The auction later this month of Michael Jackson's memorabilia has been given a green light.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brett Klein denied a motion today by Jackson's lawyer to stop the auction scheduled for Apr 22-25.
Jackson signed a contract last summer with Julien's Auction House of Los Angeles to move everything out of his Neverland Ranch, make an inventory and catalogs for a total sale. A couple of months ago, Jackson -- perhaps realizing the enormity of what he'd done -- tried to renege.
Darren Julien, who made the arrangements with Jackson and his manager, Tohme R. Tohme told me this afternoon, "We acted honorably. We want to give Michael the best experience with this auction."
Neither Jackson nor Tohme attended the hearing. But Michael's dad Joseph Jackson did come to court. Observers heard him talking to Michael on his iPhone. Jackson handed the phone to Michael's attorney, to whom Michael was heard screaming.
"The judge found that Michael Jackson's position was totally without merit," said Julien's attorney Jerry Hawxhurst.
Included in the sale will be items such as the front gates to Neverland, art work by Macaulay Culkin, and a carousel horse given to Jackson by Elizabeth Taylor.
The sale, meantime, may impede the sale of Neverland to prospective owners who wanted the ranch with all its tchotchkes. Jackson's attorney says he will still try to get an injunction to stop the sale, although it's unlikely a second judge overrule the first.
Judge Klein did suggest in court that Michael simply settle with Julien's Auctions and pay them the expected profit on the items for auction and get them back. But so far Jackson's side hasn't come up with any kind of offer.
After all that spin about Madonna donating millions to save Malawian children, it turns out the State of California has her labeled as “delinquent.”
According to California’s Attorney General’s office, Madonna’s Ray of Light charity is ‘delinquent’ after years of being up to date. The filing indicates that Ray of Light Foundation was last renewed on June 23, 2008 and is set to have its license expire on May 14, 2009.
Even stranger: Ray of Light’s most recent Form 990 filed with the IRS has been wiped off the publicly-accessed Guide Star website for registered charities and foundations.
The filing, delivered in 2008 for 2007, which I reported in this column last December 30th. It showed that Madonna had given no money to Raising Malawi, the charity she started in 2006 with Michael Berg and other principals of the Kabbalah Center in Los Angeles.
However: Madonna did donate $2.6 million straight to the Kabbalah Center itself.
It’s rare that a foundation or charity removes a Form 990 link to Guide Star for any given year. GuideStar automatically posts every new filing as soon as they’re available.
All of this has something to do with this morning’s news that the Malawi court denied Madonna’s petition to adopt four year old Mercy James and take her out of the country.
Here’s a link to one document that may have influenced the court’s decision:
All hail the Malawi judge who was wise enough to put a stop to this nonsense. Madonna can no longer satisfy her ego by making Malawian children her souvenirs. She’ll have to take home t-shirts and woven baskets, just like everyone else.
And it’s not like Madonna isn’t a good mother. One look at teenage Lourdes and you can see she’s done a good job. Same for Rocco, her son with Guy Ritchie: he’s described by friends as a “great kid.” Of course, Lourdes and Rocco each have active fathers – Carlos Leon and Ritchie, respectively. Madonna’s adopted Malawi son, David Banda, lost Ritchie to divorce a year after meeting him. He’s also endured her reported affair with Yankee baseball player Alex Rodriguez and has since spent time with Madonna’s 21-year-old Brazilian boy toy, Jesus Luz.
It’s not that Madonna’s “stable” family has changed since she acquired little David. Some kind of disconnect has occurred in Madonna’s thinking when it comes to the country of Malawi and its orphans. Taking them home to America or Britain isn’t going to solve the problem of poverty.
Most of us have never been to Malawi, a country that Madonna has depicted as so poor that she must remove its children for their safety. She’s burnished this image so completely that yours truly was surprised to meet a group of Malawi businessmen on a flight in Zambia two years ago. These well-spoken gentlemen were on their way to a weekend retreat – just like businessmen all over the world.
I asked them, What about Madonna and her adoption of little David Banda?
The man sitting next to me said, “We wish she’d stop kidnapping our children.”
The fact is, as the linked document from the Malawi HRCC shows, Madonna could just as easily help Mercy and even David not by taking them home, but by writing checks to help them and all Malawi children on the spot.
