The Veronicas Talk Webster Hall, Michael Jackson And New Music

Sources: Digital Journals – By Marko Papadatos | All Things Michael

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Australian pop duo The Veronicas chatted with Digital Journal about their recent performance at Webster Hall, Michael Jackson and their plans for the future.

They performed at Webster Hall in New York City last week, and had nothing but the greatest remarks for the venue. “Webster Hall is such an iconic venue. Feeling that energy through the room, and up on stage was really powerful,” they said.

The duo, comprised of idential twin sisters Jessica and Lisa Marie, noted that their greatest musical influence was the late “King of Pop,” Michael Jackson. “Michael Jackson was, and continues to be our greatest musical influence. The way he bared his soul, and inspired social change through his music, is something that forever inspires us,” they said.

On their plans for the future, they said, “Eat the rich, give to the poor. Inspire progression for all young people drawn to us through our music or our minds. We’re also working on another album, touring, writing a book, developing a documentary on the search for progressing consciousness through a shifting pop culture.”

Their proudest professional moments include each time that they made their parents and fans smile. They listed Jay Buchanan from Rival Sons and Billy Corgan from The Smashing Pumpkins as their dream male duet choices.

The Veronicas defined success as having joy and balance in one’s life. “It does not mean a chart number, or a monetary amount. Although those things might make you ‘feel’ successful in the short term, it is only temporary. Success is not something that be can achieved from material gain, or granted by someone else. True success comes from true inner happiness in life with a greater value system. Treating our bodies like a temple (food, yoga), giving our time and passion joining in activist work for wild life and charities. Call your Grandma. Find alternatives to capitalist corporations pushing their own agenda. Know that you deserve better. Respect mother earth. Practice kindness to yourself, and those around you,” they said.

For their fans, they concluded, “Thank you for believing in us when we weren’t sure if we could believe in ourselves.”

To learn more about The Veronicas and their music, check out their official website and on Facebook.

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Harry Shum Jr. Treadmill Dancing To Michael Jackson

Sources: MTV – By Maurice Bobb | All Things Michael

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Love Never Felt So Good!

Still going through “Glee withdrawals?

Well, turn that frown upside down because this video featuring Harry Shum Jr. is just what the doctor ordered.

The McKinley High actor/dancer posted his own version— set to Michael Jackson’s “Love Never Felt So Good”— to his Facebook page.

Honoka Moriyama Pays Tribute To MJ

Sources: MJWN | Honoka Moriyama| All Things Michael

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Michael continues to inspire Dancers and Artists from all over the world. The love for his music and his dancing is never ending in every corner of the globe. This time it’s Japanese Choreographer and Dancer Honoka Moriyama honouring Michael as she recently gathered a group of eight incredible dancers to produce an amazing tribute to the King of Pop and to show how he has inspired her with dance.

The video showcases the nine dancers’ exceptional dancing and  the brilliant choreography by Honoka. Energetic, with moves so fast that if you blink you may miss, it has been described perfectly as “this is tight!” by those that have witnessed the video already.

Choreographed to some of Michael’s most famous songs, ‘Dangerous,’ ‘Smooth Criminal,’ ‘Bad,’ ‘Jam,’ and ending with ‘They Don’t Care About Us’ with the credits, this video certainly has the ‘Wow’ factor! A definite standout and one that would have easily impressed Michael.

It’s people like Honoka, who help keep the magic that was Michael alive.

 

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Hinds College Hosts Michael Jackson Forever Dance Tribute

Sources: Jackson Free Press | All Things Michael

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In Michael Jackson Forever! Michael’s Artistry and spirit are expressed through the vibrant energy of Montage Theatre of Dance dancers and performers, underscored by vivid choreography from many genres of dance.

Michael Jackson FOREVER! Is a heartfelt tribute to the work innovative spirit, history, and legacy of Michael Jackson- the King of Pop. Ensuring we are all forever Michael Jackson.

Synopsis

The Show’s plot is centered around four fans who set out on a journey into Michael  Jackson’s world and music. By journey’s end, they embody and personify Jackson’s genius, vision, heart, and soul. These values are represented with his hat, sunglasses, white gloves, socks, and shoes.

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Tickets: 601-857-3266 in Brooks Hall
Advanced Tickets: $5 for Students & Seniors: $7 Gen. Admission
At the Door: $7 for Students & Seniors: $10 Gen.
No Late Admission
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Note: Tonight’s performance has been cancelled.

