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:

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{ 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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Jun 23 2012

Remembering Michael: Making space for innocence

Category: Angels,Children,MJ Quotes,Photos,Quotes,VideosSeven @ 2:20 pm

Michael

Remembering Michael on the three-year anniversary of his departure from this realm, I begin with a poem:

To The Tender
by Kristen Tracy

Midsummer, and along came a hapless jay —

blue and wobbling — flight feathers nothing more

than pins of white. It arrived at the nest’s edge

unready, which was only half the problem.

Crows perched in the oak across the street, alert,

aware of all the world’s worst secrets. Naturally

I rooted for the jay. Oh, but this was life.

After the blue jay fell from the Scotch pine’s terrible height,

it righted itself in the grass and, like a skin-kneed child

after her first bad spill on a bike, cried out for help.

I set down my rake and shepherded the bird

toward my spindle tree. Hopping from

low branches, it pressed toward the center, tucking itself

into my tree’s sturdy heart. For two days

the parents swooped down to feed it.

Thankfully the crows never came, though

I kept my eye on them. I knew their game.

Pirates. Gangsters. Extortionists. Thieves.

But even if the world is half bad, it remains

half good. While some of us sleep, our hearts

lie open,turned to the tender, dreaming up ways

to thwart the crows. Yes, a hapless jay stumbles

into our lives believing it can fly, and we — knowing

what we know — do what we can to make it so.

— From The Sun magazine’s April 2011 issue.

Something that has settled atop the heap of thoughts in my mind lately is the fact that after Michael’s acquittal in 2005, his fans gave him roses. I read somewhere that a couple of the fans stayed up all night removing the thorns from the roses for him. I thought: “this was similar to how the woman made space for the innocent little blue jay, removing the threats or at least somehow protecting the little jay from them so that he could continue making his way in life unharmed.

Michael’s fans, each in their own way, have always made space for his innocence — an innocence we all knew he possessed. It wasn’t just because of the utter lack of evidence against him that so many were certain of his innocence. Much of that certainty came from Michael’s personality itself, long before the extortionists ever targeted him. One read of his book ‘Dancing the Dream‘, written long before any of the worst nastiness began, reveals a unique combination of innocence and wisdom that only Michael possessed. That’s the innocence so many millions made space for – in his life, in their lives, and in their hearts. He found, and his fans found in him, a ‘Ally in Innocence‘ so-to-speak.

But this innocence isn’t a naive one. It’s not a gullible one. It’s a wise one. It’s the one that knows a table littered with animosity, grudges, mistrust, suspicion, bitterness, and conscienceless greed cannot be a platform for a sumptuous meal, or the creation of beautiful poetry or breathtaking music or an astounding dance performance — things that connect the physical world with the divinity in all life.

We must free ourselves to be filled by God. Even god cannot fill what is full.

-Mother Teresa

It’s that innocence that sees the whole world with wonder and that knows there is real magic in dreams and that even though the most beautiful choirs and passionate churches sing of it, true Divinity is only found in the silence of the stars nestled in the velvet black and purple sky and the quiet of a flower blooming – those things we hardly notice amidst the jarring jangle of our everyday lives. Some colors exist in dreams that do not exist in the waking world. I have seen these colors in my own dreams and I know they are there.

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature — trees, flowers, grass — grows in silence; see the stars, the moon, and the sun, how they move in silence.

-Mother Teresa

Michael’s daughter Paris tweeted something about girls in her class wearing revealing clothes. I tweeted back that if they were trying to attract guys, this is not how a girl gets respect. She ‘favorited‘ that tweet. The girl is her father’s daughter. She knows. Someone else interjected that some young girls wear revealing clothing to somehow persuade the male teacher to give them better grades. But such a lack of self-respect and ill-gotten rewards for unearned accomplishment are costly and short-lived. One cannot build a sturdy future upon them. I’m sure those girls in the revealing clothing might think girls that don’t dress that way are somehow not ‘cool‘, or are inferior. But who wants to be ‘sexy‘ if it means you get less or no respect as a person and that your accomplishments in life really aren’t accomplishments at all, but rather reward gained through manipulation or self-devaluation? This innocence, which to someone in the process of making unwise but temporarily convenient choices in life might seem useless, is the one Michael lived and taught his children.

