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Michael Jackson Celebrations ‘Round the World

Pop music icon Michael Jackson died on June 25 from a potent cocktail of sleep and pain sedatives, although the Los Angeles coroner’s office is holding firm, not releasing the complete autopsy and toxicology reports pending completion of the homicide investigation currently in progress.   And, of course,  Dr. Conrad Murray, the central figure in the investigation, is mum on commenting further, save his recent YouTube video of self-exoneration. 

Despite the lack of closure, Saturday celebrations for Michael Jackson were heard around the world for the King of Pop.    

Saturday, Aug. 29 would have been Jackson’s 51st birthday. 

 Although the true era of Michael Jackson was mostly over decades before the singer died, a curious and strange eerie aura pervaded the celebrations– it was like he never died. 

With Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman declaring Aug, 29, “Michael Jackson Day,” almost 20 Las Vegas entertainment acts responded in kind by performing a “Las Vegas Celebrates the Music of Michael Jackson” concert at the Pearl Theatre in the Palms Casino & Hotel, spearheaded by Jersey Boys star Erich Bergen, as a tribute to Jackson and his music before a sell-out crowd of 2,600, while raising more $100,000 for music education programs throughout Clark County, Nevada.   

Michael Jackson would most likely have loved it, expressing before his death the desire to perform a thank-you concert to Palms owner George Maloof for enabling him to use the venue earlier for his recording sessions and a secluded family R&R retreat.

 Family patriarch and dad Joe Jackson said he was unable to attend Saturday’s memorial concert in Las Vegas for his son because of a prior commitment, but a friend said it was more a case of the event being too emotional.  He was on hand, however, on Saturday night for a celebrity star dedication at the Brendan Theatres at the Palms. 

Some of the biggest ovations at the Pearl Theatre performance went to:  11-year-old Elijah Johnson of “The Lion King,” performing “Dancing;” the cast members from “Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular” and “Jersey Boys” combining on “Theme from Free Willie,” the Australian groups Human Nature (“I Want You Back”) and Signature (“Billy Jean”) and the Las Vegas Mass Choir, decked out in black pants, white shirts, black fedoras and, of course, the glove on the right hand, singing “Man in the Mirror.” 

Other Las Vegas tribute performances included the American Superstars at the Stratosphere, Hawaiian Tropic Zone, and the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. 

But Las Vegas was just the tip of the iceberg for worldwide Jackson tributes on Saturday.  A group of Michael Jackson fans in Leicester, England attempted a world record for the most number of people dancing to the singer’s ‘Thriller’ in one place on his 51st birthday. Some 475 people dressed as zombies packed into Orton Square participate in the event. 

Not to be topped, a Michael Jackson impersonator named Hector Jackson (not related) really kicked the competition into overdrive and led what is purportedly the largest gathering of people dancing Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” in Mexico City, with reportedly 12,937 people dancing and wearing red and gold sequined jackets.   

The current record for a group “Thriller” was performed in May by 242 students of the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. The Guinness Book of World Records will determine if the Mexico City performance breaks that record. 

Although the bulk of birthday celebration tributes are largely completed, speculation continues to swirl on what’s next in the after-life career of Jackson. 

Talks reportedly continue on moving parts of Neverland Ranch in Santa Barbara, California to Las Vegas.  Other plans call for Jackson-themed show, with the Hilton being considered.   Some even say a Jackson-themed Las Vegas casino would be appropriate.   The great news is that any of these ideas have the potential impact of reviving a sputtering Las Vegas economy. 

But, whoa there, partner, let’s not get the cart before the horse- Jackson hasn’t even been buried yet!  He will be finally laid to rest after two months of patiently waiting this Thursday, Sept. 3 at Forest Lawn Cemetery near Los Angeles, California at 7 p.m. in a private service. 

R.I.P, Michael.

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The Las Vegas Home Michael Jackson Really Wanted- But Never Had

Pop singer Michael Jackson had plans to make an offer on a $16.5 million estate on Tomiyasu Lane in Las Vegas, owned by Gary and Carol Primm, his former Las Vegas real estate broker says. He was going to call his new home “Wonderland.” 

