Michael Jackson’s Thriller Tops Halloween Poll – Source: Contact Music

Late superstar Michael Jackson has topped a Halloween-themed online poll to find the scariest song ever recorded.

The King of Pop’s 1984 classic Thriller was named the creepiest tune by editors of Billboard.com, seeing off competition from party favourite Monster Mash by Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett & the Crypt-Kickers.

Third place was claimed by Ray Parker Jr.’s track Ghostbusters, while Warren Zevon’s Werewolves of London and AC Dc’s Highway to Hell rounded out the top five.

Runnin’ With the Devil by Van Halen and Witchy Woman by the Eagles also made the top 10.



The “Thriller” Dance, A Halloween Tradition – Source: NRP Music

Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

 A fan dressed as Michael Jackson’s zombie character participates in the 2009 “Thrill the World: A Global Tribute to Michael Jackson” in Astoria Park in the Queens section of New York.

In cities big and small this weekend, people will gather as they do every Halloween weekend, for an annual ritual. From Johnson City, Tenn., to Midland, Mich., zombies will emerge to re-enact … the “Thriller” dance. In addition to the annual Halloween gatherings, people are still making remixes of the song. And a quick search of YouTube reveals dozens of tribute videos.

Nearly 30 years after its debut, Michael Jackson‘s “Thriller” is still hugely popular. To put it in context, the same-name album had been out over a year and was the No. 1 selling album of all time, and videos had been made of two of its songs (“Billie Jean” and “Beat It”). After Jackson saw An American Werewolf in London, he contacted John Landis, who had directed that movie.

“Michael contacted me and he just wanted to turn into a monster,” says Landis in an interview with All Things Considered host Michele Norris. “And I thought about it and I thought, ‘No, I don’t want to do a rock video. They’re just commercials for records.’ But then I thought, ‘You know what, Mike? How about a theatrical short?’ And he said, ‘Sure.’ “

Unsurprisingly, Landis says that the dancers were not hard to come by because they all wanted to dance with Michael Jackson. But seemingly everyone wanted to be a part of history.

“Working with Michael Jackson at that time was really nuts. Fred Astaire came by, Gene Kelly came by, Jackie Kennedy came by, Marlon Brando came by, I mean, it was insane,” says Landis, laughing. “They really kind of felt privileged to be working with him. At that time, Michael was 20 years old and he was wonderful and full of beans — I mean, he was great. He did everything I asked. I remember when I wrote it, I said, ‘Mike, you know this line — I’m not like other guys — is gonna get a laugh.’ And he said [in falsetto voice], ‘Why?’ ‘Well, because Mike, you’re not like other guys and people will laugh.’ He said, ‘That’s OK.’ I mean, he really was terrific to work with.”

One thing you may not know about the theatrical version of “Thriller” is that the engineer Bruce Swedien and producer Quincy Jones wouldn’t let Landis have the original tracks for the song. Landis wanted to do a “movie mix,” which isn’t the same audio that you would hear on an album. So cinematographer George Folsey and Landis got into Jackson’s Rolls-Royce (with Jackson) and went to Studio City at 3 o’clock in the morning with a big suitcase.

“We took the reels off the racks, went out, drove across town to Todd-AO in Hollywood, duped all the tracks and then returned them,” says Landis. “The whole thing took an hour. If you watch the video — people never notice that the song is 11 minutes long. It’s the same original tracks totally recut and remixed. In fact, Vincent Price re-recorded the narration for me because I couldn’t use the record narration because it was mixed with a synth track. Mr. Price very graciously came in and redid it.”

Five Really Great ‘Thriller’ Dance Videos

The Original ‘Thriller’

Filipino Prison ‘Thriller’

Wedding ‘Thriller’

South Indian ‘Thriller’

Chattanooga Fire Academy ‘Thriller’


“Michael Jackson: The Life of an Icon” World Premiere Live From London On Livestream, Wednesday, Novemeber 2, 2011

“Michael Jackson: The Life of an Icon” World Premiere in London -This Wednesday at 1:45 PM (Eastern Standard Time US)



In celebration of “Michael Jackson: The Life of an Icon” Blu-ray and DVD release, Universal Studios Entertainment wants to take you to the World Premiere in London LIVE on Nov. 2nd


Coverage starts at 5:45pm GMT with the Red Carpet hosted by Edith Bowman. This will be followed at 6:50pm by a Question and Answer panel with Michael’s mother Katherine Jackson, brother Tito Jackson, sister Rebbie Jackson and moderated by producer David Gest. 

You may view the live stream here: http://livestre.am/14X2W


Brett Ratner Tells Kimmel About Playing Pranks With Michael Jackson (VIDEO)

Source: TV Replay

Director Brett Ratner stopped by ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’(Weeknights., 12AM ET on ABC) and reminisced about his friendship with Michael Jackson. They were such good buddies that Ratner even stayed in “The Elizabeth Taylor Suite” at Jackson’s house when Taylor wasn’t there.

They met when Ratner was making the first ‘Rush Hour’ movie and he says all the King of Pop wanted to do was play practical jokes on people. One night the pair went for a drive around Santa Barbara in Jackson’s enormous stretch limo and they got their kicks by throwing water balloons out the window.

Unfortunately for a homeless guy who just happened to be walking by, Jackson had a good arm and hit him with a water balloon before driving off. Fortunately for Jackson, he was wearing a Hulk mask so his victim never knew who’d soaked him. Until maybe now, that is …


Donations For Flowers For Michael and Katherine (Please Read)

Source: The Michael Jackson Fan Club

As you all may know, the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray will soon be drawing to a close. Prosecutors and defense attorney’s have indicated that the case will likely go to the jury by next week. Jury deliberations are not expected to last very long and we will soon have a verdict in the involuntary manslaughter case.

Regardless of the outcome, MJFC has decided it would be fitting to place flowers at the cemetery and to have flowers delivered to Mrs. Katherine Jackson when the verdict comes in. It just seems like the right thing to do. If you would like to donate to the effort to send flowers to Michael and to Mrs. Jackson after the verdict, you can do so Here.

Because we understand that these are lean times for many, and since we already have a couple of contests currently running on MJFC, we have decided to combine the FLOWERS For Michael and Katherine effort with the current MJFC raffle for the set of 2 picture discs. What this means is that, if you have already donated to MJFC in order to be entered in the drawing for the picture discs, then you have already donated to the FLOWERS effort. Thank you!

This also means that when you donate to the FLOWERS effort, you will automatically be entered into the drawing for the picture disc set. In this way, we are basically eliminating the raffle contest and giving away the picture discs to one lucky fan for donating to the FLOWERS project. That way, we are only asking you for money once and you get the chance to win something cool while helping to do something nice for Michael and for his mother.

We will be accepting donations for FLOWERS from now until the case is presented to the jury. When that happens, donations will be closed so that MJFC can make arrangements to have the flowers delivered. Once the flowers are delivered, the winner of the picture discs will be contacted by email.

Administrator’s Note: I have donated to this cause and I wanted to give others the opportunity to do so because I also believe that it is the right thing to do to show Mrs. Jackson how much we care and to remember our darling Michael.

Cutie Pie

Artists With The Most Top 10 Singles In Music History

Source 94.7 The Wave Radio – By Britt Bickel / Morning Show Editor

There’s something to say about an artist who’s cracked the Top 10 on the Hot 100 Billboard Charts multiple times during their career, especially these eight music legends who’ve reigned the charts the most out of any artist in history.  With the Hot 100 charts currently dominated by the likes of Lady Gaga, Justin Bieberand Rihanna, these young artists have a long way to go before ever catching up to these icons!

See the top eight artists who’ve scored the most top ten singles ever in music history from least to most!

#4. Michael Jackson — 28 top ten singles

With the title as the King of Pop, Michael Jackson has graced the charts since he was 10 years old singing with his brothers in The Jackson 5. As he grew older, Michael broke off into his own successful solo career that included hits like “Rock With You,” “Billie Jean,” “Thriller,” and the list could go on.

Other Artists Listed:
#1 Madonna – 37 top ten singles
#2 Elvis – 36 top ten singles
#3 Beatles – 29 top ten singles
#5 Elton John – 27 top ten singles
#6 Janet Jackson – 27 top ten singles
#7 Mariah Carey – 27 top ten singles
#8 Stevie Wonder – 27 top ten singles
To read the entire story click here:

Coming Soon: “All Things Michael’s” First Contest and Other Updates

October marks the one year anniversary of “All Things Michael.” My intention was to have a contest to celebrate this milestone during this month, but in the light of the trial, I didn’t feel it is appropriate nor do I feel very celebratory at this time.  Earlier this year,  I stated on a blog update that I planned to have a contest. After the trial is over, I will have the contest in November.  The details and prizes will be announced soon so please stay tuned for details.

Also, I want to thank you for your patience with some of menu updates such as the fanfic stories, poems and the fashion icon page.  All that will be forthcoming. I haven’t felt much inspiration to write at this time, so I have only posted news stories and topics about Michael. I have posted updates to Ingrid’s story “How Different His Life Could Have Been” since it was written previously.

I thank you for your continued support of this site. It was created in love to express the real truth and the inspiration of Michael Jackson. May his sweet compassion, beautiful music and astounding legacy continue to last forever.

Much love,

Cutie Pie ♥

Billie Jean Listed As 100 Greatest All Time Songs

Source: Time.com – Richard Corliss
Michael Jackson
Artist: Michael Jackson
Year Released: 1982

The song-set that made Michael Jackson the sensation of his generation, and the all-time best-selling album by far (110 million to runner AC/DC’s Back in Black’s 49 million), Thriller is a milestone in the history of pop music—and pop movies. With his seven videos off the nine-song album, Jackson crashed the informal color barrier of MTV, while validating the channel’s creed that music videos were not just marketing tools but potent cinematic statements. And the breakthrough came with a song, written by Jackson, that his producer Quincy Jones thought too weak to include. Supposedly based on a sad and absurd real-life incident in which a troubled woman accused Jackson of fathering one of her twins (“She says I am the one,/ But the kid is not my son”), “Billie Jean” is a denial of paternity—a celebrity’s cry of victimhood. To a funky riff in a minor key, the song tells female fans that a star like Jackson is both irresistible and untouchable. They are condemned to heartbreak, he to solitude.

The “Billie Jean” video, directed by Steve Barron, snapped the neck of everyone who saw it with its straight-on display of Jackson’s star quality. A sinister sleuth trails Michael with tabloid allegations, as the singer slouches poutily in his pink shirt and bowtie. Not until nearly two minutes into the video does he start dancing, and then it’s phenomenal. Any pavement flagstone, trash-can rim or back-alley stair his feet land on glows magically. The bed sheets he slips into turn phosphorescent. His moves are no less radiant: little miracles of spinning, strutting, hunching and moonwalking. The new medium had its ultimate showman, for Michael Jackson was not just the Al Jolson and Fred Astaire of music videos but his own beautiful, bad self.

Read more: http://entertainment.time.com/2011/10/24/the-all-time-100-songs/#ixzz1br2KmdSf

I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution

MTV has been around so long that it’s a cliché to chide the network for no longer playing actual music videos. This year marks the channel’s 30th anniversary, and to celebrate the occasion, veteran music journalists Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum have assembled the authoritative oral history on MTV’s first decade, which they consider the music video channel’s golden era. For I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution (Dutton, $29.95), Marks and Tannenbaum conducted more than 400 interviews with rock stars, wannabes, VJs, executives, directors and washouts. The compulsively readable book charts the telegenic New Wave revolution, Michael Jackson‘s explosive Thriller videos, Madonna’s voracious sex appeal, hair metal’s vapid ascent, the rise of rap and MTV’s first cautious steps toward reality programming. The authors chatted with Brian Braiker for USA TODAY.

Q. A lot of people you spoke with were awfully forthcoming.

C.M.: Everybody who agreed to talk to us has really fond memories of that era. From what they can remember they had a good time. (Laughs)

R.T.: I wasn’t surprised. The music business is full of crazy characters and maniacs and drug addicts and geniuses. One of the reasons the book is so much fun to read is everyone is on a budget these days. The ’80s was one of the last crazy times in the music business.

Q. And early on, they started a music video channel when there were no videos, really.

RT: MTV was based around promoting a product that barely existed. Who does that? MTV’s business plan was that someone else would give them videos for free and they would air them. But hardly anyone was making videos. That’s not a business plan, that’s chutzpah.

Q. Is there any one artist you can point to and say without that artist MTV may not have made it?

RT: Absolutely: Michael Jackson is the man who saved MTV. The irony is that for the first couple of years the network was on the air, they hardly ever played black musicians. MTV executives would say they weren’t discriminating against black people; they were just programming rock.

Q. Like a radio station.

RT: Which is kind of a persuasive argument until you understand that a lot of what they were playing wasn’t just rock ‘n’ roll. They were also playing ABC, which was a white R&B act. So, if you can play a white R&B act, why can’t you play a black R&B act? I think that’s part of what made people angry about MTV. So Michael Jackson starts making videos for Thriller in 1982 and at that point MTV is probably three bad months away from being shut down.

CM: It also showed how mercenary MTV was, and I mean that as a compliment, by going from in January 1983 not really playing urban videos to November ’83 not only playing it but saying “come back in 10 minutes, we’re going to play Thriller again.” Whatever worked, worked. They were happy to swallow their pride.

Q.What’s the first instance of MTV being a kingmaker?

CM: Most of the acts of the English New Wave: Flock of Seagulls, Culture Club, Duran (Duran) probably, Stray Cats. All of these bands, their image is what sold them first in America.

RT: John Sykes and Tom Freston, two of the important early MTV employees, go on a business trip to Tulsa, Okla., and they discover that Duran Duran records are selling. But Duran Duran haven’t played in Tulsa and the radio station isn’t playing them. They call back to the New York office triumphant because Duran Duran was selling in Tulsa. That effect began to spread throughout the country.

Q. Do you have a favorite video or couple of videos?

CM: I became really enamored of those videos that just didn’t make sense. You could tell the stars were either having a laugh or out of their minds on drugs or both. The one I watched over and over again is the Bonnie Tyler video Russell Mulcahy directed, Total Eclipse of the Heart. It’s spectacularly nonsensical and over the top and dramatizes all the best and worst virtues of MTV in that era where one image piles on top of the other where they not only made no sense, but were counterintuitive against one another. And there’s crazy sexuality and melodrama.

Q.Was there anyone that was really bitter, whose career didn’t end up where they expected and maybe blames MTV?

RT: What surprised me was that some of the more minor bands didn’t want to talk about it. Like a-Ha. Ninety-five percent of a-Ha’s career is one music video. They have a love-hate relationship with Take on Me. It’s a great song but it’s a magnificent video. The video came to overshadow their band and their career.

CM: Some of the hair metal people have feelings against the way that their reign ended. And they blame MTV rightly or wrongly for that. No artist likes being told they’re no longer cool, and MTV was a very visible way to be told that.

Q.Is there someone who talked to you who surprised you?

