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Madonna News - August 2005

Madonna gets back to work

Composed and co-ordinated Madonna stepped back into the limelight today as she shrugged off her horse riding injury to return to work.
The 47-year-old even ensured she sported a stylish sling to match her thick black coat and boots on one of the hottest days of the year.
The star was on set at Shepperton Studios in west London where she is shooting a television commercial for Motorola.
Without a hair out of place the singer appeared to be making a remarkable recovery after falling from a galloping horse earlier this month.
She suffered three cracked ribs, a broken collar bone and a broken hand in the fall on the 1,200-acre estate at her country residence Ashcombe House in Tollard Royal, Wilts.
She had been celebrating her birthday with husband Guy Ritchie and children Lourdes, aged eight, and five-year-old Rocco.
Madonna was treated in the accident and emergency department of Salisbury Hospital before being released the same night.

Madonna shooting a commercial for Motorola

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Rumour : Madonna in new Motorola commercial ?

from Madonnalicious : The filming of the Motorola commercial has been taking place today at a studio in the UK and will continue tomorrow. Here is a snippet from the script prompts:
Open on a phone booth in a village in the mountain desert of the Middle East. A teenager is talking on the phone with his girlfriend. He’s speaking a foreign language; so what he’s saying is subtitled.
Madonna walks up and into the phone booth. She puts her hand on his cheek and kisses the teenager.
Madonna asks the teenager ‘Who’s that girl?’
We then hear his girlfriend’s voice screaming through the receiver: ‘Who’s that girl?’
An instrumental version of Madonna’s new single Hung Up will then play over the end of the commercial. Other stars will also be filming their own segments for the commercial.

Confessions on A Dancefloor – Update from Madonna!

“I want people to jump out of their seats” Never one to understate, those were the exact words Madonna used to describe the songs on her upcoming album, -“Confessions On a Dance Floor”. The 12 delicious tunes of pure ‘unapologetic dance music’ including the single “Hung Up” (out October 17th) is scheduled to be released on November 15th on Warner Bros. Records. This time out, the original Queen of Dance Music returns to where she began and kicks it up a few extra notches.
“It’s in her blood” says Madonna’s co-producer/partner in crime, DJ and Madonna musical director, Stuart Price. “She has a dance halo over her head. We made this record without any preconceived notions. It was straight from the gut – unencumbered -not over edited – very spontaneous, concluded Price.
If ‘Confessions’ were equated to a new dance step, it would a stunning blend of musical styles with one foot in the roots of early disco (a la Girogio Moroder/Abba on ecstacy) and the other foot gloriously ensconced in the future of music – a dance step that could only be accomplished by one artist.
Confessions on a Dance Floor is all about having a good time straight through and non stop.” says America’s ultimate Dancing Queen.
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Steven Klein on working with Madonna

… The foray into video began after Mr. Klein met Madonna in 2002 and agreed to photograph her for W. Those images became the genesis of X-STaTIC PRO=CeSS, an installation of combined images of video and still photography at Deitch Projects in SoHo in 2003.
Mr. Klein said he wanted to portray the singer not as a pop icon but as a performance artist. “I presented her with objects and ideas that had been important in her career: the wedding dress, the strip pole, the yogi, the queen, the bed,” he said. He photographed Madonna on large elaborate sets while videotaping her for the Re-Invention tour videos. For the Deitch show, he said, “I worked in a way where I introduced one element at a time.”
In one image, he used a still photograph of the singer lying on a small wooden table just to the left of a door, her left leg curled underneath her shoulder and around the back of her neck. To the right of the door was a poster of a kidney; Mr. Klein used computer animation to make the kidney pulsate. Then he overlaid the sound of gunshots. Black scuff marks on the door suggest violence.
“People are fixed either on still images or live action,” he said. “I was interested in the space between the two,” he said.
This month Mr. Klein photographed and videotaped Madonna on 12 elaborate sets for the cover of her next album, “Confessions on a Dance Floor.” But as much as the photographer appreciates an iconic face, he likes to play with what the notion of who the subject is and isn’t.
source : nytimes

