No Pants on the light rail this Sunday
Last year's pantless group
This Sunday afternoon, over one-hundred Minnesotans will board the light rail at the Mall of America -- a fairly ordinary occurrence at America's monument to materialism. Most will be in their teens and 20s, and they'll exude a nervous energy. Soon after the LRT glides beyond the stop, a signal will pass through the crowd. Hurriedly, to the amazement of other passengers, the riders will yank off their pants, revealing legs goose-pimpled and paled by winter.
The crowd will spend their LRT round trip, from the MOA to Target Field and back, pantsless. This weekend is the fifth-annual No Pants Ride, a live improv event orchestrated by the goons of Plan B, and it's just about the best way to spend a Sunday afternoon in mid-January.
"These events are a chance for that inner mischievous part of everyone to come out and play in a safe and fun environment," say No Pants coordinator Chris Kliewer, who's on Plan B's Council of Champions. "Dropping your pants on a train full of others leads to a lot of curious looks and some laughs. Many people travel through life with blinders on, and this is way to open their world."
The goal, he says, "isn't to make a spectacle of yourself" -- though that is what happens, of course -- "but instead to just enjoy a nice [bare-legged] rail ride on a brisk January day."
That's where the improv aspect of No Pants comes in. If a participant is asked why he's pants-free, he's to respond with, "Oh, I just forgot to wear pants today, no big deal!" or "My dog ate my pants. I gotta make due with these underoos." A No Pantser mustn't break character.
Plan B's No Pants ride was inspired by Charlie Todd of New York City's Improv Everywhere. "Twelve years ago," says Kliewer, "Mr. Todd and several friends decided to ride the subway sans pants, and act as if nothing was amiss. It has grown exponentially ever since, and it went international several years ago."
Kliewer and his Plan B buddies saw Todd's joyous handiwork and thought, "'We have colder, snowier winters! We can show them what the Midwest is REALLY made of!' Turns out, it leads to a lot of blindness due to pale legs," he says.
Now, you may be wondering about the legal implications of riding the light rail with no pants on. Should people worry about spending their Sunday night in jail for indecent exposure? Turns out, you shouldn't. Plan B works with both the MTA and the MOA's security team to ensure No Pants is an above-board operation.
No Pantsers are free to ride the LRT pantsless all they want, as long as they don't, for example, pull off their underwear, too, or wear undies that are just a bit too revealing. That means no form-fitting BVDs, fellas. Stick with the boxers. Participants must also put their pants back on before entering the Mall of America. We don't want to freak out the tourists.
IF YOU GO:
No Pants Ride 2013
Meet in the MOA's transit station
1 p.m. Sunday
Look for the Plan B sign, then prepare to fling off your pantalones
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