The Michael Jackson Guy
Posted on July 26 2011
There is an alley behind my booth space in Ann Arbor where you can find one of the city's famous attractions. Brian Woolridge has been dancing and lip-synching to Micheal Jackson songs in this downtown alley since 1995, amusing passersby and accepting the occasional dollar, bottle of water, or whatever the citizens might bring him to keep him tipping his hat, kicking his heels up, and striking a pose. What I like best about this guy is that he does this in his spare time just because....he loves it. And he's a completely normal guy. You might see a friend or acquaintance pass by while he's dancing, and he'll stop and say hello with a smile, chat for a few seconds, then continue dancing, all with an air of nonchalance.
The past couple years during the art fair, he seemed to be present the entire time behind our booth, and oddly enough, Mike and I never tired of hearing Micheal Jackson songs over and over for 4 days. I can only attribute this to the fact that the guy has a great energy, and he just makes people happy. Can't really get annoyed with that. Every so often we'd see people passing by, grabbing their friends, pointing and exclaiming, "There he is! The Michael Jackson Guy!" and running over to watch for a few minutes. This year, he wasn't in his alley as much, and we found ourselves missing him, and being a little resentful of the other "acts" that would intermittently take his place. Regardless, Mike was able to shoot a full video of Brian performing "The Way You Make Me Feel." When he walks out into the crowd on the sidewalk, you can catch a glimpse of my booth with the teal green curtains to see my proximity to his daily performances (around time 2:12 on video).
You can also read more about Brian in this 2007 article by The Michigan Daily.