Sep 30 2012

“Was Michael Jackson Framed?” – Original GQ Article Available on Amazon!

Category: Books,Justice,Prose/EssaysSeven @ 7:52 pm

I squawked about this on Twitter several days ago and posted it on my MJJ-777 Facebook page last Friday. Now, everyone in the MJ fan community is abuzz about it. Guess it took them a while to catch up with the news.

The GQ article “Was Michael Jackson Framed?” by Mary A. Fischer is now available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Was-Michael-Jackson-Framed-Superstar/dp/0786754133.

If you have a Kindle, it’s also available in that format for only $2.99:  http://www.amazon.com/Was-Michael-Jackson-Framed-ebook/dp/B009G1SX0S/ref=tmm_kin_title_0

From the Amazon writer bio:

Award-winning writer and journalist Mary A. Fischer has tracked down crime and corruption stories from around the world for national magazines including, GQ, The Atlantic, Los Angeles Times magazine, New York, Rolling Stone, Men’s Journal, O-Oprah, ELLE and AARP.

Twice she has been ranked as one of the top five print reporters in the U.S., when two of her GQ articles, including her cover story on Michael Jackson, were finalists for the National Magazine Award.

Known for pursuing under reported stories, Fischer is credited with breaking several high-profile criminal cases, among them, the ’93 Michael Jackson case originally published in GQ, and the McMartin Preschool child molestation scandal. She was the first print reporter to take the controversial position, backed up by her six-month investigation, that there was no credible evidence against the McMartin defendants and the allegations against them were not credible.

In her memoir Stealing Love, Fischer tells the personal story of why she is passionately drawn to stories, and life situations, of injustice.

She lives in Los Angeles and is at work on another eBook and a news-making journalist project, this time in Washington D.C.

Joe Vogel, author of “Man in the Music, the Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson” and the recent article “Studying Michael Jackson“, says this about the Mary Fischer piece (via Twitter):

Mary A. Fischer was one of few voices of reason and fairness during the first MJ extortion case. Highly recommend this.

-Joe Vogel

Well, I’ve got my copy. I think this was and is a very important voice in the sensational pro-guilt wilderness surrounding the allegations against Michael. There were and sadly still are few factual and objective voices on the subject. Among a few others, I’m happy to support this one, too.

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Sep 01 2012

Through more intelligent focus, many will actually see Michael Jackson again for the first time

Category: Academia,Books,Friends,Justice,VideosSeven @ 12:20 am

Tonight is a full, blue moon. It’s also the 25th anniversary of the release of Michael’s ‘Bad‘ album, and Mr. Spike Lee’s “Bad 25” film is out at a Venice film festival to fabulous and well-deserved reviews. Of course no one else could have properly created this documentary than Mr. Lee himself and of course he has done a fantastic job.

Prestigious universities are teaching classes about the human being and the genius Michael Jackson was. Great authors are researching, examining and publishing positive books about  his craft and creative processes. Finally, more people will see Michael Jackson – many for the first time, though they certainly knew his music and his name from media and tabloid stories. They did not however know who or what he really was. Now, they’ll have the opportunity to properly learn.

Thank You Mr. Spike Lee for creating a window through which the world will take a second look at Michael Jackson in ‘Bad 25‘. In the video above, Spike Lee describes his documentary film as “a love letter to Michael Jackson” and says “it’s time to concentrate on Michael’s music and let the other stuff go“. I certainly agree with that.

Thank you Joe Vogel for writing serious, well-researched books about Michael’s creative processes and his music.  Thank you Dr. Mark Anthony Neal at Duke University and Joe Vogel at University of Rochester for bringing Michael Jackson’s human nature, his genius and work ethic, the important nuances in his poor working-class African American upbringing, his struggles with race as an artist, and his cultural influence as the worlds greatest entertainer into the classroom for what absolutely merits serious study.  Thank you also to Sylvia J. Martin, Ph.D whose “The Roots and Routes of Michael Jackson’s Global Identity” is required reading for Dr. Neal’s course along with Joe Vogel’s ‘Man in the Music‘.

If you haven’t see this yet, here is an hour-long interview with Dr. Neal (done in 2009) about The Legacy of Michael Jackson (thank you David Edwards for locating this):

Video streaming by Ustream
All of these people are bringing a more intelligent, accurate and appropriate focus on Michael Jackson, who he truthfully was and what he meant in our society and our world. The phenomenon that was Michael Jackson is an important part of our cultural history. It should not be ignored or buried under media and tabloid bullshit. Now, because of these more realistically focused efforts, many people can (if they choose) see Michael Jackson for the first time, even if they thought they already knew who he was.

These are very positive changes. I just wish this had all happened over three years ago. Michael worked his skinny butt off at his craft all his life so he could give the world the very best of himself. He was honest and hardworking. He was overly-generous and idealistic. He was a driven genius. He was the best entertainer the world has ever seen. He really cared about this world, and I dare say he cared more than it cares about itself. The way things are going, it may be a good thing he’s not here anymore because the human race is destroying itself though he tried to enlighten us to save ourselves and each other through messages in his music.

I miss Michael and just wish he could have seen some of this when he was alive. I hope beyond hope that somehow his sweet soul can see it now.

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Aug 29 2012

Michael Jackson & The Black Performance Tradition. Class Starts Tonight!

