Thursday, March 31, 2005

LaChapelle's World

Welcome to "Artists & Prostitutes"

In a colourful array and depiction of the world's enigmatic music purists, David LaChapelle has photographed his way to the top of fashion and music. In his new project, LaChapelle brings together his collection of photos - featuring musical divas like Madonna, Whitney Houston and the "Diva" featured this month.

Not content with the Lil' Kim's, Britney Spears' and Paris wannabes, LaChapelle has definitely crafted out a niche for his vibrant, frenetic work - and as this working project is entitled, turning everyday music stars, into saturated explosion of pop and colour - and in incredible form, "prostitutes".

Enjoy the next installment.

** Update **

Due to tight scheduling and increased work load, the "April" Installment will be suspended. The "May" Installment will be packed with a quality artist to tantilize your earbuds.

Thank you for your understanding.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Often Imitated, Never Duplicated


Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Deitch Projects in New York will present X-STaTIC PRo=CeSS, a collaboration between Madonna and photographer Steven Klein. The exhibit, designed by LOT/EK, includes three video works and two photographic animations, each with a sound component.

Don't ask photographer Steven Klein to explain his aggressively baffling new art collaboration with Madonna at SoHo's Deitch Projects Gallery. "I never have any special meaning to my work," the artist announces while walking through the installation with his dog.

Klein prefers enigmatic assessments. "I see this as a platform to bring Madonna's ideas to life — or to death," he says with a Cheshire-cat smile. "It's really just about provoking people to think — or not to think." This collaborative project between renowned New York photographer and Madonna was based around the loose narrative of "a performerin a landscape where she creates and brings her ideas to life or death".

At the very least, it's about making people reconsider their use of capital letters. Klein and Madonna have titled the piece "X-STaTIC PRo=CeSS."

"X-STaTIC PRo=CeSS" is the product of a one-day photo shoot in Los Angeles for this month's issue of W magazine, which precedes the April 22 release of her new album "American Life." Madonna was not interested in doing conventional fashion pictures, so the pair experimented with video and animation to create something more bold and avant-garde.

After producing the 44-page magazine spread, Klein saw morepossibilities for the material. Fusing photography, music, performance,and animation, he expanded the footage into a multimedia exhibit. The gallery version lands far closer to performance art than to anything from the world of runway models.

The installations were designed by Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano of NewYork's LOT/EK Architecture. The five installations are displayed on two levels of the dark gallery, accompanied by the sounds of fiery blasts, crashes, warbled audio, and Madonna reading Scripture. Lignano, inspired by the mysterious tone of the original images, says the lighting and frames were manipulated so that each installation would emerge from the dark and the visitor could experience them one at a time.

"We were very guided by the fact that when we first saw the images, we very much saw some sort of a modern-day Caravaggio," says the Italian architect. "So we started thinking about the experience of going aroundin a Baroque church and when you discover chapels one at a time."

"The images are projected deep within each frame, keeping a large space between the viewer and the art," says Lignano. Madonna, who was scorned for her erotic treatment of religion in "Like APrayer" and "Justify My Love" more than a decade ago, walks the fine line again.

Viewers attending the show can wend their way through five distinct sound and video installations. Since the area around each illuminated piece is pitch-black, the gallery winds up seeming like the world's most pretentious peep show — or like some house of horrors, as designed by Yoko Ono. Each piece has its own sound effects — gurgles, murmurs, a gunshot — heard at the same time, the better to "provoke" you.

The show's centerpiece, Kidney, for example, shows Madonna pretzeled up into a yoga posture on one side of a door and a poster of a kidney - actually throbbing a little - on the other. The prevailing esthetic is gothic surrealism, the kind of thing that can be found in certain rock videos. Madonna stars in all the scenes. The deafening audio includes sounds of a slamming door, voice-processed singing and some fire and brimstone from the Scriptures.

In Coyote, a triptych, she poses frozen in a back-bend while flanked by two snarling canines on chains. In Queen, she wears an uncomfortable ornate red spangled gown. In Bed, she writhes in a housedress on a bare mattress and metal bed.

In one installation, Beast, her recording of excerpts from the Book of Revelation accompanies the images of a burning wedding dress and herself as a masked beast perched on a wide platform. Is it some kind of a statement against the metaphorical "wedding" in the Bible? According to Klein, the meaning is in the eye of the beholder.

"I don't think Madonna has a specific message, and I don't have aspecific message," he says. "It's up to the viewer to respond. I'm always there to provoke, not to give a definitive message." Whatever its implications may be, the exhibit represents a breakthrough for the art and the artists.

Photography is pushed beyond its conventional classification, fusing still images with sound and movement."It's really reversing what's become a trend in photography, which is touse the means of film to condense the still image," says Neville Wakefield, the curator. "Whereas with this [it is] taking the still image and expanding into the realm of film."It occupies an interesting territory because it's confusing. It's not entirely clear whether it relates to film or photography or video."

As the author of this territory, Klein establishes himself not as a mere fashion photographer but rather as the all-encompassing visual image-maker he wants to be. As for Madonna, "she delivers a surprise as usual," says Jeffery Deitch, the gallery owner."While it's an aspect of Madonna you haven't seen before, it's something you always expect her to be: on the edge and one of the first to embody new attitudes," he says.

//visit Steven Klein's Studio

//article sourced;; NY Daily News and Magazine Reviews

Monday, March 28, 2005

World Ruler


Saturday, March 26, 2005

re-INVENTION Tour Book

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Glamour, Gold and the Max Factor

The union

In spring 1999, Madonna and Max Factor joined forces to create a stunning ad campaign that propelled a glamourous image that only a recognisable face like Madonna can endure and project.

