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Home / News Archive / News September 2009

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Neverland Ranch Ride Interests Fairgoers. 30-09-'09

The life-size cutouts of Michael Jackson -- from Jackson 5 portraits to dance move shots -- were enough to make several people stop to take pictures.

That and a "Neverland" sign drew people Wednesday to the Balloon Samba ride at the Kern County Fair.

The ride used to be at Jackson's Neverland Ranch.

Now it's owned by Butler Amusements, Inc., which supplies fairs with games, rides and food vendors. The company bought the ride last fall when Neverland Ranch was being liquidated, and has found the attraction to be popular.

"People want to know which car Michael rode in," ride operator Marc Duncan said with a laugh. He's worked with the ride since February, and said it became more popular after Jackson died in June.

Butler Amusements spokeswoman Andrea Owen said the business bought six of Jackson's rides to send across the country after fair managers encouraged the purchase.

Balloon Samba Ride

The Californian People take a spin on the Samba Balloon ride at the Kern County Fair. The ride used to be one of the amusement rides in Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch.

Feedback from fairgoers has been largely positive, Owen said. That includes thank-you notes from people appreciating the chance to go on a ride they otherwise would never experience.

One sign at the fair said, "MJ Ride Here! This is one of Michael Jackson's Rides from Neverland Ranch." The other said, "From Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch! This Balloon Samba ride was ridden by Michael Jackson and thousands of others through the years."

Fairgoer Ruby Gomez knew about the ride's previous home at Neverland before the fair started.

"We were looking for it," she said. "I thought it was cool that there was a Neverland ride here."

Initially, she and her daughter, Amanda Lazaro, picked the ride because they were interested in the Michael Jackson association, but when they came back the next day, her daughter wanted to ride it because of the spinning balloons.

Others have even asked if they can take the cutouts home, Duncan said. Nope -- pictures only.

Source: Bakersfield / Billie Jean


Michael Jackson's Former Lawyers Sue His Estate. 30-09-'09

The lawyers who represented Michael Jackson during his molestation trial, in which he was ultimately acquitted of 14 charges, are now suing the late singer's estate.

ET can confirm that attorneys Thomas Mesereau Jr. and Susan Yu have filed a $341,452 claim against Jackson's estate.

The attorneys claim they are owed the money for legal services rendered after the trial, from approximately July 2005 through February 2006.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that on Tuesday, Jackson's estate filed a federal lawsuit against the Heal the World Foundation that bears the name of his famous song "Heal the World." The suit claims the foundation, created in 2008, is using Web sites and trademarks to imply the organization was approved by Jackson, thereby trying to obtain more donations.

The suit also claims that the King of Pop in 1992 created a charity dubbed "Heal the World," which existed for about 10 years.

Source: ET / Billie Jean


Michael Jackson Boots Sold At Auction Hosted By Janet. 30-09-'09

The biggest event at Fashion Week in Milan wasn't the debut of a new line or the arrival of the next great designer. Rather, it was a star-studded auction hosted by Janet Jackson for the benefit of the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR). All told, the auction raised a total of $1.1 million for the charity, which is an organization that funds scientific inquiry and research in to HIV and AIDS.

The first highlight of the event — which cost anywhere from $2,200 to $11,500 just to get in the door — was the sale of a pair of Swarovski crystal-studded boots that were owned by the late Michael Jackson. Janet's brother had planned on wearing the footwear on stage at London's O2 Arena during his planned residency there, and they fetched a total of $14,650.

The second highlight came later in the evening, when Kanye West (with girlfriend/model Amber Rose by his side) got into a bidding war with Diesel designer Renzo Rosso over a custom-made leather jacket produced by the DSquared2 label. Rosso ultimately prevailed with a winning bid of $52,740. (Luckily, Rosso didn't have to take the stage to formally accept the jacket.)

Janet Jackson has been in Milan for a week working at a number of events for amfAR. But she hasn't forgotten about her day job, as her new single "Make Me" is now for sale via download. Meanwhile, sales are already through the roof for "Michael Jackson's This Is It," the film culled from the hours of footage recorded during rehearsals for Michael's O2 residency. That film comes out on October 28 for two weeks only — and tickets are clearly going fast.

Source: Billie Jean


Insides Michael Jackson Neverland Ranch Magazine. 30-09-'09

Architectural Digest has dedicated its November issue to Neverland Ranch.

Rumor has it that Michael Jackson's family plans to turn Neverland Ranch into a Graceland-like tourist attraction, which will include a museum, a concert venue, and amusement park. Whether or not that's actually going to happen remains to be seen, but if you're curious about the King of Pop's 2,700-acre estate, Architectural Digest has dedicated its November issue (on sale September 30) to MJ's fantasy home.

The magazine features rare shots of Neverland taken by photographer Harry Benson, who also gives a first-person account of his visits with the superstar over the years.

Source: TMZ / Billie Jean


Akon On The Unreleased MJ Tracks. 30-09-'09

Akon recently spoke exclusively to MTV News about the tracks he made with Michael Jackson before his passing in June earlier this year.

Rumors to whether Akon will appear on Michael Jackon's upcoming new album 'This Is It' have been surrounding the singer over the past few weeks. However, speaking at the Orange Rock Corps event at London’s Royal Albert Hall, Akon revealed his feeling regarding the unheard material and his plans to release it eventually - once issues concerning Michael Jackon's estate are cleared.

Akon said: “Well a lot of material recorded before MJ’s passing, the estate has control over a lot of that stuff, so they’ll be deciding what goes out and when it goes out and what’ll get cleared and when it’ll get cleared.”

