Recap of the Tale of the Epic Super Hero Battle!

Epic Super Hero Battle - Villains Attack!

Epic Super Hero battle courtesy of Sheila Dee

On Saturday, November 17th Improv AZ had its first Flashmob Fiction event – The Tale of the Epic Super Hero Battle! We’ve done Epic Super Hero Battles before, but this one had a unique twist. We gave our agents an mp3 of instructions to download and play during the event.

Dozens of agents donned a colorful array of wigs, masks, capes, and spandex and gathered in Old Town Scottsdale. At the appointed time, we all pressed “play” and followed the instructions as it led our group down 3rd Avenue. At our first stop, it became obvious that there was not one but two recordings – 1 for the villains and 1 for the heroes! Unlike past battles where participants got to select their team we randomly assigned agents into alliances with good and evil.

The groups split up to dominate separate areas of Old Town. The heroes sang the worst rendition of the Spiderman theme song ever and tried to engage with the patrons at Dos Gringos, despite their best efforts to ignore the wily colorful group. The villains leered and sneered their way up another street intriguing the nearby children, patrons, business owners, and one uncomfortable-looking armed security guard outside a high-end jewelry store.

The battle culminated with a massive face-off between the groups. The heroes initially tried to quell the villains with an onslaught of bubbles, but had to resort to stronger powers if they were going to have a chance at victory. Eventually the heroes and villains grew tired long enough to look at each other and realize that they were fighting the people who were once their friends. Instead of continuing to fight, they clasped hands and skipped off into the imaginary sunset.

Of course this flash mob had its fair share of onlookers and paparazzi who grinned, laughed, took pictures, asked us what we were doing, and even began to follow us in a mini-parade to see how the story would play out.

Pictures, Write-ups, and Thank Yous!

Check out some of the great superhero battle pictures on Flickr! A big thanks to Sheila Dee and Patrick McLeod for being our roving (running) photographers. We’ve had some problems with the video, but are hoping to get it sorted and get a video up soon.

We also had some excellent coverage in the Phoenix New Times, who posted a Super Hero slideshow, and their take on the Seven Most Interesting Heroes/Villains. Did you make the list?

Thank you to everyone who helped make our first Flashmob Fiction a huge success, including Evo Terra for recording the tracks, and Debbie Walker for doing all the audio editing.

Be sure to add yourself to our email list and follow us on Facebook to keep up with our future events

Download the mp3 for the Epic Super Hero Battle flash mob!

The mp3 file for our first Flashmob Fiction story, The Tale of the Epic Super Hero Battle, is now available!

You can download the mp3 from our Flashmob Fiction page, but do not listen to it until the flash mob starts. That would spoil all the fun!

All the info for the flash mob is on the same page, and we hope to see you there!

Bust out your spandex and join our first Flashmob Fiction story!

Remember the awesome mp3 Experiment we did a few years ago? We loved it and had a lot of people ask us to do it again, but that idea is really the baby of Improv Everywhere so we wanted to try something new.

Epic Super Hero Battle courtesy of patrickem

Epic Super Hero Battle courtesy of patrickem

That new idea is something we’re calling “Flashmob Fiction“, which is part flash mob and part interactive storytelling. And the first episode of our Flashmob Fiction will bring in an idea from another popular project – the Epic Super Hero Battle!

The Tale of the Epic Super Hero Battle

For those of you who haven’t participated in an Epic Super Hero Battle, it’s a fake battle between heroes and villains where agents create their own characters for the cheesy epic face off. This time you will still dress up, but you will also download an mp3 in advance and press “play” at a designated time and location. You’ll be following the instructions provided by the magic voice to help the story unfold.

How It Works

As with all our events, participation is mandatory! We are already covered for photographs and videos, so only show up if you’re going to play along with the group.

When: Saturday, November 17th, 1:00pm – watch for the sign to start!

Where: 3rd Ave, west of Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale (NW corner). The linked map shows where to park and where to go.

What to Do: Show up at the location with the mp3 on your player and press play at exactly 1:00pm! Do NOT listen to the mp3 in advance!

RSVP: Please RSVP on our Facebook event if you so desire, but all you’re required to do is show up!

What to Bring: Your mp3 player, headphones, and your costume!

What to Wear: Dress as a super powered hero or villain of your own creation. Don’t come as Superman or Wolverine – make up your own crazy idea and have fun with it. Decide your secret hero (or villain) name, and show up in costume ready to go! If you need costume components, be sure to hit the Halloween shops before Halloween or Easley’s Fun Shop in Phoenix always has a great selection of costume pieces.

Wandering About: The instructions may require you to temporarily separate from your friends so please make sure everyone in your group is old enough and mature enough to walk down the street by themselves where you may not have your eyes on them at every moment.

How to get the mp3

The mp3 will be available on our Flashmob Fiction page late on November 15th. We don’t want people listening to it in advance, so come back then to download it. (We’ll be posting TONS of reminders!)

If you know how to subscribe to an RSS feed for podcasts, we have the RSS feed already live. You can subscribe to that and just refresh the feed before you come to the flash mob.

