Kkathak Dancer Akram Khan: “My Body Has Influence Of Michael Jackson And Bruce Lee”

Sources: Dhaka Tribune – By Hasan Mansoor Chatak| Edits By – All Things Michael

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Akram Khan, the internationally acclaimed dancer and choreographer currently touring Bangladesh with his award-winning solo “Desh” (Homeland), thinks he has a way about himself that resembles more the styles of Michael Jackson and Bruce Lee than a typical kathak dancer.

“The way I do kathak isn’t exactly what you’d see in an Indian kathak dancer. My body has the influence of Micheal Jackson, Bruce Lee and Bangladeshi folk dance.”

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The 40-year old British dancer of Bangladeshi descent was talking at a panel discussion on “Why are the arts important to developing countries like Bangladesh?” at the British Council-Bangladesh headquarters on Tuesday.

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Akram trained in kathak at an early age. The classical dance form owes its origin to India where, he said, dance gurus advise against “releasing it from body.”

“But I am inspired by what Birju Maharaj (a leading Indian dance exponent) said, ‘Everything you are doing is kathak. Maybe its not the way you always expect it to be. You can not out kathak from your body.’”

But how does his production – which, as a dance critic put it, merges the kathak tradition of storytelling with the technical dazzle of Western stagecraft – relate to a Bangladeshi audience? Akram’s was an honest reply. “I have no idea. I guess you have to ask the audience.

For me, the reason behind pursuing arts is personal; I perform to my soul’s satisfaction. If the work goes universal then somehow it will connect. Is it relevant to the people? I don’t know, but I think it will inspire them.”

The discussion then revolved around cultural decadence in the context of Bangladesh. Akram thinks tradition and culture are not unalterable.

“I think tradition will change whether we like it or not. My child is half-Japanese and half-Bengali, and I cannot expect him to live for what I do, what I learned from my mother. And talking about the technological aspects, I think my parents’ generation was ‘we’-centric while this generation is all about ‘I’, and hence you have this i-max, i-phone, i-pad, etc. The common denominator is ‘I’.”

Akram also talked about his childhood and the influence he had on himself.

“I grew up in a community in London where the children are highly obsessed with education. I had that obsession too, but I was inspired by my mother to look back and connect to my ancestral tradition.”

“Desh” – an eighty-minute production that received favourable reviews internationally before it came to Bangladesh, where Akram earlier said it “belonged” – will be staged today at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy.

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Thriller Live Extends West End Show Until September 2015

Sources: West End Frame | All Things Michael

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The West End production of Thriller Live has extended its West End booing period at the Lyric Theatre to Sunday 6th September 2015.

A press statement from producers Paul Walden and Derek Nicol reads: “We are thrilled that Thriller Live continues to be one of the longest running shows in the West End and its celebration of the music and iconic choreography of one of the world’s greatest ever artists is continuing to attract new generations of theatregoers from around the world.

“We are looking forward to theming the theatre’s bars for a ghoulish week celebrating all things Halloween and the show’s iconic title track, Thriller, and we are delighted that lead singer Cleo Higgins has been nominated Best West End Debut in the West End Frame Awards.

Thriller Live continues to set and break records and new territories around the globe, where it has now performed to standing ovations in 28 countries from South Korea to Norway, Poland and South America to China.The latest world tour will take in Australia and New Zealand for the first time.

Thriller Live will first tour the UK, playing Eden Court Theatre, Inverness (20 – 25 October), Festival Theatre, Edinburgh (27 October – 1 November), Alhambra Theatre, Bradford (3 – 8 November), Grand Theatre, Wolvehampton (11 – 15 November). The cast then move to Australia where it will premiere in Perth then play Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, then two weeks in New Zealand. More dates will be added.

Thriller Live is the longest-running production in the Lyric Theatre’s 125-year history. It first moonwalked into the West End in January 2009 after three acclaimed UK tours. When Michael Jackson died, the Lyric became a focus for fans from all over the world, who created a massive shrine of flowers, candles, and tributes. More than 40 books of condolence were signed in the foyer then sent to the Jackson family. A year after his death, a permanent West End memorial to Michael was unveiled in the theatre foyer.

