Interview With Principle Dancer Brandi Chun for The Michael Jackson One

Sources: The Examiner – By Gaia Best | Edited By – All Things Michael

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I recently interviewed Brandi Chun from The Michael Jackson One show at The Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, who is one of the principle dancers and dance captain for this five star attraction permanently housed in Las Vegas.

This is a must see attraction and not to be missed. Brandi is from Oahu and has lived in Las Vegas for a couple of years now. I felt our readers would enjoy hearing a bit about Brandi’s experience and could inspire others that have considered auditioning for Cirque du Soleil.

Here is that interview for you to enjoy. Refer back to my previous article for information and a review of The Michael Jackson One show itself.

Do you have a “favorite” MJ song? if so, which one or ones? Why?

I really can’t choose just one Michael Jackson song as my favorite since he’s got so many great songs and albums but, if I had to choose one in the show it’d probably be “Smooth Criminal.” First off it’s such an iconic song and music video and getting to do the original choreography to it feels amazing. Also my boyfriend is an acrobat in the show and that’s the scene where we kind of get to battle it out and stage with each other.

How was MJ’s artistic genuine inspired you?

Michael Jackson’s artistry has inspired many generations and is still inspiring kids today. Ever since I was little, I loved watching his music videos and copying the choreography. He’s always been the one person I’ve wanted to dance for so it’s really cool that I get to be on stage sharing his legacy.

What is the most difficult part of being a performer in MJ’s One for you?

The most difficult part about working for Michael Jackson ONE is dealing with last minute situations during shows. My role as dance captain requires me to aid in coming up with a plan for last minute replacements. For example, if someone drops out of the show due to sickness we have to find someone to cover their track immediately or come up with another solution.

 

Read the entire interview here

 

Coming Soon For Michael Jackson Subscribers!

Michael Jackson.com  | All Things Michael

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We’re just months away from the third annual Michael Jackson Birthday Celebration at MJ ONE at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas! As a thank you for joining Michael’s newsletter, look in your inbox this Friday, April 10th for a special offer. Don’t miss it!

Michael Jackson ONE™, the immersive musical experience from The Estate of Michael Jackson and Cirque du Soleil, premiered in June 2013. Michael’s artistry and spirit are expressed through the vibrant energy of the cast of 63 dancers and performers. ONE is a heartfelt tribute to the work, innovative spirit, and legacy of Michael Jackson – the King of Pop, the genius, the visionary, the One. Directed by Jamie King, the show follows the success of Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour, which became the eighth top-grossing music tour of all time, according to Billboard Boxscore.

Visit MichaelJackson.com >>

He Was Just Michael….

Sources: In The Studio With Michael Jackson – By Brad Sundberg | All Things Michael

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“What was he really like?”
“Did he know you by name?”
“What was it like to be at Neverland?”
“Why would someone have an amusement park in the back yard?”

It’s already been more than 30 years since I first met Michael Jackson. I have been asked every type of question. I have had people react in disbelief and amazement. I have been put down. I have heard incredibly hurtful comments – for a laugh. But I have also seen warmth and compassion. I have met people that made me sad through their sadness at the loss, and others who were filled with joy to a point of contagiousness. In describing Michael Jackson, someone once said, “It’s so hard to describe him to people, because he isn’t like anyone else.”

I first met Michael in late 1984, working on the music for Captain EO. For the next 18 years there were countless weeks when I spent more time with him than I did my own wife, and months when I never saw him. Albums, tours, short films, special projects – I was there if he or the team needed me. And I swear this is true – I don’t remember a single day, a single project – that I didn’t love going to work.

Being around Michael I was blessed to see many things, meet many people, and experience things that might be considered special by some. Vocal sessions. Late nights of mixing. Rolling out plans for new areas of Neverland. Building a giant outdoor theater in his backyard and cranking up my Pearl Jam CD for us both to listen to. I don’t live in the past, but I can see it all like it happened this morning. I wish it did.

