Tuesday, June 30, 2009

HELLO, CAROL!, GOODBYE, MICHAEL...


In the news this week, Carol Channing is listed as one of the "Music, Showbiz and Entertainment Personalities of the 21st Century" in a 75 country peoples choice poll:
http://www.federationofamericanmusicianssingersandperformingartists.org/living_legends1.htm


Sunday marked the 40th Gay Pride march down Fifth Avenue. This time celebrating the gains of gay rights and demanding that New York join the five states that have legalized gay marriage.
The gay pride parade was held to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riot, which was a riot in a Greenwich Village bar that jolted the gay rights movement.

"Hopes and dreams and expectations have been raised, and there is nothing worse than to for people to have their hopes die out, to have the rug pulled out from under them," said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, New York City's most prominent openly gay elected official.

The celebration went on though, with drag queens, floats, and a performance by Liza Minnelli.


The world is still reeling from the death of Michael Jackson.

While the media's treatment of Michael Jackson in the first 24 hours after his shocking death last week was largely reverential (aside from anything coming out of Maureen Orth, that is), things took a turn for the ugly over the weekend, just as Liza Minnelli had predicted.
As you might expect, the Fleet Street tabloids were the epicenter of Jackson-related stories and rumors; at least one story that made the rounds yesterday has already mysteriously been pulled from the originating source's website. That said, I've pulled together a quick roundup of the latest Jackson news for you, all of which should be taken with a grain — if not an entire shaker's worth — of salt.
• Michael Jackson's autopsy results were harrowing, to say the least. Jackson weighed approximately 112 pounds at the time of his death, and his body was described as being "severely emaciated."
Additionally, he had also lost almost all of his hair and "little more than 'peach fuzz' covered his scalp"; he was wearing a wig at the time of his death. It also appears that during the frantic moments before the ambulance arrived at his home, he received up to four adrenaline shots into his heart. [Sun UK] Update: TMZ is now reporting that the autopsy report being relayed by the Sun is "fabricated and completely false." No further explanation at the moment.


• Speaking of autopsies, Jackson's family ordered a private physician to complete a second autopsy. It is thought that they might be preparing for a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against Dr. Conrad Murray.
• Speaking of Dr. Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson's personal physician, he was located late on Friday afternoon and spoke to police over the weekend. He is no longer being considered a suspect in MJ's death. [TMZ]

• Grace Rwaramba, a nanny who served under Jackson's employ for seventeen years, says she had to repeatedly pump his stomach over the years because of issues that arose when he had too many prescription drugs in his system.

She also claims that the Nation of Islam was renting the home where Michael Jackson spent his final months to him for £60,000 a month, a home that supposedly had a market value of more like £15,000 a month.
Lastly, she says that Michael Jackson signed the contracts for his O2 residency thinking he was only performing 10 shows, not 50. [Daily Mail]

• Celebrity biographer Ian Halperin, best known for the exposés he's written on Scientology, wrote a shocking piece for the Daily Mail that corroborates Rwaramba's claim that Jackson initially thought he was signing on to perform only ten comeback concert dates.
He also writes that Jackson could barely speak, let alone sing, because of a genetic condition that affected his lungs. His most shocking claim — aside from one that Jackson would rendezvous with one of his male lovers at a "grungy, rat-infested motel" — is that his grueling preparation for the concerts is ultimately what killed him. [Daily Mail]
This is my friend Scot Wisniewski.

• Michael Jackson rehearsed at the Staples Center on the night before his death. His performance was "recorded in multi-camera, high-definition video and multi-track audio," and AEG officials are reportedly considering releasing the footage as Jackson's final album.
The parades were bicoastal, the Seattle PI said, with big turnouts in downtown Seattle and Chicago as well.
Stars such as Celine Dion, Dionne Warwick, Liza Minnelli and Ne-Yo and many others are opening up to "The Insider" about the shocking death of Michael Jackson on Thursday.
"I am so devastated by this terrible news,” Celine tells us. “From the beginning of my career, he was my idol in show business. He was a genius and an incredible artist!!"

"I am so grateful to have worked with the King," says will.i.am. "He was a gift to the world, he is a bright light and I wouldn't be surprised if the world stopped spinning tomorrow."



