Monday, November 5, 2007

Free Hugs Debrief - Boulder Colorado Edition


SFShenanigans and Free Hugs History: In the fall of 2006 while living in Colorado, Agent TheBeast came across this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vr3x_RRJdd4) of the "Free Hugs" campaign lead by Juan Mann. The simple beauty of hugging strangers, just because you can, was an infectious and intriguing idea.

Agent TheBeast wanted someone to organize an event like this in his area, but the realization came that he himself could/should be that "someone". So he sent out some emails asking friends to embark upon this social experiment with him. This rag-tag group of huggers targeted the "Fall Festival" being held on Boulder's popular Pearl Street Mall.

The event was a smashing success, with up to 15 people giving out hugs, and hundreds of people receiving hugs. There was even a gaggle of 5th grade girls who put on some impromptu-marker'ed Free Hugs t-shirts to dole out the hugs.

When Agent TheBeast joined the SFShenanigans (after having moved to San Francisco) in the Spring of 2007, he convinced the SFShenanigans that while "Free Hugs" may not be a 'shenanigan' per se, it is a very good-natured, break-social-norms-in-public type of event. The SFShenanigans agreed, and since then the SFShenanigans blog has become the new face for a San Francisco based group of huggers.

Most Recent Incarnation: Unlike the last Free Hugs event (http://sfshenanigans.blogspot.com/2007/06/free-hugs-debrief.html) that took place in San Francisco, Agent TheBeast brought the Free Hugs campaign back to Boulder's Farmer's Market while on a short weekend trip back to that city.


Via an extended network of friends, Agent TheBeast was able to round up several fantastic huggers: Agent Del, Agent Bobalicious, Agent Michelle, Agent Robin, and Agent Katherine. We also had a couple of "ringers" in our midst, as Agent UncleDave brought along three of the most well received huggers: Agent Kaylee, Agent Shanley, and Agent Evie.

Whilst standing as a loose group of huggers, the young lady in charge of the Farmer's Market came by to speak to the group. Some feared for the worst, but not to worry! "I love you guys. I really want you guys to stay here all day, just please make sure to leave a path so people can get by." How's that for an "official sanction"?


Agent Del really upped the ante as far as competitive hugging is concerned. First, he shows up with an eminently huggable orange fuzzy coat. Then, he slashes his prices, adding "10% Off" to his sign. That's a great deal at twice the price! Luckily, there was such a high demand for hugs that day that none of the other huggers went under-employed!

Yes, many hugs were had that day. (Even doggie-hugs!) At the end of the day all the huggers left tired but smiling.

Wrap-Up
: One of the best things about the Free Hugs campaign is how catchy it is. Agent UncleDave reports that his three Agents are feeling empowered and still enthusiastic, asking "When can we do it again?"

The answer: Anytime, girls. Anytime.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Free Hugs - Boulder Colorado Edition - October 20

It turns out that the next (non-)Shenanigan is going to be held in Boulder, CO!

Agent TheBeast is traveling back to Boulder for a social weekend, and seeing as that's where he executed his first "Free Hugs" event, he thought it would be appropriate to revive the tradition there!

Along with some remote SFShenanigans fans, the group will be "setting up shop" from 11AM to 2PM at the Boulder Farmer's Market located at "the 1700 block of 13th Street".

If you know any Boulderites (or Denverites) who would enjoy handing out hugs, let 'em know we're comin'!

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/artistmelissa

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Christmas In August Debrief

Concept: Incite "spontaneous" singing amongst audience members.

Plan: Have a couple of the SFShenanigans team members start singing fairly well-known Christmas carols on the BART. Have a couple other SFShenanigans team members on the same train as "plants" to seemingly spontaneously start singing along.

Challenges: Running afoul of the law, and actually getting people to sing along.