Nestled among the homes of casino owner Phil Ruffin, the Sultan of Brunei and entertainer Wayne Newton is a 10-acre compound in Las Vegas that pop singer Michael Jackson was planning to call home. 

Actually, he was planning to call the property at 7000 Tomiyasu Lane — owned by former casino mogul Gary Primm and his ex-wife, Carol — “Wonderland.” 

“He got so excited, the minute we drove through the gates here he got that feeling of Neverland,” said Zar Zanganeh, a Realtor with Fine Vegas Estates, during a tour of the home. “As soon as he stepped out of the car, he said, ‘Zar, I love this place. I’m calling it Wonderland.’” 

Jackson began eyeing the home in 2007. The King of Pop was planning to put an offer on the $16.5 million estate after his London tour was complete and his finances were flush, Zanganeh said. 

Jackson first saw the property when he was living in a 10-acre mansion on Monte Cristo Way in northwest Las Vegas — a property Zanangeh helped him lease, sight-unseen, while the entertainer was overseas after his acquittal on child sexual abuse charges.

 It was one of about 15 homes Zanganeh had shown Jackson.  But it was the only home where Jackson felt comfortable enough to walk outside with no mask or umbrella to shield him from the sun. 

He wanted to move in immediately but his finances weren’t in order to buy at the time, Zanganeh said. He approached the Primms about leasing the home — an offer they turned down. But Jackson’s interest in the house remained piqued and he stayed in regular contact with Zanganeh by phone and e-mail. 

Not long before his death, Jackson learned the Primms had lowered the price from about $22 million to $16.5 million. He told Zanganeh he was preparing to make a formal offer upon his return from England. 

Jackson died June 25 before any offers landed on the table. 

The mansion struck a chord with Jackson, who was looking for a permanent home after vowing never to return to his Neverland Ranch near Santa Ynez, Calif. The memories of the trial were too painful, and Zanganeh said Jackson on many occasions during their house hunting swore he would never return there. He saw a future in Las Vegas — he entertained the idea of a regular show on the Strip, and wanted to be able to provide stability for his children. He also wanted a home replete with strong security features. 

Security was something Gary Primm took seriously. The security features in the home start with three fierce gates — one each for the main home, the guest home and a service entrance. 

A fence surrounds the property. Secret tunnels wind throughout the home; many of the doors are bulletproof, and some are cleverly disguised as walls or cabinets to fool a possible intruder giving chase. There’s even a panic room that has its own oxygen supply and a separate, buried phone line so the wires couldn’t possibly be cut. 

Attached to the main home is a four-car garage. But it also offers what real estate agents have billed a “car museum” — in essence, a showroom large enough for 20 additional vehicles. 

The car museum has its own car wash, which uses deionized water so as not to scratch the vehicles. It also has power lifts so mechanic work can be done on site. The home has two gas stations — one for diesel, one for unleaded. 

It wasn’t just Jackson who fell in love with the estate. His children were excited at the thought of moving in, Zanganeh said. 

“The kids went nuts (when they first walked in). We keep a lot of candy in the house … Paris ran in here, ran right up to the dining room table, started eating jelly beans and said, ‘Daddy, this is like Candyland!’ which is a game they regularly played in the house. Paris loved that part of the house. Blanket just fell in love with all the animals we had in the barn.” 

The home offers an equestrian facility with eight stalls and two wash bays. It also boasts a separate “doggie villa,” which the Primms had used to house their champion Rottweilers. In the barn, there are two horses, a pony and a pig. Jackson didn’t spell out specific plans to bring additional animals, but he did ask if the pony and the pig could stay. 

A walk through the back yard of the home reveals a golf driving range, basketball and tennis courts, a greenhouse and a pool. 

If the fountains, sculptures, water slide and rock crags weren’t enough, tucked behind a waterfall inside a cave is a grotto guest suite. 

Zanganeh described the property as “something very much out of ‘The Flintstones.’” 

