(See video and photos here.)
Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles is used to drawing large crowds for its Hollywood premieres, but on Wednesday night a small documentary film drew so many fans that riot police were called in.
Fans had gathered at the theater to see "Electronic Daisy Carnival Experience," a documentary about an electronic music festival, but when the crowd spilled out on to the street, cops were called in to control the melee. As soon as the police arrived, the crowd delved into a chaotic scene, throwing water bottles, protesting the police's attempt to send people home, and — oddly enough — planking.
There is no understandable reason why some in the crowd chose to plank, aside from the fact that everyone is obsessed with the inane Internet trend of posting a photo of yourself lying like a board in unusual places. (Including us at BlogPost, when we are not obsessing over owling or batting.)
Nick Walsh, a social media strategist for the advertising agency Trailer Park, watched the scene unfold from his office across the street. He snapped photos of the unfolding mayhem and spoke to me about it Thursday morning:
We’re always used to seeing premieres going on, but usually there’s guards, there’s rails, there’s stuff that keeps people at bay. There really wasn’t anyone regulating this one. Around 6:45, the crowd just went right into the middle of the road. A cop car came out, and people circled the cop car. The car had to leave.
A little while later, a line of police officers showed up and started pushing people back. They would just run toward them, and the crowd would run back. It was like running with the bulls in Spain. But as soon as the cops stopped running, the crowd would come back.
I would call it a rowdy mob. There was nothing violent coming from them until one group ran to a cop car and jumped on it. They broke the windshield and damaged the hood. The cops fired a bean bag gun at the crowd.
The Hollywood Reporter was on the scene to review the movie and reported that the blame for the event growing out of control was placed equally on promoters and the house DJ, Kaskade, who tweeted out his plans for a block party. J. David Goodman over at the Lede blog writes, “It started on Twitter and ended in mayhem.”
See more images and the video of the planking below: