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Madonna News - July 2004

Story of redemption is Madonna’s best work

Madonna is getting the hang of this kiddie-book thing.
“Yakov and the Seven Thieves” is the third installment of Madonna’s five-book series for Callaway Editions, and it’s the best, mostly because there is nothing Material Girlish about it. (Her first book, the rather boring “The English Roses,” focused on a catty group of girls illustrated in a very fashion-forward manner.)
The fairy-tale artwork here, by Russian painter Gennady Spirin, brings authenticity to the story about a sick boy, desperate dad and wise old man in an eastern European village in the 18th century.
Madonna, who cites the influence of cabala, or Jewish mysticism, in all her books, says “Yakov” was inspired by the Baal Shem Tov, a Ukrainian teacher.
“It’s a story about how all of us have the ability to unlock the gates of heaven – no matter how unworthy we think we are. For when we go against our selfish natures, we make miracles happen, in our lives and in the lives of others,” Madonna writes on the cover jacket.
That’s an exaggeration of how important and symbolic this book really is, but the story moves along nicely and gets its message about redemption across without being too preachy. It’s also appropriately written for its target audience of 6-year-olds.
Yakov is the father of Mikhail, who is literally on his death bed. With few options left, Yakov goes to visit the mysterious old man who lives on the outskirts of the village and is rumored to perform miracles. Unfortunately, the old man’s first attempt to help the boy fails. He has an idea, though, to ask all the town’s thieves, pickpockets and criminals to put their rather usual talents toward a good cause.
Of course, being a children’s picture book, there is a happy ending with a healthy Mikhail and reformed rascals.
And it’s worth noting that the only female scoundrel, Petra the Pickpocket, bears a striking resemblance to Madonna herself.

Madonna cancels Portugal concert following row with church

Pop superstar Madonna has cancelled what would have been her first-ever concert in Portugal after a row with an evangelical church, local media reported.
The superstar was scheduled to bring her “ReInvention” concert tour to the 12,000-seat Atlantic Pavilion in Lisbon on September 12, according to concert promoters Tournee who booked the space in April for September 9-13.
But after the concert had been announced, the Lisbon-based Mana Christian Church said it had already booked the grounds for September 8-11 to hold a “Convention of Faith.”
The church said it had reserved the grounds in February and it has refused to change the booking despite pleas from fans and an offer of a 25,000 euro (30,000 dollar) donation from Tournee.
Jorge Tadeu, a self-proclaimed apostle and founder of the church, told daily tabloid Correio da Manha last month he was “revolted” by those who “want to exchange Jesus for Madonna”.
“In our understanding God is moving the Christian church to defeat Goliath,” he added.
“We feel the pressure from Madonna is not restricted to the Mana church, but is part of a wider battle between the devil and Christ.”
The Mana Church said in a statement issued Friday to national news agency Lusa that it had been informed by the singer’s legal representative in Europe, John Giddings, that the concert would no longer take place.
Madonna kicked off her latest world tour, her first in three years, in May in Los Angeles.
Her return to the concert stage has received mixed reviews, with some suggesting the 45-year-old mother of two had erred by swapping her trademark sexuality for a new-found spirituality.
source : emedia.com.my