Madonna sticks to the script at her concert

SINGAPORE — The controversy in recent days over Madonna’s first concert here — sparked by the Catholic Church’s advice to congregants to skip the show — did not carry over into her performance at the National Stadium last night, as she kept to her word to observe cultural sensitivities.

The pop diva’s 90-minute gig, which was rated R18 for sexual references, was attended by around 25,000 fans, a fraction of whom were moved to better seats so that other fans’ view would not be blocked.

Other than the last-minute shuffle of seats, the show went without incident.

Over the past week, the Catholic Church and other religious organisations expressed their concerns over the American pop superstar’s concert. Archbishop William Goh had reminded Catholics and the Christian community of their moral obligation not to support “the ‘pseudo arts’ that promote sensuality, rebellion, disrespect, pornography, contamination of the mind of the young, abusive freedom, individualism at the expense of the common good, vulgarity, lies and half-truths”.

Responding in a statement on Thursday, a spokesperson from Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour said they are “aware of the cultural sensitivities, and Madonna is excited to share her celebration of art and music with her fans in Singapore”. Earlier, the Media Development Authority had reiterated that content that is offensive racially or to religions would be in breach of licensing conditions, with the singer told not to perform her controversial song Holy Water in her concert here.

Her set-list on Sunday included tracks from her new album such as Burning Up and Heartbreak City. She also revisited old favourites such as Like A Virgin, True Blue and Crazy For You.

The Philippines, her last stop before her Singapore show, wants to ban the singer after she “disrespected” the country’s flag by draping it on her during her concert there last week, AFP reported.

Mr James Lee, chief executive of Kinglun International Holdings, an investor in the concert, said the shuffling in the seats was because of a category of seats priced at S$388 that would have affected the view of some of those who had paid S$188. As a result, around 600 to 700 concert goers got an SMS Sunday morning informing them they would be moved around, including some lucky fans who held S$288 tickets but got bumped up to S$588 seats.

“Some of the S$188 ticket holders wanted to know why there were people standing in front of them. Because of this, we asked for all those holding S$388 standing tickets to be upgraded so they can move to the empty seats up front,” said Mr Lee ahead of the show.

Fans who got an upgrade were pleasantly surprised, noting the tickets were pricey.

Read full article at TodayOnline

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Madonna’s Rebel Heart tamed in Singapore

SINGAPORE: She might be on her Rebel Heart Tour, but when it came to meeting the Media Development Authority (MDA) guidelines the Queen of Pop was a little less than rebellious.

For the Singapore leg of her tour on Sunday (May 28), Madonna performed a modified opening segment of her tour, cutting out the songs Iconic, Holy Water and Devil Pray before launching into the second segment. The cut songs are usually performed in the first of four segments of the concert, also known as the Joan of Arc / Samurai section.

The video introduction of the concert was also modified, with the cross-adorned portion of the staves held by dancers removed.

Fans still got to see the rest of the songs in the segment, where dancers clad in samurai-influenced costumes performed with the singer, and where she performed with a guitar.

Fans got to see Madonna perform with a guitar in the modified opening segment. (Photo: Ngau Kai Yan)

MDA had previously stated that Madonna would not be allowed to perform the segment because it contained “religiously-sensitive content which breach our guidelines”. Organiser Live Nation Lushington confirmed before the concert that the singer would not be performing the banned segment.

Even with some songs removed, Madonna erred on the side of caution, filtering her language until about halfway through the show, when she asked fans if she could swear.

Fans in Singapore also got to listen to her sing Crazy For You live. The song has only been performed on this tour one other time – in Manila. Before that, it was last performed live in 2004, according to concert website

Madonna performed a total of 18 songs in Singapore as she did with other tour stops. (Photo: Ngau Kai Yan)

There were some changes towards the end of the gig as well. Madonna started her encore song Holiday without a Singapore flag, replacing it with a flag with a peace sign. She had come under fire last week for using the Philippine flag during her concert Manila and earlier in the month, sparked ire in mainland China after she draped a Taiwanese flag over her shoulders for her performance in Taipei.

Still, the M18-rated show saw a topless flapper dancer for the song Candy Shop, just as it was done for other stops of her tour.

And fans still got about 18 songs for Madonna’s first concert in Singapore. The singer has been performing between 18 to 20 songs throughout her tour, not including one line from the song Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend.

Fans had mixed reactions to the edited set list. Diane S, a banker, said that the concert was “too short”, while her friend Emmie said “they shouldn’t stifle creativity”.

“If it’s not controversial, it’s not Madonna,” fans said. (Photo: Ngau Kai Yan)

Meanwhile, Malaysian couple Cheryl and Peter said that the concert definitely met their expectations “because it’s Madonna”. They added that having controversial segments was “expected” – “if it’s not in, it’s not Madonna”.

However, Japanese businessman Tsukamota said in Japanese that he felt the concert was a normal length and that the experience was good.

Before her concert on Sunday, controversy surrounded Madonna in Singapore after the Catholic Church called its followers to not support those who denigrate or insult religion. Other church leaders in Singapore also later aired their concerns to Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam, while the Anglican Church also weighed in on Saturday, calling for church members to “avoid everything that darkens and defiles our hearts and minds”.

Organisers said nearly 25,000 fans turned up for the show, which lasted two hours.

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Concert review: No rebel sighted in Madonna’s Rebel Heart show

In her first show in Singapore, Queen of Pop finally showed us what we’ve been missing out on.


Sunday’s (Feb 28) concert at the National Stadium was Madonna’s first ever show in Singapore in her phenomenal three-decade career. And boy, did she show us what we had been missing out on.

The American Queen of Pop sang, danced and thrilled her audience of 25,000 during the show, which lasted more than two hours. Even though Madonna eschewed controversial songs like Holy Water, the notoriously defiant singer swore freely and frequently — and even pretended to play what sounded like a xylophone with her private parts, much to her fans’ delight.

The 57-year-old’s set included newer hits like B**** I’m Madonna, Unapologetic B**** and Rebel Heart, as well as classics like Like A Virgin and Material Girl.

All in all, despite the buzz and controversy, the Material Girl was also a Well-behaved Girl — in her own unique way, of course.

(@By Hon Jing Yi)

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Madonna concert: Some ticket-holders get mystery ‘upgrades’

Hours before Madonna’s first concert in Singapore, some ticketholders have been getting text notifications from Sports Hub Tix informing them that their tickets have been upgraded.

The text message to ticket-holders says that their seats have been selected for an upgrade “due to technical setup”. The message adds that their new tickets will be available for collection from 5pm today, where they will have to produce their original tickets for the exchange.

There is no further indication of what the upgrade entails or where the new seats will be.

Most of those who have received these texts appear to be Category 5 ($288) ticket-holders, though it is not clear what other category tickets have been upgraded.

The texts were likely to have been sent from as early as 9am this morning. One ticket-holder who originally bought Category 5 tickets and received the text this morning is Ms Chin Yiwen, 27. The finance analyst says: “I don’t know what the upgrade will be, so I have to see when I get there.”

As of concert day, all tickets are not yet sold out. A check on the Sports Hub Tix page shows that VIP ($1,288), Category 1 ($688), Category 2 ($588) and Standing Pen A ($188) tickets still have “limited availability”.

The Straits Times contacted organisers for comment on the ticket upgrade but received no reply.

Singapore Sports Hub is expecting a crowd of approximately 22,000 to 24,000 at the National Stadium.


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In numbers: Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour in Singapore

As the S$14 million (RM42 million) show rolls into Singapore for the very first time, the 74th stop of her tour, tomorrow, we dish out the numbers on what makes a juggernaut show of this size tick.
180: Approximately the number of people who work and travel on this tour depending on the location.
4: Cargo planes required to carry all the tour equipment and other items to the first Asian stop of the tour: Taipei. The stage in Singapore will have to be set up in a little less than a day.
6.3: Tonnes of lights, sound and video equipment used each night; with 2.5 tonnes of that weight being the moveable stage ramp, specially constructed for the main stage.
2,150,400: LEDs lighting up the rear screens on the Rebel Heart stage; and 22 videos are played on the rear screens during the concert. One of the videos — Rebel Heart — consists entirely of digital artwork submitted by fans.
500: Pairs of shoes — custom-made for the entire troupe of performers, including musicians, back-up vocalists and dancers. More than 1,000 costumes were also designed and made for all of them
20: Hand-picked dancers who spent three months putting in 14-hour days, six days a week, to prepare for the show.
2,500,000: Swarovski crystals used on Madonna’s various costumes; Madonna makes at least eight costume changes during the two-hour. Speaking of costumes, Madonna would have worn more than 200 pair of fishnets by the time the tour wraps in Sydney, Australia on March 20.
17: Make-up brushes used to get Madonna’s face ready every night. The Material Girl also goes through five powder puffs a night.
2: The number of times Madonna plays the ukulele (yes, she does!). 25 string instruments are also featured during the show.
1: Stage designed to “flow through the audience” and actually comprises a main stage, with an extended catwalk that has a circular stage in the centre and a heart-shaped stage at the end.

