How ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Re-Made Madonna’s Image Through Drag

'RuPaul's Drag Race' Team Reflects on
Courtesy of VH1

Each year, the “Rusical” challenge on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” is a highly anticipated one. It’s a chance for the queens to truly flaunt their talents as they perform unique song-and-dance numbers. The 12th season came with a little more pressure, though, as the competing queens had to perform to some of Madonna’s greatest hits, while also donning her most iconic looks. From “Lucky Star” to “Like a Virgin,” the task to take queens of different musical skill levels and turn them into pop stars fell to choreographer Jamal Sims.

Tom Campbell
Executive producer
“Every year, we challenge ourselves to think of new and better things to do. We asked, ‘Why haven’t we done Madonna?’ We wanted to see how we could push the queens. With this group, we knew from their audition tapes that they were talented in a variety of ways and across the board. We thought we’d have them record their vocals, and sing and dance. It was the hardest ‘Rusical’ in herstory.”

Jamal Sims
Choreographer
“Madonna is so iconic. Her styling and everything are so iconic and if you get it wrong, people are going to know. You have to be flexible [as a choreographer] and know when to pivot. With Widow Von’Du — who had hurt her knee in a prior episode — we could have made that knee worse. I had to make sure she could perform. I want them to do the best they can. I’m not setting them up for failure. It’s a fine line in finding how to push them without hurting them. A number like this should take a week and a half, but we didn’t have that luxury. It was done in two days.”

Jaida Essence Hall
Performer
“Jamal took the feel of what ‘Justify My Love’ gave, but injected what the music and the world is reflecting now. I had never seen the video before. [Judge] Michelle Visage said, ‘It’s sexy.’ I watched it twice and then knew what the vibe was. You had to learn it so fast. It was less about the choreography and music; it was more about learning who Madonna was in that period. When they pulled out the wardrobe, I saw a bra and panties and stockings. I thought, ‘There’s nothing here.’ I was nervous about wearing that outfit, but the wardrobe helped you bring out the character and made you feel alive.”

Gigi Goode
Performer
“I’m not a choreo queen, but I was excited to bring it to life. My performances revolve around what I’m wearing. I can move rhythmically but I’m not strong. I was shaky and nervous, and I wasn’t prepared to be nervous. I was confident in my ability to sing. I don’t know why I was shaky, but when we got on stage with Jamal, he said, ‘OK, what are you willing to do and can [you] push to the limit?’ I said, ‘I weigh 120 pounds and I am more than willing to be thrown into the air.’ Jamal brought out what I didn’t know I had.”

Nick Murray
Director
“A lot of what I shoot is dependent on what is choreographed. What you see in the rehearsals is a small snippet. It’s the first time the queens are seeing Jamal, and he has to gauge the talent because not everyone has the same ability. He has to cultivate their talent. We shoot a rehearsal and I get to learn some of the basic moves and then the group choreography. After that I’ll meet with producer Mandy Salangsang, and discuss how I want to shoot it. I’m heavily involved in the entrance and exits and how to make it all visually enticing for the viewer. But it needs to work from a choreography point of view in terms of getting one performer on and another off in a visually coherent way.”

More at Variety

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A Dua Lipa and Madonna collaboration could be on the way

A team-up between Dua Lipa and Madonna could on the cards after the Queen of Pop was reportedly asked if she’d be interested in a collaboration.

In a new interview with Music Week, Lipa’s manager Ben Mawson revealed how the ’80s aesthetic of Dua’s ‘Future Nostalgia’ album was influenced by Madonna’s ‘Confessions on a Dancefloor’ – with both records featuring songs produced by Stuart Price.

When asked if Dua could emulate Madonna, Mawson responded: “Well it depends what you mean. She’s definitely going to have a long career. She’s definitely the complete pop star and obviously the album was heavily influenced by Madonna.

“In fact, we’re about to try and get Madonna on a record. I’m going to write the email and see if she’s up for a track.”

He added: “Dua told me she aspired to be Madonna when I met her, when she was 17, and there was something about the way she said it that made me believe her! It was about her personality, her charisma, her competitiveness and her drive and that came across. Dua’s got it all, so she’s unlimited potential.”

It is unclear whether Madonna has responded to the request.

More at NME

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The New Faces of Pride: Kim Petras on Meeting Madonna, the Importance of Intersectionality and More

You finally get to meet your queer hero. Who are they? And after “Thank you” and “I love you,” what the next thing you tell them?

