November 2023 Film Festival Awards for Joey Skaggs Oral History Films

Thank you Baltimore Next Media (BNM) Web Fest and The NewsFest International Film & Writers Festival for honoring films #6, #7, & #8 of the “Joey Skaggs Satire and Art Activism, 1960s to the Present and Beyond” Oral History Series:

Joey Skaggs: Metamorphosis, Cockroach Miracle Cure:
WINNER Best Documentary
WINNER Best Documentary Writer (Joey)
WINNER Best Host/Narrator (Joey)
and, cheeky as it is,
Joey Skaggs: Celebrity Sperm Bank:
HONORABLE MENTION: Best Guest Stars Richard Sher, Oprah Winfrey from “People Are Talking”, 1981

Joey Skaggs: WALK RIGHT!:
1st PLACE WINNER Best Human Interest
Joey Skaggs: Celebrity Sperm Bank:
GRAND WINNER Best Short Doc <15 Min.

The Earlville Opera House, Still Standing After All These Years

In 1971, Joey Skaggs saved a derelict opera house that was about to be torn down in Earlville New York. Today, 50+ years later, it is a thriving cultural centerpiece for Central New York. WBNG Channel 12 News covers its remarkable journey.

Earlville Opera House brings arts and culture to Chenango County for past 50 years, by Autriya Maneshni, WBNG Channel 12 News, November 20, 2023

The Earlville Opera House brings about 15 performers to Chenango County every year

EARLVILLE, NY (WBNG) — The tale of the Earlville Opera House is one of perseverance. It’s about how a group of volunteers came together to save an abandoned building from the wrecking ball.

In 1887, the opera house was housed in an old Baptist church. That structure burned down. After a second structure was built, half of that building also burned down a couple of years after it was built. The third reconstructed opera house was beloved in the community and this one felt indestructible. However, the building closed its doors in the 1950s due to the evolution of technology.

In 1971, the opera house was threatened to be demolished. With this threat looming on the horizon, it felt as though the opera house would disappear from Earlville for good. A young artist and social activist named Joey Skaggs decided this wasn’t going to happen. “If I hadn’t come along and decided to save it, it wouldn’t be there. It would be a parking lot,” said Skaggs. Read the rest of the article and watch the video here.

“Joey Skaggs: Celebrity Sperm Bank” Film Festival Screenings in August and September 2023

In 1976, Joey Skaggs’ Celebrity Sperm Bank auction went awry due to a pre-mature withdrawal!

Catch this film, which is oral history film #9 in the ongoing series “Joey Skaggs Satire and Art Activism, 1960s to the Present and Beyond at
one of two theatrical film festival screenings: August 8 in New York at the ChainNYC Film Festival or September 24 in California at the Burbank International Film Festival.

Schedule and ticket information is here.

Hitler Searched for Aryan Origins in Tibet Because of a Divine Thunderbolt. What?

When you’re a desperate despot, fantasy is apparently much more persuasive than reality.

When Nazis tried to trace Aryan race myth in Tibet, by Vaibhav Purandare, BBC, September 15, 2021

In 1938, Heinrich Himmler, a leading member of Germany’s Nazi party and a key architect of the Holocaust, sent a five-member team to Tibet to search for the origins of the supposed Aryan race. Author Vaibhav Purandare recounts the fascinating story of this expedition, which passed through India.

Bruno Beger, second left, and others at a meeting in Lhasa in Tibet in 1939, by Ullstein Bild/Getty

A little over a year before World War Two began, a group of Germans landed surreptitiously along India’s eastern borders.

They were on a mission to discover the “source of origin of the Aryan race”.

Adolf Hitler believed that “Aryan” Nordic people had entered India from the north some 1,500 years earlier, and that the Aryans had committed the “crime” of mixing with the local “un-Aryan” people, losing the attributes that had made them racially superior to all other people on earth.

Hitler regularly expressed deep antipathy for the Indian people and their struggle for freedom, articulating his sentiments in his speeches, writings and debates.

Yet, according to Himmler, one of Hitler’s top lieutenants and the head of the SS, the Indian subcontinent was still worth a close look.

This is where Tibet came into the picture. Continue reading “Hitler Searched for Aryan Origins in Tibet Because of a Divine Thunderbolt. What?”

A Look at the Probable Genesis of QAnon

When media literacy and critical thinking are absent, the world becomes a much more dangerous place. Check out this very illuminating Buzzfeed link as well (in the 2nd paragraph below).

QAnon: the Italian artists who may have inspired America’s most dangerous conspiracy theory, by Eddy Frankel, The Art Newspaper, January 19, 2021

An anonymous left-wing art group known in the 1990s as Luther Blissett are wondering what they have unwittingly helped create

Q, the 1999 novel by the anonymous Italian art collective Luther Blissett, has notable similarities with the workings of QAnon

As the US Capitol was overwhelmed by Donald Trump supporters in early January, one figure stood out: with his painted face, bare chest, fur hat and American flag-draped spear, Jake Angeli became one of the most photographed rioters of the day. He is also known as the “QAnon Shaman” and has been seen waving a “Q sent me” placard in other protests.

QAnon is America’s most dangerous conspiracy theory, and if you pull hard enough on its threads, the whole tangled mess lands, somehow, at the feet of a group of Italian artists. It might sound like a conspiracy within a conspiracy, but, as Buzzfeed first reported in 2018, chances are that QAnon, at the start at least, took inspiration from an amorphous organisation of leftist artists who, for most of the mid-1990s, called themselves Luther Blissett after the 1980s English footballer.

They used the Watford and England striker’s name as a nom de plume, perpetrating countless media hoaxes, pranks and art interventions. They started raves on trams that turned into riots, they released albums, wrote books and manifestos, they mocked, questioned and undermined the mainstream, and they grew and grew until hundreds of people around the world were calling themselves Luther Blissett.

In the process, with their media-jamming hoaxes, they helped lay the groundwork for QAnon, a conspiracy theory about a secret satanic cabal of child abusers which controls the world. During the 2016 presidential elections, it famously gave rise to the rumour that Hillary Clinton ran a paedophile ring in a pizza parlour, Comet Ping Pong. More recently, QAnon has become a mainstay of far-right protests and riots, including the US Capitol insurrection. Continue reading “A Look at the Probable Genesis of QAnon”