Remember Piper Perabo? She was the star of a truly terrible movie called "Coyote Ugly" nine years ago. She was 24 years old and by the time the credits ran on that Jerry Bruckheimer beer bash about dancing on a bar, Piper Perabo was kind of finished.
Perabo — who lives in New York’s Lower East Side and comes from Tom’s River, New Jersey—has worked steadily over the years, but not in what you’d call quality projects. That is, until now. She made her theater — forget Broadway — debut last night in Neil LaBute’s "Reasons to Be Pretty." And to put it mildly, she’s sensational as Carly, a cop who starts out has hard hearted but winds up winning over the main character — who’s not her best friend — and the audience.
Perabo is one of many surprises in "Reasons to Be Pretty." That’s because so far, Neil LaBute’s work has been pretty psycho, and has always left you feeling a little sick. He’s the king of misogyny for one thing, and the results are never happy. Think of Aaron Eckhart’s twisted guy in "In the Company of Men" or Jason Patric in "Your Friends and Neighbors."
In "Reasons to Be Pretty," it almost looks like it’s going that way, too. Stephen Pasquale’s Kent is that character, the disrespecting woman-hater who usually wins in LaBute’s world. But he’s balanced by Greg, played by the amazing Thomas Sadoski. Greg has inadvertently destroyed his relationship with Steph (Marin Ireland) by labeling her "regular" looking and not pretty or beautiful. It’s an overheard description, repeated to Steph, but it’s Greg’s instant undoing.
At first this seems like a thin premise for a play about two couples. But in the expert hands of director Terry Kinney, "Reasons" peels back layers like an onion. It’s funny and sad, and very moving as Greg and Steph come to realizations that will affect the other couple. None of these actors — with the possible exception of Perabo — has any name recognition, so bringing them to Broadway was a risk. But it works, and this foursome is just as riveting as the star group in "God of Carnage." You don’t want to miss them.
The cast had plenty of support in the audience last night—in fact, there was applause between scene changes from fellow actors like Edie Falco, Bobby Cannavale, Frank Whaley, Amber Tamblyn, Gretchen Mol, Mol’s husband, director Tod Williams ("Door in the Floor"), plus Rory Culkin and Kieran Culkin, Jackie Hoffman, Idina Menzel and Taye Diggs and so on. Tovah Feldshuh even came over after finishing her performance in "Irena’s Vow" to congratulate the cast.
Piper Perabo — a beautiful blonde, by the way — is over the moon. She’s resurrected her career. How did she get the part? There’s a simple answer: "I auditioned for it." It’s really the first time she’d ever been on a stage. She will be nominated for Supporting or Featured Actress in a Play for the Tonys. I predict all four of these actors have surprised everyone on Broadway this morning. Isn’t that nice?
Macaulay Culkin has pretty much put his acting career on hiatus — even after a Broadway play and a couple of edgy movies brought him out of retirement five or six years ago. Luckily, he’s well-invested after wrestling $17 million in savings from his father’s grasp. Anyway, watch the confusing new "Kings" drama on NBC in the next couple of weeks. Macaulay, now 28, comes out of retirement to plays a prince in actor Ian McShane’s court … And look for Rory, who’s 19 and raring to go with his acting career, in a new movie with Alec Baldwin called "LymeLife."
…Bono is in New York as U2 works on the "Spider Man" Musical set for 2010 with director Julie Taymor. U2’s big tour doesn’t start until the end of the summer, but maybe they should rethink that. Their new album, "No Line on the Horizon," is not having an easy time. It’s only sold 656, 213 copies in its three weeks of release. And during the first week, hundreds of thousands of the downloads were priced at $3.99. That’s like, free. I guess the group’s very astute manager, Paul McGuiness, realizes CDs have become loss leaders to pricey tour tickets. U2 will definitely sell out all its shows, so why not make the album just another souvenir? It’s as good a game plan as anyone else has tried…
…The trailer for Sacha Baron Cohen’s "Bruno" has debuted, and it’s a riot. From the looks of it, "Bruno" will be as big or bigger than "Borat," and that’s saying something. I’m amazed that Cohen and his crews were able to fool more people into doing silly things after "Borat" was revealed, but he apparently did it – in a big way. Circle July 10th. Everything Universal has lost on "Duplicity" will come back in multiplicity for them with this one…