 

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Make That Change: The Music of Michael Jackson

Sources: MLive  – By Eric Lacy| All Things Michael

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DETROIT, MI — The Mosaic Youth Theatre’s first-ever tribute to Michael Jackson will take next month at The Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts.

The spring concert series called “Make that Change: The Music of Michael Jackson” will have shows on the following dates: 10 a.m. March 6, 8 p.m. March 7 and 4 p.m. March 8.

Mosaic Youth Theatre founder and artistic director Rick Sperling said in a press release the concert is “an amazing opportunity to see the range of talents Mosaic’s young artists possess.”

“Our young artists master challenging traditional choral selections and immediately transition to iconic Michael Jackson songs with full choreography,” Sperling said. “It’s a true showcase of their immense talent, and we are thrilled to present this to the region.”

“Make that Change” will open with a choral rendition of Jackson’s hit song “Human Nature”, and will fuse classical choral selections.

The second act, according to the press release, will be “full-out, Jackson-themed performances” with singing and choreography to hits like “Off the Wall,” “Thriller” and “Beat It.” Each show is expected to have performances of 27 songs.

Tickets for the performances are $24 for general admission and $16 for students and seniors with valid ID. Priority reserved seating is available for $32 per ticket. Children under five are not admitted.

The Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts is located at 350 Madison St. in Detroit. For more information visit musichall.org or mosaicdetroit.org.

 

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Dance Night Is Not to Be Missed

Sources: Philly.com  – By Kevin Riordan | All Things Michael

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After an hour of rocking the dance floor, Penny Warn takes a break.

“I think people with disabilities have more fun than regular people,” she says, as about 120 developmentally disabled men and women party like it’s not a frigid Thursday evening in February.

Inside Paris Caterers in Berlin Township, the heat is on. Fist-bumps, high-fives, and funky floor moves are the rule. And the hits keep on thumping, thanks to “DJ Dave” Michaels.

“It’s a fun night,” says Robin Rowand, 32, of Pittsgrove. Adds her mother, Susan: “If there was a blizzard, Robin would have to be here. . . . There’s nothing else she’d rather be doing.”

Nine times a year, the Camden County Division of Programming for People With Disabilities holds the dinner-dances. The county offers dozens of other programs for the population, including therapeutic horseback riding, bingo, and arts and crafts.

Statewide, public or private agencies generally provide such programs, says Tom Baffuto, executive director of ARC of New Jersey, adding there are about 200,000 developmentally disabled adults in the state.

“The dances are a wonderful opportunity for them to get together with their peers and have a good time,” says Camden County division director Karen Weidner, who lives in Oaklyn. “Who doesn’t like to dance?”

Rowand and Warn, who’s 51 and has her own apartment in Clementon, are longtime regulars. So are many other partygoers, who arrive with carpooling parents or staff from group homes.

“Because of programs like this, my daughter [Kim] has friends,” says Ronnie Coll, a retired waitress from Lindenwold.

“I’ve wanted my son Shawn to have his own life, separate from me,” says Atco resident Dorothy Smith, noting that Shawn is attending the dance with his girlfriend.

The crowd includes people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and beyond. One fellow sports a tux, another, a dark suit with a tie and pocket square that match his shoes.

Lots of dancers are in red, in honor of the Valentine theme.

Dinner (salad, chicken Parmesan, ice cream with chocolate sauce) is served halfway through the evening, followed by more dancing.

“It’s a way for these adults to socialize like everybody else,” says Michelle Cappello, who coordinates the dances with Judi Franchi.

Like Warn, who has a part-time job at ShopRite, some of the partygoers work and live independently. Others need assistance with simple tasks.

Some dancers twirl, or even leap, with balletic grace, while others take to the floor with rolling walkers.

“I’m having a ball!” a woman in a wheelchair exclaims.

“It’s like a family party, or a wedding reception,” says Michaels, 53, of Washington Township.

He’s been deejaying the dances for years and hands out glow-in-the-dark party favors, such as maracas, to help get things started.

“They love the Electric Slide and all the line dances,” says Michaels, who’s beloved by the crowd.

Oldies, disco, pop . . . the dancers like them all. And Michael Jackson, he says, “is still king.”

“When Michael Jackson died, I cried,” Laura Kline, 32, of Glassboro, tells me.

“We were into Michael Jackson together,” adds her friend Laura Bobco, 32, of Collingswood.

A sequence of Jackson tunes, including “Bad” and “Thriller” fills the floor.

The pure joy of people getting their groove on with friends is palpable. Seems as if everyone in the room is dancing and lip-synching.

