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  1. Who should play Madonna in the ‘Blond Ambition’ biopic? JOEY NOLFI•@JOEYNOLFI POSTED ON APRIL 25, 2017 AT 5:23PM EDT It might not have the blessing of the music legend it’s based on, but Universal’s Blond Ambition has the potential to provide a game-changing role to a young actress in Hollywood. EW confirmed Monday that the studio was in the early stages of developing a biopic chronicling the rise of Madonna throughout the formative years of her burgeoning pop career, charting the inspiration for — and subsequent success of — her 1983 debut album, which laid the foundation for her ascension into the pop cultural stratosphere. Before the film gets deeper and deeper into production, read on for a list of actresses we think should play the queen of pop (in alphabetical order), and make your own suggestions in the comments section below. Frances Bean Cobain Though she’s never acted in a major production, Cobain’s tenacity would add a palpable edge to the refreshingly bold attitude that largely punctuated Madonna’s blossoming image in the 1980s. Lily Collins While Collins has a more commercial look than Madonna did at the time she broke into the mainstream, her Golden Globe-nominated acting chops — coupled with a lifelong exposure to the music industry (she’s the daughter of musician Phil Collins) — make the Rules Don’t Apply star an ideal candidate to explore the grittier aspects of Madonna’s heyday. Cara Delevingne She’s got the disposition (and the thick eyebrows) to keep up with Madonna’s likeness, and, after taking smaller roles in bigger productions (Suicide Squad, Pan) she’s primed for a major hit of her own. Leading Blond Ambition could be the perfect way for her to transition from supporting player to Hollywood’s center stage. Sarah Gadon Gadon wowed the U.S. specialty crowd with her starring turn in James Schamus’ brilliant Indignation opposite Logan Lerman. The film saw the 30-year-old actress tapping into her dramatic side as a troubled college student who becomes entangled in a mysterious, life-altering relationship with a peer (Lerman) at a conservative college in 1950s Ohio. Much of her performance came alive in its subtleties, but Blond Ambition could be the right opportunity for Gadon to unabashedly show off her wild side on a much bigger scale. Taylor Momsen If there’s one thing people remember about Madonna in the 1980s, it’s her unwillingness to conform to standards. Momsen embodies the rebellious spirit that made Madonna a superstar and the musical inclination (she fronts The Pretty Reckless, a rock band formed in 2009) to match. Maika Monroe Monroe is light-years ahead of the supporting part she played in last year’s Independence Day: Resurgence. An essential part of the fabric of indie hits It Follows and The Guest, the 23-year-old’s fearlessness deserves to strike a pose in front of a wider audience, even if she hasn’t had the proper chance yet. Chloë Grace Moretz Though she found her stride at a young age, Moretz has never been defined by her status as a “child actress,” having garnered the attention of the masses in adult-oriented, R-rated flicks (Kick-Ass, Let Me In, and Carrie, to name a few) over the years. She’s since proven her range in high-profile comedies (Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising) and YA romances (If I Stay), but it’s her work playing a hardened starlet in 2014’s Clouds of Sils Maria — a role that required her to channel a young woman forced to grow wise beyond her years to combat the cutthroat world of moviemaking that was threatening to swallow her whole — that sells her ability to embody recording artist royalty like Madonna. Courtney Nelson Known primarily for her appearance on the 23rd cycle of VH1’s America’s Next Top Model, the 25-year-old high fashion stunner’s thick eyebrows immediately drew comparisons to Madonna — enough so that Nelson was assigned to portray the singer-songwriter for a celebrity look-alike photoshoot. Needless to say, she pulled it off, and would go on to blow the other contestants out of the water during an acting challenge. Nelson has the look, the swag, and the performative talent to take her own career to the next level at the center of Blond Ambition. Imogen Poots If you were casting Blond Ambitionsolely based on physicality, few actresses seem better suited for the part than Imogen Poots. The London native has a keen ability to excel in roles where she’s fighting back against seemingly insurmountable