Michael Jackson memorabilia set to thrill fans
A new exhibition in London has more than 250 items from the late King of Pop's private collections, allowing fans an up-close look at some of his most treasured possessions.London -- From his sequined gloves to his Rolls-Royce, Michael Jackson's personal memorabilia is going on show at the London venue where he would have performed his comeback concerts.
Michael Jackson: The Official Exhibition, which opens Wednesday at the O2 arena, has more than 250 items from the late King of Pop's private collections, allowing fans an up-close look at some of his most treasured possessions.
"We don't have the concerts, we don't have the man any more but what we do have is his legacy and that's what this celebrates," exhibition curator Robert Santelli told AFP.
Jackson died on June 25 aged 50 after taking a lethal cocktail of prescription drugs. He had been rehearsing for his This Is It run of 50 shows at the O2, formerly the Millennium Dome, in southeast London.
The glittering exhibition features clothes, jewellery, paintings, awards, instruments, props and iconic memorabilia such as his sequined white left-hand glove, first worn in 1983.
The collection, drawn largely from warehouses where Jackson resolutely kept costumes and props, also includes the singer's patented anti-gravity lean shoes, plus handwritten lyrics to his 1983 hit Beat It, written without corrections in black felt tip pen.
Items from his Neverland ranch in California are on show, including the entrance gates and the 1967 Rolls-Royce Phantom luxury car he used for driving round Los Angeles with actress Elizabeth Taylor.
Also on display are the costumes prepared for the This Is It shows, including a variety of sequined jackets, his favoured loafer shoes with MJ monogrammed inside and ghoulish outfits for the Thriller routine.
Hats, jewellery, paintings, a throne, a crown, an ornate golden antique piano, a 1984 letter from US president Ronald Reagan and an original Jackson 5 contract are among the other items featured.
The exhibition ties in with Wednesday's launch of the film Michael Jackson's This Is It, taken from rehearsal footage of the star preparing for his O2 dates, and the tie-in album.
"It really was an attempt to allow fans to connect to the memory of Michael Jackson and we couldn't have picked a better place than to open it here," said curator Santelli, executive director of The Grammy Museum in Los Angeles.
"This is something that will be emotional for some fans because not only does it seek to honour and illustrate his creative genius, but also there's an emotional connection here that fans will find very touching.
"There will be a few tears shed in this exhibition, I'm sure."
Rather than chronicle Jackson's life, the exhibition galleries show off aspects of Jackson, such as his dancing, home life, awards and fashion.
The musician's close friend Miko Brando, son of Oscar-winning US actor Marlon Brando, helped pick out the exhibition items.
"It's great that we're here with his memorabilia stuff where he would have performed the 50 shows," Brando told AFP.
"I think he'd like his fans to see what he had, to show off his stuff. You see another side of Michael: his taste in art, his wardrobe and cars.
"He kept almost everything. He didn't believe in throwing anything away, thank God. This is just a fraction of the pieces he has."
Jackson, Brando's best man and the godfather to his daughter, is sorely missed, his friend said.
"I'm still numb. I don't think I'll ever come to terms with it," said Brando.
"It's been horrendous. It's not something I'd want anyone to go through. Nothing can bring him back. It's still a shock."
The exhibition runs for three months in London, and will then visit two other cities outside Europe, yet to be announced. Tickets cost 15 pounds (24.50 dollars, 16.50 euros).