Tag Archives: Michael Jackson

Photographer Douglas Kirkland crosses us over the finish line for He Threw the Last Punch Too Hard book

Every year in January, I head to Photo LA, and have been doing this since the 90’s. While walking around and looking at the photographs, exhibitions, and books, I was dreaming that one day I would be able to take my lifelong love of books and photography and combine those loves to create books of my numerous and varied projects.

On January 18, 2014, I waited in line with dozens of people, who were waiting to get a signed copy of Douglas Kirkland’s December 16, 2013 recently released book, “A Life in Pictures : The Douglas Kirkland Monograph”. For all my photography friends, you know who Douglas is. For others, you may not know his name but you know his photographs. Yes, the iconic photograph of Marilyn Monroe draped only in a white sheet, was created by Douglas as Marilyn drank Dom Perignon and listened to Frank Sinatra. Not to mention many classic photographs such as Elizabeth Taylor, Robert Mitchum, Dustin Hoffman, Judy Garland with a tear rolling down her cheek, Audrey Hepburn smiling looking as if she has a secret, Ann Margaret on a motorcycle and Cher on roller skates in 1979. This legendary photographer’s book is a manifesto of his whole career. It’s his journey from a passionate teenager in Canada taking photographs with his box camera, and following his dreams to the twenty something photojournalist who worked for Life and Look magazine and had the guts to to ask Elizabeth Taylor, who was the world’s leading lady actress, if he could photograph her. He was the only photographer invited to the 1983 Michael Jackson Thriller shoot.

Douglas’s story is about the passion of a young man, the drive, dedication and hard work of following your dreams. Even though he heard comments like “Doug, I think it’s time you should start settling down and forget all this New York photography stuff”, he listened to his heart not family and friends. He is a living legend but bigger than the legend is his heart of gold.

As I made my way to the table where he was sitting, I told him about the project I was working on for 5 years. He had written in his book that a friend of his had told him that if you wanted to contact someone that you really respected , you should write a series of very earnest letters expressing your feelings for their work and your desire to meet them and that you would get through to them. Douglas wrote to Irving Penn three times before he received a response. He ended up with a job working for Mr. Penn.

After Douglas signed my book, I handed him my 1961 Rolleiflex 2.8F and asked him to make a photo of me. Then, I asked if he would look at my project on my mother who has brain damage from domestic violence, which was called “Forgiveness and Compassion” at the time. I asked him if he could help me. He handed me his business card and told me to write to him. I wrote him an earnest, heartfelt letter and six months later I was in his Hollywood Hills home along with his beautiful wife, Francoise. On his coffee table and book shelves was the biggest photography book collections I had ever seen. He spent two hours carefully looking at all my porfolios I had brought and told me when he saw “Forgiveness and Compassion”, “when you make a book on this project, I will buy one.”

Douglas helped cement my belief that you have to ask for what you want. I wrote to him three times about my Kickstarter campaign. After writing to him two times in the last month, I knew I hadn’t heard from him because he was working and it turns out him and his wife were in Rome for the premiere of his documentary “That Click” the night before!

At 3:13am, I received an email from Francoise telling me “I think you have reached your goal, Greetings from Rome. We are at the film festival presenting the documentary about Douglas “That Click” premiered last night, was a triumph.” Douglas and Francoise had generously backed my project, pushing it to its goal!

Not only did I begin photographing nearly 5 decades ago, but I have succeeded in my first Kickstarter backing successfully. I am partnering with FotoEvidence, who gave me the honor of a finalist award in the first FotoEvidence W (Women) Award. FotoEvidence is a publishing house that creates photo books to draw attention to human rights violations, and assaults on human dignity wherever they may occur. As a side note, my book editor,Régina Monfort, worked for Irving Penn for seven years.

By photographing my mother for ten years, I laid the ghost. It feels like poetry that Douglas Kirkland, the man who succeeded beyond his wildest dreams in his dream of being a photographer, and taught me to keep trying and never give up, brought my Kickstarter to the finish line with a generous backing. This story is for all the dreamers. Keep going and the longer it takes, it just means the project isn’t ready yet. Don’t give up your dreams, ever. Being able to tell my mother’s story feels as if a weight is lifted from my soul. I’ve been carrying this around since I was nine years old. One of my writing teachers, Joyce Maynard taught me to “write like you’re an orphan.” That’s one of the aims of this book, to tell the truth.

Photograph of Hannah Kozak at Photo LA, January 18, 2014 created by Douglas Kirkland with Rolleiflex 2.8F and expired Kodak Portra 400 film.

Here is the iconic photograph that Douglas Kirkland made of Marilyn Monroe in 1961, a year before her death.

Here is the first set up at the shoot with Marilyn Monroe. I always loved this photograph of Douglas. It shows the spectacular and brilliant angle he used to photograph Marilyn Monroe.

Raquel Welch, 1969 © Douglas Kirkland

Douglas Kirkland spent a month touring with Judy Garland & created this iconic photo in 1961.