I believe Michael knew this:

Lack of understanding of the true nature of happiness, it seems to me, is the principal reason why people inflict sufferings on others. They think either that the other’s pain may somehow be a cause of happiness for themselves or that their own happiness is more important, regardless of what pain it may cause. But this is shortsighted. No one truly benefits from causing harm to another sentient being. . . . In the long run causing others misery and infringing their rights to peace and happiness result in anxiety, fear, and suspicion within oneself.

-The Dalai Lama

And, I believe that many of today’s problems in the world are the result of this lack of understanding. Most people in the business or political world might see an unwillingness to do others harm in order to profit or succeed as naive or pollyanna-ish. But it’s not. Such reluctance to harm others (or one’s self) in order to succeed or profit may appear as childish innocence or naïveté to others, but it is actually a deeper wisdom than most people understand – or care about – because they are too driven to profit at any cost, particularly to others. We saw the ugliness of that in Michael’s own life and we see it every day all around ourselves.

Michael understood that a certain innocence is necessary for creativity, as well. It makes sense that as children grow up, they become less creative. And most adults discourage it as we get older – telling their children to be a lawyer or accountant, or computer programmer rather than pursuing any type of artistic or creative endeavor, thus instilling in them a disbelief in their own artistic ability and a distrust in their own ability to become a success by being creative. Yet the refusal to be creative – in whatever way a person has an aptitude for -could be counter to what God(dess) intended. If, as Michael and many others including myself believe – God communicates spiritually with the physical world via art and creativity –  and we refuse this, we are refusing to be a conduit for him/her to speak to the physical world through us. Many people believe too, that this can be the source of addiction ie: that the person has an emptiness within themselves, in their soul or psyche, that they are trying to fulfill or numb the pain of. I call it ‘The God Hole‘ and so does at least one other person who has written about this. Michael certainly understood the value of a childlike mind as a necessity for creativity – one that does not perceive any limit to what is possible.

Some people and entities seeking to advance themselves monetarily and otherwise portrayed Michael’s penchant for innocence as “strange“, and “bizarre” and portrayed him as a “pedophile” because he preferred the company of children than scheming, backstabbing adults who always wanted something from him for themselves – seeking to profit by hurting him or others. It seems to be a requirement that anytime a media outlet mentions him, the word “bizarre” must be inserted in the piece somewhere, just to keep the meme going. And, it seems that anytime a pedophilia case makes the news, such as the recent Sandusky case, comparisons must be made to Michael who was the polar opposite of a child molester – and who was acquitted because even after decades of efforts to frame him, was found innocent due to sheer lack of evidence.

Who is really “bizarre“? Someone who refused to hurt other people in order to succeed in this world – and in fact worked at his craft all his life primarily so that he could help others — or those who daily make a living by hurting others, including Michael, in order to profit and build careers via manipulation and dishonesty? I’d say the latter are the ones who are not only bizarre, but deeply immoral.

Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music.

-Angela Monet

He tried to keep empty so that he could give us beauty. What do I mean by that? Though it was impossible with all persecution he endured, it was clear to me that Michael would rather write positive, inspirational and hopeful songs than hurting ones — though his hurting angry ones were always what I call ‘teaching‘ songs, such as ‘Why You Wanna Trip On Me‘, which decried all the ignorant greedy obsession the media pundits and government had with Michael’s appearance and with the ridiculous allegations against him, rather than with solving the real problems in the world, such child neglect, war, poverty and lack of education. And it’s a very good question that no one has yet answered. But he did try to keep his psyche clear so that beauty could enter and he could share it in a creative sense without his mind or heart being cluttered with embitterment or anger. And this too, is a certain type of innocence.

What one wishes is to be touched by truth and to be able to interpret that truth so that one may use what one is feeling and experiencing, be it despair or joy, in a way that will add meaning to one’s life and will hopefully touch others as well. This is art in its highest form. Those moments of enlightenment are what I continue to live for.

