Tag Archives: Michael Jackson

Finding my way around Berlin, Germany

Finding my way around Berlin, Germany

I traveled to Berlin for the opening of the Berlin Foto Biennial 2016, where I am part of the Second Generation Holocaust photographers exhibit with a triptych from my seven year, ongoing series called Survivor, a study on my father’s survival of eight Nazi forced labor camps.

© hannah kozak

Another reason for Berlin’s appeal for me is its volatility, its traumatic history. I feel a Berlin traumatized by its historical suffering, its emotional past. There is almost a haunting aspect to the city. A city where Hitler came to power in 1933, the site of the infamous Olympic games in 1936, Kristallnacht – where Jewish properties were attacked and set on fire in 1938, Hitler’s headquarters–and the place where the Führer took his last breath & World War II from 1938 to 1945. A historic, reunited capital where a 96.2 miles long wall divided family and friends for 28 years, the only border fortification in history built to keep people from leaving rather than to protect them. Berlin is a capital that has been the most powerful and also fallen to the lowest of lows. Yet Berlin is also a city of tolerance, liberalism, a center of the arts and truly a cutting edge cultural center of Europe.

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The remains of the Wall. It was officially referred to as the “Anti-Fascist Protective Wall.” Built overnight starting 13 August 1961. The wall completely cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany until it was opened in November 1989. (The actual demolition did not begin until the summer of 1990 and was completed in 1992.)

I spent time years ago in Frankfurt, when I was working in the publishing world and attended the annual Frankfurt Book Fair but Frankfurt does not hold the appeal for me that Berlin does. Berlin is tucked away in the north-eastern area of Germany and is only 49.7 miles from another favorite place I love–Poland.

As I walk along Friedrichstrasse, I think about the great German artist Käthe Kollwitz, regarded as the most important German artist of the twentieth century who worked with drawing, etching, lithography, woodcuts, painting, printmaking and sculpture. Käthe Kollwitz captured the hardships suffered by the working class in drawings, paintings, and prints. She went to Munich to study at the Women’s Art School. She didn’t want to be controlled by her father and also wanted freedom as a married woman.

The death of her youngest son in battle in 1914 profoundly affected her, and she expressed her grief in another cycle of prints that treat the themes of a mother protecting her children and of a mother with a dead child. Kollwitz lost her husband in 1940, her grandson during WWII in 1942. She created timeless art works after suffering a life of great sorrow and heartache believing that art not only can but should change the world. Kollwitz created art that stirred emotions, incited action and served the people.For twelve years; from 1924 to 1932 Kollwitz also worked on a granite monument for her son, which depicted her husband and herself as grieving parents. In 1932 it was erected as a memorial in a cemetery near Ypres, Belgium. Her art did not serve the state thus Hitler hated what she created. In 1936 she was barred by the Nazis from exhibiting, her art classified as degenerate and was removed from galleries. Kollwitz said “All my work hides within in life itself, and it is with life that I contend through my work.”

Käthe Kollwitz-Woman w/dead child - 1903.

Käthe Kollwitz-Woman w/dead child – 1903.

I also think of The Berlin Trilogy–David Bowie’s creative apex where he wrote three consecutively released studio albums that Bowie referred to as his DNA: Low (1977), Heroes (1977) and Lodger (1979). Bowie moved to Berlin to escape the drug scene in Los Angeles (yet fell back on his bad habits initially). Berlin became Bowie’s sanctuary because he could be more anonymous there than in Los Angeles. His genius was his constant desire to reinvent himself. Low and Heroes were both recorded at Hansa Studios, known then as “Hansa by the Wall” because the Berlin Wall could be seen from the control room. I loved Lodger, a concept album about a homeless traveler. I can still hear the lyrics from Breaking Glass on the Low album. “You’re such a wonderful person, but you got problems.” I always loved Bowie because he rejected conformity, truly he was out of the box.

David Bowie - Low

David Bowie – Low – Released 14 January 1977

David Bowie - Heroes

David Bowie – Heroes – Released 14 October 1977

David Bowie - Lodger

David Bowie – Lodger – Released 14 January 1979

The nights were cold and windy and often rainy yet I feel invigorated coming from the recent relentless heat and two hour daily commutes in Los Angeles. Instead of sitting in a car for hours of traffic, I am free to roam about walking from trains to trams to underground travel.

© hannah kozak

Oranienburg Straße ( a street in central Berlin located in the borough of Mitte, north of the River Spree and runs south-east) & Friedrichstraße.) A major culture and shopping street in central Berlin, which forms the core of the Friedrichstraße neighborhood. It runs from the Northern part of the old Mitte district.

