"The true gentleman is friendly, but not familiar." - CONFUCIUS

Monday, July 20, 2009

The MJ Sidewalk Party, Olympic & Figueroa

SOME PEOPLE SAY THE BEST SPOT IN A HOUSE PARTY IS THE KITCHEN. Others say the best spot in the club is the parking lot. But I'd wager that most of yesterday's attendees would agree that the place to be at Michael Jackson's memorial in the Staples Center was... the Staples Center. For most people, the next best place was watching the proceedings at home on TV, which is what almost every Angeleno who gave half a shit and didn’t have memorial tickets did with their Tuesday. FAIL.

So many LA residents take living here for granted. Waaaa traffic! Waaaa parking! Waaaaa.... job! You sound old. Yesterday I spoke with several people in other cities who would have gladly stood as close as the cops would let them get to the action, just to be part of something huge, something historic, something human. And likewise, there were some locals who didn’t have tickets, and just didn’t feel right sitting at home with a family pack of bon-bons, watching the grand send-off of one of the most influential people to ever walk God’s green earth from fifteen stinking minutes down the street. Thus the Olympic and Figueroa MJ Sidewalk Memorial Party came to be.

Korean news crews. Mexican water vendors. Bums and mothers who thought rolling a stroller through a packed sidewalk wasn’t the worst idea ever. Uppity new Downtown residentswho think wheeling their bicycles through a packed sidewalk wasn’t the worst idea ever. “It’s actually illegal to block the sidewalk, you know.” Uh, yeah. Well those 50 cops over there seem okay with it, lady. Nitpicky cops. “We’re gonna need you to stand on the sidewalk,” literally one step behind me. Really? Suspect fans, supposedly engaging in a spontaneous MJ singalong for the news cameras, but they had to print out the song lyrics. What kind of MJ fan doesn’t know the damn song lyrics?

Opportunists like Imaginehr Cantero II, a short Central American man in an olive pin-striped suit and relentlessly brillcreamed haircut whose nametag says ‘evolutionary scientist’ and business card (which he passed out to everyone in reach) says ‘home recovery service’. He does a mean moonwalk though. Opportunists like the high-school kid who got checked by a bystander for trying to hawk fake memorial programs for $20. “You’re lying,” she says. “It’s called hustling!” he cries. Confused tourists like the fat white lady with her fannypack choking her belly who said “I think there’s a billion people here!” Not exactly.

Random chants like ‘spread the love with the glove’. No thanks. Sounds like something you catch in an operating room. Impromptu dance-offs that never lasted too long because the MJ CD started skipping. At least someone’s still buying CDs. Or burning them. Memorabilia houndslike the old lady begging passersby after the memorial let out for their ticket stubs. “You have the memories; can I have the paper?” And lastly, haters like the guy with the ‘stop useing my taxes 4 millionaires’ sign who got the chewing out of his young life by a lady nearby before getting dragged off by the cops, kicking and yelling and flashing his college ID. “I go to USC, you dumb bitch!” Then you should know how to spell ‘using’, bub.