He added: “So all we can do is hope and pray that people allow them to do their jobs to the point were they are gonna allow that music to be released to the public. And have them be able to fulfil that experience.”

Source: MTV / Billie Jean


Michael Jackson 'This is It' Pre-Sales Skyrocket. 29-09-'09

Buzz is building on the highly anticipated Michael Jackson concert film 'This Is It,' with hundreds of initial showings selling out worldwide via online ticket pre-sales, according to Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Sony tells ET that the first 24 hours of pre-sales activity for the film is showing unprecedented demand around the globe, with fans securing their tickets in cities ranging from Los Angeles, Houston, Nashville and New York to London, Sydney, Bangkok and Tokyo. Record sales and sellouts are also being reported in France, Germany, Holland, Sweden, Belgium and New Zealand, with online pre-sales showing more advanced interest than such blockbusters as the 'Harry Potter' and 'Transformers' films.

In theaters October 28 for a limited two-week engagement, 'Michael Jackson's This Is It' features never-before-seen rehearsal footage of the late Jackson's giant "This Is It" concert series, which was to run for 50 dates in London's O2 Arena. The film is directed by long-time Jackson collaborator Kenny Ortega.

Source: ET / Billie Jean


This Is It' Sneak Peek Screenings Sell Out In 2 hours In Los Angeles. 28-09-'09

Advance screenings to the music documentary "Michael Jackson: This Is It" sold out within two hours early Sunday as fans who began lining up three days earlier snapped up all 3,000 tickets to the Los Angeles shows.

The documentary opens nationwide Oct. 28, but fans will get a sneak peek the night before in screenings at the new Regal Cinemas Stadium 14. For the theater's grand opening, the cinema will show "This Is It" on all 14 screens that night.

Directed by longtime Jackson collaborator Kenny Ortega, "This Is It" draws on hundreds of hours of footage as Jackson prepared for a series of London concerts for which he was rehearsing before his death on June 25.

Michael Jackson backup dancers writes on a poster as the fans arrive to buy tickets the "Michael Jackson's This Is It" film, at L.A. Live in Los Angeles.

Source : startribune / Billie Jean


Michael Jackson Candid About Madonna And Lisa Marie Presley. 27-09-'09

In Rabbi Shmuley Boteach's never-before-released recordings of Michael Jackson that aired on "Dateline" Friday night, the late King of Pop paints Madonna as jealous, says his ex-wife Lisa Marie Presley broke his heart, and claims his father delivered savage beatings with an ironing cord.

Boteach sat down with NBC's Meredith Vieira in an exclusive interview prior to the release of his book: The Michael Jackson Tapes: A Tragic Icon Reveals His Soul in Intimate Conversation.

The rabbi recorded these conversations -- with Jackson's permission -- between 1999 and 2001. "Dateline" says that in them, Jackson describes feeling dejected that his ex-wife Lisa Marie Presley reportedly didn't want to have children.

"She promised me that before we married, that would be the first thing we'd do is have children. So I was broken-hearted and I walked around all the time holding these little baby dolls and I'd be crying, that's how badly I wanted it, you know," Jackson says.

On his relationship with Madonna, Jackson says: "You know, at the time I was with Madonna, she was into books, all over, a whole collec-- like a library of books of women who were tied to walls, different things. She said, 'I love spanky books.' Why would I want to see that? I think she likes shock value."

He also refers to Madonna while talking about jealousy in Hollywood: "They admire you and know you're wonderful and great, but just they're jealous 'cause they wish they were in your place, wish they were in your shoes. And 'M' is one of 'em. Madonna. She's not a nice, she hasn't been kind…"

When asked on tape by Shmuley if he thought Madonna was jealous, Jackson replies, "Absolutely."

Reflecting on growing up with his siblings, he claims about his father Joe Jackson: "He was rough. The way he would beat you, you know, was hard, you know. Sometime he [would] take, um, he would make you strip nude first. He would oil you down. It would be a whole ritual. He would oil you down so when the flip of the ironing cord hit you, you know. And it would just like be dying and you had whips all over your face, your back, everywhere.

"And I always hear my mother, 'No, Joe! You're gonna kill 'em. You're gonna kill 'em, no!' I would just give up, like there was nothing I could do, you know? And I, and I hated him for it, hated him."

Source: ET / Billie Jean


Jennifer Batten Speaks About MJ. 27-09-'09

Guitarist Jennifer Batten says that she loved to see Michael Jackson's shows--but only from the stage.

Lucky for her, she had the privilege of being up-close with the King of Pop; she was the guitarist for his band for 10 years, through his “Bad,” “Dangerous” and “HIStory” world tours. She also joined Jackson to perform in Superbowl XXVII's half-time show, which aired to 1.5 billion people — the largest audience in television history.

Of her decade onstage with Jackson, Batten says,

It was unbelievable to be on stage with 60,000 to 80,000 people who knew all his lyrics and were going absolutely bananas for him. You could certainly feel the love.”

Before joining Jackson, Batten played in rock, metal, fusion and funk bands. But she was mostly into jazz fusion. By watching Jackson's magic, she discovered the power of good hooks and melodies and learned a lot from seeing the way Jackson always added theatrics like dance and special effects.

The thing that really got me was the entertainment value. His songs were just the beginning.”

As a result of his inspiration, she now tours nationwide as a solo guitarist with a multimedia show. She has created a 90-minute performance, which blends public domain footage and photos cut to her rhythms. The images range from Betty Boop to trippy journeys into outer space. She also does a 12-minute Jackson tribute, not with footage of him (because it's too expensive), but with such footage as “Night of the Living Dead” and aliens.

