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NEW YORK, Jan 16, (AFP): From an outrageously costumed parade to a bacchanalian party in heaps of glitter, memorial events to David Bowie are multiplying as fans find their own ways to mourn the rock legend.
Bowie — a pioneer of glam rock at the start of a half-century career marked by constant reinvention — apparently did not want a soppy public funeral.
He had stayed discreet about his 18-month battle with cancer that killed him Sunday at age 69, and his family said it would hold a private ceremony.
But Bowie’s death has triggered an avalanche of mourning around the world with many fans looking to grieve together.
Arcade Fire, the Canadian indie rockers championed by Bowie when they started out, announced that the group would lead a parade Saturday through New Orleans.
Arcade Fire will be joined by the celebrated Preservation Hall Jazz Band, keeping up the New Orleans tradition of musical funeral parades.
The groups in a Facebook posting encouraged fans to join them and to “dress in your best Bowie outfit or something more strange” — likely an uphill task considering the rocker’s range of characters from the androgynous exterrestrial rocker Ziggy Stardust to Jareth the Goblin King.
To many fans, Bowie’s importance lay in his openness to new personas and identities, with his music offering a welcoming new world for those who had none.
One of the most prominent celebrations has been the “BowieBall,” first launched in 2006 in the rocker’s adopted home of New York.
Taking to heart Bowie’s lyric to “put on your red shoes and dance the blues,” revelers each year have picked their most outrageous outfits, often donning drag, and hit the floor to ample amounts of glitter and confetti.
In the wake of the Starman’s death, BowieBall founder Deryck Todd said he is talking with leading concert promoter Live Nation to expand significantly the event, which features DJs and musicians who perform covers.
Todd, a designer, said that the 10th anniversary BowieBall will take place in the coming months and expected it again to draw passionate Bowie fans who were never among “the cool kids.”
“I really hope that this event does provide a home for all the misfits, who can feel like they belong in some way,” he said.
“We’re going to go bigger, we’re going to go harder and we’re really going to do it in a way that pays proper homage to this wonderful man.”
BowieBalls have sprouted up elsewhere, with an edition in Chicago on January 7 that celebrated Bowie’s birthday and new album, “Blackstar,” with almost no one knowing he was about to die.
Todd, through his dealings with the singer’s entourage, said that Bowie himself was aware of the BowieBall and appreciated it.
Past BowieBalls have been captivated by tales that Bowie himself showed up secretly in costume, although Todd acknowledged there was little evidence.
LONDON: David Bowie dominated the weekly British charts out Friday, commanding a quarter of the top 40 albums as mourning fans rushed to buy his music.
The Londoner, who died from cancer aged 69 on Sunday, had 19 albums in the top 100 and 13 entries in the top 100 singles, ranging from songs dating from the 1960s to tracks off his new album.
Bowie released his new album “Blackstar” last Friday, which was already heading to number one before he died.
Nine other Bowie albums were in the top 40, ranging from compilations to classics like “Hunky Dory” and “Ziggy Stardust”.
Fans bought some 241,000 Bowie albums and 167,000 singles in the last week.
“Bowie made so many great albums, constantly reinventing himself, that everyone has their own favourites and fans are clearly reminding themselves of his massive contribution to popular music by buying these great, iconic works,” said Official Charts Company chief executive Martin Talbot.