Thanksgiving Tribute: Nourish The Child – By Michael Jackson

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All Things Michael would like you wish you a very happy and peaceful Thanksgiving. 

In that same spirit, we present the forward from the 1993  Nieman Marcus children’s charity cookbook “Pigtails and Frog Legs” written by Michael Jackson. 

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“Dedicated to everyone who was a kid…who is a kid..who will always be a kid.”

Contributors: To all InCirclers who submitted recipes demonstrating their interest in supporting children’s causes. To Michael Jackson, whose commitment to the needs of all children is evident in the foreword which he wrote.

To a child, food is something special. It isn’t just a delicious taste or the vitamins that build a healthy body. Food is love and caring, security and hope — all the things that a food family can provide. Remember when you were little and your mother made a pie for you? When she cut a slice and put it on your plate, she was giving you a bit of herself, in the form of her love. She made your hunger go away, and when you were full and satisfied, everything seemed all right. Because that satisfied feeling was in the pie, you were nourished from a deep level. Food is something we all need physically, but so is love, the deeper nourishment, that turns into who we are.

Think about how necessary it is to nourish a child with a bit of yourself when you use this book. It is full of delicious things. Every recipe has an extra ingredient of caring, because the people who wrote them were thinking of the children. They were specially thinking of those who aren’t able to take nourishment for granted because they are poor, sick or disabled. These are the children who need food to heal. The theme of ‘Heal the World’, which has been close to my heart, is the central theme of this book, also. Here are recipes for the spirit. Please make them with that in mind. Your child is growing spirit that can be knit strong with love. When you break an egg and measure a cup of flour, you are magically mixing the gift of life. The food’s proteins and minerals will turn into bones and muscles, but your feeling as you cook will turn directly into a soul.

It makes me happy to think that the needs of children’s spirits are at last becoming important in this world. Children have no power to end wars directly or to mend age-old differences.

All they can do is be themselves, to shine with gratitude and joy when love is turned their way. Yet isn’t that ultimately the greatest power? In the eyes of a child you become the source of joy, which lifts you into the special category of caregiver and life-provider. You may think that your apple pie has only sugar and spice in it. A child is wiser — with the first bite, he knows that this special dish is the essence of you love.

Enjoy!

Michael Jackson

Heal The World Foundation 1993

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Usher’s 6 Best Live TV Performances

Sources: Yahoo Music | All Things Michael

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Yahoo Live will stream Usher’s The UR Experience show at the Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on Nov. 30 at 8 p.m. PT/11 p.m. ET, via Live Nation’s channel on Yahoo Screen. Tune in!

Usher has rightfully earned the distinction as of the best performers of his generation. The pop star that made his debut in 1993 on the soundtrack of the Janet Jackson/Tupac film Poetic Justicecontinues to evolve as an artist. We’ve compiled highlights from his televised performances that include sharing the stage with Michael Jackson, paying homage to Luther Vandross, and bringing to life music from his own multiplatinum catalog.

Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration, “You Rock My World” (2001)

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Sharing the stage with his idol Michael Jackson was an obvious career highlight for Usher. As Jackson began to close “You Rock My World” for the anniversary special that aired on CBS, Usher entered doing a forward version of Jackson’s signature moonwalk. Jackson loved the quick face-off that peaked when comedian Chris Tucker joined them to do his own Jackson impression.

The BET Awards, “U Don’t Have to Call” (2002)

Usher rolled out the dramatic effects for this BETs appearance. He played up his sex appeal by starting the routine off lying in bed shirtless. After getting dressed, he jumped down from the 10-foot platform and met his background dancers centerstage. Later, a riser elevated him for a hip-hop dance sequence that wrapped in a circle of flames.

The BET Awards, “Yeah” (2004)

Usher’s opening for his 2004 BET Awards performance easily set him apart from his competition. Along with two background dancers and support from harnesses, he pulled off his intricate hip-hop choreography while on an illuminated platform slanted at a 45-degree angle. Honestly, Spider-Man could not have scaled the wall any better. The rest of the number included Usher’s usual high-energy routines and explosive guest appearances from Lil Jon and Ludacris.

