By John Hood
Think flash mobs, but with a more spiritual core; smart mobs without the agenda. An uplifting experience that goes down at particular place, at a particular time, where it can be shared by everyone lucky enough to be there. It’s something that may occur more than once, but can never ever be repeated. And while those who blink might miss it; those who wink will find it worth more than a nod. It is a Random Act of Culture, and it just might provide the surprise of your life.
Okay, so I hyperbolize. Some. A Random Act might not be life’s biggest surprise. Then again, if you happen to catch yourself standing amidst 200+ singers and dancers and musicians who’ve united to bring forth singular song, you never know.
And if you don’t stroll Lincoln Road this Saturday, September 1st, you may never know either. Why? Because that’s when Random Acts of Culture celebrates its committing of 1000 acts. And it may never happen again.
Brought to the world by the great good folks of the Knight Foundation, Random Acts of Culture has been wowing this country from coast-to-coast for a couple years now. There’ve been drive-bys in Biloxi, Ikea takeovers in Philly, Pops Fest occupations in San Jose, and Macy’s infiltrations down in Dadeland. All told, as the above so unequivocally attests, there have been 1000 of these actions, and they’ve involved a cast of thousands.
In Miami, the Random Acts have been backed by the Arsht Center, who, says Knight VP of Arts Dennis Scholl, coordinate a rather stellar cast of local luminaries, of every stripe.
“Our partner here has been the Arsht Center,” Scholl told me for NBC6, “and they have invited singers from the Florida Grand Opera , musicians from the Miami Music Project and many other local performing arts organizations to join in.”
Scholl wasn’t kidding when he said “many others” either. According to a Knight fact sheet, Saturday’s throwdown will be led by “Miami-based conductor and arranger Sam Hyken of the Miami Music Project, [and feature] musicians from the Miami Music Project and the Frost School of Music, singers from the Miami Mass Choir and Master Chorale, drummers and dancers from Ife-Ile Afro-Cuban Dance Company, and dance students from the 2012 Ailey Camp and the Edwin Holland Dance Ensemble.” Together they will be “integrating classical, vocal, jazz, gospel and Afro-Cuban rhythms,” and they’ll be doing so to the timeless tune of “Ode to Joy”, which has reportedly been retrofitted to suit both the scene and our city.
And while Knight’s onslaught of Random Acts might be ending its run, it was wrong of me to allow my hyperbole to imply such actions won’t continue on.
“The great news about reaching 1000 RACs,” said Scholl “is that our performing partners have received such a great response from their communities and performers that many of them have decided to keep doing random acts on their own.”
Now that’s the kinda Random we can Act upon!