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New Joey Skaggs Article and a Sneak Preview of ART OF THE PRANK Movie on HuffPost

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Filed under: Art of the Prank - the movie, Art Pranks, Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, The History of Pranks, The Prank as Art, Urban Legends

Roach Vitamins Hailed as Miracle Drug. Bon Appétit!
by Joey Skaggs
HuffPost
October 10, 2017

Joey Skaggs as Dr. Josef Gregor in his Metamorphosis Roach Cure hoax, 1981

Here’s a snippet:

As an artist, I discovered in the 1960s that I could use the mass media as a vehicle to make social and political commentary on a broad scale. So, for the last 50+ years, I’ve used the media as my medium as a painter uses a canvas. From my earliest performance pieces (a.k.a. media hoaxes), the Hippie Bus Tour to Queens, followed by the Cathouse for Dogs and the Celebrity Sperm Bank, I found that by creating plausible, but totally fictitious stories, played out in real life, I could hook the media into reporting them as fact.

The key to success has always been a salacious, sensational or ironic hook with a great visual that is just irresistible to reporters on tight deadlines…

Read the whole story here.

Flushing a Movement

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

Paul Krassner reviews Pat Thomas’ book, Did It! From Yippie To Yuppie: Jerry Rubin, An American Revolutionary,.


Hippies, radicals, pranksters: Jerry Rubin has a bio and Paul Krassner has our review
by Paul Krassner
Jacket Copy, Los Angeles Times
August 31, 2017

Jerry Rubin (right) and Paul Krassner share a joint in the late ’60s. (Fantagraphics Books, Inc.)

Pat Thomas, the author of “Did It! From Yippie To Yuppie: Jerry Rubin, An American Revolutionary,” had noticed that there were six books about co-activist Abbie Hoffman, but none about Jerry Rubin, so Thomas welcomed the challenge. Seventy-five co-conspirators were interviewed for revealing anecdotes galore (including me), and this tome is a unique oral and visual history heavy enough to sink into your coffee table.

Rubin had written a few books himself, though. The first was 1970’s “DO iT!” Under the influence of Ritalin, he recorded all the material swirling in his mind, and his girlfriend Nancy Kurshan transcribed 700 pages that had to be severely trimmed down. That book was heiress Patty Hearst’s favorite, radicalizing her, especially the part about rebelling against elite parents.

In January 1964, Rubin was 26 with a thick handlebar mustache, bored as a journalist for the Cincinnati Post. He moved to UC Berkeley for grad school, but dropped out during his first semester. He then asked so many questions about local politics, filling his notebook so much, that several activists thought he was a cop. But by May 1965, at the Berkeley campus he had organized a Vietnam teach-in, the largest in the U.S.

He called me in New York, inviting me to speak there. I urged him to also contact folksinger Phil Ochs, who could perform appropriate songs between speeches. Rubin had never heard of Ochs, but he accepted my suggestion. They would eventually become deep friends.

When Rubin was subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee, he wore a rented American Revolutionary costume, and he gave out copies of the Declaration of Independence. As the marshals carried him out, he yelled, “I want to testify!” He had manipulated the media to spread his patriotic message on radio, TV and the front pages of newspapers across the country. Read the rest of this review here.

In the Future, Will Farting Get You 5 to 10?

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Filed under: Creative Activism, First Amendment Issues, Hoax Etiquette, Legal Issues, Political Challenges

Update from HuffPost, September 1, 2017: Jeff Sessions’ DOJ To Put Woman Who Laughed At Jeff Sessions On Trial Yet Again


A new article by Joey Skaggs published in Huffington Post, May 4, 2017:


Jurors on the case against Desiree Fairooz—a protestor who laughed out loud during a Senate hearing on Jeff Sessions’ Attorney General appointment, when Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said Sessions had an “extensive record of treating all Americans equally under the law,” and then demanded to know why she was being physically removed and arrested—apparently felt forced to find her guilty. Some of them said it was not the laughter, although Justice Department attorneys believed that the laughter was enough to justify a criminal charge, but the disruption after the laughter that forced their hands.

protestor arrested for laughing

It’s a slippery slope away from our civil rights when jurors are forced to deliberate on laws that should be challenged rather than enforced. What’s next? If you fart out loud, you get 5 to 10?

And, it looks like laws about public conduct are being used in a discriminatory way. Not everyone is being held to the same standard. Remember South Carolina Representative Joe Wilson, Sr. who yelled, “You lie!” at President Obama in a joint session of Congress? His outburst was considered “disrespectful” and he got off with an apology.