When you work so closely with Michael, sometimes it not the “big” things you notice, it’s the little things. Of course it is amazing when Princess Stephanie of Monaco comes to the studio, but is it any less amazing to go down the super-slide at Neverland with Michael after he sprays some crazy spray on your burlap sack so you almost break your legs due to the high speed jumps? Just writing those words fills my head with his laughter. Yep, miss that. A lot.

You might think that the studio was about work, and the ranch was about play. But it wasn’t that simple. They were both about pushing the limits, not being satisfied with “almost”. They were both work, they were both fun – but even the work was a labor of love. You wanted to hear that laugh; you wanted to see that smile.

I don’t remember the first time I saw Peter Pan in the window at ranch. There were statues everywhere, and Disney memorabilia and items from all over the world. Truthfully, I was never a huge Peter Pan fan. I liked the ride at Disneyland, but the whole Peter Pan “persona” wasn’t really my thing. But I knew Michael loved Peter Pan.

It’s hard to put exactly what I am trying to say into words, but let me try. There were times when Michael Jackson – the global superstar – wasn’t that obvious to me. He was just Michael – boss, client and friend. I worked for him, I worked with him, and I enjoyed his company. But every now and then I was reminded who he was. One of those times was at the ranch, when I saw Peter Pan in the window.

I don’t know what it was, or why it struck me like it did. Michael could afford a fleet of Rolls Royces, several mansions, etc. He had Disney dioramas inside the theater, Disney topiaries, even a steam train of the same vintage and scale as Disneyland. But that Peter Pan in the window was different.

There were several Peter Pans at Neverland. They could be found in the main house, in the train station, in the video library, etc. I don’t really remember Michael and I really talking about Peter Pan, except maybe the ride at Disneyland we both enjoyed. But the Peter Pan in the window always seemed special to me, like it was watching over the back yard – keeping an eye on things.

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Truthfully I had almost forgotten about window Peter Pan until I saw this photo a few weeks back. Suddenly it was like I was standing in the spot, just outside that window, looking at Peter looking at me. I can hear the music, I can hear the train whistle… I can hear Michael’s laughter.

So what was he like? There is no simple answer, nor should there be. I can’t describe what the Grand Canyon is like in a simple answer. I can’t describe what music is like in a simple answer. Or a bold Cotes du Rhone. Or love. Or Peter Pan. I just know I love them all – each for a different reason.

I’ll make you an offer. I’ll do my best to to give you a day you won’t soon forget, if you’ll join me for a day in the studio. I’ll take you through the recording and songwriting processes. I’ll take you behind the scenes into Captain EO, Bad, Dangerous and HIStory. I’ll bring you on a surround-sound tour of Neverland – an amazing place that I had the privilege of helping create with some incredibly talented people. I will do all I can to introduce you to a friend of mine. His name is Michael Jackson, and he is like no one you have ever met.

We’ll be at the Seattle Drum School in just 11 days, followed by Toronto in May, Germany in June and Spain in July.

Hear things you have never heard.
See things you have never seen.
Learn things you never knew.

Tickets:
www.inthestudiowithmj.com

Will You Be There?

Read more: https://www.facebook.com/inthestudiowithmj/posts/413140378859862

 

Michael Jackson Tribute Band Who’s Bad Playing House of Blues

Sources: The News Herald Entertainment – ByJohn Benson| All Things Michael

Michael Jackson may have died five years ago, but his message and music live on today among fans around the world.

One group looking to keep the King of Pop alive is Who’s Bad, The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Band, which returns to Northeast Ohio for a show April 4 at the House of Blues in Cleveland.

“When we started, we were like, ‘How about we do a funk band?’” said Who’s Bad horn player Ray McCall, calling from his home in Wake Forest, North Carolina. “We listened to Michael’s ‘Off the Wall’ album and heard a lot of horns in there. That’s when we said, ‘How about we just go ahead and do a Michael Jackson tribute?’

