Slightly Off Topic: An Odd 21st Century Urban Moment

Normally here at Notes from the Metaverse we tend to the serious, the technical, and the educational. We are veering slightly off-course today because of a unique occurrence over lunchtime. Please bear with me, and know that This Actually Happened:

So I’m walking around downtown Milwaukee after lunch today, when I encounter a large group (perhaps a dozen?) of black-clad women huddled on the corner of Plankinton & Wells, in front of the tapas bar. They’re involved in a bit of discussion about goodness-knows-what.

List of Bohemian Rhapsody cover versions

List of Bohemian Rhapsody cover versions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I turn the corner so as not to disturb them, one of the women sees me, comes over and asks “Do you know Queen‘s Bohemian Rhapsody?” Well, yes I do, most of it anyway. “Can you sing it with me?” Another part of the group joins us; one asks “Do you know the ‘Scaramouche’ part?” Well, no (actually should have said “I don’t think anyone really knows that part for sure,” but … I digress).

Anyway, after some additional pleading, I agree to perform, and we settle on the opening part. By the way, did I mention that I had my black jacket on? I did fit in with this ensemble of four or five women in black. Another woman produces a phone/camera (one can never say with certainty anymore). I get my soda out of the frame, and declare “OK, now I’m officially terrified.” The Scaramouche woman tells me not to worry, they’ll delete it right away. We sing (a capella) the opening of Bohemian Rhapsody “Is this the real life, is this just fantasy…” up to “open your eyes, look up to the skies and seeeeee…” when someone calls it a wrap.

Somewhere in the middle of all this, I see one of the other women (not part of the singalong) carrying a sign identifying the Sojourner Family Peace Center, the most prominent domestic-violence shelter in our town. I don’t get a chance to ask about that, and the sign doesn’t appear in the video.

The women thank me, and go on their merry way (after taking a still shot of the parked UPS truck a few feet down the street). Yes, I still have my wallet.

So after all this, I can say that I wasn’t ever really terrified. If you see this thing on YouTube, let me know. I’ll be happier if it has a Creative Commons license, but I won’t be angry in any case. Besides, my wife wants to see it!

If you happen to be one of the women described here, I’d love to hear more about this project. I hope you got what you needed.

For the rest of you: Feel free to share your odd urban moments or impromptu public performance stories, or even your memories of Freddy Mercury, in the Comments.

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