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A birthday with the King of Pop

April in Glenwood
April E. Clark
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
April E. Clark
ALL |

Plenty of people celebrate their birthdays with cake and ice cream. Pinatas filled with surprises. Or surprise parties with surprise adult entertainment.

“Excuse me ma’am, we have a noise complaint and we’re going to need to get to the bottom of it. … “

Not that they would turn away a piece of, um, cake, but many of my friends are more for themed soirees or seeing a King of Pop tribute band in concert than a traditional birthday party. Who doesn’t need a little Michael Jackson to help them through the aging process?



At 50, he really seems to have a handle on it.

I spent last weekend in Vail celebrating my friend Rob Tramazzo’s 37th birthday. We’re almost one month from being exactly the same age, so I think of Rob as a twin brother. Except we don’t share common genetic makeup. And we went out on a date once, which is totally creepy if we actually shared genes.



Not to mention bordering on illegal in all 50 states.

Rob and I might be on the wrong side of 30, but we still know how to celebrate a birthday. Enter a Michael Jackson look-alike, circa early ’90s. Plus a bar featuring 20 somethings dressed as Valley Girls. And a late-night visit to Denny’s.

A perfect storm for fun. And at 36-going-on 37, a little heart burn.

Having a good time is not so easy these days, and not because of my age. With the economy slumping like soap opera ratings and unemployment rates growing as fast as Joaquin Phoenix’s beard, money is tight. Jobs are scarce. And the stress is definitely mounting.

A little “ma ma se, ma ma sa, ma ma coo sa” and a couple “hee hees” can really take the edge off.

Maybe Michael Jackson ” and guys who sing and look like him ” are what we need to make it past this hump. Or at least take us back to a time when “Thriller” lyrics ” i.e., “Something evil’s lurking in the dark …” ” didn’t describe the banking and insurance industries. Despite my brother’s disbelief, Jacko is still a popular guy. The King of Pop recently announced his final tour and sold 750,000 tickets to 50 London shows in four hours. Last Saturday, the Michael Jackson tribute band Who’s Bad? sold out the Sandbar in Vail.

No need to ask who’s bad.

I was disappointed and surprised to see a fight at the Who’s Bad? show. When I think of Michael Jackson I think of a lot of peace, love and pet chimpanzees named Bubbles. Maybe it was memories from the dance-off in the “Bad” video that had emotions running high.

Or “Dirty Diana” lyrics.

I once was at a Hootie and the Blowfish concert ” what can I say, I really connected with “Hold My Hand” ” where a fight broke out in the audience. True story. This caused Hootie frontman Darius Rucker to stop the music and comment, “Hey, there’s no fighting at Hootie!” Fighting at a Michael Jackson tribute band is equally as bad, if you ask me.

I also thought it was in extremely bad taste for this one chick to scream, “You suck!” at the Michael Jackson impersonator guy just because of voice problems he was having. There’s only so many “hee hees” and “na na na nas” you can belt out night after night before the ol’ pipes start to fade a little.

You try impersonating the King of Pop and see how that works out for you.

All I know is I spent pretty much all of my tween years with posters of Michael Jackson on my pink-hued walls and his albums and tapes scattered on my bedroom floor. I even tried my hand at singing karaoke into my Star Studio to “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” and “P.Y.T.,” two of my all-time MJ faves. My Michael Jackson days were good ones, even if they coincided with some of my most awkward life moments like middle school dances, first kisses and braces. I still can’t hear that REO Speedwagon “Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore” song without reliving the anxiety of not being asked to dance at Doe Creek Middle School.

In one word, brutal.

Taking in a tribute band in Michael Jackson’s honor, in honor of a friend’s birthday, might not be everyone’s ideal way to celebrate. But look who’s talking. I’m pining to catch the Bret Michaels Rock of Love Bus Tour in Aspen for my birthday in April. Maybe Rob and I are a lot like twins after all.

All the Michael Jacksons out there, repeat after me.

April E. Clark remembers wanting one of those red leather “Thriller” jackets in middle school so bad she cried. She can be reached at aclark@postindependent.com.


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