Joey Skaggs, Editor


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Paul Krassner, RIP

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

Sadly, my friend Paul Krassner, satirist, activist, comedian, author, and publisher of The Realist, has passed away. Since the 1960s, he was always there for me, as I was for him.

Paul was with me on my Hippie Bus Tour To Queens and was part of my Vietnamese Christmas Nativity Burning in Central Park, both in 1968.

In 1969, he published a photo of himself standing with my Grotesque Statues of Liberty on the back cover of his book How a satirical editor became a Yippie conspirator in ten easy years.

Paul used his voice to draw attention to social injustice, inequality and challenges to our freedom. I’ll miss his satirical wit.

Here’s his full obit in The New York Times (for people who can’t access it).

[Editor’s note: The New York Times covered my Hippie Bus Tour to Queens in 1968 when it happened. Years later, in 1992, they misattributed it to Abbie Hoffman and had to print a retraction. They’ve now done it a second time in Paul’s obit. Paul was one of 60 hippies who accompanied me on the tour (Hippie Bus Tour to Queens Remembered 50 years later! by Joey Skaggs, Artsy.net). I know he’d want to set this record straight.]


Paul Krassner, Anarchist, Prankster and a Yippies Founder, Dies at 87
by Joseph Berger
The New York Times
July 21, 2019

Paul Krassner, right, in 1969 with, from left, Ed Sanders of the rock group the Fugs and Abbie Hoffman. Mr. Krassner helped start the Yippie movement and was the founder of The Realist magazine. Credit The New York Times

He was a prankster, a master of the put-on that thumbed its nose at what he saw as a stuffy and blundering political establishment. (more…)

Lawless John Law Revealed

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

John Law, co-editor of Tales of the San Francisco Cacophony Society, is a pioneering adventurer who defies gravity and the status quo. From the Suicide Club to Burning Man to the Billboard Liberation Front to the Cacophony Society and beyond, John is a true inspiration to artists and activists. He’s also a helluva driver. I’m glad to call him a friend. His one-man show “SIGNMAN: John Law” is at the Pro Arts Gallery in Oakland until August 24.


John Law, iconic Bay Area prankster, now has his own ‘art’ show
by Angela Hill
Mercury News
July 5, 2019

A famed Bay Area prankster and underground artist just got his first exhibit

Here’s the way one of John Law’s longtime cohorts describes an early encounter with the neon artist/prankster/culture jammer/urban adventurer/enigma:

It was 1982 and Mark Pauline got a phone call from Law saying he had a bunch of body parts in the refrigerator at his house and they had to get them out of there before the cops came. “Sure enough, he had a big plastic bag full of human body parts, preserved in formaldehyde,” says Pauline, director of performance art group Survival Research Labs (known for building things that spew fire and blow stuff up).

“John was in the Cacophony Society and those guys would go in abandoned buildings and do adventures,” Pauline says. “They’d gone into an abandoned mortuary college and found all these body parts left in these tubs there, so they took ‘em.”

Frankenstein-style, for another pal to tattoo and display in a big Lexan case which hung around for a while and eventually cracked and rats got in and ate all the skin. But that’s a story for another day.

“That is one of my hundreds of John Law tales,” Pauline says. “At least one we can talk about in public.”

Indeed, if you add up all the pranks and adventures and happenings Law’s been part of over the decades, it becomes a cacophonous calculus, an astronomical amalgamation of mischief in the Bay Area’s underground arts scene.

Now, Law has gone above ground for his first art show, “SIGNMAN: John Law,” a retrospective of his four-plus decades of devilish deeds, on view at Pro Arts Gallery in downtown Oakland through Aug. 24. All this despite the fact that he doesn’t really consider himself an artist and uses air quotes whenever he talks about his “work.”

So who is this man? Culture jammer? Gentleman joker? Prankster with a purpose?

“I’m an unindicted co-conspirator,” he says, a sly smile curling above his silver goatee. “But I guess I’m an artist now, since I have an art show.”

Read more…

Michael De Feo’s Flowers

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

I love telling success stories about my former SVA students. I now have the opportunity to boast about Michael De Feo. His book, “Michael De Feo: Flowers“, was just released by Abrams Books.

Michael De Feo’s dedication and singularity in the use of his iconic flower image has taken him on a creative adventure of self-discovery in a very public arena.

