Black Or White: A Jacksonian Dream

Sources: National Review – By Armond White | Edited By – All Things Michael

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Kevin Costner’s Black or White is sentimental in a good way. After all, it works in the spirit of Michael Jackson’s 1991 single “Black or White,” the most uncompromised of all uplifting pop songs. Jackson declared “I’m not gonna spend my life being a color!” And when he sang “I ain’t scared of your brother / I ain’t scared of no sheets,” he opposed the antinomies of either ethnic solidarity (Afrocentric “blackness”) or ethnic hostility (Ku Klux Klan–style white supremacy).

Costner applies Jackson’s pop principles to playing the role of Elliot Anderson, a wealthy white Los Angeles lawyer. Elliot’s recent bereavement leaves him as guardian of his biracial granddaughter Eloise (Jillian Estell), which means he already lives America’s blended-nation experience, not the fatuous “post-racial” notion but a reality that confirms Jackson’s dream of unity as memorably shown in the iconographic sequence of his extraordinary “Black or White” music video — still the finest achievement of that genre — that morphed all mankind’s ethnic and sexual physical characteristics……

To read the full article, click here 

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Armond White, a film critic, writes about movies for National Review Onlineand received the American Book Award’s Anti-Censorship prize. He is the author of The Resistance: Ten Years of Pop Culture That Shook the World and the forthcoming What We Don’t Talk about When We Talk about the Movies.

Mr White also authored the “KEEP MOVING: The Michael Jackson Chronicles” See his video presentation of the book here.

 

Watch A Cute Toddler Dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” [Video]

Sources: Lite 98.7 – By Matt Hubbell | All Things Michael

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This little guy may be on his way to stardom. It seems he knows every step to Michael Jackson’s Thriller!  He may not have the red leather jacket and the white gloves yet but this cute toddler knows how to dance just like the King of Pop.

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Michael Jackson: The Dancer Of The Dream

Sources: Michael Jackson.ru |Thank you Cherrelle | All Things Michael

Here is a excellent, must-read analysis about Michael’s gift as a dancer. Due to its length, only an a portion is posted here. Click the link at the end to read the complete article. 

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Michael Jackson was a gifted, unique and outstanding dancer. His contribution to the art of dance is analyzed in this fascinating article by professional flamenco dancer and choreographer, Amor (Lubov Fadeeva).

Michael Jackson in dance is a subject as vast as space. I can’t talk about it without touching on global issues of the art of dance, but I will try to bring it all together as much as possible – to gather all of the elements I see as facets of something larger, something whole, so we can try to see the entire picture.…

For me, dance is a global phenomenon, the most sacred and purest art, only matched perhaps by music, poetry, and fine art. The rest is derivative, like the branches of a large spreading tree grown from just one seed. Dance is pure inspiration born in the center of the Universe, expressible through numerous artistic forms and manifestations. Dance is visual music and non-corporeal emotion on a material level; it is spiritual energy creating all existence. This is how I have seen it since my childhood, in the form of feelings, and I will try to explain all this in words.

I remember how pleased, although not surprised, I was to see that Michael’s book was titled Dancing the Dream. Why did the title refer to dancing and not singing or music? I believe that wasn’t coincidental. Dance was special in Michael’s art – the deepest, most sincere, and most symbolic expression of his philosophy and artistic vision. […]

When people watch Michael Jackson in awe, a miracle happens. They experience a moment when dance offers them something exciting and incomparable. Practically everyone who seriously considers Michael’s dancing will surely note a certain mysterious, unique quality in this entertainer that makes his art inimitable. Thousands of people have learned many of Michael’s distinctive moves and steps, but no one can perform them exactly the way he does. That’s why all attempts to imitate him (even by professional dancers) are doomed to failure: any Jackson impersonator is a surrogate in the eyes of ardent Jackson fans.

To me, the legions of Michael Jackson impersonators imitating his dance moves are pure profanation. His bodily presence and emotional expression on stage cannot be copied. He is recognizable by the tiniest nuance, not to mention his one-of-a-kind energy. Even if a dancer can brilliantly perform the same dance elements, it’s impossible to copy Michael’s hand. In this regard, those impersonators who use Jackson’s style simply as a basis for their own variations and improvisations have an advantage. Their dancing always looks more interesting, alive, and skillful than an attempt to precisely replicate his movements, which is practically impossible in dancing. Jackson cannot be repeated, copied, or imitated – just like any famous dancer cannot be duplicated.

So what makes Michael unique? Why are there ongoing disputes, for example, that his dancing contains so many sexual moves yet they never make him look vulgar – a vulgarity that can be seen in so many other performers? Why are his contributions to the art of dance considered so invaluable that this pop star can be placed alongside the great masters of ballet or folk dancing?

