Paul Makepeace ;-)

June 28, 2004

Mobile Clubbing NYC - aftermath

Posted in: Events

After a phone call with Stephen S in the UK we decided to go ahead with Mobile Clubbing NYC 1 with barely 36hrs left. The time: 6:18pm; the date: 23rd June; the place: Grand Central Station. (In hindsight, 6:23 would've been a better time, ah well.)

With the beyond-the-call gracious help of Carolyn T we created some flyers in Word for a party at Boulevard later that night. On the day, I got a call from Barry/Circle who had the idea to flyer Union Sq where all the cool kids hang out. I can tell you, at midday after a raging, weird, abusive night before I was so not up for that, especially since I'd have to recreate the flyer, get it photocopied, cut up, and handed out to strangers the whole afternoon. It is something of a breakthrough for me not to have blown that off. It was a lot of work albeit rewarding and out of my comfort zone.

One notable feature of the flyering was meeting Gary Younge: none other than the NYC correspondent for The Guardian UK national paper who has previously reported on the Flash Mobbing scene in NYC. How synchronous!?

Barry & I made our way to GCS after the flyering (and an audio interview for Good News Broadcast; not online yet). We had no idea how many people would show up. I kind of didn't care at that point, I was so ready to dance. I'd snagged one of Joe's glittery red dance tops which I changed into on the platform at 42nd.

Arriving at GCS it became obvious who was MCing: those wearing personal stereos, looking amused and conspiratorial, and above all frequently clock-watching. The main concourse has at its centre a beautiful information booth and four-sided clock, perfect for spot-on MC timing.

At 6:18 on the dot pretty much everyone, a dozen or so of us, mostly NYC Burning Man folks jumped into action and somewhat dispersed. We danced, were stared at, were giggled at, and I even was engaged by a middle-aged woman in some swingdance. This was hilarious - she was so into it. I'm dying to upload the pics I have for this one alone; there is an expression of pure delight on this woman's entire physique.

There was a growing crowd of amused commuters, all looked quite entertained. We weren't moving around in the space so much so it turned into a bit of a show.

About 15mins in, for reasons only known to himself one of the folks (who was not dancing/without stereo) decided to sit down right there in the middle of the concourse. Unfortunately this, combined with our growing audience, seemed enough of an excuse for the cops who previously had just stood by and not interfered to break it up. They were very cool and courteous about it so we gradually eased off, debriefed, and dived back into the transit system.

Lessons learnt: 1. Get the thing organized earlier! Altho' it was fun I basically blew off my remaining two afternoons doing MC-related stuff. And coupled with having phone numbers of two gorgeous women...

2. Have MC'ers move around the space so that a crowd simply cannot form or at least would be much harder to. Had we been more dispersed I think it may've continued longer since the cops would've stayed out of it. (The one I spoke to said he saw it quite early on and didn't interrupt as there was no obvious threat, but stepped in when the crowd formed.)

3. For when it's over, pre-arrange a nearby venue and way of getting there so we can disperse afterwards. Post-MC we hung around for ages and some momentum was lost which, combined with a distant(ish) venue, meant we didn't get to hang out. Nearby is key I think as at least half the discussion was about how to get there (bus v. subway v. ...)

Overall a fantastic experience, it's amazing what context can do for allowing ourselves to do something completely bizarre. Lots of fun!

If you have any pics please do send them along (mine are stuck in my camera pending a flashcard reader/USB cable). I didn't get email addressses of attendees (doh) so drop me a line if you'd like to hear about the next one, or even be there for organizing another!

(PS for non-Americans: 6:23 would've worked better as 6/23 is the US way of writing 23rd June.)

Posted by Paul Makepeace at June 28, 2004 18:36 | TrackBack

YO Mobile Clubbing is SICK.

You should totally hit me back with an email if there are any more events of this going on.

My friends and I back home used to dance party on the corner all the time with chicken suits and all crazy kinds of things and it was awesome.


Posted by: Jim at October 6, 2004 20:32
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