Execution: Agent Wyrd and Agent Crook wore Santa hats and were obviously in the 'Holiday Spirit'. Agent Monster, Agent Hook, Agent Awesome, and Agent TheBeast all tried to maintain an air of indifference when boarding the same train car as Agent Wyrd and Agent Crook. The "plant" agents spaced themselves throughout the car to spread the joy. When Agent Wyrd and Agent Crook started singing, the other agents started singing along, in seemingly distracted or sheepish fashion. After one or two stops, the whole team left the car to start all over again on another train.

Mission Report from Agent TheBeast
Knowing that the BART police were probably looking for a mass of would-be carolers made the approach to the event an experience unto itself. For the first time ever, I felt like a fugitive. I scoped out the BART station entrance before walking in, I specifically skirted a couple of uniformed officers, and I was very conscious to avoid eye contact with the officers. However, all the build-up about police interference before the event turned out to be a non-issue, and we didn't once get spoken to by any official.

As the Agents assembled, we also had a member of the press join us. The SFWeekly reporter interviewed us for a while, and tagged along as an observer for several runs of caroling. (Interesting to note: most, but not all, of the SFShenanigan facts in the article were correct.)

Once we got started, it took us a couple of runs to get our system down. One stop on the BART was too short to get any crowd momentum, so we expanded to two or three stops for a given car. At the beginning we also had a tendency of clumping up on the platform to discuss the round, but this broke the illusion for anyone who was getting off the trains at the same time as us, so we worked ourselves into a practiced nonchalance...



The audience reactions are really some of the funniest things that happen. The cutest was a little girl who was hanging over her seat to watch the jolly dressed folks, and clapped her little heart out at the end of each song. And, she wasn't the only applause we got throughout the day...

Agent Monster was able to incite the following conversation during "The Twelve Days of Christmas":
Agent Monster: Do you remember these?
Tourist Wife: No, I can't get them...
Tourist Husband: [grinning] I remembered them when I was 12!

From the "bah, humbug" contingent we got these two gems: "All I can say is it's too soon for this..." and "I don't like Christmas enough for this..."

There were several people who were just happy to see the caroling happen, greeting us with "God bless you" or an appropriate "Merry Christmas".

One man tried to sum up our oddity: "Only in San Francisco..."

Monday, August 27, 2007

Christmas In August Pre-Debrief

Well, for all the build-up, the event went off without a hitch!

This is a short post, as several of us are going out of town. Upon return Agent Reports, photos, and an expanded debrief will be posted.

We had 6 fantastic agents show up! Thank you to Agent Wyrd for organizing, and to the following Agents for coming out to sing: Agent Hook, Agent Crook, Agent Monster, Agent Awesome, and Agent TheBeast.

More info and Mission Reports will be posted sometime next week!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Aug 26 - Christmas In August - Running Afoul of the Law

Whoa!

Agent Shannou had her peepers peeled, and found a mention of our next event on BoingBoing... They reference the write up that Scott Beale of Laughing Squid did on our next event. Specifically, there's a comment that surprises me:
I noticed that on Sunday, you’re encouraging folks to go to the Powell Street BART Station to take part in a Christmas in August event this Sunday at 2:30pm. Sounds fun!
There’s one problem though and that is you could face an embarrasing run-in with the BART Police. The reason is that you don’t have a Free Speech Permit, which my department issues. The good news is you can easily get one, and they’re free. The bad news is it’s too late to get one by August 26 because you need to submit your application no less than 7 days in advance. Here’s how you get an application: www.bart.gov/freespeech/.


D'oh!

Well, we'll see what happens... As of right now, the event is still on!

Agent TheBeast

(Image found on Google, and borrowed from: http://www.nobodyforpresident.org/tour.html)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Aug 26 - Christmas In August

Agent Wyrd has kindly accepted the challenge of hosting the next Shenanigan, and she's come up with a good one!

Well, we've done Halloween in July, and now it's time for Christmas in August. And what is more Christmas-y than carols? Singing carols makes the singer happy, and more importantly it makes the listener smile.

The plan is simple: We sing carols carols, in August, aboard BART trains. I'll provide the song sheet, you provide your voice, we all have fun.

When and where shall we meet?
Sunday, August 26
2:30pm
Powell BART Station, West end of the platform.

