Episode 095 – Leaving Neverland Roundtable

The recent Sundance screening of Dan Reed’s inflammatory film, Leaving Neverland, has, without a doubt, rocked the Michael Jackson community. Despite being based on the easily discredited stories of Wade Robson and Jimmy Safechuck, and lacking any sort of real investigation, balanced interviews, or responsible journalism, this film has reignited the media’s firestorm against Jackson’s legacy, even as Michael is not here to defend himself.

In this special roundtable episode, The MJCast brings together a panel of experts and those who have seen the film and are taking action against it. Q and Jamon lead the discussion, and are joined by Taj Jackson (member of 3T and son of Tito Jackson, who is currently raising funds to produce his own docu-series), Charles Thomson (The MJCast’s Legal Correspondent and award-winning investigative journalist who has exposed a range of actual child abusers and cover-ups for The Yellow Advertiser in the UK), Marcos Cabotá (a film director who has seen the film and was one of its earlier critics) and Samar Habib (of the Michael Jackson Academia Project, who has been a leading figure in the online movement against the film).

The panellists discuss Reed’s film, the Sundance Q&A session, and the media reaction, as well as developments coming together to counter the film, such as Taj’s docu-series, which can be supported on GoFundMe. Taj also speaks to his own experiences of actually spending time with Michael at Neverland. The group offers talking points for anyone struggling with how to respond to people who say that Michael Jackson was an abuser, as well as coping strategies and words of encouragement.

Now, more than ever, it is the time to come together as fans, to support each other, and to remind the media and general public of the truth. The MJCast hopes that this episode provides resources, strength, and a sense of community during this challenging moment.

Participants

Topics

  • Leaving Neverland
  • The reality of Robson’s relationship with the Jackson family, and why he turned on them.
  • The effects on the Jackson family.
  • Taj’s memories of spending time at Neverland with Michael, and what it was like being there during the 2005 trial.
  • Taj’s GoFundMe campaign and his vision for the docu-series.
  • How fans can combat this onslaught, and how this compares to 1993 and 2003-2005.
  • Fan Comebacks 101 – Robson.
  • Fan Comebacks 101 – General Allegations.
  • Tips on coping, finding community, and supporting balanced opinions.

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Episode 094 – Harrison Funk Special

This week, just as The MJCast was about to release a surprise episode between seasons, news broke that the Sundance Film Festival was preparing to screen a documentary smearing Michael Jackson as a child molester.

As shockwaves rippled through the fan community and listeners sprang into action, it seemed to be an inappropriate time to release the episode.

The show’s special guest was to be Harrison Funk, renowned entertainment, fashion, and advertising photographer best known for being Michael Jackson’s personal photographer from the early 1980s through the mid-2000s. The interview with Funk had been recorded months ago, and The MJCast team had kept it in the can, ready to release as a special New Year treat for listeners. 

But, upon re-visiting the interview in light of this week’s horrifying news, the timing could hardly be more apt. Harrison spends a great deal of time during his conversation with Jamon Bull and Charles Thomson discussing the false abuse allegations which plagued Michael from 1993 onwards. He speaks movingly about the physical and psychological toll the allegations took on his friend, and how those who loved Michael rallied around him, but watched helplessly as his life and his health slowly fell apart until his eventual death in 2009.
 
As the media prepares to stick the knife into Michael one more time and give it a sharp twist, this interview with one of Michael’s closest friends makes for a sobering listen.

In addition to the allegations, Harrison discusses the kind of man Michael really was, not the lie Dan Reed, Wade Robson and Sundance are going to try and sell the world. The MJCast and Harrison explore stories around Michael’s process as a live musician, the Victory Tour, the Bad era, Harrison’s love of photography, his fascinating observations as he photographed Teddy Riley​ producing Cascio tracks in the studio and SO much more!

This episode of The MJCast is dedicated to Friend of the Show and fellow MJ podcaster Jordan King of King Jordan Radio, who recently and tragically passed away. We will always be missing you, Jordan.

We hope this episode brings some positivity and truth to an otherwise dark time for MJFam.

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Episode 093 – Season Four Christmas Special

It’s the time of year for cookies and carols and ornaments on the tree…and The MJCast’s annual Christmas Special!

Jamon, Q, and Elise wrap up Season Four with discussion of developments in the world of Michael Jackson, including John Cameron’s terrific Musicology podcast, the “On the Wall” exhibition moving to Paris, Janet Jackson’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction, Jonathan “Sugarfoot” Moffett’s health scare, and the inspiring results of a music scholarship which Michael Jackson established in 1984. The MJCast Correspondents also chime in, with news on the Cascio Case, MCFFC charity efforts, and the Jackson family.

