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Home / News Archive / News March 2015

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Russell Crowe: Michael Jackson Prank-Called Me For Years With Terrible Jokes. 31-03-'15

Russell CroweIn a recent interview with The Guardian, the 50-year-old actor said, "Two or three (expletive) years, I never met him, never shook his hand, but he found out the name I stayed in hotels under, so it didn't matter where I was, he'd ring up do this kind of thing, like you did when you were 10, you know."

That's just weird. And if I remember Michael Jackson as well as I think I do, "weird" was one word nobody ever used to describe him.

When asked what Jackson -- who died in 2009 -- would say, Crowe replied "'Is Mr. Wall there? Is Mrs. Wall there? Are there any Walls there? Then what's holding the roof up? Ha ha.'

"You're supposed to grow out of doing that, right?"

Well, yeah. And most of us grew out of dressing chimps up like children and taking them to award shows too, but ...

According to MSN, the "Gladiator" star talked about the prank calls in a 2013 interview with The Sun.

"He'd ring me and in a strong voice and say, 'There is an emergency and you need to leave the building,'" said Crowe. "I'd ask 'Who is this?' And he'd say, 'Do not worry Russell, just kidding, this is Michael."

Source: Contra Costa Times / Billie Jean


NBC Teams With Cirque Du Soleil for 'The Wiz' Live Musical, Broadway Revival. 30-03-'15

NBC has revealed that 'The Wiz' will be the network's third annual live-musical event. The latest adaptation of the 1974 Broadway show, a retelling of 'The Wizard of Oz' with an all-black cast and a Quincy Jones-produced soundtrack, will be co-produced by Cirque du Soleil's theatrical division. After the musical airs live on NBC on December 3rd, the new Wiz will then "Ease on Down the Road" to Broadway with a revival scheduled for the 2016/'17 season, Variety writes.

At the Television Critics Association panel in January, NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt announced that NBC had settled on two finalists for their next live musical, 'The Wiz' and 'The Music Man'. The network ultimately opted for the Tony-winning Wiz, which was previously adapted for a 1978 film starring Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and Richard Pryor. The Wiz follows the Carrie Underwood-led The Sound of Music and 2014's Peter Pan adaptation with Girls' Allison Williams. On top of 'The Wiz', NBC is also planning an Underground Railroad musical executive produced by Stevie Wonder.

"We love this yearly tradition and we're more excited than ever to not only bring another Broadway musical to America's living rooms, but also see it land on Broadway as well," Greenblatt said in a statement. "Cirque's incredible imagination will help bring the fantasy world of Oz vividly to life and give this great show a modern spin on the age-old story we all love."

While NBC's ratings dropped for last year's Peter Pan broadcast, that hasn't scared off fellow networks from going the live-musical route: In January, Fox announced their own plans to bring Grease to the small screen with actresses Julianne Hough and Vanessa Hudgens.

The Wiz - On the set

Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, Diana Ross and Ted Ross on the set of 'The Wiz.'.

Source: Rolling Stone / Billie Jean


The 80’s Cruise Searches For The “King Of Pop”. 30-03-'15

The 80’s Cruise (www.the80scruise.com) is launching a search for the greatest Michael Jackson tribute artist to join the voyage when it sets sail from February 28th through March 6th, 2016. The winner will receive a round trip for two on the cruise, a cash prize of $5000 and will perform for the thousands of guests aboard the ship, joining Huey Lewis and The News, Richard Marx, Starship, Kool & The Gang, Was (Not Was), A Flock of Seagulls, Modern English, Naked Eyes, Tiffany, Wang Chung, Biz Markie, the ultimate 80’s party band Jessie’s Girl and original MTV VJ's Nina Blackwood, Marc Goodman and Alan Hunter.

“Our 80s Cruise would not be complete without a very special celebration of Michael Jackson and his music,” says Michael Lazaroff, Entertainment Cruise Productions, LLC Executive Director. “And what could be better than having one of the world’s greatest tribute artists onboard and performing in his honor? So we came up with this contest that would bring all of the best MJ tribute artists together in one place for fans to vote for their favorite.” Contestants can enter at http://www.the80scruise.com/king-of-pop-michael-jackson-tribute-artist-contest beginning on March 19th at 2:00pm CT by uploading a 3-5 minute video of their best Michael Jackson performance. All entries must be received by May 15th at 4:59pm CT. No purchase is necessary to enter, and all artists must be 21 or older by February 28, 2016. After a public voting period, the winner will be announced on June 25th.

