Bill Branca, Michael Jackson, David Goldman, John Branca
Cirque du Soleil with Michael Jackson
“So back in the mid 90’s, I had the pleasure of hanging out with Michael Jackson at the recording studio. Teddy Riley was producing a track on Michael’s album; I knew Teddy through my client Martin Lawrence and Teddy’s manager Harvey Elkin invited me to the studio for a recording session. I walked in and there was Michael Jackson standing in the corner, Harvey took me to Michael and introduced me, however, I reminded Michael that we met a few years earlier at my brothers wedding in Beverly Hills, Ca. Yes, he then remembered me and invited me to have dinner with them at the studio. Michael was also very impressed that I was John Branca’s brother. Michael was very fond of my brother and my brother was Michaels Attorney for the better part of the 80’s and represented Michael through the height of his career. Michael was then very curious on what I did, and I told him I was a Talent Agent and represented young comedians. Michael was fascinated, and when I told him I represented Martin Lawrence, Chris Rock, Tommy Davidson, Russell Simmons Def Comedy Jam, he was blown away. He was a very big fan of Tommy Davison, he remembered Tommy from In Living Color, and Tommy would do a parody of Michael Jackson on the Television Show, I remember Michael saying he enjoyed watching Tommy Davidson imitating himself, Michael, took it very well, and was quite amused. Michael even asked me if I could take him to the Comedy Store on Sunset blvd, so he can see Tommy Davidson live and meet him. I told Michael that I would set it up and we can sneak him in through the kitchen a make a night of it. Michael went on and asked me many questions about my life, my family, my childhood, my family.Michael was very interested in my life, and my routine, my career. I was taken back somewhat, here I am having dinner with this ICON, this person who is larger then life, and he was so very interested in my life, my career, and my childhood, and my family.
After our dinner, Michael asked if I would like to watch a movie with him, of course I would what did you have on VHS, Michael said he loved the movie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I told Michael I never saw it and I would love to watch it with him. So Harvey Elkin, put the video into the VHS player and we watched the entire movie. Teddy had left to go back into the studio to listen to the sound tracks, Harvey was cleaning up the table after dinner and Michael Jackson and I sat in front of the TV and enjoyed the movie. After the movie, it was after midnight, I felt that I should be going. I said goodbye to Michael and thanked him for his hospitality. Michael made it a point for me to tell my brother to call him; he had not spoken to him in a wile and had some new business to discuss with him. The next day I called my brother, John and shared with him the very surreal evening I had the night before with Michael Jackson…
My brother ended up calling Michael a few days later, and sure enough they reconnected on some new projects. Michael then, called my brother a few weeks later, invited him to Cirque du Soleil, and asked my brother to invite me to join them. I could invite a friend to come along, so I really did not have a girl in my life worthy enough to take, so I invited my best friend and business partner, Worthy Patterson. It was quite a trip! We met Michael in his condominium in West wood. My brother went inside to get Michael and Worthy and I waited in the car, I was thinking that Michael would ride with us to Santa Monica. My brother came outside alone and told me that Michael was getting his car, and that my brother was going to drive with Michael, and we would follow. My brother then gave me the keys to this Cornice Rolls Royce and I followed Michael Jackson, who by the way was driving a tricked out customized Van. I remember following Michael down Wilshire Blvd to Santa Monica, Ca. Let me say this, it was a hell of a ride keeping up with Michael, That boy can drive, unfortunately not very well. However, I was very impressed; it was just Michael Jackson and my brother in the Van, no security detail, with me and Worthy “trying” to follow them. And keep up…
I distinctly, remember pulling up back stage at Cirque du Soleil, and there was security detail waiting for Michael, they waved him through and stopped me in the Cornice Rolls Royce. Michael stopped the van and very quickly told the security “they are with me let them in” and to let us through. We parked next to Michael, an army of security escorted us into the show, Michael put on some sort of mask with a wig to cover his face, he then removed it when we were seated. They had the first row sectioned off, reserved for us. It was Michael, my brother, Worthy Patterson and me. Michael removed the costume, as soon as we sat down, it was dark and the show just started… I was expecting others to join us; however, no one did! It was just us. After the show, I remember, Michael was recognized, and many fans coming up front asking him to sign autographs, he graciously signed every autographic from his fans, and we were then escorted and given a behind the scenes tour of the performers tent. It started to get a bit crazy, with the fans and everything, and we knew it was time for us to go. Michael had put some sort of disguise on and the security hid him as he got back into the van with my brother, the windows were darkened and the van drove out first. Nobody suspected Michael was in the van, however, everybody thought Michael was in the Rolls Royce, and we had some trouble exiting the parking lot. Michael was well ahead of us however, he pulled over to the side and waited for us to catch up and we followed him back to his Condo in Westwood, Ca. I remember, he drove straight into the underground parking and I waited outside for my brother to come out.
Unfortunately, I did not have a chance to say goodbye to Michael, however my brother told me that Michael enjoyed our company and thank us for joining him.I feel sad because I lost touch with Michael Jackson and was not able to invite him to The Comedy Store to meet Tommy Davidson. My other client Martin Lawrence started his “You So Crazy” tour just after that and I produced the Tour. Moreover, I was on the road with Martin Lawrence for the majority of 18 months. That was the last time I saw Michael Jackson at the Cirque du Soleil, in Santa Monica, Ca in the mid 90’s. I will always remember that Saturday afternoon.”