Tag Archives: Madonna

Beyond the Ghetto Gates: A Novel Book Review

A woman’s brain is a fearsome thing to behold. Especially when she is not afraid to use it.

Beyond the Ghetto Gates: A Novel, by Michelle Cameron, was published last spring. The books tell the story of two different women. Though they are separated by religion, they are brought together by fate and the French invasion of their home city of Ancona, Italy.

Mirelle is Jewish and like all Jewish residents of the city, she lives in the ghetto. Though she has a mind for numbers, it is inconceivable that she could join her father in the family business. Her only goal, as she is told over and over again, is marriage. She could agree to say “I do” to the older and wealthy businessman that everyone is telling her to marry. Mirelle could also run away and elope with her French Catholic lover, but the consequences of such a union would be disastrous.

Francesca is Catholic and lives in the Christian part of Ancona with her husband and children. To say that he is not Prince Charming is an understatement. When he gets involved with the wrong crowd and helps to steal a miracle portrait of the Madonna, Francesca has a hard choice to make. She could do her wifely duty and support her husband, even when she knows what he did was wrong. Or, she could speak up and create trouble for herself.

I have mixed feelings about this book. I was drawn in by the premise of the novel, the well drawn characters, and the detailed description of the world late 18th century Italy. I also loved the ending, which is atypical for the genre. But if there is one major flaw in the narrative, is that the romance. It is supposed to be the high point of the story, but it falls flat.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, History

Madonna Needs a Dose of Reality

If the coronavirus has done one thing, it has accentuated the differences between the 1% and the rest of us.

Over the weekend, Madonna posted a video to her Instagram and Twitter pages, claiming that the disease is the “great equalizer”.

To say that she got called out for her b*llsh*t is an understatement.

The clip starts at 4:15

While other members of the 1% in Hollywood are doing their part, Madonna sits in a bathtub as roses float by and does nothing.

I have nothing but respect for her as musician and a woman who paved the way for multiple generations of female musicians. However, instead of using her name and influence for good, she is only thinking about herself.

In short, she needs a dose of reality.

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Filed under Feminism, Music, National News

Thoughts On the new Madonna Music Video

I’ve often spoken about the Columbine shooting and the unnecessary loss of young life twenty years ago. Back then, it was front page news for weeks on end.

These days, mass shootings in the United States are just another blip on list of daily news headlines. The headline may last a week at best on the front page before it slowly fades from the nation’s consciousness.

Earlier this week, Madonna released her new music video. Entitled God Control, the video tells the story of a fictional shooting in an New York City nightclub similar to the massacre at the nightclub in Orlando three years ago.

I will warn you that the video does contain graphic imagery.

There is enormous power in celebrity. In using her voice and her music, Madonna speaks of the heartache and grief that gun violence creates. We need sensible gun control laws. There has to be a way to respect the 2nd Amendment and responsible gun owners while protecting innocent people.

My hope (though it often springs eternal) is that one of these days, sensible gun laws will be the law of the land. Until then, we will continue to grieve for those who are killed simply because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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Filed under Music, New York City, Thoughts On....

New Randy Rainbow Video-BORDER LIES – Randy Rainbow Song Parody

It goes without saying that need for secure borders is a non-negotiable issue for any country. The question is, can the country’s current leaders go too far when determining the best method to keep the borders secure and protect the citizens who call that country home?

When you know who running for President in 2016, he built his campaign around a border wall that Mexico would pay for. Cut to last week, when he announced that there was a “national emergency” that required a border wall to stop illegal immigration on the Southern border.

In response to the “national emergency”, Randy Rainbow released his new video today. It is entitled BORDER LIES – Randy Rainbow Song Parody.

Using Madonna‘s classic 1983 song Borderline, Randy Rainbow uses the art of satire to prove once again why you know is ill-equipped to lead this country.

 

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Filed under Music, National News, Politics, Randy Rainbow

Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman Book Review

From an early age, women are taught to conform. If we do not conform, we are labelled as outsiders and called names that are meant to shame us for our rebellion.

Earlier this year, Buzzfeed culture writer Anne Helen Petersen published Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman. She writes about a number of women who by reputation have stepped out of what is considered to be a normal woman. The list of women profiled includes tennis star Serena Williams, actress Melissa McCarthy, Madonna and Hillary Clinton.

