Category Archives: Hollywood

How A 45-Minute Visit With Michael Jackson Led To Years Of Nightmares

Michael, David Munk

*This might be the absolute saddest ‘True Story’ you’ve ever read about Michael Jackson. A friend sent it to me and after reading it, I tracked down the author to ask if we could reprint it. His name is David Munk, and he graciously allowed us to publish his story. Get your coffee, tea or juice and snuggle up. It’s a long and fascinating read.

Here it is in its entirety.

In the years since Michael Jackson’s tragic death, passion for all things related to the brilliant, troubled superstar has only increased.  From the profound—his peerless musical legacy, to the perverse—endless speculation about his nose and myriad of other personal eccentricities, it seems that no subject is beyond the interest of his ever-growing fan-base.  In the early-2000s while running the music publishing company for songwriter/socialite Denise Rich, I had an unexpected and unforgettable opportunity to spend 45 minutes in private audience with the “King of Pop”  Though the circumstances were mysterious and the take-away confusing, it was certainly unforgettable.  Here is my completely true, first-hand account of how I came to have a private audience with Michael Jackson, one of the greatest recording artists of all-time.  I have written the entire story from notes that I wrote shortly after our visit; nothing is exaggerated.

The intercom buzzed.  It was Denise…obviously.  “Oh, oh, is this David?  It’s Denise,” she said, always emphasizing the second syllable of her name in that breathy, singsong, little-girl voice, as if I might not be able to identify my boss, with or without the caller I.D. that said “bedroom.”  Denise’s voice was a curious instrument that sounded like a B’nai Brith Marilyn Monroe and frequently made me feel like she’d stepped out of a photo session with Bert Stern just to tell me a secret.  “Hi, Denise, yes it’s me,” said I, with an insincere air of surprise, in what had come to be our version of Rhoda’s daily routine with Carlton the doorman.  “Oh…okay,” she’d say, trail off for a moment, and then return, breaking into a nervous but warm laugh, which seemed to celebrate the simple act of having clearly established our identities and proximity to each other within the spralling 5th Avenue triplex aerie she called “home” and I called “office.”  Denise’s happy laugh was always a sign we were moving in the right direction, like the chortle of a baby that had only just discovered its toes.

This same bit of business played itself out every time we spoke—which is to say incessantly—but for Denise Rich, songwriter/socialite (that was the order she liked me to use), each time she spoke to me on the intercom was like our first hello.  “Listen…what I wanted to say was…okay…be ready to leave…in about a half an hour..be ready, okay?”  The word “distractible” did not begin to measure Denise’s level of conversational disengagement. “Sure,” I said.  “Where are we going?”  “I’ll explain on the way…I’ll come down…I’ll see you soon…Okay…Buh, bye!”  Click. Continue reading

Last Day to Register For ‘Free Solo Show Workshops’ Compliment of LA Women’s Theatre Festival

Juliette Jeffers is the star in her self-penned solo play, 'Judgment Day'
Juliette Jeffers is the star in her self-penned solo play, ‘Judgment Day’

 *The Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival presents BRAVA! “A Day of Theatre” on Sunday, April 23, 2017. The day offers free solo performance workshops and takes place at Kings Road Park, 1000 N Kings Rd., West Hollywood, CA 90069

LAWTF marks 24 years of producing well over 500 extraordinary multicultural and multidisciplinary solo performers from around the globe. Continue reading

BHERC Presents 24th Annual Sistas Are Doin’ It For Themselves

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*(Hollywood, CA) – Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center proudly announces its 2017 Filmmakers at the 24th Annual Sistas Are Doin’ It For Themselves and will screen 8 short films on Saturday, April 29, 2017, at Raleigh/Chaplain Studios, 5300 Melrose Ave in Hollywood, CA at 7:00 p.m. The films are by emerging African American Female Filmmakers and the event will be moderated by award-winning editor, Lillian E. Benson, ACEBHERC encourages Men and Women to #BringYourDaughterToTheMoviesDay, to be inspired, uplifted, motivated, entertained and educated. Continue reading

Deborah Cox Stars in ‘The Bodyguard’ at Hollywood Pantages, and Has New Album to Boot!

Deborah Cox in The Bodyguard
Deborah Cox in The Bodyguard

*After having been compared vocally to the film’s original star for her entire professional career, R & B star and Broadway legend Deborah Cox has decided to take the comparison head-on.

She has been touring the country — and earning rave reviews — in the lead role in The Bodyguard musical, which was first introduced to audiences via film in 1991.

