You A Secret, which hit stores yesterday, along with her first live CD of the same name.
Secret is no Truth Or Dare, part two. Instead, Madonna is seen interacting with her daughter Lourdes and son Rocco, her husband Guy Ritchie, and spewing a lot of Kabbalah philosophy when she isn’t singing and dancing her little heart out on the Re-Invention tour.
Montreal nightclub Parking — capacity 1,500 — is hosting a concert afterparty tonight in celebration of both releases, with Warner donating five copies of the album and some singles for giveaway prizes.
The first 50 people with Madonna concert tickets can get in for free, but before anyone gets too excited, there are no plans for Madge to attend the party, which is similar to the event that Woody’s on Church St. had last November to celebrate the release of Confessions On A Dancefloor.

source : toronto sun

Paltrow helped heal Madonna’s feud with father

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Movie star Gwyneth Paltrow has been credited for bringing close pal Madonna back together with her father Tony Ciccone, after begging her to reconcile with him. Madonna, who made up with her dad last year (05), endured a troubled relationship with Ciccone when he remarried after the death of her mother in 1963 when she was just five years old. Paltrow’s own father Bruce Paltrow died in 2002 after a battle with throat cancer – and the Shakespear in Love beauty has always regretted not spending more time with him. She warned the Ray Of Light star to forgive and forget – or suffer the agony of what might have been. Madonna’s family friend Cheryl Buchhaler says, “Gwyneth had a heartfelt talk with Madonna about her agony over losing her dad Bruce. “Gwyn often talks of things she could have done with him, things she would like to have told him. Knowing he is gone forever is something that still crushes her. “She told Madonna, ‘If you don’t make up with your dad and enjoy the time he’s got left you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.'”

source : ContactMusic

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