–Michael Jackson

The most beautiful paintings and sculptures, the greatest poetry, have not always been born from torment or bitterness. Often they have sprung from contemplation, from joy, from an instinct or wonder toward all things. To create from joy, to create from wonder, demands a continual discipline, a great compassion . . . With time and sincerity, you will discover a way to work and write that does not harm you spiritually, that does not tempt you to vanity, that is the deepest expression of your spirituality. You will find a voice that is not your voice only but the voice of Reality itself. . . If you can be empty enough, that voice can speak through you. If you can be humble enough, that voice can inhabit you and use you.

-Thuksey Rinpoche

I think that in this way, Michael did embody the voice of Divinity, Beauty, Reality, Truth. So today I remember Michael this way: in the wise innocence that permeated every aspect of his life and with which he obviously raised his children and worked at his craft; an innocence which those who understood him tried to make space for in his life and in their own – by removing the thorns from the roses so they could be held without harm – the same way those who love Michael will always hold him within their hearts.

He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.

-Clarence Budington Kelland

©2012 Seven Bowie

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Jun 17 2012

Michael Jackson: ‘Best father you could ever imagine’

Category: Children,Family,MJ Quotes,Photos,Quotes About MJ,VideosSeven @ 4:02 pm

Daddy Michael with little Prince and Paris

On that tearful July day of his public memorial, Paris said Michael was the “best father you could ever imagine“, and by all accounts, it was absolutely true.

In remembrance of a man who was indisputably one of the best fathers in the world, I’ll share a rundown of some of Michael’s comments about being a father, followed by one of many comments from other people who witnessed firsthand what a great father Michael was, and finally topped off with Paris Jackson’s tweets for her Dad today.

~ ~ ~

“[…] I enjoy taking care of my children myself, it’s… it’s fun, that’s why I had them, so I could take care of them and it’s just great relief for me, you know, it’s a pleasure, it keeps me happy and laughing and, you know, they’re wonderful sweet innocent children. […] [My children] mean… it’s hard to put it into words because they mean everything. The way you would explain how your children make you feel… They’re the world for me, I wake up and I’m ready for the day because of them. I get them breakfast, I change diapers, if they want to read, we do a lot of reading, we play hide and seek, we play blind fold and have a wonderful time with it. […] I want to be the best father in the world, of course.

– 2005 – February 7: “At Large With Geraldo Rivera” T.V. Interview

_ _ _

I love and adore my children. They mean everything to me. When they’re in public though, I conceal their faces, cause I want my children protected. At home, they have a normal life, they play with other kids and they have a good time, they’re laughing a lot. They run around, they even go to school. It’s a normal life for them. But in public, I must protect them. I love my children very much, and I’m proud to be their dad.

– 2003 – Private Home Videos T.V. Special

_ _ _

[I cried when Prince was born]. […] He came out with this really big head, that when I saw his head, I thought of my grandfather and my brother Randy, ‘cause his head was shaped just like theirs. And I said, ‘Oh, my God’ [laughs]. And then, the rest, they let me pull, pull him out and I cut the ombilical chord with scissers that were shaped like a stork, and…and they cleaned him off and everything, and I was ready to take him home. They said, ‘No, you can’t take him home’, I said, ‘Why?’, ‘I think there’s some serious problem’, I go, ‘What?’, ‘We’ve gotta take him to intensive care, he’s not breathing correctly’, I go, ‘Oh, no!…’, I said, ‘Please, God, don’t let me have a sick child, please…’ So, I waited an hour…two hours…three hours…four, I was so scared…After five hours, this nurse comes in, she goes, ‘Okay, you can go home now’ [smiles], I was soo happy…[…] [I was there for my daughter, Paris’, birth, also] It was magic…She came out the wrong way, her face was faced the wrong way and she was being kinda choked by the ombilical chord…I was kind of worried…and it took her longer…And…and I was so anxious to get her home that, as they cut her chord…I hate to say this, I snatched her and just went home, with all the placenta all over her [laughs] […] yeah, I’m not kidding, I got her in a towel and ran. They said it was fine. They said everything is okay with that. And I got home and I washed her all off. […] Because I felt that it was okay, they told me it was okay, Debbie said it was okay and…I got the permission of the doctor…I think I was so frightened that they would give me some bad news…I was so scared..But there was no bad news to be gotten. I was starting reliving [the birth episode with Prince] and I was afraid. I said, ‘I don’t want to hear anything bad’, I’m just ‘Go, go, go, go…[Debbie] told me to, […] she said, ‘Go ahead, I know that’s what you want, I’m totally fine with this’, I said, “Are you fine with this?’, she said “Yes, of course”. […]”

