*Scroll down for ride report, photos and video
-More images Video below-
(Photos © J. Maus)
The King of Pop, Michael Jackson, is dead.
This very sad news has led to respond with a bike ride, full of Michael Jackson music and memories.
Meet at 6:30 at the Peace Garden above the Eastbank Esplanade at east end of the Steel Bridge.
We’ll hope to have a sound system with Michael Jackson music for sing-alongs and hopefully a microphone set up for karaoke opportunities. If you have gloves, please wear only one in honor of this great artist who had such a profound impact on many of our lives.
Moonwalking, pelvic thrusts, glitterly costumes, and synchronized dancing are strongly encouraged. Spread the word.
UPDATE – Ride Report
About 60 or so of us met at the Peace Garden. People showed up with one glove, sequins, leather jackets with multiple zippers. One guy even had a surgeon’s mask on. Before we rolled out, I read from Michael Jackson’s Wikipedia page and then introduced Deacon Amos Hunter from the Bike Temple. The Deacon put together a great eulogy on very short notice. Here is a slightly shortened version (watch video of it below):
Today we remember and morn a soul who has touched the lives of everyone in this group, this community, and quite likely nearly every living person on this planet. We remember Michael Jackson for his voice, his spirit, and his charm. Who, since his early youth provided the world with a soundtrack for their lives…
It is undeniable that Michael’s music touched the world, but why then are we, a community of cyclists, gathered this evening to remember a man who cannot be directly connected to the cause we all connect with? A man who will surely in no one’s mind be remembered as an advocate, activist, or enthusiast of bicycles?
The answer is simple. Rhythm makes a better movement.
Michael’s music, and the music inspired by him, has always been with us on our journey; from the records we listened to while tuning up the commuter bike, to the tracks on our iPods we sing loudly along to while on that dark stretch of road when we’re sure no one is listening, to the bumping and thumping sound trailers we danced with while towing out to MMR’s [Midnight Mystery Rides], Droupout Rides [Dropout is a local bike group], and dance parties.
The rhythm of good pop music is as strong as any words of encouragement, as gratifying as any awards, and as fulfilling as a long ride in the country.
Our song is the bicycle, and our movement is it’s cause. So tonight we salute the man who brought us a rhythm suitable enough to drive that cause. And who, no matter what can be said about him, surely never lost his passion. After all, it was Michael who once told us “don’t stop till you get enough.”
After those inspiring words, we danced to a few tunes and then headed north up N. Williams Ave. By this time the group was about 80 people strong. We stopped in Dawson Park for another dance break and I asked the crowd to share Michael Jackson memories.
“The first two tapes I ever bought were Bad and Thriller” one guy said. Another guy said he did the whole dance routine from Smooth Criminal at his high school talent show.
an MJ sticker on his tob tube
(which had been there for years).
From there, we rolled to N. Alberta Street and headed for Last Thursday. We went down to N. Going to go through neighborhoods instead of the main street, which was a great idea (thanks Carl!) because we noticed many people on their porches and on side streets who were very glad to see us. It was priceless to see the faces as people realized what we were riding for.
A woman waiting for the bus on the sidewalk started lip-syncing Billie Jean. A guy walking by busted out with some MJ moves.
Eventually we rolled on the bustling, carfree Last Thursday event at NE 18th and Alberta. At 19th we stopped in the middle of the street for a big dance party. The crowds loved it and many of them joined in.
It was great to have everyone come together and have some fun tonight in memory of Michael Jackson. And yes, I realize he has a very controversial and checkered personal history. And yes, I realize there are perhaps more important things to occupy our time and brains with. But Michael Jackson was a big deal to a lot of people and there was a need to express that and it was great to do it with our community and on bikes.
Thanks to everyone that showed up and a special thanks to those with sound systems and MP3 players (especially Dan Kaufman who rolled up from Sellwood with his three boys!).
Here are a few videos taken by people on the ride…
Me doing my best MJ moves (try not to laugh):
The Oregonian put up two videos (and a report of the ride). Here we are dancing to Beat It:
And here’s the eulogy by Deacon Amos Hunter:
The crowd on Alberta going zombie to Thriller:
were there three naked rides this year?
Extra points if I bring liquor like Ed McMahon and bounce up and down like Farrah Fawcett?
I would give a kidney to see a flash mob performance of the Thriller zombie stomp this evening.
Are you going to wear shirts saying “One Less Pedophile”?
Bikeportland made it to the New York Times: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/25/michael-jackson-hospitalized/?hp
Bikeportland made it to the New York Times: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/25/michael-jackson-hospitalized/?hp
Are you going to ride in the memory of the kids he gave ‘jesus juice” to in order to get his freak on. Sorry for being a killjoy again but as much as I admire him for being a musical protege, he was a monster who used his fame to prey on children. Try to remember that as you party on.
I won’t be able to make the ride tonight, but I saw this in the New York Times article just a minute ago:
“Impromptu vigils broke out around the world, from Portland, Ore., where fans organized a one-gloved bike ride (“glittery costumes strongly encouraged”) to Hong Kong, where fans gathered with candles and sang his songs in unison.”