The Oprah Winfrey Show, “Superstar” (2005)

Usher is primarily known for his dance records, but he showed impressive strength at singing ballads when covering Luther Vandross’s classic “Superstar” during a tribute on The Oprah Winfrey Show in September 2005 just months after Vandross’s passing. Considering Vandross is regarded by many as R&B’s all-time favorite balladeer, this was a bold move for Usher, but he sounded great. Usher’s version appears on So Amazing: An All-Star Tribute to Luther Vandross.

The Apollo, “You Make Me Wanna” (2007)

Usher was on the verge of superstardom when he released his sophomore album, My Way, in the summer of 1997, and that was evident in his stage presence when he played the historical Apollo. The then-teen singer had mastered engaging the lively audience. He knew when to sing, when to appease the crowd’s singalong to his first pop hit, and when to put the microphone down and simply dance.

The Grammy Awards, “OMG” (2011)

In 2011, the veteran performer proved that he was still the king of the stage, sharing a moment with his protégé Justin Bieber, along with Jaden Smith. After Bieber sang “Baby” and “Never Say Never” with Smith, Usher appeared (at 3:45 mark), executing some of his best-choreographed moves.

 

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Madame Tussauds And Sketchfab Team Up For 3D Print Of Michael Jackson, Steven Spielberg, Fidel Castro And Others

Sources: 3dPrint.com – By Brian Krassenstein | All Things Michael

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Just like 2D scanners became affordable and mainstream and saw a rapid increase in the quality of their capabilities two decades ago, the same is now happening within the 3D scanner space. If you ever have an opportunity to use a 3D scanner, it’s actually quite fun, and I must say, addictive. Capturing people, moments in time, and all sorts of objects, in a form which will put a picture to shame, the technology promises to transform how we preserve the past.

Already there are tens of thousands of 3D models of scanned objects available for those who wish to view them, or even duplicate them via a 3D printer. As 3D printing technology continues to progress, the ability to replicate cherished objects, museum exhibits, and whatever the heck else you want, will become ever more possible and higher quality.

We’ve already seen several museums jump on board the 3D scanning wave including the Smithsonian, Peabody, and the Met, among others. While almost all the objects have been artifacts and art, the technology is now being used at one of the more interesting museums out there,  Madame Tussauds, to scan people… sort of.

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If any of you have ever wandered into the Madame Tussauds Museum in London, or any of the other branches located in a number of major cities around the world, you may have felt like you were among some of the most important people to ever walk the earth. That’s because in a way you are. The museums feature dozens of famous people, from athletes to presidents to royals and more, all sculpted out of wax, presented as full size statues. The intricate detail of each piece is extraordinary, displaying details which could fool anyone viewing a picture of one of the statues into believing it’s an actual person.

Today Sketchfab, along with Madame Tussauds, have released the initial scans of what should be a comprehensive collection of 3D models of the Madame Tussauds collection. The gallery is crowdsourced and asks users to “contribute to this gallery by tagging your work ‘madametussauds.’”

From Albert Einstein to Michael Jackson, Jimmy Hendrix, Steven Spielberg, and Fidel Castro, there are currently over 30 models available for download. Once downloaded, any of these models can easily be 3D printed, allowing fans of various actors, politicians, and musicians to step up their fanhood, or should be say ‘obsession,’ quite a bit.

While it may be impossible to get many of these celebrities to set time aside to actually undergo the scanning process, not to mention many are no longer with us, scanning a wax model which is nearly identical to each person is certainly the next best approach.

Let us know you thoughts on this very interesting gallery at Sketchfab. Feel free to share with us any 3D prints you have done in the Sketchfab & Madame Tussauds forum thread on 3DPB.com

 

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6-Year-Old Dances To Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal And Brings The House Down

Sources: Huffington Post – By Avery Stone | All Things Michael

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This boy is smooth.

Six-year-old Willie Osborn decided to channel Michael Jackson during an elementary school talent show. Dancing to Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal,” his performance — and his outfit — were spot-on.

The video was uploaded to YouTube Wednesday, but it isn’t the first time Willie’s wowed crowds with his dancing. He previously made headlines with “Smooth Criminal” when he performed the routine — complete with backup dancers — at a talent show in Indiana.

