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April 13, 2005 10:00 PM   Subscribe

We've talked about these folks before. However I don't think any of us realized exactly how much influence we had on the story by helping it spread so fast. This American Life covers the group, and our part in help spreading the news about the Best.Gig.Ever. Real Audio link to the TAL show.
posted by pwb503 (32 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
translation: Some guys decided to visit an unknown band in New York and act like fans. The band isn't impressed, and Ira Glass talks about it on This American Life.
posted by craniac at 10:04 PM on April 13, 2005


I heard three quarters of this story on TAL but couldn't hear the end, and have not been able to listen to it online. Ira introduced it as having (paraphrasing, poorly) a "bad" or somewhat otherwise not-positive ending. I can't find anything in the Improv Everywhere schpinn about the story to make me believe it ended badly, or had negative repercussions. Can anyone shed any light on this?
posted by MarvinTheCat at 10:31 PM on April 13, 2005


I'm referring to the Best Gig Ever entry; sorry for the poor referential form.
posted by MarvinTheCat at 10:32 PM on April 13, 2005


I wish this wasn't in real audio format; I'm kind of curious to hear it. Don't suppose there's a transcript somewhere?

The funny thing about the band being upset about this is that their original reaction was actually pretty positive - they thought it was in good humour, and seemed to appreciate it.

I mean, I (obviously) haven't heard the radio show, but I wonder what changed?
posted by vernondalhart at 10:32 PM on April 13, 2005


i don't know why you're boo-hooing over the real audio format. you do know media player classic plays it, right?
posted by puke & cry at 10:45 PM on April 13, 2005


Serious? Wow, I feel pretty dumb about that.

I guess I just always assumed real audio only could play in real player, and never tried otherwise.
posted by vernondalhart at 10:52 PM on April 13, 2005


(Love the group's work and am glad at least some mainstream media are taking note, but was just wondering if this might have been better posted as "metafilter-related" in MeTa. Seems the perfect spot to talk about Mefi's influence on a story.)
posted by mediareport at 10:54 PM on April 13, 2005


For those who loathe the various and sundry real formats: Real Alternative. It works beautifully. I also suggest Quicktime Alternative at that same site.
posted by deafmute at 10:56 PM on April 13, 2005


Brief version

- IE takes 35 people to a Ghost of Pasha show and goes nuts.

- Band, Ghost of Pasha at first is confused by all the adulation from the fans and is clueless that its all a prank.

- They find out about it three days later after a friend emails them a link to IE's web site. They all read it.

- They try to take it in stride but their guitar player who is very sensitive, takes it really hard.

- Eventually they get over it and now use the publicity from this event, on their web site.

To me it looks like a win/win situation.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:01 PM on April 13, 2005


Kind of freaky: I'm sitting here listening to stuff on the web. I pause to go to the kitchen to get a drink, but before I get up I think I'll just have a look at Metafilter. What's so freaky? What I've just paused is the TAL episode this post is about.
posted by trip and a half at 11:05 PM on April 13, 2005


If you want to hear the part that's just about Best.Gig.Evar, it's from 18:57 to 33:53. The band's "original reaction" which was posted to the improveverywhere website, was the band's decision to make the best out of what was at that time a sucky situation for them: a flood of emails and posts to their messageboard mocking their band.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:27 PM on April 13, 2005


Bah. I'm ditching my windy round-up, now.

Do note that MetaFilter is not mentioned.
posted by dhartung at 11:43 PM on April 13, 2005


Shame about the art student who didn't much appreciate the "spontaneous" birthday party. Kinda strange reaction... but then I start thinking about it and I could see myself feeling the same way.
posted by basicchannel at 1:20 AM on April 14, 2005


Art thesis. In the very best possible way.

A*
posted by NinjaPirate at 2:02 AM on April 14, 2005


Improv is becoming the new Mime. Falling out of Cool fast. So opines this former pro-improver.
posted by rainbaby at 5:07 AM on April 14, 2005


TAL has really come into its own as of late, hasn't it? I've found myself kind of obsessively combing the archives, listening to pieces...
posted by ph00dz at 5:46 AM on April 14, 2005


TAL is a lot more slickly produced, but their best days are far in the past.
posted by Zurishaddai at 6:06 AM on April 14, 2005


a flood of emails and posts to their messageboard mocking their band.

Makes you feel bad for the members of Creed, now, doesn't it?
posted by clevershark at 9:39 AM on April 14, 2005


Makes you feel bad for the members of Creed

Never!
posted by dhoyt at 9:44 AM on April 14, 2005


Jesus, Milo Finch is a whiny bitch. Most bands would die for this type of free press.
posted by bardic at 9:48 AM on April 14, 2005


clevershark, I have no compassion for bands like Creed. I had that gland surgically removed.

Its a bummer that the one guy took it the wrong way. I loved the concept of this and thought it would be a really cool group to get involved with. Sort of an organized "Random Acts of Kindness" mentality. The world needs more people like the Best Gig Ever folks.
posted by fenriq at 9:57 AM on April 14, 2005


Improv is becoming the new Mime.

