Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Flash Mobs

Ah, what a great cruise!! To my delight, it WAS a bit like Kellerman’s on a ship, without anything too painfully dorky (though I did hear a rumor that there was a Charades tournament somewhere on board during one of the shore excursion days…) Anyone who knows me understands that I’m really just a 90-year-old lady named Miriam inside a 29-year-old’s body, so the endless bingo games, kitschy stage shows involving Carmen Miranda fruit hats, trivia challenges, and animals folded out of bath towels on my bed each night (no, really) were a constant source of happy for me. Ooh, and they had karaoke EVERY SINGLE NIGHT!! And they had all-you-can-eat FLAN in the dining room!! It’s like they made a list called “Stuff Alana Likes” and structured their entire company around it. All they were missing was Guitar Hero, and my dream vacay would have been complete. Jay Willy, on the other hand, merely tolerates all the above-mentioned activities, but he still managed to enjoy himself- mostly through the outlet of overpriced strawberry daiquiris and gambling. We had a blast, and I will post pictures at some point in the future, when I can be bothered to do so.
But enough about The Honeymoon- let’s get into the Awesome Thing of the Day. I had a whole other post prepared about some other awesome thing, but then decided the topic wasn’t nearly awesome enough, so I abandoned it for now (I won’t tell you what it was, though, in case I do decide to post it another day) Let’s talk about…


Anyone who saw the season premiere of Oprah this year knows what a flash mob is. For the benefit of those of you who prefer to watch something else whilst working out, though, a flash mob is a moderately new phenomenon where a small group of people spontaneously burst into a choreographed dance, Broadway-style, in a public place full of unsuspecting bystanders. Here are a few examples of flash mobs- this is the one from Oprah that I mentioned, featuring the Black-Eyed Peas:

And here’s a great one from Weeds (which is actually where I first heard of flash mobs…guess I’m a little slow on the trend uptake), featuring one of my favorite songs right now, “Say Hey (I Love You)” by Michael Franti:


Maybe you have to be a theater geek who likes musicals like me in order to truly appreciate the beauty of a whole group of people doing the exact same dance at the exact same time. For me, flash mobs kind of realize the fantasy I’ve always had of suddenly springing into a choreographed little number, apropos of nothing, with about 25-plus strangers who magically know the exact same routine right by my side. Ever since I saw (and worshipped) Annie back when I was just a lil’ sprout, I longed for an opportunity to see-or better yet, be part of- something like this scene?
OK, not a flash mob by definition, but how cool that everyone in the orphanage knows the same song AND can do a choreographed dance to it without the aid of formal dance training or rehearsals?
Or, you know that part in Oliver! Where he’s just looking out his window and suddenly all the townspeople burst into the lovely little “Who Will Buy this Wonderful Morning?” song? I mean, come on, wouldn’t you just LOVE to see something like that for real? Well, thanks to flash mobs, now you can.
So you’re reading this post and you’re probably thinking, “Well, that’s all well and good, Alana, but how do I create my own flash mob?” Well, I’ll break it down for you in these easy-to-follow steps. Take notes!

1. You must be willing to make a complete ass of yourself in public. Inhibitions? Self-consciousness? Better check those at the door, pal, cause they ain’t gonna work for flash
mob-ery. You’ve got to have total confidence and be OK with spontaneously dancing in a crowded public place in order to really bring it. Entertainment Rule #1: You have to really sell it, and if anyone thinks you look squirmy or uncomfortable, they won’t be buying what you’re selling, and you’ll just end up looking like a tool. Throw inhibition to the wind!!
2. Pick a bouncy tune. Nobody will give a crap if you and your buds start an impromptu lyrical interpretive dance number to Enya’s latest hit- mostly you’ll just put everyone to sleep and make them inexplicably yearn for a massage. (No offense, Enya- I LOVE you, but your music just isn’t super-catchy, as you probably know…) You need to pick something recognizable, or failing that, danceable. What do you think will give you more love from the audience- a kick-ass, perfectly executed number set to “Ghostbusters” or a lackluster routine set to some song nobody knows, like that new one by Chris Isaak? (Once again, my apologies to Mr. Isaak- I think your voice is hauntingly lovely and you are an adult-contemporary fave, but not exactly something you can groove to, ya know?)
3. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Yes, it’s supposed to be spontaneous-for the audience. You mustn’t come unprepared for something like this- if you don’t look like you and your chums are all doing the same routine, you will look less like an awesome flash mob than a bunch of d-bags randomly dancing to the same loud tune in a disorganized, chaotic manner.
4. Pick a nice crowded spot full of unwitting audience members. The best places seem to be busy street malls, festivals, or corporate plaza-type things that are always crowded for lunch. Places to avoid- the mall (unless you want people to think you’re the cast of Glee coming around on a mall tour for all the teeny-boppers), a concert (since it’s unfair to steal the main act’s spotlight), and probably the DMV. (Though that would make for an EXCELLENT YouTube video!)
5. Bust a move! In fact, “Bust a Move” would be an excellent song to use in your flash mob routine. Now get out there and DANCE!!!

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