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Michael Jackson fans glimpse the man they miss in 'This Is It'

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When Michael Jackson died in June, pop music lost its  last global megastar. But according to 12-year-old Sean Davis of Watts, who attended one of the first Tuesday night screenings of the new tour rehearsal movie, "Michael Jackson's This Is It," the death of the groundbreaking performer robbed the world of something more immediate.

"We're missing that move," he said, cutting a nifty rendition of Jackson's signature moonwalk across the floor of the AMC Magic Johnson Crenshaw 15 theater. "Music's boring without him. We miss him."

Comprised of footage shot from rehearsals for Jackson's planned run of comeback shows at London's O2 arena, "This Is It" offers a glimpse of a spectacle that never materialized in life. Some supporters used the Tuesday opening of the movie as an occasion to assert how personal their connection was to the man who was possibly the most famous musician on the planet.

"I want to get my opening night concert -- I was supposed to be there," said 21-year-old Cassandra Pertusio outside the downtown L.A. Regal Cinema. Dressed in a homemade Jackson T-shirt and sporting several tattoos of the singer (including his face on her shoulder and his signature on her arm), Pertusio had tickets for the opening night of the O2 shows as well as the last three dates, for which she took out loans totaling $20,000.


Though she lives in Tampa, Fla., she's flown  to L.A. multiple times since the singer's death. In July, she traveled to the city in the hopes of attending Jackson's memorial service; this week, she came for the premiere of "This Is It."

"That's how much I love him. He was more of a father to me than anyone else was," Pertusio said.

But for L.A.-based Jackson fans, who have had more opportunities than most to participate in his public mourning, the opening of "This Is It" seemed less of a chance to grieve a favorite artist's death than to get a last glimpse inside his ambitions for pop.

"I've been a Jackson fan since I was 5 years old, and I always thought he was immortal," said 47-year-old Lola Anderson of Chesterfield Square, whose son Nickolas Anderson had taken her to the Magic Johnson Crenshaw for the 9 p.m. screening of "This Is It." "I hope this movie shows something about his craft. You never see how he interacted with people as a boss. Of all the years I've watched him, I've never seen him like this."

Across town at the Vista Theatre in Los Feliz, fans reported that they were left with a vivid impression of Jackson's brilliant showmanship after watching the film. .

"The production values of the shows were going to be amazing," said 26-year-old Maricela Schiffman from North Hollywood.

She was particularly impressed by the new take on the "Thriller" zombie dance sequence that, it seems, was going to be projected in 3-D at the shows. "You saw the potential of what could have been, which kind of made you go, 'Aw, rats!' But to glimpse it was a privilege."

For all of Jackson's troubles in the public eye and the many lavish memorials since his death, perhaps the most important things fans gleaned from "This Is It" were things they might not have seen despite his constant presence on radio, TV screens and magazines: an idea of how he was to work with and what it might have meant to know him as a person.

"You always think that money is insulation from pain, but it never eased his pain," said Anderson. "We all know now what kind of pain he felt, and we can all empathize with him."

-August Brown and Gerrick Kennedy

Photo by Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times

 
Comments () | Archives (6)

I am a 57 year old woman from So. Cal and I am soooo glad I went to see "This is It"!!
My mother passed away about 1 1/2 years ago and she was a wonderful Dancing teacher. I grew up listening to Michael and my Mother was copying Michal's moves in the 70's & 80's, long before it was "cool". If she were with us today she would have gone to see it with me, but I know wherever she is, she and Michael are "cuttin it" in that dance studio in heaven!!!
It was a brilliant insight into "the man, Michael Jackson and not just the persona. It was done with taste and you could tell, a lot of LOVE! A must see for those who appreciate DANCE!!

Royanne K.
San Diego, CA

LOVING MICHAEL....

I LOVED ND MISS MICHEAL JACKSON only if he didn't Die stupid dr. I hope he is in prison for life....... he deserves it.

i love and miss MICHEAL JACKSON

Immortal and Beloved.
What was done to this man must never be forgotten.

A respectful message to those who still doubt Michael jackson’s innocence: There is a reason why a depth charge of anger and grief has ignited in the hearts of millions of people. I do not mean to put down anyone who believes the opposite in any way, but I just have to speak up. Does anyone really believe that the millions talking about the miscarriage of justice Michael Jackson suffered would be prepared to overlook peodophilia just because he was talented? Because I certainly wouldn’t. The American people need to know they were effectively brainwashed by the relentless onslaught of media coverage and endless rotation of hearsay and outright lies that so-called journalists like Diane Dimond, Nancy Grace, Maureen Orth and the Smoking Gun online tabloid – amongst others – inflated into a storm of such unprecedented hostility it would convince Mr Jackson’s legal team that it would be better to settle than fight in court in 1993. In hindsight, that decision was a huge mistake. In the 2005 trial, the prosecution introduced the 1993 allegations into the trial evidence to bolster their case, this enabled Meseareau to revisit the circumstances of those allegations. Mesereau was able to satisfy a conservative jury that there was no validity to them whatsoever. Of course, little or no coverage was given to this fact, just as no attention was paid to the facts or motives of Evan Chandler or Janet Arviso. While it is understandable due to the sheer level of misinformation and non-investigation of Michael’s accusers: (Can anyone think of a single article apart from Mary Fischer’s ‘Was Michael Jackson Framed?’ that asked any serious questions about the credibilty of Michael’s accusers?); – that the myth of sexual deviancy still persists about Michael Jackson; it’s just not acceptable for this lie to stand any longer. It has caused so much pain to so many people and undoubtedly ended Michael’s life earlier. There is information out there, information I might add, that has more weight and substance than the nonsense that has been peddled for years by the majority, if not all the American media. I am asking, no, begging people to please go their local bookstore, order Aphrodite Jones’s book ‘The Michael Jackson Conspiracy,’ read Mary A Fischer’s article, go to the silencedtruth website and read Cory Rooney’s comments in the ‘Remember’ section, read Brian Oxman’s statements about Michael Jackson in The Huffington Post,and read the sbstantial legal criticism of Tom Sneddon’s years-long vendetta to prosecute Michael Jackson that is detailed in the archive section of the New York Times and many other publications. Millions of dollars American taxpayers money were spent by Sneddon in an attempt to find corroborating witnesses to the so-called alleged crimes of Michael Jackson;– an extraordinary amount, considering Sneddon found none. Out of the thousands of children Michael Jackson helped, two alleged molestation and one man linked both investigations. For most normal people, a huge alarm bell should surely be ringing. Janet Arviso and her son Gavin both admitted on the stand in 2005 that Janet Arviso had made her son lie to support her false claims that she had been sexually assaulted by staff in a J C Penny store, after she and her children had been caught shoplifting. Unlucky? Or just a family with a unnatural propensity for being in the wrong place at the right time? The Arviso v J.C Penny case I mentioned, by the way, can be found by googling it and in American law journals. I could go on, my point is this; people need to be asking questions right now – that is, if they want to know the truth. The movement for Michael’s vindication is about enabling truth to come to bear on something that has needed exposing for a very long time, not about excusing serious crimes because of how well Michael Jackson sang. What was done to Michael Jackson must never be forgotten - and all those who talk about him being a child molester know not of what they speak.


The film?
Beyond beautiful.


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