Wichitans stage citywide Harlem Shake event

03/04/2013 5:31 PM

08/08/2014 10:15 AM

The Harlem Shake trend has to be near its end. Doesn’t it?

Hasn’t it about outstayed its welcome, like so many homemade “Call Me Maybe” videos from last summer?

Fortunately, a group of Wichita buddies will likely get their effort in just in time.

On Sunday, a group of four friends is staging a citywide “Harlem Shake,” which they’ll film and send out into Internet-dom, hoping for some viral magic. They’re asking everyone to show up at the Keeper of the Plains statue at 1:30 p.m., costumed and ready to shake like they’ve never shaken it before.

The Harlem Shake they’re planning is the one that created a recent Internet craze, in which groups of athletes, skydivers, college students and office workers film themselves in random, bizarre costumes making random, bizarre movements to the techno song created by Harry Rodrigues, aka DJ Baauer. He originally released the song in May of last year, but videos began popping up in January and now are everywhere. Just type “Harlem Shake” into YouTube and prepare to lose several hours of your day.

Harlem Shake videos are all bizarrely different but follow the same pattern. As the song begins, one person is gyrating, seemingly unnoticed by anyone else in the vicinity. When the song’s beat hits, the video cuts and suddenly lots of people appear, in various states of dress, undress and costumes, dancing upside down, right side up, as goofily as they can.

One of the most popular Harlem Shake videos was made by the University of Georgia’s men’s swim and dive team. They’re sitting at a table underwater in their Speedos as one team member dances on the table. The music switches, and suddenly the swimmers are underwater dancing in sleeping bags, while clutching brooms, waving traffic cones and floating upside down.

It’s so strange, so silly, so unexpected that it’s oddly funny in its total goofiness. I sort of love it.

Several groups of Wichitans already have posted Harlem Shake videos. There’s one of a group in the snow across the river from the Keeper of the Plains. There’s one filmed in Wichita State University’s Rhatigan Student Center. Newman University students made one in the library. There’s one from Public at the Brickyard, one from the East High School swimming team, the Heights High School student body, the staff at MobileComm. The University of Kansas has a couple of popular ones, too, including one filmed by the basketball team and another by the student fan section at the KU vs. Texas game.

The buddies who dreamt up Sunday’s shake range in age from 19 to 21.

Travis Sandy is doing the publicity and rallied several local radio stations to participate and help him get the word out.

His buddy Justin Kelly is a video expert who will do the filming, editing and uploading.

Two other buddies — Cory Hansard and Alex McNeal — will help provide the opening moves for the shake before the crowd, which they hope will top 300, breaks into hysterical nuttiness.

“We’ve already got 100 of our friends confirmed, and think we can double or triple that with all of our promotions,” Sandy said. “It’s going to be a good time.”

Anyone can participate, and Sandy really wants students from the local colleges to come.

He promises to send me the finished product on Monday.

I hope someone brings a sleeping bag.

About Denise Neil

Denise has been an Eagle reporter since 1997. She writes about pop culture on Sundays, reviews restaurants on Fridays and blogs at Dining with Denise. Previously, she worked for the Chattanooga Times and graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Kansas.

Contact Denise at 316-268-6327 or by e-mailing dneil@wichitaeagle.com

Follow Denise on Twitter: @DeniseNeil

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