Thursday, April 24, 2008

Flash Mobs and Downtown Drums

"But few things were more curious than what was staged on Friday evening, at the south end of Union Square near East 14th Street. More than a thousand people, most of them young, gathered for a dance party without audible music, known as a silent rave.

It was striking for what could not be heard."
-New York Times, "For 1,000 Solo Dancers, a Soundtrack of Silence"

There's been a phenomenon of flash mobs--public collaborations of silly and harmless, but staged, activities that first started in 2003. Last Friday, 1000 people gathered at NY's Union Square to collectively dance in silence to their own iPod playlists. Back in January, over 200 "Improv Everywhere Agents" simply froze in place at the same time for a duration of five minutes at Grand Central Station.

Can LA do something like this too? Please??

There's just something about these flash mobs... CNN once called the participants "jokers [who] gather en masse at a moment's notice, perform an inane activity and then disperse quickly". But I think there's something deeper than just a propensity for silliness and a beauty in the way a large number of people can come together seemingly out of nowhere, regardless of backgrounds, circumstances, and everyone's independent and oftentimes, me-centric, schedules. For those precious moments, there's an unspoken understanding that time is theirs to share.

But in the meantime, LA does offer great community building events, like the Music Center's "Drum Downtown". Start your Saturday mornings by the beat of your own drum in Drum Downtown's outdoor group drumming experience on the Music Center Plaza. A fun, entry-level experience for all ages creating improvised rhythms and making music in the moment. The first of five Drum Downtown events will be held on Saturday, May 10th from 10:00am to 11:30am.

"Community"... that's the key word in all of this, flash mobs or not.

-Sarah Koo, ExperienceLA Marketing Assistant

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