By The Canadian Press - Monday, May 20, 2013 - 0 Comments
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – An accounting executive for AEG Live LLC testified on Monday…
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – An accounting executive for AEG Live LLC testified on Monday that the company spent $24 million producing Michael Jackson’s ill-fated “This Is It” concerts.
Julie Hollander, a vice-president and controller of event operations for AEG Live, testified during the trial of a lawsuit filed by Jackson’s mother against AEG claiming the company was negligent in hiring the doctor later convicted in the death of the pop star.
The tally involved expenses compiled through October 2009, roughly three months after the singer’s death, Hollander said.
Budget documents shown in court indicated the company made no payments to the doctor, Conrad Murray.
AEG budgeted $150,000 a month for Murray’s treatment of Jackson, but the singer died of an anesthetic overdose before he signed Murray’s agreement.
Hollander said Murray’s contract was the only one she had ever seen in which an artist had to approve a contract for services on a tour. She believed Jackson’s signature was required because of the personal nature of the doctor’s services.
In total, Murray was projected to receive $1.5 million in payments over the first few months of the “This Is It” tour, which was slated for 50 shows at London’s 02 Arena.
Attorneys for Jackson’s mother are trying to prove that AEG hired Murray and missed numerous red flags about the pop singer’s health before his death.
AEG denies it hired Murray and says it bears no liability for Jackson’s death.
Hollander also testified that Jackson was responsible for 95 per cent of production expenses if his comeback shows were cancelled. Budget documents indicated the production was more than $2 million over budget.
Hollander was the first AEG executive to testify in the lawsuit. The company’s general counsel Shawn Trell began testifying on Monday.
Plaintiff’s attorney Brian Panish questioned Trell about a July letter sent to Jackson’s estate asking for more than $30 million in reimbursement, including $300,000 for Murray’s services.
Trell said it was a mistake to include Murray’s payments as production costs.
By Anthony McCartney, The Associated Press - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 3:42 PM - 0 Comments
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – An associate choreographer who worked on Michael Jackson’s planned comeback…
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – An associate choreographer who worked on Michael Jackson’s planned comeback concerts testified Monday that she didn’t see any signs that the pop superstar was ill or might die in the final days of his life.
“I just never in a million years thought he would leave us, or pass away,” Stacy Walker told jurors hearing a lawsuit filed by Jackson’s mother against concert promoter AEG Live LLC. “It just never crossed my mind.”
Walker, who is testifying for AEG, said Jackson appeared thinner than he had been in previous years and wore multiple layers of clothes while rehearing for his “This Is It” shows planned for London’s O2 arena. She said despite Jackson missing multiple rehearsals, she was convinced based on his performances the last two days of his life that he was ready for the series of shows.
Previous witnesses have testified that Jackson was shivering, had to be fed by others and appeared unprepared.
By Nicholas Köhler - Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 9:20 AM - 0 Comments
Sammy Davis Jr.’s sex romps, Michael Jackson’s ruthlessness: Paul Anka’s memoir is an explosive glimpse of the stars he knew and loved
In his autobiography, entitled—what else?—My Way, after the tune he wrote for Frank Sinatra, Paul Anka comes off as a Dante figure, returned from the depths of strange netherworld landscapes—Las Vegas, Los Angeles—dragging up to the earth’s surface a trove of forbidden gossip. “Frank, of all the women you’ve known,” Anka, the aging Ottawa-born teen idol, asked Sinatra shortly before his death, “who was the best in bed?”
You might think Sinatra’s reply—which by the way was Angie Dickinson, praise that fellow Rat Packer Dean Martin, apparently in a position to know, seconded—would remain locked in the subterranean vault of the American entertainment business back in Anka’s heyday, with its high-wattage machismo, the drinking, hookers and collusion with the Mob. A thing of confidence—secret, in other words. Instead Anka, whose name in Arabic means “noose,” as in a hangman’s, dishes on all his famous pals, crafting that rare thing: a celebrity memoir that’s fun to read.
