“City leaders are bracing for logistical challenges Tuesday as they try to keep Los Angeles running amid the Michael Jackson memorial.
The event is expected to draw hundreds of thousands to downtown Los Angeles, despite the city’s call for only ticket-holders to attend.
Sources familiar with memorial planning operations say several thousand city police and fire personnel will be assigned to the private and public Michael Jackson memorials, including public safety, crowd and traffic control, crime suppression and security around the event.
Officers will spread around the city with the bulk of the force deployed to Staples Center, the Jackson family compound in Encino, the home where Jackson was stricken and Forest Lawn Memorial cemetery, where the family will hold a private memorial before the public event at Staples.
Officers were also on hand at Dodger Stadium to provide traffic control for those distributing public tickets for the Jackson memorial.
For the LAPD, which has compressed what would normally be months of event planning into days, the number of officers being deployed amounts to nearly a dozen for each of the city’s 21 police divisions, sources said.
The cost for police services alone is expected to be at least $2.5 million, including security at the Jacksons’ Encino compound and the rented home where Jackson lived before his death. “It could go higher. It won’t go lower,” said a source involved with the planning.
The LAPD is also likely to issue a tactical alert, which allows the department to keep officers on duty and might require delayed response to minor police calls.
Kobe Bryant, Jennifer Hudson, Lionel Richie, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder and Brooke Shields are among the celebrities scheduled to be involved at the Staples ceremony.
Organizers announced the participants this morning. Many are entertainment figures, but there are also some from the political world, including Martin Luther King III and the Rev. Al Sharpton, who has been serving as a Jackson family adviser.”
What this? The Pope couldn’t make it? How come?
Well I’m sure the entire occasion will be just lovely.
“Michael Jackson made the best cinema of 1991 with the music video “Black or White,” which was easily superior to any short or feature-length film released to the public that year. To find a comparable example of visual montage, you have to go back to one of Alain Resnais’ time-shifting études, the marriage scherzo in Citizen Kane or the chase-trial fugue in D.W. Griffith’s Intolerance. I combine musical and filmic values because “Black or White” ’s visionary approach to egalitarianism—ending with a still-miraculous sequence of genetic morphing and counter-balanced by a solo dance of frustration and rage—was a singular feat: Its constant rhythm was accompanied by a stacking-up of thrilling, provocative ideas.”
“The night “Black or White” premiered on FOX was one of those memorable moments when Michael Jackson brought the world together through his art. That unification is, of course, MJ’s legacy. But not merely in a lovey-dovey sense. MJ’s command of popular attention was always unexpected and challenging. Each cultural/historical marker demonstrated his unique sensibility, mostly superb taste (pardon his penchant for horror-film tropes),”
I’m not pardoning the Panther Woman at all.
“his simple yet probing, agitating intellect and his seemingly boundless talents: a great singer, songwriter, dancer and, in movie terms, performer-as-auteur.”
Not to mention performer-as-shape-shifter.
“This career of milestones hasn’t ended with Jackson’s death last week at age 50. Despite media vultures striking new lows in their ongoing scavenger hunt,”
You don’t have to “hunt” for the FUCKING OBVIOUS!
“Jackson’s loss started unprecedented Internet traffic that experts say diminished the cyberspace and twittering exchanges about Iran’s recent election. His personal incarnation of modern cultural and political change began with 11-year-old Michael’s first national television appearance on ABC’s The Hollywood Palace, performing the still-astonishing “I Want You Back” with his brothers in The Jackson Five. Child prodigies and splashy debuts are commonplace in show business, so who could imagine what Jackson’s brash, playful introduction augured?”
“The extraordinary achievements that followed dwarfed the careers of stars who attained greater esteem in single pursuits; MJ epitomized for all the greater social benefits of liberated black American expression. As MJ pushed R&B forward, adding to the emotional definition of cultural consumers’ lives, it first seemed like showbiz as usual. The records “ABC,” “The Love You Save” and “I’ll Be There” exemplified youth culture’s new energy and power. Then MJ confounded convention with the startlingly poignant “Ben.” It was a strategic movie tie-in theme (for the 1972 horror flick of the same name, a sequel to Willard) the same year Diana Ross sought to infiltrate Hollywood with the biopic Lady Sings the Blues. But MJ took his B-movie opportunity so seriously that it quietly permeated the zeitgeist. People who don’t appreciate “Ben” don’t really appreciate pop culture and remain clueless about MJ. His tender, profound emotionality taught teenagers everywhere that they could feel more deeply than they realized.”
He taught them they could love a rodent.
“Here’s the beauty part: “Ben” wasn’t just for black fans (such as those who identified with the Jackson Five’s “Mama’s Pearl”) but white listeners also responded (and I know many of them), recognizing and assenting to MJ’s heartfelt pledge. This is why, 25 years after “Ben,” when MJ publicized himself as “The King of Pop,” the tagline stuck. It had been denied him by the Elvis-worshipping racist media, but MJ snatched it from the selfish claws of industry bias. Some scoffed but listeners and sharp observers knew it was true.”