Category: Academia,Books,VideosSeven @ 12:04 pm

What more fitting time to start a class about Michael Jackson at Duke University than on his birthday? Today is the first day of a course taught by Dr. Mark Anthony Neal, professor of African American Studies at Duke University. The class is called “Michael Jackson & The Black Performance Tradition”. Required reading includes Michael Jackson’s “Moonwalk“, “The One: The Life and Music of James Brown“, and Joseph Vogel’s “Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson“.

Dr. Neal has posted a lot of good material about MJ on his blog and he fairly recently spoke at a conference about how Michael’s upbringing undoubtedly influenced his attitudes towards quite innocently sharing his bed with others – a subject that caused much consternation during his life. Listening to Dr. Neal and others speak about this subject suggests that there has probably been a great cultural misunderstanding about Michael Jackson in this regard – one that cost the man his life and his livelihood. That same YouTube channel also features other videos of Dr. Neal speaking about MJ.

Here’s Dr. Neal explaining a likely reason why for Michael, sharing his bed was an innocent, normal thing:

Motown’s Bobby Taylor also spoke about sharing his bed with Michael when he was a child:

The class syllabus is as follows:

Michael Jackson & The Black Performance Tradition
Department of African & African American Studies
Duke University
AAAS 334-01
Fall 2012
Wednesday 6:15 pm – 8:45 pm
White Lecture Hall, 107

Mark Anthony Neal, Ph.D.

Course Description

The central premise of ‘Michael Jackson and Black Performance Tradition’ is the question, “Where did Michael Jackson come from?” While there are facts—he was born on August 29, 1958 in a Rust Belt city named Gary, Indiana—what the course aims to answer are the broader questions of Jackson’s cultural, social, political and even philosophical origins. The course will specifically examine the Black Performance context(s) that produced Jackson’s singular creative genius within the realms of music, movement and politics, including the influence of Black vernacular practices like signifying and sampling, the network of Black social spaces known as the Chitlin’ Circuit, the impact of Black migration patterns to urban spaces in the Midwest (like Gary, Chicago and Detroit—all critical to Jackson’s artistic development) and Black performance traditions including Blackface minstrelsy. In addition the course will examine the social constructions of Blackness and gender (Black masculinity) through the prism of Michael Jackson’s performance, highlighting his role as a trickster figure with the context of African-American vernacular practices.

Books

The Last ‘Darky’: Bert Williams, Black-on-Black Minstrelsy & the African Diaspora | Louis Chude-Sokei

The One: The Life and Music of James Brown | RJ Smith

Moonwalk | Michael Jackson

Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson | Joseph Vogel

On Michael Jackson | Margo Jefferson

Race Music: Black Cultures from Bebop to Hip-Hop | Guthrie P. Ramsey

*Michael Jackson: The Magic, The Madness, The Whole Story, 1958-2009 | J. Randy Taraborrelli

___

More details on this class can be found here: http://newblackman.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-syllabus-michael-jackson-black.html

I haven’t checked but I suspect the class is very full with a long waiting list, and may be part of a larger curriculum of study. Who wouldn’t love to just sit in on this class even with no credit given? It’s bound to be fascinating and enlightening and it’s so very exciting to see universities of Duke’s stature taking up the study of Michael Jackson’s life, art, and cultural influence.

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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 }

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Jul 09 2012

Joe Vogel does it again in “Featuring Michael Jackson”

Category: BooksSeven @ 10:52 pm

Joe Vogel’s new work, ‘Featuring Michael Jackson – Collected Writings on the King of Pop’, available July 11th, 2012

COMING JULY 11, 2012!

“Joseph Vogel has brilliantly cracked the DNA, the code of the work, the artistry of Michael Joseph Jackson.” —Spike Lee

“Vogel’s voice is dignified and powerful. I very much respect what he has to say.” —Bill Bottrell, Grammy-winning Producer, Songwriter and Collaborator of Michael Jackson

“Without calling much attention to itself, Vogel’s writing is quietly incendiary and often rather delightfully subversive.” —John Scott G., Music Industry Newswire

AVAILABLE WORLDWIDE ON AMAZON!

U.S.U.K. — GermanyFranceSpainItaly — Japan

Ebooks available the first month for just $3.99!

In this slim new collection, critically-acclaimed author and journalist Joseph Vogel gathers together some of his most informative and provocative pieces on the late King of Pop. Featuring ten articles and a previously unpublished bonus chapter, this fascinating mosaic explores a wide range of subject matter: from the impact of race on Jackson’s career, to the ways he challenged and expanded the definition of “pop,” to behind-the-scenes histories of his songs. Based on original research and personal interviews with the singer’s close collaborators, Featuring Michael Jackson is a book no fan or music history buff will want to be without.

CONTENTS:

INTRODUCTION

1. Second to None: Race, Representation, and the Misunderstood Power of Michael Jackson

2. The Top Ten Michael Jackson Songs of All-Time

3. “Don’t Be Messin’”: The Story Behind Michael Jackson’s Infectious Bad-era Demo

4. Dangerous, Nevermind and the Reinvention of Pop

5. Inside Michael Jackson’s “Hollywood”

6. On Morphine

7. “Blood on the Dance Floor,” 15 Years Later

8. “Am I the Beast You Visualized?”: The Cultural Abuse of Michael Jackson

9. Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson Immortal Takes Audience on a Dazzling Ride

10. Gone Too Soon: The Many Lives of Michael Jackson’s Elegy

BONUS CHAPTER: Have You Seen His Childhood?

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