In the lead-up to its publication, and the release of his first CD in six years, Anka is already causing a stir, with expansive excerpts in Britain’s Daily Mail and a TMZ-broadcast rant in which he scolds rapper Jay-Z for not returning his call. There’s something peculiarly Canadian about his comeback—the way Anka’s memoir, told from the point of view of a smart but wide-eyed Ottawa boy visiting the land of excess and crookedness down south, serves to puncture its myths. Here is an aging Dean Martin, sitting in a restaurant with his false teeth in a glass, or Sinatra showing him his colostomy bag. Who knew Anka was the keeper of such secrets?
By Emily Senger - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 11:20 AM - 0 Comments
Happy birthday moonwalk! Michael Jackson’s signature dance move turns 30 today.
According to ABC,…
Happy birthday moonwalk! Michael Jackson’s signature dance move turns 30 today.
According to ABC, Jackson first performed the moonwalk during the song “Billie Jean” for the Motown 25th anniversary special, which aired on NBC on March 25, 1983. Jackson had just released the album Thriller four months before.
Of course, the moonwalk wasn’t really Jackson’s. He borrowed it from James Brown, before he made it all his own.
Here’s how it looked, 30 years ago today. (Moonwalk is around 3:40 and 4:30.)
By Brian D. Johnson - Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 10:00 AM - 0 Comments
Exclusive: A candid interview with the new king of pop
Everyone’s waiting for Justin Bieber. It’s mid-afternoon in Washington, on the eve of the presidential election, but for the hordes of young girls gathered outside a downtown arena, there’s only one leader who can bring salvation. Hours before the 18-year-old Canadian pop star will hit the stage, fans have mobbed every entrance, ready to scream at any hint of movement. They shriek as one of 11 tour buses sits idling outside a garage ramp, as if sheer lung power could shatter the tinted windows.
Inside the arena, Bieber’s bodyguard, a soft-spoken man named Kenny Hamilton, shows off a party trick: he opens a door, revealing his face to fans on the sidewalk. They go berserk. In Bieberland, even Kenny is a celebrity: he has more than a million Twitter followers, which puts him neck and neck with Paul McCartney. Bieber has 30 million—second only to Lady Gaga—and gains a new one roughly every second.
The first superstar child of social media, Justin Bieber recently became the first to score three billion hits on YouTube, where an amateur video led to his discovery at 13. However, as his Believe tour burns across North America—he plays Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and the Grey Cup in the next few weeks—being the world’s hottest teen idol is still not enough. In an exclusive interview with Maclean’s, he makes it clear he wants to be nothing less than the next Michael Jackson, the new King of Pop. “That’s where I want to be,” he says. “I don’t just want to be a teen heartthrob.” Continue…
By macleans.ca - Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 11:09 AM - 0 Comments
BDJ on asking the wrong question: ‘I thought, OMG, I’ve just violated the privacy of a teenager’
Find out why Brian D. Johnson, who’s interviewed a slew of celebrities, has never been so nervous and apprehensive as when he recently interviewed Bieber. Find out what topics were off-topic during their time together, and who won at ping-pong. (The Maclean’s exclusive story on Bieber is on newsstands now.)of Photos
By Brian D. Johnson - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 7:28 AM - 0 Comments
Video: Click here to view Brian D. Johnson’s interview with Spike Lee.
Just when you thought there was nothing more to know about Michael Jackson, Spike Lee‘s Bad 25 arrives as a revelation, and an unexpected pleasure. The made-for-TV doc, which premiered at TIFF, was commissioned by a record label to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Bad, Michael Jackson’s follow-up album to his mega hit Thriller. Due for broadcast by ABC in November, the film is tied to this week’s re-release of Bad, which comes with a payload of remastered and unreleased tracks. Given that kind of marketing agenda, you have to wonder: how good could it be? But Lee, who moves between dramas and documentaries with a virtuosity unmatched by anyone other than Martin Scorsese, had his own agenda: to reclaim the genius of an artist whose work has been eclipsed by a tabloid narrative. “That’s why this film is out there,” Lee told me in an interview on the weekend. “Just focus on the man’s art, focus on his creative process.”