Madonna. I actually met her at World Pride in New York last year as we were both performing. I had no idea what to say to her at all. I just freaked out, but she was really nice and cool about it. I’m obsessed with her. Whenever I’m down, I watch her Truth or Dare documentary and it picks me up. She’s a huge inspiration for me. She’s part of the reason I make escapist pop. I wanted to be able to give the feeling she gives me to other people. I wanted to tell her that, but I think I just fangirled out, thanked her for inviting me, and backed away into the crowd of people.

Read full article at E Online

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Celebration (album) discography online – 54 items!

New in our discography is Madonna’s ‘ultimate’ greatest hits package ‘Celebration’ under Warner Records. This also marked Madonna’s last music release in general with Warner if you don’t count the Sticky & Sweet Tour. 

Putting together the discography took a while as there are so many different pressings for this release. Not only was there the deluxe 2CD set, but also a single CD and a DVD set! For us collectors there was also a fantastic promotional box set.

We have collected 54 different items for you to view, check them all out HERE

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Kate Ryan covers Madonna’s ‘Holiday’

Kate Ryan – “Holiday”

She’s the pop diva that represented Belgium at Eurovision 2006. And now Kate Ryan is drawing inspiration from another icon — Madonna. The Belgian’s new single is a cover of the Queen of Pop’s 1983 classic “Holiday”. “It’s time for the good times, forget about the bad times. It’s time to come together, to release the pressure. We need a holiday”, writes Kate on Facebook. (Padraig)

Read full article at wiwibloggs

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A League of Their Own (Columbia Classics Collection – Volume 1 (UHD) box set) Bol.com order link

The Columbia Classics Collection – Volume 1 on 4K Ultra HD blu-ray including ‘A League Of Their Own’ is available to order through Bol.com. 

For ‘only’ EUR 119,99 this can be delivered to your doorstep on August 12.

  • 4K_BLURAY
  • 17 discs
  • Region Code: 2
  • Subtitles: French / Dutch / Spanish / German / Italian
  • Color
  • 16:9
  • Dolby digital 5.1
  • EAN: 8712609636345

Pre-order by clicking direct link below

 

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Music at Home: Songs of Pride

Madonna, “Holiday”

You could probably do an entire Pride list of just Madonna songs, if we’re being honest. But early in her career the iconic performer and her producers made killer singles that combined bubblegum pop with the edge of New Wave and the disco sounds still throbbing in gay clubs. Her third single, “Holiday,” is a perky bit of escapism featuring cowbell, synth strings, and scratchy guitar that sounds like the vacation we all deserve after this year.

Full article at Rolling Stone

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Flashback: Madonna and Lenny Kravitz Play ‘Ray of Light’ at the 1998 Video Music Awards

MTV is re-airing the 1998s VMAs this week as part of their “Flashback Friday” vintage programming block

MTV is taking a rare break from Ridiculousness and Teen Mom OG marathons on Friday for something they are calling “Flashback Friday: Made in New York.” It’s a 24-hour block of classic Nineties programming like The Real World: New YorkYo! MTV RapsThe StateDiary: Pink, and the Pearl Jam and Nirvana Unplugged episodes. Midway through the day, they’re going to debut a new special entitled TRL’s Most Requested Moments hosted by La La Anthony.

At 5 p.m. they’re going to broadcast the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards. Everyone from Hole and Marilyn Manson to Dave Matthews Band and the Brian Setzer Orchestra played that year. Teen pop was just starting to break through to the mainstream and the Backstreet Boys performed “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back),” but the night really belonged to Madonna. She won Video of the Year and Best Female video for “Ray of Light” and kicked off the show by playing “Shanti-Ashtangi” from Ray of Light before bringing Lenny Kravitz onto the stage to help her rip through the title track. You can see the video above.

MTV airing vintage programming like this is a huge break from the precedent of the past few years. On Sunday, for example, they’re airing 46 consecutive episodes of Ridiculousness. If you haven’t seen it, that’s the show where Rob Dyrdek and a small panel watches videos of people inadvertently hurting themselves while attempting to pull off stupid stunts. It’s not that different from the fictional show Ow My Balls in Mike Judge’s 2006 dystopian classic Idiocracy. Nothing else is airing on MTV on Sunday. It’s just Ridiculousness.