See more HERE

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Philippines May Ban Pop Singer Madonna for Disrespect to Flag: Report

Manila. American singer Madonna may face a ban in the Philippines for disrespecting its flag in her concerts this week in the capital Manila, a domestic broadcaster said on Friday, citing a historical commission official.

The 57-year-old entertainer is on a world tour to promote her “Rebel Heart” album, and did sold-out shows on Wednesday and Thursday.

“She ridiculed our flag,” the official, Teodoro Atienza, told radio station dzBB, adding that Madonna violated a law that prohibits the wearing of the Philippine flag “in whole, or in part, as a costume or uniform.”

The singer and concert producers could be held liable for the violation even if they were unaware of the law, said

Atienza, who is chief of the heraldry section of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.

“They may face deportation and might not be able to return to the country. She also allowed the flag to touch the stage floor, which is another violation.”

There was no immediate response from the organizers of the concerts, held in the same hall where Pope Francis met Philippine families last year.

Madonna’s next stop will be in Singapore on Sunday.

A Roman Catholic bishop in the Philippines this week urged the faithful to boycott Madonna’s shows over her “suggestive” performance and “vulgar” clothes.

Roman Catholics make up about 80 percent of a population of more than 100 million in the Philippines, where the church has strong influence, blocking legislation on the death penalty, divorce and same-sex marriage.

Reuters / Jakartaglobe

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Strike A Pose documentary to hit Dutch movie theaters May 19

We can exclusively reveal that the much anticipated and highly praised ‘Strike A Pose’ documentary, directed by Ester Gould and Reijer Zwaan will finally hit Dutch theaters on May 19.

The dancers of the Blond Ambition Tour tell their personal stories on what happened to them after the tour. The documentary premiered at the Berlinale Festival in Berlin and received nothing but praise from the critics.

For Madonna fans; don’t worry, this is not a negative movie. It is actually a very humble, touching and beautifully put together.

We will hopefully have more information soon on a possible official Dutch premiere.


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Meet the die-hard fans of Madonna

Madonna’s super fans: Panda Tan (left), Rahman Selamat (top right) and Glenn Nolan (bottom right).

Photo: The Straits Times and AFP

He won a Best Dressed award when he dressed up like Madonna in her Nothing Really Matters music video for a Madonna Madness party in 2000 at Zouk.

Since then, he has received offers to impersonate his idol at private functions and events, dancing and lip-syncing in drag and mimicking her signature looks.

Mr Abdul Rahman Selamat, 41, even has his own stage name.

Fellow Madge fans know the customer service officer as Madina, a moniker inspired by the 57-year-old US pop queen.

And she’s the first thing Mr Rahman sees when he wakes up each day.

Almost every surface of his bedroom-turned-Madonna shrine is plastered with her face and filled with over $20,000 worth of posters, CDs, tapes, books, merchandise and collector’s items.

Giant posters are taped to the ceiling, from which silver and pink disco balls hang.

His favourite magazine covers of Madonna cover his wardrobe doors.

Multiple display cabinets hold his Madonna-related prized possessions.

Mr Rahman even has several life-sized standees of Madonna in a corner of his room.

Of course, he’ll be seeing her in the flesh on Sunday, having bought a $688 ticket for her first-ever concert here at the National Stadium, as part of her Rebel Heart world tour.

It will be Mr Rahman’s eighth time watching the music diva perform live. He travelled to the US, UK, France and Holland for her past concerts, and he’ll also catch her in Sydney next month.

