Madonna's enormously successful MDNA tour, slated to hit Yankee Stadium in New York twice next week, arguably features her most ambitious stage costumes to date . The dramatic gender-bending looks for the singer and her cadre of dancers push design conventions to their limits, with the cantilevering, crystalline, patent-leather footwear alone worth a hundred editorials. In this backstage tour video by Swarovski, whose glimmering gems adorn Madge's costumes an astounding 315,000 times, you can appreciate the exhaustive breadth of the MDNA design aesthetic.
In the behind-the-scenes footage, wardrobe supervisor Lana Czajka explains that preparation for each evening's show begins at 9 a.m., when 30 racks of clothes are steamed, pressed and retouched. "Most of our sparkle happens during 'Vogue,'" she notes, pointing to a noirish collection of Venetian masks, top hats and riding crops. An extremely impressive, armored chainmail look containing thousands of micro-crystals provides a true spotlight moment, as does the jeweled MDNA tee featured in the "Celebration" finale.
Such meticulous detailing befits a pop queen like Madonna. "She is involved with everything," head dresser Tony Villanueva emphasizes. "She has final say."
Twitter fans are all abuzz about Madonna's MDNA tour which said it would feature cameo roles from Britney and Christina. Following the tweets were statements from Madonna's rep, Liz Rosenberg, telling THR that these feeds were not true.
The same goes with Britney's spokesman, Jeff Raymond, and Aguilera's publicist, Nicole Perez-Krueger. They denied the endorsements as the two singers are not on the list to perform for Madonna.
Incident like these were sparked by the scenes from the 2003s MTV Video Music Awards, where Madonna sparked the talk of the night by kissing Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera as a symbolic sign of handing down the music torch.
DJ talks new album ("Smash"), plans to produce and direct films, plus the "maturity" gained from working with Madonna
"It's given me a bit more maturity and experience in the process of collaboration with an artist of that level," Solveig, who produced six tracks on Madonna's 2012 release MDNA -- including Beautiful Killer and Give Me All Your Luvin' with Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. -- tells Billboard. He opened for the European leg of Madonna's MDNA Tour and will be on 20 shows in North America.
"Before this I was very, very inexperienced in collaborating with that kind of artist. I realized I was in some ways a little naive. So on a personal level I learned how to make music, not just for myself but really how to work on a collaboration level."
And he's certainly not complaining about the raised profile that's come from the Madonna association.
"It's difficult to really say, but there's a lot happening for me at the moment," Solveig acknowledges. "Of course the fact I collaborated with Madonna is a big deal, but I don't know how much of that is the main thing or the platinum record I had around the world with (2010's) 'Hello' or just the sound I make. It's probably a mix of different things, and I'm trying to stay balanced about everything."
Solveig says the greatest surprise he had in working on MDNA was how hands-on Madonna was with the music.
"I had a lot of things in my head, but then I realized it was not going to happen the way I thought -- meaning we were really going to be working together, which is quite unique," he recalls. "A lot of times a singer will just say, 'I like this instrumental' or 'I like this idea' or take a top line and then go work with it. But with Madonna, we worked more old school, really sharing the experience of making music together in a room at the same time. So basically all the plans I had in the first place were gone and she took the lead -- and it was an even better experience."
Now Solveig is hoping to take his own lead and build from the Madonna spotlight. His fourth album, "Smash," is currently being sold via download and comes out physically on Sept. 18, featuring "Hello" as well as other collaborations with "Hello" partner Dragonette along with Bloc Party's Kele Okereke, Dev, Sunday Girl and Idoling.
The 10-song set is built as a "soundtrack" to a series of four short films Solveig created during the past two years, with his music videos using footage from those movies. "It's a bit bizarre as a concept," he notes, "but I'm pretty proud of this. It's a different way of presenting an album."
And Solveig says he hopes to continue meshing film and music together as he moves forward.
"I see myself as a creative person, and I think I want to work as a music producer for the next years and that's what I'm going to keep doing and hopefully work with some more exciting artists like Madonna," he explains. "And then at some point I would love to make the move into the movie industry and direct more short movies or maybe even a feature film. That would be the ultimate dream."
Madonna's MDNA Tour hits North American shores tonight with a show at Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center. The European leg of the tour wrapped last week in Nice, France.
The tour, which began May 29 in Tel Aviv, has grossed $115,701,909, with attendance of 985,340 to 33 shows, according to Billboard Boxscore. For North America, Madonna has sold $111 million in tickets for 44 shows in the U.S. and Canada, according to Arthur Fogel, chairman of Live Nation Global Touring and producer of Madonna's tours. Dates are currently on the books up until a double at American Airlines Arena in Miami Nov. 19-20.
Madonna is no stranger to the elite ranks of touring artists, as her last tour, 2008-2009's Sticky & Sweet, is third all-time in box office revenue at $408 million, according to Boxscore, highest ever for a solo artist.
MDNA is tracking on Boxscore to be among the biggest not only for 2012, but also one of the top tours of all time.
