So . . . the flashmob, and how that came about.

Ever since I watched my first flashmob – I think it was a cell commercial in a European bus station or something – I’ve just been a little fascinated with them.  Reason #1 being that I am the biggest musical theater dork ever, and a mass of people breaking into choreographed dancing is just so dreamy.  But Reason #2 is a little deeper, and my excuse for the emotional reaction I have watching them.  I just love the corporate commitment of a group of people coming together just for fun . . . for the sole purpose of “creating joy through surprise”.  In a world full of cynicism and road rage, it’s a refreshing movement.

A couple months ago, I indulged in writing a Life List (a great concept inpsired by Maggie of Mighty Girl).  In writing it, I decided that I wanted to be a part of a flashmob someday.  I did some research and signed up with Flash Mob America.  Not two months later, they emailed me, saying that they were planning one to celebrate the LA opening of In The Heights.  I was ecstatic.  In The Heights is one of my favorite shows, and the backstory is amazing: Lin Manuel Miranda grew up in Washington Heights and was inspired by seeing broadway plays as a child.  He wrote this semi-autobiographical play while still in college, and went on to star in it on Broadway and win a Tony for best musical.  I had purchased tickets for the show on a Sunday, and the flashmob was schedule for that Saturday.  I recruited some girlfriends and we made a weekend out of it.

(Although Jenn will tell you that this was all her idea.  That’s a lie.)

I must admit, I thought learning the routine would be pretty simple, since I majored in musical theater in undergrad and even once generously called myself a “singer-actor-dancer” on my acting resume.  Well, I was sorely mistaken.  The routine was fast and it was hard, and it kicked my butt.  We were all calling each other in a panic the week leading up to the flashmob.  All of us except for Moya, who really was a professional dancer and who picked it up in about five minutes at the rehearsal while the rest of us were frantically missing our steps.  Can you guess which one Moya is? (Hint: the one wearing actual dance clothes).

The rehearsal was Saturday morning, in a big park with about 300 other flashmob enthusiasts.  It was people of all shapes and sizes, some great dancers, and others who, ahem . . . might have boosted my self-esteem a bit.  

After the rehearsal, we made our way to Universal Citywalk where Lin Manuel was eating, unaware that 300 of us were plotting a surprise.  We mulled around, and suddenly the music for 96,000 comes blaring out of the loudspeakers.  And what happened next is just . . . . indescribable really.  Flashmobs are fun to watch, but being a part of it – I mean, at the risk of sounding like an incredible cheeseball, it really was a big lovefest.  Especially seeing Lin Manuel stand on the balcony, totally blown away by what was going on.

Since a couple of us were seeing the show the next day, we decided to make a night of it. Mark gladly begrudgingly generously gave me a hallpass and we got a hotel room in the city.  We ate at Katsuya, so that we could marvel at fancy sushi and try to spot some celebrities.  Mostly we spotted creepy old guys with scantily-clad young women.  And a lot of plastic surgery.  Also, Ellen Pompeo. WE THINK.

Upon our exit, Moya was serenaded by this guy.

You’ve gotta love LA – where even those most pretentious restaurant is just a step away from a crazy guy with a fanny pack and a crackly speaker on wheels.  (It wasn’t the only crackly thing on that street, IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN).  Also, we got to witness two drunk homeless guys having a fight in front of the W Hotel, and I’m pretty sure we stepped through their pee just before entering the lobby bar.

Oh, Hollywood. 

After dinner we hit the Dwell magazine afterparty.  This was a different kind of LA crowd – the more artsy, “I’m trying to look like I’m not trying” crowd.  The party was sponsored by a butt chair that is apparently very high-fashion.  So the room was full of these plastic butt chairs. Here is my friend Sarah pretending like it is comfortable.

The walls of the party were adorned with photos of the butt chair, leading me to conclude that, no matter where you go in LA, and no matter what crowd you are in, you will alwys be faced with people obsessed with giant plastic body parts.

Distracting?  Annoying?  Offensive?  A bit much?  Yes.  I agree.  THAT’S HOW IT FELT.  Although, coming up with captions for these photos could be fun.  Anyone want to take a shot?

Also, I am still confused by the DJ who was “spinning” tunes on his macbook. Can’t he just pre-record? Really? Does he need to stand there moving his mouse around while we all watch?

(Please notice giant poster of butt chair just behind the DJ).

Saturday morning we slept in gloriously late, and sat by the pool until our evening show.  Let me just say that again – we sat by the pool.  Oh, it was heavenly.  Despite the very racous crowd of 20-somethings cavorting in their bathing suits and high heels in a nearby cabana. 

That’s not entirely true.  Not all of them had on high heels.  One girl was wearing furry platform ski boots with her bikini.

Have I been clear about my feelings on Los Angeles?

But still.  A pool.  With no children. 

And then we got to see Lin Manuel in In The Heights, and the show blew me away again.  Moya was laughing at me because I cried though half of the second act, just in anticipation of Usnavi’s final revelation.  Oh, that show is good stuff.

Best. Weekend. Ever.  And now, the official In The Heights Flashmob.  The good stuff doesn’t start until about a minute in.