It’s been a whirlwind year, full of great discussion, lots of Jackson news, and illuminating conversations with amazing guests. The team reflects on the past year, highlights favorite clips from this season’s Special episodes, and also looks to the year to come, as The MJCast continues to grow.

We want to thank our listeners for all your support throughout the year and hope that you enjoy our episodes coming up in Season 5! Happy holidays, #MJFam!

Follow Up

  • #UndieGate
  • #MoonwalkWalks #Book4 is out in the QLD wild!

News

  • John Cameron has dropped his latest episode of #JCsMusicology, focusing on Michael Jackson’s HIStory era
  • “Michael Jackson: On the Wall” exhibition has moved to the Grand Palais in Paris
  • Janet Jackson is to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
  • Jonathan “Sugarfoot” Moffett suffered an emergency triple bypass operation and has started a GoFundMe page to help with his medical costs
  • The Cascio Case is headed to the Supreme Court of California
  • The artistic director of Louis Vuitton, Virgil Abloh, is designing a new collection based on Michael Jackson
  • Groovefunkel has released a new remix of Michael Jackson’s Thriller
  • The 1984 music scholarship fund that Michael donated has awarded scholarships to four students! (Thank you to listener Kayla Salem, of Jacksonville, Florida, for this tip.)

Season Four Highlights

Main Discussion Topic

  • A year in review.
  • What’s to come in Season 5!

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Episode 092 – Humanitarian: The Real Michael Jackson Special

A crucial aspect of Michael Jackson’s life, which is rarely highlighted (and often blatantly ignored), is that of his amazing humanitarian work. While this comes up on The MJCast frequently as a point of discussion, the team is finally taking the opportunity to dedicate a full episode to this important topic. At last, the time is right for a deep-dive chat. Q welcomes to the show megafan and author Paul Dwyer, whose book, Humanitarian – The Real Michael Jackson, has just been published, as well as Friend of the Show and MJ Charity Correspondent Steven Hodges, of Michael Jackson Fans for Charity.

We encourage all of our #MJFam out there to #MakeThatChange!

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Episode 090 – Thriller 3D Roundtable

Happy Thriller Night 2018! While Jamon is busy setting up Studio Brisbane and Q is on holiday, Elise takes over for this special roundtable discussion focused on the world’s favorite dancing zombie, Michael Jackson. She welcomes two long-time Friends of the Show and regular guests, James Alay and Andy Healy, to join her for an in-depth chat about the recent IMAX theater release of ‘Thriller 3D’.

The Halloween trio discuss their first memories of the original ‘Thriller’ short film, experiences seeing ‘Thriller 3D’, thoughts on promotion and screenings (the decision to not screen the film in Australia is another reason that Jamon and Q are not part of this episode), the quality of the remastering, impact of this iconic film which changed the landscape of pop culture, their feelings around supporting the Estate when it comes to respectful and quality products, and the possible future of ‘Thriller’ in the years and decades to come.

The MJCast wishes all of our listeners a great Thriller Night!

Participants

 Topics

  • First time seeing ‘Thriller’.
  • Thriller 3D experiences.
  • The Remastering: audio and video quality.
  • The impact and legacy of the ‘Thriller’ short film.
  • The Estate: If/when/how we should cautiously give support?
  • What’s next for ‘Thriller’ and other potential Estate products?

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Episode 089 – John Barnes Special

The MJCast’s Elise Capron and Jamon Bull are honoured to interview renowned musician, arranger, songwriter and mixer John Barnes, who has worked with an incredibly wide range of the world’s top musicians and entertainers, including, of course, the King of Pop, Michael Jackson.

John has been recording music since the early ’70s, and has collaborated with artists such as Marvin Gaye, The Miracles, Lionel Richie, Celine Dion, Diana Ross, and many more. He first teamed up with the Jackson family in the early ’80s, playing synthesizer and handling arrangements on The Jacksons’ Victory album. He also worked independently with Janet and Jermaine during this time.

Captain EO and the Bad album marked the beginning of John’s deep involvement in Michael Jackson’s solo career. While Quincy Jones and Bruce Swedien were working at Westlake, John, Matt Forger, and Bill Bottrell spent their days at Michael’s private home studio at Hayvenhurst, bringing to fruition Michael’s own musical creations. John took on many different roles in the creative process. He was a musician, programmer, and developed ideas from the group up alongside Michael, including co-writing ‘We Are Here to Change the World’.

John worked with Michael in his later years as well, and spent time with him in Bahrain following the 2005 criminal trial in which he was found not guilty. Not only was John a crucial member of MJ’s creative team, but he has also had a major impact on the popular music landscape as we know it, both as a traditional musician and with his revolutionary work with synth sound programming. Today, John continues his work in the music industry as the CEO of Innersound Studios.