While Madonna's first headlining tour was in 1985, the upcoming run will only be her ninth. Sticky & Sweet was a monster by any measure, including blockbuster dates in a wide range of territories, 32 countries in all. Madonna sold 650,000 tickets in South America, 72,000 tickets at Zurich's Dübendorf Airfield--the largest attended concert ever in Switzerland--75,000 tickets in London, and four sellouts at New York's Madison Square Garden that sold 60,364 tickets. That tour wrapped where 'MDNA' began, in Tel Aviv.
As a touring artist, Madonna is relatively "fresh" compared to some artists with similar career longevity. "When I started working with her on the 2001 tour, she hadn't toured since the early '90s," Fogel told Billboard.biz earlier this year. "The last tour was her biggest tour ever, it propelled her into the top-grossing tours of all time and was the top tour ever by a solo artist, and that was 25 years into her career. Whatever there is to be said, the facts speak for themselves: she's never been bigger, and she's a great performer with a great catalog and a great new record. She's one of those iconic legends at the top of her game."
Over the past decade, Madonna tours have moved into that elite status of the "event" tour, where the tour itself becomes a cultural touch point. And while there are other acts that are hugely popular on a global scale (Fogel works with a couple of them, including U2 and Lady Gaga) a Madonna tour remains a unique animal in terms of striking a chord with a passionate fan base and generating media coverage. "There are people out there who always want to set it up as her against other artists that have emerged, but the truth is they're all unique and great and have their space in the hearts and minds of fans," Fogel says. "I don't even think about that stuff, it's irrelevant."
PHILADELPHIA -- As she kicked off the U.S. leg of her MDNA Tour in Philadelphia, Madonna said she was happy to party in the USA after touring Europe for three months.
The pop icon told the crowd Tuesday night they should "never forget how lucky you are to live where you live and to have the freedom that you have." She made the comments after talking about punk-rock group Pussy Riot's recent arrest in Moscow for the female band's lyrical content about Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Madonna said it was no coincidence that she opened her U.S. tour "where the Declaration of Independence was signed." Then the 53-year-old yelled: "We are in the land of democracy."
She also told the crowd: "Don't get fat and lazy and take that freedom for granted."
Is a journey.
The journey of a soul from darkness to light
It is part cinematic musical theatre.
Part spectacle and sometimes intimate Performance art.
But above all its a journey
From darkness to light
From anger to love
from chaos to order.
It's true there is a lot of violence in the beginning of the show and sometimes the use of fake guns - but they are used as metaphors.
I do not condone violence or the use of guns.
Rather they are symbols of wanting to appear strong and wanting to find a way to stop feelings that I find hurtful or damaging. In my case its wanting to stop the lies and hypocrisy of the church, the intolerance of many narrow minded cultures and societies I have experienced throughout my life and in some cases the pain I have felt from having my heart broken.
Ultimately as we follow through the journey of my story, the audience can see quite clearly what I see -
That the enemy is within and the only way to survive Disappointment Disapproval Judgment Heartbreak Jealousy Envy And Hatred Is with Love - not with revenge - not with guns and not with violence.
In spite of all the chaos and darkness and intolerance we seem to be encountering more and more in the world,
We cannot allow our anger or bitterness to swallow us up.
We come to understand that
There is an innate and pure love inside us all and we have to find a way to tap into it.
And we can't do it by being victims or placing the blame or pointing the finger at others.
But by recognizing that the enemy is within
And when we come to terms with it
And accept it
And struggle to change ourselves,
Then we can change the world without hurting anyone and we can inspire others to do the same.
When you watch a film there are usually good guys and bad guys to help illustrate this point, Sometimes I play both.
I enjoy acting out this journey.
For none of us are perfect and we all have our own journey of growth to go on.
I know people can relate to it.
It's very important to me as an artist that my show not be taken out of context.
It must be watched with an open heart from beginning to end. I am sure if it is viewed this way, the viewer will walk away feeling inspired, Invigorated and will want to make the world a better place.
And this of course was always my intention.
Madonna's Turn Up The Radio has reached the number one spot on Billboard's Dance/Club Play chart, extending her mark for the most leaders in the chart's archives.
Congratulations MDNA & Martin Solveig!
If you haven't downloaded your copy of the remixes from iTunes, just visit: http://smarturl.it/TurnUpTheRadioRMX
For a complete overview of Madonna's chart records, check our Charts page.
The trio of pop divas hasn't performed together since 2003's VMAs.
Flash back to 2003's MTV Video Music Awards: Madonna orchestrated the night's most-talked about moment by kissing both Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera onstage during a medley of the pop queen's songs including Like a Virgin.
It was a symbolic passing of the pop-star torch, and it made headlines for days, cementing Madonna's relevance amongst younger, radio-friendly competition like Spears and Aguilera, who were then dominating the music charts.
Nine years after that kiss seen 'round the world, Madonna could very well be gathering the former Mickey Mouse Club co-stars together for a reunion of sorts. According to a Twitter feed for the singer's latest MDNA Tour, Aguilera will appear at Madonna's concerts in Los Angeles on Oct. 10 and 11 for a "special performance," while Spears will "attend" the show on the 10th.
Reps for Madonna and Spears did not immediately comment on what Spears' appearance might entail, and whether she'd jump on stage with Aguilera.