Lee succeeds brilliantly. Drilling much deeper into Jackson’s legacy than Kenny Ortega’s 2009 documentary This Is It, his film unearths a myriad of detail about Jackson’s music, influences and methods—along with juicy trivia, notably a story of a testy summit between the singer and his rival Prince. Lee explores the making of Bad track-by-track, weaving rich archival footage with a gallery of talking heads that includes musicians, choreographers, confidants—and luminaries who include Martin Scorsese, Justin Bieber, Kanye West, Mariah Carey, Sheryl Crow, Stevie Wonder and Cee Lo Green. The 1987 album was Jackson’s follow-up to Thriller, the highest selling album of all time. It had then sold about 40 million copies but would go on to sell 100,000. “Everywhere Michael went he had a red sharpie,” says Lee. “He’d write on mirrors: ‘100 million.’ He wanted Bad to double the success of Thriller.” Jackson never reached that mark, but Bad would become the first album in history to spawn five consecutive number-one singles.
By Chris Sorensen - Monday, May 14, 2012 at 11:22 AM - 0 Comments
One billion Pepsi cans plastered with Michael Jackson’s silhouette will soon be on the market
Pepsico’s long-time relationship with the late Michael Jackson has been both lucrative and controversial, in life and death.
Nearly three years after Jackson’s overdose, Pepsi is still counting on him—or at least his likeness—to do battle with archrival Coke. As many as one billion Pepsi cans plastered with Jackson’s silhouette are set to hit store shelves as part of a marketing deal brokered with Jackson’s estate. Not surprisingly, some have called the campaign in poor taste. But others argue Pepsi will cash in with consumers who yearn to remember “MJ” the ultra-talented entertainer, not “Jacko” the tabloid freak.
The irony is that Jackson’s drug problem may be traced to the shooting of a Pepsi ad in 1984. He took painkillers after his hair caught fire following a pyrotechnics mishap. Jackson nevertheless settled with Pepsi out of court for US$1.5 million and continued to appear in Pepsi ads well into the 1990s and, it turns out, beyond. The King of Pop, indeed.
By Colby Cosh - Friday, November 11, 2011 at 11:10 AM - 1 Comment
The prosecution gets the kudos as Dr. Conrad Murray is convicted in the death of pop deity Michael Jackson
The prosecution’s performance in the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, personal physician to pop deity Michael Jackson, was summed up by one of the Jackson worshippers gathered outside the courtroom to see justice done: “We should have had you guys do the O.J. trial!” he shouted. It was an apt observation. Murray’s trial, though fraught with scientific issues, was almost as free of distracting nonsense as the Simpson process was full of it. Praise for the efficiency of Deputy District Attorney David Walgren and his team flooded in Nov. 7, even as Murray, found guilty of involuntary homicide for injecting Jackson with a lethal dose of the anaesthetic propofol, was led away in handcuffs to spend a first night in prison under a suicide watch.
When Jackson died on June 25, 2009, the 58-year-old Grenada-born cardiologist became the last in a long line of doctors inveigled into serving the whims of a charismatic zombie. Murray, hired by Jackson in 2006, made an attractive scapegoat for family members and delusional fans, none of whom wanted to acknowledge the desperate psychological condition and drug-seeking behaviour of the emaciated King of Pop. The death scene at Jackson’s home, full of bottles of prescription medications with pseudonyms or blank spaces where a doctor’s name should have appeared, told the real story.
“I’m finding out all of these things and it’s piece by piece,” Murray whimpered when the police read him the litany of drugs. “I gave Mr. Jackson love. I was his friend. I cared about him. I tried to help him.”
