Madonna and activists send 100,000 surgical masks to jails and prisons

Madonna is partnering with Meek Mill’s advocacy group REFORM Alliance to send much-needed personal protective equipment to jails and prisons which have become coronavirus hotspots across the country.

More than 50,000 surgical masks will be donated to Chicago’s Cook County Jail, which has been hit hard by the pandemic. Six inmates have died, while 210 staffers and 235 inmates have tested positive, according to the county sheriff’s department. Another 192 detainees and 120 staffers have recovered from the virus. 

The Louisiana Department of Corrections will also receive 20,000 masks, while another 30,000 will be sent to California’s Vacaville Prison, FCI Ray Brook in New York and the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department in Massachusetts.

REFORM and Madonna’s Ray of Light Foundation worked with several activist groups for the initiative, including apparel company Pair of Thieves, The Bail Project and #cut50.

“More than 2 million lives in prisons across America are currently at stake due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” REFORM co-chair Michael Rubin said in a statement. “It’s absolutely crucial that we protect our inmates and prison staff, especially since social distancing guidelines are difficult to abide by in these facilities.”

Earlier this month, REFORM sent 100,000 face masks to facilities including the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman and Rikers Island jail complex in New York City.

More at WLNS

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Sticky & Sweet: Madonna’s ‘Hard Candy’ Turns 12

Madonna’s Hard Candy turns 12 this month (on April 19, to be exact) and I decided to mark the occasion by revisiting the divisive opus. Full disclosure. The Queen of Pop’s 11th album didn’t exactly fill me with joy when it arrived in 2008. After the dance-pop mastery of Confessions On A Dance FloorHard Candy felt like a step backwards. Instead of breaking new ground, she decided to tap into the pop-meets-hip-hop sound that The Neptunes and Timbaland were already exploring with the likes of Justin TimberlakeNelly Furtado and Gwen Stefani.
 

As one of the few Madonna albums I don’t regularly play, I was able to reassess Hard Candy with semi-fresh ears. And it’s less one-note than I remember. The production is very much of its time, but there’s an outrageousness to the project that I appreciate more with the benefit of hindsight. Instead of repeating herself (as much as I would have killed for Confessions 2), the living legend decided to dabble in urban beats — without the buffer of house music as she did on Bedtime Stories — at the age of 49. Oh, and she also had the audacity to open the album with a song about her vagina.

“Candy Shop” is, without a doubt, the most iconic moment on Hard Candy — massive hits like “4 Minutes” and “Give It 2 Me,” which has held up incredibly well, can’t compete. The song is such a staple of her live show that its absence from the Madame X Tour felt like a slap in the face. “Don’t pretend you’re not hungry, there’s plenty to eat,” Madonna coos on the Grammy-robbed bop. “Come on into my store, ’cause my sugar is sweet.” The Neptunes’ production is airy and multi-layered, while the bridge (“my sugar is raw, sticky and sweet”) should be carved on the statue of liberty.

Apart from “Candy Shop” and the aforementioned singles, another track that has aged handsomely is “Miles Away.” Co-produced by JT, Timbaland and Danja, there’s an emotional gravitas to this song that other cuts are missing. In some ways, it reminds me of “Love Profusion” — perhaps it’s the palpable sense of longing. Other highlights on Hard Candy include “She’s Not Me,” which really should have been a single, and the lightweight and very lovable “Dance 2Night.” I remember adoring “Incredible” upon release, but it sounds a little creaky in 2020.

The rest of Hard Candy is forgettable by Madonna’s standards. It is lacking the layers and hidden gems of American Life, the insight and creativity of Madame X and the wall-to-wall bangers of Rebel Heart. In its defense, the album is cohesive and achieved what it set out to do. Namely, remind the new wave of divas that Madonna could beat them at their own game. After all, Hard Candy sold four million copies worldwide and the tour remains the highest-grossing by a female artist of all time. Legends only.

What’s your favorite song on the album? Let us know below, or by hitting us up on Facebook and Twitter!

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Annie Lennox + Madonna ‘SING’ (2007) discography online!

Before we kick off Madonna’s next huge era in our discography (Hard Candy) there was this single:

SING by Annie Lennox.

Remember?