This book is one of my favorite books of 2017. I loved it because not only did it call out the b*llsh*t that women have to deal with on a daily basis, but it also honors the women who give a middle finger to conformity and choose to live as they want to.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, Movies, Music, Politics

Happy Birthday, Marilyn Monroe

Today is the 90th birthday of Marilyn Monroe.

For many film fans, she is an icon of the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Her likeness is everywhere.

Her style has been imitated by everyone from Madonna in her music video, Material Girl to actresses walking the red carpet during award season.

Born Norma Jean Baker on June 1st, 1926, young Norman Jean’s life was not easy. A ward of the state, she was shuttled around to different foster homes and orphanages. She married three times, husbands #2 and 3 were baseball player Joe DiMaggio and playwright Arthur Miller.

But life in Hollywood did not ease the emotional burden of her demons. Even decades after her death, rumors still persist of an affair with President John F. Kennedy. The official cause of death was an overdose, but conspiracy theorists believe otherwise.  Forced into the “dumb, hot blonde” niche, the majority of Marilyn’s roles reflected the double standard that existed in the 1950’s and still exists today.

What I would like to remember Marilyn Monroe for are her movies, not the rumors that surround her or the emotional problems that might have led to her death. My favorite Marilyn Monroe movies are Some Like It Hot and Gentleman Prefer Blondes. In both films, she plays yet another version of the “dumb, hot blonde” character, but she is smart enough to let the other characters think she is dumb. She has some of the best comedic timing I’ve ever seen. Unlike her screen persona and the image forced upon her by the movie studios, this lady was one smart cookie.

 

 

She also continues to prove that a woman does not have to be a size two, looking like a prepubescent boy with surgically enhanced physical charms to be considered attractive. For those of us (which actually a majority of women), we look more like Marilyn Monroe than the newest model walking down the catwalk who looks like she has not eaten for days.

Happy Birthday Marilyn.

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Throwback Thursday-Evita (1996)

It is often said, that behind every great man, is a great woman. What happens when that woman decides to step up and stand next to or in front of the man, instead of behind him?

Evita (1996), based on the life of Eva Peron, premiered on stage in 1976. 20 years later, Madonna played the titular role on screen.

Eva’s childhood was not a happy one. Her mother was the mistress of wealthy man who was already married, she and her siblings were illegitimate. Denied the right to see their father one last time during his funeral, Eva turned her back on her past as a young woman and set her sights on the stage.

Meeting her husband, Juan (Jonathan Pryce) during a fundraiser to help the victims of an earthquake,  Eva sees the potential in him and their relationship. Eventually, Juan Peron will become president of Argentina. Depending on whom one spoke to, Eva would either be loved or hated.

Narrated by Che (Antonio Banderas), he follows her along in life as she moves from the life of an illegitimate child to the wife of the most powerful man in the country.

A the time, there were many comparisons to the stage production and some were not so positive. Fans of the stage production could argue that Madonna’s performance does not hold a candle to either Elaine Page (West End production) or Patti LuPone (Broadway production). Is Madonna the best actress in Hollywood? I would argue no, but the producers knew what they were doing when they cast Madonna.

Is the movie that bad? No, but that depends on whom you speak to.

Do I recommend it? Sure.

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Filed under Broadway Musical Review, History, Movie Review, Movies, Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday Part Two- A League Of Their Own

Today it’s very common to see women and girls involved in sports, as both a professional and an amateur.

Women in sports, as part of normal American life, is a relatively new idea. Thanks to Title IX and the AAGBPL, women have been more prevalent and respected in sports.

In 1992, A League Of Their Own, brought the story of the AAGBPL to the movie going audience.

Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) and Kit Keller (Lori Petty) are sisters who play on local baseball teams in their spare time during World War II. With the men away, Walter Harvey (Gary Marshall) bankrolls a women’s baseball league. Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) is the former ball player chosen to coach the team that Dottie and Kit are playing with. Their teammates  include Mae Mordabito (Madonna), Doris Murphy (Rosie O’Donnell) and Marla Hooch (Megan Cavanagh).

The drama of the story is  not just the women fighting for respect as ball players, but also the tension between the sisters.

After 22 years, this movie still holds up and is still an inspiration to girls who have been told no because they are girls.

I recommend this movie.

 

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