Artists will be judged on their vocal performance, costume and style, dance presentation, stage presence and their overall honor of Michael Jackson’s legacy.

MJ Tribute Artist Contest

The 80s Cruise will feature music presented by SiriusXM’s ‘80s on 8 on its inaugural cruise from February 28-March 6, 2016, along with over-the-top parties and special neon-filled events on the totally excellent adventure; a gnarly Prom, Back To The ‘80s Night, a Neon Beach Party and ‘80s Movie Costume Party for Ghostbusters, Bills and Teds, Dirty Dancing, Lost Boys and every single member of The Breakfast Club. Get ready to rock the Top Gun Karaoke challenge by channeling Maverick and Goose through “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling,” wear headbands and spandex for “Let’s Get Physical” workouts in the fully-appointed fitness centers, sing-along to movies like “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “Pretty In Pink” in the Movie Screening Room, play Donkey Kong, Mario Bros and Pac Man in the specially designed Arcade, test yourself in the ‘80s Game Show and take a few pointers from original MTV VJs during the “You Be the VJ” contest. There will also be “Back Stage Pass” interviews with ‘80s superstars held in front of live audiences throughout the cruise.

The 80s Cruise will sail from Ft Lauderdale, FL to the pristine Grand Turk Island in Turks and Caicos, historical San Juan, Puerto Rico, the breathtaking St Thomas and Half Moon Cay where cruise guests take over the entire private island for a day of beach fun. Cabin prices start at just $1700 per person (or $150 per month) and include all meals and tickets to all major concerts. Further information can be found at www.the80scruise.com or by calling (844) 384-8080. The 80s Cruise is produced by Entertainment Cruise Productions.

About Entertainment Cruise Productions, LLC:

ECP is the world leader in live entertainment at sea. Beginning more than a decade ago, ECP, through its various cruise programs, has produced more than 30 full ship charters featuring music themes as diverse as Rock 'n Roll, Elvis, R&B, Pop and Jazz. ECP’s formula for success remains constant among our various programs. ECP is dedicated to provide the finest music and entertainment cruise experience in the world.

Source: The 80s Cruise / Billie Jean


The Carousel At Neverland. 30-03-'15

It’s always fun to talk about Neverland.

Since as long as I remember I have loved amusement parks – Disney parks in particular. Michael and I grew up in two very different worlds, but as we got to know each other it was very clear that we had many things in common. Amusement parks were high on that list.

Neverland was more than an amusement park; it was a very real extension of Michael. It had it’s center-stage personality, and it also had areas that were more reserved. The carousel was the centerpiece, the crown-jewel of the ranch.

The carousel was also my first “challenge” at the ranch. Michael wanted a monster music system to flood the ride with sound. We discussed several methods of pushing that much sound from a moving ride, including speakers mounted above each cluster of animals (there were more than just horses). The issues that came up were safety (we really didn’t want a speaker falling on a guest’s noggin) and getting the wiring from the amps to the moving speakers. Eventually that plan got a thumbs down.

Neverland Ranch Carousel

We opted to build a huge concert system in the center of the carousel, where the guests could not see it. (Sorry, this might get techie for a minute – scan ahead if you like). The system consisted of four large JBL 2-way cabinets, and a pair of JBL 18" subwoofers. I think we were pushing about 4000 watts for that first system. As the park grew, so did the size of the music systems.

The funny thing about building a music system in a theme park in the middle of a ranch is that ranches have mice. They were there first, and they see no reason to leave just because Michael Jackson has moved in.

I would routinely test and repair the carousel music system (as well as all ranch systems) to make sure it sounded great at all times. It was always an adventure crawling into the middle of the carousel and inspecting the rack. Little field mice seemed to really love the warmth of my amplifiers, and they were eager to leave me little thank-you tokens that they had been there. Thanks Mickey!

Seattle, I have completely restructured the VIP Neverland segment of my seminar, including a multi-layered surround sound experience. Neverland was filled with sounds, along with sights, and my job was to make those sounds to Michael’s standards. I will share many of those techniques and original sounds with you. I think you are really going to enjoy it.

Toronto, Cologne, Madrid – we are hard at work for your events also. Thanks for your support – it’s going to be a busy spring and summer!

Get your ticket right!

