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    Posted July 6, 2009 by
    Los Angeles, California
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Remembering Michael Jackson

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    Willy Wonka moment getting Jackson memorial tickets at Dodger Stadium


    This was a surreal journey. I was just returning from the Los Angeles Convention Center on July 4th, where a lot of attendees of the annual Anime Expo were able to pay their respects and sign the giant poster of Michael Jackson that was located right across the street by the Staples Center. Before Jackson's untimely passing, I had been envious of fans who attended the announcement of his "farewell" tour at the O2 arena. The previous day, I had signed up online for a chance to attend his memorial, but expected little of it as I imagined millions of other fans were doing so as well.


    When I returned home, I found an apologetic e-mail from the organizers at AEG explaining that "Hundreds of thousands registered, but only a few can be in attendance." However, I noticed two of these identically titled e-mails were in my inbox. I almost wrote it off as a double-posted e-mail, but decided to open the other one and had a Willy Wonka moment. The other e-mail congratulated me on qualifying for a voucher -- I guessed that perhaps the apology e-mail was just sent to everyone since only a few would get vouchers for tickets. I didn't dwell on this and printed out the voucher and headed to Dodger Stadium early on Monday. However, I didn't leave too early as I saw live reports indicating that the LAPD were turning away early arrivals before opening the stadium parking lot at 8AM.


    I was expecting a bloodbath on Sunset Boulevard on the way to the Elysian Park entrance, but I was astonished to find smooth sailing the entire drive. There were many cops at checkpoints before reaching the stadium and I saw them turn away others who did not have printed vouchers. At the stadium's parking lot entrance, a staffer scanned the bar code on the printout and warned that if the code did not register, I would be turned away. After a few seconds that felt like an eternity, the scanner beeped, and she signed the voucher so that I could get my tickets along with a pair of wristbands. I realized the uniqueness of the moment and started clicking snapshots, taking care not to incur the wrath of the LAPD officers who were trying to keep the entire process moving like clockwork. Many of the staffers were just waving down the cars to slow down as they ran around a maze of cones until they reached the end of the line. There the staffer slapped a band around my wrist and warned me not to try to take it off, though it was okay to take a shower with it on. He even got into the moment of my picture taking and allowed me to snap a pic of him taking my signed voucher. The whole process took only a few minutes. As I left the stadium, it seemed as if there were more media vans than attendees in the parking lot, but perhaps that was because I was one of the first ones through at about 8:15AM.


    Here is a video link to CNN's broadcast of this iReport.


    UPDATE (9:30AM): Oddly enough, as I'm writing this, I just received yet another identical mail congratulating me with the same code for a voucher, but unfortunately this won't work as each voucher can only be redeemed once.


    UPDATE (5:00PM): According to the organizers at AEG, the deadline to redeem vouchers for tickets at Dodgers Stadium has been extended until 7:30PM (PST).


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