Madonna news - April 2004


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30 April - Exclusive news on Lacroix costume!
Mad-Eyes correspondent and good friend Marcin from Paris has had the priviledge today to talk to fashion designer Christian Lacroix about his costume work for Madonna's tour. Check the spoiler page to read more.

30 April - More spoilers on the setlist *rumour*
From now on, tour spoilers will be separated from the other news items, for those who want to attend the tour like a virgin. ;-)
Click here for today's spoilers on the setlist.

29 April - Madonna feels betrayed by record company
Madonna donned fatigues last year for a video to promote her latest album, American Life. Now she is drumming up more military metaphors for an increasingly bitter public battle with Warner Music Group and its new chief executive and part owner, Edgar Bronfman Jr.
"I find myself in the ludicrous position of being sued by my own record company, whom I have been loyal, industrious and reliable to for over 20 years," Madonna said in a statement, her first comment since the two sides filed dueling lawsuits late last month. "For them to behave this way is nothing short of treason."
The dispute does not involve Madonna in her role as one of Warner's biggest stars. Instead it revolves around Maverick Records, the music label that she and two others own with Warner Music in a partnership that is to expire by the end of this year. Either Warner or Madonna's group is supposed to buy out the other side.
The grievances have been simmering for several years. Maverick executives say they are being shortchanged by Warner Music, while Warner sees Maverick as a money-losing venture whose biggest successes, like Alanis Morissette, are in the past. But when Time Warner completed the sale of its record business for $2.6 billion to a consortium led by Mr. Bronfman, an executive considered to be among the more receptive to artists' needs and desires, many in the music industry expected an amicable resolution.
Any honeymoon was short-lived. And it appears that hurt feelings on both sides have propelled this business negotiation into court.
Madonna's partners in Maverick, Guy Oseary and Ronnie Dashev, say they were shocked by a lawsuit on the same day that they were bargaining for a resolution in good faith. Bert Fields, Maverick's lawyer, called the suit a stab in the back for Madonna, who has sold millions of CD's for the Warner Brothers Records label.
Warner Music executives fume privately that they were forced to act pre-emptively. According to executives involved in the negotiations, the new owners, already pushing through a restructuring calling for the elimination of 1,000 jobs, were on a tour to stir interest among banks and bond issuers to finance the purchase of Warner Music when Madonna and her partners threatened a lawsuit if a deal regarding Maverick was not struck imminently.
On March 24, partly to control where any case would be heard, Warner Music filed suit in Delaware, seeking a ruling that it had not breached its contract with Maverick. The next day Maverick sued Warner Music in California, charging fraud and improper accounting. On May 7 a Delaware judge will hear a motion to stay Warner Music's action to allow the California complaint to proceed.
The object of the tussle is a boutique record label. Maverick, created in 1992, experienced its biggest success with Ms. Morissette, the singer and songwriter whose "Jagged Little Pill" (1995) has sold 14 million copies and is the one of the best-selling albums of all time, according to Nielsen SoundScan, which tracks music sales in the United States. Eight of the 10 albums from Maverick that have sold more than one million copies were released before the venture with Warner Music was renegotiated in 1999. Its roster also includes the singer and songwriter Michelle Branch and bands like Deftones and the Prodigy. In 2003 Maverick releases accounted for a little more than half of 1 percent of album sales in the United States.
Mr. Bronfman declined to comment on the suits, but Will Tanous, a company spokesman, issued a statement repeating Warner Music's statement in the lawsuit that Maverick has been unprofitable for the last five years. In its complaint Warner Music says that Maverick has amassed more than $60 million in losses since 1999, and would have to repay $92.5 million before it could buy out Warner's' half of the joint venture.
Maverick's filing paints a more complicated picture. Its partners charge that Roger Ames, the former chairman and chief executive of Warner Music, refused to provide the promotional, sales and marketing support to Maverick required by the venture agreement. "They have consistently over a pattern of years refused to deal with our problems and have misled us," Ms. Dashev said.
Among numerous charges, the Maverick complaint says that Warner Music manipulated figures to show that Maverick was losing money by not crediting it with the profits generated by the manufacturing, distribution and international sales of Maverick CD's. If profits were properly accounted, Mr. Fields, a well-known Hollywood lawyer, said, they would show that Maverick has made $100 million for Warner.
But the joint-venture contract does not require adding profits from those areas to Maverick's earnings, said an executive close to Warner Music, who has detailed knowledge of the contract. "What they're trying to do is not supported by anything in the agreement," the executive said. "It's supported by their desire to get a check they're not entitled to by virtue of the contract, to pretend in 2004, `Oh, let's take an eraser to a few provisions and let's put in what we wish were in the contract.' "
Whitney Broussard, a New York entertainment lawyer whose clients include the Warner Music artists Twista and Third Eye Blind, said it was not uncommon for revenue from manufacturing and distribution to be excluded from profit calculations in joint-venture agreements.
Unclear in the feud is what, if any, collateral damage will be done to Warner Music's relationship with Madonna, who owes two more albums to Warner Brothers Records.
While Warner is not dismissing Madonna's stature — she is preparing for a world tour that starts in late May, and a six-night stand at Madison Square Garden in June is sold out — she is not, at 45, the sales powerhouse she once was. American Life has sold a relatively meager 634,000 copies in the United States. Her previous two albums each sold three million to four million copies. But her vintage releases have done much better: Like a Virgin (1984) sold 10 million, and True Blue (1986) seven million.
"This is not about Madonna, an artist with whom we have a longstanding and very successful relationship," Mr. Tanous said.
Madonna's manager, Caresse Henry, said the legal dispute was hurting Madonna's relationship as an artist with Warner. "It's like serving somebody divorce papers and then asking them when they want to go to dinner," Ms. Henry said. (sources: NY Times)