“They dance like no one’s watching them,” says Marie Singletary, of Waterford, a businesswoman who brings her older brother to the event.

“They make you smile.”

And when Michaels cues up Pharrell Williams’ megahit “Happy,” I know exactly what she means.

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The Day I Sang On Stage With Michael Jackson

Sources: Young Germany – By Alex Handcock (Published June 26, 2009) | All Things Michael

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On July 11, 1992, Young Germany editor Alex Handcock was picked as one of several children to sing “Heal the World” on stage with Michael Jackson in Cologne. With Jackson’s untimely death, he remembers the day he took to stage with the King of Pop.

The anticipation had been building all week. Our teacher had told us we were going to Cologne to sing at a Michael Jackson concert. Our class talked of nothing else – we were going to sing “Heal the World” with the King of Pop.

Our school – the main English language primary school in the Bonn area – had been chosen as it was a melting pot of different nationalities. We had embassy kids and children whose parents worked for international organizations and multinationals from over the world. Our class was like a United Colors of Benetton ad, so we fit the bill perfectly for the make-the-world-a-better-place message in the “Heal the World” song we were to sing.

I sat on the coach on the way to Cologne as the class sang the “Heal the World” song again and again. I remember not knowing the words. I hadn’t really paid much attention to music up until that point in my life. I was 11 years old and associated music with pesky recorder lessons. Michael Jackson was someone I was only vaguely familiar with. But, by the time we arrived, I knew most of the song.

“Heal The World, Make It A Better Place, For You And For Me, And The Entire Human Race.”

Arriving at the stadium

I spotted the Müngersdorfer Stadium in the distance. The bus was now inching along, carving its way through thousands of fans wandering across the road. Some had big banners. Others were dressed like their idol. And everywhere street vendors were hawking their memorabilia. I gaped out of the window and attempted to process what was going on.

When we pulled up into the backstage area, a hectic-looking man clutching a walkie-talkie greeted our teacher and signaled for us to follow. We snaked through corridors and up stairs, before arriving at a room. There, we were to wait.

When would we meet Michael?

We were in a spacious backstage room. It had several tables, each with piles and piles of chocolate bars. It was an 11-year-old’s dream. We set about attacking the food. I can not remember how much chocolate I ate that day, but such was the impression the chocolate extravaganza made on me, that even today, I can remember thinking that it was a shame we had to leave so much behind.

After what seemed like an eternity the door opened. We were all disappointed. It was not Michael, but instead a business-like lady who explained that we could not all go on stage to sing the song. They would select a dozen or so children and the rest could watch the concert.

“Is there anyone who would prefer to just watch the concert?”

Silence.

So we lined up; and in the cruel fashion we were already familiar with from playground sports, the lady proceeded to pick out the kids she wanted.

“The others were in floods of tears,” my classmate Sarah Jewer recalled.

Getting changed for the concert

Luckily for me, I was one of those chosen and was led away to the dressing room along with the others. There I was informed that I was to represent an American kid and was handed my “American outfit”. I quickly squeezed into my blue jeans, t-shirt and baseball cap attire and nervously looked around at my classmates who were sporting similarly clichéd looks.

When we finally walked out of the room and scurried across a stretch of tarmac towards the back of the stage, I was struck by how big everything seemed. That was small wonder as the Dangerous Tour had equipment weighing over 100 tons. Two Boeing 747 jets and multiple lorries had been required to transport this gear to the venue. Added to that, the sound of the music – even from behind the stage – was deafening. I began to understand what having butterflies in your stomach really meant.

Spotting Michael Jackson

I walked up the stairs with my classmates where we waited in an area to the right of the stage. The roar of the 65,000 sell-out crowd was incredible. We must have arrived in between songs, because suddenly, around 20 meters away, I spotted the man we had all been hoping to meet. Michael Jackson was there standing in the wings talking to what looked to be Macaulay Culkin, the actor from Home Alone. I bounced up and down along with my classmates, pointing and screaming stuff no one could hear over the music anyway.

When Michael Jackson was back on stage, I concentrated on remembering the instructions I had been told. Looking back, it wasn’t rocket science. At the time it required the utmost concentration: “Hold hands with designated partner. Move onto stage. Look forward and not at Michael, smile, and ‘sing’.”

Before I knew it, my classmate was tugging at my hand and we moved out onto the stage. I gazed out at the sea of faces and promptly forgot I was meant to be singing, or mouthing the words. Standing on stage in front of 65,000 people was intimidating to say the least.

