The Giving Tree

6qOIs“I called it my giving tree because it inspires me. I love climbing trees in general but this tree I loved the most because I climb up high and look down at its branches and I just love it… So many ideas. I’ve written so many songs from this tree. I wrote “Heal the World” in this tree, “Will you be there”, “Black or White”, “Childhood”. I love climbing trees. I think water balloon fights and climbing trees.. those are two of my favorites.” –

Michael famously named the tree in Neverland that he would write songs in “The Giving Tree,” a reference to this book:
pkpRp

Also found stored in the Vaccaro Vault.

Description:

“To say that this particular apple tree is a “giving tree” is an understatement. In Shel Silverstein’s popular tale of few words and simple line drawings, a tree starts out as a leafy playground, shade provider, and apple bearer for a rambunctious little boy. Making the boy happy makes the tree happy, but with time it becomes more challenging for the generous tree to meet his needs. When he asks for money, she suggests that he sell her apples. When he asks for a house, she offers her branches for lumber. When the boy is old, too old and sad to play in the tree, he asks the tree for a boat. She suggests that he cut her down to a stump so he can craft a boat out of her trunk. He unthinkingly does it. At this point in the story, the double-page spread shows a pathetic solitary stump, poignantly cut down to the heart the boy once carved into the tree as a child that said “M.E. + T.” “And then the tree was happy… but not really.” When there’s nothing left of her, the boy returns again as an old man, needing a quiet place to sit and rest. The stump offers up her services, and he sits on it. “And the tree was happy.” While the message of this book is unclear (Take and take and take? Give and give and give? Complete self-sacrifice is good? Complete self-sacrifice is infinitely sad?), Silverstein has perhaps deliberately left the book open to interpretation.” (All ages) –Karin Snelson

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Michael and the Flight Attendants

PuRUd

yDzxYCynthia Bell on left, Lauren Wallace on right

Bashir Documentary 2002,

Jackson wonders if Bashir likes flying.

Bashir claims he hates it, and says that the people on airplanes drink too much because they get alcohol for free (implying that he only flies first class).

Michael says that he loves to talk to the stewardesses, but Bashir doesn’t find that worth discussing. Michael continues with the subject, teasing Bashir about flight attendants, mentioning that he likes how women take care of him. But Bashir chooses to ignore the topic.

Cynthia Bell, prosecution witness, trial, 2005

The second flight attendant, Cindy Bell, was also an attractive woman, a blonde with a great smile. She seemed completely capable and sure of herself, and looked like she was very happy to see Michael. Even under the circumstances.

Miss Bell had a sweet expression on her face as she locked eyes with the pop star, who gently rocked back and forth in his seat behind the defense table.

Testimony from flight attendant, Cynthia Bell, TMez cross:

27 jury that you perceive Michael Jackson as a touchy-

28 feely kind of person, right? 4165

1 A. That is correct.

2 Q. And you said he was touchy-feely, kind of,

3 to you, right?

4 A. That is correct.

5 Q. What do you mean by that?

6 A. Well, he’s very soft-spoken, and typically

7 because of — he’s very polite and very soft-spoken,

8 I would have to kneel and gain eye contact with Mr.

9 Jackson. And, you know, he is very, you know — you

10 know, would touch my arm when we were communicating.

11 I don’t mean touchy-feely like in a weird sort of

12 manner. Just sort of a polite, gaining eye contact,

13 you know, maintaining, you know, communication that

14 way.

Lauren Wallace, prosecution witness, court 2005

Michael took off his sunglasses to get a better look at a beautiful tall blonde who entered the courtroom: Miss Lauren Wallace, a flight attendant who had served him numerous times. With her long blonde hair and perfect figure accented by a white pant suits and sexy black camisole, Miss Wallace had everyone in the courtroom paying attention. The blonde bombshell was one of the head flight attendants for Extrajet, a private airline that Michael often chartered for himself, his guests, and his three children.

As the gorgeous young woman was sworn in, staring over at Michael with adoring eyes, the pop star looked at her with a curious expression. It seemed like Michael was attracted to her on some level, but then he put on his wire-rimmed reading glasses and began glancing at notes from Messereau. Apparently, Michael didn’t want to be distracted by her beauty. Michael was anxious to hear what she’d been called to talk about.

Lauren Wallace, testimony:

The larger-than-life singer once wrote a personal note to one of her family friends who was very sick.

He was kind, gracious and polite to Wallace, the sole flight attendant on many XtraJet private flights that the one-time King of Pop chartered between California, Florida and other points.

In fact, they had “developed a strong professional friendship, I guess you could say,” Wallace said.

“He was wonderful, he was very kind, he was very humble, he was very gracious, very polite all the time,” Wallace said. “Sometimes he would joke around.”

“It was rare that we would sit down and chat, but on a couple occasions we would,” she said.

“It was wonderful getting to see him again,” she said, noting however that “it’s hard to be in that position when I like him so much.

“I was very flattered that he remembered me and was very coherent and knew who I was,” she said. “I was surprised. I expected him to be out of it. I was very surprised at his ability to recognize me.”

