ART OF THE PRANK Feature Documentary November Screenings

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Filed under: Art of the Prank - the movie, Creative Activism, The History of Pranks, The Prank as Art

Save the dates!

Denver Film Festival

UA Pavilions
500 16th St #310
Denver, CO 80202

Friday, November 13, 2015 at 2:00 PM
Saturday, November 14, 2015 at 3:45 PM
Sunday, November 15, 2015 at 11:30 AM

Q&A with producer/director Andrea Marini and artist/activist Joey Skaggs after each screening.

Buy tickets: Online or at the Box Office

Website | Teaser | Facebook | Twitter | Updates

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Peter Markus, RIP

Filed under: Art Pranks, Creative Activism, The History of Pranks, The Prank as Art

Peter Markus, former classmate from the 60s at the School of Visual Arts, a talented artist, satirist and cartoonist, and a very dear friend, passed away on Wednesday, November 18, 2015. He was 70 years old. Peter was a frequent co-conspirator, working with me on numerous projects, usually behind-the-scenes, using his significant design talents to create graphic images of all sorts.

This is an image he created in 2000 purportedly for his own memorial as part of my Final Curtain media hoax, in which we promoted a cemetery theme park for creative people who wished to celebrate their own demise with satirical markers and mausoleums:

Peter Markus' self-made memorial tombstone from Joey Skaggs' Final Curtain media hoax in 2000

Peter broke his back in a motorcycle accident in the sixties, but it never stopped his indomitable creative spirit. He’ll be sorely missed.

Here are a couple of archive photos of Peter from the 70s:


Peter Markus Flag Shirt-1970s

Happy Halloween!

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Filed under: Practical Jokes and Mischief, Satire

Pumpkin problem

thanks Erin

Aladdin Magic Carpet Prank

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Filed under: Instructionals, Practical Jokes and Mischief, Pranksters

Aladdin in Real Life: Behind The Scenes

See how we did it
Directed by Casey Neistat
PrankvsPrank Facebook

thanks Andrea

Providence Punks Poke Fun at Local Foodies

Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Pranksters, Satire

As marks go, culinary snobs are low-hanging pomegranates. But these anonymous Rhode Island performance artists get points for their attention to detail. (H/t to Dave Pell.)

The Hippest Cafe in Providence Was Totally Fake
By Vicky Gan
October 27, 2015

luracafeFor a few #blessed days, Lura Cafe was the hottest new restaurant in Providence. The bright, cozy farm-to-table joint hid in plain sight next to a downtown parking lot, steps away from the Rhode Island Convention Center. Lura would be a refuge for diners in the know, serving modern takes on cafe classics—all local, all organic, all certified GMO-free. It was upscale and casual, timeless and avant-garde. It had a vaguely Nordic air of refinement.

It announced itself – as all similarly accoutred restaurants must – with a social media blitz, featuring sans serif lettering, sunny high-angle shots of brunch dishes, even a breathless write-up in the New York Times.

It was also totally fake.

When Lura Cafe “opened” on October 18, visitors were greeted not with avocado toast and bruleed carrots but with a manifesto: “‘Lura’ is a statement project targeting the rising phenomenon of the elitist subculture of foodies.” Beside it, a translation of “Lura” – “Swedish for fool, trick, deceive, lure, cheat, befool” – and a call to arms: #stopfoodies2015.

The satire wasn’t exactly subtle. In the days leading up to Lura’s grand opening, the restaurant’s Facebook page taunted followers with a surreal menu of “home-cut potatoes… wrapped in authentic New York Times newspaper,” “cold brew coffee served… over mineralized water rocks,” and “10x washed quinoa salad.” The quote attributed to Pontus Wikner, “POTS SEIDOOF,” is “FOODIES STOP” backwards. Full story here.

RyanFair Hoax: Flights of Fancy

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

From Andrea Natella: The RyanFair media hoax: Shaming the world into being a better place one corporation at a time.

