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Madge Bin In ?

Madonna and Guy Ritchie happily wait for their lift after a night at a good, old-fashioned English boozer.
And perhaps it is no surprise to see the American superstar emerging from a pub… after all she says she is a Real Ale girl these days.
The 45-year-old has made no secret of the fact she now likes a pint of the good stuff, thanks to the influence of her English husband.
And the couple had clearly enjoyed their night after popping into the Punchbowl in London’s trendy Mayfair. They had perched on bar stools at the cosy pub, built in the 1730s, while watching boxing on the TV in the corner.
And regulars say Madonna and her film director husband are often in for a drink or two.
One customer said: “They are a lovely couple but no one really bothers them. We are used to seeing them when they come in.”
Madonna revealed last year that Ritchie had introduced her to the traditional English drink… and she didn’t mean tea.
She said: “I didn’t start drinking until I met Guy.
“He’s a wonderful influence on me, I get drunk with him. I become one of those English drunken girls.
“I wear flat caps and speak low and order a pint of Timothy Taylor, the best Real Ale.” Sadly for Madge there was no Timothy Taylor on offer in the Punchbowl this week.
But while bar staff were keeping tight-lipped about the couple’s choice of tipple, they were spoilt for choice with ales.
Spitfire (GBP2.65), Old Speckled Hen (GBP2.55), and Courage Best Bitter (GBP2.30) were all on offer.
The couple spent about an hour in the pub, before leaving at last orders.
But while mum-of-two Madonna and Guy, 35, might pretend they are just like the rest of us, there are one or two differences.
As they finished off their late night drinks, three burly bodyguards kept watch outside.