It's a show for the ADD generation that demands something new every second. For me, the cheesier, the better.”

She calls her style “guitaronica,” a culmination of everything she has put into her brain. Part of that includes a three-year stint with Jeff Beck, who turned her on to electronica.

There's a huge variety of texture and world sounds. I really change it up. If I see people start to wander, I throw them a curve ball.”

Source: batten.com / Billie Jean


'This Is It' Coming To Digital IMAX. 27-09-'09

IMAX Corporation and Sony Pictures Releasing today announced that the highly-anticipated motion picture Michael Jackson's This Is It will be released for a special run in select digital IMAX(R) theaters worldwide during the film's limited two-week engagement in thousands of theaters globally starting on October 28, 2009. The film's domestic run at select digital IMAX theaters will be for evening showtimes starting at approximately 9 PM Pacific Standard Time, beginning Tuesday, October 27, 2009. Tickets for the worldwide release go on sale for most locations this Sunday, September 27th at 12:01 AM. To find out which IMAX locations have the film.

"This Is It" will be digitally re-mastered into the image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience(R) with proprietary IMAX DMR(R) (Digital Re-mastering) technology. The crystal-clear images coupled with IMAX's customized theatre geometry and powerful digital audio create a unique environment that will make audiences feel as if they are in the movie.

"The combination of the never seen before rehearsal footage of Michael Jackson preparing for his sold-out London concerts, more than 25 world premieres and special IMAX engagements makes this a once-in-a-lifetime event for moviegoers, music lovers and Michael Jackson fans," said Rory Bruer, President, Worldwide Distribution for Sony Pictures Releasing.

"The rollout of our new digital IMAX locations is expanding the range and frequency of IMAX content available to moviegoers worldwide," said IMAX CEO Richard L. Gelfond. "Our partnership with Sony Pictures Entertainment is growing with our theatre network, and we're looking forward to continued success with them as we open more theatres and release more films."

"We're very excited to participate in this special event, where IMAX audiences and fans of Michael Jackson will feel the energy of his talents," added Greg Foster, Chairman and President of IMAX Filmed Entertainment. "Sony Pictures Entertainment knows how to create an event on a global scale, and their use of our new digital IMAX locations internationally demonstrates how major studios can take advantage of our network in new and exciting ways."

Source: IMAX / Billie Jean


Fans Line Up For 'This Is It' Tickets. 26-09-'09

Sally Rubio and dozens of Michael Jackson fans were among the first to line up for "This Is It" tickets.

The winding queue for tickets to the first public screenings of the documentary opened late Thursday afternoon in the courtyard outside the Nokia Theatre at the L.A. Live complex in downtown Los Angeles. The film features a behind-the-scenes look at Jackson preparing for the series of London shows he was rehearsing for before he died June 25.

"I've never done something like this in my life," said Rubio, 53, "but M.J. is worth it."

Tickets for the advance shows aren't scheduled to go on sale until early Sunday morning, meaning Rubio and her fellow devotees may spend days in line. The first 500 fans in line have been promised commemorative lenticular tickets designed by Jackson for the London concerts at the O2 Arena, another reason Rubio was motivated to wait in line for over 48 hours.

"I heard they are very beautiful," she said.

A total of 3,000 movie tickets will be available for the early Oct. 27 shows at L.A. Live's new Regal Cinemas Stadium 14, marking the movie theater's grand opening. It's the only screening location offering the advance shows and commemorative tickets. "This Is It" will begin its limited, two-week run at movie theaters nationwide on Oct. 28.

The Sony Pictures film, crafted from hundred hours of rehearsal footage, is directed by longtime Jackson collaborator Kenny Ortega, the "High School Musical" director who had been working with Jackson on the "This Is It" concerts. The movie will feature Jackson rehearsing a number of his songs for the show as well as interviews with his friends and family.

Several of the fans who arrived when the line opened Friday brought chairs - one per person - and umbrellas for the long wait ahead of them. AEG, which operates the L.A. Live complex and organized the Jackson concerts, said that no tents, alcohol, cooking or boom boxes were permitted in line. Onsite monitors would issue passes for restroom and food breaks.

"It was a last-minute decision," said Trudy Miles, who was waiting in line with her daughters. "We were getting ready to go to the park, and my daughter texted me and told me the tickets were going on sell today. We were going to see it at the theater near our house, but we thought this would be special, so we loaded up the car with stuff and came down here."

Source: mcall.com / AP / Billie Jean


Murray's Girlfriend Ends Testimony. 26-09-'09

The girlfriend of Michael Jackson's personal physician finished giving testimony before a grand jury in Los Angeles on Thursday, her lawyer said.

Joseph Low, the lawyer for Nicole Alvarez, said his client began testifying on Wednesday.

By law, he was not allowed to discuss what Alvarez was asked but said she had been cooperative in providing a statement.

Alvarez is the girlfriend of Dr. Conrad Murray, who is the subject of an investigation into Jackson's June 25 death, which has been classified as a homicide.

Murray told police he gave the pop superstar the powerful anesthetic propofol and other drugs in the hours before Jackson's death, court records state.

Murray's attorney has said the doctor didn't give Jackson anything that should have killed him.

Police searched the apartment of Alvarez last month, but Low said his client did not want to talk to investigators without a lawyer present. It took until this week for a spot to open up on the grand jury schedule.

"The grand jury is a tool that a very professional and thorough prosecutor will use to conduct an investigation, and that's what was done here," Low said. "We willingly participated in that."