This was Annie Lennox’ charity single released in 2007 to raise money and awareness for the HIV/Aids organisation for which she teamed up with 23 other singers. Madonna recorded the second verse of the song to participate.

The ‘SING’ discography has just been added HERE

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The Story Behind Madonna’s Iconic Jean Paul Gaultier Cone Bra

On the first night of Madonna’s Blond Ambition tour, held in April 1990 in Chiba, Japan, few in the audience could have prepared themselves for the spectacle about to unfold. With its $2 million dollar stage set, explosive choreography by voguing legends from the New York City ballroom scene, and headline-grabbing aesthetic fusion of Catholic imagery and BDSM, the show solidified Madonna’s ascent to the top of the music pantheon—no longer just a pop star, she was now a fully-fledged pop culture icon.

Perhaps they shouldn’t have been so surprised. After all, Madonna was coming off a string of controversies following the previous year’s announcement of her latest album, Like a Prayer. A $5 million sponsorship deal with Pepsi was swiftly pulled after she debuted the video for her lead single “Like a Prayer,” the plot of which implicitly drew a link between racial injustice and organized religion. Featuring Ku Klux Klan-style burning crosses and Madonna receiving the stigmata, it led to a call from the Vatican directly to boycott Pepsi and its subsidiaries. “Art should be controversial, and that’s all there is to it,” Madonna told the New York Times with nonchalance in the lead-up to the album’s release. (This very casual response was likely due to the fact that Pepsi, eager to extricate themselves from the kerfuffle, let Madonna keep the check.)

Yet outside of the pearl-clutching backlash that accompanied the tour’s debut, the image that would come to define it was far more modest, arriving within the first few minutes of the show. Sporting an artfully slashed pinstripe suit, Madonna ascended to the stage via a hydraulic platform. She held a monocle hanging off her necklace up to her eye before launching into “Express Yourself.” Moments later, she and her backup dancers whipped off their jackets to reveal something a little racier.

 

The pink conical bra that Madonna wore underneath is so embedded within the canon of both pop music and fashion that it now requires little introduction. Designed by Jean Paul Gaultier, who Madonna personally requested to create the costumes for the tour (she even handwrote him a letter to express her admiration for his sense of humor), the look was the product of many months of collaboration, with fittings taking place both in New York and Gaultier’s ateliers in Paris.

“When Madonna first called me in 1989, it was two days before my ready-to-wear show, and I thought my assistant was joking,” said Gaultier in a 2001 interview with the New York Times. “I was a big fan. She knew what she wanted—a pinstripe suit, the feminine corsetry. Madonna likes my clothes because they combine the masculine and the feminine.” Indeed, it was this gender-bending spirit that made the tour’s visuals so memorable—just take her male dancers, who threw flamboyant shapes while sporting Tom of Finland-esque leather lace-back tops paired with Bob Fosse bowler hats.

What made Madonna’s iteration of the undergarment truly subversive, though, was its nuances. The cone bra grabbed the public’s attention for the way in which it rebelled against the narrow definition of the beautiful female body that, for so many centuries, had been defined by corsetry’s body-morphing strictures. Sure, designers like Vivienne Westwood had also spent the ’80s exploring a more freeing, playful take on the corset, but Gaultier’s version—first debuted on the runway in 1987, before later being adapted for the Blond Ambition tour—took the piece and made it feel defiant, aggressive even. In place of the soft curves the corset was supposed to create, the female anatomy became a spiky, phallic weapon, one that Madonna celebrated by exerting her dominance, sexual or otherwise, over the dancers of all genders she frolicked with over the course of her one-and-a-half-hour musical extravaganza. This was a pop star in control, and her outfits told the story before she even opened her mouth to sing, or to gyrate wildly across the stage (or even to simulate masturbation, in a sequence that almost resulted in her Toronto leg of the tour being shut down).

