Lights, camera, action

Courtesy Photo /
Rob Bliss

Courtesy Photo / Rob Bliss

Anya Zentmeyer

Grand Rapids event coordinator Rob Bliss said that when it comes to his next city-wide event, the only thing to be concerned about is – you guessed it, Michigan – the weather.

“Everything has been moving smoother than any event I have ever done,” Bliss said about his upcoming Grand Rapids lip dub event. “The only thing I’m concerned about is weather at this point, but even if it’s super cloudy we’ll do it. Persistent rain is the only canceling factor.”

Bliss, the mastermind behind Grand Rapids community events like the annual zombie walks, last summer’s giant water slide, and thousands of paper planes during Art Prize is standing on the edge of show time for his 9-minute single shot lip dub video set to Don McLean’s classic song “American Pie.”

The idea behind a lip dub, seen most recently on Grand Valley State University’s own campus this past year, is more or less to create a promotional video that captures the essence of its subject. And Bliss, as usual, has his eye on the city of Grand Rapids.

After murmurs of Grand Rapids being a dying city spread through the media, Bliss decided to embark on a project that would capture Grand Rapids at its best.

The lip dub will be shot in one continuous take, braving through droves of marching bands, pillow fights, kayaks, concerts, Metro Cruise cars, Grand Rapids Original Swing Society swing dancers, Fifth Third River Bank runners, a helicopter take-off and massive motorcades, all without changing a scene. Bliss said the production totals $30,000, and he is relying on sponsors to make ends meet.

The final shot is scheduled for May 15 to begin at 10 a.m. in the streets of downtown Grand Rapids. Bliss said he hopes the production will be between 5,000 and 10,000 men when filming commences.

In the end, Bliss said he is most excited to see the finished product on the silver screen at Celebration Cinema. The premiere is set for 6 p.m., May 18, and tickets cost $5.

“I hope they look at this video like it has captured the spark of excitement in this area that we’ve all felt, and shown it to outsiders who may not be aware of it,” Bliss said.

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