By macleans.ca - Monday, November 7, 2011 at 4:42 PM - 0 Comments
Physician found guilty of causing the star’s death in 2009
Michael Jackson’s doctor has been convicted of involuntary manslaughter, the least serious homicide offense in the U.S., for causing the singer’s death in 2009 through the powerful anesthetic propofol, the Los Angeles Times reports. Dr. Conrad Murray, a 58-year-old cardiologist, faces a sentence ranging from a maximum of four years in state prison to a minimum of probation. The guilty verdict was reached by a jury of seven men and five women in less than nine hours.
By Jane Switzer - Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 8:50 AM - 1 Comment
Lorazepam? Propofol? It’s clear the King of Pop was a mess.
As the legal team for Dr. Conrad Murray prepares to make its case, a new toxicology report could break the last leg in the defence of Michael Jackson’s embattled former physician. Conducted by the Los Angeles County coroner at the request of the prosecution, the report concluded that the amount of lorazepam found in the late pop star’s body was “totally inconsistent with oral consumption of lorazepam tablets”—contradicting one argument advanced by Murray’s defence that Jackson, exhausted from rehearsing for his comeback tour, swallowed eight tablets of the anti-anxiety drug the day he died.
The 58-year-old physician has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the June 25, 2009, death of the pop legend, who died at his rented Los Angeles home as he prepared for a series of 50 sold-out concerts at London’s O2 Arena. On Aug. 28, 2009, the coroner ruled that Jackson died of an acute intoxication of propofol, a powerful anaesthetic, in combination with a cocktail of drugs, including lorazepam.
In a two-hour interview with LAPD detectives taped two days after Jackson’s death and presented in court, Murray described the insomniac pop star begging for his “milk,” the slang for propofol, the morning he died. The doctor admitted he administered a daily intravenous drip in the two months leading up to his death. Concerned that Jackson was addicted, Murray said he tried to “wean him off” propofol in the three days before his death by giving him lorazepam and other drugs. While Murray’s defence team abandoned one theory that Jackson orally administered the lethal dose of propofol himself, it still maintains he used a syringe to inject propofol through a catheter in his leg, and took lorazepam while Murray was out of the room—creating a “perfect storm in his body that killed him instantly,” according to Murray’s lead lawyer, Ed Chernoff.
By Anne Kingston - Thursday, December 9, 2010 at 2:00 PM - 4 Comments
Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem, Molson-Coors and Labatt Blue, The NHL and Stan Lee
Vince Vaughn and Kyla Weber
The 39-year-old Wedding Crashers star shed his Hollywood swinger reputation by marrying a 31-year-old former Calgary realtor in Chicago in January. The couple, now expecting their ﬁrst child, met through mutual friends in 2008 and quickly became fixtures at Chicago Black Hawks games before Vaughn sealed the deal with a US$125,000-ring.
The NHL and Stan Lee
The legendary creator of Spider-Man, Iron Man and X-Men, joined forces with the National Hockey League in October to form Guardian Media Entertainment LLC, a platform for 30 “Guardians,” one for each NHL team. The project, to be unveiled in January, isn’t set in the world of hockey but “organically and authentically incorporates various NHL elements.” Climb down Spider-Man, Slapshot-Man is coming.
By macleans.ca - Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 10:51 AM - 9 Comments
One year anniversary of singer’s death is tomorrow
In a TV interview, LaToya Jackson claims that her brother was “murdered for his catalogue” and that she’s never had a doubt there was any other explanation. Billboard magazine recently reported that since Jackson’s passing, royalties have earned the Jackson estate $1 billion dollars. On Friday, it will be the one year anniversary of the entertainer’s death. Dr. Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson’s personal physician, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of involuntary manslaughter. Meanwhile, Michael’s older brother Jermaine thinks that if Michael had converted to Islam that he wouldn’t have died. “If Michael would have embraced Islam he still would be here today,” said Jermaine to the BBC.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, February 1, 2010 at 1:01 PM - 6 Comments
The Grammys are to pop music what the Super Bowl is to sports
It is perhaps possible to take the Grammy Awards seriously. But only if you stop worrying about them.
Consider, for a moment, the National Football League.
