Sunday, July 24, 2011

Flash Mob Inspired by Mercantile Home Couple Gives Surprise Performance at Easton's Farmers Market

Easton residents dance in flash mob performance at Centre Square during Saturday's Farmers Market

Posted by: Noël Jones

The owners of Mercantile Home, Ron Morris and Ken Jones, have done it again. In their latest in a series of community art projects, these West Ward residents managed to spread the word about a hush-hush flash mob musical performance and found residents to attend rehearsals to learn an original song composed by singer/songwriter Morris, with some simple choreography for old and young, dancers and non-dancers alike. Aside from writing the music, this project was two weeks in the making and included just two rehearsals before the day of the show. Attendees of the Easton Farmers Market were treated to a great surprise on Saturday, when Ron Morris stood up on the wall of the

fountain with his guitar and broke into his song, "Can Be," and then was joined by about 50 residents who danced in and around the fountain.

I was excited when Ron told me that they would be doing this project, as I have seen other projects like this in videos on line like this one from a train station in Antwerp, Belgium that has had over 23 million views. 

4th-generation Eastonian, West Ward resident and dance captain for the project, Carinne Buzzuto, said of the event, "I think the flash mob was sincerely the most fantastic event that ever happened in our community. Ron and the Mercantile staff are fantastic in what they contribute to this town."

As I was New York for the weekend, I had to miss the event unfortunately, but will be posting a video once the edited version is complete. I would love to hear reports from readers who were there!


Anonymous said...

Such a wonderful time was had in a matter of 3 minutes. An schema gone nuts.

Anonymous said...

This was close to being a parade!

Fia said...

I was at the Farmer’s Market Saturday morning in time to witness the flash mob. It was really charming and fun. I loved the part when dancers went into the fountain and danced on the monument! It’s inspiring to see a community art event that had many community participants and entertained in such a joyful way. Shortly after the flash mob was over, I left the market and headed to the Boys and Girls Teen Club at 1101 Northampton St. for a free Hip Hop workshop given by “Illstyle” a Philadelphia based dance company. The workshop was sponsored by Lafayette College and hosted by the Teen Club. I arrived in plenty of time and was treated to another AMAZING community dance event. The Illstyle dancers gave the audience a hilarious and energetic performance while teaching us the history of Hip-Hop. Members of the audience where invited to come up and show what they could do and I was blown away by our local dancers, we have some talented kids who have been taking dance classes with Ms. Jackie White and Ms. Donna Ruggiero, two local dance teachers in our community. After the performance about 15 children stayed for a master class and learned a dance routine taught to them by the company.

What a morning, two free community art/dance events in our little city in the space of a couple of hours! Unfortunately, except for club members and their kids and one or two community residents, the performance was largely unattended. What a shame! I kept waiting for the crowd to arrive. Easton, you missed a good one! I know people are busy, but hope you make a point of showing up next time. Illstyle will be back at Lafayette College in January and will be performing at the Williams Center on January 28, and next Saturday July 30, 11:00 am at the Easton Public Library, sponsored by Lafayette College, there will be a free performance by the Mock Turtle Marionette Theater The Dancing Granny, for info

Anonymous said...

a product of the untalented, promoted by the unprincipled to the utterly bewildered.

it ain't good art

Anonymous said...

anon 7:47 may be right, but what have you done lately?

i applaud ron and ken's efforts, even if i'm not always so keen on their content or community projects. like the snowflakes...while i hate the clutter it creates in easton's storefront windows (not to mention the scotch tape scars it leaves on the windows afterwards), i can appreciate the thought and energy that they invest in the city.

so, again...i ask, what have you done lately?

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:26

I did some sketches this weekend. Unsatisfied, I showed them to Mr. Shredder.

I was polite to not waste your time. I only wasted my own and a few seconds of Mr. Shredder's.

Anonymous said...

"a product of the untalented, promoted by the unprincipled to the utterly bewildered.

it ain't good art"

And commented on by a dumbass.

Ron and Ken are great guys, run a great business and are a great asset to the city.

Anonymous said...

Sal Panto says:
I'd have to disagree about the quality of the art. Ken and Ron brought the community together in an unusual manner that not only entertained the crowd at the market but got the bystanders involcved as well. True art creates and this dance and splash created. It brought together people engaged in their community. People who have the drive and passion to make our community better than it is for all people. This dance didn't require an entrance fee, it wasn't for one segment of the community, it was for everyone who wants to help.

So yes, what have you done lately to build community?

Untouched Takeaway said...


You know what? It wasn't particularly my cup of tea, but it took a lot more effort for Ron and Ken to arrange that than it did for you to make a snarky comment that has added fark-all to the community.

Ron and Ken have invested in Easton, not just by having a business here, but by living here as well. They are decent, kind and loving people, and Rachel & Amy who also are a huge part of the Mercantile are just two of the loveliest women you'd ever want to meet.

It takes a lot more effort to invest in and contribute to the community than it does to be a snot-bucket.


noel jones said...

Aside from just being a fun idea for the community, this event is interesting to me for another reason.

