Last evening, Melanie Chimento’s Buffalo Underground group set out on a double-decker bus to bust out a series of disco flash mob performances at various locations throughout the city. Photographer Glenn Murray and I decided to stake out City Hall for the 7pm show. When Joel Dombrowski arrived with his Buffalo Double Decker Bus Tours bus, it was filled to the brim with a troupe of amateur flash mob participants who were eager to get out onto Niagara Square so that they could boogie down to Night Fever by The Bee Gees.
Now, if you’re thinking that this was some sort of professional marketing ploy by a bigwig company to launch a product, you’re wrong. Instead, it was a fun-filled, grassroots get-together comprised of 50+ participants who were simply out to have some fun, and entertain some folks along the way.
The flash mob troupe started off at Canalside for their initial performance, before heading to City Hall, and then the Albright Knox. Apparently there was a decent crowd at Canalside, Niagara Square was pretty empty (perfect for a photo shoot), and I’m imagining that the AK was fairly lively. It would have been great to see this lively group show up at Buffalo River Fest Park for the Summer Concert Series (every Tuesday) along the Buffalo River. Maybe next time?
These are the types of outings that I love seeing in Buffalo. I was so happy that I biked over to City Hall to catch the dance routine. It’s great to see so many people having so much fun, especially when it’s a lot easier to plunk down in front of the TV after work – this group practiced for weeks! I hope that the flash mob members continue to perform around Buffalo. If they can get their flash mob timing down, to surprise some unsuspecting crowds, that would be a real hoot.
BRO: How did it go?
Melanie Chimento: The Buffalo Double Decker DISCO Flash Mob Project was a HUGE success, which I measure by the excitement, happiness and smiles on everyone’s faces (both participants and viewers). You see a lot of very sad news nowadays, so it was great to put something out there that is fun, makes people happy and celebrate this beautiful area that we live in. I am so proud of everyone!
BRO: How did your group come about?
Melanie Chimento: After I got divorced, all of my friends were still married and had kids, so there was nobody to do anything with. Years ago, I started out as a regular member in the meetup world to try to get out and not sit at home. I started to organize my own events in that group and developed a following. So back in 2014, I created my very own meetup group Buffalo Underground: THIS is WNY and it has since grown to over 2600 members.
BRO: Buffalo Underground?
Melanie Chimento: I named it Buffalo Underground because we are always “digging” up new places in the area. The purpose of the group is to explore all the unique places we have right in our own backyard, along with all the great history, architecture, culture, food, music, art, etc in WNY. We also do many day trips, road trips and international travel. I create, run, organize and coordinate all the Buffalo Underground events myself. It is very fulfilling to me because not only does it create exposure of the great things in WNY, but it helps many people who want to get out, enjoy life and meet new friends. It’s like a little family.
BRO: What sort of events have you done?
Melanie Chimento: I’ve done over 600 events…you name it, we have done it. We’ve done architecture tours, ghost hunts, art events, dinners, happy hours, parties, book clubs, etc. and I like to create a lot of my own original events. We have fun and unique events all year round and I always make sure that our group is the first to do the latest and greatest in Buffalo.
BRO: What’s coming up?
Melanie Chimento: We have a lot of fun summer themed boat parties coming up, where we have the entire boats to ourselves (Buffalo Underground FOURTH Annual White Party aboard the Grand Lady, where we all dress in White to celebrate summer… we’re doing a Buffalo Underground Hawaiian Luau Sunday Funday Cruise aboard the Lockview VI in Lockport where everyone will dress in Hawaiian attire… both include music, dancing, etc.)
BRO: I understand that you also give back to the community?
Melanie Chimento: Yes, I also run a Pay it Forward program in my group. We’ve done work with Habitat for Humanity, Buffalo Food Bank, Buffalo Dream Weavers, have done gardening and clean up for a local Buffalo church, raised money for a rescue dog who had a broken jaw and much much more.
BRO: Who is a typical member? Is there a typical member?
Melanie Chimento: My typical members are both men and women with respectful, positive attitudes (I keep the group drama free) who love to live life to the fullest and are always up for fun. As long as people are positive, respectful of others and want to get out and explore, everyone is welcome to join in on the fun.
To learn more about Buffalo Underground, you can check out www.meetup.com/Buffalo-Underground. The site is private and only members can see the actual details. People can join though, for free. You can also find the group on Facebook at: Buffalo Underground: THIS is WNY!