Friday Open Thread | Madonna Week

I hope you have enjoyed this week’s music of Madonna.


1998–2002: Ray of Light, Music, and marriage to Guy Ritchie

Madonna’s seventh studio album, Ray of Light, (1998) reflected this change in her perception and image.[116][117] She collaborated with then relatively unknown electronica producer William Orbit and wanted to create a sound that could blend dance music with pop and British rock.[118] American music critic Ann Powers explained that what Madonna searched for with Orbit “was a kind of a lushness that she wanted for this record. Techno and rave was happening in the 90’s and had a lot of different forms. There was very experimental, more hard stuff like Aphex Twin. There was party stuff like Fatboy Slim. That’s not what Madonna wanted for this. She wanted something more like a singer-songwriter, really. And William Orbit provided her with that.”[118] The album garnered critical acclaim and Slant Magazine declared it as “one of the great pop masterpieces of the ’90s”.[119] Ray of Light was honored with four Grammy Awards, and Rolling Stone listed it among “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time”.[120][121] Commercially, the album peaked at number one in numerous countries and sold more than 16 million copies worldwide.[122] The album’s first single, “Frozen”, became Madonna’s first single to debut at number one in the UK, while in the U.S. it became her sixth number-two single and set another record for Madonna as the artist with the most number two hits.[37][123] The second single, “Ray of Light”, debuted at number five on the Billboard Hot 100.[124]


The 1998 edition of Guinness Book of World Records stated: “No female artist has sold more records than Madonna around the world”.[125] In 1999, Madonna signed to play a violin teacher in the film Music of the Heart but left the project, citing “creative differences” with director Wes Craven.[126] She recorded the single “Beautiful Stranger” for the 1999 film Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. It reached number 19 on the Hot 100 solely on radio airplay and earned Madonna a Grammy Award for “Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media”.[37][75]

Continue reading

Posted in Music, Open Thread, Politics | Tagged , , , , | 28 Comments

Ferguson Open Thread | Justice for Michael Brown

The eyes are still on Ferguson. People still want justice. The happenings of Ferguson have exposed the rotten underbelly of America for what it is.

ferguson statue of liberty

Groups seek a response to Ferguson that lasts
By Doug Moore

Marches, protests and prayer vigils have been a constant in the region for more than two weeks, and as a grand jury pores over evidence in the Michael Brown killing, similar actions are expected to continue.

But other responses to the police shooting, designed to be more long-lasting, have popped up. They include getting more African-Americans engaged in their communities and challenging people to leave their comfort zones and talk about race.

On Wednesday, a storefront on West Florissant Avenue opened as the office of #HealSTL, which grew from a Twitter hashtag, and is being developed as an outreach center, including offering voter registration.

It’s on the same busy strip that has been the center of unrest, including looting, tear gas, arrests and a curfew.

“This has been a Twitter story,” said the effort’s organizer, St. Louis Alderman Antonio French. “It has touched so many people because of social media.”

French said the new group was focused on teaching the community how to get involved in local government. Right now, the startup is being funded by selling $9 T-shirts. But formal fundraising will begin soon, French said.

Next week, billboards are going up across the region asking “What Can We Do Better?” and “Start The Conversation,” a campaign launched by the Diversity Awareness Partnership. Meanwhile, a group of prominent young African-American leaders has put together a list of demands, including the city of Ferguson’s hiring at least 10 more black police officers by Jan. 31.

The city is 67 percent black, but only four of its 58 police officers — 7 percent — are African-American.

“We cannot continue to run from dealing with race in our region,” said St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones, a member of the newly formed Young Citizens Council of St. Louis.

Race relations in America

Posted in Democracy, discrimination, Empowerment, Institutional Racism, Justice, Open Thread, Police bruality, Politics, Racial Bias, Racial Profiling, Racism | Tagged , , , , , | 54 Comments

Thursday Open Thread | Madonna Week

Hope you have enjoyed the music so far.


