When Michael Jackson Loved Matzo Ball Soup

Source: The Jewish Daily -  By Devra Ferst

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Musicians’s food cravings are legendary. Elvis famously flew from Graceland to Denver for his favorite sandwich: An entire loaf of bread stuffed with a jar of peanut butter, another of jelly and a pound of bacon.

Michael Jackson never hopped on a plane for his cravings. He had his personal chef Akasha Richmond to whip up his favorites: Spicy enchiladas, fresh tortillas and matzo ball soup.

In the mid-90’s MJ was living in the penthouse of the Manhattan Trump tower, sharing a floor with Donald Trump. He was in town finishing up his epic HIStory album.

Richmond was living a few blocks south at what was then the glamorous Helmsley Palace (now the New York Palace), often picking up bagels on her short walk up to Jackson’s apartment.

“One day Michael asked for lox and bagel for breakfast,” Richmond told me. She was a bit surprised by the request but went with it. A few days later, he asked her to make matzo ball soup.

“What do you know from matzo ball soup?” Richmond recalls retorting.

“I grew up with a Jewish nanny. I love matzo ball soup,” Jackson replied.

Richmond met Jackson back in the 1980’s when she was cooking at The Golden Temple, one of L.A.’s first vegetarian spots known for playing host to celebrities like Bob Dylan and Demi Moore. “He used to come there everyday. He was really sweet and I used to take care of him,” Richmond recalls.

Courtesy of Akasha Richmond   MJ with Akasha Richmond and her daughter

Courtesy of Akasha Richmond
MJ with Akasha Richmond and her daughter.

Soon she and another chef from The Golden Temple started cooking at Jackson’s house. “He would have these epic dinner parties. He loved old Hollywood so Elizabeth Taylor, Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren might be there. You never knew who would come over,” she says.

Over the next 14 years Richmond traveled with Jackson on his private plane to 30 countries, cooking for him on his HIStory and Bad tours. The crew built her a six foot portable pantry stocked with his favorites — ingredients for Mexican food and matzo meal. “I think for him [matzo ball soup] was comfort food,” she explained.

Richmond never had a family matzo ball recipe so “I would make chicken stock and then follow the recipe on the package…and add a good pinch of cayenne pepper or minced jalapeño — he loved spicy food,” she said.

“I used to joke that I was Michael’s Jewish mother. I was supposed to keep him healthy. When your on those tours it’s really grueling. I did whatever it took: matzo ball soup, green juice, chai tea.”

A decade or so later, Richmond left the tour life to spend more time with her daughter, but on the weekends she would trek out to Neverland Ranch to cook for Jackson. “My daughter had her bat mitzvah party on the ranch…It was about the best bat mitzvah you could have.”

Richmond went on to work as a personal chef for Barbra Streisand — cooking meals from the vegetables grown in the Funny Girl’s backyard. And she continued to experiment with Jewish food.

In 2008 Richmond opened Akasha, a new American restaurant in the Culver City neighborhood of Los Angeles shortly before Passover. She closed the restaurant for the night of Seder and invited friends, family and investors for dinner, serving the same matzo ball soup — replacing the cayenne for a dash of nutmeg. In September, she tried out the idea of hosting a Rosh Hashanah dinner for her customers. It was a hit. “We had 200 covers ever night. We were slammed,” she says. Jewish holidays at Akasha have become a tradition. “There are so many levels of being Jewish. For a lot of people it comes down to the food — that’s what they remember,” says Richmond.

Most of Richmond’s kitchen staff isn’t Jewish, so when she makes matzo ball soup “I tell my chefs — this is the food of my grandmother. Don’t f*** with it.”

Personally, she prefers hers matzo ball soup flavored with Thai ingredients like lemongrass, turmeric and ginger. But for her restaurant’s annual Seders she sticks with tradition — and prays. “I say a prayer over the matzo balls. I…ask the god of matzo balls to make them light and fluffy. They make me so nervous.”

Michael Jackson’s Favorite Matzo Ball Soup Recipe

2½ quarts homemade chicken stock
1 leek, white part only, cleaned, and cut into thin matchsticks
1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup matzo meal
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons seltzer water
2 tablespoons olive oil or chicken fat
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Fresh chopped parsley and dill
Optional: A dash of cayenne pepper or minced jalepeno pepper

1) Add leeks and carrots to broth and simmer for 10 minutes (or until tender) and turn off heat.

2) Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, olive oil, nutmeg, salt and black pepper (and spice, if adding). Fold in the matzo meal and seltzer water. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3) Bring a large stockpot of salted water to a boil. Wet your hands with cold water and form the matzo mixture into 12 balls. Drop the matzo balls into boiling water. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover tightly, and cook for 30 minutes – don’t open the lid. Remove with a slotted spoon and serve with the hot chicken stock and vegetables. Garnish with lots of chopped parsley and dill. Makes 6-8 servings.

 
Read more: http://blogs.forward.com/the-jew-and-the-carrot/196495/when-michael-jackson-loved-matzo-ball-soup/#ixzz2yrhuaRG7

Dr. Patrick Treacy, Michael Jackson And Nelson Mandela

Source: New 24.com – By Patrick Treacy

That’s Mandiba – Grandfather

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I was with Michael Jackson one day in my clinic in Dublin discussing a future concert we were arranging in Africa when Nelson came talking on the cell phone.

At first I thought it was a South African concert promoter and blandly spoke to him about how life was in the Cape for about five to ten minutes minutes before idly giving the phone back.

Michael then just laughed and said, “Hey, Patrick I’m really surprised you had so little to say to my grandfather ‘Mandiba’ when you had the chance to talk to him. You talk about him enough!”

http://www.news24.com/MyNews24/Thats-Mandiba-grandfather-20131206

The Time David Blaine And Michael Jackson Snuck Into Parliament (VIDEO)

Source: Huffington Post Live

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Known for mystifying all with his signature brand of street magic, David Blaine is wowing celebrities from Katy Perry to Will Smith. He joined HuffPost Live to discuss his return to primetime TV with his ABC special, “David Blaine: Real or Magic,” his relationship with Michael Jackson, and some of his craziest experiences.

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Hear the whole story at HuffPost Live

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/18/david-blaine-michael-jackson_n_4297783.html

The Day I Met Michael Jackson

Source: Brian Seltzer – Published (July 8, 2009/ Updated September 1, 2011)

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I just finished watching the Michael Jackson memorial on television, and I decided as soon as it was over that I wanted to write about the day I met Michael Jackson.

I have told this story to many friends and family members, but I never actually wrote it down. I might as well do it right here, right now, as Michael is on my mind, and the memory of my encounter with him will only fade over time.

It was in 1983 when I met Michael Jackson. He was on top of the world as “The King of Pop.” His album “Thriller” was tearing up the charts. I think he was on his third or fourth #1 song from that album, and everybody in the world seemed to own it. I experienced this frenzy of album sales first hand, as I was working at a record store at the time. It was there, at the record store that Michael Jackson came strolling into my world.

Licorice Pizza was in the Sherman Oaks Galleria, located in the San Fernando Valley. This is the same record store that was used as a location in the movie “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” The name of the store referred to the vinyl records we sold in those days. We also sold a lot of cassette tapes.

The day Michael walked into my store was a very slow day. It was as if he knew when the mall would have the least amount of people, and decided that was the best day to do a bit of music shopping. I could not tell you what day or time it was exactly, but it was likely mid-week, while most people are at work.

I was managing the store and working the cash register, which was near the front entrance of the store and looked out into the mall. There was nobody in the store other than myself and a co-worker, who was in the backroom. When I first spotted Michael I did not recognize him. And this is why…

I saw a man approaching the store in a Halloween mask. The mask was semi-translucent. I could almost see his face behind the mask, but not quite. The mask had sort of a white colored tint to it, but was mostly clear. The mask was shaped like a human face, as if its purpose was to simply distort the face of the wearer. The only marking on the mask was a black painted mustache. It was very odd to say the least… mainly, because it was nowhere near Halloween time.

I could tell the man behind the mask was African American. He was dressed extremely casual, and even his clothing was sort of a non-costume costume. He was wearing jeans and tennis shoes, and a red plaid button up shirt, with a t-shirt under that. He almost looked like a farmer. It was not a style that would have been considered fashionable at the time. It just seemed strange.

Today, if a man walked into a retail shop in July wearing a Halloween mask, most people would think they were about to be robbed. This thought did not occur to me though. One reason was that a young boy accompanied the masked man. Michael’s companion was a young boy, who looking back had an appearance similar to Macaulay Culkin. The boy was blonde, with pale skin, and he was dressed like Michaels twin (only instead of a red plaid shirt, he was wearing green plaid). This boy was not Macaulay though, as I think this was even earlier than their friendship.

So, there I see an African American man wearing a Halloween mask, dressed like a farmer, with his young blonde haired friend who was dressed the same (but with no mask). They walked right up to me when the man behind the mask spoke — “Hello, can you help me to find some Stevie Wonder tapes?”

As soon as I heard the voice, I knew it was Michael. It was high-pitched, rather quiet and gentle. The face behind the mask came into focus more. The hair. The mannerisms. It was him. Talk about a Thriller! Michael Jackson was standing right in front of me. I could not help but try to make out his features more from behind the translucent mask. I was stunned to say the least.

Over the years, we had lots of musicians come through that Licorice Pizza. I remember meeting members of REO Speedwagon, ABC, Bananarama, Spandau Ballet, Mr. Mister, and even Billy Idol.. but nobody comes close to Michael Jackson.

I could tell by the mask he wore and his body language that he really did not want people to know it was him (Duh!). He was trying not to attract attention. Yes, he was wearing a Halloween mask in July! Hello?! Still, his strategy was working. He and his pal came in alone, and nobody else was in the store with us. I felt it was my duty not to freak out, but to simply help him find the music he was looking for.

So I took Michael over to the Stevie Wonder tapes against the wall, and left him to browse with his friend. Micheal and his friend were squated down going through the tapes together, and I can only imagine Michael was giving the boy a bit of a musical education on Stevie Wonder. Two minutes later they were back at the register with me placing every single Stevie Wonder cassette we had in stock on the counter to be purchased. Obviously he was a fan.

I rang up the purchase, and Michael took out a credit card to pay. Sure enough, right there printed on the Master Card it said “Michael J. Jackson.” I knew it! The King of Pop was in my store. So what do you think I said next to Michael? I said, “Mr. Jackson, may I see your drivers license or a picture ID?” Checking ID was standard credit card protocol, and the man was wearing a mask after all.

He took out his driver’s license and handed it over. Yep, it was Michael alright. There, the Michael Jackson we all know and love (the face on his Thriller album) was smiling back at me. When I gave the ID back to him, I looked up and the real Michael Jackson was smiling too. In that moment, we both knew I was just doing my job by asking for his ID, and his smile was sort of saying “we are cool, right?”

As I finished the transaction, I then felt comfortable enough, or compelled perhaps to murmur “Huge fan, Michael.” Short, and to the point. He said “Thank you!” That was our conversation. Lame, but remarkable.

Now, I wish I could say that I had kept the conversation going, and that I had asked him to autograph an album, but that’s not how it played out. As he was signing his credit card receipt, my co-worker came out from the back room. Having another person walking towards us changed the dynamic right away. I was almost fearful for Michael that his secret would be discovered, and then all hell would break loose. There were a few random people walking past the front entrance of the store, and I felt the right thing to do was let the man go in peace.

Michael left the store with his bag of Stevie Wonder tapes, and I watched him as he continued through the mall and out of sight. He passed by some people who turned their heads, but not because it was Michael, because it was some man wearing a Halloween mask. Michael’s secret was safe.

I remember saying rather casually to my co-worker, “You just missed Michael Jackson. Yeah, he just bought up all our Stevie Wonder tapes. We better order more. Yeah, he was wearing a mask. Yeah, I’m certain it was him.”

Sure, it would be nice to have an autographed “Thriller” album made out to Michael’s pal Brian. I’m sure he would have signed one for me had I asked. There was something so odd about the whole experience though. At the time, I felt that the best way to show him I was a fan was to just play it cool, and treat him like any other customer. In my mind the fact that he knew I knew, and I calmly and quietly told him I was a fan, but did not make a fuss or draw attention to him was the right way to go.

For all his strangeness, I can only say that his kind spirit shined through from behind that mask. When he spoke, the tone of his voice was rather shy and like a child.

It was bizarre. It was a thrill. It was a day I will never forget.

RIP Michael.

http://brianselzer.com/2009/07/08/the-day-i-met-michael-jackson/

 

Dotun Adebayo Talks About When He Tried To Snag An Interview With The King of Pop (Excerpt)

Source: The Voice / Michael Jackson World Network

Michael Jackson-Will

Long before Tom Cruise reprised the role of agent Ethan Hunt for the big screen, I was sent on an equally unfeasible assignment to point a microphone towards the most famous star on the planet – EVER – and press something called a cassette recorder (whatever that is) and get him to talk.

I jumped into the old jalopy with Voice photographer Colin Patterson and we drove overnight to the French capital. This was in the days before the Channel Tunnel was built. So it was by land and ferry and took about eight hours.

GURU

When we got to Paris it was morning. We went straight to the Epic/CBS office where I met for the first time the legendary music press guru Michael Mitchell. He hooked me and Colin up with everything we needed – tickets, press passes, access all areas passes.

But the one thing even he couldn’t hook us up with was an exclusive interview with Michael Jackson. I couldn’t return to London without having spoken to Michael Jackson, so the only thing for it was to resort to the old style of journalism that we call door-stopping. We drove to the hotel Michael was staying at over by the Place de la Concorde.

