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The kindergarten teacher who directed his students in spirited performances of Madonna's "Vogue" and "Material Girl" is now having his class offer an homage to the Queen of Pop with another of her smash hits.
This time, Arturo Avina's class perform "This Used To Be My Playground," the 1992 song used in the movie "A League of Their Own," in which Madonna starred alongside Tom Hanks and Geena Davis.
Avina, who teaches a general ed curriculum at the Olympic Primary Center in Los Angeles, opted to dispense with the baseball theme. Instead, he based his class's clip on the popular children's book "Miss Nelson Is Missing" with several nods to Madonna's original music video, which also featured a scrapbook feel.
"Sometimes a good pop song is better at telling a story than a typical nursery rhyme," Avina told HuffPost Gay Voices in an email last year. "And it's a lot more fun to teach when you teach what you love."
When the brief preview for Lady Gaga's 'Alejandro' video appeared during the singer's appearance on 'Larry King Live' last week, many people immediately noticed the nod to Madonna's 'Vogue.' It was all there: the sharp black-and-white photography, the muscular dancing, the spartan set, the iconic hairstyle.
But as it turns out, the full version of 'Alejandro' - which premiered Tuesday (June 8) - is a healthy combination of a number of different references, nods and homages to a bevy of Madonna videos. (One MTV News writer says 'Alejandro' is more than just an ode to Madonna - check out his counterpoint in the Newsroom blog.)
The 'Vogue' references are certainly there, as Gaga spends a large chunk of the video in that same spartan set in black-and-white. But the rest of the clip features Gaga in a number of different costumes - including a red nun's habit and some sort of steampunk headgear - in a handful of different scenarios (some of which involve Nazi imagery).
In addition to 'Vogue,' the opening sequence seems to recall Madonna's 'Evita' period (when she made 'Don't Cry for Me Argentina' a hit). Gaga is dressed to mourn whomever is in the casket behind her - perhaps the titular Alejandro? - and it would be easy to assume that she's attending a state funeral, which would mean Gaga flipped the gender roles in the original story of the Peróns (in reality, it was Juan who buried Eva).
Later, Gaga strips to her underwear and dominates a scantily clad dancer tied to a bed. While Madonna is no stranger to the imagery surrounding bondage and submission, that image most faithfully recalls the Material Girl's 'Human Nature,' which saw her dressed in black pleather and dancing seductively with the assistance of ropes and a riding crop.
But the biggest nod to Madonna's past certainly comes with all the religious imagery. Gaga dresses as a nun, swallows rosary beads and stands in front of a row of crosses at various points during the clip, which brings to mind Madonna's classic video for 'Like a Prayer.' In fact, there are even video clips of flames in the background of one of the dance scenes in 'Alejandro,' which could easily have been lifted wholesale from the moment in Madonna's clip when she sings among a field of flaming crosses.
There are a number of other cultural references that slip out of 'Alejandro' (Gaga clearly enjoys the work of film director Fritz Lang), but even the gun-barrel-sporting bra she wears at the end could be mistaken for that conical top Madonna made famous during the Blonde Ambition Tour.
Of course, 'Alejandro' director Steven Klein has worked as a photographer for Madonna over the past few years, so it's quite possible that these are merely the influences he has picked up while working with her. But if Gaga really is making an attempt to define herself as a next-gen Madonna who also pays homage to her elders, then there are worse paths to follow.
The clip finds the Madonna making fun of her late ‘80s Pepsi scandal. In the video footage Madonna has her arms covering her bare chest, looks at the camera smiling, and says, 'I wear what I want and I do what I want. Ask Pepsi.'
With the last remark, the entertainer references the 1989 controversy, in which she was paid a then-record $5 million as part of an endorsement deal, that included the filming of a commercial for the soft drink. The deal was scrapped by Pepsi executives due to threats of protests from right-wing Christian groups, such as the American Family Association, due to perceived sacrilege in her 'Like A Prayer' video, now considered one of the creative high points of Madonna’s storied career. The singer was allowed to keep the $5 million and her commercial aired only once on network television.