Michael paints flowers on walls and other public spaces. He has also appropriated advertisements, transforming them, much like billboard liberators, taggers, and graffiti artists do, to dramatically change one message to another. His choice to violate these public spaces with his decorative flowers has great irony. It’s non-threatening. One could paint bullet holes. Michael paints flowers. Bullet holes are obvious. You don’t have to think much about the message. But a flower…

The greater irony is that Michael’s work has now been appropriated by the advertisers whose campaigns he altered because of the positive attention he brings to their work. From my perspective, Michael has created a new meaning to the phrase “flower power.”

Trump Swears There Was No Parade!

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Media Pranks, Political Pranks, Prank News, Pranksters, Satire

See more photos here.

Watch the video:

Get Ready for the 34th Annual April Fools’ Day Parade!

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

Join us at the 34th Annual April Fools’ Day Parade and 3rd Annual Trumpathon, April 1, 2019. The theme this year is “Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire.” The Grand Marshall, once again, is Donald Trump, who will be wearing flaming pants and pushing his Trump Kool-Aid Cart.

Watch the prep video here:

Chased by a mob of fact-checkers screaming, “Liar, liar, pants on fire!” Trump will steer the parade to Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue where the crowd of Trump look-alikes will toast his greatness while drinking his Kool-Aid.

The parade leaves from 5th Avenue & 59th Street at 12:00 Noon and will make one stop at Trump Tower to toast the President with his own Kool-Aid.

Read the details and print a Trump mask to bring to the parade here:
https://joeyskaggs.com/april-fools-day-parade-press-release.

Joey Skaggs Remembers His 1994 National Enquirer Hoax

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Illusion and Magic, Media Literacy, Media Pranks, Pranksters, Truth that's Stranger than Fiction

Note to Jeff Bezos: Take a page from me and screw the National Enquirer!


In 1994, after The New York Times Magazine published John Tierney’s article, Falling For It, about my Dog Meat Soup hoax, the National Enquirer called and said they were doing a profile about me. They wanted an exclusive photo shoot. Not liking or respecting this publication, I declined. They said they were going to do the story with or without any assistance from me. So, I sent an impostor to two different photo shoots.

They published this story:

Page Six of the New York Post exposed the hoax:



Full details of the National Enquirer hoax are here
.

The Great Jimmy Page Robbie Williams London Times Hoax

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Fact or Fiction?, Media Pranks, Prank News, Pranksters, You Decide

This is an amusing, ridiculous, and absurd story. But more importantly, it’s an example of how a story can grow from a snowflake into an avalanche. Particularly when the media is interested in nothing more than creating click-bait to enhance its bottom line.

It started with this tweet:

The next day I was contacted numerous times by Harry Shukman, a London Times journalist, wanting to know if I was responsible for a letter sent to the Kensington and Chelsea borough in the UK purporting that singer songwriter Robbie Williams (the former Take That star) has been mocking Jimmy Page (of Led Zeppelin fame) with ridiculous stunts because Page has been trying for five years to protect his historic mansion from potential damage that could be caused by Williams’ proposed construction of an underground pool next door.

In other words, he wanted to know if the whole thing was a hoax perpetrated by me. (more…)

Alan Abel, RIP

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Filed under: Media Pranks, Political Pranks, Practical Jokes and Mischief, Prank News, Pranksters, The History of Pranks

Better check the coffin!


Alan Abel, Hoaxer Extraordinaire, Is (on Good Authority) Dead at 94
by Margalit Fox
The New York Times
Sept. 17, 2018

Credit Larry Stoddard/Associated Press

Alan Abel, a professional hoaxer who for more than half a century gleefully hoodwinked the American public — not least of all by making himself the subject of an earnest news obituary in The New York Times in 1980 — apparently actually did die, on Friday, at his home in Southbury, Conn. He was 94.

His daughter, Jenny Abel, said the cause was complications of cancer and heart failure.

Mr. Abel’s putative 1980 death, orchestrated with his characteristic military precision and involving a dozen accomplices, had been confirmed to The Times by several rigorously rehearsed confederates. One masqueraded as the grieving widow. Another posed as an undertaker, answering fact-checking calls from the newspaper on a dedicated phone line that Mr. Abel had installed, complete with its own directory-information business listing.

