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Twenty-eight years ago me and my horrible hair graduated @sunyplattsburgh, thanks to the mentorship of Professor David Mowry. We lost him yesterday. Read my very emotional tribute to him at #philosophy #collegife Hi listeners! Do you want to see our host Jack Russell Weinstein (@diasporajack) in person as he deejays fun and exciting music? Come down to @ojatadogmahal records this Saturday for the fourth installment of Ska and Waffles! Rehearsing for Tuesday night! Want to hear #Klezmer music live? Come to Why? Radio’s 10th anniversary party, Tuesday at 6:30. Details at @prairiepublic @diasporajack @empireartscenter Above two folds! Thanks @gfherald @prairiepublic ❓📩❓📩❓📩❓📩❓📩
#philosophy #ask #morals #advice #questions #help #curious #hardquestions #anything #podcast #discussion #currentevents #philosophyiseverywhere #whynot #politics #ethics #art #metaphysical #religion  #myund #questionoftheday WHY? Philosophical Discussions About Everyday Life, the Prairie Public radio show is celebrating its 10th birthday and we’re all invited to think philosophically about music with them!

Join the party for food, an interview with legendary Jazz flutist Mark Weinstein, and live Klezmer music! All for free!

For more information, visit or go to
Award winning Jazz Flutist Mark Weinstein plays World Jazz and Straight-Ahead with world-class musicians rooted in the music of Cuba, Brazil, Africa, Argentina and his Jewish heritage. A Latin Jazz innovator, Mark was among the first jazz musicians to record with traditional Cuban rhythm sections in an epic album, Cuban Roots, released in 1967 with Chick Corea on piano. He also has a Ph.D. in philosophy and is a professor of Education at Montclair State University, in New Jersey. His music is the soundtrack to Why? Radio. You can learn more about him at 
Stay after the recording for a live concert, as Mark joins the Balkansi Klezmer Band for a jazz-infused exploration of the classic Jewish folk music, Klezmer. Balkansi is an ensemble based in Grand Forks that specializes in traditional music from one of the richest and most diverse musical regions in the world. The members of the band include Tamara Auer on violin, Haley Ellis on clarinet, Edward Morris on guitar, Zephaniah Pearlstein on cello, Michael Ferrick on bass, Rachel Agan Muniz on percussion.

And then stay even longer for an informal Q&A with Why? Radio host, Jack Russell Weinstein. 🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼
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I will publicly admit that I like a good flash mob. I know they’re passé, but the ones with music get to me. They remind me that art can be anywhere and that the world is full of creative surprises. Living in Grand Forks, North Dakota, where spontaneous art rarely happens (even though it’s a college town), this reminder feels particularly important. I think if I were walking somewhere with my daughter and a high-quality musical extravaganza burst out, I would weep with joy.

Speaking of joy, today, a friend on Facebook shared this video.

It has many of the things that I like. They are playing one of the most wondrous pieces of music ever written, they do it well, and the audience is into it. It also has little kids dancing. How can anyone object to little kids dancing?

Unfortunately, it also has some things that cause me to question my loyalties to the art. Mainly, it is a professional endeavor. There are (hidden) cameras everywhere and it ends up being an advertisement. Also, they break what, for me, is the cardinal rule of flash mobs: they wait for applause. The performers are supposed to just walk away nonchalantly. That’s part of the genre.

So, this made me wonder just how amateur and ephemeral flash mobs should be. Isn’t the whole point that anyone can do it and that the event is for the spectator, not the video? Certainly, people want a record of the event, but if the performance is for the record, then it becomes just another video, not the moment-in-time it’s supposed to be. All a flash mob is large-scale performance art. So, is being large enough to make the mob meaningful, or must it be crowd-sourced, composed of people recruited for a one-time event?

The other side of the argument is that the best flash mobs do, in fact, seem to be rehearsed, coordinated, and well financed. My all-time favorite takes place in the train station and is an advertisement for a Belgian television show.


I also love one that turns out to be an advertisement for what many argue is the best painting in history. 

(I realize now that the Night-Watch Flash Mob also uses Ode to Joy which, as we all know, is so ubiquitous that it is easy to forget how extraordinary the music actually is.)

So, I’m torn. As the art-form changes, we lose the special, amateurish, and revolutionary quality that existed when it first began. This loss is the same one my age-group has seen with the internet as a whole. There was a time when most things on the web were counter-cultural. Now online is the standard. There was a time when the web was purely democratic and anti-corporate. Now it takes tremendous effort just to defend net-neutrality. The web is a mall, it is a library, it is many television channels, and the word “amateur” has largely been co-optedby porn.

This may also be the same thing that happens with any form of art. A genre or technique that starts from one person soon becomes a school, then it becomes a movement, then it becomes a standard, and then it becomes the dominant voice to rebel against.

So, I don’t know if what is happening with flash mobs is the inevitable evolution of art, the inevitable commodification of capitalism, or the simple price we pay for mass distribution of worthwhile entertainment. All I do know is that in the past few years, my love of flash mobs has moved from an artistic pleasure to a guilty one. How odd it is to claim that flash mobs just aren’t what they used to be.

Let me know what you think. How amateurish should flash mobs be and feel free to share your favorite one!

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