Source: In The Studio With MJ / Billie Jean


The Jacksons Gave A Performance Their Illustrious Late Brother Would’ve Been Proud Of. 30-03-'15

The group was in Kuala Lumpur to perform at the Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix Gala.

It wasn’t the greatest of musical spectacles, but rather a nostalgic reminder of the power of the boogie.

The Jacksons — brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon — didn’t quite deliver the exuberant, dynamic performances that were their trademark in the 1970s, but when you’ve got that much funk in your soul (see what I just did there?) the people are gonna dig it.

And so they did during the group’s performance at the Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix Gala 2015 on Thursday.

Their vocals weren’t perfect, and that rambunctiousness in their choreography was slightly missing (most of them are in their late 50s and early 60s after all), but the people in the audience just couldn’t control their feet. I personally blame it on the boogie.

With songs like 'I Want You Back', 'ABC' and, of course, 'Blame It On The Boogie', performed with such gusto, it really doesn’t matter that not every note was perfect. It’s all about having a good time.

To that end, Marlon shouted: “Are you ready for a Jacksons party?” It got everyone on their feet for the home stretch, which ended with an epic, breathless 15-minute rendition of 'Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)', which had all the classic moves the guys did way back when. It was pure fun.

The Jacksons

The Jacksons performing during the Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix Gala Dinner at the Kuala Lumpur Conversion.

But there were a few tender moments as well. Jermaine’s tribute to their younger brother and former bandmate Michael, the global superstar who tragically passed away in 2009, was simply heartbreaking.

Jermaine sang one of Michael’s hits, 'Gone Too Soon', while a montage of his photos appeared on screen, capturing Michael in all his childlike brilliance throughout the years.

Even when the group sang their trademark ballad 'I’ll Be There', during the long pause before that final phrase, there were people in the audience screaming Michael’s name.

They sang plenty of songs from Michael’s extensive catalogue of hits, including 'Rock With You', 'Beat It', 'Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough' and – a real party-starter – 'Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.

Probably the biggest disappointment that night was that they only did a quick medley of their greatest hits as The Jackson 5 (their original name, which they changed to The Jacksons when they left Motown Records in 1975). 'I Want You Back', 'ABC' and 'The Love You Save' were all cut down to fit the medley – even though they were the hits that put them on the map.

But there’s no escaping the reality that Michael Jackson was – and perhaps still is – the biggest draw of the band, and his brothers were more than willing to oblige the crowd who clearly loved every reference to Michael.

It might be unfair to The Jacksons to say this, but it’s true – their show is the closest thing you will get to a true Michael Jackson show, and for that alone, the price of admission would be well worth it.

Source: The Star / Billie Jean


Katharine HepburnKatharine Hepburn And Michael Jackson's Secret Friendship. 28-03-'15

In their new book, 'In the Company of Legends' — due out April 16 — Joan Kramer and David Heeley share stories of interviewing Hollywood greats over their 35-year career as documentarians.

Preparing to sit down with Katharine Hepburn in the early ’80s, they discovered she had an unlikely friendship with none other than Michael Jackson. Read an excerpt from the book below:

"I met Michael in the summer of 1979 when I was up at Squam Lake in New Hampshire making On Golden Pond, and he came to visit Jane Fonda," Kate said. "They were already friends. She introduced him to me, and he was very soft-spoken and sweet."

"Then, Jane said to me, ‘I have to go back to LA for the weekend. Could you look after Michael?’ I said, ‘What the hell am I supposed to do with this kid? I hardly know him.’"

"'Oh, you’ll find things to do,’ she said. ‘He’s crazy about you.’ She’d found him a room in the attic of an old house. When I went there on Saturday morning, the room looked like a hurricane had hit it."

"I said, ‘Michael, clean up this place — right now.’ And he said, ‘Yes, Miss Hepburn,’ in a voice I could hardly hear, and he began picking up all those clothes and piling them on a chair. I said to him, ‘Don’t you ever do your laundry?’ And he said, ‘Someone usually does that for me.’"

"I said, ‘Come with me. We’re going to a laundromat just down the street.’" Kate showed Michael how to feed quarters into the washing machines.

Source: Closer Weekly / Billie Jean


Michael Jackson Patented 'Anti-Gravity' Shoes Following Famous Lean Dance. 28-03-'15

For the video of his 1987 single 'Smooth Criminal,' pop sensation Michael Jackson devised a dance routine. He leaned forward 45 degrees, apparently defying gravity, and completely blew our minds.

(In reality, the effect was achieved by wires.)

