So you think you can dance? Can you do the honeybee?
In preparation for the first-ever National Honey Bee Awareness Day that took place on Aug. 22, big bee backer Häagen-Dazs used the creative efforts of five brothers from Los Altos, Calif. to make a short video raising awareness.
Max Lanman, a 21-year-old senior at Yale majoring in film studies (and the third-oldest Lanman brother), directed, edited and photographed the result of the request, a viral video entitled "Do the Honey Bee."
The video, which was released Friday, begins hypnotically like any mainstream rap song. The beat leads you to expect a candy-colored car might glide by, dollar bills could rain from the sky or a troupe of well-tanned bikini-clad women may appear, crowding a bored rapper draped in fur.
Instead, suited-up beekeepers spit rhymes about the honey bee plight and dressed-up bees perform an invented dance.
"The goal behind this was to make a mainstream rap video that appeals to the masses," said Lanman in a phone conversation from New Haven.
The dancing in the video is a nod to a ritual of the honeybees, who after returning from a particularly good round of pollinating "dance" directions to the rest of their hive.
While other videos were shot by highly paid professionals, Lanman's was a family affair; his oldest brother Fritz, 28, advised the budding bee activists; second-oldest brother James, 26, produced the song; younger brother Connor, 18, choreographed it and raps the first verse; youngest brother Christopher, 13, cameos as a dancing bee; high school friends were extras; and the video itself was shot in a family friend's organic garden in Los Altos.
The friend, Jeffrey Warnock, has been teaching the Lanman brothers about bees since they were young enough to want ice-cream for every meal.
"It's something my family has been involved with for a while. Ever since we were in elementary school we had first-grade field trips where we walked to his (Warnock's) house and he'd show us his hives," Lanman said.
The passion stayed with them. Most notably with Connor, who wrote a book called "Plight Of The Bee" that initially caught Häagen-Dazs' attention. They contacted Connor and he contacted his brothers.
Then they all did the honeybee, so to speak.
Fifty percent of the ice-cream manufacturer's ingredients come from the nuts and fruits which honey bee pollinations provide.
"We want to keep these little heroes buzzing," reads a statement on the company's Web site to raise awareness, www.helpthehoneybees.com.
And even if you don't indulge in a little Caramelized Pear and Toasted Pecan, there is cause to worry.The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that honey bees are responsible for 90 percent of food crops.
According to the USDA, the disappearances-- formally known as Honey Bee Colony Collapse Disorder--started occurring in 2006. Though causes are unknown, environmental groups like The Natural Resource Defense Council speculate that the unregulated use of plant pesticides are major contributors to the decline.
The save the bee buzz is catching on, and the Lanman brothers will continue to try and take it mainstream through different mediums like music.
"We're hoping that "Do The Honey Bee" will help raise honey bee awareness in a fun and original way, and appeal to the greater population," Lanman wrote in an email.
"The honey bee crisis affects the global community, and music is definitely the best way to transcend language barriers. We actually found a German forum where different people were talking about the video and the cause--it was really cool to see that our video generated discussion, and in another language!"
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