Gaultier would go on to collaborate with Madonna on multiple occasions, including a memorable appearance at Gaultier’s 1992 AIDS fundraising gala in support of amFAR, where she walked the runway in Los Angeles before dropping her jacket to reveal a bondage-inspired harness top that left her breasts fully exposed. “I love Madonna,” Gaultier added in his New York Times interview. “She’s the only woman I ever asked to marry me. She said no, of course, but every time she asks me to work on her shows, I can’t say no.” Thirty years after making its first debut, the cone bra is more than just part of fashion history and an artefact hanging in a museum. Its legacy lies in the very real way in which it has encouraged generations of female pop performers in Madonna’s wake to channel their sexuality through the outfits they choose to wear without shame, and on their own terms. To paraphrase Gaultier, who could say no to that?

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How Madonna helped The Prodigy conquer America

Madonna’s Maverick, however, showed every sign of being the label that bucked this trend. She had not only her manager, former Michael Jackson consigliere Freddy DeMann running the show, but his protégé, a young and hungry Hollywood go-getter of Israeli descent called Guy Oseary. Freddy and Guy had a powerful combination of youth and experience. And with one of Guy’s very first signings, a Canadian singer-songwriter called Alanis Morissette, they had the single biggest-selling worldwide artist of the 1990s on their roster. 

Read full article at GQ Magazine

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Own Madonna’s Autographed Madame X Tour Jacket

If you’ve ever dreamt of owning an iconic item in your closet, here’s your chance. This one-of-a-kind custom jacket, designed by Elizabeth Emanuel, was worn by Madonna during her recent Madame X tour. She will be autographing it as well. In addition to the jacket, Madonna will personally call the winner on their birthday to deliver a serenade of “Happy Birthday.” 100% of the money raised through this Game/Auction will go directly to Feeding America, Meals On Wheels, World Central Kitchen and No Kid Hungry.

Link HERE

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Medellín celebrates its first anniversary

It was one year ago today that we got to hear what Medellín sounded like. 

The lead single from upcoming album ‘Madame X’ was described as ‘FIRE’ and premiered on Beats 1 Radio. The track with Maluma was an instant hit to some, while others had to get used to the new sound. It for sure was a departure from everything ‘Rebel Heart’.

The incredibly fun track gave that instant summer vibe and brought along an equally stunning video.

To read more about it, check out our Madame X page HERE

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Still Mixing It Up While Clubs Are Closed: Madonna, Ava Max, Fatboy Slim & More Stay-at-Home DJ Picks

Trailblazing DJ/producer Tracy Young, who this year became the first woman to win the Best Remixed Recording Grammy Award for her Pride remix of Madonna’s “I Rise,” says that another recent Madonna single that she remixed, “Crave” (with Swae Lee), has been “one of the most requested songs during my club sets and livestreams.”

The track, which hit No. 1 on Dance Club Songs in November, was also performed live, via Young’s remixed form, by Madonna over the past year. “It was an honor to be a part of the Madame X Tour setlist,” Young tells Billboard.

Young, who lives in Miami and regularly plays at No. 3 Social, as well as other local and national venues, has also been liking Fatboy Slim and Eats Everything’s “All the Ladies.” “This is a club banger and a floor filler for sure,” Young says. “I love Fatboy Slim!”

The DJ, whose remix of Alex Newell’s “Boy, You Can Keep It” was recently released, is additionally grooving to the new ArtBat remix of Sono’s “Keep Control.” Young calls it “such a classic track” that’s “always in rotation in my sets.” The original “Control” spent four weeks at No. 1 on Dance Club Songs in summer 2001.

Full article at Billboard

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How to Recreate Madonna’s Most Iconic Looks, Straight From Her Long-Time Hairstylist

Come on girls, do you believe in love?” It’s hard to fathom it’s been three decades since Madonna rallied the troops in her feminist call to arms Express YourselfCelebrity hairstylist Peter Savic takes a look back on the enduring styles he created with the chameleon-esque star and shares his expert tips on how to recreate them today.

Don’t Go For Second Best
“I used to cut and color her hair, and we had just used this length in the Oh Father video,” the stylist says. She always loved wavy, curly hair. To get the curls, I used a regular curling iron with a one-inch barrel. I liked to put a little bit of conditioner in the ends of her hair to give it more texture and protect it from the heat.”

Full article at New Beauty

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How Madonna’s Blond Ambition Tour Changed Pop Concerts Forever

Madonna
Michel Linssen/Redferns

Madonna performs on stage at the Feyenoord stadium on July 24, 1990.