I chose the Melia Berlin Hotel for multiple reasons but mainly for the location along the river Spree, on the corner of Friedrichstrasse and Am Weidendamn and only 100 meters from Friedrichstraße Station which provided me with great underground, city rail, and tram links to all parts of Berlin. Not to mention their restaurant with an extensive menu of Spanish tapas which is one of my favorite ways to eat in the world. I ended up never eating at the tapas bar because I was enjoying the German food so much.

© hannah kozak

Meliá Berlin Hotel adjacent to the River Spree on Friedrichstraße 103.

S-Bahnhof Friedrichstraße Station used to be the border station between East and West Berlin. Built in 1882 to a design by Johannes Vollmer, a roof was added in 1925 that covers the hall and & the platforms. The only remaining structure from the original station is the special pavilion once used as a waiting room by those waiting for emigration clearance. The nickname of “Palace of Tears” refers to Berliners from different sides of the city would say goodbye to each other after a visit.

© hannah kozak

Friedrichstrasse Main Station – It is located on the Friedrichstraße, a major north-south street in the Mitte district of Berlin, adjacent to the point where the street crosses the Spree river

I ventured out in the rain (it is a venture because of my cameras) to find the Brandenburg Gate, an 18th century neoclassical monument and symbol of European unity and peace. The site of major historical events, it is considered a symbol of the tumultuous history of Europe and Germany. It is truly the quintessential symbol of Berlin and one of the few remaining historic city gates. I had the bonus of being there during Berlin’s Festival of Lights– famous landmarks beautifully lit up by lights.

© hannah kozak

Brandenburg Tor – Lit up for the Festival of Lights 2016

The gate is one block south to the Holocaust Memorial or Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe; a truly radical concept for a memorial. The construction of this memorial for the Jews killed by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945 began April 1, 2003 and was finished December 15, 2004. Designed by US architect Peter Eisenmann, it covers 205,000 square feet. It’s above ground, an undulating field of 2,711 visible, graffiti-resistant coating concrete slabs which you can enter from all sides and walk through. They are organized in rows, 54 of them going north–south, and 87 heading east–west at right angles but set slightly askew. The memorial leaves you to contemplate the meaning of the design. I returned multiple times during the day and the evening. Rain slowly flowing down the slabs looked like tears to me.

© hannah kozak

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

© hannah kozak

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (also known as the Holocaust Memorial) created by architect Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold. Building began 1 April 2003, and finished 15 December 2004. Designed to produce an uneasy, confusing atmosphere.
I made this photo with my Rolleiflex,and included the green tree to show that even though millions of Jews were murdered including all my father’s family, we always stand tall again.

Around the corner is the Hotel Adlon, which opened its doors in 1907. It was largely destroyed in 1945, in the closing days of World War II. The new building is a design largely inspired by the original, other sources say only loosely inspired by the original. Only a two minute walk from the Brandenburg Gate and three minutes from the Berlin Wall, Greta Garbo and Charlie Chaplin stayed here but my real reason for wanting to view it was because Michael Jackson stayed in the presidential suite. On Tuesday, Nov 19, 2002, he was caught up in the moment and showed his baby nicknamed Blanket to the fans waving below his balcony.

Here are some photos I made my first day and night wandering the streets in Berlin.

© hannah kozak

En route to the Brandenburg Gate.

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I love birds and their shadows.

© hannah kozak

Vaporetto Restaurant- A dear friend introduced me to this Italian restaurant on Albrechtstraße 12.

© hannah kozak

Heading back to my hotel from Vaporetto Restaurant.

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Wandering the streets en route to the Spree River.

© hannah kozak

Rainy night in Berlin

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The River Spree

“Berlin -The greatest cultural extravaganza that one could imagine.”
David Bowie

Finding my way around Berlin, Germany


The Love Continues for Michael Jackson 7 Years Later

The Love Continues for Michael Jackson 7 Years Later

© hannah kozak

My MJ dolls

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Homemade card at Forest Lawn 23 June 2016

Every year since Michael Jackson left us, I enter Forest Lawn cemetery in Glendale, on June 25. This year I am overwhelmed and amazed by the 10,547 roses thoughtfully placed for Michael like a big beautiful blanket surrounding all the other gifts for him from individuals near and far. The roses are a coordinated effort by Robyn Starkand’s group: One Rose for Michael Jackson. Robyn then undertakes more thought and work by paying the roses forward to various charities such as St. Vincent’s Meals on Wheels sister Alice Marie, Ronald McDonald House, Veterans LA and the Jewish Home for the Aged.

© hannah kozak

The arrival of roses from One Rose for Michael Jackson – created and organized by Robyn Starkand.

© hannah kozak

A fan helping set up the roses.

© hannah kozak

Forest Lawn – 25 June 2016

@ hannah kozak

Hannah_Kozak_One_Rose_for_MJ_June_24__2016-5390

© hannah kozak

Robyn Starkand w/Sister Alice Marie of St. Vincent’s.

