Public transportation is about to get a whole lot sexier.
This Sunday, hundreds of pantless people will look to bring a little (more) strangeness to everyone's favorite local mass transit with the fourth annual No-Pants Light Rail Ride.
The event, which is being held in conjunction with several other pants-free public transit rides across the country, kicks off at 1 p.m. at the Mall of America stop, and is free to attend aside from the standard cost of a light rail ticket. Before the britches-less blowout (there really aren't that many other words for "pants," are there?), we sat down with Chris Kliewer, one of the founders of the local improv group Plan B Minnesota, the event's organizers, to talk etiquette, pantsless fashion, and reality TV.
Give us the background on the No-Pants Light Rail Ride. What is it and why you guys are doing it?
It's actually part of a larger international no-pants event that was started 11 years ago in New York by a guy named Charlie Todd and his group, Improv Everywhere. There are other no-pants rides taking place all over the world, with thousands of people participating. There's no real reason as to why we do it, other than that it's fun and we want to bring a little strangeness to people's lives.
As far as what we do, it's pretty simple. We all meet up at the Mall of America at 1 p.m., and buy our tickets for the light rail. We'll get everyone together and run through the rules, and then we'll board the train. We wait about three stops, and then we de-pants. Then we just ride to the end and do what other people do on the light rail.
You mean talk to yourselves or yell into your cellphones?
We read, talk to our friends, play chess; normal stuff. The important thing to remember is that you have to act like there's nothing out of the ordinary. If someone says something about it, we usually just respond with something like 'I thought I forgot something this morning.' It's pretty funny to see some of the reactions you'll get.
How many people typically participate in the event?
There were about 20 the first year, 59 the second, and then 89 last year. We've got about 250 people who have RSVP'd on Facebook for this year, but I'll bet we only get maybe half of that to show up.
What types of people come out for the ride?
It's a pretty good variety. People of different ages, genders, ethnicities; everyone participates. Last year we had one guy who came with his infant grandson, so there were two little naked legs sticking out of a stroller. Everyone loves being pantsless.
Let's talk fashion. What do you personally choose to sport for the event?
I personally like to go with a big, warm parka, motorcycle boots and cotton boxers. Really, you can wear whatever you like so long as it's not indecent. And by that I mean it should cover everything, so no thongs or banana hammocks. If you're going to wear underwear with a picture on it, make sure it's appropriate. Otherwise you'll be asked to put your pants back on.
Last year you guys were actually featured on the WILDLY educational program, Mall Cops: Mall of America on TLC. But on the show, they claimed you were attempting to converge on the mall sans-pants. What was the real story?
They definitely edited and changed the story around for reality TV. At the beginning of the episode, they showed the mall cops having their morning meeting, and basically just saying, 'Hey, we're going to have a bunch of people here today with no pants on,' and then they demonstrated how to use the plastic handcuffs. They framed it up to seem like we were heading towards the mall, but we were actually moving away from it. Plus, we always re-pants well before we get back to the mall, so it has never been an issue.
As always, the mall cops were respectful to us and we were respectful to them. That was really just the producers trying to make better TV I guess.
So it sounds like you're not anticipating any issues?
None at all. The event is completely legal, and as long as you follow the rules you'll have a great time. It's the most fun you can have pantsless without worrying about getting pregnant.
Check out footage from last year's No-Pants Light Rail Ride below: