Preserving The Jackson Hometown Legacy and History…Before Its Too Late!

While I am busy working on my next post on They Don’t Care About Us, I wanted to pass along a press release that was sent to me from The Jackson Family Foundation. I am a huge supporter of what this organization is trying to accomplish, which is to make the Michael Jackson Museum in Gary a reality. But more on that in just a sec. Here is the press release. Now, you may be wondering what is the connection between this event in France and Michael’s history in Gary. Well, read on and I’ll explain. Simply put, receiving this press release from the Jackson Family Foundation served to remind me that this is a very important topic that I’ve been meaning to address for some time.

Jackson Family Foundation

“Preserving the Epic Global Legacy of Michael Jackson & the First Family of Music, the Jacksons”

 

 For Immediate Release

MICHAEL JACKSON’S FATHER TO ATTEND WEEK OF JACKSON CELEBRATIONS AT OXYGEN VILLA IN CANNES, FRANCE

 

Las Vegas, NV /15/2012) — Mr. Simon Sahouri, President of the Jackson Family Foundation is pleased to announce that Mr. Joseph Jackson, father of Michael Jackson, Patriarch of the First Family of Music and creator of the Jackson Five, will attend this years’ Cannes International Film Festival.

 

Mr. Jackson will use the occasion to kick off “A Jackson Week of celebrations” starting on Sunday the 20th of May 2012 through the 25th in Cannes at the Private Villa Oxygen, Hosted by Lifestyle extraordinaire Richard Nilsson owner of Villa Oxygen and Superieur Lounge. The week long Celebrations will include a VIP Gala Bash, Entertainment, Michael Jackson Impersonators, Exclusive Clothing Designers, Fashion Shows and Media. Part of the proceeds from all these events during Jackson Week will be donated to the Jackson Family Foundation to continue with the Legacy.

 

Accompanying Mr. Jackson in the festivities include Mr. Simon Sahouri, President of the Jackson Family Foundation; Miss Rose Marie Perez, Founder of Total Prestige; Michael Jackson’s former business manager, Mr. Dieter Wiesner; Mr. Marco Derhy Founder and CEO of c l e a n ww; Donald A. Barton, President of Artistry Media Group,Inc.; Mr. Charles Everhardt,President of Dance Holdings; Mr.Odie Anderson,President of Unico Designs; Mr. Zia Atabay,Founder and CEO of NITV UNITED LLC.; Mr. Carlos Lopez Producer of “Forever King of Pop”.

 

Jackson Family Foundation: The Jackson Family Foundation is a non profit organization established by Joseph and Katherine Jackson for the purpose of developing the Jackson Family Institute in connection with Michael Jackson Performing Arts and Culture Center & Concert Hall and Jackson Family Museum in Gary, Indiana, the birthplace of the Jackson musical family. For more information visit http://www.jacksonfamilyfoundation.us

 

Villa Oxygen & Superieur Lounge: The First LifeStyle Designer in the World is known for his cutting edge art and cinematic performance where he combines art, fashion, music to an orgy of entertainment. In 2004 the LifeStyle company Residence Superieur was born and in 2012 Superieur Lounge was launched as the First Private Celebrity Club on the French Riviera.  www.richardnilsson.com

 

Dieter Wiesner Management: Mr. Dieter Wiesner is global business and entertainment manager, who among others managed the Late Michael Jackson from 1996 until his death in 2009. His latest biography on Michael was released by Random House Germany and is currently a top 10 best seller in Germany. http://www.dieterwiesner.com

 

TotalPrestige: is a leading company offering luxury lifestyle management services to high net worth individuals, celebrities and corporations. http://www.totalprestige.com

 

 

 

C l e a n is a corporate and celebrity identity, image and reputation management company. c l e a n works closely with celebrity and international clients to transform their product, event,or service into a unique sensory experience that cuts through today’s traditional marketing noise. For more information visit; www.cleanww.com
Mr. Zia Atabay Founder and CEO of NITV United, Started his career in the entertainment industry at the age of fourteen. After releasing a best-selling record at 18, he established his career at CBS Recording Company and with a vision for the future he opened in March of 2000 and founded NITV to bridge the gap between all Cultures and the American Culture and even Iran. For more information visit; www.NitvUnited.com

 

Artistry Media Group: is a production and representation company for motion pictures, television programs, video games and animation produced and distributed around the world. The company develops and produces a diverse array of intellectual property and films worldwide, including United States, Canada, Europe, Thailand, China (and other Asia countries) and South Africa.  www.artistrymediagroup.com

 

Unico designs: Odie and Sharon Anderson’s “passion for fashion” is evident the moment you walk into one of their clothing stores. Their stores cater to men, women and children who have a special event or just want to look fabulous for occasions. Unico Designs the first store started with that very concept “Unico” means unique or original in Spanish.  “Because there is only one of you-there is only one Unico” was our first slogan Odie says.  unicodesignsltd@aol.com.

Forever King of Pop: is a show for all ages, The objective of the show is to create the same atmosphere that one can perceive in any concert of definite characteristics, with live music and singing, a perfectly coordinated dance group, with lead players each in their own role, all this guiding the spectator through fine line that recognizes Michael Jackson’s universally recognized hits. www.foreverkingofpop.net

***

For more information about the Jackson’s Week and schedule of events, please contact Richard@richardnilsson.com 

Press and Media Inquiries please email:  pressoffice@totalprestige.com

Awhile back, I had posted an article on Facebook that reported the sad fact that over a year and a half after the announcement of the proposed Michael Jackson museum, the site still sits empty and everything appears to be at a standstill. Gary’s then mayor, Rudy Clay, was on the way out, and the project was simply not a priority for the encumbent. It would be left to Gary’s new mayor, Karen-Freeman Wilson, to pick up the pieces of the project and move forward…or not.

“…Today, the proposed site is empty. Instead of the Michael Jackson Museum, there’s an abandoned stadium, empty fields, and a city golf course.-Cheryl Burton.

http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/special_segments&id=8442413

This video, accompanying Burton’s article, highlights the struggle to get The Michael Jackson Museum off the ground:

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wa1Hge9Ykrc[/tube]

This recent update in an article on Karen-Freeman Wilson reveals that the project remains besought with difficulties:

“There’s all this controversy about who represents whom and I’m like, you know what. I’m not going to try to work out y’alls differences for you. I need to talk to one person,” Freeman-Wilson says. “You all determine who that is because this isn’t my primary initiative. I’m not opposed to it but I’m not going to spend a whole lot of energy on it because I just don’t see it. There are a lot of things on our laundry list that are much more close to being done and being realistic.”

Her voice remains even and does not reveal a shred of frustration. Switching topics, she discusses the proposed Jackson museum.

“You know, if somebody brings me a viable proposal that is financed, I’d do it. We can have it right there,” Freeman-Wilson says, pointing towards her office window where across the street the Genesis Convention Center sits. “I’d tear down the Genesis Center in a heartbeat. But …I got something in the mail yesterday or the day before and there are lines where they clearly cut and paste signatures, I’m like what is this?”

Just as she completes her thought, Freeman-Wilson looks down at her office phone and laughs. She never completely hung up the phone from the call with the Jackson family member.

“Well,” she smiles. “I don’t say anything that I wouldn’t say on the 10 o’clock news.”

http://www.dominionofnewyork.com/2012/03/12/after-michael-jackson-can-garys-new-black-mayor-restore-it-to-glory/

Freeman-Wilson’s words hit on two very real obstacles that have prevented this project from moving forward-the ongoing struggle between the Jackson family and the Michael Jackson estate (this is what she means when she is saying, “I’m not going to try to work out y’all’s differences for you” -and I do not blame her one bit, nor do I envy her position in being caught between those warring factions!) and the city’s financial struggles. It’s been no secret that, for years, Gary, Indiana-a once booming steel town- has become a struggling community and, some say, a virtual ghost town (This video is the first of a multi-part series, but so as to not drain this site’s memory, I am only posting Part 1; the rest can easily be accessed on Youtube):

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghQSfqXe5Fo[/tube]

The segregation that they speak of in this video is a large part of what eventually led to the city’s economic decline (as one person put it, when the whites left cause they didn’t want to live with the blacks, they took the businesses and the money with ’em!).

While it can be argued that a Michael Jackson Museum might bring much needed revenue into the community, what we’re stuck with for now is an unfortunate Catch-22. To reap the benfits of that revenue, the city first has to have the money to spend on the project in the first place-as the old saying goes, “It takes money to make money.”

The monument that has been erected in front of the Jackson house. It's nice, but in a town where most of the Jackson family history is fast disappearing, is it enough?

When I was in Gary in 2010, the one thing that really struck me as the saddest was the realization that so much of Michael’s-and the Jackson family’s-history and legacy is being irretrievably lost. While the Jackson home is in good repair (in fact, probably better repair than it’s been in years) and remains a favorite tourist attraction, it is really about the only building connected to Michael’s history in Gary that is currently preserved (that, and the two schools nearby-Roosevelt High and Garnett Elementary). But most of the clubs, studios, and other places of note where Michael and The Jackson 5 first performed are either abandoned and in desrepair, or have long since been converted into other businesses (often, with no recognition of the Jackson connection) or have been razed completely.

Consider these descriptions from a 2009 article on what Michael Jackson fans touring Gary, Indiana can expect to see (boldfaced passages are my emphasis):

Mr. Lucky’sLounge (1100 Grant St.). In 1964, the Jackson 5 held one of their first performances in this now-defunct lounge. The new owner has expressed plans to sell the hardwood stage and exterior bricks for those who want to own a piece of Jackson history.

Garnett Elementary School (21st Avenue) and Roosevelt High School (730 W. 25th Ave.). Jackson attended Garnett (now closed) and performed with his brothers in a talent show at Roosevelt (they won). Roosevelt is the city’s first and only school built for African Americans, and its students included three Jackson siblings: Rebbie, Jackie and Tito.

Knights of Columbus Building (333 W. Fifth Ave.). The brothers performed at a variety of venues, including the ballroom of this historic brick structure, considered one of the tallest buildings in Gary. It’s now an affordable-housing high-rise. They also played in the ballroom of the Hotel Gary (northwest corner of Sixth Avenue and Broadway), now an affordable-housing high-rise for seniors.

Gordon Keith home (1025 Taney St.). Keith, who ran Steeltown Records, produced “Big Boy” and “We Don’t Have to Be Over 21 (to Fall in Love)” before the group left his label to sign with Motown Records in 1968. “People go by the Jackson house,” said Keith, “then they come by my home.” The Jacksons used his residence as rehearsal space, and Keith owns the group’s first demo record.

Small Farms section. The Jackson 5 frequently sang and danced at juke joints and honky-tonk after-hours spots in the more rural parts of Gary. Such haunts as Joe Green’s Club Woodlawn, Big Steve’s, White Tiger and Yellow Dragon no longer exist, but the ducks probably won’t complain if you crank up “I’ll Be There” in memoriam.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/10/AR2009071001646.html

And this was three years ago, so you can only imagine how much worse the situation has probably gotten since then, with no efforts underway to preserve these buildings or to maintain their legacy as important elements of the Jackson family history.

For me, the saddest thing was seeing the state of Mercy Hospital, where Michael was born. Mercy Hospital is an abandoned, decaying  building with broken windows. I only saw the outside, but here is a video that someone shot from the inside and posted on Youtube.

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXkh430I6bI[/tube]

How many times have you ever visited the birthplace of a famous person and walked away thinking, I can’t believe he/she came from such a humble beginning! But looking at the above video, can you ever imagine that this is where The King of Pop was born? It looks more like something from out of Ghost Hunters!

One fact is indisputable: The physical emblems of Michael’s Gary, Indiana history are eroding fast, and I suspect within a few years, the house will be all that is left-and even that is no guarantee. I, myself, have no easy answers or solutions, other than to help bring awareness of this problem. But I would like to see something done, and I think it is within our power to do it. We can’t afford to be complacent, and we can’t just say, “Oh, that is the city of Gary’s responsibility” or “Let the Jacksons worry about it if it means so much to them; they’re rich!”

