Field Trip: Michael Jackson's $3 Million Yard Sale
For those of you still in mourning since hearing that the Michael Jackson auction was called off, there's no reason to keep crying into your Captain EO pillowcase. All of the items are on display (though not available for bidding) in Beverly Hills, and a visit to the exhibit is more enlightening (and frightening) that you can imagine. Even if you couldn't get that ticket to Coachella, we have your all access pass to Neverland.
"The Collection of the King of Pop" - as the banners around town proclaim - is about 1400 pieces of expensive furniture and furnishings, platinum records, Disneyana and hundreds of other items that would have made one hell of a fun auction for Julien's Auctions, the organization originally contracted but eventually sued by Michael Jackson and his associates in the hope of stopping the event. A judge ruled in favor of the "auction house to the stars" but Julien's decided that goodwill was the best course of action.
Near the entrance, a Jackson concert video loops on a monstrous screen and the sound carries throughout the exhibit, from the arcade to the bedroom sets, further reminding attendees that it was musical talent (and possibly the song catalog of the Beatles) that bought all these nice things.When we were there on Thursday afternoon, the crowd was a mix of Michael Jackson "supporters" (like a fan, only more proactive), parents with children (the parents having much more fun), and othermorbidly curious onlookers having ironic fun taking photos with the various life-size sculptures (coming to a Facebook profile near you).
Two of those "supporters" -- Lisadawn Marble and Brian Crane, friends in their 30s -- had actually visited Neverland on multiple occasions, and noted that despite the presence of hundreds of items, something wasn't quite right.
"What's missing is the absolute feeling of the intention of caring that Neverland has," Marble explained. "When you get to Neverland, all your problems disappear, and everybody says the same thing: 'When you walk in there, it's the greatest place on earth.'"
The most startling thing about the expedition is not the volume or the variety of Jackson's personal property, but that it isn't all that crazy. The "Wacko Jacko" stuff is present -- realistic mannequins, paintings of Jackson in various stages of royalty, and many, many bedazzled gloves -- but most of the stuff is pretty classy, in a Buckingham Palace gravy-tureen kind of way.
Darren Julien, President and CEO of Julien's auctions complimented Jackson on his fondness for the better things in life: "Michael doesn't do anything on the cheap, so there were no Ikea tables. It was all high-end. He has very good taste and he likes everything on a big scale. If it's over-the-top and grand, that's what he would buy."
Unfortunately, we can't buy any of the items, but it's not like any of us need a second jeweled crown, especially with someone else's initials.
[The public exhibition runs through April 25th at 9900 Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills (behind the Beverly Hilton). Admission is $20 with a portion of the proceeds going to the MusiCares Foundation. Check out the Julien's Auctions website for more details.]
[Photo Credit: Matt McCluskey for Movieline]