Mexico City Moonwalks For Michael

Michael Jackson impersonator Hector Jackson. Dario Lopez-Mills/AP i i

Michael Jackson impersonator Hector Jackson performs with thousands of people at the Monument of the Revolution in Mexico City Saturday. Dario Lopez-Mills/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Dario Lopez-Mills/AP
Michael Jackson impersonator Hector Jackson. Dario Lopez-Mills/AP

Michael Jackson impersonator Hector Jackson performs with thousands of people at the Monument of the Revolution in Mexico City Saturday.

Dario Lopez-Mills/AP

The first thing to note is that Michael Jackson's birthday comes in the middle of the rainy season in Mexico City. Twenty minutes before thousands were about to attempt to break the world record for the most people ever to re-enact the late pop star's hit video "Thriller," rain started to fall.

Umbrellas popped open over black trilby hats. Aviator sunglasses fogged up. And bloody makeup on the legion of zombies began to run.

But rather than a thorough downpour, as often happens in late afternoons here at this time of year, the showers let up and the show went on.

The previous world record for the most people simultaneously dancing to the ground-breaking 1983 video was a meager 242 at the College of William and Mary earlier this year.

Mexico City planned to obliterate that record.

Under the leadership of a 23-year-old Jackson impersonator, who goes by the name Hector Jackson, tens of thousands of people packed in to a plaza in downtown Mexico City to celebrate The Gloved One's birthday.

Hector makes his living lip-syncing the King of Pop's greatest hits at strip clubs, bars and birthday parties. This day, dressed in a red-and-gold sequined jacket and looking very much like a 1980's-era Michael Jackson, Hector led the largest crowd of his career.

In front of the Monument to the Revolution, Hector strutted on a platform in front of a sea of dancers dressed as characters from the "Thriller" video. Their moves, while energetic, weren't nearly as coordinated as the original. Nonetheless, organizers claimed they accomplished their goal with almost 13,000 people dancing together.

The crowd was filled with more Jackson look-alikes, ranging from 3-year-olds to grandmothers. Adriana Fernandez Garcia came dressed in a white wedding gown splattered with fake blood like one of the ghouls from the video. Dark make-up encircled her eyes. She said it was an amazing feeling to break the record and to be among so many people dancing.

Mexicans wouldn't come out like this for just any big American pop star, she says. But Michael Jackson was different. Something about him transcended language and culture.

And, she adds, she really liked the way he danced.

When the event was over, the thousands of ghouls and sequined impersonators dispersed into the modern, chaotic Mexico City landscape. Middle-aged women in bright red leather jackets munched tacos from a cart on the street. Zombies moonwalked through the Hidalgo underground station. Wearing matching black fedoras, a father and his young son in exposed white socks and patent leather shoes waited for the train.

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