A Las Vegas auction of 21 items of Michael Jackson memorabilia brought in more than $200,000 on Friday, the day after the “King of Pop “died suddenly in Los Angeles. The items came from the collection of Liza Minnelli’s ex-husband mickey_mouse1David Gest, a concert promoter who was an associate of Jackson, and the sale was scheduled months before the singer died.
The sale items included a painting of Mickey Mouse as a music conductor, with the dog Pluto howling in front of him.
The piece was done in acrylic on cardboard, and Darren Julien, president of Julien’s Auctions, said he believes Jackson made the painting at a young age. The sale value of the item was estimated at less than $1,500, but it sold for $20,000, Julien said.
Another item that sold at a high price was a drawing of a boy in the style of Peter Pan.
It sold for $20,000, Julien said. The item is noteworthy, because Jackson once said, “I am Peter Pan in my heart,” and he named his ranch Neverland. Also, he often chose the company of children, a fact that figured prominently in his 2005 trial and acquittal on charges of child molestation.

The auction also featured items from Jackson’s heyday atop the pop charts, most notably a hand wrap that he wore on the cover of his 1987 album “Bad". It sold for $10,000, much more than its originally estimated sale value of less than $800, Julien said.



Julien said Jackson memorabilia has always been highly sought after. Julien’s auction house had a high-profile showdown with Jackson earlier this year when it planned a massive auction of items from Neverland Ranch, but canceled the sale after resolving a legal dispute with Jackson’s camp.
"Michael was a huge supporter of my career but more importantly he was a good friend, had the biggest heart and it was an honor and pleasure to be able to work with him and know him," Lance Bass said. "There will never be another Michael Jackson, my thoughts and prayers are with his family.
Liza Minnelli says: "He was a kind, genuine, and wonderful man. He was also one of the greatest entertainers that ever lived. I loved him very much and I will miss him every remaining day of my life."
“The news of the passing of Michael Jackson comes as a heartbreaking shock for me," says Dionne Warwick.
"Michael was a friend and undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest entertainers that i fortunately had the pleasure of working with. ... he will live on in my memory and most definitely through the music he shared with so many."

"Michael Jackson will live forever through the thing that he put all of his life energy into: his music," says Ne-Yo. "I will do my part to keep the melody alive, to keep the energy forever changing form, but never ever dying!! Long live Michael Jackson."




“The world has lost one of the most influential and iconic figures in the music industry,” Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. “Maria and I join all Californians in expressing our shock and sadness over his death and our hearts go out the Jackson family, Michael’s children and to his fans worldwide.”

"I knew Michael as a child and watched him grow over the years,” Dick Clark says.
“Of all the thousands of entertainers I have worked with, Michael was THE most outstanding. Many have tried and will try to copy him, but his talent will never be matched. Michael Jackson was due to make his triumphant return to the stage in London next month — but instead his sudden death has left millions of fans feeling they've lost a lifelong friend.


The worldwide chorus of grief united the famous — statesmen and superstars alike — and the legions of ordinary people who grew up with "Thriller" and "Beat It."

Word of Jackson's death jolted nearly everyone, from a young man in Colombia who was named after the King of Pop, to Malaysians who named a soy drink for him, to a generation of people around the world who have tried, in vain, to moonwalk.

"It's horrible news, so unexpected," the Italian actress Sophia Loren told The Associated Press by telephone. "The world has lost an icon and music has lost treasures. He wrote songs that generations of yesterday, today and tomorrow will all keep on singing. What he wrote was amazing."
Loren and her children had been frequent visitors to Jackson at his Neverland ranch in California, developing an enduring friendship.

"I hope that Michael will find that peace that maybe he did not have in the last 15 years."

In London, shocked fans gathered at the Lyric Theatre, where a live show based on Jackson's record-selling album "Thriller" is being performed, and waited for news about refunds for some 750,000 tickets to his sold-out, 50-night run.
A spokeswoman for AEG Live — the promoters for the London concerts — declined to say how ticket refunds would be handled. She spoke on condition of anonymity, saying she was not authorized to speak to the media.

There were poignant memories of his final public appearance when he came to London for a March news conference to announce his "This is it" concerts, which he said would mark his farewell to the London stage.
A candlelight vigil at London's Trafalgar Square was planned to honor the singer.

Former South African President Nelson Mandela issued a message through his foundation saying Jackson's loss would be felt worldwide.
Jackson sang at a birthday concert for Mandela in 1998. In 1999, according to local media reports at the time, he lunched with Mandela at a small gathering at which the South African anti-apartheid leader celebrated both his 81st birthday and his and wife Graca Machel's first wedding anniversary.

The Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, UNESCO and the Red Cross were given proceeds from a huge benefit concert in Germany in 1999 that featured Jackson and other international stars.
Former Beatle Paul McCartney, who recorded with Jackson before they had a falling out over ownership of the Beatles catalog, said his prayers went to Jackson's family and fans.

"It's so sad and shocking," he said. "I feel privileged to have hung out and worked with Michael. He was a massively talented boy-man with a gentle soul. His music will be remembered forever and my memories of our time together will be happy ones."

In Ireland, where Jackson made his temporary home in a castle south of Dublin in 2007, people remembered him as a kind and loving man. Eugene Lambert, Ireland's best-known puppeteer, recalled his son's puppet performance at a birthday party for Jackson attended by the singer's three children.

"Michael and the kids seemed to enjoy the show equally," he said. "My son sang happy birthday to Michael, who seemed genuinely touched by the attention. Michael rang me that night to thank me for the show.
He said he hoped he'd be as happy at his work as I am at my age, and of course I'm 80."

In Paris, actress and singer Liza Minnelli told France-Info radio she would sing her "dear, dear friend," a tribute during a concert Saturday, but would not disclose which song. "I will miss him until the day I go," she said.
"He changed history. He changed musical history and he changed performing," Minnelli said, her voice strained.

Minnelli, herself the daughter of screen star Judy Garland and film director Vincente Minnelli, lamented Jackson's public childhood.



"Imagine, you grow up in public. From the time he could walk, they put him on stage. He had no childhood, none," she said.

Former British child star Mark Lester, who is godfather to Jackson's children, said he had visited with Jackson several weeks ago and believed the star was ready for the rigors of performing 50 live gigs.
"He was absolutely fine," said Lester. "I can't believe this, it's such a shock. I'll always remember him as being a very sweet, kind and loving man."

Rocker Lenny Kravitz recalled working with Jackson in the studio on an unreleased track and finding the man far different from the eccentric recluse often portrayed in the media.
"It was the most amazing experience I've had in the studio," Kravitz said. "He was funny. Very funny and we laughed the whole time. I also saw what a beautiful father he was.
He was a beautiful human being. If not for him, I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing. He gave me joy as a child and showed me the way to go."
Jackson's death prompted broadcasters from Sydney to Seoul — where the news came early Friday — to interrupt morning programs, while fans remembered a "tortured genius" whose squeals and sliding moves captivated a generation and who sparked global trends in music, dance and fashion.

Several world leaders weighed in.


Britain's prime minister Gordon Brown said his thoughts are with Jackson's family. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called it "lamentable news," though he criticized the media for giving it so much attention. Former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, who had met Jackson, said: "We lost a hero of the world."

"I don't think anyone can be indifferent to Michael Jackson, my husband included," French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy told RTL radio in France.
"I will enormously miss his voice, his songs and his presence in our world," she said.

In Romania, where a tumultuous Jackson concert in 1992 helped mark the country's new freedoms after the fall of the Soviet bloc, singer Lucian Viziru said he was stunned by the tragedy.
"I feel like crying," he told the AP, rubbing his eyes. "I grew up with him, I learned his dances, his songs, everything. My first ever cassette was 'Thriller.'"

A condolence board went up in downtown Bucharest. Radio and TV stations played his music and broadcast clips from the concert.

"My heart is heavy because my idol died," said Byron Garcia, security consultant at a Philippine prison who organized the famous video of 1,500 inmates doing a synchronized dance to "Thriller."
The video has had 23.4 million hits on YouTube.

Garcia said the inmates in Cebu will hold a tribute for Jackson on Saturday with their "Thriller" dance and a minute of prayer.
The flamboyant former Philippine first lady, Imelda Marcos, who cheered Jackson's acquittal on child molestation charges in 2005, said she cried on hearing the news.

"Michael Jackson enriched our lives, made us happy," she said. "The accusations, the persecution caused him so much financial and mental anguish. He was vindicated in court, but the battle took his life. There is probably a lesson here for all of us."



In Bogota, Colombia, a 24-year-old tattoo artist named Michael Tarquino said his parents named him after Jackson. He recalled growing up with electricity rationing for hours at a time and waiting for the power to return.

