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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Michael Jackson passes | public opinion: "We Are The World"

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Michael Jackson's passing is still a shock to me. The very idea that someone I feel like I grew up with left us at the age of 50 is just not right at all. I first saw Michael perform when I was 10 years old at the old Chicago International Amphitheatre in 1972; the Campbell family, who babysat me, took me and I remember it like it was yesterday. The Jackson Five was then the must see event and Michael was the star.

Michael was like my brother. In a way for many African Americans he was just that, a sibling. I knew him as the guy who grew up in Gary, Indiana. We knew people who knew them in Chicago, so I felt close to him long ago. I think it's for that reason so many African Americans were on Michael's side during the years when it seems he was kind of flying the coup: changing his skin color from brown to near white; narrowing his nose, and basically seeming to channel his best friend the legendary singer Diana Ross. Then, of course, there were the claims that he "liked boys" which we figured wasn't the case, and was more a byproduct of the money and attention seeking people who surrounded him. Michael was a person with an arrested development: he never had a childhood so to escape the trappings of a constant adult life, he created a childhood for himself.

I think being an adult just literally killed Michael.

For me, Michael Jackson was the person who wanted to bring us all together, as shown in his "We Are The World" effort. That amazing production and song, created with a group of the World's best known music talents, with Lionel Richie, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, Steve Perry, Bob Dylan, the late Ray Charles, and a host of others and to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia, was just amazing. Amazing. I loved that song then; I still do today and I cry every time I hear it. (the lyrics and video are at the end of this post).

Talking with people About Michael's passing

The death of Michael Jackson is one of those events that will cause you to remember where you were when you learned of it. In my case I'd just emerged from a private movie screening at the Saul Zaentz Film Center in West Berkeley, CA. My Mom just happened to call with the news as I was walking to my car; I was stunned. Just stunned. So I took my Flip Video Camera and set out to talk to people about what happened to Michael. I had plenty of places to do this: the BART train station, the San Francisco Magazine "Best of The Bay" party, and all points in between.

What's amazing is the sheer number of people who were immediately informed via text messages and the reactions: shock, sadness, but not joy. No. No one expressed anything close to that at all, even given the part of his life where it seemed he was overwhelmed with "kid" issues. Nothing.

Dominic Phillips, the master of event planning in San Francisco, and who produced last night's "San Francisco Magazine Best of The Bay" party said "It's horrible. First and formost, anybody dying is horrible. There are so many family members that are just gonna be torn apart. But also Michael Jackson; on the one hand he was a very maverick person. But on the other hand he was part of my generation's life. He was like part of my experience, my growing up and I feel a little robbed that he's not there anymore. Like whether you thought his experience was your experience,that doesn't really come into it for me. I just sort of bonded with him in my youth and now he's gone."

Another woman I talked to on Howard Street in San Francisco said "I was just walking and three people got text messages (that he died)...just terrible. My friend Beth Schnitzer, who's the Director of Sponsorship Marketing at Pier 39 said "I can't believe it. Every time I listen to his music, it brings back a great memory from growing up somehow, some way. You know, it really hasn't hit me. He was too young; way too young." Jerusha, "The Last Single Girl In The World" said, as only she can, "We all have to go sometime and boy did he have a fabulous life before he went. He did it up and he did it up right. You know what they say, you only live once and that's all you need if you do it right!"

I talked to a lot of people, and if you see my video there are more than what's presented here, but all just variations on what was expressed. People loved Michael, warts and all. The "Best of The Bay" event turned into a kind of tribute to Michael, with his music playing continuously through the evening, and people danced, especially to "Thriller" which is a modern classic.

Sad day it was to have this happen. Michael, the world will miss you.

We Are The World - Lyrics and video:

Written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, produced by Quincy Jones.

There comes a time
When we head a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
And it's time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all

We can't go on
Pretending day by day
That someone, somewhere will soon make a change
We are all a part of
God's great big family
And the truth, you know love is all we need

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let's start giving
There's a choice we're making
We're saving our own lives
It's true we'll make a better day
Just you and me

Send them your heart
So they'll know that someone cares
And their lives will be stronger and free
As God has shown us by turning stone to bread
So we all must lend a helping hand

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let's start giving
There's a choice we're making
We're saving our own lives
It's true we'll make a better day
Just you and me

When you're down and out
There seems no hope at all
But if you just believe
There's no way we can fall
Well, well, well, well, let us realize
That a change will only come
When we stand together as one

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let's start giving
There's a choice we're making
We're saving our own lives
It's true we'll make a better day
Just you and me

Monday, June 22, 2009

Perez Hilton says Wil.I.Am of Black Eyed Peas beat him up; lying?

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Famous blogger Perez Hilton blasted the Twitterverse just under an hour ago (in a story broke by "Tila Tequila" on Twitter) literally screaming that he was beaten up by rapper Wil.I.Am (of the red-hot group The Black Eyed Peas) and his security guards.

I was assaulted by Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas and his security guards. I am bleeding. Please, I need to file a police report. No joke.about 1 hour ago from Sidekick

This is the full series of Hilton's tweets starting from most recent first:

The Toronto police are here now. Thank you. Please stop calling them.34 minutes ago from Sidekick

I spoke to my lawyer. I really need to talk to the authorities. Please come to the SoHo Met Hotel. Have called the police. Need them here.about 1 hour ago from Sidekick

Still waiting for the police. The bleeding has stopped. I need to document this. Please, can the police come to the SoHo Met Hotel.about 1 hour ago from Sidekick

I was assaulted by Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas and his security guards. I am bleeding. Please, I need to file a police report. No joke.about 1 hour ago from Sidekick

I'm in shock. I need the police ASAP. Please come to the SoHo Metropolitan Hotel now. Please.about 1 hour ago from Sidekick

Is there a gay bar that we can go to with GaGa now that like has a balcony or some place to have fun but be safe?about 4 hours ago from Sidekick

Mission accomplished! I just got a picture with Taylor Lautner!!!! That one is for my fellow fangirls! Xoxo

But Wil.I.Am sent a text to a friend who then posted a photo of it on Twitter which read "What the hell would I be doing sockin Perez Hilton???"

So now it's a case of he-said, he-said. Hilton, whose real name is Mario Lavandeira, is known for being verbally abusive and in one case was physically assaulted but not for nothing; in that case at a party at the Playboy Mansion, Hilton never reported why he got a black-eye.

Hilton's also known for being an attention hound, so many Twitterers think this is just another ploy by Hilton to get attention that leads to traffic for his blog.


Wil.I.Am just created a video where he explained what happened. The rapper said that it started at an event after the MuchMusic Awards in Canada where Fergie of "The Peas" came up to the blogger and asked why he didn't like their music. Hilton explained it was just the record, but according to Wil.I.Am was "up in her face" and rude to her.

Later, Wil.I.Am encountered Hilton at another club and requested that he not treat the group in such a rude way as he did on his website. But rather than apologize, Hilton said "I don't respect you" to Wil.I.Am, who said "OK. That's cool." But then Hilton, who's Gay, called Wil.I.Am the "F-Word" but even then the lead lyricist for the Black Eyed Peas held his cool and backed off; but an unknown fan didn't and accordind to Wil.I.Am "got all up into him". So it was the fan that assaulted Hilton, not Wil.I.Am; if Wil.I.Am's story is accurate, Hilton lied about the incident.

My read on this is Hilton may have been drunk and a bit out of control of himself, which explains his behavior and the case of mistaken identity.

Hilton didn't stop tweeting. His last posts as of this writing said..

I won't be talking about this any further. It is in the hands of the authorities.22 minutes ago from web

Thank u all from the bottom of my heart for ur concern. The police are investigating the assault now. I did the right thing by reporting it.22 minutes ago from web

For his part Wil.I.Am said "It's all cool; it just got a little crazy."

No kidding.

Friday, June 19, 2009

YouTube As-One Meetup in San Francisco

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A few months ago, a few vloggers (that's video-bloggers), most located in the SF Bay Area, and a few from other parts of the country came to meet in North Beach for the San Francisco YouTube As-One Meetup.

Now you're probably thinking "What's the heck is that." Well, the idea was started in 2007 by Cory Williams, AKA "Mr. Safety" who's current claim to fame is something called "The Mean Kitty Song" and who's knack for making viral videos has earned him celebrity status in the vloggerverse, if there is such a thing.

Ok. There is. The vloggerverse.

Anyway, the idea is for YouYube vloggers, or YouTubers, to get together at one place and get to know each other in a real-time physical environment. Mr. Safety organized the first one of these at Pier 39 in San Francisco and included then then major star of YouTube, Renetto, who flew out from Ohio to be a part of the event.