“Going beyond hubris, MJ made the self-assertion that black artists were usually too modest (or underfinanced) to dare. Since childhood, MJ gained an understanding of how the record industry and the mainstream media work. He aimed for cultural domination, achieved it then moonwalked across our consciousness—strutting and gliding as if the crown was no heavier than a bon vivant’s fedora. Little Michael started out singing about desire with a profound sense of urgency. Both “Ben” and “I Want You Back” offer the sense of immediacy special to great pop, holding witnesses in an intense private moment. It is not ironic that these records incarnate youth’s illusion of immortality. It’s a gift.”
“Most people have a favorite MJ song or performance that exemplifies the ways we come to understand and share joy and sadness, celebration and isolation. MJ mediated these things—as certified when the recent movies 13 Going On 30 and The Wackness paid tribute to MJ. Awareness of his art is a natural part of the modern experience. MJ was such a fact of life for the past 40 years that the newsmedia’s disrespect—as in journos’ demeaning “Jacko”—deprives the world of appreciating the wonder and depth of Jackson’s art. Critics readily grant hero status to particular artists, but if Bob Dylan, Kurt Cobain, P.J. Harvey and Eminem are pop’s “geniuses” what word can adequately describe the world-changing creativity, astounding craft and miraculous precision of Jackson’s output? His personal issues don’t justify denying it. Mainstream tastemakers find it difficult to accept the intellectual, spiritual and aesthetic progress of MJ absorbing Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Billy Eckstein, Sam Cooke, James Brown and Bob Fosse, continuing their work and matching it in his own style.”
“Absorbing” = Ripping off.
“There’s much originality to reflect on: whether the race-defying polemic “Black or White” or many innovative music-videos like “Scream,” “Bad” (Scorsese’s best post-’70s film) and the redoubtable “Thriller,” which many people admire and first showed MJ’s unique flair for combining popular extravaganza with personal anxiety. Go back to 1971’s “I’ll Be There” (its essence appears even in MJ’s late work). This early classic was more than a love song: The youngster’s earnestness conveyed a cherubic purity in the uncanny lyric, “You and I must make a pact/ We must bring salvation back.” The religious evocation isn’t cloying; it recognizes spiritual need in romantic ardor. The innocence of Jackson’s voice confirms it as natural, basic. Jackson inherited the pop song tradition like catechism; as a devout, he grew into his own sincere articulation—as when echoing Billie Holiday in the “Ain’t Nobody’s Business” refrain of 1988’s “The Way You Make Me Feel,” yet updating and owning it.”
The way he “owns” The Beatles?
“On the 1980 “Lovely One,” sung with his brothers, the paean to mother Katherine Jackson becomes an ode to womanhood—the romantic ideal. MJ doesn’t fatuously evade distinctions, but in pop’s great emotional imperative, social boundaries dissolve in the funk and ecstasy of singing, jamming. “Check out this feeling!” he exhorts to all who will listen. The fact of feeling in his music, singing and brotherly harmonies, proves the goodness of loving. Through the vivified funk of “Lovely One,” Jackson demonstrates that You-Must-Dance, rhythmic mastery that goes beyond intellectualizing. Maybe it will never make sense to tight-asses. Pity is, they often have tight souls.”
Translation: “Open your ass and let Michael in!”
“Rev. Al Sharpton was right to remind people that, before Tiger Woods, Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama benefited from mass self-congratulation, Michael Jackson was a crucial figure contributing to—encouraging—the liberal world’s enlightenment. As a product of the Civil Rights Era, he was an invaluable inspirator of pop open-mindedness. Part of MJ’s social uplift comes from his determination to exceed the social and professional limits of the black social pioneers who preceded him. His funky, elegant stage and studio precision derives from the Northern industrial aspiration passed forward to the Great Migration’s later generations. This remains mysterious to many pop music scholars still stuck in the patronizing, sentimental perception that uneducated, earthy Negroes are “authentic” blacks. President Obama’s grudging condolence suggests that this snobbery still exists in high places. As a Motown artist, MJ defied that stereotype as a way of guaranteeing his own cultural achievement, but it also laid a spiritual and material foundation for success—acceptance and satisfaction—that lasts”
So much for Lena Horne
“Inherent in all the MJ trailblazing is belief—proof—that the Civil Rights Era-promises of equality are realized in the open and creative expression of group and individual feelings. Artists confide a special faith in their public expression: that what they have to say will be heard and understood. (“Beat It” changed more hearts than the Iowa Caucus.) Through the audacity afforded by exceptional talent, this becomes more than a hope and you can grasp it personally—whether or not anyone else concurs—in “Ben,” “Billie Jean,” “You Are Not Alone” or, as in the challenge posed by “Black or White”: “Don’t tell me you agree with me/ When I saw you kicking dirt in my eye.”
Then take Bill Robinson’s and Fat Waller’s advice —
“MJ had the audacity to believe that he could also create that communication on a larger scale in sincere anthems like “We Are the World,” “Earth Song” and “Man in the Mirror.” It’s a wonder of pop art when you can’t really separate the gravitas of an anthem from a love lyric. That flash of emotional truth in MJ’s art makes it possible to set aside scandal. What genuine artist has avoided it?”
“Genuine artist”? That’s another subject entirely.
“Last year’s pop wonder The Ting Tings have eulogized MJ perfectly: “Michael Jackson, the Pop Giant. His controversial life is now over. His great music will outlive us all.” As the soulless media returns to its routine “
And as you return to yours, Miss HNIC.
Sing us out Adam.