strange days

June 27, 2009 |  Category:   life nyc


This was the sky around 8:45pm tonight. The strangest, brightest sky I’ve seen over NYC in a long time. It started off this eerie golden color, then shifted to orange, then pink and purple. Apparently there were really weird bumpy clouds too, but they must have been localized over Manhattan because I didn’t see it, but heard reports of people all over the city stopping, gawking at the sky and snapping up photos and uploading them all over the internet like mad.

Yesterday was a strange day, yes? But the manner in which events unfolded was fascinating. If you were on your computer yesterday afternoon around 2ish, then you know what I’m talking about. Like many of you, I learned about Michael Jackson being hospitalized on twitter when all the social networks were ablaze with chatter on rumors that he had already died. Like we were all trying to figure out what happened together. I had a big lump in my throat and started crying when it was confirmed. I don’t remember feeling that way with any other celebrity, not even when Kurt Cobain died and I clearly remember where I was, in the recording studio at school working on a session with my class when one of our classmates came in and broke the news. This was at Evergreen in Washington, a school that Kurt used to hang around, so it was especially sobering news since it was so close to home. John F. Kennedy Jr? Jeff Buckley? Elliot Smith? Sad! And I still lament over the loss that is Jeff Buckley, so it surprised me that I felt so overwhelmingly heartbroken when I heard about Michael, considering I hadn’t really thought about him too much in recent years. But who doesn’t have some kind of connection to Michael Jackson? I grew up on repeats of the Jackson 5 cartoons and religiously watched their variety show in the 70s. They were my first real band crush. Even my parents felt compelled to buy the Thriller album on vinyl because it’s just what everyone did when it came out regardless of whether or not you were a fan, and so the record sat there filed among the classical and Korean records, the one lonely American pop album in the collection. Like most people of my generation, he was a huge part of my childhood. I guess this is why I’ve been mostly watching the older stuff with the Jackson 5 and the Off the Wall days on YouTube and showing it to the kids. There’s something about watching 10 year old Michael sing and dance before the crazy fame, the accusations, the character assassination by the media, that is particularly sad.

And one more thing? What is up with people trying to make those of us mourning his death feel bad? Yes, we know that he’s been monopolizing the news when there are people being killed every day and extraordinary things are happening in Iran, but what, we can’t acknowledge his life and death?

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  • Niki June 27, 2009 at 2:13 am

    First off, great blog entry.

    I agree, I do not understand the people who are chastising us for caring that Michael died. He wasn’t deathly sick(to our knowledge) and passed oh so suddenly…not to mention that the man was a freaking ICON. I don’t share the same experiences as most, when it comes to my memories related to Michael and his music. I moved to the US almost 11 years ago, when I was in fact 11 years old, but was exposed to his infectious music since I was a small child. I can recall going to my best friend’s house and choreographing dance moves to as many songs we could get our hands on. We did karaoke too, we learned the words back then and I still remember them now. Those are only two out of a sea of memories I have in relation to Michael. Will always be thankful to him for sharing his immense talent with us, with the world…he will be so very greatly missed. I believe the media has gone overboard with the coverage of his death, it’s manic especially for those of us who live in Los Angeles. I refuse to watch the news on television, if need be I can read any of the crucial information online. Michael’s brought the world so much joy through his music, being a pioneer in so many ways, and a philanthropist. Can’t we put aside the mostly baseless allegations of child molestation one day to honor the man? I don’t think it’s so hard. I wish all the negative Nellies out would just shut up for a minute and recognize that MJ was human like the rest of us, he led a tragic and lonely life…he was someone’s Dad, someone’s friend…someone’s child. I know that all the important events that are going on around the world have been put on the back-burner but just because some of us want to acknowledge the passing of a cultural icon, it doesn’t mean that we don’t care about issues that matter.

    About Jeff Buckley, I too lament his untimely passing…even though I was far too young at the time to even know who he was. Who knows what more might have been? I consider myself an enormous fan of his work, he is one of two of my absolute favorite musicians/singers of all time. He, like Michael, had a tremendous gift for which I am thankful they got the opportunity to have their beautiful voices heard.

