Caution… Satire at Work in Toronto!

posted by
Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Parody, Political Pranks, Pranksters, Satire

Apparently, Toronto’s approach to its crumbling infrastructure is “Don’t fix it if it’s broke”. Hats off to James McLeod and Tom Ruhig.

Flashback to the Joey Skaggs 1992 Brooklyn Bridge Lottery hoax 30 years ago! His “leaked” inter-office memorandum, purporting to be from New York Mayor David Dinkins, offered to sell the Brooklyn Bridge in a public lottery. Seemed that was the only way the bridge’s crumbling infrastructure would ever get restored.

Artists Parody Toronto’s Failing Infrastructure With Museum Labels, Hyperallergic, by Elaine Velie
October 13, 2022

In Toronto, museum-quality wall labels now accompany a broken water fountain, a chopped-off tree, and a sign announcing the abrupt end of a bike lane. In a project they call AusterityTO, James McLeod and Tom Ruhig placed 14 plaques on examples of failing infrastructure across the city. Ahead of Toronto’s upcoming municipal elections, AusterityTO seeks to highlight what the artists see as the shortcomings of the city’s current mayor John Tory, who is seeking a third term. Read the whole article here

Who’s Your Daddy? Supreme Court Sits in Judgement on Fair Use

posted by
Filed under: Art Pranks, Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Legal Issues, The Future of Pranks

Fair Use is at the Supreme Court with potentially huge transformative consequences to artists on both sides of the issue.

The Supreme Court meets Andy Warhol, Prince and a case that could threaten creativity, Nina Totenberg, NPR’s All Things Considered, October 12, 2022

You know all those famous Andy Warhol silk screen prints of Marilyn Monroe and Liz Taylor and lots of other glitterati? Now one of the most famous of these, the Prince series, is at the heart of a case the Supreme Court will examine… And it is a case of enormous importance to all manner of artists. Read the whole article here.

And the message is… VOTE!

posted by
Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Legal Issues, Political Challenges, Political Pranks

Loud and clear from artist Karen Fiorito

Billboard Art in Phoenix Is Tackling Abortion Bans, by Lynn Trimble. Hyperallergic, October 2, 2022

The Grand Avenue Billboard Project enables artists like Karen Fiorito to publicly express their political views.

PHOENIX — On a billboard that looms over the Grand Avenue arts district, artist Karen Fiorito has installed artworks decrying abortion bans and obstructionist politicians. One side of the billboard features the five conservative Supreme Court Justices who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, and the other highlights 11 politicians who’ve opposed legislation aimed at improving education, health care, voting rights, and more. Read the whole article here.

What’s Good for the Goose Should be Good for the Gander

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

Activist Chaz Stevens is addressing the challenge to separate church from state and keep religion out of the classroom.

An activist plans to test Texas’ ‘In God We Trust’ law with signs in Arabic, Wynne Davis, NPR, August 26, 2022

There are those who heed the warning “don’t mess with Texas,” and then there are those who do the exact opposite.

Activist Chaz Stevens is in the second group.

He’s taking on a Texas law that requires public schools to display signs and posters with the national motto “In God We Trust” in “conspicuous places.” The law requires that the signs were either donated or purchased from private donations to the school. Read the rest of this story here.

Get Your Top Secret Cover Sheet for Classified Information

posted by
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”

posted by
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

posted by
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)

posted by
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.


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

posted by
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)

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

posted by
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


Flush the Toilet Hats by Joey Skaggs

Filed under: Parody, Prank News, Pranksters, Satire

Tired of mentally torturing yourself? Flush the toilet.

Watch the video:

Activists Tanked CBS’s “The Activist”

posted by
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.

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

posted by
Filed under: Conspiracy Theories, Truth that's Stranger than Fiction

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. Read more…

Apparently, Reality is a Spectrum

posted by
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.