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Causing a Scene: Extraordinary Pranks in Ordinary Places with Improv Everywhere Hardcover – May 19, 2009
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“[Causing a Scene], like the group itself, is inventive, entertaining, and frequently surprising.” (Booklist)
"[Causing a Scene], like the group itself, is inventive, entertaining, and frequently surprising." (Booklist ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Whether or not you're already familiar with Improv Everywhere, this book will amuse in an easy-to-read, lighthearted way. Five stars.
Most of the material in the book has already been on the website in some form, but it is expanded upon and better put together for the book. I believe that fans won't really even mind that the material has appeared on the website because they will enjoy being able to read and share the funny experiences and stories.
My son would love to figure out how to get to New York and find himself in the middle of one of these extraordinary pranks!
But who cares?
The deviltry they've been up to with Improv Everywhere is hilarious. The intent is obvious: improvisational theatre everywhere.
Recounted here - in sometimes too much detail - are the plans and execution of each of their events. Some involve just a few people, others many more.
For example, one of my favorites involves a reading of his own works by Anton Chekhov, who had been dead only for a century or so. There's a bit of irony here because Anton Chekov and even his mother were notorious pranksters themselves. The idea was simple: a wonderfully bearded and wild-haired John "Wimpy" Ward was found taking classes at a local (New York) improv theatre. He became Chekhov. The stunt was staged at a Barnes & Noble and several dozen people gathered to hear Anton Chekhov read his works. The stunt went off successfully - and hilariously.
Another stunt, that you may have seen on YouTube or on television, involves people riding the subway. Pretty prosaic, eh? Not when they do it without pants!
How about walking into the men's room at a McDonald's - and find a tuxedoed attendant, complete with a collection of toiletries to aid in your grooming?
These people know how to have fun and the book can produce chuckles. It would produce more, however, if the authors could actually write well and the production values were higher. I thought the writing was kind of stilted and that the primary author puts way too much of his ego on display. The book is physically small, the paper of poor pulp variety and the many black and white photos are muddy and difficult to view.
Those quibbles aside, this is a fun book and a worthy read. It's also the kind of book that you may be inclined to lend out. If you do, you'll probably never see it again - but you'll have made someone else happy.
The book is very well-organized with firsthand accounts from the actual agents who both planned and participated in the missions. There are photographs from the events, as well as reflections. They even went so far as to include quotes from famous figures that relate to the pranks in question.
I particularly enjoyed the writers' style and tone. They were very engaging and their sense of humor shined through the print. It's hard to convey humor through the written word, but Todd and Scordelis manage to pull it off nicely. They even infused a few pranks within the book itself (which took me longer to spot than I care to admit)!
If you're a fan of brilliant and victimless pranks, then I highly recommend you give Causing a Scene a try. Believe it or not, I'd never heard of Improv Anywhere before reading this book. Now I can't wait to visit their website and watch the video evidence of their exploits!
~Scott William Foley, author of Souls Triumhant
This book offers true stories to put it simply. These true stories are not of murders or conspiracies or anything lurid in nature but that of a group of people that live to not take life so seriously. This book reminds all of us that we can find humor in "disrupting" our everyday lives outside of t.v. and actually in our "real world". The "acts" performed in this book are from an "improv" group--performers (or normal people) who have a means or goal in mind (i.e. stunts) but use spontaneity as a direction.
Through faking a U2 concert in NYC in midday on a workday, that has us giggling to ourselves or thinking "they must be really gutsy" , this book has an underlying didactic approach that shows we should not take life as serious as it seems to be at times. Instead, to have fun with it and remember that we can find humor at expense of our everyday lives.
Through improving and performing stunts, this book should have you smile and give you that gleam in your eye the next day you walk to work in the morning. Did I mention it's a great coffee table book too.
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