Michael Jackson's public memorial will be held next Tuesday, July 7th, at Los Angeles' Staples Center, a person briefed by a family representative told CNN. Initial reports had the memorial service planned for today at the singer's Neverland Ranch with a funeral service to follow there Sunday, July 5th. However, the family denied the claim, putting the King of Pop's memorial plans in flux until now.
The Staples Center was the location of Jackson's final This Is It! rehearsals before the show was scheduled to embark to London's O2 Arena. According to the Los Angeles Times, authorities are already mapping out how law enforcement officials plan to deal with the possible Tuesday memorial. However, the Jackson family themselves have not yet confirmed the plans, and a Jackson spokesperson declined to comment. How fans could get one of the 20,000 tickets, or how much tickets would cost, was not answered in either report.
The problem with the Staples plan, as the LAT points out, is that it would be a massive financial undertaking for the cash-strapped city. The Los Angeles Lakers had their NBA Championship celebration scaled down from a planned parade to a party at the LA Coliseum, and even that cost $2 million, with the city footing half the bill. In the case of the Lakers, AEG Live, which owns the Staples Center and was staging the This Is It! concerts, helped with the final tab, but given that the company already fronted a large sum of money to prepare the This Is It! concerts and now have to refund $85 million in tickets, the company might be reluctant. Still, as Rock Daily reported yesterday, AEG CEO Randy Phillips said he'd offered the Jackson family to help with the memorial service and funeral.
Another possible roadblock is that the Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus is set to take over the Staples Center starting on July 8th, the LAT reports, with the Parade of the Elephants from downtown LA to the Staples Center originally scheduled to take place the morning of Jackson's memorial.
To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here
MUSIC 9 Classic Devo Videos
OLYMPICS 18 Epic Opening Ceremonies