“I know that I’m not the best singer and I know that I’m not the best dancer. But, I can f—ing push people’s buttons and be as provocative as I want. This tour’s goal is to break useless taboos.” There was only one all-singing, all-dancing chart-topper who could get away with such a bold declaration at the turn of the ’90s, and it wasn’t Paula Abdul.

From the moment that she writhed around suggestively in a wedding dress at the 1984 MTV VMAs, Madonna became the live act that you couldn’t — and didn’t want to — take your eyes off. Singing in front of a traditional guitar-bass-drums trio was never going to cut it for the woman seemingly hellbent on shocking middle America.

Then the undisputed Queen of Pop by quite a margin, Madonna had already toyed with the theatrical on 1987’s Who’s That Girl Tour, a whirlwind of glitzy costume changes, giant video screens and dramatic reenactments that she described as “Broadway in a stadium.” But 1990’s Blond Ambition — which kicked off 30 years ago — took Madge’s natural sense of showmanship to new heights.

Madonna asked Jean-Paul Gaultier to create more than 60 costumes for the tour, an amount which the haute couture designer admits took 350 aspirins to get through. Luckily, all this headache-inducing work paid off. The Frenchman’s conical bra creation, which was later sold at auction for $52,000, became one of the defining fashion statements of the decade. And items such as the polka-dotted blouse, clip-on ponytail and mic headset all became a part of the chart-topper’s style legacy, too.

Unsurprisingly, Madonna was just as fastidious when it came to the tour’s choreography. “Wimps and wannabes need not apply” read the call out seeking “fierce male dancers” for the tour. Led by Vincent Paterson, the chosen army of six were put through boot camp-like rehearsals in preparation for a tour that spanned 57 dates, five months and three continents. And with its large hydraulic platform and multiple elaborate sets, Blond Ambition’s staging essentially cost the same as the GDP of a small country. Simply no one else could compete, not even the King to Madonna’s Queen of Pop. A few years prior, Michael Jackson’s Bad Tour had impressed many with its slick moves and dazzling lights – even the BBC’s cult hero John Peel hailed it as a “performance of matchless virtuosity.” But Madge’s elaborative high-concept, five-act production left it for dust.

Blond Ambition didn’t give fans a single opportunity to get bored or head for the bar. Every four minutes there was something new to digest. Take the opening ‘Metropolis’ section, inspired by the expressionist sci-fi of Fritz Lang, for example. Madonna simulates sex in that bra while performing “Express Yourself,” straddles a chair during “Open Your Heart” and belts out “Causing a Commotion” while playfully wrestling her two backing vocalists to the ground. And this was just the first quarter of an hour.

As you’d expect from an artist whose Pepsi commercial had been yanked amidst calls of blasphemy, the second ‘Religious’ section was even more attention-grabbing. Wildly rubbing her crotch in a red velvet bed, Madonna left little to the imagination on a sensual reworking of “Like a Virgin.” And on “Like a Prayer,” the track whose provocative video had caused the soft drink giants to bail, the star and her crew are kitted out as nuns and priests.

Of course, much of the predominantly Roman Catholic nation of Italy didn’t appreciate this type of cosplay. A second date at the Stadio Flaminio was called off after none other than Pope John Paul II implored citizens to boycott “one of the most satanic shows in the history of humanity.”

The controversial blend of religion and erotica also incurred the wrath of the Toronto police force, particularly the “lewd and obscene” display of “Like a Virgin.” But despite the threat of arrest, Madonna and her management team refused to bow down to authority. The star even referenced the furor during her second show at the city’s SkyDome, asking the crowd “Do you think that I’m a bad girl?… I hope so.”

Madonna famously described Toronto as a fascist state in Truth or Dare, the illuminating backstage documentary which further boosted Blond Ambition’s pop cultural cachet. Who can forget the scene where the star pretends to gag after Kevin Costner – then the biggest movie star in the world – summarizes 105 minutes of sense-assaulting, boundary-pushing entertainment as “neat”?

Thankfully, the sell-out crowds reacted to the tour with a little more enthusiasm, even the Dick Tracy section featuring several numbers that would have been unfamiliar at the time. The comic book adaptation, which co-starred Madonna as femme fatale Breathless Mahoney, hit the big screen half-way through Blond Ambition’s run. And the ever-astute star attempted to guide fans towards the cinema with a high-kicking third act dedicated to the trench coat-wearing detective.