© hannah kozak

More roses off to charity.

Rumi wrote that the wound is where the light enters you. Michael’s light continues to light the way for his soldiers of love, on the seventh anniversary of his departure from this earthly plane. The media tore Michael apart with abusive allegations when he became a record-breaking force. Michael’s death triggered a deep genetic pain in me. The search for the truth about Michael became my obsession. It ignited a sense of tragic injustice that I felt as a child from being Jewish and having had my entire family on my father’s side killed in the Holocaust. Michael’s death also stirred the hurt and injustice I felt from having watched my mother’s abuse.

© hannah kozak

@ hannah kozak

Samira Landau from France – This is her 4th trip to California to pay respects to Michael

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Tonia Kelly – Atlanta, Georgia – This is her 7th trip, she began coming for the trial in 2005.

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Beautiful, hand made card left at Forest Lawn on 23 June 2016

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Joly, May, Queenie, Jessica travel from Hong Kong every year to bring Michael a flower board made with love.

© hannah kozak

From the fans in China.

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Musical flowers

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@ hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

The Messenger of Love

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The seventh child was not concerned about the expectations of others. He was listening to the music of life. His ideas and creativity were boundless. His joy came from expressing his connection to his soul, and sharing his gifts with others. His dream was to allow the magic and the wonder that he saw, to reveal the harmony and love in all of creation. If people could feel their connection to the oneness of life, the world could once again be a place of freedom and joy. The seventh joy demonstrated this truth, through his life and his art. He danced, sang, and spoke of peace, love, oneness and caring for the land and one another. Thank u Michael. You know u saved me.

The terrorist’s attacks in Orlando, Florida less than two weeks ago hardened my heart briefly. But, I am reminded of Michael’s pleas for a better future for our world. He kept his heart open and soft, even in the face of harsh media lies and public scorn – ever reminding me the importance of keeping your heart open because holding hatred in one’s heart only damages our souls. The media continues to publish totally baseless smear stories in an attempt to defame Michael. As true followers who understand his never-ending love and innocence for children, we continue to stand firmly and defend him against the recycled accusations. Someday the lies about Michael won’t trend, only his legacy. I personally will keep working tirelessly to remind the world who he was; an innocent humanitarian.

© hannah kozak

Roses from China

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Left – Fumiyo from Tokyo, Japan.
Right – Biki Zennhoji from Osaka, Japan

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Joly – Hong Kong

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Miranda Yuen – Hong Kong

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May Cheng – Hong Kong

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Fanny – Hong Kong

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May Cheng – Hong Kong

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I love the artistry behind each and every card.

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Desde Chile – From Chile With Love

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Quote from Frank Cascio

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Quote from Diana Dawn DiAngelo

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How cute is this from Mickey Mail?

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

I was happy to see the fans from Japan who make the trip every year to deliver this hand made quilt. They work as a team with each person working on one piece, on weekends over the year. Today, they took a taxi from Hollywood to deliver it to Forest Lawn. They delivered a message to me from June, who usually comes. “Thank you and I love you.”

© hannah kozak

Quilt from Japan
Left to Right:
1. Yoko Abe
2. Aki Ko Kanazawa – “Michael’s smile gives me power.”
3. Yuki Otsuki
4. Tomoe Tokuda.

Here’s are closeups of inserts of the truly beautiful quilt.

© hannah kozak

Asuka

 © hannah kozak

Chisato

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Ayako

 © hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Aki & Yukiko

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Chisato

© hannah kozak

Yurika – I’m truly glad that I met you. To me, you are like the air. You are necessary for us. I love you.

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Dolls from Japan.

 © hannah kozak

10 year old Timothy discovered Michael when he was 5. He said “I dance, I sing and I love him”. When I asked him why he loved Michael he said “Because he was kind.”

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Another quilt from Japan.

© hannah kozak

Quilt close up

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Flowers from France

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“How could I lead my life so that every cell of living matter was also benefited?” – Michael Jackson

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

The ocean of cards, flowers, teddy bears and love from fans from around the world to honor him makes it clear that Michael is going to be remembered not for the lies that were told about him, but for the great artist and human being that he was. The media went to great lengths to hoodwink the general public, but the informed readers and fans know better. Michael Jackson asked hard questions of everyone, yet he didn’t preach. That is part of the reason why we loved him and continue to love him. He was a transcendent being, gentle as a butterfly, with boundless generosity. An example of a creative whose life was inspired by curiosity not fear. He saw the beauty in each and every leaf. Michael flew away too soon. We loved and continue to love him for his heart and his art.