Thriller Live brings to life on stage the distinctive high-energy dancing and pulsating sound of many of pop’s greatest hits, blending eye- popping video footage and effects together with dazzling choreography by the show’s award-winning director Gary Lloyd.

Thriller Live was originally conceived and created by Adrian Grant, a long time associate of Michael Jackson, and author of Michael Jackson – The Visual Documentary. It is produced by Paul Walden and Derek Nicol for Flying Music in association with Adrian Grant for Key Concerts.

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Michael Jackson Mosiac In Pennies

Sources: Talia Hayward Arts | Love Survives| All Things Michael

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Talia Hayward is a Zambian born artist with an instantly recognizable style. Her work needs to be seen to be believed. The mosaics contain extremely fine detail achieved through Talia’s painstaking effort, creating her portraits using thousands of Talia’s signature medium of coins as well as washers, buttons or paper.

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Growing up as an orphan in a third world country had its challenges,  she was often deprived of the basic means to create art. This did not stop her, on the contrary, it made her more resourceful and hightened her creativity. With an innate talent, passion for creative arts and hard work, she developed her skill throughout the years.

“Art is in me” she says. “Everything that is, is art and to have the ability to bring my imagination to life is a gift that nothing could take away from me not even deprivation. I found myself intrigued and drawn to the concept of mosaic, the idea where small independent objects are placed together to create a bigger picture. It is very much like real life, just like a mosaic, we all are small objects that paint a bigger picture.”

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Talia creates intricate photo-realist portraits often forcing the viewer to question if her mosaics are, in fact paintings. Each work comprises many pieces, all  fastened by hand, and impressively finished.

Her mosaic work is bought by private clients and international organizations. Talia Hayward is available for private portrait commission and can create personal mosaic portraits from photography.

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Another MJ Tribute? Varun Dhawan Gets Michael Jackson Tattoo

Sources: India Today | All Things Michael

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Not just Bollywood actors but a million of people are ‘die hard fan of MJ’ around the world. But suddenly this new trend of paying tribute to Michael Jackson has gripped our industry. After Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff, Varun Dhawan is the latest to join the league.

The ABCD 2 actor was recently spotted with a Michael Jackson tattoo on his right arm.

Few months back Tiger Shroff had released a sensational tribute video for the late king of pop and proved his dancing capabilities.

And recently the title track of Bang Bang features Hrithik pulling off some signature style MJ moves with his own twist.

Varun was spotted getting out of his car, when suddenly the cameras caught the tattoo on his right arm.

Though we are not sure whether the tattoo is temporary gimmick for the film publicity or permanent.

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D’ya Remember When Michael Jackson Lived In Westmeath?

Sources: Entertainment,ie – By John Balfe| Creative Edits By – All Things Michael

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The first in a new series on entertainment.ie examines when some famous names lived among us on our island. First up: Michael Jackson.

Unless you count the likes of Joe Dolan and The Blizzards, Westmeath isn’t particularly well known for its musical heritage but for a six-month spell in 2006 the sleepy town of Rosemount counted the world’s biggest pop star among its inhabitants.

After his acquittal on counts of child abuse in 2005, Michael Jackson wanted to put as much distance himself from the unending glare of the media and living in his Neverland ranch simply wouldn’t allow such a luxury. Jackson decided to leave the United States for a few months, apparently without a concrete plan on where to go. A quick spell in the Middle East followed but didn’t last very long, leaving the King of Pop searching for a new destination free from the watchful eyes of legions of paparazzi.

Somehow, almost as if he threw a dart at a map of the world, Michael Jackson ended up in County Westmeath.

Grouse Lodge is a Georgian estate around an hour’s drive from Dublin airport. It’s entirely self-sufficient; organic food is grown on its land and it boasts a swimming pool and fully kitted out recording studio among its amenities. Its biggest plus point, at least from Michael Jackson’s perspective, was the utter serenity which surrounded it.