The secluded 1,000-square-foot living space, which has a bedroom, a bathroom and a kitchenette, was going to be turned into a playhouse for the children, Zanganeh said. 

The coziness of the 15,000-square-foot home was something that appealed to Jackson — especially the dining room, which is designed to seat eight people. 

“Michael enjoyed having family time: They’d dress up for dinner, they’d sit down at the dinner table, they’d always have all the holiday dinners at the table,” Zanganeh said. “It has room for an expansion — the doors open up to an outside area for entertainment — but Michael liked the fact that although the house is very big, many of the important rooms like the bedrooms or the dining rooms still felt very intimate for a family.” 

The only space where Jackson planned for a major modification was the indoor shooting range. Guns were of little interest to him, and the space suited him for a recording studio. It even had an area for a production room and a dance floor where he could practice for auditions.

The master bedroom has a “his” and “hers” wing, with separate bathrooms and a workout gym. The “his” bathroom has its own barber chair, and the gym has a sauna and a steam shower. Both sides have walk-in closets. Amenities on the ladies’ side include a whirlpool tub, a balcony for tanning outside and a bidet. (The in-home beauty salon is downstairs by the kitchen.)

The theater room was an important room for Jackson. In other homes, he would take meals or meetings in that room or would use it to entertain, Zanganeh said.  At the Primm estate, the theater room, with seating for 16 and three screens, doubles as a cigar room. It has an extensive ventilation system and fresh oxygen pumped in.

Jackson was also drawn to the neighborhood. Zanganeh said Jackson was concerned about who his neighbors might be. On Tomiyasu Lane, he was comforted by the fact that he had already formed relationships with several residents who lived nearby.

“Every time we went around, Michael wanted to know who the neighbors were, what they do for a living. In this neighborhood, he knew many of the neighbors. He’s friends with the Sultan of Brunei, who built the home next door. He knows Wayne Newton, who has a property around the corner,” Zanganeh said. “It’s a nice, secluded neighborhood. Very private. Everyone is very low key. But it’s a very high net worth community.”

Jackson lived in several leased homes in and around Las Vegas before his death. He spent time at a Pahrump home last summer. He was rumored to be planning a show in Las Vegas at major Strip properties, but those rumors were squelched with the announcement of Jackson’s London tour.

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Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch to be Relocated to Las Vegas?

If Michael Jackson is not going to be buried at Neverland Ranch, the ranch may just be relocated to Las Vegas. 

E! News reports the current owner of Neverland has drafted plans to dismantle the King of Pop’s once-adored residence and move it from the outskirts of Santa Barbara, Calif., to Sin City and fashion a Graceland-style tourist attraction. 

Jackson’s estate is “seriously considering” the idea, although still in its preliminary planning stages. 

Colony Capital, the investment firm that saved the property from being auctioned off last year, is reportedly developing a business plan with Jackson’s estate to transport Neverland’s main house and several other structures to what would have to be a pretty large piece of land near the Vegas Strip. 

A source with knowledge of the project says Colony executives are drafting proposals for a museum, theater and, pending approval from the family, a burial plot for Jackson’s body (like the one at Graceland where Elvis Presley was laid to rest) where fans could pay their respects to the fallen iconic singer. 

Michael G. Dave, a California probate attorney, says it would only require the blessing of estate executors John McClain and John Branca to start launching the plans. 

Supposedly it would cost at least tens of millions of dollars to reimagine Neverland in Vegas, sources told E! News. But one insider says Colony Capital founder Thomas Barrack has met with community resistance when it comes to moving forward with development on the current Neverland site, and that moving the whole kit and caboodle to Vegas could end up being the more profitable venture. 

Meanwhile, insiders say Jackson’s estate is also in talks with concert promoter AEG Live—which had been organizing Jackson’s London comeback—to set up a tribute show at a major Las Vegas hotel-casino, such as Cirque du Soleil did with the Beatles-themed LOVE at the Mirage. 

