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

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!


Flash Mobbing a Little Heart Into the Apple Store

Photography by Devon Christopher Adams (@nooccar)

We’ve long been fans of Improv Everywhere’s Best Buy flash mob, but never had a good chance to do our own version. Clearly Best Buy had no sense of humor about the topic, and we figured most companies like them would be about the same.

After Steve Jobs passed away, this idea seemed like a great way to pay a little tribute to someone who had an enormous impact on our lives, and maybe have some fun in the process. We contacted a Phoenix t-shirt shop and had them create special custom shirts for us – royal blue with a heart shaped logo on the front. Oh, and the heart had a piece missing out of it. And a leaf. Look familiar?

This past Saturday about 25 Improv AZ cohorts donned those shirts in a flash mob at the Apple Store in the Scottsdale Quarter. The plan wasn’t to disrupt their business in any way, but just to have fun and make people laugh. We figured with 25 of us we would outnumber the employees, and maybe even the customers.

As we trickled into the store, the surprise was on us – the place was packed! We had never seen an Apple Store that busy, maybe because of the new iPhone launch, and the employees noticed us right away. They started chatting away into their earpieces, and a few security people started paying us extra attention. We just browsed and wandered around, so the employees must have decided we were mostly harmless. They kept an eye on us but didn’t ask us to leave.

Photography by Devon Christopher Adams (@nooccar)

So we had fun! We put pictures of ourselves on many of the computer’s PhotoBooth screens, but employees came right behind us and removed them. Most of us were very familiar with Apple products but referred customers to real employees whenever asked. However, one lady refused to be sent away. She was quite happy with the help she received and admonished an Apple employee that the prankster should not get in trouble for being such a nice young man! We shopped for merchandise, made our phones all Quack, and chatted with everyone we could.

Some customers were confused, and one remarked “Wow, Apple sure does have a lot of employees!” but most laughed when they realized what was going on. Most employees took it in good fun  once they realized we weren’t there to cause trouble. We heard “flash mobs” being used as an example in a Genius Bar training session, and a few employees asked where they could get a shirt like ours.

We left after about half an hour, took a group picture out front, and waved a cheery farewell to everyone in the store before heading off for coffee. We immediately began musing where else we might be able to unleash our small, blue-shirted army… hmmm…

Check out the Pictures

We had two photographers help capture the flash mob, and both helped shoot our shenanigans before. This one was trickier because we were trying to be covert so they couldn’t use their normal camera gear. They each wrote blogs about the experience and trying to take good pictures with a small camera, so if you plan to try something like this yourself see what the very talented Sheila Dee and Devon Christopher Adams had to say.

Check out all of their pictures (and a few others) from the flash mob in the Apple Store Flash Mob series on Flickr.

Want A Shirt?

We’ve had a lot of requests for other people who wanted a shirt, so you can order an Apple Heart Shirt from Brand X. We don’t make any money off these – they’re just a fun thing to wear so we wanted to pass it along.

Want to Join Us?

Want to be a part of a future flash mob with us? Join our email list! We don’t always announce them on our blog and Facebook, so our email list is the best way to stay connected.

Keep Laughing!

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Epic Super Hero Battle 2009

Several weeks of planning and strategizing culminated in a fantastic event, when the forces of justice and villainy met near Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall on a hot June evening for a battle that was truly epic. In conjunction with another local group, AZ Cacophony Society, the plan was hatched in early May and the call went out to gauge interest in the idea. Since the response was a resounding “Yes, we want in on this!”, we quickly moved on to the strategizing phase while directing our followers to get started on their costumes. The date was chosen and a scouting mission was done to devise a battle plan that would draw public attention while (hopefully) limiting any security intervention.

On the day of the event, the respective groups began to form up when a snag was encountered. Mall security approached the Heroes and stated that several mall policies prohibited the group from entering. Luckily, cool heads prevailed on both sides and with just a few modifications to the plan, the Heroes were allowed to proceed through the mall to meet the Villains on the other side.

As you can imagine, the sight of two large groups of costumed individuals garnered quite a bit of attention as each made their way to the battle site, a large street corner in full view of all passers by. The Heroes arrived first and took the high ground (as Heroes often do), taunting the Villains who were forced to wait for traffic. Once the Villains reached the area, all manner of mayhem broke out with water soaker guns employed to full effect. Most of the participants were very into character, pairing up with each other for mock fisticuffs and other shenanigans. A few of my favorite characters were Musical Theater Girl and her jazz-hands of justice, Dark Elvis with his menacing patch of removable chest hair, Couch Potato with his “hang back and let others fight” stance and The Zombie who wandered through the crowd oozing on his foes.

As the battle wound down the group posed for photographs and then headed off to reminisce on the event at one of the nearby watering holes. Within minutes of the event’s completion, a hilarious video of the battle was uploaded to YouTube:

And here is a shorter compilation of the event, complete with dramatic soundtrack!

There’s also a growing set of amazing pictures on Flickr, and in the Facebook event! Tag yourself and comment away!