But for sheer entertainment value, the ‘Art Deco’ segment is tough to beat. Sporting a pink bathrobe and curlers while seated under a beauty parlor hair dryer, Madonna performed the whole of “Material Girl” in a comical Noo-Yawk accent before throwing fake dollar bills into the crowd. “Cherish” saw the star take up the harp accompanied by (what else?) a troupe of dancing mermen. And following a West Side Story-inspired routine for arguably her finest pure pop moment, “Into the Groove,” she wrapped things up with a faithful recreation of the iconic “Vogue” video.

By the time each and every crew member bids an on-stage farewell during the Bob Fosse-meets-A Clockwork Orange encore of “Keep it Together,” it’s clear that you’ve just witnessed a spectacle of ground-breaking proportions. As dancer Luis Camacho said, Madonna “wanted to give the audience an experience, rather than them just going to a concert. She set the stage for concert shows and experiences that followed.” The tour even impressed Grammy voters, who were notoriously slow to recognize Madonna’s greatness. The video of the tour won the 1991 award for best music video, long form — Madonna’s very first Grammy Award.

Sure enough, no longer were audiences content to watch their pop idol simply play the hits. Elaborate production values and strong narrative arcs soon became just as integral to the superstar tour as the music itself. You only have to look at Michael Jackson’s Dangerous shows, complete with catapult stunts and ghoulish illusions, two years later to recognize the immediate impact Blond Ambition had. And it has continued to inspire pop’s A-listers ever since. Without Blond Ambition, it’s unlikely we’d have the gravity-defying acrobatics of P!nk, the candy-colored razzmatazz of Katy Perry or the formidable conceptual journeys of Beyoncé. And it goes without saying that its footprints were all over the various balls staged by Lady Gaga.

Madonna herself has refused to rest on her laurels, going even bigger and bolder on the likes of 1993’s The Girlie Show, 2004’s Re-Invention and 2008’s Sticky and Sweet. But nothing has ever changed the game quite like her extremely blond and incredibly ambitious 1990 world tour.

More at Billboard

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Oliver Crumes EXCLUSIVE interview on Blond Ambition Tour with MadonnaUnderground!

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Blond Ambition Tour one of its most iconic dancers, Oliver S Crumes III was kind enough to sit down for an exclusive interview with MadonnaUnderground

 

So Oliver can you tell us how you got to be a dancer for the Blond Ambition Tour? Were you asked to audition, or did you see an ad somewhere?

•My Hip Hop students mentioned the ad to me and told me I should go. I originally told them I would go, but didn’t! Then my brother convinced me to go, so we both auditioned and told each other that we had nothing to lose…if anything we get the chance to meet her.

What was the auditioning process for the Blond Ambition Tour like?

•Crazy!! Lots of male dancers dressed in different ways. As a hip hopper, it was different for me.

When you all started to rehearse with Madonna for the tour, do you remember how a certain dancer (like yourself) was chosen for a particular song? Like for instance you are the main and only dancer in ‘Open Your Heart’ 

•These decisions were made by Madonna and the choreographer. As far as “Open Your Heart “, I was given the opportunity in addition to the choreography to have creative control to freestyle.

Do you know if certain songs were rehearsed that did not make it into the final setlist?

•All songs we rehearsed wound up being in the show. I did get the fortunate opportunity to be asked by Madonna before starting the tour my opinion on which songs should be in the show. While Madonna and I were making these decisions, the band was rehearsing and auditioning more band members to be on her tour.

What was it like for you going on a world tour with the biggest star in the universe?

•Well that’s a question that would be hard to “Express Yourself ” with. But in short, it was Out of the World at the age of 19.

Can you tell us something about working with Madonna? Is it true she is a true workaholic?

•She’s definitely a business woman who knows what she wants and was able to pave the way for many artists and tours to express their own creativity.

What was your favourite stop during the tour? Which country or city left the biggest impression?

•There are so many! I’ll start off with Japan, the culture and how everything was so organized and everyone was so disciplined. But I can’t leave out France and London and “Wembley Stadium”. Because we had to perform there during the daytime.

