If you plan on attending MP3-EXP in another town or at a private party STOP HERE!
Reading this will spoil the fun!
(see our other site, www.mp3exp.com for locations
or how to set up your own MP3-EXP event)
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Time: 3:00PM-4:09PM Sept. 20, 2008
Place: Christopher Columbus Park, Long Wharf, & New England Aquarium
(click on any photo for more info on the photographer)
On a gorgeous Saturday afternoon nearly 200 people donned in red, green, blue, or yellow shirts congregated at Christopher Columbus Park. Having already downloaded a mysterious audio track to their MP3 Players they all pressed play at 3:00 PM on the dot to listen to it for the first time.
The theme of the audio track was very cerebral- literally, as you listen to a conversation between the left and right sides of your brain and the Narrator- the voice of your mind-reading MP3 Player. It is revealed that your "inner child" has gone missing and the only way to get it back is to partake in some very childish activities...
We start out with some simple exercises- smiling, winking, waving, stretching, jumping, touching our toes, and so on.
Steve, the Omnipotent Voice from Above (voiced by Charlie Todd of Improv Everywhere) makes a brief cameo from NYC's annual MP3 Experiments. He commands us to spin in circles for 30 seconds then immediately shake the hands of as many different people as we can- "forming a physical and emotional connection with your new friends in the face of dizzying adversity... or something"
After all that spinning we were pretty dizzy, and since kids love statues and there was only one in the park, we became statues for 5 minutes- a play off the classic '5-minute freeze' craze started by Improv Everywhere.
While freezes have been done to death lately (we even did one ourselves at the beginning of the year- check out our video on the Spectacles page) this was on a whole other level. It's always interesting to witness a freeze in a building or plaza- but to see an entire park freeze was truly a sight to behold.
During the freeze the instructions for Hide Not Seek were explained. We were to play Hide And Seek but without the Seek! All we had to do was hide from anyone in the park not participating. At the exact same time hundreds of participants broke their frozen positions and ran for cover behind trees, trash cans...
Soon fictional Africa explorer, Sir Ricky Burton connected into our audio feed to lead us on a photo safari! Instead of shooting creatures with rifles we would shoot them with our cameras!
The first fearsome beast we sought out was the elusive... bug. From deceptively dangerous butterflies on flower petals to man-eating "eleph"ANTS- everyone got up-close and personal with the park to get them on camera.
Next were the wing-ed birdies. With few seagulls left in the air this late in the season the hunt was getting tougher.
Next up- fishies. We're advised these sea monsters are the work of the devil himself; anything that stays underwater and doesn't drown surely is not of this world. Putting their lives in great peril, many tried to get some of the little fishes in the shallow harbor water to show up on cam
Finally, our final hunt- a furry beast that is half ferocious mouse, half spider, and half man-eating tiger... the elusive squirrel. Squirrels are a pretty rare sight in this park, so many improvised by acting as squirrels for their fellow participants. Now that's teamwork.
After sending our photos to Rational Topographic/National Pornographic/Domestic Geographic magazine (Narrator frequently fumbled his words) a suppressed memory of a grade-school guidance counselor resurfaced. "Jerry" advised us despite the turmoil in the world around us it's still important to take a break to stop and smell the flowers- so we did.
Jerry was disturbingly upbeat and encouraged us to dance as silly as we could rather than simply walk. You gotta be super positive if you want to find and keep your inner child...
...and strangers. We even get a number of strangers to dance with us even though they couldn't hear the music. "I don't know what's going on!" laughed the guy in the grey zip-up as he danced in a circle with these two participants.
Jerry suggested we all skip to the pasty white guy on the pedestal (the Christopher Columbus statue) and give him a big group hug.
Feeling bold, Jerry decides we'll symbolically hug the entire park itself by holding hands and skipping all the way around the park perimeter- creating a complete circle of hugginess... while inadvertently trapping everyone in our skipping human fence.
After a number of fairly disturbing minutes it was time to push Jerry back to the back of our minds, and in the process we found Pons and Sarah Bellum- two very important parts of the brain that help us with balance. Naturally they took us imaginary surfing to tone our balance abilities. Plus surfing is just pretty damn cool.
Once we made it to the imaginary shore we joined in on an imaginary beach dance party.
Narrator decided to take some photos of our dancing. Unfortunately he had to make his camera out of a Quaker Oats container- so the shutter speed was pretty slow. We had to hold our pose for a few seconds every time he paused the music which signified he opened his camera shutter... he gets pretty erratic with the picture taking and the non-participants got a good laugh of our dance-freeze-dance-freeze motions.
Since we were meeting so many new people, Narrator decided we should take some photos for our online social networks so we could stalk each other better. First we took a picture of ourselves.
Next up was yellow shirted people- yellow shirts needed to pose like they were the sun.
Next up was green. Green got in groups for the photos but they were looking pretty green...
Then it was time for some hot pictures of people in red. Without being too sexy they needed to pose like the ground they were on was made of hot coals.