Source: AP / Billie Jean


AEG president: Jackson Movie 'This is It' Should Clear Company Name After Star's Death. 26-09-'09

As dozens of buoyant Michael Jackson fans queued up in the Nokia Plaza to be among the first to see their idol's last performance, others watching the scene expressed mixed emotions.

Tim Leiweke, president of AEG, which bankrolled Jackson's "This is It" tour and is a key player in the film, recalled the moment he got the news of Jackson's death. "Well, at first it lets all the air out of you, and you sit here and you're stunned at how quickly it happened and occurred. You're in denial. You can't believe it. You're looking around, saying, 'What happened?"

Zip ahead some three months, to Thursday afternoon - about an hour before the opening of the nearly two-and-a-half day waiting line for advance tickets to "Michael Jackson's 'This is It'" concert documentary. Leiweke reunited with musicians, singers and dancers from the tour in a press conference held in the plaza, which is directly across the street from the Staples Center, the site of Jackson's rehearsals, the last of which took place just hours before his death June 25.

"It's mixed feelings, first of all, to see these guys again, and to be in this space," noted singer Darryl Phinnessee. "You know, we finished rehearsing at quarter to midnight the night before Michael died, and he was energetic and up and doing his thing, as you'll see in the movie."

Crafted from hundred hours of rehearsal footage, "This is It" is directed by longtime Jackson collaborator Kenny Ortega, who had been working with Jackson on the concerts.

"You see the music, the studios, the rehearsals, the dancers, the auditions, the costumes," Leiweke said. "You see all of the behind-the-scenes, and then you finally see the last few days of the dress rehearsals, and you begin to see the genius of Michael: the dancing, the singing, the choreography, and his concept of creating a one-time performance that no one would ever forget."

Leiweke said the movie also will provide proof that AEG had Jackson's well-being in mind.

"I think we still are hurt," Leiweke said. "Some of the things that people have said about us, which are so untrue, this movie's going to restore his legacy, and prove that we, in fact, gave Michael a second chance here. And an opportunity to make the kind of comeback he was dreaming of. And that we created an environment for him that was probably the best environment that the guy had the last 10 or 15 years of his life. And I'm very proud of the way we treated Michael, and very proud of the partnership that we had with him. And this movie is an opportunity to celebrate that, and we could get past all of the gossip and all of the innuendo."

"This is It" is set to open in cinemas worldwide Oct. 28.

Source: mcall.com / Billie Jean


Michael Jackson - Security Concerns. 25-09-'09

The creditor's claims against Michael Jackson ... rolling, rolling in.

A security firm has filed legal papers in the probate case, claiming Jackson owed Steven Echols DBA Security Measures $261,169.

The firm is based in Las Vegas. According to the legal docs, the firm supplied 3 guards to Jackson in 2008 24/7 at $25 an hour.

The papers say in September, 2008 Jackson racked $119,000 in security costs. In October the bill was $99,000.

The docs say the firm provided protection for Jackson and his kids.

Source: TMZ / Billie Jean


Michael Jackson: The Official Exhibition Showcase. 25-09-'09

An Unforgettable Collection of Personal Belongings, Costumes, Videos, Photographs and More from His Private Estate.

Be one of the very first in the world to visit this never seen before collection of Michael Jackson memorabilia. Michael Jackson: The Official Exhibition showcases some of the most personal and iconic memorabilia from The King of Pop's extraordinary life and his unparalleled career.

The exhibit will chronicle Michael's rise to fame with The Jackson 5, his record-breaking solo career as a global superstar, and end with the spectacular show he had planned for The O2 Arena before his untimely death. This extensive collection will be exhibited across nine different themed galleries and include more than 250 objects.

Opens October 28, 2009 in The Bubble at The 02 bfore it closes on January 31, 2010.

Source: MJFC / michaeljackson.com / Billie Jean


L.A. Fans Prepare For Ticket Sales. 24-09-'09

Tickets go on sale Sunday at L.A. Live for the first screenings of "Michael Jackson's This Is It," the Sony Pictures concert documentary that chronicles the making of what would have been Jackson's comeback shows. The film will show on all 14 screens at the new Regal Cinemas at the downtown complex across the street from Staples Center.

The first 500 fans in line will be eligible to receive a "lenticular" ticket commemorating the planned 50-date "This Is It" concert engagement at London's O2 Arena. The tickets were said to be "inspired and designed" by Jackson, and fans who purchased tickets for the London performances had the option of receiving them in lieu of a refund.

Perhaps that's why AEG is anticipating quite the crowd to descend on the downtown complex this weekend. The line will officially open at 5 p.m. Thursday, and tickets will go on sale just after midnight on Saturday night/Sunday morning.

L.A. Live is the only screening location that will offer the commemorative tickets. There is a two-ticket limit per person, and buyers can receive only one commemorative ticket.

The L.A. Live screenings will mark the opening of the Regal Cinemas. The film will start showing at 9 p.m. Oct. 27, one day before it begins its limited, two-week run at theaters nationwide.

Parking for those camping out is free, and we're told that "music will be provided." The tickets for the initial preview screenings at L.A. Live will be sold only in person. However, all other screenings nationwide will be available for purchase online.

A total of 3,000 tickets will be available, and parking will close after the first 1,500 wristbands have been distributed. More information is available here.

Source: LA Times / Billie Jean


The Never-Before-Heard Michael Jackson Tapes. 24-09-'09

As the investigation into the death of Michael Jackson continues, for the first time, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach releases recordings of conversations he had with the late King of Pop in which Jackson claims he didn't want to grow old.