A la Madonna

It’s not what she wears, but how she wears it that has made the pop singer an idol for two decades.
It’s been 21 years since the belly-baring, headband-wearing street urchin with the improbable name of Madonna burst onto the pop music stage.
Two decades later, she is still in the international spotlight. She has evolved from Madonna, the pop tart, to Madonna, the S&M sex maven, to Madge the British wife/children’s author, to Esther, the Kabbalah follower.
The adult life of the Bay City, Michigan-born Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone has been a spinning top that has generated love and awe (from her fans), hate and disgust (from those who found her merely vulgar) and controversy (enough to fill a book).
Whatever else was going on, though, Madonna and the world of fashion have been inextricably tied together. She has hooked up with designers such as Versace, Dolce & Gabbana and Jean-Paul Gaultier (maker of her famous pointy corset bra), to name just a few, and given them name recognition in new circles.
Most people, in fact, were more likely to wonder what Madonna’s latest look would be blond Marilyn? brunette Goth? and so on than how her latest single would sound.
“Her image was always more cutting edge than her music,” says Anne Bissonnette, curator of the Kent State University Museum. “It was so strong, that, from the start, you could immediately recognize her followers.”
And how’s this for irony? The woman who made underwear worn as outerwear famous was recently named the best-dressed woman over 40 in Great Britain, by no less than that country’s Good Housekeeping magazine.
Well, it could never be said that Madonna’s fashion range isn’t extraordinarily wide.
She may have worn prim, flowered Prada dresses on her book tour, but on her current concert tour she wears costumes by made by Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney and Christian LaCroix
That tour features a retrospective of her various looks over the years: from the white lingerie bride look, to pointy-breasted dance warrior, to kilt-wearing schoolgirl run amok.
Like a virgin
with shock appeal
David Wolfe is one of the world’s top fashion forecasters, so he’s been paying attention to Madonna, he says, “since when she was Like a Virgin. ‘ ”
Wolfe, creative director of New York’s Doneger Group, first saw her on MTV in the mid-1980s.
“We were so easily shocked then,” he says. “Her wearing a lacy white bra as an outer garment that was just the beginning of what I think of as an endless succession of what has inspired fashion.”
Earlier in her career, Madonna said, “I think I have an original sense of style, and I think that people are unconsciously copying my style. Sometimes, when you see people do that, it’s really cute, you know? But sometimes it isn’t.”
Or, as Wolfe adds dryly, “I’m not sure it’s been a great 20 years as far as fashion. She’s one of the people who have helped push down the fashion taste level, since she always had to be top banana in the shock department.”
But, he acknowledges, “She also was one of the first pop stars to link herself with top fashion names, and she led pop music into high fashion.”
Now, of course, one typically sees Beyonce, Christina Aguilera and other pop singers wearing designs by Versace and Dior.
Tom Julian, the New York- based trend analyst for Fallon Worldwide, says Madonna’s background in New York City’s “underground” was crucial to her becoming someone who popularized trends, including bringing fetish wear out of the closet.
“She had that vantage point and an instinct for how exciting that world was,” he says. “She had the mind to extract certain elements from it and to make those elements commercial, relevant and exposed.”
Her timing was right, too. Madonna became, and stayed, a star just as fashion designers were themselves becoming celebrities.
“She came of age in a vibrant fashion era,” says Julian. “She embraces the fashion darlings designers like Dolce & Gabbana and not only for her concerts. She wore Olivier Theyskens at the Oscars one year and made him a name in fashion.”
Bissonnette was in fashion school when Madonna emerged in the mid-1980s.
“Jean-Paul Gaultier was important before, but she sent him to new heights,” says Bissonnette. “She had a great ability to select individual designers who had a focus on performance- based garments.
“With Madonna it was always as much about how she wears the clothes, as it is about the clothes themselves.”
Expressing herself
over and over again
At first, Madonna mimicked the look of New York’s fringe, artsy world: the raggedy, layered thrift-shop look, complete with black leather jacket, multiple rubber bracelets and torn fishnets. Later, her fashion turns were more stark, whether in the androgynous oversized tuxedo in the “Express Yourself” video or as the Hollywood bombshell in her Dick Tracy phase.
But more often than not, Madonna mixed things up. “She appropriated pieces from different designers,” Bissonnette explains. In other words, she was never like Cher, who always wore Bob Mackie for big public occasions.
“A bustier is a bustier, but with a crinoline skirt and a funky hairstyle, it becomes something else,” adds Bissonnette. “The difference between fashion and style is one’s ability to do that, and that’s what Madonna has.”
Then too, there was her body, which evolved from puppy-fat softness, to articulated musculature to a longer-muscled yoga look.
Bissonnette points out that Madonna’s style incorporated her body. She brought an extreme muscular look into the mainstream. “It became OK to look like that,” Bissonnette says.
Still, while Madonna might inspire fashion followers, Wolfe says, “I never saw her wearing something first. She’d pick something up, from streetwear, or often, she’d just be wearing an extreme version of something that’s come down the runway.”
Where she has excelled, he says, “was making the general public aware of trends that otherwise only fashion people were aware of.
“She feels the pulse of fashion she gets it a heartbeat ahead of the general public.”
Bissonnette agrees. “She is not a follower, but a leader. It’s very hard to maintain that for 20 years, but she has done it.”
Wolfe says Madonna is the per fect icon for a population with a short attention span.
“She understood that fashion was speeding up and she encouraged people to change constantly. She never stayed the same long enough for anyone to get bored with her.”
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Body Of Evidence re-released

…”Body of evidence” DVD was re-released this week (2.August) in Germany…plus and ebay are selling from last July “Sex Bomb” new 2004 ‘behind the scenes’ DVD about her early days when Madonna first arrived in New York and her subsequent rise to fame. It contains exclusive and previously unseen film footage including in-depth interviews with those that worked closely with Madonna during this period, including journalists, producers, engineers, studio owners, her make-up artist, old classmates and ex-boyfriends. Packed with interviews and rare footage, this new DVD features on the cover a famous shoot from Hollywood video.

