Jacko's memorial service means boffo box office for L.A. economy


If you work in downtown Los Angeles, I hope you had the sense to call in sick today. With thousands of fans lined up to get into Michael Jackson's memorial service at the Staples Center, the usual L.A. traffic is gridlocked.

But area hotels, restaurants and shopping venues aren't complaining.

"The magnitude of this event is 10 to 100 times of any other event we've had," John Kelly, general manager of the Holiday Inn near Staples Center told the Los Angeles Times. All 195 rooms in his hotel were booked within 48 hours of the memorial service announcement, he said.

Local restaurants are geared up to be slammed as well. A man who answered the phone at the Original Pantry restaurant laughed when asked how business was going this morning. "Crazy. Full," he said, before hanging up. All told, the event could dump some $4 million into the area, as Jackson fans eat, drink and make merry in memory of the Gloved One..

The memorial is scheduled to start about now, West Coast Time. I'm not going near any freeway for the rest of the day. But I won't need to: the event is being covered to death, on TV and being live-blogged and streamed.....

Let's all just watch it here.