But Jackson wanted to recreate the same dance move in live performances on tour. So, along with two co-inventors, Jackson developed a special shoe. A slot in the heel engaged with a peg, which could be raised and protruded through the stage floor when activated. With the heel fixed, the performer could lean forward into the attached ankle straps. (However, the move would have required some strength in the legs and upper body to achieve and maintain this position.)

In 1993, Jackson and his co-inventors were granted a U.S. patent for the shoe and its magical heel. The "magic" worked perfectly until September 1996 when, during a concert in Moscow, one of the heels came loose from its peg. Michael went flying, but not in a good way. The result was a hasty reworking of the patented design.

The offending shoe, together with its twin, came into the possession of the Moscow branch of the Hard Rock Cafe, where they remained until after Jackson's death. Auctioned off, the shoes fetched roughly $600,000.

Even with a faulty heel, it seems the magic remained.

See here the images of the magic shoes.

Smooth Criminal - On the set

Michael Jackson on the set of the 'Smooth Criminal' video.

Source: Mashable / Billie Jean


Fire At Wynnewood Zoo Kills One Alligator Of Michael Jackson. 27-03-'15

An arson fire Thursday morning at the GW Interactive Zoo killed several reptiles and burned a recording studio.

Garvin County Sheriff Larry Rhodes said there are still no suspects in the arson, but they’re hoping that’ll change once they review surveillance video.

The building that houses the alligators was completely destroyed by fire. Entertainment Director Joe Schreibvogel, also known as Joe Exotic, says it will cost a quarter of a million dollars to fix, and federal court records show he’s already in bankruptcy.

“The building can be replaced the equipment can be replaced but Michael Jackson’s alligators cannot be replaced,” Schreibvogel said.

Michael and Alligator

Schreibvogel maintains that one of two alligators killed in the fire was once owned by the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson. The other alligator reportedly once owned by Jackson suffered severe smoke inhalation and is recovering.

Schreibvogel says he’s still in shock that someone could intentionally set fire to this facility. “Devastated, heartbroke,” he said, describing his feelings. “It is more of disgust if somebody has an issue with the zoo or an issue with me personally then take it up with me. These animals didn’t deserved to be burned to death.”

Rhodes said while there’s no suspect right now. He hopes that surveillance video will lead them to a person of interest. Rhodes says whoever set this fire would have to have knowledge of the animal park and plan the crime in advance.

He also says items were stolen…but wouldn’t comment on what exactly was taken. “Many times an arson fire may be used to cover a burglary or a theft to destroy evidence,” Rhodes said. “And that is a very strong possibility in this case.”

Source: KXII / Billie Jean


Disney Announces Tomorrowland Movie Previews For Disneyland, Disney World- The End Of Captain EO? 26-03-'15

Disney is bringing Tomorrowland to Tomorrowland. The company confirmed today that it will run a preview of the new Brad Bird film, starring George Clooney, in the Tomorrowland Theater at Disneyland Park, starting next month. Walt Disney World visitors will get to see the preview at Epcot’s Imagination Pavilion theater.

Both theaters had been home to 'Captain EO,' the 4D musical that Disney brought back following the death of star Michael Jackson. Disney stopped showing 'Captain EO' in the Disneyland theater a while ago, choosing instead to show previews of upcoming film releases. However, at the Walt Disney World Resort, the movie previews have been showing at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, allowing 'Captain EO' to continue showing in the Imagination Pavilion.

With Tomorrowland evicting the Captain for this preview run, one wonders if we’ll ever again see the Michael Jackson movie at a Walt Disney theme park. Tokyo Disneyland’s already closed the show to make way for its new Stitch Encounter attraction, and there’s no sign that 'Captain EO' ever will return to the Tomorrowland Theater in Disneyland.

Captain EO

After returning to Disneyland back in February 2010, is this a final goodbye for Michael Jackson’s Captain EO?

Source: Thema Park Insider / Billie Jean


Michael Jackson Is Apparently To Blame For Guns N’ Roses’ Breakup. 26-03-'15

Michael Jackson is still causing controversy from the grave—this time, for something very unexpected.

The iconic singer played a pivotal role in the fall out of Axl Rose and Slash, according to the band’s ex-manager.

In an interview with Rolling Stone Brazil, Guns N’ Roses‘ ex-manager Doug Goldstein alleges that Rose and Slash’s long-running tension reached a breaking point when the guitarist agreed to play a concert with Jackson.