Body Of Evidence DVD

source : drownedmadonna

Madonna visits sick kids

Just because Madonna’s making a mint on her tour doesn’t mean she’s forgotten those less fortunate. On July 20, Madge, 45, made a surprise visit to the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. According to a source, Madonna arrived at 10 a.m. with daughter Lourdes, 7, and “spent hours talking to 40 kids and their families. [Madonna and Lourdes] also played with the kids and read all three of her children’s books to them, and gave each and everyone of them copies of all of her books.” The source adds that Madonna “signed autographs for not only them, but also for the nurses and doctors, who were clearly starstruck”

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Madonna & Olympic Games !? [Part II]

“It is going to be wonderful to be in the Olympic Village again, from having the Sydney Olympics which was such a fantastic atmosphere to going over there to be among the athletes,” Goodrem said.
The party would be held before the official Olympics opening ceremony, she said.
Other big names likely to be in Athens during the Olympics include Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles, Danish Crown Princess and former Tasmanian Mary Donaldson, Madonna and Hollywood actors Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston and Tom Hanks.
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Madonna in reality show

Missy Elliott has finished mapping out “The Road to Stardom” for 13 contestants in her new reality show. Madonna, Busta Rhymes and Jermaine Dupri all make appearances on the show, while music producer Dallas Austin will join co-executive producer Elliott to judge the aspiring hip-hop stars. Combining elements of “American Idol” and “Survivor,” contestants must endure mental and physical challenges to prove their talent. …
source : mtv

Hamish Hamilton will direct the Re-Invention TV Broadcast

The latest news on the tv broadcast of the re-Invention tour from Portugal is that it will be directed by Hamish Hamilton .
English man Hamilton , is one of the best tv directors around and is the man behind tv broadcasts and Live Dvds such as Madonna’s Drowned World Tour , Jennifer Lopez ‘s concert in Puerto Rico, Kylie Minogue Live in Sydney, One night with Robbie Williams and the latest Brits Awards ceremony.
Apparently Hamish Hamilton will start working on the re-Invention project next week, when he will travel to Portugal for a technical visit to the PavilhALo AtlAcntico in order to decide how and where he will install tv cameras as both Lisbon show will be recorded.
source : madonnatribe

Madonna Skin Care - MDNA Skin

JLO voted best dancer

Jennifer Lopez came first in the best dancer poll, followed by Madonna, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears and Beyonce Knowles.
source :

Take a bath

Madonna’s personal shopper stocked up on bath bombs for her dance troupe at LUSH’s Yorkville location last Tuesday . The dancers could certainly have used them after boogying down at Lobby that night .
source : TorontoStar

