January 31, 2009

Flash Mob Austin: The Freeze

I hit 200 posts with my last one! Nuts.

Today was eventful. I participated in a flash mob here in town, specifically, a coordinated attempt to spook the shoppers at Whole Foods by freezing in one place for five minutes. Since there were about 200 of us doing this, the effect proved quite eerie and generated a whole lot of confusion among the customers:

I'm not in the video, but I stood in place with my recently-purchased gelato and the wooden spoon in my mouth, as if finishing off a bite. Me and three friends were a bit outside the main "freeze" area, which worked to our advantage when shoppers walking past us mumbled things like "Oh, see, it is something they're doing" after navigating the main strip.

Best story from the event: As I was standing there, a woman came walking up the aisle towards me. She looked at me quizzically (although I didn't have the best view of her, since I was facing forward and she was off to my left) and started saying things like "Are you real? Is this real? What's going on?" Stoic as ever, I didn't say a word.

She turned to a store employee who was behind me and to the left and asked him what was up. "I have no idea," he answered. "This isn't my department. I don't know anything." It was great. On the inside, I was giggling at her confusion, but on the outside of course I had to remain motionless. She continued to hover around me and my friends until I blinked, at which point she clucked her tongue and said "Ah! You are real" and walked off.

I guess she thought we were all pieces of cardboard or something?

It was really fun listening to the other customers talking to each other about us as they walked by. It was even more fun watching the store employees give us these odd looks and smile at us. After the freeze ended, after five minutes, there was an announcement on the intercom about a special on hot tea, directed at "all of you who were previously frozen; it will warm your soul!"

I took a bunch of pictures at the park where we planned the event and met up afterwards. They're here. Highlights:

The Crowd Receives Instructions


Kelly, Ruben, and Tasha

Demonstrating How to Freeze

The last one is one of my favorites -- it's of two girls demonstrating how to freeze (as if we needed the help! Hmph) before we all disbanded and walked to Whole Foods. They chose the always-fashionable "high-five" pose. Unfortunately, since I was frozen, I wasn't able to take any pictures of anybody's poses. But there are a couple on flickr you can see from other people, to get an idea of what people were doing.

I had a lot of fun, and I'm definitely going to keep doing these things :-) I realized afterwards that this is the second flash mob I'd attended. The first one was, of course. WWPFD. That one wasn't in a highly-trafficked public area; therefore I think it's less "flash mob" and more "crazy thing to do on a Saturday afternoon." But they were both fun :-)

After it was over, some friends and I walked around downtown, where I got some more gorgeous photos. Samples:

Water Fountains

La Casa Del Fuego

The UT Tower

Look at that gorgeous sky! I'm so happy I invested in a nice polarizing filter.


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