The dramatic images reveals Madonna through a gold net butterfly mask and peering out from beneath a jet-bead-spewing black tiara hark back to the company's Hollywood origins.

"We wanted to take the brand forward while going back to what we are all about - supreme glamour," gushed Ann Francke, Max Factor's marketing director. "There was only one woman able to carry that message into the 21st century."

And that person was Madonna.

The star-quality

Celebrity endorsement may be an old trick, but it is still worthwhile. In a competitive market, a famous face can give a brand an added appeal and help it stand out. For some companies it is enough to have a major celebrity appear in a TV ad. Other companies prefer to employ a single celebrity as a brand ambassador. Ways that a number of companies are using celebrity endorsements are discussed.

"Celebrity endorsements can give a brand a touch of glamour" - Emma Reynolds

Procter & Gamble's Max Factor had only one woman in mind for acampaign to modernise the brand, which has traditionally been associated with Hollywood icons. As Annabelle Manwaring, European creative director for P&G at Leo Burnett, explains:

"Madonna is a modern icon of glamour and is well-known for using make-up to reinvent herself."

According to Manwaring, Madonna insisted on trying Max Factor products to make sure she liked them before agreeing to be associated with the brand. Quite the opposite of onetime face of Yardley, Helena Bonham Carter, who later admitted that she didn't actually wear make-up.

Encouraging a celebrity to get more involved with the brand they are representing helps maintain integrity. Madonna was allowed to exercise some artistic control over the creative of the Max Factor ads.

_extracted from Emma Reynolds "Personality's Power" Marketing. Haymarket Publishing, Ltd. London, Nov 9, 2000

The press

Madonna new face for Max Factor

P&G ads market makeup overseas
By Patrick Larkin, Post staff reporter

Cultural chameleon Madonna has signed on to promote a new line of Max Factor cosmetics in Asia and Europe for the Procter & Gamble Co.

The star of video, movies and compact disc appears in commercials for Max Factor Gold in makeup that harkens back to the brand's roots in Hollywood, according to press reports.

The line of cosmetics was originally created by Max Factor, one of the first Hollywood makeup artists.

P&G acquired Max Factor for $1 billion from Revlon Inc. in 1991, and in the last few years has based advertising linking the brand to its beginnings in Hollywood. The campaigns have focused on makeup artists for the movies.

The Madonna commercial, reportedly shot at her insistence by director Alek Keshishian, shows the star having makeup applied by Sarah Monzani, who did her styling for the movie "Evita." Keshishian also directed the video "In Bed with Madonna."

A P&G spokeswoman said that under its contract with Madonna, the company can't comment on the commercials or Madonna's role except in countries in which the new line is being introduced.

No one is also talking about how much Madonna is being paid, although the Guardian newspaper in England speculated it was as much as $6.46 million.

Max Factor Gold is a full line of cosmetics aimed at older women in Europe and Asia, where the brand is a big seller. Madonna is 40.

While P&G is studying introducing the line in North America, there are no current plans to do so, the spokeswoman said. In North America, Max Factor trails the mass cometics category leader, Cover Girl (also from P&G), and other brands.

But in Europe, sales of the brand have been increasing - it has tripled in the United Kingdom in the last few years, the spokeswoman said. Sales are also strong in Asia.

While the brand is positioned as an upscale mass line in the United States, similar to P&G's Oil of Olay, in Japan it is sold exclusively in department stores along with other premium lines.

_article sourced from Cincinnati Post. Publication date: 04-29-99

The man

Rauol Bova - Actor

"Madonna is a tough lady, she knows what she wants and she knows how to get it! " - Rauol Bova

What can I say, there are men and then there are Italian men. Raoul Bova is definitely the “It” Italian man of most women’s dreams and the target of Italian paparazzi. He can’t walk down the street without being mobbed; he’s the Brad Pitt of Italian cinema. But here in Los Angeles he goes virtually unknown, at least until “Under the Tuscan Sun” comes out and he starts being mobbed by throngs of new fans. It would be fitting when you consider the way this year is turning out for Raoul. His film “La Finestra di Fronte” (Facing Window), won him the President’s Award for Best Actor, earned the most Donatello Awards this year, Italian equivalent to the Oscars, and has gone on to become Italy’s top grossing film of 2003. It’s been a good year, a perfect time to break into America. Raoul made the press rounds a week ago and this is what he had to say about moving to America, love scenes with Diana Lane, actors and directors he admires, Italian stereotypes, and the romantic lines that roll off Italian men’s tongues.

Born on August 14, 1971 in Rome, Raoul Bova is married to Chiara Giordana and his first son, Alessandro Leon was born in 2000. Bova has a second son, Francesco, born in 2001.

Movie/Mini-Series/Special Roles

Alien vs Predator (2004) - Sebastian Wells
Under the Tuscan Sun (2003) - Marcello
Avenging Angelo (2002) - Marcello/Johnny Carboni

For a full filmography, please visit Bova's profile on IMDb

_abstracted from an interview with Rauol Bova. English translation by a volunteer

_Madonna and Max Factor

Tuesday, March 22, 2005



Swept Away
. There, I've said it.

On Guy Ritchie's filmography, packed with smart and witty crime stoppers, Swept Away is the rotten tomato. But should we forgive him? Should be blame his commanding wife for his only mishap? We should forgive him because he is human. And from the new photos revealed from his next movie, Britain's favourtie and cunning criminal mastermind is back. And aren't we all glad.

As all hyped movies, Ritchie has kept quiet on the project's finer details. But is what we know - Jason Statham plays a hotshot gambler called Jake Green who is banned from every casino in town. So when he is invited to a private game with the local crime boss Dorothy Macha – a man so terrifying nobody dares beat to him – no prizes for guessing what comes next. A victory, a hit, a desperate attempt to stay alive.

