Tomorrow afternoon, all ninety members of the Bear Creek High School marching band will be strutting around downtown playing their instruments, individually. Each high schooler in Playing Apart (First mentioned on Backbeat) will be dressed in street clothes and playing for a mile or so (in the same territory as a planned Occupy Denver protest) starting at 1:30 p.m. and again at 4 p.m. And the best part? They'll be playing Twisted Sister's "We're Not Going to Take It." "We were thinking about teen anthems and that's just a classic. It has a little bit of protest involved," one of the two artists on the project, Lee Walton, says.
And while the project has no direct connection with the Occupy movement -- in fact, it is funded by the city's Arts & Venues department -- "The narrative of what they're doing is not antithetical to the narrative of what we're doing," says Playing Apart co-organizer Jon Rubin. Both are about the tension between being an individual and being in a group.
"We're taking the marching band and breaking them down into individuals," adds Walton.
Playing Apart is the first City of Denver-commissioned public performance art piece and "it might be the first of this type anywhere," says Rudi Cerri of Arts & Venues.
The event is planned for the same ground and approximately the same time as both the Occupy Denver march and Wynkoop Brewing's annual Gorilla Run -- think a thousand drunk people dressed up like gorillas. While the high schoolers have been warned about the 99 percent, they're being told to "just walk their route" in case of gorilla encounters.
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The piece might also just be the coolest thing to come out of the 16th Street Mall. "We spent a lot of time walking around the city. When we were sitting down at the 16th Street Mall, we were just watching people pass by. We were like, 'Hey, this could be it! This could be our project!'," says Rubin. He's also the guy who dreamed up Thinking About Flying, colloquially known as "the pigeon exhibit" at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
"We're always people watching," Rubin says. "We're just clarifying and furthering the idea that all over the city there could be people that are worth pulling out from the crowd and paying attention to."