David Dodd 10:32 a.m., May 25
Harlem Shake felt throughout San Diego
Dumb dance fascinates millions. Hijinks ensue.
Watching the potentially utopian vehicle of cyber-memes get twisted into unabashed marketing ploys may leave you a little cynical (like when you discovered that just about anything is liable to contain horse meat or that Ann Wilson got fat), but so what?
Everybody and their grandmother has a video camera in their pocket and “social media genius” is an accepted resume title.
It was bound to happen.
We’ve followed the meme train previously during “Shit [whoever]s say”-mania, when Belly Up Tavern affiliates Beau Doiron (BFD Shows promoter) and Meryl Klemow posted “Shit People Say at Concerts.”
Loaded with a few good zingers, it was a transparent stab at viral marketing, nevertheless.
The effort saw moderate success, accruing over 18,300 hits (a lot but not A LOT, as far as memes go) as of this writing.
But never has the virtual frenzy been so widespread and rapid to mutate as the current explosion of Harlem Shake spinoffs, which combine a pretty badass Baauer track of the same name with a formulaic spaz-dance that, some complain, doesn’t even resemble the real thing.
While bloggers everywhere stomp and grimace and spew predictable 'over it' rants, Rich’s nightclub in Hillcrest is embracing the newest wrinkle with their own flamboyant take on the Shake.
San Diego Gay & Lesbian News posted the video two days ago, noting:
“Nightclub staff members hope the video goes viral like many others have, and are running a contest on their Facebook page for a chance to win a $250 VIP bottle service package. Simply sharing the video from Rich's Facebook page enters one in the contest.”
Matt Hall over at U-T San Diego did a thorough job of cataloging some other local Shakes, including renditions at the Sonic in Santee:
At the beach:
With the Cardiff Kook:
And on a San Diego-bound airplane:
That last one was made by an ultimate Frisbee team from a university in Colorado.
The FAA in now “looking into” the 31-second video, which was recorded on a February 15 Frontier Airliners flight over the Rocky Mountains.
CNN’s coverage of the event quotes Steve Wallace, former director of the FAA's Office of Accident Investigation, saying:
"I hate to be a bureaucratic kill-joy… I think there is a safety issue here. Turbulence injuries are the most common type of injuries, and they are virtually eliminated when people are in their seat belts."
According to Frontier Airlines and the freewheeling Frisbee team, the seat belt sign was off during the videotaping, which took less than a minute.
CNN’s story goes on to quote Veda Shook, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, saying:
“Dancing is a bad idea even on the ground… dancing impedes other passengers and makes it impossible for flight attendants to communicate with passengers.”
Wallace and Shook suggested that, a “Harlem shake dance could also be used by terrorists to divert a crew's attention.”
Samuel L. Jackson’s agent announced today that the actor will be starring in a feature film inspired by the events of February 15, tentatively titled Shakes on a Plane.
Oh yeah, there’s this, too.