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December 21, 2010 9:08 AM   Subscribe

Food Court Flash Mob sings the "Hallelujah" chorus. This time things go poorly.
Two months after the Westfield Galleria in Roseville closed from a devastating fire, shoppers were again forced to evacuate Monday. This time, choral singers are to blame. The Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra and several area congregations had prearranged a "flash mob" singing of the "Hallelujah Chorus" in the mall's food court. But with thousands of people crowding the second-floor food court, the "random act of musical kindness" never got off the ground. "It was so jammed with people that you could not even move," said Connie Santos, who hoped to enjoy the music, then shop. There were no reports of injuries as the mall was peacefully evacuated starting about 6:45 p.m. The mall was scheduled to close at 11 p.m.
Despite announcements on the mall's intercom that the building would be evacuated, firefighters were required to escort stragglers outside. There's also a slideshow and a video in the sidebar at the link. The mall's public relations firm knew the plan days in advance and was ready to escort media outlets to prime viewing locations. Choral organizers drummed up support primarily through Twitter and other social networking sites.

Flashmobs have appeared previously on the blue, most recently here.
posted by 2bucksplus (37 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
It mentions a police standoff in october?
posted by empath at 9:14 AM on December 21, 2010


Oh, here's the background.
posted by empath at 9:14 AM on December 21, 2010


Sounds like a flash-mob got flash-mobbed.
posted by redyaky at 9:16 AM on December 21, 2010


Have we looked into the possibility of it being a cursed mall?
posted by The Whelk at 9:17 AM on December 21, 2010 [9 favorites]


There was a major fire after a standoff at the GameStop in October. The suspect had a backpack (filled with unknown items) and claimed to have a handgun when he entered the store. The suspect claimed that his "sister had been kidnapped by aliens", then told employees to exit the GameStop, at which point, he barricaded himself in the GameStop and set fire to the merchandise.

SWAT, firemen and the police arrived after a call, and a standoff occurred outside the GameStop while the mall was evacuated. The Bomb Squad had tried to search the backpack, but their attempt was stopped when the fire unexpectedly erupted again, after having been quieted down by the sprinklers. A section of the roof also collapsed into the fire area. Damage is estimated by ATF officials at around $55 million. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in Placer County the day after the fire.

posted by 2bucksplus at 9:18 AM on December 21, 2010


The suspect claimed that his "sister had been kidnapped by aliens", then told employees to exit the GameStop, at which point, he barricaded himself in the GameStop and set fire to the merchandise.

Wow, those were some good drugs.
posted by nola at 9:20 AM on December 21, 2010


Uh, the building's occupant capacity wasn't even reached according to the first link? What forced the evacuation again?
posted by XMLicious at 9:21 AM on December 21, 2010


awesomely nice, but just a little last week's morning news story.
posted by timsteil at 9:23 AM on December 21, 2010


So this mall only has two modes: Overfull and completely empty. No in-between allowed?
posted by DU at 9:25 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dear flash mob people,

Choral and dance performances being staged at set locations and set times and in places designed for that particular purpose is a feature not a bug. It allows me to avoid them.

Love,

ND¢
posted by ND¢ at 9:25 AM on December 21, 2010 [18 favorites]


Uh, the building's occupant capacity wasn't even reached according to the first link? What forced the evacuation again?

Because they heard two pops and the floor shifted. Again, according to the first link.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:26 AM on December 21, 2010


Wow, those were some good drugs.

No, his name was Mulder
posted by Hoopo at 9:27 AM on December 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'd heard about this event from one of the members of the Choral Society, who told me to keep it quiet because they wanted to try to preserve the spontaneous aspect of it. So, I didn't tell anyone and assumed it would be a fun experience.

When I arrived at 7:10 in what I think would be the general foodcourt area, it was pretty apparent that it wasn't a secret. I'm not sure if I actually even saw the foodcourt because of all of the people packed in. Five minutes later when the Fire department got on the PA to close the mall, I figured that it was definitely time to go. Getting trampled is low on my list of hobbies.

But, really, it was very orderly - no one I could see or hear panicked, and once the store owners started pulling their rolldoors down and locking up people got the picture and filed out. I was a little worried that people would spook and stampede, but no, just general mutterings of disappointment.

I think what really let the cat out of the bag was the Mall's marketing/promotions department getting ahold of this and calling the news outlets in ahead of time. But, lessons I learned:

1) Nothing is secret on the Internet

2) If I am in a life-threatening situation that requires me to purchase a $1,200 purse, I know where to go (Thank you for staying open, Nordstroms! You have fine restroom facilities and a good natured staff.)

3) Attempting to not feel old and boring by going out to an event like this demonstrates even more that I am indeed old and boring.

4) Roseville is perhaps the best example of a pedestrian-unfriendly city

5) Chill out, hang out, wait for the traffic to disperse, and think about the amount and quality of shit to give your friend the next day about inviting you to something like this. ("You don't like me? You try to get me killed? Really?")

Yes, the mall might indeed be cursed. But all malls are, in a way.

(Also, if that area of the mall wasn't considered "at full capacity", I guess "full capacity" means people standing on a carpet made of people sitting on the shoulders of other people who are holding two people on their back. Yes, it was seriously, seriously packed. To what I would imagine would be called "capacity".)
posted by Skrubly at 9:28 AM on December 21, 2010 [15 favorites]


Uh, the building's occupant capacity wasn't even reached according to the first link?