    Again, kudos on the post. What a beautiful sunset you captured…

  • Brenda June 27, 2009 at 3:55 am

    As people at work today were all talking about their first LP purchase (Thriller) and Michael Jackson’s videos back in the day, etc., I thought, “Wow, this is kind of like Elvis.” Even though Elvis really lost himself at the end, he changed the face of American pop. Michael J also changed the face of American Pop. Love him or hate him or care less about him, he had a huge influence on American pop culture and music. Even though I’m by no means an MJ fan, I still count Off The Wall as one of my top 10 albums of all time – it was his best work! It is weird, though, isn’t it? What a tragic life – it’s just heart breaking. (2am comments … too long! 🙂 )

  • bronwyn June 27, 2009 at 8:40 am

    The whole thing is totally surreal. My best friend said that she felt like a piece of her childhood died. I agree. The weird thing is that I can totally understand why he became the he did. His childhood, the crazy fame and pressure that comes with it, never ending money. None of his life was based in reality. I think a lot of super famous celebrities have this problem and are just better at concealing it. I once saw Barbara Streisand say that some flowers in her window box magically changed from orange to pink to match her decor because she “willed it so”. I’m sure her publicist had a talk with her after that. I’m rambling, but my point is that I’m sure I’d be pretty weird if I had Michael’s life. It’s really tragic.

  • rifferaff June 27, 2009 at 9:30 am

    it’s funny to hear what era of michael’s music people have been drawn since his death. for you it’s his early stuff. for me, i’ve actually been watching videos of his later stuff, “remember the time,” “scream,” these are certainly not the best songs of his career, but these are the songs i remember watching at home on mtv when i was in middle school and high school. i prefer his earlier stuff musically but when i think about the connection i had to his music, that’s the era i identify with.

  • Sheila June 27, 2009 at 10:36 am

    I completely agree with your last paragraph! I had a friend post a comment on Facebook that we needed to “keep things in perspective” and included a link about Iran. I was a bit peeved because it had only been less than a day since MJ’s death. Even though we never knew him, so many people have a personal and nostalgic connection to him and need a little time to mourn. He was part of our childhood and a legend has died. Geez!

  • Lecia/A Day that is Dessert June 27, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Great reflections. For me, it’s been about mourning the loss of an important part of my childhood. I too haven’t thought about him in years. I think, for many people, music creates such a personal connection that it is more important for them than Iran, which is important but doesn’t necessarily feel personal.

  • Nina June 27, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    And a certain question keeps popping in my mind over and over again… What if he genuinely loved the children and everyone else was just perverted? And he suffered and lived a life that he wasn’t really deserving of? The benefit of the doubt sometimes comes too late.
    If he was really innocent, I wonder what his perpetrators must feel right now or would feel for the rest of their lives.
    Something tells me Michael Jackson was so fragile, so gentle and too good for this cruel world.

  • manya June 28, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    I was shocked when I heard the news about M. Jackson, but I felt very sad when I heard of Farrah Fawcett’s death. I wish there was internet back in 1977 when Elvis died, because I was in Europe and the news arrived a day later.

  • Kitty June 28, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    I am sad that Michael has died.
    I don’t celeb worship either but he was definitely a great talent.

    (hmm his death seems to have overshadowed Farrah’s a bit. Over here online newspapers had wide banners/sections on Michael but only a tiny little image link for Farrah)

  • janine roll June 28, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    I have been so sad about Farrah, she fought so hard and was so young.

  • Tumus June 29, 2009 at 9:35 am

    This will seem out of place, but those “bumpy” clouds you are referring to are Mammatus clouds. It’s typically indicative to tornadoes or powerful thunderstorms in the area. These should be taken as a warning sign of bad weather so keep an eye out and your ears open if you see these guys again!
    We see these alot in the midwest in tornadic supercells.

    Kind of ominous if you think about when you saw these clouds and learned about MJ’s death. It’s sad and really untimely. It was just a rough week for Hollywood all around.

  • Jennifer August 3, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Interesting. I went to “Mountian View” in Washington:)