Aug 25 2012

“He hid his hard-won treasures inside the hearts of all who loved him”


Summer-Song Rhapsody for Michael Jackson
(Aug 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

Summertime opened like a myth spun from gold,
delivering your talent through ages of classic genius
to plant the seeds and nourish the beauty
of all the bright wonders that would color your dance.

Is any path so demanding as that of living a miracle?

Like a cosmic gymnast on a beam of uncommon grace,
or a swimmer slicing through waves of childhood tears–
you transformed fortitude into Olympian triumph.
Hid your hard-won treasures inside the hearts of all who loved you.

The more sincere the soul, the heavier the cross endured.

Your voice strung notes like pearls of sky-blue hope
around the trembling throat of humanity’s crimson agony.
Upon the heads of those abused and disinherited
your song placed crowns of inspired revelation.

There is no faith so perilous as faith in love.

Summertime blossomed fields of rose-scented dreams––
and death amplified your sudden absence with new life…
to plant the seeds and nourish the beauty
of all the bright wonders that colored your dance.

___

by Aberjhani, founder of Creative Thinkers International
co-author of Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance
and ELEMENTAL The Power of Illuminated Love

SOURCE: http://www.examiner.com/article/summer-song-rhapsody-for-michael-jackson-editorial-with-poem

Don’t miss Aberjhani’s ‘Notes for an Elegy in the Key of Michael (I)‘ here, as well as his exclusive two-part series ‘Michael Jackson and the Power of Numbers‘.

Besides Aberjhani’s consistently brilliant and loving work on Michael’s behalf, there are some other jewels I also want to share here.

One of those is Come and Get It: The Rare Pearls, a two-disc set of early Jackson 5 recordings due out August 28 — the day before what would have been Michael’s 54th birthday. NPR featured one song from this collection called ‘If the Shoe Don’t Fit‘, and in that song, Michael’s voice hits an incredible note on the word “shoooooe“! Listen here.

Another little gem is a short video of The Jacksons recording the song ‘Jump for Joy‘ in the studio. This song was on their ‘Goin Places‘ album which, with its Norman Rockwell-like cover,  was originally released in October 1977 when the band re-teamed with Gamble & Huff after their move to Epic records.

Thanks to David Edwards who commented and left a link to the interview with the Jacksons and Gamble & Huff at Sigma Sound Studios. According to the description, this is “11 minutes footage of The Jacksons giving a small interview and recording the song Jump For Joy from their 1977 album “Goin’ Places” in Sigma Sound Studios. Producers Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff along with owner of Sigma Sound Studios Joseph Tarsia are present as well.

Another jewel is this fantastic artwork of Michael’s three children done by Mimi Garren. An even bigger jewel is Michael Jackson’s Legacy, the organization that is – with the help of friends and fans around the world – building Everland Children’s Home in Liberia which will be a refuge for countless vulnerable children. Mimi, an accomplished artist, is one of its founders. Mimi designed the logo for the organization’s website and does other artistic work on their behalf. The artwork is to go with a book to be presented to Mrs. Katherine Jackson detailing the progress of the Everland project in Michael’s name. Dr. Patrick Treacy, featured and mentioned here many times since the site started, is Honorary Ambassador to MJL. Dr. Treacy – Michael’s doctor while he lived in Ireland for many months – is a tireless humanitarian like Michael was, and this is where their hearts joined in friendship.

Michael's three children: Paris, Blanket, and Prince

In regards to the photo, the organization states:

Around 29th August, amidst the celebrations and vigil in Gary, Indiana, we are hoping to get a beautiful book into the hands of Michael’s beloved mother, Katherine. Diligently compiled by MJL’s Karen, it charts Everland’s progress with photos, reports and commentary. Together with the book, there will be a small card from MJL which depicts a picture of Michael’s three dear children (see below), courtesy of our artist, Mimi. We would like to thank US supporter Raven, for kindly offering to help us get the book about this journey to Katherine and the children at such a significant and poignant time as this. Gratitude and love to all those who have joined us and each other on this journey! The pages of this book reflect nothing but L.O.V.E and the hearts of those who have given in order to make this dream possible ♥ www.michaeljacksonslegacy.org