First of all, I would say that the body and motor functions of every dancer are unique. There are some common features, but there are many specifics that can’t even be analyzed, just like it’s impossible to analyze every “dancing molecule” in a living human body. These minute details and particulars make the performing manner of each person his or her own. Some demonstrate less individuality, while others emit it from their first steps across the stage. That’s one reason no impersonator can ever copy or replace a brilliant dancer like Michael and look convincing for those who are well acquainted with Michael’s style.

It’s not just a matter of his personal singularity; it’s a matter of the singularity of every human. Science has invented cloning, but not even a clone can be a perfect copy of the original, just like twins are not identical people. So there is no way an existing person could become a clone of another person. Differences would arise at some stage, even if the impersonator were spiritually close to the original performer. Perfectly copying individual peculiarities within a dance to create the illusion of a match is a utopian venture. [….]

Let me return to the beginning of the conversation and I say that, like any truly brilliant dancer, Michael stands out for his spiritual essence and spiritual approach to dancing. His dance reflects the very religious component mentioned earlier – not in the sense of expressing any religious doctrine or belief, but in the sense of his spiritual and emotional approach.

First, Michael is not just a performer. He is the creator of his dance. He doesn’t do something he simply learned by imitating a choreographer. Even when his dance is carefully choreographed, he remains the creator: his dance comes from within, not from other people, regardless of who he collaborated with during preparation.

Lots of choreographers and dancers participated in his projects, but the dance team and Michael are altogether different, although his dancers are always professional and excellent. Still, he invariably stands out, through both his manner of dancing and his inner feeling of the dance.

He dances in the flow of free creation. It should be noted that even the moves he performs on stage over and over again are not mechanically repeated like a stuck record. No, he can continue any of his dances by free improvisation at any moment. And it never looks out of sync with his personal style; instead, it opens new facets of his fathomless inner creator. This is what no impersonator can do. Only the creator of the dance can update and renew his dance naturally and improvise freely, and still be himself. No one else can plunge into his sacrament. This is his personal domain, just like every person has his or her own body and his or her own place on Earth.

Michael Jackson stands out among all stage performers of his generation and those that followed. It is often said that many pop entertainers draw on Michael because he created a standard. Still, many seem to draw on the wrong things. Michael was notable for his absolute belief in what he was doing. He always had a sincere and sparkling artistry, while contemporary pop performers mostly look like beautifully designed clockwork dolls and not charismatic entertainers.

I don’t know why this is so, but I suspect the trouble is not in a lack of talent but in the fact that the pop stage has once and for all taken to manufacturing an average glamour ideal. Mostly, these new “stars” create an impression of Barbie dolls: all of them pretty, all of them capable, but lacking energy… Nothing exciting is going on. There is nothing that can shock or surprise us anymore – all revolutions are past. That is the overall feeling. Honestly, it’s sad to see that they are deprived of a true, live creative process and consciously make a product of themselves. A product and not a creator, even a small one. It is strange that the industry keeps dictating this kind of taste and selecting this kind of material for its star factory. But after all, a genius is only a genius if it is rare.

The second, and perhaps the more interesting factor, is that fundamentally, Michael Jackson is not a pop figure. Yes, he worked within the framework of popular mass culture, but he didn’t belong to pop art on the basis of his mentality. I would even say this was his tragedy, of which he was not guilty, of course. The pop culture framework, on the one hand, allowed him to break all possible sales records and reach out to millions of people with simple and inspiring ideas. On the other hand, his talent was confined to that framework, so in the end, certain facets of his artistry didn’t fully manifest and went mostly unnoticed by the general public.

The image of a pop singer prevented some people from taking him seriously. This was unfortunate, and I’ll say it once again: it was not his fault. The blame lies with the narrow-mindedness of society. His figure had too many contradictions for people to perceive him adequately. He combined traits of antipodal conventional types ingrained in popular mythology, and this eventually brought harsh trials and a tragic end upon him.

Amor (Lubov Fadeeva)
English translation by Julia Sirosh; editing by Vera Serova and Willa Stillwater

 

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Katie Piper Reveals Why She Loves Michael Jackson’s History Album

Sources: Edited By – All Things Michael | Express.Co.UK – Caroline Rees

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Former model and TV presenter Katie Parker’s life drastically changed in 2008 after being raped, then attacked with industrial-strength sulphuric acid. The substance was thrown in her face by a hired accomplice of her former boyfriend, left her severely burned. She was blind in one eye. In a fight to not only save her life and reconstruct her facial features, the surgeons removed all the skin from her face, before rebuilding it with a skin substitute and skin graft. It was the first surgery of it’s kind to be completed in a single operation. Her vision was restored by a procedure known as  Ex-vivo limbal stem cell allograft transplantation (EVSCALT) at the Centre for Sight to restore her vision. Both men are now serving sentences for their crimes.