‘RyanFair’ hoax claims airline will carry refugees visa-free
30 Sep, 2015 16:20

© Andrew Yates/Reuters

© Andrew Yates/Reuters

A hoax website masquerading as an initiative driven by budget airline Ryanair has offered to transport asylum seekers lacking the proper documentation, as Europe grapples with one of history’s worst refugee crises.

The prank site claims the airline will transport migrants from Greece, Montenegro, Slovakia and Hungary into Western Europe. A spokesperson for Ryanair told RT that the site is “entirely fictitious” and has absolutely no affiliation with the carrier.

The site included a fabricated quote from Ryanair Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Jacobs: “We are facing the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era, confirming our mission: made [sic] air travel accessible to the masses. We decided to open to refugees our routes from Greece and East Europe, violating a rule that simply dumps government responsibilities on the carriers. We will proudly cover all the costs of this violation.”


Read more…

Arabic Graffiti on TV’s Homeland: The Writing’s on the Wall

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Political Pranks

Street Artists Infiltrate ‘Homeland’ With Subversive Graffiti
by Dan Bilefsky and Mona Boshnaq
The New York Times
October 15, 2015

On TV's "Homeland," artists hired to add authenticity to a Syrian refugee-camp set scrawled Arabic graffiti messages declaring the show "racist."

On TV’s “Homeland,” artists hired to add authenticity to a Syrian refugee-camp set scrawled Arabic graffiti messages declaring the show “racist.”

LONDON — In a recent episode of Showtime’s hit series “Homeland,” the former C.I.A. officer Carrie Mathison is escorted by a Hezbollah militant past a wall in a fictional Syrian refugee camp covered with Arabic graffiti.

Attentive viewers who read Arabic, however, might have noticed something awry. Among the messages spray-painted on the walls: “ ‘Homeland’ is racist,” “There is no ‘Homeland’ ” and “ ‘Homeland’ is not a show.”

The subversive messages seemingly escaped the notice of the producers of the television series.

On Wednesday, an Egyptian artist, Heba Y. Amin, and two other artists, Caram Kapp and Stone, took credit for the graffiti, saying it was a subtle protest of false and misleading stereotypes in the series, which has been heavily criticized for its portrayals of Muslims. Read more…

The Squicky Side of International Development

Filed under: Creative Activism, Political Pranks, Satire

JadedAid, a new party game derived in style and spirit from Cards Against Humanity, satirizes the international development industry in brutal and hilarious fashion.

Cards Against Humanitarians
by Iyla Lozofsky
Foreign Policy
September 28, 2015

Needless to say, this very serious industry has its very serious critics. But few are as creative (or as hilarious) as three young development professionals who, in the last few weeks, have chosen to express their discontent by self-publishing a satirical card game. JadedAid is modeled on the popular millennial game, Cards Against Humanity, in which players compete to select the funniest (or most vulgar) answers to a set of “fill-in-the-blank” questions. Just a week since its opening, the JadedAid KickStarter campaign has collected nearly twenty thousand dollars — far ahead of its creators’ targets — and the game is well on its way to completion. As an example of the kind of decidedly un-pc satire the game provides, here is one possible combination of cards:

Some of the card ideas were developed by the game’s inventors, who, all in their thirties, have extensive experience in the technology and communication side of the development industry. But the vast majority of the suggestions (nearly 800 at last count) were submitted by friends, colleagues, and anonymous development workers. One of the game’s co-founders, Jessica Heinzelman, 36, attributes the game’s immediate appeal to the need for development workers to “let off some steam” by subjecting their experiences in the field to mockery. Read more…

Improv Everywhere: The Mp3 Experiment Twelve

Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

From Charlie Todd of Improv Everywhere:

The Mp3 Experiment Twelve


Over 4,000 people came out to our annual Mp3 Experiment project in New York. This year’s took place at sunset in Prospect Park’s Long Meadow and featured reflective vests, glow sticks, LEDs, and a special video portion of the experiment with smart phone screens glowing with color.