Douglas met Audrey Hepburn when she was nearly 40. This famous photo is a promotional still for her 1966 heist movie “How To Steal A Million” by Douglas Kirkland, Paris 1965

The exceptional lenticular cover design of the Douglas Kirkland “Michael Jackson: The Making of Thriller” book

I love what Douglas captured here as Michael is behind the scenes during the making of “Thriller

Michael Jackson behind the scenes during the making of “Thriller”

Douglas creates magic moments during the making of “Thriller”

Michael Jackson with make-up artist, Rick Baker.

Insert showing autograph from Douglas Kirkland on his “A Life In Pictures” book:

The inscription Douglas wrote on January 14, 2014 at Photo LA. Even his handwriting is poetic.

If you want to study one of the great masters of photography, this is a great book to do so. Douglas Kirkland’s 7 pound masterpiece: “A Life in Pictures”

Michael Jackson: The Making of “Thriller” 4 days/1983

Douglas Kirkland’s written words to me on his “Michael Jackson: The Making of Thriller 4 days/1983” book with inscription Douglas Kirkland wrote at his home in the Hollywood Hills – 19 June 2014

Love the unusual composition Kirkland choose to make the photograph of me.

Mr. Kirkland signing my copy of his incredible book.

Douglas Kirkland poses for me at Photo LA.


Michael Jackson – The King of Light and Love 10 Years Later

Billie Jean, Beat It, Thriller Dolls.

Entrance to Forest Lawn – Glendale.

Forest Lawn Glendale.

June 25, 2009.  I heard the news that Michael Jackson had died as I was driving from the San Fernando Valley to Downtown Los Angeles for work. I had been hired as a stunt person to work in a scene on Iron Man 2.  At that point, I had been a stunt woman for 25 years.  As I drove, I tried to make sense of what I had heard.  Michael Jackson dead? I had been a fan since I was ten years old and his music was the soundtrack to my life.

The scene in the film called for myself and two other stunt women to run away from the giant robots that were chasing the pedestrians.  The director yelled “Action!”  As we ran, one of the stuntmen landed squarely on top of me on the stairs.  The wind was knocked out of me immediately and it became hard for me to breathe. We set up for another take and I realized something was wrong.  I didn’t say anything to the stunt coordinator as we did another take but I would find out days later that I had broken ribs.

That injury began a journey of researching, writing, watching YouTube videos, reading books and finding out who the real Michael Jackson was, not the lies the media tried to force feed us on a steady diet.  I discovered what I had known since I was ten years old. Michael was a special soul with higher consciousness who was truly gifted with a beautiful heart. A heart that made him other centered, almost to a fault. Everyone loves their own children but Michael loved all children.  He loved children in a godly, innocent way and would eventually be crucified for it.

There is no place in American culture that allows for a grown man to have a home which he named Neverland Ranch.  A 2500 acre escape from the masses always pulling on him, literally and figuratively.  In a February 17, 1983 Rolling Stone Magazine interview he said it hurt being pulled on. “Being mobbed hurts. You feel like you’re spaghetti among thousands of hands. They’re just ripping you and pulling your hair. And you feel that any moment you’re gonna just break.” Some may choose to judge him because he preferred climbing trees to playing football, and the company of children to adults who always wanted something from him. He gave so much. All he wanted was to spread love and peace, especially to those who had very little.

Michael delighted in elementary things like riding roller coasters with children, water fights with over-sized squirt guns, and animals that loved unconditionally.  This simple love of life caused those with darkness and blackness in their hearts to judge him. For those who didn’t feel love in our sometimes loveless world, he showed us not to be scared to love. When you told him you loved him, he didn’t say, “love you” or “love ya”. He always said “I love you more.”

Flowers from MJJ Fan Club – Japan.

On the tenth anniversary of Michael’s passing, I am once again, like every year before, moved to tears by the outpouring of handmade cards, teddy bears, sunflowers, giant arrangements of flowers and fans I haven’t met and even more that I have, from all around the globe.

Aki Nao, Miyuki – from Japan.

Flowers from Russia.

Flowers from Denmark.

 

Flowers from Italy.

French & Belgian fans.

Flowers from Iran.

 

Spanish & English – Facts Don’t Lie – People Do.

Israel Banners.

Have You Seen My Childhood?

Flowers from China

Aki, Nao, Miyuki – Japan

Miyuki – with her handmade doll – Japan

Hand made quilt from Japan

Quilt insert

Quilt Insert – Yukiko

Map from fan -Japan

Angela – 19 year old who came with her cousin Ella, 5 years old. They both admire MJ. He is their biggest inspiration. He’s inspired Angela in so many ways from music, singing, arts to being a humanitarian and making a difference. Ella wishes to do the same in the future.

Ella reminded me of my cousin Vered when she was 5 years old. I gifted her with one of my MJ dolls. She loved it immediately.

Rieko Iwanaga spotted me and asked if I remembered her from 2016. Yes! I can never forget her smile!

Dan Lu, Luring Lei from China. Dan studies at USC – Global Communications. She shared with me she has wanted to make her own documentary on the truth about Michael for 10 years.

Dan Lu – from China.
“I have loved Michael since I was 10 years old.”

Fans from Russia.

These dolls from Japan were fabulous.

Siren and Brenda created this.

From Japan.