“We thought we could do this for a week or a month, but then it became a powerful thing.”

The members of Who’s Bad couldn’t have picked a worse time to form a Jackson tribute band. The year was 2003, and news had broken about allegations of child molestation against Jackson.

When he was acquitted two years later, Who’s Bad already was traveling around the East Coast with its five members – including leader Vamsi Tadepalli – performing material that begins with The Jackson Five and ends with Jackson’s 2001 album “Invincible.”

The outfit has performed more than 1,000 shows around the globe and has shared the stage with everyone from Aretha Franklin and The Backstreet Boys to The Four Tops, Boys II Men and Pitbull.

On the surface, a Michael Jackson tribute band can run the risk of beginning and ending with a tribute singer doing the moonwalk, but Who’s Bad has made a career by eschewing any novelty feel while paying close attention to detail.

“Michael is known for the moonwalk, but Michael overall as a performer is something that I don’t think a lot of artists even today can kind of come close to touching,” McCall said.

“Still, it was difficult to find a frontman who kind of covered all aspects of Michael, being an icon with range that is kind of ridiculous and having the presence on stage. We did find that someone in Taalib York, who has been a fan of Michael for a long time and studied his dancing and moves. He can really captivate the audience.”

Fans attending the show should expect to hear songs such as “ABC,” “Bad,” “Beat It,” “Billie Jean,” “Smooth Criminal,” “Thriller,” “Wanna Be Startin’ Something” and “The Way You Make Me Feel.”

When asked about the legacy of Jackson, McCall said there’s an element of authenticity and level of sincerity that makes the King of Pop the last great artist of his kind.

“Today how artists try to communicate lyrically has changed drastically, and it’s not just pop music or country music or rap,” McCall said. “It’s across the board. It seems to be less about communicating to the world or having a song that has a message that everyone can relate to.

“It’s all about having a hit that’s only going to last a couple of months, whereas with Michael and artists from back in the day, it was all about the record and the album giving you a complete story. It was really all about the music and the message in the music.”

Details

Who: Who’s Bad, The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Band.

When: 8 p.m. April 4.

Where: House of Blues, 308 Euclid Ave., Cleveland.

Tickets: $12.50 in advance, $15 day of show.

Info: Ticketmaster.com.

Read more here

GRIOT’S LAMENT TO BE FEATURED AT THE LOS ANGELES ASIAN PACIFIC FILM FESTIVAL

Sources: LAAPF | Sent By – Griot’s Lament | All Things Michael

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Synopsis

Every line of dialogue in Griot’s Lament is a Michael Jackson song lyric. A series of precipitous events force the ensemble cast into a fateful intersection with justice and violence. Griot and the community struggle against the errors of terror so many make when it seems all is lost.

Filmmaker Bio

While attending his last semester at the USC School of Cinema and Television Munoz directed his first film ” RIOT” for Showtime ( Winner of the Audience Award at Geneva Film Festival) , which investigated the civil unrest following the Rodney King verdict. The film premiered at the FIRST AME Church in South Central and the screening was dramatically disrupted by a group of young black community activist who demanded that the entertainment industry do more to engage, train, and employ young people from disadvantaged communities. Munoz responded by forming FYI FILMS ( Films by Youth Inside) which empowers incarcerated youth via personal story telling and digital filmmaking. His work with this population clearly informs his work. He is committed to revalorizing margnialized perspective. Munoz went on to direct the award winning “DILEMMA” which was funded by BHERC and Sandra Evers Manly. The film focusses on an unlikely friendship between a Latino and Black youth while serving time at a youth correctional facility. “Lil Scrappy Boy” a short doc focussing on one of his FYI FILMS student and his decision to quit his gang in South Long Beach won Best Short Doc at the Urban World Film Festival. Another web series based on two Latino youth he encountered during a FYI FILMS workshop “AYE FOO”, is a cross between “Cheech and Chong” and “Beevis and Butthead”, and focusses on two sixteen year old Latino youth from Easlos. It won Best Comedy Webisode Series at UMFF in 2013. Munoz’s is also shooting a doc titled “A DREAM DEFERRED”, which is organized around Derrick Rose and his Brother / Manager Reg. He created a 15 minute short doc based on the first three days of filming and won BEST SPORTS DOC at Urban Media Makers Film Festival. His current series, “Griot’s Lament” investigates social and racial injustice and uses Michael Jackson song lyrics as dialogue. The series is co-funded by and produced by Nicholas Thomas and Sandra Evers-Manly. Griot’s Lament won the Audience Award for Best Web Series at UMFF in October 2014 , and is nominated in the category of BEST DIRECTION at the upcoming TIVO Creative TV Awards. The web series has over 6 million views across multiple platforms. Munoz is currently doing a final polish on his next feature length film “Make the Moon”, which was developed at the Sundance Writer’s Lab. The narrative is semi auto biographical and centers around a pair of multi racial identical twins and their complex relationship with their mother who struggles to overcome the harsh socio economic pressures seemingly closing in on her and her twin sons.

