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.


Gadling Take FIVE: Week of Nov. 22 –Nov. 28

A person could get pretty depressed when taking a gander at how money, or rather the lack of it is influencing the places we love to go.

Perhaps some of the change is due to cultural shifts that would happen anyway. It’s hard to tell sometimes exactly what condition is causing the change.

This week at Gadling, there are a few posts that have to do with changes that are taking place around the world.

  • In France, fewer people are hanging out in cafes these days. Jeffrey gives the issue some thought in one of his posts.
  • Brenda provided more insight regarding the woes of Hawaii’s travel industry. As a person from the state, and a world traveler, she has an understanding of the factors that are influencing people’s vacation decisions.
  • In a post yesterday, Brenda also offered musings about the state of travel given the fact that there are so many places that seem inhospitable. She’s interested in Cuba and wonders if Americans are welcome.
  • Aaron, however, usually a sunny sort, has great things to say about travel in Chile. If you don’t catch this one detail while you read, he’d love to go back and is looking for someone to take him along.
  • On another positive note, if you want to feel great today, look at ImprovEverywhere’s latest video. As their latest stunt proves, everyone in the world could use a rousing welcome home–even if it’s from a group of total strangers. All you need is signage, balloons and warm, smiling faces.

Welcoming home total strangers at JFK: ImprovEverywhere

In an Absolut World, Everyone Would be Welcomed Home from ImprovEverywhere on Vimeo.

One Gadling post that consistently gets weekly hits, sometimes daily, is the one on ImprovEverywhere’s “Frozen Grand Central.” The Grand Central stunt is an amazing feat of ingenuity and organization on the part of this improv drama troupe that specializes in creating fun and amazement in public places. I think of it as a more creative, involved version of Candid Camera. Plus, it involves way more people.

My favorite ImprovEverywhere stunt, hands down, is Food Court Musical.

This most recent improvisation comes pretty close. It involved 20 ImprovEverywhere actors who were the greeters, and the unsuspecting travelers who arrived at JFK expecting to be met by a driver and no one else. The drivers (only the first one is shown) didn’t know they were in on something a bit unusual.

The result is something charming and heartwarming. Very sweet and very fun. How terrific life would be if EVERYONE had such a greeting upon arrival at an airport. The closest I ever came was arriving in Hawaii and being given a lei. My great aunt and uncle met me, so don’t expect a lei if you arrive in Honolulu. Maybe, but don’t count on it.

Thanks to Intelligent Traveler for first posting on this gem. It made my day.