As you can imagine, the effects of the ordeal left her devastated, but she has come a long way. Relying heavily on family and friends, and thanks to the outstanding treatment she received in France, alongside her own incredible determination, she no longer feels that her burns define her. In 2009 she went on to set up her own charity The Katie Piper Foundation to help other burn victims.

In a recent interview, Katie listed Michael Jackson’s History as one of her six favorite albums to show how music has helped or inspired her life.

Michael Jackson: History (Sony)

I’m a diehard fan and love all the tracks. After I was attacked, I didn’t like songs about sex or violence but his songs are on world issues and not just about love. The music is uplifting and he stood up for what he believed in, which I admired.

Elvis Presley: The 50 Greatest Hits (BMG)

My dad is a massive Elvis fan and whenever I hear him I think of dad on family holidays doing karaoke versions of Always On My Mind. He’s so supportive that it’s music that makes me feel warm inside.

Spice Girls: Spice (EMI)

Cheesy but one of the first cassettes I bought. I was a teenager in the 1990s and this was my first experience of girl power. I knew the words to every track. It makes me smile if I hear it now because of those fond childhood memories.

John Legend: Love In The Future (Columbia)

For me and my partner, the beautiful ballad All Of Me from this is our song. The lyrics talk about loving somebody’s imperfections and my boyfriend related to it in the way he felt about me. We danced to it on holiday when someone sang it in a piano bar.

Bruno Mars: Doo-Wops And Hooligans (Atlantic)

The song Just The Way You Are came out when I was single and it resonated with me that there was no point trying to be something you’re not. Bruno’s style is similar to Michael Jackson and he’s got a fantastic range. I do charity runs and this is motivating when you’re exercising.

Mariah Carey: Music Box (Sony)

In my early recovery I made a video to track my progress and to thank my surgeon. For the part about him, I used Hero from this as the backing track. The lyrics jumped out at me and her voice is incredible.

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Chvrches: “We Want To Channel Prince And Michael Jackson On Our New Album”

Sources: NME | All Things Michael

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Chvrches have revealed that they want to channel Prince and Michael Jackson on their as-yet-untitled forthcoming album, adding that they’re only using “the absolute key elements” on the songs.

In the new Albums of 2015 issue of NME, which is on newsstands now and available digitally, Martin Doherty discusses the band’s plans for the album, including their desire to make it leaner than debut record ‘The Bones Of What You Believe’.

“I think we’ll use fewer instruments but ultimately try and do more with them,” Doherty says. “When you listen to a Michael Jackson song or a Prince song, you realise there’s absolutely nothing in it but an amazing bassline, drums and singing. We want to channel some of that.”

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The Pope’s “Michael Jackson Entrance” For 1995 World Youth Day

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MANILA, Philippines – A storm threatened rain and the night was made colder by a strong wind, but inclement weather did not stop early birds from camping out last night in Rizal Park to wait for the mass to be celebrated this afternoon by Pope Francis.

Up to six million people are expected to attend the mass that will cap Pope Francis’ historic visit in the Philippines.

Last Friday during their one-on-one meeting at Malacañang, President Aquino told Pope Francis that the crowd at today’s mass is expected to be bigger than the record five million that turned out for Pope John Paul II’s mass in the same venue during the World Youth Day celebration on Jan. 15, 1995.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said yesterday that Aquino showed the pope photographs of the World Youth Day mass.

During the 1995 gathering, the crowd packed streets several kilometers away from the park. Many were perched atop cars and climbed trees for a view of John Paul II. So dense was the crowd that the pope abandoned plans to travel from his residence by car and was flown instead by helicopter.

With all the joy and cheers of the Filipino crowd every time Pope Francis passes by, the cardinals who elected him in 2013 observed that he has turned out to be a “rock star” pope.

But will there be a unique entrance for Pope Francis during his concluding mass this afternoon at Quirino Grandstand?

During the World Youth Day in 1995, organizers of the papal mass thought of preparing a “Michael Jackson-like entrance” for Pope John Paul II when he appeared before the crowd.

Jimmy Policarpio, chief operating officer during the 1995 World Youth Day, said organizers considered the health of Pope John Paul II, who at that time was 74 years old and still recovering from an accident.

“Pope John Paul II had an accident. He had a total hip replacement a year before the event, so what we did was to make sure that all his movements would require less physical effort for him,” Policarpio recounted.