Blood on the Dance Floor

From Iran.

One Rose for Michael Jackson has 18,757 red and white long stem roses for him this year.  They blanket him, as he cared for others around the world with his humanitarian efforts.

Marcela Torres, Liz Johnson – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Catherine Van Tighem,  Robyn Starkland

Brenda Jenkyns from Canada, Lidia originally from Russia.

18,757 roses for Michael Jackson.

Forest Lawn Glendale in a blanket of roses for Michael Jackson.

What a treat to meet Liz Johnson, who flew from Buenos Aires, Argentina to pay her respects to Michael. She was here one other time in 2014.  We spoke about how Michael was loved around the world and yet I felt the United States judged him harshly and tried to imprison him even though both allegations were proven to be blackmail.  She told me “Nadie es propheta en su tierra.” “A prophet is never known/accepted in his hometown. “

We both agreed Michael’s death was a spiritual awakening which caused millions of people around the world to speak the same language, the language of love. I met Marty Theis who, with his beautiful smile said “We are here to change the world.” I also met Jordan, who grew up in China and now lives in New York. Jordan shared with me that she discovered Michael when she was three years old.  The first false allegations in 1993 made her decide to become a lawyer. “He died the day I graduated college. I was going to come and meet him.” she said.

Liz Johnson – Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Michael Jackson was the greatest entertainer this world has ever seen. The gathering at Forest Lawn shows that having a kind heart and caring about others, is never, ever out of style.In this selfie obsessed, look-at-me-culture, now, more than ever, Michael’s care for humanity was both a breath of fresh air and testament to his heart and it is why he will always be remembered.  This isn’t just fan worship, it’s people resonating with L.O.V.E and higher consciousness.  Michael was tuned into the suffering of others. Even in his death, his will stipulated that part of his earnings should go to charities for children.

Michael’s consciousness was elevated and that’s what we tuned into and made him loved, more than anything. Darkness falls across the land but the love Michael Jackson spread around the world is testament to the power of caring about someone else, being kind, generous, gracious, loving, heart centered, and never forgetting the endless possibilities of grace available to us as human beings. Michael lived his life as a masterpiece, bringing the world together as one.

Michael Jackson Bad board signed by fans.

I love this card from Patricia Alvarado A from La Paz, Bolivia.
Mi dulce morenito:
Se cumplen 10 años de tu partida al cielo…Pero siempre serás uno de mis ejemplos a seguir, Gracias por tu música maravillosa, tu dulce voz, tus piecitos mágicos y tu corazón de oro. I love you more!!

Another board signed with photo from the Bad era.

Card from Jan Carlson

Look at the stunning artwork created by Siren.

Card from Gee – Kent, England.

I set up my MJ Thriller doll next to this card from Myrna – from Mexico.

The creativity of Michael Jackson fans never fails to surprise me.

Card from Carol Hodges

Card from Robert L’ Hirondelle.

Card from Marjolein.

Look at this beautiful sketching from Elin Fogstad – Norway

The beauty of the words from Sissa Margarita – Mexico.

Card from Loli – España.

Card from Josee Grimard from Montreal, Canada.

Card from Isabelle Vicente from France.

Card from Helena One – Malaysia.

Card from Agnes Morbihan – France.

Here is Siren, whose artwork is soulful and beautiful. Siren, along with Brenda, are the two MJ fans that flew to Sundance this year to be in support of Michael.

From Fanny Chow – Hong Kong

One of the fans left this SuperBear and hand written note for Michael.

Grace from China.

This note from Aki made me tear up.

I’m keeping her name private. She moved me to tears.

I will end my blog with a Self Portrait w/Siren’s beautiful art. Siren creates from her heart and I have always loved her art, even before I knew who she was.


Lights, camera, fiction! Leaving Neverland Has Been Derailed

© hannah kozak

Michael Jackson’s 1982 Thriller Album

 

Lights, camera, fiction!

Leaving Neverland is anti-Michael Jackson programming at its zenith, a clearly fraudulent movie that is collapsing daily—even hourly as journalists, activists, and writers such as Keya Morgan, Mike Smallcomb, Charles Thomson, Kerry Ward, Raven Woods and John Ziegler fire more cannonballs and Reeds’ ship continues to sink.  We continue debunking everything from its major plot points to its minute details.

Leaving Neverland was never about what truly happened at Neverland Ranch or about alleged victims of sexual abuse. It was meant as a smear campaign against Michael Jackson. And as the movie’s credibility continues to fall apart, I’m left with so many questions… Like, why is the U.K. press covering director Dan Reed’s faux pas but the U.S. media is ignoring the whole ordeal? Why hasn’t Oprah, who publicly promoted the film, made a public statement about the lies that have since been uncovered since it opened? Who supported this movie? Who financed it?

Defending Michael Jackson doesn’t make you crazy and stating tabloid headlines doesn’t make you woke either. The story of Leaving Neverland is a painted upon, crazy canvas of lies, frauds, and players with an agenda. The movie itself is a plot to bring down the world’s greatest entertainer ever.

And you shouldn’t buy it—I would know.

