WBEZ | Michael Jackson http://www.wbez.org/tags/michael-jackson Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Gary celebrates Michael Jackson’s birthday but not much else http://www.wbez.org/news/gary-celebrates-michael-jackson%E2%80%99s-birthday-not-much-else-108567 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/MJ Gary.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>It took her more than 15 hours to drive from Tampa, Florida, but Mary Singer finally made it Thursday morning to Gary, Indiana. She says there&rsquo;s only one reason she drove all that way in the middle of the night.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s because of Michael Jackson. I wouldn&rsquo;t be in Gary, Indiana right now if it weren&rsquo;t for Michael Jackson,&rdquo; Singer told WBEZ while she stood outside the late singer&rsquo;s boyhood home.</p><p>Today kicks off a three day celebration of food and music centered around the small, one-story white house at 2300 Jackson Street. The neighborhood has seen better days &ndash; there are almos as many boarded up homes as occupied ones nowadays &ndash; but fans from all over the world are still expected to show up to mark what would have been Jackson&#39;s 55th birthday.</p><p>Singer says she was surprised not to find a more permanent installation honoring the King of Pop in his hometown.</p><p>&ldquo;This is Michael&rsquo;s legacy now. I think if there was a museum or something here in Gary where he was born that people would come here more often than just on his birthday,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Turn that little house into a museum,&rdquo; Singer suggested.</p><p>A year after Jackson died, there was an effort to build a massive, multi million dollar museum campus in Gary dedicated to Michael Jackson and his musical family. The idea had the backing of the late former Gary Mayor Rudy Clay and Joe Jackson, the patriarch of the Jackson family. The museum was to have been built over several acres near Indiana University Northwest, not far from Jackson&rsquo;s boyhood home.</p><p>But those plans quickly fizzled when it was learned that the property that the museum was eyeing was wetlands. There was also concern that the city would have to provide some financial backing to get the project off the ground.</p><p>When Karen Freeman Wilson was elected mayor nearly two years ago, having the city fund such a project was not a priority. Today, Freeman Wilson says it&rsquo;s not the proper role of government to back such a museum project &ndash; even for its best known former resident.</p><p>&ldquo;In the past I&rsquo;ve been pretty clear that I don&rsquo;t envision a museum. I am certainly am open to any type of lasting legacy to Michael Jackson and his contribution not just to the City of Gary but to the world that is done by any private entity,&rdquo; Freeman Wilson said. &ldquo;But as it relates to a city-funded or city-driven project like a museum, that is not our vision of a commemoration of Michael Jackson that we would be willing to invest in.&rdquo;</p><p>So for now, fans will have to be content with a little moonwalking on the sidewalk outside Jackson&rsquo;s home.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 29 Aug 2013 16:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/gary-celebrates-michael-jackson%E2%80%99s-birthday-not-much-else-108567 Morning Shift: Remembering the 'King of Pop' http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-08-29/morning-shift-remembering-king-pop-108556 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/MJ-wallpapers-michael-jackson-31128130-1600-1200 - courtesy of www.fanpop.com_.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Today&#39;s &quot;Music Thursday&quot; celebrates Michael Jackson on what would be his 55th birthday. And, WBEZ&#39;s Becky Vevea tells us how CPS is assisting students as they transition to their new, welcoming schools.&nbsp;</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-54/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-54.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-54" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Remembering the 'King of Pop'" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Thu, 29 Aug 2013 08:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-08-29/morning-shift-remembering-king-pop-108556 Don’t-Miss List August 23-August 29: A trailer park musical and Michael Jackson http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-08/%EF%BB%BFdon%E2%80%99t-miss-list-august-23-august-29-trailer-park-musical-and-michael <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/MJ%20Gorilla%20Tango.jpg" title="'That Was It: The Tragic Tale of Our King Michael Jackson' plays at Gorilla Tango in Bucktown (Courtesy of the theater)" /></div><p><u><em>That Was It: The Tragic Tale of Our King Michael Jackson</em>, 7:30 p.m. every Friday through September 28, Gorilla Tango Theater at 1919 N. Milwaukee Avenue in Bucktown, $15</u><br /><br />Gorilla Tango continues its ongoing critique of every imaginable pop culture phenomenon, from <em>Star Wars</em> to <em>Dawn of the Dead</em>, with this parodic Greek tragedy in which Michael Jackson is the Oedipally damned protagonist. Jackson&#39;s music and references thereto abound, and the dancing pays inspired homage to <em>Thriller</em>.