Sources: Eagles Observer | All Things Michael
The Dan Patrick Show | Edited By – All Things Michael
TNT’s Reggie Miller joined the show to share his take on the Super Bowl, the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers and why he thinks Michael Jackson’s halftime show was the best.
They also discussed who has the best foot work: MJ or …….well take a listen for yourself at 11:58 – 14:22
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Sources: National Review – By Armond White | Edited By – All Things Michael
Kevin Costner’s Black or White is sentimental in a good way. After all, it works in the spirit of Michael Jackson’s 1991 single “Black or White,” the most uncompromised of all uplifting pop songs. Jackson declared “I’m not gonna spend my life being a color!” And when he sang “I ain’t scared of your brother / I ain’t scared of no sheets,” he opposed the antinomies of either ethnic solidarity (Afrocentric “blackness”) or ethnic hostility (Ku Klux Klan–style white supremacy).
Costner applies Jackson’s pop principles to playing the role of Elliot Anderson, a wealthy white Los Angeles lawyer. Elliot’s recent bereavement leaves him as guardian of his biracial granddaughter Eloise (Jillian Estell), which means he already lives America’s blended-nation experience, not the fatuous “post-racial” notion but a reality that confirms Jackson’s dream of unity as memorably shown in the iconographic sequence of his extraordinary “Black or White” music video — still the finest achievement of that genre — that morphed all mankind’s ethnic and sexual physical characteristics……
To read the full article, click here
Armond White, a film critic, writes about movies for National Review Onlineand received the American Book Award’s Anti-Censorship prize. He is the author of The Resistance: Ten Years of Pop Culture That Shook the World and the forthcoming What We Don’t Talk about When We Talk about the Movies.
Sources: The Columbian – By Justin Moyer | Edited By – All Things Michael
For at least the third time, Sir Paul McCartney has teamed up with a young African-American man for a hit. McCartney and Kanye West just released “Only One,” a tribute to West’s deceased mother, on iTunes and West’s website.
“Hello my only one, just like the morning sun,” West sings over the former Beatle’s keyboard vamping. “You’ll keep on rising ’til the sky knows your name.”
A somewhat mystical statement issued with the song described what happened when the Walrus and Yeezus teamed up.
“Kanye sat there with his family, holding his daughter North on his lap, and listened to his vocals, singing, ‘Hello, my only one,'” a statement reported by Rolling Stone read. “And in that moment, not only could he not recall having sung those words, but he realized that perhaps the words had never really come from him. The process of artistic creation is one that does not involve thinking, but often channeling. And he understood in that moment that his late mother, Dr. Donda West, who was also his mentor, confidante, and best friend, had spoken through him that day.”
This is arguably the first of McCartney’s duets with young black men not infused with racial baggage, overt or encoded. First, there was “Ebony and Ivory” with Stevie Wonder, released in 1982. Key question: “Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony side by side on my piano keyboard —oh lord, why don’t we?”
The following year saw the release of “Say, Say, Say,” McCartney’s duet with Michael Jackson — the video for which, some say, referenced minstrel shows.
One academic thought McCartney and Jackson toyed with blackface without taking it on.
“The sequences of ‘Say, Say, Say’ will initially dismay anyone concerned with the fate of people’s culture,” wrote Smith professor W.T. Lhamon in “Raising Cain: Blackface Performance from Jim Crow to Hip Hop.” “What a loss that the whole cycle of blackface performance should funnel down to these capers in a cross-racial attraction played out among stars ashamed to utter its name aloud in public?”
Though “Only One” is not about race, McCartney’s alliance with West puts him in the studio with a performer whose provocative take on racial politics seems part of a different universe than those of previous collaborators Wonder and Jackson. McCartney, 72, can’t be accused of using young black performers to stay relevant. Even more than Elvis Presley or bandmate John Lennon, the man is arguably one of the most influential performers in the history of pop music, and need not polish his legacy.
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Source: The Frisky – By Rebecca Vipond Bank | All Things Michael
Defamer wrote a post on Michael Jackson’s 17-year-old son Prince Jackson’s apparently totally lame-o lifestyle yesterday, and it strikes me as unnecessarily mean. Here’s a list of everything in that post that made me cringe:
Yeah, guys, let’s keep telling kids that you have to be “cool” by everyone’s respective standards no matter how diverse and contradictory everyone’s respective standards are! Snakes are dumb and they won’t get you laid, because the point of life for men should be to fuck women! Exercise is dumb! I don’t like this kid’s car, so I’m gonna mock him for it! Yeah! We’re grown adults!
JESUS CHRIST, MAN.
