Armchair Mogul
The (backseat) driving force behind Hollywood. Way behind.

This Is It.

Michael Jackson was a genius.

He was a HUGE part of my childhood and even though it’s been over half a year already since he exited the stage, it still hits me everytime I remember that he’s gone.

It’s very weird and very telling about our society that we feel as if we know celebrities.  We’re proud of them when they do well as if they were our children or our best friends.  We’re offended when they do or say something that lies outside the boundaries of our own moral or ethical code.  We sometimes even write them letters when we feel they need support – even while knowing there is almost no chance they will ever actually lay eyes on it, something many of us don’t even do for our real families.

But it makes sense.  For a lot of us, these faces were burned into our retinas, their voices rebounding in our eardrums since our earliest memories.  Sometimes before.  And like an ancestoral portrait hung for generations over the same fireplace in the house of your youth, you feel a real, tangible connection with the person depicted there, even if you’ve never met – no matter how wide the gap of time and space between you.

And so it is with Michael Jackson and me.  I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve not suffered a lot of loss in my family.  I’ve been spared that agony so far.  But on that afternoon of June 25th, 2009, I cried.

There’s not enough room in this blog to cover how I feel…felt…no – FEEL – about Jackson as an artist, and there’s not enough patience or interest in the blogospere to read about it if I did.  But I will say this: In my humble opinion, he was the greatest performer of his generation…perhaps the best of all time.

Seeing This is It was a revelation for me and, I suspect, the world; because although we’d all seen Michael Jackson the performer, Michael Jackson the philanthropist, Michael Jackson the midway attraction, the reculsive millionaire, the controversy magnet, the child star, the accused, the magician, the global icon…we’ve never seen Michael Jackson the craftsman

Here was EmJay…WORKING.  Not just setting the gears of his show in motion, but actually forging them.  Forming a vision.  Seeing it through.  And, in what was the most telling aspect of the film for me, struggling to communicate that vision to the crew he needed to make it all happen.  Struggling.  Not because the crew was inept, untalented or complacent…sturggling because he simply didn’t think like the rest of us.  Watching him trying to tell Kenny Ortega that the volume on his earpiece was too loud was like watching someone try to describe color to a blind man.  In that moment, I felt like I was given a missing peice to my self-crafted Michael Jackson jigsaw puzzle.  That scene, to me, is the cypher.  The key to understanding the life of a man whose expereinces were so far removed from anything any of us can possibly fathom that we may as well be from two different planets.

Maybe, in the end, we were.

This is It will released on DVD tomorrow.  If you are or ever were a Michael Jackson fan, if you are a struggling artist or musician, if you are a misunderstood perfectionist, hardworking craftsman or if you’re just plain curious about the man, I couldn’t more highly reccomend adding this film to your collection.  It’s a fitting tribute, not just to one of the most consequential artists of all time, but to the most important elements of his career, the thing that drove him forward through the process of creation and performance and ultimately, boyond.  It’s a tribute to you.  This concert was to be his final gift to his fans.  And in the end, it was.

Born to amuse, to inspire, to delight
Here one day, gone one night.
Like a sunset dying with the rising of the moon
Gone too soon.
Gone too soon.

Long live the king.


One Response to “This Is It.”

  1. This movie affected me on a deeper level than I thought it would.

    I think there have been only 4 or 5 people that have ever existed in Pop Culture that have permeated themselves into my actual life as fully as Michael Jackson.
    I have MAJOR portions of my life where I remember almost being soundtracked to MJs music.

    It makes me SO SAD that most teenagers were BORN after ‘post-scandal’ Michael.

    I was so obsessed with MJ when Thriller came out, as were 100% of the kids in my elementary school, because that is what happened. He OWNED that time.

    He crossed the lines of music, EVERYONE loved him, and it was almost unanimous.

    I remember my mom trying to make me a Michael glove out of a white velvet glove, and she poured glitter on it to make it sparkly, but all it did was harden the glue in to weird positions and I basically had to rip it to put it on, but I didn’t care.

    My family had one of the very first VCRS in 1983, (it only recorded in black and white.) The first night we had it, we recorded “The Making of Michael Jacksons Thriller” and right before the video, they played the exclusive premiere of the “Can You Feel IT” video by the Jackson 5. I watched this video, at LEAST 4000 times.

    Not too long later, Michel preformed Billie Jean on the Motown 25, where he first did the Moonwalk. My whole family watched that day. My Dad spent the subsequent 3 weeks trying to decode it, he watched it over and over and kept trying it on the carpet and off the carpet, with different shoes, etc.

    I remember being in the back of a Tractor with my family camping, hearing someone playing PYT from a box.

    I remember freeze framing the entire Beat it video because I wanted to see what EXACLTY shirt he was wearing under the famous jacket, so I could make one.

    All the way up to THIS YEAR have I had MAJOR Michael Jackson stories, concerning listening to Michael in the rent-a-car with my buddies in long and tiring business trips, and Michael comes on the radio and it was like the heavens opened up and gave us a “You did good today, I know you’re tired, so here’s some Michael” after a long day. We sang louder than the radio.

    Why am I going on about this?

    Because these memories ALL involved fond memories with Michael and my family.

    The music permeated into my life so much that I can actually separate my life chronologically by Michael Jackson stories.

    Some might call that sad, but I think it’s great.

    Thanks Michael, for being at least 3 tracks on the soundtrack of my life.

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