But, for the woman who wants everything, the world does not move fast enough. Madonna considers impatience her greatest weakness. She hates waiting — “waiting for people to grow up, waiting for a studio to green-light a movie, waiting for the popcorn to pop.” Or for the interview to end. When it finally did, she stretched back, extending her body like a flying buttress and exposing a few inches of famous midriff.
Nude: She agreed to conduct a tour of the house, which was also a tour of her art collection. She lingered over an exquisite self-portrait by the exotic-looking Frida Kahlo, but barely slowed as she passed a nude by Kahlo’s celebrated husband, Diego Rivera. “An inferior painter,” she sniffed. She pointed out several large canvases by her brother Christopher, austere maps of Catholic symbolism. And she showed off her black-and-white nudes by American surrealist Man Ray, including her most recent prize, a photograph of slouching buttocks superimposed with the outline of the cross turned upside down—a suitable image for Madonna’s own inversions of religion and sex. “I think I’ll use that for my next album cover,” she said.
Passing through the high-tech kitchen, where her assistant was working, she entered the “bathroom-slash-workout-room,” equipped with weights, exercise machines and an open shower. Then, the surprisingly modest bedroom: a television, a painting by Polish artist Tamara de Lempicka, a white bed with a black rag-doll cat nestled on the pillow. “It’s a good throw cat,” she said, flinging the stuffed animal onto the floor.
Madonna stepped outside into the sunshine. She pointed to the house next door, whose owner used legal action to force her to trim her hedges. “That’s my evil neighbor,” she said. “He’s probably a Peeping Tom. He calls the police on me all the time — complains about me playing music, even when it’s not loud.”
The garden, like the house, is small. The swimming pool is not really big enough for lengths. But the view from her backyard is breathtaking. All of Los Angeles lies spread out below, an urban infinity fading into a horizon blurred with smog. “It’s beautiful at night,” said Madonna. She stopped for a moment to breathe the air. Then, with the world securely at her feet, she returned to the endless job of keeping it there.