Aside from the Nine to Five

Pillows for Puppies: NYC. April 2, 2011!

This year Pillows for Puppies was out in force at the New York City pillow fight on April 2. Our fifteen agents collected 1,050 pillows for five local non-profit shelters.

Our 17-foot truck was filled to the brim with pillows donated from generous participants in the pillow fight.

Keith and I delivered 1050 pillows to five non-profits in the Bronx and Brooklyn which serve marginalized populations.



They said thank you so much for our thoughtful donations. Because of our amazing Pillow Agents, 1050 people will rest a little easier during particularly tough parts of their lives.

The Wall Street Journal gave us a mention!

My very first video! They’ll get better. Hello, iMovie.

Pillows for Puppies SF: 200 pillows collected and Plaza left clean!

Pillows for Puppies had two missions this year at the San Francisco Valentine’s Day Pillow Fight: Donating pillows to charity, and cleaning Justin Herman Plaza to make the pillow fight self-sustaining!

We collected and donated 200 pillows to the Sisters of Mercy, who distributed them to their low-income housing residents today. Thank you for the kind donations, pillow fighters!

We also coordinated 30 volunteers who stayed until 10:30pm cleaning the plaza, along with dozens of crowd-sourced helpers who were happy to fill a bag with fluff before heading home. We filled 150 big trash bags with the stuffing from burst pillows and left much less work for the city employees. We left a very light smattering of feathers, rather than the usual 4-6 inches of fluff, feathers, and empty pillowcases. Next year we’re bringing power washers of our own - that’s all there was left to do!

Our volunteers reduced the event cost for the city from $35,000 in 2010 to $3,500 in 2011, according to numbers provided by Gloria Chan of the DPW. This ninety percent reduction is due to our amazing volunteers and the participation of pillow fighters in cleaning up after themselves when offered trash bags and loving encouragement to pick up.

Here is Justin Herman Plaza mid-fight, ankle-deep in fluff and discarded pillows.  This is the condition it’s been left in previously, which is a bit ridiculous. (Courtesy bapnoyndamix)

This is Justin Herman Plaza after we finished, before the power washing was done by the Parks Department:

And some of our volunteers in action! (I didn’t take many pictures because I was cleaning, too!)

The Department of Public Works, the Parks Department, and the local Police Department were happy to see us and let us borrow brooms and rakes to speed up our clean up. Thank you, Departments!

The fountain had been drained for regular maintenance and was not clogged this year, which was a major source of damage in previous years. Hopefully it’s drained each year!

What a great evening! Thanks for having us San Francisco. We’ll see you again!

The rubber duckies ended up in this week’s New York Magazine! Yeah p.12.
"It snows, it melts. It snows, it melts. It snows, it melts - and an unidentified New Yorker, blessed with a winter-proof sense of humor, puts squeaky yellow bath toys in the pop-up lake at the 72nd Street subway station."

The rubber duckies ended up in this week’s New York Magazine! Yeah p.12.


"It snows, it melts. It snows, it melts. It snows, it melts - and an unidentified New Yorker, blessed with a winter-proof sense of humor, puts squeaky yellow bath toys in the pop-up lake at the 72nd Street subway station."

Corporation X: Charity Division Collects 120lbs of Canned Food at the 2011 Idiotarod

Corporation X: Charity Division was on the scene at the 2011 Idiotarod to collect donations of food for charitable donation. After the toxic fiscal year, Corporation X needed to balance its portfolio with tax write-offs. Without utilizing these little-known canned food related loopholes, our private jets would have to go to auction. We chose to collect food, instead. To motivate racers, we offered a competitive system of time deductions in exchange for donations. The racers were extremely generous, which warmed the cockles of our cold corporate hearts.

Thank you to: Dias de los Muertos, Mardi Gras, Bunny Butter & Carrot Jelly, Disaster Piece, Duck Hunt, Your Mom, Clam Roula, Cosmonauts, and Columbia’s Finest, for your donations!

(Trunk photo courtesy of Eleanor!)

Racers donated 120 lbs of food, which was given to the Greenpoint Reformed Church for its food pantry program. Thank you for supporting your community, Idiotarod participants! Corporation X: Charity Division loves you, in the most capitalistic and profit-driven way possible.

Improving the Great Muck Lake of the 72nd St. Subway, with rubber duckies. People smiled and laughed instead of scowled as they tiptoed around the lake.

Improving the Great Muck Lake of the 72nd St. Subway, with rubber duckies. People smiled and laughed instead of scowled as they tiptoed around the lake.

Agendaless Random Events: Moderated Self-Regulation = Sustainable Model?

How do we scale large crowd events appropriately, so that more people can enjoy them without the property damage we’re seeing more of now? This assumes we want them to be scaled. That’s a whole second question.

The spirit of deliberate purposelessness which permeates these events works well to encourage attendance. Something about having no agenda allows anyone to come to a pillow fight or a game of tag, because there is no necessity to buy into a cause or idea, aside from the idea that fun is fun.

The lack of agenda, however, has created some difficulties in promoting self-regulation in terms of the after-effects of events. These after-effects can overshadow the positivity of the event itself in the wider public perception. Most people appreciate the value of random fun; however, random fun which results in property damage is less accessible to the general public. To give our events the space to be recognized as valid uses of public space for fun, ensuring that they aren’t antagonistic is important. The public perception of these events as valid and acceptable relies partially on the social consciousness we demonstrate. We don’t need the permission of the larger social world to do these events, yet having fewer police show up to our stuff, as we demonstrate that we are indeed a self-regulating community, would be nice.

Community should be somewhat self-aware and self-preserving, or it’s just a big group of people doing the same thing. Self-regulating community is a wonderful thing to encourage; mobs feeling collectively powerful enough to ignore the physical community’s right not to be wrecked are not sustainable over time. Purposelessness and respect for the physical community hosting the event can coexist. Placing the importance of our community over the importance of the physical community just brings police and sad city workers who have to clean up after us.

To maintain the amazing, purposeless fun we have in NYC, I work to avoid alienating our host communities by introducing post-event opportunities to help participants clean up, so that we can keep on rocking with positive reception and a lack of heavy police presence. What other solutions are there?

NO INDOOR VOICES: BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS BETTER WHEN IT’S LOUDER.

THE INTERNATIONAL MEGAPHONE SOCIETY HELD ITS WINTER MEET ‘N GREET ON SATURDAY. OUR OUTDOOR VOICES AND AMPLIFICIATION DEVICES ALLOWED US TO HAVE A DELIGHTFUL CONVERSATION AT PIER 64 - HUDSON RIVER PARK.

WE WILL MEGACHATTED UNTIL WE GOT MEGACHILLY AND THEN we had food and drinks at normal volume.

(J&R and your friendly neighborhood Amazon.com can provide you with a device. 10W is plenty for recreational use.)

INTERNATIONAL MEGAPHONE SOCIETY

megaphonery@gmail.com

Always free, always public.