When we got there it was about midday. There were a couple of hundred Michael fans hanging around outside. We couldn’t get in the hotel without a guest key because of the ring of police steel in the form of the para-military style CRS cops. To me it seemed excessive. But more of that later.

The fans also told me that two or three times a day Michael would dash out of the hotel through a side entrance and jump into a waiting bus which would speed him off to rehearsals at the stadium or shopping trips or business deals or whatever else he was up to in the French capital.

True to their prediction, there was suddenly a roar of screams and Michael popped his head out of his fourth floor balcony door and waved, only too briefly, to his adoring fans. It was magic. It was my first glimpse, in the flesh, of the greatest star the world had ever known. What killed me, though, was that Colin hadn’t even got his camera out.

“Colin, this dude ain’t Michael Jackson for nothing, you know. He’s the flippin’ King of Pop. He ain’t gonna hang around for you to snap him.”

Before I could cuss him some more there was another roar and a general rush towards the hotel’s side entrance as two mini buses zoomed out. I grabbed Colin and we jumped back into our car and chased the buses through the streets of Paris all the way to the Parc de Prince stadium where the gig was going to be held that night, at which point the buses disappeared behind a barrier that wouldn’t let us through.

We hung around outside. It was still several hours before the gig that night. The sound of rehearsal floated out to the thousands of fans who were gathering in ever increasing numbers to join the carnival.

Michael was only there for half an hour. Colin and I jumped back in the jalopy to chase him through the streets again. Nobody in Paris seemed to be that concerned that I was driving the wrong way down a one-way street or the wrong way around a roundabout in hot pursuit. Don’t you just love the French.

That afternoon we chased Michael and his entourage from hotel to department store to ministerial meetings and sight seeing. Talk about a whirlwind. Everybody wanted a piece of this guy. Colin still hadn’t managed to snap him for our exclusive. He kept telling me not to interfere with the work of an artist.

PHOTO

Just when I feared that we would never get a candid photo of Michael, I bumped into a guy who worked in the hotel. He agreed to take us through the police cordon with his pass.

We entered through the side entrance. As we were going through the kitchens there was suddenly a commotion and (would you believe it) Michael and his entourage were coming towards us. This time Colin grabbed a great shot of Michael surrounded by his entourage.

Later I would get a story to go with it all about the level of security around Michael. A guy from the French Ministry gave me the quote, “Of course we cannot rule out a terrorist threat against Michael Jackson.”

Job done.

http://www.voice-online.co.uk/article/michael-jackson-more-unloved-statue

60 Minutes Will Show Repeat Of “A Look In Michael Jackson Closet” Sunday, September 8, 2013 7 PM (Eastern)

Source: 60 Minutes

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“60 Minutes” cameras were given access to Michael Jackson’s personal possessions for a story about the king of pop’s lucrative legacy. Watch Lara Logan’s report on Sunday, September 8 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

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Karen Langford, a friend of Jackson’s who worked with him since 1981, is the archivist for the Jackson estate. She takes Logan for a tour of a warehouse full of Jackson’s memorabilia.

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http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50147044n

The Bethelites Who Almost Went Out With Michael Jackson In Field Service

Source: Freeminds.org  - Contributed by Barbara Anderson/ Jehovah Witness.net (2005)

Michael, Bill Bray at the Kingdom Hall

Michael and Bill Bray at the Kingdom Hall

The following is a true story. I’m sharing it without commentary. It was part of many adventures I had while living and working at Brooklyn Bethel where I made my home from 1982 until 1993.

In the mid 1980s, Michael Jackson was touring the United States doing “Thriller” concerts in major cities in conjunction with the release of his “Thriller” album. I found out about Michael’s visit to the metropolitan New York City area from Tim, who also was a Bethel staff member, when he called me at work to ask if my husband, Joe, and I would like to accompany Michael Jackson in field service on Saturday.

Tim’s uncles-his dad’s two brothers-were prominent Burbank, California elders, and he also knew many Witnesses in the area, including other elders and their families. Consequently, Tim heard firsthand what an impact Michael made on any of the congregations he attended in the late 70s and early 80s. All the elders were diligently trying to keep the congregations balanced because of having such a famous and controversial Jehovah’s Witness in their midst. And it can only be imagined how difficult it was for Michael to participate in Witness activities because of reporters shadowing him constantly.

It was never a dull moment when Michael came to the Kingdom Hall, and we heard about some of the comical events that occurred. Michael usually came in after the meetings started and sat in the back row so as to avoid stares and whispering.

One time the young son of a newly interested woman was in the men’s room when Michael came in there. The boy was surprised to see someone who looked so much like Michael Jackson. Finally, he asked, “Are you Michael Jackson?” Michael said yes, but the boy wasn’t convinced so he asked Michael to do the “moon walk.” Michael obliged. Can you imagine the excitement of the little fellow seeing his idol doing the moon walk in a Kingdom Hall bathroom. When he came back to his seat his mother asked him why he was gone so long. He excitedly told her what had happened, but she didn’t believe him and promised him a spanking later at home

Along with the cute things that occurred, we heard the negatives-about how many of the Witnesses hounded Michael for money, or asked for his help to get them into show business, and then there were the Witness women who wanted to date him. Of course, the elders counseled these people. Moreover, they counseled Michael because of the large number of complaints from Witnesses across the country who were unhappy about the bad example Michael was setting by his lewd behavior on stage and in his shocking “worldly” videos.

However, many young Witnesses weren’t complaining, but instead they emulated and worshiped the ground Michael walked on. This was the situation in the Flatbush area of Brooklyn where we attended meetings during our Bethel years and where there were 20 congregations in 2.2 square miles. Almost all of those who attended meetings there were black, most from the West Indies, some from Africa, or were African Americans, and too many of their children were fascinated with Michael Jackson. They had posters of him hanging in their rooms; they walked like him and sang his songs

Incidentally, it was the norm for these kids to discontinue their association with the religion as soon as they could, and it was thought that the actions of Michael Jackson were contributing to this exodus. To “mature” Witnesses he was a very bad example for the children in the organization. And this is the frame of mind that both my husband and I were in when Tim called to ask if we would like to go out in field service in Brooklyn with Michael Jackson.

I learned from Tim that Michael went in the field ministry wherever he had a concert, accompanied by two body guards who sat in the van while he called at homes. Tim knew the woman, a Witness, who made all the field service arrangements, and it was she who asked him to go out in service with the singer, plus, requested that a mature married couple also join them.

Of course, I was very excited about the prospect. I knew just what I wanted to talk to Michael about while we were walking door-to-door. First on the agenda was about his white gloved hand grabbing his crotch while performing on stage. I wanted to know why a man serious enough about his religion to do door-to-door evangelizing would do such a thing; or to lie on the floor wriggling sensuously; or to engage in such sexually provocative dancing; or to sing songs such as those on the “Thriller” album, which were so contrary to our belief system (to put it mildly). As a mother, my desire was to kindly share with him the anxiety parents were going through because their children were idolizing his “worldly” behavior.

That evening I told Joe about the invitation. To my surprise, he didn’t show the slightest interest. I remember his words just like it was yesterday: “If I’m going out in service, I’ll go to our congregation where I’m assigned. I don’t go to other people’s congregations just to work with a celebrity, no matter what the reason. You go if you want to, but I’m not! There are many couples who might want to do this. What about some of the elders and their wives in Tim’s congregation? We had lunch with Brother and Sister So & So when I gave a talk there. They have children whose conduct they are concerned about. And since Tim is taking Michael in field service in his congregation’s territory, it’s more appropriate to ask them.”

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No amount of cajoling could change his mind. Again Joe told me to go if I wanted to, that he didn’t mind. However, I decided against it because Tim wanted a married couple. I just didn’t feel that it was proper to go without my husband, although when I told Tim about Joe’s reaction, he still asked me to come, but I said no, that I thought Joe’s idea was good-Tim should ask some Witnesses in his congregation.

A few days after Tim took Michael out in service, he told me what happened. And, yes, he did follow Joe’s recommendation and the couple Joe had suggested went out with them. They all went in a large van, which no one could see into, and Michael had on a hat with a large brim that he pulled down over his face. At the first door Michael did the talking, and a young lady accepted the book. When she came back with some money she asked Michael if he had ever been told that he sure looked like Michael Jackson. He nodded and said that it happens all the time and they left.

Another cute experience happened when they were walking on the sidewalk outside of the apartments. A little fellow about six passed by them and when he looked at Michael he took a double take, kept walking and then backed up and looked again. Then he walked on shaking his head and muttering, “No, it can’t be him.”

One day, a few weeks later, I was walking to work with Leon Weaver, who is an African American. Leon worked in the Service Department and was part of the Service Committee. Before he came to Bethel many years before, I was told that Leon was in the circuit work.

Inasmuch as Leon was pleasant to talk to, I thought he might enjoy my tale of how I almost worked in service with Michael Jackson, and about the cute little experiences Michael had had in service. So I told Leon how Joe refused to go even though I thought we might be in a good position, Joe being a Bethel elder, to discuss with Michael how his actions on stage had such negative ramifications in the congregations. However, Leon told me that he was very surprised about Joe’s attitude. He said he and Ruby would have liked to have spent time with Michael Jackson and would have certainly done so if Tim had asked him.

I took it for granted that Leon was interested in the opportunity to talk with Michael about the same troublesome things that I wanted to discuss-especially because he worked in the Service Department where it’s part of his job to see to it that the elders enforce organizational rules for so-called Christian behavior. I mentioned to Leon that famous “white glove” of Michael’s. Wow, was I ever thunderstruck when Leon pointedly told me that he would have liked to shake the hand that wore the white glove if he had had the opportunity. Further, he said something to the effect that he wouldn’t have counseled the young man, but would have enjoyed being in the company of such a celebrity. I was surprised, to put it mildly, and said nothing more even though I felt as if I was being counseled for my nit-picking attitude.

That evening, I told Joe about the conversation I had with Leon. He was not in harmony with Leon’s viewpoint, but we kept that to ourselves. It was at times like this that it would sometimes cross our minds that maybe we, along with many other JW families, took the organizational instructions too seriously. However, despite Leon’s different perspective from ours concerning Michael Jackson, one which we then disagreed with, we continued to try to do what we thought God would expect of faithful Jehovah’s Witnesses and advance what we thought was “pure worship without defilement of any kind.”

http://www.freeminds.org/women/servicewithMJ.htm

Barbara’s page in Freeminds.org

TV Guide Interview

JWitness

Watchtower Letter About Michael Disassociation From The Organization

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Memories Of Michael Jackson: True Stories From Those Who Knew And Met Him

Source: Stacey McKenzie

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I was so blessed to have the opportunity to meet the KING himself.  I will never forget that moment for the rest of my life.  I was chosen to attend The Fifth Element premier at the Cannes Film Festival as Jean Paul Gautiers’ date, the next day Mr. Gautier informed me that we were invited to attend the premier for Michaels video “Ghosts”.  I brought my disposable camera ( yes people DISPOSABLE) and took my seat in the 2nd row centre.  Soon there was a lot of mayhem, people jumped out of their seats running to get a picture with Michael who was being swarmed by mad security.  The security escorted Mr. Jackson to his seat and I almost had a heart attack, it was right in the front row centre behind me!

Once he settled in and the lights went dim, I began to tap him on his shoulder, he would turn around and smile, then speaking in his low boy like voice he said  to me,”Hi pretty, are you having a good time”?  I couldn’t speak but I was snapping away with my disposable camera.  Through out the night, I tapped him quite a few more times and took quite a few more pictures, each and every time he would laugh asking if “I was enjoying myself”.  After the premier, he was willing to take a picture with me, while about to do so a crowd of people rushed him and he had to leave immediately due to security reasons.  The last time I saw Mr. Jackson was while he was being taken away from beside me, the last thing he said to me was,”I’m sorry pretty girl, I hope you still had fun.” That was the day I met the KING and I continue to cherish it to this very sad day.

Thank you Mr. Jackson for THRILLING us with your music!
Thank you Mr. Jackson for being the BADDEST dancer!
Thank you Mr. Jackson for INSPIRING so many generations to follow your footsteps
Thank you Mr. Jackson for THE WAY YOU MADE ME FEEL that day in France
Thank you Mr. Jackson for making us SCREAM for more!

May god rest your beautiful soul!

http://staceymckenzie.com/2009/06/26/the-way-you-made-me-feel/

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Tampa DJ Cherishes Memories Of Lunch With Jackson

Source: Tampa Tribune

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As a DJ at radio stations across the country for decades, Jon Anthony has collected a music hall of fame of photos which he plastered on the walls of his Valrico home office. There’s Rick Springfield, ‘NSync, Toby Keith and Bobby Brown.

But there’s one picture more precious than all the others.

“If my house were to catch on fire, I would grab my wife, my son and that picture of Michael Jackson, and we would hit the door,” Anthony said. “That’s how big that picture is to me.”

Anthony had lunch with Jackson in 1981. He spent an hour and a half with the pop star, who was cutting tracks for the album “Thriller” at a Nashville studio next door.

He met Jackson after he was called over by a record executive pal who noticed Jackson outside the studio. The two men approached Jackson and asked him if he’d like to join them for lunch in the record exec’s office.

Anthony calls it an experience he will never forget. He says the three of them ordered sub sandwiches and talked about everyday topics like sports and the weather. They were trying to steer away from subjects like celebrity that might make Jackson feel uncomfortable.

“I could not believe how friendly he was, how nice he was, and how relaxed he was, “Anthony said. “It was almost like he had escaped out of that world that he was so used to and got to come into the real world with some real people and eat a sub sandwich.”