Next gem: Willa and Joie of the fabulous website ‘Dancing with the Elephant‘, had a chat with Joe Vogel about his book ‘Featuring Michael Jackson‘. Here’s an excerpt:

Willa: I’m glad you mentioned the bonus chapter, Joe, because I was hoping to talk with you about that. It’s just a heartbreaker. It really captures the poignancy of Michael Jackson’s childhood. On the one hand, he loved what he was doing – the music and dancing and performing. Yet as you quote in that chapter, “Those were sad, sad years for me.” We see that same paradox in the songs themselves that he recorded at that time. They’re so polished and perfect, you know it must have taken painstaking work to create them. Yet when you listen to them, they sound so fresh and spontaneous – just brimming with sheer joy. You include a Nelson George quotation that describes this so well:

Forty years later … [Michael’s] exuberance still leaps out of your speakers. Despite all the work that obviously went into crafting these vocals, Michael still sounds like he just walked into the studio from the playground.

That’s such a bittersweet way of describing his music because, of course, he was rarely able to play on a playground, and he felt that loss deeply. It’s as if the things he wanted most in his life – the things that were absent from his real life – he magically conjured up with his voice, and they became present in his imaginative life – an imaginative life we all enter into and participate in when we listen to his songs. And I wonder if somehow, the fact that he wanted those things so badly – love, sympathy, the simple freedom to play and be a child – is what made them so vibrantly present in his voice.

Joe: I agree, Willa. I’ve always thought one of Michael’s great gifts is his ability to express the full gamut of human emotion. There are some artists who are brilliant at conveying one end of the spectrum (for example, Kurt Cobain), but Michael can take you from the brink of despair to a transcendent, soul-vitalizing joy. I think his solo work takes on more weight and nuance and shades, but even in the Motown songs, I think you’re right, that he is imagining himself into those words and emotions (using what experiences he had to draw from), and his vocal performances reflect that. He’s not just mimicking his heroes, as some critics have said. He’s interpreting and expressing. In so many of his early songs, there is this sense of melancholy and yearning (“Music and Me,” “With a Child’s Heart,” “Maybe Tomorrow,” “Ben”). Yet there is also an exuberance and vitality and charm.

Willa: Exactly.

Joe: He’s a lot like Chaplin in that way, though for me Michael communicates on an even deeper level.

MORE at the link: http://dancingwiththeelephant.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/featuring-michael-jackson-with-joe-vogel/

Michael’s birthday is next Wednesday. Besides or in addition to perhaps participating in various celebrations and gatherings around the world, my suggestion remains the same as every year: do something for or with children. That is the thing that seemed to make him happiest – making others happy and especially little ones.  I think he enjoyed the childhood he never had through other children, and I think he felt soothed by giving children the happiness and emotional support he felt he sometimes didn’t have as a child.

Two of my personal favorite MJ-related charities to donate to are  Heal the World for Children and Michael Jackson Birthday Charity.  Don’t forget Michael Jackson’s Legacy, above too. There are of course many more. Or, volunteer some time at a local children’s center or hospital – either to be with the kids or help do repairs, serve meals, clean-up, fix broken toys, whatever you can do.

Aberjhani wrote that Michael “hid his hard-won treasures inside the hearts of all who loved him“.  Just do something that comes from your heart and it will shine. He led by example. You know what to do.

Tags: , , , , , ,


Aug 04 2012

“I laughed every day until he died”

Category: Art,Books,Friends,Quotes About MJ,VideosSeven @ 10:02 am

Michael to MLB: “I needed your help”

If you haven’t heard, Michael Lee Bush, Michael Jackson’s designer/costumer for 26 years, through the worst times of his life, and right up to the very end, has a book coming out.

The King of Style: Dressing Michael Jackson” is due out October 30th, and is undoubtedly a must-have for die-hard fans as well as the simply fashion-curious.