&nbsp; The cast pays attention to craft, making the piece much better than it needs to be. This is late-night comedy considerately staged at 7:30 so even old folks can enjoy it. At about 45 minutes, it&rsquo;s more of an <em>amuse-bouche</em> than a meal, but there&#39;s plenty of <em>amuse</em>, and the strong pair of actors playing Jackson are the whipped cream on the cupcake (or the aioli on the foie gras). If you want more, stay for another GT show: There&#39;s always a choice among burlesque, parody, stand-up, improv and the occasional actual play.&nbsp;&mdash;KK<br /><br /><u><em>The Great American Trailer Park Musical</em>, 8:00 p.m. Thursday through this final weekend, Kokandy Productions at Theater Wit on Belmont, $30</u><br /><br />If you can get past the premise&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;that it&#39;s perfectly okay to make fun of poor people &mdash; you&#39;ll enjoy this unassuming musical about life in Armadillo Acres. The music is tuneful and excellently performed by the cast and a four-piece country-inflected band. The score&#39;s parody of the 1980s disco standard &quot;It&rsquo;s Raining Men&quot; deserves to be a disco classic all on its own. Leading lady/narrator Danni Smith brings such warmth (and such great pipes) to her role that the show would be worth it for her alone. And nobody except a critic is likely to go to something called a &quot;trailer-park musical&quot; and then complain that it&#39;s full of offensive stereotypes. Only five performances left: Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 and Sunday at 2. &nbsp;&mdash;KK</p><p><u><em>Idomeneus</em>, <a href="http://www.sideshowtheatre.org">Side Show Theatre Company</a> at the Storefront Theatre, 66 E. Randolph; 1-312-742-8497; $25; through Sept. 23</u></p><p>The myths and plays of ancient Greece continue to appeal to legions of authors and directors who see them as a copyright-free source of stories. No, cancel that; who see them as universal tales that speak to us today. Chicago saw a new adaptation of<em> Electra</em> in July and an August staging of <em>Antigone</em> that placed it in the 1960s. Now Sideshow Theatre Company brings us <strong><em>Idomeneus</em></strong>, the myth about the King of Crete who sacrificed his son upon returning from the Trojan War, fulfilling a vow made to the gods in exchange for safe passage home across stormy seas. This update &mdash; which purports to be part myth, part fantasy and part comedy &mdash; is by leading contemporary German playwright Roland Schimmelpfennig (which means &ldquo;moldy penny&rdquo;) and, with a cast of 15, purports to be a Big Deal. At any rate, Sideshow has a reputation for interesting and innovative work, of which this American Premiere (in an English translation by David Tushingham) may be an example.&nbsp;&mdash;JA</p><p><u><em>Pool (No Water)</em>, <a href="http://www.vitalisttheatre.org">Vitalist Theatre</a> at the Greenhouse, 2257 N. Lincoln 1-773-404-7336; $25; through Sept. 30</u></p><p>British playwright Mark Ravenhill earned himself a controversial reputation early in his career with his play-designed-to-shock, <em>Shopping and F***ing</em>, which focused on drug-addled gay men in contemporary London. Since then Ravenhill has passed through several stages in his writing career which now finds him respectable yet experimental, having been associated since 2003 with the Royal National Theatre. Written in 2006, <strong><em>Pool (No Water)</em></strong> is a good example of his mature work, a monologue which directors are supposed to divide up between several characters, the exact number and division being left to each director. The subject matter is about art, artists and the tensions and jealousies which arise when one member of a tight circle is more successful than the others. For this Chicago premiere, director Liz Carlin Metz uses five actors and techniques of contact improvisation.&nbsp;&mdash;JA</p></p> Thu, 23 Aug 2012 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-08/%EF%BB%BFdon%E2%80%99t-miss-list-august-23-august-29-trailer-park-musical-and-michael Lil Rel: Three reasons Kobe Bryant will never be Michael Jordan http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-05/lil-rel-three-reasons-kobe-bryant-will-never-be-michael-jordan-99469 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2454680460_c7f0edd464_z.jpg" style="float: right; width: 300px; height: 350px; " title="Kobe Bryant in 2007. (Flickr/Keith Allison)" />Chicago Bulls fans were understandably saddened when Derek Rose tore his ACL and the Bulls lost their chance at winning the NBA finals this year. &quot;This was our guy; this was our year. This felt like a death,&quot; <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/group-therapy-recovering-derrick-roses-injurytogether-98718">wrote WBEZ&#39;s Katie O&#39;Brien</a>.