The people in a mall foodcourt may take up more volume than average.
posted by DU at 9:32 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I can only imagine that there would have been a full-scale riot of people screaming "Overdone!" and "Cliche!" if this were Cohen's "Hallelujah" instead of Handel's.
posted by inturnaround at 9:37 AM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


I liked last year's "Silent Monk" version of the Hallelujah Chorus better.
posted by Melismata at 9:38 AM on December 21, 2010


DU, assume a spherical mall food court patron...
posted by zippy at 9:43 AM on December 21, 2010


The Whelk: "Have we looked into the possibility of it being a cursed mall?"

Aren't they all?
posted by workerant at 9:43 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I can only imagine that there would have been a full-scale riot of people screaming "Overdone!" and "Cliche!" if this were Cohen's "Hallelujah" instead of Handel's.

I think you could pretty safely scream those things at any flashmob. 2008 organized a flashmob on twitter to get its dumb idea back.
posted by codacorolla at 9:46 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


The little bit of Scrooge in me thinks this is great.
posted by barrett caulk at 9:49 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


There is a difference between "mall being at capacity" and "too many people in one part of the mall".

from the first link:But with thousands of people crowding the second-floor food court

I would imagine that the mall's capacity is rated with the idea being that thousands of people will be dispersed throughout the place, not all in the food court.
posted by dubold at 9:52 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, the authorities in question should have issued orders over the PA to the tune of said chorus: MAALLLL-IS-FULL-YEAH! MAALLLL-IS-FULL-YEAH! Mallisfullyeah! Mallisfullyeah!
posted by barrett caulk at 9:54 AM on December 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


"Prearranged" and "flash mob" can't really go together. If you arrange it well in advance, it is just a meeting.

That said, it certainly seemed to succeed as a flash mob. It is like a MeFi posting; you start it, but the outcome can't be controlled; success is in interest level, not a particular outcome.
posted by Bovine Love at 9:54 AM on December 21, 2010


Clearly this is just another battle being fought in the War on Christmas.

I'm on Hogfathers side! Fuck this "Santa" guy.
posted by quin at 10:00 AM on December 21, 2010


What's the point of a flash mob if you let the venue know? Isn't it just free surprise entertainment for the shoppers then?
Everyone should just pick a store, run in, do a 3 minute hammer dance, grab an expensive sweater or bottle of perfume, and everyone bolts on cue.
posted by Theta States at 10:02 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Weird. Just last night I heard a story on NPR about how they tried to organize a flash mob somewhere but because of Twitter there were more observers than participants (18). Anyway, the story was framed as "the end of flash mobs," with their usual crappy "thoughtful sociological analysis" from an "expert" and I thought...umm, didn't flash mobs flame out about seven years ago? (And the Hallelujah Chorus? Tristan Tzara is silently screaming...)
posted by kozad at 10:04 AM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Flash mobs can't have jumped the shark. They had one on Modern Family a few weeks back and that show is riding the bleeding edge!

Yes, I love Modern Family.
No hamburger

posted by m@f at 10:25 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


All it needed was zombies.
posted by HuronBob at 10:30 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


They just did this exact thing at Lindale Mall in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Because of the overwhelming Lutheran population in the area, you can expect the following out of the video: 1) Perfect execution of a choral masterpiece, 2) relative boredom from observers, 3) someone singing "Luuuu-da-fiiiissssk" along with the chorus (Norwegians think themselves hilarious that way).
posted by thanotopsis at 10:32 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I got an text from my sister in law recently: "Be at the Local Mall tomorrow @ 5:30. Flash mob!"

I went on line to see if I could find out any more information. What I found was that, in addition to whatever flash mob was going to happen, there was also going to be a visit from a bunch of stars from some tween show. iCarly or something of the sort.

The only way I would go to that would be if the flash mob was planning to challenge the tweens to a rumble. No god damn way I'm just going to see them sing a song.
posted by bondcliff at 10:57 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait, it's still a flash mob if it is planned days in advance and they let the venue know? that sounds like a regular event to me.

"Flash mob, subway at noon --- buy a sandwich and eat it"

"Yo super secret flash mob at my place friday night at 8 to watch buffy"

"Team, Flash Mob monday 9am conference room 11 bring your TPS reports"
posted by Ad hominem at 11:08 AM on December 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


I saw Jason Bourne in there!
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 11:43 AM on December 21, 2010


Because they heard two pops and the floor shifted. Again, according to the first link.

Several people interviewed by local news crews reported this also, but this morning I heard at least one report say there was no damage. Maybe they'll just cut back on the portions in the food court.

The real reason this was such a big story (locally anyway) was due to the fire a few months ago mentioned above. The City's report that came out recently concluded that the fire suppression system had been turned off "by a maintenance worker at the request of law enforcement" for something like 71 minutes while the fire raged, supposedly because the FBI/Bomb Squad was concerned that the backpack and its contents (which were never found) would be destroyed, and it would make it harder to convict the suspect (as some kind of terrorist I presume). The battle between the fire department wanting to do their job and law enforcement protecting theirs is the real story to me.
posted by Big_B at 11:46 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd have a flash mob there - the Galleria's food court is awesome. Nary a Hot Dog on a Stick or a Sbarro in sight.
posted by elsietheeel at 1:13 PM on December 21, 2010


No wonder. Flash has never worked reliably. HTML5 mobs are the new thing.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 2:33 PM on December 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


And then the damned zombies showed up, and all Hell really broke loose.
posted by bwg at 6:08 PM on December 21, 2010


I can't believe there wasn't a full blown tragedy. I'm a pretty mellow person, but the floor shifting in a packed public space would have made me lose my shit.
posted by gjc at 6:19 AM on December 22, 2010


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