[My children] have school. […] [But they don’t go to a normal school], never…[…] It wouldn’t work…[…] “Cause we would get chased by paparazzi everywhere we go. I don’t want press all over them at school…and in the bushes and the trees and in the…I saw what happened to me, you know?..They’re doing the same and worse to them. And…and I don’t feel like the jealosy in teachers, you know, ‘Just because you’re Michael Jackson’s children, don’t think I’m gonna treat you any different (sic) from anyone else around here”. Well, they don’t wanna be treated differently, you know, it’s just that I don’t want them to have to go through all that. […] That’s the way it is…And it has worked successfully in the past many times…It’s how you shape and sculpt and mould their world, you know? And many people have been successful at it.

[My third child’s name is] Prince Michael II, but we call him Blanket. […] ‘Cause it’s an expression I use with my family and my employees. I say, ‘You should blanket me’, ‘You should blanket… her with something’, meaning it’s like…a blanket is a blessing. It’s a way of showing love and caring. […] I can’t say [who is Blanket’s mother], because she’ll be bombarded with the…you know…We have an agreement that we can’t – a contractual agreement – talk about who she is and everything. That’s how we worked that out. [It’s someone who I had a relationship with], yes. […] I don’t want anybody to know, I don’t think…she doesn’t wanna be, like, in papers and tabloids and she doesn’t want it and I don’t blame her…’cause she knows how scum…bag their comments can be, you know?…[…] [It’s not difficult being a single parent], why it would be difficult? […] No, they’re fine. How many babies live with their mothers and they don’t have a father around? And nobody’s saying nothing, you know? They’re having a good time. […] They are having a great time, they have enough women in their lives, they’re everywhere. There are women everywhere around my house..I mean, they, they’re with them all day long. […] People can always have a judgement about anything you do, so it doesn’t bother me. Everything can be strange to someone. This interview is strange to some people out there, so…who cares, right? [smiles].”

– 2003 – February 3: “Living With Michael Jackson

Daddy Michael and Blanket

On his life as a single parent:

I never had so much fun in my life. That’s the truth. Because I’m this big kid, and now I get to see the world through the eyes of the really young ones. I learn more from them than they learn from me. I’m constantly trying things and testing things on them to see what works and what doesn’t. Children are always the best judges to monitor something. […] That’s why “Harry Potter” is so successful – it’s a family-oriented movie. […] We want a wide demographic, and that’s why I try not to say things that offend parents. I don’t want to be like that. We weren’t raised to be like that. […]

On the possibility of his children being in the spotlight as he in the future:

I don’t know how they would handle that. It would be tough. I really don’t know. It’s hard, since most children of celebrities end up becoming self-destructive because they can’t live up to the talent of the parent. People always used to say to Fred Astaire Jr., “Can you dance?” And he couldn’t. He didn’t have any rhythm, but his father was this genius dancer. It doesn’t mean that it has to be passed on. I always tell my children, you don’t have to sing, you don’t have to dance. Be who you want to be, as long as you’re not hurting anybody. That’s the main thing.

– 2002 – March: “VIBE” Magazine Interview

_ _ _

[Fatherhood has changed me] in a huge way. You have to value your time differently, no doubt about it. It’s your responsibility to make sure they’re taken care of and raised properly with good manners. But I refuse to let any of it get in the way of the music or the dance or the performing. I have to play two different roles. I always wanted to have a big family, ever since I was in school. I was always telling my father I would outdo him. He had 10 children. I would love to have like 11 or 12 myself.

You do the best you can. You don’t isolate them from other children. There will be other kids at the school [on my property]. I let them go out into the world. But they can’t always go with me. We get mobbed and attacked. When we were in Africa, Prince saw a mob attack in a huge shopping mall. People broke so much stuff, running and screaming. My biggest fear is that fans will hurt themselves and they do. I’ve seen glass break, blood, ambulances.