Cox has also just released I Will Always Love You, an exceptionally well-sung collection of  covers including anthems, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” and “The Greatest Love Of All.”

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Fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Cox has done the legend justice, and in a couple of cases, her versions actually improve upon the originals.   Continue reading

New Beauty and the Beast Flips the Script on Gender, Race Roles

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*The new live action Beauty and the Beast succeeds on almost every level, and actually surpasses the original in a couple of key aspects.

I know.  I was shocked, too!  

I had trouble believing that Hermione from the Harry Potter franchise would be believable as one of Disney’s most engaging princesses, but within minutes, Emma Watson made me a believer. I should have known she’d be able to handle the CGI-intensive role, as she spent over a decade perfecting her gaze into a green screen in eight Harry Potter smashes.

Watson finds her vocal footing quickly and by the time she scales that clover-lined hillside singing “I want adventure in the great wide somewhere,” she gives Julie Andrews a run for her money. I fell in love with Watson’s Belle at the exact moment that the Beast did, as will every other father of a daughter. I won’t give the moment away, but have some Kleenex ready. And Watson absolutely nails that critical scene at the end that precedes Belle’s “happily ever after.”

Watson and director Bill Condon conjure up a new image in this Beauty that’s been ignored or missed by other critics. When Belle rides up on her white horse to save the day, as she does two or three times during the film, the image effortlessly reverses over a century of Hollywood’s almost exclusive positioning of men in that critical “hero” role. It’s an image that I won’t soon forget — nor will any girl who sees this film. Belle beat Hollywood’s Wonder Woman to the punch in the hero department by a month or two. Continue reading

Two ‘Splendid Performances’ Close Out 24th Anniversary of LAWTF!

Juliette Jeffers stars in self-penned solo play, 'Judgment Day'
Juliette Jeffers stars in the self-penned solo play, ‘Judgment Day’

*The Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival offered ‘Taking Flight’ as the theme for the 24th Anniversary Festival. The opening night Champagne Gala, aptly named Standing On The Shoulders Of, honored six extraordinary women, and was co-hosted by stage and film actors Ted Lange and Hattie Winston. The event took place at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre in Hollywood.

Awarded on this evening were women who are somehow involved in the business of entertainment. Presented with the “Eternity Award” was beloved local vocalist Barbara Morrison; Megan Cavallari with the “Integrity Award,” and Paulina Sahagun with the “Maverick Award.” Two women were honored with the “Rainbow Award” — namely, Estelle Campbell and  Leslie K. Johnson; and finally, the “Infinity Award” was given posthumously to Doris Roberts.

Returning again to offer her incredible talent for the evening was Eloise Laws.

The four night event, which runs Thursday night through Sunday, offered diverse performances by eighteen women from all over the globe doing excerpts from their solo plays. Continue reading

Jackson Fans Go Nuts Over FB Live Videos of Author Shana Mangatal and EURweb’s DeBorah B. Pryor

L-R Shana Mangatal and DeBorah B. Pryor

*Oh boy! We couldn’t let this one go by.

Apparently, EURweb senior editor DeBorah B. Pryor has been steppin’ out on us. As it turns out, she and ‘Michael and Me’ author, Shana Mangatal, have been hosting Facebook Live videos, and from the number of views and active participation, MJ fans have been overjoyed at the teaming — with some even saying they should get a talk show!

In this, the 2nd of their FB Live videos, Shana reveals exclusive never-before-released naughty lyrics dictated to her by Michael Jackson over the phone, when she was a receptionist at the office of his management team, Sandy Gallin and Associates. Continue reading

Former Celebrities Who Left Hollywood for ‘Regular’ Jobs

Freddie Prinze, Jr.
Freddie Prinze, Jr. I remember your daddy!

*You’ve heard the saying, “Everything that sparkles ain’t gold” right? Well, suffice it to say that doesn’t only apply to jewelry. In this case, it represents all of the people who have made it to the celebrity list…without the celebrity money. So what do they do?

Like the chorus of the old Silhouettes song sings: “Get A Job.”

Listen, the reality of the entertainment industry, in the event you didn’t know, is, everyone has a periodic lull. Nobody is working and getting paid in their craft all the time. Now let’s be real, if you’re making several million dollars an episode on a network TV gem or a blockbuster film, your pain is going to be different than the pain of someone making a fraction of that.

So it should be no big surprise that there are people whose name we may recognize that we may very well see standing behind the counter at the post office saying, “How can I help you.”

I’m not even going to front, I would have the hardest time keeping a straight face if I happened upon this. Continue reading