Michael Jackson’s Super Lawyer John G. Branca Endorses Clinton Young

Sources: Mount Vernon – By Jason Bisnoff | All Things Michael

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. — “Mount Vernon native John G. Branca has endorsed Clinton Young for mayor in the Sept. 10th Mount Vernon Democratic primary.

Branca is the son of the late New York State Assemblyman John R. Branca who also served as chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission. As one of the preeminent entertainment and corporate lawyers in the country, Branca serves as co-executor of the Michael Jackson Estate and chairman of The Michael Jackson Company.

“Clinton Young is a high character guy, and my family has a great deal of respect for him and his vision for saving Mount Vernon,” said Branca in a written statement. “He has personally shown me that he cares for his fellow citizens. He was the only Mount Vernon politician to attend my father’s funeral in Florida. It meant a great deal to me and my family.”

A long time Mount Vernon resident, Young served as the 20th mayor of the city from 2008 to 2011. His administration is highly praised for crime reduction, low taxes, and clean, efficient government.

He previously served on the Mount Vernon School Board from 1982-1992 and in the Westchester County Legislature from 1996-2007. He is a graduate of famed Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. “The Branca family is one of Mount Vernon’s most distinguished and accomplished” said Young. “John’s father served as Mount Vernon Recreation Commissioner and built a playground and park system that has served our young people for three generations. John himself has scaled the heights of the music and entertainment business. His uncle Ralph Branca was an outstanding major baseball player with the Brooklyn Dodgers, whose friendship with Jackie Robinson helped break the color barrier in sports. Our city is very proud of the Branca family’s legacy of service, tolerance and high achievement.”

John Branca has represented 29 acts in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, including The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, The Jackson 5, Carlos Santana, Aerosmith, The Beach Boys, ZZ Top, Fleetwood Mac, Bee Gees, Earth, Wind and Fire, and The Doors, which is believed to be more than any other entertainment attorney.

 

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QUEEN LATIFAH AND MARY J. BLIGE ADDED TO NBC’S “THE WIZ LIVE!”

Sources: Today – By Ree Hines| All Things Michael

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Musical fans still have a few months before they have the chance to watch “The Wiz Live!” — the song-and-dance adaptation of “The Wizard of Oz” — but they’re already getting an idea of what’s to come thanks to some big casting news.

On Tuesday, NBC revealed that Queen Latifah and Mary J. Blige will take on a couple of major roles.

Latifah, who received rave reviews for her musical maneuvers in 2002’s big-screen version of “Chicago,” will take on the part of the seemingly powerful Wiz. Blige will play the story’s ultimate baddie, the Wicked Witch of the West, aka Evillene.

“Wiz” executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have worked with Latifah several times before (in “Chicago,” 2007’s “Hairspray” and in the 2012 television production of “Steel Magnolias).

“We are so happy reuniting with Latifah,” they said in a press release. “We’ve been friends for a long time and we’ve had quite a lot of success together. To see her play the iconic role of the Wiz and make it her own is going to be one of the joys of producing this event.”

The production duo are also no strangers when it comes to small-screen musicals, as they also worked together on NBC’s 2013 production of “The Sound of Music Live!”

As for Blige, director Kenny Leon said, “I can’t wait to watch Mary bring the badness that is Evillene.”

Of course, the television event won’t be the first time the stage musical has come to the screen. In 1978, Richard Pryor played the Wiz and Mabel King took on the role of the Wicked Witch in a film that also starred Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Lena Horne and Nipsey Russell.

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It was recently revealed that Stephanie Mills, who played Dorothy in first Broadway production of the tale, will take on the role of Auntie Em.

“The Wiz Live!” will air Dec. 3 on NBC.

 

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Duran Duran’s Danceophobia Interlude Inspired By Thriller

Sources: Idolator  – By Christina Lee| All Things Michael

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When Duran Duran announced the tracklist for their 14th album Paper Gods, Lindsay Lohan’s name wasn’t listed, despite the actress hinting of just as much last winter. So keyboardist Nick Rhodes explained to Billboard what exactly fans should expect: Not only is Lohan featured, but her album cameo is inspired by Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller.”

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“She asked to be a part of it, texting [frontman] Simon [Le Bon], and we thought, actually, there is one spot, ‘Danceophobia,’ where we needed someone to do a little role play for us,” Rhodes says. “The idea came from Jackson’s ‘Thriller,’ actually, the Vincent Price role.”

Price is the actor whose voice closes the song, speaking of how creatures “crawl in the search of blood to terrorize y’all’s neighborhood.” (The mere thought of it makes our skin crawl.) He has appeared in many films, from House of Wax to Edward Scissorhands, though his part in “Thriller” is among his best-known roles.

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Hear Jackson and Price record a take below.

 

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Today Is Nelson Mandela International Day! Take Action! Inspire Change #MandelaDay

Sources: UN.org | Mandela Day | All Things Michael

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Can you spare 67 minutes of your time helping others?

Every year, on Mandela Day, people around the world are asked by the Nelson Mandela Foundation to do just that.

