June 20, 2013

Former head of Capitol Records claims concert promoter shouldn’t have negotiated directly without notifying Michael Jackson’s representatives

Associated Press


The promoter of Michael Jackson’s ill-fated series of comeback shows created a conflict of interest with the singer’s physician when it negotiated terms of his deal, an expert testifying for the superstar’s mother told a jury on Monday.

David Berman told jurors hearing a negligent hiring lawsuit against concert promoter AEG Live LLC that the company should not have negotiated with Jackson’s physician without notifying the singer’s representatives of the discussion.

The former head of Capitol Records and high-level positions at several other record companies is being paid to testify for Katherine Jackson in her lawsuit against the concert company.

Asked whether it was appropriate for AEG Live to attempt to hire a doctor on Jackson’s behalf, Berman responded, “I believe that it’s highly inappropriate. It is highly unusual.”

A more appropriate relationship would have been for Jackson to hire cardiologist Conrad Murray without any involvement from AEG Live, Berman said. Based on draft contracts and emails between company executives, Berman said he believed AEG Live thought it controlled the physician.

Berman retired from the music industry in 2001 to become an expert witness for music industry-related lawsuits. He said he had never heard of a situation in which a tour promoter hired a doctor on behalf of an artist. He began working in the music business in 1969 as a transactional attorney before making the leap to record executive, working with acts such as The Eagles, Van Halen, The Beach Boys, The Doors and numerous other big-name acts.

Berman said he believed that music companies owe a higher obligation to artists than to music buyers or concert goers and, in this instance, AEG failed Jackson.

He was shown emails in which a tour accountant traded emails with Murray without including any of the singer’s representatives.

To prepare for his testimony, Berman said he had reviewed numerous documents, including 26 depositions and testimony from AEG executives during the trial, which is now in its eighth week. He said he is being $500 an hour for his work on the case.

Murray, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011, was never paid his $150,000 per month fee for working with Jackson. The superstar died from an overdose of the anesthetic propofol before signing Murray’s contract.

AEG denies it hired Murray. The company’s executives and lawyers have said the company was merely advancing Jackson the money to pay Murray, and a valid contract never existed. Its executives also have stated that it agreed to pay Murray’s salary only because Jackson insisted on him coming on tour.

The company’s lawyers have yet to question Berman but already have objected to his expertise. An AEG Live defense attorney has noted that Berman was never a tour producer or promoter — functions that AEG Live was serving as during preparations for Jackson’s comeback shows.

Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos reminded jurors on Monday that they will ultimately decide whether AEG Live hired Murray.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

June 20, 2013

By Terri Schlichenmeyer

Special to the NNPA from The Washington Informer


You need a vacation.

Just a little getaway, that’s all. A few days outside, sand and sun, drinks with umbrellas served by someone in a uniform. Luxurious accommodations, rich food – yeah, you could see that kind of life becoming more than just a vacation.

But would you move, permanently? In the new book “Unsinkable” by Nicole Bradshaw, the LaRoche family decided to return to Canada and leave France behind forever. But they would actually leave behind much, much more.

The night started so well, and ended so badly.

Fifteen-year-old Corrine LaRoche snuck out of the house to see her boyfriend, but then she caught him cheating. When she returned home in tears, she found the police in her house – and one of them had his foot on her father’s neck.

That kind of harassment didn’t happen often, but it happened enough. Corrine’s father was a Negro man; her mother was white. Years ago, they’d left Canada to move to Cherbourg, France, hoping to make a good life for their family overseas. Now it was time to go back home.

With plans for his wife to join them later, Corrine’s father booked second-class tickets for himself and his daughters on the Titanic.

Though her sister was less than awed, Corrine was amazed by the size of the great ship. She could hardly believe that something so big could float on water. The Titanic was nearly as big as Cherbourg itself! There was music on-deck, tables with umbrellas, and lots and lots of people.

But the one person who caught Corrine’s eye was a handsomely-uniformed young white seaman who seemed quite attracted to her. His name was Christopher and his uncle was the captain of the Titanic. So when he invited Corrine to have dinner with him in the first-class dining room, she naturally accepted – although no one else was happy about their budding romance.

Christopher’s mother had hoped he would marry a girl from his social class, and not a common Negro girl. Corrine’s father distrusted white people, too. But for Corrine and Christopher, nothing would stop their growing love.

Nothing, of course, except an iceberg…

I was so excited about this book. It had such promise: a novel loosely based on a true story of the only black family on the Titanic.

I couldn’t wait to read it. Unfortunately, I should’ve …

When I say that author Nicole Bradshaw “loosely” based “Unsinkable” on truth, I mean very, very loosely. The setting of the book is 100 years old but its language is modern, which ruined the story for me right there. There are some obvious historical details that are wrong here, and we’re expected to accept several big stretches of imagination on top of that. Yes, this is fiction, but it could’ve been much better fiction had it not been modernized, altered, or contrived.

To say that this book was a disappointment to me is an understatement of Titanic proportions and for that, I can’t recommend it. Overall, my opinion of “Unsinkable” is that it just tanks.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

June 13, 2013


Everybody’s in a good mood this week, and you’ll want to join friends or family in sharing good food and feelings. You may be asked to grow, or move. Think seriously about it, because it could enhance your spiritual growth. Soul Affirmation: In order for money to come I must think about money as my friend.
Lucky Numbers: 45, 47, 51


At work, some matters have been on hold but now you will get the green light. Continue to work as diligently as you have been in the pass to ensure success. Have faith that your plans are on target. Soul Affirmation: Anticipation of a beautiful immediate future lights up my week.
Lucky Numbers: 14, 53, 54


Quit rushing around. You frequently help others so why are you troubling over asking for the help you need this week? Ask and when you receive say Thank You! You are blessed with many supportive friends. Soul Affirmation: I smile and trust in the powers beyond myself.
Lucky Numbers: 3, 20, 44


Keep all your ducks in a row this week. No mixing work with fun or business with pleasure. Save your affection for the home front and stay focused on the work in front of you on the job. Things are working out perfectly. Soul Affirmation:This week I find joy in the gifts that life has already given me.
Lucky Numbers: 1, 8, 14


Why not take each perfect moment as it comes? You are struggling to find a solution that time can and will provide. Perform your tasks cheerfully this week and let the future take care of itself. Soul Affirmation: Worry will only create more worry. I stop all worry.
Lucky Numbers: 32, 50, 51


Your anxiety about an important issue can now be seen as needless. You don’t have to worry! Have faith that things are working out perfectly and they will! Soul Affirmation: I am uplifted by the presence of friends.
Lucky Numbers: 2, 17, 22


You can be discreet and cut down on some of the envious comments you are attracting. Or you can continue to flaunt it since you’ve got it. Your choice this week! Watch for a pleasant change in a romantic partner’s attitude. Soul Affirmation: The winner is me. I smile for the cameras.
Lucky Numbers: 23, 39, 43


Center yourself at every opportunity during this busy week and keep your quest for emotional and spiritual balance in the forefront. Make an effort to take your time; that way you’ll recognize opportunity from impulse-control problems immediately. Soul Affirmation: My spirit gives me limitless possibilities.
Lucky Numbers: 10, 20, 31


Lucky! Your natural ability to shine is magnified this week. You’ll be garnering positive attention on a project you recently completed. Bask in the glow of public admiration! Soul Affirmation: This week I forgive myself for everything that has happened.
Lucky Numbers: 11, 13, 29


A celebration is in store and you are the guest of honor! You’ve achieved something wonderful and you need to take some time to enjoy it. Let yourself enjoy the applause then move onward and upward. Soul Affirmation: I entertain wild ideas about making money this week.
Lucky Numbers: 19, 24, 36