I know that the Gawker/Kinja network is pretty huge and has a diverse staff on diverse blogs with diverse messaging, but one of the things I love about a site like, for instance, Jezebel is that their anti-bullying stance is pretty unequivocal, and they criticize bullies and defenders of bullies regularly. Same goes for io9, which frequently publishes stories on bullying in the context of geek and nerd culture, pop culture, movies, comic books, and sci-fi. Lifehacker has posted stories about adult bulllying at work and in parenting. The fact that a sister site is actively engaging in bullying a 17-year-old for doing regular 17-year-old stuff, no matter how wealthy and well-connected that 17-year-old happens to be, is disheartening.
And yeah, Defamer is a celebrity gossip blog, but isn’t there a line? I mean, I’ll take shots at James Franco (while alternating with admiration ranging from reluctant to enthusiastic), but at least he’s a grown man.
Oh, and by the way, having an anaconda is f****** cool. It’s a motherf****** anaconda.
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Sources: Perceptive Ninja – DB Anderson | All Things Michael
As the Black Lives Matter movement grew in reaction to the lack of indictments in the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, Michael Jackson’s 1995 song “They Don’t Care About Us” was resurrected at the grass roots level in many cities including Ferguson, New York, and California.
“They Don’t Care About Us” was denounced by The New York Times even before its release, and did not reach much of its intended audience because the controversy caused by the New York Times article would go on to overshadow the song itself. Radio stations were reluctant to play it and one of the short films Jackson created for the song was banned in the U.S.
All Jackson’s frustrations seem to be on display in this raw and angry performance. Behold:
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Sources: The Conversation – By Susan Fast | Edited By – All Things Michael
The album cover for Michael Jackson’s album Dangerous was painted by American pop-surrealist artist Mark Ryden. In it, he depicts a world in which the boundaries between human and animal, living and dead, whole and part, and celestial and terrestrial have been crossed and fused.
Surrealist painters like Ryden often aim to collapse such categories – to reconcile, in their art, what seems to be irreconcilable in life. But actually, this boundary-crossing doeshappen in life – increasingly so – and corresponds to what some have called posthumanism.
Cary Wolfe, an English Professor and author of the book What is Posthumanism, writes that we are “fundamentally prosthetic creatures,” that we rely on entities outside the self – other humans, animals, technology – in order to function and thrive.
In other words: the boundaries of our bodies and intellect are not as firm and finite as we want to believe.
Posthumanism also argues for the dismantling of the hierarchy that puts humans – largely because of our ability to “reason” – above other forms of life and technology.
Both of these ideas were central to Michael Jackson’s life and art.
It’s somewhat surprising that so few have considered him through this lens; instead, many have simply labeled him as weird or eccentric.
Yet Jackson’s entire career was defined by his rejection of normal boundaries. This includes not only the most obvious of these (race and gender) but also generational barriers, the limits of his physical body, and divisions among real and fictional species – not to mention the seamless way he could fuse artistic genres.
Jackson celebrated the prosthetic idea of the human in a number of ways. For example, through plastic surgery, cosmetic procedures, make-up, hair styles and costumes, he asks us not only to reconsider gender binaries (that’s the relatively easy part), but to question prevailing ideas about aesthetic beauty and what can be called “normal.” Our appearances are all products of outside intervention (even face creams and nail files count); Jackson’s extreme modifications could be thought of as a commentary on this.
Fictional boundary-crossing was also a characteristic of his artistic practice – where, at various points, he presented himself as a werewolf, a zombie, and a panther. In the film Moonwalker he morphs into a spaceship; in Ghosts, he becomes a dancing skeleton, a grotesque monster, and a gigantic face that blocks a doorway.
Ghosts, in fact, is a film in which he addresses the perception that he is a “freak” and “abnormal” directly. It’s remarkable that so much of his morphing in this film is focused on his face – an object of constant scrutiny and derision in the media.
(In Ghosts, Jackson directly confronts his critics. Who has the authority to declare what is normal, and what is not?)
In both his life and his art, he held out his body as a work in progress, fully open to and trusting in limitless experimentation. There’s quite a long tradition of artists who have engaged in body modification as a means through which to test the limits of the flesh, like Orlan and Stelarc.
Perhaps the most controversial aspect of Jackson’s physical changes was the lightening of his skin. We should keep in mind that this was the result of the skin disease vitiligo. It’s thought, erroneously, that his skin color simply got lighter, but it actually fluctuated – so much so that his intent was certainly far from wanting to “be” white, as many have concluded.
Instead, it’s possible that vitiligo – painful as it must have been for him – served as an opportunity to start a conversation about race and skin color. He wanted to challenge the idea of race as fixed or linked to biology, rather than socially constructed.