Jackson fans will have the opportunity to hear these never-before-released recordings of the Gloved One in his own words on Friday, Sept. 25 on "Dateline," when Rabbi Shmuley sits down with Meredith Vieira in an exclusive interview, prior to the release of his book: The Michael Jackson Tapes: A Tragic Icon Reveals His Soul in Intimate Conversation.

The rabbi recorded these conversations -- with Jackson's permission -- between 1999 and 2001. In them, Jackson reveals himself to be a lonely man, despite his celebrity.

Here are a few excerpts:

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF DISAPPEARING:

Jackson: Yeah, I would like to some kind of way to disappear where people don't see me anymore at some--at some point, and just do my things for children but not be visual. To disappear is very important.

IF IT WEREN'T FOR CHILDREN:

Jackson: If it weren't for children, I would choose death. I mean it with all my heart.

ON WHAT HE'S BEEN THROUGH:

Jackson: Anybody else would probably be dead by now, or a junkie, with what I've been through, Shmuley.

ON HEALING POWER:

Rabbi Shmuley: You feel that God gave you a certain healing power?

Jackson: Yes …and I've seen children just shower all over me with love. They want to just touch me and hug me and completely just hold on and cry and not let go…and mothers pick their babies and put them into my arms. "Touch my baby, and hold them, touch my baby, touch my baby."

ON GETTING OLD:

Jackson: …when the body breaks down, and you start to wrinkle, I think it's so bad…

Rabbi Shmuley: So you would die before that happens?

Jackson: I don't want to grow old.

Vieira's interview with Rabbi Shmuley airs on "Dateline" on Friday, Sept. 25 at 9 p.m. and on "Today" on Friday, Sept. 25 and Tuesday, Sept. 29 between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. on NBC.

Source: Billie Jean


Dr. Murray's Baby Mama - Grand Jury Bound. 24-09-'09

TMZ has confirmed one of Dr. Conrad Murray's baby mamas will be called to testify before the L.A. County Grand Jury in the Michael Jackson investigation -- because she's not cooperating with the cops.

The L.A. County D.A. has asked the Grand Jury to put Nicole Alvarez under oath and testify about Dr. Murray's comings and goings around the time Jackson died.

Alvarez -- the mother of Dr. Murray's 7th child -- lives in Santa Monica, CA. As we first reported, law enforcement sources told us they believe Dr. Murray was actually living in Santa Monica during the time he was supposedly living at Jackson's house. Although we've heard he may have been living with Alvarez, we have not been able to confirm that.

This development does not mean the Grand Jury will decide whether to charge Dr. Murray with the death of Jackson -- this is merely an investigative tool law enforcement sometimes uses with uncooperative witnesses.

Source: TMZ / Billie Jean


Unreleased Michael Jackson Song "This Is It" To Be Unveiled October 12th. 23-09-'09

On October 12th, the first new Michael Jackson song to emerge since the world mourned the loss of this musical icon will be released – a brand new single entitled “This Is It.” Soon after, Sony Music Entertainment's Columbia/Epic Label Group will release the two-disc album This Is It featuring the music that inspired Sony Pictures’ forthcoming film MICHAEL JACKSON’S THIS IS IT. This two-disc album will be available internationally on October 26th and North America on October 27th to coincide with the worldwide release of the motion picture which arrives in theaters on October 28th and runs for a limited two-week engagement.

“This song only defines, once again, what the world already knows - that Michael is one of God's greatest gifts, “ comments John McClain, co-producer of the album.

Disc one will feature the original album masters of some of Michael’s biggest hits arranged in the same sequence as they appear in the film. The disc ends with two versions of the never-released “This Is It.” This song is featured in the film’s closing sequence and includes backing vocals by Michael’s brothers, the Jacksons.

Disc two offers previously unreleased versions of some of the artist’s classic tracks. This disc also features a touching spoken word poem from Michael Jackson entitled “Planet Earth” that has never been heard before.

The two-disc This is It is a stand-alone companion to the motion picture and includes a 36-page, commemorative booklet featuring exclusive photos of Michael from his last rehearsal.

The motion picture MICHAEL JACKSON’S THIS IS IT will offer Jackson fans and music lovers worldwide a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the performer as he developed, created and rehearsed for his sold-out concerts that would have taken place beginning this summer in London's O2 Arena. Chronicling the months from April through June, 2009, the film is produced with the full support of the Estate of Michael Jackson and drawn from more than one hundred hours of behind-the-scenes footage, featuring Jackson rehearsing a number of his songs for the show. Audiences will be given a chance to discover the man they never knew through this privileged and private look at Jackson. In raw and candid detail, MICHAEL JACKSON'S THIS IS IT captures the singer, dancer, filmmaker, architect, creative genius and great artist at work as he creates and perfects his final show.

Kenny Ortega, who was both Michael Jackson's creative partner and the director of the stage show is also directing the film, which is being produced by Randy Phillips, Kenny Ortega and Paul Gongaware. Executive producers are John Branca and John McClain. The film will be distributed worldwide by Sony Pictures Releasing.

Tickets for the limited two-week engagement of the film go on sale beginning September 27. For more information about the motion picture, please visit the website www.thisisit-movie.com or www.sonnypictures.com

Source: Sony Music / Billie Jean


Jackson Family Reality Show Exclusive! 23-09-'09

Only ET's Kevin Frazier was behind the scenes of A&E's promo shoot for the upcoming Jackson reality series with Jermaine, Jackie, Tito and Marlon Jackson - for the first time since they laid brother Michael Jackson to rest. Has this tragedy brought them closer or torn them apart?