</p><p>So for Bulls fans, having to watch the Los Angeles Lakers make progress in the playoffs has been particularly painful. Just ask comedian Lil Rel, who remains a Bulls fan with very strong feelings about the Lakers.</p><p>&quot;Ron Artest is an example of a crazy black person. All of us have a relative that&#39;s a Ron Artest,&quot; Lil Rel joked at <em>The Paper Machete</em>. (An example of Artest&#39;s &quot;crazy&quot; behavior? He legally changed his name to Metta World Peace in 2001.)</p><p>Read more of Lil Rel&#39;s thoughts on &ndash; arguably &ndash; the Chicago Bulls&#39; greatest rival below, or listen above.</p><p><em>I was hurt when Derek Rose got hurt. I&#39;m a real Bulls fan...I hate Chicago fans who are Lakers fans. That&#39;s really starting to really irritate me. Be a Bulls fan diehard, that&#39;s what it is. Kobe Bryant is a Michael Jordan clone and I don&#39;t care what nobody says, he could never be Mike, and I&#39;ll give you three reasons.</em></p><p><em>1. Kobe Bryant hasn&#39;t had a successful gym shoe yet. If they don&#39;t kill nobody over your shoe, you ain&#39;t sh** to me. Mike got murders on his shoe. That&#39;s messed up, but it&#39;s the truth.</em></p><p><em>2. When Mike got a divorce, he waited years later, he stacked his money up. Kobe cheated on his wife, she left him and she took all that money. And Mike, we don&#39;t even know what Mike gave his wife. I think they planned that, that&#39;s how dope he is. That&#39;s not a real fact, but hey, that&#39;s number two on my list.</em></p><p><em>3. Because he could never move as Michael Jordan. He tries to talk like Mike but he can&#39;t do it. Mike is the only person we never noticed it, but it&#39;s such a smooth, black man voice that you watch a Michael Jordan interview and he says, &#39;You know, you gotta do what you gotta do.&quot; </em><em>Y</em><em>ou don&#39;t even know what he&#39;s saying! Which is perfect.</em></p><p><a href="http://thepapermacheteshow.com/" target="_blank">The Paper Machete</a><em>&nbsp;is a weekly live magazine at the Horseshoe in North Center. It&#39;s always at 3 p.m., it&#39;s always on Saturday, and it&#39;s always free. Get all your</em>&nbsp;The Paper Machete Radio Magazine&nbsp;<em>needs filled&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/paper-machete" target="_blank">here</a>, or download the podcast from iTunes&nbsp;<a href="http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-paper-machete-radio-magazine/id450280345" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 25 May 2012 09:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-05/lil-rel-three-reasons-kobe-bryant-will-never-be-michael-jordan-99469 Michael Jackson's doctor found guilty http://www.wbez.org/story/michael-jacksons-doctor-found-guilty-93821 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-07/JacksonTrial.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Michael Jackson's doctor was convicted Monday of involuntary manslaughter after a trial that painted him as a reckless caregiver who administered a lethal dose of a powerful anesthetic that killed the pop star.</p><p>The verdict against Dr. Conrad Murray marked the latest chapter in one of pop culture's most shocking tragedies — the death of the King of Pop on the eve of the singer's heavily promoted comeback concerts.</p><p>Murray sat stone-faced and showed little reaction at the verdict.</p><p>He was handcuffed and taken into custody without bail until sentencing on Nov. 29. Murray appeared calm as officials led him out of the courtroom.</p><p>There was a shriek in the courtroom when the verdict was read, and the crowd erupted outside the courthouse. The judge polled the jury, and each juror answered "yes" when asked whether their verdict was guilty.</p><p>The jury deliberated less than nine hours. The Houston cardiologist, 58, faces a sentence of up to four years in prison. He could also lose his medical license.</p><p>Jackson died on June 25, 2009, and details of his final days dribbled out over several months.</p><p>The complete story, however, finally emerged during the six-week trial. It was the tale of a tormented genius on the brink of what might have been his greatest triumph with one impediment standing in his way — extreme insomnia.</p><p>Testimony came from medical experts, household employees and Murray's former girlfriends, among others.</p><p>The most shocking moments, however, came when prosecutors displayed a large picture of Jackson's gaunt, lifeless body on a hospital gurney and played the sound of his drugged, slurred voice, as recorded by Murray just weeks before the singer's death.