Flash Back To The ’80s Costume Bash (Charity Event)

Sources: Framingham Patch – By Susan Petroni  | Edited By – All Things Michael


Tease your hair big, toss on those acid-washed jeans, stirup pants and neon top and headband and rock out to Madonna, Michael Jackson and Prince at an awesome 80’s costume party this Friday night. And, at the same time you will be helping to raise money for three local food pantries.

Sponsored by TD Bank, the Totally 80’s Costume Bash is the United Way of Tri-County’s “Totally Rad” fundraising event where they aim to raise funds for their three food pantries in Framingham, Marlborough and Greater Clinton.

The event is Friday, October 24 at the Verve in Natick from 8 p.m. to midnight.

Advance tickets are $40 each or two for $75; tickets at the door the night of the event will be $50.

Passed hors d’oeurves, food stations, and a cash bar will also be available.

In addition there will be chances to win prizes for those who participate in one of the many contests including – best Moon Walk, gnarliest Air Guitar Player, or Totally Awesome Costume of the evening.

Funds raised at the event will help eliminate hunger in our local neighborhoods. As the numbers of unemployed and under-employed continue to seek assistance, the United Way of Tri-County needs your help now more than ever. Serving 34 cities and towns in MetroWest, Norfolk and Worcester Counties the three food pantries combined currently serve thousands of individuals each month.

The United Way of Tri-County, headquartered in Framingham, partners with many food distributors to provide healthy and nutritious groceries and meals to the growing number of individuals and families in need.

Through its affiliation with the Greater Boston Food Bank, the United Way can utilize their food dollars to the maximum. For every $1 spent, the United Way can purchase $4 worth of food. And in 2013 the United Way of Tri-County was recognized as a leader in addressing food insecurity and honored as the GBFB’s Annual Community Partner of the Year. Yet staff will tell you that individuals are still not getting their nutritional needs met. People are still hungry so there is more work to be done. Join us for a party with a purpose.

“We want the Totally 80’s Costume Bash to feel like it did in the 80’s, with big hair, big shoulder pads and big results for the food pantries”, said Paul Mina, President and CPO of the United Way of Tri-County. “This is a chance to be silly and have fun for a great cause. We’re asking the community to dig into their closets and pull out those stir-up pants and acid washed jeans and join us for an evening with a purpose.”

Tickets for the event can be purchased online at http://www.uwotc.org/totally80s or by calling the United Way of Tri-County office at 508.872.3291.



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Guardians’ Soundtrack To Be Released On Cassette Tape November 17

Sources: Entertain This (USA Today) – By Brian Truitt | Edited By – All Things Michael


If you thought Chris Pratt was one lucky son of a gun hopping around space with a vintage Sony Walkman and an awesome 1970s mixtape, then here is the best news of your day: The Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 soundtrack, a retro-riffic affair with tunes from David Bowie, the Runaways and the Jackson 5, is getting a limited-edition release on cassette tape Nov. 17, according to Billboard — the first time Disney has issued an album on the outdated medium since 2003.

The completists will definitely want it, especially if they already have the Guardians CD, Guardiansvinyl LP and Guardians digital download (though if you missed that, one comes with yourGuardians cassette tape). We only hope that there will also be a super-duper limited-edition cassette packaged with the Footloose soundtrack. Because Kevin Bacon is Earth’s greatest hero. Obviously.


Director James Gunn is probably pondering Awesome Mix Vol. 2 at this point, with the Guardianssequel already slated to open in theaters July 28, 2017. So now’s as good a time as any to start thinking about marketing: Perhaps a Rocket Raccoon-themed Walkman or Groot-flavored 8-track player would be in order?


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Justin Bieber Sings Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel”

Sources: Ad Hoc News | All Things Michael


Justin Bieber sings the Michael Jackson “The Way You Make Me Feel” song in a new Instagram video, his latest tribute to the late King of Pop. The Biebs has cited Jackson as a major influence for years, once telling Vanity Fair, “Everybody loved him, and that’s what my goal is — to basically make people happy, to inspire them, and to have everyone root for me.”


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Meet The Feet-Footed Mexican Traffic Cop Who Dances To Michael Jackson

Sources: Daily Mail | All Things Michael


A police officer in the Mexican city of Tijuana has built up a cult following after impressing drivers and pedestrians alike with his dance moves while he directs the traffic.

Jose Ruben Echeverria showed he has the moves like Jacko on Sunday as he danced to the King Of Pop’s classic Billie Jean while keeping the busy city streets moving.

The dancing traffic controller is quite a sight to behold as he incorporates several of Jackson’s trademark moves such as gyrating his hips and Moonwalking along with all important hand gestures to ensure that the traffic and pedestrians continue to flow as they should.