I watched my mother be abused by her second husband for five years on weekends from the ages of nine to fourteen until she ended up in intensive care at UCLA with brain damage. She has spent thirty-nine years of her life in aging facilities. That’s a fact.

As someone who has a background with abuse, I resent the lies meant to pull on our hearts with the end goal of a financial payoff. I’m also a photojournalist. To document my father’s survival of eight Nazi forced labor camps during the Holocaust, I spent more than eight years on and off conducting research. Reed said he did three weeks of research for Leaving Neverland. I know it takes more time than that.

So, unlike the movie, let’s get some facts straight:

1) Wade Robson insisted Michael was trying to turn him against women in the movie. Meanwhile, Robson asked Michael to properly introduce him to Michael’s niece, Brandi, after they met on a commercial for Michael. Brandi and Wade had a relationship for more than seven years, during the time Michael was allegedly abusing him. This throws off the narrative, doesn’t it?

2) Wade never stayed behind in Neverland alone with Michael while his family went to the Grand Canyon. In her 1993 deposition and during the 2005 trial, Wade’s mother testified that the whole family, including Wade, went on that trip.

3) James Safechuck’s lawsuit against the Michael Jackson estate claimed abuse from 1988-1992. But the train station where Safechuck vividly described this daily abuse didn’t even exist during that time period. Dan Reed admitted days ago that Safechuck committed perjury because the train station only acquired permits for construction in 1993 before opening for use in 1994.

So Robson and Safechuck are not victims. They made up allegations to sue for hundreds of millions and lied repeatedly in court to try to get money. And it’s evident now that Reed has placed himself firmly in the driving seat of these allegations.

The deterioration of Michael Jackson’s reputation and well-being during the 2005 trials wasn’t enough for the media. The American federal judicial system found Michael Jackson innocent, but years later films like Leaving Neverland are still attacking him and spreading lies that he can no longer respond to because he is no longer with us.

Michael Jackson was a globally renowned black icon. He broke barriers between racism and religion and was a true humanitarian. As I wrote in January, try as some people might to put another nail in Michaels coffin, his dedicated fans and followers know the truth: Michael was a kindhearted man.

Michael Jackson was a fan of P.T. Barnum and believed he was put here to entertain and the show must go on. This movie is a three-ring circus and the show must not go on. This house of cards is falling down.

The Dalai Lama recently said: “We have to learn how to use our time properly. It’s important to make our lives meaningful. Bullying and cheating others may give a short-term return, but leaves a nagging sense of unease. Money doesn’t yield real satisfaction, whereas compassion does.”

I’m going with the Dalai Lama and the compassion that Michael Jackson showed us while he was on this planet. We need more compassionate hearts, not people getting on board a train of lies.

Michael Jackson had a soft heart in a cruel world. Like him, I will continue to stand up for what I believe in, as I have for the past ten years. Even if it’s not always popular, it is the only truth in my heart.


No More Nails in Michael Jackson’s coffin – He’s Already Dead.

 

When I think of Sundance, the first word that comes to mind is quality. After that, I think of Robert Redford, integrity, and honor. Integrity for his vision in creating the Sundance Institute to bring movies made with class and vision and honor for sticking with that vision. To hear that Sundance would be screening the “Leaving Neverland” documentary hit me like a punch in the stomach.

Did Sundance take any steps whatsoever to investigate the real criminals in the multiple Michael Jackson extortion attempts? In 1993 Evan Chandler, a dentist who wanted to be a full time screenwriter made an attempt to blackmail twenty million dollars from Michael. When his demands were not met, he was recorded saying, “Everything’s going according to a certain plan that isn’t just mine … and if I go through with this, I win big time. There’s no way I lose. I’ve checked this inside and out. I will get everything I want, and they will be destroyed forever. June will lose custody of Jordy and Michael’s career will be over.” He did not go to social services, which is where one would go if there was any thought of child molestation. No, Evan Chandler went to the “meanest son of a bitch” (his words) attorney he could find.

Is Sundance aware that Thomas Sneddon, District Attorney of Santa Barbara County, in California, falsified evidence in a court of law in his vendetta against Michael Jackson? Why Sneddon wasn’t imprisoned is the bigger question. Sneddon is best known for his witch hunt against Michael Jackson even though Jackson was acquitted of all charges because simply, there was no evidence, only lies.

I am an award-winning documentary photographer who has spent nine years on various photo essays covering topics such as my father’s survival in eight concentration camps during the holocaust and my mother’s life in an aging facility for thirty-seven years after her second husband’s abuse left her with brain damage.

Another project I have been working on is “Searching for Michael Jackson,” a book project for which I spent eight years researching who Michael Jackson really was, apart from the image the media fed us. During my research, I found that Michael Jackson had lawsuits brought against him almost weekly for financial gain. After reading the court transcripts it became clear that the Arvizo Family was trying to get their slice of pie from Jackson’s hard work by making up lies that were so preposterous that laughs could be heard in the courtroom in 2005.

Now, with the tenth anniversary of Michael’s death around the corner, the media has begun bashing the man who was a proven victim of blackmail and extortion. First there was greedy Evan Chandler, who committed suicide four months after Michael died. Next the “Me Too” ( I want Michael’s money) Arvizos, proven extortionists and the biggest player of all, the media who loved to smear his name from Diane Diamond to Martin Bashir.

