Friday, September 4, 2009

This week's LVW col: What's I Just Do That For?

Here's this week's LVW column, going inside the mindset of why I did the MJ concert. -sf

What'd I Just Do That For?
My wild, wacky, journalistically complicated Michael Jackson benefit journey


It all started on a sedate evening in Newport, Rhode Island. That’s where I was when Michael Jackson died, traveling for a family wedding. Jeff Gillan of Las Vegas One called asking me to join him to discuss MJ’s Vegas ties, and I suggested, as I was unavailable, that he corral Erich Bergen, a known Jackson devotee and a star of Jersey Boys at the Palazzo. Gillan did.

From that, the Las Vegas Sun let Erich write an essay about how the King of Pop had influenced him, and then he tweeted something vague about wanting to do a tribute show. Norm Clarke reported it as a concrete plan, and I called Erich to find out more.

But there really wasn’t any more. He had an extremely ambitious idea and an aim—to raise money for public-school music-education programs—but he knew not exactly how to go about it. As we discussed it (we’d become friends since my column about him this spring), he asked me to help him. I did not hesitate. I was suddenly co-producer of a benefit that, at that point, we thought would maybe fill the Liberace Museum showroom.

Whoa! Aren’t I a journalist? Aren’t I duty-bound to stay out of the news, not to make it, to observe and analyze, not to participate?

Read the REST at LasVegasWeekly.Com.