On August 2 1985, Madonna lost a court battle against director Stephen Jon Lewicki over the video release of A Certain Sacrifice. The low-budget indie film starring Jeremy Pattnosh and Madonna was shot sporadically over a two-year period in New York City between 1979 and 1981. The film also featured Madonna’s former Breakfast Club bandmate Angie Smit in a minor role.
Madonna was said to have been unhappy with the inclusion of several topless scenes in the film, although it has also been reported that despite instigating the court case, her lawyers did not present much of an argument during the proceedings, leading some to speculate that she had no serious interest in blocking the release of the film. After a limited number of screenings in New York in October 1985, the film was quickly issued on home video and laserdisc in order to capitalize on Madonna’s fame. In more recent years, the film has been reissued on DVD.
Lewicki was not the only person attached to the film who was attempting to hitch a ride on Madonna’s wave of success in the mid 1980’s. While it is unclear whether he was involved as an extra or behind the scenes, top Madonna mooch Otto Von Wernherr is also thanked in the film’s credits. It does not appear that any of his music was used in the film, which for once is actually unfortunate because Von Wernherr’s songs would have sounded right at home alongside the truly bizarre musical selections, including several by Pattnosh, that are showcased throughout A Certain Sacrifice. Perhaps it was Lewicki’s fringe fetish that ruled out the possibility of using any of Madonna’s pre-Warner tunes in the film?
On June 5 2008, Madonna added a fourth Sticky & Sweet Tour show at New York’s Madison Square Gardens for October 12.
In total, Madonna enjoyed four sell-out shows at Madison Square Garden, generating $11.5 million in ticket sales from just under 62,000 fans.
This gave Madonna a record breaking 23 sold-out performances at the venue since 2001, a record for a single artist in that decade.
On January 26 1983, Madonna performed a track date at the Red Parrot at 617 West 57th St in New York City. Also featured on the bill were Planet Rock and Man Parrish.
While unconfirmed, the setlist likely would have previewed the soon-to-be-released Physical Attraction & Burning Up (which were recorded in November, 1982) along with her then-current club hit, Everybody.
A review of the night’s performances was featured in the February 12 1983 issue of Billboard Magazine (pictured with the show’s flyer above).
It may have been the first but it would be far from the last review in which Madonna’s musical talent would be minimized in retribution for her strong visual presence, among other things. Unlike Elvis or Michael Jackson, female artists are often criticized for flaunting the same qualities that make heros out of their male counterparts; for daring to be more than one-dimensional artists. While Madonna is not the first or the last female artist to break through these barriers – and her mission is indeed still a work in progress – one only needs to flip through the pages of Billboard magazine on both sides of the 1983 cultural divide to witness the scope of her impact on music and popular culture.
On October 29 2013, photographer Richard Corman announced the release of an exclusive photographic book, Madonna NYC 83, devoted to the photo shoot he created with Madonna back in 1983, a few months before the release of her first studio album.
“As a young photographer in 1983, I had the opportunity to capture a series of images with Madonna as she was on the verge of releasing her debut album,” said Richard Corman. “The rebellious energy of the East Village was the backdrop to showcase Madonna’s style, spontaneity and pioneering attitude. She consistently conveyed an attitude of fearlessness and fierce determination.”
In conjunction with the U.S. book launch, Milk Gallery in New York City hosted a special exhibition featuring images from Madonna NYC 83 which ran from November 15 – December 15, 2013.