With Memorial Day heralding the arrival of summer, Boston could do with some loosening up. Our fair but frequently uptight city needs all the help it can get to shake its past-my-bedtime mentality so we can all properly savor the next couple months. Native groups like Banditos Misteriosos and the Societies of Spontaneity consistently wage the valiant battle against taking ourselves too seriously, but every once in awhile it takes some outside muscle to jolt the process.
Enter Tom and Gary [pictured above], self-described “gentlemen from the future who love to party” whose Decentralized Dance Party (DDP) exploded during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Powered by an FM radio transmitter and a horde of old school portable boom boxes, the DDP concept brings dance parties to the streets in a spectacle the pair style as “the ultimate interdisciplinary medium, creatively melding music, dance, karaoke, comedy, chaos, costumery, adventure and military stratagem.” Tom and Gary are dropping their roving dance mayhem and spreading the tenets of their Party Manifesto to all willing Bostonian ears TONIGHT (May 30) starting at 8 PM on the Long Wharf.
I spoke briefly with Gary by phone ahead of the Boston DDP:
You’re on the second leg of your “Strictly Business Tour” [business attire required for tonight's DDP] — anything special planned for your Boston stop?
I mean, every city is different. We spent about five hours yesterday planning the route, which is a secret for everyone but us, to maximize fun and avoid residential areas. The DDP is a new way for people to experience their city and interact with public spaces and architecture in a weird way.
How have the rest of the stops on the tour been?
Unbelievable. We were in Washington, DC this past weekend, and we had around 1000 people partying in front of the White House, and had a swim meet in a public fountain. It was pretty surreal the whole time. There are a thousand crazy stories from every city we go to.
How do you prepare for something as huge and unwieldy as a decentralized mass party?
We set up a Kickstarter for each city we plan to go to — if we get $1000 for equipment, mostly boom boxes, batteries and gas, we go. For the party itself, it’s all carefully strategized, and we’ve never had any problems with fights or destroying property or anything. We travel with a group of 10 staffers, the Elite Banana Task Force [see above], who have a lot of experience in crowd control and party management. The costumes [for good measure: business attire required] create this atmosphere of fun shenanigans and all hostility is eliminated. It’s been a pretty amazing social experiment.
This sounds unbelievable. Where to after Boston?
Our next stop is NYC, and we have three more stops in the US/Canada Party Safari, culminating in our 50th DDP in Vancouver, where we started this whole thing, on June 30. After that, we’ll launch our Global Party Epidemic, which includes our “Stan Tour” of all the -stan countries -- Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kyrgzystan and Kazakhstan. Then we’ll finish up in our crown jewel: Transnistria, which you might not have heard of.
…nope. Where’s that?
It’s Europe’s black hole. I tried to visit during a tour with HORSE the band, but we got turned away by the Moldovan army.
[Note: Transnistria is currently disputed territory between Moldova and Ukraine.]
How do you plan to get around that this time?
We’ll be wearing banana suits. In a banana suit you can get away with murder or more…
Tonight’s Decentralized Dance Party starts at 8 PM at the eastern point of Long Wharf, near the Government Center and Aquarium stops on the T. Check the Facebook event for directions, dress code and further instructions. Follow @ddpFTW and #DDP to track the roving dance fury as it winds through downtown. If all else fails, find the nearest Elite Banana.