CM: They’re not as sexy as the stars, but the people who founded MTV. Particularly one guy I liked named Les Garland. He out-excessed all the rock stars. He also made the company a lot of money. His enjoyment of the lifestyle was tied into his job requirements. That’s also typical of the era. It’s missing, absent almost entirely from popular music these days.

Q. Is that excess to be mourned, or are we all going to live a little longer for its demise?

CM: Probably both. As a writer, it’s to be mourned. Because who wants to hear stories about people going to the gym and then checking their eTrade accounts online?

Q. Is there a corollary today to MTV as a cultural power broker or is that moment gone?

RT: There is no centrifugal point in the culture any more. If you were 12 years old in 1982, your popularity in school was determined only by whether or not your parents had MTV. That was the last time we were all more or less unified.

Q. Where are the original VJs now? Are they happy people?

CM: It was the greatest job in the world. They loved it.

RT: I think some of them are a little envious of the money and the opportunities that MTV stars have now. But I think if you said to Martha Quinn would you switch places with Snooki, she’d say not for all the money in the world.

Q. Is there anyone who should be nervous about this book coming out?

CM: I hope there are, or we didn’t do a good job as journalists.


Celebrating Invincible Month – From Dancing With The Elephant – Part 1: Unbreakable; Part 2:; Part 3: That Amazing Voice; Part 4: Threatened!!!(Updated)

Source: Dancing With The Elephant – Conversations About Michael Jackson, His Art and Social Change http://dancingwiththeelephant.wordpress.com/

By Joie Collins, Founding Team Member of “The Michael Jackson Fan Club” and Willa Stillwater, Author of M Poetica: Michael Jackson’s Art of Connection and Defiance

Administrator’s Note: Used by permission of Ms. Collins.  I do not own the rights to this article, its images or contents.

Willa:  This week Joie and I are kicking off a month-long series on the Invincible album with a close look at “Unbreakable,” a defiant battle cry we both love with some really fascinating lyrics.

Joie:  I love “Unbreakable.” It is a fascinating song with lyrics that just jump right out at you simply because they are like a window into what life must have been like for him.

Now I’m just wondering, why you think
That you can get to me, with anything
Seems like you’d know by now
When and how, I get down
and with all that I’ve been through, I’m still around

It’s as if he’s addressing all of the Sneddons, the Dimonds, the Chandlers – all the tabloids of the world – and saying, “You tried your best but, I’m still here and there’s nothing you can do about it!”

Willa:  I agree, and I love the way you put that. In fact, a lot of songs on Invincible seem like “a window into what life was like for him,” and I really see that in “Unbreakable.” It’s such a defiant response to everything he’s been going through, and I’m especially struck by this line:  “You can’t touch me ’cause I’m untouchable.”

In the caste system in India, Pakistan, and other parts of the world, Untouchables were (and in some places, still are) the people at the very bottom, the lowest of the low. They were perceived as impure – so impure that if they touched you, even brushed up against you accidentally, you would become impure also. That’s why they were “untouchable” – because you must never touch them, or let them touch you.

When I was in sixth grade, I became friends with an elderly woman who lived near us who became a doctor back when very few women were doctors. She spent nearly 30 years working in Pakistan and India, and was just an incredible person. I loved to visit her and listen to her stories, and hearing about the Untouchables made a big impression on me. I used to wonder what it would be like to have everyone you loved or everything you cared about be corrupted by your touch – kind of like King Midas, but worse. Your touch turns everything impure rather than to metal.

That was Michael Jackson’s life after the 1993 allegations. His public image became so toxic, so impure, that anyone who supported him, any place that gave him sanctuary, any project he worked on was tainted as well. His friends and family, even his fans, were ridiculed in the press, and Lisa Marie Presley was treated horribly – nearly as badly as he was. “What More Can I Give,” a song to benefit victims of the September 11th terrorist attack, was portrayed as a cynical ploy to improve his image by exploiting a national tragedy. And his efforts to help children in need were criticized as, at best, inappropriate and, at worst, additional evidence of his brazen moral corruption. In other words, by the time Invincible came out, he had become an Untouchable. No one in the press believed his motives were genuine or pure, and everything he touched was symbolically contaminated merely by association with him.

In the chorus of “Unbreakable,” he seems to acknowledge this (“You can’t touch me ’cause I’m untouchable”) but then he does something remarkable that he did throughout his career:  he takes that cultural narrative and flips it inside-out, completely rewriting it. “You can’t touch me ’cause I’m untouchable” doesn’t feel like a concession. It feels like a declaration of strength. He’s “untouchable” because he’s too powerful to be touched, too invincible to be hurt. He conveys this redefinition both through the sheer power of his voice when singing this line and through a parallel line that echoes the first, emphasizing this bold new meaning:

You can’t touch me ’cause I’m untouchable . . .
You’ll never break me ’cause I’m unbreakable

He sings these lines six times over the course of “Unbreakable,” including three times in succession at the end of the track. These words are important, and in some ways capture in miniature what Jackson did over and over throughout his work. He’s positioning himself with the dispossessed and giving them a voice – in this case, those (including himself) classed as impure, outcast, “untouchable” – while fundamentally changing the narrative that disempowers them. In this context, his cry that “I’m untouchable” becomes a defiant challenge to those who try to twist his motives and impose their worst interpretations onto him.  

Joie:  Wow. Ok, Willa. Now you have officially blown me away with that one!! I have never thought of “Unbreakable” in terms of caste. I have read about the caste systems in various parts of the world and you’re right, it is both fascinating and sad to think about. But I had never viewed this song in those terms.

I have to make a confession here. I absolutely adore the Invincible album. I am in love with it actually and most of the time, it runs a very close race with Dangerous as they vie for the title of my favorite Michael Jackson album. I have multiple copies of both of them. They are the only two Michael CDs that I must have at least 3 copies of at all times (one for my car, one for my husband’s truck, one for the CD player in my kitchen so that I can have music while I cook dinner). And that doesn’t even count the ones that I have given away over the years to friends and family members or the digital copies on my computer and my iPod.

So, needless to say, I have listened to this album about a million times and when listening to “Unbreakable,” that line about being untouchable never struck me that way before. I am really intrigued by this idea that he was identifying with the lowliest people on earth through that line and now that you’ve pointed it out, it just makes so much sense to me. Really profound observation! And you’re completely correct when saying that anyone who supported him was tainted as well. And I think, as fans, we can all attest that we still feel that way, to some degree. That stigma never really let up. Not for us and certainly not for him or his family.

Willa:  That’s interesting, because that line has always struck me that way, maybe because of those stories my friend told me way back in sixth grade, and because of the strong parallels to his life at that time. That’s one reason I think it’s so valuable to share interpretations of his work – because we all bring different ways of seeing and we can learn so much by sharing those different views. I’ve learned so much through my conversations with you. And this line from “Unbreakable” has always evoked a very powerful image for me – of Michael Jackson being made to feel ashamed and “untouchable” for something he didn’t do, and then rewriting that as a declaration of strength.

But you’re right, that stigma never let up, and the consequences were horrible – personally, professionally, and artistically. We see references to the pain of that stigma throughout Invincible. It’s like he can never escape it, and I really don’t know how he endured it for so long. It also ham-strung his efforts to help others, which had to be incredibly frustrating for him. He was passionately committed to social change and improving the lives of those classified as outsiders – a commitment we see throughout his career from “Ben,” his first solo hit when he was 13 years old, to the “Earth Song” number he was working on the day before he died. Yet he was severely hampered after 1993 because everything he did was seen through this lens of corruption and impurity. By 2001 he had matured into a truly amazing artist and should have been at his peak creatively, but he was shackled by those allegations. Not only was he reviled in the press, but other artists became reluctant to work with him – even his own record company was hesitant to support him.

Joie:  You’re absolutely right and I feel like in many ways, he never totally rebounded from the ’93 allegations. In fact, I often find myself wondering how his career would have been different if it had never happened. I mean, he was such an extraordinary talent with so much passion and imagination so, I wonder what amazing things he could have accomplished in his career – and in his life -  had the allegations in ’93 never happened. How would his career have unfolded if he had never been falsely accused of the most horrible of crimes? But I know those thoughts are pointless because, the allegations did happen and here we are. But as for Invincible, I also wonder what heights this truly incredible album could have seen if Sony had gotten behind him and promoted it properly.

This month there is a whole movement by Michael fans around the world to get the Invincible album to number one on the charts during October. It’s called the Invincible Campaign and its mission is two-fold. The first order of business is to get the album to number one in celebration of its 10th Anniversary (it was released in October, 2001). The second purpose of the campaign is to let the music from the album serve as a sort of backdrop or a peaceful banner for Michael during the trial of Conrad Murray in order to remind the world that Michael’s art was “Unbreakable” and “Invincible.”

Willa:  It also encourages fans, as well as the public at large, to take a second look at an album that never received the attention it deserved when it was first released. There’s a long tangled history here, but the result was that Sony didn’t promote it well, as you say. Much worse, to my mind, is that Sony prevented him from producing the videos he had planned for this album. I believe his visual art was as important as his music – that, in fact, he was able to express his ideas more fully through film than music – so cutting off that avenue of artistic expression from him is tragic, for him and us. Can you imagine the Thriller album without the videos for “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” or “Thriller?” He made ten videos for the Bad album and nine for Dangerous, but Sony cut him off after two for Invincible, refusing to let him create the video he had planned for “Unbreakable,” or any others – a decision that infuriated him. (It was after this decision that he launched the protests in Harlem.)

Joie:  Actually, Michael only really created one video for the Invincible album as he was so upset with Sony at the time that he refused to participate in the video for “Cry.” But you’re right, it was really such a shame that they chose not to support him.

Willa:  To me, that decision borders on criminal. What potential works of art did the world lose because of Sony’s short-sighted decision?  I’m sorry, but if Michelangelo has an idea for a sculpture and wants a 20-foot block of marble, you give him a 20-foot block of marble. You don’t tell him that marble is too expensive. You do everything in your power to provide him with whatever he needs to fulfill his artistic vision. And if Michael Jackson wants to create a video, then you do everything in your power to facilitate that. Can you imagine if the world had been deprived of Michelangelo’s David or the Pieta because he was denied the materials he needed to create them?

That’s how I feel about Sony’s decision. I’m just stunned that they would act this way – especially since you can make the argument that there wouldn’t even be a Sony music division as we know it without Michael Jackson – and I really wonder what he had planned for “Unbreakable.” It’s fascinating to think about, especially since this is such an intriguing song. For example, what about these lyrics: “You can’t believe it / You can’t conceive it.” What does that mean? What is he thinking? And would he have provided clues in the video he had planned – a video his own record company prevented him from making?

Joie:  I absolutely agree with you. What a HUGE mistake for Sony to virtually bail on their biggest artist, and it’s easy to understand why Michael felt that the company was plotting against him. I mean, even the album’s name frustrated him. The title track was, of course, supposed to be “Unbreakable” but, Sony “mistakenly” had the cover printed up with the wrong title song and by then it was too late to fix it.

But, I do want to point out that Sony was a very different place back then. Tommy Mattola, who was the head of Sony at the time and the one giving Michael such a hard time, is no longer there and hasn’t been since 2003. In fact, Sony has gone through three other chairmen/CEO’s since Matolla left so, it really is a different environment now than it was back then.

The whole fight between Michael and Sony became such a public mess with cries of conspiracy over the Sony/ATV catalog and I am certain that Michael had very good reason to feel the way he did. But the unfortunate outcome of it was that a truly wonderful work of art that Michael Jackson spent a great deal of time on, pouring his heart and soul into for months and months, got overlooked and pushed to the wayside in all of the confusion. The Invincible album is practically unknown outside of the fan world and it’s just such a shame that the rest of the world missed it because there are some real musical gems on this record. That’s why Willa and I wanted to do our part this October and help celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Invincible by doing a month-long series on the album.

And I have to admit that I did participate in the campaign’s buy event yesterday; I went out and purchased another copy of the CD. But, of course, I do that periodically anyway…. it’s like a sickness! I am obsessed with this album.

Willa:  Well, as you know, I’m not the most technologically advanced person in the world, but I have this iPod I’m gradually bonding with – at least, I’m comfortable checking email and searching the web with it now. But my son keeps laughing at me because I’m so cautious about using it. As he pointed out the other day, I let it “mellow” in its box for four months before I even opened it. Apparently he’d been monitoring the situation to see how long it would take, but finally decided I was going to let the warranty expire before I ever tried it so finally just opened it for me and got it going. (He has one too.) And then practically the first thing I did with it was somehow take a picture of my own eyeball. He thinks this is all very funny – just the whole situation of his 50-year-old mother trying to figure out an iPod. It cracks him up.

Anyway, I’ve had this thing for 10 months now and still don’t have any music on it, so I was thinking I might download Invincible – my first music download! – and support the campaign at the same time. Wish me luck! And then next week we’ll continue our discussion of this remarkable yet frequently overlooked album.

Song “Unbreakable” From Invincible Album (Not included in original article)


Part 2

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Willa: A few weeks ago, Pamela visited our blog and posted this comment:

I think whenever Michael wrote a song about a woman, the woman was us, the fans. I think he understood the love affair we had for each other (the fans and Michael)…. I felt he looked at us, the fans, as a single relationship and that was his inspiration. If you follow his songs, according to the major events in his life, you can see the feelings he writes about are how he thinks the fans are feeling about him during that time.

I thought this beautifully expressed an idea Joie and I have felt also: that Michael Jackson’s love songs can be interpreted as a romance with a woman, or more metaphorically as describing that ongoing “love affair” between him and his audience.

Seen in this way, it seems significant that Invincible has so many songs of unrequited or fading love. From “Heartbreaker” and “Invincible” in the thundering opening trilogy with their stories of cold-hearted women who don’t care about him or won’t give him a chance, to the lyrical “Don’t Walk Away” and “Whatever Happens” and their poignant depictions of a love affair in trouble and in decline, Invincible is filled with songs of unfulfilled love.

Joie: Willa, you know before reading M Poetica, I never really spent much time thinking about the love songs in terms of Michael’s relationship with his audience. I mean, it was always just sort of there, beneath the surface. But I never really thought about it in depth before you and I began discussing his work in a serious way. And now that I have been focusing on it more, it is amazing to me how it just jumps out at you.

For instance, listening to “Don’t Walk Away,” these lyrics in particular really strike me as so meaningful when viewing this song through that lens of Michael and his audience:

Don’t walk away
See I just can’t find the right thing to say
I tried but all my pain gets in the way
Tell me what I have to do so you’ll stay
Should I get down on my knees and pray

How can I stop losing you
And how can I begin to stay
When there’s nothing left to do but walk away

I close my eyes
Just to try and see you smile one more time
But it’s been so long now all I do is cry
Can’t we find some love to take this away
‘Cause the pain gets stronger every day

It’s as if he is begging us – the audience – to tell him how to fix it. He’s not asking us what went wrong; he’s well aware of the problems this relationship has faced over the years. But he doesn’t want to let it die. This relationship is very important to him and he’s willing to work at it: “Can’t you see, I don’t want to walk away,” he sings. He just needs to know how. He can’t figure it out so, he’s asking us. “How can I stop losing you?”