Meanwhile, Spears is preparing to make her official debut as a judge on The X Factor alongside Simon Cowell, L.A. Reid and Demi Lovato. The second season of Cowell's revamped series premieres Sept. 12. The same week, on Sept. 10, Aguilera will reprise her role as a mentor on NBC's hit singing competition The Voice. (Cue the old Britney-versus-Xtina chatter.)
As for Madonna, she's wrapped up her MDNA concerts in Europe by sending olive branches to Elton John and a French right-wing politician, and joining the chorus of protesters urging Russia to free Pussy Riot. She launches the North American leg of her tour on Tuesday in Philadelphia.
Madonna has asked her Australian fans to forgive her after cancelling plans to visit Down Under with her MDNA Tour, stating she needs to spend time with her family.
The Material Girl recorded her apology and released it on YouTube on Sunday, saying she felt bad about disappointing her fans.
"I know the last time I was on tour I missed Australia as well," she said.
Madonna said she has to give priority to her duties as a mother, as she's unable to take her children with her on tour all of the time.
"At the end of the year I feel I would be an irresponsible parent if I didn't stop my tour and spend time with them," she said.
Madonna experienced a huge backlash from fans after confirming in July that she would not be bringing her MDNA Tour to Australia.
A West Australian radio station responded by banning her tracks from its playlist.
In her statement, the singer said she doesn't take any of her fans around the world for granted.
"Please forgive me and know that when I do come to Australia I will have made the wait worth your while and I will put on the greatest show on earth."
The Material Girl, who has drawn the ire of the Vatican over the years, is eyeing luxury properties in two of the city's neighborhoods, according to reports.
ROME – Reportedly tiring of life in London and New York, the Material Girl is said it be mulling a move to the Eternal City.
The Italian media reported Wednesday that Madonna may be looking to acquire a luxury property in Rome.
The most likely candidates: a luxury villa on the Aventine Hill, or a penthouse apartment in the iconoclastic neighborhood designed by early 20th century architect Gino Coppede . There is no official word from the camp of the singer born as Madonna Louise Ciccone about a possible move, though the 54-year-old pop icon has always maintained close ties with Italy, the home of her ancestors.
Madonna's personal donation of $500,000 to help the victims of the devastating 2009 earthquake in Abruzzo was at first larger than the aid from the U.S. government. She has also opined periodically on Italian affairs, and has been a vocal critic of media tycoon and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Madonna's directorial effort, W.E., which told the story of the love story between British King Edward VIII and American divorcee Wallis Simpson , premiered at the Venice Film Festival last year.
But she has also been attacked repeatedly by the Vatican, which called the video for her 1989 hit Like a Prayer "blasphemous" for its visions of burning crosses, statues that cried blood and a scene where Madonna herself seduced a black actor playing Jesus Christ. In 2004, she was also criticized for promoting the Kabbalah religious belief, which the Vatican considers to be a threat to Roman Catholicism.
Most recently, church officials blasted her for the decision to sing while hanging from a crucifix during a 2006 concert in Rome. After that show, Cardinal Ersilio Tonino , speaking for Pope Benedict XVI, said, "This time the limits have really been pushed too far. She should be excommunicated."
She last attracted headlines in Italy in June, when during another concert in Rome, Madonna flashed her buttocks, revealing her black undergarments and fishnet stockings, to the delight of concertgoers.
Rome has been a popular destination for the entertainment world's elite since the Dolce Vita days of the 1950s and 1960s. But in recent years, few top stars have gone as far as to move there.
SELINSGROVE — Madonna's concert tour promoter, Live Nation MTours (USA) Inc., recently donated $5,000 to the Brandon E. Bitner Memorial Scholarship at Susquehanna University at the Bitner family's request.
The donation resulted from the family allowing a photograph of the Mount Pleasant Mills teen to be used in Madonna's MDNA Tour as part of a video montage that decries bullying.
Bitner, 14, ended his life in November 2010, having described repeated bullying he endured from peers. At the Madonna concert, his photo is one of seven flashed briefly on a video screen, with his name and the message "R.I.P.," during the singer's performance of Nobody Knows Me. The montage has been viewed by audiences around the world, with the tour scheduled to arrive in the United States on Aug. 28.
"This has been a huge blessing to Brandon's memory," said Bitner's cousin, Katie Goodling, who maintains a website, www.brandonbitner.com, and a Facebook page, facebook.com/ripbrandonbitner, where video of the concert's photo montage is posted. "I have interacted with so many different Madonna fans from across the world on Facebook, Twitter and even LinkedIn since (his photo) started appearing on the stage each night. They have been so supportive and kind."
When Madonna's tour producers asked Bitner family members to name a donation recipient — one that raises awareness of bullying — they suggested the Bitner scholarship at Susquehanna.
Bitner was an accomplished violinist who played in what was formerly the university preparatory program's youth orchestra. The scholarship fund has supported the talent of a Susquehanna music major each year since it was established in 2010. Senior violinist Amanda Simensky, of Westminster, Md., is the scholarship recipient for 2012-13.
"To see our efforts and the prominence of Brandon's Facebook page lead to something so huge is surreal," Goodling said. "I'm also extremely happy that Live Nation donated money to his scholarship, which helps keep it alive from year to year."
