The Legendary Hollyweed Sign

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Pranksters, The History of Pranks

Los Angeles has an obnoxious habit of neglectfully erasing its own history. Before Hugh Hefner helped restore it in 1978, the city’s iconic Hollywood Sign had fallen into disrepair. It was during this low point that a few tenacious pranksters (and recreational drug enthusiasts) decided to temporarily alter it.

In the words of redditor bmwnut, “I do wonder where they put a 45 foot letter on which to practice.”


“In 1976, pot-head pranksters made ‘HOLLYWEED’ out of the iconic Hollywood sign”
By Rusty Blazenhoff
Dangerous Minds
February 27, 2015

On January 1, 1976, Tinseltown’s iconic sign read “Hollyweed” after art student Danny Finegood and 3 of his college pals used $50 worth of dark fabric to transform the famous Hollywood landmark temporarily. They had practiced it first on a scale model Finegood had crafted.Hollyweed

It was more than a simple practical joke, Finegood considered it a statement on the relaxed California marijuana law that went into effect that day.

Read more here.


Banksy Does Gaza

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Parody

Banksy has posted a new tourism video welcoming world travelers to the wonders of Gaza:

Some of the images:

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Watch the video:

More about this piece here.

More about Banksy here.


Wankband: Power to the People

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Filed under: Satire

The ‘Wankband’ Will Offer Users The Ability To Charge Their Phones And Mobile Devices By Masturbating
by Curtis M. Wong
The Huffington Post
February 27, 2015

Watch the video:

Adult video website Pornhub has developed an environmentally friendly way to charge your phone and other mobile devices… while you masturbate.

Dubbed the “Wankband,” the new, wearable device generates electricity via a valve that generates and stores energy with an up-and-down motion such as a back-and-forth motion of the wrist. The energy is stored with an internal kinetic charger. Read more…

“Measles Parties” Hoax Infects the Media

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Filed under: Media Pranks

Measles Parties, Moral Panics and Folk Devils… Oh My!
by Edward Coll
February 10, 2015

In the market for eyeballs, mass media seldom misses an opportunity to misinform the public and create controversy by ginning up a climate of fear by fabricating folk devils and a moral panic amidst a crisis.

The Disneyland measles outbreak provides the most recent example.

partyMedia outlets from Fox to NPR spread a rumor that the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a bulletin advising parents not to take children to “measles parties” to intentionally infect their children. Supposedly, these parties are being thrown by anti-vaxers to give their children “natural immunity.”

No such bulletin was ever issued by the CDPH and according to the respected debunking site Snopes.com here is what really happened:

“… a California health official explained to us that before the rumor circulated, a news outlet called to inquire whether the department had received any reports about measles parties. When a representative stated no such reports had been received, the reporter asked about the agency’s position on measles parties and was (predictably) told public health officials advised against them.”

This CPDH response to these nonexistent measles parties was morphed into a “bulletin” giving credibility to a false rumor created and spread by the media outlets themselves. Time, Salon, ABC News, LA Times, and Washington Post, to name just some, are all still actively spreading the rumor. None have retracted the story yet.

Perhaps the broadcast outlets intentional spreading of this false rumor shows the scant regard they hold for their public interest obligations.

image: Salon (Yuganov Konstantin via Shutterstock)


Announcing New York’s 30th Annual April Fools’ Day Parade!

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Filed under: Satire, The History of Pranks

New York April Fools' Day Parade jesterNew York’s spectacular April Fools’ Day Parade kicks into its fourth decade of hilarious irreverence, poking fun at the past year’s public displays of hype, hypocrisy, deceit, bigotry, and downright foolishness.

In honor of this 30th anniversary, 30 lucky revelers, picked at random from the crowd at the end of the parade in Washington Square Park, will receive free cartoon interpretations of their favorite taboo religious icons.
 
 
Details of this year’s planned floats and celebrity look-alikes are here or here.

See 30 years of annual press releases here.

Join the fun! Check back for updates.


“Children Aren’t Playthings” Campaign

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Filed under: Creative Activism

Shared Hope International, whose mission is to eradicate sex trafficking, unveils their “Children Aren’t Playthings” doll box campaign to warn the public of the potential for and dangers of sex trafficking of minors at “mega” sporting events like the upcoming Super Bowl. Young women take turns standing in the box for hours on end to bring attention to this cause.

Anti-sex trafficking stunt at the Super Bowl

From Huffington Post, January 28, 2015:

The 7-foot exhibit debuted on Monday at Arizona State University, which is a hosting a weeklong anti-trafficking campaign, Offenbacher added.

