RICHARD CORMAN’S POLAROIDS NEW BOOK : MADONNA 66

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Photographer Richard Corman’s polaroids of the star in the ’80s will be published in an upcoming photobook, ‘Madonna 66.’

In 1983, before she became the cultural icon that she is today, Madonna lived in a walk-up on East 4th Street. In between going out almost every night, she was waitressing and posing nude for art students to pay the bills for her aspiring music career.
Photographer Richard Corman was first introduced to the then 24-year-old through his mother Cis, a casting director at the time for Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ. When Madonna auditioned for the role of Mary Magdalene (unsuccessfully), Cis saw in her an “absolute original.”

These photographs were taken before the release of Madonna’s debut album, just a month before her unprecedented ascension into stardom. Corman captures the raw beauty of a star teeming with potential, on the verge of becoming pop music’s biggest icon, through 66 previously unpublished polaroids that are seeing the light after having been lost for decades. Madonna 66 will be shown as a book, website, film, installation, and social media project—a “360-degree approach to a raw little polaroid,” in the words of the photographer.

Here, Richard Corman reflects on Madonna’s inimitable style, the art of polaroid photography, and the creative, palpable energy of downtown Manhattan in the ’80s.
Describe your first encounter with Madonna.
Richard Corman Madonna made sure I called her prior to entering the building on East 4th Street because the crew on her stoop would not have let me through without her say so.  When I approached the building, I told those outside I was a friend of Madonna and the seas parted. I heard M yelling over the banister from the 4th floor to come on up. When I looked up from the first floor and encountered those piercing cat-like eyes I knew that something special awaited on the 4th floor. Indeed as I walked in, she served me espresso on a silver-plated tray with bazooka bubble gum…so raw, so real, so sexy, so much fun.

What was it about her that attracted you? Could you have predicted then how big she would become?
RC From the moment we met, her charisma was unlike anything I had seen before.  Her confidence and determination were so visible! When I asked her over our espresso what her goals were and she blatantly said, ‘to rule the rule’, I was sold!  Torn denim jeans with white lace tights underneath, vibrant red lips, a faux mole, dark rooted hair with white/blond highlights, dozens of rubber bangles on her arms, those cat-like eyes made up perfectly, and the sensuality of her aura were all encompassing. One could never predict that M would change the course of pop-culture history as we know it today, but there was no question as she stood in front of my camera in 1983, that her presence was fucking amazing.

This series of photographs seems very raw and natural. How did the stylistic choices come about?
RC Madonna’s sense of style, sensibility, and swag were her own.  It was genuine, accessible, and absolutely raw with no pretension attached. Location, clothing, makeup, and hair were all Madonna’s decision and reflected everything that we all loved and everything that made her so original.  It was such simple process; Madonna, me, and a camera. Although I directed when needed, I felt as if I was a fly on the wall documenting someone in real time.

Why polaroids?
RC There was a sense of urgency prior to this shoot. Images needed to be shared immediately and at that time there were no iPhones, thus the brilliance of Polaroids!  The polaroids were to be sent to a Hollywood studio along with a modern-version treatment of Cinderella, “Cinde Rella,” to potentially star Madonna as Cinde. The concept of Cinde Rella was all Cis Corman.

What is your favorite photograph from this collection and the story behind it?
RC So many of these polaroids bring me back and resonate with me today.  At that time and for years to come, although M was beyond relevant, I never felt the images were until recently. Stylistically, she was a visionary…if she walked out of those polaroids onto the street today, she would be trending heavily in the most modern way.  I guess the images of her with her boom box are some of my favorites. She was never without it and became the pied-piper of her Lower East Side hood, inspiring all the kids that would sing and dance with her to that booming box!

Can you talk about how they resurfaced after they had been lost for so long?
RC In my mind these 66 polaroids were lost forever. I was heartbroken over these 33 years as this was the only project I worked on with my Mom and I knew how memorable they were to me and to her. Cis is now 90 and suffering from Alzheimer’s. It was not until a recent move (less than one year ago) that I was moving personal items into my storage facility that I noticed a small box, unlabelled, in the furthest corner of that room.  When I opened that box and discovered all the Polaroids and the original treatment for “Cinde Rella” my breath was truly taken aback. I was shocked and excited, to say the least. I had recaptured a memory that I thought never to be seen again.