So will Mrs Ritchie have a cameo in this new sumptuous film? Only time will tell. But with Luc Besson on producing duty, and the Transporter himself bagging his first bona fide Ritchie lead, it looks like Mr. Madonna could up the action ante this time around. Certainly, the exclusive photos of a hirsute Statham, as the gambler in way over his head, it will be as visual feat.

_images sourced from EmpireOnline

Sunday, March 20, 2005

The Erotica Diary

The Erotica Diary; By Shep Pettibone

Taken from Madonna's Official Fanzine, ICON

I remember when Madonna and I first started working together on Erotica. We were listening in my home studio to one of the first songs and I turned to her and said "It's great, but it's no Vogue." She told me that not every song could be Vogue - not every cut could emerge as the top-selling record of all time. She was right, but I pressed my case anyway: "I guess I'm always trying to out-top myself," I told her, "the next thing should be bigger than the last." Madonna just turned and looked me straight in the eye. It had been a long time since I'd been star-struck by her, but she was glowing differently now. "Shep," she began, "no matter how fierce something is, you can't ever do the same thing twice." She sat down to record the final vocals on Erotica and looked out onto the terrace and into the New York City night. "Ever," she repeated.

The Erotica Diary (July-August 1991)

I wanted to start writing again. The last project I had worked on with Madonna was The Immaculate Collection but that was just a month and a half of working with that QSound stuff. I knew I could do something great after Vogue and Rescue Me so I just started putting tracks together with my assistant, Tony Shimkin. I wanted to have a few songs for Madonna to listen to when I went out to Chicago, were she was filming A League Of Their Own. I had no idea that she was planning to do an album at that time, but then again, neither did she. I arrived in Chicago on July 8th and gave Madonna a cassette. I told her to give it a listen and tell me what she thought. She said she'd listen to it in the car, in the trailer, wherever she could. A few days later, I heard back from her. Madonna liked all the songs - three out of three. I decided to work on a few more.

Usually, when I sit down to write, it isn't as if I have a specific person in mind for any one song. By the time I get to a certain place in the music, it begins to mold itself an identity and I think, "Hey, this person would like that." At the time, Cathy Dennis, Taylor Dayne, or Madonna were the primary inspirations for a variety of songs.

The Erotica Diary (October-November 1991)

Madonna returned to New York and we began to work on demos in my apartment. It's cool working at home. It's convenient, cozy and there's no studio time ticking by. Plus, if you wake up in the middle of the night and have an idea, you just go upstairs, turn on the equipment, and go. Our schedule was kind of sporadic in the beginning. I'd work with her for a week and then she'd go off to work with Steve Meisel on her book (Sex) for two weeks. Occasionally, Madonna would meet with Andre Betts, her co-producer on Justify My Love. While she was away, I would spend time coming up with other tracks or work on Cathy Dennis and Taylor Dayne material. At this point, I wasn't working on any remixes - just writing.

Deeper And Deeper, Erotica, Rain and Thief Of Hearts made up the first batch of songs we worked on together. I did the music and she wrote the words. Sometimes I'd give her some ideas lyrically and she'd go: "Oh, that's good," or "That sucks." I remember when I gave her some ideas lyrically for Vogue and she said, very curtly, "That's what I do." Essentially, her songs are her stories. They're the things she wants to say.

I did everything upstairs in my home studio: keyboards, bass lines, and vocals. Depending on the mood I was in, I chose from an Oberheim OB8, Korg M3, or a Roland D-50. On the sampling side, the Akai S1000 was our prime workhorse. We used it to sample snake charms for Words and Kool & The Gang horns for Erotica.

When it came time to record demos, we laid down a track of SMPTE on the last track of my 8-track Tascam 388 Studio 8 reel-to-reel, which has dbx. Usually we'd put the track down on tracks 1 and 2 in a stereo mix, and then bring Madonna's vocals in on 3 through 7 - a lead, a double lead, the harmonies, and the background parts. Ninety-eight percent of the time, the vocals recorded in my apartment were the keeper vocals, the ones you hear on the album. It took about two or three days to write a song from beginning to end.

Still, sometimes even after they were done we'd want to change the flow of the song and ask the song a few questions: Where should the chorus hit? Should it be a double chorus? Sometimes Madonna would call me in the middle of the night and say "Shep, I think the chorus should go like this," or "I hate this verse, fix the bass line." Deeper And Deeper was one of those songs she always had a problem with. The middle of the song wasn't working. We tried different bridges and changes, but nothing worked. In the end, Madonna wanted the middle of the song to have a flamenco guitar strumming big-time. I didn't like the idea of taking a Philly house song and putting La Isla Bonita in the middle of it. But that's what she wanted, so that's what she got.

The Erotica Diary (December 1991)

"I hate them." That's what she said to me when we listened to the first bunch of songs we'd recorded.

I thought it sounded great beacause some of the songs had a New York house sound and some of them had an L.A. vibe. "If I had wanted the album to sound like that, I'd have worked with Patrick Leonard in L.A.," she told me. I got the point pretty fast. Madonna wanted Erotica to have a raw edge to it, as if it were recorded in an alley at 123rd street in Harlem. She didn't want some light glossy production to permeate her sound. I got back into my usual style of mixing, which is pretty bass oriented, analog, hit-you-over-the head kind of stuff. When you're recording songs for Madonna, the attitude is: Either make a song work, or it's not going to be on the album. Thet's that.

Typically, Madonna would get over to my place by one in the afternoon and we'd work until eigth or nine at night. Improvising vocals took one or two passes and by the time the third pass came around, she'd get on the mic and say "Let's go." Madonna has an incredible mind; she locks the melody into her head and memorizes the words immediately. She doesen't even have to read the words off the paper when she's singing.