To bring Pope John Paul II up the stage, carpenters cut a rectangular hole on the floor of the Quirino Grandstand, just enough for the Holy Father to pass through. A seesaw elevator was used to raise the pope. The stage floor opened up and out came Pope John Paul II.

“I got this idea when I watched the Michael Jackson concert in Russia,” Policarpio said.

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Sources: Philstar – By Aurea Calica and Evelyn Macairan | All Things Michael

 

Indore’s ‘Moonwalking’ Traffic Cop

Sources: Hindustan Times – By Husain Malvi  | All Things Michael

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Ranjeet Singh is no Michael Jackson but he ‘moonwalks’ with the same finesse as the king of pop, waltzing on busy intersections of Madhya Pradesh’s commercial capital. It is his duty as well as passion.

Meet the dancing cop of Indore, an iconic traffic policeman who is inspiring his junior colleagues to adopt the ‘dancing’ routine to manage traffic on the city’s bustling, and often chaotic, roads.

One of his most famous routine is the ‘moonwalk’, a dance style made famous by the late US pop singer and entertainer.

“Instead of walking back I do the moonwalk which sometimes amuses commuters. That, in a way, encourages people to follow traffic rules,” he told Hindustan Times.

At least three other police traffic police personnel have adopted Singh’s style. And Singh is even training the juniors into perfecting their craft.

Sumant Singh Kachhawa, who joined the force recently, said he was inspired by Singh from his college days.

“I used to observe Ranjeet bhai during my college days and wanted to be like him. I instantly approached him for some tips as soon as I got my job. Its real fun to control traffic in that manner and at no point of time I feel bored,” said the 22-year-old cop who hails from Hoshangabad near Bhopal.

Another young follower is Mahendra Singh Tomar.

Deployed at Palasia Sqaure, another busy intersection of the city, Tomar considers that commuters get inspired in the way he goes about his job.

“One should leave in impact in whatever he or she does and I bring the same while I am signaling people on roads,” said the cop who has been working for the past six years in Indore.

Even the higher officers of the force are quite impressed by Ranjeet Singh’s efforts.

“He is not only an inspiration to constables but for his seniors as well. His style of controlling traffic attracts everyone. He has been exceptional in sharing his style with his colleagues,” said Anjana Tiwari, additional superintendent of police (traffic).

Ranjeet Singh, however, blamed the people for the traffic mess in the city.

“There are commuters who don’t wish to follow any instruction. Our job is to tell them but in the end it is their choice,” said the policeman who has a large following on social networking site Facebook.

 

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Doctors Share Their Favorite Playlists For The Operating Room

Sources: IndyStar – By Shari Rudavsky | Edited By – All Things Michael

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When Dr. Gary Dunnington, a breast cancer surgeon at the IU Health Simon Cancer Center, was in medical school years ago, one of his mentors told him to treat the operating room as a sanctuary and never allow music to be played there.

He followed that advice for a while but as he gained seniority, he started turning on the tunes as he worked, like many of his colleagues. Now, he says, he prefers to cut and sew to jazz or blues but bans rap and hard rock.

Listening to music while operating dates back thousands of years, according to a recent article in The BMJ. The Greeks considered Apollo to be the father of healing and music, while Aristotle thought music could staunch fear and help with healing. A century ago a Pennsylvania doctor extolled the benefits for patients and surgeons of installing a phonograph in the operating room.

Control of the dial differs from operating room to operating room. Some surgeons allow patients to choose the music if the procedure takes place with local anesthesia or until the patient is fully anesthetized.

In other places, the playlist may be a delicate negotiation between the many nurses, doctors and others assisting with the operation.

Dr. C. Max Schmidt, the director of the IU Health Pancreatic Cyst and Cancer Early Detection Center, lets the nurses decide what music they want.

“Only catch is, I control the volume,” he said.

IPods help some surgeons manage their playlists for the operating room.(Photo: Doug McSchooler/The Star)

IPods help some surgeons manage their playlists for the operating room.(Photo: Doug McSchooler/The Star)

Dr. Jodi Smith, a pediatric neurosurgeon at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, confess to a soft spot for Christmas music. Most of the year, Smith plays Disney tunes, but once November hits, it’s time for the Christmas songs.

“We listen to Christmas music in my OR beginning the day after Halloween until the first of the year,” Smith said. “Actually I’d listen to it all year long but my OR nurses won’t let me.”

For Dr. Ronald Baughman, a general surgeon at Community Physician Network, it’s genre of music, rather than specific songs, such as Motown, reggae, the ’80s.