The three brothers (Jermaine couldn't attend due to an illness which is revealed in the video) opened up about working together, losing their brother Michael, and what they feel is their calling.

Source: ET / Billie Jean


MJ's Ferris Wheel Spins Into New Life. 22-09-'09

From the top of the Ferris wheel, one could once see acres of Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch, the ride's 5,000 lights aglow in a carnival-like frenzy fit for the King of Pop.

Sadly, a liquidation sale scattered many of Jackson's rides from his Neverland Ranch. Now the Ferris wheel that offered glimpses of Jackson's incredible wealth is quietly touring the Midwest in the hands of a Missouri amusement company that bought it only because it needed another one for its stable of rides.

"We ourselves really didn't advertise it," said Theresa Noerper, co-owner of Archway Amusements Corp. "When he died, it kind of blew up. There's no keeping secrets then."

The ride offers no reference of Jackson to casual passers-by; a metal stamp shows it was made by the Eli Bridge Co. of Jacksonville, Ill. However, metal molding around the seats remains a very specific color, supposedly specified by Jackson when he ordered it from the manufacturer - pinot noir red.

Archway Amusements doesn't go out of its way to publicize the Ferris wheel's ties to Jackson; it leaves it up to local fair organizers to decide whether to make them known. But word of mouth has gotten to some hardcore Jackson fans.

Michael Jackson reportedly purchased the Ferris wheel for $215,000 in 1990 and took the first ride on it when workers installed it at Neverland.

Noerper said Archway Amusements bought the 65-foot-tall Ferris wheel last year. The company repainted its supporting arms green and began taking it on the company's seasonal fair and carnival circuit. Then Jackson died June 25, raising concerns among local police that the ride might be mobbed by mourners.

That didn't happen.

"They come to take pictures, a couple tears and everybody likes to ride it," Noerper said.

The Ferris wheel made an appearance last week at the annual Baxter County Fair. It will move on to the Northeast Arkansas District Fair in Jonesboro this week, competing against stomach-churning rides like Pharaoh's Revenge, the Sizzler and the Hot Shot.

Alaina Dyce, 13, of Mountain Home, said she looked forward to the spinning "squirrel cages" rather than the staid Ferris wheel. Michael Jackson's name didn't add much for the Led Zeppelin T-shirted teen.

Still, something draws riders to the wheel, making them willing to hand over three tickets worth $4.50.

"They're not big moneymakers anymore, because they're so slow and you have to load them," Noerper said of Ferris wheels. "It's more of a nostalgia piece than anything."

Source: Billie Jean


Friedman: Movie, Soundtrack Have New Song. 22-09-'09

Here’s something new I can tell you now exclusively: Michael Jackson’s “This is It” film will include a brand new song, which Michael wrote for the tour.

The song is called “This is It.” After Jackson died, it was finished by producer John McClain, who is also one of Michael’s executors.

The new song will be included in the film and on the two-CD soundtrack scheduled for release right after the movie has its two-week run. I told you months ago when the movie was being shopped that it would be accompanied by a soundtrack. As I pointed out, Jackson has never had a “live” album.

Even the Jackson family should be surprised by the new song, but they’ll hear it when they see the first draft of the movie, sources say, in the next week.

Source : Showbiz411.com / Billie Jean


Omer Bhatti To Play As Michael Jackson In A Film. 22-09-'09

Omer Bhatti, is to play him in a new film.

Omer, whom the late ‘King of Pop’ told friends he had fathered, will play Michael in a movie charting his rise to superstardom in the 80s.

A source told Britain’s The Sun newspaper, “Michael’s story from childhood to the height of success is nothing short of astounding.

The family feel fans would love to see a dramatic retelling. They want to cover his childhood and family life but really focus when his career went into overdrive.”

Although Norwegian Omer – who has worked as a Michael Jackson impersonator – denies Michael is his biological father; though he has revealed the singer used to tell him he was “like a son” to him.

He has also been welcomed by the Jackson family and sat in the front row at Michael's Los Angeles memorial service in July.

Since Michael’s death from Acute Propofol Intoxication in June, Omer has reportedly stayed at the Jacksons’ California home.

Omer, 25, first met Michael in 1996 in Tunisia whilst on a family holiday with his mother Pia and stepfather Riz. He impressed the star with his dance moves and they became “best friends”.

In 1997, the family moved into Michael’s luxury estate, where Pia is believed to have worked as a nanny and Riz a driver.

Meanwhile, Michael’s father Joe Jackson has claimed he tried to save his son from using prescription drugs shortly before his death, but was prevented by his bodyguards.

He said: “”I thought, ‘I’ll go get my gun and shoot my way to Michael.’

“I said to my wife, Katherine, ‘We must get the boy out of there or he is dead in one week.’ And one week later he was indeed dead.”

Source: inquistr / Billie Jean


Sony To Screen 'This Is It' In Advance. 22-09-'09

Sony has scheduled advance screenings of Michael Jackson's "This Is It" documentary on Oct. 27 - a day ahead of the original release date -- along with 15 simultaneous premiere events.

"Michael Jackson has an army of fans everywhere around the world," said Sony marketing-distribution chief Jeff Blake. He called the rollout plan a chance for auds worldwide "to join together in celebration of Michael Jackson's incredible career."

Sony said the screenings will start three hours after the Los Angeles preem at the Nokia Theater, which will kick off premieres in New York, Rio De Janeiro, London, Berlin, Johannesburg and Seoul with red carpet arrivals and activities from the Los Angeles event broadcast by satellite. Other cities, including Moscow, Tokyo, Sydney and Paris, will host premiere events at a later date.