 

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On The Shoulders Of Motown

Sources: The St. Louis American – By Kenya Vaughn | All Things Michael

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“It’s nerve-wrecking, yet honoring,” said Elijah Lewis. “It’s a heavy load to carry, but I feel blessed to be able to share my gift in honoring him as an artist.”

For eight shows a week, Lewis portrays Stevie Wonder in “Motown The Musical.”

The show landed in St. Louis last week and continues at the Fox Theatre through November 30.

Lewis is part of a company charged with the task of capturing the essence of the timeless, iconic music that Berry Gordy used to change the landscape of American popular music more than a half-century ago.

“We played those records every Saturday when we were cleaning up – especially The Temptations because my dad loved them,” said Martina Sykes. She graces the stage as Mary Wells – one of Motown’s earliest stars. “I would love to hear the Jackson 5,” she said, “because we knew when they came on that we were close to being finished.”

Spinning Motown LPs was the standard programming for many Saturday morning chore sessions in households across the nation – and probably the world.

But at the height of its popularity, what would come to be known as “The Motown sound” – and the stars responsible for it – played a pivotal role in permanently dismantling the “race music” status quo.

“I think this musical gives insight on how Motown changed music,” Lewis said. “The music of Motown was not only the soundtrack to many people’s lives, but also the soundtrack for this nation.”

More than five dozen selections accompany the history of the record label that produced some of biggest stars in music history – including Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson and Wonder – as “Motown The Musical” relives the journey through the eyes of its founder.

“He had this thing called ‘beat the teacher,’ so everybody had to one-up Mr. Gordy – which ultimately made everyone who they are,” Lewis said. “In this musical you get to really see the love, trust and friendship that they had with each other and how they used that to build something that’s still so iconic today.”

As producer of the original Broadway run and the tour and as writer of the book for the musical, Gordy had his hands in “Motown The Musical” as much as he did the label that inspired it.

“The first few weeks of rehearsal Mr. Gordy flew in and said, ‘I want you guys to know that you are a part of the Motown legacy. You are part of Motown’s history. This is not just another play,’” Sykes said.

“He said, ‘We want to do the same thing with this musical as we did with ‘The Motor City Review’ when we went to these cities and performed.’”

Then, she knew “this is not your average Broadway tour,” she said. “That feeling alone is something I can’t even describe with words. You really feel the weight of what you’re doing.”

Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Edwin Starr Jr. Walker and The All-Stars, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, Wells, Martha and The Vandellas, The Marvelettes, Gladys Knight and The Pips, The Jackson 5, Rick James, Teena Marie and Jackie Wilson (via Gordy’s early days as a songwriter) are among those given their respective moments in the production.

“Motown The Musical” includes the highs and lows of the label from its inception to the 25th Anniversary in 1983 – including Gordy’s complicated relationship with Diana Ross and how it impacted Motown.

“He has this saying, ‘The truth is a hit,’” Lewis said while laughing. “I hope that everyone understands that Mr. Gordy did all of this out of love – love for Diana, love for Stevie, love for Smokey and all of them – not even thinking Motown would grow into what it became.”

The show has fared especially well with fans in St. Louis, and Lewis believes heavily relying on Motown’s prolific catalog of hits plays a huge role in the warm reception.

“I hope that the older generation will be taken back to a time where all of their fondest memories and where they were when they heard this music,” Sykes said. “And I hope it shows the younger generation the kind of hunger and passion they had back then. Maybe seeing this musical will gives them drive to create something like Motown for the next generation.”

“Motown the Musical” continues through November 30 at The Fox Theatre. For more information, call 314.534.1111 or visit www.metrotix.com.

 

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Michael Jackson: Posthuman

Sources: The Conversation – By Susan Fast | Edited By – All Things Michael

Mark Ryden’s art for Michael Jackson’s 1991 album Dangerous. Augusto Podrido/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

Mark Ryden’s art for Michael Jackson’s 1991 album Dangerous. Augusto Podrido/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

The album cover for Michael Jackson’s album Dangerous was painted by American pop-surrealist artist Mark Ryden. In it, he depicts a world in which the boundaries between human and animal, living and dead, whole and part, and celestial and terrestrial have been crossed and fused.

Surrealist painters like Ryden often aim to collapse such categories – to reconcile, in their art, what seems to be irreconcilable in life. But actually, this boundary-crossing doeshappen in life – increasingly so – and corresponds to what some have called posthumanism.