MADONNA's got company her own age on her holiday – her boyfriend's mum.
Patricia Vidal– seven years Madge's junior at 47 – has left her tiny flat in Marseille for the week so she and Madge can talk crochet patterns by the pool.
Madonna has also invited all Brahim's cousins – which will leave her with a £100,000 bill for the week.
A source said: "Brahim lives in New York now, so it's nice for him to see his mum and his cousins.
"They're all going to relax with Madonna's four kids."
Madge's daughter Lourdes has a crush on one of Brahim's cousins, so the singer is going to be watching her like a hawk.
She's lucky Lourdes doesn't have a crush on Brahim – he's only eight years older than her, after all...
NICE, France -- Madonna urged people to "be freedom fighters" and called for the release of jailed members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot, but dropped a swastika that outraged France's right-wing party from her last concert in Europe Tuesday.
The video that accompanied the pop icon's performance in Nice of Nobody Knows Me still showed National Front leader Marine Le Pen, but a question mark replaced the swastika previously flashed on the politician's forehead.
The appearance of the Nazi symbol at Madonna's Paris performance last month enraged the party, which launched legal action against the 54-year-old singer and threatened to return to the courts should she use it again.
A local party supporter, Gael Nofri, welcomed Madonna's decision.
"As far as I know, Madonna has never changed a video clip. This is proof that our arguments were valid. This is excellent news," he said.
The pop diva used the last gig of a controversy-hit Europe tour to reiterate solidarity with three punk rockers jailed by Russian courts this month over a stunt in a Moscow cathedral criticizing President Vladimir Putin.
"Free Pussy Riot!" Madonna shouted from the stage to a packed stadium in the southern French city.
At a concert in Moscow two weeks ago, Madonna donned a balaclava in solidarity with the protest punk band, angering Russian authorities.
The punk band wore knitted balaclavas when they performed a "punk prayer" for the ouster of the veteran strongman in the church in February.
Madonna drew more criticism in Russia when she called for "love and appreciation for the gay community" at a concert in St Petersburg, which had just banned "homosexual propaganda."
"I've seen some very scary things," the star told the Nice crowd, slamming "intolerance" and calling for the respect of "human dignity."
"The real deal is freedom and not just for Pussy Riot," she said, adding later: "Every human being deserves to be treated equally."
"We have to be freedom fighters."
The three Pussy Riot members have been jailed for two years for hooliganism, a sentence that has drawn wide criticism.
The Nice performance was Madonna's last in the Europe leg of a world tour that covers 30 countries, ending in Australia early next year.
You can dance... for perspiration.
The dance-based workout, which was designed by the 54 year-old star and her personal trainer Nicole Winhoffer, is designed to promote agility, flexibility, and strength.
No gym required -- all you need is a chair and the floor.
The four-disc set, due out on Sept. 5, includes the same moves that Madonna introduced on her MDNA tour, including the "Drop Down," "Hop Forward" and "Ride the Horse."
The workout is the latest from Madonna's entry in the world of fitness since she began opening Hard Candy, her global chain of fitness centers.
She opened the first Hard Candy in Mexico City in 2010 and it's expanding to Russia and South America.
Madonna released an official statement regarding the prison sentencing of the Russian band Pussy Riot:
"I protest the conviction and sentencing of Pussy Riot to a penal colony for two years for a 40 second performance extolling their political opinions. Even if one disagrees with the location or how they chose to express themselves, the sentence is too harsh and in fact is inhumane. I call on all those who love freedom to condemn this unjust punishment. I urge artists around the world to speak up in protest against this travesty. They've spent enough time in jail. I call on ALL of Russia to let Pussy Riot go free."
ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - A group of Russian anti-gay activists sued American pop star Madonna for $10 million on Friday, saying she had insulted their feelings when she spoke out for gay rights at a concert in St Petersburg last week.
Performing in black lingerie with the words "No Fear" scrawled on her back, Madonna attacked a city law adopted in March that imposed fines for spreading homosexual "propaganda". She had earlier called the law a "ridiculous atrocity".
Homosexuality, punished with jail terms in the Soviet Union, was decriminalized in Russia in 1993, but much of the gay community remains underground as prejudice runs deep.
"She (Madonna) had been warned with words that she should behave in line with the law and she ignored it. So we will speak in the language of money," said Darya Dedova, one of the 10 activists who filed the lawsuit in a St Petersburg court.
"Of course, it is difficult to measure moral damages and suffering but maybe people who earn money regardless of moral rules will better understand this," Dedova said. She added if they won the case, the money would be sent to orphanages.
"Maybe someone does not see the link but after Madonna's concert maybe some boy becomes gay, some girl becomes lesbian, fewer children are born as a result and this big country cannot defend its borders - for me it causes moral suffering," said Alexei Kolotkov, another of the activists who filed the suit.
The St Petersburg propaganda law is the model for a bill that has been submitted to the national parliament but has not yet faced a vote. Critics say they fear it could be used to clamp down on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, for example by barring gay rights demonstrations.