Yes, they undoubtedly have more money than you or I. But still, in a lot of ways, their hands are tied just like the rest of us. The Michael Jackson Museum is one of those projects for which I really wish the family and the estate could come together on, and work out their differences. Elvis fans have Graceland, a place where they can not only gather to visit his grave and pay respects, but can also contribute to the local economy, thus ensuring that their beloved shrine will always be there. And even a casual stroll through downtown Memphis can take one to any number of preserved locales that are connected to his history.

But what do Michael Jackson fans have when they want to visit Gary? As I said, the house on Jackson Street…and not a heck of a lot more.  While the museum cannot replace what has already been lost or may be lost in the future, it can at the very least provide a focal point for Michael Jackson’s historical ties to the city. I would imagine that when children visit the Jackson home for the first time, they may know that this is the home of someone famous (otherwise, why are all those grown-ups taking pictures, dressing up with fedoras and sun shades on, and buying so much stuff!) but wouldn’t it be great to be able to bring them to a place where they can begin to understand why he was so famous and beloved-and so important to the town! What message does it send to the youth of Gary when the only thing left to commemorate its favorite native son, other than the house, is…an empty lot?

I am going to suggest a few things that fans can do:

Email Mayor Karen-Freeman Wilson, and let ker know that there is a viable interest from the fan community in seeing this project completed!

kfreemanwilson@ci.gary.in.us

Write to Gary’s Department of Community Development:

Department of Community Development
839 Broadway, Suite 302
Gary Indiana 46402
TEL 219-881-5075
FAX 219-881-5085

Write, email or phone Caren Jones, superintendent of Gary’s Department of Public Parks:

455 Massachusetts St.
Gary, IN 46402
(219) 886-7099
(219) 881-0008 Fax
cajones@ci.gary.in.us
asmith@ci.gary.in.us

Please try to support (whenever you can) any MJ-related events that are taking place in Gary. This sends a very strong message to officials that it is in the economic best interest of the city to “keep MJ fans in Gary.”

The King of Pop Fanvention (the event I attended in 2010) is taking place again this year in August.  I can’t say enough good things about the people behind this event, and I would really, really like to encourage all fans who may be in the area and can afford it to attend! This year’s guests will be Joe Vogel and nurse Cherylin Lee. Although it is being hosted in nearby Chicago, many of the convention’s major events will be taking place right in Gary. I don’t know yet if I will be able to go this year, but this event is definitely a wonderful way to help support Michael’s legacy in Gary, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Michael’s birthday than in his own hometown!

http://www.mjfanvention.com/

And, mostly,  I would like to encourage everyone to continue to support and contribute to The Jackson Family Foundation, the organization that is working so hard to make this dream a reality:

http://www.jacksonfamilyfoundation.us/

 

13 thoughts on “Preserving The Jackson Hometown Legacy and History…Before Its Too Late!”

  1. Thanks for writing this article. I too wish that the Jackson’s and the estate could work together to preserve Michael’s memory, especially in Gary. There is a lot of bad blood between the two. Some of it we know why and the rest we can speculate, that but that would be another article in itself. Gary has always seemed to suffer long and hard. There is really nothing there to make people want to come other than the Jacksons. I do agree that the Mayor needs to see how she can bring businesses and people to Gary if she starts the campaign to rally for the museum and restoring other historical attractions pertaining to the Jacksons. But again what ties it all up is the fact that the property is owned by the Jackson Foundation and she can not do much without their permission. Otherwise, I think that the estate would probably be willing to talk to her about it.

    It is truly sad that Michael may not have the honor of having this type of memorial built in his honor. It bad enough that he had to leave his home Neverland, which I would also like to see restored fully to it former glory. I do disagree against the idea of a casino being included in the museum plans. They are thinking about revenue, but I sure this is not the image that Michael would want to be portrayed about him. He would want a learning place and a place for children and families to come in a wholesome environment.