How about your favourite song to perform during the show? And what is it you liked about that most?

•C’mon now!! OPEN YOUR HEART of course. But WHERE’S THE PARTY was up there and I was able to put a little bit of my Hip Hop twist to it, and let’s not forget my part with her in VOGUE because everytime I came out to perform that section, the audience did it with us, and still see people doing it to this day. Did you know it is now a GIF?

It’s clear from watching ‘Truth or Dare’ that you shared a special bond with Madonna. Can you share with us a special or funny moment you experienced with her during the tour?

•Her coming up with the name for me called REVILO (Oliver spelled backwards), which I now use as the name for teaching Hip Hop. And how she thought that I should be a rapper. And that goes to show you that she didn’t always think about just herself.

Looking back on the tour for you personally, what did it teach you? 

•I’m pretty much still the same person. But the one thing I can say it taught me is to love everyone equally.

In ‘Truth or Dare’ we see you meeting your father, how did you feel about that looking back on it?

•Looking back at it, I’m now an adult, all grown up. Family is Family.

In Toronto Madonna was almost arrested for sticking her hand in her crotch and the Vatican wanted to ban her show in Italy, how did you guys feel about the fact that the show was so controversial at the time? 

•Being that I wasn’t in that controversial part of the show, I wasn’t scared, nor were the other guys in the show. As a matter of fact, they made jokes saying “take me to jail I don’t care”, because Madonna was gonna be Madonna. And we all know she likes to express herself.

-Blond Ambition was way ahead of its time and set the bar for all live shows that came after, it was a truly groundbreaking show. Did you guys feel that you were part of something extraordinary? That people would still be talking about it 30 years later?

•At the time, we were dancers for one of the biggest artists in the world. I still to this day receive countless fan mail and social media posts and messages which are overwhelmingly incredible. It’s crazy because I even had a fan fly out from Switzerland to meet me in Las Vegas to meet me at the Hard Rock Hotel to sign all of his Madonna memorabilia. And just today I received a message from a fan saying what an incredible impact I made on them. It’s an unbelievable honor and I’m very grateful for the opportunity that led me to who I am.
 
Thank you Oliver!!
 
© MADONNAUNDERGROUND, 2020. No part of this interview, may be reproduced in whole or in part in any manner without the permission of the copyright owner.
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The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier – the infamous corsets! A look back

Back in 2013 we were lucky and thankful to be invited to the official opening of ‘From The Sidewalk To The Catwalk – The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier’ at the Kunsthal in Rotterdam.

Jean Paul Gaultier was there to open his own exhibition and to answer various questions asked by press.

Gaultier discussed working with Madonna on the Blond Ambition Tour and told MadonnaUnderground that he didn’t have a particular favourite of the costumes he designed for her and if he had….he wouldn’t tell us. Cheeky as always.

In the exhibition Madonna’s world famous Blond Ambition gold and salmon corsets were displayed as well as the original designs and polaroids from the fittings, fascinating stuff. The more recent corset of the MDNA Tour was also on show as well as the infamous 1992 ‘bare breasted’ outfit that basically kicked off Madonna’s Erotica era. Let’s not forget the stunning costume from the opening segment of The Confessions Tour! Madonna personally lend her costumes from own personal collection for the exhibition to Thierry-Maxime Loriot. 

To check out our original report, video report and photo gallery click HERE

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Vincent Paterson shares Blond Ambition Tour memory and photo with MadonnaUnderground – EXCLUSIVE

To celebrate the 30th anniversary legendary choreographer and director Vincent Paterson was so kind to share a memory and photo of the Blond Ambition Tour with MadonnaUnderground.

Vincent Paterson choreographed and directed the Blond Ambition Tour and was responsible for the ‘Marie-Antoinette’ homage performance of ‘VOGUE’ at the MTV Awards in 1990. Not only that but he was also responsible for choreography credits for “EVITA” starring Madonna, for which she won a Golden Globe.