I used to dream
I used to glance beyond the stars
Now I don’t know where we are
Although I know we’ve drifted far

The Love Continues for Michael Jackson 7 Years Later


Celebrating Love on Michael Jackson’s Birthday

Celebrating Love on Michael Jackson’s Birthday

Michael Jackson would have been fifty-seven years old today. The now familiar black wrought iron gates signal the entrance to Forest Lawn Glendale. As I wind up the entrance I see Aleppo pines, a single rose here and there, flower arrangements, pinwheels of red, orange and blue spinning softly in the wind as the birds sing their songs.

@ hannah kozak

Holly Terrace

Amidst the roses, handmade cards, balloons, and stuffed animals is the feeling of love that Michael Jackson spread around the world with his music and his heart.

© hannah kozak

With love from Russia

Eleanor Roosevelt said “to do what you feel in your heart for you’ll be criticized anyway.” Michael embodied this throughout his life. Watching television as a young boy with his mother, he was moved to tears when he saw images of starving children in Africa. “Mother”, he vowed, “I’m going to do something about this someday.” And, true to his word, he did.

My hope is these photos show how Michael was loved and even though he was subjected to immense injustice, the fans know the truth even though the media was trying to tarnish his reputation throughout his career.

@ hannah kozak

@ hannah kozak

@ hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

@ hannah kozak

Marjorie from Scotland

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Alice in Hong Kong

I love the simplicity of this tiny bear with the note “Happy birthday to you in heavens.”

@ hannah kozak

Little bear from Iraa and Jude

Divina Baham organized “The Messenger of Love” Foundation back in 2011. They celebrate Michael’s birthday, his passing and bring bags of love out reach visiting homeless shelters, Shriner’s Hospital for Children and dedicated a tree to Michael at Lake Balboa. This year they brought a cake to Forest Lawn in honor of Michael.

Cake for Michael Jackson - 29 August 2015

Cake for Michael Jackson – 29 August 2015

Hitomi came from Japan for only 3 days. I was told by Hitomi’s friend that many Japanese visitors stay for such a short amount of days because they have to get back to work.

© hannah kozak

Hitomi – from Japan

Rieko from Japan on the other hand, came for 3 weeks to study English at a small school for her university back home. “My main purpose is Michael Jackson’s birthday” she told me. It was her first time in LA and in her own words, “a dream come true”. I thought it was so cute how she carried her MJ doll in the tiny bag with “I am King of Pop” on it.

© hannah kozak

Rieko – from Japan

I met Gloria Lopez. She told me she was 13 years old when her grandfather died. He was her father figure and her best friend, who took care of her since she was 3 months old. After he died, she became depressed and suicidal, as it was her first experience of death. She didn’t want to go to school, was getting “F” grades and was sent to a psychiatrist. She said “I heard “You Rock My World” in 2001 and it was the first time I smiled since my grandfather died. I started devoting myself to MJ research. I became an honor student and received a Masters In Art Education doing my thesis on Michael.” She told me she teaches art to children because of Michael’s influence on her.

@ hannah kozak

Gloria Lopez

I met Marguerite, who flew all the way from France. Her first time to the states was in 2012 for the Immortal World Tour. She saw the Immortal World Tour 2 times in France that same year. She returned to Forest Lawn in August, 2014 and saw the One show two times that year. This year she told me that she came to Los Angeles for Michael’s spiritual message.

© hannah kozak

Marguerite – France

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© hannah kozak

I love you More – Maleah

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Nina from Poland

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Yumiko from Japan

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Yumiko from Japan

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Roswitha Preib – Germany

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Clotide – France

@ hannah kozak

@ hannah kozak

Rieko – L and Kaori – R
from Japan

Michael’s commitment to his art, no matter what was happening in his life, is a testament to the artist he was; always bearing his soul in his music. His ability to connect with his fans all around the globe is evident even six years after he has left his physical body. Even in the fierce California heat, people come from France, from Japan, from all around the world, to pay their respects to the Man in the Mirror, who built an army of love.

© hannah kozak

Roses from France

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Flowers from Russia

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I love this card!

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Art work by Haruyo Sakuta

© hannah kozak

Backside of Michael on Eagle’s Back

 © hannah kozak

Yae Kojima – Japan

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Yuka – Japan

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Yuka Takahashi – Japan

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Maleah, Lorrie, Marilyn

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Hong Kong

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

May Cheng – Hong Kong

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Captain Eo card – Japan

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2 Michael Bad dolls meet at Forest Lawn

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More gifts for Michael

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© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Russian fans

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© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

From Japan

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Japanese dolls

One of Michael’s greatest gifts was how he cared for humanity and spread love. His Army of Love is still going strong, carrying the message that Michael was sharing with us his entire life: Love one another, take care of each other and continue to give, share and breathe love every step of our journey here. Michael was a spiritual messenger who walked his walk. He held up a mirror to humanity and in the end, Michael’s message continues to light the way.

