Tom and Gary’s Decentralized Dance Party has a good-time manifesto, as all radical political parties are wont to do, the main objective is ‘celebrating life, enjoying music and having fun — not getting drunk and being an idiot.’ The average person’s idea of a Friday night involves too much vodka and too many regrets and the DDP (as it is known) wants to free the masses from this stereotypical partying. Forget four walls, booze and a DJ; what you really need is 100+ boom boxes, an FM radio transmitter and some streets to dance in….and some people in banana suits.
The banana-suited party-goers are aides to Tom and Gary, the founders of DDP. Though, note that while Gary is Gary Lachance, ‘Tom’ is actually Ryan Stromberg, after original founder Tom Kuzma left the party. Nevertheless, Tom and Gary and their designated Elite Banana Task Force have been throwing semi-spontaneous street dance parties since 2009 (and are up to 52 and counting).
The Manifesto reads:
Partying is: “forgetting who you are while remembering what you are.” It is the complete loss of the social conditioning that makes adult life monotonous and depressing and has the power to be a transformational spiritual experience.
Tom and Gary want everyone to dance the night away while not leaving a mess, puking on the sidewalks or causing noise complaints. It is an impressive feat, one that requires careful pre-planning and a clean-up-as-we-go mentality. Locations are meticulously scouted beforehand to ensure that they are in appropriate parts of the city, so as not to disturb neighbors. And as the snake of writhing bodies dance through the streets of the chosen city, the Bananas pick up after them while also partying themselves.
The key to these events – financed by Kickstarter and Indiegogo fundraisers and whispered about on social media – is the social stereos. The life of the party lies in a backpack, in this backpack is an FM radio transmitter and a mixer, which is connected to an iPod. This setup allows the iPod-bearer to then send sounds to the hundreds of boom boxes held by revelers, which are all set to the same frequency.
Imagine the sound of 220 boom boxes all playing the same song… sounds like one helluva party.
All photos via the DDP