Friday, 4:24pm. All day the only thing on my mind was how much I didn’t want to go anywhere on a rainy day like this one. Then, as if by magic, the clouds parted as I saw a tweet from Mark Hopkins about Audio Mob YYC 2. What’s a girl to do? Follow the signs. Audio Mob it was!
You don’t find me participating in many flash mobs in Calgary. Honestly, I find most of them to be a little cheesy… or promotey. Either way, most of them miss the point of the flash mob in the first place – random, silly fun with no ulterior motive. Well, unless the ulterior motive is learning a bit more about the city you live in.
Audio Mob YYC does just this. Exactly one week before the event opened, an mp3 file was made available on the website. If you can figure out how to download a link and load it onto your iPod or mp3 player, those are the only tech skills you need to participate. I just happened to download mine at 4:25pm. It took a few minutes, but a quick sync of my iPhone and I was on my way!
We met in the Courthouse Park at the intersection of 4th St SW and 6th Ave SW. Recognizable by our blue, red or yellow shirts and a smattering of balloons, we waited for our clocks to strike 5:00pm and for the mob to begin. Described as “one part flash mob, one part decentralized dance party, and one part Simon Says,” it ends up being a hilarious way to spend the better part of an hour.
This year, we made a human bullseye, argued loudly like lawyers about whose colour shirt was superior, danced down Stephen Avenue, stared at patio patrons like they were zoo animals (because “patios are for people watching, right?”), chased cookie monster and his two friendly cookies and even had a Mexican standoff. We even learned a few points about the businesses and buildings along the way. Like:
- There are 6 different natural land forms found in the Calgary Courthouse Park that are native to Alberta.
- The first original courthouse was built in 1888.
- Stephen Ave is named after the first president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, George Stephen.
- Most of the original wood buildings along Stephen Ave burnt down in the Calgary fire of 1886. They were built from sandstone after that to stop them from burning down again.
- Flames Central is the last surviving example of a palace-style cinema in Western Canada.
- And, a fact you should all be well aware of by now, that Calgary is the 2012 Cultural Capital of Canada.
See you next year at Audio Mob YYC 3! Or if y’all come up with an interesting mob idea of your own… let me know!