The NFL is presently the premier professional sports league in North America: a multi-billion-dollar cultural institution that can claim, in the Super Bowl, the biggest single sporting event on the planet. Its athletes are among the world’s most exceptional and most beloved. But success in the NFL is not the ultimate standard of sporting achievement. The NFL does not define the concept of sport. In fact, no league, tournament or event—not even the Olympics—does. And it is generally understood that it is impossible to compare athletes of different leagues and disciplines—any discussion of “the world’s greatest athlete” generally defined by he or she who dominates their particular competition most spectacularly. (Tiger Woods, for instance, wasn’t ever as fast or as strong as any number of Olympians, football players or basketball players. But he was, by virtue of his unique excellence in golf, in the conversation as the best athlete in the world.)
By Brian D. Johnson - Tuesday, December 8, 2009 at 3:19 PM - 0 Comments
Pop Prince Michael Jackson
Even more startling than the news of his death was its impact. Not since Diana has a celebrity’s sudden passing sent such a profound and lasting shock wave around the world. Michael Jackson’s career had been in the doldrums for over a decade, his reputation shattered by allegations of child molestation, his face ravaged by cosmetic surgery, his body wired on painkillers, his finances in shreds. Although his fans had remained fiercely loyal, snapping up tickets for a sold-out comeback tour that would never take place, for much of the world the King of Pop had become a sad freak—a literally pale shadow of the man-child who once moonwalked into our hearts. But after Jackson’s death on June 25, 2009, a miraculous resurrection began to take place.
As the media became consumed with conjuring his memory, parsing his significance and exploring the riddle of his death, it soon became clear that this celebrity death was shaping up to be an event on a par with the loss of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley. In death, the moral scales were instantly tipped. Jackson’s iconic stature would trump his human frailties. The man once accused of being a pedophile and a predator was now cast as victim, possibly a victim of murder by lethal injection, perhaps even the target of a conspiracy. The disturbing pathology of Jackson’s personality—the enigma of the lost boy trapped in a man’s body—only enriched the myth. As a showbiz prodigy forever trying to reclaim the Neverland of his stolen childhood, he acquired tragic nobility. Like Elvis, Marilyn and Diana, here was another martyr to celebrity. Jackson had always dressed as if auditioning for divinity. And in the months that followed, pieces of him would be auctioned off like religious relics, from his diamond-encrusted socks to the white glove he wore in the 1983 Motown TV special—which is considered the “holy grail” of MJ memorabilia.
As a black man who seemed bent on erasing his race and blurring his gender, Jackson’s shape-shifting was mocked when he was alive. In death it only magnified his cultural importance. Just as Elvis Presley and Mick Jagger had plundered the moves and music of black R & B to create their burlesque empires of rock ’n’ roll, Jackson merged black music with white pop, but from the other side. He seemed intent on transforming himself into an alien creature, as if the only ethnicity that really mattered to him was extraterrestrial. With Thriller, the monster video that broke racial barriers and virtually invented MTV, he tried on a ghoulish identity that would follow him to the grave.
Jackson always fancied himself a movie star, or rather a movie character. And he received some posthumous poetic justice with the release of This Is It, the movie stitched together from rehearsal footage of the concert that never was. The film, which has grossed more than US$200 million, puts a lie to all the media speculation that his heart wasn’t in the tour, or that he no longer had the chops to pull it off. His ethereal falsetto was still intact, and his quicksilver dance moves still dazzled, as if he had no choice: the music flowed through his body like an electric current, animating every move with semaphore precision.
Had he lived to perform the tour, no doubt there would have been a concert movie, but it would have shown a slicker performer. The rehearsal footage reveals a softer, more circumspect Michael Jackson. Though the film is more hagiography than documentary, it offers a glimmer of vulnerability, and of the creative soul behind the Oz-like armour of the persona. Jackson comes across as an adult, quietly focused and firmly in command. The movie lends credence to what Elizabeth Taylor once told Oprah Winfrey, that Jackson was “highly intelligent, shrewd, intuitive.” There’s a lovely scene in which Jackson is trying to hold himself back. “Don’t make me sing out,” he pleads. “I gotta save my voice.” It’s a moment freighted with sad irony in a movie that redeems a monstrous icon by reminding us that he was only an artist.