That gathering, helped along by YouTube's marketing staff, attracted about 200 people, 60 of them YouTubers, and was a ton of fun. There have been "As-One" meetups in New York, London, Australia and other cities I'm not aware of (LA?). (But frankly it hasn't really caught on as I thought it would for reasons I'll get into later in this post. ) The San Francisco As-One held in March was a new stab at re-establishing the trend of events like this. The organizers even made a cool video:

Personally, I really loved meeting all the vloggers and the wanna-be vloggers, but something's missing from the concept.

I think that something is a thing to do other than just standing around. The first As-One was really cool because the YouTubers that arrived really just re-started online conversations offine before the cameras, thus putting them online again. For example, Renetto's great at talking about race without bringing his emotions into it. He's a talker and an idea exchanger; that shines through in his videos. But a lot of that conversational activity that used to gain viewers has been replaced by fake sex tape videos, music videos, the Associated Press, and Oprah.

For Renetto, YouTube adding Oprah was the last straw. He helped start a new vlogger community of which I'm a part called Vloggerheads. There, the kind of conversations Renetto enjoyed on YouTube before it got big have been replicated on Vloggerheads. So now, the kind of community energy once there has gone to a degree and that's reflected in the As-One meetups.

What's the answer?

Well, having something to do is one. That could mean having the events at restaurants or bars which helps market those places. The As-One concept's also perfect for events, too (especially street fairs). In other words, when we YouTuber's come to As-One's the producers should have a plan for us. All that camcorder firepower's a waste just pointing them at each other.

So, if you're getting the view that I have a plan of my own, I do.

Something completely different.

Stay tuned.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Paul Kilduff Talks With Sam Singer The PR Man Behind the SF Zoo

This is an interesting article to read as it's a great and funny take on a famous PR person in San Francisco, Sam Singer. It's by the equally well-known Paul Kiduff as well. Singer talks about the SF Zoo Tiger mauling issue which makes it a must read.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ellen DeGeneres starts Twitter campaign "Tell Gov. Arnold"

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In just less than an hour ago, comedian Ellen DeGeneres has started a Twitter / email campaign informing her 1.9 million Twitter followers to email California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger en masse in an effort to stop him from reducing the time animals are kept in shelters from six days to three days.

Important: Tell Gov. Arnold not to limit time animals are kept in shelters from 6 days to 3. Email him: http://www.gov.ca.gov Pass it on.  

In other words, what the Governor's proposing is that an animal that currently has just six days time in an animal shelter before it is sentenced to death by euthanasia would have only three days time if the Guv gets his reported wish, which, as Franny Syufy informs us on her blog is...
barely time for owners to discover their cat missing, track him down to a local shelter, then arrange for his release.
Why the Governors' people decided to pick on defenseless animals is beyond me, but they did it and it's out in the open. So much so that several Internet petitions have been established and DeGeneres has employed her vast new media reach - including her Facebook page - to spread the word in the hopes of turning around the Governor's apparent position.

So far the Guv's Twitter updates don't include any word on his personal view on the matter, but this online movement's just hit Twitter with full-force, thanks to Ellen.

Stay tuned.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Susan Boyle Released From Hospital; Will Sing For Demi Moore

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Susan Boyle, who's set to perform for President Barack Obama, has been released from Priory Clinic in London, where she was treated for emotional exhaustion, and has been offered $30,000 to sing at Demi Moore's wedding anniversary event in Los Angeles (hey, I thought hubby Ashton Kutcher was supposed to plan this?).

At any rate the American offers are starting to pop up for Boyle. Meanwhile, Britain's Got Talent judge Amanda Holden said on Larry King Live on Tuesday of this week, that the show was not at fault for Boyle's problems stating that the contestants are all "extraordinarily well looked after."

Are you kidding me? Really, Amanda? So why did this happen if that's so? Moreover, I don't think Holden would have come on King's show were it not to do damage control regarding Boyle's horrible treatment. I still think she should have quit early and I said so here:

But maybe, as someone observed on Twitter, (where she's still a hot topic as of this post time) Boyle's coming in second place on BGT was the best thing to happen for her. Perhaps all of this will work out in a sideways fashion. But the big new issue is how people are treated on television. There should be a government review of what happens to new celebrities and what responsibilities TV producers should take, including explaining the risks that come with being on television to those who want to appear on a show, and protecting the persons from harm.

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