Cary Wolfe, an English Professor and author of the book What is Posthumanism, writes that we are “fundamentally prosthetic creatures,” that we rely on entities outside the self – other humans, animals, technology – in order to function and thrive.

In other words: the boundaries of our bodies and intellect are not as firm and finite as we want to believe.

Posthumanism also argues for the dismantling of the hierarchy that puts humans – largely because of our ability to “reason” – above other forms of life and technology.

Both of these ideas were central to Michael Jackson’s life and art.

It’s somewhat surprising that so few have considered him through this lens; instead, many have simply labeled him as weird or eccentric.

Yet Jackson’s entire career was defined by his rejection of normal boundaries. This includes not only the most obvious of these (race and gender) but also generational barriers, the limits of his physical body, and divisions among real and fictional species – not to mention the seamless way he could fuse artistic genres.

Jackson celebrated the prosthetic idea of the human in a number of ways. For example, through plastic surgery, cosmetic procedures, make-up, hair styles and costumes, he asks us not only to reconsider gender binaries (that’s the relatively easy part), but to question prevailing ideas about aesthetic beauty and what can be called “normal.” Our appearances are all products of outside intervention (even face creams and nail files count); Jackson’s extreme modifications could be thought of as a commentary on this.

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Jackson’s was posthumanist, blurring traditional boundaries. In Moonwalker, he appears as a cyborg: half human, half robot.

Fictional boundary-crossing was also a characteristic of his artistic practice – where, at various points, he presented himself as a werewolf, a zombie, and a panther. In the film Moonwalker he morphs into a spaceship; in Ghosts, he becomes a dancing skeleton, a grotesque monster, and a gigantic face that blocks a doorway.

Ghosts, in fact, is a film in which he addresses the perception that he is a “freak” and “abnormal” directly. It’s remarkable that so much of his morphing in this film is focused on his face – an object of constant scrutiny and derision in the media.

(In Ghosts, Jackson directly confronts his critics. Who has the authority to declare what is normal, and what is not?)

In both his life and his art, he held out his body as a work in progress, fully open to and trusting in limitless experimentation. There’s quite a long tradition of artists who have engaged in body modification as a means through which to test the limits of the flesh, like Orlan and Stelarc.

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of Jackson’s physical changes was the lightening of his skin. We should keep in mind that this was the result of the skin disease vitiligo. It’s thought, erroneously, that his skin color simply got lighter, but it actually fluctuated – so much so that his intent was certainly far from wanting to “be” white, as many have concluded.

Instead, it’s possible that vitiligo – painful as it must have been for him – served as an opportunity to start a conversation about race and skin color. He wanted to challenge the idea of race as fixed or linked to biology, rather than socially constructed.

Jackson’s boundary-pushing extended to his notion of family, which can be described as a sort of “queer kinship.” This has nothing to do with sexual orientation, but with how he challenged normative ideas about what constitutes family. His family included animals (Bubbles the chimp, yes, but also Muscles the snake and Louis the llama). It included children (Jackson could still play like a child, with children, when he was an adult, testing ideas about the normal, linear progression from childhood to adulthood). It included older Hollywood starlets, like Elizabeth Taylor and Liza Minnelli (again breaking the boundaries of normative generational affiliation); and it included Frank Cascio’s middle-class family from New Jersey, which Jackson adopted as his own, regularly showing up and spending time at their home, where he vacuumed and made beds with Cascio’s mother.

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Much of this has been viewed as pathological because it’s a way of building family that does not conform; it crosses boundaries not normally crossed.

This makes many people uncomfortable.

But Jackson’s vision of the body and of kinship were actually forward-looking, a kind of reaching beyond societal norms that is often celebrated in other artists and activists, but still viewed with great suspicion in Jackson’s case. Elsewhere, I have argued that this is because Jackson crossed so many boundaries simultaneously. It was the combination of social transgressions that caused people to fear – rather than celebrate – his difference.

It was also that he truly lived these transgressions: there was nothing to mitigate Jackson’s differences. When other mainstream artists, like Lady Gaga, transgress boundaries on stage, the impact is often lessened by their private lives, which conform to societal norms.