1992–97: Maverick Records, Sex, Erotica, Bedtime Stories, Evita, and motherhood

In 1992, Madonna had a role in A League of Their Own as Mae Mordabito, a baseball player on an all-women’s team. She recorded the film’s theme song, “This Used to Be My Playground”, which became a Hot 100 number one hit.[37] The same year, she founded her own entertainment company, Maverick, consisting of a record company (Maverick Records), a film production company (Maverick Films), and associated music publishing, television broadcasting, book publishing and merchandising divisions. The deal was a joint venture with Time Warner and paid Madonna an advance of $60 million. It gave her 20% royalties from the music proceedings, one of the highest rates in the industry, equaled at that time only by Michael Jackson’s royalty rate established a year earlier with Sony.[86] The first release from the venture was Madonna’s book, titled Sex. It consisted of sexually provocative and explicit images, photographed by Steven Meisel. The book caused strong negative reaction from the media and the general public, but sold 1.5 million copies at $50 each in a matter of days.[87][88] At the same time she released her fifth studio album, Erotica, which debuted at number two on the Billboard 200.[24][88] Its title track peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100.[37] Erotica also produced five further singles: “Deeper and Deeper”, “Bad Girl”, “Fever”, “Rain” and “Bye Bye Baby”.[89] The provocative imagery continued in the 1990s with the erotic thriller, Body of Evidence, a film which contained scenes of sadomasochism and bondage. It was poorly received by critics.[90][91] She also starred in the film Dangerous Game, which was released straight to video in North America. The New York Times described the film as “angry and painful, and the pain feels real.”[92]

In September 1993, Madonna embarked on The Girlie Show World Tour, in which she dressed as a whip-cracking dominatrix surrounded by topless dancers. The show faced negative reaction, specifically in Puerto Rico where she rubbed the island’s flag between her legs on stage.[50] In March 1994, she appeared as a guest on the Late Show with David Letterman, using profanity that was required to be censored on television and handing Letterman a pair of her underwear and asking him to smell it.[93] The releases of her sexually explicit films, albums and book, and the aggressive appearance on Letterman all made critics question Madonna as a sexual renegade. She faced strong negative publicity from critics and fans, who commented that “she had gone too far” and that her career was over.[94]


Biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli describer her ballad “I’ll Remember” (1994) as an attempt to tone down her provocative image. The song was recorded for Alek Keshishian’s film With Honors.[95] She made a subdued appearance with Letterman at an awards show and appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno after realizing that she needed to change her musical direction in order to sustain her popularity.[96] With her sixth studio album, Bedtime Stories (1994), Madonna employed a softer image to try to improve the public perception of her.[96] The album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 and produced four singles, including “Secret” and “Take a Bow”, the latter topping the Hot 100 for seven weeks, the longest period of any Madonna single.[97] At the same time, she became romantically involved with fitness trainer Carlos Leon.[98] Something to Remember, a collection of ballads, was released in November 1995. The album featured three new songs: “You’ll See”, “One More Chance”, and a cover of Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You”.[37][99]

Continue reading

Posted in Music, Open Thread, Politics | Tagged , , , , | 47 Comments

Audio | Senator Mitch the “Bitch” McConnell’s Plans to Shutdown the Government AGAIN

tippy turtle

“So in the House and Senate, we own the budget. So what does that mean? That means that we can pass the spending bill. And I assure you that in the spending bill, we will be pushing back against this bureaucracy by doing what’s called placing riders in the bill. No money can be spent to do this or to do that. We’re going to go after them on health care, on financial services, on the Environmental Protection Agency, across the board. … All across the federal government, we’re going to go after it.

Posted in Affordable Care Act, Democracy, Media, Politics | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Wednesday Open Thread | Madonna Week

More of the Material Girl.