In Moscow, gay rights suffered a blow when an appeal court upheld a lower court's ruling that found city authorities had acted legally when they rejected applications from activists to hold a gay rights march every year for the next 100 years.
Attempts to hold gay rights rallies in the Russian capital have often ended in arrests and clashes with anti-gay activists.
In May, dozens of people were detained in Moscow after Russian Orthodox activists broke up two gay rights marches, throwing water and shouting prayers.
Moscow judge sentenced three members of the provocative punk band Pussy Riot to two years in prison each on hooliganism charges on Friday following a trial that has drawn international outrage as an emblem of Russia's intolerance of dissent. The women -- Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich -- remained calm after the judge announced the sentence. Someone in the courtroom shouted "Shame!"
The Guardian reports that their sentences are to begin on the day of their arrests (March 3: Tolokonnikova and Alekhina; March 16: Samutsevich).
The trial sparked a wave of protests around the world in support of the feminist rockers, who have been dubbed prisoners of conscience by international rights group. Hundreds of Pussy Riot supporters chanted "Russia without Putin!" amid a heavy police presence outside the courtroom, and several opposition leaders were detained.
The three were arrested in March after a guerrilla performance in Moscow's main cathedral, high-kicking and dancing while singing a "punk prayer" pleading the Virgin Mary to save Russia from Vladimir Putin, who was elected to a third new term as Russia's president two weeks later.
Today marks the date that we welcomed the Queen of Pop and lost the King of Rock & Roll.
Madonna was born Aug. 16, 1958. As we celebrate the Material Girl's 54th birthday, we likewise note the 35th anniversary of the passing of Elvis Presley, who died on the same date in 1977 at age 42.
In honor of two of the most prolific hitmakers in Billboard history, here is a look at some of the chart records that the icons claim.
- 38 top 10 Billboard Hot 100 singles. The Beatles, with 34, rank second. Madonna's first top 10 was 1984's Borderline, which started a streak of 17 consecutive top 10s through 1989's Cherish (No. 2). Her most recent top 10 was this year's No. 10-peaking Give Me All Your Luvin', featuring Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.
- 56 titles on the Hot 100 since her debut the week of Oct. 29, 1983, with Holiday, which peaked at No. 16 in January 1984. Since her Hot 100 arrival, Madonna leads all women for the most chart appearances. Taylor Swift ranks second with 45 visits in that span, followed by Mariah Carey (44), Minaj (41) and Mary J. Blige (40).
- Seven Hot 100 No. 1s in the '80s, tying her with Whitney Houston for most among women during the decade. Madonna's total haul of No. 1 Hot 100 hits is 12, the fourth-most leaders all-time. (The Supremes also boast 12 toppers). Only the Beatles (with 20), Carey (18) and Michael Jackson (13) have earned more No. 1s. Coincidentally, Madonna claimed her fourth No. 1, Papa Don't Preach, on this date in 1986, her 28th birthday. (Aug. 16 also doubles as the launch date of Billboard's Dance Airplay chart in 2003, a list that Madonna has led seven times).
- 42 No. 1s on Billboard's Dance/Club Play Songs chart. Essentially, if Madonna releases a single and it charts on Dance/Club Play Songs, it's a safe bet to assume it'll go to No. 1. Since 2000, she's placed 26 hits on the survey. Of those, all but six have gone all the way to No. 1 - with her latest, Turn Up the Radio, looked primed to pounce to No. 1, ranking at No. 3 in its fourth frame this week. Madonna is clearly the Queen of the Club. (Janet Jackson is next with 19 No. 1s).
- 20 top 10 albums on the Billboard 200, the most such sets among all artists dating to her first week in the top tier (Oct. 6, 1984) with her self-titled debut. Of those efforts, eight reached No. 1, including MDNA in April. In that 28-year span, George Strait places second with 17 top 10s, followed by Carey (16).
For Elvis' chart records, check the Billboard article.
Billboard also held an online poll to find out the Top 10 of best Madonna videos. For the results, check here.
I know it's gonna be a good day, oh yeah, today is Madonna's birthday!
Congratulations to the Queen on her 54th birthday today!
Last night, Madonna performed in the Norwegian capital Oslo, where fans were asked to bring along white papercut hearts. They sang Happy Birthday for her before her speech:
After winning a Golden Globe for Best Original Song thanks to her ballad Masterpiece for her directorial film W.E., Madonna is set to compete at the 2012 World Soundtrack Awards to win the coveted prize for Best Original Song Written Directly for a Film. She will face off the likes of Mary J. Blige and Sinead O'Connor for the gong.
Blige gets nominated for her song "The Living Proof", which was a soundtrack for critically-acclaimed drama "The Help". O'Connor, meanwhile, earns the nod thanks to her track "Lay Your Head Down" from "Albert Nobbs".
Also competing in the category are Florence and the Machine whose song "Breath of Life" became a soundtrack for "Snow White and the Huntsman", and Jason Segel whose Bret McKenzie-written song "Man or Muppet" won an Oscar earlier this year.
The World Soundtrack Awards are divided into three major categories, including Film Composer of the Year and Best Original Score of the Year. Notable composers such as Alexandre Desplat, Cliff Martinez, Howard Shore, John Williams and Alberto Iglesias are all up for the two categories.
