Mickey Mouse is Mourning

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Parody, Pranksters, Satire

Banksy’s Dismaland website is up. Includes full details and schedules.

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Thanks Chris


Why Hollywood Culture’s Outspoken (Fake) Mystery Critics Threw in the Towel Remains a Mystery

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Literary Hoaxes, Pranksters

Twitter’s ‘Mystery Hollywood’ implodes: @MysteryExec was a fake
by Josh Dickey
Mashable
August 20, 2015

@MysteryExec, @MysteryVP Thumbnails

@MysteryExec, @MysteryVP thumbnails

The Twitter handle @MysteryExec, the most prominent voice in a small and tight-knit community of showbiz types who for years have tweeted anonymously, candidly and often about their batshit crazy profession, deleted his account sometime late Tuesday night. So did his sidekick, the tart-tongued @MysteryVP.

The reason: Mystery Executive is not an executive at all. Mystery VP is vice president of nothing.

They were catfish. And that’s too bad.

Multiple sources close to the people behind the accounts tell Mashable that @MysteryExec and @MysteryVP were a young male/female writing duo just trying to make it in Hollywood whose prank turned into a mini-phenomenon. What started as an outlet for their frustration turned into a movement that thousands of people, including this writer and dozens of prominent players in Hollywood, readily bought into.

And in recent months, as the ruse began to unravel, the entire Mystery showbiz-on-Twitter community began to crumble, too.

Read the whole story here.


Banksy’s Dismaland Theme Park Opens

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Parody, Satire, The Prank as Art

Channel 4 News reports, August 20, 2016:

Banksy’s “family theme park unsuitable for small children” has opened on the Weston-super-Mare seafront. It features migrant boats, dead princesses and Banksy’s trademark dark humour.

The park features Banksy’s artistry as well as works by 50 other artists including Damien Hirst and Jenny Holzer.

Buzzfeed published these photos:

Banksy's Dismaland: Little Mermaid

Dismaland is a five-week show housed inside and around a derelict Tropicana building in Weston-super-Mare, a seaside town in Somerset, England. Photo by Christopher Jobson for Colossal

Banksy's Dismaland theme park Seaworld-like attraction. Christopher Jobson for Colossal

Banksy’s Dismaland theme park Seaworld-like attraction. Christopher Jobson for Colossal

Banksy's tanker truck disaster at Dismaland. Yui Mok / PA WIRE

Tanker truck disaster in Banksy’s Dismaland theme park. Yui Mok / PA WIRE

Grim reaper on bumper cars at Banksy's Dismaland theme park. Yui Mok / PA WIRE

Grim reaper on bumper cars at Banksy’s Dismaland theme park. Yui Mok / PA WIRE

Radio controlled refugee boat game at Banksy's Dismaland theme park. Yui Mok / PA WIRE

Radio controlled refugee boat game at Banksy’s Dismaland theme park. Yui Mok / PA WIRE

Pigeon hazard at Banksy's Dismaland theme park. Yui Mok / PA WIRE

Pigeon hazard at Banksy’s Dismaland theme park. Yui Mok / PA WIRE

Banksy’s theme? According the BBC he said, “”I guess you’d say it’s a theme park whose big theme is ‘theme parks should have bigger themes’.”

Read more about what Banksy describes as a “family theme park unsuitable for children” at BBC.com and at Huffington Post.


Morally Outraged Hackers Publish Ashley Madison Secrets

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Filed under: Fraud and Deception, Spin

Red Woman's LipsThe hackers responsible for stealing supposedly secure data from Ashley Madison, the website for married people looking for extramarital trysts, appear to have a conscience. They’re moralists. But not about their actions.

Kim Zetter of Wired reports, “The hackers deflected responsibility for any damages or repercussions that victims of the breach and data dump may suffer.”

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Read Kim’s whole Wired article here


Is There a Banksy-made Disneyland Parody On the Way?

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Parody

Inside ‘Dismaland’: Banksy’s Sinister Disney-Trolling Theme Park Reportedly Opening This Weekend
The Daily Beast
August 17, 2015

The shadowy street artist has allegedly been constructing a massive pop-up theme park under the guise of filming a Hollywood movie, and it’s rumored to open August 21 in the UK.

