Last Night: Michael Jackson R.I.Party in Alamo Square

Categories: Last Night
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Michael Jackson R.I.Party
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Alamo Square
Better than:
Hiding from the cops in the woods on nights when Michael Jackson didn't die.

There are times when you really appreciate living in a city--because it means there's an instant crowd willing to gather for any momentous occasion. Like the night when Obama got elected (Drinking to Hope!). Or the night when a pop music legend is found dead (Drinking to Lost Youth). Those are the times when you need to be together with your random San Francisco brothers and sisters and raise a can (of something cheap) to the occasion...and in the case of the dead music icon, getting down to a selection of greatest hits.

Last night some very special San Francisco DJs pulled their act together real quick to throw a wake for Michael Jackson in Alamo Square that went all....well, it went until the cops parked it at the top of the park, where we were all hidden in plain sight in a grove of trees and layers of misty fog. But those party promoters and their mobile generator got a good three hours of King of Pop tributes on the turntables, from "Wanna Be Startin Something" to "Rock With You" and lots of other goodies in between.
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I got to the party around the time the DJ was on his second round of "Thriller" (he hit that crowd pleaser three or four times last night) and the asphalt was crowded with girls and guys in fedoras, a couple confused dogs, and lots of eager dancers calling out their favorite King of Pop hits--requests like "Man in the Mirror" and "She's Out of My Life" that the smiley DJ was either ignoring or just didn't have on him. Mass body movement kinda went in waves, as did the tempo of the set (the DJs' friends kidded that they called him ADDJ because he has trouble sticking with one song all the way through). But hey, with very little prep time I'd say he did all right. We were lucky to be dancing there at all.

After all, word of Michael Jackson's death only spread mid-afternoon, so the Alamo Square party announcement went out hastily via text and Twitter--although one enthusiast told me he'd yelled out the invite on the Muni. ("They all looked at me like I was gonna ask them for money like a crazy person," he added). But a couple of those Muni riders actually made it off public transport and into the public memorial, pouring some out for our fallen King of Pop when they arrived.

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At one point, the DJ stopped the music and proposed a moonwalking contest, which sounded kinda fun--except to one dude who'd arrived in flip-flops. But just like those Michael Jackson shows in London, the battle never materialized, and the party went along without it.
Conversations about how we'd all heard the bad news (Perez Hilton vs. CNN) were common in the park, as were shout outs to Farrah Fawcett, and disbelief that the Jeff Goldblum death rumor was ever true. In some circles, the discussions focused on whether it was appropriate to besmirch a dead Michael Jackson with talk about the ways he'd besmirched himself.

In the end, it was decided by one wise mourner that "We should have parties like this for people who are still alive." Looking out at our brightly lit city, surrounded by strangers on their third "Thriller" singalong, it was impossible to disagree. Although these types of dance parties always seem to go off--and in a very morbid twist to human nature, become a lot quicker to organize-- when someone famous kicks the bucket. And perhaps more importantly, when the city is in the midst of reacting to such big news, the cops seem to give a little more leeway to those pulling off an impromptu invite to 'get on the floor' outdoors.

By the way: If you were at last night's FlashDance--or if you know of more Michael Jackson R.I.Parties going on this weekend--we wanna hear about it below...

Bonus: Footage from the folks who hosted the party

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