The winners will be announced during the World Soundtrack Awards and Concert scheduled to take place on October 20, during the closing night of the Ghent International Film Festival. Composer Pino Donaggio is set to be honored with the World Soundtrack Lifetime Achievement Award at the upcoming event.
Two longtime supporters of a Pennsylvania animal shelter have successfully bid $100,000 for four tickets to Madonna's Philadelphia concert on August 28. The tickets were donated by jewelry designer Susan Rosen and were part of a special auction to benefit Main Line Animal Rescue's anti-puppy mill campaigns and the shelter's new training center in Chester County, PA.
Nick Adams and Dee Silvers' winning bid is believed to be the highest paid for concert tickets. "To me Madonna has always symbolized freedom and strength," Silvers said. "But when I think of puppy mill dogs, I think of confinement, and dogs weak from over-breeding and lack of veterinary care." The proceeds will support MLAR's campaigns focusing on the USDA's failure to protect dogs in many federally licensed breeding kennels and programs designed to rehabilitate dogs rescued from Pennsylvania's puppy mills.
"By supporting Main Line Animal Rescue, these wonderful people have provided a ray of light to the thousands of puppy mill dogs we help every year. And that's something to celebrate!" said MLAR volunteer Linda Forbes.
The non-profit is well-known for campaigning against puppy mill abuse appearing on Oprah Winfrey's "puppy mill show" in 2008.
ST. PETERSBURG, August 10 - RAPSI. A St. Petersburg NGO will file charges with a law enforcement agency claiming that Madonna violated a law on promoting homosexuality among minors, Vitaly Milonov, the author of the law and a Legislative Assembly deputy, told RIA Novosti. Madonna performed in St. Petersburg on Thursday.
During her scandalous MDNA tour show, Madonna asked the audience to be more friendly to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.
"There are witnesses and tapes and recordings confirming that there were 12-year old children... we will file a complaint with law enforcement authorities so that she or the organizers can be held liable" the deputy said. He added that NGOs had their members at the show to monitor compliance with moral standards.
The St. Petersburg law on banning the promotion of homosexuality and pedophilia among the under-aged came into effect on March 30. Now any citizen who violates the law can be fined in St. Petersburg for administrative violations.
Pursuant to the law, any public statement aimed at promoting sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism or transgender among minors, is subject to an administrative fine of 5,000 rubles ($158) for individuals, 50,000 rubles ($1,578) for officials, and 250,000 ($7,890) - 500,000 rubles ($15,778) for legal entities.
ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - Pop star Madonna spoke out for gay rights at a concert on Thursday in St Petersburg Russian President Vladimir Putin's home town, where activists say a law adopted this year to curb homosexual "propaganda" is discriminatory.
Performing in black lingerie with the words "No Fear" scrawled on her bare back, Madonna urged the audience - most wearing pink wrist bands distributed at the door - to "show your love and appreciation to the gay community".
"We want to fight for the right to be free," she said.
The American singer has turned a two-concert tour into a platform for comment on Putin's Russia.
In Moscow on Tuesday, she told a crowd she prays for the release of three members of the band Pussy Riot, who prosecutors want jailed for three years for their "punk prayer" criticizing Putin on the altar of Russia's main cathedral.
She told Reuters Television that the three women, whose trial verdict is to be announced on August 17, had been treated unfairly and suggested they were victims of censorship.
Madonna had promised to use her St Petersburg show to speak out against legislation adopted by the city in March that imposes fines for spreading homosexual "propaganda" that could "damage the health, moral and spiritual development" of minors.
On her Facebook page, she called the law a "ridiculous atrocity".
Critics of the law - the model for a bill submitted to the national parliament - say they fear it could be used to clamp down on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, for instance by barring gay rights demonstrations.
St. Petersburg police chief Sergei Umnov told local reporters in July that 74 people had been fined so far.
Homosexuality, punished with jail terms in the Soviet Union, was decriminalized in Russia in 1993, but much of the homosexual community remains largely underground as anti-gay prejudice runs deep.
Numerous attempts to hold gay protests in Moscow, ruled illegal by the authorities, have ended in arrests and clashes with violent Russian Orthodox believers who say homosexuals should be punished or treated for "illness".
"Do we live in fear?" Madonna asked her audience on Thursday night. "No!" came the reply. "We love you!" shouted some fans, but not everybody was thrilled.
"One should not mix showbusiness with human rights activism," said gay rights activist Yuri Gavrikov, who picketed the concert venue. "If she wanted to support the LGBT community, she could have ... refused to hold concerts in Russia."
US pop icon Madonna drew the wrath of Russian ministers and the mighty Church again Thursday as she took her gay rights activism to a city that has just banned "homosexual propaganda".
The gay community icon stripped to her bra on stage to reveal the words "No Fear!" written on her back as she preached the dangers of societies that fail to treat their own people with "dignity, with respect and with love".
"Show your love and appreciation for the gay community," she called as a sea of hands shot up to display pink bracelets that her team had distributed to the 10,000-strong crowd.
