Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Michael Jackson The Subject Of A State-Of-The-Art Music Video Presentation At Lincoln Center


Tuesday, January 22, 2008 by Wow Jones

Finally! Michael Jackson gets his due regard. This past Friday on January 18, 2008, Film Critic Armond White made Pop Star Michael Jackson (and sister Janet Jackson) the focal point of an astonishing music video presentation at Lincoln Center.

Patrons of Lincoln Center’s 2008 Dance On Camera Festival were treated to an eye-popping presentation on Friday night. Esteemed Film Critic ARMOND WHITE made his Jackson Pop: Video Artists and Hollywood Influence music video presentation. Those lucky enough to see it witnessed the smashing of the prevailing, conventional view of Michael Jackson.

Through the judicious use of classic movie clips and music videos, White led an appreciative audience through an entertaining and insightful look at a rarely studied or discussed aspect of Michael Jackson’s work. White notes, “Michael Jackson’s 1982 album Thriller is well known as a hugely popular album, a sign of his immense popularity and impact. But that renown isn’t just for his music and singing. It’s also for his dancing. This program is a good opportunity to examine THAT aspect of his art.”

In the program, White linked Michael (and sister Janet) Jackson’s era-defining movements to Broadway and Hollywood choreographers
Jerome Robbins, Michael Kidd, and Bob Fosse, cultural hero Cab Calloway and Hollywood Icons Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. While doing this, White also helped illustrate how Michael Jackson preserves the dance tradition and, through his distinct talent and personality, transforms it.

Throughout the evening, one heard rounds of applause, yelps of laughter, and a continuous, whispered hush of astonishment - - the sounds of an attentive audience. The manner in which this work was presented was most noteworthy. Not only did spectators see the towering figure of Michael Jackson with his whirling, elegant and rapid dance moves, they also looked up at Janet Jackson getting down in her acrobatic and precise manner in a way usually reserved for silver screen stars of the past - - larger than life and bigger than you. This deluxe, cinematic way of seeing these works added to the kinetic and visceral pleasure that these music videos afford.

Joanna Ney, Curator of The Dance On Camera Festival, observed, “Armond White is the kind of writer who makes one reassess one’s opinions. Not that he wants us to change them, but perhaps to think a little differently, and he has often been an eye-opening influence on me and made me much more aware and interested in the possibility of music video as an art form.”
--The Wow Jones Report

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