People are paying attention.
Wow! This ride showed up on the NY Times “ArtBeat” page with all the other updates about MJ’s death (including statements from Madonna, Jermaine Jackson, etc.)
Um, sure the music is brilliant. Creepy molestation, not so much. This guy was a creepy, sick, monster.
I know that anyone joining this ride has any intention whatsoever of celebrating this unfortunate aspects, however.
So, have fun y’all!
I’ll take a ride to morn Farah instead.
> Extra points
> Are you going to ride in the memory of the kids
> Are you going to wear shirts saying
Are you going to appreciate that people can celebrate life and music and not make it an endorsement of anything except celebration?
Probably not. Enjoy that feeling of superiority while other people are just trying to ride to the sounds of musical genius (yes, for his many flaws, he was a genius). While you both figure out if you want to bring up Wagner and Nazis and Phil Spector or whatever other specter in a self-righteous reply on a blog, other people will have a great ride in the sun while enjoying music and being alive. In the mean time, it’s a fantastic victory for you, Champions of D(M)isplaced Disgust. Give your hyper-intelligent, sardonic selves a break. You deserve it.
If you are going to do this properly, you will ride children and not bicycles, just like MJ did…
Wow, the hate is thick.
Everyone has their issues, some more than others, but most of us do not have the great talent that MJ had. And show me a list of ultra famous superstars without significant partially fame-induced issues – self-image, drugs, etc. It would be a short list. Not an excuse, but don’t pretend to understand what it is like, and then precede to be judge, jury and executioner.
Thank you Jonathan for putting on a great ride. I am sure the folks at Last Thursday on Alberta loved to celebrate Michaels music with us.
This was such a great ride. Thanks Jonathan and everyone else who made it happen!
Charlie! (#3) We DID do a mass re-enactment of the “Thriller” video zombie dance in the middle of NE Alberta Street during Last Thursday. Watch for all videos, which are sure to be coming soon!
Wow the way we idolize people in this society is amazing.
To those who feel compelled to remind us that MJ was also a renowned edophile (as if we hadn’t heard that before): The ability to mentally separate the artist from his/her art is a good test of one’s higher-level thinking abilities. People like Ernest Hemingway, Ike Turner, and Roman Polanski come to mind. All were gifted artists who were also plagued with some rather unattractive personal flaws. We can pay our respects to Michael Jackson, the gifted artist, without necessarily glorifying his obvious failings as human being.
I meant “pedophile,” of course.
Curt, good point. I wonder if the kids he molested had higher level thinking abilities and separated his art from his perversion. I am sure you could with you higher level thinking ability. I think they are still trying to separate this great “artist” from the old man who diddled them. What a load of crap you spew.
I really enjoyed the mass thriller dance at last thursday. Setting aside all the other stuff connected to MJ it was just one helluvacommunal expression of how much fun his music is, nothing more. Oh, plus my sons had a blast learning the moves.
Hey folks. I appreciate the comments and I realize that MJ had a controversial and messed up personal life.
But this ride was meant as a celebration of his music and the impact it had on a lot of people. If you want to do a ride to remember his personal problems, go ahead. Have fun with that and let me know how it goes.
old&slow – it’s like you were there. Were you? Given the lack of solid evidence presented in a five-month trial, coupled with the incentive every dishonest person has to falsely accuse a one-time wealthy person of such an act, I’m satisfied with “maybe, but maybe not”. And that’s not enough for me to execute someone.
How about a Thriller ride tomorrow evening?
To be able to sing as well as MJ did…to be able to dance with that extraordinary energy and creativity…and to be able to inspire others with it. That sort of thing doesn’t come together everyday.
The dude had a weird personal life, and that bothers a lot of people. It can be a very uncomfortable and unwelcome thing to be weird, or regarded as weird in socially unacceptable ways. MJ at least had the music and dance to balance that out some. He set an example. It’s one that helps me exercise a little bit more understanding towards weird, creative people whenever I rub shoulders with them.
The ride was great, thanks Jonathon for getting it together on short notice!
As for the hate, well, it is easy to be judgemental and self-righteous (and make addumptions that may not even be warranted.) But this ride was simply about celebrating the undeniable contribution made by this human. First ever record I specifically remember putting on (with supervision by older bro.) and listening to, age 5, circa 1972: Jackson 5, ABC. Wore out the grooves.
It doesn’t matter who’s wrong or right, just Beat It.
Caroline (#30), are you the Caroline who was wearing black jeans and riding the blue Raleigh one-speed last night? (Nice photo in JMs slideshow, btw.) If that’s you, please contact Jonathan Maus. He has a message for you.
When MJ first became famous, he was just a little kid, and that little kid went through a lot of bizarre, sad, abusive stuff before he had the chance to make any choices of his own. I’ve been sad for the loss of Michael Jackson’s life for years and years.
I couldn’t make it to the ride, but it’s great that so many people turned out happily to celebrate Michael’s life and music.
OJ is innocent!
old&slow- I’ve been reading bikeportland for a few months now and I can’t remember you ever having anything positive to say. Is it because only your negative thoughts compel you to comment or are your just generally negative?