But if Bon Jovi’s “Bad Medicine” comes on, it requires an immediate change.

The one thing you won’t find in Baughman’s operating room is silence.

“When there isn’t music playing, the silence is deafening,” he said.

Here are some other local surgeons and their playlist:

Dr. John Powelson, a surgeon at IU Health University Hospital who specializes in kidney transplants, tries to avoid playing any one tune a lot.

Instead, he looks for anything that has a good beat, whether that be a song from the ’60s or something more contemporary.

His go-to singer? Michael Jackson.

“Just about any of his songs has a great beat and everyone likes them,” he said.

The late Michael Jackson, shown during a March 18 1988, concert at Market Square Arena, is the go-to singer to listen to while operating for Dr. John Powelson, a surgeon at IU Health University Hospital who specializes in kidney transplants.(Photo: Mike Fender / 1988 Star file photo)

The late Michael Jackson, shown during a March 18 1988, concert at Market Square Arena, is the go-to singer to listen to while operating for Dr. John Powelson, a surgeon at IU Health University Hospital who specializes in kidney transplants.(Photo: Mike Fender / 1988 Star file photo)

Tod Huntley, a head and neck surgeon with St. Vincent Health, lets the length of the procedure determine his choice. For example, a complex daylong cancer case calls for music that allows for concentration. For this, he might choose jazz, such as Charlie Parker or Miles Davis, or something by one of his favorite classical composers, Claude Debussy, or music featuring classical guitarist Tommy Emmanuel.

If he’s closing up a case and is more relaxed, he might throw on some ZZ Top, Black Keys or even AC/DC, he confessed.

Still, he rarely dares play what might often be his first choice: opera.

“If I put on what I really want, I know I’m going to get some rebelling in the room,” he said. “That’s something that I never do because so many people say, ‘Oh turn that off.’ ”

Dr. Jonathan Fridell, a transplant surgeon at IU Health University Hospital, tends to prefer the ’80s, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, the Black Eyed Peas and Iggy Azalea.

Favorite background songs for performing pancreas, liver and kidney transplants include Meatloaf’s “Bat Out of Hell” and Britney Spears’ “Circus.” For a while, Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London” was his go-to song for closing.

Dr. Ronald Baughman, a general surgeon at Community Physician Network, prefers to turn to his own iPod for music. Not only does that give him control over what’s played, he doesn’t have to worry about distractions or radio advertising.

He offered a sample of a recent playlist: “Wishing Well” by Airborne Toxic Event; “Windows are Rolled Down” by Amos Lee; “Gold on the Ceiling” by The Black Keys; “Skinny Love” by Bon Iver; “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield; “Under the Milky Way” by The Church; “Fantastic Voyage” by Coolio; “Grey Street” by Dave Matthews Band; “Tomorrow” by The Cranberries; “Numb” by Linkin Park; “Low Rider” by War; “Bittersweet” by Big Head Todd and the Monsters; “Unbelievers” by Vampire Weekend; “Please Come Home” by Gary Clark Jr.; “Last Kiss” by Pearl Jam and “Bacco Perbacco” by Zucchero.

Dr. Saad Khairi, a neurosurgeon at the Level I Trauma Center at IU Health Methodist Hospital, often pirates his wife’s playlists as musical backdrop for the spine surgeries he performs.

But on one memorable occasion he drew up his own playlist. A few years ago – as rumors swirled about Peyton Manning’s imminent departure from the Colts – Khairi had a few hours until he was to operate on a patient with a broken back.

He created a playlist of almost 100 songs as a personal homage.

“I was a big Peyton fan and the thought of losing him was making me sad,” Khairi said, adding that his list “includes some of the sappiest songs ever and a lot of songs that I just kind of like.”

The list of 99 songs included Bananarama’s “Na Na Hey Hey”; the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back”; Gloria Estefan’s “Don’t Wanna Lose You”; Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days”; and Sting’s “If You Love Somebody, Set Them…”

For several months, this was Khairi’s go-to playlist until his colleagues made it clear they had heard it enough.

“There were cheers galore in Room #1 when we got back to normal hipster alternative pop,” he said. “I still wheel it out occasionally when feeling nostalgic, but this one is pretty much out of the rotation at this point, because I’m a big Luck fan now.”

Dr. Brian Mullis, chief of orthopedic trauma services at Eskenazi Health, said the following seven songs comprise his favorites: “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin; “Devil Went Down to Georgia” by the Charlie Daniels Band; “Enter Sandman” by Metallica ; “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N’ Roses; “Gimme Some Lovin'” by the Blues Brothers; “Gonna Fly Now” by Bill Conti and “Toxic” by Britney Spears.

 

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