When will the travesties against this man end? The media doesn’t reflect the facts and Sundance should. When it comes to Michael Jackson, it is about lies and profit and always has been. The Michael Jackson estate has issued a statement saying this film was “another rehash of dated and discredited allegations” and a “pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on” the singer.

Wade Robson applied for a job choreographing a Michael Jackson tribute show for Michael’s estate. And when he was not chosen, Robson filed fifty lawsuits, seeking money for abuse, even though he testified under oath, vehemently denying any abuse in a court of law in 2005 even going as far as saying it was silly to even suggest he was improperly touched by Michael. Wade’s actions since he accused Michael are simply not consistent with someone who was traumatized by him. There are videos where he was praising Michael. Wade Robson is bankrupt because his lawsuit was dropped due to a lack of evidence and he is seeking to get money because after all, why work if you can just sue the Michael Jackson estate? What is Robson’s motivation? In the immortal words of Michael Jackson, after the first allegations: “If you show me the cash then I will take it. If you tell me to cry then I will fake it. You do anything for money.”

I would look forward to and welcome Sundance to screen a legitimate documentary made about the lies by Evan Chandler, Thomas Sneddon planting fingerprints and falsifying evidence in a court of law, Harvey Weinstein peddling fake Michael Jackson stories to take the heat off his real sex abuse, the “Me Too” Arvizos and their false claims against JC Penney and all the other weekly, monthly, and yearly blackmails made against Michael Jackson, a victim of extortion attempts, who was humiliated over and over while the media crucified him. When are we going to see that documentary?

Bad move, Sundance film festival.

© hannah kozak

Hannah Kozak – Self Portrait with some of the books I’ve read on Michael Jackson over the course of eight years.


Michael Jackson’s Love continues 9 Years Later

© hannah kozak

Queenie – Hong Kong banner

© hannah kozak

One Rose for MJ

June 25, 2009 – I was a stuntwoman hired to work on Iron Man 2. As I drove on the 101 Freeway in the late afternoon, heading to the location in downtown Los Angeles, I couldn’t stop thinking about Michael and wrap my head around the fact that he was gone.  The news of his death had been announced only a few hours prior, and a part of me refused to believe it. When I met the stunt coordinator, I casually mentioned it, not wanting to seem like a fanatic.  Boy, how I would let go of that need years later.  The scene called for three stuntwomen to be running away from gigantic robots. One of the stuntmen landed on me and, as I would find out days later, broke a few of my ribs. I couldn’t breathe but I got up and did the shot again.  For some reason, getting hurt always made me go inside and ponder.

© hannah kozak

Angel of Light card “Smile” – Michael’s favorite song

After researching, writing, blogging and sharing my photos with Michael Jackson fans around the world for nine years, I grew to not care what people thought about my “obsession” with Michael. Actually, I began to believe that if you tell me what you think about Michael, I will tell you who you are.  Thus, began my search for the truth about who Michael Jackson was.

This year, like annual clockwork, the media has begun the totally baseless smear stories one month before the anniversary of Michael’s passing.  The medialoid  (mainstream media infected by tabloid journalism) loves to feed a constant diet of trash and lies about Michael. And his fans begin to defend him, as always, standing firmly for the truth and defending his legacy.  I look forward to the day when Michael’s volunteer work for children trends instead of the lies.  In the meantime, I continue my work on the anniversary of his passing to remind the world who he was, an innocent humanitarian.

© hannah kozak

King of Pop – from Romania

Why did the media begin a witch hunt against Michael as soon as he started breaking every musical record? First of all, Michael was the archetypal misunderstood artist, committed to his art and his creative vision even though he was being judged.

© hannah kozak

Banner from Queenie, Jessica and May – Hong Kong

Did you know that Michael Jackson was personally responsible for cutting the number of starving people on this planet in half back in the 1990’s? The media didn’t report that.

Michael Jackson was the personification of love.  What do we do with someone whose heart is that big?

Tall Poppy Syndrome is “a social phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are resented, attacked, cut down or criticized because their talents or achievements elevate them above or distinguish them from their peers.” That is what happened to Michael Jackson the moment he started to break every music record ever made. A simple walk through Twitter for example, will  show example after example of people who never even knew him or read anything valuable about him trashing him. Hence, my belief of “tell me what you think of Michael Jackson and I will tell you who you are”. Are you judgmental? Accepting of someone who did not fit in any of the neat little boxes that society loves to place on people? Do you see his giant, loving heart that gave to strangers and visited sick and dying children before and after his concerts? A man who would donate millions of dollars from touring to various children’s causes? Is that what you see?  Or do you believe the lies that the media feeds you?

A Jewish proverb says, Do not be wise in words, be wise in deeds.Michael Jackson was wise in deeds.  Other-centered does not even come close to describing his character.  Listed in the 2000 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records for “Most Charities Supported by a Pop Star”, he supported 39 charities and gave away $500 million in his lifetime.  Even in his death his earnings are still going to charity, as specified in his will.