Meet mid life Madonna

After 20 years of tireless invention, Madonna is not only still at the top but has emerged as a happily married yoga enthusiast and mother of two – a disappointment for critics who feel that by now she should have been punished for her sins. On the eve of her UK tour, we celebrate the First Lady of Pop.
The scene is the United Centre in Chicago, where Madonna is about to begin the latest leg of her Re:invention tour. From my seat at the side of the stage I can see her preparing backstage, hoisting herself up into the crab position that had reviewers of previous shows both gasping at her suppleness (‘At 45!’)… and pointing out her support bandages (‘She is, after all, 45’). I can’t see any support bandages this time as Madonna rises up through the stage floor, still in the crab position, then stands on her head.
Her dancers start coming down from the ceiling on swings, dressed in a way that suggests they have escaped en masse from a casting for Les Miserables. Madonna looks sensational, though her spangled corset and thigh boots are so high camp they border on space camp. Watching her frolicking with her dancers, I’m reminded that Boy George once said she was a gay man trapped inside a woman’s body. Right now, in the nicest possible sense, it looks as if the gay man has escaped.
As the set unfolds (old songs: ‘Frozen’, ‘Papa Don’t Preach’, ‘Holiday’; new songs: ‘Nothing Fails’, ‘American Life’ ‘Hollywood’; horrible songs: ‘Hanky Panky’, ‘Die Another Day’; and unexpected songs: ‘Imagine’ ) the dry ice swirls, and it is as if Madonna has been joined onstage by the fog of truths and lies, preconceptions and misconceptions, that have dogged her over the years.
Suddenly she runs along the moving pathway at the front of the stage and up into a superstructure which takes her high above the crowd. And there she stands for a moment or two, bathed in adulation, wrapping her legs around the bars: Watching us, watching her…
At the start of ‘Vogue’, Madonna asks: ‘What are you looking at?’ It’s a question it seems pertinent to answer right now. Her 46th birthday is coming up and she’s done more than 20 years of hard time at the top. This year also sees the 20th anniversary of ‘Like A Virgin’, not her first hit but arguably the one that first set her apart from the common pop herd, the pretty hot-eyed ingenue displaying a moxie beyond her years as she flounced around in her wedding dress, announcing to the world that her latest love made her feel ‘shiny and new’. This was no virgin – anyone could see that – but even then Madonna ladled on the irony and the metaphor just as much as the eyeliner.
Just now, she’s not looking so shiny or new. There are reports that tickets for her tour are moving slowly and sales of her current album, American Life, have been the worst of her entire career. Unlike 1992’s Erotica, another poor seller, released alongside the notorious Sex book, this time the content seems to be to blame rather than any attendant controversy. For me, a longtime Madonna fan, American Life seems too heavy on the Kabbalah homilies (Love each other; Don’t be meanies) and too light on the fun. That was a disappointment after her previous two albums: Ray of Light, an introspective masterpiece produced by William Orbit and documenting Madonna’s personal and creative resurgence; and Music, produced by Mirwais, a near-psychic explosion of rhinestones, sparse electro and nimble social commentary.
More alarm bells rang as Madonna seemed to lose her nerve, withdrawing the military-themed video for the ‘American Life’ single as the Iraq conflict broke out. At the Chicago show she spent a great deal of time writhing about in combats and brandishing a gun, so perhaps she has had a change of heart – but at the time she deemed the images of helicopters, explosions and a Dubya doppelganger lighting a cigar from a hand grenade ‘inappropriate’.
Around this time, Madonna appeared on the Jonathan Ross show. The last time Ross interviewed her it was like watching a small boy being mauled by a man-eating tiger. This time Madonna looked subdued and unconfident, constantly twisting her fingers and fidgeting in her chair. She talked about hating the way she looked and she sounded like she meant it. Ross even managed to slip it in that her new music wasn’t for him and Madonna – Madonna! – meekly let him get away with it.
By the end I was watching in thoughtful silence. I’ve met Madonna, interviewing her in 1995 at her New York apartment, and she was such a bright, cheeky, ‘F*ck you!’ woman, speaking fearlessly and articulately about everything from art and fellatio to God, rape, misogyny (‘It’s an aura – a black cloud they carry around with them’) and everything in between. When she told me about being sexually assaulted as a newcomer to New York – the first time she’d ever talked about it – I commented that even something like this might end up being dismissed as a cynical publicity stunt. She laughed dryly: ‘Some people think everything I do is a publicity stunt. They think when I go to the bathroom it’s a publicity stunt.’
Did she feel she had been dehumanised, turned into a ‘thing’? ‘Yes (mischievous) – but then most icons are.’
There’s no doubt about it: the woman I met that day would have eaten Ross for breakfast and used Michael Parkinson to mop the plate. This Madonna, this latest Madonna, wasn’t coming across like that at all. It made you wonder what was going on: Where is Madonna placed now? What do we make of her? What does she make of herself, come to think of it?
Over the years there have been quite a few Madonnas to choose from. Born Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone into a large middle class Italian-American family in Bay City, Michigan in 1958, she seemed an unlikely candidate to become one of the world’s biggest stars and consummate shape changers. Much of her personal history has now passed into legend: her mother dying when she was seven, the subsequent rebellions, the running away to New York to ‘make it’, the career change from dance to music, the early stardom, the crucifixes and the attitude (‘I lost my virginity as a career move’).