Sony said the first audiences in Los Angeles will see the film at 9 p.m. local time. Start time will be midnight in New York and 4 a.m. in London.

"This Is It" will run for two weeks with tickets for shows, including advance screenings, going on sale Sunday. The pic covers the period from March through Jackson's death on June 25 as the pop star rehearsed for his comeback series of shows at London's 02 Arena.

Kenny Ortega, director of the stage show, is also directing the film, which is produced by Ortega, Randy Phillips and Paul Gongaware. John Branca and John McClain, the legal eagles who are overseeing Jackson's estate, are exec producers.

Source: Variety / Billie Jean


Michael Jackson's "This Is It," Pre-order Tickets In Belgium. 22-09-'09

On September 29th 2009, the fans can buy Pre-order Tickets in Belgium on the site of Sony pictures. Kinepolis cinemas in Europe have information on their web site regarding Michael’s ‘This Is It’ film in Europe.

For fans in Belgium or The Netherlands – Please click here

Michael Jackson THIS IS IT will offer Jackson fans and music lovers worldwide a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the performer as he developed, created and rehearsed for his sold-out concerts that would have taken place beginning this summer in London's O2 Arena. Chronicling the months from April through June, 2009, the film is drawn from more than one hundred hours of behind-the-scenes footage, featuring Jackson rehearsing a number of his songs for the show. Audiences will be given a privileged and private look at the singer, dancer, filmmaker, architect, and genius as he creates and perfects his final show.

Source: michaeljackson.com / Billie Jean


Michael Jackson Portraits By Dick Zimmerman. 21-09-'09

Dick Zimmerman, the man who photographed the cover of Thriller, is an acclaimed portrait painter of international repute. Now for the first time, he is offering collectors the chance to own limited editions and original paintings of two very special Michael Jackson artworks.

Renowned Hollywood portrait painter Dick Zimmerman has created two special paintings of Michael Jackson which he is offering as limited editions in a choice of styles. First is a very special montage painting, a tribute to Michael Jackson packed full of visual references and insights gained by Dick over the 15 years he knew Michael. The montage was unveiled on Live national television in the USA on Friday September 18th. Dick made the photograph that appeared on the cover of Thriller, and as a complementary piece to the montage, he has made a new 2009 painting of his world renowned Thriller portrait of Michael in his white jacket. Dick’s white jacket that is - he lent it to Michael for the shoot.

As Dick explains: “I started as a Portrait Painter, and my technique was always realism in oils. As I always painted exactly what came out of the camera, I took up photography to make my reference photographs for my paintings that much better."

Dick has chosen us to be his exclusive representative in Europe and we are delighted to offer limited editions of these two special paintings to our clients.

The 2009 Thriller painting is available in three formats:

1.As a limited edition giclee on heavy weight fine art paper in a choice of sizes
2.As a large format 40x41 inch limited edition giclee on artists canvas, with individual details painted onto the canvas by Dick Zimmerman personally and varnished to finish
3.As a bespoke original oil painting by Dick Zimmerman, created from scratch to your ownexact size specifications. This third option is the connoisseurs choice - for the collector who has to have the absolute best available at any price.

The tribute painting, which Dick has titled HOMAGEKOP8/15 is available in the first two formats. An original oil painting version is not being offered for this piece.

16 x 16.4 inch image on paper
Limited edition of 250 giclee prints on heavyweight fine art paper. Image size 16 inches (H) x 16.4 inches (W). Signed and numbered on the front in pencil under the image area by Dick Zimmerman.

USD 1 250

32 x 33 inch image on paper
Limited edition of 50 giclee prints on heavyweight fine art paper. Image size 32 inches (H) x 32.8 inches (W). Signed and numbered on the front in pencil under the image area by Dick Zimmerman.

USD 3 500

40 x 41 inch image on paper
Limited edition of 50 giclee prints on heavyweight fine art paper. Image size 40 inches (H) x 41 inches (W). Signed and numbered on the front in pencil under the image area by Dick Zimmerman.

USD 6 500

40 x 41 inch canvas size
Limited edition of 50 giclee prints on canvas with paint applied to each canvas individually by Dick Zimmerman. Image size 40 inches (H) x 41 inches (W). Signed and numbered in paint on the image area by Dick Zimmerman.

USD 10 000

Maximum size - 40 inches (H) x 41 inches (W)
Original painting on canvas, produced to exact size specification of customer ( up to a maximum size of 40x41 inches), signed in paint on image area.

PLEASE ENQUIRE

HOMAGEKOP8/15..is an unusual title..... so what does the title signify?

KOP is Michael Jackson - the King Of Pop. 8 refers to the number of creative & social occasions Dick spent with Michael over the 15 years he knew him - so 8 over 15, or 8/15.

Dick explains further: The montage is based around the "Thriller" cover, and the two images upper left were from the exclusive portrait session of Michael & Lisa’s wedding taken in Donald Trump’s Penhouse at the Trump Tower in Manhattan. The image of Michael to the right of the Thriller was an alternative image taken at the Thriller session. The image of ET is from the album of MJ's narration of the ET story.

