LAS VEGAS -- The Michael Jackson dance-alike toiled for three hours to prepare for his performance: arching his eyebrows, reshaping his nose with tape, airbrushing his skin to King of Pop perfection.
He wriggled into a black military jacket and black floodwater pants that mirrored the singer's style, down to the bunched white socks.
He headed to his usual haunt on Las Vegas Boulevard: outside gilded Planet Hollywood, near the busy crosswalk to fountain-fronted Bellagio. Atop a stool, he balanced a black fedora and a single glittering glove.
Then Jalles Franca chitchatted with out-of-towners and mugged for photos in the kind of heat that stings the skin. For hours, he experienced the ecstasy and indignity that come with turning the sidewalk into a stage.
In recent years, Franca and dozens of other starry-eyed showmen have tested the core mythology of Las Vegas on its bustling Strip -- that with moxie (and perhaps some sparkling apparel), anyone can transform himself into a moneymaker. Or an entertainer.