Carbondale finds its thrill | PostIndependent.com

Carbondale finds its thrill

April in Glenwood
April E. Clark

If I were still living in Colorado, I would be dancing in a flash mob today. Probably with a baby in tow.

That’s something for the bucket list.

My fun dancing buddies back in Carbondale are putting on a big show and rehearsing tonight as part of the international Thrill of the World event. According to the website, at thrilltheworld.com, the Michael Jackson-inspired celebration of dance and community is not only taking place in Carbondale, but also Paris, Melbourne, Bogota, New York City, Portland, Seattle and Austin.

Bonedale is always finding a way to put itself on the map.

Worldwide, people will be dressing up as zombies and dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” at exactly the same time on the same date.

That’s 2 p.m. on Oct. 24, mountain flash mob time.

The creative duo of Alexandra and Anthony, of Coredination and Bonedale Ballet, and the Carbondale Branch Library are making it all happen. My friend Kat, among others, is taking part, and I know she’ll be the best dancing zombie the world has seen. I hear they’ll be doing some dancing tonight on First Friday to prepare for the upcoming international event.

Maybe I’ll pretend I’m there and dance alone in front of the bathroom mirror.

I’m admittedly envious I can’t take part in this Thrill of the World event, strictly based on the love I had for Michael Jackson in the 1980s. I had his posters on my wall — including the infamous one where he’s wearing that light yellow sweater vest and bow tie. Keep in mind that not just anyone made it on to my cotton-candy pink pre-teen bedroom walls. Michael Jackson was there. So was Prince and John Stamos. Also, Corey Haim.

His performance in “Lucas” was impeccable.

Just ask my mom and dad how much I loved Michael Jackson and they will probably recall how much I geeked out over the “Thriller” video when it first aired on TV. Back in the ’80s, music videos were everything. “Thriller” was the kind of choreography, special effects and theatrics my generation, and the generations before us, had not seen. I remember being a combination of scared and amazed.

The creepy eye contacts were so realistic back then.

The success of “Thriller” catapulted Michael Jackson’s career to epic super-stardom that had mostly been secured by Elvis and The Beatles before MJ’s time. At the tender age of 12, I had a crush like no other on this moonwalking dancer. I was heartbroken when he dated Brooke Shields. And I definitely lost some sleep when his hair caught on fire during the taping of that Pepsi commercial.

Man, the ’80s were weird.

Michael Jackson also had a profound effect on fashion. A girl in my seventh grade class named Lisa had one of those red leather jackets with the zippers he made famous. Sure, I was jealous. It was real leather and everything. I also recall a few of my middle school classmates wearing one sequined glove like a boss.

Black penny loafers were pretty cool back then, too.

I still try to moonwalk every now and again, usually failing miserably. I can do a bit of a Michael Jackson impersonation, especially with the “hoos” and the “shamones” — or is it “jam ons?”

We may never know.

When the King of Pop died in 2009, those pre-teen memories of a schoolgirl crush came flooding back, and I was sad. He had fans all over the world, especially in Gary, Indiana. I felt for his family who stuck with him through all the oddness of having his own amusement park, a kid named Blanket he dangled over a balcony, and a chimpanzee named Bubbles.

The only way I would own a chimpanzee is if I had my own nanny for it.

I suppose anyone who grew up when MTV still aired music videos and leather was king has a memory of Michael Jackson in some shape or form. Maybe one of his songs played at prom. Or when someone tried to learn how to moonwalk.

He’s still one of the world’s biggest superstars, even in death.

I still have my copy of the “Thriller” album that I begged for as a Christmas present. I turn up “Pretty Young Thing (PYT)” really loud when it comes on the radio. And I get excited when I see the “Thriller” video replayed around Halloween.

Because it’s still, well, a thrill.

April E. Clark can’t wait to see the video and photos from Carbondale’s Thrill of the World flash mob. She can be reached at aprilelizabethclark@gmail.com.


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