Michael Jackson may be cold in the music world, but someone thinks he’s hot in the book biz.
Listed on Amazon.com right now is a new book called "My World: The Official Photobook, Vol.1."
There’s no publisher listed yet, but sources say that the authorized work is registered to the German company owned by Jackson’s former associate Dieter Wiesner.
Wiesner, you may recall, was one of the five unnamed conspirators in Jackson’s child molestation case last year. He wasn’t indicted, but Wiesner and his partner Ronald Konitzer were known as “the Germans” when they managed Jackson from 2001 to 2003.
They are considered to be the ones who bungled the handling of the Jackson-Martin Bashir documentary, and consequently the Arvizo family.
Shortly after Jackson was arrested in November 2003, Wiesner and Konitzer got the boot from Jackson’s affairs. But now I’m told that Jackson’s early February visit to Hamburg — the one where he stayed with the Schleiter family — was also to work with Wiesner on putting together “My World.”
The book contains photographs, poems and drawings. Supposedly, it will also carry the lyrics to a song Jackson told his fan clubs he was writing for them during the trial. It’s called “You Are So Beautiful,” not to be confused with the famous song of the same name written by Billy Preston and recorded by Joe Cocker.
Wiesner has frequently been described by Jackson and other witnesses in his various cases as trying to come up with business ventures for the pop singer. This book, which would be a souvenir on which Jackson’s fans could waste their money, would fit into that category.
With Jackson in financial distress, and cash poor, Wiesner was likely able to convince him to go ahead with this project.
According to sources, “My World” will go on sale around the world on April 17. Of course, we’ll take this with more than a grain of salt and down it with some Jesus Juice. But a purported copy of the book’s front and back covers were forwarded to me (see photo box).
Also, check out the photograph a fan took in Bahrain back on March 9 of Jackson with model Tyson Beckford. Even Sammy Davis Jr. didn’t have such glassy eyes. Jackson was probably suffering from jet lag.
Yes, that was Bette Midler, who’s so very tiny, sneaking into the New Victory Theater last night with husband Martin von Hasselberg (their 19-year-old daughter is away at college, so they’re free to enjoy this type of evening).
They’d come to see rock star/actor Sting and his glamorous wife/actress/producer/activist Trudie Styler in a one-off performance of “Twin Spirits.”
British director John Caird fashioned this evening with Sting and Trudie reading letters of Robert and Clara Schumann while a narrator — last night, Jonathan Pryce — guides the audience and a group of musicians plays Schumann’s music. Last night’s show was to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
In June, Trudie and Sting will recreate the evening to benefit more causes in a performance at Windsor Castle. Ian McKellen will take over from Pryce. Many royals will be in attendance, but no Bette Midler. She’s our kind of benign ruler.
In case you don’t know, Robert Schumann was a very famous classical German composer who was born in 1810. He and his wife, Clara, a famous pianist, had a tempestuous, sensational marriage that ended abruptly when Schumann died at age 40 in 1856 — probably of syphilis.
He was already mad as a hatter, having tried to kill himself by jumping in the Rhine. Clara had a relationship with Johannes Brahms (you know him, he wrote the Lullaby) that has never been quite explained.
The whole of “Twin Souls” was an unexpectedly moving and well-produced piece. I’m sorry no one filmed it; it would be perfect for PBS. Sting and Trudie were sort of like the hip version of Robert Wagner and Jill St. John, who often perform the less sophisticated “Love Letters” around the country.
The old adage is that couples either have chemistry on or off stage, but never both. Trudie and Sting are the exception to the rule.
They caused quite a nice buzz in character, Trudie especially embodying Clara Schumann’s grace as she must come to understand her husband’s madness. She imbued the part with disarming elegance. Sting played off her with a combination of growing distance and a kind of sadness as Schumann realizes his days are numbered.
The music was provided by a group of classical singers and musicians that featured Joshua Bell on violin, Jeremy Denk and Natasha Paremski on dueling pianos and Alisa Weilerstein on cello.
Caird didn’t have much time to prepare, but his lighting and staging made for a very enticing tableau. Again, it would be a shame if they all didn’t reconvene one more time and commit this unusual project to tape or film.
After the show, I did manage to coax away the binder from which Sting read Schumann’s letters as developed by Caird. And what did I find? All through the script, Sting had corrected the misspellings in the text. He actually scrawled the word “spelling” several times as an admonishment. Once an English teacher, you know, always an English teacher.
The Beatles vs. Apple Computers finally goes to court tomorrow in London. This is over the Apple trademark — Steve Jobs agreed in a 1991 settlement with Apple Records never to have a music company.
The explanations for iPod, iTunes, etc., should be wild…
Jay McInerney once had the world on a string with the original paperback novel, “Bright Lights, Big City.” But that was more than 22 years ago.
McInerney got a lot of ink — and presumably a nice advance — for his latest, “The Good Life.” Alas, Bookscan reports the tepidly reviewed novel has sold just 15,000 copies. Publisher Alfred A. Knopf can’t be too happy with all that fiction ready to be pulped. Get the remainder tables ready. Luckily, McInerney has his wine column to fall back on…
Isaac Hayes’ Scientology spokeswoman disputes that he had a stroke in January, and did not quit "South Park" of his own volition. Nevertheless, Hayes has still not been seen since the "South Park" cause celebre dusted up. Show us Isaac, folks, and then we’ll believe you. I’m told a fellow superstar and old friend was not happy with his condition when she finally got through to Hayes the other day…
Chicago, the best new group of 1969, has released its 30th studio album. I have no idea if it’s any good, but I like the fact that it’s an original release on Rhino Records. The label is smart to produce new work by heritage artists, especially those who have catalogs with Rhino…
The truly legendary Sarah Caldwell died last Thursday at age 82. She was the first woman to conduct the orchestra at the Metropolitan Opera, and the second to lead the New York Philharmonic.
When she came to Symphony Hall in 1976 to conduct the Boston Symphony Orchestra — where I worked — I watched her in rehearsals from the wings. She was so obese they gave her two stools to sit on. But her enormity was all about her talent.
For several years, Caldwell also ran the Boston Opera Company, putting that city on the classical music map for more than just the Pops and Seiji Ozawa …