“I’ve been happy to fly Mr. Jackson and his family from day one, and I will remain that way,” she said. “It’s been a wonderful journey and experience, and it will be again.”

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The Journey

Talking about The Tree of Life1_EPEXQIANThere is a Hasidic teaching that before we are born, our souls gather with many other souls to make an agreement on how we will interact when we are born in our new bodies on earth. Our souls meet the souls of our parents – to – be, siblings, teachers, partners, acquaintances, friends, and most certainly our lovers. All of these relationships throughout our lives unfold in ways that cause the souls to influence one another along the lines of our previous agreements, gently or harshly, loving or angrily, smoothly or roughly, always in ways that affect us deeply. And each time one soul interacts with another soul, it is the same as one angel connecting to another.
In the last three years and six months, I have been interacting with people whose face I have never seen and yet we have many things in common we are in a journey for the uncondiotional love we all shared for Michael Joseph Jackson.
In these many years, most of us are discovering more about ourselves, we are interacting with one another to communicate our likes and dislikes, our joys and our sorrows.
Once, someone told me that Michael’s fans come from many different backgrounds and had different views about him, and now more than ever I understand that, dealing with prejudice and ignorance, but always looking for an understanding in the medium I chose to express my thoughts and my love for him.
Somewhat in this journey I have learned that no matter where we come from our love for Michael will endure everything and everyone out there, because we care, because we feel and we understand who he really was and because for most of us the only sorrow is that we couldn’t be there for him and we only recognized that when he left us.
This is our journey, my journey and perhaps we will gather again some day!
Much Love,
Nef

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Michael Jackson’s Library: Favorite Books

And the third thing was that Michael was extremely well-read.

I didn’t know that.

No. Few people did. In trial – and I knew Michael, but I got to know him a lot better at the trial. The judge was doing jury selection, and it was time for break. Judge Melville said, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, I want you to know that jury service is very, very important.’ He’s trying to convince people not to have stupid excuses to get out of jury service. All judges do this. He says, ‘The jury system is a very time-honored system. It’s been around for 200 years. We’re going to take a break and come back in 15 minutes.

We stand up and the judge leaves, and Michael turns to me and says, “Bob, the jury system is much older than 200 years, isn’t it?’ I said, ‘Well, yeah, it goes back to the Greeks.’ He says, ‘Oh yeah, Socrates had a jury trial, didn’t he?’ I said, ‘Yeah, well, you know how it turned out for him.’ Michael says, ‘Yeah, he had to drink the hemlock.’ That’s just one little tidbit. We talked about psychology, Freud and Jung, Hawthorne, sociology, black history and sociology dealing with race issues. But he was very well read in the classics of psychology and history and literature.

That’s fascinating.

He loved to read. He had over 10,000 books at his house. And I know that because – and I hate to keep referring to the case, because I don’t want the case – the case should not define him. But one of the things that we learned – the DA went through his entire library and found, for instance, a German art book from 1930-something. And it turned out that the guy who was the artist behind the book had been prosecuted by the Nazis. Nobody knew that, but then the cops get up there and say, ‘We found this book with pictures of nude people in it.’ But it was art, with a lot of text. It was art. And they found some other things, a briefcase that didn’t belong to him that had some Playboys in it or something. But they went through the guy’s entire house, 10,000 books. And it caused us to do the same thing, and look at it.

And there were places that he liked to sit, and you could see the books with his bookmarks in it, with notes and everything in it where he liked to sit and read. And I can tell you from talking to him that he had a very – especially for someone who was self-taught, as it were, and had his own reading list – he was very well-read. And I don’t want to say that I’m well-read, but I’ve certainly read a lot, let’s put it that way, and I enjoy philosophy and history and everything myself, and it was very nice to talk to him, because he was very intellectual, and he liked to talk about those things. But he didn’t flaunt it, and it was very seldom that he would initiate the conversation like that, but if you got into a conversation like that with him, he was there.

Do you remember the last time you saw him, or talked to him?

The last time I talked to him was right after the trial, and then he moved out of the country. I had not seen him personally, in person – I talked to him on the phone – since them. Of course, I talked to people around him, because we still took care of matters for him. But the best I can say, and I don’t want to oversell my significance in his world, but I want to convey this side of him that people didn’t see. I just hate – every time I hear Jay Leno or somebody take a cheap shot – and Jay Leno I think is a very funny man – but every time they take a cheap shot I think, that really isn’t fair, because that’s not who he is. And few people had an opportunity to really experience the kindness of him and his family. And few people really had the opportunity the have these intellectual discussions about great thinkers and writers. Freud and Jung – go down the street and try and find five people who can talk about Freud and Jung.

Michael Jackson’s Library: Favorite Books

Michael Jackson's Library Favorite Books, library at Neverland

Michael Jackson’s Library at Neverland

Michael Jackson's Library Favorite Books, library at Neverland

Michael Jackson’s Library At Neverland Recreated At The Vegas Fanfest

Michael’s Love For Reading In General

 

Michael’s lawyer, Bob Sanger:

And the third thing was that Michael was extremely well-read.

I didn’t know that.

No. Few people did. In trial – and I knew Michael, but I got to know him a lot better at the trial. The judge was doing jury selection, and it was time for break. Judge Melville said, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, I want you to know that jury service is very, very important.’ He’s trying to convince people not to have stupid excuses to get out of jury service. All judges do this. He says, ‘The jury system is a very time-honored system. It’s been around for 200 years. We’re going to take a break and come back in 15 minutes.

We stand up and the judge leaves, and Michael turns to me and says, “Bob, the jury system is much older than 200 years, isn’t it?’ I said, ‘Well, yeah, it goes back to the Greeks.’ He says, ‘Oh yeah, Socrates had a jury trial, didn’t he?’ I said, ‘Yeah, well, you know how it turned out for him.’ Michael says, ‘Yeah, he had to drink the hemlock.’ That’s just one little tidbit. We talked about psychology, Freud and Jung, Hawthorne, sociology, black history and sociology dealing with race issues. But he was very well read in the classics of psychology and history and literature.

That’s fascinating.

He loved to read. He had over 10,000 books at his house. And I know that because – and I hate to keep referring to the case, because I don’t want the case – the case should not define him. But one of the things that we learned – the DA went through his entire library and found, for instance, a German art book from 1930-something. And it turned out that the guy who was the artist behind the book had been prosecuted by the Nazis. Nobody knew that, but then the cops get up there and say, ‘We found this book with pictures of nude people in it.’ But it was art, with a lot of text. It was art. And they found some other things, a briefcase that didn’t belong to him that had some Playboys in it or something. But they went through the guy’s entire house, 10,000 books. And it caused us to do the same thing, and look at it.

And there were places that he liked to sit, and you could see the books with his bookmarks in it, with notes and everything in it where he liked to sit and read. And I can tell you from talking to him that he had a very – especially for someone who was self-taught, as it were, and had his own reading list – he was very well-read. And I don’t want to say that I’m well-read, but I’ve certainly read a lot, let’s put it that way, and I enjoy philosophy and history and everything myself, and it was very nice to talk to him, because he was very intellectual, and he liked to talk about those things. But he didn’t flaunt it, and it was very seldom that he would initiate the conversation like that, but if you got into a conversation like that with him, he was there.

Do you remember the last time you saw him, or talked to him?

The last time I talked to him was right after the trial, and then he moved out of the country. I had not seen him personally, in person – I talked to him on the phone – since them. Of course, I talked to people around him, because we still took care of matters for him. But the best I can say, and I don’t want to oversell my significance in his world, but I want to convey this side of him that people didn’t see. I just hate – every time I hear Jay Leno or somebody take a cheap shot – and Jay Leno I think is a very funny man – but every time they take a cheap shot I think, that really isn’t fair, because that’s not who he is. And few people had an opportunity to really experience the kindness of him and his family. And few people really had the opportunity the have these intellectual discussions about great thinkers and writers. Freud and Jung – go down the street and try and find five people who can talk about Freud and Jung.

Jermaine Jackson, “You Are Not Alone”:

But it was when we first laid eyes on her library that Michael started to become the voracious reader that he was. Rose [Fine] handled each book like a precious artifact, and she was always on at us to read, read, read – and Michael heeded this advice. Few people know that my brother was a bookish nerd, always swotting up on some random subject to better his vocabulary, knowledge, or understanding of life. “I love reading. There is a wonderful world to be discovered in books,” he said. Michael’s early reading material concerned Fred Astaire or Elvis, or child stars Shirley Temple or Sammy Davis Junior. In later years, his reading extended from Steven Spielberg to Alfred Hitchcock, President Reagan to President Roosevelt, Malcolm X to Dr Martin Luther King, and Mussolini to Hitler. I doubt many people would have given him credit for the general knowledge he amassed. Except Rose [Fine.] She always taught us that we can learn from the best by following history’s lessons; that it has left the footprints for us to follow. That is why Michael’s autobiography, Moonwalk, starts with a quote from Thomas Edison:

“When I want to discover something, I begin by reading up everything that has been done along that line in the past – that’s what all these books in the library are for. I see what has been accomplished at great labor and expense in the past. I gather data of many thousands of experiments as a starting point, and then I make thousands more. “The three great essentials to achieve anything worth while are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.”

That quote still stands as the truest reflection of Michael’s approach to his own mastery, and they were the words he actually posted in gold letters to the cloth, coffee brown walls of his sound studio at Hayvenhurst.

Frank Cascio, “My Friend Michael”:

On weekends in the city, we often went to the movies or comic book stores, but what I remember most fondly about those visits was that Michael introduced me to the joys of books. I was dyslexic, and reading had always been tough for me, but when I complained that I didn’t like to read, he said, “Well, then you will be dumb and ignorant for the rest of your life. Frank, you can do anything you want in this world, but if you don’t have knowledge, you are nothing. If I gave you a million dollars right now, would you take it? Or would you want to have the knowledge of how to make that million on your own?”