It will also be stationed at Grand Canyon University, Glendale Community College and downtown Phoenix throughout the week leading up to Super Bowl Sunday, according to a statement released by SHI. Saturday’s event will be held in conjunction with StreetLightUSA, a local Arizona group that rehabilitates sex trafficking survivors between the ages of 11 and 17.

Read more about it here.


A Chat With Bob Schriner, the Prankster Behind the Wendy’s Deep-Fryer Call

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Filed under: Phone Pranks, Practical Jokes and Mischief, Pranksters

Full disclosure: I, Emerson Dameron, am a proud contributor to various Chunklet projects. My dividends from Chunklet’s revenue-sharing plan can be counted on one middle finger. I consider many in the Chunklet braintrust, including Bob Schriner and Henry Owings, my friends.


Henry Owings launched Chunklet as a zine in the ’90s in Athens, Georgia, after becoming disillusioned with proper music journalism. It drew in a range of writers, musicians, music-industry laborers, and comedians who wanted to poke fun at the commercial punk- and indie-rock establishment. Since then, it has released a range of entertainment products, taken full advantage of the internet, and showcased the savvy of phone pranksters including Earles and Jensen, erstwhile affiliates of The Best Show on WFMU.

In one of Chunklet’s prouder moments, contributor Bob Schriner achieved some minor digital notoriety by screwing with a Wendy’s fry cook.

Many, including our publishers, have expressed some skepticism about what really went on with this call. We gave Schriner an opportunity to explain himself. Read more…

Can Art Still Shock?

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Filed under: The Future of Pranks, The History of Pranks

Is Grayson Perry right – can we no longer be outraged by art and literature? From Manet’s Olympia to Pussy Riot and Houellebecq, Adam Thirlwell presents a short history of shock


Can art still shock?
by Adam Thirlwell
The Guardian
23 January 2015

Olympia by Édouard Manet. Photograph: Corbis

Olympia by Édouard Manet. Photograph: Corbis

For a long time, I’ve been nostalgic for the era of shock. It’s with a certain fondness that I reflect on the crazed year of 1857, which began with Gustave Flaubert in court for his first novel, Madame Bovary (in the presence of a stenographer, hired by Flaubert, for the benefit of an incredulous posterity), followed, six months later, by Charles Baudelaire, on trial for his first book of poems, Les Fleurs du Mal. On both occasions, the unlucky prosecutor was Ernest Pinard, who lamented “this unhealthy fever which induces writers to portray everything, to describe everything, to say everything”. The era of grand trials! Or if not trials, then scandales: like the first night of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring in 1913, with its catcalling audience; or Duchamp’s impish Fountain – his notorious urinal, signed by R Mutt, submitted to the exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists in New York in 1917, but rejected by its committee.

I was nostalgic because it seemed to me that shock was no longer possible. Or, perhaps more precisely, shock was no longer admissible. We are all, pronounced Grayson Perry, bohemians now – and therefore unshockable by art. And if this is true, it signals a grand and maybe melancholy shift in the nature of art, and in the relation of art to society. It also appears to me – considering, let’s say, Pussy Riot and Ai Weiwei – a slightly provincial argument. And then came the attack on Charlie Hebdo. Read more…

Mayor de Blasio’s Tongue-in-Cheek Mea Culpa

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Filed under: Parody

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio pokes fun at himself by doing a public reading of The Onion’s parody of his handling of the impending snow storm Juno on January 27, 2015: “NYC Mayor: ‘Reconcile Yourselves With Your God, For All Will Perish In The Tempest’

Here’s his version:

via Laughing Squid

Negativeland’s Ian Allen, RIP

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

Ian Allen, Former Negativland Member, Dead at 56
by Kory Grow
Rollingstone
January 22, 2015

The musician helped usher in the band’s notion of “culture jamming” and was most active in the group during the Eighties

Ian Allen, Peter Montgomery/Sharon Jue

Ian Allen, Peter Montgomery/Sharon Jue

Onetime Negativland member Ian Allen died on January 17th, a result of infections and complications following heart-valve replacement surgery at a hospital in Sanford, California. He was 56. The band reported the news on its Facebook page.

A member during their 1983 album A Big 10-8 Place, Allen was part of the group on the vanguard of “culture jamming,” the wry use of existing recorded material and tape splicing, joining the eras between John Cage and contemporary hip-hop sampling. He was most active between 1981 and 1987, leaving before the group’s critically acclaimed, confrontational mid-Eighties run on punk label SST. That run included their 1991 U2 EP, which kickstarted a legendary court case over unauthorized samples.