SOURCE: http://www.newsday.com/entertainment/michael-jackson-s-longtime-costumer-unveils-book-1.3872272

What most people don’t know about Jackson is he was a joker — a playful prankster who loved to laugh and often teased those closest to him the most.

[Michael Lee] Bush tells of meeting Jackson for the first time in 1983, when both men were 25. The King of Pop hadn’t retained a costumer yet, and Bush was up for consideration. Jackson had been holed up for hours in his trailer on the set of “Captain EO.” Bush could hear a monkey squealing as he approached. It was dark inside and “like 120 degrees.” Jackson was snacking.

Eager to please as he prepped the pop star’s clothes, Bush felt something hit him gently in the head. A cherry stem. A few seconds later, it happened again. When it happened a third time, Bush lobbed a cherry at the rising superstar. Jackson tossed a handful back, and thus began a close professional and personal relationship that spanned the remainder of Jackson’s life.

I think he wanted someone he could play with. He just wanted to see, ‘Am I going to have fun with this person?‘” said Bush, now 54, an almost sheepish, informally trained clothier from Ohio who learned his craft from his mom and grandmother, who made wedding gowns, prom dresses and quilts.

And I laughed every day until he died.

. . .

Jackson had a childlike fascination with rhinestones, Bush said.

Sometimes I’d drive three hours to retrieve loose rhinestones straight from the factory, just because looking at them in that raw form pleased Michael to no end. Every time I opened the swatch of white felt that encased the rhinestones, he’d gasp,” he writes. “He’d take them from me and delicately move them around with his fingertips and whisper… ‘Can you imagine being a pirate opening a treasure chest? And seeing all the glitter inside? What a fascinating life, to be a pirate like that.’

Speaking of pirate ships .. this portrait entitled “Peter Pan” was created in 1998 on Michael’s request and was presented to him in 1999. It is Michael’s very first commission from artist Céline Lavail. At first attracted by a preliminary sketch picturing him under the personification of JM Barrie’s famous character, Michael Jackson asked for a finalized portrait of him inspired by the Peter Pan theme. This artwork adorned Neverland Ranch’s walls and was reproduced upon Michael’s request on one of the golf carts he used to drive in his California property.

More about Céline Lavail and her Michael Jackson artwork here: http://www.mj-777.com/?p=6572.  Below, a video of Michael Lee Bush at work with Michael Jackson during the HIStory tour:

_ _ _

{ Thanks to my friends at UK Loves MJ for locating and sharing this article about MLB’s new book and to Angela for finding the video! -Seven }

Tags: , , , , , , ,


Jun 04 2012

Seen, Read, Heard . . .

Category: Art,Family,Friends,Interviews,Justice,Quotes About MJ,VideosSeven @ 2:06 am

I’ve got a slew of things to share today. You may have heard, read or seen some or all of them already, but I’ll put them here anyway. First, I want to share a touching interview that Piers Morgan (who is typically not one of my favorite people) did with Katherine Jackson a few weeks ago. Click here to see the entire interview (embedding is disabled). You can just see the emotional pain on her face during some parts of the interview. One of the most heartbreaking and touching things Mrs. Jackson said during the interview was the following – and during parts of this she appeared to break into tears:

Every morning, all through the day-I think about Michael. If  I wake up through the night, my mind is there. I just miss him, but being a Christian and believing in the Resurrection, I feel that I’ll see him again.  I’m sorry I just … When they told me that he had 50 shows going on, I was concerned about those shows, I thought it was a little bit too much, because Michael hadn’t been on stage for about 10 years. And I called him and I told him, ’cause the way they had it structured, they said every other night that he’d be working … I just kept calling him telling him they had to change that schedule … They didn’t care about him, all they cared about was money.

-Katherine Jackson

Though I generally dislike Mr. Morgan, this was a very good interview, although difficult to watch at times because the deep grief Mrs. Jackson still feels is very evident.