By Brian D. Johnson - Wednesday, October 28, 2009 at 1:05 PM - 9 Comments
He always fancied himself a movie star. Now, finally, he is. Last night, as I arrived at a press screening for Michael Jackson’s This Is It, the posthumous film of Jacko rehearsing the show he never gave, I had reason to be deeply skeptical. How could it be any good? If it was, why would Sony Pictures release it for only a two-week limited engagement? And why was it holding off the press screening until 9:30 p.m. of the day the movie would be commercially premiered at midnight? It all had the whiff of damage control, and I expected a frustrating glimpse of a performance that was only half there, a lurid cash grab to capitalize on the biggest showbiz event of Michael Jackson’s career: his death.
Boy, was I wrong. This Is It is quite amazing. Directed by Kenny Ortega, who also directed the show that never opened, it offers far more than a glimpse. Out of the rehearsals, Ortega has constructed what amounts to a full-blown concert movie, framed with a smattering of candid backstage moments that are both amusing and touching. And the end of it you feel you’ve seen pretty well the whole show—which is spectacular—as well as getting some gems of unprecedented insight into the artist behind it. And here’s the real news: the movie refutes once and for all the glut of media reports after his death claiming that he was washed up as a performer, and was in no shape to put on a show. Yes, he does look frail, and with all that make-up, we’ll never know how pale. But he never appears stoned, unfocused or incapable. The movie could serve as evidence in the trial of the man accused of his murder. Executing intricate choreography, Jackson dances with the same semaphore precision and fluid virtuosity that made him a legend. And although he lacks power, his dreamy falsetto is still in tact, and he’s clearly trying to hold back. “Don’t make me sing out,” he begs at one point in a scene that’s both funny and freighted with sad irony. “I gotta save my voice.” Continue…
By Jason Kirby - Friday, October 23, 2009 at 8:20 AM - 7 Comments
How much did the Balloon Boy drama cost the economy?
Where were you when the empty balloon floated over Colorado? Last week’s drama-turned-alleged-hoax was no presidential assassination or shuttle disaster. But the clichéd question is still getting asked a lot lately. Where were you when Michael Jackson died, or during his funeral, or when the jet plane miraculously landed on New York’s Hudson River? Nowadays, the answer is often the same: at the office, watching it happen instead of doing any work.
Even before last week’s story about the boy in a runaway balloon was exposed as a possible scam, a question emerged. What happens to the economy when millions of workers simultaneously ignore their jobs and gather around the TV, surf for gossip about the weird family behind the stunt, or Twitter each twist and turn of the story? “The amount of work hours that are wasted by people playing around on computers is already mind-bogglingly astronomical,” says Robert Thompson, a professor of media studies at Syracuse University in New York. “When something like Balloon Boy or Michael Jackson’s death comes along, workers all waste their time on the same thing.” That collective procrastination can easily add up to vast sums at a time when the recession is already hammering companies. Continue…
By Lianne George - Friday, August 28, 2009 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
Newsmakers of the week
Atwood nuts, rejoice
Canadian novelist and soothsayer Margaret Atwood has embarked on an international tour to promote her latest book, The Year of the Flood. As part of her campaign, she will be writing a blog to keep fans up to date on her toing and froing. In her inaugural posting, she welcomes her visitors with a photo: “Here is a picture of me in the garden with giant phlox, before starting out. Will I shrink during the tour? Will I survive it?” She also lays out some ground rules for making her tour as green as possible—for instance, placing special emphasis on train travel, local foods and organic, fair-trade coffees. She plans to pack light: “think pink, pack black. It dirts less.” Finally, she says she will take “the VegiVows” for the duration of her tour, “with the exception of non-avian and non-mammalian bioforms once a week.” She will, however, permit eggs, “viewed as a sort of nut.”