“His impact, inspiration and influence on the group is impossible to overestimate,” the group wrote in its statement. “There would be no group as we know it today, no Over The Edge radio show [on KPFA], no ‘culture jamming’ and no A Big 10-8 Place LP without him.”

Read the rest of this article here.

VICE Falls for Dream Hoax

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Filed under: Media Pranks, Pranksters, Urban Legends

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thisman.org

If you’ve ever seen this man in your dreams, you’re not alone. Famed prankster Andrea Natella’s long-lived dreamy hoax just caught VICE sleeping.

Read VICE’s mea culpa: Ugh, We Just Got Hoaxed: The Real Story About the ‘This Man’ Dream Face, January 15, 2015

Glitter-bomb Prankster Can’t Stop His Own Creation

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Filed under: Fact or Fiction?, Prank News, Pranksters, Publicity Stunts, Spin

It was an idea that practically shimmered with brilliance: Have packages full of glitter shipped to your enemies, assuring they won’t get your sparkly animus out of their sweaters for a long time. It exploded on blogs and social media, and now Matthew Carpenter, its creator, is not having fun anymore. He’s trying to sell the business after just one day. Sounds like a marketing ploy if there ever was one. “This is too successful. Please take it off my hands for a lot of money.”

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“Evil genius behind ‘Ship Your Enemies Glitter’ didn’t quite think it through”
by Andrea Romano
Mashable
January 15, 2015

Mathew Carpenter has made a huge mistake, and much like his creation, it’s not going anywhere for a while.

The 22-year-old creator of ShipYourEnemiesGlitter.com — and self-proclaimed person who “live[s] for moolah” on Twitter — is urging his millions of fans to stop using his brilliantly evil website to get revenge on their enemies.

After a boom in sales that also caused a temporary site crash, Carpenter decided he is in way over his sparkly head and put the site up for grabs to anyone who wants to buy it from him.

He also posted on the website ProductHunt.com, pleading with customers to stop buying his shiny and swift revenge methods.

Read the rest here.

 

Free Speech for Everyone? Really?

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Filed under: First Amendment Issues

By Glen Greenwald of The Intercept, January 9, 2015:


In Solidarity with a Free Press: Some More Blasphemous Cartoons

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Defending free speech and free press rights, which typically means defending the right to disseminate the very ideas society finds most repellent, has been one of my principal passions for the last 20 years: previously as a lawyer and now as a journalist. So I consider it positive when large numbers of people loudly invoke this principle, as has been happening over the last 48 hours in response to the horrific attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

Usually, defending free speech rights is much more of a lonely task. For instance, the day before the Paris murders, I wrote an article about multiple cases where Muslims are being prosecuted and even imprisoned by western governments for their online political speech – assaults that have provoked relatively little protest, including from those free speech champions who have been so vocal this week.

I’ve previously covered cases where Muslims were imprisoned for many years in the U.S. for things like translating and posting “extremist” videos to the internet, writing scholarly articles in defense of Palestinian groups and expressing harsh criticism of Israel, and even including a Hezbollah channel in a cable package. That’s all well beyond the numerous cases of jobs being lost or careers destroyed for expressing criticism of Israel or (much more dangerously and rarely) Judaism. I’m hoping this week’s celebration of free speech values will generate widespread opposition to all of these long-standing and growing infringements of core political rights in the west, not just some.

Read the whole article here.

Improv Everywhere: No Pants Subway Ride 2015

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Practical Jokes and Mischief

From Charlie Todd of Improv Everywhere:


No Pants Subway Ride 2015

On Sunday, January 11th, 2015 tens of thousands of people took off their pants on subways in over 60 cities in over 25 countries around the world. In New York, [the] 14th Annual No Pants Subway Ride had over 4,000 participants, spread out over seven meeting points and eleven subway lines.

no pants subway 2015

Watch the video:

More photos and info here.

Je Suis Charlie

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Filed under: The Big One

Here’s an example of the cartoons created by the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo prior to today’s brutal attack on their office by Muslim extremists in Paris, France, during which 12 people were killed and numerous others wounded. The cartoon says: “100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter.”

This issue, published in 2011, invited Muhammad to become a “guest editor.” After its publication, their office was fire-bombed. They refused to stop using humor and satire to combat fanatic fundamentalism. We stand in solidarity with them.

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See more Charlie Hebdo cartoons at Huffington Post here.

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