This next item has to do with a rather personal letter that Michael wrote to Lisa Marie Presley during their relationship. The letter suddenly surfaced at Juliens for auction. Someone tweeted a very surprised Lisa Marie Presley about the letter and she asked them where they had found it. When she found out it was at Juliens, she immediately acted to have it removed from auction. I witnessed myself the twitter exchange between her and the person who had asked her about the letter. I will not post the letter itself here but I will post a letter/message from Juliens to someone who inquired about the letter’s source ie: who gave it to them. They clearly state that, contrary to wild accusations against Lisa Marie Presley, they did not obtain the letter from her. Judging by her reaction to the person who presented it to her, and by the letter/message from Juliens, I personally find it more than a laboriously contorted fantasy to believe that LMP somehow gave the letter to Juliens herself for sale. Such an accusation doesn’t even make any sense, as there is no logical reason she would do such a thing.

I am aware of some incredibly narcissistic jealousy and anger directed at Ms. Presley because she was Michael’s wife, and because in the heat of hurt and anger after their breakup she publicly said terrible things about him. I am aware that some people will latch onto any further excuse they can find or manufacture to justify that continued jealousy and anger towards her. However, it is both unfair and juvenile to demonize someone for something they did not do, no matter how you may dislike them, how jealous you may be of them, or how angry you may be at them for something else completely different that they did years ago.

All of Michael’s life, people demonized him for things he didn’t do. It ought to be obvious why this is not fair, ethical, or moral – no matter who the target of it is. Here is the message from Juliens stating that the letter did not come to them from LMP:

Message from Juliens regarding MJ to LMP personal letter

…you can tell them that it did not come from her and I can guarantee it.

-Darren Julien

That ought to be enough said about this issue. Those who wish to continue manufacturing speculation about this or continue to go on angry tirades against LMP may do so on their own websites, blogs, facebook pages or twitter accounts, but I won’t approve such comments here.

Moving on to the next debacle, Michael Jackson’s estate released a letter to fans regarding concerns about the quality of the upcoming ‘BAD25’ DVD of Michael’s 1988 Wembly Stadium performance. Though the concert was filmed using proper equipment and that high-quality footage is out there somewhere, the estate has not been able to locate it. Thus, the DVD will be sourced from a VHS tape that belonged to Michael, instead. The estate’s statement read as follows:

It is great to see the overwhelming support and excitement in the fan community for the upcoming BAD 25 release. A few questions have arisen regarding the Wembley concert DVD. Although the press release wasn’t the place for background details, here is more information:

• We know that Nocturne captured on Umatic tapes the footage projected onto the JumboTrons at the various concerts including Wembley. These tapes were turned over to Michael’s crew and we have confirmed with Patrick Kelly (who headed Michael’s film crew for the European tour) that everything from Europe was sent to LA to be put in Michael’s storage facilities. The same procedures were followed for the US shows.

• Unfortunately, record-keeping in the storage facilities was sporadic, at best, so we do not know what happened to a tape once it was sent for storage. In most cases, once a tape was pulled from the box it arrived in, it was not put back in the original box and where it wound up doesn’t always make sense. As a result, 25 years later not all of the Umatic tapes from the various shows can be located, notwithstanding that we have conducted an extensive survey of all of the storage facilities. So while we believe that the Umatic tape for Wembley was initially sent for storage, we have not been able to locate it. And with regard to the Umatic footage of other concerts, the audio is extremely problematic and therefore these concerts are unusable.

• We know that VHS copies of the Umatics were made when Michael wanted to view a particular concert, but because of the lack of record-keeping, we also didn’t know which concerts existed on VHS. We ultimately did find Michael’s personal VHS viewing copy of the Wembley show attended by Princess Diana and Prince Charles, but not the Umatic. Even finding this VHS felt like a miracle to us!

• So while we continued the search for the Wembley Umatic master, we also researched the audio recordings that existed from all of the concerts including Wembley. Fortunately, the Wembley audio recordings were made using a sound truck, and appear to be the only multi-track recordings from the tour. The other audio/visual recordings that exist, whether Umatic or VHS, are “front of house” mixes, and therefore there are no separate audio recordings that can be used to create a high quality listening experience. It is for this reason that the Wembley audio is the only one suitable to create a live album.