Willa: Oh heavens, Joie, those lines are so heart-wrenching for me, especially that last line, “Cause the pain gets stronger every day.” And for me it’s not an either-or decision of ‘is he talking about a romance’ or ‘is he talking about his audience’ – it’s both, simultaneously. It works as the story of a fading love affair with a woman, and as the troubled “love affair” Pamela described that he had with us, his audience.

inger on a crucial theme of this album. I was listening to all the songs of lost love on Invincible this afternoon and was really struck by this recurring theme that he’s inarticulate – either unable to speak at

And when he goes on to sing, “How am I to understand . . . why all my dreams been broken?” I can’t help but think of the aftermath of the 1993 allegations and how devastating that was, both for him personally and in terms of his relationship with his audience. I imagine there were many times when he felt that things had become so bad, there really was “nothing left to do but walk away.” But he didn’t. He kept trying to make it work.

Joie: It is just heartbreaking! And what makes it so painful in my mind are these lines: “I close my eyes / Just to try and see you smile one more time / But it’s been so long now all I do is cry.” That just tears me apart. How many times did we hear him say that he just wanted to make people happy? That he loved to be able to put a smile on someone’s face with his music? That’s what it was about for him – making us happy. But somewhere along the way he lost us; and he’s acknowledging that and he wants to fix it. But he just doesn’t know how. It’s like he doesn’t understand what it is we want from him. What does he have to do to make the audience love him again?

Heartbreaking. Particularly because the audience he’s singing to – or at least, the ones who are still paying attention – are already firmly on his side. We never left him; we never stopped loving him. But this song isn’t really directed toward us – the fans. Its intended audience is made up of the others – those who fell away when things got uncomfortable (they know who they are), those who eagerly took part in all the MJ-bashing that went on (the media), and those who jumped on the bandwagon because it got them a laugh or two (late-night comedians, talk show hosts, et.al.). Those are the people he’s really singing to in this song. And, as always with the general public, his pleas fell on deaf ears. No one heard his cries but us – the fans.

Willa: It is heartbreaking, and Joie, I think what you just said is so important. In fact, I think you put your fall, or speak in a way that will make a difference. In each of these songs, there’s a misunderstanding or some other barrier that is driving the couple apart or preventing them from connecting. He desperately wants to “tear down these walls” so she will see the truth and they will be united, but either he can’t speak or he can’t find the right words so she will listen to him. The title song, “Invincible,” begins with these lines:

If I could tear down these walls that keep you and I apart
I know I could claim your heart and our perfect love will start

But either he isn’t expressing himself in a way she understands, or she simply isn’t listening:

Now many times I’ve told you of all the things I would do
But I can’t seem to get through, no matter how I try to

As he tells us repeatedly in the chorus, “Even when I beg and plead, she’s invincible” – which perfectly parallels what you just said: “as always with the general public, his pleas fell on deaf ears.”

We see a similar situation in “Butterflies.” He’s trying to woo a woman, but he can’t speak, and she’s not listening anyway. It begins with these lines:

All you gotta do is walk away and pass me by
Don’t acknowledge my smile when I try to say hello to you
And all you gotta do is not answer my calls
When I’m trying to get through
Keep me wondering why, when all I can do is sigh

So again, he can’t communicate his thoughts and feelings to her – “all I can do is sigh.” As you quoted earlier, “Don’t Walk Away” begins with these lines:

Don’t walk away
See I just can’t find the right thing to say
I tried but all my pain gets in the way
Tell me what I have to do so you’ll stay
Should I get down on my knees and pray

This time he can speak, but not in a way that she understands – “I just can’t find the right thing to say” – so he silently prays instead.

He repeats this idea in “Whatever Happens,” a truly beautiful song I just love. (I played this song over and over while writing M Poetica. Writing that book took me to some pretty dark and uncomfortable places, and this song helped me get through it. I just kept playing that wonderful chorus – “Whatever happens, don’t let go of my hand” – and he sings it so beautifully). “Whatever happens” tells the story of a couple being torn apart by difficult circumstances in their lives, and once again his spoken words are ineffectual. All he can do is pray – in other words, speak to a higher power since he can’t seem to speak to her – and hope she somehow receives his message that way.

Everything will be all right, he assures her
But she doesn’t hear a word that he says
Preoccupied, she’s afraid . . .
He doesn’t know what to say, so he prays
Whatever happens, don’t let go of my hand

Over and over in these songs, we see this same situation of the protagonist unable to connect with the woman he loves because he can’t speak, and she can’t hear him – which is exactly how you described his relationship with the public at that time. He “can’t find the right thing to say,” and “she doesn’t hear a word that he says.” It’s pretty ironic because he’s an amazing songwriter and isn’t inarticulate at all. In fact, he’s very eloquent in describing his inarticulateness. However, it doesn’t matter how eloquent he is if his audience won’t listen to him, or misinterprets everything he says.

And then, in the midst of these songs of mute suffering, there’s “Speechless,” a beautiful expression of love and joy. The entire song is about his inability to speak – as the title says, he’s “speechless” – but it’s completely different this time. He’s speechless with joy. And even though he can’t speak, she understands and loves him anyway.

Joie: Willa, I am floored! Until this very conversation I never paid attention to the fact there are so many songs on this amazing album that fit into this formula of parallel stories – a man and his lover / Michael and his audience. Or that have this recurring theme of not being able to communicate with the person he loves (or connect with his intended audience). Now I have to go back and listen to it all over again with new ears!

But, I love what you said about “Speechless” and I think the reason his inability to communicate feels different here is because, once again, his target audience is different. First of all, I firmly believe that this song is not about a romance but about the most precious thing in Michael’s life – his children. So, that’s the first story here. But the parallel, metaphorical story is that he’s singing to a very specific audience. That special group of people who have stood by him through thick and through thin; the millions of people whose love and support of him never wavered even when things got ugly. He’s talking to his fans here and he is so moved by the depth of their love that he can’t speak. That’s the reason she understands him anyway – because she (the fans) truly loves him unconditionally, and always has. She understands what he’s feeling even though he can’t put it into words.

Willa: You know, when you said you felt “Speechless” was about his children, that reminded me of something Randy Taraborrelli wrote in his biography. He was doing a phone interview, I believe, and Michael Jackson told him that “Speechless” came to him while playing with a group of children. And of course, children are much more accepting than adults are. They don’t need to have everything explained to them in words – a hug works just as well. So thematically that fits also.

Joie: Well, I am loving this whole month-long Invincible celebration and I hope everyone else is too. Next week we’ll be talking about Michael Jackson’s vocal range and the fact that he’s often not given the credit he deserves for being a truly talented vocalist – something that the Invincible album highlights perfectly!


Part 3: That Amazing Voice

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Joie: I have been a Michael Jackson fan literally for as long as I can remember. Michael has been the one constant in my life from my earliest memories at age three. He was just always there. And I can remember being absolutely mesmerized by the sound of his voice. I have very vivid memories of sitting in the basement of our house when I was about 7 or 8 years old, on the floor in front of the very large stereo speakers, album cover in hand while I listened intently as he sang to me. Every day, I would spend hours down there alone – just me and the stereo and my albums – volume as high as I could get it without my Dad shouting for me to turn it down before I blew out the speakers. There was just something about that voice that captivated me and I have remained fascinated by it my entire life.

Michael is always revered as being a musical genius; he is always touted for his electrifying live performances, his gravity-defying dance moves, his astronomical sales records. But oftentimes, his amazing voice seems to take a backseat to all of that and I’ve never really understood that because he truly is one of the most talented vocalists to ever play the game, and Invincible is the perfect album to talk about when highlighting his broad vocal range.

Michael’s long-time vocal coach, Seth Riggs, explained once that Michael had an extraordinary vocal range. Riggs described him as a high tenor, or Countertenor with a range of 3.6+ octaves. E2 to B5, or 44 notes by the middle of the 1980s. And by the ’90s, Riggs said that his range had expanded to 4 octaves, allowing him to reach a few additional lower notes while still maintaining his highest ones. And that was all before utilizing falsetto – a technique used by male singers to reach notes outside of their usual (normal) range. Add to that the fact that Michael also had the ability to sing in staccato, singing complex rhythms in perfect timing.

Now, I am no student of the voice, by any means. But, what all of that technical mumbo-jumbo says to me is that Michael had one incredibly versatile vocal range and it only got better with age. And his massive body of work – and Invincible in particular – is evidence of that. In fact, it is the thing that I love most about this wonderful, incredibly underrated album: the fact that it allows the listener the opportunity to hear Michael’s entire vocal range, from the smooth falsetto of “Butterflies” to the surprisingly rich baritone of “2000 Watts.”

Willa: I’m certainly no expert about this either. In fact, I know very little about the technical aspects of singing and making music, but here’s an interesting YouTube video that gives an idea of his vocal range. And apparently that incredible range was no accident. I mean, part of it was sheer, innate talent, as we can see in the songs he recorded as a child. “Ain’t No Sunshine” just knocks me out. But there are also few singers – especially pop singers – as knowledgeable and as dedicated as he was to protecting and improving his voice.

Joie: No, it wasn’t an accident, you’re right. He worked tirelessly at maintaining and perfecting that God-given talent.

Willa: It’s true. Back in the 1980s, he planted a story in the media that he was sleeping in a hyperbaric chamber (one of his first media hoaxes – the first of many) and someone asked his sister Janet about it. She said she hadn’t seen a hyperbaric chamber around the house anywhere, but that if he was using one, it probably had something to do with his voice. He was just fanatical about caring for his voice. And Will.i.am tells a story about working with him in the studio. They had just about finished up this one song but decided they needed to add a little five-second snippet of his voice. Will.i.am says he warmed up for over an hour so his voice would be fully “open” when he recorded that five-second piece. Will.i.am says he couldn’t believe it, but of course, while that little segment took less than a minute to record, it would be preserved forever as part of that song, and he wanted it to be just right.

And he had an amazing range not only in the pitch of his voice, but in the texture of his voice as well. There are moments where his voice sounds so beautiful to me, just indescribably beautiful. But then there’s “Privacy,” where his voice isn’t beautiful at all. In fact, it’s really rough and raspy, almost gruff. My son has been running cross-country, and that’s how his voice sounds after a really hard run – really raspy and ragged. It reminds me of that expression of being “run ragged” – he’s been running so hard his voice has become ragged. And that’s how Michael Jackson’s voice sounds in “Privacy,” like he’s just been “run ragged” by the press and paparazzi. And of course, that supports the meaning of the song. I’m always fascinated by his ideas and the many techniques he uses to convey his ideas, and in this case, he’s conveying meaning not only through the words he’s singing, but through the texture of his voice as he’s singing those words.

Joie: That is very true, Willa. He was really great at bending his voice in order to convey a certain mood or feel. His voice really was his instrument and he was a master at it. His range was so versatile and yet, so distinctive at the same time. For example, on “Butterflies” his vocal performance was so crystal clear and beautiful, gliding effortlessly from the smooth tenor in the first verse to the sweet falsetto that we all love so much in the second verse. His vocals on that song propelled “Butterflies” to #13 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and to #2 on the Hot R&B Hip/Hop Singles chart. And that was all on airplay alone since Sony refused to release it as an official single. He repeats this tenor to falsetto movement on the very next song, “Speechless,” where his magical voice just soars above the building climax. But the a cappella snippet that opens the tune really sets the pure, innocent tone for the entire song – once again, using the quality of his voice to convey the mood that he’s going for.

Willa: Absolutely, and that’s such a great example. You know, it takes a lot of courage to expose your innermost feelings and let yourself be honest and vulnerable, and Michael Jackson had that kind of courage. It’s one of the things that has drawn me to him for so many years, since I first heard “Ben” as a little girl, and we see that honesty and vulnerability in the a cappella intro to “Speechless.” Then the strings come in, and the other instruments, and the choir, and it becomes incredibly lush and beautiful. And then at the end the instruments and background vocals drop away, and he’s alone and emotionally vulnerable again. It’s like he’s dropping all the pretense and letting himself be emotionally naked. It’s almost too much for me.

Joie: Another great example is the song “Shout.” Now, I know that this one isn’t actually on the Invincible album but, it was intended for Invincible and only missed being included by a hair when it was replaced at the last minute by “You Are My Life,” and it was released as the B-side to the “Cry” single. But I mention it here because it is another great example of how Michael frequently used the quality of his voice to convey the mood and paint a picture. Before even processing what he’s saying, you instantly get the sense that this is a song about indignation and frustration at the world’s problems – all through the quality of his voice. But “Shout” is also a wonderful example of his ability to sing in staccato. Something he does better than most, executing complex rhythms in perfect timing. We’ve seen him do this many times in the past on songs like “Jam” and “Tabloid Junkie.” It is almost like he’s rappin’ and he’s really good at it. You know, I heard him say once in an interview that he wasn’t very confident in his rappin’ ability but, I think this song shows that he shouldn’t have been so apprehensive about it. I’m not saying that he was a natural rapper by any means but, I do think he could certainly hold his own and I think this song proves it.

But, for me, the real revelation of Invincible has got to be “2000 Watts.” There is no doubt in my mind that if this song had been released on the posthumous Michael album instead of Invincible, there would have been a vicious outcry from fans insisting that this song wasn’t him. There has been a great deal of speculation over the years that his voice was somehow digitally altered for this song but, that is not the case. The rich and surprisingly deep baritone on this track is all Michael (with an assist from Teddy Riley on the speaking parts) in his natural voice – no digital tinkering added. And it is amazing! This has got to be one of my all-time favorite songs simply because it does showcase just how versatile, adaptable and skillful Michael really was with his instrument – which is that amazing voice.

Willa: OK, so here’s an embarrassing story. I was driving the first time I listened to Invincible – I bought the CD, unwrapped it while walking out to my van, popped it into the car stereo, and listened to it as I was driving home. So I’m driving and listening, “2000 Watts” comes on, and there’s this guy singing a fairly deep intro. I’m waiting for Michael Jackson to come in with the tenor part, but the intro is lasting a really long time. And then the song’s over. So I thought, oh, I must have been distracted by driving and missed the main part of the song, so I hit the replay button. The song starts up again, there’s the intro, more intro, more intro, I’m waiting for the tenor part to start, it’s not coming, and then the song is over again. What the heck? So I actually pulled over into a parking lot, dug out the liner notes, and read, “Lead vocals: Michael Jackson, Background vocals: Michael Jackson.” I was stunned. “That guy” singing the low “intro” part was him, and I hadn’t recognized him at all. I couldn’t believe it. Michael Jackson’s voice has been in my head for over 40 years, since I was 9 years old. There are times when his voice feels as familiar to me as my own hands. And I had just listened to him sing “2000 Watts” twice and hadn’t recognized him.

As you know, I love his lower voice. His high voice, when it’s soaring as it does sometimes, is so incredibly beautiful to me, and there are these lovely high trills scattered throughout Invincible that I simply love, like right after the bridge in “Don’t Walk Away.” But his low voice just does something to me. The first time I heard it was on “Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough.” I was a teenager, and that song was a revelation. The line “I’m melting like hot candle wax” has been making me blush for more than 30 years now, and his low voice on that song definitely adds to the mood. It is so sensual.

Joie: Willa, you blush so easily! But, I know what you mean. That low rumble in the background of “Don’t Stop,” towards the end where he sings, “Don’t stop, Baby…. Come on, Baby…. Don’t stop, Darling,” – really, really HOT!!

Willa: Heavens, Joie! You just completely fogged up my bifocals. Oh my. So, what were we talking about? Oh that’s right, that amazing but unsettling low voice on “2000 Watts.” To me, that voice feels completely different somehow from his low voice on “Don’t Stop” – it’s conveying a different mood and expressing a different idea. As you pointed out, the voice on “2000 Watts” doesn’t even sound like him at first, and I wonder if that startling unfamiliarity is intentional.

There are several recurring themes on Invincible. One is the theme of inarticulateness we talked about last week – this repeated idea that he’s unable to speak or communicate in a meaningful way so that others understand him. Another is the theme of alienation – that he’s the same person he’s always been, but we can’t recognize him. He’s the same, yet he’s become alien to us. We see that theme suggested over and over on Invincible, in everything from the album cover art, to lyrics, to his voice on “2000 Watts.” I played that song repeatedly the first few days I had Invincible, and I literally had to train myself to recognize that low growling voice as his voice. It felt really important to me to do that because it was so unsettling to hear his voice and not recognize him.

Joie: It’s really interesting to me that you say that because, for me, it wasn’t that I didn’t recognize his voice. Just the opposite in fact. It immediately sounded like Michael to me – just Michael singing in a decidedly lower tone of voice than we were used to hearing him. But, it works. And it works great! And, as you said, I LOVE this lower voice of his. I only wish he had used it a little more often so that the world could be aware of what the fans already know…. which is the fact that he really did have such a wonderful and varied vocal range.

Well, since we began this series with the first song on the album, it’s sort of fitting that we end it with the last song on the album so, next week, we’ll be wrapping up our Invincible celebration with “Threatened.” And since it is Halloween week, the spooky nature of the song will be perfect!


Part 4 – Threatened!!!!

Posted by Willa and Joie

Willa:  This week we’re looking at “Threatened,” a very unusual horror story told from the point of view of the monster, who’s trying to figure out why everyone is so frightened of him.

“Threatened” begins with an introduction by Rod Serling, but it’s more philosophical and psychological than frightening. As Serling says, “Tonight’s story is somewhat unique and calls for a different kind of introduction.” He goes on to say, “A monster has arrived in the village,” a typical scenario in horror movies, but then tells us, “The major ingredient of any recipe for fear is the unknown.” So instead of encouraging us to feel fear, as horror movies typically do, he’s asking us to step back and analyze that fear. He concludes the intro with “Oh yes, I did forget something, didn’t I? I forgot to introduce you to the monster,” and we immediately hear Jackson’s voice singing, “You’re fearing me.” Suddenly we realize that he’s the monster. And he’s trying to get inside our heads and understand us.

Joie:  It’s very interesting you should describe the monster that way because that is not the feeling I get from this song at all. It is absolutely told from the monster’s point of view but, I don’t believe he’s clueless as to why everyone is frightened. Just the opposite, actually. He knows why they’re afraid and he likes it. Not only does the monster know exactly what he’s doing but, he enjoys doing it. He is obviously having great fun scaring all of the people.

You should be watching me, you should feel threatened.
While you sleep, while you creep, you should be threatened.
Every time your lady speaks, she speaks to me, threatened.
Half of me you’ll never be, so you should feel threatened by me.

It’s as if he’s celebrating, reveling in the effect he has on those around him. He is something to behold and he knows it and he is taunting those who look down on him and mock him. They are jealous of his beauty, his talent, his power and he throws it in their faces. “You’re fearing me, ’cause you know I’m a beast,” he sings. It’s the kind of trash talking that you hear from sports fans and others about to go into battle on any given court, field, board game or boardroom.

Willa:  Well, Joie, I agree that he was certainly “something to behold!” And I agree this song has a defiant, in-your-face edge to it – “trash talking” is a good description. And it may be that in some ways he enjoyed people’s fearful response to him. But I also think he sees that fear as really dangerous, and he’s trying to understand where that fear comes from.

To me, this is another one of those songs that is directly addressing the current circumstances of his life. The media and a fairly large percentage of the population are treating him like a monster, and he’s exploring the reasons why. As the title suggests, he thinks people see him as a monster because they feel “threatened” by him, but why? What exactly is so threatening to so many people? What are they so scared of?

This to me is the crucial question at the center of “Threatened,” and the answers he suggests are fascinating. I tend to think people were threatened by the way he blurred boundaries of race, gender, and sexuality, but he points to a different source – and he has good reasons. After all, the frenzied media criticism started before he really began transgressing those boundaries. He released “Leave Me Alone,” a funny but defiant response to the media hysteria, in 1989 when his skin was still fairly dark.

Also one of his heroes, Charlie Chaplin, was demonized in the press just like he was – Charlie Chaplin was treated like a monster, a “moral leper,” for more than 30 years – yet Chaplin wasn’t challenging the same kinds of social boundaries Michael Jackson was. We see a similar demonization of Elvis, and Barry Gibb, and Barbra Streisand, and Britney Spears. In fact, we see this sort of mob mentality occurring fairly regularly throughout our history where the press and the public turn against a popular performer in really vicious ways, and I think Michael Jackson is using “Threatened” to both push back against that mob mentality as well as try to understand it.

As we see in the lyrics you cited, he suggests there are deep psychological reasons for these ugly witch hunts, including feelings of inadequacy and jealousy. After all, he’s a sex symbol – “Every time your lady speaks, she speaks to me, threatened” – and a very talented, very handsome, very successful rock star – “Half of me you’ll never be, so you should feel threatened by me.” He’s also a celebrity, and his fame has made him so much larger than life that no one else can measure up, so now there’s an impulse to knock him off his pedestal and cut him down to size.

Joie:  Willa, while I can agree that this song is addressing the usual monsters in Michael’s own experiences, I really don’t think that he’s trying to figure them out at all. That’s not what’s going on here. I don’t believe he is suggesting any kind of reasons for the fear and I don’t believe he’s even asking the question ‘why are you afraid.’ Instead, I feel he’s telling us that he already knows exactly what’s going on. He knows why they’re afraid. And not only is he telling them that he understands it, but he’s letting them know that they’re right. They have good reason to fear him. “I’ve got a spell on you,” he sings. Then he says this:

Your worst nightmare, it’s me I’m everywhere
In one blink I’ll disappear, and then I’ll come back to haunt you

He’s letting them know that he’s not going away. They should feel threatened because they can’t get rid of him. He’s unstoppable. They’ve tried their best – Sneddon, Dimond, the Chandlers, the tabloids – they’ve all tried their best to bring him down and they may have knocked him off his game for a minute but, he’s not done. They didn’t finish him off and now he’s back, better than ever. They can’t silence him, they can’t control him, they can’t reach him… they can’t break him. So, essentially, he is ending this album on the very same triumphant note that he began it on:  by telling all those who tried to stop him that, after all of their efforts and all that he’s been through, he’s still here. They “can’t believe it, …can’t conceive it.” But it is the very reason why they should feel threatened.

The chours of “Threatened” that I cited earlier is the same sort of defiant battle cry that we saw in the opening lines of “Unbreakable.”

Now I’m just wondering, why you think
That you can get to me, with anything
Seems like you’d know by now
When and how, I get down
and with all that I’ve been through, I’m still around

It is the exact same message, just different words. In essence, with Invincible, he has just taken the listener on a journey that has now come full circle. This message – that he is still standing, “steady laughin’, while surfacing” – is so important to him that he felt the need to repeat it at the end of the album. Just to make sure we got it, in case we missed it the first time around:

You should be watching me, you should feel threatened

He sounds glorious on this song, as if he is having the best time recording these vocals. As I said before, it almost sounds as if he is celebrating, and the menacing tone of his voice on this track is laced ever so slightly with pure joy. He clearly enjoys the role of the monster on this song and he’s having fun with it. And I believe he sounds joyful because he is defiantly reminding us that he is still here and his art and his ideas – his love – will forever be unbreakable. They can knock him off that pedestal and try to cut him down to size but, it will never really work. He’s not going away and they should be afraid of that. “Half of me you’ll never be, so you should feel threatened by me.”

Willa:  Wow, Joie, this is so intriguing to me. When we first started tossing around the idea of doing a post on “Threatened” and we each said how much we loved it, I just assumed we saw it the same way and loved it for the same reasons. I can’t believe we saw this song so differently. I really do love “Threatened” – it’s one of my favorite songs on Invincible – but I would never have said it was glorious or joyful or celebratory. But I have to say, I’ve been listening to it a lot lately, and I’m starting to come around to your way of thinking. Before, I was so focused on how horrible it must be to have everyone think you’re a monster, I just couldn’t imagine anything joyful about it. But you’re right, that’s also a pretty powerful position to be in, and he does seem to be “reveling” in that power, as you said earlier. He’s definitely flexing his muscles on this song, and he’s enjoying it. Wow, you’ve really expanded the way I think about this song, and that is so interesting to me.

I still see “Threatened” as an insightful psychological study, though, which is what drew me to this song in the first place. I think he’s exploring the reasons why this ugly mob mentality erupts every so often against popular performers, and the reasons he identifies are fascinating and have to do with the nature of celebrity itself, and that weird double-vision of celebrities being both very familiar to us and yet essentially unknown. You know, the scariest horror movies aren’t about monsters from outer space; they’re about someone or something trusted and familiar becoming alien and scary. The father in The Shining goes insane and attacks his own family. The parents in The Omen are murdered by a son who isn’t really their son. The daughter in The Exorcist is possessed by demons and becomes unknowable. The mother in Rosemary’s Baby discovers her baby is devil spawn. The scariest monsters aren’t Godzilla and King Kong – they’re a favorite doll or teddy bear or the family dog or a parent or child or trusted neighbor when they turn murderous and attack the ones who love them and trust them most.

Michael Jackson was so familiar to us in so many ways. Perhaps most important was his incredible capacity for empathizing with an audience. Over and over, people talk about this deep connection they felt with him. When he sang, you felt like he knew what you were thinking and feeling, and was expressing your own thoughts and emotions back to you. As he sings in “Threatened,” “I’ve got a spell on you,” and he did have a spell on us. We were spellbound by everything he did. And he wasn’t just a celebrity; he was a celebrity who grew up in front of us. We felt like we’d known him since he was a boy. So he seemed very familiar in that sense also.

Plus, he was such a celebrity and so incredibly well known, so there was that kind of familiarity also. As he goes on to sing in “Threatened,” “it’s me, I’m everywhere.” And it’s true, he was everywhere, and he still is. His face, his music, his dance moves, his glove and fedora, his whole iconography – it’s truly amazing, his influence is everywhere. I was watching a Schoolhouse Rock video with my son the other day, the one called “Dollars and Sense,” and suddenly the cartoon character moonwalks past a music store. He’s even in Schoolhouse Rock. You can’t escape him, just like you can’t escape the zombies in a horror flick.

Joie:  Oh, Schoolhouse Rock! I used to love those things. But exactly! That’s the point I was trying to make here. We can’t escape him because he is everywhere. Just like he tells us in this song,  “Your worst nightmare, it’s me I’m everywhere / In one blink I’ll disappear, and then I’ll come back to haunt you.” He knows that his influence is inescapable; he knows that no matter what they try to do to him, they will never be able to fully escape him and so, he taunts them with his words:   “You should be watching me, you should feel threatened.”

Willa:  I agree. But then he grew up and changed, and some people began to wonder if we really knew him as well as we thought. There began to be that deep, unspeakable fear of the familiar becoming alien and “threatening.” Then a man accused him of molesting his son, and that fear exploded. And as he tells us in “Threatened,” we can’t escape that fear because it’s not coming from him, it’s coming from us – it’s within us, within our own minds. It’s “the dark thoughts” inside our own heads:

You’re fearing me, ’cause you know I’m a beast
Watching you when you sleep
When you’re in bed, I’m underneath
You’re trapped in halls, and my face is the walls
I’m the floor when you fall
And when you scream it’s ’cause of me
I’m the living dead, the dark thoughts in your head
I heard just what you said
That’s why you’ve got to be threatened by me

This song just takes my breath away. It seems so brilliant to me on so many levels, with deep psychological insights, especially in the way it captures that complicated mix of fear and familiarity people felt for him.

But before we started talking, Joie, I’d never thought about that fear as a potentially powerful force for him – something he could use to move us in deep psychological ways – and that complicates this all still further. I’ve come to agree with you, it does sound like he’s reveling in that power, and for me that just opens up a whole new way of seeing this song. Wow.

Joie:  Well, Willa, you’ve made some great points about the familiar becoming scary and threatening and I find that all very fascinating. But for me, “Threatened” has always been one of my favorite songs on the Invincible album and from the very first time I heard it, I have always felt that this was a song of triumph and victory. A song of revelry or rejoicing. It’s an exhibition of sorts. ‘Look at me, I am here and I am magnificent!’ That’s the message I get from this song. That is what I hear every time I listen to it. And again, to me, it is a reaffirmation of the very same message we hear on the first song on the album. And to some that may seem like a bit of an ego trip or a bold statement for someone to make but, we’re talking about Michael Jackson here. The very same artist who floated a 32-ft. statue of himself down the Thames River to promote an album. That stunt certainly got people talking, and I imagine that “Threatened” was probably intended to do the same thing.

In his much-anticipated book, Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson, Joe Vogel tells us that Michael had intended on making a horror-themed short film for this song complete with cutting edge special effects but, of course that was scrapped when Sony pulled promotion. So, we’ll never know what he had in store for us with this one but, I’m sure like the song itself, it would have been something glorious.

Top Earning Deceased Celebrities

Source: Forbes – By Dorothy Pomerantz

It’s been two years since Michael Jackson passed away at the age of 50 but the King of Pop’s earning power shows no sign of waning. For the second year in a row, Jackson tops our annual list of the Top-Earning Dead Celebrities. Over the past 12 months Jackson’s estate brought in $170 million from sales of his music and his stake in the Sony/ATV catalog. That’s a big drop from the $275 million Jackson earned in the previous 12 months but it’s still enough to make him the second highest-earning pop act over the past year, dead or alive, after U2.

The 15 people on our list earned a combined $366 million between October 2010 and October 2011, which just goes to show that death is not the end when it comes to celebrities.

Songwriters who own their own work usually fare best on our list because their catalogs can keep selling well long after they’ve passed away. But now there’s a new way for dead pop stars to earn big: Cirque Du Soleil.

