"MOST PEOPLE thought I was strange. I didn't have many friends. I might not have had any friends. But it all turned out good in the end, because when you aren't popular, and you don't have a social life, it gives you more time to focus on your future. And for me, that was going to New York to become a real artist ... to revel and shimmy and shake and be surrounded by daring people."
So says Madonna in the current issue of Harper's Bazaar. (I bet some of you thought it was Lady Gaga!)
I've had the magazine sitting on my desk for more than a week, with a gorgeous-looking Madonna on the cover, staring me down. ("You will pick up this magazine," her eyes seemed to command.)
For some reason, I didn't delve into the article. Maybe it was because much was made of her -- I now realize -- throwaway remark that she had been raped during her tough early years in Manhattan. I knew she'd alluded to this a long time ago, and thought, "Why bring it up again?" But that terrible memory is hardly the essence of the article, written by Madonna herself.
There's no BS here. The star writes that at some point after her divorce from Sean Penn, she found herself "looking for love in all the wrong places ... I decided I needed to be more than a girl with gold teeth and gangster boyfriends." She credits her immersion in Kabbalah for preparing her for motherhood; something she very much wanted, but for which she felt unfit.
And she is heartbreakingly candid on the controversy surrounding the adoption of two children, especially the first one, David. "A real low point in my life. I could get my head around people giving me a hard time for simulating masturbation onstage or publishing the 'Sex' book or even kissing Britney Spears at an awards show ... but trying to save a child's life was not something I thought I would be punished for." (When Madonna appeared on Oprah, to discuss this controversy, as it unfolded, I felt, watching her, that she was just barely holding it together; unusual because Madonna keeps her emotions close. I was right. I heard that moments after the interview was over and the cameras stopped, Madonna broke down hysterically.)
OF HER four children, she writes: "I try to teach them to think outside the box. To be daring. To choose to do things because they are the right thing to do, not because everybody else is doing them."
Madonna concludes that "challenging people's ideas and belief systems, and defending those who don't have a voice have become part of my everyday life. In my book, it's normal. In my book, everyone is doing something daring. Please open this book. I dare you."
I suppose Madonna has changed a lot over the years, but this determination of hers to provoke and dare and take her audiences on that journey -- even if some would rather be taken on a less challenging, more nostalgic journey. This never changes. And I doubt it ever will.
By the way, the last time I saw Madonna, up close, the 55-year-old looked about 28. (She had come off her tour and had put on a few flattering pounds.) And please, I don't care how she manages it, she looks amazing, period.
ANOTHER RE-BOOT! Now it'll be a TV version of the smash 1990 hit movie "Ghost," which starred the late Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg in her Oscar-winning turn as the fake psychic who turns out -- much to her surprise -- not so fake.
Well, I suppose I see the possibilities of a weekly series, but the movie was so perfect in its way, and so perfectly cast, I don't think any actors, no matter how good, can recreate that particular chemistry. (Not to mention the presence, in the movie, of Tony Goldwyn, who memorably pays the price for his bad ways.)
I wonder if Demi or Whoopi will follow in the footsteps of Angela Lansbury and protest a bit? (Miss Lansbury, as many of you know, isn't crazy about "Murder, She Wrote" being revived.)
NICE TOUCH that the producers of "American Horror Story: Coven" have invited pop legend Stevie Nicks to appear on the show. One of the characters this season is a witch who is obsessed with Stevie -- dresses like her, plays her songs, etc. So, why not get the real thing?
This third edition of "American Horror Story" is the best yet. The entire plot changes each season, but a great deal of the cast remains, in different roles. Most notably Jessica Lange, who is having a heck of a time as the sexy, bad-to-the-bone, head of the coven. She's come a long way from the vulnerable, adorable girl fooled by Dustin Hoffman in "Tootsie."
Others wafting dramatically in an out this year include Patti LuPone, Angela Bassett and Gabourey Sidibe.
SPEAKING OF series, Showtime's "Homeland" seems to have gotten its groove back. The show is again tense and intrigue-driven and Claire Danes has finally stopped crying. However, except for one grueling episode, Damian Lewis, who plays the tortured POW, Brody, who returned to his family, planning to betray the U.S. (he didn't, we don't think) has been missing in action, even though he's mentioned on every single episode.
"Homeland" isn't quite "Homeland" without the talented Mr. Lewis. I hope his character escapes his latest terrible incarceration and has some screen time before the season ends. (Cable shows have notoriously brief seasons and agonizingly long waits before they start up again.)
(E-mail Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com.)
(c)2013 TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.
Madonna -- still daring after all these years
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