My opinion - they call themselves Improve Everywhere but this is a misnomer. They meet, plan, rehearse and script each "event" very carefully. There are opportunities for flexibility within the framework they create but the overall structure is strict. Does this still count as improve?
posted by quadog at 10:00 AM on April 14, 2005


Yeah, it still counts, but it's annoying people. That mime in the park that stops you and drags you into his act. That kind of thing. It's reaching saturation point. Folks have seen it on TV, god forbid had to do a team building exercise at work or school, have gone to see a show. . .proliferation of groups. . . I think the wave has crested.
posted by rainbaby at 10:12 AM on April 14, 2005


pwb503: I really liked the posting. I would almost goes as far as saying that it made my day. I like this kind of heartwarming, unpretentious random act of kindness. I also don't see any connection to Mime. To me, this thing rather seems like a mixture between situationism, performance art and a kind-spirited version of MTV Punk'd.
posted by Herr Fahrstuhl at 10:19 AM on April 14, 2005


See. . .back in the day. . .Mimes thought they were bringing joy to the public . . .maybe some folks dug it, but maybe some folks just want to be left alone. Then they were everywhere, and then they became a joke. Mime as metaphor, I know they aren't actually doing Mime.

I like the post, btw, heck, maybe I would have even liked the event, I don't know. I'm just going all Faith Popcorn for some reason. I'll drop it, I've more than expressed my tenuous position.
posted by rainbaby at 10:31 AM on April 14, 2005


I like this kind of heartwarming, unpretentious random act of kindness.

My opinion again - A random act of kindness is helping an old lady cross the street. Faking enthusiasm for a band by attending their concert and posing as fans isn't really kind. If anything, it's blurring the lines between reality and simulation. Some improv members found that their manufactured enthusiasm was become authentic as the performance continued.
posted by quadog at 10:33 AM on April 14, 2005


Sooo... what is this? What do these people think they're doing? Why do I fear they imagine it's some sort of "Performance Art"?

I only ask because in the UK we just call it "taking the piss".
posted by Decani at 10:56 AM on April 14, 2005


Faking enthusiasm for a band by attending their concert and posing as fans isn't really kind.

Yeah, that's something that the guy behind improveverywhere never really gets in the interviews. It's like getting back to the United States and telling all your friends about this awesome girl you met on the beach in Brazil and how she was hot and funny and totally into you and totally screaming like a banshee from a marathon of hot monkey love, and then your friend tells you that she was a hooker that he found on the internet and it was all a setup.

Was it a nice thing to do? Sure, but only if you never know it was all a setup. That ruins it.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:23 AM on April 14, 2005


Was it a nice thing to do? Sure, but only if you never know it was all a setup. That ruins it.

Can I get your friend's number?
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:25 AM on April 14, 2005


Do note that MetaFilter is not mentioned.

Well, never mind, then. This post was just a link to a TAL show, then? And a recap of previous posts about the IE folks?

*shrugs*
posted by mediareport at 9:51 PM on April 14, 2005


the lamest thing i've seen for some time. these IE folks need to sit down and try to write a few songs, then consider getting up on stage in front of paying punters who don't know them, and trying to persuade them that the songs are worth the punters' $$. oh wait, or they could just go to some gig and cheer a lot in private irony, then congratulate each other on how clever they've been. what are they, like 13?
posted by touchy at 6:22 PM on April 15, 2005


My God! I am a pretty pessimistic bastard, I'll admit that freely, but you guys are even more pessimistic and chagrined than me. A group of people come up with 'pranks' that don't blatantly ridicule people. They just try to do something nice for strangers, and you guys are all up in their ass. "This is the next mime." "It's run its course." "They're just annoying people." Give me a break.

"My opinion again - A random act of kindness is helping an old lady cross the street."

The problem here is that the above example is not an act of kindness if the old lady didn't wanna cross the street. I think Improv Everywhere has good intentions, but sometimes their efforts are derided from the fact that complete strangers they target have their own agenda. Their own 'script' if you will. If you throw a surprise birthday party for a guy named Chris, and you call him Ted, that's an accident waiting to happen, granted. They're not getting it 100% right -- but at least they're trying.

I've gone to see local bands and just stood there with my hands in my pockets and stared cuz I don't know what else to do. If I try to dance people look at me funny. If I shout and pump my arm in the air and get into the music, I look at me funny, but if twenty people go into a place to have a good time and support the band that's up there, show appreciation for filling the night with something other than silence or piped in recorded music, that's a party. Where's the harm in that? I.E. is showing us that we take life for granted and we're pretty lackadaisical about it. I've never partied like it was 1999, even when it WAS 1999. Improv Everywhere's made me realize that maybe I should start.

As for whether or not improv with structure is improv, that's an obvious accessment that you don't know what improvisational theater is. You can't just get on the stage and do whatever comes to mind in that moment. When a group of people improv, they preface it with a situation, and agree to at least the most rudimentary of rules. The "yes and" concept comes to mind. No matter what the other guy says, you agree with it and incorporate it into the performance, because agreeing to more and more ludicrous ideas is always funnier than denying the other player. However, both improv players have to agree to that beforehand, and that takes preparation.

Even Robin Williams has to preplan all his stuff. There's a spontaneity to it because he's good at what he does, but before he goes out on stage he's worked a lot of stuff out in his head, and may even have an order to which ideas he'll try first.

Man! Andy Kaufman's spinning in his grave. We obviously learned nothing from him, if something like I.E. is frowned upon.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:10 PM on April 16, 2005


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