Soon Madonna wasn’t just ‘making it’ she was inventing it – or to be more precise, reinventing it. From that point, the Madonnas came thick and fast: Boy Toy, Dirty Bitch, Catholic screw up, Mrs (Poison) Penn, Disco Dolly, Tomboy, Whore, Clown, Evita, Earth Mother, Calculating Businesswoman in Corsets. And along with it came the seemingly endless parade of vile, diminishing boyfriends. Apart from Carlos Leon, Lourdes’s father, Madonna’s men were mainly distinguished by their predilection for slagging her off afterwards. ‘If she were a painting she’d have to be an abstract by Picasso because she has so many faces,’ said Vanilla Ice. ‘She was so tight, she squeaked,’ said Jimmy Albright. And, of course, Warren Beatty in the famous In Bed With Madonna clip: ‘She doesn’t want to live off camera, never mind talk.’ (Pot, kettle, black?) The music was flowing all this time, too, but Madonna’s life has always been much more vigorously reviewed than her art.
Today things have quietened down considerably. Madonna is no longer jogging through our parks surrounded by bodyguards as she did in the Eighties. She’s no longer spraying profanities on chat shows or feeling up lesbian friends to wind up the media. Since she dumped Catholicism for Kabbalah, the church has had scant excuse to feel affronted as it did when she kissed a black Christ in her ‘Like a Prayer’ video or pretended to masturbate onstage during her Blond Ambition tour. And it’s 12 years since Madonna scandalised the world by producing Sex, an erotic photo essay that had Norman Mailer grumbling it wasn’t dirty enough (‘no beaver shots’) but saw the rest of the world buying it just to make absolutely sure they felt disgusted.
Recently it’s been about yoga, macrobiotic diets, another bad film (Swept Away) to add to her chequered movie CV, an iffy album, a Gap advert with Missy Eliot and a Kabbalah-inspired series of children’s books that are a million literary galaxies away from Sex. The Kabb
alah thing remains both amusing and bemusing to outsiders, but if renaming herself Esther and wearing a red braided bracelet makes her feel good about her life, then who are we to judge? That said, following a branch of Jewish mysticism that seeks to annihilate the ego must be darned hard work for a woman who once declared she wouldn’t be happy until she was ‘bigger than God’.
Madonna is clear about her affection for Britain – the country that produced her husband, film director Guy Ritchie, and son, Rocco – sometimes flattering us quite shamelessly: ‘Even the stupidest people in Britain are more intelligent than Americans.’ And yet there still seems to be a love-hate relationship with Madonna: breathless magazine articles about how so and so boutique is now hip because ‘style icon’ Madonna happened to pass by its windows… followed by more pages on her arrogance, her daughter’s Eve Lom facials, her nastiness to ramblers who want to roam across her country pile. And of course the perennial headline which has cropped up regularly since 1986: is Madonna a goner?
Maybe all this ragging can be put down to Madonna’s bizarre take on ‘down to earth’ English living (fish and chips, pints of Guinness and hanging out with Gwyneth Paltrow). Or maybe it goes deeper than that.
Is it just me, or do some people resent the way in which big, bad, ambitious Madonna has managed to dodge some kind of ‘karmic punishment’, some designated lonely fate, by finding family happiness in her forties? Of course, some people just can’t stomach all that ‘We’re a partnership / cleaning the car together / doing Kabbalah together / strumming Scottish folk songs on matching guitars together’ stuff that keeps leaking from the Ciccone-Ritchie homestead (and I haven’t even got to the bit where Ritchie is supposed to be in the habit of calling Madonna ‘Mum’). One woman told me she couldn’t work out whether she was simply suspicious of the ‘Guy effect’, or just plain sick of Madonna banging on about her perfect personal life. Married Madonna she could take; smug Married Madonna, no way. Others seem to suspect that this is a parody of domestic bliss, just the latest Madonna disguise.
I’m not so sure. It seems to me that a woman who lost her own mother as a young child might be a key candidate to embrace family stability. But it’s about more than even that – it’s about mega-celebrity and how to survive it. Arguably, Madonna has transcended pop stardom to become the first great reality show (Big Sister? Big Mother?). She is somebody who rubbed out the boundaries between life and art and managed to survive. Indeed, if Madonna were a fictional character, one could only retain public sympathy for her by having her ‘pay the price’ for her unnatural behaviour. By rights, she should be living alone in a dusty Hollywood mansion by now – childless, embittered, staggering Norma Desmond-style down a Gone with the Wind staircase, a hideous bony claw shaking her diamonds at the world (‘It’s time for my close-up’). Instead she’s happily married with two lovely kids, everything’s worked out great for her – and some people just seem to find that gutting.
It is also extraordinary how, all these years on, some people, usually men, still can’t give it up for the idea of Madonna, the talented and relevant musician, songwriter and performer. Where some are concerned she will always be dismissed as a chancer, a media manipulator, who built her entire career, spanning decades and continents, on a succession of good hair days. Never mind the innumerable No1 singles, the hit albums, the constant creative evolution, the provocation and the daring, the 20-odd years at the top of one of the most cut-throat industries ever.