The photo of Anthony and Jackson was snapped before their lunch. “I didn’t realize I was going to be having my picture made with one of the biggest entertainers in the world!”

Anthony, now 54, ended up in Tampa Bay when his career led him to a radio job here. Since then he’s met more famous people, and more photos have filled up spaces on his walls. But when it comes to celebrities, he will always regard the Michael Jackson photo as his most valuable item.

Jackson’s sudden death was a real punch in the gut to Anthony. “We have lost the greatest entertainer of all time, end of story. “

Anthony watched the televised memorial for Jackson and said it was a fitting, tasteful tribute for pop royalty.

Anthony says there’s only one thing left to say now, even for a former DJ.

“Rest in peace, King.” 

http://tbo.com/arts_music/tampa-dj-cherishes-memories-of-lunch-with-jackson-98998

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 Michael Jackson’s Encounter With Jay-Z At Summer Jam

Source: Walik Goshorn

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I remember being on my way to Summer Jam in 2001 in a car filled with a bunch of friends and them going back and forth about Michael Jackson coming to Summer Jam. I was actually half asleep when this was all going on, but when I heard the talk about MJ I immediately woke up. Being a photographer — and also having never met Michael Jackson — I was sure the possibility of something like this happening would change my life forever.

The day rolled on and I spent the afternoon taking pictures onstage and backstage, trying my best to cover the entire show from as many different angles as possible. By the time Jay-Z hit the stage, the rumors about Michael making an appearance had escalated into Jay-Z bringing Michael out to the stage for part of his performance. In my mind I realize these can’t just be rumors anymore. This is Jay, and if Jay said it was going to happen, then it was going to happen.

At this point I was onstage, not entirely sure where to stand because I did’t know where he was going to come from, and I wanted to be sure I captured this moment. Just before Jay launched into “Izzo” (which happens to sample the Jackson Five’s “I Want You Back”), he asked the crowd if they want to see Michael Jackson. Of course, Summer Jam wanted that.

So then Jay said, “Michael Jackson better come from behind that stage.” After a moment, MJ appeared from took his spot right next to Jay-Z. I jumped directly in front of the two of them and just started snapping as many photos as I could. The crowd went absolutely crazy. Jay introduced MJ to NY and then busted into his first single off The Blueprint. It was a moment in my life that will never be forgotten.

http://newsroom.mtv.com/2009/06/26/photographer-remembers-michael-jacksons-encounter-with-jay-z/

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Vanessa Lee – Fook

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“I met the legendary Michael Jackson back in February, 1978 when I lived in Trinidad, West Indies. He came there with his brothers, The Jacksons, for a concert. It was a chance meeting that I will never forget that lasted for almost one whole week! When I talk about that time, it sounds so far fetched. If I didn’t have the pictures and autographs to prove it, I wouldn’t believe it either.

One of the pictures I will share is of Michael and I at Las Cuevas Beach in Trinidad. He was such a gentle, humble, and truly special person. Even back then I could tell he was a perfectionist, a musical genius who loved to entertain people.
Can you name one performer out there today who can truly entertain people the way Michael did and command an audience?”

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The Day I Met Michael Jackson, The Day I’ll Never Forget

Source: Digital Journal  - By Janet McNair Halbani

I grew up to the soundtrack of Michael Jackson’s music. I waited my whole life to meet him. In a bookstore at The Palm Beach Mall the moment arrived.

 
Ever since my parents took us to the Jackson 5 concert at the L.A. Coliseum, their very first major concert tour for their fist hit album, ABC (released in 1969), I’ve been a fan. Crowds of Victorville, California girls chased one of my brothers home from school every day thinking he was Michael Jackson under cover.“How silly of them,” I thought. “It’s just my brother Kerry.” Why would he be living on an Air Force base with an older brother and 2 sisters, one of whom is named…oh….nevermind.When Thriller was a hit and Michael Mania was at it’s 80s height, my brother Kerry would say to me, “Janet, he can’t possibly go any higher. He’s larger than life. Can you imagine him aging?”
Instead, Kerry didn’t age and 21 years ago, my brother died at the age of 29.If I ever got the chance to meet the real Jackson, I’d have so much to say. Security would have to intervene just to spare his ears. Jackson was more than an entertainer — he was like family to everyone who remembers where they were when they first saw him Moonwalk at the Motown 25 television special. He was unbelievable.Does anyone remember Jackson doing the human beat box on Oprah’s prime time special at “Never Land Ranch?” This brother could sing simultaneous harmony with himself — emphasis on the word “simultaneous.” One word sang out split into a chord with no special effects. Who does that?To hear the headline “Michael Jackson dead at 50,” was somewhat surreal. Just yesterday I heard what I described as, “The voice of an angel,” on a television advertisement singing.“You and I must make a pact.We must bring salvation back.Where there is love,I’ll be there…”It was Michael Jackson and his brothers. That voice led me on a series of thoughts starting with where my path crossed that of Jackson’s and ending with the one thing in life that is certain — death.

I was not a friend, but a fan who last saw Jackson in person in a bookstore at the Palm Beach Lakes Mall (West Palm Beach, FL). I believe it was April of 2005 and it was definitely a Saturday morning, almost as soon as the mall opened, and the crowds had not yet arrived.

As soon as I walked into the bookstore, I noticed additional mall security. A security guard had already tipped me off at the coffee shop that Jackson was indeed in the building. No other shoppers were in the bookstore other than his undercover security detail posing as other shoppers. Once I checked out, it’s as if the mole on the cell phone told Jackson that a 40ish woman posed no threat. Without warning Jackson emerged from who knows where.

I saw the build and stance of the slim man at the magazine rack. I vicariously knew it well. He was taller than I imagined. First, I saw the everyday Joe navy sweatpants. As my eyes traveled up, they took notice of how nearly transparent the skin on his left hand was. He moved slightly toward me as if thinking about greeting me, then back the other way. Finally, he turned toward me.

This was it.

My head slowly tilted up from the bottom of his pant leg, past those thinly skinned hands and at my moment to speak, I couldn’t. The moment arrived that I waited nearly all my life for and all I could muster was an upward head nod that tacitly said, “What’s up?” He waved hello. I think I was taken aback that he was wearing a Spider Man mask — the whole Spidey head, not one of those front-half-only masks attached by an elastic string.

About 30 minutes later, despite the mask or perhaps aided by it, a crowd of youth were running behind him screaming his name.

“I love you,” he yelled back.

So, just the night before he died, I remembered a botched meeting I’ll never have again. I sensed he could have used a friend, but knew I was just another stranger. I said to myself, I’m not certain of who I will or will not ever see again. But, one thing I am certain of is it is appointed to all of us to die.

What I Am Certain of Regarding Michael:

• He was one of the greatest entertainers the world has known.

• He is America’s National Treasure but we bailed on him during controversy.

• He popularized The Robot and did it again with the Moonwalk revolutionizing dance.

• God gifted us Mozart, Elvis, and Michael. They all left us as young men.

• Every pop and R & B singer of our times is heavily influenced by Michael Jackson.

• Although he shouldn’t have had children staying over, it wasn’t because they were in danger by the hand of Mike

• Mike’s goodness was in danger of being abused by the same people who willfully drove their kids to a remote ranch and accepted expensive gifts and medical care from Jackson.

• Michael single-handedly changed MTV.

• Michael was overwhelmingly acquitted when he had his day in court. People should respect that fact.

• There’s no place in the world that doesn’t know the name of Michael Jackson

What I believe about Michael:• I believe a business man wise enough to buy a large chunk of the Beatle’s music library was not broke.• I believe human leaches have been draining Michael for years now.• I believe Michael would not want people to forget about Farrah Fawcett & others whom we lost on the same day.• His last album Invincible (2001) is more amazing than the controversy dampened sales. Reflect. Pick it up.• Without mike,there would be no usher, no NSYNC, no Ne-Yo…no music video industry as we know it.Much of the world is going to remember where they were on June 25, 2009. Let’s celebrate his life and the deposit of positive energy that has revolutionized the music industry and changed the globe. What a gift God gave us in Jackson and Jackson gave us in song and dance.I believe my brother Kerry at some point today said, “Mike, fancy seeing you here.”

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Dick Zimmerman’s “Thriller” Experience

Source: ABC Article Directory

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Michael wanted to personally meet both candidates before deciding who he wanted to work with on the album package. I know now after having worked a substantial amount of time with Michael on other projects since, that he needed someone that was at the top of his profession, wasn’t egotistical, was trustworthy and creative. But most importantly someone who would treat him with delicacy and consideration, who wasn’t threatening or offending.

My first impression of Michael as he slowly and carefully moved through the studio doors where our meeting would take place was that he was taller and thinner than I had expected. His hand shake was very delicate with hardly a squeeze, and I was very conscious to return the same.

As we talked, Michael would ask me questions in his whispered voice about my likes and dislikes. I could tell from the way he poised his questions, that in a sly way, I was being highly scrutinized. That’s when I first realized how important it was to Michael to work with the exact kind of person that would make him feel comfortable. Our meeting lasted about twenty minutes and we parted with a cordial good-bye.

The Call Back

Three days later I received a phone call from CBS Records saying that phase one was over and now Michael wanted to come to see my studio and look at my photographs. My studio entrance has a loud buzzer, but instead there was a very gentle knock at the door. Rather than have my secretary answer the door, I wanted to answer it myself. I wanted Michael to know that I was real and approachable and also wanted to avoid anything that may have had the potential of creating an uncomfortable situation for Michael. Evidently I passed the test as I received confirmation two days later from CBS that Michael had selected me to do the honors, and the album shoot was scheduled to take place in two weeks.

My fee from CBS was to be $4,000.00 – which was very good back then (and just about top dollar for an album cover). During the next two weeks I had various meetings with the creative heads from CBS and Freddie Demand, Michael’s Manager at that time. The purpose was to create a visual direction for the album that everyone agreed on.

Shoot Day

The day of the shoot arrived, I had hired one of the best fashion stylists in LA to gather a large variety of wardrobe, and we began the arduous process of selecting attire for the cover and inside spread. After about an hour of weeding through the clothes, Michael couldn’t find anything he was crazy about. I started to panic for a moment, then I noticed Michael looking at the white suit I was wearing. He asked if we had anything like it. We didn’t, so I asked him if he would like to wear mine. Considering his choices, this was exactly what he wanted. Fortunately for the shoot and the time involved, the suit fit.

We had decided prior to the shoot that Michael would have a tiger cub in the shots so we had a selection for him to choose from. He loved a six week old cub but was very squeamish about letting it get to close to his face because of possible scratches from its claws. Throughout the shoot I had to get Michael to forget about the possibility of getting scratched, and to focus his attention on me and the camera.

During breaks Michael would stand in front of a full length mirror and practice continual spins, the legendary ones that are now so familiar to us all. He would come alive in front of that mirror. It was fascinating, because he had such a shy and subdued manner throughout the photo session. For lunch he ordered a special meal brought in from a vegetarian restaurant…the —– on 3rd Avenue, which is his favorite in town. In fact, a few months later he would hire that chef as his personal cook, and to this day.

The shoot lasted about 6 hours with no particular problems out of the ordinary. At the days end, we said good-bye, and arranged to meet in a few days to go over the results. About four days later the photos were ready and we met at Michael’s recording studio on Beverly Boulevard. Michael was in the middle of finishing up one of the tracks, so I set up my light table and spread out the transparencies so he could see them all at one time.

The Album Cover

Michael walked into the studio – he was in a very good mood. He looked over the transparencies and was very excited and pleased with what he saw. He said “There are so many good ones here, how can I ever make a decision?” He told me to hold on a minute, and went to the back of the studio. After a moment, he came back out with Quincy Jones. Quincy took one look at the transparencies and without any hesitation pointed to one, and said “That’s the cover!”

That was the fastest I have ever seen anyone pick a final transparency for anything, and it was a good choice. I was happy, Michael was happy, the label was happy, and I guess the world was happy.”

http://www.abcarticledirectory.com/Article/Dick-Zimmerman–039-s–Thriller–Experience/517096

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Michael Jackson Held My Hand, Too

Source: Venice Art Club – By Doug Lewis

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I should have come forward with this years ago…it’s been my little secret for too long but now I’m breaking my silence and going public with the fact that Michael Jackson held my hand, too…

The incident took place at Universal Studios during the filming of the music video, Scream, featuring Michael and his sister, Janet.  Not too long before this I had met Michael while working on the stage production and rehearsals for the Dangerous tour.

Both Mark Romanek, the director of Scream, and Tom Foden, the Production Designer, are uncompromising perfectionists. It’s been a real pleasure to work with both of them on numerous projects. In the film business, working with people who maintain a vision is significantly better than working for those who lack the big picture.  On this particular job I was working with the art department headed by Tom Foden.  Other members of the art department included Dana Garman, Richard Berg, Jamie Vickers, Paulie Pietsch, Mark Brooks, to name a few.

The Scream video may be the most expensive music video ever made, I believe the total production/post production budget was somewhere near 8.3 million dollars. And I can tell you the art department budget took a good chunk of that, maybe half.  The sets took up three full sized stages at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, with over a dozen sets placed on these three stages.  Once shooting began, my role was the ‘on-set dresser’, basically the ‘art department representative’ who remains on set at all times as the ‘face’ of the art department.  By the very nature of the position, the on-set dresser has close interaction with the talent while on the set.

This was a crazy big job, no doubt about it.  Three stages, over a dozen sets, twenty shoot days.