Full List: The Top-Earning Dead Celebrities

Jackson headed out on tour again this month with the Cirque Du Soleil show Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour. If it’s successful, Jackson could net more touring in death than he did in life. Cirque and the King of Pop’s estate will split costs and profits evenly, and the cost of touring a Cirque show is less than that of a glitzy Michael Jackson round-the-world extravaganza. On top of that, the estate will collect performance royalties every night because the show uses his songs, most of which he has songwriting credits on. (See: Michael Jackson And The Economics Of Touring After Death)

The Cirque show Viva Elvis helped Elvis Presley rank second on our list with $55 million. Of course Presley’s iconic songs, like “Hound Dog” and “Heartbreak Hotel,” still sell well and fans flock to Graceland. But a long-running Vegas show where tickets sell for as much as $175 a pop definitely gooses earnings. John Lennon, who ties for fifth on our list with $12 million, and George Harrison, tied for 13th with $6 million, both also benefited from Cirque. The show Love, based on Beatles music, has been running at The Mirage in Las Vegas since 2006.

For celebrities who don’t have a music catalog to profit from after death, it helps to have been incredibly glamorous. Elizabeth Taylor, who passed away in March, joins the list this year in fifth place (tied with Lennon) with $12 million. Most of that money comes from Taylor’s best-selling perfume White Diamonds. According to Euromonitor sales of the scent brought in $54 million in the U.S. alone in 2010. (See: Elizabeth Taylor: The Next Big Thing?)

Taylor’s estate is poised to earn much more in the coming months though when Christie’s auctions off the star’s jewels, art work and gowns starting Dec. 16. The jewels alone could bring in as much as $30 million. Taylor was so beloved that Christie’s has taken the items out on tour in the run-up to the auction.

Depending on how the executors of her estate decide to move forward with licensing her image, Taylor could soon become as big as Marilyn Monroe, who returns to our list with $27 million in earnings over the past year, ranking her third. Earlier this year Authentic Brand Management bought the rights to Monroe’s estate. The company, which also holds the rights to Bob Marley’s estate, is now trying to revamp the star’s image by going for more highbrow licensing deals like upscale clothing, fragrances and cosmetics. (See: Marilyn Monroe Makeover) A line of Marilyn Monroe cafes is in the works and don’t be surprised to see Monroe starring in films again. She’s already appeared opposite Charlize Theron in an ad for J’Adore perfume.

To place on this year’s list a deceased celebrity had to have earned at least $6 million between October 2010 and October 2011. To compile our list, we spoke to agents, lawyers and other sources to estimate each star’s gross earnings (before taxes, management fees and other costs).

Like Monroe, Bettie Page is enjoying a renaissance. The pinup girl, who died in 2008, is more in style than ever before, with a chain of stores called Bettie Page Clothing in places like Hollywood and Las Vegas selling clothes inspired by the model and B movie star. Those stores helped her estate earn $6 million this year, tying for 13th place on our list with Andy Warhol and George Harrison.


Michael Jackson Mom: “I Didn’t LIke the Title I Want You Back”

Source: Digital Spy - By Lewis Corner

Jackson 5

© Rex Features / Globe Photos Inc

Michael Jackson’s mother Katherine has claimed that she didn’t like one of her son’s most popular hits.

Jackson confessed that she wasn’t a fan of the Jackson 5′s iconic track ‘I Want You Back’ when she first heard it in the ’60s.

The mother of ten children made the revelation in Davide Gest’s documentary Michael Jackson : The Life Of An Icon, reports NME.

She explained: “I didn’t like it at all, the song that the children sang were more like soul music and to me ‘I Want You Back’ didn’t sound that way at all.

“The songs that were out at the time didn’t sound like that. I guess (Motown head and co-writer) Berry Gordy wanted it to bring out a different style.”

Gest’s documentary Michael Jackson : The Life Of An Icon will be released on DVD on October 31.

It was recently reported that the Jackson family are organizing a Michael Jackson tribute concert to be held in Tokyo, Japan in December.

Watch David Gest introduce an exclusive clip of Michael Jackson : The Life Of An Icon for Digital Spy below:


By MJ WAS A CUTIE PIE Posted in Videos

“Hold My Hand” Nominated For Record Of The Year Soul Train Music Awards 2011

Source: The Examiner – By Katrina Wheeler

The legendary King of Pop, Michael Jackson remains one of the most popular artists of all-time. It is clear that his fans are thrilled to keep his legacy of music and dance alive. According to a new report, Michael Jackson has been nominated for an award at the 2011 Soul Train Awards.

As AceShowBiz reports, Michael Jackson has been nominated in the following category: Record of the Year (The Ashford & Simpson Songwriter’s Award). The song for which he is nominated is “Hold My Hand” which features Akon. Adele, Beyonce, Marsha Ambrosius, and Raphael Saadiq are also nominated in the category.

Michael Jackson is a huge star, and his “Number Ones” album was recently #168 on the Billboard 200 chart. His music is timeless, and his continued impact and influence can be seen in every part of the world. He has fans all over the world. The 2011 Soul Train Awards is set to be taped on November 17 in Atlanta.

Continue reading on Examiner.com Soul Train Awards 2011: Michael Jackson’s ‘Hold My Hand’ gets nomination – National Jackson family | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/jackson-family-in-national/soul-train-awards-2011-michael-jackson-s-hold-my-hand-gets-nomination#ixzz1bhwIbqf5

In Memory of William McQuain And All The Lost Children Around The World

This is the first You Tube video that I ever made, but I have dedicated it to little William and his mother Jane.  This story broke my heart to the core.  No child should ever have to suffer such cruelty but unfortunately, it happens too often everyday.


Please watch this video and remember the faces that you see.  It may bring a happy ending to some family whose keeping alive hope for safe return of their loved one.

RIP peace, sweet angels. ♥ Love, Cutie.

To report a missing child or to provide information, please call 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) at The National Center for Exploited and Missing Children


Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson Show Makes U.S. Premiere

Source: wltx.com – By Derry London

Cirque Du Soleil’s Michael Jackson tribute, “The Immortal World Tour,” takes the stage in Montreal. (USA Today)

DETROIT – Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson tribute started its long American journey Saturday night, whirling, twirling, moonwalking and occasionally defying gravity in a colorful performance at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena.

After a couple of weeks in Cirque’s Canadian homeland, The Immortal World Tour made its U.S. premiere in Detroit – the town where Berry Gordy groomed the Motown star he’d one day eulogize as “the greatest entertainer that ever lived.”

A diverse, multigenerational audience of more than 10,000 filled the Joe, with wide-eyed kids and head-bobbing grandmas alongside the Jackson diehards with their white gloves and bags of tour merchandise.

It was a typically animated Motor City crowd. Cries of “I love you, Michael!” and “Go, girl!” rang out as Cirque’s nimble performers did their thing, with cheers greeting each appearance of Jackson – even his autograph – on the video screens.

In a two-hour, blink-and-you-missed-it show that was often captivating, at times moving, Jackson’s vocals on Childhood set the tone early: “Like fantastical stories to share / The dreams I would dare / Watch me fly.”

Not that Cirque and its cast of dozens needed much prompting: The company’s trademark whimsy and splashes of surreal were applied generously throughout, with a five-man dancing clown group, a liquid-limber mime and a costumed chimp Bubbles as main characters.

Jackson’s music was less a soundtrack than a showpiece of its own, his recorded vocal tracks meshed with a band led by Detroit native and longtime Jackson collaborator Greg Phillinganes.

Still, some of the show’s most extensive sequences turned on less-than-blockbuster fare (Earth Song, They Don’t Care About Us, Gone Too Soon), and while the hooks were plentiful, fans who came for full-blown readings of hits such as Billie Jean likely left frustrated.

Even accounting for its design as a concert-theater hybrid, the show often seemed caught between multiple minds, never quite sure where to commit its energies. Athletic group dance numbers (Scream) mingled with cinematic sequences (the robot army of They Don’t Care About Us) amid vintage Cirque fare, including the gorgeous aerial ballets of Human Nature and I Just Can’t Stop Loving You.

With no straightforward storyline, the show was structured as a series of vignettes, the gates of Neverland Ranch opening to a kind of dreamscape. But what it lacked in narrative, Immortal compensated with ample visual candy: There was a graveyard party for Thriller, a Chicago-gangster period piece for Smooth Criminal, a live-cartoon, Afro-topped celebration of early Jackson 5.

And surely Jackson would have been the first to approve the giant boogieing glove of Beat It, the performers sent spiraling into the air on Dancing Machine, and the seemingly boneless contortionist working the pole on Dangerous.

The show’s emotional flow was gentle, and there was a genuine sweetness to go with the visual sizzle. All came to a grand finale with the night’s most energetic stretch, the closing Black or White, a multicultural celebration and global flag array that paired America’s Stars and Stripes with New Guinea’s bird icon.

There was one big change from the Canadian rollout earlier this month: The show’s Giving Tree- centerpiece of the Mark Fisher-designed set – was denuded, its fiberglass branches back in Montreal for mechanical tweaks. The pruning was prompted by artist-safety concerns, according to a show representative, and the tree is expected to be restored for Friday’s Toronto stop.

That left the already starless show without its visual anchor, though the tree’s trunk remained as an occasional scampering spot and launch pad for the cast of acrobats and aerialists.

Saturday was a brief stateside swing for Immortal, which will play several more Canadian dates before resuming its U.S. run Nov. 9 in Seattle. From there, it’s at least 49 more stops – including a December residency at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas – before the tour heads to Europe and Asia.

Columbia will experience Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson The Immortal starting April 27th, at the Colonial Life Arena.


Michael Jackson’s Stylist Rushka Bergman: “The King of Pop” Costume Exhibition

Source: The Huffington Post – By Malcolm Harris

As I reluctantly pulled myself out of bed the other morning, plopped down at the computer and slowly began slipping into my morning routine, I was struck by the trending topic everywhere I clicked — Michael Jackson. I immediately felt a pang of discomfort as I was sure this trending had something to do with either Dr. Conrad Murray’s trial and/or the controversial Jackson Family Tribute Concert recently held in England. But imagine my happy surprise as I clicked on the topic du jour and the first images that popped up were of Vogue editor Rushka Bergman and The King of Pop.

Well, it turns out while Mister GoLightly was out and about in the city that never sleeps, faithful America’s Next Top Model fans were being treated to a trilogy of fabulousness, “The Kardashians, The Jacksons and La Rushka Bergman.” Give me a moment while I collect myself from the thought of all this fabulosity in one place. Personally, I stopped watching Top Model after the outrageous and outspoken Miss Jay was removed from the judges’ panel, but clearly from all of this morning and last night’s online chatter, ANTM has life left in it yet. So as I sat in my chair, sipping a hot, steaming cup of regret, it suddenly dawned on me that I possessed something that 99.9 percent of the viewers of ANTM could only dream of — Ms. Bergman’s mobile number.

So, before my brain could catch up with my index finger, there I was, feverishly dialing one of the most genius and brilliant, not to mention busiest, fashion editors in the world hoping she would spare five minutes for an impromptu interview.

If any of you guys were tuned in the other evening, I am sure you can imagine that Rushka has a way of answering the telephone like no one else: “Hello daarrrllliiinnnggg — It’s Rrrrrrushka. Rrrrrrushka Bergman.” I must admit, I’m always just a little tickled everytime I hear her sparkling voice accompanied by her dramatic accent. She is a total character — a sort of Diana Vreeland meets Arianna Huffington. Smart, sassy, sophisticated, worldly, confident — the list goes on and on. Rushka truly possesses all those magical qualities that one wishes for in a person that lives, breaths and worships fashion.

No matter what the topic, one is always struck by her honesty and compassion for her fellow creatives as well as the creative process. So there we were, all connected, with me dying to get her opinion on her latest television appearance on ANTM. But before I could get a word in edgewise, between the darlings, sweeties, and divines — Ms. Bergman had invited yours truly to drop everything and meet her for an early lunch. Now, to the average fashion enthusiast, this might not seem like a big deal, but in my world this is like being granted an audience with the Pope, or at least the High Priestess of Chic. So I quickly rearranged my schedule, got myself all spruced up and off I went “lightly” into Gotham City to break bread with the fabulous Rushka Bergman.

Let me tell you, to walk down the city streets with Ms. Bergman of Italian Vogue is absolutely priceless. Everyone is staring at her — but she is staring only at you. Rushka is like a walking encyclopedia of all things cool, next level and fine art. I don’t even think she actually uses the word fashion in her vocabulary — it’s simply a given that it is at the epicenter of her universe. So imagine my shock once we had been seated for only a few minutes before she began explaining and sharing with me her top secret plans on her next big project. At one point I had to survey the lavish Italian restaurant to make sure I wasn’t being punk’d. Once I realized it was all on the up-and-up, I immediately begged her to let me share this new information with my readers. At first my proposition was met with gracious and elegant resistance –but slowly I could see the catharsis taking place. I’ve had the unique pleasure in my career of working with some amazing artists, activists as well as revolutionaries, and there is always a point in the process when true visionaries realize that a project, idea or concept — is much bigger than anything they could have ever envisioned. So imagine hearing these words come out of Rushka Bergman’s own mouth — Michael Jackson’s Costume Exhibition.

I can’t contain myself — I’m still swooning over this revelation. A Michael Jackson Costume Exhibit curated by his personal stylist, confidant and friend — Rushka Bergman. It’s almost too brilliant and genius for Mister GoLightly to comprehend.

It turns out that Ms. Bergman has been quietly working on this project for several years and has been holding it very close to her vest as well as her heart. I even got the feeling that perhaps Rushka and Michael may have been secretly planning this exhibition well before his passing. I will admit, at a certain point I became a bit teary-eyed as I listened to her explain the visual symphony of such an undertaking; the costumes, the designers, the archives, the music, the beads, the GLOVE. With everything she was planning and envisioning, one thing struck me — there was never a mention of money, budget, fame or profit. This is so rare these days, as whenever you normally hear the name Michael Jackson it is always followed by the proverbial sound of “kerching-kerching!” As Ms. Bergman continued to describe her daunting plans in her harmonic English meets Italian meets Serbian vernacular, I found myself once again covered in goose bumps. I knew that not only was I privy to listening to the beginning stages of perhaps one of the greatest costume exhibits of our life time, but I was also bearing witness to a true labor of love.

As our lunch date came to an end and I was forced to go back to my reality of subways, sirens and Gotham — I couldn’t help but look back at Rushka’s smiling and satisfied face and think to myself, “Michael Jackson is somewhere smiling down on his dear friend and giving her his blessing.”

Now that I’m back home, safe and sound, let me see if I can dig up the number to Harold Koda, Curator of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I know I must have it somewhere (because I keep track of these things)… If Mr. Koda thinks he had a record breaker with Alexander McQueen’s Savage Beauty — just wait until Micheal Jackson — THE KING OF POP hits the hallowed halls of the MET!

Photos courtesy of Rushka Bergman Studios.

To watch the episode of America’s Top Model featuring Rushka’s Michael inspired clothing and his sister LaToya in its entirety, click here:  http://www.cwtv.com/cw-video/americas-next-top-model/latoya-jackson/?play=6d429294-fafa-40a7-92a1-f34a8e4d7855


For Janet, The Jacksons Are No Laughing Matter

Source: The Smoking Gun

Singer’s Tour Contract Bars Jokes About Her Famous Kin

Janet Jackson’s performance contract stipulates that, if she’s appearing on a bill with a comedian, the comic will be barred from making any reference to the singer or members of “the Jackson family.”

