If you have spent anytime surfing the Web or strolling through Facebook posts during the past few weeks, it is highly probable you have come across a “Harlem Shake” video … if not dozens.
For anyone who has yet to view one of these bits, a brief explanation of the phenomenon must begin with the music at its core. Produced by EDM artist “Baauer” (aka Harry Rodrigues), the “Harlem Shake” is an upbeat, bass-bouncing track that was born in the summer of 2012 -- and while it has already received plenty of play in nightclubs, the tune found new life as the musical backing to a succession of 30-second viral videos that follow a basic story line.
Since the beginning of February 2013, the Web has been awash with takes on the Harlem Shake (with schools, groups of friends, TV shows, businesses, offices and other collectives responsible), all of which begin with one person dancing lithely among a room full of people who seem completely oblivious to the individual in motion; this goes on for about 15 seconds as the music swells. At the top of the crescendo the song announces, “Do the Harlem Shake” – which is followed by an instantaneous edit jump -- and suddenly everyone who was previously uninterested in the lone dancer is now also gyrating wildly, sometimes joined by even more people previously not present. In addition, many clips include dancers wearing bizarre costumes while others choose to hold randomly-selected props – and this goes on for the final 15 seconds.
YouTube (via its “YouTube Trends” blog) claims that as of Monday, Feb. 11, close to 12,000 ‘Shake videos have been uploaded to its site, that these shorts have generated near 44 million views, and that close to 4,000 new clips are being added daily. As one might expect, Long Island residents and companies have contributed to the count – but being that the Harlem Shake track was already going strong on the club circuit, it seems extra-appropriate that a few of LI's hot nightspots have added personal versions to the already-international selection:
The Leaky Lifeboat: in the clip from this hip bar known for huge crowds and unique parties (3603 Merrick Rd., Seaford), a single man in black wearing some sort of face-protection is wiggling while nearby patrons seem to not notice…but when the mantra is mentioned, strobe lights flash as the room fills with people bouncing with joie de vivre. (youtube.com/watch?v=eBcHrmtul5s)
The Nutty Irishman: usually filled with hundreds of people, this mega-pub/ club (60 E. Main St., Bay Shore) opens its entry as an empty hall with the 'Nutty's leprechaun mascot doing a lonely shimmy as staffers mop and read .?.?. until the video’s halfway mark -- when suddenly the place turns into a rave, with dancers waving glow sticks, some dressed in costumes (plus one guy doing bicep curls) while members of the GrooveFox EDM website join the scramble. (youtube.com/watch?v=kGg4GSpIfdY)
Four Food Studio: the ‘Shake scene shot at this often-busy restaurant and trendy lounge (515 Broadhollow Rd., Melville, 631-577-4444) first shows the room with the lights up, and a couple of employees aimlessly sitting around (save one dedicated worker who sweeps with fervor) – but when a solo gentlemen in a motorcycle helmet suddenly enters to deliver a toe-tapping, hip-bumping series of thrusts, all watching know it’s just a matter of time…and right on cue, the lights go out as the space swells with costumed creatures and dancers holding champagne bottles spewing sparks into the air (and one guy wearing a giant lobster-head). (youtube.com/watch?v=K_1JsKOYy_4&feature=youtube_gdata_player)