I'll be wearing a Santa hat for easy spotting!

Agent Wyrd

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Treat Or Trick Debrief


Concept: Use the public transportation in the city as the setting for a Shenanigan.

Plan: Dress up in "traditional" Halloween costumes, and go from car to car on BART trains giving out candy.

Challenges: Giving the candy away to a suspecting public


Execution: Agent TheBeast (as a pirate), Agent O.Range (as a witch), Agent Babes.com (as a sheet (um... actually: a ghost), Agent Wisecat (as a pint o' Guiness), Agent Double Seven Oh (as Evil Red Riding Hood), Agent Rye (as an "olde-timey" doctor), and Agent Wyrd (as an Wicked Faerie) all met on the Civic Center BART platform, shared their candy stashes, and set off on their adventure, narrowly missing Agent Awesome (as a cowboy) and Agent Kat (as a garishly-dressed tourist).

Mission Report from Agent Rye
As you were aware the team set off at 18:15, seven in total.
Several pounds of confections were dispersed to the public.
Various strategies were employed to from the simple "Happy Halloween" or "Reverse Trick'er Treat", to more factual "It's a Scientific Fact that Halloween happens only once a year. We are doing something about that!"
Tactics also included "Strangers with candy".


The most common costume used for the day and thus the most popular was of a BART train operator. Though the Wicked Faerie did excellent intelligence gathering from the public to find out what costumes they were wearing.

The whole operation concluded after an hour, at which point the team relocated to the secondary target, Lefty O'Tooles. It must be noted that those above ground had a much lesser understanding of English and free candy.

Mission Report from Agent TheBeast
It is amazing to see how many people deeply cling to the wives tales we have all grown up with. Many of the residents of San Francisco downright refused to even consider accepting individually wrapped and factory packaged candy from a band of roving costumed people.

Several people even challenged us with "What are those laced with?" Agent Double Seven Oh had the most rational response, "If we had access to drugs like that, why would we be here?!?"

Though many people were wary, there were still many people who 'got it', and another subset of people who figured out the innocent nature of the Shenanigan after they realized it wasn't just one or two oddballs giving candy out, but a whole group of seven oddballs. Somehow, numbers beget trust in Shenanigans.



My favorite mental clip of the day was while I followed Agent Babes.com, in his (fitted) sheet-ghost costume, through one of the BART platforms while he raised his arms and did his spooky and undulating "Ooooooooooo" noise. There hasn't been a scarier sheet ghost since Linus in "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown".

Agent Wyrd also did a great job of asking people what their costumes were supposed to be... Some of the best answers I overheard were "A businessman." and "A Berkeley guy".

We also tried to include the BART train drivers as well, and handed out candy to several of them. It was on one of our forays to the front of the trains that we discovered most of the drivers in the BART system already knew about us. We also found out that travel between cars is discouraged, which I didn't know. There's nothing like a Shenanigan to dole out the learnin', eh?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

July 21 - Treat Or Trick!

(a.k.a. Reverse Trick-or-Treat)

Woo Hoo! The SFShenanigans crew is up to it yet again!

We are going to be dressing up in our best "classic" Halloween costumes, carryin' around and givin' out candy to riders on the BART trains.

You are invited to come Treat-or-Tricking with us at 6PM on Saturday July 21st!

We will be meeting on the BART platform at Civic Center station, on the end closest to the Embarcadero. Bring you, your friends, your costumes, and candy to give out to all the good little (or big) girls and boys on the BART trains!

We'll Treat-or-Trick until our candy supplies give out. After that, knowing us, we're gonna end up at a bar.

(PS. If you happen to find the mother-lode of cheap candy in the city, send us an email: MasterNaught@gmail.com)

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Free Hugs Debrief


Another Fantastic Day with Folks from SFShenanigans!
The event started around 1PM with Agent TheBeast, Agent O.Range, Agent Luna, and Agent Me.Ow doling out the hugs on on the Powell Street side of Union Square. After getting "warmed up" for the first half hour, the group migrated down to the Union Square corner at Powell and Geary, right in front of the Heart installed there. (Apropos, huh?)

