Monday, June 29, 2009

Moonwalk for Michael June 09: the video

I don't think any of us expected to spend Friday afternoon organising an open air dance tribute to Michael Jackson in New York's Washington Square Park. Or that it would actually happen.

At 10.19am on Friday a group email arrived from S. As a fervent Michael Jackson fan he couldn't believe that no one had thought to organise a flash mob gathering in New York like the one at London's Liverpool Street.

We drew a blank on Twitter and on Google. And so our own NYC Mass Moonwalk was born.

With a hard core of maybe five of us, (French, Spanish, English & American in a staggering show of entente cordiale) we fixed on a location, Washington Square Park. But we still had the problem of how we were going to play music loud enough for a crowd to dance to. We didn't think a boom box was going to cut it,

Then T had a brainwave: the French Embassy's Cultural Services arm was organising an open air screening of The Big Blue at 8pm. Maybe, if he asked nicely, they would let us use their sound system for half an hour beforehand.

Astonishingly they agreed. (More entente cordiale.) So we started flooding Twitter & Facebook with updates, I blogged on here so it wld register on Google searches, and we all emailed friends, random acquaintances and various press to let them know of our plans.

Within half an hour it was obvious that we had struck a chord. So one of the girls designed & printed off 200 flyers, someone else printed up some T shirts, and we prayed for good weather.

Not hard enough. At 7pm the heavens opened and dumped a bucket of torrential rain over lower Manhattan. We were convinced no one would turn up. But apparently the French Embassy have their own weather sonar system and assured us that a) it would stop raining at 730pm &b) they had no intention of cancelling their screening.

Ambitious thinking as it was still raining at 7.25pm.

And then, miraculously, the sky started to clear from the west, and the rain stopped. We hung about, maybe fifteen of us, practically outnumbered by media & film crew wielding notebooks & cameras, as we thrust flyers at passers-by and wondered if we would be the only ones dancing.

We needn't have worried. By the time we played Thriller the Moonwalk had kicked off and we had a huge audience dancing, singing & laughing along. We even managed to find ourselves a choreographer, actor Matthew Chai who led the dancing for us.

RIP Michael Jackson

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