MJ Photographer Matthew Rolston Gets Smashbox Visual Impact Award

Sources: WWD – By Jasmin Rosemberg | All Things Michael

ca. 2007 --- Michael Jackson --- Image by © MR Photo/Corbis Outline

To say that Los Angeles native Matthew Rolston broke into the photography business “rapidly” would hardly be sufficient. “My very first client was Andy Warhol for Interview magazine,” he recalls. “My second client was Harper’s Bazaar. My third client was Michael Jackson.” He then rethinks this. “Actually, my third client was Jann Wenner, for Rolling Stone,” he clarifies.

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Rolston had crossed paths with Warhol socially at the artist’s nightclub the Factory in New York, but the opportunity at Warhol’s Interview came when a stylist friend from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena — where Rolston studied photography then, and teaches courses now — called about a last-minute job. “And lo and behold, I got my first assignment for a magazine.” Rolston says, “And it was to shoot Steven Spielberg.”

Photographing Harrison Ford and a then-unknown “Star Wars” cast followed — as did a plethora of covers, and a fashion-forward shoot with Jackson. (Later, Rolston would be the last to photograph the pop icon, for his “Thriller” relaunch, in 2007.) “I actually dressed him in some of my own clothes,” recalls Rolston, who bought an embroidered crest with a crown and the letter “J” from an “English-y” Beverly Hills men’s store, and had it sewn onto a cardigan. “And he started this whole craze that I ended up calling ‘Hollywood Royale.’ It sort of indicated the idea of royalty — that he was the King of Pop.” Only, this was prior to Jackson ever being called such.

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Lee Thomas Foundation To Host Fundraiser For Vitiligo Support Programs

Sources: Fox 2 | All Things Michael


– FOX 2’s Lee Thomas and more than a dozen of his television colleagues will take the stage to showcase their singing, dancing, comedic and other hidden talents as part of the inaugural “Tribute to Detroit” fundraising event to benefit ClairtyLTF, Lee Thomas Foundation, on November 28, 2015. The fun-filled evening kicks off at 7 p.m. at The City Theatre inside Hocketytown Café, and proceeds will support the nonprofit’s programs, including its VStrong vitiligo support group.

Guests will enjoy a fun-filled night of music, laughter and surprises as many of Detroit’s favorite television personalities shed their more serious news personas to entertain the audience. FOX 2 anchors and reporters scheduled to perform include Amy Andrews, Deena Centofanti, Jason Carr, Monica Gayle, Charlie Langton, Charlie LeDuff, Sherry Margolis, Jay Towers, and others. Thomas and his famous friends will perform comedy skits, including a parody of the station’s “Let It Rip” program called “Let It Rap.”

Other special guest include former FOX 2 reporter Alexis Wiley (Mayor Mike Duggan’s press secretary), Samuel Pickens, the young Detroiter who portrayed Michael Jackson on Broadway in “Motown: The Musical,” and Tyuawn Brown, Motown Museum’s official Michael Jackson impersonator.


ClarityLTF is a 501c3 organization started by broadcaster Thomas, who has suffered from the skin disorder vitiligo for over 20 years. Vitiligo is a condition in which the pigment is lost from areas of the skin, causing whitish patches. There is often no clear cause for vitiligo.

“There are people who don’t leave their homes because they have this disease,” said Thomas. “My story has resonated with Detroiters so I have continued to try and help others in any way I can. This benefit and the foundation are for those in our community living with vitiligo. The emotional support we provide is much needed, and I truly believe one day soon there will be a cure.”

The Vstrong vitiligo support group is the primary program of ClarityLTF. In 2007, Thomas and Henry W. Lim, M.D., department chair of Henry Ford Health System’s Multicultural Dermatology department, started the group which offers information, professional workshops and emotional support with physicians from Henry Ford Health System free of charge at every event. Vstrong is one of the first and most respected vitiligo support groups in the world, and has hosted many visiting doctors and experts from around the globe, including Russia, India, Italy and the United States.