My classmate Sarah, just two people removed from Jackson, recalled: “The crowd was mesmerising. Just so many people and so many lights.”

We moved clockwise around a huge inflatable globe; I ignored the “don’t look at Michael” instructions and turned my neck to try and catch a glimpse of the King of Pop. But I was on the wrong side of inflatable Earth to see him properly. My memories are of brief fleeting glimpses. Before I knew it, the song was over and I stumbled off stage glancing back to see the superstar.

We were whisked away, given a T-shirt and headed home. My classmate, who had been holding hands with Jackson, was the center of attention. She ran through a blow by blow account of her experience and pledged never to wash her hand again. I was jealous and exhausted. I fell asleep on the bus, wearing an oversized Dangerous Tour T-shirt.

 

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Kobe Bryant Talks About Retiring, His Mentor Michael Jackson And Upcoming Documentary

Source: The Hollywood Reporter – By Marisa Guthrie| All Things Michael

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A version of this story first appeared in the Feb. 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

The L.A. Lakers’ Kobe Bryant has been contemplating life after basketball since he was 22. Now that he’s 36, out due to injury and close to retirement, he says he’ll play one more season and finish his two-year contract, which will net him $25 million. But his recent experience as the subject and executive producer of the intimate doc Kobe Bryant’s Muse — produced by Gotham Chopra (Deepak‘s son) and airing Feb. 28 on Showtime — has opened up the possibility of a career behind the lens. “There are so many other stories to be told,” he says, adding that he’d like to profile Phil Jackson and Apple designer Jonathan Ive.

Chopra began filming Bryant more than a year ago, before Bryant suffered a devastating Achilles injury — and the film chronicles his recovery efforts. But it also finds him at a crossroads in his life and questioning some of the choices he’s made, including putting so much time and energy into basketball at the expense of the relationships in his life. Bryant sat for nearly 20 interviews with Chopra. The result is a surprisingly revealing introspective film about an NBA star who has been under the microscope almost since the day he entered the NBA straight from high school in 1996. “It was 100 percent therapeutic,” says Bryant. “The goal from the beginning was to make a truthful film.”

You were very candid about the dark periods in your life. Was that difficult?

BRYANT It was very difficult. But there’s beauty in that process.

You were arrested in 2003 on sexual assault charges, but the case was dropped. How difficult was that to revisit?

BRYANT Those were dark days for all of us. We all kind of dreaded that day.

Gotham, what were your conversations with Kobe like before you interviewed him?

CHOPRA We didn’t talk beforehand because we didn’t want it to feel scripted. It had to feel raw and honest. It was not easy for him. It was not easy for us because you feel like you’re prying into someone’s most personal stuff. But his willingness to go there just made it feel like, now we’re doing something special.

You said in the film that you regretted working so hard because it took you away from your family and other relationships. When did you start feeling that way?

BRYANT Probably during my second year [in the NBA]. It takes more time to keep those relationships going. I was just really obsessive about becoming one of the all-time greats. I just loved playing the game so much that everything took a back seat. But I had to make a choice. Once I made that decision, the game became everything to me.

Do you regret that?

BRYANT It depends on what day you ask me. Certain days, when things are going really well, I feel like I have everything. But on days where things are not as good, I question that.

Some of your NBA peers have dabbled in acting. Do you have any interest in a career in front of the camera?

BRYANT No, I don’t enjoy being in films. It makes me uncomfortable.

You went to the NBA directly from high school. What was it like to be thrust into this grown-up world and suddenly making a very grown-up salary? 

BRYANT It’s really hard, especially for a 17-year-old. You’re having all this money thrown at you, all this attention thrown at you. And there are a lot of leeches. It teaches you a lot about focus. What are you focused on? What are you trying to accomplish? All right, let’s weed out everything else that gets in the way of that. But at 20 years old, I was dealing with a lot. It was crazy.

You have never worked with Gotham before, but I understand you had a mutual friend.

BRYANT Yeah. He knew Michael [Jackson] very well. And Michael is one of my mentors. When I was 18, he introduced me to his muses. I had never seen a Fred Astaire film.

You watched Fred Astaire movies with him?

BRYANT Yeah, I wanted to know how he sold 50 million albums, so he walked me through how he prepares, how he trains, how he writes, how he studies.

What was the most important lesson you learned from Michael Jackson?

BRYANT That everything is connected. Whether you’re a writer, an actor, a singer, a composer or an athlete, the common thread is there. Everything around us is an opportunity to be inspired.

 

 

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