Julie Tarp

Julie Tarp
Born and bred in Texas. I'm a Screenwriter with a script currently in Development in La-La Land. Met and fell in love with my husband who is an actual cowboy. We have a 140 head cow/calf operation. He does the hard work, I just write about it.


Editor’s Pick
JUNE 26, 2009 1:02PM

Michael and Me

Rate: 44 Flag



It was 1981.  I watched with the amazement of my seven year-old eyes as MTV came on to the airwaves.  I sat on the floor in front of the enormous TV encased in oak, my eyes, inches from the screen.  As if something possessed me, I rose to my feet and began dancing and twirling about.  This was my kind of music.  No more “Hooked on Classics” or George Jones for me.


I struggled to move the coffee table, as I definitely needed more room.  But my scrawny arms strained against me.  “Mom!  I need help!”  I screamed.  My mother rushed in the room thinking she would find me bloodied on the floor.  I’m not sure if she was relieved to see me in one piece or concerned that I could have her running like that at a moment’s notice.  She helped me move the table and my dance floor was born. 

I started dancing at a young age.  There was always - and still is - something inside me that made me want to move.  I just knew that cheerleading and dance were what I was born to do.  Luckily, I had some pretty good parents who encouraged this, even if it meant we put the coffee table in the den instead of the living room.  I mean, how was I ever going to be Dallas Cowboy’s Cheerleader if I didn’t practice all day, every day? 

When Toni Basil’s “Hey Mickey!” aired on MTV, I almost passed out.  I can still do the entire routine to this day.  Unfortunately for my husband, I often prove this when I’ve had a few cocktails.  Music, dance and cheerleading?  Oh my!  This MTV thing was the best thing ever.  Ever. 

Every day when I came home from school, I immediately turned MTV on.  No stupid cartoons for me.  No programming for anyone else either.  That TV was mine until dinner.   

And then it happened. 

“Thriller”.  Whoa.  I was blown away.  My brain tried hard to compute the images on the screen.  Should I be scared?  “The Howling” really did a number on me.  But, the music made my body move.  Plus, dancing zombies can’t be all that bad, right?  So, I went with it.  That minute, that instant, I couldn’t get enough of Michael Jackson. 

We had to get the album right away or “I’ll die!” I begged and pleaded.  “We’ll see,” mom said.  Oh, I was crushed.  But, I couldn’t very well throw a tantrum and lock myself in my room – I had to see more. 

A few days later, my wish came true.  In my hot, little hands was “Thriller” and “Off the Wall”.  I was the luckiest kid alive.  I was sure to make all my friends jealous.  I was sure to pay back my parents’ kindness by making them listen to Michael ad nauseum. 

When the elementary school talent show was announced, I knew I had to be in it.  No magic tricks.  No pet show.  I would dance.  I ran home about to burst with anticipation.  The song had to be “Thriller”; there was no other choice.  I choreographed until it was perfect.   

My mother made me tight, blue satin pants.  She sewed a keyboard and music notes on a t-shirt.  “I don’t know, mom.  This isn’t very Thrillery.”  And then she pulled it out.  It was like a beacon, drawing all the light from the room to it.  The glove.  She hand-sewed hundreds of silver sequins to a white Easter glove.  The latter being the icing on the cake as now I wouldn’t have to wear those stupid things.  I forgot all about the keyboard and slipped into the glove.  It was perfection.


Im bad 


Dont Mess With Me  

Although they made me cut my routine since it was such a long song, for those two minutes, the stage was mine.  I danced my little heart out.  It was heaven.  I received a standing ovation from the crowd.  Suck that Tommy the Magician!


When I made my way back to my seat, my love, my crush, Chris said, “I didn’t know a white girl could dance like that.”  A phrase that, for some reason, has stuck with me to this day.


So, thank you, Michael.  Thank you for your music.  Thank you for the endless hours of joy and fascination.  And thank you for helping me to reel in my very first boyfriend.