By devoting 67 minutes of their time – one minute for every year of Mr. Mandela’s public service – people can make a small gesture of solidarity with humanity and a step towards a global movement for good.

UN staff around the world have made a difference through a variety of activities in the past – from rebuilding homes destroyed by hurricane Sandy, to offering school supplies to children, preparing meals for the elderly, helping out in orphanages, cleaning up parks and delivering computer literacy workshops.

In New York, UN staff volunteers are partnering with GreenThumb, East New York Farms, and the UN Food Garden, to plant seedlings, pull weeds, and water plant beds in community gardens across the city.

In Geneva, the Permanent Mission of South Africa and Serve the City Geneva are mobilizing volunteers to help the poor and marginalized in the city.

In 2014, in New York, UN staff, joined by the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and in partnership with MillionTreesNYC, volunteered their time and got their hands dirty by pulling weeds, putting down mulch and watering tree beds to help take care of newly planted trees on the streets of Midtown Manhattan and East Harlem. See video.

In 2013 UN staff  in New York helped rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.

See what visitors pledged at the 2011 Nelson Mandela International Day interactive exhibit at UN Headquarters in New York.

If you would like to donate your own time to public service, here are some things you can do to take action and inspire change:

  • Make a new friend. Get to know someone from a different cultural background. Only through mutual understanding can we rid our communities of intolerance and xenophobia.
  • Read to someone who can’t. Visit a local home for the blind and open up a new world for someone else.
  • Help out at the local animal shelter. Dogs without homes still need a walk and a bit of love.
  • Help someone get a job. Put together and print a CV for them, or help them with their interview skills.
  • Many terminally ill people have no one to speak to. Take a little time to have a chat and bring some sunshine into their lives.
  • Get tested for HIV and encourage your partner to do so too.
  • Take someone you know, who can’t afford it, to get their eyes tested or their teeth checked.
  • Donate a wheelchair or guide dog, to someone in need.
  • Buy a few blankets, or grab the ones you no longer need from home and give them to someone in need.

To see all 67 suggestions for action, visit the Nelson Mandela Foundation site.

Mandela Day Website

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George Lucas To Honored As Disney Legend At The 2015 D23 EXPO

Sources: D23 Expo| All Things Michael

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For 28 years, The Walt Disney Company has proudly honored those who have made significant contributions to the Disney legacy by naming them Disney Legends. Today, Disney announced the talented people who will be celebrated in a special awards ceremony at D23 EXPO 2015.

Star Wars creator George Lucas, composer Danny Elfman, All My Children star Susan Lucci, and animator Andreas Deja are among the honorees for 2015. The Disney Legends Awards ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. on Friday, August 14, in Hall D23 at the Anaheim Convention Center and will be hosted by Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger. The ceremony will also include special musical performances.

“The Disney Legend Award is our highest honor, and we are incredibly proud to recognize these eight talented individuals who have contributed so much to the world of entertainment and the Disney legacy,” Bob Iger said. “Their vision and dedication to their work have brought joy to audiences around the globe and earned them a place in Disney history.”

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GEORGE LUCAS, whose Star Wars films made him one of the most successful filmmakers of all time, is also a longtime Disney fan who has left an indelible impression on Disney parks. His first project with Disney was Captain EO, the 1986 3-D spectacular starring Michael Jackson and directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

Star Tours and Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland, as well as Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Indiana Jones et le Temple du Péril in Disneyland Paris, and two blockbuster Indiana Jones Adventure attractions at Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, round out Lucas’ timeless work in conjunction with Disney.

See more of the 2015 Disney Legend Award honorees here.

Each honoree receives a two-foot-tall bronze Disney Legends sculpture that signifies the imagination, creativity, and magic they have brought to the Company. Disney Legends Award recipients will also participate in a handprint ceremony at the end of the event, and their bronze prints will be displayed in the Disney Legends Plaza at the Company’s Burbank headquarters.

Admission to the ceremony will be on a first-come, first-served basis and is included in the price of a ticket to D23 EXPO 2015.

Tickets for D23 EXPO 2015 are $74 for a one-day adult admission and $54 for children 3–12. Tickets for members of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club are $65 for a one-day adult admission and $48 for children. Multi-day money-saving tickets are also available. D23 Members can save as much as $112 off the price of admission, based on the purchase of four three-day tickets at the D23 Member rate. For more information on tickets and the ticket pricing structure for D23 Members and general admission, visit D23EXPO.com.

 

Michael Jackson Flash Mob And Tribute Theme At The 2015 FIH2 International Festival Of Hip Hop In Brazil

Sources: Written by All Things Michael | FIH2

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Now in its 14th year, the FIH2 International Festival of of Hip Hop, held its annual celebration of dance and urban culture on July 10 – 12 at the Teatro Positivo in Curitiba. In addition to presentations and competitions that attracted about 2000 subscribers, there were lectures, exhibitions and workshops. In total, the public event reached 7000 people. This year’s festival tribute featured the most iconic dancer and singer of our time, the legendary Michael Jackson!

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“He was the first to put the dance on television, my generation started with him,” says the organizer of the international festival, Octavio Nassur.