Agent Luna was a machine! She was the most insistent hugger out there, giving hugs everywhere she could, traffic be damned! It was a frequent occurrence to see Agent Luna half-way into a car hugging passengers through open windows. She even climbed into one of the trolley-looking tour busses to hug as many tourists as possible, all the while being encouraged by the tour driver on his PA system.

Agent Me.Ow was not to be outdone though, as she scaled the side of a fire engine to give the same half-in-half-out hugging treatment which Agent Luna is fond of, except Agent Me.Ow was doing this a full 10 feet off the ground!

As a 'guerrilla hugging group', you never know what kind of reception you're going to get from 'The Man'. Several of our Agents tensed up as Agent Luna went to give a window-hug to one of San Francisco's finest, and was told to "Wait There." The Police Sergeant turned the corner, drove up the block, and parked his cruiser. We kept on hugging the people that came in front of us, though we all kept a wary eye on the dark figure of the peace officer that was approaching...

It turns out that Sergeant K just wanted to give each and every one of us a hug as well. He stuck around for a while chit-chatting about SFShenanigans, brides, and Santas, and how he enjoys doing his part to support those types of events. At one point, while Sarge K was holding one of the Free Hugs signs, a little girl shyly approached him, wrapped her arms around his lower thigh, and gave him what is arguably the cutest hug of the day! (Please bear with us while we deal with the technical difficulties of finding and publishing that photo. We *really* want to get that up here.!)

Throughout the day, we had a raft of huggers filter in and out amongst our ranks. In addition to the initial four we had these other huggers 'represent': Agent Matt, Agent Katty, Agent Shannou, Agent Jeremy, Agent SecretV, and Agent Ms. P. We even newly minted an agent: Agent Becky, who was visiting town for the weekend, but might just be moving to San Francisco from the Midwest due in part to her fantastic Free Hugs experiences!

It was a great, fun, happy, and surprisingly emotional day. (Little known fact: giving out hundreds of hugs is an emotional exercise as well!) At the end of the day, Agent TheBeast was heard to be whining about "spraining his huggers". What better way to know that the Free Hugs crew did their jobs?

Learnings
For anyone else interested in giving out Free Hugs, here are a couple of the things we learned throughout the day.
  1. Eye contact works! People don't realize they want a hug until they see the good-will in your eyes.
  2. Have an arm subtly put out. People don't want to hamper your ability to hold your Free Hugs sign, but a free arm lets them know you are open for the hugging!
  3. A mixed gender group is important. Only having one single gender represented somehow changes the groups' approachability as a whole.


UPDATE (2008-02-28): The photos of the police officer have been FOUND! Check them out!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Mission Debrief - "Make Our Own Celebrity"
Concept: get our amateur cameras into a mission without being out-of-place

Plan: a little-known celebrity is spotted walking the streets of San Francisco, and a small group of fans proceed to fawn over her
Challenges: "selling" the celebrity status

Execution: Agent Shannou assumed the character of Ms. Pia Haraldsen, a little known (in the U.S.) Norwegian celebrity. Agent TheBeast would bolster celebrity credibility by acting as a bodyguard. While the Agents walked around the high-end SF shopping district, a group of bystanders would notice the celebrity in their midsts and pursue Pia requesting photos and autographs.

Mission Report from Agent Shannou

Andy Warhol once said "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes." I feel lucky since this last weekend, I got to be famous for a whole 30 minutes. SFShenanigans, the Improv Everywhere-inspired group, had their second antic, called "Make Our Own Celebrity". And I got to be the celebrity. So I was the French-speaking Norwegian Pia Haraldsen, who was supposedly rumored to have something going with U2's Bono, and who was followed around by a group of very-exuberant fans.