In a 1985 essay about Michael Jackson, James Baldwin wrote that “freaks are called freaks and are treated as they are treated – in the main, abominably – because they are human beings who cause to echo, deep within us, our most profound terrors and desires.”

Michael Jackson – gender ambiguous; adored and reviled; human, werewolf, panther; black, white, brown; child, adolescent, adult – shattered the assumptions of a society that craves neat categories and compartmentalization.

Order and normality are illusions, he said though his life and art.

 

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Happy Anniversary to the Dangerous album! On this day in 1991 Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous” album was released. Hundreds of fans lined up at stores nationwide to buy it on the first day.

Michael Jackson Song Lyrics Used As Dialogue To Investigate Urban Unrest (Griot’s Lament Parts 1-3)

Sources: PRLog | Edited By – All Things Michael

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Los Angeles, CA- “Griot’s Lament”, an award winning new web-series uses Michael Jackson’s song lyrics as dialogue  to address social injustice.  Written and directed by Alex Muñoz (Sundance fellow; Spout; Riot; ), since it’s release on Michael Jackson’s birthday “Griot’s Lament” just passed the six million views mark and won the award for ‘Best Webisode’ at the Urban Mediamakers Film Festival (UMFF). Muñoz says “by [recontexualizating] the King of Pop’s lyrics, our ‘Griot’s Lament’ trilogy series revisits and comments on the killings of Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, and the innocent youths that fell prey to violence in South Chicago.

Is “They don’t care about us” shouted as a veiled response to the Rodney King beating and could it have also been a foretelling or foreshadowing of the tragic humanitarian failures incurred during Hurricane Katrina? One scene in the trilogy series is staged to replicate the horrific Rodney King beating, asking the questions, how far have we really come along since the LA Riots?  The series poses the question, as Jackson did repeatedly via his music:  How culpable are WE… when society cannot fully function in the realm of justice?

The character “Griot” is the conduit for Jackson’s often overlooked and under recognized political orientation. “Griot’s Lament” is made possible by Urban Velour Entertainment, Sandra Evers-Manly, private funders and a successful crowdfunding campaign via United States Artists and Hatchfund. Photo includes “Griot”, (a one man chorus) played by actor/producer Brandon Hirsch; “Salb” (a Sad & Lonely Boy) played by actor/associate producer Blake Young-Fountain; “Colette” (a grandmother looking for her grandson) played by actress/activist Fatimah Halim; and “Lupe” (a character inspired by La Virgen De Guadalupe) played by actress Yelba Osorio.

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“Griot’s Lament Webisode I”

“Griot’s Lament Webisode II

“Griot’s Lament Webisode III”

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Popular Michael Jackson Tribute Act Who’s Bad Moonwalking To Lorain Palace

Sources: Morning Journal – By Ron Vidka| Edited By – All Things Michael

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Whether you were fans of the Jackson 5 or taught yourself to moon walk to “Billie Jean,” you might want to know that Who’s Bad has been called the “ultimate homage” to Michael Jackson.

Billed as “The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Show,” Who’s Bad plays one show only at the Lorain Palace Theater, 617 Broadway, Lorain, Dec. 6 at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $18, $25 and $50. Call the Palace box office at 440-245-2323 or visit lorainpalace.com.

According to press materials, the King of Pop’s longtime friend and manager Frank DiLeo  proclaimed after seeing the Who’s Bad show in Nashville, “The show was great. … Michael would have been proud!”

Begun in 2004 in Chapel Hill, N.C., Who’s Bad is said to be the longest-running Michael Jackson tribute band, selling out nearly 50 venues in the United Kingdom in December, 2010, the same venues where Jackson was preparing to end his career on a high note with a 50-show “This Is It” concert series.

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Musician Vamsi Tadepalli is the man responsible for creating the six-member entourage that has literally gone around the world with their performances.

Taalib York, who stands in for the King of Pop, is a Brooklyn native who began singing and dancing at the age of 7, mimicking his idol Michael Jackson at every talent show in the area.

That obsession has resulted in he and the other musicians selling out their first tour of China and, in America, packing the House of Blues franchises nationwide.

Who’s Bad has been hailed as “an unrivaled celebration of pop music’’s one true King.. a power-packed performance igniting crowds on every continent and can only be described as a jaw-dropping, musical must-see.”

 

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