On the first day of shooting we had a 7am call, except Michael was detained until mid-afternoon.  Then hair and make-up, get him to the set and it’s 4:30 pm before we roll.  It became clear that we would be shooting nights for the next twenty or so days.  It was also clear that Michael liked it this way…working at night, that is.

Finally, we get down to business.  Michael makes his entrance and is met by Mark who explains the shot. The first footage we shoot with Michael is of him dancing on one of the many white floors seen throughout the video. Michael finds his position, about six feet from camera, does a couple of takes, then mentions how the floor (white vinyl linoleum) was feeling slick.  I move in with my tools, a fine grade steel wool, rag and a spray bottle with the ‘special sauce’ and scruff up the floor a bit with the wool then step back. Mark comes out from behind the camera, looks at my handiwork then calls out for Tom before asking me if we lost the ‘gloss’. I say no, give it a quick spray with the special sauce and it dries to a sparkle.  When I get up from my kneeling position Michael is smiling at me and says, “I remember you from the tour rehearsal”. I say, “That’s right”, and he asks me how my kids are doing, I say, “great, amazing.”  And then everything is back to normal, Michal does his bit and we’re off to a good start.

As predicted, crew call switched from 7am to 4pm, and we worked throughout each night until 4-6am.

In the final hours of the last night of shooting, we had moved to the ‘zen’ set.  This was it, last day, last set, last series of shots.  The art department had prepped the set with final touches before Michael was brought in to take his place on the zen podium in the center of the set.  Michael surveyed the scene and commented on how beautiful the set looked.  He was very relaxed and it was obvious he enjoyed sitting in the middle of this temporary temple.

When Mark called out for a piece of the ceiling to be trimmed, I grabbed a 12-step (ladder), scrambled to the top and began sawing.  In an unfortunate moment the portable saw kicked back and amputated a third of my left ring finger. Without word, I reached in my back pocket for my rag, wrapped my finger with it and stepped down off the ladder and exited the set.  I passed Tom on the way out and showed him what happened.  Tom escorted me to the edge of the stage and I laid down on the concrete.  It wasn’t long before an entire film crew of towering bodies was in a half circle looking down at me.  Union guys chewing gum.  3am.  Right?

Suddenly the crowd parts and Michael appears and stands there for a moment, leaning over me, looking down.  He looks at my left hand held in the air then he looks at me.  Then just like that he is on his knees by my right side and he picks up my right hand and holds it in his.  He looks me straight in the eye and tells me how sorry he was, he kept repeating how sorry he was, and then he had tears in his eyes and he held my hand until the ambulance came and took me away.

That next week, recovering at home, the gifts began arriving from Michael and Janet, tasteful and cool things like great soaps, a bathrobe, incense, a card.  Anyway, that’s my story.  Michael Jackson held my hand, too.  Michael, if you read this, thanks for caring.

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Photos by Richard Berg.

http://veniceartsclub.wordpress.com/2009/09/06/michael-jackson-held-my-hand-too/

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Chris Tucker and his Michael Jackson Impression on ‘Dish Nation!’

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My Dinner With Michael Jackson – By MTV’s Tim Kash

Source: MTV

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The first album I ever borrowed (stole!) from my dad was Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall. It was a cassette tape with that great picture of a young Michael Jackson dressed in a black tux, with big hair and an even bigger smile, leaning up against the brick wall.

In 1988, my first concert was when Michael Jackson at London’s Wembley Stadium during his Bad tour. It was immense. He was in his prime and a spectacular performer in every sense of the word.

But the first time I actually met Michael Jackson was in 2006. I was invited to Bahrain to take part in one of the preliminary car races for the Formula One Grand Prix. Our gracious host was Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, who was also playing host to another member of royalty, King of Pop Michael Jackson.

Towards the end of an amazing week of some R&R (racing and relaxing), I was invited along with John Legend, Tyson Beckford, DJ Whoo Kid, Simon Webbe and a few others to dinner at his palace. (Whoo Kid gave us his account of the dinner back in 2006.)

Like kids visiting Disneyland, Whoo Kid and I were the first to get off the trucks when we arrived. A line of people, starting with the crown prince and his wife, was assembled to welcome us. It was then that I turned to Whoo Kid and whispered, “Yo, that guy looks a lot like Michael Jackson, no?” You see, we had no idea MJ was going to be there, my initial reaction was to think it was someone that looked like him and not actually him.

He had shoulder-length black hair and was wearing a shiny black tuxedo with aviators tucked into his open white shirt. He knew how to dress. As I walked up to Michael, he extended his hand and said, “Hi, Tim.” That was weird, but I guessed he had been briefed prior to our arrival. Then I figured I’d try to break the ice, so I said, “Hi … and you are?” The prince and everyone within earshot looked at me with disbelief, but the King of Pop simply replied “Michael” with no sense of ego whatsoever. I smiled, “I know,” and we laughed. To the relief of everyone listening, Michael had a sense of humor.

Before dinner, everyone sat down in the living room and made conversation with each other. Michael didn’t say anything at first. He just sat back and played the observer, listening to the conversation, laughing at times and paying close attention at others.

Later, Michael, who had not initially planned to stay for dinner, casually announced that he’d be sticking around. He did — for four hours.

Instead of moving to a grand dining room, the prince had decided to eat dinner in the living room and keep it on a casual vibe. The palace staff appeared and laid tables down and brought out an incredible buffet spread. MTV was actually playing on the TV, and my old MTV News show (which aired around Europe and the Middle East) came on during dinner. I slunk back in embarrassment as everyone’s attention, including MJ’s, turned to the TV.

A few things surprised me about the legend in real life: His voice was quiet but not as high-pitched as you might have heard him in interviews. Maybe that was part of his character. He wasn’t wearing his signature aviators, but I remember seeing him sweep his hair in front of his face a few times, almost as if to hide his eyes. He was shorter than I thought he would be, but despite being skinny, he was solid and well-built (yes, we bro-hugged).

Dinner conversation was as diverse as the characters sitting around the tables. The topic of his big comeback came up early, and Whoo Kid started telling him he should “get hip-hop with it” — cut the hair short, go for a new look and get some bling. Ha. When I told Whoo Kid to show him his big, diamond-encrusted watch, MJ joked, “What is that?” We couldn’t stop laughing.

The jokes didn’t stop there. I remember Tyson Beckford standing up and challenging Michael to a dance-off. Michael hit back with, “Let’s see what you got.” Tyson gave it his best with an MJ impression and a moonwalk. Michael laughed, “That’s OK, but that’s easy. Can you do the backwards and sideways moonwalk?”

Right in front of us all, he effortlessly broke out a few dance moves (and totally wiped the floor with Tyson). There was a rapturous applause all round. MJ took a small bow. Tyson sat on the floor in submission. It struck me that Jackson was at his most comfortable when performing; and for an obviously shy man, there was a part of him that loved the attention.

It was getting late when Jackson said his goodbyes. He said he was going to spend some time with his kids, who were staying next door, and then read a little.

The Michael Jackson I met was someone who liked to laugh and joke, but he also seemed happy to forget that he was one of the most famous people in the world and appreciated normality in his life. But that wasn’t just a normal dinner for me; it’s something I’ll be telling my kids about one day.

http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1615449/my-dinner-with-michael-jackson-by-tim-kash.jhtml

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My Dinner With Michael

Source: Paula Katsikas via The Michael Jackson Network

Click here to read storyhttp://vallieegirl67.com/2011/07/03/dinner-with-michael/

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R. Kelly Shares His Memories of Michael Jackson

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Chilli Talks About Kissing Michael Jackson

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  Angela Darlington’s Mother Helen Talks About Meeting Michael Jackson

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In 1987, Michael Jackson meets 4-year old wounded Angela Darlington and her mother, Helen, in Melbourne Children’s Hospital. The mother has this to say on the visit 21 years later: “My daughter, Angela, was in hospital with head injuries after being hit by a car. One day we were told by the nurses that Michael Jackson was coming to visit. We had to keep it a secret, so the hospital wasn’t overwhelmed with fans. There was a big flurry, as his assistants handed out T-shirts and signed copies of his Bad album to everyone on the ward. Then he just walked around and talked to the patients. […]

I said hello. He said he was pleased to meet me. I was gobsmacked. He was very gentle and seemed shy. I got the sense he had a deep love for children, especially those who’d been hurt. Then he crouched down and said ‘Hello, Angela’. She couldn’t talk, because she’d just come out of a coma, but she started smiling. After that day, she started to get better. I think of him as an inspiration. We’d been having a terrible time – Angela was in hospital and I’d been ringing Lifeline to keep myself together, but he was a total inspiration for the whole ward. I thought: ‘Thank God for sending him’. He just had a presence about him – this great empathy with people who needed to get better.

Now, Angela is 25, at university and full of life. There was another boy on the ward who was about 15 and was a huge fan. After Michael’s visit, he started getting better too. His mom thought it was a miracle. I believe many of the children got better after meeting him. I think people should know about this side of Michael. I’ve never believed he was anything but a good person.”

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  Michael Jackson Gives Ryan White A Car

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Ryan White was diagnosed with AIDS in 1984 at the age of 13 after he received a tainted blood treatment for hemophilia.. At that time, AIDS was poorly understood, and despite doctors having said he posed no risk to other students, many parents and teachers rallied against his attendance when Ryan tried to return to school. A lengthy legal battle with the school system ensued, and media coverage of the case made Ryan into a national celebrity and spokesman for AIDS research and public education.

In the late 80’s, Michael Jackson reached out to Ryan and befriended him. Ryan visited Neverland regulary and they both shared a special bond.

Michael gave Ryan his favorite car, a red Mustang, as a gift a year before he died. Ryan White died at age 18 in 1990. Jeanne White-Ginder (Ryan’s mother) said Michael sat with her and White’s sister at the funeral.

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At his funeral, White-Ginder said White’s car was on display, and Michael started it and “Man in the Mirror” was playing.

“The little things made Michael so happy,” she said. “You could see it in his eyes. He was smiling from ear to ear, and he said, ‘I was the last person that Ryan listened to.’ And I said ‘yes.’ Because Ryan played ‘Man in the Mirror’ over and over and over again.”

The quote “Gonna Make A Difference, Gonna Make It Right” from “Man In The Mirror” was inscribed on Ryan’s grave.

In  July 2010, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis include Michael’s gift to Ryan in their exhibit called “Rock Stars, Cars, and Guitars”

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  September 1987 - Michael Jackson Dedicates Japan Leg Of Bad Tour In Memory Of Yoshiaki Hagiwara

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Yoshiaki Hagiwara, a five year old boy, was kidnapped and murdered while Michael was touring in Japan.

Michael heard about Yoshiaki before one of his concerts there, and made a comment about this incident during the performance:

“I am very sorry and deeply saddened to hear about Yoshiaki. If I could, I would like to rush to his parents to express my words of sympathy and pay tribute to Yoshiyaki. I would like to dedicate my Japanese tour to Yoshiyaki. Yoshiyaki, I know you’re out there watching us. I hope such a brutal and heartbreaking thing never happens again. And I love you.”

Michael also made a donation of $20,000 dollars to the grieving family.

On the sleeve of this vinyl record is written:
“Dedicated to Yoshiaki Hagiwara
May such a terrible thing never happen again.
I will always love you. -Michael Jackson.”

Also noted:

“A Portion of Michael Jackson’s royalties from this record is donated to Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, a camp for children with cancer.”

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  Jackson Pays For Burial Of Boy Killed By Random Shot

Source: Jet Magazine

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http://vallieegirl67.com/2013/05/06/retro-action-may-22-1992-michael-jackson-pays-for-the-funeral-of-9-year-old-victim-of-gang-violence/

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My Brush With Badness – By Sam Parity

Click here to read: http://vallieegirl67.com/2011/09/14/my-brush-with-badness-by-sam-parity/

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Brad Sunberg of BSUN Media Systems / In The Studio With Michael Jackson Seminars

Sources: Bsun Media/ MJJ Community – Ivy / Rev. Catherine Gross – A Place In The Heart

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Click links for more details:

http://vallieegirl67.com/2011/08/12/brad-sunberg-of-bsun-media-systems-on-working-for-michael-jackson/

http://vallieegirl67.com/2013/04/25/mjjc-exclusive-qa-with-brad-sundberg-read-his-answers/

http://vallieegirl67.com/2013/06/07/in-case-you-missed-it-today-check-out-the-brad-sundberg-inteview-with-rev-catherine-gross-a-place-in-your-hear-radio-show/

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Administrator’s Note: I could go and on with stories about Michael Jackson, but I am stopping it right here.  These are the stories that you don’t see broadcast all over the media.  Through this post, it is my hope that you come to know the real Michael Jackson, who was a great man, not only for his music and talent, but just as much for his kind and generous soul. Much love. Cutie Pie ♥

When I Met Michael Jackson

Source: China.org.cn – By Tabitha Messick ( Published July 9, 2009)

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“It’s very nice to meet you too,” Michael Jackson said to me in his very soft, high voice, as I had the amazing experience of meeting him, unexpectedly, in Orlando, Florida in 2002 when, by chance, we were eating at the same restaurant.

I was competing at the Miss America Jr. Teen pageant and on the last night my family and I ate at a very popular Japanese steakhouse, the Benihana (which Michael told me was one of his favorites).

My family got out of our seats when we heard a lot of commotion at a nearby table. When our cook told us that Michael Jackson was eating in the next room, we couldn’t believe it. We left our chairs and our food to see if it was true. It was.

Michael was so gracious and generous, at times even shy. The owners closed the restaurant to additional customers and Michael took pictures and talked with people for over two hours. Everyone was standing in line to meet him. He was very patient and sweet despite the numerous people and downright chaos. I particularly remember people outside the restaurant’s locked glass doors banging and shouting to get in to see him.