Swedish for retaliation
When the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet ran an article accusing Israeli troops of killing Palestinian youths to harvest and sell their organs, Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu compared the allegations to medieval “blood libels,” which claimed that Jews used the blood of Christian babies in holy rituals. “Statements in the Swedish press were outrageous,” an official quoted Netanyahu as saying. “We are not expecting an apology—we are expecting a condemnation.” Swedish officials have so far refused to condemn the article. Until they do, Israel is prohibiting any new Swedish journalists from entering the country, which is small comfort to many angry Israelis. Concerned citizens have launched an online petition to go after the Swedes where it hurts—a nationwide boycott of Ikea. Continue…
By macleans.ca - Monday, August 24, 2009 at 5:25 PM - 2 Comments
Pop star had “lethal levels” of drugs in his system
According to documents unsealed today in Houston, Michael Jackson had “lethal levels” of the powerful anesthetic propofol in his system when he died. The finding was contained in documents filed by the L.A. County coroner’s office, which reached its conclusion after performing an autopsy on the pop star. Conrad Murray, Jackson’s doctor at the time of his death, told detectives he had been giving Jackson propofol every night for six weeks as a treatment for insomnia. Murray says he eventually tried to wean Jackson off the drug, fearing he may have been developing an addiction. However, on the morning of Jackson’s death, Murray says he gave Jackson propofol after other drugs—including valium, lorazepam and midazolam—failed to put him to sleep.
By Scott Feschuk - Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 11:00 AM - 4 Comments
You taught many of us about our world, about ourselves, about what cat food tastes like
According to statistical indicators, economic analysis and the fact that millions of actual people paid actual money to see G.I. Joe, the recession is over. Quick, honey, glue the Visa card back together—we’re going shopping!
We’ve all had our ways of coping during this crisis. I for one have responded to hardship by comparing my situation to those who have lost their jobs or those who still have their jobs but have to work with Whoopi Goldberg.
It’s a useful exercise. For instance, no matter how hard you’ve been hit, you’re probably still better off than Travis Henry, the former football player who claims he can’t support the nine children he has fathered by nine different women. (Apparently, his cash reserves were drained by costs associated with legal matters and Mother’s Day.) Henry’s plight is so unappealing that I almost wonder if being imprisoned for cocaine trafficking would be a preferable pickle. Hang on, let’s ask him, since Henry was recently imprisoned for cocaine trafficking. Continue…
By Lianne George - Tuesday, August 11, 2009 at 1:25 PM - 0 Comments
Since the pop idol’s death, there’s been a big demand for Michael Jackson dance classes
Of course everyone’s a fan now. But Tina Nicolaidis, a choreographer and co-owner of City Dance Corps, a school in downtown Toronto, had already shelled out to see Michael Jackson in concert at London’s O2 Arena when she heard the news of his death. “It was one of my lifelong dreams to see him once before I die,” she says. “His dance style has always influenced my choreography.” In fact, the routine that put her professional dance company on the map was a salsa recreation of Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal. “When we performed it for the first time at the Canada Salsa Congress four years ago, we got a standing ovation and we started getting invitations to perform that routine at various other events.We’ve now performed it at salsa congresses all over the world.” After Jackson’s death, Nicolaidis wanted some way to pay tribute to her idol. So she came up with the idea for a series of Michael Jackson dance classes—open to students of all levels—beginning in mid-August. Already, it’s full and a long waiting list of would-be toe-popping, cigarette-turning moonwalkers is forming.
“The great thing about a lot of Michael Jackson moves and choreography,” she says, “is that they’re actually pretty simple to do. Anybody can pretty much pick them up. We simplify a lot of the body movements, so we’re not doing 100 per cent of what you see in the music videos. But a lot of it has to do with attitude.” This isn’t City Dance Corps’ first foray into Jackson-themed classes, either. Every October, the school offers a one-day Thriller workshop in time for Halloween. “Everyone loves it,” she says. “When you go to Halloween parties, you know they’re going to play Thriller. People love learning the routine so they can bust it out. Last year, it was so popular we held three different sessions.” Continue…
By Patricia Treble - Thursday, August 6, 2009 at 8:30 AM - 1 Comment
From the Summer ’09 Newsmakers family edition
Most parents opt for baby names that won’t get their kids teased off the playground, which explains why Ava tops the girls’ list in Canada, while Ethan is No. 1 for boys, according to Today’s Parent. Alas, celebs saddle their offspring with the kind of monikers—Reign Beau or Tu, who has the last name Morrow—that invite no end of mirth and torment.
