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Michael Jackson would have celebrated his 53rd birthday today (August, 29).

The late singer had several San Diego connections, aside from performing and recording with once-local bassist Nathan East.

Image The official Michael Jackson Moonwalker 3D comic book, based on a long-form 1988 video, was published by Blackthorne Publications, then based near Grossmont College on Blackthorne Drive. Released in 1989, six years after the breakthrough of Thriller, and falling between Jackson’s 1987 Bad album and the 1993 child-molestation scandal, the Moonwalker comic was a flop.

“We got involved with a distributor to the gift-store industry who promised all kinds of access-to-sales outlets, but unfortunately they never came through,” publisher Steve Schanes told the Reader in 2003.

Revolutionary Comics publisher Todd Loren has said that Schanes told him the Moonwalker comic incurred a loss of at least $50,000. Loren published the UNofficial Jackson bio comic in 1991 as an issue of Rock 'N' Roll Comics, under the banner of Hillcrest-based Revolutionary Comics, before he was murdered around a year later (the case remains unsolved).

Written by yours truly, the Rock 'N' Roll Comics wraparound cover art was by future comic book superstar Stuart Immonen (Superman, Legion of Superheroes), one of his first professional art assignments.

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In August 2005, rumors of Michael Jackson sightings at Carlsbad’s Chopra Center for Well Being proved true. “After the verdict clearing him of child molestation charges,” said Deepak Chopra at the time, “Michael and his children spent a week with me in San Diego... Michael is eccentric, but I know he’s not guilty of a criminal offence. Let’s not forget that Michael is an independent person. He confuses people. He’s sexually, racially, and culturally ambiguous.”

Clairemont High grad Jennifer Batten lived in San Diego between 1969 to 1984, and from there did three world tours playing guitar with Jackson. She performed for around 1.5 billion TV viewers in 80 countries when she appeared with Jackson in a Super Bowl performance.

Image Marlon Jackson and his wife have lived in and around Escondido since 1997, on Valley Center Drive, Torrey View Court, Ocean Air Drive, and in a residential hotel on West Harbor Drive in Del Mar. Some media reports have indicated he worked for a time at an Escondido Vons supermarket.

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A scene for Disneyland’s 3D movie Captain EO was filmed near where the late Dick Shawn was staying in Encinitas at the time. Cast as Eo’s boss, but unable to travel to the soundstage where director Francis Ford Coppola was shooting, the scene with Shawn near the beginning of the short only shows him as a transparent hologram.

Image Finally, local MJ impersonator Dev’s profile on the Gig Salad website reads “Dev was Michael Jackson’s dance double on E! TV’s True Hollywood stories…Now, with passing of the greatest performer of all time, Dev brings Michael back to life.” Her performance fees run from $500 to $2,000.

Upcoming, the Michael Jackson Immortal World Tour by Cirque Du Soleil (an official partnership between Cirque Du Soleil and the Estate of Michael Jackson) begins in October, and is scheduled to hit San Diego on January 21 and 22 (venue TBA).

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According to the press release, "This once-in-lifetime electrifying production will combine Michael Jackson’s music and chorography [sp] with Cirque Du Soleil creativity to give fans a unique view into the spirit, passion and heart of the artistic genius who forever transformed global pop culture."

Involved in the production are:

Writer/Director Jamie King (Madonna’s creative director of 12 years, Britney, Mariah, Rihanna, Celine Dion)

Musical Director Greg Phillinganes (worked with MJ 25+ years, as well as Quincy Jones, Alicia Keys, User, Mary J)

Musical Designer Kevin Antunes (Madonna, Janet Jackson, Timbaland, Britney Spears, Aerosmith)

Costume Designer Zaldy Goco (head designer for Michael Jackson’s This Is It Tour and Lady GaGa’s Monster Ball Tour, collaborated on L.A.M.B. w/Gwen Stefani for four years)

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