Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Michael Jackson's Memorial

Michael Jackson's body is on its way to the memorial service at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, sources involved in the planning said.

Jackson's family and closest friends attended a gathering at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills on Tuesday morning before going to the public memorial.

Jackson's family and friends were at the chapel, which can hold about 1,000 people. Shortly thereafter seven suited men wheeled out a golden casket covered in red flowers from Forest Lawn's Hall of Liberty.

Teddy Riley, a singer who worked closely with Jackson on several albums, said Jackson family members told him the casket will be driven in a procession from Forest Lawn to the arena. A second source familiar with the planning also said the King of Pop's body would be delivered to the arena.

"It wouldn't be fair for the fans who are going to appear and be here at the Staples Center not to see his casket," Riley said.

An army of fans poured in to Los Angeles from places far-flung, hoping to collectively mourn their idol in a massive ceremony.Thousands appeared to be on hand, but the atmosphere was peaceful, almost festive.

People waited patiently, talking to each other, taking pictures and singing Jackson songs. Some fans were excited, others somber, as they entered the arena. Parking lots in the area raised their prices, some as high as $30. Airports in Southern California saw a spike in bookings. And several movie theaters in the area announced special screenings of the event, which also will be carried live by some television networks and Web sites.Police put up concrete barriers around the center, allowing only fans with tickets to the star-studded event to enter.

The first fans those holding the best seats began entering the arena at 7:30 a.m. The service is set to start at 10 a.m. (1 p.m. ET). Deka Motanya, a San Francisco, California, woman who won tickets in the computer lottery, posted a message on Twitter just before 9 a.m. saying she had reached her "not too bad seats." "Michael jackson music playing. people filling in; very organized w/ assigned seats" her message said.The stage is set up on one end of the Staples Center's converted basketball court.

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