© hannah kozak

Marcela – Argentina

As I walk around Forest Lawn Glendale, I focus on the love that I see for Michael Jackson and I feel my heart chakra stirring. I see handmade cards so intricate, delicate and beautiful that my heart is moved to tears. I have been in actual relationships and not had such cards made for me.

Here is Robyn Starkland who tirelessly organizes One Rose for Michael Jackson, year after year. This year, there are 8,047 roses purchased by fans around the globe. On June 26, the roses are donated to various charities around Los Angeles.

© hannah kozak

Robyn Starkland – Organizer of One Rose for Michael Jackson

I met Sarah, who flew 5 hours to Auckland and 12 hours to Los Angeles, from South Australia. This was her first visit to Forest Lawn. She said when Michael died “I was overwhelmed with tears and I didn’t know why. I had dreams where he smiled, picked me up and spun me around.

© hannah kozak

Sarah – South Australia

Every year I see artwork by an artist named Siren. This year I actually met and spoke to her. Siren is from Canada and did not start painting until years after Michael died. Her drawing began two years after Michael passed but she did not paint until 2014. She said “I credit Michael with all of it, all my creativity. That’s my connection to him, the relationship, my spirituality.”

© hannah kozak

Paintings by Siren from Canada.

Here are Rieko Ishii, Miyuki Amano, Yoko Abe and Yuki Otsuki, who came together from Japan. They brought this glorious angel winged, red rose tribute for Michael.

© hannah kozak

Left to right: Rieko Ishii, Miyuki Amano, Yoko Abe, Yuki Otsuki from Japan with their winged angel rose arrangement.

Here are Queenie Las, May Cheng and Jessica Kwok from Hong Kong. They layed out pictures for hours on Saturday but everything was gone on Sunday.

Yasuyo Kaneko was sitting with an umbrella and her 2 little MJ dolls, complete with miniature flowers. I found a framed photo I loved, which turned out to be hand made by her.

People like Yasuyo are why I come to Forest Lawn Glendale every years on the anniversary of MJ’s passing.

Yasuyo is kind, gentle, soft-spoke and other centered. She created a delicate wooden frame with MJ’s favorite flowers, and was part of the team that arranged the giant arrangement of red roses, and angel wings in gold.

© hannah kozak

i love the details of the miniature flowers on this hand made frame by Yasuyo Kaneko from Yokohama, Japan.

© hannah kozak

Yasuyo Kaneko – Yokohama, Japan

© hannah kozak

Queenie Lau, May Cheng, Jessica Kwok from Hong Kong.

 

Michael Jackson didn’t just love his own children: he loved all children.  Perhaps that’s why he was judged so harshly by people who did not know him.  In the end, it’s not just his music, dancing and videos that bring people from all corners of the world to Forest Lawn Glendale to deliver their sweet, homemade gifts. It’s because Michael Jackson was the personification of love and what we need now, more than ever, is love.

© hannah kozak

I love this delicate, hand made doll from one of the Japanese fans!

 © hannah kozak

Painting by Siren – Self Portrait

© hannah kozak

I love the simplicity of the hands in glitter.

© hannah kozak

Arrangement from fans in Iran.

© hannah kozak

Letter from fan in Iran

© hannah kozak

Banner from fans in Ireland

© hannah kozak

Letter from fan in China – page 2

© hannah kozak

Letter from fan in China

© hannah kozak

Messages of Love

© hannah kozak

Musical symbol arrangement

© hannah kozak

We Love You, Michael arrangement.

© hannah kozak

Emone Tsang from Hong Kong

@ hannah kozak

Miranda – Hong Kong

© hannah kozak

Hong Kong banner

© hannah kozak

Eliza and Pat

© hannah kozak

May Cheng – Hong Kong


The Love Continues for Michael Jackson 8 Years Later

The Love Continues for Michael Jackson 8 Years Later

 © hannah kozak

My three MJ dolls

© hannah kozak

Entrance to Forest Lawn – 24 June 2017

Why do I return to Forest Lawn year after year on the anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death? In a word, love.

Every year around June 25th, cards, letters, roses, flowers, gifts, balloons and sunflowers begin arriving at Forest Lawn Glendale and Neverland. I spend days meeting and talking to fans and creating photos of the love he continues to inspire. I show up because love is in my blood. It’s healing to be surrounded by these genuine expressions of love for Michael Jackson.

© hannah kozak

I have always loved Hitomi Osani’s art work from Japan. She puts so much love into each piece of art she creates.

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Hand made, detailed card from Vania in Italy.

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Inside caption detail.

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Card from Romania

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The creativity that Michael Jackson fans pour into their cards is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

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I love the simplicity of this card.

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Card from Mary K all the way from Greece.

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Envelope of card from 16 Japanese fans.

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I found this card to be so beautiful. 16 fans from Japan, who met each other because of their shared love of Michael Jackson. Heal the World he sang…..

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“It has passed for eight years. However, you are still brilliant. I love you, Michael, forever. From Japan, Noriko.

Japanese fans work on their Michael Jackson tribute quilts throughout the entire year. The details of the quilt and what the fans write on their tiny sections of the quilt are creative and loving. I have always had a feeling that Michael can see all of the genuine heart-felt offerings that are left in his honor.