Finally pictures of people in blue. Everyone in blue looked at everyone else in blue with utter disgust. They had to pose like they couldn't believe somebody came in the same color top as them! The nerve of some people!
All this focus on clothing and color caught the attention of our 6th sense, the Fashion Sense! Parsimony decided we needed to put our best attitudes forward and show off our colorful clothes. Before long we had set up an impromptu runway along the main path in the middle of the park.
It wasn't long before Parsimony asked us to get non-participants to join. It wasn't difficult- in fact a number of them joined in without being asked. The park-goers really got a kick out of it and everyone cheered them on. The first stranger to join our fashion show knew that babies were the hottest fashion accessory of the season.
"Now skip. You're Mary Tyler Moore and you're going to make it after all. Wow, that's really inspirational."
After the self-esteem boost, Virile (our masculine side) rode in on his horse to put an end to all that glamor. Not all kids are soft and dainty he explained so it was time toughen up a bit. It was time for a very physical excersize- getting all the cattle into the pen at the Okie Dokie Corral.
Blue shirts would form the pen we had to get the cows in. Green shirts would be the cows. Green cows were asked to get on all fours to graze- but only for a minute; they were allowed to run on their hind legs when the game started. It appeared Narrator and Virile were just messing with them.
Red shirts would be the lassos- they would form into ropes of 2, 3, or 4 people long by holding hands. Yellow shirts were the tranquilizers. Yellow shirts would chase down the green cows and tag them to make them freeze. As long as a yellow tranquilizer stood next to a green cow, the green cow was frozen and could not run away. Then the red ropes could come in, encircle the cow, and move it into the blue pen... which by the way was spinning.
Everyone did really well and got all the cows in the pen in just two minutes. With a whole minute to spare on the clock the blue pen decided to start a line dance.
Next, Virile led us down the dusty trail to the Aquarium.
On the way we said "Howdy Pardner" to everyone we passed, and shook the hands of strangers.
Traveling all that way can be weary on the spirit, so Virile and Narrator suggested we should sing some trail songs to pass the time. Everyone was asked to think of a song and get it in their head. Then at the same time we would all sing as loud and as bad as we could. The audio track quieted to only the clip-clop of our imaginary horses and the horrific cacophony of different songs blasted the area.
Finally we reached the Aquarium Plaza. The last time BostonSOS was here we were quickly kicked out by security for throwing a seemingly spontaneous game of limbo in our bathing suits... in 39 degree weather. So it seemed appropriate that our team of improveratti would return here for our "explosive" finale. This time with a 150 more people than before.
Narrator explained we were going to "finger bang" each other- but quickly excused his Freudian slip (as he often did) as Virile clarified we were going to "shoot each other with pretend guns that are actually our fingers". The "logic" being that politically incorrect children have enjoyed gun fights for many generations- so surely this would work.
But parents- not to worry. They were just imaginary WATER guns... water guns that make a "bang" sound.
And who would have guessed that guns would have been the answer?! Our inner child returned; except, our inner child was never really gone. After all, without it we couldn't have done all the wild things we did that day. We learned our inner child was inside of us the entire time... in the spleen. And so it was time to say goodbye to the voices in our head. Narrator asked us to cover our ears, look to the ground, and yell out "Goodbye head voices" together.
And with that they were gone- for now anyway...
Thanks to everyone that turned out for BostonSOS's 2008 MP3-EXPerience. I'm really happy to hear you had such a great time! Remember you can upload your photos to the Flickr or Facebook groups. Find photos of you and your friends on Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/groups/869230@N22/ and http://www.flickr.com/groups/650170@N24/ or the Facebook group at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=35020840440. Here are some links to first hand accounts about the 2008 Boston MP3 EXPerience (let us know if you wrote something and we'll add it- or leave it as a comment below):
You can get an MP3-EXP t-shirt here: http://www.printfection.com/MP3-EXP
Nothing says you are cool like a shirt that only a tiny percentage of the population will understand.
Also if you took any video clips feel free to put them up on the Event page or the BostonSOS group page! Expect videos of this and other BostonSOS stunts to appear over the coming months at www.BostonSOS.org. Thanks again!
Written and produced by James Cobalt
James Cobalt- Narrator, Jerry, Left, Parsimony
Charlie Todd- Steve
Emily Dean- Right
Andrew Lebrun- Sir Ricky Burton
Nick Carlisle- Virile
Mikey Hager- The Pons
Hannah Burris- Sarah Bellum
Sue Shipalowski-Sub Concious, Child
Music by Tyler Walker, Kevin McLeod, and more (see http://mp3exp.com/credits.html for all the details and cue order)
Primary video by Josh Boss, Carol Ann, & James Cobalt. Special thanks to our strong BSOS core members who also captured photos & video! You guys truly rock!
Primary photography by Zach Armstrong & Eddric Lee. Awesome additional photography by Chris Andrews and EVERYONE! Thanks guys!