In the meantime, just mark it on your calendar, shop for your costume, and tell all your friends!


mp3 Experiment was a rocking success!

mp3 Experiment - ImprovAZ - Look Over There
Image by sheiladeeisme via Flickr

Our first mp3 Experiment was a rocking success with at least 100 people showing up to participate!  The starting point was the giant Christmas tree in front of the MadCap theaters on Mill, and everything looked fairly quiet until even just 5 minutes before the start, then suddenly waves of people with headphones on started pouring into the area!  We were worried about people starting at different times, so used big cue cards to get everyone (hopefully) going in synch.

Marching and mayhem

Divided into Red and Blue teams by birthday (though the Blue team was a bit larger), the groups separated and started marching (really, marching) up Mill Ave.  Their first stop was to engage in some imaginary warfare! The Blue team began taunting the Red team across the street, who in turn drew an imaginary bow and arrow and fired at the Blues. Blues fell to the sidewalk in dramatic piles and the Reds celebrated their victory!  Drivers stopped in traffic craned around trying to figure out what was going on, and this is where pedestrians really started to realize something odd was afoot.

We skipped merrily along to the next intersection, where the Red Team circled around like airplanes and the Blue Team spread peace and love. A few pedestrians were hoping anxiously for the light to change to get away from the weirdness.  This was not their lucky day, because when the light changed the teams all crossed and high-fived each other along the way. Some bystanders scurried to get out of the way while others just played along and started high-fiving.

After the high-fives, two covert agents handed out little bottles of bubbles. As the procession continued north bubbles filled the air and patrons inside the stores started peering out. The Blue Team then contended with imaginary ringing cell-phones, and the Red Team turned into tourists with imaginary cameras. A passerby called the Blue Team “A bunch of liars!” for talking into their imaginary phones, while a few people posed and flashed smiles for the Red Team’s photographic attempts.

Confusion, Coffee, and Disco

At the next intersection… What is THAT!?! Both teams pointed over the top of a building, gasping in disbelief at the imaginary thing on the roof!  Several people on all four corners of the intersection craned to see what was going on, especially when “it” apparently leaped across the street to a different building. Whatever “it” was, it got a lot of attention! Here we noticed that we had an entourage – some pedestrians had started following us to see what we would do next.

In front of Starbucks all 100 people lined up to go in… but didn’t order. We nodded to patrons, briefly regarded the menu, decided against ordering anything, and exited out a side door. We began performing YMCA as we continued up Mill, which was a strange sight to everyone outside the prank who couldn’t hear the music. One of the servers inside a restaurant we passed clearly recognized our sweet moves as he started dancing along in his window with a huge grin on his face.

Grand Finale

We then paused in front of an adult store where the men turned their eyes away in disgust while the women peered in the window with enthusiasm.  Everyone fought a round of itchy-butt syndrome as they moved to the finale where everyone was feeling strong now as we did a slo-mo, low-budget reenactment of the victory run from Rocky! It was only then we realized how many people we picked up along the way as the little amphitheater was packed. We had hoped for 40 people to show up, and our final headcount was around 100.

This was by far the most planning we’ve put into an event, and it it was a blast! We learned quite a few things, including whether anyone would even show up!  That answer was a definite Yes!  We also learned how people react to instructions, where we need more (and less) time, and the complications of things like timing streetlights.

Got pictures or video clips? Upload them here or let us know where to find them!

Event pictures on Flickr (tag with mp3az and improvaz).
Event album on Facebook.

Some of the video came out a little jagged, but you can watch the high points in all their crazy glory below:

We will do more of these in the future, so stay tuned to our Facebook page or mailing list for all the latest news!

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Join us for the mp3 Experiment flashmob

If you have an mp3 player and want to take part in a fun flashmob, come on down to our first mp3 experiment! Basically you download a secret mp3 to your player, show up and everyone presses Play at the same time.  So everyone is getting instructions at the same time, so you learn about the flashmob as you go.

Thanks to everyone who came out for our first mp3 experiment!  It was a rousing success!  Pictures and videos will be online soon!

We’ve modeled this off of Improv Everywhere’s mp3 Experiments, but have come up with a pretty crazy script for our first outing – should be a blast!  If you want to participate, bookmark this page because it will have everything you need to know:

Mp3 Experiment Details

As with all our events, participation is mandatory!  We are already covered for photographs and videos, so only show up if you’re going to play along with the group.

When: Saturday, December 12th, 2:00pm – watch for the sign to start!

Where: 7th Street, west of Mill Ave in Tempe, right next to the giant Christmas tree.

What to Do: Show up at the location with the mp3 on your player and press play at exactly 2:00pm! Do NOT listen to the mp3 in advance!

RSVP: You can RSVP on our Facebook event if you so desire, but all you’re required to do is show up!

What to Bring: Your mp3 player & Headphones.

What to Wear: If your birthday is between January and June, wear a blue shirt.  If your birthday is between July and December, wear a red shirt.

How to get the mp3

The mp3 is listed below!

If you have iTunes: Subscribe to our Podcast

To download mp3 manually: Download mp3 file

That should cover it, but if we missed anything ask away!

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Join us for the mp3 Experiment flashmob on Dec 12th

The mp3 and all the final details on where to go and what to do can be found on this post!