Back in 2016, MTV launched the MTV Classic channel and promised to fill it with vintage shows like The State and The Real World. But the ratings were abysmal and within just a few months, they switched gears and started airing airing endless blocks of Nineties music videos and nothing else. It was a tremendous disappointment.

It’s unclear if “Flashback Friday” will become an ongoing thing on the main MTV channel. This first day is just a tiny, tiny sampling of the many wonders that have been stuck in their vault these past few years. But it’s a very good start. Any day that MTV airs two hours of The State, a Real World: New York marathon, Nirvana’s Unplugged, and not a second of Ridiculousness is quite fine with us.

More at Rolling Stone

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19 years ago today……Madonna in Berlin

I went to Berlin
I had a dream
I wanted to see Madonna
I didn’t know anybody
I wanted to dance
I wanted to sing
I wanted to do all those things
I wanted to be happy
I wanted to see a legend
I wanted to love her even more
I wanted to see a real star
I worked really hard
and my dream came true

19 years ago today I xperienced one of the greatest nights of my life. Seeing Madonna in person ‘for the very first time’ during her Drowned World Tour in the Max Schmeling Halle in Berlin (tiny tiny tiny venue!!) 

The excitement around the venue in the sunny weather was unparalleled. Do you know that feeling when you find yourself in a certain place at a certain time and you felt like ‘you just got home’? That’s the best way I can describe the feeling of running into the thousands of people who all came to see Madonna. The greatest living legend of our times. 

I hopped off the tube and found myself in pure Madonna heaven. There was Madonna music playing everywhere, people were wearing those cheap but cute replica cowboy hats and everyone was simply HAPPY. It was a feeling so special, that I will never ever forget it. 

Going inside the venue was nerve wracking, what if my ticket is fake? what if I don’t get in? Thankfully nothing like that happened and I walked in teary eyed. I was in such a state that I was almost in tears before the show had even started. Just the realization that my long cherished dream was about to come true…..I was finally going to see HER! 

Walking up to the front row on the left side of the stage coming eye to eye with both Gwyneth Paltrow and Ingrid Casaras nearly gave me a heart attack. Gosh, I was a mess. Just seeing Madonna’s pals in real life was more than enough to give me a nervous breakdown. I can’t even explain how I felt when only 15 minutes later (around the clock of 9pm) the lights went out and the show started. I couldn’t find my glasses and saw everything in a blur, but I recognized Donna and Niki……STRESSED OUT!

Then there she was.

Putting on my glasses my eyes finally adjusted to the fact that she was in fact real, and I was looking right at her. Tears of joy, screams of excitement and trying to get my head around the fact that it was happening! To make a long story short, I witnessed one of the greatest (if not THE greatest) shows I have ever seen there in that tiny venue.

I remember years later when I met Dutch TV host Eddy Zoey who’d also seen the show, that he said that no words, no picture, no footage could EVER capture the magic that was the Drowned World Tour. It was a case of ‘you had to have been there to actually feel it, to experience it’. 

I’ll leave it at that.

Kimberly

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BEHIND THE LENS WITH RANKIN, THE BAD BOY OF CELEBRITY PHOTOGRAPHY

MADONNA

Q magazine, 1998

“This was a really exciting one. I remember I was in Paris and I needed to get a motorbike taxi to the airport to fly to L.A. to shoot it. Madonna was on time. She came in and told me, ‘I chose you to photograph me because you make the people in your photos look like they’re having a laugh,’ which made me nervous because I felt like I had to be a stand-up comedian. I was more nervous meeting her than I was meeting the Queen. I had heard lots of things about her being quite tough, but I think it’s a testament to her that it’s her collaborators—stylists, make-up artists, producers—who are always her biggest allies.”

Full article at Interview Magazine

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The Biggest Pop Culture Milestones in Dsquared2’s History

Reaching the 25-year mark is a crowning achievement for any fashion brand these days, particularly one who remains privately owned and fiercely independent.

For twin brothers Dean and Dan Caten, who are celebrating their label Dsquared2’s 25th anniversary this year, much of that success can be attributed to the music world’s most iconic women who have supported them throughout their careers.

Legends like MadonnaBritney and Christina have all helped propel the Catens’ brand into the global mainstream, while supermodel Naomi Campbell’s famous opening walk for Fall 2004 cemented its place in fashion history.

