kottke.org posts about Madonna

Madonna has a DNA sterilisation teamJun 25 2012

This seems apocryphal but I'm gonna go with it anyway: Madonna has a cleanup team sweep her tour dressing rooms after shows for bits of hair, skin, and spit the singer might have left behind so that fans cannot get ahold of her DNA.

Concert promoter Alvaro Ramos, who is overseeing the Portuguese leg of Madonna's MDNA tour, told Britain's Daily Mirror: "We have to take extreme care, like I have never seen for any other artist.

"We cannot even look at the dressing room after it is ready, or even open the door."

MDNA = Madonna's DNA?

Madonna on magazine covers, 1983-2011Oct 27 2011

You can see the evolution of Madonna's look in this collection of magazine covers...one per year for the last 28 years.

Madonna magazine covers

Her first cover appeared just a month after Amy Winehouse was born. (via ★janelle)

Bad celebrity tippersAug 16 2011

Parsing a handful of different bad celebrity tipper lists, the folks at Short Order create a top 10 list of celebs who must have never worked in the service industry. Madonna, celebrating her 53rd birthday today, is #2. From what I could tell, here are the lists they used (Caution: Here be slide shows):Glamorati, The Frisky, Stained Apron, Zimbio, and Love to Know.

All this reminded me of the story of Shaq leaving $160 for a $20 tab, then ordering a Sprite on his way out and paying $40 for it. This is also the story where Shaq was talking about the people from Twitteronia.

MadonnaspeakMay 13 2010

Madonna uses a surprising number of cliches and figures of speech in this interview (conducted by Gus Van Sant).

his Girl Friday
talks the talk
walks the walk
lots of ways to skin the cat
he's got a fire under his ass
a bee in his bonnet
a trip down memory lane
turn my lemons into lemonade
clotheshorses
so far, so good
reinvent the wheel

The interview itself may not be worth looking at unless you're already a Madonna, GVS, or cliche fan.

Approaching the uncanny valley from the other directionMay 13 2008

Fashion photo retouching (i.e. high-brow Photoshopping) gets the New Yorker treatment with this story on retoucher Pascal Dangin, one of the best in the business.

In the March issue of Vogue Dangin tweaked a hundred and forty-four images: a hundred and seven advertisements (Estée Lauder, Gucci, Dior, etc.), thirty-six fashion pictures, and the cover, featuring Drew Barrymore. To keep track of his clients, he assigns three-letter rubrics, like airport codes. Click on the current-jobs menu on his computer: AFR (Air France), AMX (American Express), BAL (Balenciaga), DSN (Disney), LUV (Louis Vuitton), TFY (Tiffany & Co.), VIC (Victoria's Secret).

The article touches too briefly on the tension between reality and what ends up in the magazines and advertisements. As Errol Morris points out on his photography blog, it is often difficult to find truth in even the most vérité of photographs. Even so, the truth seems to be completely absent from Madonna's recent photo spread in Vanity Fair that was retouched by Dangin, especially this one in which a 50-year-old Madonna looks like a recent college graduate who's never lifted a weight in her life.

The uncanny valley comes into play here, which we usually think of in terms of robots, cartoon characters, and other pseudo anthropomorphic characters attempting and failing to look sufficiently human and therefore appearing creepy and scary. With an increasing amount of photo retouching, postproduction in film, plastic surgery, and increasingly effective makeup & skin care products, we're being bombarded with a growing amount of imagery featuring people who don't appear naturally human. People who appear often in media (film & tv stars, models, cable news anchors & reporters, miscellaneous celebrities, etc.) are creeping down into the uncanny valley to meet up with characters from The Polar Express. I don't know about you but a middle-aged Madonna made to look 24 gives me the heebie-jeebies. Perhaps the familar uncanny valley graph needs revision:

New Uncanny Valley

Photoshop contest results: unretouched celebrity photos. Love the Botox-less Madonna.Dec 05 2005

Photoshop contest results: unretouched celebrity photos. Love the Botox-less Madonna.

Tags related to Madonna:
madonna Photoshop photography

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