    1. I agree about the casino. It’s not that I’m a goody-goody, but I think for now they really need to focus on keeping this plan somewhat scaled back and realistic. Having the museum and perhaps the cultural arts performing center should be their primary goals for now-that’s just my two cents.

  2. Raven, when I first became aware that the JFF wanted to construct a museum and performing arts center in Gary, I was thrilled that this would be a wonderful testament to Michael’s memory. Now, I don’t believe it will happen, due to the lack of cooperation between the Family and the Estate. And seeing Dieter Weisner affiliated with Joe Jackson doesn’t help the credibility issue. In the notice you posted, it’s written that Weisner was Michael’s manager from 1996 til 2009, false just on its face. Weisner was photographed with Prince Jackson when Prince traveled to Germany for presentation of Michael’s lyrics (something to do with the Bambi awards). Weisner, Konitzer and Schaffel “handled” Michael in the early 2000’s. Weisner filed a law suit against Michael. Why is Joe Jackson associating himself with this man? Were he to shed himself of questionable characters from Michael’s past (some fans believing Weisner worked against Michael’s interests and, yes, stole from Michael), he just might be able to enhance his credibility to the point of obtaining enough monetary support to actually fund the project, including the cooperation of the Estate. I feel the fans can do just so much when the Foundation can’t seem to get it’s act together. Personally, I’m hoping one day Neverland will be restored as it was when Michael owned it, a place of hope and joy for children, perhaps his own hildren will see to it when they come of age. It doesn’t appear his siblings or parents want to take any initiative in this area. Thank you for this post.

    1. I agree about the association with Weisner. When you read between the lines of a lot of things, just like Mayor Freeman-Wilson’s frustrations she expressed in her interview, you start to see what’s really going on and why there have been so many obstacles to getting this project off the ground. I don’t think she is opposed to the idea at all, but as she said, it’s not her top priority right now, and it’s not her job to put a proposal and budget in place, or even to figure out who she’s supposed to be talking to. She’s relying on others to get their act together and present her with a concrete plan-and so far, evidently, it just hasn’t happened. Too many warring factions. And what was the deal with the cut and pasted signatures?

      However, I also do believe that seeing more positive interest from the MJ fan community as a whole would help spur the interest. In Gary itself, there seems to be quite a bit of apathy, if conversations on some of their local forums are any indication. Again, that doesn’t surprise me completely. It’s a poor and struggling community. When you have children to feed, and teachers to pay, it’s hard to justify spending millions on a Jackson cultural complex center. But on the flipside, the advantage to the community would be immeasurable. As it stands now, the city’s biggest boom comes once a year-the weekend of Michael’s birthday. With the cultural arts center, this could possibly multiply into a year-round boom.

      I think several things need to happen. They need to know that fans will support this venture, and will be willing to come to Gary and spend money there (and not just once a year). They need the estate and Jackson family to work together (not against each other) and to come up with a realistic and viable plan.

      Also (and this is just me talking) I would like to see some of the proceeds go towards the actual upkeep and preservation of buildings and sites associated with the Jackson family history there. That was really my whole point for doing this piece, because I have seen with my own eyes how dire the situation is there, and I would like to see something done about it-before it IS too late.

  3. Thank you for the article, Raven ! I´ve heard about the decline of Gary in a documentary called “The Earth after the disappearance of mankind” and Gary was shown as an Example what happens to city´s, when the human race is gone ! Can you imagine that ? Is the condition of Gary that awful ? I´ve done further research and found the same video of St. Mary´s on youtube.
    I would like to help and do what I can, but we should write to the estate too, to buy back Neverland and open it for the fans ! I have heard some rumors that NL has been sold, have you heard anything about this ? Not that I would normally give something onto rumors, but who knows ?

    1. What I really noticed about Gary is that there is a sharp contrast between the south side and the north side, where most of the town’s affluent live. It’s like once you cross to that side, it’s almost like being in an entirely different town. But yes, I would say the south side is about as bad as what you hear. I remember most of the buildings and houses looking very dilapidated, and there did not seem to be a lot of people out and about. They always talk about the high crime rate there, but my question would have to be: Who is there to commit the crimes?