Reserved seating tickets are $50 per person, VIP tickets are $100 per person which includes access to an afterglow with the performers, and a $1,000 Platinum package includes ten premium seats, after-glow and 10 VIP gift bags.

To order a Platinum package contact ClarityLTF at 313.757.6851. All other tickets can be ordered through Ticketmaster by clicking here


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Park Sang Hyun (Thunder) Transforms Into Michael Jackson For ‘The Celebrity’


Park Sang Hyun (formerly known as Thunder) isn’t paying homage to Michael Jackson, he’s become Michael Jackson in his solo pictorial with ‘The Celebrity‘. Seriously, the outfits, the hair, and his aura are all perfect.

The pictorial was based on Park Sang Hyun’s role model, and his charisma is overflowing. This is not your typical photoshoot, ladies and gentleman.

Park Sang Hyun is featured in the latest issue of ‘The Celebrity’. Check out the rest of the released images below!

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Sources: AllKPop | All Things Michael


How Billie Jean Calmed Steve Jobs

Sources: CNet | All Things Michael

all things Michael edit

On Monday, Andy Cunningham hosted a panel in Palo Alto, California, where the three women talked about how Steve Jobs challenged, infuriated and pushed them to achieve great things. They were joined by Hoffman and Barbara Koalkin Barza, a former product marketing manager for the Mac and later director of marketing at Pixar, the animation studio Jobs bought after being fired from Apple in 1985.

Jobs “made it possible for you to do anything you wanted,” Cunningham said. The women of the Mac team “had the freedom to do what we were good at doing.”

Hoffman, speaking during the panel Monday, said “what is true is that so often Steve was so enthusiastic and so brilliant and visionary and not necessarily reasonable.” Barza noted that “Steve had a laser focus on details,” which is a something she has taken to heart throughout her career.

Here is a story that Andy shared about how Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean soothed Steve’s surly temperament when being photographed:

Music’s charms

“Billie Jean is not my lover/She’s just a girl who claims that I am the one/But the kid is not my son/She says I am the one/But the kid is not my son.” — lyrics to Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.”

Introducing a major product is a lot like planning a crucial battle. Both can succeed or fail on the campaign’s logistics. For the January 24, 1984, introduction of the Mac, those logistics included the then-unheard-of idea of “multiple exclusives,” in which Apple served up different slices of information to leading US publications.

About two weeks before the Mac’s launch, Cunningham and Jobs flew to the tony Carlyle Hotel on New York’s Upper East Side. They had reserved a suite for several days’ of one-on-one interviews and photo shoots.

There was just one wrinkle: Jobs “absolutely hated” having his picture taken and would turn “surly and kinda nasty” with the photographer, recalled Cunningham.

The soothing sounds of music came to the rescue.


“I discovered he loved Michael Jackson and the song ‘Billie Jean,'” she said. “And I discovered that when I played it on a cassette player, he became really docile and friendly and smiled for the cameraman. As soon as the song was over, he would go back to his snarling self.”

The cassette player got plenty of exercise. (His musical choice is ironic given that he was in a paternity battle with the mother of his eldest daughter, Lisa, before the Mac was unveiled.)

“While we were doing the shoot, I was constantly rewinding, rewinding, rewinding,” Cunningham said. “It calmed the waters.”


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Imposter Andre Vann Facing Charges In Florida

Sources: WCVB |All Things Michael


NATICK, Mass. —A Natick man who posed as Michael Jackson’s nephew to scam a woman out of more than $2,000 in Natick last year is in trouble with the law again – this time in Kissimmee, Florida.

Natick police arrested Andre Vann, 31, at the probation department in Framingham District Court on a fugitive from justice warrant from Osceloa County, Florida.

The charges originate from 2012. According to a Kissimmee police report, the victim, an Oklahoma woman, met Vann, who identified himself as Gepetto Jackson, on modeling websites. Vann falsely identified himself as Jermaine Jackson’s son and Michael Jackson’s nephew.