The only problems were during sequencing, when we had to do something on the Mac that would take some time. Two minutes into it, Madonna would ask us: "What are you guys doing that's taking so long!" - and this was just after the first few minutes. We'd tell her to go downstairs and make some popcorn or phone calls so that we could put the song together and she'd do that for about five minutes before screaming: "Come on, guys, I'm getting bored!" I had to keep things moving as fast as possible beacause it's one of my jobs to keep Madonna from losing interest in what she's doing. As far as the music went, it was getting a little melancholy by that point. It definitely wasn't up-and-happy music. Maybe I inspired songs like In This Life and Bad Girl beacause they were written in a minor key. But Madonna's stories were getting a lot more serious and intense and she was definitely driving the creative direction of the songs into deeply personal territory.

The Erotica Diary (January-February 1992)

I spent the Christmas on vacation in Jamaica and when I got back on January 2, I was like "Oh man, I am not ready for this." There were a lot of intense songs to work on for Madonna, but all I had was this reggae-ish vibe going around in my head. Jamaica had really had an impact on me. I put the vibe down on tape and played it for Madonna, who immediately took to it. Once she got all the lyrics down, the song became Why Is It So Hard.

After it was done we thought: "How about if we get a male Jamaican rapper in here to do some stuff on the record?" We found this guy, Jamaiki, who runs a Jamaican record store uptown. He was this big guy with real deep-ass voice. When we were trying to explain the song to him, he just looked at us and said, "Do you have any rum, man?" By the time Jamaiki, was laying down the tracks in my studio, he was dancing around swigging rum and spilling it everywhere. We ended up not using the track beacause it sounded to rough for the song, but it was a very fun day - completely different.

By this point, people had begun to realize that Madonna was recording in my penthouse. All her fans would wait outside, even though it was freezing, just to catch a glimpse of her or take a picture. One particular day, when I walked her down to her car, the lobby was filled with building residents getting the mail, hanging out at the front desk, sitting on benches. It was weird beacause usually the place is empty. After I walked her outside and ran across the street to get the day's newspaper, I came back to find nobody there. People were comming downstairs to the lobby just to get a look at her, even if it was out of the corners of their eyes.

The Erotica Diary (March 1992)

Now I knew we were doing an album. We had fifteen songs demoed and she liked them all. The last song we did was for the movie, A League Of Their Own. Madonna just started singing a melody over and over again into the Shure SM57 microphone while the Mac with Vision was playing strings, organ, piano and a basic rim-shot loop. It sounded really timeless, very nostalgic. I spent all night filling in the verses and the song became This Used To Be My Playground.

The day after "Playground" was finished, Madonna went to Oregon to work on her next film Body Of Evidence, with Willem Defoe. This gave me some time to wrap up some work on some songs with Cathy Dennis and Taylor Dayne at Soundworks Studios in New York. The workload had grown quite intense since the beginning of the year and it showed no signs of letting up. Thanks to my manager Jane Brinton, we were able to coordinate all the ongoing projects without a hitch.

The Erotica Diary (May 1992)

I met Madonna at Oceanway Studios in Los Angeles to complete the orchestra parts for This Used To Be My Playground. We had to record a string arrangement - something I was excited about but had never done before. Madonna chose Jeremy Lubock to do the arrangements beacause he had done such a good job with her I'm Breathless material and came highly recomended. Everything went fine until the point when the orchestra played their parts; we didn't like what we heard. Madonna and I had to change the whole arrangement, right there in the studio, with a full orchestra sitting there getting paid for taking up space - around $15,000 for three hours, $3000 for every half hour over that. And of cource, Lubbock was talking to two people who didn't know a C from a B natural. The pressure was on.

I can only sing the notes I hear at the moment, so that's what I did. Madonna and I stood there over my little Mac, singing the notes, and Lubbock would go, "Oh, that's a G; Oh, that's a B" and that's how it got done. We completed the session in 2 hours and 58 minutes - two minutes away from another three grand. The last day of recording fell on Memorial day. Madonna wanted to do the lead vocals again, insisting that it would sound better. It did. I finished off some edits before going over to a party Madonna was throwing in her Hollywood mansion.

The Erotica Diary (June-July 1992)

The schedule for recording at Soundworks in New York went something like this: -
June 8 - Erotica
June 9 - Words; Why's It So Hard
June 10 - Why's It So Hard; Thief Of Hearts
June 11 - Thief Of Hearts; Goodbye To Innocence
June 15 - 8-track dumps w/no time-code
June 16 - Deeper And Deeper

And so on, and so on...

We transferred everything we had on the Tascam 8-track onto 24-track. I decided to produce the tracks 15 ips with Dolby SR beacause it has this warm bottom in the bass and I wanted to capture that for Erotica. Plus, I was listening to some of my old remixes, which were recorded at 15 ips, and was amazed at how much more you could feel the music. Compact discs seem to move you one step away from the music, while records put you right in the mix. So I figured that if I overemphasized that LP feeling, it would rub off on the CD, which is the primary format manufactured for American audiences today. Strangely enough, our country can't get any LP's of Erotica, while the rest of the world can.

On July 7, we did the mixing for Erotic the ode to S & M that Madonna wanted to include in her book, Sex. She felt it should sound the same as Erotica (the song on the album), with just a bass line, her voice and some sensuous Middle Eastern sounds. But by then I had seen the book and had come up with an interesting idea.