“In 1991, we were on the road, and Slash went to my office and said ‘I’ll be leaving tomorrow to play with Michael Jackson on a tribute concert,'” Goldstein recalled. “I told him not to do it because Axl was molested by his father when he was two and he believed the charges against Michael Jackson.”

Goldstein also discouraged Slash from playing the show because he felt that Jackson’s compensation wasn’t fair.

Guns N' Roses

“Everyone knew Eddie Van Halen received $1 million to play in 'Beat It.' So I asked Slash, ‘how much are you receiving? Can I manage this to you?’ and he said, ‘I’ll just receive a big screen television.’ When Axl found out Slash was gonna play with Michael Jackson and that the payment was a big screen TV he was devastated. He thought Slash would support him and be against all abuse. From Axl’s point of view, that was the only problem. He could ignore the drugs and the alcohol, but never the child abuse.”

The concert Goldstein is referencing could have been the pair’s notorious performance of Jackson’s 'Black Or White' track where Slash and Jackson “butted heads” when his guitar solo went too long, cutting into the show’s choreography.

Twenty-four years later, Goldstein believes that Rose and Slash’s friendship could still be mended with an apology.

“Slash would have to apologize for the Michael Jackson episode,” Goldstein said. “And I really believe that for the much that I love the band, I’d be the manager to reunite them, I don’t think anyone else could do it.”

Source: Radio / Billie Jean


A Private Collection Of Andy Warhol Prints On Display At Montreal’s Museum Of Fine Arts. 24-03-'15

A private collection of Andy Warhol prints on display at Montreal’s Museum of Fine Arts has succeeded in attracting a new demographic.

The exhibit strays from what has been presented at the museum in the last year. In the 2014 season, museum-goers were treated to retrospectives and views of distant lands. From Van Gogh to Kandinsky looked at impressionism, expressionism and everything in between, while Peter Doig’s collection of paintings transported viewers to his adopted home of Trinidad.

Warhol Mania is a shift that has brought a new generation to the typically classic museum. The collection of graphic design work was curated by art collector Paul Maréchal.

If ever anyone could be called a Warhol aficionado, it would be Maréchal, without a doubt. He has penned three books about Warhol’s work and donated 51 pieces to the Museum of Fine Arts for this exhibit. His passion for the graphic designer’s work might be surpassed only by his passion for sharing it.

Andy Warhol Portrait

Michael Jackson, 1984 (synthetic polymer and silkscreen on canvas) by Andy Warhol.

Maréchal, who confessed that he could speak endlessly about Warhol, is not new to dealing with museums. Pleased with the reception that the exhibit has had to date, he remarked how great it has been to work with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. “Having only one lender makes it easier to coordinate,” he said.

As a result, two halls on the third floor of the museum are decorated with some of Warhol’s most recognizable pieces, from a hot pink Perrier bottle, to an illustration of Michael Jackson’s TIME cover, to a bright red poster for the 20th Montreux Jazz Festival.

Read more here.

Source: The Concordian / Billie Jean


Planetarium Laser Michael JacksonSpotify Re-Ranks Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs. 24-03-'15

Beyoncé, Michael Jackson top list based off play counts by all users.

Spotify has given their own update on Rolling Stone‘s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

With the help of Spotify Insights, the streaming service tallied up play counts for every track to see what songs are favored by audiences today, with Beyoncé and Jay Z’s 'Crazy In Love' displacing Bob Dylan’s 'Like A Rolling Stone' for the top spot.

Two play lists are now available with the data culled by Spotify Insights. The first is a ranking of play counts by all Spotify users. Rounding out the diverse top five following the Beyoncé and Jay Z collaboration are Michael Jackson’s 'Billie Jean,' R. Kelly’s 'Ignition (Remix),' Van Morrison’s 'Brown Eyed Girl,' and Metallica’s 'Enter Sandman.'

A second play list features results determined solely by streams from “millennial” users in the 18- to 34-year-old range. The list contains only a minor shake-up as Jackson and Kelly swap places and the Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy” finds itself knocking down Van Morrison to fifth place.

Read more here.

Source: Rolling Stone / Billie Jean


Planetarium Laser Michael JacksonLaser Michael Jackson Show At Boston Museum Of Science. 24-03-'15

Michael Jackson's career began alongside his brothers in The Jackson 5, but his true destiny was to become one of the world's most famous solo performers.