I saw poised beauty queens turn outright giddy in a matter of seconds of just seeing him. Everyone around him was talking loudly and screaming, not only for his attention, but because they were impressed. I felt a natural high and an excitement that rivaled Christmas and birthdays. Energy and excitement radiates from Michael! As he walked outside to a waiting car, hundreds of fans were gathered. As his car drove off, I saw two women pass out.

His kids, wearing spiderman masks, were with him along with an entourage of about 10 people. Michael talked with everyone and it took him hours to slowly walk out of the restaurant to the limo outside. He signed autographs and gave hugs. He was very relaxed and seemed genuinely happy.

I actually wasn’t a huge Jackson fan, besides knowing him and appreciating his music, until I met him (my junior year in high school) and since then I defended him during the next years. When I met him he was nothing like those reports you see on T.V. The literal pandemonium that surrounded him was unreal. It really put into perspective the good and bad of his amazing star power. And yet he still remained calm, composed and childlike.

It’s been really tragic to hear of his passing. He is such a huge international star. I’ve been living in China for almost two years, and I’ve found that Chinese people universally know two people- Michael Jordan and Michael Jackson. Sometimes showing the picture of me and him, especially in China where it is hard for me to communicate, has been a great conversation starter.

I feel incredibly honored to have met him. There’s just something about him and being in his presence that is hard to explain- it’s simply…special. 

http://www.china.org.cn/culture/Michael_Jackson/2009-07/09/content_18101976.htm

Still A Stranger In Moscow

Still A Stranger In Moscow

Introduction

I wrote this fictional short story based on what I believe Michael experienced when he was treated as an outcast back in the early 90’s and later in 2005 after the trial. Even though he is gone, it still ties in to what is happening now. Put yourself in his place as you read it.

This was not written with the intention to make anyone feel worse than we already do. I’m hoping that it will change some folks thinking about him. It’s time for the world to stop beating up on Michael Jackson and let this dear soul rest in peace. CP ♥

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I sit in the dark, staring out the window. I see people passing by on the street below.  I stay carefully just out of view so no one can see me, but I can see everything.  Hoards of fans line the streets, shouting out my name.  The paparazzi hounds stand on the other side with their cameras ready. The police try to keep them all at bay. Not even the love of my sweet fans brings me comfort. I walk this battle alone. No one knows what it feels like to be me. I can’t even utter the words to adequately explain it, but I feel like the loneliest man on the planet: a prisoner of my vast success and human failures.

I’ve been sitting here for hours thinking. My thoughts have a mind of their own, going in aimless directions. My head feels like it’s about to bust. I see nothing but shadows and memories of times past. The outside daylight slowly turns to evening.  Another isolated and sleepless night stretches before me. The headlines keep whirling through my mind.  The mere thought of what they are saying about me makes me sick to my stomach. I can’t eat and I can barely drink anything.  People keep offering me food, but I refuse.  I want to be left alone. My team says that they “will handle it” and “don’t worry, this will all blow over.” Easy for them to say, it’s not their reputation. I see them huddle in the corner, whispering. I pretend not to notice.  They anxiously glance my way every now and then.   I want to believe them, but my resolve of hope has quickly turned into pools of tears and despair. 

My mind goes back to the time when I was a little boy, whose biggest dream was to be the world’s greatest entertainer.  I could see nothing else when I was young. I even dreamt about it.  I practiced and worked day and night to perfect my skills. I wrote notes everywhere to remind me. Many people say that I have achieved everything, but I say I’ve only scratched the surface.  If they could only see what I see in my mind, they would know that I haven’t. For the first time, I’m really scared about what lies ahead of me in the future. I’ve asked myself many times, how did I get to this place?  I’ve only tried to help people and to show love.  In return I get mockery and even hate towards me. Tears flow down my checks again.  Anger flashes through me.

 “Why are they doing this to me?”  I ask the bright moonlit sky. “How can anyone ever think that I…..”

I choke, sobbing. My head throbs. I can’t even bare to think the thought, much less say the words.  Anguish and fear overcome me.

“Help me God, please help me!” I softly cry to the night sky. Like an answer to my prayer, my mind goes back to the words of a hymn we use to sing at Kingdom Hall:

Though ropes of death encircle me, I call to you,

“Jehovah, give me strength and give me courage too.”

From your own temple dwelling, you hear my plea, “Shelter me;

Rescue me, O my God.

I sniff and wipe away my tears with the back of my hand. I realize that God is listening and he hasn’t left me. That’s a start. As my crying ceases, my thoughts become clearer. I remember a line I read in the book “The Bridge Beyond,” by  Simone Schwarz-Bart.

Every day you must arise and say to your heart, ‘I have suffered enough and now I must live because the light of the sun must not be wasted, it must not be lost without an eye to appreciate it’.”

I begin to feel a small glimmer of hope in my heart as I remember the tale of Telumee ‘s courageous story . Lord knows I have suffered enough.

The next morning:

Surprisingly, I slept last night.  I woke up to find myself splayed across the bed. I remember lying down to read to refocus my attention.  After many hours, close to daylight, I somehow drifted off to sleep.  Thankfully, nothing from the hours before plagued me during that brief siesta. I look out the window and I see the rain falling down.  The fans are still there, some getting soaked because they have no umbrellas.  I send my folks out to buy them umbrellas and food.  I still refuse to eat but I manage to drink some orange juice, which is a small victory to them. The rhythm of the rain lures me back to my hidden spot by the window, as if trying to wash away the former days of pain. I hear a melody in my head that keeps growing. I begin to hum it out. Music comes once again to heal my soul.  All have I left is the music. This is how I want to be remembered in the history of eternity. I must get my tape recorder to help me remember this.

Later on:

It’s been many years since those dark days.  I did survive, but the same issues came back later on with a vengeance. I’ve lost practically everything: my home, my peace of mind. Outside of my fans, my reputation is soiled and burnt.  What will I do? Who will ever want to listen to me sing again? I have children now that I have to provide for. I must protect them at all costs. I don’t want their lives to be ruined because of me.  So I hide my pain from them as best I can.  Thankfully, they are too young to know right now. They aren’t allowed to use the internet or watch TV except for their schooling. But someday I know they will find out. I pray that I will have to the right words to explain when they are old enough to understand. I can’t think about that now, I must find a way to a get a new place that we can call home. I don’t want to forever be in exile.

Joe Kittinger Flies Michael Jackson

Source: Growing Bolder  Episode 113 /You Tube

Mike-in-the-hot-air-balloon-michael-jackson-23753251-500-331

In 1962, Col. Joe Kittinger became the first man in space and he wasn’t there long. He jumped out of a high-altitude balloon at 102,800 feet to became the first human to break the speed of sound without a vehicle. In 1984, he became the first person to cross the Atlantic solo in a hot air balloon. But there was a chapter left out of his legendary ballooning career. For several years, Kittinger was Michael Jackson’s private pilot.

joe and Michael growing bolder

Jackson was only 50 years old when he died, but he accomplished an amazing amount in his short life. Along the way, he left a lasting impression on another amazing man…American hero Col. Joe Kittinger.

http://growingbolder.com/media/entertainment/music/joe-kittinger-flies-michael-jackson-359100.html

Exclusive: The Greatest Michael Jackson Photo Unveils at AMFM Fest

Source: Huffington Post – Gordy Grundy

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Every photographer waits for the moment. In 1990, photographer Scott Christopher saw an opportunity. He knew what he wanted. The position. The angle. He took a risk and hoped for the moment. By chance, it happened. The result may be the greatest photograph of pop star Michael Jackson. It depicts a youthful man, at ease, at peace, clear eyed and creative. The photograph has now been unveiled for the very first time to the general public at the AMFM Fest in the Coachella Valley.

In April of 1990, Michael Jackson was in Washington D.C. to receive an award, the Artist of the Decade, from President George Bush Sr. One of the many related events was a visit to the National Children’s Museum. Jackson was with a large entourage. His bodyguards, managers and publicists were milling with museum officials and selected guests. Photographer Scott Christopher was there to document the occasion. The group was halted as scores of school kids were assembling in the next room. Michael Jackson found a moment and he slipped away.

Jackson dodged into a small exhibit room and Scott Christopher followed. The photographer had developed a rapport with the pop star. They were comfortable with each other. Christopher and his camera had become invisible. Jackson sat down, next to a kid-sized table that held three toy xylophones. Above it on the wall was a photograph of jazz great Louis Armstrong. The trumpeter was rehearsing in a bathroom before a concert. A photographer had caught him in an unguarded moment.

Jackson took the xylophone mallet and began to play. There was a shift in the energy and Christopher sensed it. Michael Jackson was getting lost in his own little world. The photographer recalls, “Michael was within his heart of hearts.” His face began to relax and his eyes lost focus. The man was having fun. He was playing music.

A photographer looks at elements. Jackson was playing with one hand, the other was relaxed beside him. Louis Armstrong held his trumpet at an angle. The contemporary pop star was lost to himself and so was Armstrong. Scott Christopher wanted a shot where Jackson’s arm would parallel the trumpet. He could hope. He also could have popped off a few safe shots. He could possibly ruin the moment. He waited. Jackson continued to play, for himself.

After twenty to thirty seconds, the pressure of the photographer’s finger opened the shutter of the camera for a fraction of a second. Light hit celluloid. An image was captured. Immediately, an official popped into the room and announced the start of the event. Reality beckoned. The moment was broken.

Scott Christopher has never shared the photograph of a very private moment of a very public man. He was waiting for the right moment. On June 14, 2013, the photograph was unveiled to the public at the AMFM Fest in Coachella Valley at the Incredible Artist Gallery. The festival, art, music, film and more, is sponsored by Film 4 Change, an organization that Christopher supports. The photograph is noteworthy in so many ways.

Photo courtesy of Scott Christopher

View full photo, its gorgeous!: View image

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gordy-grundy/exclusive-the-greatest-mi_b_3445019.html

http://vallieegirl67.com/2013/06/04/michael-jacksons-personal-photographer-to-feature-unseen-picture-at-amfm-fest-in-coachella-valley-june-13-16-2013/

In Case You Missed It Today, Check Out The Brad Sundberg Inteview With Rev. Catherine Gross, A Place In Your Hear Radio Show

Source: Blog Talk Radio – A Place In Your Heart

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http://www.blogtalkradio.com/a-place-in-your-heart/2013/06/07/brad-sunberg-in-the-studio-with-michael

Nile Rodgers On The Magic Of Michael Jackson And Honoring Miss Piggy

Source: Daily Mail – By Nile Rodgers

The former guitarist of the group Chic turned Daft Punk producer on his favourite pictures, including hanging out with Diana Ross at Studio 54.

sequin_met_dress1One lucky punk, 2013: Here I am with Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams. The success of our album Random Access Memories and the single Get Lucky has taken us all by surprise. I’ve never been involved in a record that’s got leaked like this one did; on some level it upset everybody. I told them to relax. No one ever bought a record because of a clever marketing plan, only because they like it

article-2329058-19EFF081000005DC-391_634x490Miss Piggy et moi, 2003: My first professional job was with the Sesame Street band in 1969. After September 11 I started a children’s charity called the We Are Family Foundation. I rang my old boss and said: ‘Hey, can we film this video on the Street?’ This pic comes from a benefit gala we put on honouring Diana Ross. She was in rehab, so Miss Piggy accepted the award for her.

article-2329058-19EFF107000005DC-39_634x495The magic of Michael Jackson, 1988: This is my old girlfriend Andrea, Michael Jackson and me. I had taken a 12-year-old girl who was dying to Michael’s show. Afterwards, she wrote me a moving letter saying that even though she was only there because she had a brain tumour, it was the greatest night of her life.

article-2329058-19EFEE5A000005DC-709_634x450Le Freak, c’est Chic! 1980: Here we are, performing on a TV show in Paris. Things were huge for Chic then. There was a lot of drama; we had a great time playing but our minds were always thinking about what’s next – going into the studio with Diana Ross, and the impact of the ‘disco sucks’ movement.

article-2329058-19FA16F1000005DC-545_634x490In New York with my mum, who was aged just 14, in 1952

article-2329058-19FA176B000005DC-564_634x430A hippy pimp, 1967: That’s in LA. I was 15 and in my grandmother’s front yard. I’m dressed like a little pimp: sharkskin suit, white Italian shoes and glasses like my idol David Ruffin from The Temptations. A few hours later in Beverly Hills I took LSD with Timothy Leary, the acid guru.

article-2329058-19FA169B000005DC-713_634x480Diddlin’ Ms Ross, 1980: That’s me in the DJ booth at Studio 54 in New York behind Diana Ross. A DJ told her I’m Coming Out was going to ruin her career – people would think she was gay. It was the only time I’ve ever lied to an artist. I said: ‘What are you talking about? That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard in my life!’ We had written it because of her gay following, but I said she should use it as her ‘coming-out’ song – to start her gigs – and she has ever since.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/event/article-2329058/Nile-Rodgers-From-magic-Michael-Jackson

Yvette Myers Recalls Time She Spent As A Guest Of Michael Jackson During Victory Tour Visit In Colorado

Source: Journal Standard.com – By Harriett Gustason (Published March 19, 2011)

Freeporter Yvonne Myers, in the striped shirt, considered it a rare privilege to meet pop star Michael Jackson and attend his Victory Concert in Denver. Her friend, Dusty Hutchinson, is on the left. The woman on the right, known only as Judy, was Michael’s assistant.