Vann told the woman he was recruiting models for a television show for the Walt Disney Company called “The Garcia Twins.”

The woman flew to Florida and met Vann several times, police said. Vann asked the woman for money.

“He told her that he would need an immediate investment,” according to the police report. “(The victim) stated that she thought this was a legitimate opportunity and would be good to advance her career in modeling/acting. (The victim) stated that on the same day, Aug. 17, 2012, she sent Jackson $1,500 via Money Gram.”

Throughout the next few weeks, Vann repeatedly said he needed more money for production costs such as clothing, makeup and camera equipment. He repeatedly told the victim that all of the money she invested would be refunded by Disney, and she would receive an additional sum, according the police report.

In all, between August and October 2012, the victim and her husband gave Vann $67,500, including the final $5,000 payment on Oct. 25, 2012, according to the police report.

“After a few days, Jackson began not answering phone calls from (the victim) and seemed to be avoiding any contact with her,” according to the report.

The victim researched Vann online and discovered the ruse for which he has been accused in several states.

Kissimmee police investigated and discovered deposits into Vann’s account. They said he used a large amount of money for multiple floor seats for Orlando Magic games. While buying tickets, Vann identified himself as Gepetto Jackson to the Magic staff, who put him on the Jumbotron, identifying him as a celebrity.

Police said Vann also used the money to rent numerous cars and limos.

Disney denied any knowledge of the television show Vann told the woman they were working on. Police also contacted Jermaine Jackson, who confirmed that Vann is not a relative.

Although the investigation occurred in 2012, the warrant was not issued until recently due to authorities trying to figure out in which jurisdiction to charge Vann.

Kissimmee police charged Vann with one count each of a scheme to defraud a person of more than $50,000 and grand theft of more than $20,000.

The Natick case was similar, authorities said. In that case, he is also alleged to have met a woman online and claimed to be Gepetto Jackson. He said he wanted to hire her as a model and hire her as a regional manager for his clothing company. In that case, he scammed the woman out of $2,100. He pleaded guilty last year.

In Natick District Court on Friday, prosecutor Susan Harris asked Judge Matine Carroll to hold Vann without bail. She said Florida authorities plan on bringing Vann back to Florida to face the charges.

Vann’s lawyer, Christopher Shannon, argued for his release. Vann just settled another case in Florida and had his probation transferred to Massachusetts. He said authorities never mentioned the charges while in Florida.

“He’s very perplexed and dismayed,” Shannon said.

Carroll ordered Vann held without bail. Vann then waived his right to fight rendition. Vann is due back in court on Nov. 20 for a status hearing.


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The Wiz’s Elijah Kelley Says He Does Not Want To Outdo Michael Jackson Or Over Play Role As The Scarecrow

Sources: People | All Things Michael

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He has rather large shoes to fill as he eases on down the road, but The Wiz Live!s new Scarecrow considers the role a real thriller.

“I’m not intimidated. I’m not scared,” said Elijah Kelley of taking on the role made famous by Michael Jackson in the Broadway musical’s 1978 film adaptation.

“I don’t want to outdo Mike. I don’t want to overdo,” he added at a Radio Andy-hosted SiriusXM Town Hall for the upcoming NBC live event.

But Kelley is happy to follow the path paved by the King of Pop in some ways, saying he feels blessed to sing “You Can’t Win,” which Jackson sang in the movie even though it did not appear in the original stage production.

Said Kelley, “There’s big footprints to fill, but I know that God’s blessed me with the ability to honor.”


This current production of the musical written by Charlie Smalls and William F. Brown actually has several connections to Jackson. Among them, R&B star Ne-Yo, who plays the Tinman, collaborated with the singer before his unexpected death in 2009. Also, Stephanie Mills – who originated the role of Dorothy on Broadway 40 years ago and is playing Aunt Em in this production – was dating Jackson while he was filming the movie.

“He would take me to set every day,” Mills recalled at the Town Hall taping on Monday.

