Wheelie’s Michael Moon is hoping to break the world record for most backup dancers (in their underwear).
The D.C. region is no stranger to The Guinness Book of World Records. The world record for the largest cupcake, for instance — weighing in at more than 2,500 pounds — was achieved by our very own Georgetown Cupcake. The record for the largest group to simultaneously make sandwiches was nabbed by The Corporate Executive Board Company of Arlington. Five hundred staffers made 1,000 turkey-and-cheese sandwiches in under five minutes. And the record for the largest game of "Red Light/Green Light" goes to the city of Manassas, where 775 people once took part in the children's game.
But local indie-rock band Wheelie is gearing up to give Washington another honor in Guinness's hallowed halls: the record for the most back-up dancers. The band's front man, Michael Moon, says they're trying to beat 547.
"It's very doable," he says. "We're going to beat it!"
As Moon puts it, Wheelie has been helping Washingtonians loosen up and have fun for three years now.
"We're just trying to bring even more fun and bring our message of self acceptance, and that Wheelie loves you, and we want you to love yourself, and loosening the tie on the collars of all the D.C. folk," he says.
Or, to be more specific, loosening the belt on the pants.
Because Wheelie's original goal wasn't to break the record for most back-up dancers. It was to break the record for most people dancing... in their underwear.
See, Wheelie's new single is called "The Underwear Song." And as Michael says, it aligns beautifully with Wheelie's message of self-acceptance and having no choice but to love yourself.
"It begins with 'We, we are all standing here. We're all standing here in our underwear. Every day we all just stand here. Every day we have to look in the mirror,'" Moon says. "And there's a line in there that I really like, that says, 'We either love ourselves, or we love ourselves. And there is only this.'"
So, with this initial goal of breaking the world record for the most people dancing in their underwear, Wheelie got a national underwear company to donate boxes and boxes of undershirts and tighty-whiteys.
But then Guinness informed them that there's already a world record for the most people congregating in their underwear, and the officials can't categorize specific 'activities' of people congregating in their underwear.
"So then we changed directions," Moon explains. "And we started doing some research, and we found this one with the backing dancers, that was doable, that we felt like we could do it.
"And then we thought, if we're going to do these backing dancers, when will you ever have 550 people dressed in the same costume?"
And further, they thought, "how cool would that look to shoot a music video of 550 people doing this movement all in the same costume? So we kept the underwear, added the backing dancers, and Guinness was like, 'You got it!'"
So, on Saturday, Nov. 16, Wheelie is inviting people to Stroga Ballroom in Adams Morgan to make this dream a reality — all kinds of people.
"Big people, small people, young people, old people," Moon says. "Underwear knows no boundaries!"
On hand will be more than three-dozen dance captains, to help participants learn the dance. Wheelie's also putting an instructional video on YouTube. But Michael says the dance itself, is actually pretty easy. Or as he puts it, "pedestrian-friendly."
"So it's designed for a lot of different folks," he says.
But when it comes down to it, Moon says he really believes that this whole experience isn't actually "about the dancing. I think it's about the message that we could potentially share with a lot of people, which is about putting yourself out there, and having some fun doing it, and hopefully, you know, breaking a world record and feeling really good about that."
Something else it's about is making other people "feel really good." Wheelie has invited the local nonprofit Mary's Center to host a clothing drive the day of the event. The band will also donate a portion of participants' registration fees to Children's National Medical Center.
[Music: "The Underwear Song" by Wheelie from their forthcoming EP]
Last week, the D.C. Council voted to designate e-cigarettes and "similar vapor products containing nicotine" as tobacco products. That means that their sales tax will jump from the regular 5.75% sales tax to the 70% tax that's tacked onto sales of products like cigarettes and cigars. We explore what this means for the evolving public health debate surrounding e-cigarettes.
When you give to WAMU, your tax-deductible membership gift helps make possible award-winning programs such as Morning Edition, All Things Considered, The Diane Rehm Show, The Kojo Nnamdi Show, and other favorites.