The World of the Prank

The artist as social provocateur and activist incorporates humor, satire, irony, political commentary and/or direct action to provoke critical thinking. Pranks challenge convention and the status quo and expose prejudices and biases.

Blog Posts

Get Your Top Secret Cover Sheet for Classified Information

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

A gift from Joey Skaggs:

Just like Ex-President Donald Trump, you can have your very own Classified Top Secret Cover Sheet. Use it to secure your private papers or gift it to other people so they can protect their documents too.

Download and print your Top Secret Cover Sheet here.

And, if you don’t already have one, print your own customizable and framable Donald J. Trump Presidential Pardon created by artist Joey Skaggs (just change out his name for yours).

September Film Festival Screenings of “Joey Skaggs: Metamorphosis, Cockroach Miracle Cure”

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Media Pranks, Parody, Political Pranks, Prank News, Pranksters, Satire, The Prank as Art, What Makes a Good Prank?, Why Do a Prank?

There are two great film festival opportunities to watch “Joey Skaggs: Metamorphosis, Cockroach Miracle Cure“, the sixth film in the new oral history web series, “Joey Skaggs Satire and Art Activism, 1960s to the Present and Beyond“:

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

  
 
The first, the International Social Change Film Festival, starts on Monday, September 12, 2022 with an online-only screening available for a month. Later in the Fall this festival will have in-person screenings. The time and place are TBA.
 
 
On September 30, 2022, the New Jersey International Film Festival will host an in-person screening at 7pm. Starting at midnight the same day, the film is available for online streaming for 24 hours. Details are here.

Coverage in New Jersey Stage: Cockroaches, Hidden Worlds, Dancing to Agatha Christie, and Forgotten Children are among Highlights of New Jersey Film Festival in September, by Gary Wien, New Jersey Stage, September 2, 2022
 
 

The Earlville Opera House Celebrates its 50th Anniversary

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Filed under: Creative Activism

In 1971, Joey Skaggs heard about a beautiful 1890s opera house in Earlville, New York, that was going to be torn down and replaced with a parking lot.

To save it, preserve it, and attempt to return it to its former glory, he bought it. He then donated it to a passionate group of young local people with the stipulation that it would never be sold for a profit and that it would only be used as a cultural performance and art center. Joey’s full story about the opera house is here.

Today, in 2022, the Earlville Opera House is thriving and will celebrate its golden anniversary on September 24, 2022.

Congratulations are due to everyone over the years who has helped this incredible cultural treasure to thrive!

Proclamation excerpt:

Announcing New York City’s 37th Annual April Fools’ Day Parade (2022)

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

The 37th Annual New York April Fools’ Day Parade goes worldwide and kicks off early with a call to everyone to activate everywhere.

“MASK UP. HELP STOP THE SPREAD OF PUTIN!”

This year, New York’s beloved annual April Fools’ Day Parade, which pokes fun at outrageous displays of dishonesty, greed, hypocrisy, deceit, and bigotry, is going global. For the past 36 years, the public has been invited to create outrageous floats and dress up as look-alikes in colorful costumes to reflect the folly of duplicitous politicians, crooked corporate leaders, superficial celebrities, and whoever else has proven to be a total fool in the past year. The parade, which has always been a protest against war, corruption, propaganda and deceit, has marched down 5th Avenue from 57th Street to Washington Square Park for the crowning of the King of Fools.

This past year has provided no shortage of fools to choose from, but nothing can top the most egregious, corrupt, exploitive, vile and horrific actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The theme of the 2022 parade is “MASK UP. HELP STOP THE SPREAD OF PUTIN!” and we’re not waiting for Friday, April 1st, to start the parade. People everywhere are encouraged to activate IMMEDIATELY.

We stand with the people of Ukraine and with Russians who oppose Putin’s despotic aggression. To help make their voices heard, we’re offering these Putin masks to download, share, print, wear, and put in public places everywhere.

Individual masks and instructions for use are here.

Says Parade organizer Joey Skaggs, “Use your freedom to express yourself. Silence is consent.”

Catch It While You Can…”Joey Skaggs: Fish Condos” at the New Jersey Film Festival

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

Bait your hook and land a great fish story — “Joey Skaggs: Fish Condos”, the short doc with a big message! Available online for 24 hours starting February 11, 2022 at midnight.

Don’t miss this chance to see “Joey Skaggs: Fish Condos”, Episode #5 of the new Oral History Series, “Joey Skaggs Satire and Art Activism”. The 19 minute film is streaming as part of the New Jersey Film Festival Short Program 2 and will be available for 24 hours anywhere, starting tonight at midnight.