      But then, when we went to the Railcats baseball game, all of a sudden there were thousands of people and I kept thinking, Where did they all come from? Lol.

      This, as far as I know, has been the last update on the status of Neverland:

      http://articles.nydailynews.com/2010-12-18/gossip/27084805_1_neverland-ranch-music-school-untimely-death

      I don’t know if this plan is still in the works.

  4. I agree that Jackson family and the executors of MJs estate should come together to make this happen before everything is lost. The estate goes for the quick wins and their market is not only the fans. I don’t hold it against them because they are a business first , but Michael deserves something of historical value in a defining place.
    If you compare Michael to other deceased artists, on one side of the spectrum you have Lennon and Hendrix whose legacy are kept music related. On the other side, is Elvis whose Graceland and merchandise seem to have outgrown his music legacy .Its EP estate major income. Graceland is attractive for many reasons ; its Elvis resting place, his last home, and he lived in Memphis most of his life. The city benefited in the Graceland slipstream, and went out of their way to facilitate Elvis mania with hotels ,restaurants, shops .There are also many museums nearby and all year events , making a trip to Graceland worth the money, even for non Elvis fans. They still have more than half a million visitors every year..
    Michael does not have these assets. His homes and places are scattered here and there. Las Vegas will have the permanent cirque show and exhibit but is not a place that I would visit. Even if Neverland returns to MJs estate it will never be a Graceland , the infrastructure , the remoteness and the rural location does not allow for that number of visitors. Also there is still the stigma of Michael humiliated in his own home, and his refusal to go back. Hayvenhurst is in a residential area not fit for mass tourism. Gary does not have the potential of Graceland , no infrastructure for tourism , no hotels, sights and events and very important for tourism, safety. If you come from the other side of the world you want more than just a once a year event and it seems the Jackson home is not even open to the public. Somehow I’m happy it will not be a Graceland .
    I understand the cities priorities but history and culture are also important for citizens to be proud of and the Jacksons are a part of Garys history.
    Even if they establish the museum, to keep it going will need a steady number of visitors. Which makes it a chicken egg situation.
    There might also not be enough interest from part of the fans to go to Gary because they don’t see the historical meaning or because sectarianism will keep some from going to a place they consider Jackson family .
    A year after Michael passed I made a road trip to Michael places, NY Apollo , Spike Lees B day bash for Michael, Forrest Lawn sept 3, the Autry museum with an expo of his western style outfits, his Hayvenhurst and Carolwood homes and Gardner auditorium ( then still covered) .Didn’t make it to Neverland because of the 2x4hrs drive. I would certainly have included Gary if there was more to see and do. Its a very expensive trip that you can only afford once in many years. So they need to concentrate MJ events , exhibits and places to make it more attractive for visitors.
    Next year for Mjs 55 B day I will be in Brooklyn again, the Bday bash, was one of the best celebrations I attended, dancing in the open air with 20 000 fans . It would be great if Gary could have an event like that. For a start they could open the Jackson home to the public for an entrance fee, organize a Jackson/MJ sightseeing tour and Cirque Immortal could stall there for a few days. If they don’t have hotelbeds enough they could put up a temporary camping or Gary citizens could rent rooms to visitors and also benefit from it. That could be a good try out to see if there is enough interest for this kind of events. Im just freewheeling , but they will need a lot of creativity. Maybe they should start on a smaller scale with a few good events and not only aim at huge projects that may never come to fruition.

    1. I believe that thinking smaller is a good idea. A lot of these grand ideas, as you said, may sound great in theory but are not so realistic or practical when it comes to a community struggling the way that Gary is. They should start smaller and build up. My worst fear is that this is going to shape up to be an “all or nothing” kind of deal.

      The last couple of years they’ve had the fanvention in Chicago, although this year I think they are making the effort to have more of the fanvention’s events take place in Gary. The first year, they hosted it in Merrillville, which is a small suburb of Gary and a very pleasant little town. This was where Michael actually stayed when he visited Gary in 2003. I preferred it to Chicago because it was small and I could find my way around easily, but the appeal of Chicago is that there is simply more to offer and more reasons to draw people to come. But the sad part is that this event really SHOULD be in Gary proper, and I hope one day it can be.

