michael jackson

Loooooong ago, as in on Jan. 18 or so, in a galaxy upstairs from the auditorium, some of Cast B was relaxing with Michael Jackson.

Sadly, I only had my [redacted swearing in honor of the young people who will be looking at this video] camera with me, so the quality is not the best, but still: I was impressed that they rocked out to a song I believe came out when I was in high school. I tried to upload this about a month ago, and of course YouTube had crashed. Then I just ... forgot. Apologies to the power of the backstage crew!

The District Thriller Dance-Off

I had to post a few snaps from last Saturday night's Thriller Dance-Off at The District. The guy dressed up like MJ won but "Old Man Dancing" was a CLOSE 2nd! Dude was wild! My prediction for their next competition: I expect OMD to turn that mutha out.

Sadly, the zombie walk never came through before I left. Anyone know if they ever showed?

The District Thriller Dance-Off

The District Thriller Dance-Off

The District Thriller Dance-Off

The District Thriller Dance-Off

After a flurry of unconfirmed reports (well, reports only by TMZ, which was apparently good enough for pretty much nobody on a topic this big), the L.A. Times confirmed that Michael Jackson died today. He was 50. The New York Times ArtsBeat blog is getting updated very frequently with further information.

I heard the news on Twitter, where speedy updates about Jackson's condition have been replaced by memories and great links to YouTube videos, photos and more highlights of an incredible career. Comments about Jackson quickly overtook posts about Farrah Fawcett (RIP, Charlie's angel!) and news out of Iran with remarkable but unsurprising speed. There's a ton of coverage out there, which makes sense; is there any pop music fan, at least within a certain age range, to whom Jackson wasn't relevant at some moment or another?

I've stopped paying attention to Jackson in recent years, other than to marvel, momentarily, that he, Prince and Madonna had all reached or passed the 50-year milestone. Really? Really. But I distinctly remember buying Thriller on LP when I was a kid. I think I bought it in a department store; I seem to remember racks of clothing surrounding the little LP-shelf island. At some point each week, we could bring records to school to listen to, on headphones, with friends, and my kid-self was very excited to bring that one in and tap my little feet in time with "Beat It."

What's your earliest — or best — Michael Jackson memory?

And who else votes for a day of wearing single sequined gloves in his honor?

Current Michael Jackson = Tabloid God Fodder

Classic Michael Jackson = Cool with the Kids

So there's no surprise that the kids in the United States would like to emulate Michael's dance moves (or recreate his music video for "Thriller" using Legos!!!). What's a tad more difficult to understand is how other countries (entire countries!) like to celebrate an MJ appearance and perform MJ's classic dance moves.

Here's the Indian Thriller. You'd think it was a music video response to MJ's original, but really it is just one scene from a 1985 feature length film out of Tollywood called Donga.

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Here's the Filipino Thriller. Where 1,500 willing inmates of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center in the Philippines practice (at their own leisure!) MJ's moves and signature Thriller zombie strut (for what? A Guinness record? Nope. Fame? Well, thanks to the wonders of YouTube, the lead dancer may find his fame and calling…that is, once he’s released from prison).

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Pure and utter madness.
But so very worth your time. Ditch the TV. Go for the YouTube.

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