The bachelor, who is the youngest of four children, first became a fan in the mid-1980s and had amassed quite a collection of Madonna memorabilia by 1988.

He frequently trawls US e-commerce site eBay for rare items including his most expensive purchase to date: a Like A Prayer exclusive promo box set that cost him $1,000 five years ago.

His collection grew when he and his parents moved to their current three-room HDB flat in Bedok North in 2000.


“I told my mother there’s always space for Madonna in my room,” Mr Rahman told The New Paper.

“I’ve never felt ‘suffocated’ by my collection. Looking at my collection gives me a sense of peace, especially when I listen to her music.”

He’s even willing to sleep on a modest-sized sofa bed to make room for his collection.

“My friends give me grief and ask me what’s the point of a bedroom without a bed. But it’s something I’m willing to do without,” he said.

In the past, Mr Rahman’s parents expressed concern about his obsession with Madonna as they did not want him to overspend.

“My mum has since accepted it, especially after I explained to her that it is also an investment,” he said.

“Except that I don’t think I will ever sell anything from my collection.”

I’ve never felt ‘suffocated’ by my collection. Looking at my collection gives me a sense of peace, especially when I listen to her music. -Mr Abdul Rahman Selamat

– Read full article at:


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Rewinding the Charts: In 1995, Madonna Took a ‘Bow’ at No. 1

The Material Girl traded “Sex” for romance and scored a personal best with “Take a Bow.”

MADONNA’S LONGEST RUN AT NO. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 didn’t take place until more than 11 years after her first chart hit.

On Feb. 25, 1995, her romantic R&B-flavored ballad “Take a Bow” began a seven-week reign atop the ranking. Co-written with Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, the track vaulted to No. 1 in the wake of the pair’s performance of the song at the American Music Awards.

“Take a Bow,” which was the second single from then-36-year-old Madge’s 1994Bedtime Stories album, showcased a kinder, gentler Queen of Pop following a few years of boundary-smashing, she-did-what? exhibitionism that no contemporary pop star of her stature has topped. In 1992, she released the album Erotica and its controversial Sex picture book tie-in, followed by the lurid 1993 movie flop Body of Evidence. An F-bomb-filled appearance on CBS’ Late Show With David Letterman in 1994 also made headlines.

Bedtime Stories was a much more commercial release that, in addition to “Take a Bow,” spawned three Hot 100 entries: “Secret” (the set’s No. 3-peaking lead single), “Bedtime Story” and “Human Nature.” It also outsold Erotica in the United States — 2.3 million vs. 1.9 million, according to Nielsen Music — and was nominated for a best pop album Grammy Award, Madonna’s first nod for an LP.

“Take a Bow” also topped Billboard‘s Radio Songs, Pop Songs and Adult Contemporary charts (and crossed to a No. 40 peak on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs), but, despite its success, Madonna, now 57, didn’t perform the song in concert until just recently: Feb. 4 on her Rebel Heart Tour in Taipei, Taiwan. She introduced the number by saying, “I’d like to sing a song especially for Taiwan — a song that I have never sung before ever, ever, ever in concert.”

Afterward, she told the cheering crowd, “A few bad notes, but it felt good to sing it. Finally.”

A version of this article first appeared in the Feb. 27 issue of Billboard magazine.

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LOOK: Madonna in Manila — as rebellious as it gets

Madonna's concert at MOA Arena, February 24, 2016 (MB Photo/Jun Arañas)

These were her “sins”: Swearing out loud, climbing and hanging upside down from a cross, draping the National Flag over her shoulders, sexually suggestive dancing, seemingly strangling a dancer dressed as a priest on stage, having dancers as nuns cavorting in revealing clothes as well as a female dancer that must’ve had a wardrobe malfunction, and, oh, starting her set almost three hours past the show time printed on tickets and performing mostly recent materials than the old chart toppers.

Bad, bad Madonna. Classic Madonna.

The pop diva caused a commotion at the Mall of Asia Arena (MOA) February 24 in kicking off the two-night series of the Manila leg (the 70th stop) of her “Rebel Heart Tour” that’s been to North America and Europe, then to Oceania after Asia. As if purposely thumbing nose at convention—and at a warning by the Philippine Catholic bishops that her show is “the devil’s work,” as worded in an AFP article—Madonna lived up to the title of her show, alright; sans apology and certainly without attrition.

