Tweeting the Jackson Funeral

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Originally published on Advocate.com July 06 2009 11:00 PM ET

Of the millions who tried to get tickets to Michael Jackson's gigantic funeral, Advocate News Editor Andrew Harmon was one of the few to actually win a pair. He kept us posted through the day with Tweets from the Staples Center.

- Large swath of LA awakened at 5:20 am to sound of news helicopters bound for Forest Lawn. It begins

- Jackson's body to take center stage at memorial

- Cable news stages full-throttle hate parade this morning for Jackson-bashing Rep. Peter King (R-NY).

- Stretch of the 101 -- quite possibly world's busiest freeway -- temp shut down in encino for funeral procession.

- Inside memorial perimeter: fans in rhinestone-studded funereal black, iPod speakers blasting "Thriller." LAPD cavalcade on horseback.

- Scattered protesters outside barricades..."NAMBLA Salutes Michael" among the posterboard/Sharpie sentiments.

- Obese Gene Simmons lookalike shouting at international media...who seem more than grateful for the freakshow footage

- Crowds on surrounding street currently in the hundreds...not thousands or 1 million as anticipated

- Smooth criminal surrealism: LAPD officer tells excited fans to "clear this area." Calm and orderly inside...

- Funeral procession has reached Staples Center, memorial ETA 10 minutes.

- Quiet inside, save the occasional "We love you Michael!" still waiting...

- Ushers moving to fill empty seats, overflow viewing at Nokia half full

- Mariah takes stage in front of casket...

- Queen Latifah reads Maya Angelou tribute poem: "He took a pose on his toes for all of us. And we knew that we had him."

- Motown's Berry Gordy alludes to Michael Jackson's "Sad times, questionable decisions..." coronates him "greatest entertainer of all time.."

- Stevie Wonder's preamble prompts weeping throughout audience.

- Magic Johnson: eating KFC with Jackson "greatest moment of my life."

- Sharpton delivers eulogy

- Sharpton: Oprah, Tiger, Obama, et. al. owe it to Michael...audience volume up to 11

- John Mayer gets mixed response until strains of "Human Nature" emanate from his guitar... Hard to follow Hudson and Wonder..

- Jermaine holds it together for final verse of "Smile"

- Rep. Jackson Lee introduces cong honoring Jackson

- Wunderkind singer Shaheen Jafargoli (age 12) reprises early MJ. The circle turns...

- Send-off: "We Are The World"

- ...and "Heal The World.

- Gold-plated casket leaving the building

- Family to address overflow crowd at Nokia theater

- Janet to Nokia crowd: "Michael will always be in our hearts." Latoya thanks the city of Los Angeles for their efforts. No word yet on reimbursement.

- Memorial programs already being hocked on eBay for $200+. Meanwhile Jackson family leaves Staples Center for Beverly Hills gathering.