Madonna.com are looking for you - amazing fans to be in Madonna's next video, which will be a celebration of her music and fans.
If you would like to join us, send us your best picture to impress us for a chance to get picked.
We want to see it! We are looking for real fans, look-a-likes, you must come dressed to impress, bring all your Madonna Memoribilia (do you still have 80's stuff?) and be ready to PERFORM, dance or just be yourself.
**If you want to be picked, make sure to bring out your best Madonna Fan look!**
If you get picked you need to check the following:
* confirm you are over 18 yrs old
* you must bring a Photo ID to our shoot for entrance
* you can be at the Olympic Stadium on Tuesday the 21st of July
Please note that Madonna will not be in the video shoot this day
SEND US YOUR PICTURES: e-mail email@example.com now!
By e-mailing you acknowledge you will not receive a payment for this and you will sign necessary release forms and confidentiality agreements on the day.
Madonna and her team are currently filming the video to her next single in Milan and they want for you to be part of it:
'We are looking for you die hard fans to be in Madonna's next video, which will be a celebration of her music and fans. We need you to come dressed to impress, bring all Madonna memorabilia, t-shirts or Madonna outfits you have and be ready to perform, dance or just be yourself.
If you would like to join in, please check the following details:
- Confirm you are over 18 years old
- You must bring your photo ID to the filming location
- Must have your country of residence (residenza) and tax number (code fiscale) available
- You can be in Milan at around 9pm on Saturday 18th July. We will not reveal the location until just before this time.
If you agree, come and celebrate: Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with a recent picture attached (No picture, No invite), as well as your full name, mailing address and phone number.
PLEASE NOTE THAT MADONNA WILL NOT BE AT THE FILM SHOOT, WE ARE ONLY SHOOTING EXTRAS THIS DAY.
Please note that we will not be able to pick everybody that replies.
If any madonnalicious readers get picked for the video we would love to hear your story from the shoot - email us at email@example.com
The release had originally been scheduled for Monday 09 June but due to the video leaking onto the internet last week the premiere date was pushed forward to today.
The video was directed by Tom Munro and shot during the Elle photoshoot. The video is now also available to buy in iTunes stores today.
Thanks to Peter and Sarah
Thanks to Kelly
Check out Madonna's official YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/madonna
Thanks to Mikey
An official mailout from Warner Brothers is teasing fans with news about the video for 4 Minutes without revealing anything!
You've heard it on the radio and soon the first glimpses of the official video for '4 Minutes', featuring Justin Timberlake and Timberland will be appearing online so make sure you keep your eyes peeled....
From E! Online - thanks to Caesar
Thanks to Alessandro
Timbaland and Justin Timberlake have both now arrived in London in preparation to film the video for Madonna's next single 4 Minutes to Save the World during the next few days, and before Madonna jets off to New York City for the Raising Malawi/Gucci fundraising benefit on Wednesday 06 February.
Here is a look at the Sunsilk commercial that features Madonna and Ray Of Light.
Thanks to Max
Singer and long-time Madonna fan Darren Hayes performed a version of Madonna's Dress You Up during his concert on New Years Eve - here is what Darren told madonnalicious about the performance:
I did this as a special treat on New Years Eve. I told the audience, and it's true, that seeing M doing this on a VHS copy of 'The Virgin Tour' when I was a kid made me want to be a performer. Twenty years later I performed it for my own audience and it felt just as good!
Thanks to Mo
This Indian TV news report features some footage of Madonna out horse riding.
Thanks to Chris
UK TV comedian Harry Enfield was interviewed on This Morning recently and spoke about work on his TV show Ruddy Hell it's Harry and Paul - on which he has done sketches about The Ritchies.
Harry recently went into a gym in London and met Guy Ritchie. Guy asked him 'Are you making a new series?', Harry replied 'Yes', to which Guy said 'Am I in it again?'....'Errrr'.... Guy's last words to Harry were, You've done a good job on the wife though!
You can view one of Harry and Paul's Guy and Madonna sketches here: