‘SYTYCD’ choreographer Wade Robson says Michael Jackson molested him

WadeRobson

Wade Robson

When Wade Robson was a kid, he was a talented dancer, appearing in several videos with Michael Jackson. He also defended Jacko, saying the pop star never molested him.

Only now he’s saying he lied. Robson, who has been a judge and choreographer on So You Think You Can Dance, now says Jackson abused him “for years,” from ages 7 to 14.

In the interview on Today, Robson describes the abuse as sexual in nature. Of course, Jackson’s family and lawyers are shooting down the allegations. But it is interesting that Robson does not say he had “repressed memories,” but that he knew all along he was lying about not being molested, and has never forgotten it.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

REVIEW: “Michael Jackson Immortal”

The immense cheesiness of the show is embodied in this overblown campy moment from the show, which is lip-synched.

Michael Jackson Immortal did something no other Cirque du Soleil show has ever done: Bored me.

Cirque truly is a magic-maker, having almost single-handed reinvented the concept of the circus, turning it into something unmissable rather than might-as-well. The trick of Cirque shows is that they combine the simple elegance of feats of athleticism with beauty and muscularity, while employing cutting edge technology in startling ways. Its best shows — Ka and Love, two of the permanent shows in Las Vegas — seamlessly wed plot, engineering and the human form.

Immortal does none of that. Yes, there are some pyrotechnics (the best of these, an indoor fireworks display, comes too little, too late) but the entire production feels conceived as an after-thought, some second-tier acts tacked on to boring choreography and muddled production values.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson Immortal show tonight

Remember the time

Dallas Michael Jackson fans will come close to the real thing tonight thanks to Cirque du Soleil’s tribute to the singer. But this is far beyond any regular tribute show. Cirque brings its thrilling reputation to the game making Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour both a concert and an experience. With the three-year anniversary of his death this week, the show even seems more poignant to his fans. And don’t expect to sit, applause and repeat for this Cirque event. They want to rock with you.

Read more about the show here.

DEETS:

—  Rich Lopez

This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

The Bruce Wood Dance Project has three more performances of the choreographer’s new show at Booker T. Washington in the Arts District, including an encore of the first program, which debuted last night (with Gary Floyd providing beautiful vocals to the stunning new “I’m My Brother’s Keeper”). Wood is up to his old tricks: The technical beauty of classic ballet combined with the muscular physicality of modern dance plus Wood’s own unique contributions of humor and an emphasis on the potential of the male form. Don’t miss it — it ends this Sunday.

Also over this Sunday is Oklahoma! at Lyric Stage; don’t miss it, either (you have a busy weekend ahead of you!). As we’ve come to expect, director Cheryl Denson has crafted a massive and engaging piece of classic theater with a huge cast, full orchestra and dazzling sets. You have more time to see Jersey Boys at the Winspear Opera House — it’ll be around almost another month — but it’s just as unmissable.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

REVIEW: Erasure at House of Blues on Sunday

From AustinTownHall.com

Synth pop legends Erasure put on a healthy show to a sold-out crowd at House of Blues Sunday night with a handful of new songs from their upcoming album, Tomorrow’s World. Flanked by gargoyles and simulated stained glass, Erasure was in fine form as they churned out the hits, but perhaps the star-making turn of the night was by opener Frankmusik.

Erasure frontman Andy Bell still maintains an eccentric stage presence and he’d often strike a pose to the cheers of the audience. His backless vest tied with string was kinda hot over his fit frame and he maintained danceable energy through the setlist. Of course, Vince Clark does his quiet thing hiding behind a massive gargoyle keyboard/desk for his laptop but would occasionally pop out to play the guitar or cut Bell out of his vest to change into a bedazzled Michael Jackson T-shirt.

At times, though, the songs were way too loud and as pleasant as their pop is, the bass and Bell’s voice were simultaneously pounding and screeching. Of course, being doped up on allergy/cold medicine might have affected my perspective, but even Bell himself kept adjusting his levels. When he sang “Love to Hate You,” his vocal runs were rather painful. Through most of the concert, we stood up close, however, as we muddled through the thick crowd toward the back, the sound was much better from afar. Or at least, less throbbing.

The duo never strayed far from the original sounds of their songs, which was refreshing. I hate when veteran artists feel the need to alter their biggest hits to suit them and keep them fresh. Erasure was true to their music and as each classic opened, the audience cheered deafeningly. The band nary missed a hit and new songs fit in like a glove.

The audience, though, was a surprising one. I expected it to look like a Saturday night at Station 4, but instead, the crowd was much more straight than I would have imagined. Baby boomers and twentysomethings seemed to outnumber the gays, but it was still a friendly environment as same-sex couples freely expressed their emotion to each other. And not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Other than Bell’s glorious grandstanding at times, Erasure was reliably good. But Frankmusik, who also produced Tomorrow, killed his 30-plus minute set. The 25 year-old in his rockabilly drag took over the stage as if he was the headliner. More famous as a DJ and producer, he shone with strong vocals and an abundance of energy during his short set of dance music. Some of his mashups were laughable as his song would move into tunes like “Easy Lover” and “You Can Call Me Al.” But he has catchy tunes and his energy was far more amped up than Bell’s. Songs like “No I.D.” and “Ludicrous” show his youth, but his live delivery is something to be witnessed.

—  Rich Lopez

Classical Open Mic tonight at Buzzbrews

Dust off that violin and resin those strings

Bringing classical music back to the people, founded by musicians Michael Jackson (not that one) and Kristen Center, Classical Open Mic strive to perform their works in unconventional places. Like a 24-hour diner. Taking the classic out of typical venues, they work to get it closer to everyday people and encourage interaction and participation. Plus, you can have a sandwich to go with it. Sweet!

DEETS: Buzzbrews, 4334 Lemmon Ave. 7 p.m. Free. ClassicalOpenMic.com

—  Rich Lopez

REVIEW: Bruno Mars and Janelle Monae at Verizon Theatre on Tuesday night

Janelle Monae surfs the crowd. (bighaber.com)

My hope is that there were a few “come to Jesus” moments last night at the Haus of Mars & Monae. With way different approaches to pop music, both still melded into each other like fried batter and beer. And Texans love that, ya know. Plus, they delivered strong showings and raw talents.

I’m sad to have only caught the last half of Monae’s set, but upon my arrival, she was filling the room with her avant-garde music backed by a huge band complete with horns and strings. Monae, in her signature black suit (which I hate) is hard to pin down. She’s erratic and all over the stage like James Brown on crack, but it’s also exciting to watch. Whether she’s laying down on the ground singing or diving into the crowd for major body surfing, it’s hard not to just want to let loose with her. And she has the talents to back it up. Her vocal runs were extraordinary in a piercing, raw manner. She gets scary, gritty and then goes into sonic high notes with ease. Then she turned around to deliver sheer innocence in her cover of The Jackson 5′s “I Want You Back.” She nevertheless delivered strongly on her own hits “Cold War” and “Tightrope” as did her backing band, which generated the richest of sounds seemingly without any electronic help.

Mars was my big surprise. His music hasn’t resonated with me so much, but live, he worked it with beautiful overkill. Mars was a big flirt and he worked his lady fans over with smiles, hip thrusts and high notes. As with Monae, Mars’ band recalled many a soul concert from decades ago and his background visuals were effective. His songs translated much better as the live show with an overflow of energy and even joy. Where Monae recalled James Brown, Mars exuded Marvin Gaye with touches of Michael Jackson. Clearly, he had the retro thing down right. Although he pushed his big hits, when the tempo chilled around “The Lazy Song,” despite the cheers, the show plateaued and the vibe dissipated into the ordinary, but that didn’t change the fact that Mars ruled over his show and his fans.

Of the two, Monae edged out Mars in sheer dynamic. Her rawness in delivery was astonishing where Mars’ polish is showing. The crowd was definitely more into Mars, but gave Monae proper props which gave me hope that she’ll gain a bigger crowd of fans through this tour. Mars and Monae delivered big on Tuesday night, but Monae left a lasting impression.

—  Rich Lopez

Liz’s favorite pub

The tribute to Elizabeth Taylor at her favorite pub, The Abbey in West Hollywood

Beloved icon Elizabeth Taylor was laid to rest today in a private service at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, Calif. — the same cemetery where her friend Michael Jackson was buried — a day after she died of congestive heart failure. The service caught most people off-guard, a blessing since it means that the whack-a-doodles from Westboro Baptist had no chance to get to Glendale to protest at the funeral like they said they planned to do.

Dame Elizabeth’s family has said there will be public memorial service for the star at a later date, but the tribute began at her favorite hangout in West Hollywood since news of her death, at age 79, became public on Wednesday. And that favorite hangout, by the way, is a gay bar.

Taylor first started hanging out at The Abbey about five or six years ago, and according to this report in The New York Times, she told the owner it was her favorite pub. The bar, in fact, had become something of a tourist attraction because people knew that she was a regular.

Since her death, the Abbey has set up a memorial tribute to Taylor that is drawing a crowd of mourners. The tribute, set up in what the bar has long called the Elizabeth Taylor Room, includes the huge framed portrait of herself Taylor donated to the bar, several floral arrangements and, on a nearby table, a Blue Velvet martini, made with vodka and blueberry schnapps and named in honor of her 1944 film National Velvet.

—  admin

Grammys Live Blog: MJ tribute misses the mark

Ryan Seacrest introduces Taylor Swift. OK, confession time, I have not jumped on the Swift bandwagon yet. Swift teams up with Stevie Nicks who she probably didn’t know who she was before tonight. Nicks looks good but she doesn’t look like she’s buying Swift’s cozying up. Ouch — Nicks reduced to a backup singer. Isn’t Swift just on the edge of 17? Poor Stevie.

Michael Jackson 3D tribute: Where’s my Avatar glasses???  Feeling a little goofy and I can’t seem to reach out and touch. Although it’s hilarious to see celebs sportin’ them. Is this lineup a little too random? Usher and Smokey I get but Celine, Carrie?

MJ’s “children” accept the Lifetime Achievement award for Jackson. Sweet speech by Prince Jackson.

—  Rich Lopez

FBI releases Michael Jackson file

Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson

The FBI released Michael Jackson’s file, responding to a Freedom of Information Act request by several news organizations. Jackson died on June 25, 2009 at the age of 5o.

Released were seven separate files that can each be accessed from the link above.

The first is a Los Angeles investigation into extortion threats against Jackson in 1992. One person was arrested in that case and sent to prison in 1993.

Next is a 1993 child molestation investigation that never went to trial.

Third is a London child molestation investigation, also in 1993

Fourth is a 1995-97 child pornography investigation.

The fifth is the 2004 child molestation investigation that went to trial and for which Jackson was acquitted.

The next was another child molestation case, which was closed due to lack of witness cooperation.

The last was again related to a child molestation case.

The file notes that Jackson was acquitted of all charges.

—  David Taffet