City officials have told hordes of Michael Jackson fans to beat it from Fort Greene Park — and head 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 Friday 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.
“Police are consulting with the Parks Department right now to determine configuration and capacity,” said the spokesman, Eugene Patron.
It is unclear whether there will be live music at the event, Patron added, though there will be a Jumbotron-style video screen.
The confirmation that the event had moved to Prospect Park calmed Fort Greene concerns. Last week, Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Fort Greene) told a New York Times blog, The Local, 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.”
It remains unclear how many people are expected at the newly expanded event. Lee’s 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks has not answered The Brooklyn Paper’s numerous requests for comment in time for our thriller of an online deadline.
But a full-out tribute to the one-time King of Pop could attract tens of thousands, given Jackson’s vast popularity.
Aug. 29 would have been Jacko’s 51st birthday. Jackson died on June 25 under mysterious circumstances.