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Quilt from Japan.

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Insert from Japanese quilt from Risa.

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Quilt insert from Japan.

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Quilt insert.

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Quilt insert from Mayuko

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Quilt insert from 9 Japanese fans.

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Sanae Himarwari

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MJ’s eyes and eyebrows are finely embroidered by Akko.

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Yuko Katsumata

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Ikuko Ozawa from Japan.

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Wonderful drawing of MJ by Rita.

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“I am proud to be your fan.”

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Another stunning artwork.

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Yai Kojima from Japan.

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backside of card – Yae Kojima – Japan

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Haruyo from Japan.

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Tiziana Schelling from Italy.

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Marisa’s lovely card.

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Chris from U.K.

I am particularly moved and proud to be a part of the ‘One Rose for Michael Jackson,’ organization spearheaded by Robyn Starkland. This year, 8,527 long stem roses are delivered for Michael. We unload the boxes in the hot sun and set them up. Tomorrow, on June 26, I will join Robyn’s team and show even more love by delivering the roses to various charities across Los Angeles.

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8,527 red, long stem roses line the way to Michael’s resting place.

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Robyn Starkland – Organizer of One Rose for Michael Jackson.

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The team that set up the roses from One Rose for Michael Jackson.

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The entire team!

After arranging the flowers, a woman carrying a handmade Michael Jackson doll catches my eye. I meet Miyuki Amano from Tokyo, Japan. The doll was intricate and well made. I have a fondness of MJ dolls, so I asked her how long it took her to make it. “It took me three weeks,” she answered. “One day I worked on it for six hours.” She told me she has loved Michael since the day she discovered The Jacksons in 1978. I thanked her, and without a moment’s hesitation she said, “I love you.”

That is a shining example of the power of Michael Jackson. He brings people from different cultures and continents together, who don’t even know each other, yet they have no problem expressing what can sometimes be hard for close friends to say to each other: “I love you.” The magnitude of such authentic kindness made me teary.

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Miyuki Amano – Tokyo, Japan

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Left to Right:
Naoko Sekomune
Miyuki Amano
Hitomi Miura

I saw my friend Fanny Fung from Hong Kong. We were happy to see each other. She said she saw my recent photos on Instagram. “I would like to give you a thumbs up,” she said. More tears.

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Hong Kong group
Left to right:
Miranda Yuen, Queenie Jackson, Fanny Fung,
Holy Leung, May Cheng
Jessica Kwok
Amy Chan

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Gorgeous art work from Hong Kong.

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Card from Cathay Cat Cat from Hong Kong

I liked the gentle nature of Jose Manuel and Sylvia Siles Rodriguez from Aran Valley, Spain. They are getting married at Forest Lawn on June 25, 2017.

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Jose Manuel and Sylvia Siles Rodriquez from Aran Valley, Spain.

I was taken by Raquel Jean-Joseph’s aura immediately. I asked her about her practice and she told me her mother told her to meditate and then it came to her in a dream, because she had severe anxiety, that she needed to meditate.

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Raquel Jean-Joseph was radiant in person.

And, here is Timmy Dolan, who is eleven years old. He said “I’ve been practicing Michael’s dances since I was eight. I discovered Michael by watching him on TV. I love his dance moves, he created a lot of dance moves.” When I asked him what he loved most about Michael he said “because he was kind.”

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Eleven year old Timmy Dolan.

Singer Leonard Cohen wrote that there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in. Michael’s light guided him throughout his life, through the good times and through the bad. He always gave credit to a higher power for his songs and ideas.

Michael was the soundtrack of my life. Driving in my 1979 white Volvo while listening to Off the Wall, and singing as loud as possible. Michael said he was here for a reason and that he loved being on stage because it made people happy. He felt it was his job. “As long as the people enjoy it, I’ll always be happy.”

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Flowers from fans in China.

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From fans in Japan.

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From Vicky in Japan.

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From Naoko in Japan.

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Sachiko, Takeshi Nakamura designed this arrangment for the 35th anniversary of Thriller.

He was a public figure from the time he could walk, talk and sing. He knew he was born to entertain and he never doubted his purpose. His commitment to his art was first and lifelong. Michael’s dedication to his craft and his discipline continue to inspire me. His message of heal the world, we are the world, and his messages of peace, love for nature, and love for each other have never been more important.

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“I will sing to achieve any purpose. I sing the only flower in the world! You look at me from heaven.
Love, Atsuko

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Dear Michael, I miss you so. I want to see you again.
Harumi Onuzuka from Japan.

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Quilt from fans in Ireland.

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The creativity is endless.

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Purple and white roses from France.

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Aunque los años pasen la herida sigue. Abierta siempre estarás en mi corazón.
Te quiero, Michael.
Carmina (Spain)
As the years go by, the wound continues. My heart is always open.
I love you, Michael.

Whenever anyone said, “I love you” whether it was family, friend or fan, Michael was famous for saying “I love you more.”