Atlas: Anne Heche & James Tupper
Hermès: Actor Kelly Rutherford & Daniel Giersch
Gaia: Emma Thompson & Greg Wise
Homer: Anne Heche & James Tupper
Moses: Gwyneth Paltrow & Chris Martin
Ptolemy: Gretchen Mol & Tod Williams
Sophocles: Actor Jemaine Clement & Miranda Manasiadis
Dezi: Actor Jaime Pressly & Eric Calvo
Jagger: Soleil Moon Frye & Jason Goldberg
Kal-el: Nicolas Cage & Alice Kim
Tennyson: Russell Crowe & Danielle Spencer
Harlow: Nicole Richie & Joel Madden
God’Iss Love: Singer Lil’ Mo & Al Stone
Jermajesty: Jermaine Jackson & Alejandra Oaziaza
Marquise: 50 Cent & Shaniqua Tompkins
Prince Michael II: Michael Jackson & surrogate mom
Bluebell Madonna: Geri Halliwell
Daisy Boo: Jamie & Jools Oliver
Daisy True: Meg Ryan
Nakoa-Wolf: Lisa Bonet & Jason Momoa
Petal Blossom Rainbow: Jamie & Jools Oliver
Poppy Honey: Jamie & Jools Oliver
Puma: Erykah Badu & The D.O.C.
River: Actor Keri Russell & Shane Deary
Alabama: Drummer Travis Barker & Shanna Moakler
Bronx Mowgli: Ashlee Simpson & Pete Wentz
Heaven: Actor Brooke Burke & David Charvet
Java: Actor Josh & Yessica Holloway
Kingston: Gwen Stefani & Gavin Rossdale
Mars: Singer Erykah Badu & Jay Electronica
Shiloh: Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt
Sierra Sky: Brooke Burke & Garth Fisher
Banjo: Actor Rachel Griffiths & Andrew Taylor
Denim and Diesel: Singer Toni Braxton & Keri Lewis
Loden: Actor Peter & Kelly Reckell
Peanut: Actor Ingo Rademacher & Ehiku
Deacon: Reese Witherspoon & Ryan Phillippe
Moxie CrimeFighter: Magician Penn Jillette & Emily Zolten
Poet: Actor Soleil Moon Frye & Jason Goldberg
Pilot Inspektor: Actor Jason Lee & Beth Riesgraf
Ryder: Kate Hudson & Chris Robinson
By macleans.ca - Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 3:39 PM - 1 Comment
Despite objections froms the star’s former dermatologist
A Los Angeles judge ruled that the Michael Jackson’s 79-year-old mother, Katherine, will become the permanent guardian of her three grandchildren, Prince Michael, 12, Paris, 11, and Prince Michael II. That ruling is in accordance with Jackson’s wishes—as outlined in a 2002 will. But it wouldn’t be a Jackson family court appearance if there weren’t a healthy dose of drama. The surprise of the day came when a lawyer for Jackson’s dermatologist, Arnold Klein, tried to enter objections to the parenting ruling. Lawyer Mark Vincent Kaplan explained that Klein wanted to “have a voice” in decisions pertaining to the children’s “education, healthcare and welfare.” Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff dismissed the claim, stating that Klein does not have any legal status in the case. The objection has fueled rumors that Dr. Klein is the biological father of Jackson’s two eldest children. The hearing also granted Mrs. Jackson and the three children monthly allowances from the Jackson estate, although the amounts were not disclosed. Debbie Rowe, the children’s biological mother, was also granted visitation rights.