Rural Ireland is about as far removed from the hustle bustle that Jackson had been surrounded by for the majority of his life. Jackson’s recent personal life had been chaotic, stemming from the recent child abuse charges and Martin Bashir’s ‘Living with Michael Jackson’ documentary, which painted the singer as a reclusive eccentric, completely out of touch with reality.

Perhaps it was the isolation, the idyllic setting or the fresh country air but Michael Jackson liked Westmeath. A lot.

After spending a month living in a converted cowshed on Grouse Lodge, Jackson moved a few minutes down to the road to the Coolatore estate and eventually enlisted local taxi driver Ray O’Hara as his personal chauffer.

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Legend has it that O’Hara drove Jackson and his children to the now defunct Screen By The Sea in Greystones to see Superman Returns, the same location where Ted and Dougal protested the fictional ‘The Passion of St. Tibulas’ in an episode of Father Ted.

Another noteworthy point in Michael Jackson’s unlikely stay in County Westmeath is just how the locals took him and his family under their collective wing. When word inevitably leaked that the King of Pop was staying just down the road, many locals would do their best to push any journalists or paparazzi off his scent by giving them incorrect directions to his lodge. One farmer allegedly even threatened to fill a photographer’s car with slurry if he was to bother the singer.

Paddy Dunning, who owns Grouse Lodge (as well as the Button Factory, Temple Lane Recording Studios etc), told the Guardian: “One night we ended up in the studio. Michael was on the drums, I was playing guitar and [producer] nephew was on the keyboards and we just started getting a rhythm together and slowly but surely Nephew just creeped the song into ‘Billie Jean'”.

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“It was just mad playing ‘Billie Jean’ with Michael Jackson – I never thought I’d get to do that.”

Dunning also told the Guardian about a time Jackson had gone for a walk in the woods and stumbled upon a waxwork on Elvis, a retired exhibit from Dublin’s Wax Museum Plus. Jackson exclaimed: “Paddy! I just met my father-in-law in the woods!”

As his stay came to a close Jackson discussed with Paddy the idea of buying a house locally and taking up permanent residence in Ireland. At the very least, Jackson said, he’d rent another and had intended to spent a large part of his time in Ireland during the ill-fated ‘This Is It’ series of dates in London which, ultimately, he would never even begin.

Just three years after his stay in Westmeath, Michael Jackson was dead. Dunning maintains that had he stayed in Ireland he’d still be alive today. Ultimately that’s impossible to prove, of course, but Jackson’s fans across the globe can take a modicum of solace in the fact that for a six month spell in 2006 Michael Jackson was at peace, temporarily at least.

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Somebody’s Watching Me: Unsual Ways To Protect Your Privacy

Source: Entrepreneur – By Kim L. Shandrow | Creative Edits – By All Things Michael

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It’s not 1984, but Big Brother’s all-seeing eye of surveillance is definitely watching you.

The NSA intercepts millions of private images every day for its massive facial-recognition project. Yes, Uncle Sam is snooping on you — your text messages, your emails, your social-media posts and, fittingly, even your Facetime (and other webcam videoconferencing) sessions. All for a myriad of sketchy reasons, not just to snatch pics containing your face and others’.

But Big Brother isn’t just in your inbox. His prying eyes are in the sky, too. New insanely high-powered, airplane-mounted surveillance cameras have already spied on countless people from above in Baltimore and Philadelphia, and who knows where else. The city of Compton in California secretly surveilled its citizens by drone.

Privacy? What’s that?

While we can’t do much to escape the ever-sharpening digital eye of surveillance (forget that nose job, even plastic surgery can’t fool some biometrics-based spy systems anymore), we can fight back with a few stealthy and seriously strange countermeasures. Yes, these are for the extreme privacy protectors (slightly paranoid?) among us.