Jackson's career highlights include 13 number-one singles in the United States, and being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — twice! His breakthrough album Thriller remains the best-selling album of all time worldwide.

His amazing music is chronicled in Laser Michael Jackson, a tribute to The King of Pop. This captivating laser show includes classics such as 'Man In The Mirror', 'Thriller' and 'Billie Jean', all set to exciting, choreographed light effects.

Listen (and watch!) as MJ's timeless hits live on at the Charles Hayden Planetarium. Join the fun, tap your feet, and "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough"!

Set List:
1. Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough
2. ABC
3. Black Or White
4. Human Nature
5. Thriller
6. Man In The Mirror
7. P.Y.T (Pretty Young Thing)
8. Billie Jean

Buy tickets here.

Source: Museum Of Science / Billie Jean


Michael Jackson at Manual Arts High School'Light Catchers’ Captures Work Of 7 Iconic Black Photographers. 23-03-'15

“Light Catchers,” is a new exhibit at the California African American Museum (CAAM) curated by longtime photographer Irene Fertik. The exhibit explores the work of seven prominent African-American photographers, Howard Bingham, Don Cropper, Jack Davis, Bob Douglas, Cliff Hall, Lamonte McLemore, and Murphy Ruffins.

The gallery chronicles several decades of black celebrity life in Los Angeles — actors, civil rights leaders and musicians. The photographers captured well-known faces including a heartbroken Natalie Cole during her father Nat King Cole’s funeral; an enthusiastic Michael Jackson at Manual Arts High School with his siblings Janet and Randy Jackson; in a rare display.

The legendary Muhammad Ali flaunting money as he sits on $1 million in a bank’s cash vault; and Ali in a sports car with a very young Bill Cosby.

Rea more here.

Source: NBC News / Billie Jean


Rare Behind The Scenes Of 'Black Or White' 21-03-'15

This week there was on YouTube a rare behind the scenes video of 'Black Or White'.
You see Michael, Vincent Paterson, John Landis and make up stylist Karen Faye in this video, the quality of the video is not so good but is for the fans a must to see.

 

Interesting Facts: The World première of the video clip took place on November 14, 1991 and was broadcast simultaneously in 27 countries with an estimated audience of 500 million people. It was the largest audience ever to view a music video!

Source: YouTube / Billie Jean


Michael Jackson Mega-Philanthropists. 19-03-'15

His physical form may have departed this world in 2009, but he remains one of the most influential musicians on earth, and his 1982 album 'Thriller' remains the best-selling album of all time, selling 29 million copies in the U.S. alone.

While some philanthropists make one or two large mega-donations, Jackson preferred to make smaller contributions to multiple charities, so many in fact that Guinness World Records recognized him for supporting more charities than any other entertainer.

His donations included $600,000 to the United Negro College Fund, $100,000 to the Children’s Defense Fund, $500,000 to Elizabeth Taylor’s AIDS Foundation, and over 35 others, for an estimated total of over $300 million given to charity all together.

Pepsi Press Conference (01-03-1988)

In NYC, Michael attends a press conference arranged by Pepsi to preview the new Pepsi commercials featuring Michael (a four part story) and to present a $600 000 cheque to The United Negro College Fund.

Source: Fortune / Billie Jean


Motown The Musical Tell The Story Behind The Hits. 19-03-'15

Motown Records produced some of the most iconic musicians that helped re-shape the music industry.

Recognizable artists such as Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder all got their start with Motown Records.

The production, “Motown The Musical,” tells the American dream story of Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul. The touring Broadway stage musical will be at Omaha’s Orpheum Theater Wednesday through March 29.

Performance times are: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. March 26, 8 p.m. March 27, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. March 28, and 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. March 29.

Tickets start at $30 and are available by phone at 402-345-0606 or online at www.ticketomaha.com. Groups of 10 or more may purchase tickets by calling 402-661-8516 or toll-free at 866-434-8587.

Motown Records, originally called Tamla Records, was founded by Gordy in 1959 in Detroit. Motown Records’ roster of artists had styles which ranged from blues to gospel to pop.

The Marvelettes were the first group to achieve the crossover success that Gordon aimed for when 'Mr. Postman' spent a week in the top position on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart in December 1961. Gordy then took an interest in The Supremes and the group released five No. 1 songs in a row.

Motown The Musical

Clifton Oliver portrays Berry Gordy and Allison Semmes plays Diana Ross in "Motown The Musical."