As Pia, I walked down the street, accompanied by my bodyguard who walked behind me and who wouldn't let any of the plebian masses get too close while I did a little shopping. And this wasn't any normal shopping. I walked into the most fancy stores around Union Square, such as BCBG, Prada, Emporio Armani and Bulgari. Usually I would hesitate to go into these because I'd be afraid that the people who worked there would turn up their noses at me, but being dressed nicely and being accompanied by my suit-and-sunglass-wearing burly bodyguard made me fearless. I felt like I was right at home casually looking at jewelry that probably cost more than my yearly salary, and saying nonchalantly to those who asked if they could help me that I was "just looking."

My favorite part was when I went into Bulgari to look around, and a few of the fans rushed in to try to follow me and take pictures. A couple of the Bulgari security guards jumped forward to usher them out, telling them that "they couldn't do that in here" and that they had to leave.

It was hilarious and awesome to see them move into action to protect me. They locked the stores doors behind me so that the fans were stuck outside, and told me that I could stay there as long as I needed. They could see that I was worried about the fans that were following me, and wanted to make me feel comfortable that I was safe in that elitist place where the special classes could be separated from the lower ones. I couldn't believe I was being guarded by f'in Bulgari security, as well as my own bodyguard who was stationed at the door, ready for my command.

I told them in my French accent that I would look around a bit more, and then when finally I was ready to leave and the fans had moved on, a guard unloced the door and said "Au Revoir" politely to me.

When I was out of the stores on the street, I was almost constantly followed by a group that kept asking for my picture, an autograph, or just screamed, "We love you, Pia!" One of the fans even asked me for a date, saying, "What does Bono have that I don't?" I occasionally turned around and gave a quick autograph, or a demure smile for the camera, but then there were a few times that I blocked the camera from seeing my face or asked my bodyguard in French why these crazy Americans wouldn't leave me alone.

It sounds like the group of fans got a lot of people curious about whom I was. Everyone wants to be able to tell a story to their friends about having got to see a celebrity up close. Some tourists around Union Square who weren't part of SFShenanigans even took pictures of me, and some even pretended that they'd heard of me when the group explained who I was. It was great fun to be part of an antic that caused such curiosity and excitement. I can definitely see both the attraction to being loved and followed everywhere, and how it would get to be a bit of an annoyance if it couldn't be escaped.

Mission Report from Agent TheBeast

Playing the part of "The Bodyguard", it was my job to really drive home the fact that our Pia was someone.

One of the things that really helped me play my part was my appearance. I am a big burly guy, but dress me up in a dark suit and dark sunglasses, and I am a ready-made bouncer-type. (It's probably the only time in YEARS that I was looking forward to 'dressing up'.)

Another thing that helped me to cement Pia's international allure was the fact that both Agent Shannou and I spoke French. (Agent Shannou's French is much better than mine. For example, I knew how to say "go left" and "go right" in French, but forgot how to say "go straight ahead". Consequently, whenever Pia asked me which way we were going, it was ALWAYS to the left or right, and never once did I offer the option of 'straight ahead'.)

I could not believe how well my presence broadcast Pia's social ranking in the different stores. I would hold the door for her as we entered a store, and as she made her way in I kind of stood back near the front door in a military-esque "at ease" stance. At this point, the employees would practically trip over themselves (while simultaneously keeping a veneer of calm) to offer Pia some assistance. One store offered to escort us to what sounded like a very exclusive "second floor", and the Bulgari security people jumped into action when we had 'a little incident' with some overly-zeaulous fans.

All in all, this mission was great fun!

Mission Report from Agent O.Range

Overall Rating: 8.75

Let me tell ya. With this one, I sweat! It ain't no easy thing trying to get the photo/autograph/admiration of a fake celebrity... 'speshlee with a scary bodyguard on her heels.

Myself and 3 other operatives (Agent Babes.com, Agent Me.Ow, and Agent Luna) stalked Agent Shannou for ~13 blocks in Union Square at the height of the tourist time. Within a half hour we:
  • had bystanders offer to take our photo
  • got someone to dig through their car to find us a pen for autographs
  • answered a 100 or so questions about the famous person we were chasing
  • and (dun.dun.DUN) got seriously ushered out of the store called Bulgari.(YES!)