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Episode 088 – Janet Got Busy

After a whirlwind summer of Jackson events, anniversaries, and special guests, Jamon and Q catch up on lots of news and developments in the world of Michael Jackson! On this episode, the guys welcome first-time guests Courtney and Kam, who co-host the Janet Jackson podcast, Janet Today, Janet Tomorrow, Janet Forever. The podcasting foursome chat about the story behind the new podcast, as well as updates in the world of Janet, including the buzz around her fantastic new single, ‘Made For Now’.

On the Jackson news front, the team discusses the recent media explosion around the Cascio Case, and the upcoming, limited-series podcast by Damien Shields, titled Faking Michael, which will document the history of the fraudulent tracks. They also chat about new books by Anthony King, Richard Lecocq & Francois Allard, and Vincent Paterson; the upcoming Quincy Jones documentary showing on Netflix; and the one-week run of “Thriller 3D” in IMAX theaters. Plus, they recap events at the Diamond Celebration in Las Vegas, and get updates from The MJCast correspondents.

News

  • Official Michael Jackson merchandise was been released by Culture Kings in Australia. Oh, and Cotton On.
  • Anthony King has released his first book on Michael Jackson, called Michael Jackson & Classical Music.
  • Richard Lecocq & Francois Allard’s book Michael Jackson – All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Track is due for release on October 23rd
  • Netflix lands a Quincy Jones documentary for September 21 release.
  • Vincent Paterson’s autobiography, Icônes et Instincts is now available in French. The English version is coming soon!
  • Jacksonville students to benefit from 1984 donation from Michael Jackson for scholarships.
  • The article, ’60 Years of Michael Jackson, The Fashion Icon’, appears in Britain’s VOGUE magazine.
  • Damien Shields launches his Faking Michael podcast
  • Frank Cascio’s book to be turned into mini-series
  • Cascio Case media explosion and updates
  • ‘Thriller 3D’ to play in IMAX theatres for a one-week run
  • Diamond Celebration discussion
  • Audio from the ‘Diamond Celebration’ Q&A with John Branca in Las Vegas
  • Janet’s throwback video to MJ’s Remember the Time

Main Discussion Topic

  • Janet! Janet Jackson releases a new single and two new music videos for ‘Made For Now (feat. Daddy Yankee)’
  • Janet’s recent performance on Jimmy Fallon

Finds of the Week

  • Jamon – Mark Ryden shares a YouTube video in which he discusses making a frame for his original Dangerous album art piece. His original design sketches of the frame are also available here.
  • Q – A video that listener (and legendary Aussie MJ tribute artist) Paul Rizzo posted, comparing the original release and the Number Ones DVD release of the film clips for Blood On The Dance Floor, and the differences between them!

Additional Links

  • iTunes and Twitter for the Janet Today, Janet Tomorrow, Janet Forever podcast.
  • Janet discusses motherhood and learning to love her body on Eonline!e!
  • CBS Executive Les Moonves was obsessed with ruining Janet Jackson’s career article from Huffington Post.

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Episode 087 – Happy 60th Birthday MJ!

On this episode celebrating Michael Jackson’s 60th birthday, Q, Elise and Jamon go on a trip down memory lane with special guest Sean Fitzgerald, who was part of the team who ran The Magic World of Michael Jackson Fan Club in the U.S. from 1989-1995. Sean recreates the incredible moments he experienced during this golden era for MJ fans, such as attending Michael’s fabled Bad World Tour shows at Madison Square Garden and having front-row access to the filming of MTV’s 10th Anniversary Special, where Michael performed Black or White and Will You Be There for the first time. He also talks about the infamous 1995 HBO Beacon Theatre show that was cancelled when Michael fell ill and organising ‘MichaelFest’ fan gatherings.

Plus, Sean goes into detail about his fan club’s very positive relationship with MJJ Productions, who invited Sean and other fan club organizers to their LA office on multiple occasions. Sean also gives interesting insight into how the fan community was organised pre-internet, and how that time contrasts to the online community today.

Sean Fitzgerald is based in New York, and now works in marketing. He’s been married to his high-school sweetheart (who is also an MJ fan!) for 27 years, and they have five children together. Sean is also very active in Church ministries (prison ministry, youth ministry and bible study) and has multiple degrees in Theology. He still has many very personal items from his collection of MJ memorabilia, including a range of items signed personally from Michael Jackson.

The MJCast can’t imagine a better way to celebrate sixty years of Michael than with these fantastic memories.

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Episode 086 – Dick Zimmerman Special

Q and Jamon are excited to welcome to the show renowned photographer and artist Dick Zimmerman, best known in the Michael Jackson fan community for his iconic portrait of Michael used for the Thriller album cover, which is said to be the most distributed portrait in history.

