The Intermittent Kevin

As rarely and randomly updated as most blogs

Figuring Out This MJ Character

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I’m watching “Michael Jackson’s This Is It,” the documentary cobbled together out of rehearsal footage from Michael’s farewell concert series (which, of course, was cancelled due to a sudden onset of death).

Michael's replacement kept trying to eat the choreographer.

I could spend this whole post describing the strange contradiction that Michael represented. He was a certified weirdo, made even weirder by an unlimited spending account; a freakish and very public example of body dysmorphic disorder; and if not a pedophile, certainly a man who didn’t have a typical notion of how to behave around kids.

And yet. And yet! Watching him prance around onstage, in his skinny pants and oddball jackets, I was involuntarily sucked into the performance. Michael had infinite stage presence and wrote timeless pop songs that were totally unlike anyone else’s. As Chris Rock so elegantly put it:

“How much do we love Michael Jackson? We love Michael so much, we let the first kid SLIDE!”

Michael was also an innovative and influential dancer—more so than anyone else I can think of. By coincidence, as I watched This Is It, a friend sent me a link to Usher’s new music video:

It’s 30 years after Thriller and you can still see the zombie influences.

The movie opens with the same thing in mind: Michael’s backup dancers, most with tears in their eyes, describe the journeys they’ve taken their entire lives for a chance to be a part of his show. Elvis is the only other artist I can imagine having such a profound impact—and he might come in second. Right off the bat, your heart breaks for these people who were less than three weeks from starting the concert series in London when their idol passed away. Weirdo or not, he left a lot of very creative folks in the lurch.

In the concert footage, Michael comes across as supremely humble, likable, and with a great instinct for how a show will look when 80,000 people are screaming around him. We see tidbits of the elaborate CGI sequences that would have provided a background. (In fact, leaving the MJ issue aside entirely, the documentary gives an idea of the quantity and quality of work that goes into an A-list concert production.) And Michael reveals himself not nearly so frail and over-the-hill as most of us imagined. He’s as great a dancer as ever; not as acrobatic as back in the 80s, maybe, but able to drift effortlessly across the stage, bringing the cast and crew to its feet in rehearsal.

So yeah, it was interesting to watch. And it was a mental exercise, the whole way through, wondering just how much leeway I should be giving him for being a serious ball of strange. Still working on that.

Aww hell yea--wait, what the fuuuck?


Written by Kevin Miller

June 18, 2010 at 10:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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