At around the same time, you also photographed Basquiat and Keith Haring before they became some of the biggest names in the art world. Could you talk about the budding creative energy that existed in downtown Manhattan at the time?
RC NYC in the early ’80s was an absolute creative carnival. I was leaving my apprenticeship with Avedon in 1983, which was life altering in itself, and I was thrown into an arena that I could never have predicted. From Madonna to Basquiat and Haring’s studios to Boy George to Johnny Rotten to CBJB’s and so, so many more. NYC was my studio and the energy that swirled was absolutely contagious and made me fall more and more in love with my beautiful addiction to photography.

How is it different now?
RC NYC and the world is different today, but the inspiration remains fluid for me and young artists of all types continue to vie for creative space in the City.  I am moved daily by the diversity, the creativity, and the inclusiveness that makes New York so unique and so great.

What is exciting to you about photography now?
RC Everything about photography remains exciting to me right now. I continue to collaborate with remarkable young and old artists whom you have not heard of and continue to photograph many you have heard of and most importantly I continue to work in the non-for-profit where images and perception is so important and potentially makes such a difference.

Madonna at the Ali Forney Center in Brooklyn


Had so much fun sharing Thanksgiving at the Ali Forney Center in Brooklyn! This center protects LGBT Youth from the harms of homelessness and empowers them to reclaim their lives. Each year the Ali Forney Center provides care for over 1,200 youth who are rejected by their family due to their LGBT identity. AFC provides these youth with tools they need to become independent and more importantly, AFC provides these youth with the love and support they are denied by their families. Because everyone deserves to be loved and everyone deserves a home.!!!” -Madonna

WARREN BEATTY LOOKS BACK AT THE STORY WITH MADONNA

679f095a64c86c0e681c3a95b0182ef7.jpgWarren Beatty is opening up about his on and off screen love with Madonna.

She’s a huge personality, diligent and disciplined and a spectacular dancer and performer,” he says in this week’s issue of PEOPLE. “She’s a phenomenon.

The pair first connected during filming for Beatty’s 1991 comic-book movie, Dick Tracy, in which Madonna was cast as the sultry lounge singer Breathless Mahoney. “She was perfect for that part,” says Beatty, whose latest film, Rules Don’t Apply, hits theaters Nov. 23.

The relationship didn’t last much beyond the premiere of Dick Tracy, and their conflicting views on life in the public eye were evident in her Truth or Dare documentary — a project Beatty, 79, did not want to be a part of at first.

When we were going [out] and she was making the documentary Truth or Dare, I said, ‘I don’t want to be in it.’ And she said, ‘Why would I want you in it?’” Beatty recalls. But the actor eventually conceded: “I said if I can have approval, I don’t want to inhibit you.

Source : People

Here’s Madonna As You’ve Never Seen Her Before [The star is featured in a new documentary about filmmaker Howard Brookner.]

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Here’s Madonna As You’ve Never Seen Her Before
The star is featured in a new documentary about filmmaker Howard Brookner.

A brunette Madonna shimmies in this exclusive clip from “Uncle Howard,” the new documentary about the life of avant-garde New York filmmaker Howard Brookner.

The Queen of Pop was at the peak of her fame when she starred alongside Matt Dillon, Randy Quaid and Jennifer Grey in 1989’s Jazz Age-themed comedy, “Bloodhounds of Broadway.” Despite the presence of such Hollywood heavyweights, the film is widely considered a flop and rarely broadcast.

As “Uncle Howard” recalls, however, “Bloodhounds of Broadway” was very special for Brookner, who was battling AIDS at the time of its production. The filmmaker had only worked on documentary films beforehand, including the acclaimed “Burroughs: The Movie,” about beat generation author William S. Burroughs. “Bloodhounds of Broadway” was intended to be Brookner’s big screen breakthrough, but the director died just months before its release.

While Brookner didn’t leave as big of a mark on Hollywood as he’d hoped for, it was enough to entice his nephew, Aaron, into directing a film about his uncle’s legacy. Never-before-seen footage capturing the New York of the 1970s and ‘80s, as well as Brookner’s relationships with Burroughs, Madonna and Allen Ginsberg, is among the highlights.

Aaron Brookner told The Huffington Post that, above all, he’d like the documentary to give viewers new insight as to why his uncle was such a pioneering figure in the New York arts scene.