Maybe old&curmudgeonly would be more accurate. I am not trying to attack you I just don’t understand someone who chooses to represent themselves as one sided, everyone has positive & negative thoughts, why do we only get to see the negative?
Proof that Portland really is the whitest city in America.
What was the deal with corking MLK? That’s was so selfish to ride like that, pedalpalooza or not. The group was riding at a snails pace so its not like anyone would have been left behind. Jonathan, I thought you were an advocate for cycling. Two steps forward, one step back. Only two riders in the group stopped for the light and we easily caught back up. Its was a great idea but poor execution. How would you have felt if a one of the riders was injured as a result?
Do any of you hipsters realize that MJ stopped making good music thirty years ago, and in the meantime spent his days dangling babies off balconies and molesting kids with cancer?
Jonathan, thanks for throwing this together so quickly! I had a really fun time! I enjoyed how it made so many other people happy, including that woman at Dawson park who joined in the dancing, and people standing in their yards and street corners who cheered.
CAUSE OF DEATH JUST REPORTED: food poisoning. Apparently he had just eaten some 12 year old nuts…..but i STILL like his music.
Andrew #35, I guess I am just a negative person. Maybe I just need to listen to “Ben” a few more times and cheer up.
There are plenty of highly talented, under-recognized musicians who are not as weird as MJ was. He was a tragic figure, in many ways a victim of his fame. He did make some great music and there’s nothing wrong with celebrating that. I am reminded of something Angela Davis said back in February when she spoke at Reed College: “Because we imagine history as the work of heroic individuals we have trouble imagining ourselves as the makers of history.” Something to think about.
Weird how people love or hate the guy, I personally get the willies when I see him, plus I can’t figure out the fascination people have with him and continue to defend him.
He used his fame and celebrity to his advantage in gaining the trust of the children he abused. The very same fame and celebrity you guys are now celebrating.
Oh and Andrew, I hate to be negative again, but the toxicology report is in, Jackson was addicted to Oxycontin and Demerol, I guess its time for another celebratory bike ride, Huh!
Why mourn that the world has….ONE LESS PEDOPHILE?!
“Today we remember and morn a soul who has touched the lives of everyone in this group, this community, and quite likely nearly every living person on this planet.”–????!?!?!?!
have you ever been out of Portland? You really think he touched the lives of people in Sri Lanka, Sudan, China, etc. etc. etc.
I like Thriller as much as the next person, but get some perspective.
Right…this must be the group that missed the stories that MJ- LIKES LITTLE BOYS!
Honestly I could not believe this happened and so many people can celebrate a molester.
I love the people claiming that we shouldn’t celebrate a pedophile, as they are no doubt the same people supporting Sam Adams and his affair with a minor.
A. Those of us fans who went on the Michael Jackson Memorial Ride were not “celebrating his fame and celebrity.” We were remembering his incredible talent as a singer, dancer, musician, and music-video creator. He had a huge impact on our generation, the generation of kids who grew up on MTV and albums like “Off the Wall,” and “Thriller,” etc. The fact that Michael later turned into such a celebrity freak show is actually kind of a turnoff and a distraction from everything good we remember about him.
B. Yes, I have been out of Portland and visited eight other countries outside of the U.S. And I do believe that during the course of his incredible music career (selling 750 million albums worldwide), Michael Jackson DID indeeed touch the lives of young music fans in Sri Lanka, Sudan, China, etc., etc., etc. and every other country around the world. In terms of worldwide “market reach,” Michael Jackson was bigger than Jesus Christ and John Lennon combined.
Sam Adams had an affair with a minor? When did that happen?
Anytime now, I’m expecting the hovering yahoos to post some clever ditties they’ve scribbled down, borrowing from excerpts of court testimony about inappropriate things MJ allegedly did with boys. Given the ravenous appetite they appear to have for this subject, I wouldn’t be surprised if those excerpts are something they’ve memorized, so they can gorge themselves on the subject to counter fits of boredom they fight while…vacuuming the carpet, showering, playing with the dog… .
There’s been plenty of marvelous people throughout the history of mankind that wouldn’t meet the acceptable standards of behavior these yahoos seem to expect from everyone…very likely with the exception of themselves if truth about them were revealed with anything approaching the scrutiny forced upon people inescapably in the public eye.
Care to make a list? I’m not so good with recalling names off the top of my head, but how about Tennesee Williams…Ernest Hemingway…Billy Strayhorn….Little Richard…Marilyn Monroe….Elvis….John Kennedy…David Bowie…Charlie Parker… . All those people were seriously messed up, but generations of people across cultures and lifestyles find the heart and soul to love them and forgive their weaknesses, and appreciate what they’ve created all the same.
Michael Jackson was pretty freaky alright, and probably at least in part for very good reasons beyond his personal control. Maybe that’s the way it was supposed to be. Beautiful things, more often than not, don’t come in perfectly beautiful packages.
From the news reports and malicious rumors, I couldn’t be sure what exactly MJ did with the kids that he wasn’t supposed to. Seems certain though that the conclusions expressed by the pedophile obsessed about him draw from a weirder fantasy than MJ ever came up with in his life and work.