The outlawing of jokes about the Jackson’s is one of several “special provisions” in the chart-topping singer’s performance contract, a copy of which was obtained by TSG.

Noting that “the privacy of Janet Jackson and her family…is highly valued,” the contract advises promoters that all details about the star and her relatives “shall be deemed to be confidential and secret.” The document refers to the Jacksons as “Protected Persons.”

This confidential information, Jackson notes, includes information about her compensation. The 45-year-old singer, in the midst of a world tour that brings her to Australia next week, was paid a minimum guarantee of $475,000 for a recent U.S. show, according to contract records.

That figure could increase based on box office receipts, of which Jackson earns a large share beyond a stipulated gross. Additionally, promoters are required to reimburse Jackson $25,000 for “sound & lights,” which she supplies for gigs.

The tour rider for Jackson’s “Number Ones, Up Close and Person World Tour 20011” lists the items that the performer wants in her “Star Dressing Room.” Along with unscented candles (“3” to 4” in diamter”) and “Votivo Red Currant scent candles, Jackson requires an arrangement of “cut white tulips.” If not available, she asks for white gardenias or white roses. In the absence of those substitutes, “arrangement should be a variety of whites nicely put together. Any substitutions to be approved by production.”

While Jackson’s personal assistant will “coordinate” her meals, according to the rider, promoters have to stock her dressing room with an assortment of fruit and beverages (though no alcohol). Jackson enjoys Orbit chewing gum, “Gaterdade,” assorted Crystal Lite drink mixes, and organic creamy peanut butter. (3 pages)

View contract documents below:

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Zumbia And Zombies – All For A Good Cause In Support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

HURLBURT FIELD (FL) — Almost 100 Zumba enthusiasts found a way to combine their favorite exercise with two October staples: breast cancer awareness and zombies.

Dressed in a ripped shirt that said, “Zumba, Live it Love it” and makeup that included a bullet wound drawn on her forehead, instructor Amy Koncak started the event. Somehow, she managed to transition from the Thriller dance to Latin music and Zumba without skipping a beat.

The setting sun had no effect on the Zumba party, which took place in the commissary parking lot at Hurlburt Field. A participant pulled up an SUV and the dances continued in front of the vehicle’s high beams.

In any other event, hot pink tutus and zombie make-up might not have worked. At the Zombie Zumba event, where 100 hips swayed to the beats of the Black Eyed Peas and Michael Jackson it was clear that anything goes.

Riptide Fitness Manager Karen Cataldo said the original plan was that everyone would be zombies for the event. She added that Zumba was one of the most popular classes at the fitness center, which is adjacent to the commissary.

“Everyone can do it, young, old, athletic, nonathletic … everyone,” Cataldo said.

The class is taught five days a week. Those who regularly take the Monday-Wednesday-Friday class decided to show solidarity for one of their classmates who was diagnosed with breast cancer. They traded in the make-up for the tutus and pink afros.

Tech. Sgt. Jovan Scott ditched his afro less than halfway into the workout. Dripping in sweat and still wearing his “Fight for tata’s” shirt, Scott said he started taking the Zumba classes about three weeks ago at the suggestion of friend, Mandy Hollington, who was dancing and laughing next to him.

“It’s a good break from the usual cardio routine,” he said.

Inspired by the Zumba participants, Airmen First Class Derrick Carr and Jaquavius Curry quickly joined the procession. They managed to keep up with the fast-paced dance moves.

“That’s my entire PT for this week,” Curry said.

Miysha Mayberry and Nakoacha Williams stopped and watched the scene from afar. They said the Zombie Zumba event was a cool idea. Both had attended the Zumba classes before.

“I spent more time trying to figure out what they were doing than dancing,” said a self-proclaimed rhythmically challenged Mayberry.

Williams gasped when she spotted a pregnant woman dancing in the crowd.

“See, we have no excuse if she’s out there doing it. I mean she is moving,” Williams said.

Eglin Staff Sgt. Adrienne Tarin-Yatco, who was 38 weeks pregnant and due “any day now,” has been doing Zumba on and off for a year. She said her doctor approved of the Zumba workouts. She brought her friend and fellow Eglin airman, Senior Airman Emily Yaronczyk, to try Zumba at the event.

“I loved it. I’m going to do it every night. It was just fast-paced and intense,” Yaronczyk said.

Administrators’ Note: This month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Have you had your monthly breast exam or your yearly mammogram?  Many women and men with no family history of breast cancer are diagnosed daily.  We all have been affected by it at some point whether it is personal, a loved one or a friend.  Early detection is key to preventing and many times beating this disease. Many factors are linked to breast cancer risk. Some factors affect risk a great deal and others by only a small amount. Some risk factors you can’t change. Simply being a woman and getting older increase your chances of getting breast cancer. Other factors you may be able to control. For example, leading a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk of breast cancer.
To find out more about this disease and how you can help, please visit Susan G. Komen for the Cure at:  http://ww5.komen.org/
Much Love and Good Health! Cutie ♥

“Thriller” and Other Tributes To Michael – All Over The Globe (October 2011) – Updated 10/29/11

2011 Thriller Parade – 10th Anniversary

Zombies return to haunt downtown Lexington once again! Get down downtown as we celebrate Halloween by recreating Michael Jackson’s groundbreaking video for “Thriller.”   There will be some exciting new changes this year.  The Thriller Showcase will begin at 7 pm at the CenterPointe field stage.  This showcase will feature spooky dances by Mecca, Kiddie Kapers, SCAPA middle school, Space Madness on the Planet of the Apes by the March Madness Marching Band and the incredible Michael Jackson tribute pieces by the Danceformers.

The Thriller parade will start at 8:30 pm outside of the Kentucky Theatre and will travel down Main Street to the Cheapside Pavilion. 

This event is presented by Lexington Parks & Recreation, Mecca Live Studio and WRFL.

Downtown Lexington- Main St.
(Kentucky Theatre to Mill St)
Sunday, October 30    8:30pm
(Rain date: October 31, 8:30pm)

Rehearsals for the 2011 Thriller zombies will begin Monday, September 26 and run through Saturday, October 29 at Mecca Studio located at 451 Chair Avenue in Lexington.

Rehearsal days and times each of those weeks will be Monday, Wednesday and Thursday nights from 6 – 7 pm and Saturday afternoons from 2 – 3 pm.


All participating zombie dancers are required to attend at least one regular rehearsal between September 26 – October 22 and at least one staging rehearsal the week prior to the production, October 24 – 29.

Even if you have participated in the past or already know the dance, it is essential to attend these two meetings as the production arrangements are subject to change annually in an effort to improve upon the performance. Logistics for this event are very carefully thought out and worked through. With such a large scale production, having rogue zombies show up and join in can be very problematic for the event and negatively impacts the audience’s experience. So please help us make this the best performance possible by being part of the actual plan.

For more information, to be added to the “Thriller” list for event updates and rehearsal information leading up to the big night please contact Mecca Live Studio at 859-254-9790 or meccadancestudio@gmail.com 




Zombies all over the globe have already begun to plan the Thrill The World 2011. Each year thousands of people around the world come together to honor the genius of Michael Jackson and raise funds for charity–oh! and to have fun, too!

EVENT MANAGERS: Full Event Registration is ready! Please visit http://www.thrilltheworldoakland.com and visit the Event Managers’ page. There, you will find all sorts of information for organizing your event and a link to register your event and your event ID number.

How do we do it?

We all dance to “Thriller” at exactly the same moment. Preparation is part of the fun but the feeling of being connected to people thinking and doing the same thing at the same time, celebrating a true inspirational genius of Michael Jackson, is what keeps people coming back year after year. Also, knowing what bad dancers Zombies are, it helps people renew or even discover the joy of dance, without worrying about whether they are “good.”

How does it work?

There are so many reasons for participating that we could go on, but this is how it works. Anyone can be an Event Manager by registering with Thrill The World. Then Zombies connect with their local event, learn the dance, hopefully help the Event Manager prepare and then participate on Thrill Day.

Raise Funds for Charity

Michael was all about giving back so each local event is free to choose the charity of their choice and raise funds. This can be done by requesting donations for example, at dance workshops, on your website, and on Thrill Day.

Learning the Dance

We all use the same choreography based on the music video. We have detailed instructions developed by creator and founder, Ines Markeljevic, who guides you through each step. You’ll realize it’s surprisingly easy!!

Funky Zombies all over the globe are already planning for Thrill The World 2011!   The event was founded in 2006 in Toronto, and has now spread to six continents!  Every October thousands of  people around the world come together  to honor the genius of Michael Jackson and raise funds for charity–oh! and to have fun, too!

We are very excited that we now have 82 events pre-registered!  That tops the number we had when we opened full registration last September (89) and it’s only May!!!  So we’re on track to a stomping 2011!


Usually we hold our event the weekend before Halloween weekend but we decided to see what happens if we have Thrill Day on Halloween weekend.  So this year it will be a “Thrilloween”  :-)  The Thrill Times are:  Saturday, October 29, 2011, 2:00 PM, GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) and/or Sunday, October 30 2011, 2:00 AM, GMT. You need to use a converter website (such as:  http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html) to find the correct time in your time zone.

How It Works

People in cities around the world dance to “Thriller” at exactly the same time.  Preparation and counting down worldwide is part of the fun but the feeling of being connected to others and dancing together as one is a Trill like no other!  Celebrating the truly inspirational genius of Michael Jackson in a living and moving way — is what keeps people coming back year after year.


This dance is for EVERYBODY   – all nationalities, faiths, creeds and abilities. Whether you are  young or old,  a professional dancer,  or a complete beginner.   You can adjust the routine to your own level — work up a major sweat or just take it easy.     Dancing is a great way to achieve all round fitness and wellbeing, physically and mentally.  Taking part is all about achieving your best – as Michael continues to inspire the world to do.

Can I start an Event?

There are so many reasons for participating that we could go on, but this is how it works.  Anyone can be an Event Manager by registering with Thrill The World.  Then Zombies connect with their local event, learn the dance, hopefully help the Event Manager prepare and then participate on Thrill Day.


You can find a list of pre-registered events by going to: http://thrilltheworldoakland.com/EventRegistration.aspx and click on the link in “List of Pre-Registered Events.”  For a list of fully registered events, visit the same page and find the link at the top of the page.

Raise Funds for Charity

Michael was all about giving back so each local event is free to choose the charity of their choice and raise funds.  This can be done by requesting donations for example, at dance workshops, on your website, and on Thrill Day.

Learning the Dance

We all use the same choreography based on the music video.  We have detailed instructions developed by Thrill the World founder, Ines Markeljevic, who guides you through each step.  You’ll realize it’s surprisingly easy!!

New Organizational Structure

Thrill the world are appointing volunteers to manage different parts of the effort, including Communications, Finance, Online Marketing, Media & Publicity, and Event Manager Director.  Please email Ines at thrilltheworld@gmail.com and in the subject line, include “VOLUNTEER”.

Event Manager Director— We welcome  Kathleen Kelley as the Thrill the World Event Manager Director.  Kathleen is also the Event Manager of Thrill The World Oakland and has been working with Thrill the World on a number of projects for over 2 years.  Kathleen is the primary contact for Event Managers.  To reach her,  please put “Event Manager” in the subject line of your email:  www.thrilltheworld@gmail.com .


Here is an updated count as of 6/28/11

Total Zombies:  13,042,  Total Events:  221–Congratulations Everyone!

11 PM GMT Count:  7,944, 142 events.

11 AM GMT Count:  5,098, 69 Events

Highest Event Totals:  100+:  27,  200+: 11,  300+:  3,  400+: 1 (Perth, Austrailia)


The 2010 participant certificate is here.  Please double click the image and save.  Let us know if you have any problems by sending an email to www.thrilltheworld.com with “Event Manager” on the subject line.

Here is the certificate:


For all those that participated in TTW 2009 here is the Participant Certificate!  THANK YOU GABY, in Mexico, who designed the certificate!

Step 1. Download the document below. Click on the image below and then go to ‘File’ and then ‘Print’ or right-click, select “Save As…”

Step 2. Print it in either colour or black & white.

Step 3. Write your name on the line. Maybe add some star stickers or glitter.

Step 4. Frame it and/or put it on your fridge!

(Click on image to view larger)

If you would like to design the 2010 Certificate, email us with subject: “2010 Certificate Design.”



World Record Attempt Dance to “Thriller” October 29, 2011!

Saturday, Oct 22 10:00a to 12:00p

at Studio One Art Center, Oakland, CA

Worldwide preparations are heading to the finish line to break a world record! Thrill the World is an annual worldwide simultaneous dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video for world records and charity. Hundreds of cities on 5 continents have registered for the event.
Besides breaking a world record, the event is a fundraiser for the American Brain Tumor Association to support local member, Jean Lewis’ battle with brain cancer.



The University of Utah, Kingsbury Hall 


Oct 12, 2011     Thriller  7:30 pm

Oct 13, 2011     Thriller  7:30 pm

Oct 14, 2011     Thriller  7:30 pm

Oct 15, 2011     Thriller  2:00 pm

Oct 15, 2011     Thriller  7:30 pm

Oct 17, 2011     Thriller  7:30 pm

Oct 18, 2011     Thriller  7:30 pm

Oct 19, 2011     Thriller  7:30 pm

Oct 20, 2011     Thriller  7:30 pm

Oct 21, 2011     Thriller  7:30 pm

Oct 22, 2011     Thriller  2:00 pm

Oct 22, 2011     Thriller  7:30 pm

Oct 24, 2011     Thriller  7:30 pm

Oct 25, 2011     Thriller  7:30 pm

Oct 26, 2011     Thriller  7:30 pm

Oct 27, 2011     Thriller  7:30 pm

Oct 28, 2011      Thriller  7:30 pm

To purchase tickets, please call 801-581-7100 or stop by Kingsbury Hall located at 1395 E. Presidents Circle on the University of Utah Campus. You may also purchase tickets on the web.

Ticket office
801-581-7100 or


Roosevelt High School – Seattle, Washington

Photo courtesy RHS Thriller Club

Margaret Kahn, the president of the Roosevelt High School Thriller Club, says that the club is looking for haunted houses, schools, parties, festivals or trick-or-treat events that will need entertainment this fall.

The RHS Thriller Club is comprised of approximately twenty students that learn and perform Michael Jackson’s Thriller dance in full zombie regalia.

In addition to performing at events, the students participate in a yearly worldwide simultaneous Thriller dance that has broken world records.

The group is available on Friday afternoons, Friday evenings and weekends during October, 2011. There is a negotiable $25 charge per performance.

For more information, contact Margaret at  madgetown [at] gmail.com.


Reno Zombie Crawl and Thriller Dance Rehearsals

The 2011 (4th Annual) Reno Zombie Crawl starts 8pm on Sat, Oct 29th. Cups are only $5 & are sold through October as well as on the night of the event. Thriller is back too!