"You have all these great stories in the book," I told her, "Why don't you use them in the song?" I knew that Madonna was developing a 1930s dominatrix look for Erotica, but I didn't realize how far she was willing to go before I saw Sex. It contained stories authored by her mysteriously dark alter, Dita. Madonna took the book and walked out of the room and didn't come back until about half an hour later. Suddenly she was on the mic, speaking in this very dry voice. "My name is Dita," she said, "and I'll be your mistress tonight." I knew that the original Erotica would never be the same again, and it wasn't. The chorus and bridge were changed entirely and the whole psyche of the song became sexier, more to the point. It seemed as if Dita brought out the best in her, actually serving as a vehicle for the dangerous territory she was traveling. Actually, it was the same name Madonna used when she'd stay in hotels around the world. Not anymore.

When July 10 came, I felt my thirty-something years hit me full force. It was the day of reckoning - my birthday, and yet I was stuck in the studio with Madonna, Tony Shimkin, and an animal-ballon-twisting clown to celebrate it with. It was fun for about five minutes, until Madonna said, "Shep, you gotta get back to work."

The Erotica Diary (August 15, 1992, Mo's Birthday)

One of the tracks, Goodbye To Innocence, just wasn't working. There was something about the song that didn't grab Madonna, so we had to fix it. I worked overnight in my studio and came back to Soundworks with a brand new bass line that seemed to do the trick. Madonna put on headphones and got ready to lay down the vocals for Goodbye To Innocence. But instead of singing the original words, which were written last year, Madonna started toying with the lyrics, singing the words to the lounge-lizard act staple, Fever. At first we thought: "This is cool," and it was. It sounded so good that we decided to take it one step further and actually cover the tune. Too bad no one knew the words. What we needed was a copy of Fever if we were going to record it that day. So, Madonna got on the phone with Seymour Stein at Sire Records, and within an hour, we had the lyric sheets, the Peggy Lee version, and the original version of the song in our hands. I was really impressed by how quickly we got it all. That was the last track on Erotica and we finished mixing it just in time to celebrate another birthday - Madonna's.

That night, she had a birthday party on a boat circling Manhattan. Picture about 50 people dancing on a boat with disco blasting out of the portholes and you get the idea. In between dancing and celebrating, I spent the time reflecting on the album. I was confident that it was a great compilation of songs, but I was wondering how people would react to it. It was definitely a different album for her in that it was a dance/pop album, instead of a guitar-laden pop album designed just for top 40. That was a conscious decision on her part beacause it seemed that the more pop she went, the fewer of her albums people were buying. This time, she's giving the people what they want.

The Erotica Diary (September - October 1992)

After three and a half months of working in the same studio and hearing the same songs day after day, it was a relief to have the album finished. Everything went smoothly except the last two songs, Why's It So Hard and Words, both of which we had to recall for changes. On September 12, I walked out of Soundworks with the completed master of Erotica in my hands.
A month later, I went to the Sex party. The Erotica blitz was about to hit in music, video, and book form and a variety of stars were coming out for the party. Madonna herself surveyed the scene during the midnight hour. I walked over to meet her in the DJ Booth.

There was all this wild stuff going around us: people tattoing one another, couples simulating sex - it was crazy. And when I went to talk to Madonna, who was in the middle of it all, our conversations turned to music. For all the multimedia extravaganzas that were braying for her attention, it was still the music that mattered and it was the record that we fawned over. I realized that no matter how far I've come, I still feel the same way that I always did.

And then she put the handcuffs on me. NOT!


My name is Dita

Madonna's infamous 'Sex' book from 1992, with photographs by Steven Meisel.

Format: Book with CD
Release: Sept. 1992

Madonna's infamous spiral-bound 'Sex' book comes in a Mylar-wrapper and includes the promo-only single CD 'Erotic'. It sold an astonishing 500,000 copies during its first week of sale - and it wasn't premature. 'Sex' was originally titled 'The Rock,' but changed at the last minute. Despite all the criticism, controversy and negativity received, it is not easy to forget how well Madonna succeeded.

Critically brandished and criticized, Madonna's infamous book containing semi-pornographic photographs only sold 1.5 million copies. When shooting for the book began, Madonna employed only the best team that she could trust, under conditions of tight secrecy. Madonna and Steven Meisel, the chosen photographer, took more than 25,000 erotic pictures in New York and Florida during the winter of 1991 and the spring of 1992 respectively. The media's interest in the book was disingeneous, although much of the backlash was due to Warner Books' crazy edict banning advance copies from being reviewed. The reviewers prefer not to be shocked though - the biggest taboo of all though was to admit being aroused by the whole affair.

Few took trouble to read the disclaimer on the second page where Madonna declares, "This book is about sex. Sex is not love. Love is not sex. But the best of both worlds is created when they come together. Nothing in this book is true. I made it all up."

Now out-of-print, 'Sex', was one of the 90's greatest marketing hypes due to its graphic depiction of sex. Where else can you see Madonna strutting down Miami Beach with Vanilla Ice naked, or see her making out with such high-octane celebrities such as Isabella Rossellini and Naomi Campbell? Amongst the A-list, murked a darker, forbidden tale of lust and raw sensuality.

The book, which was bounded in an orginal format involving two sheets of metal, each numbered, and sealed in a Mylar plastic sleeve is genius. Madonna must have had a reason to do something so creative, yet so risqué.

In all it's form and criticism, 'Sex' remains a classic because it single-handedly re-opened the sexual revolution in the evangelicalism the 90's brought. Homosexuality, lesbianism, and fetishes were all somewhat taboos in discussion or shown in public. However attitudes have changed. One could state that Madonna was a pioneer. Moreso, she deserves credit for being the most controversial, daring woman of the 20th century.