The pop legend's show in strongman leader Vladimir Putin's native Saint Petersburg came two days after she donned a balaclava on a Moscow stage in solidarity with the jailed all-girl protest punk band Pussy Riot.
Madonna had stripped to a black bra in Moscow on Tuesday to reveal the words "Pussy Riot" on her back.
Prosecutors have sought three years in a corrective labour facility for the band on charges of hooliganism for their church performance of an anti-Putin "punk prayer". The verdict will be handed down August 17.
On Thursday, Madonna's lightning-rod antics and outspoken reputation again created a combustible mix, in a city that this year passed controversial anti-gay legislation that some Putin allies hope to apply nationwide.
The US embassy in Moscow warned this week that its Saint Petersburg consulate had "received information regarding a threat of physical violence against spectators and performers".
The governor deployed 300 police to the Saint Petersburg Sport and Concert Complex as priests vowed to burn pictures of the US pop star and sprinkle holy water on sites she visited on her last stop in the city in 2009.
The war of words between Madonna and her hosts was in full swing hours before the concert's scheduled, and inevitably delayed, late evening start.
Russia's deputy prime minister and former NATO envoy Dmitry Rogozin used an epithet he declined to spell out in an angry tweet about Madonna's moral values.
"Either take off your cross, or put on your knickers," Rogozin wrote.
A local lawmaker meanwhile said Madonna's show would be closely monitored for signs of violating the new ban on propaganda of deviant behaviour.
"We should not allow the imposition here in Russia of Western values that Madonna promotes," said a spokeswoman for lawmaker Vitaly Milonov.
Saint Petersburg this year passed a loosely-worded law that fines those "promoting homosexuality" to minors and apparently equates it with paedophilia.
Russia legalised homosexuality in 1993 after the fall of the Soviet Union but only ceased to classify it as a mental disorder in 1999.
Homophobic attitudes run high across the country and are promoted by some of Russia's most popular and powerful politicians today.
The Russian Orthodox Church for its part has seen its ranks swell during Putin's 12 years in power as the state seeks a reliable national base of support.
"She calls herself 'Madonna' and desecrates the cross," said religious activist Kirill Frolov of the Corporation of Orthodox Action.
"We will not tolerate this," he said.
Saint Petersburg banned what would have been Russia's first authorised gay pride rally last month after a deluge of complaints from residents.
Gay activists earlier called on the superstar to cancel her Russia concerts as a gesture of support for the gay community. Several held solitary pickets Thursday to show their displeasure at Madonna's decision to show up.
Madonna's official website and Facebook page posted the following message today:
At Thursday's Madonna concert, a pink wristband will be available to anyone that wants to support the LGBT community in St. Petersburg. The wristband will be part of the show - be prepared to raise your arm in support!
Madonna will be speaking up against Russia's anti-gay law, which forbids to even speak about homosexuality. In March she already promised that she would do this:
"I will come to St. Petersburg to speak up for the gay community, to support the gay community and to give strength and inspiration to anyone who is or feels opressed. I don't run away from adversity. I will speak during my show about this ridiculous atrocity."
It does seem like Madonna is keeping her promise, despite receiving a warning from United Russia Deputy Vitaly Milonov in July.
As Elton John continues to draw headlines for attacking Madonna -- he reportedly called her the C-word and said her career is over -- her friends are fighting back.
"I honestly do not understand his need to trash the crap out of her over and over again. He says she has no authority, but apparently he has authority? He needs to hate on her," a friend of the Material Girl tells me. "To say her tour is a disaster is just silly. She is selling out arenas, singing new material and a few classic hits. He will be singing the same old songs until he dies."
Madonna is estimated to have sold more than 300 million records versus Elton's 250 million, plus his career has an extra 10 years on hers. According to recent data on Celebritynetworth.com, Elton's is worth $355 million while Madonna is worth more than $650 million as of last year, with an estimated additional $250 million paycheck from the "disastrous" MDNA tour.
"Ultimately, she doesn't care what he has to say about her in public or private," one insider tells me. "She has nothing to prove to anyone, especially Elton John."
Pop singer Madonna donned the trademark balaclava worn by punk band Pussy Riot during a concert in Moscow to demand Russia free three group members on trial for bursting into a Russian Orthodox church and singing a protest against Vladimir Putin.
The U.S. singer also stripped to a black bra to show the band's name written on her back in support of Pussy Riot's protest in Moscow's main cathedral against close links between the president and the clergy.
"I know there are many side to every story, and I mean no disrespect to the church or the government, but I think that these three girls - Masha, Katya, Nadya - I think that they have done something courageous," Madonna said to loud cheers from the crowd at Moscow's Olympiysky Stadium on Tuesday night.
"I pray for their freedom," she said.
Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, could face up to three years in jail for storming the altar of Christ the Saviour Cathedral on February 21 and belting out a "punk prayer" calling on the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of Putin, who has been in power since 2000.
The group members hide their identity by wearing colored balaclavas during protests. Madonna put on a black balaclava at one point during the concert as a show of support.
Echoing comments she made in an interview with Reuters before the concert, she made clear she believed the women had already "paid the price" after spending five months in custody since their arrest.
"I know that everyone in this auditorium, if you are here as my fan, feels they have the right to be free," she said.
