I think I was in high school when I first saw him. I remember I was walking down Liberty Street with some friends and we stumbled upon a guy dancing to Michael Jackson songs in an alley by the Michigan Theater. He was really good. I mean he had the moves down. I threw some change in his cardboard box and we kept walking, laughing about the randomness of the encounter.
As an undergrad at UM, I came to realize that the encounter wasn’t so random. As it turns out, the “Michael Jackson Guy” was an Ann Arbor institution, busking in that same alley all day, every weekend. You’d hear talk of him in coffee shops and classrooms. But unlike Shakey Jake, whom every Ann Arborite claimed to know and love, the Michael Jackson Guy was a mystery. What compelled him to dance in the alley? Was the guy homeless? Why Michael Jackson?