"When the light came back on I would play my Michael Jackson LP, and I'd stand at the window and sing along," he said.


Japanese fans were always among Jackson's most passionate supporters, and news of his death came as a huge shock. Michiko Suzuki, a music critic who met Jackson several times in the 1980s, said the country was likely to be mourning for some time.

"Everyone was imitating his 'moonwalk' when it was a hit. He was a true superstar," she said.

Jackson also had a huge fan base in Seoul, South Korea, where his style and dance moves were widely emulated by Korean pop stars.

"He is my master and the prime mover to make me dance," pop star Rain told the South Korean sports and entertainment daily Ilgan Sports. "Even though he is dead, he is an eternal performer."


Aaron Kwok, one of Chinese pop's most accomplished singer-dancers, said he was deeply saddened by the news.

"It's so sudden," Kwok said in a statement. "No one can replace Michael Jackson's contributions to pop music."

"He was an incredibly loyal, loyal, loyal friend,” Donald Trump tells us. "He was very into charity.
He'd come help me with P.A.L. [Police Athletic League] whenever I needed him to...he was there.”

"I was just so shocked to hear the news," Regis Philbin says. "I've had the opportunity to interview him over the years. I'll never forget when he was on 'The Joey Bishop Show,' he was just 11 and he was magnificent...such an entertainer."


“I was lucky enough to know and work with Michael Jackson in his prime,” says director John Landis, who directed Michael in his classic “Thriller” music video.
“Michael was an extraordinary talent and a truly great international star. He had a troubled and complicated life and despite his gifts, remains a tragic figure. My wife Deborah and I will always have great affection for him.”

"Rarely has the world received a gift with the magnitude of artistry, talent, and vision as Michael Jackson,” says Neil Portnow, president/CEO of The Recording Academy. “He was a true musical icon whose identifiable voice, innovative dance moves, stunning musical versatility, and sheer star power carried him from childhood to worldwide acclaim.”
Autopsy results on entertainer Michael Jackson may shed some light on why the pop singer died Thursday at age 50, officials said.

The Los Angeles County coroner's office said an autopsy on Jackson was scheduled for Friday and results could be available the same day, CNN reported.
Jackson, in apparent cardiac arrest, was rushed Thursday from his home to UCLA Medical Center, where efforts to resuscitate him failed.




"I don't know what caused Michael's death, and I don't want to speculate as to what the causes are," attorney Brian Oxmon told Usmagazine.com.


So, is that the cause of it? People die from various and sundry causes -- they have congenital malformations of the heart, they have difficulty with various infections.

Oxmon added Jackson "had no particular health concerns except that he had broken his leg many years ago, and it hurt him."

And now we find ourselves here.
He had been warned that the misuse of medications would result in this, and I am heartbroken that we are here.
"All of us who knew him well really know what he was like," Minnelli said. "And I'm sure that now the accolades are going, and I'm sure when the autopsy comes, all hell's going to break loose. So, thank God we're celebrating him now."

Marlon Jackson, one of Michael Jackson's siblings, told CNN he learned of his brother's death through his manager, Frank Dileo.
"Frank told me that Michael last night was complaining about not feeling well. He called to tell him he wasn't feeling well," Marlon Jackson said Thursday. When they got to him this morning, he wasn't breathing."
Usmagazine.com said police in Los Angeles want to find and interview Michael Jackson's personal physician to see what happened before his death.
Fans paid tribute to the singer of monster hits "Thriller," "Beat It" and "Billy Jean" at the hospital and at Jackson's home.
Jackson's career began at age 5, when he fronted The Jackson Five with his brothers. But after dominating the pop music scene for years, Jackson became mired in scandals that included child molestation charges, for which he was acquitted.


We also lost pitchman Billy Mays within the past five days. He probably died of a heart attack and not from hitting his head during a rough airplane landing, a Florida medical examiner said yesterday. Mays, 50, famous for hawking cleaning products such as OxiClean in late-night infomercials, had complained he didn't feel well after banging his head on a Philadelphia-to-Tampa flight Saturday. But an autopsy completed yesterday found that heart disease was to blame for his death. There was no evidence of blunt trauma or drug abuse, Hillsborough County Medical Examiner Vernard Adams said.

Life goes on...A performing arts center planned for eastern Iowa is on track to be completed in 2011.