‘Cherish’, ‘Like a Prayer’, ‘You’ll See’, ‘Frozen’, ‘Mer-Girl’, ‘Gone’, ‘Impressive Instant’ – where did all these songs, and more, come from? The ‘hit single’ fairy? Part of the urban myth surrounding Madonna is that the songs she says she wrote were collaborations, and the songs she says were collaborations were nothing to do with her. Even today you’ll get idiots at parties solemnly declaring that Madonna has no real talent: ‘She’s just a great businesswoman who knows how to market herself.’ And people wonder why Madonna is always banging on about sexism in the music industry (for a pop girl she always did have a big dirty rock mouth).
It seems the older Madonna gets, the more she is encouraged to shut up, put up and cover up, befitting a woman of her extreme years (one whole year older than Morrissey). But with her looks and fitness levels, why should she? It says something that she can perform excruciating yoga exercises onstage nightly on her world tour and be written off as ‘past it’, while David Bowie can collapse on his stage with heart problems and nobody suggests he give anything up.
This is not to say that Madonna has made no mistakes. Most recently, the three-way snog with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera at the MTV awards was a miscalculation, if only because it flagged up how gender infiltrates everything – even mega-celebrity, even Madonna. Put bluntly, this was a painfully feminine way to grab attention or pass on a ‘baton’ that just wouldn’t enter an equivalent male musical icon’s head. The idea of someone like Paul McCartney grabbing Noel Gallagher for a brisk tongueing is only bearable because you know it would never happen. The ‘guys’ would be too busy ‘duetting’ (though we could argue all day about what all that pointing at each other with guitars is all about).
While we’re on the subject of men, it seems increasingly clear that most of them just don’t ‘get’ Madonna in the same way women do. I am not referring to her fabulously loyal gay fan base, or even to her love life (though before Ritchie and motherhood she seemed to be on a one-woman crusade to give heterosexuality a bad name). I am referring to where the true Madonna heartland lies; namely the sprawling mid-twenties to late-forties female demographic, which should by rights be given its own Madonna-based name (Vogue Nation? True Blues?). One of Madonna’s greatest unsung achievements must surely be that for more than 20 years she has been an inspirational global totem for the women who have grown up with her. While it is universally acknowledged that Madonna inspired the first generation of ‘wannabes’, nobody ever seems to ask where they are now, and what happened to them, or, more to the point, what didn’t happen to them.
It would appear to be the case that Madonna has become more and more important to these fans as the years have gone by (and most of us quite frankly have become Not Gonna Bes). A book I own, I Dream of Madonna, a collection of women’s dreams about La Ciccone, beautifully captures how she has invaded women’s sub-consciousness over the years. But it’s not always a case of dreaming about Madonna or even for that matter thinking about her. Grown women have busy lives, and no one has time to sit around obsessing about multi-millionairess pop stars, but the fact remains that for many it is a strange mixture of comforting and exciting just to feel that Madonna’s still around, doing her thing, putting out great records, loving her children, digging her man, practising her dance routines, kicking against the pricks. One woman I know celebrated her 37th birthday with a toast to Madonna, an ironic gesture but one which is probably more common than you think. Unlike most men, who have spent over 20 years debating whether Madonna was too slutty (or not slutty enough) for their tastes, it was always more about friendship than sex for us.
I was thinking about this when I went to see Madonna perform at her Chicago show. It wasn’t the best-ever Madonna gig I’d seen – not as brazen as Blond Ambition or as soulful as Drowned World – but it was instructive to see her perform in America, the place that made her. America is just so vast, you feel yourself being swallowed alive, rendered irrelevant and anonymous, the moment you step out of the airport. It makes you feel fresh respect for the young motherless Madonna Ciccone, the little-woman-who-could
(and did), one of the first to stare celebrity straight in the eye and beat it at its own game.
The crowd were a disparate bunch: families, gay men, large groups of men drinking beer in a gruff heterosexual manner, even what appeared to be a Kabbalah convert, waving a ‘Queen Esther’ banner in the crowd. And, of course, there were the gangs of women out for the night on their own, all types, all ages, all jostling together, buying their posters and $30 programmes as souvenirs, and boogying with a disgraceful sense of abandon to the encore, ‘Holiday’. I overheard a group of them huddled over a programme: ‘Oh, I like that look, and that one, and I like her there.’ It was like Madonna’s career itself: big cultural pick’n’mix, something for pretty much everybody.
So that’s what we’re looking at. While Madonna might not be inspiring young girls any more (at least not in the gargantuan numbers she did in the Eighties), she’s definitely inspiring a lot of ‘older girls’ (and boys) just by being alive, and that alone makes her madly important. Add to that the music, the style, the humour and the sanity (see Prince and Michael Jackson for what could have happened) and not for the first time Madonna, circa 2004, starts looking positively indispensable.
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Couples follow Madonna up aisle