From drone camera-thwarting burkas to anti-drone cover-up clothing and shrouding coifs of hair, here are three frocks and fashions that might help you save face and protect your privacy:

REALFACE Glamoflage T-shirt

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Sick of automatically being identified by Facebook’s eerily accurate face-deciphering software? Put on a $68 REALFACE Glamoflage T-shirt by Sandberg Institute design student Simone C. Niquille. Her collage-like shirts are covered in loud, nearly nauseating distorted face mash ups of celebs like Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and the late Michael Jackson. Not even “Oarack Bbama (Barack Obama)” was immune.

Niquille claims her custom-printed tees are graphically wacky enough to trick Facebook’s face-creeping algorithm, just enough to throw it off a bit, though — bummer — they don’t completely stop the world’s biggest and nosiest social network from recognizing your face.

URME Personal Surveillance Identity Prosthetic

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This spooky, eye-less photorealistic $200 face mask puts a new face on disappearing into the crowd, namely that of its inventor’s, Chicago artistLeo Selvaggio. Irked by the Windy City’s controversial “Virtual Shield” network of some 3,000 military grade, always-on facial recognition networked cameras, Selvaggio was inspired to develop a freaky way to protect the public from invasive surveillance.

You could say he sacrificed his own round, ruddy face for the greater good, right down to his beard stubble. In his own likeness, Selvaggio created the URME (pronounced “you are me”) mask, a prosthetic decoy for your face, a skin-like pigmented resin 3-D mask that lets you masquerade in public as him. Selvaggio says surveillance cameras will think you’re him, which he’s obviously cool with. That’s kind of the whole point.

There’s an equally freakier (but thankfully less expensive) $1 DIY paper cut-out version of the mask available, too.

Worth noting, however: Wearing face masks is illegal in some U.S. states, like New York.

Stealth Wear anti-drone cover-up clothing

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Turns out, face-shielding foil-like garments are effective at, yep, foiling heat-seeking spy drones. To address a “growing need to exert control over what we are slowly losing, our privacy,” Brooklyn-based artist Adam Harvey has designed a bulky line of shiny, privacy-protecting burkas, hooded ponchos, scarves and T-shirts.

Appropriately, he named the countersurveillance frocks Stealth Wear. Each pricy ($475 to $2,500) thermally reflective real silver-plated fabric garb is lined with silk inside. For paranoid people on a budget, there’s a $40 T-shirt that does all the drone-dodging work without the futuristic flair. All Stealth Wear items, available at The Privacy Gift Shop online, block thermal radiation emitted by the infrared scanners drones use, allowing wearers to go as under the radar as possible.

Not into metallic burkas? Try Harvey’s CV Dazzle techniques instead. They’re World War I-inspired camo makeup techniques that he claims can fool facial recognition technology. A streak of bright blue face paint under your eye and stripe of white down the bridge of your nose, and your facial features should be harder, or ideally even impossible, for facial detection algorithms to decipher. Harvey’s also come up with a choppy crop of face-obscuring hairstyles.

Face it, you can run, but sometimes you just can’t hide. Not all the way.

 

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Tiger Shroff’s Tribute To Michael Jackson (Video)

Sources: Bollywood – Samarth Goyal| All Things Michael

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Tiger Shroff recently released a video to pay tribute to Michael Jackson. The video was a mash-up of the song Whistle Baja (from Tiger’s debut film) and Jackson’s hit number, Billie Jean.

The actor has now said he would love to play Michael Jackson if a biopic is ever made on the ­legendary singer. “It’s a toss-up between Bruce Lee and Jackson. These two are my heroes, and I would love to play either of them in a biopic. While I grew up watching Lee’s martial arts sequences in films, I have worshipped Jackson ever since I can remember. I would love to portray his life on screen — from the ’80s when he started getting ­famous till the time, I hate to say, he passed away in 2009,” Tiger says.

About his tribute video for the king of pop, the 23-year-old further said, “Jackson has been my idol. He has been my favourite ever since I started learning dancing. So, for the tribute, I chose Whistle baja, a song that gave me so much ­recognition and love, along with Billie Jean.”

More so because, “Billie Jean was the song in which Jackson ­performed his iconic ­moonwalk for the very first time in 1983,” Tiger added.

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