odds, whether it’s hordes of zombies in 28 Weeks Later or murderous neo-Nazi skinheads in Green Room, and she’d be suited to challenge the patriarchy — just like Madonna did at the dawn of her career — amid the backdrop of New York City grit in Blond Ambition. Kristen Stewart It’s been nearly a decade since Stewart first helped translate the Twilight book series into a worldwide cinematic success, even if the role of Bella Swan didn’t do much to sell the public on her skills as an actress, which had already been put to good use in movies like In the Land of Women, Into the Wild, and Panic Room in years prior. Since then, she’s worked with renowned auteurs (Olivier Assayas on Personal Shopper, Woody Allen in Café Society) and held her own against screen vets like Juliette Binoche (Clouds of Sils Maria) and Julianne Moore (Still Alice). Aside from 2012’s Snow White & the Huntsman, Stewart’s reinvention tour as a serious actress has notably failed to generate a major mainstream hit, and Blond Ambition could reposition her at the peak of the box office without sacrificing her commitment to the art of the craft in the process, given that we already know she’s capable of doing justice to a music figure (she portrayed Joan Jett in 2010’s The Runaways). Stewart’s versatility could be a perfect match for Blond Ambition, even if her overall aesthetic is a little more 1994 David Letterman interview than “Lucky Star” music video. http://ew.com/movies/2017/04/25/who-should-play-madonna-blond-ambition-biopic/amp/
  2. Live Nation Sued Over Postponed Janet Jackson Tour: Report Jackson delayed her Unbreakable world tour in 2016 to start a family BY: MATTHEW STRAUSS In 2016, Janet Jackson postponed the remaining dates on her Unbreakable world tour to start a family. (She gave birth to her son Eissa in January 2017.) As of April 2016, Live Nation said that the tour would be rescheduled for 2017, but new shows have not yet been announced. Now, a fan has filed a class action lawsuit against the entertainment company, according to TMZ. The fan, Tiana Adams, reportedly claims that Live Nation is avoiding issuing refunds by saying the Unbreakable tour is “rescheduled” and not “cancelled.” Pitchfork has reached out to representatives for Live Nation and Janet Jackson for comment. Janet Jackson began her Unbreakable world tour in summer 2015. In December of that year, she was first forced to postpone the tour to undergo surgery. She rescheduled shows in the United Kingdom and Europe, but was then forced to cancel again. Shortly after, she postponed the North American tour leg, which has not yet been rescheduled. http://pitchfork.com/news/52841-live-nation-sued-over-postponed-janet-jackson-tour/
  3. Lady Gaga's Coachella performance was an absolute thrill — until it wasn't Lady Gaga performs Saturday night at Coachella. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times) Mikael WoodContact ReporterPop Music Critic Lady Gaga, to quote one of her many hits, was on the edge of glory. Headlining Coachella on Saturday night in front of the weekend’s biggest crowd so far, the pop superstar gave as thrilling and complex a performance as any I’ve ever seen at the annual desert festival. It was wild but controlled, funny but scary, deeply tender yet filled with aggression. Or at least that’s how it felt for about 45 minutes. That’s when Lady Gaga, so close to greatness that even we in the audience could taste it, sadly stalled out, her momentum undone by poor song choices and a coarse promotional plug that made the whole show feel like a mere inducement to buy something. But, oh, those first 45 minutes! Taking the stage in a floor-length leather coat out of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” Lady Gaga opened with a song whose title in German loosely translates as “Crap,” a relatively deep cut from her 2011 album “Born This Way.” It was a crazy selection, one nobody could have predicted, but the song’s pounding stadium-rave beat set the tone for the high-energy throwdown to come. She remade “Just Dance” as a slamming hard-rock tune. She dropped a bit of Dr. Dre’s “Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang” into “LoveGame.” She dedicated “John Wayne” to all the “dangerous men” who come to music festivals, then growled through the song in a manner that made it clear they were the ones with something to fear. Before the title track from “Born This Way,” the empowerment anthem that’s made her a hero to many LGBTQ fans, Lady Gaga said she’ll never forget