Watch the video:

The Big Lie Continues…

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Filed under: Fraud and Deception, Propaganda and Disinformation

It’s clear that if you say anything loud enough and often enough, people who want to believe you will believe you… whether or not it’s true. The Big Lie propaganda technique is a tried and true tactic. Planned Parenthood is only one of its recent victims. As the election season heats up, finding any truth anywhere will be almost impossible.

Republicans Are Legislating Based On Fake Videos. Should Someone Tell Them?
by Laura Bassett
Huffington Post
September 18, 2015

The House passed a pair of bills related to Planned Parenthood funding and “abortion survivors” on Friday.

woman in supermarketWASHINGTON — In the second GOP presidential debate Wednesday night, candidate Carly Fiorina passionately described a graphic scene from an undercover video of Planned Parenthood in which a fetus that survived an abortion waits, its “heart beating” and “legs kicking,” for a technician to harvest its brain. On Friday, House Republicans passed a pair of bills inspired by the same videos: One measure would defund Planned Parenthood and another would protect “abortion survivors.”

The problem is, the videos are so heavily edited that they bear little resemblance to reality, and the scene Fiorina described doesn’t exist.

She was most likely referring to the video in which Holly O’Donnell, a former procurement technician for a biomedical company, talks about having seen a fully formed aborted fetus, with its heart still beating, in a pathology lab. The video doesn’t show any footage from the scene, but instead shows a graphic image of someone holding a small fetus in their hands. That image is not an aborted fetus, as the video suggests. Rather, it was taken from the blog of a woman named Alexis Fretz, who miscarried at 19 weeks and posted images of her still-born baby online. Read more…

Art Project Causes Outrage and Reflection

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

University at Buffalo student hangs ‘White Only’ signs on campus, sparks outrage
by Melissa Chan
New York Daily News
September 18, 2015

Ashley Powell White Only sign art project
These “White Only” signs were hung near bathrooms at the University at Buffalo this week. Ashley Powell, a graduate art student, admitted to hanging the signs for a class art project. UBSPECTRUM.COM

Ashley Powell, 25, who is black, admitted to plastering the Jim Crow-esque signs near several bathrooms and water fountains in a dorm as an art project to express her struggles with being a minority in the U.S. and to “expose white privilege.”

“I am in pain,” the graduate student wrote in a lengthy explanation posted on Facebook and published by the UB student newspaper. “My art practice is a remnant of my suffering. White privilege and compliance only exacerbate my symptoms.”

Powell said she hung up the signs to see how many white people would see the signs and do something about it, although she claims it was not a “social experiment.”

“Today these signs may no longer exist, but the system that they once reinforced still does,” she wrote. “Any white person who would walk past these signs without ripping them down shows a disturbing compliance with this system.”

The signs, which Powell said were created with support from her professor and colleagues, caused a firestorm of controversy on campus. Students denounced the project as racist and a hate crime, ABC 27 reported. Read the whole story here.

Elton John ‘happy to be pranked’

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Filed under: Political Pranks

Elton John ‘happy to be pranked’ if it sheds light on gay rights
By Faith Karimi
September 18, 2015

Pranks may be for giggles. But gay rights — not so much, Elton John says.

The pop star responded to a prank by a Russian TV celebrity who called him this week pretending to be President Vladimir Putin.

Elton John Instagram

“Pranks are funny. Homophobia, however is never funny,” he said in a post Thursday. “I love Russia and my offer to talk to President Putin about LGBT rights still stands.”

Read the whole story here.

Orcs Have Feelings Too

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Filed under: Parody

From Huffington Post:

‘Orcs Of New York’ Is The ‘HONY’ Parody Even Sauron Would Adore
by Kimberly Yam
The Huffington Post
September 11, 2015

LOTR fans, rejoice! We’ve found your new favorite Facebook page.

Imagine seeing one of these guys at your subway stop.