• If we were going to include a live concert DVD in the BAD 25 release package, we had only one choice, Wembley. And there were only two options for visual – the Umatics for a different show or the VHS for Wembley. It would certainly be less expensive for the Estate to be able to create a DVD from a Umatic tape than to spend the time and money to painstakingly restore/enhance the VHS footage, but then we would not be delivering a truly authentic experience and we truly believe that watching this concert with the high quality audio will create a magical experience for all the fans as it has for us. We ultimately chose a lab that has developed its own proprietary technology for doing this kind of work (including restoration for NASA of VHS footage) in order to make the visual experience the best it can be under the circumstances.

We also could have chosen to release the Japanese concert from the first leg of the tour as there is a master of that show; but that concert was essentially a reincarnation of the Victory Tour with only two songs – “Bad” and “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” – added at the end. It isn’t what we believe the fans would want.

We could have elected not to release a DVD as part of the BAD 25 celebration (and hold out hope that someday we might find the Umatic of the Wembley concert) or we could share with the fans the chance to relive that magical night with pristine audio. We made the decision to go with the latter and provide the fans with the most authentic viewing experience. We believe that the fans will agree it was the right choice when the package is released in September.

John Branca/The Estate of Michael Jackson

It turns out that, contrary to what many of us had believed, ‘Dirty Diana‘ was performed at this concert. If you remember, Michael had initially considered omitting the song out of respect for Lady Diana who attended the concert, but it appears that he did in fact perform the song.

A previously unreleased song, ‘Don’t Be Messin’ ‘Round‘, will be accompanied by a June 5th CD release of ‘I Just Can’t Stop Loving You‘. This CD will be sold via Wal-Mart in the U.S. and will not be available digitally. More details about ‘BAD25‘ can be found here.

Speaking of ‘Don’t Be Messin’ ‘Round‘, Joe Vogel tweeted tonight that he will “have an article out on “Don’t Be Messin'” in the next day or so with fresh insights from those involved.” That is bound to be a treat, so if you haven’t yet, follow Joe on Twitter so you’ll know as soon as he publishes! If you haven’t heard it yet, here’s the demo, just as Michael left it:

If you haven’t read the interview MJJC did with DDA David Walgren yet, you might find it interesting. In case you didn’t know, DDA Walgren has now become a Superior Court Judge, so he’s moving up in the world. This man is extremely articulate and didn’t miss a beat during the Murray trial, so I’d not want to be a criminal in his courtroom! Here are a few quotes from that interview:

Before the trial, I had great respect for Michael Jackson as an artist and enjoyed his music. However, as I learned more about him and his life, I came to really enjoy two songs in particular: Human Nature and Earth Song.

• • • 

Prior to the trial, my perception of Michael Jackson was simply that he was a very gifted artist and, although I was aware of various media accounts regarding his personal life, I do not typically follow that type of reporting. Now that I have learned so much more about him as a person, I have come away with great admiration for him as a loving and dedicated father to his children.

• • • 

I have not been able to come up with any reason why Conrad Murray would have made and saved that voice recording other than, as Judge Pastor stated, it was to serve as an insurance policy that Conrad Murray could one day use against Michael Jackson.

Mark Ryden is an American painter born January 20, 1963. He was dubbed “the god-father of pop surrealism” by Interview Magazine.

There has been much speculation and suspicion about the meaning and symbolism of the Mark Ryden artwork on the cover of the ‘Dangerous’ album. Theories include messages about the occult to ‘Illuminati‘ and Freemasonry. I don’t personally subscribe to or pay much attention to all that, but the cover is certainly fascinating and it does, as Michael and Ryden evidently intended, leave people to wonder and interpret as they wish and they’ve certainly done that! This interview with Ryden is all over the internet, though I have been unable to find an original source for it.

Our friends at UK Loves MJ on Facebook has located one of the initial sketches considered for the cover. I’d never seen it before so thought I’d share it here:

One of the original 'Dangerous' cover sketches by Mark Ryden

I suppose the thing most people don’t know, and what surprised me, was how “normal” Michael Jackson was in person. His public image is so strange I did not know what to expect but when I met with him we had a very typical and relaxed conversation. We had many common interests we talked about. Maybe I am just a freak also.