I knew the correct answer to this question. “I’ll take the knowledge.”

“That’s right. Because with knowledge you can make the first million into two.”

 

Michael Jackson’s Library: Favorite Books

Michael Jackson's Library Favorite Books, library at Neverland

Michael Jackson’s Library at Neverland

Michael Jackson's Library Favorite Books, library at Neverland

Michael Jackson’s Library At Neverland Recreated At The Vegas Fanfest

Michael’s Love For Reading In General

 

Michael’s lawyer, Bob Sanger:

And the third thing was that Michael was extremely well-read.

I didn’t know that.

No. Few people did. In trial – and I knew Michael, but I got to know him a lot better at the trial. The judge was doing jury selection, and it was time for break. Judge Melville said, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, I want you to know that jury service is very, very important.’ He’s trying to convince people not to have stupid excuses to get out of jury service. All judges do this. He says, ‘The jury system is a very time-honored system. It’s been around for 200 years. We’re going to take a break and come back in 15 minutes.

We stand up and the judge leaves, and Michael turns to me and says, “Bob, the jury system is much older than 200 years, isn’t it?’ I said, ‘Well, yeah, it goes back to the Greeks.’ He says, ‘Oh yeah, Socrates had a jury trial, didn’t he?’ I said, ‘Yeah, well, you know how it turned out for him.’ Michael says, ‘Yeah, he had to drink the hemlock.’ That’s just one little tidbit. We talked about psychology, Freud and Jung, Hawthorne, sociology, black history and sociology dealing with race issues. But he was very well read in the classics of psychology and history and literature.

That’s fascinating.

He loved to read. He had over 10,000 books at his house. And I know that because – and I hate to keep referring to the case, because I don’t want the case – the case should not define him. But one of the things that we learned – the DA went through his entire library and found, for instance, a German art book from 1930-something. And it turned out that the guy who was the artist behind the book had been prosecuted by the Nazis. Nobody knew that, but then the cops get up there and say, ‘We found this book with pictures of nude people in it.’ But it was art, with a lot of text. It was art. And they found some other things, a briefcase that didn’t belong to him that had some Playboys in it or something. But they went through the guy’s entire house, 10,000 books. And it caused us to do the same thing, and look at it.

And there were places that he liked to sit, and you could see the books with his bookmarks in it, with notes and everything in it where he liked to sit and read. And I can tell you from talking to him that he had a very – especially for someone who was self-taught, as it were, and had his own reading list – he was very well-read. And I don’t want to say that I’m well-read, but I’ve certainly read a lot, let’s put it that way, and I enjoy philosophy and history and everything myself, and it was very nice to talk to him, because he was very intellectual, and he liked to talk about those things. But he didn’t flaunt it, and it was very seldom that he would initiate the conversation like that, but if you got into a conversation like that with him, he was there.

Do you remember the last time you saw him, or talked to him?

The last time I talked to him was right after the trial, and then he moved out of the country. I had not seen him personally, in person – I talked to him on the phone – since them. Of course, I talked to people around him, because we still took care of matters for him. But the best I can say, and I don’t want to oversell my significance in his world, but I want to convey this side of him that people didn’t see. I just hate – every time I hear Jay Leno or somebody take a cheap shot – and Jay Leno I think is a very funny man – but every time they take a cheap shot I think, that really isn’t fair, because that’s not who he is. And few people had an opportunity to really experience the kindness of him and his family. And few people really had the opportunity the have these intellectual discussions about great thinkers and writers. Freud and Jung – go down the street and try and find five people who can talk about Freud and Jung.

Jermaine Jackson, “You Are Not Alone”:

But it was when we first laid eyes on her library that Michael started to become the voracious reader that he was. Rose [Fine] handled each book like a precious artifact, and she was always on at us to read, read, read – and Michael heeded this advice. Few people know that my brother was a bookish nerd, always swotting up on some random subject to better his vocabulary, knowledge, or understanding of life. “I love reading. There is a wonderful world to be discovered in books,” he said. Michael’s early reading material concerned Fred Astaire or Elvis, or child stars Shirley Temple or Sammy Davis Junior. In later years, his reading extended from Steven Spielberg to Alfred Hitchcock, President Reagan to President Roosevelt, Malcolm X to Dr Martin Luther King, and Mussolini to Hitler. I doubt many people would have given him credit for the general knowledge he amassed. Except Rose [Fine.] She always taught us that we can learn from the best by following history’s lessons; that it has left the footprints for us to follow. That is why Michael’s autobiography, Moonwalk, starts with a quote from Thomas Edison:

“When I want to discover something, I begin by reading up everything that has been done along that line in the past – that’s what all these books in the library are for. I see what has been accomplished at great labor and expense in the past. I gather data of many thousands of experiments as a starting point, and then I make thousands more. “The three great essentials to achieve anything worth while are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.”

That quote still stands as the truest reflection of Michael’s approach to his own mastery, and they were the words he actually posted in gold letters to the cloth, coffee brown walls of his sound studio at Hayvenhurst.