Farrah Hair 

Bonus Farrah hair

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That is just......oh my.....FUCKING AWESOME!
As you can see, I was a bad ass from a very young age.
Yessir, nothing says bad-ass mofo like a pair of polka-dotted sneaks. LOVE it!
Fantastic story and pix!!! I especially love “I didn’t know a white girl could dance like that.” High praise indeed! (which I'll never get) I've seen a lot of guys reminiscing about busting a move like Michael, but yours is the only woman's. thanks for sharing it all.
So very sweet. Thank you for sharing this.
Julie--Just awesome.

(I was too young for either Michael Jackson OR Farrah Fawcett, but I have in my possession old 8mm transferred to DVD films of several of my cousins--including at least one with Farrah hair--hip-thrusting and moonwalking their way through "Billie Jean." They're too old to blame it on being little kids; too young to blame it on booze.)
You know it Sheldon!

Thanks Silky. I noticed that too. He was a big deal in my house - which you can painfully see. If you post the pictures yourself, that means no one can use them as blackmail, right?
What Janie said...now it all makes sense. Great post, picture and writing.
JK - Uh oh, you're on to me...

Thanks Jeanette!

Leeandra - You're lucky! The 80s and early 90s were hell on fashion and my hair!
Hah! Love the shirt! Classic story. Thanks!
Yeah, sadly, OE, this didn't even come from the "costume closet". Thanks for taking the time!
Aw shucks, thanks guys.
Ms Tarp "It was 1981. I watched with the amazement of my seven year-old eyes "

Jesus H Christ, I feel so damned old. I remember the kid in 1969 (just before I graduated high school, you little whipsnapper) who appeared with his brothers "The Jackson Five."
Ah, what a cutie you were (are)! Your mom is pretty cool too.
Ewww Bob, you're old!
Why thank you Ms. Emma.
The hair of Farrah, the moves of Michael...girl, you had it all! Too cool!
You were one hot young lady in that outfit, Julie. Love it.

Gotta fess up on something! I went to listen to Toni Basil's Hey Mickey just now. I know I've heard it before...but this was a thing way after my time for this stuff.

I liked it. Now I'm kinda sorry I was not kinder to her when I did the SYTYCD review. My wife Nancy mentioned the song while we were watching...but it just didn't register.
"Ewww Bob, you're old"

I told you so
Yeah Laurel, I thought I had it goin' on.

Frank - Thanks! Last weekend the fam took a trip and my brother-in-law brought a special playlist. He downloaded all kinds of songs for each of us and one of mine was Hey Mickey. Although, it was in Spanish and instead of "You're so fine" they were saying "How are you." It was very disturbing to me.

Ah, Bob - you're only as old as you feel and I'm pretty sure you don't feel that old!
Way cool! I was a parent when he first appeared on MTV. I was 4 years old when he was born. Sad... rAted!
Thanks Sourie and Mr. Mustard.
I want to see you drunk and doing "Hey Mickey"!!!! Who else is with me?!!!
Well what a little cutie. You've made me much much older by posting those photos. Such a nice memory and what an act of love to do that for you.
Does that mean I get to start drinking right now blue? My dad's wife actually has footage of me doing Footloose literally three weeks ago. She's threatened to put it on UTube.

Bob - Thanks. Yeah, they were really cool about anything we wanted to do. Still are as a matter of fact. Pretty lucky.
O. M. G. a twofer! And first love to boot. Just freakin perfect.
Aging Bobs of O/S unite.
Ha! Sally, thanks - bangs have been the bane of my existence for as long as I can remember.

Oh dear, is this the Bob revolt?
Absolutely perfect. A wonderful tribute to both artists from another artist.

"Aging Bobs of O/S unite"

Oh Yeah, it's been a while. We can organize right hear on Ms Julie's page.
Proof indeed, if proof were needed, that you ROCK! And you always have!

That's quite a compliment, Buffy. Thanks.

Go ahead, Bob - how many others can there be?
Thank you, my dear, sweet Helen.

I'm glad no one's finding these photos as horrifying as I did.
Oh God! Bobs are endless.
Oh yeah. that too :-)
BTW, what did you end up naming your new pony?
I went with Bella. I think it's fitting because she's gorgeous!
Let's hear it for white girls who can dance!