-Mark Ryden, artist/creator of the Dangerous album cover

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,


Apr 13 2012

A classic image of Michael among his friends, peers, inspirations

Category: Art,PhotosSeven @ 11:19 pm

A while back I presented the work of Helena Kadlicova, who had completed several works commissioned by Michael before his death. But one piece remained unfinished. The concept for the work had started with Michael’s blessing back in 2006. Other things took precedence for a while, but Helena has now completed this painting.While some of those featured in the painting were still alive when she began the work, now they are all gone which makes the painting even more sentimental and more of an important part of Michael’s memory and legacy.

About the painting, Helena says:

In 2006 I have sent to MJ a concept of a painting I wanted to paint for him but because it was quite complex work I wanted to make sure he would like to have it. Later I received a reply from him to go on with the painting and finish it. Unfortunately there was always something else to do and the painting stayed unfinished. Until last year when I was asked to finish it as a commission. And here is the result. No other painting before took me so much time to paint as this one. And I’m glad I got to finally finish the artwork, the strange thing is, when I was sending the concept to Michael, most of the people in the painting were still alive…now they are all gone….

People painted in the painting from top to bottom:
Walt Disney, Charles Chaplin, Marlon Brando, James Brown, Fred Astaire, Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor.

MJ & Co. ~ oil on canvas
80 x 75cm / 32 x 30in ~ 2012

I hope you like it… ~ Helena Kadlicova

SOURCE: http://www.helenakadlcikova.com/mj-co-novy-obraz-michaela-jacksona-olejomalba-na-platne/?lang=en
and
UKLovesMJ on Facebook

Helena's completed painting, begun in 2006. Featured in the painting from top to bottom: Walt Disney, Charles Chaplin, Marlon Brando, James Brown, Fred Astaire, Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor.

Tags: ,


Mar 28 2012

Albert Watson Photo Inspired Michael Jackson’s Invincible Cover

Category: Art,Friends,Photos,Quotes About MJSeven @ 7:00 pm

Albert Watson photo that inspired the cover of 'Invincible'

According to Karen Faye, Michael’s make-up artist and hair stylist for several decades, this Albert Watson photo is what inspired the ‘Invincible‘ cover.

Karen says she had done Michael’s makeup and hair all in gold similar to the photo above for the photoshoot for the Invincible cover. But after Sony altered it, it looked nothing like they had intended. After someone located this photo, Karen tweeted:

Yes. That was the photo that inspired the shoot with Michael. You can see why MJ liked it.

What prompted the search for the photo was that she had shared previously, in response to another question:

The Invincible cover (the head shot) was retouched into something that was no where near the original photo shot by Albert Watson. I had painted Michael gold and he was wearing a hairpiece that was completely gold. I was very disappointed at what Sony did to the photo. The original photo was quite amazing.

She also added:

Photo shoots were always a collaboration by all the artists involved…all inspired by Michael. It was a magical event. The closest feeling I have had, to that “artistic happening”, since Michael has died, is when I work with David LaChapelle. You know you are a part of creating artistic history.

It must have been incredibly fascinating creating artistic history with Michael. I wonder where the original un-altered photo that Michael and Karen had worked on is located, and if we’ll ever see it. In my personal opinion, the cover of ‘Invincible‘ would have been much more interesting had Sony left the photo as intended. They should have left art to the artists, and simply done their bit to promote the work, instead.

As we know, below is what the cover instead ended up looking like. Not bad, but certainly not as rich and captivating as as it might have been if it had been left in its original, golden form.

 

Invincible Cover inspired by an Albert Watson photo, but altered by Sony such that it looked much different than intended.

Below, the uncropped Invincible cover. Imagine it golden like the first photo above.

Uncropped Invincible cover. Imagine it golden.

_ _ _

{ Thanks as always to Karen Faye for generously sharing these priceless memories with us. -Seven }

Tags: , , ,


Next Page »