The hordes of Michael Jackson have beat it from Fort Greene Park — and are heading for Prospect Park’s Nethermeade for Spike Lee’s posthumous birthday party and memorial this Saturday.
As The Brooklyn Paper reported last week, the filmmaker’s tribute to the singer quickly grew bigger than the little Olmsted and Vaux jewelbox in Fort Greene, prompting city officials to spend most of this week scrambling to relocate the memorial to the larger field in the center of Prospect Park.
A spokesman for the Prospect Park Alliance said the Nethermeade can hold about 20,000, but would not confirm whether that’s how many people are expected at the Aug. 29 memorial / party / tribute / concert.
It is unclear whether there will be live music at the event, said Alliance spokesman Eugene Patron, though a full-out tribute to the one-time King of Pop could attract tens of thousands, given Jackson’s vast popularity.
In a strange twist, all media calls to the Parks Department were referred to Lee’s 40 Acres and Mule Filmworks, which has not responded to The Brooklyn Paper’s numerous requests for comment in time for our thriller of a deadline.
Indeed, all that is known about the event comes from a flier that appears on the 40 Acres Web site.
“You are invited by Spike Lee and the great borough of Brooklyn to celebrate the 51st birthday of Michael Jackson,” the flier for the noon-5 pm event says.
It goes on to say that entertainment will be provided by “DJ Spinna on the wheels of steel” and quotes the key lyrics to “Wanna Be Startin’ Something”: “Ma ma se, ma ma sa, ma ma coo sa.”
News that the event had been moved to Prospect Park calmed Fort Greene concerns. Last week, Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Fort Greene) told a New York Times blog that Lee’s memorial would clearly attract more than the 2,000 people anticipated on the first permit request (perhaps you could blame it on the boogie, as Jackson himself once sang).
“This was supposed to be a small-scale community event,” said James.
Word continues to spread over the Internet like a speed demon (that’s a Jackson song title, silly) of Lee’s homage to the pop icon. Lee directed in the video for the 1996 single, “They Don’t Care About Us.”
Aug. 29 would have been Jacko’s 51st birthday. Jackson died on June 25 under mysterious circumstances.