The Coralville Center for the Performing Arts has gained enough financial support from the state and the community. Officials say the $10 million project is moving forward despite significant hurdles such as last year's floods and the lagging economy.

Local schools and dance companies have expressed interest in the space, and officials say they'll start booking performances at the center by the end of the summer.

Groundbreaking is expected to take place in the fall.

Information from: Iowa City Press-Citizen, http://www.press-citizen.com/

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The filmmaking geniuses at Pixar Animation Studios have proven they know how to punctuate great storytelling with just the right music.

The studio has compiled 25 songs and instrumental tracks from their first 10 movies - from 1995’s “Toy Story” to the new release “Up” - for the brilliant collection “Disney/Pixar Greatest.”
Pixar’s movies have been nominated for an astounding 11 Oscars in the best original song and original score categories, and all those honorees are represented on the collection.

The eclectic compilation matches the diversity of Pixar’s films, which delve into a variety of subject matters, tones and genres. The nine songs range from Randy Newman’s folksy “Toy Story” theme “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” to Peter Gabriel’s soulful “Down to Earth” from “WALL-E.”

Sarah McLachlan breaks hearts with “When She Loved Me” from “Toy Story 2,” while Sheryl Crow gets engines revving with “Real Gone,” the opener to “Cars.”
“Monsters, Inc.” stars Billy Crystal and John Goodman charm with their Oscar-winning in-character duet “If I Didn’t Have You.”

Country trio Rascal Flatts, which includes Joe Don Rooney of Picher, contributes its hit cover of Tom Cochrane’s “Life Is a Highway” from “Cars.”

The CD also features 16 memorable instrumentals, various pieces of film scores ranging from the superheroic theme to “The Incredibles” to a soaring snippet from “Up.” As with any compilation, the album has its missing pieces, especially Newman’s evocative “I Will Go Sailing No More” from “Toy Story,” Brad Paisley’s heartfelt “Find Yourself” from “Cars” and Robbie Williams’ solid cover of the Bobby Darin standard “Beyond the Sea” from “Finding Nemo.” And of course, the best musical elements of “WALL-E” aren’t Pixar originals but Jerry Herman’s wonderful songs from “Hello, Dolly!,” which play such a pivotal role in the film.


Pixar fans of all ages will be able to easily identify the movie and often even the cinematic moment the tracks come from. Like the films themselves, the music collection provides quality entertainment for the whole family.
GO SEE A LIVE SHOW THIS WEEK! Don't forget to contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING & HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS: http://www.carolchanning.org/Foundation.htm

With grateful XOXOXs for your support!

Richard Skipper

Follow me on Twitter @RichardSkipper


AND DON'T FORGET TO RESERVE FOR: FAREWELL CONCERT OF "CAROL CHANNING IN CONCERT STARRING RICHARD SKIPPER!"

BOB EGAN ENTERTAINMENT in association with ELEGANT DIAMOND PRODUCTIONS presents CAROL CHANNING: A CELEBRATION Starring Richard Skipper! Musical Direction by Jon Weber, with a five piece band and back-up singers.
In this intimate evening with one of Broadway s greatest treasures, I take my audience back to a time of clean wholesome entertainment, featuring highlights from two of Channing' s greatest hits, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Hello Dolly! One performance only, July 5th, 2008 at 8:00 pm. Tim McLoone s Supper Club, 1200 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ. Reservations: (732) 774-1155.
www.RichardSkipper.com

Join me tomorrow night for LENA HORNE BIOGRAPHER GRILLED if you're in NY!
""Stormy Weather" Author James Gavin Tells All"
What: Opening
Host: Barnes & Noble-Lincoln Triangle, New York
Start Time: Wednesday, July 1 at 7:30pm
End Time: Wednesday, July 1 at 8:30pm
Where: Upper West Side

2 comments:

  1. I just read about you & your show on DEEP DISH. I loved the video clips...you are astounding!!!
    I played Horace Vandergelder at Seattle Civic Light Opera & I would have done anything to have had you as Carol my leading lady. I won't be able to see the show in Asbury Park (3000+ miles away... but, break a leg & I hope to catch your show in the future. Best wishes from Portland!

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  2. Stephen, You just made my day! Find a theatre that will make that leap of faith, and we'll do it! Send yoour contact info and I will add you to my data base!
    Richard Skipper
    www.RichardSkipper.com
    Richard@RichardSkipper.com

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