Not only was the mere act worth it all, but $2.95 Irish coffee at The Gold Dust was a hell of an incentive! It was also excellent to meet Agent Hozexy and (visiting) Agent Wit, our new and lovely operatives!!!

SFShenanigans ONWARD!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Success!!

Wow! The "Make Our Own Celebrity" event was a HUGE SUCCESS!! That was a great day, and I think everyone went home with a smile on their faces!

For you, dear reader, we implore you to be patient while we compile mission reports and photographs... We hope to have some of them posted within the next couple of days.

In the meantime, have you planned your "Free Hugs" memorabilia for next week? (I think I am going to be making a t-shirt or three from what I learned in this MAKE Magazine article.)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

[Update] June 16 - Make Our Own Celebrity

Hello Shenanigan-erz!

Ms. Pia Haraldsen (a.k.a. Agent Shannou) has been hard at work hand-picking the appropriately chichi retail stores for us to visit. She's even thrown together a FANTASTIC map showing our route.

(Tangential to this, I also realized we could call this mission "Fake Our Own Celebrity"... I dunno why, but the rhymey pun amuses me...)

Lookin' forward to seeing all of you there!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

June 16 - Make Our Own Celebrity

Hello Shenanigan-erz!

We would like to invite you to our next Shenanigan on June 16th, at approximately 1PM.

We are going to be playing "Make Our Own Celebrity". Here's how it is set up: Agent Shannou (pictured at left) is playing the part of a little known (in the U.S.) celebrity from Europe (more on that below). Agent TheBeast (pictured below) is playing the part of her security guy.

Starting at 1PM, Agent Shannou's character will be seen leaving the Westfield Mall and making her way to Sephora on Powell. YOU, a part of Team SFShenanigans will "happen upon" Agent Shannou, and want pictures and/or autographs. However, her security officer is a little tense, and will be restricting access to the beloved celebrity. You may stick around,
whispering "is it really her?", or "she seems shorter in real life", or whatever other star-struck statements you may come up with...

After a little bit, Ms. Celebrity will tire of that shopping locale and head to the next one near Union Square... And the next one... And the next one... (Think Disney Store, Jewelry Stores, Victoria's Secret, etc...) Eventually (after a 1/2 hour or so), we will end up at The Gold Dust on Powell, everyone will break character, and we can have a drink and reminisce, and possibly plot our next outing.

What you need: Yourself, a camera, your creativity.

What we will supply: More info and a back-story (below), the beginnings of our route (above), the object of your affection, and a security guard.

(If you would like to become a part of the planning, look us up in Google Groups under "sfshenanigans"...)

****

Here is the back story we've worked out:
Who is she? -
Pia Haraldsen, adopted daughter of the nephew of Queen Sonja of Norway (which could explain the security). Who dated Guillaume, Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg (as noted here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guillaume%2C_Hereditary_Grand_Duke_of_Luxembourg)

Why would American's know her? - She was seen hanging out with Bono and/or The Edge (of U2) in France, and Entertainment Tonight said that you had recently met at a charity
event (though they implied something "naughty" might be going on...)

If you have any questions, email MasterNaught@gmail.com

Thursday, May 24, 2007

[Non-Shenanigan] Free Hugs on June 23


OK... This isn't specifically a Shenanigan, but several of the SFShenanigan team members are gonna be throwing a Free Hugs event on June 23 at Union Square. Some of us have had great and positive experiences doing this in the past...

(We even had a gaggle of 8th Grade girls jump in to give hugs... (They come in "gaggles", right?))

We will be meeting at Geary and Powell around 1PM until 4PM, or whenever our huggers give out! Bring self-styled FREE HUGS hats, shirts, posters, buttons, or whatever.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Agent O. Range Mission Report from Elevator Antics

0800 . 051607. sunset - Report by Agent O. Range

The Elevator Shenanigan last Saturday was a good ice breaker for the
up and coming "S.F.Shenanigans".