Dick Zimmerman shares some further insights: “Even though my basic painting technique is realistic, I painted the two upper left images to look like a mask as I felt that in a sense Michael created them to hide behind. The lighted tube was to signify his interest in magic. ET was to signify his childlike quality and the reason for the right side being cut off signifies Michael's childlike quality being taken away as in Neverland. I also made Michael's eyes gold and his face a bit evil to relate to the Thriller Video and the horror aspect. I positioned the eyes of Lisa Marie as far away from the upper images to represent a the lack of communication in the relationship and the second image to represent her fading away. the two red stripes on his shoulder represent his obsession with his military uniforms. And of course ET his pal resting on his shoulder. The red paint under the 8/15 represents the end of his life & of course the end of his collaboration with me. There is one more very big clue to the positioning of the composition elements and the upper left image along with the reason for the smile which is something Michael had shared with me one evening over a bottle of wine that we had shared at the Trump tower at about 1:00 am which I will keep personal at this time!"

16 x 18 inch image on paper
Limited edition of 250 giclee prints on heavyweight fine art paper. Image size 16 inches (H) x 18 inches (W). Signed and numbered on the front in pencil under the image area by Dick Zimmerman.

USD 1 250

32 x 36 inch image on paper
Limited edition of 50 giclee prints on heavyweight fine art paper. Image size 32 inches (H) x 36 inches (W). Signed and numbered on the front in pencil under the image area by Dick Zimmerman.

USD 3 500

40 x 45 inch image on paper
Limited edition of 50 giclee prints on heavyweight fine art paper. Image size 40 inches (H) x 45 inches (W). Signed and numbered on the front in pencil under the image area by Dick Zimmerman.

USD 6 500

40 x 45 inch image on canvas
Limited edition of 50 giclee prints on canvas with paint applied to each canvas individually by Dick Zimmerman. Image size 40 inches (H) x 45 inches (W). Signed and numbered in paint on the image area by Dick Zimmerman.

USD 10 000

For more info - click here

Source: Snap Galleries / Billie Jean


Several Pieces Of MJ Memorabilia Up For Auction. 21-09-'09

Profilesinhistory.com will feature several Michael Jackson items up for sale during their October auction. Profiles in History is America's leading dealer in guaranteed-authentic Hollywood memorabilia. They deal in all types of memorabilia including original historical autographs, letters, documents, vintage signed photographs and manuscripts.

Their October auction will feature MJ items like the hand mirror that was used in the "Ghost" video; a pencil sketch of an old man which was hand-drawn and signed by Michael himself; several stage costumes; and an illuminating glove that was worn onstage during the Victory Tour, just to name a few.

Source: profilesinhistory.com / Billie Jean


'The Penguin’. 20-09-'09

INCREDIBLE new footage of Michael Jackson rehearsing for his doomed comeback concerts shows him revealing a completely new signature dance move.
The hilarious move, being branded the PENGUIN, involves him flapping his right arm up and down very quickly while his body shimmies while standing on the spot.

The Sun revealed in May that Jacko had hired famous choreographer Kenny Ortega to create a new signature dance move for his comeback tour at the O2 in London, which fans across the world could copy.
The amazing video, believed to be from the This Is It movie rehearsal footage, shows Ortega coaching and watching Jackson as he pulls off the Penguin.

See the video of Human Nature here below 

The move is technically very difficult because of the speed at which he does it and its got Jackson impersonators terrified they may not be able to emulate it.

Now children in playgrounds and adults in work places across the country will be showing off their attempts to copy the Jackson Penguin.

The move was due to be added to his famous repertoire of dance actions including the legendary Moonwalk, Anti-Gravity Lean, and Crotch Grab.

Source: The Sun / Billie Jean


'Tough' Talking Michael Jackson. 19-09-'09

Michael Jackson "talked tough" and had a deep voice.

According to one of the late pop superstar's closest friends, concert promoter David Gest, Michael's real voice was heavy and powerful and nothing like the high-pitched whimper he used when speaking publicly.

David said: "I'm showing an interview I did with Michael that shows him talking in his real voice, like, 'C' mon David, let's get it done now.' "

Mimicking Michael's famous high-pitched tone, he added: "You know - he doesn't talk like, 'Hi, how are you?' He talks very, very tough. I'm telling you the truth."

Fans were shocked earlier this year when Michael announced his 'This Is It' London residency in an unusually deep voice - which prompted speculation as to whether an impersonator had appeared instead of the 'King of Pop'.

David, 56, is making a documentary called 'My Best Friend Michael' which he promises will show this real side of the 'Thriller' singer.

Since his untimely passing in June, David has been in regular contact with the Jackson family, and revealed Michael's mother Katherine is struggling with the loss of her son.

Appearing on British TV show 'Live From Studio Five', David - who had Michael as his best man when he married Liza Minnelli in 2002 - said: "I went to the funeral about two months ago and I speak to his mother about every week.

"It's very hard on Mrs. Jackson, to bury a son when a son's supposed to bury a mother. She's trying to cope, but she's a very strong woman, she helped raise me when I was a kid."

Source: exposay / Billie Jean


Michael Jackson's O2 Shoes. 19-09-'09

Beirut born singer Mika, has inherited Michael’s designer shoes that he was going to wear on stage at the O2 Arena. Mika’s friend, Christian Louboutin had been asked to design the shoes by Michael and now as ended up inheriting them all.

Mika said; “Christian Louboutin designed all of Michael Jackson’s shoes that he was supposed to be wearing for the O2 concerts, so when he died, Christian asked if I wanted them for my tour. They are amazing. One is a black soft leather lace-up which goes up to the ankle to support Michael while he was dancing. Then there is the pair which must have been made for him to moonwalk in. They are gold with a metal toe and the soles are really smooth and slippy to make it easy to moonwalk in.”

Source: Mirror / Billie Jean

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