Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Madonna /Obama-Tues, 26 Aug 2008

Agents tell me they’ve never had a tougher time negotiating paydays for their top stars.

Upfront salaries are shrinking along with percentage slices on the back end.

Before working up too much empathy for the superstar fraternity, I thought it would be helpful to take one more look at Forbes’ the Celebrity 100
its annual listings of “the world’s most powerful celebrities” as ranked by power and pay.

Forbes estimates annual incomes of stars in various categories and chooses not to disclose research techniques or sources’.

Nonetheless its breakdowns yield yearly surprises as well as question marks.

Absent from the top of the money list this year are the likes of Tom Cruise ($13 million) and Brad Pitt ($20 million) – they either had a bad year or were secretive about their take-home pay.

Nonetheless, there are all sorts of surprise additions:

I knew 50 Cent (Curtis Jackson) had a good year at $150 million, but did Pharrell Williams really pull in $20 million?

Miley Cyrus scored big this year ($25 million), but did Daniel Radcliffe also haul in $25 million for Pottering around and yanking off his shorts in Equus?

I thought actresses like Keira Knightley and Gwyneth Paltrow devoted too much time to art movies to become big-time earners, but Paltrow pulled in $25 million according to Forbes;

Knightley, $32 million.In the actor category, Bruce Willis got his act together well enough to make $41 million this year, which still paled next to Will Smith’s $80 million.

Even Howie Mandel dealt himself in for $14 million.

Just to get the sordid details out of the way, the top five earners across all categories consist of J.K. Rowling at $300 million
(and she just writes!), Oprah at $275 million, Curtis Jackson at $150 million (he’s still 50 Cent?)

Jerry Bruckheimer at $145 million and Ste-ven Spielberg at $130 million.

At the bottom of each category are the let’s-not-feel-sorry-for-them losers like Amy Adams ($14.5 million), Vanessa Hudgens ($3.2 million),

Marg Helgenberger ($6 million, which helps support her husband, SAG ball-breaker Alan Rosenberg), Daria Werbowy ($3.8 million Cavalli model) and Anthony Bourdain ($1.5 million chef on the Travel Channel).

I have no idea if these numbers are reasonably accurate, but I think all of these folks deserve our applause.

In a recession year, they had to hustle for their money.

Anthony Bourdain even roasted a warthog rectum for his viewers.

And then ate it.

That’s earning your pay.

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Barack Obama compared to Mahatma Gandhi and John Lennon by Madonna

By Matthew B. Zeidman

CARDIFF, Wales (Hollywood Today)

8/25/08 –

Saturday was the first performance of Madonna’s highly anticipated “Sticky and Sweet” tour, and the Michigan-born entertainer wasted no time in stirring up controversy.

According to the Associated Press, a video montage was played during the show, preceding a photograph of Republican presidential candidate John McCain with images of destruction,
global warming, Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler and anti-Western president of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe.

Not limiting the Welsh audience to her opinion on only one White House hopeful, Madonna played a more favorable montage later on, AP reported,
this time following pictures of John Lennon, Al Gore and Mahatma Gandhi with McCain’s Democratic rival, Barack Obama.

Madonna hasn’t been afraid to step on toes before, having received heavy criticism during 2006’s Confessions tour from various Christian leaders for performing the song “Live to Tell” while suspended from a cross.

Also during that tour, Madonna substituted curse-laden lyrics during her performance of “I Love New York” to insult President Bush.

During Madonna’s Blond Ambition tour in 1990, Pope John Paul II urged Catholics not to buy tickets because of the interspersing of Catholic and sexual themes, and her 1989 music video for “Like a Prayer,”

which featured her dancing in front of burning crosses and experiencing stigmata, caused Pepsi to pull a commercial featuring Madonna and the song after just a few airings.

Though Madonna was raised Catholic, she has been an ardent follower of Kabbalah, a form of Jewish mysticism, for several years.

Fellow pop star Britney Spears studied the religion after befriending Madonna, but declared in mid-2006 that she had discontinued her involvement with Kabbalah to focus on raising her first son, Sean Preston.

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