Will dignity rule at Michael Jackson farewell?

A solemn, reverential farewell to Michael Jackson that says more with less – or an unseemly four-ring circus, four being the operative number, that foists the surviving members of the Jackson 5 onto a global television audience for all the wrong reasons.

At tomorrow morning's memorial service to the King of Pop, there will be music, and rightfully so. An Oscars-like guest list of celebrities, including Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and Elizabeth Taylor, is also assured, together with some 8,750 fans selected from 1.6 million entrants in an online lottery.

But Jackson's grief-stricken mom Katherine, 79, is determined the occasion will not become an opportunistic spectacle, said sources close to promoter AEG.

An immensely tall order, given the worst instincts of those in the Jackson entourage who see it all as one enormous marketing opportunity.

Katherine Jackson was named temporary administrator of her son's affairs last week before Jackson's will became known.

The will puts his estate, which in an attachment is valued at more than $500 million (U.S.), into a family trust that benefits his three children, his mother and charities.

Katherine Jackson has also been named temporary guardian of Prince Michael Jackson Jr., 12, Paris Michael Katherine Jackson, 11, and Prince Michael Joseph Jackson II, 7.

In other developments yesterday, Los Angeles police officials renewed a warning for ticketless Jackson fans to stay away from the Staples Center, saying as many as 1,400 officers will enforce a no-go zone around the arena.

Some Jackson fans are disappointed in what they regard a heavy-handed police approach to the ceremony.

"People around the world are mourning Michael Jackson's death with music and dance, not violence," Shirley Erhart said in an email to the Star. "The big monitors at Staples should be turned on to allow fans to watch peacefully without getting arrested."

Yesterday evening, fans around the world started posting Twitter messages about receiving tickets.

"OMG OMG OMG OMG i got tickets to the Michael Jackson memorial service!!!" tweeted Deka Daye from San Francisco. Other messages came from Scotland and Iran.

Ambreen Ladha, a 23-year-old social worker in Toronto, said she was among the lucky few who won. However, like many others, she immediately put the tickets up for sale on Craigslist – for $250 each.

"It's kind of short notice," she told the Star's Iain Marlow. "I wonder if other people who got them are actually going to go. I guess people are just trying to get some money out of this."To participate in the lottery, fans registered online in the random drawing of 8,750 names. Each person selected receives two tickets. The odds of getting a ticket were about 1 in 183.
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