Celebrating Love on Michael Jackson’s Birthday


Sāmbār – Indian Yumminess in Culver City

Sāmbār – Indian Yumminess in Culver City

I like Indian food but after having dinner at Sāmbār Restaurant – the new upscale Indian restaurant in downtown Culver City, I can officially say that I love Indian food.

First of all, the location is in the pedestrian walking district of Culver Blvd, just two doors away from Akasha’s first restaurant aptly named Akasha. Sāmbār is the combined creation of the design building firm of Ruth Black, who specializes in ruins to renovation and acclaimed chef, Akasha, who has a whole new take on Indian cuisine. Akasha spent time in an ashram and traveling through India.

India is one of my favorite countries in the world. It’s not like traveling to another country, it’s like traveling to another world. It’s the seat of spirituality, a place where you can sip a cup of chai tea on a street corner and feel fine about just being here now. Between the intense wet heat that never lets up and the smell of India; the scent of Nag Champra incense, a combination of temples, mosques, fresh flowers, decay of the past, saffron, cows, cats, I was intoxicated. This smell still beckons me, even years later, begging me to return for another hit of life. Eating Akasha’s food on my birthday brought me back to that place in my soul, where India is part of me.

Speaking of another part of me, for all you Michael Jackson fans, you already know Akasha was Michael Jackson’s personal and concert (Victory, Bad and History tours) chef. Michael said the only restaurant he would drive to back in the 80’s was Akasha’s Golden Temple, the once popular vegetarian restaurant.

Upon entering there is an eye catching chandelier of blue, green, red, purple, yellow that Black designed and created. If you like details, like I do, have a look at her blog where she explains her design on the chandelier.

https://rtr-homes.com/sambar2.html

© hannah kozak

Sāmbār chandalier

Not only is the food a feast for the senses, the space is too. Call me fussy if you like, but when I go out to eat, I love to feel inspired by not only the food but the space must stir as well. The combination of Black and Akasha achieves this. Ruth had the tables hand made while the leather was achieved by an expert in fabrics and textiles, at Holland & Sherry. Black choose cressula, a deep, sautéed green color plant that is drought tolerant, in planters to line the outdoor deck seating area.

Here’s the wooden ceiling:

© hannah kozak

Sambar Restaurant ceiling

It gets better. Here is the art project of stardust white wooden sticks on the wall next to the bar.

© hannah kozak

Sāmbār Restaurant – Art

Now for the food. We started with this cheese plate:

© hannah kozak

Sāmbār cheese plate

Here are samosas, Sambar snack mix, Sev Puri Chat, Toor Daal Fritters, (In the back, my apologies for cutting off) and a Sacred Cow drink.

© hannah kozak

Sambar Restaurant –
Samosas, Sambar snack mix, Sev Puri Chat, Toor Daal Fritters, Sacred Cow drink

In the back is a Cheese Thai (Indian Cheese plate), with Papadoms and Turmeric Naan, Lemon Rice, Dal, Tandoori Roasted Vegetables with yogurt, Tandoori British half Raj chicken.

© hannah kozak

Sambar Restaurant 2

Tandoori Roasted Vegetables with Yogurt:

© hannah kozak

Sambar Restaurant 3

Here’s the Tandoori pistachio lamb kabob with Makki ki roti (gluten free).

© hannah kozak

Sāmbār Restaurant – Tandoori pistachio lamb kabob with Makki ki roti

Tandoori British Raj chicken:

© hannah kozak

Sāmbār Tandoori British Raj chicken.

A special banana dessert that three lifelong friends shared:

© hannah kozak

Sāmbār banana dessert

I’m looking forward to returning to try the lamb burger and try some of the drinks made by Clare Ward a mixologist who came on board from Akasha’s first restaurant. Some of her drinks include house-made bitters with turmeric and spiking Pimms cocktails with fresh curry leaves.

Ruth Black is a long time Kundalini yogi whose love for the practice brings a higher consciousness that permeates every area of her life. Here is her hand drawn designs in the restrooms. Just like Michael Jackson, Ruth understands the mantra of the Age of Aquarius that “You’re Just Another Part of Me.” Here we see Ruth’s handwriting, inspired by her mother, a calligraphy artist, who was in of all places, India at the time Ruth was building Sāmbār.

© hannah kozak

Sāmbār Restaurant art work by Ruth Black Designs.

Last but not least, the hand painted logo at the entrance wall designed by Ruth’s talented mother, artist Barbara Graham.

