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Madonna dances around subject of Britney

As the 5th anniversary of Madonna and Britney Spears’ kiss at the MTV Video Music Awards nears, it seems fair that the subject of Spears would come up in the course of Madonna’s Vanity Fair interview.

As the fifth anniversary of Madonna and Britney Spears’ kiss at the MTV Video Music Awards nears, it seems fair that the subject of Spears would come up in the course of Madonna’s interview with Vanity Fair’s Rich Cohen.

However, if events played out exactly as they appear in the magazine’s April cover story, Madonna didn’t even give Cohen the chance to pose a pointed question on the subject matter of Spears.

“Yes, I know. I know exactly what you’re going to say. It’s very painful,” Madonna, who turns 50 this summer, told Cohen when she sensed Spears was coming up. Cleverly, she answered the would-be question in the context of a subject she’d rather shed light on, Africa.

“When you think about the way people treat each other in Africa, about witchcraft and people inflicting cruelty and pain on each other, then come back here and, you know, people taking pictures of people when they’re in their homes, being taken to hospitals, or suffering, and selling them, getting energy from them, that’s a terrible infliction of cruelty. So who’s worse off? You know what I mean?”

The enigmatic Material Girl is rarely portrayed as thoroughly as she is in this issue of Vanity Fair. Kabbalah, the adoption of her son David from Malawi, the impact of having her family and their television habits are among the subjects touched upon in the piece. Madonna’s answers seem candid, and maybe a little humorless if your mind’s eye defaults to an image of Madonna in the ‘80s. Either way, it’s worth the read.

Is Lara Flynn Boyle OK? There are certain restaurants that celebrities should avoid if they’re not interested in being photographed, Mr. Chow’s is one of them.

Lara Flynn Boyle dropped by the eatery over the weekend and signed autographs for fans outside, which gave the paps ample time to get their photos. It didn’t take long for the pictures — which showed a very haggard-looking Boyle — to circulate around the Internet.

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The photos are jarring enough that they’ve got people wondering if Boyle is OK. “She doesn’t seem to be in a good place right now,” said a source who runs in the same circle as Boyle. “She’s always been so focused on her image as she believes it’s connected to the roles she gets, and this wasn’t something good to put out there.”

The Emmy-winner has been filming “Baby on Board,” and most recently appeared on “Law and Order.”

Joan Jett’s 28th anniversary CD If Joan Jett were just now breaking onto the music scene, she’d likely be among the Radioheads of the music industry that use the Internet to reach her audience.

Since that wasn’t an option during her debut 28 years ago, she did the next best thing for the time: She launched her own label. “Blackheart Records started out of the trunk of my car, when 28 labels rejected my album ‘I Love Rock n Roll,’” Jett said. To celebrate, Jett will be doing what else — releasing a greatest hits CD/DVD this coming August.

Stephen and Kristin Stills to be honored Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills and Young and his wife Kristin are being honored at Tuesday’s benefit party in Los Angeles for the CD release of “Fly: Into the World of Autism.” Producer Janet Grillo is being honored as well. All three worked on HBO’s documentary “Autism the Musical,” which premiered in March. has more information.