Archive for December 13th, 2011

December 13, 2011

Carts of Darkness

shopping cart by Taizo Yamamoto

Carts of Darkness‘ is a 2008 National Film Board of Canada documentary film by Murray Siple about a group of homeless men in North Vancouver, who use shopping carts to collect bottles and cans to return for money and also race down the city’s steep slope for thrills. The subjects in the film control the carts using only their weight and one foot, during descents that cross intersections, with top speeds claimed to be as high as 70 km/h.

Siple, a former director of extreme sports videos and avid skateboarder and snowboarder, became a quadriplegic after a car accident in 1996. His first film after his accident, ‘Carts of Darkness’ allowed the filmmaker to regain the excitement he had experienced with extreme sports as well as relate to a fellow group of outsiders.

December 13, 2011

Fools Guild

dr whiteface

The Fools Guild is a Los Angeles organization themed around the medieval and renaissance idea of the Court jester. It’s central activity is producing three annual parties on Halloween, New Year’s Eve, and April Fool’s Day.

The Guild was born in 1979 at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire of Southern California, where the original improvisational team met while performing as jesters, jugglers, pass-the-hat-acts, and mimes. In 1982 they moved to West Hollywood, renting a house with a giant main room and very high ceilings, where the Fools began to host parties, workshops and other performance-centered events. Very quickly a social club of comedic performers evolved and the house became known as the Guild Hall.

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December 13, 2011

Cacophony Society

tales of the san francisco cacophony society by Kevin Evans

The Cacophony Society is ‘a randomly gathered network of free spirits united in the pursuit of experiences beyond the pale of mainstream society.’ It was started in 1986 by surviving members of the now defunct Suicide Club of San Francisco, a secret society devoted to urban exploration and anarchic pranks. Cacophony has been described as an indirect culture jamming outgrowth of the Dada movement, and the Situationists. One of its central concepts is the ‘Trip to the Zone,’ inspired by the 1979 Film ‘Stalker’ by Andrey Tarkovskiy.

According to self-designated members of the Society, ‘you may already be a member.’ The anarchic nature of the Society means that membership is left open-ended and anyone may sponsor an event, though not every idea pitched garners attendance by members. Cacophony events often involve costumes and pranks in public places and sometimes going into places that are off limits to the public. Cacophonists have been known to regale Christmas shoppers with improved Christmas carols while dressed as Santa Claus, and later invite strippers to sit on Santa’s lap at their annual SantaCon event.

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December 13, 2011

Suicide Club

suicide club


The Suicide Club was a secret society in San Francisco credited as the first modern extreme urban exploration (urbex) society, and also known for anarchic group pranks. The club was founded by Gary Warne in 1977 as a course he taught at the ‘Communiversity’ in San Francisco, part of the Free School Movement, and it lasted until shortly before Warne’s death in 1983.

Events generally started and ended in Warne’s used paperback bookstore, Circus of the Soul. The name of the Suicide Club was inspired by three stories written by Robert Louis Stevenson, where men who want to die belong to a club, where each evening one of them is randomly selected for death. The name belied the gentle albeit zany nature of its members, who had a predilection towards light-hearted practical jokes.

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December 13, 2011



SantaCon is a mass gathering of people dressed in Santa Claus costumes parading publicly on streets and in bars in cities around the world. The focus is on spontaneity and creativity, while having a good time and spreading cheer and goodwill. Sometimes known as Naughty Santas, Cheapsuit Santas, Santarchy, Santapalooza, and Santa Rampage, SantaCon incorporates elements of a flash mob in the context of cheerful bawdy and harmless behavior, the singing of naughty Christmas carols, and the giving of small gifts to strangers. In 2005, a more violent version of the event occurred when participants in New Zealand rioted, looting stores, throwing bottles at passing cars, and assaulting security guards.

In 1994, the Suicide Club (a secret society in San Francisco credited as the first modern extreme urban exploration society, and also known for anarchic group pranks) staged the first ‘Santarchy,’ which was later adopted as Santacon by offshoot the Cacophony Society (a randomly gathered network of free spirits united in the pursuit of experiences beyond the pale of mainstream society). Influenced by the surrealist movement, Discordianism, and other subversive art currents, the Cacophonists celebrated the Yule season in a distinctly anti-commercial manner, by mixing guerrilla street theater and pranksterism.

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