NEPA does the Harlem Shake
Last Modified: February 27. 2013 1:11AM
What is it?
No matter what your viewpoint is on the viral sensation that is the Harlem Shake, there's one thing everyone can probably agree on: you just can't take your eyes off it.
In what might be the most glorious 30 seconds you've ever seen, the Harlem Shake couples a catchy tune by Brooklyn DJ Baauer with insane dance move and even more nutty costumes. It's gone international, of course, through the Internet, with everyone from the Norwegian Army to Jimmy Fallon's crew making their own version. There have been several local groups that did their own take on it as well.
“I think people kind of expected it from us,” said Abby Singh, owner of Canteen 900 in Forty Fort. “Fun is just a part of our culture here.”
The meme, started by five teenagers from Queensland, Australia with the YouTube name “TheSunnyCoastSkate,” is all about fun. The video begins with one person (usually masked) dancing alone for about 15 seconds among people who are seemingly oblivious. Once the bass drops, the scene cuts to a ton of people that are now dancing along crazily, often costumed themselves or even barely clothed.
The videos have spread rapidly. On February 10, there were 4,000 uploads. As of Feb. 15, there were about 40,000 Harlem Shake videos out there.
Singh's brother Drew Billek, who also works at Canteen, organized the restaurant's shoot.
“We pretty much nailed it the first time,” he said of the filming, a video that includes a “Star Wars” Stormtrooper mask, balloons, and a blow-up whale. “The funny thing is that we did it four times. If you watch the unedited version, by the fourth time, the song comes in and all of us just lose steam. No one is dancing at all, no one could even bend down and pick up the balloons. It's gold; it's so funny.”
King's College also filmed a version, though they didn't have the chance to rake in as many takes.
“We filmed it during halftime of the last home basketball game,” said Sean McLaughlin, director of campus activities and orientation. “But we got everyone there and it turned out great.”
The King's version is kicked off by the school's mascot, Leo the Lion, who is then joined by Monarch cheerleaders, dancers, students, and some dude in a yellow body suit.
WBRE's version involves Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins mascot Tux and some of the station's personalities while KRZ's video makes use of a variety of props.
Though fun is the main objective, the video has helped as far as marketing goes.
“I posted it and we jumped to 200 new Facebook 'likes' and 100 Twitter followers within 24 hours,” Billek said. “It's great quick exposure.”
And for all the good, there is some bad. High school students in Detroit and New Jersey have been suspended over the phenomenon, due to lewd gestures and a lack of clothing.
As for us at The Weekender? Well, we certainly had a blast doing ours (if the picture indicates anything to you), and we are sort of hankering to make another. And another. And another.