My name is Dita. I'll be your mistress tonight. I'd like to put you in a trance. If I take you from behind. Push myself into your mind. When you least expect it. Will you try and reject it. If I'm in charge and I treat you like a child. Will you let yourself go wild. Let my mouth go where it wants to. Give it up, do as I say. Give it up and let me have my way...

_ review source: Madonna Like You've Never Seen Her Before, July 18, 2000 Reviewer: Luis Hernandez (New York, New York, USA)

Friday, March 18, 2005

Paradise [Not For Me]

[I've been so high]
I've been so down
[Up to the skies]
Down to the ground

I was so blind
I could not see
Your paradise
Is not for me

Autour de moi
Je ne vois pas
Qui sont des anges
Surement pas moi

Encore une fois
Je suis cassée
Encore une fois
Je n'y crois pas

All around me
I could not see
Who are the angels
Surely not me

Once more again
I am broken
Once more again
I don't believe it

Thursday, March 17, 2005

"Strike a pose": Vogue Special - Part 2

_ "Strike a pose" Madonna performing "Vogue" at her "Re-Invention Tour". Photography courtesy of

vogue ( P ) Pronunciation Key (vōg)

1. The prevailing fashion, practice, or style: Hoop skirts were once the vogue.

2. Popular acceptance or favor; popularity: a party game no longer in vogue.

intr.v. vogued, vogue·ing, or vogu·ing vogues
To dance by striking a series of rigid, stylized poses, evocative of fashion models during photograph shoots.

[French, from Old French, probably from voguer, to sail, row, of Germanic origin; see wegh- in Indo-European Roots. V., after the fashion magazine Vogue.]

Word History: The history of the word vogue demonstrates how sense can change dramatically over time even while flowing, as it were, in the same channel. The Indo-European root of vogue is *wegh-, meaning “to go, transport in a vehicle.” Among many other forms derived from this root was the Germanic stem *wga-, “water in motion.” From this stem came the Old Low German verb wogn, meaning “to sway, rock.” This verb passed into Old French as voguer, which meant “to sail, row.” The Old French word yielded the noun vogue, which probably literally meant “a rowing,” and so by extension “a course,” and figuratively “reputation” and later “reputation of fashionable things” or “prevailing fashion.” The French, who have given us many fashionable things, passed this noun on as well, it being first recorded in English in 1571.

[source: The American Heritage ® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.]

"Strike a pose, there's nothing to it
Vogue, vogue" - Madonna

Vogue - The song

And yes, there's nothing to it. In one of my Madonna's highlight in her musical career, "Vogue" became an instant hit. Initially written and recorded for Madonna's menial film, "Dick Tracy", this song took on a life on its own.

Written by Madonna and long time hits partner, Shep Pettibone, "Vogue", a hit single tacked on to the end of the record. Embodying an endlessly deep house groove and an instantly memorable melody, "Vogue" became a detatched, affectionate celebration of transcendent pop and gay culture and stands as Madonna's finest single moment.

"Vogue" was released in the UK in April 1990 and stormed straight to No.1 for 4 weeks, spending 14 weeks on the chart where it sold more than 500,000 copies and became Madonna's second biggest hit to date - behind "Into The Groove". On a worldwide scale, "Vogue" is easily Madonna's biggest hit. The song topped the US chart, and many others worldwide, shifting 4 million copies.

The video, directed by David Fincher, begins with a subdued beat, painting a soft and slow imagery. We have pictures of naked ladies all over the place, men walking around quietly, women picking clothes up off the floor before the camera moves up Madonna's back. She then spins around with her hands in a 'vogue' position.

The rest is history. A dance is born. A revolution is created.

Voguing is disco dancing at its most narcissistic: a true escapist fantasy. A series of improvised model moves struck to the deafening sound of house music, this inner-city trend popular with the gay culture may already be passé. But if any singer can claim to understand and embody the transcendent appeal of posing, it's Madonna.

Vogue - Madonna, The Fashion Icon

Madonna has been voguing since the beginning of her career, acting like a superstar and waiting for the rest of the world to catch up. For all her shrewdness, savvy and image mongering, the magic in Madonna's music has always come from the overwhelming, incredible sense of empathy in her singing. On "Vogue," Madonna communicates exactly how vital and important a silly dance-floor ritual can be to its practitioners – more primitive, and also much more real, than any Broadway musical.

The stunning black and white music video was an instant classic. So instant that it is one of the few music videos to be archived on display on selected modern art museums.

Not only did Fincher transformed Madonna's image into something classy, but it fortified her as the dominant fashion icon of the century.

Vogue - Madonna, The Celebrity

"Grace Kelly; Harlow, Jean
Picture of a beauty queen
Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire
Ginger Rodgers, dance on air" - Madonna

Ironically, Madonna selects "beauty queens" and glamourous movie stars of the past to reflect in her most popular, and iconic song. At that stage, Madonna knew the implications of such close association. And being THE musical icon at that time [and still], it was a little cheeky. Now, she is part of that celebrity. And now, numerous songs are writen about the one and only pop icon.

_thanks to for the video stills and Rolling Stone, June 14, 1990 - review by Mark Coleman

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Vogue Special - Part 1

_Vogue Paris - Original Cover 2004

Article by Liz Rosenberg - Vogue Paris 2004

Liz Rosenberg - "Madonna in three words: courageous, visionary and funny."

As Madonna's agent and friend, I take care of everything that concerns her. Very often I act as a buffer between the Material Girl and the press even if it means having to get squashed against a glass wall while she walks up the steps at the Cannes festival followed by a mob of paparazzi. That was 15 years ago for the screening of "In Bed With Madonna".

