Tales of the San Francisco Cacophony Society (英語) ハードカバー – 2013/5/15
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This book will prove to be a template for pranksters, artists, adventurers and anyone interested in rampant creativity, for years to come. Tales Of The San Francisco Cacophony Society is a retelling in period images and words of the history of the most influential underground cabal that you have never heard of. Rising from the ashes of the mysterious and legendary Suicide Club, The Cacophony Society, at its zenith, hosted chapters in over a dozen major cities, and influenced much of what was once called the underground. Flash Mobs, Urban Exploration, and Culture Jamming are a few of the pop culture trends that Cacophony helped kick off. Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club, Burning Man and Internet social networking powerhouse Laughing Squid were informed and inspired by Cacophony. The Burning Man Festival actually began as a Cacophony event as did the annual, and now world-wide SantaCon. Cacophony events could range from something as simple as climbing the Golden Gate Bridge or having a discussion over drinks about a movie seen together, to something as elaborate as The Atomic Cafe - an event involving a hundred bedraggled "nuclear holocaust Survivors" mounting elaborate costumed rituals throughout the bowels of a massive abandoned tooth paste factory. Yes.... Cacophony was that strange. Cacophony's heyday was concurrent with the rise of the internet. The story of this group is of historical significance for this reason. Information about upcoming pranks, street theater and other events hosted by Cacophony was spread by paper flyers posted on telephone poles and left in coffee shops, by the Societies mailer "Rough Draft" and by word of mouth. Then, with the genesis of personal computing and social networking, the jokers, artists and troublemakers of Cacophony were among some of the first non-geeks to explore the power of this new and world changing way of communicating. Burning Man, Urban Exploration, flash mobs and the like were avenues of creativity with their roots in Cacophony, that spread like wildfire through the mechanism of these new communication technologies. This book is a large format, full color, hardbound homage to this protean group. Tales of San Francisco Cacophony is replete with original art, never before published photographs, original documents, incredulous news accounts and is beautifully laid out by Carrie Galbraith with color illustrations by Kevin Evans and end plates by noted artist and Cacophonist Winston Smith.
"Find out what you are afraid of and go live there" -- Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
"A book every lover of eccentricity and enemy of the status quo should enjoy." -- Margaret Cho
... that said, this tome fills in some of the cultural cracks that have appeared over the last 20 years or so - Cacophony turns out to be the secret glue between Burning Man, FIGHT CLUB, flash mobs, media pranks, EXTREME sports, and probably many, many more cultural niches. Until now, Cacophony has been an open secret; not completely unknown, but a part of another story... just look at the various books and articles that've been written about Burning Man over the past decade.
Thankfully, due to the efforts of Brer Law, Brer Evans and Sister Galbraith, who opened up their vaults and memories, and beat the bushes for other Cacophonists to do likewise, we now have this thick (but somehow, still too short) history of Cacophony - from its origins in The Suicide Club (like the Cacophony Society, but smaller and even more badass than Cacophony) to the start of Cacophony and how it gradually evolved through the 90's to the present day.
Obviously, even 320 pages isn't even enough to contain every single event, although the editors do their best to give a good representation - obviously those interested in Burning Man will grab copies (and be thoroughly schooled in the real history of How It Came To Be); there's also Santacon, Zone Trips, Atomic Cafes, The Great Car Hunt, Let Them Eat Cake, Moonlight Walks, Midnight Sewer Tours... and even more events that I had no idea of at the time!
If there's any real criticism to be thrown their way, it's that it's NOT NEARLY ENOUGH! And while that is praise indeed to have one's audience wanting more after being thoroughly stuffed with such a repast, I'm certain that they are relieved that the process is over, after the massive effort put into TALES... and since all of the editors ARE armed, I think that keeping them happy is probably the wiser course of action. That said, however, there could be a bit more about The Billboard Liberation Front -- but I suspect that there's probably a book brewing in someone's head about them, to appear in the near future. In fact, TALES will probably kick off a small series of other books that'll throw some detailed attention to some of those groups/events mentioned - especially as most of the statutes of limitations finally expire.
For me, TALES OF THE SF CACOPHONY SOCIETY is like looking at a photo album/scrapbook of an extended family that I don't get to see as often as was possible - but it's more than just a nostalgia trip. It's a record of what can happen when a few like-minded folks decide to get together and DO something, with no regards towards 'the bottom line' or 'how can I make some money off of this'... of course, some of that came later, with various outcomes for some, but it all started in a pure space. And although some of the things documented are hard to conceive of nowadays - 9/11 has heightened suspicion and we're much more a surveillance culture than at the time of SF Cacophony - it just points the way to make your own Cacophony for the 21st Century.