[…] I try to make sure they’re respectful and honorable and kind to everybody.

– 2001 – December 13: “USA Today” Magazine Interview

_ _ _

[…] [My children go with me] everywhere I go. […] [When they start school,] I’m going to build a computer school on the grounds [of Neverland]. With other children. […] How can they go into society.? He’s Prince Michael Jackson. She’s Paris Katherine Michael Jackson. It would be too difficult.

I try my hardest [to be a good father]. I try to bring them a lot of fun. Once a year, I dress up like a clown, with the whole gear – the nose, the paint. And I give them candy and cookies. […] And ice cream.

– 2001 – November 5: “TV Guide” Magazine Interview

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[…] [Reading about me not being my children’s father…] That’s total garbage. It’s just trash and not true. […] Prince tells me all day that he has to make movies. So I bought him this video camera. I say, “What are we doing this time?” He goes, “Star Wars.” So we put some figures on the table, make them move. And Paris is just now starting to talk and walk. She’s very sweet. And I’m surprised she loves dolls. My sister, Janet didn’t like that sort of thing. She was a tomboy. I thought she was going to be like that but she isn’t. [I change their diapers and feed them]. I love it. It’s a lot of work. I thought I was prepared, ’cause I read everything about child rearing, but it’s so much more exciting than I ever imagined it to be. The only regret I have is that I wish I had done it earlier.

– 1999 – December 4: “T.V. Guide” Magazine Interview

I thought I was prepared to be a father, but I wasn’t. All my life I’ve read about how wonderful children are. People would go, “What is up with you and babies?” I am always reading child psychology books. But it’s so much more joyous than even that. Prince and Paris changed me in so many ways. I learn as much from them as they learn from me. You learn about having a good heart and being a good-spirited person. And the way I am, I try to imitate them. People always say, “Act your age.” But I try and act more like children because they are the innocent, they are God-like, they are pure. I try to be as humble and sweet as they are.

-Michael Jackson

He was an absolutely fabulous father. I’ve never met a parent that is as good or better than Michael. Those kids were an absolute delight! I’ve never met kids in my life that were like those kids. I spent a lot of extended time around them. I never heard them cry, I never heard them beg for anything, never saw or heard them throw a fit.

-David Nordahl

Paris shared a couple of tweets and photos today about her dad:

Happy Fathers Day! Miss you, Da♥

http://instagr.am/p/L8qkgcqwh4/

AND

i’m such a daddy’s girl hahah #andproud

http://instagr.am/p/L-0cwnKwp8/

Along with the photo Paris shared, she added:

Happy Father’s Day. Dad I love you with all of my heart, you were the greatest thing that ever happened to me. No matter how old I get you’re still my daddy forever. Miss you so much!! Imma make you proud, I promise.

Paris also tweeted that she has taught baby brother Blanket who John Lennon was and that she is “turning him into a hippie.” The hippies after all, were right about a lot of things in our society, so big sister Paris is teaching little brother well.

blanket knows who john lennon is….. i’m so proud (‘: turning him into a hippie

If you missed Paris’s recent interview with Oprah where she says that she and Blanket have gotten closer these days, you can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SD5kJaSRUK4&feature=player_embedded

Also, don’t miss Raven Woods’ Father’s Day Reflections‘ over at ‘AllForLoveBlog‘, where Raven tries to reconcile some of the more ambivalent feelings many MJ fans have about Joe Jackson as a father and Michael’s relationship with Joe.

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{  The collection of Michael’s comments about being a father are courtesy of ‘The Silenced Truth About Michael Jackson‘.  -Seven  }

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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

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May 25 2012

A special tribute to “a child of the world” – Michael Jackson

Category: Children,Humanitarian,MJ Quotes,Photos,VideosSeven @ 8:42 pm

Children of the World

It’s been 35 months since Michael died. But maybe there’s something else he wants us to remember today since this popped up once again across my computer screen: Twenty seven years and two months ago, a group of children including child stars Alyssa Milano, Fergie (now of the Black-eyed Peas) and Drew Barrymore made history by getting together to record a children’s version of ‘We Are The World’. Little has been heard of this version of ‘We Are The World‘ since then, but it’s not to be missed. It meant a lot to Michael, who said:

I had thought that song should be sung by children. When I finally heard children singing it on producer George Duke’s version, I almost cried. It’s the best version I’ve heard.

