Performers pay tribute to Michael Jackson
(AP) - Michael Jackson's body arrived at StaplesCenter on Tuesday, his hearse part of a motorcade that smoothlywhisked his golden casket 10 miles across closed freeways from aprivate service at a Hollywood Hills cemetery to his publicmemorial and awaiting fans. The hearse pulled into Staples Center complex and drove into anunderground structure as fans began to file into the venue for thestart of the service. The traffic snarls and logistical nightmares that had beenfeared by police and city officials had not materialized. Thethousands of fans with tickets began filing in early andencountered few problems. Earlier in the morning, Jackson's family members and dozens offriends, led by his parents, Joe and Katherine, were seen enteringa building at the cemetery. News reports estimated as many as 20helicopters circled overhead. Jackson's gold-plated casket, draped in crimson flowers, wasplaced in a the hearse by pallbearers in dark suits and goldneckties. Fans with a ticket wore gold wristbands and picked up agold program guide on their way in. The public memorial was to be televised live around the world.Among the celebrities expected to attend the memorial were StevieWonder, Mariah Carey, Usher, Lionel Richie, Kobe Bryant, JenniferHudson, John Mayer and Martin Luther King III. Outside the Staples Center, Claudia Hernandez, 29, said sheloved Jackson's music as a girl growing up in Mexico. Now aday-care teaching assistant in Los Angeles, Hernandez said shecried watching TV coverage of his death. "I'm trying to hold in my emotions," said Hernandez, wearing awristband to allow her admittance to the service and holding aframed photograph of Jackson. "I know right now he's teaching theangels to dance." Police blocked off perimeter roads and warned those withouttickets to stay away because they would not be able to get near thedowntown venue. Inside the Staples Center, a stage was bathed in blue light anda spray of yellow and orange flowers was placed in front of apodium. The backdrop featured a photo of a smiling Jackson lookingup toward the sky and the words: "In loving memory of MichaelJackson King of Pop. 1958-2009." Outside the arena, video billboards showed a montage of picturesfrom Jackson's life, including those of the singer as a child, withcelebrities such as Luciano Pavarotti and Marcel Marceau, and withmembers of his family. Some fans were allowed past street barriers into the immediatearea around the Staples Center early Tuesday. Dozens of streetvendors sold T-shirts, photos, buttons and other Jacksonmemorabilia. More than 1.6 million people registered for the lottery for freetickets to Jackson's memorial. A total of 8,750 were chosen toreceive two tickets each.