After the obituary was published, Mr. Abel, symbolically rising from the grave, held a gleeful news conference, and a much-abashed Times ran a retraction.

This time around, Mr. Abel’s death was additionally confirmed by the Regional Hospice and Palliative Care in Connecticut, which said it had tended to him in his last days, and Carpino Funeral Home in Southbury, which said it was overseeing the arrangements.

Read the rest of this article here.

John Wilcock, RIP

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Media Literacy

Lost another friend from long ago…

Update: Nice link from Rich Gedney of an article by Michael O’Connell in It’s All Journalism about John Wilcock (includes a 2017 audio interview):
It’s All Journalism: Underground Press Pioneer John Wilcock, 91, Dies


John Wilcock, Pioneer of the Underground Press, Dies at 91
by Robert D. McFadden
The New York Times
September 13, 2018

John Wilcock, a British journalist and travel writer who played a major role in the emergence of the alternative press at The Village Voice, The East Village Other and the Underground Press Syndicate, died on Thursday at a care facility in Ojai, Calif. He was 91.

He died after several strokes, said his biographer, Ethan Persoff.

In the 1960s and early ’70s, a freewheeling age of psychedelic drugs and antiwar protests, Mr. Wilcock led two lives. He was both the author of many “$5 a day” travel books and a driving force behind underground publications that, spurning traditional journalism, attacked political, social and cultural norms with bawdy language and comic-book imagery, all of it financed by sexually explicit advertising.

In a 1973 profile, The New York Times called Mr. Wilcock “an influential man nobody knows,” an “oracle of the nitty-gritty of inexpensive, traditional tourism” and “an apostle and chronicler of the radical underground” — although, the article noted, he looked “a bit too scruffy for a best-selling travel writer and far too straight for an underground celebrity.”

Mr. Wilcock had worked for news organizations in Britain, Canada and the United States, including The Times, and was the first news editor of The Village Voice before he helped found The East Village Other in 1965. The paper was named for Carl Jung’s definition of “the other” as “one who is outside society.”

The Other, known as EVO to its devotees, was one of the nation’s first underground newspapers. Published biweekly in New York until it folded in 1972, it had a circulation of 60,000 at its peak.

Read the rest of the article here.

Trump Military Parade Kicks Off NYC’s 33rd Annual April Fools’ Day Parade

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Political Pranks, Prank News, Pranksters

No need to spend tens of millions for Trump’s Military Parade. The 33rd Annual April Fools’ Day Parade just did it and it was a “huuuuge” success! Thank you Vladimir and Kim for coming. Even Stormy stepped out with us. Thanks to all the staging and marching troops!

Kim Jong Un, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump at Trump’s Military Parade, April 1, 2018. Joey Skaggs Archive

Trump’s Military Parade begins, April 1, 2018. Joey Skaggs Archive

Trump and friends at Trump’s Military Parade, April 1, 2018. Joey Skaggs Archive

The entire parade takes a knee at Trump Tower during Trump’s Military Parade, April 1, 2018. Joey Skaggs Archive

The crowd swells with pride at Trump’s Military Parade, April 1, 2018. Joey Skaggs Archive

No Trump Military Parade would be complete without Stormy Daniels there to spank President Trump with his magazine. Joey Skaggs Archive

More photos by Erik R, McGregor here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm9iB7Hd

Join the Trumps’ Military Procession, April 1, 59th & 5th Ave NYC

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

President Trump wants you to spend tens of millions of dollars for his narcissistic, self-aggrandizing and unnecessary military parade. We can do it for a whole lot less.

Join our army of irreverent pranksters for a satirical April Fools’ Day Parade on April 1, 2018 at noon (sharp) at 59th Street and 5th Avenue in NYC. Print your trump mask or we’ll have one for you, and bring your military toys, tanks, helicopters and dolls. We’ll march two blocks to Trump Tower where the whole parade will take a knee. Click for details.

Trump’s Military Parade Extravaganza Set for April 1, 2018

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

Event Alert!
New York City’s 33rd Annual April Fools’ Day Parade &
2nd Annual Trumpathon!
“TAKE A KNEE!”