1986–91: True Blue, Who’s That Girl, Like a Prayer, and Dick Tracy

In June 1986, Madonna released her third studio album, True Blue, which was inspired by and dedicated to Sean Penn.[46] Rolling Stone magazine was generally impressed with the effort, writing that the album “sound[s] as if it comes from the heart”.[47] It spawned three number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100: “Live to Tell”, “Papa Don’t Preach” and “Open Your Heart”, and two more top-five singles: “True Blue” and “La Isla Bonita”.[25][37] The album topped the charts in over 28 countries worldwide, an unprecedented achievement at the time and became her best-selling studio album of her career to this date with sales of 25 million.[48] In the same year, Madonna also starred in the critically panned film Shanghai Surprise for which she was awarded the Golden Raspberry Award for “worst actress”. She also made her theatrical debut in a production of David Rabe’s Goose and Tom-Tom, both co-starring Penn.[49] The next year, Madonna’s second feature film, Who’s That Girl, was released. She contributed four songs to its soundtrack, including the title track and “Causing a Commotion”.[25]

Madonna embarked on the Who’s That Girl World Tour in July 1987, which continued until September.[50] The tour was inspired by Madonna’s belief that, with the help of people, she could turn herself into something else.[51] It broke several attendance records, including over 130,000 audience in a concert near Paris, which remains her biggest concert attendance ever.[52] Later that year, she released a remix album of past hits, titled You Can Dance, which reached number 14 on the Billboard 200.[24][53] After an annulment in December 1987, Madonna filed for divorce from Penn in January 1989 citing irreconcilable differences.[35]

In January 1989, Madonna signed an endorsement deal with soft-drink manufacturer, Pepsi. In one of her Pepsi commercials, she debuted her song “Like a Prayer”. The corresponding music video featured many Catholic symbols such as stigmata and cross burning, and a dream about making love to a saint, leading the Vatican to condemn the video. Religious groups sought to ban the commercial and boycott Pepsi products. Pepsi revoked the commercial and canceled her sponsorship contract.[56][57] The song was included on Madonna’s fourth studio album, Like a Prayer, which was co-written and co-produced by Patrick Leonard and Stephen Bray.[58] Rolling Stone wrote that it was “as close to art as pop music gets”.[59] Like a Prayer peaked at number one on the Billboard 200 and sold 15 million copies worldwide, with 4 million copies sold in the U.S. alone.[24][60] Six singles were released from the album, including “Like a Prayer”, which reached number one, and “Express Yourself” and “Cherish”, both peaking at number two.[25][37] By the end of the 1980s, Madonna was named as the “Artist of the Decade” by MTV, Billboard and Musician magazine.[61][62][63]


Madonna starred as Breathless Mahoney in the film Dick Tracy (1990), with Warren Beatty playing the title role.[64] Her performance led to a Saturn Award nomination for Best Actress.[65] To accompany the film, she released the soundtrack album, I’m Breathless, which included songs inspired by the film’s 1930s setting. It also featured the U.S. number-one hit, “Vogue”,[66] and “Sooner or Later”, which earned songwriter Stephen Sondheim an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1991.[67] While shooting the film, Madonna began a relationship with Beatty which dissolved by the end of 1990.[68][69]

Continue reading

Posted in Music, Open Thread, Politics | Tagged , , , , | 33 Comments

Who is Darren Wilson? Why Did You Shoot Michael Brown Jr. 6-11 Times? Where is the Photo of Your Orbital Fracture? Why Didn’t You Write an Incident Report?

So many questions! It’s seeping out DRIP, DRIP, DRIP… even after Darren Wilson has tried to scrub his online postings. Our families can never be allowed to give these cops the benefit of the doubt, not when it comes to our children.

Someone should have started digging on Darren Wilson from day one, because in case black folks didn’t know it, the laws and rules don’t equally apply to them, certainly not in SANFORD, Florida and FERGUSON, Missouri.

No, you are not immune to being placed under a microscope, Darren Wilson! see we don’t even know exactly how many bullets you riddled Michael Brown’s body with.

Darren Wilson’s first job was on a troubled police force disbanded by authorities

“Troubled” here = RACISM, PROFILING, HARRASSMENT.  Just so we’re clear.