50 people for any community project in Easton is a large draw. There are rarely 50 people at a school board or city council meeting, and those events have a direct effect on the finances and quality of life of local residents.

Is lack of attendance at local political meetings a vote of no-confidence that any progress will be made? When people go to rehearsals and a performance, they know something will be produced.

This event wasn't just one meeting, but three. Two rehearsals and the performance itself. The fact that so many people came out was a vote with the feet. A vote to prioritize something fun, social and joyful, over the dry frustration of our local democracy.

Which brings me back to a point I've made before on this blog--we need to, as a community, create a social sense of fun around being involved in one's community and democracy, to be successful in drawing people out. A lot of people don't realize that the American Revolution was actually started by tavern-goers. People out drinking together with their neighbors, griping and laughing and venting their frustrations while having a good time together--when they met or protested, there was a sense of solidarity between residents--that they were in it together--rather than something dry they had to carve time out of their schedules for to attend alone.

I'm not saying that all political meetings need to be accompanied by pubbing, but that there needs to be a social element to residents getting together to participate in our local democracy.

If 50 people can make it to two rehearsals and a performance, 50 people should be able to make it to a few school board or city council meetings. The question for me is--what make us want to?

tunsie said...

One day I will tell U why there r not a lot of people at meetings,besides the fact some LITTLE MINDED PEOPLE think everybody is not paying ATTENTION 2 them....tunsie

darkest said...

Suspect the event which i didn't see was for pr purpose not art nonetheless appreciate the well written except for the final line critical remarks of anon 7:47. Politicians, public employees and their relatives, and heads of social agencies like to promote "art" as a commodity that their town offers but its a bad sign for a town when they are the gatekeepers for public art. A college art department is not much better. I think possibly because art that is worth a longish look has a subtle to not so subversive aspect.

noel jones said...

darkest--the flash mob was entirely a community art idea of Ron Morris and Ken Jones, who own Mercantile Home, and have led other community art projects like the snowflakes project, the Yellow Brick Road project, and the spring poetry project downtown.

the real art here in my opinion is being able to inspire over 50 people in a cynical and apathetic town to get together on multiple days to make something creative together, when it's hard to get that many people to attend anything in Easton.

they are a really positive force in this town, and people voted with their feet--they want to come together now and then for a little beauty, a little fun--some joy, and Ron and Ken continuously come up with new ways for the community to do that, old and young.

Anne L. said...

Thanks, Noel. It was a joy to participate along with our two neices. The girls (6 and 9) were so excited about it and I feel sure they will always remember the experience.
Ken and Ron are wonderfully talented men and we are lucky to have them here with the rest of us who aren't cynical and apathetic.
Hope to see you soon, Noel!
Anne L.

Julie Zando-Dennis said...

In writing about the workshop sponsored by Lafayette College and hosted by the Teen Club, Sophia said "Unfortunately, except for club members and their kids and one or two community residents, the performance was largely unattended."

This is a problem for ALL Easton event planners, from the Teen Club to Lafayette's Art in Urban Environments festival, to local restaurants and businesses. As a community with ideas and energy to plan events or start businesses, we MUST understand that publicity cannot be an after thought. Successful event planners devote one tenth of their budgets and A LOT of energy to publicity. Doing less is a wasted wasted wasted effort.

Julie Zando-Dennis said...

And may I add that Easton will NEVER rise to its potential if it doesn't start taking publicity seriously.

I've seen events with no posters, posters without dates, posters without locations, announcements without dates or locations, etc. etc.

It't time to step it up.

noel jones said...

Hear, hear!

Anonymous said...

Great points, but a flash mob, by definition, wouldn't be heavily publicized.

Julie Zando-Dennis said...

Anon 6:08 am -- I wasn't talking about the flash mob. Was talking about the workshop sponsored by Lafayette College and hosted by the Teen Club.

Carinne said...

Hey that’s me in that photo! At least my ponytail and white skirt dancing there with young Amy! Lol. I just had to post here and say that the negative comments about this event (here and on other sites) are unbelievable and absurd. How freaking negative, joyless, and cranky are you “Anonymous” people? It was fun. It was dancing. It was community. It was friendship. What’s not to like? If you are so vastly knowledgeable and keen in art criticism, then may I point out your one flaw of misunderstanding this work? It was not intended to wow the critics in its complicated steps or professional execution. It was an “art” project in that it possessed much beauty. At least that was my interpretation. I feel like a lot of people in this town must have been super pissed if viewing the movie “American Beauty”. Specifically when the young man showed his girlfriend “the most beautiful thing he ever filmed”. I can just picture all of you screaming at the screen “It’s a garbage bag!, that’s not art!! I want my money back!!” Jerks.

tunsie said...

This is precipitated by a wedding party that danced down the aisle.the idea sread now everyone is doing it,,,,,tunsie...I love u noel

noel jones said...

Carinne--re: American Beauty--you crack me up!

By far, the response I have gotten about this event has been excited and positive. I look forward to whatever Ron and Ken may have in store next!

And when the final video of the flash mob is edited, I will be posting it as well, so stay tuned...