© hannah kozak

Sāmbār Restaurant entrance

“India was open. India was honest. And I liked that from the first day. My instinct wasn’t to criticize. My instinct, in the city I was learning to love, was to observe, and become involved, and enjoy.” Gregory David Roberts – Shantaram

Sāmbār – Indian Yumminess in Culver City


Michael Jackson Is Remembered and Loved Six Years Later

Michael Jackson is Remembered and Loved Six Years Later

Although it’s hard to believe it’s been six years, it’s soothing, heart breaking and life affirming all at once to see how the love for Michael Jackson is as present as it was on the day we lost him. As Michael once said, “My fans truly are a part of me. We share something that most people will never experience.” After his death, we continue to share our passion and love for Michael with each other.

 © hannah kozak

My Three Michael Jackson dolls.

Every year on the anniversary of his death I make my way to Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California, and walk slowly amidst a sea of love of homemade cards, stuffed animals,drawings, paintings, sunflowers, roses and handmade books from all over the globe. I see these offerings as proof. Proof there is love in every corner of the world from Japan to Korea, Italy to Germany to Poland as the fans pay their respects to the man, the man in the mirror who simply wanted to spread messages of love and tolerance, of forgiveness and kindness and of healing the world. When Michael sang, “Another Part of Me”, he was light years ahead in terms of consciousness. With his raised consciousness he acted with fearless integrity and understood the essence of this era: Recognize the other person is you.

@ hannah kozak

Forest Lawn Glendale,
25 June 2015

© hannah kozak

Flowers for Michael at Holly Terrace 25 June 2015

© hannah kozak

Bad era. Forest Lawn. 25 June 2015

I am under no illusion about how people judge Michael Jackson fans. And I am perfectly okay with that. I am part of a worldwide team that is fighting against injustice. Because I know who Michael Jackson was, not what the media tried to force feed down our throats. We are not willing to give up our fight against wrong. As Michael held up a mirror to himself, we hold up a mirror to the world, showing that spreading love, not hatred, is the answer.

© hannah kozak

Flowers from fans in Denmark. Forest Lawn.
25 June 2015

© hannah kozak

Forest Lawn,
25 June 2015

© hannah kozak

Miranda – Hong Kong
Forest Lawn,
25 June 2015

I grew up loving Michael Jackson’s music but there was so much more to him than that. It was Michael’s heart I deeply resonated with. I could feel how caring, other-centered and kind he was. And, in a sense, the worldwide grieving helped and continues to help me to feel that we are all one. That even though the loss feels as if it will never have closure, we are never, ever alone.

© hannah kozak

Poem to Michael,
Forest Lawn
25 June 2015

One Rose for Michael Jackson raised 15,537 roses this year. Seeing all the roses donated from fans around the world moves me to tears as I am enveloped in the sea of love of thousands of roses. And it keeps growing. The first year Robyn Starkand’s team raised 3,000 roses, then 4,500 then 10,000, and now more than 15,000. Every year, all the roses are donated to various charities after June 25.

© hannah kozak

One Rose for Michael Jackson.
25 June 2015

© hannah kozak

One Rose for Michael Jackson
25 June 2015

At Forest Lawn, I met Andrea Schneider and Lola Anderson from Dusseldorf and Eltville, Germany, who returned to the cemetery last year on June 26 to help donate some of the roses to charity and will be doing the same this year.

© hannah kozak

Robyn Starkand (Organizer of One Rose for Michael Jackson) with Andrea Schneider and Lola Anderson from Germany

I also met Nako and Fumiyo from Japan. I loved watching them kneel on the grass in front of Holly Terrace, as they removed all the carefully chosen items from bags they brought with them and arranged it all, which you can see here along with their homage to MJ.

© hannah kozak

Nako and Fumiyo from Japan. 24 June 2015
Forest Lawn

© hannah kozak

Nako from Osaka, Japan
Fumiyo from Tokyo, Japan
24 June 2015

I delivered roses to the Jewish Home for the Aged to continue to spread the love.

© hannah kozak

Roses at the Jewish Home for the Aged

The quilt that the fans in Japan make annually brings me to my knees. The fans meet on weekends throughout the year creating tiny, hand stitched, drawn, painted, individually created, pieces, all in the name of love, to blanket Michael with love. Here are some pieces of the quilt up close.

© hannah kozak

Maho & Yasuyo
Quilt from Japan
25 June 2015

© hannah kozak

Ayako from Japan

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I especially love the “Heal the Kids” with the flying angel child

© hannah kozak

Yurika – Japanese quilt

© hannah kozak

Kana – Japanese quilt

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Yuko Jackson- Japanese quilt

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Rie – Japanese quilt

© hannah kozak

Ayuno Kuko – Japanese quilt
This piece brought me tears. She wrote “I enrolled high school in this spring. I chosen a art course. I have fun my school life. I want to become able to describe a painting like you well. So I study hard the art. Please watch me.” Look how Michael Jackson has inspired people all over the world! She is studying art and look how beautifully she paints.

