A small crowd of eight gathers at Jackson’s Red Line stop. With excitement, they pull MP3 players and headphones from their pockets and wait for a northbound train to zoom up to the platform for them to board. Once they board the train, with a crowd of passengers gazing on, they press play almost in unison and shuffle their feet. They dance, all to different tunes streaming into their ears with wide and bright smiles on their faces.
The first ever to take place in Chicago, the Silent Disco is a soon-to-be regular event inspired by the Chicago’s Critical Mass. “Urban space has historically been ‘used’ with certain expectations in mind while there have been no rules against ‘unusual behaviors’ such as dancing and mass-biking,” says event coordinator Kristy Lueshen. “I suppose it is a protest, then, of expected uses of urban space. The disco is attempting to revive the mindset that the world can be a fun place.”
“Fun” may be an understatement given that every participant is free to listen to whatever floats their boat—and without causing what the CTA would call a “noise disturbance.” “In the future, maybe it’ll include loud, collective music, to bring forth a more unifying structure and to help those who have neither a bike nor an mp3 player,” Lueshen says. “Hopefully, the disco will continue as a monthly event, always on the same night as Critical Mass [to promote the same idea without a bike].” (Micah McCrary)