“Get the FUCK out of my bar!”
If the man who just yelled this was a cartoon, his ears would be smoking. He is so livid you’d think a Republican congressman had just IM’d his teenage son. It’s Saturday night, October 7, around 11:30 at the Rattlesnake Bar & Grill and this stocky, red-faced guy has just hightailed it across the floor, flipped a switch that killed the music (Missy Elliott’s “Get Ur Freak On”), and then dropped a dirty F-bomb on his giggling patrons. What’s made this man so angry isn’t a hammered jerk climbing behind the taps or a couple fornicating on a back table. What’s made Mr. Rattlesnake so furious is something not so strictly forbidden: a trio of dancing men.
Granted, one of them was just dry-humping a hand-railing. Another was weaving around tables and hopping on one foot like the Karate Kid, alternating legs on Timbaland’s bass beat. And yes, they rushed in dressed like gym-rat caricatures: matching neon-green T-shirts, short-black shorts, knee-high tube socks, headbands. But all they were doing was dancing, albeit hilariously like nerds. Everyone else is cracking up, grinningly bemused by their “dorky tight moves” — except the man apparently in charge. So now the three dancing dudes are unceremoniously ushered out by a smirking bouncer, told to leave (ha!), and never to come back again (ha ha!).
Instead, they stand outside on the Boylston Street sidewalk and make fish faces in the front window.
This is 123 Party!, a Boston-based boombox-toting guerrilla-dance gang whose members go by Dice (#1), Blaze (#2), and Fury (#3). On nights like tonight, they’ll jog around heavily trafficked streets assaulting meatheads, drunken girls, and jam-packed bars with their silly-stupid dance moves. They’ll do high-kicks, cartwheels, fist pumps, mixing-bowl pelvic thrusts, and leapfrog jumps. They’ll grind against parking meters, walk on their hands, stare down speeding taxis, and hump moving buses. Later tonight when 123 Party! spots an open delivery truck, they climb onto the vehicle’s sloped ramp, dance in a descending line, and get the truck driver to dance while he loads a dolly of boxes. 123 Party! doesn’t take up a collection; they do this for fun.
“One drunken night [last spring] the three of us went to the Foggy Goggle,” says Fury, the 23-year-old spiky-haired aspiring comedy writer whose real name is Mike Perlman. “We started dancing crazily, and it became more and more exaggerated to the point where it was ridiculous and then absurd. We basically went so nuts in the place that everyone’s heads turned, and then everyone started dancing and partying . . . We realized, then and there, ‘Let’s get uniforms, let’s get names, and let’s do this.’ ”
Since then, 123 Party! has ambushed the public about 20 times, released two YouTube videos, performed at parties (including a Snakes on a Plane premiere and a Sweet Sixteen bash), and filmed a segment for FUSE’s Pants Off Dance Off that will air this November. They also have two choreographed dances, one of which is set to Dead or Alive’s “You Spin Me ’Round (Like a Record),” and signature dorky moves. Fury does the backspin. Dice, the stubble-bald joker (whose real name is Mike Forst), rolls imaginary dice. And Blaze, a dreadlocked smartass named Robert Preston, does something he calls the “floppy jog.”