I was in charge of camera. My fangled shopping bag/undercover camera
worked well but needs a few adjustments and some practice with the
aiming.

I stationed myself and my bag on Floor 4 of the Union Square Macy's
next to a $225 blouse. This made me a bit nervous with my half hour
of loitering and the threat of security cameras.

I was able to snap a few of Agent TheBeast and one okay shot of Agent Shannou and Agent Babes.com.

The trick was to push both the 'up' and the 'down' button for the
elevator and then as the elevator arrived, I acted as if I needed the opposite direction. And not smiling at the other agents was
tricky. :)

The shenanigan was exciting and I managed not to pee my britches in
excitement.

- Agent O.Range

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Agent Report from Agent TheBeast

I met Agent Shannon, Agent O Range, and Agent Babes.com at the Gold Dust at noon. We got warmed up for the afternoon with a drink or two. After 1/2 an hour or so, I realized I hadn't done my homework and hadn't actually scoped out the elevator(s) that we were targeting. As I got up and declared what I was doing, we realized a potentially fatal flaw. Agent O Range assumed we were targeting the Westfield Center elevators. We cleared up the confusion, and I went to scope the target.

The first thing I noticed was that the elevator took a friggin' long time to show up. When it finally did, I was aghast! It had a "rear exit" door and a floor indicator in the rear. I decided not to let this throw me, and just kept it as a datum to report back to the group. The other thing I noted was the "public telephone" listings on the 3rd and 6th floors, as well as the restaurants in the basement and 8th floors. I then reported my findings back to the group, and we decided to proceed, even though the rear doors might dilute the social aberrance.

Agent O Range had fabricated a fantastic shopping bag and camera combo, so we sent her ahead, and told her to wait on the 4th floor to take pictures. I broke off from Agent Shannon and Agent Babes.com to circle around from a different entrance.

After a bit of a wait, I entered the elevator with a few other miscellaneous shoppers. I was originally heading from the 1st floor to the 6th floor. I realized that I needed to trigger the doors on the 4th floor as well if Agent O Range was going to have any hope of snapping pictures, but I stumbled when trying to think of a good reason to hit the 4 button when I had already hit 6, and an audience member was watching me. I just decided to be brazen, and make no apologies. My other personal challenge was in positioning myself. Facing the back when standing in the back was easy, but it was too easy on both me and the audience. So, after my first trip I made it a point to be standing backwards at the front of the elevator.

I made probably 5 or 6 round trips. The best audience reaction was when I entered the elevator completely independently from Agent Babes.com. A British gentleman who was leaning on the back of the car looked first at Agent Babes.com and then me, and said "Oh, I guess we're getting out this way..." When the doors next opened, he said "Oops, I guess you were wrong." before leaving the car.

After our shenanigans were over, we all met back up and decided to go for food. Agent Shannon suggested we do something else on the way to the restaurant, and I suggested the "Hello Game".

We started walking, and spaced ourselves about 1/3 of a block apart with Agent Shannon leading, myself in the middle, and Agent O Range and Agent Babes.com pulling up the rear. Anyone we crossed paths with audience members, we gave them a warm and cheerful greeting. Agent Shannon was fabulous and turned many heads just from giving her greeting. As the second in line, by the time I gave my greeting the audience members started piecing together the pattern. I used this opportunity to work on my greetings, sometimes incorporating either the "Double Finger Guns" greeting or the "Manly Nod". (I had always wanted to give the "Double Finger Guns" to someone...)

The "Hello Game" was fantastic fun, and we all got to the restaurant feeling quite energized. I think we may have to work the "Hello Game" into the mix yet again!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Welcome to SFShenanigans!

Hello!

Welcome to the public face of the SFShenanigans. We are a new Improv Everywhere inspired group located in San Francisco!

We had a (dis-) organizational meeting recently, and we are in the process of planning our first official mission.

If you would like to throw your hat into the ring with the rest of us crazies, join our discussion group at http://groups.google.com/group/sfshenanigans.