Creative Activism

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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 SpeechNOW.org 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.


Art of the Prank Movie is About to Launch!

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Filed under: Art of the Prank - the movie, Art Pranks, Creative Activism, Prank News, Pranksters

Art of the Prank movie still

We’re excited!

Art of the Prank, the feature documentary film about the life and work of artist Joey Skaggs, produced and directed by Andrea Marini and co-produced by Judy Drosd, is nearing completion. Filmed in New York, London, Hawaii, Los Angeles, Kentucky & Tennessee, the movie, a story of true will and determination, follows Joey as he attempts to pull off the most challenging media hoax of his career.

The movie website is now live at http://artoftheprank-themovie.com.
The Facebook and Twitter pages are respectively at:
http://www.facebook.com/artoftheprankthemovie
http://twitter.com/aotp_themovie

Here’s the teaser trailer:

The plan is to submit the film to film festivals around the world and to begin showing it widely. We’re open to all forms of distribution so please share any ideas you have with us. You are very important to the success of this film. The more that our friends and colleagues spread the word, the more opportunities we’ll have to grow an audience. We’d love to have as many people see the film as possible.

There will be more news soon about some exciting screenings this Fall.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Tuba Libre

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Filed under: Creative Activism

Meet the Man Who Beat the KKK With a Tuba
Daily Beast
by Ben Collins
July 22, 2015

A video of Matt Buck humiliating the Klan with his tuba has gone viral. We talked to the American hero about the rally, his song selection, and ‘Tuba Libre’ social justice.

Matt Buck with Tuba

Matt Buck walked alongside a Klan rally with his sousaphone on Saturday, farting out a low, slow version of Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” as a plodding gaggle of KKK members slowly clopped toward the South Carolina State House.

His mini-protest only lasted a couple of minutes, but most of it was on video. That 95-second clip, which was taken by a stranger, has now reached 3.6 million views at press time—most of them since Tuesday morning.

Read the rest of this article here.


White Squad

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Satire

Racial Satire ‘White Squad’ Is Painfully Hilarious But All Too Real
by Aaron Barksdale
Huffington Post
July 18, 2015

This satirical ad nails everyday racial inequality.

The White Squad Ad

Meet the “White Squad” a group of well-meaning white people looking to help out people of color. The squad is introduced in a new, brilliant satire by MTV Decoded that tackles racial inequality that privileges white people and disadvantages people of color in everyday situations.

In the video above, members of the company provide a white stand-in for minorities who may encounter discrimination.

“Is your skin color holding you back? Are you tired of systemic prejudice ruining your day?” the narrator asks before before offering “professional white advantage services,” which include hailing a cab, finding a better apartment and seeking legal services.

From their paste-colored office to their all-white employees, the company insures that their whiteness will work in your favor. With a few convincing testimonials, it’s hard to believe that this isn’t an actual service.

While entertaining, the video raises some disturbing flags of actual oppression that can’t be fixed with a call to a 1-800 number.


Mexico Trumps Donald

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Satire

From Erin: Giving The Donald his due.


Donald Trump Piñatas Are a Hit In Mexico
by Jacob Davidson
Time.com
June 30, 2015

“This pinata especially is the one everyone wants to break.”

Trump Pinata

Mexicans have found a way to hit back at Donald Trump. Literally.

Reuters reports that piñatas bearing Trump’s likeness, including “a flange of blonde hair and a big mouth,” have hit store shelves in Mexico and are proving popular among customers eager to protest the billionaire’s recent remarks against immigrants.

Trump, who is a Republican candidate for president, drew criticism after declaring in his campaign announcement speech that Mexican migrants were bringing “drugs, crime, and rapists” to the United States. He later called his comments “100 percent correct,” but insisted he was a strong supporter of Mexicans. “How can I not love people who give me many millions of dollars for apartments?” Trump said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The Donald’s comments prompted piñata maker Dalton Remirez to design an extremely bashable piñata bearing Trump’s visage. The candy-filled sculpture retails for about $40, and Ramirez says it has been flying off shelves. “This piñata especially is the one everyone wants to break,” the artist told Reuters.


Scientific Fakery: Sweet Revenge

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Pranksters, Sociology and Psychology of Pranks

I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here’s How.
by John Bohannon
io9.com
May 27, 2015

“Slim by Chocolate!” the headlines blared. A team of German researchers had found that people on a low-carb diet lost weight 10 percent faster if they ate a chocolate bar every day.
SikeIt made the front page of Bild, Europe’s largest daily newspaper, just beneath their update about the Germanwings crash. From there, it ricocheted around the internet and beyond, making news in more than 20 countries and half a dozen languages. It was discussed on television news shows. It appeared in glossy print, most recently in the June issue of Shape magazine (“Why You Must Eat Chocolate Daily,” page 128). Not only does chocolate accelerate weight loss, the study found, but it leads to healthier cholesterol levels and overall increased well-being. The Bild story quotes the study’s lead author, Johannes Bohannon, Ph.D., research director of the Institute of Diet and Health: “The best part is you can buy chocolate everywhere.”