A police officer in the Mexican city of Tijuana has built up a cult following after impressing drivers and pedestrians alike with his dance moves while he directs the traffic.

Jose Ruben Echeverria showed he has the moves like Jacko on Sunday as he danced to the King Of Pop’s classic Billie Jean while keeping the busy city streets moving.

The dancing traffic controller is quite a sight to behold as he incorporates several of Jackson’s trademark moves such as gyrating his hips and Moonwalking along with all important hand gestures to ensure that the traffic and pedestrians continue to flow as they should.

You see them, wanting to cross, to get through, and so you need to look for a way to make that moment pleasant for them while they are stuck there, so when they finally make it [through] they can continue with a different attitude,’ he told Ruptly TV.

But Echeverria has to be careful he doesn’t become too much of a distraction as on Sunday he attracted numerous bystanders desperate to have photo taken with the dancing police officer.


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Q&A: Teddy Riley—Chapter 3, “Reinventing Michael Jackson”

Sources: Soul Train.com – By Joe Walker | All Things Michael


The best should always work with the best. Given Teddy Riley’s reputation making hit urban and pop music, it was only a matter of time before the innovative, multi-platinum selling singer, songwriter, musician and producer crossed paths with Michael Jackson.

“The King of Pop” wasn’t content to let the Harlem, NY native simply pass him by. Jackson recognized that Riley was driving such artists as Bobby Brown, Big Daddy Kane, Keith Sweat, and his sister Janet up the charts, wanted to experience this hot vehicle himself.

Credited with creating New Jack Swing, Teddy Riley is considered the catalyst of modern soul, R&B, hip-hop, and pop. He shaped the sound of a generation, creating a sonic foundation current trends have since been built upon. What was it like for Teddy and Michael to build together?

SoulTrain.com: This is cliché, but name the people who made the biggest impact on your career.

Teddy Riley: Michael Jackson, Don Cornelius, Arsenio Hall, Donnie Simpson, and Frankie Crocker: Those are the people who played a very, very, very important part in my life and my whole career. Those are the people who really got me here.

SoulTrain.com: You got here working with a number of really talented artists. Working with Michael Jackson, though, that had to be quite the great experience.

Teddy Riley: It was a great experience working with all the artists I’ve worked with. But Michael…

SoulTrain.com: We can all only imagine. What was it like to be in the recording studio with The King of Pop?

Teddy Riley: It was amazing, man! It was like school; it was like doing a science project that could control the world, and if you failed, you’re out! It was like being nervous but you have to be in control because you’re the producer.

SoulTrain.com: One of the things critics talked about most about the documentary This Is It was how demanding Michael was of his staff to meet his expectation of perfection. He didn’t have a problem with you giving him directions?

Teddy Riley: Michael put me on the spot a few times to become the controller, not the writing partner or collaborator. He wanted me to control what I wanted him to do and sing, and what I wanted him to be for this Dangerous album.

SoulTrain.com: So, Teddy, Michael Jackson just basically presented himself to you like a block of clay for you to mold?

Teddy Riley: Yeah! And that’s how he wanted it! Michael wearing a tank top t-shirt was my idea. Michael pulling his hair back in a ponytail was my idea. Michael wearing what he wore in “Keep It In the Closet” was my idea.


SoulTrain.com: How far did your influence stretch over the entire album process?

Teddy Riley: It went far. I’m very instrumental in Michael picking the album cover he picked because he designed it right in front of me. They wanted the picture with the eyes being his album cover.

SoulTrain.com: A lot of discussions take place on big budget, marquee albums. Were you also included in all the creative meetings?

Teddy Riley: I was invited to all of the creative meetings, except the first one; Michael was about to fire the people because they didn’t bring me to the first artist creative meeting. They stopped the meeting for me to come, for them to drive me over to the meeting for my input. That’s how instrumental I was in theDangerous album.

SoulTrain.com: And there’s more than a few people out there who feel Dangerousis Mike’s best album. Whether you feel that way or not, it’s hard to deny how great it is.

Teddy Riley: It is! It’s a great album. And that was my first time working with him. Just to give you an idea of what I was to this album and my part, I was put into a position to become the next Quincy Jones by Michael Jackson.


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Free Thriller Flash Mob Workshop |Pink and Blue Bash For Cancer Awareness

Sources: New Hampshire – By Katie McQuaid | All Things Michael


I can’t be the only one who tries to dance like Michael Jackson, or at least one of his back-up zombies, every time “Thriller” comes on at a party. Or at the gym. Or in the frozen food aisle at the grocery store.