when she put the song out because it “caused so much trouble.” “And I love causing trouble,” she said, adding an unprintable word for emphasis. Throughout these songs — and several more that were just as intense, including “Venus” and “A-Yo” — Lady Gaga moved and sang with what looked and sounded like real abandon. For “Sexxx Dreams” she was surrounded by a crew of male dancers wearing small pieces of denim, and for once at a pop concert the choreographed display actually put across a realistic sensation of desire. Yet Lady Gaga wasn’t lost in the moment. In the frequent close-ups that flashed on Coachella’s giant video screens, you could see how hard she was concentrating on the job at hand, which went deeper than simply entertaining a massive festival crowd. She had to make us look past the fact that she was filling in for a pregnant Beyoncé, who’d been booked for Coachella but pulled out in February on the advice of her doctor. At her best, Lady Gaga succeeded in that mission — and not because we forgot about Beyoncé. Indeed, she reminded everyone on the polo field who was originally supposed to be there when she did the two singers’ duet, “Telephone.” Instead, she was providing her own unique energy, an intensely focused beam of the cartoon-rebel charisma lacking from last year’s so-so “Joanne” album and her disappointing performance at the Super Bowl halftime show. If the curtain had come down at that point, I’d be happily telling you that Lady! Gaga! Is! Back! But that’s not what happened. Oh, a curtain came down, all right — a digital approximation of one, anyway, that served as the video backdrop for a supper-clubby rendition of one of her least convincing songs, “Alejandro.” Then she did the even snoozier “Teeth,” of all things, a deeper cut than that German-titled song that didn’t have the advantage of a melody. As she often does, Lady Gaga took to a keyboard for several numbers, which in theory was fine: Anyone would need a breather after what she’d just pulled off, and few have the natural pipes she does. But doing “The Edge of Glory,” perhaps the most fist-pumpingly triumphant song in her catalog, as a dreary piano ballad? The idea was bananas, especially given that she then performed her country-ish “Million Reasons” — a tune that actually justifies a restrained presentation — in its corny EDM-remix form. This was also the part of the show when Lady Gaga premiered “The Cure,” a new single she hadn’t spoken of until then. It’s an intriguing midtempo pop-soul jam — very Madonna circa “Human Nature.” (With its proudly synthetic textures, it also signals that the singer is moving on from the more rock-attuned “Joanne.”) But “The Cure’s” placement on the set list only further diminished the excitement she’d been building. Lady Gaga wisely upped the pace — and the snarling attitude — for her encore, zooming through “Poker Face” and “Bad Romance” in a way that somehow made those well-worn classics feel fresh. Unfortunately, after “Bad Romance” she still had a minute or two before Coachella’s curfew, so she took the opportunity to speak to the crowd. And what did she tell us at this fraught historical moment? That her new song was available to download on iTunes. How inspiring. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/la-et-ms-lady-gaga-coachella-20170416-story,amp.html
  4. The Queen of Pop brought the heat when she teamed up with Timbaland and co-producer Pharrell Williams for her Hard Candy LP — and not just metaphorically. Madonna has been known to turn down the air-conditioning at concerts and during recording sessions over concerns that colder, drier air could affect her voice. “The studio was hot,” Timbaland remembers. But apart from her high-temp preferences, there was no diva behavior in the booth. “She was down-to-earth Madonna,” he says. “She’s just brutally honest about a lot of stuff: ‘I’m doing this, I’m not going to sing that.’ She’s very matter-of-fact but still very fun and loving and into her craft.” http://ew.com/music/2017/04/14/timbaland-untold-stories-missy-elliott-madonna-beyonce/