Director’s Statement

“GRIOT’S LAMENT” applies Michael Jackson’s lyrics to the artist’s ongoing exploration of metamorphosis as a threshold of change, and as medium for identifying political and social injustices. “An innocent eighteen year old black man was killed, and we are that injustice,” sang Michael alongside his sister Janet in the song SCREAM. I use “recontexualization” of these lyrics to revisit the killings of Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Mike Brown, and the countless number of innocent youths that have fallen prey to violence in Southwest Chicago. “They don’t care about us” was shouted as a veiled response to the Rodney King beating, but could it have also been a foretelling or foreshadowing of the tragic humanitarian failures incurred during Hurricane Katrina? One violent scene in the film will be staged to replicate the horrific Rodney King beating. The film asks the question, as Michael did repeatedly via his music: How culpable are WE… when society cannot fully function in the realm of justice? The character “Griot” is the conduit for Michael’s often overlooked and under recognized political orientation, a perspective that is often over shadowed by the glow and power of his popular music and larger than life persona. “Griot”, pictured here and played by actor Brandon Hirsch, is a one man Greek chorus; “A broken ear witness to unspeakable crimes.” Griot is based on a homeless man who resides in Inglewood, Calfornia.

Screenings

Sunday, April 26 8:00 PM CGV Cinemas 2
Plays with:  The Heart of Darkness (and Light)ROOM 731
HURT
TADAIMA
KIMI KABUKI
THE FIRST SESSION

Cast & Crew

Director Alex Munoz

 

Read more \ buy your tickets here

Review Of Michael Jackson One

Sources: The Examiner – By Tyra Hughley Smith | All Things Michael

Cirque Du Soleil And The Estate Announce Michael Jackson ONE

After Michael Jackson’s untimely death a few years ago, Cirque du Soleil commissioned a tribute to him, in Michael Jackson One, showing at Mandalay Bay. As a lover of the King of Pop, when I heard about the show a few years ago, needless to say I was intrigued. Well, I finally caught the show about a week ago at The Mandalay Bay.

The show was…AMAZING!

If you aren’t already in reverence of Michael Jackson’s sheer talent, you will be after this show. The dancing, the high-flying, the elaborate sets, all brought back a strong sense of nostalgia. Having never been able to see Michael Jackson in concert, my soul was so happy. This show truly captured his essence, his gifts as a performer.

The performance started off with ‘Beat It,’ a well-loved MJ hit. The choreography was crisp and clean but also incorporated new and different elements. Throughout the show there was not a bunch of lag time between numbers, as the shows took you through an anthology of MJ’s greatest hits in whirlwind fashion…..

 

Read the full review here

Neverland

Sources: In The Studio With Michael Jackson – By Brad Sundberg| All Things Michael

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It’s always fun to talk about Neverland.