Upcoming Crawl Events



The Ultimate THRILLER

Crocus City Hall – links:  directions
67km of MKAD
Event type:  Concert
Start time:   8:00 PM

For the cast and crew of The Ultimate Thriller, this was so much more than just putting together a show and going on tour. This was a labor of love for every single person involved with this production. For the star of our show, it was about getting an amazing opportunity to perform the songs of the artist he`s most adored his entire life, in front of thousands of people. For the dancers, it was a chance to learn and execute some of the world`s best known choreography. For the band, it was knowing they were going to get to play some of the best music ever produced. And for the production staff and crew, it was about bringing out the best in the performers and being a part of something special.Just as the appeal of Michael’s music spanned multiple generations, so does the homage paid by The Ultimate Thriller. The show brings together youthful passion and time-tested wisdom with but one goal: share in the magic, the music and the energy that Michael gave us all.Michael Jackson was the incarnation of the so-called American dream. Born in 1958 in Gary, Indiana, he grew up in poverty and later reached the absolute peak of the pop music world.For millions of people he was an idol. For nearly four decades he formed pop music culture worldwide. He wrote the soundtrack for an entire era, influencing fashion, lifestyles and dances of generations in the process. He was one of the most successful artists in pop history, selling more than 750 million albums – including “Thriller”, the best selling album ever. He was one of a kind.Through the years he had 14 number one songs in the US charts, won 18 Grammys, and performed the most single most successful concert series at London’s Wembley Stadium with 504,000 tickets sold in 1988. If that weren’t enough, he produced the most successful music video in the history of the genre, and broke many more records in his lifetime. On August 29th Michael Jackson would have celebrated his 51st birthday, on July 13th he would have performed the first of 50 concerts in the London O² Arena. This tour, called “This Is It”, was meant to be his good-bye from stage. But it never came to be…The Ultimate Thriller is a musical bow to the superstar, sharing his heritage by taking parts of two of his legendary tours: The BAD World tour, that started in September 1987 in Tokyo and ended in January 1989 in Los Angeles after 120 concerts on four different continents, and his Dangerous World tour in 1992, that started on June 27th in the Munich Olympic stadium. The Ultimate Thriller will bring Michael`s best songs live on stage once again: “Man in the Mirror”, “Black or White”, “Beat it “, “ Billie Jean”, “Thriller” and many more unforgettable songs will be part of a show that runs a total of two hours, including intermission. Other parts of the program will include songs from the days when he was a member of The Jackson 5, along with selected songs from the “Thriller” and “Off The Wall” albums.The onstage lineup for The Ultimate Thriller includes “Michael”, four musicians, two background singers and four dancers. To ensure that this will be nothing less than a world-class production, The Ultimate Thriller has joined forces with world-renowned choreographer Mic Thompson. Mic was with Michael Jackson for nine years as both choreographer and principal dancer. He brings a level of performance that could only have been achieved by spending years onstage next to Michael. Mic’s genius will be apparent the moment the show begins. Add in state-of-the-art-sound and video, an incredible light show, costumes and stirring choreography (including the legendary moonwalk), not to mention the of Michael Jackson’s greatest hits and you have a guaranteed formula for an extraordinary, multimedia-based tribute super-show!!!


Zombie Thriller Flashmob

Event Date: Saturday October 29, 2011

This is part of a global flashmob “thrill the world” where we will be dancing Michael Jackson’s infamous Thriller routine with 82 other cities from across the world at exactly the same time across global time zones…this is an event not to be missed!!

Thrill the World has broken world records for the largest simultaneous thriller dance for 6 years on the trot..so type in “learn thriller dance part 1” into youtube and get your funky zombie on!!!!

Find out more at http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=164313966970643



Seattle Thrillers


Thrill The World is the annual global attempt to break the world record for the largest simultaneous Thriller dance while raising money for charities.  October 2011 will mark the 28th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s Thriller video.

The Seattle Thrillers will join Thriller groups all over the world at the same time to perform on October 29th 7:00 pm at Occidental Park in Pioneer Square.     

If you live in the greater Seattle area and would like to learn the dance in a class setting, rehearsals will resume August 21st, 2011 at the Rockin’ Horse Dance Barn in Renton, the Northwest’s Premier Dance Venue:   http://learn2dance4fun.com (425) 255-9211).  Our rehearsals and participation in the event are free, however, we will be raising money for charity.  We will accept donations at all rehearsals.      

For more information on Thrill The World visit  http://thrilltheworld.com/.  Thrill The World was created by Ines Markeljevic and presented by inessens.com proving to you that you CAN dance! For more dance lessons and programs from Ines go to inessens.com.

Rehearsals Dates:

All times are 11:30 am- 1:30 pm

Sept 10th – Sat

Sept 18th – Sun

Sept 25th – Sun

Oct 2nd – Sun

Oct 9th – Sun

Oct 22nd – Sat, Dress Rehearsal

Oct 29th – Sat, Worldwide Performance

If you have any questions you may directly e-mail me, Sheri Kinley.


October 23, 2010 (My Announcements + Official Dance):  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtYwVoSj6MA

October 23, 2010 (Dave Ross’ Speech + 2nd Dance):    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWV_MrRy3KM

October 24, 2009 – Occidental Park:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_TpbkxlH_U

October 25, 2008 – Occidental Park:  http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=11458

October 27, 2007 – Westlake Center:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUhAPVsPKwU&feature=fv

 If you need additional practice time, the Redmond Zombies practice on Saturdays at 10:00 at the Redmond Senior Center:  http://www.paulosborn.com/redmondzombies/



Jackson Live In Concert – The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Show Tour Dates

Amir Sharma’s portrayal of Michael Jackson in his prime has to be the most vocally and visually accurate tribute to the King of Pop to have ever toured UK theatres. Amir is joined on the stage by a cast of musicians, singers and dancers who work their way through all the hits. He’s got the look, the moonwalk and above all, the voice! His renditions of Thriller, Beat it and Billie Jean are truly sensational. Pure MJ.


Fri 14th Oct
Jackson Live In Concert – The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Show Palace Theatre
Sat 15th Oct
Jackson Live In Concert – The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Show Wyllyotts Theatre
Potters Bar
Sat 22nd Oct
Jackson Live In Concert – The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Show The Millfield Arts Centre
Thu 27th Oct
Jackson Live In Concert – The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Show Beck Theatre
Sat 29th Oct
Jackson Live In Concert – The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Show

Spa Pavilion Theatre

Thu 3rd Nov
Jackson Live In Concert – The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Show

White Rock Theatre & Sussex Hall

Fri 4th Nov
Jackson Live In Concert – The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Show Billingham Forum Theatre
Sat 5th Nov
Jackson Live In Concert – The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Show Orchard Theatre
Fri 11th Nov
Jackson Live In Concert – The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Show Playhouse Theatre
Sun 13th Nov
Jackson Live In Concert – The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Show The Alban Arena
St. Albans
Sat 19th Nov
Jackson Live In Concert – The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Show Plowright Theatre
Fri 2nd Dec
Jackson Live In Concert – The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Show Orchard Theatre
Sat 14th Jan 2012
Jackson Live In Concert – The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Show The Radlett Centre
Fri 24th Feb 2012
Jackson Live In Concert – The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Show

The Journal Tyne Theatre
Newcastle upon Tyne

Fri 2nd Mar 2012
Jackson Live In Concert – The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Show Whitehaven Civic Hall (Solway Civic)
Sat 3rd Mar 2012
Jackson Live In Concert – The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Show The Forum
Thu 8th Mar 2012
Jackson Live In Concert – The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Show Swansea Grand Theatre and Arts Wing
Fri 27th Apr 2012
Jackson Live In Concert – The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Show Customs House
South Shields
Fri 1st Jun 2012
Jackson Live In Concert – The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Show Princess Royal Theatre
Port Talbot
Sat 30th Jun 2012
Jackson Live In Concert – The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Show Lichfield Garrick Theatre
Fri 20th Jul 2012
Jackson Live In Concert – The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Show Queens Theatre
Sat 21st Jul 2012
Jackson Live In Concert – The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Show Babbacombe Theatre
Fri 10th Aug 2012
Jackson Live In Concert – The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Show The Spa Bridlington
Thu 30th Aug 2012
Jackson Live In Concert – The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Show The Landmark Theatre
Sat 29th Sep 2012
Jackson Live In Concert – The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Show Hazlitt Arts Centre
Sat 27th Oct 2012
Jackson Live In Concert – The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Show Phoenix Theatre


Ben – A Tribute to Michael Jackson Tour Dates


Navi As Michael Jackson Tour Dates


An awesome Michael Jackson tribute show! Navi is a professional Michael Jackson look-alike and tribute act who worked for Michael as a stand-in and decoy – you can’t get much more real than that!

Fri 11th Nov
The World’s Best Michael Jackson Tribute – The King Of Pop:
Navi As Michael Jackson
Shearsby Bath
Sun 18th Dec
Afternoon Family Show:
Navi As Michael Jackson
The River Rooms (Formerly The Rock Cafe)


‘Thrill the World Boise’ In Search of Zombie Dancers

Source: KTVB.com – Kevin Jacobson

BOISE — Halloween.  It’s when the dead start to walk in their masquerade. 

This Halloween season, hundreds of Boise dancers will be lurkin’ in the dark and you are invited to join them.

The Boise City Department of Arts and History is hosting an event called ‘Thrill the World Boise.’  This performance is part of an annual worldwide event called ‘Thrill the World,’ in which groups around the globe simultaneously do the famous dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”.

Organizers in Boise are hoping to make this year’s performance the biggest and best performance yet, but they cannot do it without your help.

Even if you don’t have a rhythmic bone in your body, you’re invited to participate — zombies aren’t very good dancers after all.

“Thrill the World Boise provides the opportunity for a memorable experience with the performance of an iconic dance routine,” explains organizer Janelle Wilson.  “By allowing people of all ages and abilities to perform, we hope to remind the community that art is for everyone.”

Rehearsals are being held at Heirloom Dance Studio throughout October.  They are free and open to anyone who wishes to participate.  The big performance is scheduled for Oct. 29, 8 p.m. at City Hall Plaza.  There will also be extra performances participants can choose to take part in.

If you’re looking for something fun and different to do this Halloween, Thrill the World Boise could be your answer.  For no mere mortal can resist, the evil of the Thriller.

Rehearsal schedule:

  • Thursday, Oct. 13, 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 15, 3 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 18, 6 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 20, 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 22, 3 p.m.
  • Monday, Oct. 24, 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 25, 6 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 27, 6 p.m.


  • Friday, Oct. 28, Frightened Felons, Old Idaho Penitentiary, 9:30 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 28, Thriller Salsa, The Knitting Factory, 10:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 29, Thrill the World Boise, City Hall Plaza, 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 29, Frightened Felons, Old Idaho Penitentiary, 9:30 p.m.

Another group is also joining Thrill the World Boise. This group will be raising money for the Ronald McDonald House and will be performing at Linder Farms in Meridian.

For more information about Thrill the World click here



Army Band Rehearses For Halloween-Themed Show

Source: dcmilitary.com – By Rhonda Apple, Pentagram Staff Writer

Photo By Pavlos Karalis

The Army Band’s contemporary vocal group Downrange will thrill audiences who love Halloween and popular music, with a free concert, “Deranged 2,” Oct. 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m. in Brucker Hall on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.

“Downrange Deranged is one of the more high-entertainment value concerts we do here at The U.S. Army Band — a full-on rock concert with costumes, sets, stage choreography, lighting and lots of fun for the audience,” said Jen Maly, director of marketing and public affairs for TUSAB.

Those planning to attend the show can expect to hear Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” “Edge of Glory,” by Lady Gaga, and “Time Warp” from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” as well as other popular tunes from the 80s, 90s and today.

“We’ve done a lot of planning and preparation for this,” said Sgt. 1st Class Christal Rheams, Downrange vocalist and production head for the Deranged concert. “We start with the music committee planning the music through our group submitting song selections, and then we program it to ensure it fits the theme of the show and it all fits together, and then we put it into the production,” she said.

The talented Soldiers of this popular music ensemble do their own arrangements of the songs. Other members of the group are in charge of lighting, costuming and choreography. Everyone in the group plays a part in the planning and pre-production.

“I just ensure everyone has everything they need to make the show successful,” said Rheams. “This is one of the specialty shows we offer the public, and it’s on a much grander scale.”

The Deranged show has been performed in the past and will include some of the same material, however, there is more modern music this year, with some changes in costuming and music, Rheams said.

Vocalists portray characters through their music, said Sgt. Maj. Mercy Diaz, a vocalist and group leader of Downrange. “These characters really come to life in this production,” she said. “This is more of an adult-themed version of a Halloween show – edgier, rock music, not a little kid’s Disney-type of show.”

With the focus on a more adult-themed show, the concert is more age-appropriate for high school kids, said Maly. This doesn’t mean any material in the concert is objectionable, however. It’s just that the lighting, smoke machine and video clips might be too intense for younger audiences.

“We’re taking the popular music of today and blowing it out of the water,” said performer Master Sgt. Beverley Benda, who is in charge of props and costumes for the show. “It’s going to be quite an event with the crazy lighting, video and sound — total fun — one of those shows where it’s not just a concert, but an experience, with people running all over the stage and interacting with the audience,” she said.

Staff Sgt. Martha Krabill, Downrange vocalist and one of the show’s choreographers, works with a few local dance teachers and said, “they’ll be here as backup dancers for some of the songs.” Krabill said what she likes most about the Deranged concert is “all of the many elements to the show.”

Those attending the concert can expect variety in the show, from a gothic aspect to the humorous, from multiple Elvises to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band to Michael Jackson on stage, said Benda.

“Expect some gothic elements and some comedy and, all in all, a fun way to celebrate Halloween.”



Thriller Parade Marching into Downtown Macon 10/28/11

It’s not everyday you see zombies parading around Cherry Street Plaza in Macon, but when it’s the Friday before Halloween, anything is possible.

The ‘Thriller Parade’, named for the Michael Jackson song by the same name, and its famous zombie music video, is coordinated by 11th Hour and Hayiya Dance Theatre.

The free event is in its sixth year and gives participants of all ages the chance to learn Jackson’s thriller dance.

They’ll parade down Cherry Street during Friday Fest.

Pre-show performances start at 8 p.m. with the actual parade beginning at 9 p.m.

Last year, the Downtown Zombie Parade saw more than 80 dancers and more than 2 thousand spectators.



This IS Your Grandmother’s Thriller Dance
Source:Redmond Patch – By Jeanne Gustafson 10/28/11
Merrill Gardens retirement community in Kirkland is staging its own version of the popular flash mob phenom on Halloween.

There’s a new Thriller in town this Halloween.

The ladies at Merrill Gardens Kirkland retirement community will be in full costume and makeup performing their version of Michael Jackson’s Thriller dance at 3:30pm Monday at the community, located at 201 Kirkland Ave. To see the residents rehearsing for their big performance, click on the video above.