In fact, these days, everyone should be laughing and challenging the obvious hypocrisy and alternative facts presented to us daily by the Trump Administration and members of Congress. Laughter is a great way to help people realize how absurd the situation is when officials lie with impunity. We have short memories. We should think back to the Chicago 7 and how satire and mockery were powerful tools used to sway public opinion in 1968.

We the people should not tolerate this kind of abuse of power. So, let’s, at every opportunity, scoff, mock, satirize and laugh, so that unthinking people might start thinking. The First Amendment does not give you the right to slander someone, and sometimes it’s not effective to disregard civility, but challenges must be made and people have to find ways to speak out. Let’s do it in a more creative way so as not to be sucked up into the legal loop and drained of time and resources.

I’ve been using satire as a weapon of choice since the 60s. And I marvel with wonder at how lucky I’ve been to not be locked up for some of the things I’ve done. There have certainly been enough people rooting for my incarceration.

I suspect this protestor was unaware of the potential legal ramifications of her actions. Not that being aware would (or should) have stopped her. I think she was brave to do what she did. However, had she been aware, or perhaps more thoughtful about her plans, she might have come up with a more creative way to protest given the circumstances. It’s always necessary to ask, “Do my actions have a chance of being effective or will they be alienating and dismissed?” Had she stopped at the laughter, she might have made a greater case in the court of public opinion.

We can’t let false truths become the official record. Lies should be revealed and challenged at every opportunity. It’s the system allowing them to continue unfettered that must be changed.

And… Capitol security should not be run by the airline industry.


Sam Shepard, Playwright, Actor, Director and Old Friend.. R.I.P.

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Filed under: The Big One

The creative world lost a bright color from its palette.

An old friend from the sixties, Sam Shepard, has passed away.

Here’s an article I wrote for Huffington Post about those times: Lucky Loser: My Aborted Attempt to Kidnap Sam Shepard, by Joey Skaggs
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sam Shepard on his family plays (1 of 3)

World’s Largest Gathering of Trump Look-alikes for April Fools’ Day–It’s a Trumpathon!

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Political Pranks, Prank News, Satire

Announcing New York City’s 32nd Annual April Fools’ Day Parade, kicking off Saturday, April 1, 2017 at 59th Street & 5th Avenue at 12 noon. This is a call for anyone who wants to participate. Check the press release for details and to print your Donald Trump Mask.


PRESS RELEASE
New York, New York — New York’s irreverent April Fools’ Day Parade returns, poking fun once again at the past year’s displays of hype, hypocrisy, deceit, bigotry, and downright foolishness. Nothing is sacred. Our satire knows no bounds. The 32nd Annual April Fools’ Day Parade will begin at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street at 12 noon, Saturday, April 1, 2017.

Rain or shine, the parade will march down Fifth Avenue to Washington Square Park for the climactic selection of the King of Fools from the costumed look-alikes. Marchers create outrageous floats and dress up in colorful costumes mirroring the folly of the previous year’s nuttiest politicians, corporate leaders, celebrities and whoever else has made a total fool of themselves.

This will be the world’s largest gathering of Donald Trump look-alikes. We’re going for a Guinness World Record for the largest assembly of Donald Trumps. Get your Donald Trump look-alike mask here. Print it, cut it out, and wear it to the parade. And please tweet and re-tweet about this epic TRUMPATHON!

The theme for this year’s parade is “MAKE RUSSIA GREAT AGAIN!” The Grand Marshall will be a Donald Trump look-alike. He will lead the All Brass Balls Marching Band (a.k.a. Trump’s Cabinet members), playing the Russian National Anthem. Color commentary will be provided by an Alec Baldwin look-alike as Donald Trump. The parade route will be showered with over 100 tons of confetti from fake news courtesy of Facebook, Twitter, Google, Fox News, InfoWars, Breitbart and others.

We’re announcing the 2017 King of Fools in advance this year. It’s Donald Trump. But to keep it democratic, there will be a vote at the end of the parade anyway.

Says Parade Organizer Joey Skaggs, “April Fools’ Day, once a day of celebrating alternative truth, has now officially been extended to 365 days of the year.”

(more…)

“Les choses sont contre nous” (‘Things’ are against us). Happy New Year!