It’s been a wild ride for the designer duo, who were raised in a small town in Ontario, Canada, went to New York to study at Parsons and moved to Italy where they remain and show today. From their menswear roots, Dsquared2 now encompasses an entire lifestyle offering including womenswear, beach/ underwear, children’s and fragrance.

To commemorate 25 years in business, PAPER caught up with Dean and Dan to reflect on some of their biggest pop culture/ celebrity moments and how they impacted their careers.

When They Dressed Madonna Early in Their Careers

Dan: Working with Madonna was an honor and an essential moment for our career. Still overwhelmed by that emotion. We weren’t that well known at that time. Jamie King, her creative director and a friend of ours, called asking for some of our men’s collection. We selected some looks for her and sent everything right away. She started by wearing our jeans and ended up customizing some items for her 2000 “Don’t Tell Me” music video and for a segment of her Drowned World Tour. That drove us to start designing our womenswear line.

Full article at Papermag

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Kunsthal x Operator: Online! Live opening: Black Album / White Cube 19 – 21 JUN 18:00 – 20:00

Kunsthal Rotterdam is opening its new exhibition ‘Black Album / White Cube’ online! In collaboration with the Rotterdam online radio station Operator, for three nights in a row the focus will be on art and music. To what extent are these worlds connected to each other? What concepts are exchanged between visual artists and musicians? Why is everybody playing vinyl again these days? And what was it like when the first gabber techno tracks started to shake Rotterdam to its foundations in the 1980s and 1990s?

The exhibition ‘Black Album / White Cube’ will be the inspiring setting for three live broadcasts. Hosts Samira Ben Messaoud, Femke Dekker, and Thomas Fonville will talk to some high-profile guests from the worlds of art and music. After the talk, the DJ will take over for a ninety-minute set. Follow the special online opening programme live via this page.

PROGRAMME 18.00 – 20.00 HRS
 

FRIDAY 19 JUNE

18.00 – 18.30 hrs:
Host Samira Ben Messaoud will talk to the artist duo Ari Versluis and Ellie Uyttenbroek. Inspired by the emerge of gabber culture in Rotterdam in the 1990s, they portrayed numerous individuals from various subcultures over the past 26 years. Their ongoing art project Exactitudes® is part of the exhibition Black Album / White Cube.
18.30 – 20.00 hrs: Set with DJ mad miran.

SATURDAY 20 JUNE

18.00 – 18.30 hrs: Host Femke Dekker will talk to George Ruseler, frontman of the Rotterdam Terror Corps, and guest curator Max Dax, former editor in chief of the famous German rock and pop culture magazine Spex, and of Electronic Beats magazine. 
18.30 – 20.00 hrs: Set with DJ Marcelle.

SUNDAY 21 JUNE

18.00 – 18.30 hrs: Host Thomas Fonville in conversation with DJ and artist Natasja Alers, organiser of the Grauzone Festival.
18.30 – 20.00 hrs: Set with DJ Max Dax

BLACK ALBUM / WHITE CUBE. A JOURNEY INTO ART AND MUSIC

The exhibition ‘Black Album / White Cube’ combines the worlds of visual art and pop music. Thirty five internationally known artists are showing work that is influenced by music: from A$AP Rocky, Lady Gaga and Britney Spears to Joy Division, Euromasters and The Beatles. Over two hundred contemporary artworks have been brought together in the exhibition, including photography by Wolfgang Tillmans and Anton Corbijn, video installations by Cyprien Gaillard and Arthur Jafa, and paintings by Albert Oehlen and Emil Schult. Within themes such as ‘remixing and sampling’ or ‘original and copy’, countless exciting cross-overs are created.

SEE ALSO

 
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BLACK ALBUM / WHITE CUBE – A JOURNEY INTO ART AND MUSIC

Image: Radenko Milak, Madonna Kisses Britney, 2019 © Radenko Milak. Courtesy PRISKA PASQUER, Cologne

JUNE 20, 2020 – JAN. 10, 2021
 
Music rules! In the exhibition ‘Black Album / White Cube’ at Kunsthal Rotterdam 35 internationally renowned artists and musicians present almost 200 works of contemporary art – multimedia installations, sculptures, videos and paintings. The exhibition reveals what happens when the worlds of art and pop music meet. Modern classics – including the seminal painting by Emil Schult that became the cover of Kraftwerk’s groundbreaking album ‘Autobahn’ in 1974 – will be exhibited alongside photographs by Wolfgang Tillmans and Anton Corbijn, paintings by Kim Gordon and Albert Oehlen, as well as video installations by Arthur Jafa and Cyprien Gaillard. ‘Black Album / White Cube’ is a surprising journey beyond art from the 1990s until now, inspired and fueled by music from The Beatles and Joy Division to Britney Spears and Rotterdam’s own gabber techno.

