Thriller Night at Respectable Street: A Free Live Art Show in Honor of Michael Jackson

Artist Kevin Goff paints a portrait of Michael Jackson from his famous Thriller video

Last night I checked out a free art event at a club called Respectable Street (RSC).  Located at 518 Clematis St. in downtown West Palm Beach, RSC features a comfortable lobby, spacious dance floor, bar, and outside patio.  It is an ideal place to host an art show.  Two DJs blasted Hip Hop and Indie influenced grooves inside and outside while all things Michael Jackson were on display in the form of paintings, ceramics, and clothing.  They even had the Thriller video playing continuously from a projector that bounced the images off the wall (pun intended).

Billed as a night to celebrate Michael Jackson’s ground breaking 1983 music video, the arts and crafts show did not disappoint, attracting MJ fans clad in graphic tees, fedoras like the ones the King of Pop wore, and yes, the signature white gloves.  A painter transformed that gorgeous face of Michael’s that women of all ages fell in love with into the ghastly, ghoulish, green tinted mug of the zombie in the Thriller video.  Before our very eyes, this painter was like Rick Baker (the makeup artist who created the werewolf in the movie An American Werewolf in London and the first monster that Michael Jackson transformed into in the Thriller video) with a paint brush and giant canvas.  Magical!

As I caroused with a Yuengling in hand, I made my way over to each artist’s table to shop.  Every artist had their name written on a tombstone cutout above their booth to match the theme of the night.  One table that caught my eye was full of vinyl record nostalgia.  The creator had produced steno notebooks and planners with the front cover of classic album jackets, supported on the back end with the actual vinyl record of the artist.  She managed to cut the vinyl record in half and have it bound to the notebook so that it easily serves as a writing surface.  Brilliant!

Stephanie Zausner, creator of QT PIE DESIGNS, displaying some of her eco friendly accessories, clothing and jewelry

Everyone has their own memories of the Thriller video (perhaps we should call it a short film) and I suppose it means something different to each person.  For me, as a kid, Thriller was a chance to live vicariously through the actors.  I was not allowed to go to movie theaters because of the religion that I was raised in.  So when I watched Thriller for the first time, I was in awe of seeing those people in that second scene eating popcorn in a crowded movie theater, watching a horror film.

And yes, the undead with their chunks of decomposing flesh crawling out of the graveyard in search of unsuspecting victims were frightening, but nowhere near as terrifying as Vincent Price’s voice.  I would cringe when I heard him sinisterly proclaim: “And whosoever shall be found, without the soul for getting down, must stand and face the hounds of hell, and rrrrrrot inside a corpse’s shell…”  Whew!  I’m convinced now it was the way he pronounced his words that scared me so bad; that proper, standard, old English, King James Version of the Bible vernacular at once both tightened my tiny muscles and loosened my flimsy bowels.

What’s your favorite Thriller memory?

© 2012


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