28 April - Spoiler on opening song *rumour*
Click here to read a spoiler on the rumoured opening songs for the show.

23 April - Spoiler on dancers, tourbook and setlist *rumour*
Fansite Drowned Madonna posted some rumours on the setlist, the dancers and the tourbook; click here to read them.

22 April - Spoiler on choreography and setlist
So what's Madonna really like? Allan Dekko, the Santa Clara Vanguard's tour manager who recently taught the material girl some rifle moves for her upcoming re-Invention world tour, said the superstar is "a perfectionist".
A mutual friend of Dekko and Madonna's head choreographer Jamie King arranged for Dekko to display some rifle moves for King, who was thinking of including a rifle segment in the show. "It was one of those 'who you know' situations," King said. After Dekko's demonstration, he was hired to instruct Madonna and her dancers.
Dekko worked with Madonna and seven male dancers on 64 counts of her 1989 song Express Yourself. The performers are keeping the riflework very "military", according to Dekko. "It was basically kept to a series of manual of arms and variations on them. Anything too fancy, they didn't like," Dekko said.
Madonna's rifle abilities were adequate, and the atmosphere very direct. "I won't say that she is a natural, but what is being asked of her she did well," Dekko said. "I found her pleasant to work with. She doesn't really dilly-dally."
Dekko's instruction happened during the last hour of her daily choreography rehearsals on a soundstage south of Beverly Hills, Calif. "The rehearsal atmosphere is warm. The sound stage is kept very warm as that is the way she likes to rehearse. She would work on choreography from 5 to 8 p.m. I usually worked with her privately the last hour. She works very precisely. She has a job to do and she wants to get it done," Dekko said.
"She is a visual learner," Dekko said of Madonna's learning ability. "You show her, and you do it with her. She doesn't go on until she feels comfortable with what she is trying to learn. She's going to do it until she doesn't have to think about it any more – (until) it's on instant recall."
Despite Madonna's penchant for wild costumes on stage, Dekko said she always wore sweatpants during these rehearsals. However, "She always smelled good. She would walk in and you would go 'She's here.'" All rehearsals were closely monitored by a bodyguard.
Fans will find plenty of older Madonna material on the re-Invention tour. "It's pretty much her old stuff. It's a pretty packed show of her greatest hits," Dekko said, adding that in addition to spinning rifles, dancers will be dangling from bungee chords during part of the show. Overall, the choreography reminds Dekko of Cirque du Soleil.
Excluding the current members of the Santa Clara Vanguard, Madonna is the first "superstar" Dekko ever taught. (source: DCI.org, MadonnaTribe)

22 April - Gaultier in charge of merchandise and accessories *rumour*
A fan who ran into Jean-Paul Gaultier in Paris reports to MadonnaTribe: "He said he is designing T-shirts and belts and bits and pieces like that for the dancers and possibly things for the merchandise as well."