Record numbers of foreign couples are marrying in Scotland, following the trend set four years ago by Madonna’s Highland wedding. Nearly 31,000 couples were married last year north of the border, and neither the bride nor groom was a Scot in 8,900 ceremonies.
Duncan Macniven, the Registrar General for Scotland, said the “Madonna effect” had been good for the country. “Celebrity weddings have raised the profile of Scotland,” he added.
Madonna and the film director Guy Ritchie were married at Skibo Castle in December 2000. The increase in the total number of weddings, to a 10-year high, was recorded in the Registrar General’s annual review.
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Madonna matures in “Re-Invention

The Material Girl rematerialized, reinvented and reinvigorated, Wednesday night at the Office Depot Center in Sunrise.
Madonna wowed the sell-out crowd of close to 20,000 with a dynamic two-hour set sampling a couple dozen songs from throughout her 20-year career.
Although the concert started 45 minutes late “with some kind of mystical and barely decipherable incantation” Madonna quickly roused the arena with a vintage take on the dance classic “Vogue.”
Throughout the concert, large video screens shifted around the stage, offering glimpses of artfully composed and edited video that complemented the music. Whether it was a montage of combat scenes to introduce “American Life,” a romantic embrace between two men during “Frozen” or just fresh film of the Boy Toy herself, the video added depth and freshness to tunes well ingrained in the public consciousness. Two massive screens also flanked the stage with live video images of the star, so even $100 ticketholders in the nose-bleed seats got their money’s worth.
Still clad in Army fatigues from the combat rock section that began with the violently choreographed “American Life,” Madonna turned the ’80s anthem “Express Yourself” into a new, searing indictment of war. “What you need is a big, strong hand to lift you to a higher ground,” she sang, raising a rifle in one hand.
There was message in the music all night long.
Spirituality took center stage ” not surprising considering Madonna’s well-documented devotion to the mystical branch of Judaism known as Kabbalah. “Papa, Don’t Preach” had her sporting a “Kabbalists do it better” T-shirt.
That’s not to say the show wasn’t a nonstop parade of entertainment performed by a cast of dozens.
At times, the staging took on a Cirque du Soleil feel, with aerialists soaring above the stage on swings, fire dancers twirling flames, skateboarders half-piping, a bagpipe-and-drum corps marching and on and on. Madonna’s corps of male and female dancers ran through every style of movement from tap to jazz to break dance.
For more intimate moments, Madonna performed with a few musicians and her backup singers. She was in fine voice throughout the evening, offering clear, confident renditions of power ballads such as “Crazy for You” as well as a rocking “Like a Prayer.”
“Reinvent yourself” was the final message of the night, displayed in elegant script on the video screens as the crowd screamed futilely for an encore. Madonna certainly has reinvented herself this time as a mature, articulate entertainer.
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