I am Johannes Bohannon, Ph.D. Well, actually my name is John, and I’m a journalist. I do have a Ph.D., but it’s in the molecular biology of bacteria, not humans. The Institute of Diet and Health? That’s nothing more than a website.

Other than those fibs, the study was 100 percent authentic. My colleagues and I recruited actual human subjects in Germany. We ran an actual clinical trial, with subjects randomly assigned to different diet regimes. And the statistically significant benefits of chocolate that we reported are based on the actual data. It was, in fact, a fairly typical study for the field of diet research. Which is to say: It was terrible science. The results are meaningless, and the health claims that the media blasted out to millions of people around the world are utterly unfounded.

Read the whole article here. And meet the man behind the hoax here.


Art as Healer

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Filed under: Creative Activism

The Incredible Ways Art Is Helping Charleston Unite After Church Massacre
Huffington Post
June 27, 2015

…In the week since the shootings, many other Charleston residents have expressed their emotions in powerful and creative ways, from thousands of people joining hands in a unity chain to making handmade signs honoring the victims…

o-SLIM-CLEMENTA-900
Panhandle Slim


saragreenstudio
Sara Green Studio, Instagram


MadeleineSchimming Madeleine Schimming, Age 7


See the whole article here.


Symbol of Hatred Bravely Removed Only To Be Immediately Replaced

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Filed under: Creative Activism

Confederate flag raised again at South Carolina Statehouse after woman climbs pole to remove it
by David Boroff, Rachelle Blidner
Daily News
June 27, 2015

aptopix-charleston-shooting-confederate-flagBree Newsome used a climbing mechanism to reach the top of the 30-foot pole. Bruce Smith/AP.

A woman climbed a flagpole and removed the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Statehouse Saturday — only to be arrested and have the banner raised again less than an hour later.

Bree Newsome scaled the 30-foot pole using a harness just after dawn as officers yelled for her to come down on the Columbia grounds, organizer Tamika Lewis told the Daily News.

“You cannot get to me with hatred and oppression and violence,” Newsome shouted from the top of the pole, according to video. “I come to do this in the name of God. This flag comes down today.”

Newsome took her time climbing down, citing prayers as she did so. When she reached the bottom, State Police took the flag out of her hands and arrested her.

Another activist, James Tyson, spotted Newsome at the bottom of the pole to make sure she didn’t fall, Lewis said. He was arrested alongside Newsome as a group of onlookers cheered off camera. Read the rest of this article here.

YouTube video from The Tribe:

Unsanctioned Bust of Edward Snowden Erected (Briefly)

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

From Deborah Thomas:


There’s a Massive, Illicit Bust of Edward Snowden Stuck to a War Monument in Brooklyn
by Bucky Turco
AnimalNewYork.com
April 6, 2015

Illicit statue of Edward Snowden erected in Brooklyn

While most people slept, a trio of artists and some helpers installed a bust of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in Brooklyn on Monday morning. The group, which allowed ANIMAL to exclusively document the installation on the condition that we hide their identities, hauled the 100-pound sculpture into Fort Greene Park and up its hilly terrain just before dawn. They fused it to part of the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument, a memorial to Revolutionary War soldiers. As of press time, the sculpture was still there.

Read the full story of the erection on AnimalNewYork.com and the very quick removal by City park officials on NYDailyNews.com.

Watch the video:

Afgan Artist Angers Her Harassers

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

Afghan artist dons armour to counter men’s street harassment
by Emma Graham-Harrison
The Guardian
12 March 2015

Kubra Khademi’s eight-minute walk in Kabul wearing steel armour that emphasised her body shape inspires anger and death threats

 Kubra Khademi was surrounded by a mainly male crowd, which threw insults and stones during her walk. Photograph: Twitter

Kubra Khademi was surrounded by a mainly male crowd, which threw insults and stones during her walk. Photograph: Twitter


It took a month for Kubra Khademi to get the armour made exactly to her design; hours spent with a quiet, patient metalworker who usually made stoves.

The performance artist was an unusual customer on a street of dusty workshops in Kabul, where she chose her craftsman for his lack of curiosity about the outrageous steel plates she sketched out.

In a deeply conservative country where women are expected to shroud their figure and almost every inch of bare skin beyond hands, face and feet, she wanted steel armour that slipped over and emphasised her breasts, belly, crotch and bottom.

“He was a quiet man,” she recalls. “He didn’t question me at first, maybe because of my attitude. Then he asked: ‘What the hell is it?’, because other people were asking him.”

It was in fact part of a vanishing occurrence in the Afghan capital: a piece of performance art, planned by 27-year-old Khademi. The armour would be both protection and a defiant rebuke to the men whose groping hands and leering remarks make Kabul’s streets uncomfortable for almost any woman who walks them unchaperoned.

Photograph: Massoud Hossaini

Photograph: Massoud Hossaini

It was also an almost unimaginable provocation in a city where pornography may be avidly consumed in private, but women’s appearance is fiercely policed in public. Her performance lasted less than 10 minutes, but pictures soon ricocheted around social media, drawing anger and death threats – genuine worries in a country where women have been murdered for working as news anchors, actors and singers.

Read the rest of this article here.


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