      Another factor contributing to the success and revenue generated by Graceland is the fact that it’s not only open to the public, but is also a mansion. Fans feel like they have something to actually SEE and EXPERIENCE when they go there. You can’t really compare that to merely standing OUTSIDE a little, four-room house. Then add to that the fact that there are no nearby shops or restaurants, and that the house is smack dab in the middle of a very run down and dangerous neighborhood (when I was there, everyone advised against visiting the house alone) and there you have it.

      Of course, every year around his birthday and death anniversary, that changes. You have the crowds amassing on the house; you have the vendors; you have the celebrations and people spending money. But that is only twice a year, and once fans have spent an hour or so standing in front of the fence that now encloses the house, there really isn’t much else to see or do. Even if fans could go inside for guided tours, there’s not much that can really be said about a four-room house-the tour would essentially be over in about ten minutes, lol. Still, due to its historical value and interest to fans, it would definitely attract more year-round visitors if they opened the house for guided tours (however, the downside to that is that more people coming and going equals more wear and tear on the house; whereas a mansion like Graceland is equipped to handle hundreds of visitors a day, I would imagine that kind of traffic would take its wear and tear on the little Jackson house in a hurry. This is partly the reason why the house has been fenced off, to protect it from all the traffic and those literally trying to take a piece of it with every visit).

      1. I know what you mean by the neighborhood being scary. I live an hour away from Gary and only go on June 25 and Aug 29 when I know there will be crowds. I come early and park as close as I can.

        On these anniversary days, they have street vendors, a stage with dancers set up, and some food booths around the home. This helps pass the time, but only so much. But yes, I am frustrated that you are not allowed to go inside the home or on the lawn even (since 2010 when they built the fence). If it wasn’t for the stage set up with singers and dancers to watch, it would be hard to justify an hour or longer drive for just a viewing that takes maybe 10-15 min. Also last year, there was talk of charging $12. For what?? You can’t go in the house or on the lawn and there is no other entertainment but local. I think if fans are charged for nothing much to see, traffic will reduce quickly.
        Again, like you said, catch 22. You have to provide me something that I want to pay for but it will cost money to provide it.

        Last year the draw on 8/29 was Katherine and MJs kids being there. Unless they keep coming every year, I fear as time passes from MJs death, the crowds will dwindle even on these days.

      2. LOL at your 10 minute guided tour of the 4 room house.
        I meant a city tour to the Jacksons elementary school, the recording studio, mr Chows etc.
        One last thing, as far as I know, and I hope Im wrong, the Jacksons, including Michael never did anything back for Gary.
        I can imagine Garys mayor thinking ,first see then believe.
        Since the brothers and the estates Cirque Immortal are on tour, they could regain credibility with a free concert in Gary for the deprived who cant afford a concert ticket.
        I think Michael would approve.

        1. Also the Jackson boys are doing a show of their Unity tour in Merrillville, IN on 6/22. They could donate some proceeds- if they really wanted to- to nearby Gary to help get the ball rolling to fix up the town to make way for a future museum.

          But it seems like the Jacksons just wanted to run as fast as they could and not let the door hit them on the way out, never looking back. Michael only came back in 2003 because he was coming or going from a courthouse in Indianapolis. Have the parents or siblings ever come back?

          1. As far as I know, only for brief appearances. It WOULD be very nice if they would do that.

            Apparently, Michael endorsed the idea of building and establishing the Michael J. Jackson Performing Arts Center as far back as his 2003 visit, and agreed to promise help with fundraising efforts. I would imagine, however, that his legal problems (which he could not have foreseen in the summer of 2003) probably put a dent in those plans, as they did for just about everything, unfortunately.

            http://api.ning.com/files/vlGrTNwsr9zYWMJ8edrq-sZkHR5UQohdoUnGY8puTe-Xzd3rjSEkLHjvIB*95RZ31yMkiwwV55WLHPgxQAuJ*I8z3i7aBDt7/MichaelsEndorsementLetter.pdf

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