Freeporter Yvonne Myers, in the striped shirt, considered it a rare privilege to meet pop star Michael Jackson and attend his Victory Concert in Denver. Her friend, Dusty Hutchinson, is on the left. The woman on the right, known only as Judy, was Michael’s assistant.

A person can know someone pretty well and think they know just about everything about them. Then one day, a really astounding story pops out from them confirming the old journalistic proverb, “There’s a story in everyone.” (People often have a wealth of them hoarded inside themselves.)

Journal-Standard co-worker and friend, Yvonne Myers, shared a rare experience she had some years ago. Today it’s almost like a mystic experience for her, she can hardly believe it.

She was with a small group who spent exclusive time with Michael Jackson, yes THE Michael Jackson.

“He was part of Jehovah’s Witnesses,” Yvonne said, explaining that he invited this group of fellow followers to attend one of his concerts.

Yvonne said it was back when Michael was an innocent kid, wired and high-strung, to be sure, and in the height of his career, at the stage when his hits “Thriller” and “Beat It” were hypnotizing the youth of the nation. Yvonne thinks Michael was in his mid-20s at the time.

Michael was on his “Victory Tour,” all happening before the famous entertainer had spun off on all the tangents into which life drove him. The contact through the religious affiliation was the reason Yvonne and the others were privy to this exciting experience. Yvonne lived in Boulder, Colo., at the time.

“Michael was serious about his religion and really wanted to teach people the Bible,” Yvonne said. “His mother, Katherine Jackson, and an older sister, were also Jehovah’s Witnesses. As far as I know they still are.”

“Jehovah’s Witnesses,” Yvonne explained, “take seriously the command by Jesus to teach and make disciples, and they follow the pattern that Jesus set with his disciples to go from house to house. Michael also followed this example, only for him it was a little more challenging. People would recognize him so he would wear a disguise to make him appear on the plumper side and could, hopefully, knock on a few doors before someone recognized him.”

Well, Yvonne and this small group she was with got invited to a party at the hotel where Michael was staying. “We got to meet Jermaine and Tito, Michael’s brothers, and his parents, Joe and Katherine Jackson,” Yvonne said. “I was shy and overwhelmed and didn’t talk much.”

“We all got into a limousine with darkened windows and they took us to the Mile High Stadium in Denver. It was an outdoor concert. As we were leaving the hotel, fans were hitting and pounding on the limo windows. But it was a decoy. Michael had been slipped into another car. We had many escorts.”

The concert

It was an outdoor concert and the bunch of six or seven in Yvonne’s group was escorted up on a platform above the crowd. It sticks in her mind that there was a big tree on the set. “Michael was a live wire bouncing all over the stage,” Yvonne said.

“The limo took us back to the hotel and they took pictures. That’s when I got mine taken with Michael. At one point he kissed me on the cheek and they took a picture of that, but I don’t know what happened to that one.” Fortunately, during a recent move, Yvonne ran across the picture shown here and agreed to share it. In the photo, Michael Jackson is holding a purple carnation. It was the purple carnation she had given him.

Yvonne Myers’ eyes light up when she returns to this memory of meeting with a celebrity of that stature. She likes to remember him as he was at that stage in life.

http://www.journalstandard.com/community/x698060090/AS-IT-SEE-IT-Yes-co-worker

Our Friend Michael Jackson (Updated)

Source: au.news.yahoo.com

mj_fedora (1)

It is the picture that inspires memories of an extraordinary brush with mega-stardom for a well-known Perth music family.

Dean Denton, frontman of former Perth pub rockers the Frames, and his family have revealed details about their friendship with pop legend Michael Jackson.

They told The Weekend West how a chance meeting with Jackson in a Doubleview video shop in 1996 led to an intimate year-long relationship and they were all adamant Jackson was nowhere near as whacko as implied before his death in 2009.

The revelations surfaced as a Los Angeles jury began hearing evidence this week in a negligence lawsuit filed by Jackson’s mother Katherine against promoter AEG Live.

She claims AEG, which has denied any wrongdoing, was negligent in not properly investigating a now-jailed doctor who gave her son a powerful anaesthetic as he prepared for his This Is It comeback tour.

The trademark black hat, with gold-embossed name on the inside, that Jackson gave the Dentons sits in a transparent box in their northern suburbs home under their prized family photo with him. It is encased with their backstage passes to his Perth concert.

Dean Denton with his family and Michael Jackson.

Dean Denton with his family and Michael Jackson.

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A then eight-year-old Ash Denton had been roller-blading along Scarborough Beach Road with his mother Val when Jackson’s security guard invited them into the video store. A day later, they joined an excited mob at Scarborough’s Rendezvous Hotel where Jackson was staying.

On spotting Ash in the crowd, Jackson invited him and his mother to his pent- house suite. The family then joined others the night of the concert in the suite, which was scattered with children’s party food such as lollies and fairy bread. Ash went with Jackson in his limousine to the gig and was part of a circle of children on stage for Jackson’s song Heal The World.

“You think back to it now and you think, ‘We’ve met the absolute pinnacle of performers’ . . . wow,” Ash said.

Dean Denton recalled Jackson phoning him for consent about any contact with his children.

“He was as eccentric as hell, but he had that many people caring about him he couldn’t do anything himself,” he said.

Mrs Denton said Jackson let her “play in his wardrobe” and try on his jackets. She said later they started speaking by phone.

“To start with, he was phoning me about once a week, just about life,” she said. “It was like, ‘Wow, you cut your own lawn? You paint your own house? Do you love shopping? I love shopping’.”

He was just lonely. It was when the first lot of charges were laid and we talked a lot about that, how heartbroken he was that it had come to that.”

Then suddenly, the calls stopped for good. 

http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/breaking/17005307/our-friend-michael-jackson/

 

Gieves & Hawkes Recall Dressing Michael Jackson

Source: Esquire

This is my all time favorite picture of Michael.  He is soooo handsome! I always imagined getting married to him in it! CP ♥

This is my all time favorite picture of Michael. He is soooo handsome! I’ve always imagined getting married to him wearing this outfit! CP ♥

Gieves & Hawkes’ director of military tailoring recalls a visit from Michael Jackson in 1988.

My job typically involves me drawing up the uniforms for officers in the British Forces, as well as for crowned heads from around the world. I’m used to dealing with important customers.

One Monday morning in July 1988, a member of Michael Jackson’s team called about a uniform on display in the window of our flagship store. Mr Jackson had driven past No 1 Savile Row that weekend and spotted it.

We knew immediately what he was talking about: it was an official privy councilor diplomatic uniform. You couldn’t really miss it. He said Mr Jackson was in a hurry, although he didn’t specify why. In fact, he wanted one to be ready for the UK leg of his Bad world tour: the Wembley Stadium shows were two weeks away.

Normally, it takes four months to produce a piece of bespoke military wear, so a couple of us went right around to his hotel. I had a maximum of 10 minutes with him.

You can imagine the situation: it was right before those concerts, so everyone was vying for his time and attention. He had a whole suite of rooms, and staff everywhere. When he saw the garment up close, he loved it, all that ornateness. He loved uniformed clothing in general.

We told him what extras he could add: he was very keen on having epaulettes and other decorations. The ones he chose were pretty grand. There are laws about impersonating military officers, although there’s nothing specific on civilians wearing military clothing. Nevertheless, we’re always very careful with our clients: we don’t want to upset the military. Somebody can’t just order a uniform for fancy dress.

I literally put the coat on him and cut away. He was famously thin. Incredibly so — tiny, with a 28in waist. In fact, that helped enormously with the fitting; you’d struggle to do a larger person in that time. It also suited his shape — it’s a very body-fitting coat.

Back then, we weren’t making clothes for many pop stars, so everybody got quite excited. We were very proud to be part of music history. We didn’t hear from Mr Jackson again, sadly — although we do offer a wonderful after service.

by Garry Carr; gievesandhawkes.com

Photograph by Annie Leibovitz

http://www.esquire.co.uk/2013/04/michael-jackson/#more-57067

Michael Jackson in INDIA (1996)

Source: Suthaharmca.blogspot.com

www.clubmj.com - The Official Indian Michael Jackson Fanclub

Michael Jackson performed at a packed concert in MUMBAI on October 30th in 1996. . The event was organised by Shiv Udyog Sena, an outfit floated by then Shiv Sena leader Raj Thackeray with the objective of providing jobs to 27 lakh youth in maharashtra. During his short stay here, life in Mumbai centred around MJ and his “stories”.

“King of Pop” played a breathtaking two-hour set and also invited children from local orphanages to his luxury hotel for a poolside party.

The King of Pop, arrived in Mumbai on October 30th,1996 at Mumbai’s Sahar airport in his private jet. Lakhs of people had thronged the airport to catch a glimpse of him.

jjqmns

Jackson was greeted by Sonali Bendre clad in a nine-yard sari and a Maharashtrian nathni (nose ring), standing with an aarti thali to welcome MJ, along with Raj Thackeray, Sharmila Thackeray and innumerable politicians who were there to receive Jackson. Actress Sonali Bendre welcomed Jackson by performing ‘aarti’ and applying ’tilak’ on his forehead, at the Mumbai airport,Raj had organised a performance by a troupe of lezhim dancers with dholaks, and they wore traditional Maharashtrian clothes. The popstar, when being driven in a 20-car motorcade from the air port, stopped his Toyota to meet the urchins lined up along the highway to catch a glimpse of him. He picked up several children and hugged and kissed them. He then spent a few minutes with them before he proceeded to the Shiv Sena chief, Bal Thackeray’s residence, Matushree, in Bandra East. Here he was presented with a silver tabla and tanpura, which are musical instruments from INDIA.

MJ In Oberoi Hotel.

During his stay at The Oberoi Hotel, Jackson surprised the entire staff by mingling freely among his fans, who thronged at the hotel to catch a glimpse of the ‘King of Pop’. “He greeted his fans with smiles and by blowing kisses and shook hands with as many of them as possible,” hotel sources recount. According to Butler Manager, Sandeep Walia, who was attending to him with a team of three butlers, Michael loves sweet white wine. That is probably the only kind of alcohol that he consumed during his stay at the Oberoi. Apart from that, he loves orange drinks, Fanta being his favorite and a special German orange drink, Gatorade, which he carries with him. Michael drinks a lot of Diet Coke as well, prefers his drinks at room temperature. Jackson has a penchant for chocolates too, so The Oberoi made sure there were chocolates, of all shapes, sizes and flavours kept in every reachable corner of his room. Michael Jackson likes a lot of festivity around him. The Kohinoor Suite at the Oberoi was decorated with flowers, balloons, confetti and bowls of sweets and chocolates to give it a spirit of celebration. While in his room, Jackson does not like to use the air-conditioner. He also likes his space. His body-guards have been instructed not to come close to him to give him enough space to move around.

110The ‘King of Pop’, Michael Jackson had a tryst with this celluloid city 13 years ago, when he mesmerised thousands of Mumbaikars with his performance at a concert. In this photo Jackson is seen with Shiv Sena Supremo Bal Thackeray.

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Jackson performed at a packed concert in Mumbai in 1996. The event was organised by Shiv Udyog Sena, an outfit floated by then Shiv Sena leader Raj Thackeray with the objective of providing jobs to 27 lakh youth in Maharashtra. Jackson seen here with Bollywood actor Anupam Kher.

www.clubmj.com - The Official Indian Michael Jackson Fanclub

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The popstar, when being driven in a 20-car motorcade from the air port, stopped his Toyota to meet the urchins lined up along the highway to catch a glimpse of him.

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During his stay at The Oberoi Hotel, Jackson surprised the entire Oberoi hotel staff by mingling freely among his fans, who thronged at the hotel to catch a glimpse of the ‘King of Pop’.

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He greeted his fans with smiles and by blowing kisses and shook hands with as many of them as possible, hotel sources recount.

 

During his stay in Mumbai, Jackson relished several Indian cuisine, including south india and Mughlai. Jackson was given a traditional welcome during his visit. Children from orphanages were invited to meet and play with him at a high tea organised at the hotel pool side. He gave them gifts and chocolates that he had brought with him.

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Jackson seen here with Raj Thackeray.

The over two-hour long performance on November 1 at the Andheri Sports Complex was a spectacular event, with fans lapping up every moment. For the show, Jackson flew in equipment in three Russian cargo planes. Jackson’s Mumbai tour had also triggered controversy with critics questioning Sena’s notions of culture.

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Bal Thackeray responded the critics saying ”Jackson is a great artist, and we must accept him as an artist. His movements are terrific. Not many people can dance that way. You will end up breaking your bones. And, well what is culture? He represents certain values in America, which India should not have any qualms in accepting. We would like to accept that part of America that is represented by Jackson,” he had said.

Michael makes a promise to come Back INDIA…

After Michael Jackson had gone, when the hotel was preparing his suite for the next VVIP guest, they found Jackson’s gift to them: rather mischievously the great singer had scribbled on the pillow he had slept on:

“India, all my life I have longed to see your face. I met you and your people and fell in love with you. Now my heart is filled with sorrow and despair for I have to leave, but I promise I shall return to love you and caress you again. Your kindness has overwhelmed me, your spiritual awareness has moved me, and your children have truly touched my heart. They are the face of God. I truly love and adore you India. Forever, continue to love, heal and educate the children, the future shines on them. You are my special love, India. Forever, may God always bless you”

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Bharat Shah, jeweller and film-financier, bought the pillow for a fabulous amount in an auction held for charity.

We Indians will never forget your kind gesture to perform in India for charity and as we all know legends don’t die…Rest In Peace…King!

http://suthaharmca.blogspot.com/search?q=michael+jackson

A True, But Funny Michael Jackson Related Story That Happened To Me Today At The Mall

Have you ever felt like Michael follows you around because something related to him always happens to you?  Well that happens to me all the time.  