 

NO ART WITHOUT MUSIC

The exhibition shows how artists and musicians are mutually influenced by each other. Visual artists like Richard Prince and Mark Leckey have taken up musical principles such as remixing or sampling to include them in their own works. The exhibition also features art made by musicians, including the ‘Band Name Paintings’ by Kim Gordon, one of the founding members of Sonic Youth. The tension between the dogma of the original in the art world and the popularity musicians achieve by selling or streaming as many copies of their art as possible provides dynamic mutual interaction. The monumental installation ‘We Buy White Albums’ by Rutherford Chang plays with this contradistinction: Chang collected 3,000+ vinyl copies of The Beatles’ ‘White Album’ and sorted them by serial number in a re-enactment of a record shop. Antiquated, stained or written on, each album turns out to be unique and special – like works of art in their own right. Peter Saville, the graphic designer behind Joy Division’s record covers, contributes to the exhibition with a new video installation featuring homages and rip-offs of his iconic ‘Unknown Pleasures’ motif.  

FROM FANS TO CLUBS

Extreme forms of worship and adoration of pop idols and nightlife are also themes in the exhibition. Since the early 1990s, Wolfgang Tillmans portrayed stars like Grace Jones, Wu-Tang Clan, Björk and A$AP Rocky. The artists Phil Collins (no, not the singer) and Henning Strassburger are intrigued by how the phenomenon of extreme fandom – from Beliebers to the Army of the K-pop band BTS – has emerged since the age of The Beatles. The Bosnian artist Radenko Milak immortalised Madonna and Britney Spears’ iconic kiss during the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards in a photorealistic watercolour. Also shown are ten larger-than-life portraits of the Berghain bouncers by the German photographer Sven Marquardt — he is also the first doorman of the world renowned nightclub, the Berghain in Berlin. And in their series ‘Exactitudes’, the Rotterdam photographers Ellie Uyttenbroek and Ari Versluis captured the looks of ‘gabbers’, as the fans of gabber techno are called.  

SYNAESTHESIA

Music can blow you away when you turn up the volume, or it can transport you back in time. But how can we recreate a listening experience as an image? The German painter Bettina Scholz says: “When I am listening to music, I see colours”. Scholz translated her perception into behind-glass paintings in which clouds of ink are spread out on brightly coloured sheets of glass. Other artists in the exhibition are playing with synaesthesia, a phenomenon where one sensory experience subconsciously evokes another. The French photographer Julien Lescoeur is inspired by the music of Joy Division. His haunting grey-scale photographs show his attempt to translate a feeling of isolation that he clearly feels in the band’s music.

COLLABORATION

The exhibition is realised in collaboration with the Deichtorhallen Hamburg. Guest curator is the author and curator Max Dax, who became known for being editor-in-chief to both ‘Spex’ and ‘Electronic Beats’ — two German magazines for pop culture that changed the way we look at music and art.

ARTISTS

In ‘Black Album / White Cube’ you will find works by Daniel Blumberg, Rutherford Chang, Phil Collins, Anton Corbijn, Cyprien Gaillard, Kim Gordon, Juro Grau, Arthur Jafa, K Foundation, Scott King, Peter Knoch, Mark Leckey, Julien Lescoeur, Luci Lux, Sven Marquardt, Michaela Melián, Radenko Milak, Olaf Nicolai, Albert Oehlen, Richard Prince, Thomas Ruff, Peter Saville, Thomas Scheibitz, Michael Schirner, Bettina Scholz, Emil Schult, Andrea Stappert, Henning Strassburger, Wolfgang Tillmans, Philip Topolovac, Rosemarie Trockel / Thea Djordjadze, Ari Versluis & Ellie Uyttenbroek, Wolfgang Voigt, Cosima von Bonin and Mason  Williams.

More at the Kunsthal

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Dick Tracy: 22 Easter Eggs, Facts, And References To Celebrate The 30th Anniversary

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