Frank Cascio, “My Friend Michael”:

On weekends in the city, we often went to the movies or comic book stores, but what I remember most fondly about those visits was that Michael introduced me to the joys of books. I was dyslexic, and reading had always been tough for me, but when I complained that I didn’t like to read, he said, “Well, then you will be dumb and ignorant for the rest of your life. Frank, you can do anything you want in this world, but if you don’t have knowledge, you are nothing. If I gave you a million dollars right now, would you take it? Or would you want to have the knowledge of how to make that million on your own?”

I knew the correct answer to this question. “I’ll take the knowledge.”

“That’s right. Because with knowledge you can make the first million into two.”

 

 

FICTION

 

⇓⇓ Peter Pan, by J.M Barrie

⇑ Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

 

Michael Jackson's Library Favorite Books, library at Neverland

One of Michael’s all time favorite books.

Kobe Bryant, Remembering Michael, Time Special 2009

One of the things he always told me was, Don’t be afraid to be different. In other words, when you have that desire, that drive, people are going to try to pull you away from that, and pull you closer to the pack to be “normal.” And he was saying, It’s O.K. to be that driven; it’s O.K. to be obsessed with what you want to do. That’s perfectly fine. Don’t be afraid to not deviate from that. One of the books that he gave me that helped him communicate with me was Jonathan Livingston Seagull, which was about that.

Cousin Anthony Jackson on twitter, August 29th 2010:

#messagetomj I remember when you read Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach all the way through in one sitting at Disney World. Thank you for always being there for me and for teaching me to believe in dreams! We miss you..Happy birthday!

Frank Cascio, “My Friend Michael”:

One of the books Michael told me to read on the trip was Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Jonathan, out of all the seagulls saw that here was more to life than just being a seagull – more than what was right in front of him. Michael wanted to live that way – to fly beyond all expectations, to live an extraordinary life. He instilled that ambition in me, often asking me, “Do you want to be Jonathan, or one of the other birds?”


Wikipedia summary:

The book tells the story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a seagull who is bored with the daily squabbles over food. Seized by a passion for flight, he pushes himself, learning everything he can about flying, until finally his unwillingness to conform results in his expulsion from his flock. An outcast, he continues to learn, becoming increasingly pleased with his abilities as he leads an idyllic life.

One day, Jonathan is met by two gulls who take him to a “higher plane of existence” in that there is no heaven but a better world found through perfection of knowledge, where he meets other gulls who love to fly. He discovers that his sheer tenacity and desire to learn make him “pretty well a one-in-a-million bird.” Jonathan befriends the wisest gull in this new place, named Chiang, who takes him beyond his previous learning, teaching him how to move instantaneously to anywhere else in the Universe. The secret, Chiang says, is to “begin by knowing that you have already arrived.” Not satisfied with his new life, Jonathan returns to Earth to find others like him, to bring them his learning and to spread his love for flight. His mission is successful, gathering around him others who have been outlawed for not conforming. Ultimately, the very first of his students, Fletcher Lynd Seagull, becomes a teacher in his own right and Jonathan leaves to teach other flocks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Love Letters

0d7470b7dc6f7b96d6064d0b9b433eccBreaking Free

By Michael Jackson

All this hysteria, all this commotion, time , space, energy are just a notion

What we have conceptualized we have created

All those loved, all those hated

Time’s arrow, so difficult to bend

Those broken promisses,

What they meant

Those love letters, never sent

Thank you for illuminating my whole being. You continue to surprise me with both fantasy and wonder. I’m so sorry for not being here when you wake up. I love you, [name blacked out]. From the bottom of my heart and soul, from France to Italy, I love you.

I will call you when I have landed.

 

 

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Exclusive Interview with Michael Jackson – Designer Michael Lee Bush

Michael Jackson’s long time costume designer, Michael Bush, granted us an exclusive interview, which we think you’ll agree is the most extensive and revealing interview he has done to date! If you have not already done so, please order Michael Bush’s new book, “The King Of Style: Dressing Michael Jackson” today. Please stay tuned for an exclusive competition where you can win a personally signed copy of the book. In the meantime, enjoy the interview!

MJJC: You have said you designed nearly 900 outfits for MJ. No doubt it is hard to pick a favorite, but is there one outfit that stands out for you as being unmistakably “Michael”? Which outfit(s) did you love so much that you are going to keep and why does it mean so much to you?

MB: You will think this is cliché to say but honestly there were so many favorite outfits that it is very hard for me to pick one. I don’t think I can do it. The white beaded jacket Michael wore to the Academy Awards with Madonna, the gold metallic jumpsuit for the DANGEROUS tour, the ceremonial jacket he wore to the inauguration or the black leather jacket he wore when Elizabeth Taylor dubbed him the “King of Pop” all have special stories behind them. Some of the things that meant the most to him were some of the personal clothes we designed for him. He loved color and so did we.