Since as long as I remember I have loved amusement parks – Disney parks in particular. Michael and I grew up in two very different worlds, but as we got to know each other it was very clear that we had many things in common. Amusement parks were high on that list.

Neverland was more than an amusement park; it was a very real extension of Michael. It had it’s center-stage personality, and it also had areas that were more reserved. The carousel was the centerpiece, the crown-jewel of the ranch.

The carousel was also my first “challenge” at the ranch. Michael wanted a monster music system to flood the ride with sound. We discussed several methods of pushing that much sound from a moving ride, including speakers mounted above each cluster of animals (there were more than just horses). The issues that came up were safety (we really didn’t want a speaker falling on a guest’s noggin) and getting the wiring from the amps to the moving speakers. Eventually that plan got a thumbs down.

We opted to build a huge concert system in the center of the carousel, where the guests could not see it. (Sorry, this might get techie for a minute – scan ahead if you like). The system consisted of four large JBL 2-way cabinets, and a pair of JBL 18″ subwoofers. I think we were pushing about 4000 watts for that first system. As the park grew, so did the size of the music systems.

The funny thing about building a music system in a theme park in the middle of a ranch is that ranches have mice. They were there first, and they see no reason to leave just because Michael Jackson has moved in.

CA: (FILE) Inside Look At Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch

I would routinely test and repair the carousel music system (as well as all ranch systems) to make sure it sounded great at all times. It was always an adventure crawling into the middle of the carousel and inspecting the rack. Little field mice seemed to really love the warmth of my amplifiers, and they were eager to leave me little thank-you tokens that they had been there. Thanks Mickey!

Seattle, I have completely restructured the VIP Neverland segment of my seminar, including a multi-layered surround sound experience. Neverland was filled with sounds, along with sights, and my job was to make those sounds to Michael’s standards. I will share many of those techniques and original sounds with you. I think you are really going to enjoy it.

Toronto, Cologne, Madrid – we are hard at work for your events also. Thanks for your support – it’s going to be a busy spring and summer!

Get your ticket right!

www.inthestudiowithmj.com

 

 

CU Presents’ Artist Series Includes Jazzy Michael Jackson Music

Sources: Daily Camera – By Kelly Dean Hansen | All Things Michael

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CU Presents, the performing arts event series affiliated with the University of Colorado’s College of Music, is planning a typical diverse Artist Series for 2015-16 that includes a jazz program featuring the music of Michael Jackson.

Tickets go on sale Monday, March 30, for the series, which has been expanded to nine events (up from last year’s eight) and brings world-class guest performers to Macky Auditorium. In addition to the Artist Series, the three-production CU Opera season was announced.

Joan McLean Braun, executive director of CU Presents, told the Camera that three widely divergent dance programs will be balanced by three world-class classical events and an unusually audience friendly jazz program with a fresh take on Jackson’s popular songs.

The Artist Series’ marquee dates include another pop collaboration for the University Symphony Orchestra with a high-profile guest and a fourth consecutive holiday program with a magnificent ensemble. All Artist Series events begin at 7:30 p.m.

The series opens Sunday, Sept. 27, with the first visit to Boulder since 1979 of the legendary Twyla Tharp Dance as part of the choreographer’s 50th anniversary tour.

“The dance world owes a tremendous sense of legacy to Twyla Tharp in the evolution of dance style,” Braun said. Although the performance will include new works, Braun said the program will be retrospective in nature.

On Friday, Oct. 9, Boulder will experience a unique performance that destroys jazz concert stereotypes. The San Francisco-based SF Jazz Collective plays a set of originals and arrangements celebrating Michael Jackson.

I really like these projects that they do,” Braun said. “In their current season, they did something similar for Stevie Wonder.”

The executive director said the music is accessible for the audience but still are jazz arrangements.

“It takes some time before you recognize the song,” she said, adding that “every member of the ensemble is a giant in the jazz world.”

 

Read the full article at the Daily Camera