Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Improv Everywhere No Shirt day
I went on my first actual assignment as an Improv everywhere agent. I wouldn't consider the Mp3 experiement as much of an assignment, but it was still awesome.
I got an email that said that it was for men only and that we must be willing to take off our shirt in public.
I replied, "I'm in," and instantly received a response with the details of where to meet and when.
So on Saturday at 3:30 I met at the southeast end of Central Park near 60th and 5th ave. I wasn't fully sure where to meet, but the slowly flocking of dudes in t-shirts and blue jeans made it more an more obvious. A stout kid in a yellow t-shirt approached the group and asked if this was the Improv Everywhere group. "Yep." He and I and 2 others then struck up a conversation about how many of these events we were in and about how he was the youngest to be involved today (11 years old, ballsy kid).
We were told that we would be sent in waves (all 111 of us) to Abercrombie & Fitch on 5th ave. They have a shirtless male model in blue jeans standing at the storefront 365 days a year, a 7 foot tall bronze statue of a shirtless man in blue jeans, posters and a mural of shirtless men that covers the wall on all four floors of the stairway.
At around 4:37 we would remove our shirts and walk about the store as if we were shopping for a shirt. If anyone asks, I'm told, we don't know any of the other guys (which is true), we just happen to need a shirt.
IE Creator, Charlie Todd gives our mission details. Thats me staring straight into the camera in the center with Andrew in front.
----But first, some "totally not gay" pictures of all of us playing skins versus skins football------
(I swiped all these photos from the facebook and flickr pages, this isn't my work)
After five minutes of mugging, posing, and pretending to be a quarterback, I was sent to A&F with the 3rd wave of guys. The 11 year old, Andrew, asked me to help him get to A&F, so I left my stuff with his mom, who was waiting on the outside of the park fence, and we left. He was a pretty cool kid, we talked about video games and Fark.com, which is how his mom heard about the mp3 experiment.
The initial reaction from the employees and shoppers was amusement and confusion. People wondered aloud where all these models suddenly came from.
The employees thought the stunt was funny until their managers dissuaded them, then they got stern.
A female employee actually slapped one of our camera-women, Agent Katie. Fortunately she happened to be taking a picture of it at the moment that it happened, and she showed me the image of a hand in mid-slap motion. I didn't get hassled too much initially, I pretended to earnestly shop for a shirt ( and I won 12 oscars for doing so, cuz I hate their clothing...who goes in there and thinks, "letsee, do I want to wear an A&F logo shirt, a shirt with a moose, or a shirt with an arbitrary number on it, gee i can't decide with all this variety.").
I was assigned to the basement level, but I ended up moving around to different floors to avoid the employees that were asking us to put on a shirt or leave. I saw a shirtless guy in the womans area hold a shirt up to his chest for size. Andrew was told to put his shirt on or get out pretty quickly. He just shrugged, threw his shirt on and went about shopping.
The sameness of the store made it difficult for me to figure out what floor I was on and how to get out, and eventually I ushered out the door by the staff. At the doorway I jumped in front of the male model and a few of our agents to pose for the pictures taken by a swarm of female tourists and passersby.
When I got back I met some more agents that had heard of my previous experience with Improv Everywhere in which a park ranger issued my wife and I a ticket for "failure to comply with signs."
I noticed that Andrew hadn't returned so his mom and I went back in to find him, he didn't know when to meet at the rendezvous, and was caught up in 'shopping.' we retrieved him fromthe store (which went from sardine packed to empty one our stunt had ended)
you can check out more pictures of the mission here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fountainb/sets/72157602417492232/