Madonna uses nightclub ‘focus groups’ to pick songs for new album

They have been used to sell everything from washing powder to New Labour. But now it seems that even Madonna has woken up to the power of focus groups.
The most successful female artist in chart history has chosen songs for her next album after secretly trying them out on nightclubbers.
The tunes, with her distinctive vocals removed, were played in clubs from Liverpool to Ibiza throughout June. The reaction of the crowds were filmed and used by the 47-year-old mother of two to determine the final track listing for Confessions On A Dancefloor, her 10th studio album.
Details of the unorthodox track selection have been disclosed by Stuart Price, 28, the DJ and producer who is collaborating with Madonna on the record. Price, who is originally from Reading, revealed rock music’s first flirtation with market research in an interview for the singer’s official website. “Whenever I was DJ-ing I’d take dub or instrumental versions out with me and test them at the club that night,” he said. “I had my camera with me and the next day I’d tell Madonna, ‘This is what a thousand people in Liverpool look like dancing to our song’ .”
He added: “You can work on a song for 12 hours but I guarantee you’ll know within just 10 seconds of putting it on at a club whether it works or not. So these songs were tested on unwitting subjects throughout Europe.”
The idea of Madonna seeking affirmation for her work before it has been released has surprised many in the worlds of advertising and music. After all, she has sold more than 175 million albums and 75 million singles worldwide.
Claire Beale, the editor of Campaign magazine, said the research could be seen as a crisis of confidence for someone normally known for their business acumen.
“This is a new one on me,” she said. “In the advertising world, creative people tend to distrust focus groups precisely because they can undermine originality and bring everything down to the lowest common denominator.
“Having said that, people in the advertising industry are becoming increasingly reliant on them because there is a growing lack of confidence about what people want.
“Madonna is obviously running her material past a very niche audience rather than a focus group. But it still suggests she feels a need for endorsement. Like a lot of people who work in advertising she is far older than her target audience. She may feel this is a useful way of reconnecting with a younger generation.”
Price, who also performs under the name Jacques Lu Cont, appears not to have told the clubs about the Madonna tracks.
Jezz Caldwell, promoter of The Barfly in Liverpool, where the DJ performed recently, said: “There is no time to chat, it is just music and dance.”
Madonna, who has 16 albums to her name, believes that a return to her dancefloor roots will re-establish her as one of the world’s most successful artists. Her last album, American Life, topped the charts in 14 countries including Britain and America, but ended up as her lowest-selling release, selling just four million copies worldwide. Too many ballads and the lack of any credible dance hits were cited as reasons why it failed to emulate the success of previous offerings such as Music, which sold 15 million copies when it was released in 2000.
Others in the music industry, however, are not convinced by the new approach. Paul Rees, the editor of Q music magazine, said: “It all depends how honest they have been with her. Have they just shown her the positive reaction from the clubs? Or have they said, ‘Look Madonna, here is some film of one of our songs emptying a dancefloor?’ I somehow doubt they will have done that.”
Warner Music, Madonna’s record label, is said to be delighted with the new album and has scheduled it for a November release. Hung Up will be the first single release from the CD.
Madonna, who sustained several broken bones after she fell from a horse two weeks ago, is expected to be fit enough to carry out promotional work for the release.
Her spokesman declined to comment further on the club sessions. A spokesman for Price also declined to give further details.
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Madonna – queen of the countryside

She bought a £9m country estate, decked herself out in tweeds and declared her fondness for shooting pheasants, but Madonna’s bid to be lady of the manor has been thwarted by a birdwatcher.
Bill Oddie, the former Goodie and presenter of the successful Springwatch BBC series has been voted the face of rural England by more than 2,200 visitors to the Town & Country festival’s website.
Perhaps surprisingly given her run-ins with ramblers and relatively recent conversion to country life, Madonna took second place, ahead of housewives’ favourite Alan Titchmarsh. Otis Ferry, best-known for storming the Commons to protest against the hunting ban, finished fourth.
The list has been compiled by the Town & Country festival, which will entertain 100,000 people this weekend with alpacas, country crafts, morris dancing, vintage cars and motorbike stunts at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire.
Despite his passion for the countryside and defence of rural values, the Prince of Wales only came 18th as respondents plumped for more fashionable “country” figures, including the young royal Zara Phillips in 10th place. The presence of the outdoor action man Ray Mears as the sixth best-loved countryman and the country chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in seventh appear to show how important popular TV celebrities are in promoting countryside ideals.
But more traditional representatives of rural England still featured strongly, with Worzel Gummidge popping up in ninth. Despite controversy about his campaigns against windfarms, the environmentalist David Bellamy finished in fifth while Jack Sugden (the Emmerdale character) came in eighth.
The survey showed respondents’ attachment to the rural idyll, with 75% declaring they would prefer to live in the country rather than the towns.
Helen Arnold of the festival said: “A few years ago, we would never have guessed that Madonna would make it to second place in a survey like this. It seems she is the queen of reinvention.”
source : guardian

Rumour : Madonna may reprise Eva Peron role on London Stage

London theatre bosses are touting Madonna to reprise her film role of Argentina’s first lady Eva Peron in a new production of Evita.
The Material Girl fought off a host of Hollywood actresses to play the glamorous wife of corrupt Argentine president Juan Peron in the 1996 film.
Previous plans to resurrect the musical in the British capital collapsed in 2003 when its authors Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber decided the city was not in the mood for serious musicals.
However, now the same creative team, comprising of director Michael Grandage, choreographer Rob Ashford and designer Christopher Oram, are in discussions to launch Evita in the West End next year (06), and hope Madonna will step into Peron’s expensive shoes.
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