While much of New York left town for the sandier, quieter Hamptons scene, a small but dedicated faction of Michael Jackson fans paid tribute to the late singer over the weekend…by bar-hopping all over Manhattan’s East Village and Union Square neighborhoods. Saturday’s “King of Pop Pub Crawl” was a mostly frat-tastic affair held at various watering holes where fans came to dance, sing, and drink (natch) in tribute to the late singer.
When the event was first announced on July 1, it caused a stir on the Internet. “This is parasitic gutter PR at its most vile,” cried Time Out New York’s Feed blog, which redacted the locations from its post, while New York Magazine’s Grub Street had a sarcastic, albeit less offended take on the matter. I’m not really sure why there was such an outcry. It’s understandable that some people might have seen this as a tacky marketing plot to drum up liquor sales, and it’s easy to see why some participants would just use the event as an excuse to wear cheesy fedoras and get drunk in the middle of the day.
But while the event felt not unlike the countless themed frat parties I attended in college (one sunglasses-clad bargoer even brought along a baby doll and a blanket, waving it over the dance floor railing at one bar — get it?), the mood was largely celebratory. People — it didn’t matter if they were old friends or just met that day — were just having a good time, whether they were dancing to “Billie Jean” or singing “Man in the Mirror” with the entire bar. Many came dressed in typical Michael Jackson fashion (that is, if Michael Jackson had worn madras shorts) like white gloves, and for the particularly dedicated fans, black fedoras. Some simply jumped up and down to songs like “Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough,” while others clearly had spent considerable time at home mastering the King of Pop’s nimble footwork. New York resident Nick Lorenzen, 28, was one such bar-hopper. “My buddy is a huge Michael Jackson fan,” he said. So where did he get those dance moves? “I don’t know; I like to dance, especially Michael Jackson-specific,” he said.
What about you, PopWatchers? Was anyone celebrating MJ’s life in your hometown?