Madonna never reads any critics, which I think is an excellent idea. I, however, can't keep from doing so. First it's my job and it's a way to know if after all these years we're in tune with the press. Some people remain skeptical. But what artists, besides Elvis and the Beatles have had as many hits as what constitutes the soundtrack of our lives.

I remember it as if it were yesterday. In the middle of the summer a ball of fire stumbled into my office full with fabulous accessories. I haven't forgotten anything-the hair 'they look best when I haven't washed them for 8 days.' The black rubberband bracelets and the torn pantyhose - 'what's the problem, everyone wears them downtown.' The crucifix (pl.) she was wearing or carried in a pillow case, 'Jesus is sexy', the attitude 'nobody can tell me what to wear', a still unknown Madonnna shouted during her 1st photo shoot with the famous Francesco Scavullo.

'I love her style, let her wear whatever she wants', he ordered the stylists who wanted to cover her in diamonds.

I see myself later, making her sit in my office to show her the Playboy issue with the nude photos she did for art students when she first arrived in NYC. We were all worried on the effect these photos would have on her emerging career. 'Well, first of all, I'm not sorry about anything' she said while reading the magazine 'and I'd laugh about it if I just didn't find myself so unattractive'. Recently asked about nudity in her career, Madonna simply laughed 'most of the time it was pure exhibitionism. Who doesn't show themselves naked these days?'

A few years ago I accompanied Madonna while she visited a hospital. She pushed a door open and in the room a very sick boy looked at her from head to foot from his bed and said 'You know, I don't like you'. Madonna laughed and answered, 'Well, sometimes I don't like myself either. But what matters is that I like you.' I left them alone for a while. Later as I met the little boy's mother she said 'it's the first time my boy is smiling in 3 weeks.' Madonna told me never to talk about this incident or else she'd kill me.

What makes Madonna happpiest these days? 'Oh probably my daughter's voice when she reads me a poem in French.' Is there something she still dreams about? 'Many things. First of all, no more wars. And what if everyone went to see Michael Moore's movie? And if my kids put their dirty plates in the sink?'

There's no doubt that her happiness shines on the stage of the Re-Invention Tour.

'Since everyone was looking back at my career, I decided to revisit myself with a new twist both musically and visually. I thought about all this with Caresse Henry, my manager and best friend. Then Jamie King showed us a model of the stage the way he imagined it. I wanted to introduce elements of the Kaballah, war in general, and George Bush in particular. I wanted this show to be a visual assault. I wanted to perform in Israel in front of Jews and Palestinians. Unfortunately, Caresse didn't allow me due to security reasons. One of my goals was that each person in the audience go home convinced that they can help change the world.' Madonna said after drinking her 3rd cup of coffee of the morning.

What's the most important lesson in life? I asked Madonna before one of her shows. 'My Kabballah instructor taught me this: each time you doubt yourself, act like God. How would he act? With Love and altruism. I try to do both. That's what I'd like to teach the world.' Amen.

Vogue Paris Editor - "Nobody has to say to me what I must wear ", said Madonna.

Without wanting to offend the "pop queen", in cover of this issue and whose concerts in Paris announce themself as the event of the re-entry, this is what we will do this month: not to leave you the choice and to put yourselves in the presence of the most outstanding looks of the autumn-winter.

_visit Vogue Paris

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Oh Father

It's no secret that Madonna has a deep relationship with her father. Since the death of her mother when she was five. In one of the numerous biographies, Madonna states, "My mother can't love me then I in will make the world love me."

Such an impact on her has resulted in specific songs relating to her parents. In "Mother And Father" she reminisces, "There was a time I was happy in my life / There was a time I believed I'd live forever / There was a time I prayed to Jesus Christ / There was a time I had a mother / It was nice." Although not one of her deepest lyrical moments, the song had the harshness of tone (and vocoder effect) on her voice that displayed the hurt and pain she carried.

"Papa Don't Preach" shows the rebellious side to her - begging her father not to "preach" about the boy she's chosen (or is that "baby" actually referring to teenage pregnancy?). Although strong and steadfast in her life, Madonna respects her father ("What I need right now is some good advice, please.")

Although not all images, songs or writings about her father is one full of admiration. "Oh Father" directed by David Fincher in 1989 (which reached the Rolling Stone's The 100 Top Music Videos at #66) was pretty clear in depicting child abuse. The classic black and white video is the best example of Madonna's visual ideas extending the meaning of the song. The video shows Madonna as a character that is coming to terms with the death of her mother and the abuse she's suffered at the hands of her father. Also included is a scene where Madonna's character is slapped by her lover, being suggestive that abused children sometimes fall into abusive relationships as adults. Regardless if this may not be the case in reality, Madonna continues to provoke and elicit public awareness of particular taboo topics.

However, during her "Drowned World" Tour in 2001 - it held a clue when after one peculiar "funny song" (unsurprisingly called "Funny Song" or "Oh Dear Daddy" by some) a particularly grievous song about someone shooting dead her father, then the protagonist of the song proceeds to cook up the bones and eat her father after the funeral. Madonna finished the quirky song and bluntly told the audience that that song was not about her father and she closed off that section with - "And dad, thank you for everything."

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Purple Dragon, Fireball and Madonna

[article sourced, "Purple Dragon, Fireball and Madonna" - New York, Rolling Stone, 1998]

"...I like to make people larger than life." -David La Chapelle

"David LaChapelle is a photographer who tends to create his own visionary world, rather than reproduce what's visible in the world. ...Performance obliterates banality, just like Drew Barrymore's breasts can become grapefruit halves with a cherry; we hear the distant echoes of Lewis Carroll; eat me, drink me, big becomes small; the Tour Eiffel becomes a phallus (and vice versa), (meaning and lack of meaning mingle and compare.) This is the flow of the metropolis, of the great city life, fixed within its peremptory unreality substituting the known realities of camera shots." - Renato Nicolini

Which only goes to prove that when it comes to discussing commercial fantasy photography, one shouldn't try to say too much.

