brass liberation orchestra

B.L.O.'s "Operation: Hey Mackey"

Doing the 'Hey Mackey' Dance
On Sept. 26 2009 members of the Brass Liberation Orchestra and friends staged a dance performance in an Oakland Whole Foods Market. We think it would be lovely if similar events happened at other locations around the country. This page includes resources for your own action such as:

Why did we do it?

This action was in response to a recent Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal by Whole Foods CEO John Mackey in which he argued healthcare is not an intrinsic right.

We believe that everyone should have access to healthcare, and that the U.S. should have an affordable public insurance option -- one that assists sick people rather than insurance companies. Mackey's statements seem to indicate that he is out of touch with the reality faced by most working people today and his positions seem contrary to the "sustainable lifestyle" imagery the store promotes.

So, at a prearranged time and signal, we convened in the store and launched into singing:
"Hey Mackey, you're a swine!"

Some of us danced while others passed out informational flyers...and the B.L.O. accompanied with an adaptation of Toni Basil's "Hey Mickey" and added to the commotion! We had a blast, and even got some press coverage for the stunt. The customers and staff seemed mostly amused, several said they were unaware of Mackey's position, and a few even vowed not to shop there anymore.

Here's the video of our action!

Operation Hey Mackey! - Whole Foods, Oakland from Jamie LeJeune on Vimeo.

Below are lyrics and other materials we used.
Here is our flyer.


Hey Mackey
You're a swine
You're a swine you blow my mind
Hey Mackey

Oh Mackey, what a pity
You don't seem to care
We're not as rich as you
but we still need healthcare

Oh Mackey, you're so greedy
Can't you understand
It's guys like you Mackey
Oh what you do Mackey
Don't break my heart Mackey

Sheet Music:

A slightly longer version with some pre-action footage is up on YouTube:


BLO playing in Whole Foods


Matt Dibble, Regan Brashear, Adelaide Chen, Cassidy Friedman, Jamie Lejeune


Cassidy Friedman, Jamie Lejeune
This video is owned by its producers.
Media organizations wishing to obtain a clip of this video, contact video journalist Cassidy Friedman at or 415-717-1485


Brook Anderson


Nkeiruka Oruche and Sarah Reilly


Parody of "Hey Mickey" by Toni Basil
Performed by the Brass Liberation Orchestra
Arranged by Jeff Giaquinto

Special thanks to all the dancers, videographers, and the staff at Bay Place Whole Foods!

Instructional Video:

You know you want to do your own "Hey Mackey" action!!
Here's our simple dance routine, step by step:

Outline of the action

(of course it never goes quite like this in real life...) Pro-healthcare protesters at Whole Foods

Overall tone: Fun, cheerfully informative. we comply with most instructions with a smile (i.e. "leave the store now") but do so gradually. Avoid hostile engagement.


Figure out best location in the store, how we can do it without pissing off the employees too much.


4:45 arrive nearby park for rehersal


  • 5+ several musicians
  • 5+ sing/shout/dancers
  • 3+ videographers
  • 3+ people with concealed signs, flyers
  • 2+ "manager liaison" (some one who will step up to talk with managers/security to delay them)
Everyone in ordinary street clothes, perhaps with cloth shopping bangs to conceal fliers etc. Nothing overtly "activisty"

5:45 People start leaving park to go to whole foods (6 min walk)


6:00 we start entering whole foods one by one and begin shopping. Musicians with instruments in cases (i.e. you are clearly a musician, but musicians shop for for groceries also). Bass drum and sousaphone arrive last, remain outside. Video people find their locations

Is the boss sick? Sign from pro-healtcare protest of John Mackey CEO of Whole Foods

6:09 video people pull out cameras (may get hassled by security, that's why we have more than one) musicians (in aisles) start putting instruments together dancers start converging to the space infront of the in-store "Cafe Gratitude"

6:10 3 dancers start singing "hey macky". After first chorus, more dancers put down their groceries and join in. After 1st time through, musicians step out of aisles as they are ready and join in. Sousaphone and bass drum enter through front of store and join in. Choreography starts. If manager or security tries to interrupt, manger liaison tries to gently intercept

6:17 After 2nd time through, everyone stops. someone announces: "John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods has argued that American workers do not deserve a health care system. We believe that heath care should be affordable for everyone, not just rich people. So Mr. Mackey, this song is for you!" (or words to that effect) People who have signs reveal them.

6:18 Music and song resume. People hand out flyers. Everyone starts dancing gradually towards the exits. We did a few more choruses and another announcement.

6:20 everyone out the front door, stop playing. If people are not upset, we may play a few songs and flyer on the corner. Otherwise we move efficiently off Whole Foods property, especially video people.

9:00 Edit video, post to everyone, possibly news outlets?


We got a surprising amount of coverage (slow news day?), and even negitive press keeps the issue active!
  • NBC Bay Area broadcast a version of story but managed to avoid quoting the phrase
    "Health care is a human right!" (Next time we'll print it on our butts!)
  • Local coverage on SFGate
  • Nice article on
  • KPFA Coverage: Listen for "Whole Foods Flash Mob Reports..." (forward to 12:26)
    The KPFA Evening News (Weekend) - September 26, 2009 at 6:00pm

    Click to listen (or download)