Treasure Chest

Welcome to the Treasure Chest! This is a place to share some of your favorite Michael Jackson links, such as fan-made videos or tributes by other artists. Did you just stumble across a fun new video of a marching band “moonwalking” across a football field while playing “Billie Jean”? Or a beautiful poem that tries to capture what he means to us? Or an academic interview that leads you to think about his work in a new way? If so, then this is the place to share it.

  1. I thought I’d kick things off with a fan-made video that includes wonderful images from the Albert Watson photoshoot for Invincible. Interestingly, Watson didn’t print those images as separate photos. Instead, he spliced them together and printed them as one big poster. Here’s a link to the full poster, which is huge (96″ x 58″).

    In the book Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present, Watson describes the photoshoot and why he decided to present the images this way:

    We chose the multiple mirrors to capture Michael’s energy and the variety of his dance moves. As soon as I saw the contact sheet, I knew that the way to present this print was with the multiples atop one another, because it captured his energy even more. The full print is really just a representation of the original contact sheet. There are only eight mirrors, but they create hundreds of images of Michael Jackson, or at least parts of him, when assembled like that.

    I love the poster of them spliced together, and the smaller spliced images included in the Invincible liner notes. Still, the images are lovely on their own, and they’re hard to find that way. So here’s a fan-made video that includes individual images from the Watson photo session:

  2. Beautiful

  3. Love your website! Wish I had enough time to explore it thoroughly!


  4. I think it is beautifull tribute song to Michael Jackson.Every time when I listen makes me cry.That is so deep.I believe you will enjoy

  5. I just came across this poem by Buz Kohan, who helped write “Gone Too Soon.” He gave this poem to Michael Jackson in 2004, when he was once again facing false accusations of child abuse. I think it’s really powerful:

  6. This really moved me, Willa. I can’t say how. I think it’s the nature of the injustice MJ suffered that’s so difficult. Also, his ability to show such appreciation in the face of his trial is really moving too.

    • I agree, Elizawriter. I found this poem deeply moving as well, and I think it’s from that sensation of being suddenly engulfed in a tornado – which I imagine is a good metaphor for how Michael Jackson must have felt when the allegations were made against him and the media started howling all around him. As the poem says:

      Big storm blowing
      Danger growing
      Wind coming up from every side
      Air is filed with flying objects
      No relief
      No place to hide …

      All so senseless
      I’m defenseless …

      • Yes, it was so apt. I think the closest visual representation to MJ as a person was probably in ‘The Jacksons: An American Dream’. He was strong but he was also incredibly sensitive so the trials he went through must have really taken such a toll.

  7. I am creating my own “treasure” to honor MJ. My project is the Michael Jackson Story Quilt. The first quilt, solo album covers, is finished. I am now working on top 40 MJ songs. If you want to take a look, here are links to my websites
    https://sites.google.com/site/michaeljacksonstoryquilt
    Facebook.com/mjstoryquilt

    • Wow, sfaikus, your quilt squares are stunning! I couldn’t believe how detailed your square of the Dangerous cover was – did you do all that with embroidery and appliqué?

  8. Yes, all embroidery and appliqué. That one took about 90 hours to complete. If you have ever embroidered, you know that embroidery floss consists of 6 strands of thread. For the Dangerous square, I used a single strand for most of it because the details were so small. I learned a lot about that cover by studying it so intensely. There are only 3 colors used for most of the cover: shades of blue, shades of red, and shades of yellow/gold/brown. The standout exception to this is the violet colored queen on the right. The only green in the entire cover is the green goose next to the dog king on the left, the slightly green frog to the right of the center portal, and the green feathers on the violet queen’s head.

    I find it interesting that there is so little green, since MJ was such an environmentalist. Another thing I noticed is the total absence of plant life, with the exception of the vines twining around three of the pillar maidens and the apple inside of the Adam/eve bubble next to the violet queen. Interesting that there are lots of animals, but no plants. Maybe because this painting was done with a “circus” theme – the red/blue/gold seem to evoke a circus atmosphere, along with P.T. Barnum and the animals. Plant life wouldn’t fit such a theme.

    • “I find it interesting that there is so little green, since MJ was such an environmentalist. Another thing I noticed is the total absence of plant life, with the exception of the vines twining around three of the pillar maidens and the apple inside of the Adam/eve bubble next to the violet queen. Interesting that there are lots of animals, but no plants.”

      That is interesting, sfaikus, and something I’ve noticed with his videos also. Though he loved trees, with the exception of Childhood and Earth Song there aren’t many trees in his videos. And while he seemed to enjoy visiting New York and other cities, he didn’t seem to want to live there. As he sings in “Destiny,” “I’ve tasted the city life and it’s not for me.” But most of his videos are set in the city. Just think about Billie Jean, Beat It, Bad, The Way You Make Me Feel, Smooth Criminal, Jam, all the way up to You Rock My World.

