Madonna caps a year of change by turning 50

July 29th, 2008 - 10:00 am ICT by IANS  

Berlin, July 29 (DPA) It seems to be happening to everyone at the moment: Prince, Michael Jackson, Sharon Stone, Alec Baldwin and Paddington Bear are all turning 50 this year with Madonna also blowing out her birthday cake candles next month. Indeed, the Material Girl, who turns 50 Aug 16, appears to be making the most of breaching that not so fashionable threshold of 50 by kicking off a world tour.

But then the birthday celebrations already appear to have been underway for sometime for the Michigan-born queen of pop, who started out her life as Louise Veronica Ciccone with early ambitions to be a dancer and to find the fastest exit out of small-town America.

This year she parted company with her long-standing record company Warner Brothers to sign a ground-breaking deal with concert promoters Live Nation. She also released her new album “Hard Candy” that hit the number one spot in 37 countries and she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as well.

Now based in London, Madonna also produced a documentary about the plight of AIDS orphans in Malawi as well as made her debut as a director with “Fifth and Wisdom”, which was premiered at the Berlin Film Festival.

Madonna didn’t not appear in “Fifth and Wisdom”, but the film’s about the dreams of ordinary people to find a way out of the drudgery of daily life appears to draw inspiration from her own struggle to make it big in the entertainment business.

But despite her success, Madonna says she still struggles in her endeavour to discover the difference between “right and wrong and not to be tricked by illusions”.

After arriving in New York in the late 1970’s with just $35 in her pocket, Madonna battled her way to the top of one of the world’s toughest games.

As a pop icon with worldwide record sales totalling more 200 million, the singer would appear to have achieved her dream. Forbes magazine recently named her the world’s highest earning female musician.

But her role as a movie actor has not been quite as consistent as the string of top hits that propelled her mega stardom and it had seemed that her hopes of branching into film had run out of steam after a couple of flops.

Despite the popularity of 1980’s “Desperate Seeking Susan”, and winning a Golden Globe for her role in “Evita”, her movie days appeared to come to an end in 2002 after “Swept Away”.

Directed by her husband Guy Ritchie and starring Madonna, “Swept Away” was almost laughed out of cinemas by film critics.

But throughout her more than 25-year career, Madonna has appeared remarkably adept at reinventing herself.

For the moment, however, filmmaking is the one thing that Madonna says she is interested in pursuing.

“I would like to make more films,” she said. “I love documentaries. I would like to make more, specifically focusing on children in other parts of the world.”

She was speaking after her documentary “I Am Because We Are” was shown at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

The film, which was directed by her one-time gardener Nathan Rissman, came in the wake of the 2006 controversy Madonna found herself in after adopting a boy from Malawi.

The main characters Madonna has assembled for “Fifth and Wisdom” also appear to be drawn from the various strands of her own life.

Andriy, who takes an interest in philosophy and poetry, is happiest when out on the streets promoting his Ukrainian gypsy punk band with the hope of reaching world stardom.

“I think I secretly want to be a gypsy,” she told in a press conference marking the movie’s premiere. “I like the idea of travelling around making music and letting life unfold.”

Then there are Juliette, who has ambitions to help the world’s poor, and Holly, who wants nothing more than a career as a prima ballerina.

But some of Madonna’s recent publicity does not seem to have been appreciated.

In the run-up to popping the birthday champagne, Madonna found herself facing another round of fresh rumours that her marriage was in trouble.

This was followed by media reports romantically linking her to New York based baseball star Alex Rodriquez and the break up of his marriage.

Then her younger brother Christopher produced a memoir tilted “Life With My Sister” claiming that his sister did not love her husband as much as she loves her career and herself.

After celebrating her 50th birthday, Madonna is scheduled to launch another world tour in September. But few should have any doubts that she is likely to be still on the road, pumping put new albums and seeking out career directions when she hits 60.

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