 

 

 

‘The Blond Ambition Tour was one of the most exciting projects I have ever choreographed and directed. We opened in Japan on a hideously rainy night but Madonna and company performed their hearts out. We opened in Texas on my birthday, May 4. Madonna had a cake made for me and sang “Happy Birthday!” Here she is cutting me a piece. Love to everyone…stay safe and stay in until this insanity is over!!!!

Vincent Paterson

 

A massive thank you to Vincent Paterson for sharing this rare photo and memory.
Please don’t use without permission.
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Lip Sync Herstory: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Madonna’s ‘Burning Up’

With the hurdle of the Snatch Game now behind them, the remaining queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 12 have proven their determination to win, and were tasked to put that determination to the test in the April 10 episode. In the latest musical challenge, the queens were tasked with singing, dancing, acting, and paying homage to the Queen of Pop in “Madonna: The Unauthorized Rusical.” 

Competitors such as theatrically trained Jan and front-runner Gigi Goode excelled in their portrayals of Madge at different points throughout her life, while Jackie Cox, Heidi N Closet, and Brita Filter struggled to infuse their performances with the same energy Madonna is known for.

Gigi Goode snatched the challenge win, while Brita and Heidi both found themselves back in the bottom two. In keeping with the episode’s subject, the queens lip-synced for their lives to Madonna’s 1983 single “Burning Up.” After her third time lip-syncing, New York City queen Brita Filter ended up sashaying away. 

Madonna’s catalog contains hundreds of songs spanning nearly four decades, and “Burning Up” comes from a pivotal point in an early part of Madge’s career. In honor of last week’s episode, read up on some fun facts about the song below. 

Madonna has the sole writing credit on the song. 

Madonna has been proud of the fact that she has a hand in writing nearly all of her music, with her writing credits often accompanied by some of the biggest names in the music industry. On her debut album Madonna, she stands as the only credited writer on a majority of the tracks, including “Burning Up.” Her ability to write her own music and promote it herself at clubs around New York City was an early sign of the singer’s (blonde) ambition, and unsurprisingly helped skyrocket her to pop stardom not long after her debut. 

It marked the first of countless shifts in sound for Madonna’s career. 

As only Madonna’s second single, “Burning Up” was a crucial component in establishing what kind of artist she was going to be, and what her place in the music industry would look like. Her debut single, “Everybody.” was a post-disco dance track, but failed to make much noise beyond nightclubs. As a result, Madonna’s producer Reggie Lucas pushed her in a more pop direction for her follow-up singles, making “Burning Up” the first of countless changes Madonna would make to her sound and her image. 

It was also Madge’s first of many expressions of feminist ideals through her sexuality.

Nowadays, female empowerment and sexual strength are commonplace themes in pop music, in large part thanks to Madonna’s trailblazing work dating back over three decades. The music video for “Burning Up,” directed by “Billie Jean” visionary Steve Barron, saw Madonna express something for the first time that would come to characterize many moments in her career: She’s the one in charge, and the men whom she sings about should recognize their place beneath her and count themselves lucky she’s even giving them the time of day. As she gyrated her body and writhed in the middle of the street before finally driving away on her own, Madonna made it clear from her early days in the music world that she would never answer to any man.

Another artist featured in a Drag Race lip-sync sang backing vocals on the track. 

Way back in season 5 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Alyssa Edwards and Ivy Winters faced off in a lip-sync battle to Gwen Guthrie’s 1986 single “Ain’t Nothin’ Goin’ on But the Rent.” In addition to a successful solo career, Guthrie provided backing vocals for a number of popular artists, including Aretha FranklinStevie WonderBilly Joel, and, of course, Madonna. Guthrie sang backup on “Burning Up,” and if you listen closely enough, you can hear her voice complement Madonna’s as she delivers her attitude-filled lyrics. 

It’s been covered by singers from Britney Spears to Jonathan Groff. 

As the Queen of Pop, Madonna has been a pioneer for artists who’ve come after to express themselves however they please. Her infamous onstage kiss with pop princess Britney Spears in 2003, for example, solidified Britney’s bad-girl image that she was crafting at the time. Years later, Spears covered “Burning Up” throughout her Femme Fatale tour, which came on the heels of actor and singer Jonathan Groff’s cover of the song for Glee’s Madonna tribute episode. 

