The History of Phil Collins Day: the Man, the Legend, & the Sweet Sweet Beat

In anticipation of our Phil Collins Day Dance Party TONIGHT at Matchless, I chatted with founder of the holiday, Heather Louise Kramer, whose passion for Mr. Collins is unwavering and frankly, inspirational.

Prepare yourself for the tale of deep love, true admiration, and police intervention that is the history of Phil Collins Day. Just look into those soulful eyes…

GP: How did Phil Collins Day become a thing?

Heather: Phil Collins Day started in High School with some friends and myself. We had grown tired of the production surrounding Valentines Day, especially since it seemed to only celebrate one kind of love, so it was decided that we make a holiday that was more inclusive and could celebrate the multifarious nature of love– heartbreak, crushes, unrequited, longing, etc….for everyone or anyone who has ever felt anything or everything–Balloons, t-shirts, cards, the whole deal.

When I moved to New York, it grew with each celebration, slowly becoming what it is today.  My ultimate goal is that people will make this holiday their own.

GP: If I recall, didn’t you and some friends almost get arrested for posting Phil Collins signs around Greenpoint a few years ago? Can you regale us with the story?

H: Yes, actually, there was an arrest that happened in 2012 because of Phil Collins Day. It was the year of the confessional booth (my favorite Phil C. Day installation). People arrived to a dark gallery, made a Phil Collins mask, and walked the long corridor to an illuminated confessional booth at the back. It was set up like a photo booth, where the person could hit a button, and a camera would record them through a two-way mirror. It was there that people were asked to confess their love trials and tribulations, with the understanding that the ONLY person who would be seeing it, would be Phil Collins Himself (I’m still trying to get in touch with him so I can hand over the DVD).

After the event we were so excited about the amazing masks everyone created, that we decided to post them up at the Greenpoint G stop where people usually hang flyers. We took some wheat paste.  It was probably 7:30pm, and we decorated the already poster-covered wall. Five cop cars later,  and after a pat down and getting shoved against the wall, we were in a police van on the way to the precinct.

One cop actually sang “In the Air Tonight” and commented on how silly it was that they handcuffed us. We went straight to central booking where we ended up spending 3 days, and during our court session were accused of vandalism and threatened with a felony charge. We were sentenced with 5 days of community service, which ended up being one of the most remarkable experiences I have ever had. Shout out to my RedHook Parks Department Crew; Reggie and Daynel!!!!

GP: That is the most amazing arrest story I’ve ever heard. So, what do you love most about Phil Collins? Is it his seductive stare? His soothing voice? Or his love of Tarzan? (or is there MORE?)

H: My favorite thing about Phil Collins is his ability to communicate his sincerity through his music. He genuinely cares about the well being of people and is concerned with poverty and homelessness. Not only does he sing amazing love songs, but he also seems to reach out through his music to also encourage, particularly the song “I’m Not Moving.”

GP: What’s your #1 favorite Phil C. song?

H: My favorite Phil Collins Day song changes with each Phil Collins Day. Having this holiday has allowed me to explore his archive in a really personal way. Right now I’m listening to “Dance into the light.” He’s so good.

GP: If you could meet Phil C. in person, what would you say to him??

H: I have gotten nervous about the prospect of meeting him. I’m not sure if it’s something that needs to happen. I enjoy celebrating him from afar. That being said, if he’s reading this, I hope his back is feeling better and I want him to know that at no point was this holiday irreverent.

GP: What are you most looking forward to on Saturday? Do you have particular dance in mind for the evening?

H: There will be three celebrations this year (that I know of), and that is the most exciting aspect of the holiday this time. But of course, everyone should dance to “Dance into the Light,” and let all their darkness go, and just have those 4 minutes and 23 seconds to really truly enjoy the day, the man, and the sweet sweet beat.

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