</p><p>Jackson talked about plans for a fantastic children's hospital and his hope of cementing a legacy larger than that of Elvis Presley or The Beatles.</p><p>"We have to be phenomenal," he said about his "This Is It" concerts in London. "When people leave this show, when people leave my show, I want them to say, 'I've never seen nothing like this in my life. Go. Go. I've never seen nothing like this. Go. It's amazing. He's the greatest entertainer in the world.'"</p><p>Throughout the trial, Jackson family members watched from the spectator gallery, fans gathered outside with signs and T-shirts demanding, "Justice for Michael," and an international press corps broadcast reports around the world. The trial was televised and streamed on the Internet.</p><p>Prosecutors portrayed Murray as an incompetent doctor who used the anesthetic propofol without adequate safeguards and whose neglect left Jackson abandoned as he lay dying.</p><p>Murray's lawyers sought to show the doctor was a medical angel of mercy with former patients vouching for his skills. Murray told police from the outset that he gave Jackson propofol and other sedatives as the star struggled for sleep to prepare for his shows. But the doctor said he administered only a small dose on the day Jackson died.</p><p>Lawyers for Murray and a defense expert blamed Jackson for his own death, saying the singer gave himself the fatal dose of propofol while Murray wasn't watching. A prosecution expert said that theory was crazy.</p><p>Murray said he had formed a close friendship with Jackson, never meant to harm him and couldn't explain why he died.</p><p>The circumstances of Jackson's death at the age of 50 were as bizarre as any chapter in the superstar's sensational life story.</p><p>Jackson was found not breathing in his own bed in his rented mansion after being dosed intravenously with propofol, a drug normally administered in hospitals during surgery.</p><p>The coroner ruled the case a homicide and the blame would fall to the last person who had seen Jackson alive — Murray, who had been hired to care for the singer as the comeback concerts neared.</p><p>Craving sleep, Jackson had searched for a doctor who would give him the intravenous anesthetic that Jackson called his "milk" and believed to be his salvation. Other medical professionals turned him down, according to trial testimony.</p><p>Murray gave up his practices in Houston and Las Vegas and agreed to travel with Jackson and work as his personal physician indefinitely.</p><p>For six weeks, as Jackson undertook strenuous rehearsals, Murray infused him with propofol every night, the doctor told police. He later tried to wean Jackson from the drug because he feared he was becoming addicted.</p><p>Jackson planned to pay Murray $150,000 a month for an extended tour in Europe. In the end, the doctor was never paid a penny because Jackson died before signing the contract.</p><p>During the last 24 hours of his life, Jackson sang and danced at a spirited rehearsal, reveling in the adulation of fans who greeted him outside. Then came a night of horror, chasing sleep — the most elusive treasure the millionaire entertainer could not buy.</p><p>Testimony showed Murray gave Jackson intravenous doses that night of the sedatives lorazepam and midazolam. Jackson also took a Valium pill. But nothing seemed to bring sleep.</p><p>Finally, Murray told police, he gave the singer a small dose of propofol — 25 milligrams — that seemed to put him to sleep. The doctor said he felt it was safe to leave his patient's bedside for a few minutes, but Jackson was not breathing when he returned.</p><p>Witnesses said he was most likely dead at that point.</p><p>What happened next was a matter of dispute during the trial. Security and household staff described Murray as panicked, never calling 911 but trying to give Jackson CPR on his bed instead of the firm floor.</p><p>A guard said Murray was concerned with packing up and hiding medicine bottles and IV equipment before telling him to call 911. Prosecutors said Murray was distracted while Jackson was sedated, citing Murray's cell phone records to show he made numerous calls.</p><p>Authorities never accused Murray of intending to kill the star, and it took eight months for them to file the involuntary manslaughter charge against him. It was the lowest possible felony charge involving a homicide.</p><p>There was no law against administering propofol or the other sedatives. But prosecution expert witnesses said Murray was acting well below the standard of care required of a physician.</p><p>They said using propofol in a home setting without lifesaving equipment on hand was an egregious deviation from that standard. They called it gross negligence, the legal basis for an involuntary manslaughter charge.</p><p>The defense team countered with its own expert who presented calculations suggesting that Jackson gave himself the fatal dose.