  5. Cubs nominate Tim Buss for Madonna's dance trainer Cubs strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss during spring training at the Under Armour Performance Center on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017, in Mesa, Ariz. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune) Mark GonzalesContact ReporterChicago Tribune Could Tim Buss follow in David Ross' footsteps to Hollywood? In response to a campaign by singer/dancer Madonna for her next dance trainer, manager Joe Maddon has nominated Buss, the Cubs' zany but highly respected conditioning coach. Could Tim Buss follow in David Ross' footsteps to Hollywood? In response to a campaign by singer/dancer Madonna for her next dance trainer, manager Joe Maddon has nominated Buss, the Cubs' zany but highly respected conditioning coach. Maddon was behind the scenes as the team tweeted a one-minute video of Buss' work, albeit in a somewhat subdued manner as he was shown working with players. “We could have made it more edgy," Maddon said of Buss, who conducted a pre-game workout last week in Speedo trunks. "Maybe she’ll want an R version at some point. We can send that, too." Buss has sported various outfits, from a leprechaun outfit to a superhero costume, and even drove a sportscar onto the conditioning field. But he has been extremely popular and effective in his teachings. “We’re hoping Madonna has an opportunity to check that out," Maddon said. "We’re going to send even more information, whatever she possibly needs to see that our guy is the best." http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/ct-cubs-tim-buss-madonna-20170324-story,amp.html
  6. huffpost.com/us/entry/us_58d2214ce4b099c777b9dd42/amp Daryl Deino, ContributorActor, Writer, Pop Culture Enthusiast, Technology Addict Why Madonna's 'Like A Prayer' Is The Most Important Album Ever Made By A Female Artist WARNER RECORDS/AP IIMAGES Madonna made history with ‘Like a Prayer’ album. 28 years ago this week, Madonna released what is not only her best album to date, but also what could be the most important release ever by a female artist. That’s not to say that Like a Prayer is the best album ever by a female artist, but it’s pretty close. After six years of being considered pop fluff and a disco dolly, Madonna was finally taken seriously by most music critics in 1989. Still, Like a Prayer deserved even more than bewildering critical acclaim. If Madonna and misogyny weren’t practically synonyms, Like a Prayer would have not only won several Grammys in 1990 (it didn’t even earn any major nominations), but it would be widely praised for its songwriting and production 28 years later. If a man delivered the same type of vocals Madonna did on Like a Prayer, critics would note that his voice isn’t technically perfect, but distinct, melodic, and full of emotion. When it comes to Madonna, who certainly could never hit the notes of Aretha Franklin or Whitney Houston, it’s just easier for people to say that she “can’t sing.” For people (especially millennials) to understand how important Like a Prayer is to culture and music, they have to comprehend the repressive environment Madonna’s album arrived to in March of 1989. The late 1980s was ruled by the religious right, who believed AIDS was a curse God gave to the gay community. Women who were outspoken or wore revealing clothes were referred to as sluts, whores, bit**es, etc. Police brutality among African Americans was still widely accepted without much of a backlash. And interracial dating was still considered a taboo. With all of this in mind, let’s analyze why Like a Prayer is such a milestone of an album. The “Like a Prayer” Video The “Like a Prayer” video has provocative imagery that caused the religious right to wet its pants. However, none of the imagery, which is used for pure symbolism, is blasphemous. Most importantly, “Like a Prayer” is a video that shows the viewer racism, sexism, and police brutality. It urges them to think and overcome it — this is something that wasn’t considered “cool” in 1989. The idea of a “Black Jesus” was also considered blasphemous to some, especially the religious right. The aftermath of “Like a Prayer” was groundbreaking in that Madonna beat the religious right at their own attempted game of censorship. Their efforts caused Pepsi to drop Madonna as a spokesperson, but they completely failed at hurting Madonna’s success or censoring the video. The “Like a Prayer” single and video hit No. 1 and remain widely loved classics almost 30 years later. Madonna paved the way for other artists to not only challenge the religious right, but win. The “Like a Prayer” Song Even if you aren’t convinced that the “Like a Prayer” video is an artistic masterpiece, the song “Like a Prayer” has stood on its own. Not only has Rolling Stone and Billboard praised it as one of the best pop songs of all time, but the song has become a spiritual classic, even for those who aren’t fans of