If you’re in New York City on Sunday, April 1, 2018, join the April Fools’ Day Trump Military Parade and show the world how grandiose and out of touch America’s leader really is.

Bring your artillery! All military toys, tanks, planes, helicopters and GI Joe soldiers are needed. Help us amass the largest assembly of military might the world has ever seen for President Donald Trump’s tremendous and amazing Military Parade.

All marching personnel will have Donald Trump look-like masks and will march from 5th Ave. and 59th St. to Trump Tower to take a knee. Download and print a Trump mask here. If you can’t print a mask, we’ll have one for you.

Please spread the word! @artoftheprank

WHAT:
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 parade this year will be a massive "TRUMP MILIARY PARADE" celebrating our president’s greatest fixation — himself.

The public is encouraged to participate, in or out of costume, with or without floats, and may join the procession at any point along the parade route. Floats can be no wider than 10′ and no longer than 30′. They can be self-propelled, towed, pushed or pulled. Customized bicycles, tricycles, baby carriages and aerial balloons are welcome. The parade will start at 59th St. and Fifth Ave. at 12 noon, and will pass by Trump Tower at 12:15 pm where everyone will take a knee. The Parade Committee assumes no liability for damages caused by satire.

WHY:
The New York April Fools’ Day Parade was created in 1986 to remedy a glaring omission in the long list of New York’s ethnic and holiday parades. These events fail to recognize the importance of April 1st, the day designated to commemorate the folly of mankind. In an attempt to bridge this gap and bring people back in touch with their inherent foolishness, the parade annually crowns a King or Queen of Fools from parading look-alikes.

WHEN/WHERE:
Sunday, April 1, from 12 noon – 3 pm

  • Parade begins at 5th Avenue & 59th Street and marches down 5th Avenue to Washington Square Park
  • There will be one stop at Trump Tower at 5th Avenue between 57th and 56th Street where the entire parade will take a knee
  • FULL PRESS RELEASE: http://aprilfoolsdayparade.com

    FACEBOOK EVENT: Please share on Facebook

    TWITTER: @artoftheprank

    FOR MORE INFORMATION:
    Joey Skaggs, April Fools’ Day Parade Committee Chair
    Phone: 212-254-7878
    info@joeyskaggs.com

    Announcing NYC’s 33rd Annual April Fools’ Day Parade

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

    Come one, come all and help make this the largest military parade ever!


    The New York April Fools’ Committee Is Proud to Announce:

    NEW YORK CITY’S 33rd ANNUAL APRIL FOOLS’ DAY PARADE

    “TAKE A KNEE!”

    New York's irreverent April Fools' Day Parade poking fun at the past year's displays of hype, hypocrisy, deceit, bigotry, and downright foolishness, returns! For the 33rd year, participants will bring outrageous floats and dress up in colorful costumes to mirror the folly of the nuttiest politicians, corporate leaders, celebrities and whoever else has proved to be a total fool in the past year. If it rains, marchers are encouraged to decorate umbrellas with slogans or images so their messages can be seen by people looking out their windows from above. Nothing is sacred. Our satire knows no bounds.

    The theme for this year's parade is "TAKE A KNEE!" The parade will begin at 5th Avenue and 59th Street at 12 noon, Sunday, April 1, 2018. The procession will march down 5th Avenue, pause at Trump Tower at 56th Street and 5th where participants will, in spirit with Colin Kaepernick, "take a knee" in solidarity against police abuse. It will then proceed downtown to Washington Square Park for the climactic crowning of the King of Fools.

    Last year's April Fools' Day Parade "Trumpathon"-the world's largest gathering of masked Donald Trump look-alikes was so successful that organizers vowed to repeat it. Get your Donald Trump look-alike mask here. Print it, cut it out and wear it to the parade: http://aprilfoolsdayparade.com/trumpmask.pdf. The parade committee will have hundreds of extra masks on hand in case you need one. We're going for a new world record for the largest assembly of Donald Trump look-alikes. Please tweet @artoftheprank and invite all your friends to this Second Annual Trumpathon! (more…)

    RIP Jim Hosking, 1941-2018

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    Filed under: Art Pranks, The History of Pranks

    Sad to say, friend and co-conspirator Jim Hosking passed away.

    Jim Hosking (l) with Joey Skaggs (r), E. 3rd Street, NY, 1965

    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.