With Halloween approaching, one Manchester dance studio is looking to give wannabes like me some real Michael Jackson dance skills by offering a free “Thriller” Flash Mob Workshopthis Wednesday. Instructors at the Royal Palace Dance Studio will teach the iconic “Thriller” choreography from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at their 373 South Willow St. school.

Of course, once you know the dance, you are going to want show off your new skills in public. That’s why you need a ticket to the first ever Pink and Blue Bash to benefit the Friends of Norris Cotton Cancer Center this Friday.

The evening will include 80s music, lots of dancing to “Thriller” and other hits of the decade, and silent auctions. Prizes will be awarded to individuals with the best pink costume, the best blue costume and the best 1980s-themed costume.

With pink as the symbolic color of breast cancer awareness, and blue the color people wear for prostate cancer support, this Halloween party aims to raise awareness and encourage screenings for both.

“When my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer, he realized that there are so many pink ribbons for breast cancer and no blue ribbons for prostate cancer. My goal is to get the blue ribbons out there to bring awareness to the fact that screenings for men are as important as mammograms for women,” says Crissy Kantor, founder of Chill Spa, which is hosting the event at the Executive Court.

Tickets for the bash cost $35 per person and can be purchased at Chill, or on the web at tinyurl.com/pinkbluebash.


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Moonwalk A Mile in His Shoes: Examining Michael Jackson Impersonators and ‘Dangerous’

Sources: NY Times – By Jon Caramanica | Edited By – All Things Michael


Think of what it took to be Michael Jackson, pop star chameleon forever mutating in the spotlight: the outrageous level of talent, the unbearable amount of scrutiny, to say nothing of the constant revising around race and gender and more.

“This prosthetic idea of the human,” is how Susan Fast describes it in “Michael Jackson’s Dangerous,” her new book about the 1991 album that announced Jackson’s break from his polished pop mega-idol past into a more polyvalent present.

“Dangerous” is, for many, the beginning of the end for Jackson, even though it sold many millions of copies and generated several hits. It followed ” Thriller” and “Bad,” two of the most important and widely loved albums in pop history, and ones that, comparatively, barely courted controversy.

But Ms. Fast, a professor in the English and cultural studies department at McMaster University in Ontario, thinks “Dangerous” is important, too, and sets out to rehabilitate it both as an album and as a site of Jackson’s engagement with cultural politics.


Susan Fast

That task can’t be done without touching on his body, which Ms. Fast calls “a work in progress, fully open to and trusting in limitless experimentation.” For someone so squarely at the center of pop culture, Jackson was far ahead of his time in terms of how he negotiated and altered his identity on the fly — a subverter in the pop spotlight.

Virtually all of his creative moments were moments of transition, and Ms. Fast makes a strong argument that “Dangerous” was among his most disruptive. In this book, the 100th entry in Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 series, each one devoted to a single album, Ms. Fast employs close readings of lyrics, musical production choices and video presentations to underscore little discussed aspects of Jackson’s creative output.

Ms. Fast contends that, at around this time, lurid media interest in Jackson’s perceived oddity began to eclipse formal appreciation of his work. So she breaks “Dangerous” into thematically rich sections: Jackson breaking with his old self, then switching to familiar modes to make bold political statements and then coming full circle. She praises his use of nonmusical sounds as narrative devices, and contends that Jackson, often painted as resisting the cutting edge, was in fact borrowing some of hip-hop’s angst and reformatting it on his terms.

She’s also interested in the normative aspects of Jackson’s masculinity, an area of his identity that she says is often outright ignored, noting that Jackson’s “sexualized performances” were, for many, “too stylized to be believed.” But talking about the video for In the Closet,” in which he cavorts with model Naomi Campbell, Ms. Fast notes: “It seems, perhaps too oddly for some to contemplate, that he knows his way around a woman. Failure? I don’t think so. Threatening? Probably.”

There are brief pocket-history digressions into postmodernism, art history and other subjects in this taut book, but mainly Ms. Fast — an academic writing for a general audience — sticks close to what Jackson did on record, stage and screen, making himself up as he went.

Ms. Fast’s book has an unwitting partner in “The Michael Jacksons,” a photo and essay collection by Lorena Turner devoted to those who make impersonating Jackson their job.


Lorena Turner and an impersonator

This is an eclectic, centerless group — Ms. Turner found her subjects on the street and through online solicitations — leading perhaps to unavoidably to imprecise ethnography. With someone as fluid as Jackson, the avenues for interpretation are wide open. Ms. Turner’s subjects are men and women, black and white and beyond; heavily made up or merely playing dress-up, capable dance mimics or those who prefer just to whisper sweetly.

