Over the last year of his life, Michael Jackson spent the time living in Los Angeles, and as documented, rehearsing for his final "This Is It" Tour. Bryan has always been a huge fan and supporter of Michael and always knew how influential and important Michael's music, dancing and career have been. So, when Bryan would learn of Jackson being around Los Angeles, Bryan would somehow find out where he was or where he was going to be and Bryan was consistently on hand to have Michael sign various items and take pictures with Michael.
Bryan had first met Michael Jackson in Harlem, New York as Michael was there to speak out at a demonstration against Tommy Mottola and Sony Records. The press conference was held at Al Sharpton's Harlem office. Bryan, knowing security and fans would be rabid, planned to sneak into the building before Michael Jackson arrived, in hopes of planting himself somewhere inside in order to at least have some access to Michael.
In recalling the story, Bryan mentions that he found what looked like a private holding room that seemed like Al Sharpton's private office in his building. Bryan decided to actually hide in the coat closet of this office in anticipation of Michael Jackson being ushered into this room.
Sure enough, Bryan's instincts and plan were correct and Jackson arrived with an entourage of security, police and handlers. Bryan was brave enough to go through all this effort and reveal himself from the closet, at which point he was almost ushered out of the room... It was Michael himself who quickly calmed the security down and said, "it's okay, I want to take a picture with him." This was a very memorable experience for Bryan - and only perpetuated his drive to meet him again.
This would happen a few years later in Beverly Hills, CA when Bryan learned that Michael was going to be shopping on Santa Monica Boulevard. Michael usually would shop after staff had been notified he was coming and the store would close temporarily for his privacy and protection. However, Bryan knew that if you were a shopper in the store while Michael arrived, you were not asked to leave - thus Bryan quickly got inside the store just prior to Michael showing up with his kids. When Michael was in the store with Bryan, he not only signed several items for Bryan and took a picture with Bryan, but he also again came to Bryan's rescue, as Bryan had left the store for a brief moment to retrieve a guitar he had in his car that he wanted him to sign. When Bryan tried to come back inside, the doorman would not let him or anyone back inside. Bryan managed to somehow get Michael's attention and instantly the door was propped open and Michael summoned Bryan over and beautifully signed a red guitar.
All of this was captured on tape by Entertainment Tonight and other media outlets. That was in 2003. There were several times over the next two years that Michael would show up briefly in Los Angeles and Bryan was always there to see him.
However, it wasn't until October of 2008 that Bryan would start to really cultivate a relationship with Michael Jackson, and his security team and assistants. In October of 2008, Michael Jackson had moved from his home in Las Vegas back to Los Angeles; however, Michael was staying at The Bel Air Hotel from October until January, when he moved into his last home in Holmby Hills, CA.
From October until his final days in June, Bryan and his team would be everywhere Michael went, from the very first rehearsal casting sessions held in a small studio in Van Nuys, CA, to the daily rehearsals held in Burbank, and the several shopping trips ranging from Barnes & Noble in Westwood to many costume and collectible stores in Los Feliz and West Hollywood.
Michael really enjoyed having his fans follow him around and it made him feel like people still cared, which is sad considering he cared for everyone else so much. Michael would personally tell Bryan how much he liked the pictures, rare albums and posters he would bring to him to have signed. In addition, Bryan would research Michael's passions, like his passion for string music, and bring him gifts of artists and rare albums that Michael would appreciate. According to Michael's Chief of Security, Michael was interested in employing Bryan to work for him in some research capacity.
This was the extent of how well Michael knew Bryan, from seeing his dedication and perseverance. In April, Michael personally asked Bryan if he could keep some of Bryan's posters for his daughter Paris' birthday party, as he wanted to use them as decoration. This level of kindness and humbleness was not what people might expect from such a legend, but this was Michael, all the time. The hardest part for Bryan was always to simply find Michael, and get to him in person, but once he did, it was as exciting as the first encounter. At the start of June Bryan once again managed to sneak his way into a store (Christian Audigier) just prior to Michael showing up there. Bryan was wearing a vintage "Beat It" jacket inside and had hoped to get inside and stay there to have Michael sign this very rare Jacket. Once Michael arrived with his kids, the security recognized Bryan and told the people in the store that he was "okay to stay."
With hundreds of onlookers and paparazzi outside, and traffic on Melrose Avenue coming to a total standstill to see what was going on, Bryan was inside having Michael take another picture with him and getting Michael to sign the "Beat It" jacket while the cameras from TMZ and other media outlets were rolling.
Signing description: Having so many wonderful experiences with Michael and being fortunate enough to be around Michael for the last year of his life has finally driven Bryan to share his treasured stories and these once-in-a-lifetime memories through the signatures of Michael Jackson. Bryan acquired and preserved the single largest and most diverse collection of authentic, in person signatures from The late, great Michael Jackson.