The Grand Rapids LipDub


(YouTube link)

Back in January, Newsweek listed Grand Rapids, Michigan as one of "America's Dying Cities." Mayor George Hartwell did not agree, and said as much. The city responded by producing an epic LipDub video to Don McLean's "American Pie," featuring 5,000 of the city's residents, recorded on May 22nd. Whether this makes any sense at all is up for debate, but you have to admit the video is a masterpiece of civic participation and timing. For their part, the Newsweek website distanced itself from the Dying Cities list by explaining it was content from a partner site. The $40,000 cost of the video project was underwritten by sponsors that are listed at YouTube.  -via Metafilter


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I was one of the 5,000 participants in the Grand Rapids Lipdub Project. I can't speak for everyone, but from what I saw, everyone had a great time making some cool art while promoting our city, too. It's been pretty interesting to see this video go viral, getting mentions in Newsweek (of course), NPR, Roger Ebert's Journal, supposedly a segment on the Today Show, and lots of others I'm sure.

My screen time was about 5 seconds starting about 2:15 as a pillowfighter. Go GR!
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Being originally from Grand Rapids, I found this video great. Though the economy in Michigan sucks overall, Grand rapids has the feel of being able to ride it out and is far from dying.
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Both Newsweek and Mainstreet (the original authors of the article) have acknowledged that the survey results are flawed. The one statistic that was used does ring true overall, but in the last five years the city has been in an upward swing and is actually thriving, in spite of the dismal Michigan economy. This is why the residents took such an offense to the article. It's one of the few areas of Michigan that is NOT dying.
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Check out Twaggies' very funny clip:

Om Nom - Twaggies by Twaggies
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