22 April - 'Yakov and the Seven Thieves' out June 21
Yakov and the Seven Thieves We are also pleased to announce the release of Madonna's newest children's book, "Yakov and the Seven Thieves". The book, which is beautifully illustrated by Gennady Spirin, comes out June 21st, but you can pre-order ahead of time and have it shipped directly to your door. You can also buy an exclusive t-shirt featuring the cover art, in both youth and adult sizes.
Storyline: Seven slippery scoundrels. One tricky lock. An unlikely solution... Yakov, the kindly cobbler, and his wife, Olga, are heartbroken because their son, Mikhail, is very ill. They seek advice from a wise old man, who enlists the help of seven thieves and proves that miracles can occur if we do good deeds. (source: Madonna.com)

20 April - Mad-Eyes ticket service
Mad-Eyes is offering you a new service. After receiving tons of mails from fans looking for a tour ticket, but also from fans with a spare ticket looking for a candidate buyer, we decided to set up our own little ticket service. It's easy: if you want to buy or sell a ticket for the re-Invention tour, post your details and wait for someone to contact you. We hope this way you can all find the ticket you want. Good luck! Click here to access the ticket service.
Note: Mad-Eyes only provides the service of bringing fans in contact with each other. The rest of the process is your own responsability.

20 April - Madonna tops poll for pregnancy turnaround
Madonna's total body makeover after giving birth to her daughter Lourdes almost eight years ago, has been voted the best celebrity pregnancy weight loss story in a new In Touch Weekly poll. The 45-year-old pop icon discovered she was pregnant right after she landed the lead in the movie Evita, and rather than ditch her dream role, she worked hard at hiding her bump. After switching to a macrobiotic diet, Madonna managed to achieve what is considered to be one of the fastest ever pregnancy turnarounds when she was back in a slinky dress just two months after giving birth - in time for the Evita premiere and the Golden Globe Awards. Her workout regime included biking, dancing and sit-ups, and after giving birth to her three-year-old son Rocco, she took up yoga, cycling and walking. The full top 10 is as follows:
Madonna at one of the Evita premieres 1. Madonna
2. Uma Thurman
3. Sarah Jessica Parker
4. Julianne Moore
5. Kate Winslet
6. Elizabeth Hurley
7. Catherine Zeta-Jones
8. Kelly Ripa
9. Reese Witherspoon
10. Kate Hudson
(source: WBEX)

20 April - Only real ball players in my League
Baseball fan Penny Marshall says directing A League of Their Own was one of her better managing jobs.
The 1992 movie about the All-American Girls Baseball League that took to the diamond in 1943 is on DVD today in a special edition. Like a savvy baseball scout, Marshall molded a team that included a skilled veteran (Geena Davis), a starter in a slump (Tom Hanks), a big name who would sell tickets (Madonna) and an unknown talent (Rosie O'Donnell).
Madonna in A League Of Their Own Assembling the team wasn't easy, she says. Women she considered suitable for the roles had to make it through baseball tryouts. "I would not let the actresses read (for a part) unless they could play ball," Marshall says.
And some managerial shuffling was required. Madonna was a late replacement, and Marshall knew she and O'Donnell were friends, so the director rewrote a character for O'Donnell, who was a good player. It was the future talk-show queen's first movie.
Going through the roster, Marshall says that Hanks needed a hit when she was casting League. She previously directed him in 1988's Big. The year after League, he landed his Oscar-winning role in Philadelphia. "I brought him back; now he's a king," she says.
"It was the last movie I made that I really had a good time on, and I still see some of the old ladies who were in it," she says, referring to some of the women's league players who appeared in the film.
Among the highlights on the two-disc set ($25), out today:
• A full-length commentary with Marshall and actresses Lori Petty (Kit), Megan Cavanagh (Marla) and Marshall's daughter Tracy Reiner (Betty). You learn that several players suffered concussions during filming.
• Madonna's video This Used to Be My Playground for the song that ran during the closing credits.
• A documentary, Nine Memorable Innings, about the making of the movie. The interviews with Marshall took place at her home, and you get a glimpse of her collection of sports memorabilia. (source: USA Today)