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My sons thought I was nuts when I first told them about my experience years ago until they started to see it for themselves.  Then it started happening to them and now they claim that I have jinxed them!

As I drove hom today from work, I was listening to Michael. His music helps to prevent my total meltdown during the insane, rush hour traffic.  

crazy-woman

Then I remembered that I needed to get a long, half slip for a dress that I bought for spring.  The weather here is finally warming up and I wanted to wear it to work tomorrow. I stopped by the mall and ran into Sears.  (I wonder if they will give me some type of discount to use for next time in exchange for this free advertisement?)

sears-logo

I looked through the slip selection, found my size and proceeded to the cash register.  There were two young men at the register who appeared to be in their late teens.  One of them rang up my purchase and asked me if I had a Sears card.  I told him no.  He asked me if I wanted to get one, yada, yada, you know the drill.  I refused his offer and took out my bank card.  Just as he told me to swipe the card, “The Way You Make Me Feel,” came over the intercom.  I smiled and got excited because that’s Michael’s way of following me before something Michael “related” occurs.  Here’s where it gets funny…at least I hope it will be to you:

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As I swiped the card, I blurted out loud, “Ah, Michael!!!”  

Clerk: “Yes?”

Me: (not knowing what he meant) “Huh?”

Clerk: “I said yes.”

Me: “Oh”  Confused and not really caring what he meant, I started to sing along as I pressed the buttons to complete my transaction.

Clerk: “I was responding to you.”

Me: (thinking he misunderstood me) “Oh, I just said, Michael because his song just came on.  I love Michael Jackson!”

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Clerk: “I love him too and my name is Michael.

That’s when I looked up and he was holding up his name tag around his neck.  Then I got it, duh!

Me: “Oh I didn’t even notice! Is your last name Jackson too?”

“No, but I am Michael Jr.”

He smiled. I smiled and so did the other young man standing nearby.  

Michael (the cashier) eagerly continued: “And guess what?  His name is Parris!”

I thought he was playing until I looked at the other guy’s name tag. He looked away, kind of embarrassed.  Sure enough, that was his name, except it was spelled PARRIS!  

Then I blurted out, “You know Michael’s daughter is named Paris!” Wasn’t that thoughtful of me to rub it in the guy’s face?

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Michael (the cashier) snickered and the other guy looked away again and shook his head. I was sure he was blaming his mother, as he probably has his entire life, for giving him a girl’s name!  I have never met a boy named Parris and at this point I am too through with the whole incident!  I half expected Ashton Kutcher to come out at this point and say:

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Michael (the cashier) snickered and said to his co-worker:  “Well at least your name is not Blanket!” My first thought was……

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But instead I calmly said, “Blanket is not his real name….”

Michael interrupted me. ” I know its Prince Michael II and Prince is named Prince Michael Jackson and …….

I was pleasantly pleased that he knew Blanket’s real name so I forgave him, but I corrected him about Prince’s real name (Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr.) and told them Paris’s full name (Paris Michael Katherine Jackson).  They shook their heads because of the frequent use of the Prince and Michael names.  I explained to them how Prince is Michael’s grandfather’s name and I told them about the pact that Michael, Kathy Hilton and LaToya made to name their first daughters Paris.  

k.hilton and mj at school 1

They shook their heads again.  I saw that I was losing them, so it was time to leave.  I thanked them and left.  When I got home, I told my sons about the incident and they were about as enthused as going to the doctor!  Yes, this is my normal existence.  Michael always gets into my conversations, sometime without me even trying. But today’s situation with the names was a bit unusual, even for me!  

So anyways…….I just thought I’d share this story with you!  Yes, lucky you! Are you excited? *crickets* 

Thanks for listening to my ramblings. ;) Cutie Pie ♥

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Reporter Recalls Jackson And His Mania For Disney

Source: The Seatle Times – By Bob Thomas (June 26, 2009)

An American Original

“Hello, Bob, this is Michael.”

The wispy voice caused me to review the Michaels I knew. I was stymied until the voice asked, “Did you write a book about Walt Disney?”

I admitted I had authored “Walt Disney, An American Original.” I also recognized the voice by now – Michael Jackson – remembering he had a passion for all things Disney.

“I’d like to talk to you about Walt,” he said urgently, and I agreed. The date was set for the following evening at his family compound in the San Fernando Valley community of Encino, which is just a few blocks from my house.

I arrived at the property and announced myself to a receptionist on the other end of an intercom. A massive gate opened slowly and I drove down a narrow passageway and stopped in front of a building containing offices. I looked around and thought I saw a tall tree nearby. I looked again; it was a real-life giraffe.

An assistant said Jackson would be ready soon, and I spent 20 minutes inspecting a wall full of Jackson photographs with Frank Sinatra, Ronald Reagan, Elizabeth Taylor, Elvis Presley and other celebrities.

Finally, Michael was ready. I was introduced to him in an elaborate dining room and then followed him upstairs to the library, which featured a life-sized studio portrait of Walt Disney.

“Do you mind if I record our talk?” he asked.

“Not if you don’t use it commercially,” I replied.

He started by asking a few questions and I explained how I approached an interview with Walt. When he ran out of queries, I provided some memories of Walt.

Toward the end of the conversation, Michael hesitantly asked whether Walt ever used a certain expletive. Without thinking, I replied I had never heard him utter it.

The interview was over and Michael escorted me to the photographs I had already perused.

He was busy in the mid-1980s and I didn’t expect to see him again. Yet a few months later he called. “Hello Bob, this is Michael,” he said. “Do you think Hazel George is still alive?”

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I said I didn’t know but would find out. George was Disney’s longtime nurse who also exchanged studio gossip with him. I found out that Hazel was retired yet still living near the Disney lot in Burbank.

“I’d love to talk to her,” Jackson said. “Can you arrange it?”

I did, and a few days later, Jackson picked me up at my house in his chauffeured limo and I directed the driver to Hazel’s bungalow.

Hazel had aged since I interviewed her for the biography and I found that I would have to prompt her. I had recorded the stories she once gave me and had brought the tapes along, so I played them back and let her deliver the punchlines.

Jackson was fascinated but scarcely said a word. When we finished, Hazel said to Jackson, “Come back and see me, and don’t bring him.” She meant me.

A few months passed and then another call: “Hello Bob, this is Michael.”

He wanted to know more about Walt Disney and wanted me to join him at a San Fernando Valley recording studio. I arrived on time and waited an hour until he finished a session. We sat down in an office and he again asked questions about Walt, most of which he had asked in our first visit.

He also asked again whether Walt had ever used a certain expletive. This time I remembered that he had on at least one occasion and I proceeded to explain the humorous circumstance.

“Oh,” he said.

I never saw Michael after that.

Copyright © The Seattle Times Company

Akon Enjoyed Secret Cinema Trip With Michael Jackson

Contact Music

R&B singer Akon once acted as a distraction for fans during a trip to a movie theatre with Michael Jackson because nobody recognised the King of Pop in his disguise.


Picture: Akon at  Clive Davis And The Recording Academy’s 2013 Pre-Grammy Gala Los Angeles California United States Saturday 9th February 2013

The Smack That hitmaker collaborated with the Thriller legend in 2007, and he has fond memories of their time together – particularly because the icon loved to play tricks on fans.

Recalling one trip to a local cinema, Akon tells CNN.com, “We snuck off to go to the movies, he had a disguise on. It was me and his three kids and we were on the escalator and the people were like ‘Akon, oh my God, Akon,’ and I am signing autographs and laughing, thinking, ‘You don’t even know who is beside me’ – the whole time, he is standing there laughing.”

Akon’s duet with Jackson, Hold My Hand, wasn’t completed until after the singer’s tragic 2009 death and became the first posthumous release from his album Michael.

http://www.contactmusic.com/news/akon-enjoyed-secret-cinema-trip-with-michael-jackson_3554212

For the complete CNN article about Akon’s career, click here: http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/13/showbiz/akon-music-senegal

“Private Conversations in Neverland with Michael Jackson,” A Book By William B. Van Valin II, MD (Does Anyone Know Anything About This Guy?)

Administrator’s Note:  I am saw this online.  I have never heard of this doctor, so I am not promoting the book.  The advertisement says that partial proceeds will go to Children of The Night. http://www.childrenofthenight.org/

If anyone has any information they can share about the book, please let me know.  It only has one five star review on Amazon and its the writers’ only review.  We all know how Amazon’s reviews can be tampered with.  I doubt the book will be available at the library to view the contents either. The book is being promoted as “a must read for any Michael Jackson fan,” so please proceed with caution until we know more about the contents and the author. Cutie Pie.♥

Source: PRWeb/PrivateConversationsInNeverland.com

An insightful journey into the friendship between Barney Vanvalin, a rural farmland physician and music icon, Michael Jackson. You will read about the close friendship from their first meeting to the mysterious and sudden end of their long talks after five years. Michael spent countless hours away from the opulent Neverland Ranch inside the humble home of Dr. Vanvalin sharing time with his family. The books takes you inside Neverland Ranch from the dinner table to the extravagant game room, carnival rides, theater, to sitting in bed watching movies with Michael Jackson on one side and Elizabeth Taylor on the other.
You will read of the absence of memorabilia in his home from gold records to photographs of world dignitaries and his candid view of such acknowledgements; the nightly menu at the Neverland dinner table; the origin of the Moon Walk dance; Michael’s curiosity of the deceased that had him at Barney’s mothers’ death bed; and his candid opinion of his father and mother. A must read for any Michael Jackson fan.

Los Olivos, California, January 28, 2013- Acosta Global Marketing announces the release of the William B. Van Valin II, MD journal “Private Conversations in Neverland with Michael Jackson” available at Amazon.com for $19.95 –a series of secrets are shared ranging from Michael’s Ghost to the stalker that inspired the Thriller hit, Billie Jean.

An insightful chronology that documents the friendship between a rural farmland physician and a music icon that continues to inspire the world with his music years after his untimely death. The book gives you a tender look at the close friendship of Barney and Michael, from their first unexpected meeting to the mysterious and sudden end of their friendship after five years.

Barney Van Valin, reflects, “Yes, it was difficult to understand at the time. Someone is in your life almost daily for five years and suddenly isn’t there. The family was equally confused but with his public life being so invasive that you somehow understood and accepted it. He came into my life suddenly and the exit was no different. I can honestly say the world idol was not who I knew—my friend was a humble, kind, gentle man who adored his children. Criss & I loved the family man who spent hours at our home. I miss our times. I miss him.”

“Private Conversations…” takes you inside Neverland Ranch from the dinner table to the extravagant game room, carnival rides, theater, to the touching words of Michael about the absence of memorabilia in his home from gold records to photographs of world dignitaries and his candid view of such acknowledgements; the nightly menu at the Neverland dinner table; the origin of the Moon Walk dance; Michael’s Ghost; the mystery behind Billie Jean; Michael’s curiosity of the deceased that had him at Barney’s mother’s death bed; and his candid opinion of his father, Joe, and mother, Katherine.

“Private Conversation…” is a must read for any Michael Jackson fan who will appreciate the charming style of Michael’s good friend, Dr. Barney, “There were so many wonderful meals,talks, late night sushi runs, Mexican chicken enchilada meals inside his Lincoln Navigator, watching movies with Michael and Elizabeth Taylor and so many more amazing memories. I have many stories and tender moments which I’ve kept in my heart, and after seeing the adoration around the world that fans had for Michael at his passing, I was motivated to share the moments in a book, and hopefully, his fans will understand why I treasure the memories of our friendship to this day.”

“Private Conversations in Neverland with Michael Jackson” is available at Amazon.com in eBook format and paperback. Information can be found at:
http://www.PrivateConversationsinNeverland.com.

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/1/prweb10370105.htm

http://www.ucomparehealthcare.com/drs/william_vanvalin_ii/

http://www.amazon.com/Private-Conversations-Neverland-Michael-Jackson/product-reviews

O.C. Artist Recalls Meeting Michael Jackson At Neverland

Administrator’s Note:  This article was printed back in July 9, 2009.

Source: Orange County Register – By  Richard Chang

Celebrity Painter Says The King of Pop Was ‘Just Like A Little Kid.’

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He met Michael Jackson face to face, and painted the King of Pop at his Neverland Ranch.

Leon Jones, a self-taught artist from Buena Park, has fond memories of Jackson. The pop singer died June 25 at age 50, and his memorial service this week was watched on TV by 31 million people in the U.S. alone.

“Michael was just great,” said Jones, 52. “He was just like a little kid. He was a down-to-earth person.”

During the summer of 2003, Jones painted two murals and a go-cart for Jackson’s sprawling Santa Barbara County residence. He spent several months painting at the ramblin’ ranch.

It all began like this: In 2003, Jones was doing portraits outside Cafe Tu Tu Tango at Universal City Walk. He specializes in celebrities – Dr. Dre, Tupac Shakur, Ice Cube, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Aubrey Hepburn, Lucille Ball.

One day, a gentleman in his 30s representing Jackson asked if Jones could do some work for “his boss.” The stranger left him with $500 cash to do the commission.

Jones was skeptical. But a couple of days later, the artist and his nephew met the gentleman at a gas station in Santa Barbara. They followed the man up through Los Olivos, and finally to the fantastical, secluded Neverland Ranch.

“It was unreal, like you were on a different planet,” Jones said. “Neverland is designed to make you feel like you don’t have any responsibilities.”

Jones observed that Neverland was equipped with rides, a functional train, a large movie theater and a tree house.