Eventually, Gordy moved the entire Motown Records operation to Los Angeles to expand the company into motion pictures and television and to connect with the rest of the music industry.

In the productions set to take the stage at Omaha’s Orpheum Theater, Clifton Oliver and Allison Semmes will star in the leading roles of Gordy and Diana Ross. Jesse Nager will play Smokey Robinson and Jarran Muse will play Marvin Gaye. Leon Outlaw Jr. and Reed L. Shannon will portray Gordy’s boyhood counterpart and the roles of young stars Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder.

Featuring more than 40 classic hits such as 'My Girl' and 'Ain’t No Mountain High Enough',

“Motown The Musical” tells the story behind the hits as Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Gordy and the whole Motown family fight against the odds to create the soundtrack of change in America.

Motown shattered barriers, shaped lives and made people all move to the same beat.

“Motown The Musical’s” arrangements and orchestrations are by Grammy and Tony Award nominee Ethan Popp, who also serves as music supervisor in reproducing the classic 'Sound of Young America.'

Source: Fremont Tribune / Billie Jean


Michael Jackson 'Moonwalker' Shoes? It Could've Happened, Lawsuits Say. 19-03-'15

Amid the serious charges and countercharges of broken non compete agreements, corporate espionage and toxic workplace culture, there has been a sideshow of sorts in the lawsuits between Nike and three of its departed designers.

It involves deceased pop superstar Michael Jackson.

Nike filed a lawsuit in December in Multnomah County Circuit Court accusing designers Denis Dekovic, Marc Dolce and Mark Miner of breaking non compete agreements, saying their plans to open a design studio for Adidas constituted a violation of the agreements. The designers filed a countersuit against Nike on Tuesday challenging the legality of the agreements.

The Nike lawsuit mentions Dekovic's desire during his Nike tenure to develop a Michael Jackson "Moonwalker" line of footwear and sportswear "based on, in part, existing vintage Nike designs."

Nike Kobe 9 Michael Jackson and Air Jordan Sneaker

The lawsuit said this plan would violate the "Employee Invention and Secrecy Agreement," signed by Dekovic on April 4, 2007, to "assign Nike the rights to any product designs conceived while he was employed at Nike."

"I am surprised that Dekovic would have been attempting to develop a personal (non-Nike) footwear product while employed by Nike as a footwear designer," says a court filing on behalf of Nike vice president of footwear design Andrew Caine, who once worked five years for Adidas.

The Nike lawsuit says Dekovic told potential investors to expect $93 million in profit in the first six years after a 2015 Moonwalker product launch. The lawsuit contends Nike has rights of ownership to the Moonwalker designs.

However, the countersuit filed Tuesday says Nike "approved, did not object, and/or encouraged (Dekovic's) contribution to the outside Moonwalker project." The countersuit says nothing more about the subject.

Source: OregonLive / Billie Jean


From The Estate Of Michael Jackson – Plaque Promotion Announcement. 19-03-'15

Hello:

We wanted to reach out and thank all of the clubs who organized promotional events for 'Xscape'. The Estate and Sony Music were impressed by the creativity in many of your promotions. We are happy to announce that they have selected a club to receive the plaque in recognition of their efforts, and the winning club has been notified. Congratulations to all the clubs that informed us of your activities!

Source: The Estate Of Michael Jackson / Billie Jean


Xscape Origins - 'The Songs & Stories Michael Jackson Left Behind' - English Book By Damien Shields.
18-03-'15

'Xscape Origins, The Songs & Stories Michael Jackson Left Behind' Book CoverThe Australian journalist Damien Shields released next March 24 a new book of 141 pages titled 'Xscape Origins, The Songs & Stories Michael Jackson Left Behind' in which he discusses the history of the songs of the 'Xscape' album via numerous interviews employees of the King of Pop.

They are writers, producers, musicians, technicians and sound engineers, they lived the story in the privacy of Michael Jackson and Damien Shields brings together the pieces of the puzzle to see how the King of Pop and his staff worked together on the original versions of titles on the 'Xscape' album.

You will discover in this book in English interviews with well-known people like Matt Forger, John Barnes, Cory Rooney, Fred Jerkins III, Brian Vibberts, CJ Devillar, Michael Prince etc etc.

Buy the book at Amazon are here.

Publisher: Modegy LLC.
Author: Damien Shields
ISBN: 978-0986199103
Pages: 141
Guide price: 21 €

Source: Damien Shields / Billie Jean

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