Here’s a beautifully insightful review by Justin Almodivar in today’s New Jersey Stage Magazine.

Plus, Our Favorite Stories In Film – An Interview With Joey Skaggs.

RIP Jim Walton (1941-2021)

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

I’ve lost another dear friend and co-conspirator to the great cosmos.

Jim Walton in 2019:

Jim Walton in 1987:

Jim was with me for my Vietnamese Christmas Nativity Burning in 1968. Although I had attained a Film Permit for the event in Central Park, the police refused to honor it and arrested numerous “actor” friends including Sam Reeves (left) and Jim Walton (right) for “littering”.

He also, among other things, helped me hang my Fifty Foot Brassiere across the U.S. Treasury Building on Wall Street in 1969.

Watch the video:

A man of many talents and passions from the terrestrial to the celestial, he was always ready to engage in the absurd. A painter, sculptor, jeweler, photographer, astronomer and more, he shared his life with and was greatly loved by a wide swath of creative souls. I will forever miss him.

Joey Skaggs, Jim Walton, Jerry Ida, 1968. Photo by Tetsu Okuhara

“Joey Skaggs: Bad Guys Talent Management Agency” to Screen at Maui Film Festival

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

From November 17 to December 8, 2021, ANYONE, ANYWHERE can stream the 3rd episode of the new Joey Skaggs oral history series, “Joey Skaggs: Bad Guys Talent Management Agency”, at the Maui Film Festival Speed of Light Virtual Cinema, in Short Film Program #2.

In this short doc, Joey tells a hilarious story about helping his friend Verne Williams become an actor.

Tickets are available here

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Flush the Toilet Hats by Joey Skaggs

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Filed under: Parody, Prank News, Pranksters, Satire

Tired of mentally torturing yourself? Flush the toilet.

Watch the video:

Activists Tanked CBS’s “The Activist”

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Filed under: Co-option (If You Can't Beat 'Em...), Creative Activism, Hype, Political Challenges, Spin

Reality TV got caught trying to be real. CBS was casting for a new reality TV show called The Activist where social issue crusaders would be pitted against each other. h/t Naomi

POSTSCRIPT: The loud outcry against this pathetically bad idea resulted in a complete reconfiguring of the show.


Inside ‘The Activist’ Meltdowns as the Entire Shitshow Spiraled Out of Control, by Cheyenne Roundtree. The Daily Beast, September 15, 2021

The backlash against “The Activist” continues, with an open letter and response from host Julianne Hough. The Daily Beast spoke with two activists who were approached by the show.

Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway

It took just a few hours for CBS’s new reality competition The Activist to be globally panned. A Frankenstein mashup of a Hunger Games-style dystopian world mixed with hints of Survivor and The Apprentice, the show places six activists into teams and pairs them with a “high-profile public figure” to duke it out in challenges to promote their various causes. At the end of the five-episode series, they will have the chance to pitch their cause at the G20 Summit in Rome. Whoever secures the most funding wins the show.

Instead of world leaders or any sort of mission-driven experts being tapped to host the show, Usher, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Julianne Hough will serve as co-hosts and offer up advice to the contestants.

The Daily Beast reviewed the six contestants’ social media accounts—including TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram profiles—which were all created in August. One posted, “Help me win by commenting and liking my posts through the next few missions!” Another contestant thanked his followers for donating to his GoFundMe, which went towards covering the unpaid time off he took as an elementary teacher in order to compete on the show.

Needless to say, the announcement of a show that pits serious causes against one another and then relies on superficial social media metrics to determine which campaign is more successful—in the middle of global pandemic—did not go over well.

Read the rest here.

Apparently, Reality is a Spectrum

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Filed under: Fraud and Deception, Media Pranks, Parody, Prank News, Pranksters, Spin

Fictional ‘influencers’ with millions of followers are taking over TikTok, by Andrew Court, New York Post, October 12, 2021

“Sydney,” “Tia” and “Ollie.”

Some social media influencers appear to lead lives that seem too good to be true — and now it turns out that that’s actually the case.

Over the past eight months, entertainment startup FourFront has created 22 fictional “TikTok influencers,” hiring writers to craft their scripts and real-life actors to play them.

Each day, the actors upload new videos to the respective TikTok accounts, detailing their characters’ latest fictional exploits for hundreds of thousands of followers.

Collectively, the characters have amassed a whopping 281 million video views, Insider reports, with FourFront creating a new frontier in scripted storytelling on the social media app.

Read the rest of the story here.