“He goes up in this tree and writes poetry,” Jones recalled. “In the day, he’d be sitting over in the tree, and he’d be just Michael.”

Jones painted two, 15-feet-high murals to decorate Jackson’s train depot. He did a portrait of Jackson in knight’s armor donning angel wings, as well as a large mural of Jackson pointing toward the heavens, surrounded by winged children.

“When they saw them, Michael and three or four kids, and his kids, they all started applauding me,” Jones said. “Later on, one of the children said, ‘That’s what Michael did when he felt like you had done a great job.’ I’ve never experienced something like that.”

Jones also said that upon seeing his work, the King of Pop grabbed his hand and skipped a block’s length with him.

“It was like we were little kids,” he explained. “It was just fantastic. When we were there, they treated us like kings and queens.”

The father of five says he grew up listening to Jackson’s music, all the way back to the Jackson 5 days.

“Back in school, we wanted to be like the Jackson 5. We wanted to be like Michael.”

Thus, he was devastated when he heard the news late last month that Jackson died at his home from a sudden cardiac arrest. Authorities are still investigating whether other factors were involved.

“I felt so bad,” Jones said. “It was like a piece that was taken out of me. Here’s a person that I grew up idolizing all the time. He was a part of me, a part of something inside of me. Michael was my brother.”

Nowadays, Jones works from home and is represented by seven galleries. He also sells his work at the Orange County Marketplace on weekends. He has his own Web site, theartman.com, where he also sells and displays work, and continues to do celebrity portraits.

“I don’t know anybody on the planet who has the talent that I have,” he said. “It comes from God. I have a billion dollars in talent. I’m rich already.”

On Tuesday, Jones watched the memorial service for Jackson on television, but had to turn the set off at certain, emotionally charged moments.

“It hurts. It hurts bad. He has touched me. He was the best in the world, and he had to leave.

“I told my son, ‘That’s why I have to cherish every moment with you.’ We’re only here for a little while.”

http://www.ocregister.com/entertainment/jones-93587-jackson-michael.html

Note: French Artist Celine Lavail accused Leon Jones of copyright infringement saying she gave Michael some portraits she had done many years ago in 1998 and 2000. Lavail first met Michael in Monto Carlo in 1996 at the age of 17.  Lavail has written a letter to Jones, citing possible copyright infringement and demanding that he cease the use and distribution of all reproductions of the work. Her letter states that Jones could be liable for statutory damages as high as $100,000. Leon said there was no signatures on the portraits and he was asked by Michael to recreate and paint them as 15 ft murals at Neverland. He did paint the murals but has no copyright to the artwork.

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/jones-213488-jackson-artist.html

About 16 years ago, I Visited Neverland Ranch In California And Met Michael Jackson

Administrator’s Note:  I found this story on Reddit posted from two years ago. I thought it was a nice story. CP ♥

Source: Reddit – By zenhob

Just now I mentioned to my girlfriend “I thought of a great idea for a Reddit AMA.”

“Oh?” she said, clearly disinterested.

“Yeah, about the time I visited Neverland Ranch.”

She turned to me, her eyes wide, and gripped my arm. “Oh my god, you’re right! Submit that right now.” So here I am.

This is a story that I’ve told plenty of people, so it’s not a secret or anything. At first I expected people to be very skeptical about this story, but in practice it’s never come up. I don’t really have a reason to lie about it, I guess. Anyway, it really happened.

My mom was a personal fitness trainer in Los Angeles. I called her the fitness trainer to the stars, although really her clients were more rich than famous. Two of these clients were Priscilla Presley and Lisa Marie Presley, the wife and daughter of the late Elvis, respectively. I knew Lisa as a client of my mom’s since the time I was pretty young (I’m 32 now). I remember attending a few of her birthday parties. She’d do stuff like rent out the Six Flags theme park (Magic Mountain in Valencia) and we’d get to ride Collossus or the Batman ride as much as we wanted. It was pretty big news in general when Lisa married Michael Jackson, more so to us because we knew her. Mom even claimed that Lisa asked her to come and serve as her fitness trainer during Lisa and Michael’s honeymoon. Mom says she declined. So anyway, after Lisa and Michael were married, she invited my mom and us kids to visit her and Michael at Neverland Ranch around Christmas. We ended up staying for a few days.

My mom didn’t tell us at first where we were going. Obviously she wanted it to be a surprise, but I remember being on to her somehow. I guess because the news about Lisa and Michael was well known, we were in a position to suspect this. I was 16 at the time. My little half-brother and half-sister were there too, all mom’s kids. Let’s see, my brother would have been 10, and my sister would have been 8. Now is a good time to mention that I’ve been a Michael Jackson fan since memory, pretty much. I mean, the man is a pop music monk. I was very excited to meet Michael.

The cat was out of the bag shortly after we arrived at the front gate. I remember mom having to sign some kind of release saying that she wouldn’t blab, or something. Since all us kids were under 18 we didn’t have to sign anything.

Apparently Lisa had told Michael we were coming, and he was anxious about meeting a 16 year old kid. “He’s going to think I’m hokey!” was reportedly his complaint, as relayed from Lisa to mom. I was mortified at the thought but resolved to make my moment with Michael count. I didn’t have to wait long. Shortly after we arrived, we’d met Michael and he was showing us around the carnival rides. We were walking between two of them, and I saw an opportunity. I went up to Michael and got his attention and caught my breath and said something like:

“Hi so I heard that maybe you thought I thought you were hokey or something and I just had to tell you that I think you’re amazing and one of my favorite people ever. I don’t think you’re hokey at all.” I was a little panicked. He immediately smiled and warmly thanked me. I like to think we both felt much better after that, I certainly did. That was one of the coolest moments of my life.

Neverland Ranch itself was like… my shorthand for it is: If you gave an 8 year old boy a blank check and a ranch and told him to go nuts, that’s pretty much what it was. There were candy and treats (with an attendant to hand them to you) all over the place. There was a zoo and a carnival area with rides. There was a real steam engine train that went around the grounds. There was a movie theater. Oh man, we were watching the movie Richie Rich in the theater, and there’s a line when the mom in the movie says “Oh god I look like Michael Jackson!” I was seriously sitting next to Michael when we heard that joke. I don’t remember there being much reaction. Probably everyone was thinking “OMG I was sitting next to Michael when I heard this joke.”

There were a few kids around besides my siblings and me, all boys. Lisa’s girls were around too but they didn’t hang out with us much. The boys were identified as cousins and friends of cousins, in my memory. I recollect at one point one of them had to call his mom or something to make sure he could stay the night. My brother and I stayed outside the main house in a really cool guest house. I remember waking up in the morning, looking out the window and seeing them walking the elephants.

Michael and the kids all got around the grounds on these electric go-carts. Michael’s was the only one with a closed canopy. I remember someone showing me the spot where Macaulay Culkin bit it on his cart. I also think at one point there weren’t enough carts or something and the garage dude offered me a tiny little motorbike. It was rad.

We played hide and seek in the house one night. I remember it because of something Michael did: when my sister caught one of the boys Michael exclaimed “You got beaten by a girl!” It was weird because it was so genuine. It was such an immature, childlike thing to do.

We stayed for a few days. Lisa left after only a day or so but invited us to hang out since we were having so much fun. When we left we each hugged Michael goodbye (actually I’m not sure my sister did) and he gave us Christmas gifts. He gave me a portable CD player, which I used for probably ten years after that. I listened to Green Day’s Dookie on it on the way home.

My siblings and I hung out with Michael. Nobody was molested.

http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/ei4so/about_16_years_ago_i_visited_neverland_ranch_in/

True Stories From the Man Who Designed Michael Jackson’s Jackets

Source: Blogs – By Siran Babayan

Courtesy of Julien’s Auctions
Michael Jackson had a thing for military jackets, as the display at Julien’s Auctions makes clear.

On this November day, Julien’s Auctions resembles what Michael Jackson’s closet might have looked like, albeit a much shabbier version. It’s the opening of “The Collection of Tompkins & Bush: Michael Jackson” exhibit, and the Beverly Hills showroom is almost wall-to-wall military-style jackets. A week later, on Dec. 2, some very rich collectors will clean out the place during a live auction.

But perhaps none of those collectors is bigger than Michael Bush, who, with his late partner, Dennis Tompkins, designed for Jackson for nearly 25 years — a collaboration that would follow the King of Pop to the grave. Bush and Tompkins’ designs make up the bulk of the collection, which also includes Jackson memorabilia that Bush purchased over the years. Prices range from a few hundred dollars to $120,000, the latter for a jacket Bush and Tompkins made for the Bad tour.

Only a few hours into the opening, the crowd is sparse. Today Bush is wearing a heavy, gold-beaded jacket decorated with different incarnations of Jackson’s mug. The Ohio native recalls that he met Jackson in 1985, when both men were 27.

At the time, Bush and Tompkins had been working for ABC, Tompkins in the wardrobe department, Bush on a freelance basis. Then Tompkins hired Bush as a sewer for the Captain EO production.

In his newly published book, The King of Style: Dressing Michael Jackson, Bush writes about the first time he walked into Jackson’s trailer: Bubbles the chimp grabbed his leg, and Jackson playfully hit Bush in the face with a stemmed cherry. Bush and Tompkins subsequently worked on the singer’s “Smooth Criminal” video and later joined the Japan leg of his Bad tour. From then on, the duo designed almost exclusively for Jackson.

“I’m an inventor because of Michael,” Bush says. “He saw these facets in me that I didn’t know I had. He saw a costume designer in me that I didn’t know I had.”

Bush’s book is a dizzying look at the history of every piece of wearable art he and Tompkins created for the icon, on- and offstage: the light-up Captain EO costume, the pearl dinner jacket Jackson wore to the 1991 Oscars with Madonna as his date, the “iced” Levi’s denim jacket covered with 9,000 hand-sewn crystal rhinestones worn for Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special in 2001. Bush actually flew to Austria to buy the rhinestones.

Designing for the biggest, and most notoriously eccentric, pop star in the world brought more than its share of challenges. Jackson had a habit of calling Bush and Tompkins in the middle of the night, asking them to solve riddles, which Bush in the book describes as part of the “molding of our creative process.”

And then there was the time he literally gave Jackson the shirt off his back. It was on the “Dirty Diana” set.

“He was gonna wear a leather jacket and it just didn’t work,” Bush says. “He was stepping on a fan. So we went back into the trailer and he says to me, ‘Bush, your shirt is winking at me.’ And that became rock & roll history, I guess. It’s very humbling to know.”

The star’s taste went beyond European military chic, Bush says, with influences ranging from fencing to ancient Egypt. But the one constant in Jackson’s performances was his Florsheim shoes:

“He taught himself how to dance in Florsheims.”

Bush became so paranoid about losing them on tour that he slept with an extra pair underneath his pillow.

From the armbands to the hem of Jackson’s pants, Bush and Tompkins aimed to construct clothes that enhanced his body as a dancer.

“Michael said, ‘My clothes have to dance as much as I do,’ ” Bush recalls.

And Bush has a story behind every trick of the trade. For the “Smooth Criminal” video, Bush sewed a quarter inside Jackson’s tie to give it weight and make it spin around like a blade. For live performances of the song, Tompkins (of the two designers, the craftsman) engineered for Jackson and his dancers shoes that bolted to the ground so they could lean at a 45-degree angle, replicating the video.

Bush gingerly skirts scandalous subjects about Michael, recounting only the times he himself was chased by the paparazzi.

“Michael to me was never controversial. It’s what the world wanted him to be,” Bush says.

But, he acknowledges, he saw the year Jackson temporarily moved to Bahrain as a welcome respite, a period that gave himself and Tompkins some much-needed “me time.

“We had bought a house in Los Feliz that no one had lived in for 30 years. It was almost like, ‘exhale.’ We could start painting the dining room walls. We could do the dining room draperies.”

The last time all three would work together was on Jackson’s ill-fated 2009 This Is It tour. A few weeks before the first concert date, Jackson died. Bush got a call from La Toya Jackson asking him to design for and dress her brother for the burial.

“My first thought was, ‘I don’t think I could do that.’ And she said, ‘Michael, you know what he would want,’ ” Bush says.

He and Tompkins knew that one of Jackson’s favorite items was the pearl military jacket he wore to the 1993 Grammys. Unable to find the original, Bush and Tompkins had to re-create the jacket.

“It was me and the mortician at Forest Lawn” that day, Bush recalls, fighting back tears. “He stood back and said, ‘I know you’ve done this for Michael. But if you can’t handle it, you don’t have to say a word. Raise your hand and I’ll step in and finish. You have to be 100 percent comfortable in doing it, but the family wants you to do it.’ This was my best friend, and I was sending my best friend on his way.”

Two years later, in 2011, Tompkins died of natural causes.

And that sudden death of his partner, Bush says, was a factor in the decision to auction off these prized possessions. He insists that he’s not doing it for a quick buck (the proceeds from the sale, in part benefit Guide Dogs of America and the Nathan Adelson Hospice in Vegas). It’s meant to be a gift for the fans.

“The same thing could happen to me,” Bush says. “And if I go and no one knows what this stuff is or it goes into a landfill, it’s lost. I’d rather have it spread around the world like Michael’s music.

“I have my house. I have my cars. I have my health, above everything. I believe I’m a happy camper.”

At 54, Bush proclaims he’s no longer designing, pointing to a gold-beaded jacket (also up for auction) as his last creation.

“I wanna go home and make my dining room draperies that I started 20 years ago.”

http://blogs.laweekly.com/arts/2012/11/michael_jackson_bush.php

Administrator’s Note:  A slight few derogatory references were taken out the article.  The rest remains as written by the author. Cutie Pie