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Filed under: The History of Pranks

“Resistentialism is largely a matter of sitting inside a wet sack and moaning.” So says Paul Francis Jennings, author of this Report on Resistentialism first published in 1948 in The Spectator.


Report on Resistentialism by Paul Francis Jennings
from The Jenguin Pennings, Penguin Books, 1963

It is the peculiar genius of the French to express their philosophical thought in aphorisms, sayings hard and tight as diamonds, each one the crystal centre of a whole constellation of ideas. Thus, the entire scheme of seventeenth century intellectual rationalism may be said to branch out from that single, pregnant saying of Descartes, ‘Cogito ergo sum’ – ‘I think, therefore I am.’ Resistentialism, the philosophy which has swept present-day France, runs true to this aphoristic form. Go into any of the little cafés or horlogeries on Paris’s Left Bank (make sure the Seine is flowing away from you, otherwise you’ll be on the Right Bank, where no one is ever seen) and sooner or later you will hear someone say, ‘Les choses sont contre nous.’ ‘Things are against us.’
 
This is the nearest English translation I can find for the basic concept of Resistentialisin, the grim but enthralling philosophy now identified with bespectacled, betrousered, two-eyed Pierre-Marie Ventre. In transferring the dynamic of philosophy from man to a world of hostile Things,’ Ventre has achieved a major revolution of thought, to which he himself gave the name ‘Resistentialism’. Things (res) resist (résister) man (homme, understood). Ventre makes a complete break with traditional philosophic method. Except for his German precursors, Freidegg and Heidansiecker, all previous thinkers from the Eleatics to Marx have allowed at least some legitimacy to human thought and effort. Some, like Hegel or Berkeley, go so far as to make man’s thought the supreme reality. In the Resistentialist cosmology that is now the intellectual rage of Paris Ventre offers us a grand vision of the Universe as One Thing – the Ultimate Thing (Dernière Chose). And it is against us. (more…)

When Dogs Ruled the World

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Filed under: Political Challenges, Propaganda and Disinformation

The Hypocrisy of Democracy (or When the Glue Comes Undone)
by Joey Skaggs

As an artist, satirist and activist, I am very fortunate that I live in America. My freedom is never taken for granted and I cherish my rights to criticize the misuse of power. I’m well aware of what happens to people who live in other countries where there is no tolerance for dissent. Not that this is a perfect country… If it were, I would be out of a career!

I read an article by Andrew Sullivan called “Democracies end when they are too democratic”, published May 1, 2016 in New York Magazine and I think it’s worth sharing. The messages are vital to our democracy.

democraciesend

This article led me to want to share a short story I like to tell every time there’s an election. This was told to me by Lew Jain, an old cowboy who lived in Northern Idaho. I met him in 1965, when I spent a summer painting landscapes near Lake Coeur d’Alene.

Once upon a time, a very long time ago–way before people existed–the world was populated only by dogs. It was very difficult being a dog, because all they did was fight amongst themselves. Consequently, there were homeless dogs; hungry dogs; sick, suffering and dying dogs. Big dogs picked on little dogs. Little dogs picked on littler dogs. It was, in essence, a dog-eat-dog world.

So, after what seemed like an eternity of turmoil, the dogs gradually realized they better do something to change their world. They decided to have a Bow Wow and put an end to their problems by electing a leader. One dog barked, “I think we should elect for our leader the French Poodle, the smartest dog!” A French Poodle seconded the motion, but another dog yipped, “Wait! Just because the French Poodle is a smart dog, he’s not a tough dog. He’s not as tough as the Doberman or the Pit Bull or the German Shepherd. I say we should elect the German Shepherd as our leader.” “Woof woof,” barked a German Shepherd, seconding the motion. “Grrrrr,” said another dog. “Just because the German Shepherd is a tough dog, he’s not as fast as the Whippet or the Saluki or the Greyhound. I say we should elect the Greyhound, the fastest dog, as our leader.” “Bow wow!” said a Greyhound seconding the motion.

“You gotta be kidding me,” howled another dog, “Just because the Greyhound is the fastest dog, he can’t pull the sled like the Huskey.” “Wait,” said another dog, “He can’t swim like the Labrador, he can’t smell like the Bloodhound, or do tricks like the Border Collie.” And the vicious fighting started all over again.

It seemed none of them could ever agree about who should be their leader. Finally, one little mutt, with a long wet nose, floppy ears and a bushy tail said, “Wait! I know who should be our leader!” All the dogs stopped their fighting, raised their ears and wagged their tails, looking at him as he proclaimed, “We should elect the dog whose asshole smells the sweetest!”