20 April - Second Anaheim date
Madonna.com now lists a second concert in Anaheim on June 3rd. Though the site says tickets are on sale now, the date isn't yet mentioned on the website of Ticketmaster, but other sites are already selling VIP packages. This is the last Californian date that will be added to the re-Invention Tour. The schedule for the US is now completely filled up from the end of May till early August, not leaving anymore space for additional dates. Madonna will most probably take a break after her Miami concerts, just like she did for the Drowned World Tour, and then embark her tour in London, Dublin and Paris. If there are still European and Israelian dates planned, they should happen in September. More details remain unannounced as yet, but stay tuned.
UPDATE: tickets for June 3rd will be on sale on April 25 at 10am with prices ranging from $45 to $300.

19 April - Rather the re-investment tour
No wonder they call her the Material Girl. Madonna is launching her Re-invention Tour, and some of the financial details of the concerts have been leaking out — leading one source to quip that it should be called her Reinvestment Tour.
Madonna is looking to play a one-day gig in Ireland, where she’s filed plans with a county council board, and according to local reports, Madonna has hammered out a deal where she will receive either 4.2 million pounds (over $7.5 million) or 98.5 percent of the box office — whichever is greater. With tickets rumored to be in the $200 range, that could be one hefty payday.
Madonna's rep, Liz Rosenberg, denies the figures, but declines to give specifics. She says final ticket prices haven't been determined, but she also acknowledges that the singer will rake in plenty of cash during her Re-invention Tour. "Will Madonna make lots of money on her tour?" Rosenberg asks. "Absolutely. And she will earn every penny." (source: MSNBC)

19 April - Kabbalah breaks friendship *rumour*
Has Kabbalah cost Madonna her best friend? The New York Post reports that the singer has cut all ties with her best pal, actress Debi Mazar, because Mazar won't buy in to the tradition of Jewish mysticism. "They are no longer best friends," a source in Madonna's camp tells the tab. "Debi is very hurt and confused, but Madonna has made up her mind. These women have been friends for 20 years, and now nothing."
Pish posh, Madonna's rep counters. "They are still friends. Madonna is rehearsing six days a week so she doesn't have a lot of time, but the love is still there."
But, according to the Post, Madonna has time for Britney Spears, who has started following Kabbalah precepts. Madonna's devotion to Kabbalah runs deep. She will no longer perform on Fridays, the Jewish sabbath, and she donated all of the profits from her children's books to the Kabbalah Center, which is in LA. A rep for Mazar declined to comment. (source: AZ Central)

18 April - Madonna in talks with US TV shows *rumour*
Fansite Drowned Madonna writes: "Our sources from New York have contacted us with some interesting news regarding a television appearance by Madonna during her re-Invention tour. It seems that Madonna is in talks with the producers of the morning talk show, Live with Regis and Kelly. Our sources revealed to us that the appearance would be a behind the scenes feature in which co-host Kelly Ripa follows Madonna around before and after one of her shows. Another show that is being considered for an exclusive appearance by Madonna is Good Morning America."

18 April - Arianne Phillips on board for the tour *rumour*
According to Brazilian magazine "Quem", Arianne Phillips is also on board on this tour helping Madonna with her looks. Phillips who was one of the costume and accessory designers on the Drowned World Tour and on The Ritchies' Swept Away is always happy to work with Madonna. She declared: "I really enjoy the work I have done with Madonna, she is a fiercely smart and generous person to work with, we have developed a sort of shorthand of communication, the same can be said of Courtney Love and Lenny Kravitz, these people I have been working with for a long time and we have developed a style of working that has produced some of my most proud work". (source: MadonnaTribe)

18 April - No 5th American Life single in France
Fansite Madonna Electronica reports that Warner Music France has confirmed there won't be a 5th single release from the American Life album in France. This means that if the rumours about an upcoming Easy Ride single are true, it won't be released in France.

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