      It’s like he loved living out in Neverland, out among the trees and the stars, but his imagination focused on the city and how to deal with the problems of urban life.

      • Interesting observation, Willa. I am now going through in my mind the various film re this idea, besides Childhood and Earth Song. Well, Thriller has trees in it when the car is stranded on a country road, BOW has a few trees, I think YANA does (a bit), Say, Say, Say does, Moonwalker has trees, but on the whole I see your point. Perhaps when we get into social interactions, we move into a city or urban situation where there are not too many trees. Also if the shoot is on an indoor set, it’s an artificial rather than natural environment. There is a shot of MJ in a pool of water and he had wings on, I wonder what video that is from? It’s intersting that Childhood (his most autobiographical song) and Earth Song have so many trees in them, isn’t it?

  9. On what would have been Michael Jackson’s 56th birthday, I wanted to share a drawing he did of Martin Luther King Jr., along with a brief article about it.

  10. Many of Michaels words have been “Quoted” this one is one of many —

    In one of the pieces of the ‘Dangerous’ album, I say: “Life songs of ages, throbbing in my blood, have danced the rhythm of the tide and flood.” This is a very literal statement, because the same new miracle intervals and biological rhythms that sound out the architecture of my DNA also governs the movement of the stars. The same music governs the rhythm of the seasons, the pulse of our heartbeats, the migration of birds, the ebb and flow of ocean tides, the cycles of growth, evolution and dissolution. It’s music, it’s rhythm. And my goal in life is to give to the world what I was lucky to receive: the ecstasy of divine union through my music and my dance. It’s like, my purpose, it’s what I’m here for.
    -Michael Jackson, Ebony/Jet Interview, May 2002

  11. I want to share 2 interesting articles I read today. In these articles, MJ’s musical and dancing abilities are seen as a way to approach divinity. Willa, I noticed you helped to edit the first article.
    http://en.michaeljackson.ru/michael-jackson-the-dancer-of-the-dream/
    http://www.wonderingsound.com/feature/music-as-religion-neuroscientists/

    • Really great articles. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi sfaikus. Isn’t “The Dancer of the Dream” article incredible? I was fascinated by her way of looking at dance, which is entirely different than I’ve ever thought about it before, and that then leads to an entirely different way of thinking about Michael Jackson as a dancer. I loved it.

      Thank you for sharing the other article as well. I first learned about Friar Alessandro from Eleanor – she had been listening to BBC One and heard an interview with a young, very talented Franciscan monk who deeply admired Michael Jackson. In fact, he said he’d had a series of dreams about him both before and after he died. I believe this is the interview, but unfortunately I’ve never been able to get it to play so have never heard it. (If anyone knows of another link to this interview, I’d love to finally listen to it.)

      However, there are a couple of other video clips where Friar Alessandro talks about his love and respect for Michael Jackson. Here’s one where he talks about him as a humanitarian and kind human being:

      And here’s one where he talks about his music:

    • Hi sfaikus. Thanks for sharing. Great articles. And thanks for linking to that great Russian site!

      I especially liked this in “The Dancer” article —

      “the most powerful emotional splash is aimed at changing one’s awareness and state of mind, as well as the surrounding reality. Such absolute belief in the power of art to change consciousness, and such complete devotion to the execution of his art can perform miracles with thousands of people.”

      I absolutely believe in MJ’s ability to perform miracles and change consciousness through his art, an idea that links directly to the second article you linked to. Also fascinating.

  12. I wanted to share this video of an older gentleman singing about Michael, as Imo, it is so heartfelt and such a tender and respectful song, wrote especially for the sweetest man ever.

  13. I went to many of Michael’s concerts through the years-from the J5 days to the Bad tour. Posting this because it highlights so much this: We were enchanted with his passion because he held nothing. He gave us all he had been given. ~Maya Angelou (excerpt from We Had Him)

  14. So much power in that slight, beautiful man….

  15. This is brilliant. Using a song that isn’t Michael’s – because you can get so caught up in his music – forces you to focus even more on his emotion, his facial expressions and his dance. I have always loved his expression at 2:02 and his dancing IMO is some of his most powerful. There are certain things that remind me anew how much we lost when he left us. Ghosts is one of them….

  16. I just had to share this fascinating new interpretation of “They Don’t Care about Us” by 2Cellos:

  17. Thank you for posting the 2 Cellos piece Willa. It’s gotten over a million views and talk about loaded with metaphors! Pawns toppling-red uniform, blue uniform-red&blue states, representing conservatives and liberals-Democrats and Republicans. Pawns fighting amongst themselves-fussin’ and a fightin’ (~Bob Marley)
    Meanwhile the planet is being destroyed (War planes fighting over oil-Fire- burning of fossil fuels, destroying the atmosphere).
    And look who’s behind it all, (corporate greed) sitting there in riches among complete desolation.

