Michael Jackson and Peter Staley, 1998

It’s definitely the worst picture of me ever taken, but how could I not post it?  Can’t a blogger try to ride a media frenzy?  I would have posted it sooner, but it took me a while to find.

In 1998, I had a short chat with Michael Jackson, and the proof is above.  We were both at a small amfAR benefit in LA to honor Dr. Arnold Klein, Jackson’s dermatologist (and possibly one of his drug suppliers, or the biological father of some Jackson children?).  I had never heard about Klein until this night, but apparently amfAR was founded in his LA home, and his website claims he’s raised “over $300 million for HIV research and care.”

But this isn’t about Klein -- it’s about Michael and me.  He came with his wife at the time, Debbie Rowe, but for an awkward moment, I saw him standing alone during the cocktail reception.  So I walked up and introduced myself.  I thanked him for his AIDS charity work, and told him I was amfAR’s token HIV positive board member.  He was painfully shy.  I asked him what he was up to these days, and to be honest, I don’t really remember his reply -- something about a casino project I think.

A few seconds later, the amfAR photographer asked for our shot, and my best buddy Michael put his arm around me, with his un-white-gloved hand on my shoulder, and smiled.

Addendum:  I just Googled “michael jackson casino,” and it turns out my memory was pretty good -- he was planning to open one.