A representative for AEG declined to comment, but executives have publicly stated they are interested in taking the momentum from the 50 sold-out Jackson concerts that never took place and putting it toward a tribute to the fallen pop star. 

When he lived in Las Vegas between 2006 and 2007, Michael Jackson had also worked with businessman Jack Wishna on the idea of a LOVE-style spectacle featuring his music.

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Michael Jackson Breaking News

Feverishly following up on leads, eight Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) vehicles arrived this morning looking for Michael Jackson medical records at the offices Armstrong Medical Clinic in Houston, one of the clinics used by Michael Jackson’s personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, who performed CPR on the pop star just before he died.  Two LAPD detectives also arrived on scene along with uniformed members of the Houston Police Department and 10 members of the DEA’s Tactical Diversion Team. There were another dozen or so DEA agents on hand. 

The law enforcement agents, armed with a search warrant, entered the property and began going through the property.

The LAPD asked the DEA for help in serving the warrant on the Armstrong Medical Clinic in Houston. The warrant is sealed. 

Murray, who has a medical practice in Las Vegas, since closed, is also licensed to practice in California, and is one of the central figures in a widening dragnet of physicians and personnel at medical facilities, based on results being uncovered from Jackson’s autopsy. 

With results from Michael Jackson’s second autopsy now in, the findings are no different from what the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office found, E! News reports. Both procedures revealed needle marks and traces of a potentially lethal amount of Propofol, an anesthetic administered via IV that leaves people in a largely comatose state, in the self-proclaimed King of Pop’s system. 

The private autopsy was performed June 27, two days after Jackson died and the day following the coroner’s examination of the body. 

Meanwhile, it has been learned that Jackson could have a secret fourth child according to reports. It has been alleged that Norwegian dancer Omer Bhatti is seeking a DNA test to see if he is in fact the son of the legendry King of Pop. 

The Sun newspaper has reported that Jackson told friends that Bhatti, looking strikingly similar to Jackson, was born after a one night stand in 1984 and the 25 year old is now said to be seeking whether Jackson is indeed his biological father. 

Katherine Jackson has formally filed a petition with the court to be appointed as administrator of her son Michael Jackson’s estate. She is petitioning under the Independent Administrations Estate Act. 

Court papers surfaced Wednesday and were filed in the matter by both Katherine and Joe Jackson, but only Katherine is requesting to be placed in charge of Michael Jackson’s estate. 

A hearing is set for August 3rd, to determine who will be executor of Jackson’s estate. 

Sony Pictures is also in the midst of finalizing a deal to acquire rehearsal footage from Michael Jackson’s This Is It concert run, with hopes of releasing it in theaters just in time for Halloween, according to Variety magazine. 

Sony is reportedly paying close to $60 million for the 80 hours of rehearsal footage shot at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The footage is currently owned by AEG Entertainment, who were promoting Jackson’s run of 50 shows at London’s O2 Arena. 

Finally, Las Vegas is being mentioned as an option as opposition grows to having Jackson’s Neverland Ranch turned into a Graceland-like memorial.  Bob Field, former Santa Ynez Valley Planning Advisory Committee chairman, is proposing that Neverland Ranch be dismantled and moved to Las Vegas.

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Michael Jackson’s Ties to Las Vegas

Although Michael Jackson never performed a ticketed show in Las Vegas during his adult career, he had a high profile in the city and was a frequent visitor and sometimes resident in the recent years. MichaelJacksondeath

A teenage Jackson and his brother performed on the Las Vegas Strip as the Jackson 5, starting in April 1974 at the original MGM Grand (now Bally’s).  They performed several times that year. 

The King of Pop was also a guest for long stretches in the poolside villas of The Mirage during the ‘90s, when his friend Steve Wynn was the hotel chairman. 

The closest Jackson came to a ticketed performance in Las Vegas was in February 1994, when “The Jackson Family Honors” was taped in front of a live audience at the MGM Grand Garden arena for an NBC special.   The crowd screamed and cheered so much when Jackson came onstage that it took several minutes for him to be able to continue with his presentation, with his longtime friend and confidante Elizabeth Taylor finally quieting the crowd. 