It’s the attitude she’s worn on her sleeves throughout the tour and, one may say, for her entire career. It’s the persona her Filipino fans had been waiting to see live for months on end since the Manila leg was announced and those 57-thousand-peso tickets were bought, if not for more than three decades since she burst into the scene.

“Manila! Are you with me?” were Madonna’s very first words to the concertgoers some 10 minutes into the show which she was quoted in a Macomb Daily article as a “characteristically theatrical spectacle.” The crowd roared back lustily like there was no tomorrow, never mind if that fell on a holiday which it did (the 30th anniversary of the People Power Revolution) at midnight, mid-way through the presentation that ended almost at 1 a.m.

Madonna's concert at MOA Arena, February 24, 2016 (MB Photo/Jun Arañas)

Like in the other legs of the tour, Madonna’s repertoire was categorized into four themed acts: “Joan of Arc/Samurai,” “Rockabilly meets Tokyo,” “Latin/Gypsy,” and “Party/Flapper.” Though all eyes were focused on the multi-hyphenate artist, there were actually four stories going on simultaneously most of the times and these were being told in the sequence of the songs, in the visuals on the video walls, in the choreography and in the synergy thereof.

Amid the alakazam of high production value glossed by the latest technology, the relatively quiet numbers were those that roused the attendees. In fact, “Like A Prayer” (till the middle part), “True Blue” and “Who’s That Girl” had Madonna just accompanied by a guitar and a ukulele. The other familiar hits from her humongous discography that ended up on the set list were musically rearranged almost to the point of being unrecognizable; as if the artist was testing her audience if they would still love those even without the familiar trimmings.

Filipinos who are used to hearing many cover songs in live performances just got two from Madonna on the first night. These were “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” originally recorded by Ross Royce and also found in the Queen of Pop’s “Like A Virgin” album; and “La Vie En Rose,” the signature song of French popular singer Edith Piaf. (Well, there’s another—the chorus of “You Light Up My Life” by Debbie Boone—which Madonna sang impromptu en acapella and more as a joke after noting there didn’t seem to be a sea of light emanating from mobile phones at the venue. Did the people forget to charge their batteries, she asked tongue-in-cheek).

After acknowledging in the latter part of the show that she doesn’t go “to this part of the world much often,” Madonna thanked her Filipino fans for the support they’ve been giving her as professional music artist for more than 30 years now. She also bantered with the audience (some of whom were foreigners), and even picked a guy in female attire to dance with her onstage.

The giant cross-shaped stage with a smaller heart-shaped stage at the tip is a design specific for the tour. It’s the same one fans have seen in other countries where the tour has had stops. Most of the props, if not all, were flown into Manila from Macau on Monday aboard a chartered plane.


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REVIEW | Madonna: a true rebel with a heart

For her grand entrance Madonna descended onto the stage in a cage from high up in the ceiling. For her exit two and a half hours later she ascended back to the air while singing her very first hit, “Holiday.” (That it was already past 1 o’clock in the morning of February 25, a real holiday, made the entire number even more surreal than it was.)

In between those bookends was a show that many if not most in the audience will not soon forget. Not only because “Rebel Heart Tour” was the first-ever live performance of the Queen of Pop in the Philippines but also because it was a spectacle of the highest order.

The stage alone was already worth a big fraction of the cost of admission. (Apparently it’s worth a big fraction of the cost of production, too.) It had a massive backdrop composed of three giant led screens that showed fantastic video images to accompany the live performances. It also had a long cross-shaped ramp, with a heart-shaped tip, that practically extends to the other end of the orchestra section. And scattered throughout the stage are 7 hydraulic lifts that serve as entry and exit points for Madonna and her dancers.

The niftiest feature of the stage, though, is a big panel at the very center that has different functions. Sometimes it’s a vertical led wall, sometimes it’s an angled slide, sometimes it’s a flat platform. There simply hasn’t been anything quite like it on the local concert stage.