© hannah kozak

Hiroko – Japanese quilt

@ hannah kozak

Yurika – Japanese quilt

© hannah kozak

Quilt from Japan

© hannah kozak

More passion from the Japanese fans’ quilt

© hannah kozak

Japanese quilt insert

© hannah kozak

Home made card from Wendy

© hannah kozak

Forest Lawn
25 June 2015

© hannah kozak

Flower arrangement from Japan

© hannah kozak

Marcus Petterman
Germany

© hannah kozak

Forest Lawn
25 June 2015

© hannah kozak

Hong Kong Fans
Forest Lawn
25 June 2015

© hannah kozak

Hong Kong

© hannah kozak

Flowers from around the globe

© hannah kozak

The flower arrangements just kept arriving

I met Wiedjai, who traveled from the Netherlands. He is a mechanical engineer who works with sustainable energy. He has traveled to California numerous times in support of Michael. He was here in 2003 and was invited into Neverland along with many other fans. He said he was offered ice cream, drinks, rode all the attractions and the train around the lush property. His description of Neverland is that “it was magic.” He returned in 2005 for the trial, 2009 for the memorial where he says he was very shaky and also returned in 2010.

© hannah kozak

Wiedjai from the Netherlands

I spoke to Nora from Budapest, Hungary. “This is my 1st time here.” she told me.

© hannah kozak

Nora Pogonyi
Budapest, Hungary

© hannah kozak

Over 50 nations are represented on this banner.

© hannah kozak

And the flowers kept arriving!

 © hannah kozak

Tata created all these drawings/paintings.
Michael Jackson fans are uber creative.

Truth4MJ is a project that’s grown through the years thanks to the contributions of loyal Michael Jackson’s supporters committed to spread the truth about him starting from his own words. As he said, “lies run sprints, the truth runs marathons”. We strongly believe the truth about his life, his human nature and that his death will be recognized worldwide in the end.

Jermaine Jackson arrived, greeting the fans with a tremendous amount of care and love with real hugs and handshakes. It took him awhile to get through as he gently took his time speaking to the fans. “Thank you for coming. It’s very tough. I feel like the moment I did when I did the announcement for his passing. You make it easy for me because it’s the love and the support.” He spoke and became emotional, unable to hold back his tears. All the love and support from the fans seems truly important to him.

© hannah kozak

Jermaine Jackson
Forest Lawn
25 June 2015

@ hannah kozak

Jermaine Jackson

© hannah kozak

Jermaine Jackson leaving Forest Lawn

In Michael’s book, Dancing the Dream, he wrote, “People ask me how I make music. I tell them I just step into it. It’s like stepping into a river and joining the flow. Every moment in the river has its song. So, I stay in the moment and listen.” Michael understood that everything in our universe has its own vibratory frequency, and when we raise our own vibration, that brings us closer to experiencing and merging with the highest vibration of all – G-d – the original creativity of the universe. As I continue to walk around the sea of love, I can feel the vibration of what Michael Jackson was telling us for decades: Love and be kind to each other. And that, in part, is why he will not be dethroned.

The simplicity of this note is lovely.

© hannah kozak

Note to MJ

And, I LOVE this drawing of MJ that’s a combination of Michael and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince.

© hannah kozak

Michael Jackson as The Little Prince

© hannah kozak

Bad doll from Japanese fans meets the Thriller era dolls

© hannah kozak

Self Portrait – Hannah Kozak

© hannah kozak

One Rose for Michael Jackson,
25 June 2015

Michael Jackson is Remembered and Loved Six Years Later


The Magic of Michael Jackson’s Memorial Tree in Budapest, Hungary

The Magic of Michael Jackson’s Memorial Tree in Budapest, Hungary

© hannah kozak

Michael Jackson Memorial Tree – Budapest, Hungary

When I heard there was a Michael Jackson Memorial Tree in Budapest, I was curious to see where it was and what it looked like in person. After figuring out which subway to take, I made my way up the stairs and as I came out into the bright sun, I was in the heart of the pedestrian district in the city’s Pest side. I found this happy tree is just a stone’s throw from the Metro and quite close to the Danube River. I simply love how inspiringly analog this tribute is.

I found my way to the Kempinksi Hotel and directly across the street from it, I saw the shrine to Michael Jackson. I also saw a woman kneeled over, who was pulling out dead plants and tending to the flowers. We briefly chatted and she told me she begins her day by coming to the tree, to keep it beautiful. When I returned later in the day, seeking early evening light, I spoke to two fans sitting on a bench. No matter where I am in the world, I am never alone. It’s nice to connect with people in another country about Michael.