Stuart Ostfeld, the general manager of Merrill Gardens, said the women have been practicing for months with their exuberant active living director, Charlie Dillon.

“He has an entertainment background, so he likes to do things with dance, and he got this idea to do the Thriller dance for Halloween,” Ostfeld said. Thriller may not have been on these women’s minds much before they started rehearsing, but they have certainly gotten into the spirit.

The performance will kick off Merrill Gardens’ Halloween Bash, which goes from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Monday and includes a costume contest and Halloween Karaoke. The retirement community also participates in Dowtown Kirkland’s trick-or-treating promotions, and the public is invited to come watch the dance and join in the Halloween Bash, Ostfeld said.

If you prefer your Thriller reenactments closer to home, Redmond Town Center will be staging its own version of the popular Halloween dance this Saturday at 7 p.m. Click here for more details.

Conrad Murray and The Voices That Ring True

Source: Huffington Post – By Matt Semino, Attorney and Legal Analyst

“He’s the greatest entertainer in the world. I’m taking that money, a million children, children’s hospital, the biggest in the world, Michael Jackson’s Children’s Hospital…”

This last sentence taken from the haunting audio recording of Michael Jackson under the influence of “unknown agents” is a key element of the involuntary manslaughter case that the state of California is currently building against Dr. Conrad Murray. Hearing this voice cracked the door open for the jury into the private state of mind of the deceased and exposed the intimate knowledge that the accused had of his celebrity patient. The recording also presented a window of truth to the global humanitarian that Michael Jackson truly was. Would a man with these grand hopes and dreams actually risk taking his own life for a few hours of sleep?

It was shocking, disheartening and enraging for many to hear Jackson in such an eerie state of sedation. The slurred pattern of speech contrasted so sharply with his known vocal genius. Could that have even really been him? A tidal wave of emotion swept through the courtroom as Jackson’s voice echoed in the hallowed halls of justice. Who was the person responsible for putting Michael Jackson into this dangerous state? Why did Conrad Murray covertly record this personal telephone conversation? What was the real power dynamic in this lethal physician and patient relationship? Why did everything go so horribly wrong on June 25, 2009?

The audio recording was a dramatic, yet effective focal point of deputy district attorney David Walgren’s opening statement. Coupled with frantic 911 calls, voicemail recordings and cell phone records, collectively, the voices that emanated from Michael Jackson’s home have begun to paint a very disturbing picture of the defendant and timeline of events. They reveal the ill-fated decisions of a man who acted repeatedly with a consciousness of guilt as he abandoned his patient in a desperate attempt to cover-up his negligent acts. Although painful to listen to, it was Jackson’s voice that was the first bold brushstroke needed for the messy portrait that is now taking shape right before our eyes.

With each new hour of testimony, it is becoming clearer that a once strong man was gradually rendered powerless in the hands of a greedy, unethical and highly unprepared enabler. The prosecution’s evidence and witnesses have successfully started to demonstrate that Dr. Conrad Murray repeatedly acted with gross negligence through multiple and extreme deviations from the proper standards of medical care.

As the audio recording so vividly reveals, Murray had knowledge of Jackson’s career motivations as well as his mental and physical states in the months prior to his death. Even while heavily sedated, Jackson revealed his underlying rationale for pursuing what may have been the most grueling professional endeavor of his life. Michael Jackson’s words indicated that he wanted to make history for the sole purpose of helping children.

Even with this knowledge, Conrad Murray continued to deceptively stockpile and feed his patient excessive and ultimately deadly amounts of sedatives and propofol. As a medical professional, did Murray truly believe giving Michael Jackson all of these drugs would help him be “the greatest entertainer in the world?” It is highly unlikely. Did he really think that Michael Jackson would ever be able to create the children’s hospital of his dreams if he continually plied him with debilitating substances? Probably not. Or, was he just acting like an employee aiming to please his employer in order to keep a steady $150,000 per month paycheck rolling into his bank account? Definitely, yes.

The defense’s far-fetched theory that Jackson self-administered a highly lethal combination of sedatives and propofol behind Dr. Murray’s back is also undercut by the audio recording. Depicted as seemingly forward thinking, it is clear that Michael Jackson had too many goals he wanted to accomplish and too much that he wanted to give back to the world. Why would he then risk taking his life into his own hands? Could he have even killed himself in the manner that the defense described in their opening statement? Ultimately, this case may boil down to a battle of the experts who will debate whether the “perfect storm” theory of Michael Jackson’s instantaneous death really holds any merit. It already looks weak on its face.

Through a close examination of Jackson’s cultural legacy, it is clear that he always strove to serve a humanitarian purpose through his work. He gave millions of dollars to charity throughout his life. Therefore, it is not a stretch to believe that all he wanted to do was accomplish that objective again but now on the largest scale possible. As his voice reveals, the intentions were grand, yet also singular in their focus. Jackson likely believed that the “This Is It” concert series would help him travel to the furthest possible point on the road of his lifelong humanitarian dream. He trusted Dr. Conrad Murray, as his personal physician, to help him arrive at his destination safely. As the evidence presented so far in the trial indicates, Murray failed miserably in that task.

Whatever the verdict in this case will be, perhaps the world will eventually notice how much potential good was cut short by this avoidable tragedy. Michael Jackson’s voice and all the other voices of this dramatic tale are starting to ring true. They are telling the story of a doctor intoxicated by celebrity and lured by money who all but abandoned acceptable standards of medical practice and professional ethics to serve his personal needs. As prosecutor David Walgren argued, it was the “acts and omissions” of Dr. Conrad Murray that led Michael Jackson, his only patient, to a “premature death at age 50.”

As the morbid image of a lifeless Jackson laying on a hospital gurney and labeled “Homicide,” spread virally around the world, it became burned into the public’s consciousness and will never be forgotten. Understandably sickening to many, the dreary image also serves as an extremely powerful symbol and stark reminder that in Michael Jackson’s valiant attempt to save the lives of others, this wounded messenger unnecessarily lost his own bright future. Finally, the voices of justice are saying that this should have never happened to such a man.

UPDATE: I was interviewed Thursday, Oct. 6 on truTV’s show In Session in connection with this piece:


Picture not included in the original article. 

Vegas To Unveil Michael Jackson Slot Machine

By Michael Martinez, CNN
A Michael Jackson slot machine will be released in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Tuesday

Los Angeles (CNN) – As the trial surrounding Michael Jackson’s death gets underway, Las Vegas is about to make a revelation of its own: A Michael Jackson slot machine, to be unveiled next week.

It’s just a coincidence that the release of the Michael Jackson King of Pop slot game on Tuesday is occurring along with the trial of the performer’s physician, Conrad Murray, who’s charged with involuntary manslaughter in Jackson’s death, said a spokesman for Bally Technologies.

The Los Angeles trial, exposing stark details of Jackson’s last moments, began this past week.

With iconic images of his sequined glove and dancing shoes, the Jackson slot machine exemplifies state-of-the-art gaming, with a surround-sound chair that even vibrates to the pop legend’s music, the manufacturer said. The machine also has four high-definition screens for wagering and displaying his videos such as “Beat It.”

A University of Nevada Las Vegas gaming analyst who reviewed the machine Friday predicted it is “going to be a popular game for a lot of people” — though it is “unfortunate” that the game is being unveiled during the manslaughter trial, the analyst said.

Another expert on Vegas gaming noted how slot machines are programmed to guarantee a return for casinos. “Slot machines generally speaking are the most profitable for the casino, and they are the most cynical in their design,” said Marc Cooper, an associate journalism professor at the University of Southern California and author of “The Last Honest Place in America: Paradise and Perdition in the New Las Vegas.”

“That the manufacturers of these machines would extend the cynicism from math to popular icons should not be surprising to anybody,” Cooper said.

The Jackson game is being introduced Tuesday at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas. Bally plans to show 150 games in total, with the Jackson slot machine among its top features, the firm said.

Bally executives said Saturday that the timing was accidental.

“We started the process about a year ago,” said Mike Mitchell, vice president of game design at Bally, adding that’s when the firm negotiated the licensing of Jackson’s music and videos with several parties, including Jackson’s family and estate.

The game will be in casinos by early 2012, he said.

Added Bally spokesman Mike Trask, referring to the manslaughter trial: “It’s a sad story for everybody. No matter what you think of Michael Jackson and what you think of everything going on, there’s no question that he was an amazing entertainer and he was an icon of American pop culture. It’s going to be a fun and thrilling game that millions of players are going to enjoy playing all over the world.”

The game emphasizes an immersion experience in which players sit in a chair with Jackson’s music piped into speakers behind the headrest, and the tunes are intensified with subwoofers and thumpers, said Bally video game designer David Schultz.

The music list is composed of six songs: “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” “Smooth Criminal,” “Bad,” “Dirty Diana” and “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” according to Bally.

The game is designed so that during bonus rounds, Jackson’s sequin glove shows the player where to touch the screen to spin a gaming wheel, designed like an album, to try to win a credit, Bally spokesmen said.

A celebrating Jackson also moonwalks across the screen and gives the player wild symbols, spokesmen said.

The game targets people who grew up to MTV and recall Jackson’s original videos, Bally executives said.

“These were groundbreakers, and they still hold up,” said Bally game producer Chris Guerrero about the Jackson videos. “It’s amazing to watch them each and every time.”

Said Trask: “The person who was 18 when ‘Beat It’ came out is now 40 and now has more discretionary income and is excited about this game.”

The minimum bet is 40 cents, with a maximum of $4, Bally officials said. Because the game will be networked with other Jackson machines across Nevada — a so-called wide-area progressive game — the jackpots will start at $750,000 and extend into the millions, Bally officials said.

Mitchell deemed the game a “blockbuster.”

“We think the Michael Jackson brand, along with the energy and entertainment value, combined with the jackpot, will give us a huge hit,” Mitchell said.

David G. Schwartz, director of the center for gaming research at University of Nevada at Las Vegas, said the game is being rolled out just as the global audiences are watching the televised manslaughter trial and learning the stark circumstances of Jackson’s death. Jackson died at age 50 in 2009 of an overdose of the surgical anesthetic propofol, in combination with sedatives.

“It’s kind of unfortunate because there’s people talking about the last hours of Jackson’s life,” said Schwartz, “but I don’t think there’s too much they can do about the timing of it because of the expo next week.”

Schwartz tested the game Friday at Bally’s invitation, he said.

“I’ve never seen anything that integrates that kind of video content right into the game,” Schwartz said. “It’s just a fun game because you basically got Michael Jackson, the music and the dancing that is part of the game. That’s why I think it’s going to be a popular game for a lot of people.

“It has an ‘immersive’ aspect that is coming out in a lot of games now,” said Schwartz, who reviews gambling trends for Las Vegas publications and on his blog and dgschwartz.com website.


Administrator’s Note:  The article does not say whether Michael’s estate approved the release of this. At any rate, what’s your opinion about it?

Michael Jackson Album ‘Immortal’ Out Nov. 21

Source: Life Line Live By Cindy Clark, USA TODAY

A new Michael Jackson album is on the way.

Epic Records in conjunction with the Estate of Michael Jackson will release Immortal on Nov. 21. Described as a musical tapestry for Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour, which kicked off last night in Montreal, the album features redesigned versions of Jackson’s hits, mashups and never-before-heard outtakes including an alternate take on the Jackson 5′s ABC and a choir that Jackson recorded for They Don’t Really Care About Us. Immortal will be released as both a deluxe double disc version and single disc.

To preorder click here:



John Branca and Howard Weitzman on Piers Morgan Tonight

Sources: The Jackson Source and Legendary Michael Jackson

The Estate of Michael Jackson announced today that John Branca and Howard Weitzman sit down with Piers Morgan to discuss Michael’s legacy, John’s personal relationship with Michael, and Cirque du Soleil’s upcoming “Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour” show. The interview will air on CNN this coming Monday, October 3rd. Be sure to check your local listings for air times. Piers Morgan Tonight airs in America at 9pmET/PT.

More information on the airing dates and time is below, thanks to LegendaryMichaelJackson.nl.

Europe, Middle East & Africa 0200 GMT, 1200 GMT and 2000 GMT
Latin America BRASILIA (Through March 13) Every day 11:00 pm, 9:00 am and 5:00 pm
BUENOS AIRES (Through March 13) Every day 11:00 pm, 9:00 am and 5:00 pm;
MEXICO CITY Every day at 8:00 p.m, 6:00 am and 2:00 pm

Asia Pacific New Delhi 5.30pm
Bangkok/ Jakarta 7.00pm
Hong Kong/ Singapore/ Kuala Lumpur/ Taipei/ Beijing/ Manila 8.00pm
Tokyo/ Seoul 9.00pm
Sydney 11.00pm
Auckland 3pm

For the live 9p ET airtime:
New Delhi 7.30am
Bangkok/ Jakarta 9.00am Hong Kong/ Singapore/ Kuala Lumpur/ Taipei/ Beijing/ Manila 10.00am
Tokyo/ Seoul 11.00am
Sydney 1:00pm
Auckland 3:00pm

For the 3p ET airtime:
New Delhi 1:30am
Bangkok/ Jakarta 3.00am Hong Kong/ Singapore/ Kuala Lumpur/ Taipei/ Beijing/ Manila 4.00am
Tokyo/ Seoul 5.00am
Sydney 7:00am
Auckland 9:00am



The Jackson Family Attends Opening Night of The Immortal Tour

Source: The Jackson Family Source

Celebrities and Immortal team members such as musical director Greg Phillinganes, choreographer Debra Brown, Cirque du Soleil CEO Daniel Lamarre, Guy Laliberté and performers walked the red carpet at Bell Centre in Montreal for the grand opening night of the IMMORTAL World Tour! From the Jackson Family, Katherine, Prince, Paris, Blanket, JAckie, Tito, Marlon, Jaafar, Jermajesty and walked the red carpet and attended the opening night of Immortal World Tour! Fans did a flash mob choreography just before the opening of the show!

A riveting fusion of visuals, dance, music and fantasy that immerses audiences in Michael’s creative world and literally turns his signature moves upside down, Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour unfolds Michael Jackson’s artistry before the eyes of the audience. Aimed at lifelong fans as well as those experiencing Michael’s creative genius for the first time, the show captures the essence, soul and inspiration of the King of Pop, celebrating a legacy that continues to transcend generations.

Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour by Cirque du Soleil – OFFICIAL SHOW PREVIEW (not included in article)

The world premiere of this unique tribute to Michael Jackson’s musical legacy took place in Montreal on October 2, 2011 and will then travel throughout North America and the rest of the world. The road tour will reach at least 47 cities in the United States and Canada over the next year.

The circus company, legendary for its creative and acrobatic performances, first talked to Michael Jackson seven years ago about the possibility of a Jackson-themed show, Cirque’s president said when the agreement with his estate was announced in April 2010. The estate and Cirque du Soleil are equal partners.

The MGM Mirage has signed on to host the Las Vegas, Nevada, residency starting in 2012. The hotel also will open a nightclub based on the Jackson show, the hotel said.

Photos from the red carpet and show