The sets and props were also sights to behold. They include a car shop set-up, a swirling staircase (that came from and went back up to the ceiling, for a single number at that), a Last Supper table, and several wildly bending poles that hoisted dancers some 20 feet in the air.

So how was the performance that the stage hosted? Madonna showed why she is the grande dame of pop concert artists. Her terpsichorean days as a dancer may be behind her — gone are the complex choreographies and nimble athleticism even of her last tour, MDNA — but her full commitment and her dowager-like command of the stage remain fully intact. There is still a whole lot of movement throughout the show, including hanging upside down from a horizontal rod and pole dancing, that will certainly tax performers half her age If they ever decide to put in that much effort.

The singing was surprisingly good especially for someone who is still derided for her vocal talent. Madonna now has a low, rich, full voice that was showcased fully in the show’s many slow and stripped down numbers. These include acoustic renditions of “True Blue,” “Who’s That Girl,” the French classic “La Vie En Rose,” and “Like A Prayer,” the chosen “request” song of the night that brought the house down and was one of the set’s highest highlights.

The biggest difference and main surprise of Rebel Heart from her previous tours is how unrigid Madonna is. Where there was a roboticness and remoteness in previous treks there is now playfulness and enjoyment. Whereas before she seemed to be working hard to give her audiences a grand time, it now seems that she is having a grand time herself. In fact there were a few times in last night’s show where she was very in-the-moment spontaneous, including singing a couple of lines a capella from the “West Side Story” song “Maria” for the audience member named Zoreena who caught the bouquet that she threw during a spiel following “Material Girl.”

Thematically the Rebel Heart Tour continues to tread on the now very familiar themes of sex and religion that have been a major part of the Madonna canon since day one. And it may be easy to charge her with “reductionism” (look up “Madonna reduction” online) of her own work especially if you take such numbers as “Holy Water” and “S.E.X.” on their own and on the surface, but that would be missing the new context she is working on. She may still be firing up and fanning the same flames (the rebel half of the show) but she’s now doing it within the framework of love (the heart part).

That’s pointedly clear when she follows up the salacious, nuns-in-undies-dancing-on-steel-cross-stripper-poles-pupulated, Last Supper-alluding “Holy Water” with the haunting plea for spirituality “Devil Pray” and its picture of a sinful woman searching for forgiveness and redemption from various men of the cloth (Catholic, Hindu, Islam to mame just some represented in the number). And when “S.E.X.” features four sets of couples of different persuasions (straight, gay, lesbian) that turn into some sort of orgy in the end. That’s inclusiveness and acceptance that’s very now.

And that’s Madonna version 3.0 for you — a true rebel with a heart.

Read more at Interaksyon

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Philippine bishops say Madonna concert is devil’s work

Philippine Catholic bishops called Wednesday on the faithful to boycott pop diva Madonna’s sexually charged concerts in the nation’s capital, calling them the devil’s work.
MANILA: Philippine Catholic bishops called on Wednesday (Feb 24) on the faithful to boycott pop diva Madonna’s sexually charged concerts in the nation’s capital, calling them the devil’s work.

The 57-year-old Like A Virgin and Erotica hit-maker is scheduled to cavort on a giant cross-shaped stage during two concerts on Wednesday and Thursday as part of her global Rebel Heart tour.

“Pinoys (Filipinos) and all God-loving people should avoid sin and occasions of sin,” Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said in a statement posted on the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’ official website.

Full article HERE

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Madonna visits children at Bahay Tuluyan Foundation

A day before her scheduled concert on Wednesday night, pop culture icon Madonna visited and spent time with the kids of Bahay Tuluyan Foundation in Manila earlier Tuesday afternoon.

Catherine Scerri, deputy director of the nongovernmental children’s rights organization, said the American singer-songwriter arrived at 2 p.m. and stayed for close to an hour.

“She watched a little dance number prepared by the children, and then ended up dancing with them, too,” Scerri told the Inquirer in a phone interview. “The children were very happy and enjoyed their time with Madonna,” Scerri said.

On her Instagram account, Madonna posted a photo of her with three children under the organization’s care. “Chillin’ with my homies at the Bahay Tuluyan Foundation, giving shelter to orphans street children trafficking abuse victims in Manila,” Madonna wrote.

