Monday, February 1, 2010

Back In a Flash...

First, a little confession: this post really has very little to do with the DC Comics character in the tight red outfit and the bulging... muscles. I say very little, because in all fairness, the "flash" figures in very much in the main subject of tonight's post. But, as you may have read, more of that, anon.

Now, I'm hardly ashamed to admit that I love Superhero movies. I think most of us agree that a good Superhero movie is fun and uplifting no matter how dark it is, while a bad one can be irksome; stupid; embarrassing and downright wrath-inducing. And while I have read (and can certainly appreciate) several graphic novels; I was more of an Eerie; Creepy and Famous Monsters kind of kid, than a Marvel Universe kind of kid (Hmmm - imagine that! Who would ever have thought...?)

Anyway, while looking for an appropriate image that wouldn't give everything away, I found the one above (or to your left, depending on your browser) and was surprised to learn how little I actually knew about the DC character also known as "The Scarlet Speedster." That nick name, for one. Or that The Flash, much like Green Lantern, has multiple alter-egos. I know... "What the hell is he talking about now?" You'll see the connection in a minute, I promise. I just thought I'd share some useless knowledge with you which might someday win you a bar bet, or at least a full pie in Trivial Pursuit (though Mr. Rader probably already knew all that, anyway). But, I digress.

The 'Flash' in tonight's post title actually refers to Flash Mob, something yours truly is about to embark upon the planning of.

Shhh.. it's a secret!

Said event is to promote, well... something; which will be taking place, well... somewhere, sometime later this year.

Uncle P has been fascinated by the idea of the Flash Mob, ever since I first heard of the concept. For those unfamiliar (or just too lazy to read the Wikipedia article hyper-linked above), a Flash Mob is a group of people who assemble in a public place at a designated date and time, perform a (usually) pointless act for a set period of time, and then disperse quickly. What started out as technological performance art (the first flash mob participants were usually notified via text message among network of friends and acquaintances), has since been co-opted as advertising and/or promotional events designed to sell a product or promote an event.

There are all kinds of Flash Mobs, and the best ones are usually just for fun. Probably one the most famous Flash Mobs is Frozen Grand Central, staged by the group Improv Everywhere, in which participants made their way through New York City's Grand Central Central Station and all froze at once, remained frozen for several minutes and then simply continued on as though nothing had happened:

And honestly, can anyone doubt that everyone in Antwerp's Central Station had a great time when this happened?:

I imagine that for the participants, a Flash Mob must be an exhilarating experience. All the performers out there know the rush of performance for its own sake. It's intoxicating. And to be a part of something that makes me people stop and smile and have a good time, is even more of a rush. Of course it's great to get paid to perform, but real performers do it for the joy of performing. Watch the faces of the folks participating in and watching these seemingly spontaneous events. The spectators are particularly fun to watch, as their expressions change from confusion to curiosity to smiles as they realize what's happening. And watch the faces of of the dancers/actors/participants as they perform. Who cares if their selling something, as long as everyone is having a good time, right?

Yes, that was very much a commercial Flash Mob. But did you see anyone that wasn't having a good time? And you may have noticed that train stations seem to be excellent places to stage a Flash Mob, but really, any crowded public place will do. The baech is used quite effectively in one of my favorite flash mobs (and one I've posted before), this clip promoting Australia's 2009 Gay Mardi Gras:

Or this one, celebrating the 30th anniversary of The Who's "Tommy" in San Francisco, last year:

And a Flash Mob doesn't always have to include music and dancing (or more than six people):

So, I am excited and full of ideas for planning and pulling off a Flash Mob of my own, especially since it will be promoting a, well... very good cause. If you're interested participating in this mad experiment, let me know in the comments and I will send you details as they emerge.

More, anon.*

*I may be taking a night or two off this week. The Muse has struck and I am in the midst of feverishly writing a new screenplay. But I promise I'm not abandoning you. See this post's title for reassurance.



Stephen said...

I just love most of what Improve Everywhere does... one of my favorites was a gathering of pople on the Brooklyn Bridge that took flash photos of each other for 1.5 minutes, lighting up the bridge at dusk.
My verification word is BEARFUR. Really.

Stephen R. said...

You had me at "tight red outfit and the bulging... muscles."

Barry Allen, Wally West, Bart Allen, or Jay Garrick - - I love 'em all!

Just think of super speed applied to... SO many things.

Well, not THAT! Then again, if they are premature, at super speed, they probably wouldn't need 15 minutes to get things going again.

Yes, I think about these things. For I am a geek. And a perv! :)