It Was In The Cards…

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

39 years after JoJo, the King of the New York Gypsies and leader of Gypsies Against Stereotypical Propaganda (G.A.S.P), launched a media campaign calling for the renaming of the Gypsy Moth, The New York Times reports that the Entomological Society of America is removing gypsy moth as its recognized common name (pdf of NY Times article).

The full story is on joeyskaggs.com.

Brilliant Anti-Gun Violence Activism

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

Former NRA President David Keene, and gun rights activist John Lott neglected to do their own background checks when they were invited to speak at the graduation ceremony of a non-existent high school in Las Vegas.


A Parkland Victim’s Dad Tricked A Former NRA President Into Speaking At A Fake Graduation, by Amber Jamieson, Buzzfeed News, June 23, 2021

Instead, the 3,044 empty seats represented the students who did not graduate this year because they were killed by gun violence.

In a speech to the James Madison Academy 2021 graduating class, David Keene, a former NRA president and current board member of the gun rights group, called on the teens to fight those looking to implement tighter gun restrictions.

“I’d be willing to bet that many of you will be among those who stand up and prevent those from proceeding,” he said, to a Las Vegas stadium of thousands of socially distanced chairs on June 4.

“An overwhelming majority of you will go on to college, while others may decide their dream dictates a different route to success,” said Keene. “My advice to you is simple enough: follow your dream and make it a reality.”

In a speech to the James Madison Academy 2021 graduating class, David Keene, a former NRA president and current board member of the gun rights group, called on the teens to fight those looking to implement tighter gun restrictions.

“I’d be willing to bet that many of you will be among those who stand up and prevent those from proceeding,” he said, to a Las Vegas stadium of thousands of socially distanced chairs on June 4.

“An overwhelming majority of you will go on to college, while others may decide their dream dictates a different route to success,” said Keene. “My advice to you is simple enough: follow your dream and make it a reality.”

The full article and more videos are here, complete with former NRA President David Keene’s, author and gun rights activist John Lott’s self-righteous perspective on the prank.

A Culinary Triumph with Wool

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

Behind the scenes video showing how Andrea Love’s latest Cooking with Wool installment came together.

Find more of Andrea Love’s incredible stop motion with wool videos here.

The Guerrilla Girls Are Asking:

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

“Are there more naked women than women artists in museums?”
The Male Graze


ACTIVISM: Does art imitate life or life imitate art?, by Anne Douglas, Morning Star Online, June 25, 2021

That’s the question posed by no-holds-barred activists The Guerrilla Girls in their latest assault on male behaviour in the arts

Pic credit: Rob Melen, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea

GUERRILLA GIRLS, the anonymous group of US feminist female artists devoted to fighting sexism and racism within the art world, are bringing their unique form of “culture jamming” to billboard displays across Britain.

They formed in New York City in 1985 with the mission of highlighting gender and racial inequality in the visual arts community and, to remain anonymous, members don gorilla masks and use pseudonyms referencing deceased female artists.

Their latest project involves large-scale billboards across Britain in iconic locations from Glasgow Barrowlands to London Bridge, countryside locations and seaside towns until July 18.

They are part of The Male Graze which explores bad male behaviour through the lens of art history.

“What art historians call the male gaze, the masculine, heterosexual perspective in European and American art, mostly by white men, that depicts women as sexual objects for the pleasure of the male viewer, we call The Male Graze,” The Guerrilla Girls said.

“Lots of women are naked in post-colonial Western art. Some are idle: sleeping, splayed out on beds and couches, lounging around with their friends, bathing and maybe even dancing.

“When active, there is usually a sexual element present — voyeurism, seduction, harassment, assault, rape and sometimes murder.

Read the full article here.

Proof You Can Fool Some of the People Most of the Time

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Filed under: Media Pranks, Prank News, Pranksters, Publicity Stunts, Urban Legends

Russian official admits staging bogus yeti sightings to attract tourists to Siberia, by Yaron Steinbuch, New York Post, April 9, 2021

Aman Tuleev with Vladimir Makuta (right) and a man dressed in yeti costume.

It was an abominable Russian snow job.

Aman Tuleyev — one of President Vladimir Putin’s longest-serving regional leaders — has copped to arranging bogus sightings of the yeti to attract tourists in Siberia, East2West News reported.

Tuleyev, 76, who was governor of Kemerovo Oblast from 1997 to 2018, ordered a tall bureaucrat to wear an Abominable Snowman outfit so he could be spotted in the bushes by visitors to the cash-strapped Siberian region.

Read the rest here.