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This past weekend at their annual D23 Expo, a veritable Comic-Con devoted to all things Mouse House, Disney unveiled plans for Star Wars Land—a pair of elaborate theme parks that will transport visitors to the land(s) of Star Wars, replete with a Millennium Falcon simulator, a plethora of cosplaying characters, and—yes—a full-service Cantina.

But if getting wasted on intergalactic booze, starting static with a costumed Greedo, and throwing your hard-earning money at a corporate giant isn’t your thing, then perhaps Dismaland is the place for you.

Dismaland is the name of Banksy’s gloriously subversive theme park that is heavily rumored to be opening this weekend—that is Friday, August 21—in the UK. Pictures of its mysterious construction in the seaside resort town of Weston-super-Mare in Somerset, England, began surfacing online late last week.

Read the whole article here.


Mike Huckabee Won’t Give You a Choice

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Satire, The Big One

From Erin:


Mike Huckabee guitar lessons

Inside the Center for Tactical Magic

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Pranksters, The History of Pranks, The Prank as Art

Here’s a rare glimpse behind the enigma of the legendary Center for Tactical Magic as founder Aaron Gach shares his background, philosophy, and success stories in this interview with Regine Debatty.


“Interview with The Center for Tactical Magic”
by Regine Debatty
We Make Money Not Art
August 14, 2015

The Center for Tactical Magic uses any craft and scheme available, from the most magical to the most pragmatic, to address issues of power relations and self-empowerment.

At the CTM we are committed to achieving the Great Work of Tactical Magic through community-based projects, daily interdiction, and the activation of latent energies toward positive social transformation.

Tactical Ice Cream Unit

CTM’s work combines appealing aesthetics, humour and language with actions that invite people to think, question and reclaim their civil rights. Their most famous project is the Tactical Ice Cream Unit, a truck distributing free ice cream along with propaganda developed by local progressive groups. Another of their initiative saw them launch a bank heist contest. And a year before that, they responded to New York’s stop-and-frisk policy by screening Linking & Unlinking on a digital billboard in Manhattan. The billboard showed amateur footage demonstrating how to pick a pair of handcuffs, magicians performing a classic magic trick called “linking rings“, while a text from the American Civil Liberties Union was scrolling down and explaining passersby what their rights were if they were stopped by the police. In 2013, they set up big Witches’ Cradles that evoke the Inquisition and enveloped people into an altered state (of consciousness, or an altered political state). Most recently, Gach directed and performed a radical magic show which drew parallels between magic acts and contemporary issues such as economic manipulation, political deception, vanishing resources, and social transformation.

Read the interview here.


U.S. Presidents Neutered in Washington D.C. Mural

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Filed under: Miscellaneous

From Deborah: Sam Husseini reports on his blog about the de-facement (actually de-ballment) of a mural in Washington D.C..

A new political mural has gone up in Washington, D.C.

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Well, sort of new.

The mural has been there for a few years, but it’s been transformed just recently. Some might say, made more whole, reborn.

It’s a mural on the side of a restaurant formerly known as the Calvert Cafe. It features U.S. presidents from Eisenhower to Obama with Mama Ayesha, who founded the restaurant that is now named for her: Mama Ayesha’s, just near the Duke Ellington Bridge in Adams Morgan. It was originally labored over by Karlisima Rodas.

The recent transformation involves someone having apparently paintballed all the presidents, shooting them in the balls with red paint. Or trying to. Who ever did this seems to have been richer in inspiration than in sniper skills, which may on balance be a good thing. It’s a bit messy, but the intent is fairly clear: Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton I, Bush II and Obama — all shot in the balls. Scrawled on the side is “The War Thugs.”

Read the rest of this blog post here.


Austerity Art in Athens

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Filed under: Creative Activism

Street artists in Athens are expressing their economic concerns and frustration with vivid imagery:

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See more images from Huff Post Greece.


STEM, Social Engineering and Stealing

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Filed under: Fraud and Deception, Legal Issues

The Kernel delves into the hidden subculture of liars, thieves, and hackers who expose and exploit gaping loopholes in e-commerce via Jonah (not his real name), someone who’s been there and back.


“Confessions of a social engineer”
by Dell Cameron
The Kernel
August 9, 2015

serialcodegenerator…Part theater and part science, social engineering is the method by which hackers, for lack of a better term, exploit vulnerabilities in human psychology; for Jonah, it was a key to getting anything he wanted, from televisions and laptops to smartphones and expensive wines. One of his largest takes netted him around $60,000 worth of product, he says. He showed me a Rolex Daytona watch—part of a gallery of stolen goods he’d photographed in his bedroom—which retails on Amazon for around $26,000.