    He tried to tell us. He died trying. But his music lives on, and others have taken it up. Many can’t see the forest for the trees, but artists can. We should listen to our artists.

  18. Here’s an article and video of local Tunisians and British tourists joining together to sing “Heal the World” following the terrorist attack:

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/tunisia-attack-watch-holidaymakers-tunisians-5967265

  19. And here’s a video of NATO foreign ministers from across Europe singing “We are the World”:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2015/may/14/nato-foreign-ministers-sing-we-are-the-world-video

  20. thought you might find this interesting: http://trinitrent.com/2013/02/30-greatest-entertainers/
    a list of the best performers of all time- of any genre guess who topped it?

  21. i was just wondering whether anyone here can explain this picture- https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CLu8OROW8AE_cx8.jpg

    • That is a picture taken on a break during Captain EO. The women were part of the cast.

    • It was probably done for publicity or just the fun of it, and I’m pretty sure the liquor bottle was a prop, as it looks empty. I think it’s cute.

  22. This is one of my favourite videos on Youtube!
    A montage of the best moves in Billie Jean over the years, really shows the change of style in movement. I shared because i want to know your opinions.

  23. MJ is singing Classical! Check out the full version of ”Seeing Voices”:

    • How wonderful! Thank you so much, Bjørn. I really love that idea of “seeing voices” (and how interesting that he’s singing with the Ray Charles choir, since he was a blind musician). I also love the lyrics: “When you see hands weaving the space between friends, think of them as seeing voices.”

      But mostly I love his voice – so beautiful. To me, this sounds like a big Broadway musical from the 1950s, like My Fair Lady or The Sound of Music, and his voice and phrasing are perfectly suited to that music. I just love it. Thank you again for sharing.

  24. Thanks, Bjørn! This is a revelation, which again shows Michael Jackson’s versatility as a vocal interpreter and storyteller! Like Willa, I also thought of some larger possibilities—it seems like part of a bigger project. Maybe a Broadway musical or film, for children. “Seeing voices” is a waltz; and the melody and arrangement resonates with things like Michael’s beloved “Nutcracker” by Tchaikovsky, or other orchestral suites that originated on the stage are now beloved by many as recorded music.

    Along with a couple other of Michael’s songs—-like “Scared of the Moon” and “Childhood”—I can imagine this as a number in a kind of musical theater “storybook.” At first I didn’t like “Childhood” very much; I thought it was too saccharine. But then I heard it in a different way when I listened to the “Immortal” version on the CD. The theatrical nature of those Cirque shows demanded new arrangements of Michael’s music, with fuller orchestrations—which Kevin Antunes and Greg Phillinganes (I think) were mainly responsible for working out. More than “pop” songs, these arrangements seem closer to what we usually hear as “classical” music, or show tunes. Thanks for posting!

  25. anyone else hered kendrick lamars ‘to pimp a butterfly’ , (its probaply going to break mj’s record for thriller this year ) a song off of it referennces mj :many are arguing whether kendrick means if the molestation charges against him were infact true, but we should pay heed to his contributions (this n**** gave us bJ), some are saying he meant it as that jackson was one of those leaders who were left off to die ,and that allegations were made just to take him down (when shit hit the fan you still a fan?). kendricks seems to be repeatedly asking those lines , as if he himself is going to be taken down like jackson., at least the thats what i got from the song .anyway i would like to know your opinions on it?

    I been wrote off before, I got abandonment issues
    I hold grudges like bad judges, don’t let me resent you
    That’s not Nelson-like, want you to love me like Nelson
    I went to Robben’s Island analysing, that’s where his cell is
    So I could find clarity, like how much you cherish me
    Is this relationship a fake or real as the heavens be?
    See I got to question it all, family, friends, fans, cats, dogs
    Trees, plants, grass, how the wind blow
    Murphy’s Law, generation X, will I ever be your ex?
    Floss off a baby step, mobbed by the mouth a bit
    Pause, put me under stress
    Crawled under rocks, ducking y’all, it’s respect
    But then tomorrow, put my back against the wall
    How many leaders you said you needed then left ‘em for dead?
    Is it Moses, is it Huey Newton or Detroit Red?
    Is it Martin Luther, JFK, shooter you assassin
    Is it Jackie, is it Jesse, oh I know, it’s Michael Jackson, oh

    When shit hit the fan, is you still a fan?
    When shit hit the fan, is you still a fan?
    That nigga gave us Billie Jean, you say he touched those kids?
    When shit hit the fan, is you still a fan?

    *trivia:kendrick played the album to mjs son prince before releasing it

  26. That song always makes me think of Michael… Like he said:

    “Who wants mortality? Everybody wants immortality. You want what you create to live! Be it sculpting, painting, music, composition. That is why to escape death I attempt to bind my soul to my work because I just want it to live forever and just give all that I have.”

  27. what a great collection! thanks so much…I am going to try and add Dr Abe’s chant for MJ

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