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City fans plan to honor a lost idol

MICHAEL Jackson fans in Shanghai joined those from around the world in mourning the death of the King of Pop, some gathering for memorial events and others spending their hours in personal remembrance.

"Everyone is a Michael Jackson fan," said Michael Ohlsson, a Shanghai-based DJ and party organizer.

He and his group Antidote added a special session commemorating the late singer to their party at the Shelter on Yongfu Road last night. The tribute set was put together by veteran Shanghai DJ V-nuts from the DJ collective Lab.

Among the other public events, dozens of fans planned to get together this evening to enjoy Jackson's music, books about his life and everything else related to the singer. The location of the memorial event hadn't been set as of yesterday evening, but it will be held somewhere around People's Square, according to an online posting by "Rabbit," one of the organizers.

Opportunity lost

A key regret expressed yesterday is that fans will never get a chance to attend a Michael Jackson concert in Shanghai.

"Since Jackson announced his comeback to the stage and his 50 concerts in London, all the performing companies around the world hoped to invite him to their countries," said Li Bin, director of operations at the Beijing Gehua Culture Center Co.

He indicated he had been talking to Jackson's people about a possible concert in Beijing or Shanghai, but no firm arrangements had been made.

For most local fans, the news of Jackson's death was a huge shock.

Chelsea Liang, a 29-year-old Web designer, asked for sick leave from work yesterday because he "felt dizzy reading the news."

Liang has been a fan for 17 years, ever since he entered middle school.

"Although kids my age didn't get to witness him at his peak, a lot of my classmates and friends were still very attracted to his songs and performances, and especially to him -- MJ, as a person and a legend," said Larissa Wu, a 15-year-old fan whose 39-year-old father also likes the singer's music.

French dancer, choreographer and Michael Jackson impersonator Michael Sumana said he was devastated by the death of his artistic idol.

Sumana, who runs the Shanghai-based dance company Tempo Productions, said Jackson changed the course of his life when as a young boy he first saw the "Beat It" music video.

Sumana said he was already looking to do a tribute to the late King of Pop and was hoping to bring together dancers in Shanghai for a performance in the next few weeks.


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