“Howard took inspiration from the likes of Burroughs and Ginsberg, who were pioneering in their writing about homosexuality. Howard’s own work championed theirs and he took it further, putting open homosexuality on screen, and living his own life openly as a queer man,” he said. “It is painfully clear that had those in power not had prejudice against the LGBTQ community, we might not be mourning so many people and great artists today. This should be remembered now more than ever.”

Ultimately, he hopes audiences come away from the film knowing “what you do and who you influence in this life really does matter.”

“If Howard never picked up a camera and never had such an impact on me and those around him,” he said, “few people would even know he ever existed, let alone been so inspired by him.”

“Uncle Howard” will hit New York’s IFC Center on Nov. 18.

Madonna sprang a surprise pro-Hillary concert on New York City

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You could hear the cheers up Fifth Avenue for at least a block or two. Ten and a half hours before the polls opened on Election Tuesday, Madonna was in New York City’s Washington Square Park, giving a surprise concert in support of Hillary Clinton. Wearing a stars and stripes ski cap and standing in the center of an emptied fountain, she sang some of her greatest hits, including “Express Yourself,” “Like A Prayer” and “Don’t Tell Me.” The crowd of hundreds—people lucky enough to be walking by, or have seen Madonna’s Instagram post announcing the concert not long before it started—clapped in unison as she sang an emotional rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

“This is a concert that is about unifying us, and it’s about keeping America great, not making America great,” she said. The crowd roared approval as she added, “And how are we going to keep America great? We’re going go to elect a president that does not discriminate against women!”

The crowd pressed around the fountain was almost a dozen rows thick. Those in the back could only see the backs of coats and smartphones raised high in the air. Ingenuity was rewarded: Gary Spino flipped over an empty trash can, flipped it over, climbed on top and started filming Madonna with his phone from the back row.

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“Somebody texted us and said she was here,” said Spino’s husband, Anthony Brown, who was standing nearby with their seven-year-old son, Nicholas Brown-Spino, sitting on his shoulders. “We were looking so forward to a way to celebrate what we hope will be a new era in American politics. We had to bring our son! We have been fraught. We have been nervous. We’ve been elated. We’ve done everything we could to help Hillary win.Tonight at dinner, Nicholas’s blessing was, ‘Please don’t let the orange bully win!” shouted Nicholas.

Madonna’s decision to perform in Washington Square Park was apt. From the 1930s through the 1960s, the park was a gathering place for progressives, including the Beats and folk musicians like Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, the Almanac Singers, Joan Baez, Phil Ochs and Bob Dylan. “No backdrop is more efficient at establishing a singer’s political consciousness, sincerity and authenticity than Washington Square Park,” says David Hajdu, the music critic for The Nation and the award-winning author of four books, including, most recently, Love For Sale: Pop Music in America. “There, in that fountain, Madonna sang with the ghosts of thousands of protest singers. As stagecraft, it’s effective, if also pretty obvious—just like a lot of political music.”

In the crowd there were young mothers with babies on their chests: “I can’t vote—I’m Scottish—but he’s American and he might want to live here, and I care a lot about making sure that we choose a progressive candidate for president,” said Connie, nodding toward her one-year-old son.

Gilberto Alvarado, 21, lingered in the park after the concert. “I’m just happy this is about to be over, to be honest,” he said of the election. Alvarado is a political science major at Lehman College in the Bronx, and a former Bernie Bro. “I’ve looked at all the third-party candidates… No candidate is perfect. I’m voting for Hillary Clinton because she is the best choice.”

Alvarado was born and raised in Manhattan and his parents are immigrants from Mexico. “This election really touches home,” he said, referring to Trump’s vow to wall off Mexico from the U.S.

Standing beneath the arch on the north side of Washington Square was a man dressed up as Abraham Lincoln, complete with a tuxedo, top hat, and a face that could earn him a very good living as Lincoln’s body double. “I’m 6’4” and 180 [pounds], which is nose to nose exactly what he was. And I’ve got some of the facial structure,” said Bill Warren, 65, of St. Petersburg, Florida. After posing for a few selfies, he channelled his doppelganger and said, “The Republican party has gone downhill. It’s the total opposite of what it used to be. They cannot seem to bring a decent candidate. I was gonna get together and run. Nobody’s been happy. The country’s divided. For a real change, elect a dead president!

Abigail Jones
newsweek.com