All the dogs barked in agreement and began sniffing each other’s butts, looking for their leader. This tradition continues to this day, which is why dogs sniff butts. They are still looking for the asshole that smells the sweetest. And this explains how I’ve always felt about politics.

NOTE: This story is also available here on Huffington Post.


Peter Markus, RIP

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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:

PeterMarkusDog-1970s-72

Peter Markus Flag Shirt-1970s


Ricky & Doris: An Unconventional Friendship in New York City. With Puppets!

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Filed under: Urban Legends

My long-time friend and former neighbor, activist Doris Diether, is featured in this short film by photographer and filmmaker David Friedman. He made this wonderful homage to the friendship between Doris and artist RicKy Syers for AARP.


Doris Diether with her RicKy Syers puppet, photo by Victor Shoup
Pulling her own strings, 2013, Victor Shoup

Ricky Syers is an off-beat 50 year old street performer who found his calling as a puppeteer after a lifetime of manual labor. While performing in New York City’s Washington Square Park, he met Doris Diether, an 86 year old community activist. They became friends and he made a marionette that looks just like her. Now she’s joined his act and the two of them can often be seen performing together.

via Colossal


The Credibility Crisis: Who do you believe? Me or your lying eyes?

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Filed under: Propaganda and Disinformation

A must-read recommendation from Joey Skaggs: Don’t miss Adrian Chen’s article, The Agency, in The New York Times, June 2, 2015


Wag the Dog, online and updated
David Strom’s Web Informant
June 3, 2015

In one of my favorite movies, Wag the Dog, we declare a fictional war on Albania in an attempt to manipulate a presidential election. While the movie (which was made 18 years ago) posits a ridiculous scenario, it is coming of age in today’s era of ubiquitous Internet and inexpensive video editing and social media aggregation tools.

MV5BMjA4OTQzODE1OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDIyMjY0NA@@._V1_SX640_SY720_-300x201According to Adrian Chen’s article in the New York Times, a secretive Russian agency has been fabricating various events for both American and Russian audiences using very similar “Wag the Dog” scenarios. Chen finds You Tube videos, fake Twitter accounts by the truckload, and phony websites and other postings that seem to all come from this agency. The effort is so realistic that many people are fooled into thinking its fabricated disasters, conflicts, and other newsworthy events are real, rather than the work of some clever and dedicated troll army. (more…)

Bigfoot — Escape Artist

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Filed under: Urban Legends

While performing with the Tiny Top Circus during the Perform Chinatown: Chaos Reigns festival in LA on July 26, 2014, BIGFOOT once again escaped. The $10 million dollar reward, which had been rescinded when he returned from his sojourn in New York, has been reinstated. Everyone is warned to approach with caution, as BIGFOOT can be extremely flatulent.

Bigfoot-Reward-poster-425

Watch the video:

Tiny Top Circus & BIGFOOT to Appear in LA

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Filed under: Urban Legends

From Joey Skaggs and the Tiny Top Circus, the world’s only pataphysical circus:


Two weeks ago, BIGFOOT mysteriously returned to the circus compound after escaping from the Tiny Top Circus while performing in New York City. The $10 million dollar reward has now been rescinded. Tiny Top Circus thanks New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Police for their outstanding assistance.

bigfoot-tinytopcircus-3558-425

Tiny Top Circus will now resume its touring schedule with an appearance at Perform Chinatown in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 26, 2014. Admission is free.

Perform Chinatown 2014 – Chaos Reigns!
July 26, 2014, between 12 Noon and 10 pm
Next to the historic Wishing Well in Gin Ling Way
Chinatown, Los Angeles, CA

For more details, press release and posters, visit http://tinytopcircus.com

Bigfoot Sighted at World Cup Celebration

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Filed under: Urban Legends

Bigfoot-with-Germans-at-FIFA

photo: AP/ibnlive.in.com

Another Bigfoot Sighting!

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Filed under: Urban Legends

Bigfoot was spotted but not captured at a 4th of July celebration yesterday:

Bigfoot4thJuly.8618685.425

Bigfoot Sighting!

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Filed under: Urban Legends

Bigfoot spotted at New York’s annual Gay Pride Parade, June 29, 2014:

Bigfoot spotted at NYC Gay Pride Parade

Thanks Nick Gaetano
photo: hulubei.net