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.
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!