Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Piano Improvisor Merton + Random Webcam Chatroom = Viral Hit!



People go onto anonymous webcam chatrooms for a variety of reasons. Loneliness. Boredom. Sexual exploration. But to be serenaded by a hooded improvising piano-player was not one of them, until now.

Merton (not his real name) is now an Internet phenom. His video was seen over 4 million times in less than a week! On his Youtube channel, Merton wrote a note saying he was not Ben Folds, a semi-famous male piano player from Atlanta (of the band Ben Folds Five). As Merton's video became more popular though, some media insisted Merton and Ben Folds were the same guy. Playing up the joke, Ben Folds recorded his own "Ode to Merton" video in front of a 2000 member live audience, complete with hoodie and glasses.



Here is the very first interview with Merton on Mashable.

I love the combination of improvisational music performance and the randomness of the participants, with all of us watching. It's a bit like those old "You're on Candid Camera" TV shows, where a set of actors and a camera crew do things in front of unsuspecting people. Only now, none of the parties has to go anywhere in particular. Both sides of the chat could be anywhere, and the audience could also be anywhere. Imagine if two improv pianists in front of live audiences from random places in the world encountered each other on Chatroullette?

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posted by Brian at 12:13 PM 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Frozen Pedestrians in Grand Central Station

It's certainly cold in New York this time of year, but on one particular day, hundreds of travel-goers stood still for five minutes in New York City's Grand Central Station as part of an Improv Everywhere event:

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posted by Brian at 2:01 PM 0 comments links to this post

Monday, February 26, 2007

Heads Up! Puppet Up! in Anaheim, March 4th


Hey L.A. Puppetry fans!

Just heard from Sean Johnson (aka Frosty) that Brian Henson and his live video puppetry troupe Puppet Up! are performing one nightly only, Sunday March 4th at the Grove in Anaheim, CA @ 8 PM.

Tickets are $33 each (plus exorbitant Ticketmaster fees > $10).

I've seen these folks at The Improv last year (and attended two of Victor Yerrid's and Patrick Bristow's puppet improv classes). They're awesome.

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posted by Brian at 1:44 PM 0 comments links to this post