Madonna. “Like a Prayer” became the highlight of Live 8 in 2005, and it was also one of the highlights of the 2010 Hope for Haiti concert. It was also prominently featured in Madonna’s 2012 Super Bowl Halftime show. Any live performance of the song is sure to whip the audience into a frenzy. Express Yourself This decade, “Express Yourself” is mostly known as the song that inspired (maybe a little too much) Lady Gaga’s self-empowerment LGBT anthem “Born This Way.” However, as Gay Times Magazine notes, “Express Yourself” has become an empowering anthem for the LGBT community as well. However, in the late 1980s, the song was mostly known as a female empowerment anthem. “Don’t go for second best baby” became a catch phrase for strong women who were sick of being treated like second class citizens from men and other women who still subscribed to the patriarchy. AIDS Activism The pamphlet on AIDS Madonna included with each copy of Like a Prayer alone proves that the notion of Madonna being a bad role model and having a bad influence on Generation X (especially women and teenagers) just isn’t true. Madonna educated many about AIDS and safe sex at a time when schools, the media, and religious institutions stayed away from the topic. A move like this in 1989 could have hurt a showbiz career, but Madonna survived and thrived by doing the right thing and, possibly, helping to save lives at the same time. Pop Music Meets Art A Rolling Stone review by J.D. Considine from April of 1989 correctly noted that Like a Prayer was “as close to art as pop music gets.” The album touched on topics such as childhood innocence, childhood loss, child abuse, spousal abuse, women’s rights, and spirituality. It mixed all of these themes together to not only make the listener think and dance, but ask questions as well — some of which were risky to ask in 1989. Like a Prayer proved that an artist can mix style and substance in order to break societal and musical barriers. 28 years later, many pop artists, including Madonna herself, are trying to hit all the correct spots Like a Prayer hit, but they just don’t have the same effect.
  7. Sting (sorta) comments on Gaga's Madonna shade: http://www.bravotv.com/watch-what-happens-live/season-13/episode-203/videos/spill-the-music-indus-tea
  8. http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/12/11/arts/music/madonna-hillary-clinton-renegades.html?_r=0&referer=
  9. The Girlie Show NYC Drowned World DC x 2 Re-Invention DC Sticky & Sweet 2008 East Rutherford, NJ MDNA DC Rebel Heart DC
  10. Chronicling the era in which MTV forged an indelible and inextricable link between recorded music and the newly emergent music video, Sound and Vision considers what it means to see music as well as hear it. Tracking the music video from MTV to the internet, Sound and Vision tells the story of how a one-time marketing tool became a powerful mediator between artist and audience, and illuminates the music video’s role in the popular music of today. Featured Stories/Artists The artists who embraced video in the pre-MTV era: David Bowie, The Beatles,Blondie, Devo The artists who made MTV what it was: Michael Jackson, Madonna, the Eurythmics The Unplugged era, Nirvana’s memorable taping Song List 1. A Hazy Shade of Winter – The Bangles 2. White Wedding – Billy Idol 3. Sex Crime – Eurythmics 4. Hungry Like the Wolf – Duran Duran 5. Video Killed the Radio Star – Buggles 6. Whip It – Devo 7. Tonight’s the Night – Rod Stewart 8. I Ran – Flock of Seagulls 9. Dancing with Myself – Billy Idol 10. Sweet Dreams – Eurythmics 11. Missionary Man – Eurythmics 12. Ashes to Ashes – David Bowie 13. The Jean Genie – David Bowie 14. Shadow Waltz (from Gold Diggers of 1933) – Busby Berkeley 15. Where Did Our Love Go – Supremes 16. Mean Woman Blues – Glen Campbell 17. Little Red Rooster – Rolling Stones 18. Paperback Writer – The Beatles 19. Hanging on the Telephone – Blondie 20. Billie Jean – Michael Jackson 21. Workin for the Weekend – Loverboy 22. Do You Really Want to Hurt Me? – Culture Club 23. Super Freak – Rick James 24. Thriller – Michael Jackson 25. Rock Box – Run DMC 26. Borderline – Madonna 27. Like a Virgin – Madonna 28. Like a Prayer – Madonna 29. Give it 2 Me – Madonna 30. Don’t Come Around Here No More – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers 31. Layla (MTV Unplugged) – Eric Clapton 32. Where Did You Sleep Last Night? – Nirvana 33. Video Games – Lana Del Rey 34. Haunted – Beyonce 35. XO – Beyonce http://soundbreaking.com/episodes/episode-seven/