“Orcs of New York,” based off of the popular “Humans of New York” blog, regularly posts photos of the brutish beings in different Big Apple scenes along with their hilariously relatable “stories.”


The page, which was created less than two weeks ago, is already generating attention across the Interwebs with more than 13,000 likes. But seriously — once you read the orcs’ quotes, you’ll see why the page has captured the hearts of people, hobbits and Ents alike.


See more here.

Bible Studies for Kim Davis

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Filed under: Creative Activism, The Big One

Planting Peace Sends a Message to Kim Davis, September 11, 2015


Following the June 26th Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, Rowan County clerk Kim Davis refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses in her home state, citing that doing so compromised her religious beliefs. That day, she became the poster child for the anti-gay movement.

As has been painstakingly observed time and time again, the anti-LGBTQ movement is comprised of a substantial number of zealots who unfailingly refer to their rigid interpretation of religious text to narrowly define “traditional” institutions and values. They pick and choose what they wish to convey as immoral and unacceptable, while seemingly sweeping lines of scripture just a few letters away completely under the rug.

In response, Planting Peace has constructed a message for Kim Davis and the anti-LGBTQ movement. The intent of the billboard is to expose this narrow interpretation by Davis and others that they use to defend their discrimination against the LGBTQ community. It is important and relevant to call this out, because these messages and actions are not simply about a political or religious debate. There are LGBTQ youth across the world who are taking their lives at an alarming rate because of these messages from society that make them feel broken or less than. We have to meet hate with love…intolerance with compassion.

Our message to our LGBTQ youth is simple:
You are loved, valued, supported, and beautiful.
There is nothing wrong with you, and we will stand by you.
You are not alone.

Planting Peace

photo: Huffington Post

PAC-ing a Punch

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Filed under: Co-option (If You Can't Beat 'Em...), Creative Activism, First Amendment Issues, Parody

From W.J. Elvin: Not that it’s too difficult to find bizarre humor in politics today but here’s an interesting sidelight from former colleague Glenn Garvin.

Scamsters, jokers: this PAC’s for you
by Glenn Garvin
Miami Herald
September 5, 2015

Cats-for-a-better-tomorrow-200Finally it’s arrived: High-rolling fat-cat campaign finance for the rest of us! The days when it took Donald Trump’s bank account and a battalion of lawyers to buy and sell political candidates like bags of potatoes are behind us. Now anybody with access to a computer, 20 minutes to spare and a low boredom threshold can set up a political action committee to funnel unlimited campaign contributions to the issue or candidate of his choice, no matter how weird, prankish or — let’s be honest here —stupid.

Seriously — well, “seriously” is probably not exactly the right word, but you get it — nothing is too bizarre, too arcane or too ridiculous to have its own super PAC. If you’re sick of American politicians who badmouth Darth Vader, you can give money to The Empire Strikes PAC, which helps candidates who favor “the construction of a safer, more x-wing resistant Death Star.”

And if you grieve that we haven’t had a bewhiskered president in the 122 years since Benjamin Harrison left the White House, send all the money you want to Bearded Entrepreneurs for the Advancement of a Responsible Democracy (that’s right, BEARD PAC), which imperiously decrees that “the time is now to bring facial hair back into politics.”

And yes, there’s even a PAC for the uncounted hordes who believe Virginia psychologist Anna Hornberger’s cat Xavier would make a good president: the My Cat Xavier for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow PAC. (Even you dog people have to admit that a president who comes with a full-time shrink attached is an idea whose time may have arrived.)

When the U.S. Supreme Court paved the way for Super PACS in 2010 with a pair of decisions — Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission and v. Federal Elections Commission — that established the rights of Americans to make unlimited campaign contributions as long as they go to independent committees and not directly to candidates or political parties, some political scientists predicted disastrous corruption. Others foresaw a robust expansion of the First Amendment.

What nobody expected is that creating super PACS would turn into a sort of performance art that, depending on your perspective, either joyously celebrates or cynically mocks the American political system.

Read the rest of this article here.

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