Let someone else make a few decisions this week. Take a backseat and enjoy the respite from doing all the driving. You’ll enjoy the ride more this week if you just admire the view as it goes by. Soul Affirmation: I enjoy living in my dream.
Lucky Numbers: 19, 43, 50


Sometimes you imagine that everyone needs to hear your sensible opinions on all matters of significance. And other weeks you know that you are wise and generous enough to listen to others as they share their good ideas. This week is a week for listening. You’ll learn much. Soul Affirmation: I listen with an open heart.
Lucky Numbers: 15, 21, 27

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

June 13, 2013


Associated Press


WASHINGTON (AP) — Oprah Winfrey is giving $12 million to a museum being built on Washing­ton’s National Mall that will document African-American history, officials said Tuesday.

The media mogul and former talk-show host previously gave $1 million to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the museum says her $13 million total contribution is its largest to date. As a result, the museum's 350-seat theater will be named after Winfrey, who is also a member of its advisory council.

Construction on the $500 million museum began in early 2012. When it’s finished in 2015, the museum will be the 19th Smith­sonian museum. The U.S. government is providing half of the funding. To date, about $140 million has been raised in private funds.

“I am deeply appreciative of those who paved the path for me and all who follow in their footsteps. By investing in this museum, I want to help ensure that we both honor and preserve our culture and history, so that the stories of who we are will live on for generations to come,” Winfrey said in a statement released by the museum.

Lonnie Bunch, the museum’s director, said that Winfrey has been very involved in the museum’s creation and that he wouldn’t be surprised if she was one day on the stage of the theater that will bear her name.

The museum is also in talks with Winfrey to acquire memorabilia from her career, Bunch said. He said he’d love to have a microphone used on her television show to add to the museum’s collection of over 22,000 objects.

Those objects help tell the story of African-American history from slavery to the post-Civil War period, the civil rights era, the Harlem Renaissance and the 21st century.

Some of the highlights of the collection include a lace shawl owned by abolitionist Harriet Tubman; a Jim Crow-era segregated railroad car; slave rebellion leader Nat Turner’s Bible; and the glass-topped casket that held the body of 14-year-old Emmett Till, whose 1955 murder in Mississippi for whistling at a white woman helped spark the civil rights movement.

The museum's most recent big acquisition was a South Carolina slave cabin dating to the 19th century. The cabin from Edisto Island was disassembled in May in preparation for its move to the museum.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

June 13, 2013

(AP) — Paramedics were dispatched to Paris Jackson's home on a report that the 15-year-old had taken 20 Motrin pills and cut herself with a kitchen knife, audio of an emergency dispatch released Tuesday shows.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department released audio of a call describing the need for paramedics between one of its dispatchers and a sheriff's department dispatcher who was relaying information from the home.

Paris is the only daughter of pop superstar Michael Jackson and was hospitalized after the June 5 incident.

The teen was described as conscious and breathing during the call, but no other details about her condition or what led to the injuries were given on the call, which lasted approximately a minute.

Perry Sanders Jr., a lawyer for her grandmother and guardian, has said Paris is physically fine and receiving appropriate medical treatment. He did not return a phone message seeking comment Tuesday.

Paris and her brothers, Prince and Blanket, are plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed by their grandmother against concert giant AEG Live LLC. The negligent hiring suit alleges AEG and its top executives failed to properly investigate the doctor convicted of administering a lethal dose of the anesthetic propofol to Michael Jackson in 2009, and that AEG Live missed warning signs about the entertainer's failing health.

The trial is in its seventh week, with AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips on the witness stand.

Prince and Paris are listed as potential witnesses, although Sanders said last week there was no indication that stress from the trial had led to the teenager's hospitalization.

Michael Jackson's mother, Katherine Jackson, returned to court Tuesday, her first day back since her granddaughter's medical emergency. She attended only the morning session and was not present for afternoon testimony, which occurred after the dispatch call's release.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

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