Jackson’s boundary-pushing extended to his notion of family, which can be described as a sort of “queer kinship.” This has nothing to do with sexual orientation, but with how he challenged normative ideas about what constitutes family. His family included animals (Bubbles the chimp, yes, but also Muscles the snake and Louis the llama). It included children (Jackson could still play like a child, with children, when he was an adult, testing ideas about the normal, linear progression from childhood to adulthood). It included older Hollywood starlets, like Elizabeth Taylor and Liza Minnelli (again breaking the boundaries of normative generational affiliation); and it included Frank Cascio’s middle-class family from New Jersey, which Jackson adopted as his own, regularly showing up and spending time at their home, where he vacuumed and made beds with Cascio’s mother.
Much of this has been viewed as pathological because it’s a way of building family that does not conform; it crosses boundaries not normally crossed.
This makes many people uncomfortable.
But Jackson’s vision of the body and of kinship were actually forward-looking, a kind of reaching beyond societal norms that is often celebrated in other artists and activists, but still viewed with great suspicion in Jackson’s case. Elsewhere, I have argued that this is because Jackson crossed so many boundaries simultaneously. It was the combination of social transgressions that caused people to fear – rather than celebrate – his difference.
It was also that he truly lived these transgressions: there was nothing to mitigate Jackson’s differences. When other mainstream artists, like Lady Gaga, transgress boundaries on stage, the impact is often lessened by their private lives, which conform to societal norms.
In a 1985 essay about Michael Jackson, James Baldwin wrote that “freaks are called freaks and are treated as they are treated – in the main, abominably – because they are human beings who cause to echo, deep within us, our most profound terrors and desires.”
Michael Jackson – gender ambiguous; adored and reviled; human, werewolf, panther; black, white, brown; child, adolescent, adult – shattered the assumptions of a society that craves neat categories and compartmentalization.
Order and normality are illusions, he said though his life and art.
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Sources: Adweek | All Things Michael
Elvis is back in the building, sort of. Authentic Brands Group, which manages Elvis’ estate, and digital production company Pulse Evolution will bring the King back to life as a hologram. The companies plan to have Elvis shake, rattle and roll in live shows, commercials and movies.
Since digital Elvis will involve 11,500 moving parts, Authentic Brands Group CEO Jamie Salter said he won’t be available for projects until spring 2015 or live performances until fall 2015. But, Salter hinted that the King has a commercial deal with a Fortune 500 company. He’s also is in talks for four-night-a-week residencies in Las Vegas and Macau, and may even do special performances with a hologram Michael Jackson in the later location.
“We want you to go to the show and say, ‘Wow, oh my God! I saw Elvis 30, 40 years ago, and this is exactly the same thing,’” Salter said.
This isn’t the first time deceased musicians have been brought back using holograms. Tupac reappeared in 2012 at Coachella, and more recently, Michael Jackson hit the stage at the Billboard Music Awards in May thanks to Pulse Evolution’s technology. (Like Adweek, Billboard is owned by affiliates of Guggenheim Partners.)
Any hologram deals will have to go through the family’s final approval before being inked, but both Pricilla and Lisa Marie are completely behind using the technology, according to Salter. They’ve supported posthumous performances in the past, including when Lisa Marie sang a duet of Daddy Don’t Cry with Elvis in 1997 that used the original vocals and a video featuring her and her father.
Consultant David Deal said performances generate the most money for musicians today, and a hologram in the repertoire may significantly increase revenue for the deceased. It’s the perfect way to capture the stage charisma these artists were known for and to connect with a visual generation. “I think the only thing that needs to be in place is that the names have to be strong brands with a strong global following,” he said.
Gartner’s Andrew Frank added there’s tons of money in celebrity endorsements, considering that advertising budgets are on the rise. As the hologram technology gets better, he expects that we’ll see these digital counterparts directly interacting with people, including having them sing a personalized song or talk to a consumer on behalf of a brand.
The technology may even open doors for the living, argued Forrester senior analyst Anthony Mullen. Artists could virtually perform in multiple places simultaneously, solving a distribution problem similar to how MP3s have spread music faster than CDs and vinyl records.
Then again, musicians may want to read their contracts more carefully, he pointed out. This could mean the music industry may begin to negotiate for after-death digital image ownership while the artist is still breathing. “People talk about musicians selling their souls to the devil when they sign a deal with the record label. This could be a posthumous issue if today’s musicians agree to it,” Mullen said.
Mullen is also concerned that these singer spokespeople will be made to talk about products they never tried or endorse politicians they never would have voted for, while Frank is worried about fans accepting posthumous declarations of support. “We’re pushing the envelope for how much synthetic personality people are willing to go for,” Frank admitted.
Read more at Adweek