Tales of Cacophony: How to Make Your City a Playground

Monday, September 9, 2013 at 7:00pm

Your city is a stage. A canvas. A playground. It's a veritable dog run of overextended metaphors.

No one understood this better than the Cacophony Society. At the tail end of the 20th century, this ad hoc group of San Francisco pranksters refused to live boring lives. They climbed bridges, hosted dinner parties in tunnels, and mobbed the streets -- always running against the crowd, usually dressed up in oversized salmon costumes.

Their exploits directly inspired Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club. They took Burning Man to the Nevada Desert. And perhaps most importantly, their way of thinking, that desire to build your own life and make your own fun directly inspired a global network to do the same.

For the first time, the brand-new Tales of the San Francisco Cacophony Society documents the secret history of the most influential underground cabal you’ve never heard of. The lavishisly illustrated, luridly designed book assaults readers with exploits and lore. It's more than a book; it's a brick to shatter your ideas of what you can do in a city.

Tonight's panel features Tales of the San Francisco Cacophony Society co-authors John Law and Carrie Galbraith, along with Charlie Todd, whose Improv Everywhere carries on the spirit of early Cacophony pranks, and Ida Benedetto, founder of Wanderlust Projects, who's organized games in the Brooklyn's abandoned Domino Sugar factory. Trying to make sense of it all is moderator Jeff Stark, editor and publisher of the underground newsletter Nonsense NYC, who says the Cacophony Society ruined his life -- and he wasn't even a member.

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