Whether through face-to-face interaction, by phone, or by email, the human gatekeepers of any network can be exploited—if you know how to play the game. They’re the weakest link in any company’s security.

Almost every major electronics company is vulnerable in nearly the same way: They all have warranty-based replacement systems that can be exploited. Most companies, for instance, don’t require a defective item to be returned before mailing out its replacement. It’s likewise difficult to prove that an in-warranty item has been lost or stolen.

Through repeated phone calls, social engineers develop strategies for navigating a company’s customer help line. They get a feel for which sob stories and which “yes” or “no” responses will work best toward achieving their objective. Intelligence, temperament, and even humor all come into play. The questions and responses are then mapped out, as if composing a flowchart, with the goal of expediting the con. Read the whole article.


Jester as Publicist

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Filed under: Publicity Stunts

Tourism promotion 101: Anoint a court jester for your castle.


Welsh Castle Appoints First Jester Since 13th Century
by Kira Brekke
HuffPost Live
August 5, 2015

Why, you ask? Why not?

The job of a jester — also known as a professional joker or “fool,” for all you plebeians out there — has been mostly left behind in medieval history. But the post has been resurrected thanks to Conwy Castle in Wales, which has just pointed its first jester since the 13th century. HuffPost Live’s Josh Zepps spoke to the jester himself, Russel Erwood (or “Erwyd le Fol”), about how such a position was bestowed upon him and what we can expect from him and his jesterly ways in the coming months.

Mad Magazine’s Upcoming Homage to the U.S. Political Process

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Filed under: Parody, Satire

Coming soon… Mad magazine’s August 12, 2015 issue transforms 2016 presidential candidates into the entertainment fodder they seem to aspire to be. Here’s a sample:

Mad magazine's Hillary Clinton poster

Mad magazine's Ben Carson poster

Mad magazine's Donald Trump poster

Mad magazine's Bernie Sanders poster

Mad magazine's Jeb Bush poster

via Huffington Post


Improv Everywhere’s Unexpected Ballet

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Parody

From Charlie Todd of Improv Everywhere:


Improv Everywhere's "Unexpected Ballet"

For our latest mission, professional ballet performers pose as break dancers in New York’s Washington Square Park. The men hype up their tumbling routine to a gathered crowd before realizing they brought the “wrong music.” The crowd is surprised as they slowly realize the performer’s hidden talents.

Watch the video:

This project was a collaboration with YouTube’s new Field Day channel. For more info and photos, visit Improv Everywhere.


Brian Janosch on Tech, Comedy, Bay Area Cynicism, and the Burning Man Wall

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Parody, Pranksters, Satire

As much as we love Burning Man and the creativity on display there, we also have to admire this piece of now-viral satire from the folks at Cultivated Wit.
wall-around-sf
Unlike most anti-Burner temper tantrums, it doesn’t stick to low-hanging fruit-–it also pokes pointed fun at crowdfunding, techno-libertarian utopianism, and economic tensions in the Bay Area.

Brian Janosch, the Creative Director of Cultivated Wit and the star of the spoof video told us that, despite the rash of media coverage the Burning Man Wall has received, this is the first time he’s been asked for an interview about it.

What is Cultivated Wit and what does it do?

Well, one thing we are not is a comedy troupe. 😉 We’re a small company created by three of us who all left The Onion around the same time. The biggest thing we do is produce Comedy Hack Day, an event series that brings together comedians and developers to build hilarious and insane tech products. The best creations from every event get showcased in a comedy show that concludes each event weekend. Our about page is a little outdated and needs refreshing, but it has some more.

Why is Burning Man such a fat target?

Read more…

Children vs. Fashion

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Filed under: Creative Activism

From the website of Yolanda Dominquez, visual artist and activist who, “through irony and contextualization as principal strategies, creates situations or scenarios in which the viewer is involved and can participate.”

She recently asked young children to talk about images fashion brands use to promote their new collections.

Watch the video:

Photos:
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Read more here: Kids Point Out Dark Side Of Fashion Ads That We’ve All Been Ignoring, by Jamie Feldman, July 30, 2015, HuffPo.