It’s all very mysterious, but I’ve learned Michael Jackson — joined by a small (for him) retinue of bodyguards and assistants, plus his three children, Paris, Prince and Prince Michael II — slipped into town Monday for a quick overnight stay.
A BZ spy at Jackson’s exclusive Gold Coast hotel reports that the entourage ”did not venture out of their suites and only ordered basics like setups, hot water, milk and juice from room service.” Apparently, the King of Pop traveled with his own organic food, plus bed linens and towels.
Unlike other visits by Jackson and his kids to various cities around the world, there wasn’t even any shopping on this trip.
According to the source, Jackson & Co. left early Tuesday — ”before the sun was up” — and reportedly drove (via several SUVs with blacked-out windows) to Gary. There MJ and his kids supposedly toured his childhood neighborhood in the northwest Indiana city before flying out of the area via private jet.
There was apparently no contact with any Gary officials, so it’s not known if Jackson’s visit was related — in any way — to recent efforts to memorialize his family’s origins in the city.
During a much-publicized visit to Gary by Jackson’s father, Joe Jackson, in July, Mayor Rudy Clay presented him with the key to the city, unveiled plans for a proposed Jackson Museum and Cultural Center and unveiled a new street sign in honor of the Jackson family.
A month later, those plans were placed on hold, due to various financial issues — mainly facing Michael and the other Jacksons. A family spokesman said at the time that the delay was only temporary and the Jackson museum in Gary ”is something that will happen.”
Maybe Michael Jackson’s visit this week is a hopeful sign that it will occur — perhaps sooner rather than later.
The preliminary plans exhibited back in July featured a project the city officials hoped would help jump-start renewal efforts in downtown Gary along Broadway.