MJJC: You recently said that Michael would tell you “I need more dust” (referring to Peter Pan’s “Tinkerbell”) when describing that something needed more flash or sparkle. What were some of the other words or phrases he would use to describe an outfit or “look” that he wanted you to create for him?

MB: Everything was “showtime.” Every piece of clothing always had to be ready for “the show,” he would tell us to make sure all of his clothes were always ready for that “showtime” so we lived by that in every single design. He was a master at creating a show but he was also a master of being the “Show” himself.

MJJC: Briefly describe the creative process and how MJ was involved–ie: did you typically approach him with sketches that he approved for you to design, or did he usually describe to you certain outfits he wanted, and how did all of that work? Where did the “inspiration” for an outfit typically come from? Was there one particular outfit that Michael himself seemed to be the most involved in creating/designing?

MB: The creative process was always a bit different. For instance when Michael was in the studio recording he had very little input because he was so busy making music. Other times he would send out or even to other countries to observe what styles people were wearing. He always wanted his clothes to be ready for “showtime” and there were elements of the design that always had to appear on stage as a very special part of the show, the light had to hit just right so the person in the very back row could even see it. We collaborated a lot together but he also trusted us so many times we would bring him designs and he would either love them or hate them. Either way we always got him to where he needed to be.

MJJC: Michael Jackson was well known for being a perfectionist, describe how challenging it sometimes was to get something “just right” for him. What was the longest period of time you spent on a particular outfit and which one was that? Was there ever an outfit that you kept having to redo? And was there a particular piece you designed that Michael never wore or didn’t like that you really wish he had worn?

MB: Michael wore everything. If we made an outfit he wore it. One of the more challenging costumes we designed was the chrome costume for the HIStory tour because of our fear that he could hurt himself in it. Because it was plastic, form fitting and made of different types of materials it was a hard costume to maneuver but Michael Jackson made it look easy, however, trust me it wasn’t.

MJJC: You met Michael around 1985 on the set of Captain EO. How did that meeting come to be, and how would you describe what it was like? Were you ever “star struck” to be around him then, or did he make you feel at ease right away? How familiar with your work had Michael been at that point and what was the first assignment that he gave you to do (presumably the outfit for the “BAD” or “Smooth Criminal” videos)?

MB: During the two videos you mention we were still Michael’s “dressers,” we were not named his designers yet at that time. Michael was always more concerned about finding talent to be part of his team with personality and people who he knew he could have fun with. While it was important for him to find people who understood the art, it was equally important to find people with the right personality and Michael knew how to pull the best of you out of you. It was because of this that we were named his designers and we loved every minute of every day working with him.

MJJC: Surely you could not imagine then that you and your partner Dennis Tompkins were just starting a 25 year working relationship with him, but how and when did you know that the three of you were really “in sync” together? Was it something that Michael told you, or was it a reaction to a design or concept that you showed him where you just knew you really had impressed him?

MB: I knew Michael and I would be working together for a very long time the minute he threw those cherries at me in the trailer when we first met. When someone can laugh that hard with you right away you know the friendship is there to stay. Dennis was always the technical one and I was always the creative one. It just worked and Michael knew it from the beginning and when we earned his trust and knew what he wanted it just became better and better.

MJJC: Where did the materials and ideas for the costume (such as the jackets) designs come from? Presumably, everything was custom made so did you go around to American fabric stores or flea markets to develop ideas, or did you usually commission special fabrics to industries specialized in this as Valentino, Gucci and other important designers do?

MB: There are so many answers to this question. Michael loved the military and regal styles as you can tell with many of the outfits he wore. He would also always be intrigued by what other people were wearing. He once sent myself and Dennis over to Europe for weeks just to observe people’s fashions and report back. He loved street wear, that was his thing. It had to be comfortable and move with him. He also read magazines ferociously, not for stories on him but for visuals of the latest trends so he could take those images and transfer them into his ideas for clothes. We once bought every magazine on the newsstand and he told us after that to sit down and rip out pages of things that we found interesting. Then we showed him all of those and from there he would pick out a few and then we would talk about those visuals and translate them into clothes. Other times he knew what he wanted be it crystals, gold, robotic, rhinestones. Whatever it was we always listened and then collaborated. That is what worked the best.

MJJC: What was the process by which you created costumes for each of Michael’s tours? Did you meet with him in advance to discuss an overall “theme” for each tour’s costumes (styles, colors, etc.), or was it more of an “organic” process where you would just come up with different designs and later decide where and when to use them?

MB: We always met in advance. He always told us what he was thinking and what the show was about. From there we would design and present him with ideas and sketches

MJJC: What did you find most striking or memorable about Michael Jackson as an entertainer/performer? As a person? Could you please share a funny or sentimental story (that we’ve never heard before) that will let us understand a bit more about the personal relationship you had with MJ? Was there something in particular you recall that Michael told you that really inspired or motivated you?

MB: Michael was the most generous person I have ever known. People just don’t realize how truly generous he was. He never cared about himself, but he always cared about everyone else around him and was always quick to make sure everyone was taken care of. He was generous to a fault sometime because some people take advantage of people like that. He was generous in many ways and I will never forget that about my friend. The funniest thing about Michael was his laugh. When he started laughing he couldn’t stop and then everyone around him would laugh and couldn’t stop. It was some of the most fun we ever had when this happened. I will always remember that.

