Michael Jackson Family House Memorial, 29 June 2009
Encino, CA
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On 25 June, I was recording heavy psychedelic band 3000 Realms at my Blueberry Buddha Recording Studios when the singer received a text message from his friend at 3pm:  Michael Jackson had just died.

We were stunned.  No matter that most of the members of the band were in their early 20s: Michael Jackson had made a huge impact on us through his music, influencing countless other acts.  He had no parallel in the world of entertainment. "The King of Pop has died," they kept saying.  We rushed to check the internet.  The LA Times site was jammed.  TMZ.com was jammed.  Google links wouldn't work. One man, through death, had managed to virtually bring the internet to its knees. 

But we managed to view the story on another online newspaper.  Michael Jackson dead at 50. 

This was one of those things that people always mention in which, like JFK, like Elvis, like others, what you were doing and where you were would be seared in your memory forever.

After several days, I needed to run errands near the Jackson house, just minutes away from where I live.  I could not resist swinging by the Jackson residence.  The street was completely blocked off by police at both ends.  White media trucks with satellite dishes lined the entire block and beyond, as the media swarmed behind metal police barricades and chattered on cell phones.  They were anticipating Rev. Al Sharpton to visit the Jackson family.

I walked up to the makeshift memorial in front of the house, also barricaded.  Adoring fans had put signs, cards, balloons, photos, stuffed animals, votives, everything to show an outpouring of love for their fallen star.  I must confess, though, that I was a little surprised to see a photo of Sai Baba among the photos.

Votive candles to the side of the shrine.  One policeman picked up some of the fallen candles on the neighbor's driveway, asking for a broom to sweep up some of the broken glass.

Fans from all over the world expressing their grief.

One of my friends played keyboards, did orchestrations for Michael Jackson.  I immediately thought of him upon Michael Jackson's passing.  I also knew Michael Jackson's engineer and producer from recording engineering forums.  I expressed my deepest condolences to both of them through email and such.

The media circus lining the street where the Jackson family lives, anticipating the arrival of Rev. Al Sharpton.  The street has been barricaded to through traffic by the police since MJ's death on 25 June.

Michael Jackson had been rehearsing for an upcoming run of 50 shows in London, his comeback, when he perished of an apparent heart attack in his home in Holmby Hills, which he was renting for $100,000.  The cause of his death, as of this writing, is still under investigation, and the Jackson family has ordered their own autopsy.  Speculation is running rampant, with wild stories coming from all corners, particularly London. 

Michael Jackson lived a tormented life.  And partially due to his unprecedented fortune, he had the ability to give into his whims, whether running a zoo at his Neverland ranch, sleeping in hyperbaric chambers, or altering his appearance through surgery.  And though some remember him more for his freakishness, alleged child molestations or other negative aspects, I prefer to remember him as one of the most astonishing entertainers the world has ever seen.  Thank you, MJ.

These six photos also appear in the LA Times Your Scene section, credited to photographer "Blueberry Buddha":


Michael Jackson Family House Photos, Encino, June 2009
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