I couldn't resist. I knew it was going to be a madhouse in downtown L.A. for Michael Jackson's memorial service, but I had to go see what it was like -- not because I'm a super fan, but purely for the urban novelty of a huge swath of downtown closed off for thousands of fans and mourners.
But what really struck me as I was wandering around amongst the masses was the huge percentage of them that were neither fans nor mourners. Lined along the sidewalks leading to the memorial's venue were dozens of vendors, selling everything you could think of with Michael Jackson's name or face pasted on. From buttons to t-shirts to hand-painted portraits, the informal economy was booming down at MJ Central.