MJJC: How many extra versions of the primary tour outfits did you typically have in case of an emergency (loss, theft, costume malfunction, or something needing to be cleaned, etc.) at the last moment? For example, do you recall how many of the 1988 BAD Tour jackets were done (like on the cover of your book)?

MB: Michael would lose about 4-5 pounds of water weight when he performed so we always had to have 4-5 sizes of pants for example for when he changed sets because he would actually lose the weight on stage in water so his waist would become smaller. This was particularly normal for us with many costumes.

MJJC: You created some pretty unique concepts during your working relationship with MJ—from “anti-gravity” dancing shoes, to a jacket that was covered in gold silverware (that somehow looked really cool)! What are some other original concepts or inventions that you developed for Michael’s outfits that were not necessarily visible to the human eye that we may not already know about?

MB: We had designed a strobe light coat for Michael that had 30 strobe lights on it that was affectionately called the “paparazzi” coat. However we nixed it when we realized that that much light going off on a coat could actually cause an epileptic to have a seizure because of the amount of light and fast action. We didn’t want to take a chance not knowing what fans would be there to see it. So we never used it. Michael was always concerned about his fans and because this coat had a chance of possibly hurting someone it wasn’t worn.

MJJC: What was the most expensive piece of clothing that was made for Michael? Was it the silver Dangerous Tour “Jam” jacket, and can you describe what was involved in making it? MJ had talked about it having a special interior “climate controlled” feature that would make him stay cool on hot days, yet warm on colder or rainy days. Was there more than one of this particular jacket made for Michael?

MB: The stories you hear about climate controlled features is not true. We made clothes with different fabrics, forms, and fittings to work within the temperatures or environments in which he worked.

MJJC: In a recent interview you said “Michael’s concept was, “I want the fashion designers in the world, the big conglomerates, I want them to copy me. I don’t want to wear what’s out there. I want to push my individuality, and being that my music is me, my look should be me.” Having said that, were there cultural, iconic, or historical figures whose fashion style he told you he particularly admired?

MB: He likes the 40’s look and styles and he also liked street wear, some of those very iconic men’s fashions that you could see as timeless.

MJJC: You have said that you never considered working with MJ as “work” but more of a “passion.” But you also admit that at times it was very demanding, sometimes having to work for 36 hours straight to finish an outfit that needed to be done before a performance. Aside from having to meet the occasional deadline, what were some of the other challenging aspects of working with MJ and how do you think they may have pushed you into improving your own craft?

MB: When you work with someone like Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, the most influential entertainer of our time, there is no way you can’t improve your own craft! He was delightfully demanding because he always made us think, he always made us want to do better, he always created things that you thought “where did that come from?” But we did it because we loved it and we did it because we loved him. It was great fun, very demanding but unbelievably rewarding.

MJJC: You recently talked about a particular jacket Michael said he wanted you to try that your partner Dennis said “was never going to work” near the early stages of your relationship. What’s the most outlandish outfit request that Michael had? Was there ever another situation when you wanted to tell him “Michael that is just too ridiculous to wear and is not your style” or had to say “Michael that just doesn’t look good on you” and did he usually rely on your professional opinion?

MB: Well it wasn’t a jacket. It was the anti-gravity board. He came to us and told us in record time we had to create something that allowed him to perform on stage while leaning forward at a 45 degree angle. There was no time to think about it, research or hire outside sources to consult. It was us and only us. And we did it with him of course. He played a huge role in developing it with us and it wasn’t easy and no I won’t give away our secret. It is patented and the patent is owned by Michael Jackson, Dennis Tompkins and Michael Bush. When that anti-gravity board and shoes worked on the stage for Michael with such precision as it did, you couldn’t imagine how amazed we were ourselves.

MJJC: You obviously wanted to create a unique and recognizable style for MJ. Did you notice how Michael’s fashion style evolved through the years, or would you say that the overall style (especially through your own creations) was pretty consistent? Likewise, did Michael’s personal tastes (or color preferences) seem to change as he got older? Did Michael himself ever set limits about clothes, like something he would never wear? And was there a certain outfit or concept that at first he did not like that you encouraged him to try that he later loved?

MB: He always loved the military style, the royal regal look and lots of embellishments. That stayed pretty consistent. Remember he loved the “Showtime” effect and that never went away. He was always dressing for his fans don’t forget. That always was consistent. One of the things many people don’t know is that Michael loved corduroy because it kept him warm. We created a lot of personal outfits for him in corduroy that he loved.

MJJC: Two Michael Jackson jackets that clearly did evolve and change with each tour were the iconic “Beat It“ and “Thriller” jackets. Which of the two did you enjoy working on most and why?

MB: We worked on both as they evolved through the tours. We enjoyed both of them, we really could not tell you one was better than the other. That’s the truth.