The singer, songwriter, entrepreneur and actor, who has often courted controversy during her career and sang songs including Like a Prayer and Like a Virgin, joined other international performers such as Sting, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Faith No More and Franz Ferdinand by commenting on the trial.
The case is seen by the opposition as part of a wider crackdown on dissent by Putin following the biggest protests since he rose to power in 2000, including toughening rules governing the Internet and increasing fines for protesters.
Pussy Riot's stunt took aim at both Putin and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, who backed him in this year's presidential campaign.
But the case has also angered many Russians, including some believers, who see the reaction of the state and church as disproportionate. The three women could be sentenced this week.
~ Pussy Riot reacted to Madonna on Twitter: "DEAR MADONNA! We love you and you just might be changing Russia's history right now. Thank you and a thousand prayers in return!"
MOSCOW (AP) — Madonna voiced hope Monday that three feminist Russian rockers on trial for performing a "punk prayer" against Vladimir Putin will be released soon.
"Obviously I believe in freedom of speech and I'm against censorship, so I hope that the judge is lenient with them and that they are freed soon," the pop star told The Associated Press during a concert tour of Russia.
Two weeks before Putin's return to the presidency in a March election, five members of the Pussy Riot band staged their political protest in Moscow's main cathedral, singing "Virgin Mary, drive Putin away!"
Three of them were arrested, and have spent five months in custody on charges of hooliganism. They face up to seven years in prison if convicted. International rights groups have called them prisoners of conscience, and leading musicians have called for their release.
During her interview, Madonna also shared impressions about her MDNA world tour, saying that performing in London's Hyde Park was "really great." She said she also enjoyed "the intimacy of it being able to be so close to my fans" at a much smaller show in Paris' Olympia Theatre.
Madonna, who is a co-partner in a new chain of global gyms, Hard Candy Fitness, also attended the opening Monday of one in Moscow.
"Exercise is a really big part of my life, everybody knows that. I work out, I've been working out all my life dancing, training for my shows," she said. "My live shows are extremely physical and if I don't stay in shape I can't do them. Rather than going to gyms and complaining about what I don't like about them I just decided to create my own and that way I can design the perfect gym."
THE world is lining up against Madonna.
Australia, France, Londoners, the Far Right, feminists, Lady Gaga fans, Muslims, Catholics ... they're all unhappy with the singer and her MDNA tour.
Joining the list is Elton John, who took a pot shot at Madonna on Seven's Sunday Night.
"Why is she such a nightmare? Sorry, her career is over. Her tour has been a disaster and it couldn't happen to a bigger c***," he said.
"If Madonna had any common sense she would have made a record like Ray of Light and stayed away from the dance stuff and just been a great pop singer and make great pop records, which she does brilliantly.
"But no, she had to go and prove... she looks like a f****** fairground stripper. She's been horrible to Gaga."
Madonna has taken swipes at Gaga during her tour and made pointed remarks about the similarities between Gaga's hit Born This Way and her own 1989 chart-topper, Express Yourself.
John used to be close to Madonna but the pair had bitter falling out and they have been ripping chunks out of each other for years now.
The last time John had a go at Madonna was at the Golden Globes this year.
Both stars were nominated for Best Original Song along with Mary J. Blige, but when asked who should win, John said: "Mary J. Blige might win it for The Help. Madonna doesn't have a f***ing chance." [Madonna ended up winning the award, leaving Elton with a grim sad face.]
Catholic and veterans' groups in Poland are protesting against a concert by Madonna because it falls on the anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising.
Organisers of the concert have agreed to show a short clip about the events of 1944 before the performance.
Every year, Poles commemorate the 200,000 lives lost during the uprising.
One Catholic group called Krucjata Mlodych, or Youth Crusade, has started an online campaign urging people not to attend the concert.
They say more than 50,000 people have signed up to their Don't Go To See Madonna campaign.
The group also says anti-Madonna Mass services and street prayer sessions have been held.
They accuse the singer of offending their faith through her use of burning cross and crown of thorns imagery, and say she promotes pornography and sexual deviation.
Billboards around the capital promoting the concert have been defaced with the sign of the Polish Home Army, the largest underground army in Nazi-occupied Europe, reports the BBC's Adam Easton in Warsaw.'Important moment'
Every year, at 1700 on 1 August, sirens wail across Warsaw and people stand still to pay their respects to the victims of the 63-day uprising, our correspondent says.
Conservative opposition MP Stanislaw Pieta has appealed to the government not to allow the concert to go ahead in Warsaw's National Stadium, Polish Radio reports.
Concert organisers have agreed to a proposal by city officials to show a short film about the uprising in the stadium before the show, in an attempt to appease the protesters.
Ania Pietrzak, a spokeswoman for concert organiser Live Nation, told the Press Association: "It is an important moment in Polish history, so we have decided to remind people of that moment."
It is the latest controversy to hit the 53-year-old singer's MDNA tour.
In Paris, some fans booed her when she ended the show after only 45 minutes.
She also angered supporters of France's right-wing National Front party, by showing a swastika imposed on the face of the party's leader, Marine Le Pen.↑ Back to top of page