Jackson started turning up more frequently in Las Vegas beginning in 2002.  He received the key to Las Vegas from Mayor Oscar Goodman in October 2003, and lived in Las Vegas with his children during a six-month stretch in 2007.  

On and off during the past decade he lived in Las Vegas in a Spanish Trails mansion owned by the Prince of Brunei, a home on West Palomino Lane (near Wasden Elementary School), and a rented house just west of Decatur Boulevard near Sahara Avenue. 

It is not immediately known how recently he lived in Las Vegas, but CNN reported he relocated from the Las Vegas to Los Angeles in May. 

During the filming of a controversial British documentary that aired in 2003, journalist Martin Bashir followed Jackson on shopping sprees around Las Vegas. 

Jackson created a media circus on November 20, 2003, when he returned to Las Vegas from Santa Barbara, California after posting his $3 million bail following charges of child molestation.  A slow-speed car chase ensued in the evening as local and national media followed from the air and ground Jackson’s Lincoln Navigator as it wandered the streets of Las Vegas and Henderson. 

Jackson stayed during that period at Green Valley Ranch and the Ritz-Carlton at Lake Las Vegas before moving back to California to await his trial.   After being exonerated in June 2005, he left the United States for 18 months, spending time between Dubai and Ireland, before flying to Las Vegas on Christmas Eve 2006 with his children. 

He ended his stay in Las Vegas in June 2007, leaving a Summerlin rental home in filthy shambles, with piles of junk left on the curb in his wake. 

During his stay in Las Vegas, Jackson and his children were often spotted at local shows and attractions, fueling reports that Jackson three years ago was pursuing a Celine Dion-type residency on the Strip.  Eventually, Steve Wynn, chairman of Wynn Resorts, had to issue an official denial of any plans to host Jackson in June 2005. 

In December 2008, Jackson was bailed out of the $24.5 million he owned on Neverland Ranch in California when Colony Capital, owned by billionaire Tom Barrack, bought the loan that also owns the Las Vegas Hilton.  That fueled speculation that Jackson would perform in La s Vegas to pay off the debt. 

The Wall Street Journal reported the possible tribute show at the Hilton similar to Cirque du Soleil’s Beatles show “Love” at The Mirage in Las Vegas.   Although talks and dinner meetings ensued with potential promoters, his “This is It” tour ended up planned in London. 

He was rumored to be a possible headliner at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. AEG Live, which books the Colosseum, said only that Jackson’s performance in London there would be judged for viability before discussing plans to bring him to Las Vegas. 

About a year and a half ago, Jackson resided and recorded at the Studio at the Palms Casino & Hotel in Las Vegas for two months, with Akon and RedOne producing.  Some of the material appeared on the 25th anniversary of his “Thriller” album, released last year.  It is not known how much more his work recorded there remains unreleased or the future of it.

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Michael Jackson Opening a ‘Thriller’ Casino in Las Vegas

The 50-year-old pop icon singer and prior Las Vegas resident is reportedly planning to launch the zombie-themed gambling den in Las Vegas next year. 

He is also believed to be working on a new album, several films and a museum to house iconic items from his career. 

Jackson is even hoping to launch a three-year world tour after his 50-date residency at London’s O2 arena concludes in March 2010. 

The pop superstar claims he is interested in any business endeavour that can help revive his flagging fortune. Jackson is allegedly over £100 million in debt. He has been sued by dozens of former associates and was even forced to sell his beloved Neverland Ranch last year. 

The star is expected to make nearly £100 million from his ‘This Is It’ London residency, which is due to start next month, but fans fear he will not be fit enough to perform. 

Jackson has already postponed the first four concerts and is facing the prospect of delaying more, as he allegedly battles skin cancer.  The singer reportedly had surgery to remove potentially fatal growths from his nose and arm last month, and may have to undergo intense radiotherapy treatment which would leave him unable to perform live.  Although the 50-year-old star insists he is in great health, doctors are apparently worried about a patch of cancerous skin on his chest.

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