</p><p>In closing arguments, the prosecutor said the mystery of what happened behind the closed doors of Jackson's bedroom on the fatal day probably would never be solved.</p></p> Mon, 07 Nov 2011 20:43:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/michael-jacksons-doctor-found-guilty-93821 Gary, Indiana prepares for Michael Jackson's birthday with a four-day festival http://www.wbez.org/story/gary-indiana-prepares-michael-jacksons-birthday-four-day-festival-91117 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-26/Beth Sajdera (left) and Debra Newberg..JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Gary, Indiana is celebrating Michael Jackson <a href="http://www.thelegendsweekend.com/Welcome.html">this weekend</a> for what would be the King of Pop's 53rd birthday.&nbsp;Gary's four-day party will feature musical performances, a circus and other entertainment in front of Jackson's former home and Roosevelt High School.&nbsp;</p><p>Fans gathered outside the former Jackson family home on Friday to prepare for the festivities.</p><p>Debra Newberg traveled from Texarkana, Texas for the weekend. She's written a book on Jackson entitled <em>Reflections and Corrections on Michael Jackson:</em>&nbsp;<em>America in the Mirror</em>, and says America "killed him slowly with our words."</p><p>"I think the enormous talent that was instilled in Michael Jackson we have yet to see, we have yet to see it," Newberg said. "And it's so sad that we've lost him before we could see his true talent."</p><p>Newberg's friend Beth Sajdera, from Lake Station, Indiana, remembers the first time she saw Jackson perform, with 'N Sync at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards. "Michael Jackson came out, did his thing, I fell in love with him," Sajdera said. "I'm one of his biggest fans, I wouldn't know what to do without him."</p><p>And for the town of Gary, Jackson will never be forgotten. "The attention that he's bringing to Gary now, and the attention that he brought to Gary as an entertainer when he was performing, I think that will be his legacy," said Melvin Jackson (no relation), a vendor of Michael Jackson wares.</p><p>The Jackson family moved from Gary to California in 1969 as their fame grew. Several members of the Jackson family are expected to be in attendance over the weekend, including his parents and some siblings.</p><p><em>Michael Puente contributed to this report.</em></p></p> Fri, 26 Aug 2011 17:37:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/gary-indiana-prepares-michael-jacksons-birthday-four-day-festival-91117 Two years after death, Gary still celebrates Michael Jackson’s career http://www.wbez.org/story/two-years-after-death-gary-still-celebrates-michael-jackson%E2%80%99s-career-88282 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-23/use this one ....jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Pop star Michael Jackson spent just five years of his life in Gary, Indiana, but two years after his death the town is still celebrating his entire career.</p><p>Performers, vendors and fans are likely to be on hand Saturday at Jackson's boyhood home: a white, one-story house at 23rd and Jackson. A monument on the front lawn proudly marks the spot.&nbsp;</p><p>One person who’s eager to show his support is Kelechukwu Brnfre, who heads a performing arts troupe in Gary called Beautiful Soul.</p><p>“We base our work on the creativity of Michael Jackson and on the hard work ethic of all the (steel) mill people here,” Brnfre told WBEZ earlier this week. Brnfre says he’s heard all the talk about Gary’s plans to memorialize Michael, including the creation of a Jackson museum. The plans were discussed as late as last year, when Mayor Rudy Clay and Michael Jackson’s father, Joseph, touted the creation of a $300 million complex to commemorate the life and times of the entire Jackson clan.&nbsp;But the effort’s fallen flat, leading one city official to call it “all but dead.”</p><p>Still, Brnfre says Gary should celebrate. “Right now, we have the house. You have a historical route where you can put different places where he actually performed. We have a lot of things tangibly that we can work with on the interim of waiting on something big like that,” Brnfre said. “The people don’t really need anything huge to celebrate him. We’ve always celebrated him no matter what.”</p><p>Brnfre’s troupe will show their moves outside the house Saturday afternoon.&nbsp;The event is expected to include food, T-shirt vendors and music. “The world can expect a ‘Tribute to Michael’ every year in June in Gary, Indiana,” Mayor Clay stated in a press release. “The world is invited.”</p><p>Michael Jackson died in his California home at the age of 50, in an apparent accidental overdose of sleep medication.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 24 Jun 2011 13:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/two-years-after-death-gary-still-celebrates-michael-jackson%E2%80%99s-career-88282