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Rest in peace.
Petra

Teddy Riley, producer of Michael’s Dangerous album and co writer of Blood on the Dance Floor and Ghosts said “I’ve never witnessed anything or anyone as powerful as Michael”.

Michael was a powerful, young boy from Gary, Indiana who loved the innocence of children and animals. He would cry not only when he saw starving children, but also if he missed seeing James Brown on television. He dreamt of being the greatest entertainer in the world, and he was. Michael lived for his music and died for it too. Now, the world has unrequited love for Michael.

From Michael Jackson fans all around the globe, to the mighty boy from Gary, Indiana:

“WE LOVE YOU MORE, MICHAEL.”

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I really got a thing for these MJ dolls!!!

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Self Portrait with Michael Jackson

The Love Continues for Michael Jackson 8 Years Later


The Magic of Michael Jackson’s Memorial in Munich, Germany

The Magic of Michael Jackson’s Memorial in Munich, Germany

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Michael Jackson memorial in Munich, Germany

One thing everyone should know about me is that I am a BIG fan of Michael Jackson. I’ve have been involved with the Michael Jackson community for more than eight years, and I had heard about the memorial dedicated to him in Munich years ago. I like to visit any Michael Jackson memorials and photograph them (with my MJ dolls, of course). On a recent journey to Germany, I made sure I gave myself time to do just that. I was going to be in Munich anyway for a photographic series I was doing on my father, who survived eight Nazi forced labor camps. After hearing about Michael’s memorial, I had to make it part of the trip.

I was heading to the hotel that Michael Jackson stayed at many times: Hotel Bayerischer Hof, which was just one turn and 20 minutes from my motel in the Old Town of Munich. I made a left on Promenadeplatz and the grand hotel with its blue awnings came into view.

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MJ doll in front of Hotel Bayerische Hof.

Michael stayed in suite 32 in 1997 for the History tour and a year later he returned to take his children Prince and Paris to Circus Krone. In 1999, he had a concert at the Olympic Station, “Michael Jackson and Friends” for the Nelson Mandela charity. Due to a technical problem with part of the set, the central section of ‘The Bridge Of No Return’ collapsed, forcing Michael to climb back on to the stage. Michael continued to perform as planned and was taken to the hospital – after collapsing backstage from the pain of the fall. Did I mention I like Michael jackson?

When I arrived at the hotel, I quickly found photos of Michael Jackson’s smiling face. I sat down on a bench adjacent to the monument and overheard two men speaking about Michael.

“Why did he like being with children” they asked one another.

“Do you want to know?” I answered. They were interested, and encouraged me to explain.

“Imagine everywhere you go in the world, from the time you are eight years old, everyone wants something from you: a hand-shake, a hug, a photo, a kiss, a job or for you to listen to their song. Michael was an innocent, soft-spoken, shy, humble man who loved children because they allowed him to be who he was: a child-like soul.” I said.

The men nodded their heads and understood why Michael connected with children. I’m happy I helped them understand why Michael connected with billions of souls across the globe. It is because he was a loving, gentle, humble and kind man.

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I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, no matter where I am in the world, I am never, ever alone. I’m always able to connect with people in another country about Michael.

I walked to Michael’s memorial each of the four nights I was in Munich. On the last afternoon, I had plans to meet my friend, Nena, whom I met four years ago at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park, where Michael is buried, on the anniversary of Michael’s birthday. Nena has been responsible for creating and running the memorial in Munich for the past eight years.

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Nena Akhtar –

Nena received permission from the mayor of the city and the Bavarian Government to put up photos of Michael on a city monument. Every morning before she goes to work at the two coffee shops she owns she goes to the memorial to add fresh flowers. People send donations for the flowers, candles, pictures and laminating the photos people leave in his honor. It’s a non-profit association to remember Michael Jackson. Fans write to Nena from all over the world and come from France, Italy, from Japan, China, American, Australia, Canada. And many fans from Germany also go to meet Nena and see the memorial.

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Alternate side of MJ Memorial

I was a Hollywood stuntwoman for twenty-five years, and though it might sound crazy, my life changed the day Michael Jackson died. I was working on Iron Man 2 at the time, and after MJ’s death, I endeavored to discover who Michael Jackson truly was. (Not what the media tried to force feed us.) Thus began my organic, eight-year ongoing series, Searching for Michael Jackson.

These photos are part of my journey to understand the man Michael Jackson was, and also functioned as an outlet for me to meet other MJ fans from around the world. My MJ dolls have been to Warsaw, Krakow, Prague, Budapest, and now Munich, and it’s been a fulfilling, but more importantly, fun, experience to photograph the dolls with Michael Jackson memorials.

My favorite photographs of my MJ doll and photos of Michael are the ones I made in the rain with water drops on my jacket sleeve. I love all the colors from the photographs of Michael on the monument along with the candles, flowers and the backdrop of the hotel.

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I have visited MJ memorials around the world including the one in Budapest, Hungary and I always find it comforting to visit a memorial dedicated to the King of Pop, clear across the Atlantic ocean, so far from my home in Los Angeles. As I travel alone, seeing all the love for Michael is a real comfort, and helps to soothe my soul.

The Magic of Michael Jackson’s Memorial in Munich, Germany


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