Subway escalator High Fives: Improv Everywhere cheers folks up

We’re fans of Improv Everywhere’s work here at Gadling. There’s Frozen Grand Central, Food Court Musical (my favorite) and welcoming home strangers at JFK. Here’s another one designed to put a smile on the face of New Yorkers and one idea to try at home. All you need is a couple of friends to hold signs, an escalator and a hand. This video is of a packed subway station in New York City, but a busy shopping mall would work as well.

Antwerp, Belgium’s train station musical surprise: Everyone does The Sound of Music

Not since Improv Everywhere’s Food Court Musical have I been so pleased by a surprise musical number in a public place. This time the setting is Central Train Station in Antwerp, Belgium and the vehicle is Julie Andrew’s voice singing “Do A Deer” from The Sound of Music over the loud speaker. First, just a man and a young girl start to dance as if drawn in by the song. Gradually, the few become a crowd that exudes joy.

Although this singing and dancing number might have been inspired by Improv Everywhere’s antics, particularly Frozen Grand Central, this stunt is part of an ad campaign for a reality TV show. Regardless, the result is superb. This starts out slow and then builds as more and more people join in. I dare you to not hum a few bars.

Celebrate the season with an airport karaoke carol. Which is your favorite?

Meg isn’t fond of the idea of airport karaoke. I think it’s the best thing since sliced bread, particularly after I heard the NPR radio story about the small karaoke stages at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. That’s the very karaoke effort that Meg gave a bah humbug review.

By the time I arrived where I was going and had parked my car, the story about the airport karaoke and carol singing had me grinning big time. The story featured some of the singers along with the details of why karaoke has been added to the airport’s offerings.

In the past during the holidays, the airport has featured various local groups singing seasonal ditties. The karaoke is meant to give harried travelers something to do and enjoy while they’re heading home or elsewhere. (See article)

Most carolers weren’t bad. The last one, who belted a rendition of “Santa Baby,” was actually very good. Men and women were crooning in equal measure, although that could be due to the show’s editing.

In a way, this airport karaoke effort is like Improv Everywhere’s Food Court Musical, although it’s real. A real security guard actually belts out holiday cheer. I wonder if there’s any problem getting a person to get off the stage once he or she has been handed a mike?

If I’m passing through Houston, I’m singing “Jingle Bell Rock.” I have some dance moves to go with it. Sorry Meg, although peace and quiet is a good option also.

To listen to the NPR story on All Things Considered, click here.


Food court musical by folks who cooked up frozen Grand Central

A friend and I were looking through a few Improv Everywhere videos, the folks who created Frozen Grand Central, and loved this one so much we watched it twice and then showed it to others.

For anyone who has ever eaten in a food court anywhere in the world, imagine what it might be like if folks broke out into song, but not just any song–one that fit the location and the situation. This particular food court is in a shopping mall in Los Angeles.

One of the details I liked about this effort is the diversity of the entertainers, as well as, the audience members who had no idea what exactly was taking place as they chewed their food.

I loved the woman with the “baby.”

Can I get a napkin, please?

Be part of Improv Everywhere

If you thought, “How cool is that?” when reading Jerry’s post on stopping time in Grand Central Station and wish you had been involved, it is possible to get in on some improv action yourself. Improv Everywhere, the New York City-based group that pulls off these clever pranks has spin-off groups in other cities.

Global Improv Everywhere is found across the United States, as well as, Vancouver, Toronto, London and the Netherlands with membership in each chapter ranging from 50+ to over 100. Anyone can join in the creating public “joy” and “chaos” efforts–the aim of Improv Everywhere missions. Currently there is a plan to do a nationwide freeze on February 23. Check out the Web site for details and also to find out how to join up with a chapter in your city if there is one or start one yourself. You can also hook up with the New York City version by registering online. You can also get an Improv Everwhere T-shirt with this logo on it..

Being in an Improve Everywhere stunt seems a bit less intimidating than being in a Spencer Tunick nude photo shoot.