(I used to practice the dances in front of MTV, too)
I completely loved this post!!! just perfect
AMAZING!! And I loved the bonus Farrah hair, too! Conrats on the EP and cover. You are bad!
Good name, Ms Tarp.

And oh so much easier to say than supercalifragilisticexpialidocious :-)
Denise - Glad to know I wasn't alone!

Thanks Ariana - it's not as painful as I thought it was going to be.

Cartouche - Thanks! Just a reminder for all those complaining of the EPs and Cover - look at all the ridiculous pictures and be careful what you wish for!
You are the total package, girl!!! Great post :) The 80's ... good times!
Loved this post. Loved the Farrah hair. Loved the Easter glove with all the sequins - your mom rules!
Hey mom, maybe we should do an 80s week on here. Sadly, this isn't even the tip of the embarrassing photos. Leg warmers? Puffy sleeves? Parachute pants? Who the hell started those trends?

C&V - I'll be sure to pass that along...maybe. It'll just go straight to her head.
Totally cover material- you rock!
Thanks for giving it a read Juli!
Those are Gloria Vanderbuilt jeans, aren't they? Man I loved those jeans too. And yes, my friend and I perfected the thriller dance also but we were a bit older - 15/16 years old. I can still do it.
My son took his first steps listening to and watching the Jackson 5.
I think "Thriller" had a whole other meaning for me. But it was in my hands, too. You have them daddy long legs!
Apache - you know it! Oh my god - that just made me realize my fascination with jeans started a lonnng time ago! This will help me the next time Paul freaks.

Ron - That's awesome! Seriously.

O - They shrank.
Best MJ post ever by far including Big Salon and all the stories on cable! Really. And most entertaining post in awhile for me. Pics were great and story was perfect!! I bet you just knew that someday you would finally get the recognition you deserved for your youthful obsession. Michael would be proud - and from a cowgirl no less.
Rated for moonwalking spirit
Wonderful! You totally rock, Julie. Your mom must have been pretty great, too, to make that bitchen outfit for you. Did she do the polka dot shoes, too? Way cool!
Fun! You had a great childhood, I'd say... and MJ was in the mix!
Awesome pics, awesome words. I can so relate!
This is a great story. I wish I'd been gutsy enough to dance to Thriller in the school talent show. And how cool was your mom to make you that glove? That must have taken hours.
Marcelle - Thanks! I certainly thought so at the time.

Grif - that's quite a compliment and means a lot, especially coming from you, my friend.

Sao - Thanks so much.

Lisa - Really sweet. Yeah, she was always up for making costumes. I actually got to do the shoes - with a magic marker.

Mista - Looking back, I definitely was a pretty lucky kid.

J - It's good to know I wasn't alone.

Libby - Thanks so much for always taking the time to read my posts. I think it did take her quite some time to sew all those sequins. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on my embarrassment level) that wasn't the only time the glove was used. Years later, my mom did a whole "I'm Fat" rendition on a houseboat in Canada for skit night on a family trip. Yikes!

hrnd - Thanks!
Sorry I'm so late to the dance. My car broke down and my hair got caught in the shower drain.
Really loved this one, Julie. Excellent writing and a very fun read. Congrates on the EP and Cover, too! Woo-Hooooo!
I . . . I am not worthy to post a comment.
This is the only "dead persons" post I read, and I loved it! You are double dog darling and I thank you for sharing.
Like you have hair Michael!

Thank you very much boys. Coming from y'all, it seriously means a lot.
Nevermind Michael. What I want to know about is not big hair. It's the big font in your posting. How do you get that look? Font curlers?
Ha Hawley! It's driving me insane. I don't know what happened. I wrote everything normal and this is how it came out when I published. I tried to go back and resize, but it only did one paragraph out of the whole thing. Just a weird glitch, I guess.
I have one word for this: cute.

Beautiful post.

Very good, Julie. Keep on pirouetting.