– Michael Jackson (Moonwalk)

The ‘Children Of The World Project’ was the brainchild of radio personality Sonny Melendrez and and produced by George Duke who also worked with Michael on his ‘Off the Wall‘ album. This children’s version of the song was nominated for a Grammy in the ‘Best Recording for Children‘ category in 1986.

From the project’s official website, Sonny remembers:

As my radio alarm clock went off one morning in March of 1985 I was awakened by the pure voice of a child singing the words, “We are the world. We are the children.” In my groggy state, I remember thinking to myself that I wish I had thought of that obvious idea: A children’s version of the worldwide anthem – We Are The World.

Then, as I gained consciousness, I realized that the “child” I had heard was, in fact, Michael Jackson and what I was listening to was the original recording.

I sprang out of bed and called my producer. That afternoon, on my KMGG Radio show, I shared my vision of gathering the most talented children in Los Angeles and giving them the opportunity to do their part for the charity created to benefit those starving in Ethiopia – USA For Africa.

The response was overwhelming to say the least, with hundreds of parents and kids calling and wanting to be a part of the idea.

The Children of the World Project was born.

When Michael Jackson, who had penned the song with Lionel Ritchie, heard about the project he immediately gave it his blessing and even suggested his talented nieces, Brittny and Valencia Jackson, audition as well. They did and appeared on the recording

After several weeks and with the help of countless volunteers, including my friend and entertainment professional, Roger Neal, we had auditioned over 1500 children in various locations throughout Southern California. Every effort was made to make each child, ages 5 to 17, feel special about what and why they were auditioning. Everyone was presented a certificate and t-shirt commemorating their participation.

I contacted award winning producer, George Duke and asked if he join us. He not only accepted, but brought in legendary musicians, Stanley Clarke, Phillip Bailey, and Journey’s Steve Smith among to play on the track.

After personally calling every one of the 50 who were chosen (and you can imagine their enthusiastic reactions), under the direction of musical pro Martha Woodhull, the choir then spent several weeks rehearsing their parts.

Sonny records with Stacy Ferguson aka ‘Fergie’

In addition to these incredibly talented voices, we added another group of child stars with the understanding that everyone would be treated equally, regardless of their name or credits. This had been the same policy adopted by the original cast of We Are The World. This group included, Drew Barrymore, Danielle Brisebois, Alyssa Milano, Danny Pintauro, and others.

Then, on April 27, 1985, one of the finest children’s choirs ever assembled walked into the Westlake Studios in Hollywood and recorded “the chlidren’s version” of We Are The World.

Every note was also filmed for a video of the song. I couldn’t stop thinking about the 1400+ kids who had not made the group and suggested that part of the video include them all. It was agreed we finished our filming at LA’s Griffith Park where every child in the world imaginable was represented by hundreds of young singers including those who where blind, deaf, or otherwise handicapped. We wanted to show that when it comes to giving, there are no barriers. Everyone can participate.

Keep in mind that our production in the studio and on location, not to mention the countless of hours of planning, would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Yet, every need was filled by donations, equipment, and scores of industry production specialists.

It is, to this day, my proudest charitable and professional endeavor.

The following year we were notified that our version of the song had been nominated for a Grammy. Through the power of radio (before the Internet) and the effort thousands of caring, giving, and loving human beings, the words that Michael Jackson, gave to the world – “We are the one’s who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving” took on new life and meaning by The Children of the World.

They not only gave to help their starving brothers and sisters, they also paid a special tribute to “a child of the world” – Michael Jackson.

-Sonny

Actor Shavar Ross, also part of the project as a child, shared this photo of the recording:

Shavar Ross with other children during the recording of the children’s version of ‘We Are The World’

 

‘Children of the World Project’ has an official Facebook page (though not very active) and some of the original members of the children’s choir had apparently reunited in 2010 to relive their childhood memories of working on the project.

Finally, here’s the recording/video of the children’s version of ‘We Are the World‘:

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