YOU LOVED THE '80S -- in big part because of Madonna. And you've been following the Material Girl ever since. So of course you're thrilled that the Material Girl is headed to the Bay Area for a pair of shows this week.
But hold on. The young music fans in your family weren't even born in the '80s. Their obsession is Justin Bieber, the Canadian heartthrob who is trying to make the difficult leap from teen idol to bona fide musical artist. And he's also in the Bay Area this week.
Clearly there is a generational divide separating this weekend's two gigantic concert attractions: Madonna on Saturday and Sunday at HP Pavilion in San Jose and Justin Bieber on Saturday at Oracle Arena in Oakland. After all, Madonna was already a world beater with millions of records sold, starring roles in movies and gazillions of controversies to her credit by the time Bieber entered his first singing contest at age 12 (placing second).
Yet plenty of families will turn out to see both acts -- and there's no reason why fans of all ages shouldn't enjoy the shows.
To help bridge the age gap, we're providing guides to both artists to help bring the uninitiated -- and, in some cases, the uninterested -- up to speed. Hopefully, after reading our tutorials, the young ones in the family will be more interested in seeing Madonna, and the chauffeurs (i.e., parents) will catch a bit of Bieber Fever.
Influence: Madonna is one of the most influential and innovative artists in music history. It would be absurd to try to list all of the modern female pop stars inspired by the Material Girl. Let's just say almost all of them owe debts of gratitude to Madonna Louise Ciccone.
2 Nothing's shocking: Madonna didn't invent controversy, but she certainly perfected its use as a marketing tool. Seemingly, anything is fair game in her world if it garners headlines. She's tackled such heated topics as abortion ("Papa Don't Preach") and religion (in her video for "Like a Prayer" and on her 2006 Confessions Tour). On her current tour, she's been criticized for using gun props and other startling imagery on stage. Tell me Lady Gaga and Kanye West haven't been paying attention.
3 "Sex": A revealing outfit or "wardrobe malfunction" generates huge headlines for today's female pop stars. Then, of course, there's the private sex tape, which never seems to stay private for long and has helped turn Kim Kardashian and other beauties into household names. In a way, the Material Girl pioneered this path -- when she released 1992's "Sex," a collection of nudie and softcore-porn pictures of herself. And, believe it or not, she released it as a coffee-table book.
4 I Kissed a Girl: No, Katy Perry, you weren't first. Madonna brought girl-on-girl titillation into the homes of millions when she locked lips with both Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards.
5 EDM: Electronic Dance Music is all the rage with the college set these days. Yet, it's nothing new to Madonna, who must be considered one of the pioneers of the genre, if not as a creator then as an artist who helped bring the genre into the mainstream. She's been collaborating with top-name DJs for years and helped popularize the style on her seventh studio album, 1998's "Ray of Light." Some youngsters, however, just have no respect for those who paved the way. Notably, superstar DJ DeadMau5 bashed Madonna by calling her a "funky grandma." Whatever, mouse man.
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