Octavio Nassur

Octavio Nassur

In the festival entrance, visitors experienced the “Thriller Gallery,” in tribute to Michael’s record breaking hit. The public leisure area known as Dance City, was decorated with themes from the singer’s super hits as well as comfort lounges like “Beat It Lounge” and “Black or White” for example.

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The festival opening on July 10th began with 200 students dancing simultaneously to an eight minute soundtrack of MJ hits. The flash mob was held in Boca Maldita, downtown Curitiba. The visibility was augmented with the use of 14 by 5 meter screens upstage and side screens to provide the idea of ​​depth.

Also new this year, grants were awarded to participants and workshops focused attention on recycling, the risks of drugs and alcohol awareness and environmental entrepreneurship. The lectures conducted by managers of several innovative companies.   “We embrace this year as a social cause,” says Nassur.  “We demand the economic sustainability of the dance class. Culture has money. What we do not have is access to it, We have to decrease the perception of dance as a hobby, and enhance the profession.”

Ed Morales, choreographer to celebrities like Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson, hosted a workshop and served as one of the competition judges.  Other world competition dancers featured were Babson, Alisson Jordan, Marina Ahumada, Cat Cogliandro and Jose Rodrigues.

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Visit: http://www.fih2.com.br/

Ed Hardy Designer Christian Audigier Dies At 57

Sources: Entertainment Weekly  | All Things Michael

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Christian Audigier, whose clothes and trucker hats were once worn by every trendy young celebrity, has died of bone cancer at the age of 57, Variety reports.

The French-born designer (turned tabloid celebrity himself) got his rise in fashion designing “rock and roll-influenced” denim in France. He slowly made a name for himself as the “King of Denim” in his home country.

But it wasn’t until 2002 that he began to make a name for himself stateside, after being tapped as the denim designer for the newly formed Von Dutch company.

“I was dreaming all my life of America, of the blue jean, of Marlon Brando. And the trucker hat,” he told GQ in a 2009 article of taking on the role.

Soon, the infamous Von Dutch trucker hat business began booming. The cap, which was targeted at celebs and sold for $100 and up, was made hugely popular by young stars like Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears.

After the success of Von Dutch, Christian Audigier launched Ed Hardy, a brand that featured the colorful artwork of a tattoo artist. It was instantly embraced by stars like Madonna, David Beckham and Jessica Alba — plus many a club-goer across the globe.

Audigier’s friendly relationship with celebrities — and his ability to promote himself as a star designer — helped push Ed Hardy sales through the roof. In 2009, sales were reported to have exceeded $700 million globally, and he was rumored to be working with both Madonna and Michael Jackson on clothing lines.

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But its popularity didn’t last. The brand was quickly seen in every mall across America, and the celebrities stopped favoring it. It also became synonymous with a certain frat-boy culture and the celeb designer fell from the height of his fame.

In April of this year, TMZ reported that Audigier had been battling myelodysplastic syndrome, a bone disease, since January.

Audigier also told the site that he had been doing much better after a bone marrow transplant in March.

 

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Music Streaming 2015: “The Days of Huge Album Sales Are Behind Us”

Sources: 27/7 WallStreet – By Paul Ausick | All Things Michael

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Music demand is higher than ever. In the first six months of 2015, U.S. music fans streamed 135 billion songs and music videos, nearly double the total streamed in the first half of 2014.

The news is less good for sales. According to the latest report from Nielsen, song sales dropped 10.4% to 531.6 million and album sales dropped 4.0% to 116 million units.

None of the streams in the Nielsen study went to Apple Inc. and its new Apple Music service, so when the researchers produce their report for the second half of the year, we’ll get a pretty good idea of how successful Apple Music has been.

After the spat with Taylor Swift, Apple gets to stream her hit album “1989,” but that may not be a big bonus. Re/Code noted that songs from that album were streamed just 188,213 times in the first half of the year. The album sold just 1.33 million copies, and if you add album equivalent units from single sales, the album sold an equivalent of around 2 million units. The album needs to increase that by a factor of 10 to join the ranks of the 50 top-selling albums of all time. Then sales need to increase by another factor of five to reach the number one spot, now held by Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” from 1982.

Does anyone really think that “1989” will sell even 21 million records and join Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” from 1984 at 50th on the list? The point is not that Swift’s album is not musically as good as Jackson’s or Madonna’s, but that the business is different, and by 2045, “1989” is not likely to reach even 10 million in total sales. The days of huge album sales are behind us.

When Swift pulled her catalog from Spotify late last year, Nielsen commented that fans willing to purchase music missing from online services are more likely to buy just one or two songs rather than the entire album.

According to the Nielsen report, only Swift’s album sold more than a million actual copies in the first half of 2015. Only five other albums sold more than 1 million album-equivalent units, according to Billboard.

Apple’s iTunes gets a lot of the credit (or blame) for the demise of the album and the boom in singles sales, but can Apple Music translate the iTunes success into subscription revenue for the streaming service? When the Nielsen report for the second half of 2015 comes out we will know more.

 

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