MJJC: Aside from custom Tompkins & Bush creations, what was Michael’s favorite clothing brand and why? How do you feel about the Christian Audigier/Ed Hardy based creations potentially becoming available on a retail basis some day? Did you ever discuss any joint business ventures with MJ, such as bringing out a public clothing line inspired by some of your designs, or do you feel that this would somehow diminish their uniqueness? In general, how do you feel when you see fans wear similar costumes as you created for MJ and how do you think he felt about that?

MB: Michael liked Florsheim shoes. Michael loved seeing fans wearing their interpretation of his costumes. To see his fans interpret his own designs in their own way was one of his greatest pleasures. The fans didn’t copy Michael, they would take what they saw him wear and create their own designs and art. It was fascinating to him. It was the ultimate flattery for him. I dealt with Michael on a one-to-one basis and there was never any desire to mass produce.

MJJC: You have said one of your goals was to design clothes that Michael could freely dance in from a functional perspective. In what other ways do you think Michael’s artistry, dance, or music inspired you as you were creating these designs? As an aside, did you typically listen to MJ music when you worked on creating them with your partner? What was your favorite MJ song to listen to or see performed live?

MB: When I saw Michael perform “Another Part of Me” it was magical, it really showed me instantly what a “showman” he truly was. There will never be anyone else like him. We didn’t listen to Michael Jackson music when designing, it was often classical music because that music is so timeless. Even Michael Jackson would have told you that.

MJJC: Mr. Bush, your own costume creations were “works of art” all by themselves. When Michael took the stage, it was a “Michael Jackson” show, yet he was wearing “Tompkins & Bush” outfits that represented hundreds (if not thousands) of hours of your own blood and sweat. Describe if you can how much personal pride you and your partner felt for each Michael Jackson performance, and the lasting legacy you and your partner have helped him to create.

MB: There are no words that can fully describe how much personal pride both of us had and I still do. And I thank you for saying they were “works of art.” Truly appreciated.

MJJC: Your eagerly awaited book “Dressing Michael Jackson” is finally being released this month. What will MJ fans like most about this book? What do you think fans/readers will find most extraordinary or surprising?

MB: It’s an art driven book so there are hundreds of photos of Michael’s fashions, both stage and personal. The book is meant for the fans. It is a book Michael and I spoke about before he passed and it was my duty to bring it to the fans. I want it to serve as a great piece of history for each of them to take home. I share some really fun personal stories in there too. And I hope after one reads through it they realize how much influence Michael really had on the world of fashion.

MJJC: You have said that MJ “always hoped his costumes would be celebrated in books and museums”. Even to benefit charities such as MusiCares, how do you feel about forever parting with many of these precious items and seeing them sold at auction? Now that you have released the book, how else do you think these treasures should be preserved and appreciated? Would you like to see some of them in a permanent museum and if so, what would you envision?

MB: Michael always gave us back the costumes and clothes. The auction is only a small gathering of costumes and it will benefit charity. These treasures will likely be purchased by museums, avid collectors and fans so I am positive they will be celebrated in all around the world for many years to come. There are many other outfits of Michael’ already in museums and around the world on display. I know many of these will join those. Also, the fans who bid on them will cherish them forever. Michael would not want them packed away somewhere. He would want people to enjoy them and now they will be able to.

MJJC: And finally, you recently stated “It’s my job now to keep Michael’s legacy alive and pay homage to all he did for the world, music, his fans, and the environment”. Apart from promoting your book, can you share with us what kinds of projects relating to Michael Jackson and his legacy you would like to be a part of in the future?

MB: I just want to do what I can to preserve the legacy of Michael Jackson, to let the world know what a generous, caring and creative person he was who will forever leave his mark not only on the world of music but on humanity. There was never anyone like him and it’s hard to imagine there will ever be anyone else like him in the future.

Special thanks to Darren Julien and Caroline Galloway for assisting us in making this interview with Michael Bush happen. You can view and bid on several of these amazing costumes at Julien’s “The Collection Of Tompkins & Bush: Michael Jackson” Exhibit and auction. The exhibit is currently running here in London and the auction is taking place this Sunday, December 2nd, 2012 at Julien’s in Beverly Hills, CA, and online at Julien’sLive.com.

Our heartfelt appreciation to Michael Bush for taking time out of his busy schedule to conduct this interview. Visit his official Facebook group and enter his exclusive contest where YOU could win amazing prizes including an 8×10 piece of gold four-way stretch mirrored finish spandex cut from the very same bolt of fabric that the Michael Jackson costume was cut! Don’t forget to order the new book, “The King Of Style: Dressing Michael Jackson”.

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Farewell to Sage

Sage


For the last three years I have been a frequent costumer at Phoenix and Dragon Bookstore in Atlanta – GA.
Somedays I went there only to relax , other days to seat and read a tarot card and Sage the beautiful Black Cat was always around, I used to talk to him and pet his black coat..I know he felt my energy as I felt his it made me feel good knowing he was around. Thank you Sage for the beautiful days we had seating close to each other.
Nef

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