Zimmerman, known as ‘The Image Maker’, has, in over 45 years as an artist, captured the images of a wide range of celebrated entertainers, dignitaries and politicians, including everyone from Jane Fonda, Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Mick Jagger, Robin Williams and of course, La Toya, Janet and Michael Jackson.

Originally from New York, Zimmerman studied painting at the School of Visual Arts, the Parsons School of Design, New York University, the Brooklyn Museum, and throughout Europe, including the Musee D’orsay. His work has been featured in Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, CNN, NBC’s ‘The Today Show’, ABC’s ‘Access Hollywood’, ‘Dr. Drew’ and more.

The guys chat with Zimmerman about his background as an artist, the concept development behind the Thriller cover, working with Michael, and his new DVD package, ‘Memories of Michael, the Thriller Cover Session Interview’.

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Episode 085 – For all the YANA Lovers Out There?

After hosting four (epic!) back-to-back special episodes, Jamon takes a well-deserved break, handing the reins over to Q, Elise, and Damien Shields, who catch up on more than a month’s worth of MJ and Jackson Family news. They revisit The MJCast’s recent interview with Judith Hill, and look ahead to events planned for MJ’s birthday on August 29th, including a screening of Moonwalker at the British Film Institute, as well as developments around the Estate’s ‘Diamond Celebration’, which include partnering with The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and the release of a vinyl anthology box set.

In other news, Michael has been making appearances on tracks by major recording artists, including Christina Aguilera’s ‘Maria’, and Drake’s ‘Don’t Matter To Me’, which has earned Michael Jackson his 30th Hot 100 Top 10 Billboard hit. Plus, developments are in the works for a Broadway show based around Michael’s music, and Omer Bhatti reveals the long-rumoured original golden Invincible album cover artwork. In Jackson family news, Janet continues her big year by receiving the first ever Impact Award at Radio Disney Music Awards, and reports are circulating that she is collaborating with Bruno Mars, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis on her new album. Lastly, be sure to check out the Michael Jackson Academic Studies courses, which have recently been made available for free online.

Q and Elise also get a chance to ask Damien about the revised and expanded edition of his book, Michael Jackson: Songs & Stories From The Vault (previously titled Xscape Origins), and about the progress on his “A Truth Untold” project.

News

  • A new German-language book about Michael has been released, Make That Change: Michael Jackson: Botschaft und Schicksal eines spirituellen Revolutionärs (Message and Fate of a Spiritual Revolutionary) by Sophia Pade and Armin Risi.
  • Reports are circulating that Janet Jackson is to collaborate with Bruno Mars, as well as Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis for new album.
  • New Christina Aguilera song, “Maria, featuring an MJ sample.
  • The Michael Jackson Estate is set to partner with The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation for Michael’s “Diamond” birthday celebration.
  • Janet Jackson receives the first ever Impact Award at Radio Disney Music Awards and gives another inspirational acceptance speech.
  • A Michael Jackson Broadway show may be coming in 2020, organised by the Estate and Columbia Live Stage.
  • New Drake song with previously-unreleased MJ vocals, “Don’t Matter to Me“, which has earned Michael his 30th “Hot 100 Top 10” Billboard hit.
  • London’s prestigious British Film Institute has announced a screening of Moonwalker on August 29th for Michael Jackson’s birthday.
  • The National Portrait Gallery has opened its Michael Jackson – On the Wall exhibition, which will be travelling to France later this year.
  • Fashion house Balmain launches its Spring 2019 Menswear collection featuring Michael Jackson-inspired designs from designer Olivier Rousteing.
  • SWG (Single White Glove) has released a new (10 minute long!) You Are Not Alone Extended Mix. Enjoy, YANA-heads!
  • Omar Bhatti reveals the long rumoured original golden Invincible album cover artwork.
  • MJAS have just made all their courses available for free.
  • MJ60 Birthday events: What’s happening? Let us know details! Organise something yourself!
  • Most of MJ’s albums are to be officially re-released as picture discs in a US$175 vinyl anthology box set. (No BOTDF!)
  • Elise shares a few Los Angeles MJ Week stories.

 Main Discussion Topic

Finds of the Week

  • Q – Soundtrack (iTunes) for the film “Love, Simon”, which features the Jackson 5 Christmas classic, “Someday at Christmas”. (Check out the film, it’s great!)
  • Elise – MJ FAQ by Kit O’Toole.
  • Damien – ?

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If you have any thoughts, opinions, or feedback on this Michael Jackson podcast episode, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at themjcast@icloud.com or find the links to our many social networks on www.themjcast.comKeep Michaeling!