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12/21/2010

Holiday Flash Mobs: The good, the bad, and the unsafe

This holiday season we’ve had our share of flash mobs: One good, one questionable and one that nearly didn’t even happen because it was a health and safety hazard. Two are Canadian.

Let’s start off with the one that went off without a hitch, the Christmas Food Court Flash Mob.

This viral video went down inside Seway Mall in Welland, Ont. when dozens of choir members began to spontaneously sing Handel’s Messiah (the Hallelujah song) in the shopping centre’s food court.

Much to the bewilderment of shoppers passing thru the area and diners chowing down on chow mien, people spread throughout the food court broke into festive song in a video that’s earned 27 million views on YouTube.

It wasn’t just anybody behind the viral video – the singers were members of Chorus Niagara and the video was shot by Niagara Falls’ Alphabet Photography (who approached the choir to make the video).

Now it’s time to look at one that’s interesting, but a little rough around the edges.

This flash mob is from members of a downtown Toronto law firm (Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP) including articling students, a few partners, associates and staff (according to the YouTube description).

The troupe, sporting red caps to either stick out or hide their faces, danced to the Black Eyed Peas’ "I've Got a Feeling” in a food court in the city’s financial district underground PATH system.

I give them 'A' for effort, but the execution could have been better. The music during the first half of the video wasn’t perfectly matched with the music the group played in the background during the taping. The camera work was also a little more reminiscent of the shakiness in a Bourne Identity fight scene than of the slick job done by CGEP students in Quebec.

UPDATE 22:16 p.m.: For some reason, this video is now set to private and can't be viewed.

The last flash mob almost didn’t happen.

The Galleria Roseville mall in California was evacuated after 5,000 revellers showed up for a flash mob organized by a local choral society.

Officials told the local TV station that reports of the food court’s floor moving and creaking prompted an evacuation.

Worry not – the flash mob did fulfill its mission and was performed outside the mall. Not quite as spontaneous, however.

 

What flash mob have you seen online that you liked most? Do you think they’re good or cheesy? 

- Maurice Cacho, MSN Tech & Gadgets

UPDATE 10:20 p.m.: Since one video got deep-sixed, here's another neat Christmas flash mob courtesy of Air Canada. It takes place at the Vancouver airport and I think it's pretty well done.

 

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Danny BradburyDanny Bradbury

Danny Bradbury is a technology journalist with 20 years' experience. He writes regularly for publications including the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Financial Post, and Backbone magazine. Danny also writes and directs documentaries.

Maurice CachoMaurice Cacho

Maurice Cacho is a Toronto-based journalist mixing his love for tech with a passion for news. He's also CP24's Web Journalist and appears daily on CP24 Breakfast and weekly on the channel's tech show, Webnation, discussing tech news and trends.

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