Yearbook: This image shows Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson at age 16 – two years younger than the age of his alleged teen victim, Michael Brown

Lizz Brown and Jim Cavanaugh join Lawrence O’Donnell to discuss Darren Wilson and his defense strategy:

“THIS HERE IS KEEN-YA!” These are the POS Missouri’s police departments are hiring. Lizz Brown, you’re spot on. Darren Wilson is sitting back, hiding out taking notes, dissecting everything we are saying so he can “counter the evidence and make a statement that is UNCONTRADICTED.” It truly is unprecedented.

DARREN WILSON- See he and his cop cohorts are trying to manage his exposure. These are only a few photos that has been released and that we can find online. EVERYTHING ELSE HAS BEEN WIPED OUT.

Posted in Gun Violence, Jim Crow laws, Justice, Media, Racial Bias, Racial Profiling, Racism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 69 Comments

Tuesday Open Thread | Madonna Week


Enjoy more Madonna.

1982–85: Madonna, Like a Virgin, and marriage to Sean Penn

After Madonna signed a singles deal with Sire, her debut single, “Everybody”, was released in October 1982, and the second one, “Burning Up”, in March 1983. Both became big club hits in the United States, reaching number three on Hot Dance Club Songs chart compiled by Billboard magazine.[21] After this success, she started developing her debut album, Madonna, which was primarily produced by Reggie Lucas, a Warner Bros. producer.[22] However, she was not happy with the completed tracks and disagreed with Lucas’ production techniques, so decided to seek additional help. Madonna moved in with boyfriend John “Jellybean” Benitez, asking his help for finishing the album’s production.[22] Benitez remixed most of the tracks and produced “Holiday”, which was her third single and her first global hit. The overall sound of Madonna was dissonant and in the form of upbeat synthetic disco, utilizing some of the new technology of the time, like the Linn drum machine, Moog bass and the OB-X synthesizer.[22][23] The album was released in July 1983 and peaked at number eight on the Billboard 200 six months later, in 1984. It yielded two more hit singles, “Borderline” and “Lucky Star”.[24][25]


“I was surprised by how people reacted to ‘Like a Virgin’ because when I did that song, to me, I was singing about how something made me feel a certain way—brand-new and fresh—and everyone interpreted it as ‘I don’t want to be a virgin anymore. Fuck my brains out!’ That’s not what I sang at all. ‘Like a Virgin’ was always absolutely ambiguous.”
—Madonna on the backlash for “Like a Virgin”[26][27]

Madonna’s look and style of dressing, her performances, and her music videos influenced young girls and women and her style became one of the female fashion trends of the 1980s. It was created by stylist and jewelry designer Maripol and the look consisted of lace tops, skirts over capri pants, fishnet stockings, jewelry bearing the crucifix, bracelets, and bleached hair.[28][29] Madonna achieved global recognition after the release of her second studio album, Like a Virgin, in November 1984. It topped the charts in several countries and became her first number one album on the Billboard 200.[24][30] The title track, “Like a Virgin”, topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for six consecutive weeks.[31] It attracted the attention of organizations who complained that the song and its accompanying video promoted premarital sex and undermined family values,[32] and moralists sought to have the song and video banned.[33]

Madonna came under further fire when she performed “Like a Virgin” at the first 1984 MTV Video Music Awards (VMA) where she appeared on stage atop a giant wedding cake, wearing a wedding dress and white gloves. The performance is noted by MTV as an iconic moment in VMA history.[34] In later years, Madonna commented that she was actually terrified of the performance. The next hit was “Material Girl” promoted by the iconic video, which was a mimicry of Marilyn Monroe’s performance of the song “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” from the 1953 film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. While filming this video Madonna started dating actor Sean Penn and married him on her birthday in 1985.[35] Like a Virgin was certified diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America and sold more than 21 million copies worldwide.[36]

Continue reading

Posted in Music, Open Thread, Politics | Tagged , , , , | 36 Comments