" There are two faces in her: PROVOCATIVE AND SULFUROUS on stage and HOLY MOTHER with Lourdes Maria"- David La Chapelle

The fabulous photos that David La Chapelle did with Madonna were first published in the special double issue of the American music bible, Rolling Stone [July 9-23, 1998]. Then they started to go all around the world. They are the most sophisticated and kitch photos Madonna ever did, and also the most remarquable ones. David La Chapelle tells us his meeting with Madonna.

"You have Madonna during twenty-four hours. She accepts a photoshoot, but refuses any interview. Then do what you want, tell us a story with images." It was the challenge suggested to David La Chapelle, 37 years old, the new wonder of the American photography, the star of the American magazines. His book "LaChapelle Land ", published 3 years ago in the United States by Nicolas Colloway, and in France by Michel Birnbaum, revolutionized the way to approach the stars.

"The photoshoot was a nightmare. Conscious that she's naturally photogenic, Madonna wanted all to control, but she has a rare quality : professionalism. She knows how to give everything to be good. In fact, all our work was based on her major duality. She is the energy of Sex, her book which made scandal seven years ago, and the perfect mother of Lourdes, her daughter. She is white, she is black, she is holy, she is demon. For a long time, she has been deeply interested by the Jewish Kabbale and the Hindouism. I used these two symbolisms. "

[And the protective, paradisiac and serene swan]

The Enigmatic David La Chapelle

David La Chapelle was born in Connecticut in 1968. He originally studied fine arts at North Carolina School of the Arts before moving to New York in the mid 1980s. There he met Andy Warhol and encountered Pop Art first-hand. He decided to become a photographer, eventually landings his first professional job at Warhol's Interview magazine.

Throughout the 1980s La Chapelle became well-known as a photographer in the New York art world. In the early 1990s he began to take photographs of celebrities and fashion for magazines such as Details and London's The Face. He developed a signature style, characterized by super-saturated colors and the shocking poses and contexts in which he got celebrities and models to appear. He has been photographing famous subjects and fashion for magazines ever since. His images are now seen regularly in such publications as Rolling Stone, The New York Times Magazine, The London Sunday Times, i-D, Flaunt, Arena, Interview, and Vanity Fair, among others. He is currently under contract with Vanity Fair.

Selections of his work have been brought together in two books, LaChapelle Land (1996) and Hotel LaChapelle (1999), and exhibited in galleries and museums internationally.

[quote, Madonna - "it is the goddess, it is Shiva and all the other Indian divinities. It is a wink also to the hippie movement of the Seventies."]

La Chapelle has done advertising campaigns for a variety of clients including Pepsi, Camel, Levi's, Diesel Jeans, and recently the Got Milk? campaign. He has completed commercial projects and print advertisements for Armani Jeans and MTV, as well as commercials for Sprite, Comedy Central, and Citibank. He shot the entire print campaign for the MTV 2000 Video Awards, and has photographed numerous album covers and packages for such artists as Whitney Houston, No Doubt, Perry Farrell, Lil' Kim, Elton John, and Madonna.

In addition to his still photography La Chapelle directs music videos for select artists. His haunting video for Moby's "Natural Blues" featuring Moby as himself as an old man and Christina Ricci as an angel, had a huge presence in the music video industry in 2000. At the MTV Europe Music Awards, "Natural Blues" was named Best Video of the year, the result of a popular vote of over 7 million viewers. It was also nominated in the U.S., in the MTV Video Awards "Best Male Artist" category, and for best "Visionary Video" at the VH-1/Vogue Fashion Awards. La Chapelle's follow-up to "Natural Blues", the video for Elton John's "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore" with 'NSYNC's Justin Timberlake as Elton in his Seventies heyday, premiered on MTV in mid-January.

David La Chapelle divides his time between New York and Los Angeles.

[excerpt taken from David La Chapelle's biography]

[quote, "Queen of the streets. Madonna reflects this aspirational, multicultural, multi- identity, celebratory spirit." 1998]

Madonna in the streets of New York. This photograph is my personal homage. Madonna is the icon of my youth, these fifteen last years, it formed part of my environment. Musically, aesthetically, sexually : she is the strongest influence of the Eighties." - David La Chapelle

Madonna as a prostitute. There still, two faces of Janus, the virgin and the bitch. I visited Falkland Road, the district of the prostitutes in Bombay. I was fascinated. From there comes the inspiration from this image. "Madonna is fascinated by the Kabbala and the Hindouism. For that photo, I recreated the scenery of Falkland Road, the quarter of the prostitutes in Bombay."

[quote, "Madonna and the halo, the holy one, the virgin, the Madone and the Sacré-Coeur. There is a major religiosity in her."]

[interview excerpt by Jean-Jacques Naudet - Paris-Match].

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Julien D'Ys Cahier No. 7

Cahier n° 7 - "Madonna" - by Julien D' Ys.

Limited edition. Approximately 50 euro.
At Colette, in Paris.
Available in the beginning of January.

"Cahier n° 7 - Madonna" - by Julien D' Ys is the Re-INVENTION Tour hairdresser. The hairdresser created the hair look and style for the singer on the "Re-INVENTION Tour" in 2004. During his work, he made a notebook-witness (a list of remarks, drawings and photographs) of his work during this period. Included in his book are some rare photos from the Steven Klein's photo shoot.

"Working with Madonna requires a lot of energy. Everything must go very quickly. I showed her my book with all the styles thought for her. She liked it, and she encouraged me to publish it. " - Julien D'Ys