Scerri described the meeting “private and casual,” with Madonna accompanied by around 20 people, including some of her dancers.

“They reached out to us yesterday. Initially, we thought it was only her dancers who will go. We found out that Madonna was also coming today,” Scerri said, adding that Madonna asked her about how the foundation works.

“We discussed the situation of the children and how we help them,” she said.

Madonna, one of the bestselling artists of all time, is currently in the country for a two-night show at SM Mall of Asia Arena, on Feb. 24 and 25, as part of her ongoing “Rebel Heart” world tour.

The Manila leg is presented by promoter Music Management International. TVJ

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Madonna sneaks into PH days early to hit the beach

Pop superstar Madonna slipped into the country quietly through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) at 2 a.m. Monday for her two-day concert in Manila in support of her 13th studio album “Rebel Heart.”

The four-time Grammy winner’s arrival aboard a chartered Boeing 752 was kept under tight wraps with airport workers strictly prohibited from taking pictures and videos with their mobile phones.

The team of customs, immigration and quarantine officers dispatched to the parked aircraft at remote parking area 21 of Naia Terminal 1 to process Madonna’s papers were told not to bring mobile phones on board.

The ground handler of the chartered flight had reportedly requested “utmost confidentiality” on Madonna’s arrival for her SM Mall of Asia Arena concert on Feb. 24 and 25.

A Naia source, who requested anonymity, said Madonna arrived days before her concert to go to Amanpulo in Palawan, the premier resort visited recently by American business magnate Bill Gates and  Hollywood stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

Madonna, whose full name is Madonna Louise Ciccone, flew to Manila after her concert in Macau.

Madonna’s “Rebel Heart” worldwide tour, a total of 82 shows, will end on March 20 in Sydney, Australia.  Her two-day concert in Manila is part of the 13-show Asian leg.

The Queen of Pop is considered the best-selling female recording artist of all time, with 300 million records sold worldwide. She is also the top touring female artist of all time, according to Billboard, which ranks her second to the Beatles in its hot 100 all-time top artists.

She was also included in Time Magazine’s  “25 Most Powerful Women of the Past Century” and is in the American cable TV network VH1 list of  “100 Greatest Women in Music.”

Madonna also earned acting acclaim when she won a Golden Globe for her role in the film version of the musical “Evita.”

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Singapore archbishop warns flock against Madonna concert

Singapore’s Roman Catholic archbishop has expressed concern at an upcoming concert by pop diva Madonna in the city-state and warned his flock against supporting those who “denigrate and insult religions”.

Archbishop William Goh said in a statement posted on the diocese website on Saturday that he had various government officials to express the church’s concerns about the February 28 concert, part of her global Rebel Heart Tour.

The concert, at the 55,000-seat National Stadium, will be Madonna’s first-ever in largely conservative Singapore.

She was barred from performing in in 1993 after police said her performances bordered on the obscene and were “objectionable to many on moral and religious grounds”.

Goh said that in a multi-ethnic society like Singapore “we cannot afford to be overly permissive in favour of artistic expression at the expense of respect for one’s religion”.

Authorities have assured the archbishop that restrictions have been placed to ensure that content deemed offensive to religious beliefs would not be allowed on stage, the church statement said.

The Media Development Authority has restricted the concert to those aged 18 and above because of sexual references.

Local media reports said Madonna would not be performing a controversial tour segment called Holy Water, which includes dancers dressed as scantily-clad nuns performing on cross-shaped stripper poles.

The church statement said many Roman Catholics have voiced outrage at Madonna’s “disrespectful use of Catholic and other Christian symbols” in her performances.

“There is no neutrality in faith; one is either for or against. Being present (at these events) in is itself a counter-witness,” the archbishop said.

He warned his flock against supporting “the ‘pseudo arts’ that promote sensuality, rebellion, disrespect, pornography (and) contamination of the mind of the young”.

Some Catholics said they supported the archbishop’s decision and would not attend the concert.

Student Kevin Koh, 24, said he would not go but would not pass judgement on fellow Catholics who attend.

“Singapore as a society has to start being open to these things because we can no longer live in our own shells,” he told AFP.

Some online comments were critical, with one commentator saying the faithful should be allowed to make their own decisions.

Read more at BusinessStandard

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