To begin: NYC has recently witnessed the birth of the Mob Project, a weird sort of DaDa-performance-art thing. A whole bunch of strangers descend on a previously-selected location, hang about for ten minutes, and then disperse. MOB#1 was covered on NPR’s The Next Big Thing a couple nights back (that’s a 7-minute Real Audio stream). This evening, MOB#2 was unleashed. Here’s the set of instructions that were sent around the web. Read them, they’re fascinating.
I love this idea: as the inventor says, it’s kind of like NYC scene-ism reduced to its barest essence—a bunch of people who get together to be somewhere random because everybody else is going to be there too. It strikes me as a fountain of Surrealist energy and joy and all kinds of things that this cranky-ass town desperately needs.
I wasn’t there. We got off to a great start, but then the phone rang, and my shoelace broke, and I couldn’t find my keys, and the subway gods forsook me and left us standing on the platform for 7 crucial minutes. When we got to the Blarney Stone on 32nd, the crucial staging area back by the jukebox—the place where about 1/4 of the mob got its marching orders—it was empty. Not just empty, deserted. It was like hearing a noise in an empty room down the hall, and opening its door and not being able to tell what had fallen. The air was thick with this palpable “you just missed them” feeling.
Paul and I played a hunch and walked briskly up to Macy’s. We had one shot and thought they might be in the kitchenwares section. They weren’t.
So we went home. I tried to maintain the sense of buoyancy/excitement/joy that I felt on the way down, but I couldn’t. And why? Because I’d missed out on a chance to stand in a crowd of strangers. I mean, how many times do you get that kind of opportunity?
Anybody who knows how to get me on the mailing list for MOB#3 is hereby invited to let me know.