July 6th, 2009
09:14 PM ET

Michael Jackson impersonator on his next step

Rolando Chretien said he feels like a part of him has died.

mj impersonator

The native of French Guyana has been impersonating Michael Jackson for the past 20 years and Monday he stood outside the gates of the late singer's rented Holmby Hills mansion reflecting on the icon's life and death.

"It was like my brother was gone when I heard on the radio that he had died," Chretien said. "Now it is strange because so many people want to take pictures and talk to me."

Fans rushed over to him and he flashed the peace sign at the countless tour buses driving by.

Chretien removed his black fedora out of respect as he walked by the many flowers, signs and gifts admirers left at a makeshift memorial. A film crew working on a documentary about Chretien's life hovered nearby and his manager, Ben Cerceau, said the response has been overwhelming.

"In Santa Barbara, a few thousand people surrounded him and we had to escape to get him out of there," Cerceau said."It's been crazy."

People are fascinated by the impersonator, partly because of their fascination with the star, Cerceau said.

"There was something mysterious about Michael Jackson," Cerceau said. "He was a real star."

And now that he is gone, Chretien said he plans to continue his legacy of thrilling fans and performing.

"I must go on from here with the work," he said, before climbing into a limousine and leaving.

–Lisa Respers France, CNN.com writer

July 6th, 2009
07:33 PM ET

Michael Jackson's music still draws a crowd

Los Angeles is a music town.

With all of the aspiring singers, musicians and producers, as well as the headquarters for the Grammy Awards, it's a city that thrives on its tunes.

At Rockaway Records in Silverlake, owner Wayne Johnson said the hunger for Michael Jackson music had not abated in the almost two weeks since his death.

"We have sold out of just about everything Michael Jackson related," Johnson said. "That happened almost immediately after it was announced that he had died."

Johnson has seen such a phenomena before.

His store, with its diverse collection of CDs, vinyl and memorabilia has been around for 30 years and he said it was the same rush for merchandise when icons like John Lennon, Elvis Presley and Stevie Ray Vaughn died.

Johnson said that not only has he received inquires from Jackson fans looking to buy, but there have also been tons of offers to sell.

"I've been getting a lot of calls from folks in the industry who want to sell things like his gold records," said Johnson, who added that he has thus far declined because the asking prices have been so high. "Stuff like that is to be expected when you have someone like him die so suddenly."

–Lisa Respers France, CNN.com writer

July 6th, 2009
02:42 PM ET

Aspiring musician gets lucky ticket

Donte Zierway felt like the luckiest man in the world on Monday after he scored two tickets to the Michael Jackson memorial.

Donte Zierway

The Buffalo, New York, resident said he had traveled by blind faith to Los Angeles even before registering online for his chance to attend the event.

The aspiring musician said he spent $700 for a plane ticket in anticipation of this being in the city set to mourn the musical legend on Tuesday.

"I would have slept on the street outside of the Staples Center if I had to," Zierway said. "I had to be here."

When he still hadn't received word as to whether he had won tickets, Zierway said he prayed to his mother, Shirley Dean, who was the same age as Jackson when she passed away in October.

Two minutes later, he said, he received email confirmation that he had won.

"I'm so grateful, man," Zierway said over and over.

So grateful that he caught a bus from his hotel and walked 30 minutes in the scorching Los Angeles sun to pick up two tickets and a golden wristband, which will allow him entry into the memorial.

Zierway said he planned to get a haircut and don his best outfit to join other fortunate fans in remembering Jackson.

"This gives me such bragging rights with my friends back home," Vierway said. "I had a friend who was crying on the phone to me when I told her I won. She cried for like half hour in my ear."

– Lisa Respers France, CNN.com writer

July 6th, 2009
12:49 PM ET

Fans pick up memorial tickets

michael jackson memorial tickets

Excitement abounded on Monday in Los Angeles as the winners of the "golden tickets" - the passes to attend Michael Jackson's memorial at the Staples Center - made their way to Dodger Stadium, where the ducats are being distributed.

Word trickled out that traffic was heavy leading to the stadium, as the chosen few sought the magical wristbands that will allow them access to one of the biggest events of the year.

On social networking sites, however, all was not golden. While fans who received the tickets were excited, there were many who expressed their disappointment at not making the cut.

Still no word on when or where the actual private funeral for Jackson will be held.

Lisa Respers France, CNN.com Writer

July 6th, 2009
09:03 AM ET

Walk of Fame attracts nonstop crowds

Fans of Michael Jackson - of all ages, races and from around the world - continue to stop at the Walk of Fame to remember the pop icon. Fans' comments show how the King of Pop inspired.

July 6th, 2009
12:36 AM ET

Artists honor Michael Jackson

Artist Kim Nguyen held her work aloft for potential buyers to see only feet from Michael Jackson’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Kim Nguyen held her work aloft for potential buyers to see only feet from Michael Jackson’s star.
Kim Nguyen held her work aloft for potential buyers to see only feet from Michael Jackson’s star.

Nguyen’s “eco-art” featured images of the singer created using only recycled materials such as plastic bags, cardboard and old newspapers. She had come all the way from Dallas, Texas, she said, to pay tribute to another great artist in the only way she knew.

“[Michael Jackson] was such an idol to everyone,” Nguyen said as she competed against the likes of Spiderman, characters from “Pirates of the Caribbean” and some guys dressed like the members of KISS for the attention of those passing by. “He expressed himself through his music, and I express myself through my art, but we both have a message.”

Nguyen said her message was one of being green and eco-friendly, which is why she uses no paints and no toxins. She started working on the pieces as soon as she learned of Jackson’s death and made her way to Los Angeles early this week.

“I knew everyone would be here to pay their respects,” said Nguyen, whose pieces were selling for $20 a piece. “So many people are here.”

Steven Nash didn’t have to travel far to show off his works of art. The South Central Los Angeles resident allowed tourists to take pictures of his 18 by 24 portraits.

The concept was simple: the front page of The Los Angeles Times newspaper announcing Jackson’s death decorated with glitter and in large, glass frames. Nash said he was inspired by the man and the music.

“It was a way of me expressing how I felt about him and what he meant to us,” Nash said. “He gave himself to the world because he wanted to share his talent with the world.”

It's a sentiment any artist could understand.

–Lisa Respers France, CNN.com writer

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