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Los Angeles (LA) Gears in the USA up for Michael Jackson Memorial!

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Los Angeles Gears Up for Michael Jackson Memorial
Monica Almeida/The New York Times

Police officers in front of the Staples Center early Tuesday in preparation for the memorial for Michael Jackson.

 

By RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD
Published: July 6, 2009

LOS ANGELES — After winning a random drawing for tickets to the Michael Jackson memorial, fans danced and sang on Monday, and some tried to make a buck, while city officials girded for the throngs expected to show up at the Tuesday event, invited or not.

Story By. Monica Almeida/The New York Times
 

Branden Grant was among those who picked up his tickets for the memorial service to Michael Jackson at the Staples Center.

More than 1.6 million people registered for 8,750 pairs of free tickets to the Michael Jackson memorial service at the Staples Center.

As organizers distributed free pairs of tickets on Monday to 8,750 of the more 1.6 million people who had applied online for them, offers of tickets priced from a few hundred to several thousand dollars appeared on Web sites like eBay and Craigslist. Site administrators rushed to remove the postings, saying such sales were not authorized by the Staples Center, the downtown arena that will host the event. Organizers of the memorial said they were confident security measures would limit illegitimate ticket holders.

But the efforts at selling tickets, as well as signs of downtown hotels filling and the police preparing for thousands of people, if not more, by ringing a security perimeter around the event, added to a sense that the memorial was taking on shades of spectacle.

Late Monday night, local television broadcast live images of Jackson family members and others arriving and departing from Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, a San Fernando Valley cemetery studded with celebrity graves where Mr. Jackson’s private service is expected Tuesday morning. A hearse was seen driving from one building to another, backing nearly into it through a large entrance way where men then removed a coffin covered by a dark cloth.

The official list of participants in the service for Mr. Jackson, who died suddenly on June 25 at 50 of undetermined causes, included some of the biggest names in music, past and present, including Stevie Wonder, John Mayer, Jennifer Hudson, Smokey Robinson and Usher. More than a dozen television channels, including the big broadcast networks, planned live coverage of the memorial, which is set for 10 a.m. California time on Tuesday.

Elizabeth Taylor, one of Mr. Jackson’s closest friends, sent word through her Twitter feed that she had turned down an offer to speak to avoid what she called “the public whoopla.”

Debbie Rowe, a former wife of Mr. Jackson and the mother of two of his three children, changed her mind about attending, saying through a spokeswoman that “the onslaught of media attention has made it clear her attendance would be an unnecessary distraction.” Ms. Rowe, who was shown on local television Monday screaming and cursing at photographers trailing her near her home, has not announced whether she will seek custody of the children, whom Mr. Jackson had wanted raised by his mother, or failing that, Diana Ross.

Mr. Jackson’s body will not be at the memorial. There were reports that he would be buried Tuesday before the memorial at a cemetery in the San Fernando Valley. A large squad of police and security officers was at the cemetery, but officials declined to comment.

Councilwoman Jan Perry, who is the city’s acting mayor while Antonio R. Villaraigosa is on vacation this week, said she believed the city was ready for the event, though she had not received any responses to her pleas for private donors to offset the city’s costs, which she said were expected to include overtime for the police, transportation and sanitation departments.

First Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell said a “substantial” number of police officers would be deployed to control a crowd he said could include least 100,000 people. “Some people are coming in from around the world to be part of it,” Chief McDonnell said. “They just want to be close to it.”

The tickets were among the most coveted in a town with no shortage of big entertainment.

In the Staples Center, which holds nearly 20,000 people for sporting events, 11,000 seats were reserved for fans, along with 6,500 at an adjacent theater, where the event will be shown on large video screens.

Donte Zierway, 33, who flew to Los Angeles from Buffalo after entering the online lottery on Saturday, moonwalked with joy upon picking up his two tickets.

“I spent $700 to come here,” said Mr. Zierway, who works for a collections agency. “I just came. I entered my name, I prayed, and I got on a plane. Then I found out today that I had a ticket.”

He gave one of his tickets to a stranger he met at the Staples Center, Celine Althaus, 27, who had just arrived after a 30-hour flight from Switzerland and did not win a ticket. “We’re friends now,” Mr. Zierway said. “We had a few drinks last night. We’re both here for the same reason, and we both traveled a distance.”

Joey Daniel, 22, said he had considered selling his tickets but could not pass up the memorial. “This is a part of history,” Mr. Daniel said. “We could probably sell these for a lot of money, but it wouldn’t be worth it. I’m going to tell my children and grandchildren that I was there.”

Although city services may be taxed, the event could give a bump to the local economy. Just considering hotel bookings, souvenir sales, dining and other spending, an estimated $4 million would be infused into the local economy, said Robin McClain, a spokeswoman for LA Inc., the city’s tourism office. Ms. McLain said that some hotels had reported a 40 percent increase in bookings in the past week but that a clearer accounting would be known after the event.

“It is important to know,” she said. “This is an unprecedented event for L.A.”

Rebecca Cathcart contributed reporting.

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About EL HINCHA Mag Cal Cauvin Calvinista Inclusivo

Protestante por consciência calvinista e zuingliana, um teísta remanescente (cristão integrado na Oholyáo de YÁOHU UL) antinominiano ecuménico e inclusivo (agostiniano, espiritualidade carmelita dos descalços, espiritualidade montfortina, espiritualidade dos presbiteranos liberais da PCUSA: http://www.pcusa.org/, cristianismo redivivo; atento às notícias da ciência hodierna, sempre numa perspectiva inclusiva de todos os Yaoshorulitas e demais seres relacionais) por a absoluta graça do Soberano YÁOHU UL da História e da legenda. Protestante reformado (Baptista particular), cheunguiano (Vincent Cheung, vide: http://robertovargas-make.blogspot.com/2010/08/da-interpretacao-de-textos.html), pós-milenista bíblico, preterista parcial, reconstrucionista(herancareformada.blogspot.com/ 2010/02/o-teonomismo-implicacoes-teologicas.html), teonomista (dominionista), pressuposicionalista, supralapsariano (http://www.monergismo.com/textos/predestinacao/infra_supra_phil.htm), tudo em desenvolvimento; reformar sempre a reformar. Sempre a reformar.

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