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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8 Responses to “Seen, Read, Heard . . .”

  1. cjg says:

    Thanks for all of the wonderful tidbits of information concerning Michael. As for the note/letter to LisaMarie, pulled from the auction, though I have my feelings about her concerning her past conduct, my reaction was – good for her! I’m glad she had the wherewithall to stand up and stop further desecration of Michael by auctioning off his life piece by piece. It was about time someone had a fit and put a stop to this nonsense. I wish his family would do the same. It causes me great concern that they continue to allow the auction of very personal items of Michael’s life when they should all go to his children! This time it even includes hand written lyrics and an award?! As for the note, when I heard about it my reaction was who has gotten their hands on such personal things and STOLEN them. Yes, stolen. I’m beginning to wonder about who has gotten access to all of these personal things for profit. And another thing, I don’t understand why the family won’t get it together to develop Neverland (and work with whoever actually owns it) into a museum for fans to visit and it could house all of these items that are being sold. Heck, they could rotate what’s on display which would certainly guarantee repeat visits from fans (like me). I think they should also re-establish the amusement park. It could be incredible. No, I haven’t really given it any thought. Oh well, it doesn’t hurt to dream.

  2. Nancy says:

    My first reaction when I heard about the letter to Lisa Marie was how did they get that letter? I assumed that Ms. Presley had given it to somebody and they ended up giving to the auction house. When I found out she took the effort to retrieve the letter I thought, wow, it is about time someone close to Michael respected him enough to request the item be taken off the auction list and returned. I thought good for her! I too, have wondered how did all of these people get such personal items and shouldn’t Mike’s children have some sort of say in all of this? I am hoping that one day soon when Prince turns 18, he will take charge and reclaim Neverland and do what is in the best interest of his Dad’s legacy.

  3. Sue says:

    Thank you so much Seven for your ongoing posts. I have been following your site regularly but have never submitted a comment. Belated gratitude for your unwavering dedication and love for Michael, I share it. Your information is heartwarming, at times heartbreaking, always educational and brings us so much closer to Michael.You are doing him and his legacy a great service.I too, was very touched by Katherine Jackson when interviewed by Piers Morgan. She spoke with such grace and eloquence, you could sense her sincerity, spirituality and deep wisdom. Her love for Michael was truly unconditional. No wonder he said she was “perfection”. I think it would have been hard for anyone to have come away from watching that interview, whether a Michael Jackson fan or not, without either rethinking their opinion of him or validating it. Definite progress was made towards turning on the light for all to see. It was so sad, but not surprising, to see the acute pain Mrs. Jackson still feels, I wanted to reach out to her through my TV set to comfort her and tell her that I think of her son everyday too, that she is not alone. Thank you again for your wonderful website and for all the work that you do. I look forward to following it during this difficult month. Michael remains my teacher, my compass, my hero.

  4. maguk says:

    Sue, what a lovely comment. You have summed up my own feelings exactly.I also noticed how alike some of Michael’s facial expressions and body language were to his Mother’s, something I hadn’t been aware of prior to this interview.

    I really hope that Mrs Jackson knows just how very much her son was loved (and still is).

    Thankyou Seven for bringing us all together.

  5. Lia says:

    Thank you Seven, for another post/article..never give up,and continue to do such an amazing work, in honoring Michael…Thank you.

  6. june says:

    Seven,thank you for these updates. I also followed the tweets whereby Lisa Marie was informed of the upcoming auction of her note from Michael. She was genuinely surprised and I was so happy to see it pulled. However, I am still pained by the variety of personal type objects I see being auctioned; things which should go to his children. Do you think it’s because Michael’s life was so precarious at times in terms of “who was in charge” that there is now such concern over how certain people came into possession of his belongings? And this revolving door of managers and handlers could be part of the reason the original Wembley tape cannot be located. Who was minding the store after 2005? I do not think any family member stepped in. Jermaine himself in his book states he was shocked to find Michael’s financial matters in such disarray circa 2006-7.
    On Katherine Jackson, as a mother of grown sons I simply cannot imagine what it must be like to walk in her shoes. However, her interview with Morgan devoted much time to Livingstone-Strong’s plan to sell some of Michael’s art to fund an MJ wedding chapel in Vegas, something Strong says Michael very much wanted. We know Michael gave unceasingly to childrens’ causes; not too many in the fan-mily gave Strong’s claims any credibility, but because Katherine appeared to support the endeavor, questions concerning Strong’s motives are not clear. Isn’t the Estate suing Tohme for “gifting” some of Michael’s art to Strong? So many clouds still linger; the only constant we have is Michael’s beautiful soul and glorious talent. Thank you for all you to further Michael’s living legacy.

  7. Sina says:

    Seven thank you for the information.
    I agree with you about the LisaMarie letter.
    She got harsh criticism- and deserved it – for her media statements about Michael.
    But the personal attacks on her based on speculations about the letter or in general are unfair.
    Why not attack the media for mocking a lovely, serious and honest plea for understanding from a man to his loved one. Why not discuss the fact that he had not slept for 4 days,and this was 15 years before he was killed due to incompetent insomnia treatment.
    Whether its jealousy or a misplaced ownership, its wrong and MJ Fans should know better.

    I just read through the comments and one line in CJGs post says > I dont understand why the family wont get it together to develop Neverland ( and work with whoever actually owns it ) into a museum for fans to visit and it could house all these items that are being sold. < <
    I would also love to see an MJ museum established. But the fact of the matter is that Michaels family does not own Neverland or anything that belonged to Michael. Its all MJs estates including personal stuff that has monetary value and even the name his parents gave him. So its not up to them what should happen to Neverland but the executors .
    Maybe the heirs want to restore Neverland back to a private home. in the end it was Michaels familyhome, even if he never went back.

  8. Anne Mette Jepsen says:

    Thank you Seven 🙂
    LOVE and GRATITUDE 🙂

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