A flash mob is an event in which a large group of people emerges, seemingly at random, from a crowd to do some sort of pre-rehearsed performance art. Wikipedia defines it as "a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and pointless act for a brief time, then quickly disperse."
Participants typically spread the word on when and where to gather by new media -- Facebook pages, Web sites, text messages -- shortly before performances.
The term "flash mob" is not generally used for events organized by public relations firms or for protests, "So this is atypical," Weintraub said. "In the future this will be used for spontaneous fun."
That, in fact, was her original plan. "I had planned to do it on West Virginia Day. But then I heard about this hate group coming to Charleston. I thought it would be a good opportunity."
To test the interest, Weintraub posted a notice of a flash mob practice on he personal Facebook page last week.
"I hoped I would get about 30 people. By the next day I had 75." By Wednesday afternoon she had 300 confirmed guests and another 300 who might attend.
"It shows how willing people are to step out as a voice of diversity and inclusiveness and tolerance." Many who signed up are strangers, she said, but others are familiar names.
"I see many Covenant House supporters and people who support our mission of social justice, people of many socio-economic levels and racial and ethnic backgrounds. I see lots of students and I see adults of all ages, including senior citizens. I know one guy who's 74."
After several run-throughs, Weintraub had the trainees take a break. She went over the performance plans for latecomers. The first performance is Thursday on the interstate (north) side of the Capitol, she said.
"We will be the beautiful people, as opposed the other group," she said.
Reach Jim Balow at ba...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.