Program Details

Flash Mobs Around the World: Street Theatre for the Internet Age

Al Kustanowitz
Video Catch-up

Course Description

Since the middle ages, people have gathered in large groups in public spaces for street theatre and political demonstrations. But not until 2013 in New York did gatherings proliferate as spontaneous, playful social experiments to temporarily take over commercial and public areas simply to show that they could. These gatherings have spread all over the world and have become known as flash mobs. But the idea caught the attention of professional musical groups, symphony orchestras, and opera companies who saw it as a way to promote their concert hall performances by giving free samples of their work to audiences in town squares, shopping malls, and transportation hubs. This presentation takes an in-depth look at the flash mob phenomenon by tracing its origin and watching well-known classical and popular musical works performed in the streets, town squares, shopping malls, and supermarkets of France, Israel, and other locations. Visual images, audio, and video will be used throughout the program.

About the Instructor

  • A long-term devotee of Jewish humor, Al Kustanowitz, MBA, has been collecting and sharing it even before there was an internet. In 2009, after a 36-year career at IBM, managing new technology projects, Kustanowitz founded Jewish Humor Central (, an internet blog. Through the blog he brings a daily dose of fun and positive energy to readers who would otherwise start the day reading news that is often drab, dreary, and depressing, ( subscribing is free). He has published 11 books on Jewish humor based on his more than 3,500 blog postings, each of which includes a video clip and his commentary. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the City University of New York and taught computer science courses at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University.