The photos are striking. How could they not be? No two Jacksons look quite the same. Many are in thrift-store finery. Some use makeup to lighten their skin, some to accentuate or de-emphasize certain features. One man’s hands are about a dozen shades darker than his face.

This is a photo book that should be a movie, or at minimum a YouTube series. The detail in the photos is revealing, but the motivations behind each person’s choices would most likely be even more so. It would have been especially revealing to pair each of the photos with interview excerpts or detailed narratives. Ms. Turner did extensive interviews with her subjects, but apart from a few case studies at the end of the book, she does not include them, hampered perhaps by the varying degrees of self-awareness among her study group.

She does develop a loose taxonomy, breaking her subjects down into categories — look-alikes, impersonators, tribute artists — but doesn’t drill deeper to unpack affinities within and across categories. And she notes that most of the subjects choose the lighter-skinned Jackson of the late 1980s and early 1990s as their visual guide, but doesn’t explore why. (One scene in which an observer spits at the feet of one of the darker-skinned impersonators is striking but underexplored.)

For most of these performers, she writes, Jackson’s “skin color does not suggest a failed allegiance to blackness, as it did for many people of earlier generations, and his altered features do not signal self-hatred. In fact, many performers celebrate those transformations in their representations of Michael. They are not race, or gender-obsessed; their Michael Jackson is neither black nor white, male nor female, but a hybrid, uniracial person like themselves.”

In some of the interviews it’s clear that the subjects see themselves as custodians of Jackson’s legacy, responsible for upholding his image among everyday fans. Jackson is, to them, a costume, a set of rules for performance, a way to collect tips. But he is not a divisive figure — only a departed hero who needs new flesh. So they put on the outfit, the makeup, the dance moves, and give his complexity a breather.


By Lorena Turner

Illustrated. 167 pages. Little Moth. $34.95.


By Susan Fast

151 pages. Bloomsbury. $14.95.

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Anti Bullying Campaign – “We Are the World 2014.”

Sources: Lock Port Journal – By Michael Canfield | Edited By – All Things Michael


MIDDLEPORT — John Wragg knows about the scars left on a victim of bullying, literally.

When Wragg was 14, he decided he’d had enough of the bullying he experienced in school. Unable to talk to anyone about the abuse he suffered regularly at the hands of his peers, one day the English-born boy went home, into the bathroom and slit his wrist with his father’s razor. He wears the scar to this day.

“I was bullied unmercifully as a kid,” he said. “I’m a survivor. I’m lucky.”

As an adult, motivated by his own experiences, and the near constant stream of stories involving kids and teenagers who have been bullied, Wragg decided to do something about the problem.

With the help of Lyndonville resident and bullying survivor Deborah Loke, Wragg, the CEO of Carmen Road-based Torquil Studios, created a video remake of Michael Jackson’s “We Are the World” titled “Anti Bullying — We Are the World 2014.”


Twenty-one local musicians appear in the video, as well as Medina Central’s Wise Middle School Choir. The video starts off with testimonials from several bullying survivors, and includes a plea from the family of Jamey Rodemeyer, the 14-year-old from Amherst who committed suicide as a result of the bullying he experienced.

Rodemeyer’s suicide brought national attention to the matter of bullying.


“I’m looking for the kid, like myself, that maybe will see this and see that there are people who care,” Wragg said. “If it helps one kid who’s being bullied from going home and slitting his wrist or taking his mum’s sleeping pills or hanging himself … then everything I’ve done and everything everyone has helped me do is all worth it.”

Despite receiving positive feedback on the video, Wragg is disappointed in the response he’s received from area school districts when it comes to bullying. He says his efforts to work with districts in Niagara and Orleans counties have fallen on deaf ears.


“I’m surprised by the lack of acknowledgement,” he said, noting that numerous phone calls to principals, school board members and superintendents have gone unreturned.

Released to the public on Oct. 6 to coincide with National Bullying Prevention Month, the video has been viewed all over the world, from Italy to Bulgaria to Hong Kong.

“It’s gone worldwide,” Loke said.

Several disc jockeys from 97 Rock in Buffalo have also posted the video, Wragg said.

While the video is meant to inspire bullying victims to seek help, it’s also aimed at dispelling the belief that bullying is part of growing up, according to Loke.

“Bullying is not a rite of passage,” she said. “That needs to stop.”


The video ends with Wragg imploring viewers to “prove” they’re anti-bullying by helping take his message viral.

“Take a video of yourself on your smart phone giving your name and saying, ‘I’m taking a stand against bullying. How about you?’,” he says on the video. “Post it to your Facebook page and challenge three of your friends to do the same.”


Learn more at www.hateisugly.com


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