More at Billboard

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Blond Ambition Tour Paris – Live Report by Fred

 

PARIS BERCY JULY 1990

 

I can’t believe that it’s been (almost) thirty years since I went to see the Blond Ambition Tour in Paris…. At the time internet didn’t exist and we kept up to date with the news, especially for concerts, via the press and especially the radio (NRJ was then an excellent partner of our Madonna!)… neither one nor two, after having been informed that tickets were on sale, I went to a travel agency to buy my concert packages (tickets and trips…). However, the agency proposes a trip to Bercy only two hours before the concert (on July 3rd), so I decide to leave by train as early as possible in the morning (I lived over a 100km away from Paris!)

D-Day finally arrived (July 3, 1990) I left my parents’ house at six o’clock in the morning to see our star on stage for the second time (after the Who’s That Girl Tour in Sceaux in 1987). Arrived in front of Bercy around 8 am I find myself in the very first on the spot, only 5 or 6 other people have already arrived and we spend a long, very long time waiting, but very exciting at the same time! (with great weather!) The day goes by and the heat is causing some problems for some of us… Finally around 6pm (and several thousands of fans behind us!) the doors of Bercy open and we rush toward this incredible venue, and in spite of a big curtain it is clear that the stage holds some surprises for us…already it is clear that this concert will be very ambitious…

Again several hours of waiting, and while we wait, Oliver Crumes (the dancer) comes into the pit (between the stage and the front row) and chats with the fans and signs some autographs! This will remain an unforgettable moment for me. After more endless waiting suddenly the light goes out, the ground literally shakes under our feet and the machine starts… As soon as the Parisian fans enter in trance, we have the chance to see camera’s around us suggesting that the concert will be filmed! We will experience an incredible moment… The fervour is at its peak and the show is out of the ordinary, never has a singer pushed the staging and choreography to such a level!

I’m lucky to be in front (and to have been able to bring a small camera…) I enjoy the show I see Madonna twirling like never before, the excitement is at its peak, I suffocate and am forced to finish the show at the back of the arena so I decided to go up in the bleachers to have a better view (at that time no place was numbered, we could go where we wanted, depending on space available) which gives a global vision not entirely unpleasant… at the end of the show and after a short trip to the merchandise booth (I purchased an amazing t-shirt and program of course!) I finally get my friends and we promise to see each other again the next day, for the second show…

After three memorable evenings, I’ll be back at home.

Fred

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Had the Pope’s protest, and action

30 years ago, on this same 13th of April, the Madonna gave the start of the tour’s most powerful and controversial: the “Blond Ambition Tour”. Filling the arenas and stadiums in the United States, Europe, and Japan, the singer, has firmly established itself as an absolute power of pop music, and has caused controversy with each and every detail of your presentation. If you do not live in the heyday of the Queen of Pop, the YOUTUBE we’ll show you all the most memorable on the tour that made history.

The division into acts

One of the innovations of the immediate, of the show’s “Blond Ambition” was to divide the presentation into five acts as in a stage play. Madonna was inspired by the German movie “Metropolis” (Fritz Lang, 1927) in the opening, then go down a block to the religious, on the other, inspired by the film “Dick Tracy” (Warren Beatty, 1990), the Art-Deco style, and by the end of the encore. Up to now, a lot of artists rely on to split their shows into more than one block.

The fashion flagship

All of the costumes in the show designed by Jean Paul Gaultier, who created the looks that crossed generations, like the sports bra in the shape of a cone, the costume of the most iconic in the show. Madonna was so powerful that it has asked the owners of the MAC, the company’s make-up, which is to come up with a lipstick to stay intact for the entire show, even with the sweat. Thus was born the “Russian Red”, which the singer wore in all of the presentations.

Read full article at Matza Review

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Blond Ambition Tour kicked off in Japan 30 years ago!

Can you believe it is 30 years ago today that the legendary Blond Ambition Tour kicked off in Japan?

One of the most discussed tours of all time, a tour that unfortunately to this day still has not been released on either DVD or blu-ray in full…..

A tour so ahead of its time that people today still think of it as the tour that changed a ‘live show’ into a full on theatrical experience. 

Check out our full dedicated Blond Ambition Tour page HERE

We will share much more Blond Ambition goodies asap!

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