© hannah kozak

Fan who daily maintains the magical MJ Tree
Budapest, Hungary

@ hannah kozak

Kempinski Hotel
View from the MJ Tree
Budapest, Hungary

When Michael was touring in Budapest, he stayed at the established Kempinski Hotel. His first visit was in 1994, when shooting a short feature on Heroes’ Square. He returned in 1996 twice. The first stay was to examine the venue of his upcoming concert for the History tour — Budapest was going to be his second stop. After scouting, he gave a performance in what was then the People’s Stadium (now the Ferenc Puskás Stadium).

His fans would gather in a park directly across the street from the hotel, just to try to get a glimpse of him. Michael would often stand by the window, look out, wave and send messages to his fans, whom he always loved and respected. After he died on June 25, 2009, a tree on the corner of the park was named and dedicated to him. His beloved fans began to decorate it.

© hannah kozak

Michael Jackson Memorial Tree – Budapest, Hungary

I noticed this ordinary tree with pictures, tributes, and handwritten notes all affixed to the trunk along with candles and flowers adorned the base. In the 1980’s there was so much oppression in Hungary behind the Iron Curtain. This was the same time that Michael was becoming more famous than ever — his music inspiring the people. When he returned in the 90’s it must have been such a thrill to see this expressive, passionate artist in person during his concert. I have always loved the passion from Michael Jackson’s fans. How beautiful someone loved him enough to start this dedication of L.O.V.E. and the tradition has continued with this well kept memorial tree. Michael was a storyteller, expressing himself through his music. It’s apparent his music resonated in the hearts and souls of people all around the globe, no matter where I travel. His fans in Hungary meet in the park and flash dance to one of Michael’s dances every year on his birthday. Traveling around the globe and creating special moments I love like this tree, makes me smile from deep in my heart. There is something comforting about finding a tree dedicated to Michael, clear across the Atlantic Ocean, so far from my home in Los Angeles.

© hannah kozak

Michael Jackson Memorial Tree 3 – Budapest, Hungary

© hannah kozak

Michael Jackson Memorial Tree 4 – Budapest, Hungary

© hannah kozak

Michael Jackson Memorial Tree 5 – Budapest, Hungary

© hannah kozak

Michael Jackson Memorial Tree 6 – Budapest, Hungary

© hannah kozak

Michael Jackson Memorial Tree 7 – Budapest, Hungary
I love this MJ Billie Jean doll.

The Magic of Michael Jackson’s Memorial Tree in Budapest, Hungary


Michael Jackson’s Light Shining on Christmas

Michael Jackson’s Light Shining on Christmas”

When I pull into Forest Lawn Cemetery, I see a grand festive wreathe decorated in yellows, golds and reds. Five years and six months later, Michael Jackson is remembered, respected and honored at Forest Lawn. Dedications to him continue with Christmas trees left in his honor, complete with home made decorations.

Entrance to Forest Lawn

Entrance to Forest Lawn

People have lovingly decorated spruce, pine and fir trees and left them close to Michael’s resting spot, at Holly Terrace. Three different sizes of trees complete with wrapped gifts, tiny bulbs, sparkling tinsel, and handmade cards with candles underneath.

Christmas tree for MJ

Christmas tree for MJ

Christmas tree for MJ

Christmas tree for MJ

Christmas for MJ

Christmas for MJ

Christmas tree for MJ

Christmas tree for MJ

There is a beautiful silence on the sacred grounds. Even the trees seem to understand that G-d is closest to those with broken hearts. There is a Jewish proverb: Do not be wise in words, be wise in deeds. And indeed, Michael walked his walk. He didn’t have to tell others how he helped those less fortunate; he just did. He was a spiritual force that touched billions of souls. When I visited Neverland, I saw the special hospital beds for sick and dying children that Michael had built into the walls of the movie screening room. He was that committed to helping the children. Our culture is obsessed with sex and it’s the cynics that made something pure and innocent, into something evil. I was witness to the opposite.

Forest Lawn tree

Forest Lawn tree

Christmas tree for MJ

Christmas tree for MJ

Forest Lawn for MJ

Forest Lawn for MJ

I wonder if he knew how much light he brought into our world? Does he know how bright his light continues to shine? Michael spread light and was the embodiment of love and yet his loneliness never broke his spirit. As I quietly sit, reflecting on how Michael wanted to heal the world, I am struck by the light streaming through the trees at Holly Terrace. And there is my answer. Michael Jackson’s light touched every corner of the world. A golden reflection of light, lighting in every direction: south, north, east and west. “Heal the World” he sang. If we all cry at the same time, maybe we can.

@ hannah kozak

MJ at Forest Lawn Cemetery


“He’s not afraid to look at the worst suffering and find the smallest part that’s positive and beautiful.” – Frank Dileo of Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson’s Light Shining on Christmas”


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