Saturday, January 9, 2016

Katy Brand – "No Pants" (2009)

When I'm on the bus
No pants!
It creates a buzz
No pants!
I'm ridiculous
No pants!  

I commute to work five days a week on the Metro, which is what we residents of the DMV – that is, the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia – call our local subway system.

I rarely ride the Metro on Sundays, but I’m thinking of making an exception tomorrow.  That's because tomorrow is this year’s “No Pants Subway Ride Day” around the world.  

A 2015 "No Pants Subway Ride Day" participant
So if you plan to ride mass transit on Sunday in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Barcelona, Berlin, Boston, Buenos Aires, Chicago, Houston, Jerusalem, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Stockholm, Sydney, Toronto, Zurich, or one of several dozen other cities, be prepared.  You’re likely to see people who aren’t wearing any pants on your train.

“No Pants Subway Ride Day” is the brainchild of a New York performance art group called Improv Everywhere, which specializes in organizing comedic pranks in public places.  In the ten years since Improv Everywhere created a Youtube channel, its videos have been viewed some 375 million times.

Improv Everywhere’s most popular Youtube video is titled “Frozen Grand Central,” a two-minute video that shows 200 Improv Everywhere “agents” freezing in place for five minutes at New York City’s Grand Central Terminal.  It’s been viewed over 35 million times.

Improv Everyone came up with the idea for “No Pants Subway Ride Day” in 2002.  Only seven riders participated that first year.  In 2006, 150 New Yorkers took part.  In recent years, tens of thousands of subway riders in 60 cities in 25 different countries have gone pants-less (or skirt-less).

Let me be perfectly clear about one thing.  “No Pants Subway Ride Day” is not “No Underwear Subway Ride Day.”  (Which is a damn shame, if you ask me.)

If you have questions about appropriate “No Pants Subway Ride Day” behavior, the organizers of the event posted this on their Facebook page:

We know it can be hard not to dance and celebrate a lack of pants, but we encourage people to maintain the original spirit: act as if it’s any other day.  You just happen to be without pants.  Maybe you forgot them.  Maybe you hadn’t even noticed.  Maybe, despite the assertions of those around you, you’re pretty sure you have them on.

Here's a short video about last year's "No Pants Subway Ride Day" celebration in New York City:

If “No Pants Subway Ride Day” isn’t your thing, you might want to save the date for your local “World Naked Bike Ride.”  

“World Naked Bike Ride” has a serious purpose.  From its website:

We face automobile traffic with our naked bodies as the best way of defending our dignity and exposing the unique dangers faced by cyclists and pedestrians as well as the negative consequences all face due to dependence on oil and other forms of non-renewable energy. 

This year, “World Naked Bike Ride” will take place on June 11 in the Northern Hemisphere and March 5 in the Southern Hemisphere.  

Naked bike riders in London
It’s not clear that there will be an event in Washington, DC this year.  It looks like it’s been several years since there was a “World Naked Bike Ride” in Your Nation’s Capital.

The organizers of the last such event in Washington offer the following advice to those who want to participate in the event without running afoul of local indecent exposure laws, which seem to require only that one’s genitals be covered:   

We've worn a tiny penis/scrotum "glove" in years past with no hassles. . . . Women may obviously go top-free.

(I’ve come up with a half-dozen snappy comebacks that I thought about inserting here, but I’ve deleted all of them.  After all, my children sometimes read 2 or 3 lines.)

Naked bike riders in San Francisco
It sounds like participation in “No Pants Subway Ride Day” is less challenging that participation in “World Naked Bike Ride.”  For one thing, there’s no risk of sunburn or chafing.

But viewed from a spectator perspective, “World Naked Bike Ride” wins hands down, of course.

Katy Brand is an English comedienne and the star of the aptly-named Katy Brand’s Big Ass Show, which aired in 2007-09.  Today’s featured song is her parody of Lady Gaga’s first single, “Just Dance,” which made it to the number-one spot on the Billboard “Hot 100” in January 2009:

Click below to buy episodes of Katy Brand's Big Ass Show from Amazon:

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