After Mills originated the role of Dorothy when The Wiz opened on Broadway in 1975, the part in the film went to Diana Ross – but Mills says she didn’t begrudge the soul legend her success then and still doesn’t now.

“I had my own yellow brick road,” said Mills. “I had such a wonderful life. I had the show, and I was getting ready to record an album. I just enjoyed the ride … I was in love with Michael, and I was having a great time, so I didn’t care.”

The actress said that returning to this production all these years later is “like having an out-of-body experience. I feel blessed to see it come around again.”

The Wiz Live! – also starring newcomer Shanice Williams as Dorothy, Queen Latifah as The Wiz, Mary J. Blige as The Wicked Witch of the West, Orange is the New Black‘s Uzo Aduba as Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, and David Alan Grier as the Lion – airs Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

Radio Andy’s Town Hall interview with the cast will air Nov. 20 on SiriusXM.

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Woman With Cerebral Palsy Gets Wedding-Themed Birthday Party With “MJ” Groom

Sources: Pix 11 – By Katherine Lam| All Things Michael


COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. — A 42-year-old woman with cerebral palsy had her wish come true when her family threw a spectacular wedding-themed birthday party for her.

Lori Dawn was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was born, according to WTVR. Doctors didn’t expect her to live, but she defied the odds. She ended up being able to walk and talk, both tasks doctors said she would never be able to do. Dawn’s parents knew Dawn would love a wedding-themed party because she constantly talked about being a bride.

“She knew she was about to be a bride — the one thing she’s dreamed of being,” Grace Swearingen, Dawn’s mother, said to WTVR. “That’s all we ever hear, ‘Mom, I wanna be a bride,’” she said.

Swearingen said Dawn constantly poured over bridal magazines and looked at gowns and decorations. Swearingen spent months planning the “Wedding” birthday, making sure all the details were perfect for the big day.

Dawn wore her mother’s altered wedding gown and held a bouquet of red roses. She arrived in front of her home in a horse-drawn carriage. Family and friends watched as she wedded her groom, a Michael Jackson impersonator. Dawn’s mother said they chose the groom because a Michael Jackson impersonator in Las Vegas once knelt and kissed Lori’s hand.

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“Well, she about passed out,” Swearingen laughed.

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The wedding had a four-tiered wedding cake with a doll topper, twinkle lights wrapped around the trees in the back yard, white candles lining the streets, and food that few neighbors contributed to the celebration.

“The one thing she has always wanted to be was a bride. And now her dad and I have made that happen,” Swearingen said. “Everything she has ever asked for, we’ve just made it happen.”


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“You Can’t Win” Will Be Performed On NBC’s THE WIZ LIVE

Sources: Broadway World | All Things Michael


THE WIZ LIVE!’s Dorothy, Shanice Williams, took to Twitter to reveal that The Scarecrow’s number “You Can’t Win”, which appeared in the 1978 film adaptation but was cut from the original 1975 Broadway production of THE WIZ, will be performed by Elijah Kelley in the upcoming NBC live broadcast.

Williams tweeted:

“You Can’t Win” was originally written and performed for the Broadway musical version of THE WIZ, sung by the chorus of Winkies, the Wicked Witch’s slaves. The number was cut from the musical before the official Broadway opening and wasn’t performed again until the movie version, 3 years later. The producers resurrected the song as a solo for Michael Jackson to replace “I Was Born on the Day Before Yesterday”, which had been Scarecrow’s solo in the Broadway musical.

As was recently reported, singer Elijah Kelley will take on the role of The Scarecrow in the NBC production.

NBC’s upcoming holiday production of THE WIZ LIVE! will air Thursday, Dec. 3. The production will star newcomer Shanice Williams as Dorothy alongside Grammy and Golden Globe-winner Queen Latifah as the Wizard, nine-time Grammy-winner Mary J. Blige as Evillene, original Dorothy, Stephanie Mills, as Auntie Em and David Alan Grier as the Cowardly Lion.

Watch Michael Jackson’s performance of ‘You Can’t Win’ from THE WIZ below:


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