Category Archives: Literary

Upcoming Book Readings & Events

Alameda Books incMarch 14th, 2014 7 PM Books Inc in Alameda

A full panel of all the editors !
The Cacophony Society, at its zenith, hosted chapters in over a dozen major cities, and influenced much of what was once called the underground, going on to influence a range of art and activities including Burning Man, SantaCon, and Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club, amongst other things. Learn the vivid history of this eccentric amalgamation with the lushly beautiful, Tales of the San Francisco Cacophony Society and Cacophonists Carrie Galbraith, Kevin Evans, and John Law.

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Book Readings 2013

spain-influencers-bullonfireNovember 2013 
The Influencers 2013 – Art unconventional guerrilla communication, radical entertainment –
Barcelona, Spain!
Arte no convencional, guerrilla de la comunicación, entretenimiento radical

7, 8 y 9 de noviembre de 2013
Evento especial inauguración 7 de noviembre 19h
Centro de Cultura Contemporánea de Barcelona
Entrada gratuita ( free entry)

Elbo Room 6PM Saturday Oct 19th
S.F. Cacophony Society reads from Tales of the San Francisco Cacophony at LitQuake.

Hear amazing true stories written for the book and read by co-authors Carrie Galbraith & John Law and by book contributors Stuart Mangrum, Steve Mobia and Marc Weber.

Lit Quake Flyer

Sunday October 20th 3:45 PM
San Francisco Art Institute
800 Chestnut St., San Francisco

Main auditorium
1) Cacophony Presentation at SFAI includes a rich slide presentation and talk by Tales of the San Francisco Cacophony Society co-authors Carrie Galbraith and John Law on Cacophony, the Suicide Club and related groups over the course of 30 years.
2) Artist and Cacophonist Wiston Smith will recount a tale from his pranking days with the group.

3) SFAI’s Mark Van Proyen will then moderate a discussion with the authors and field questions from the audience.


G-Town Radio -Morning Feed with Ed- Sept 6th – 9 AM to 1030 AM
Reading and Book Signing John Law and Carrie Galbraith – Germantown – iMPERfECT Gallery – Sept 6th – 6:30 PM to 10 PM – Krampus characters, International Mail Art, bike rodeo types, along with food trucks and music at 1st Fridays in Germantown – Philadelphia, PA
NYC -> Housing Works Cafe and Bookstore – Sept 9th
Brooklyn, NYC -> Nonsense NYC – RSVP Required –Sept 10th
Brooklyn, NYC -> Desert Island Books – 8 PM – Sept 11th
San Francisco – Commonwealth Club – Chuck Palahniuk and the SF Cacophony Society: Creating Culture from Mayhem – Mon, Sep 23 2013 – 7:30pm


Plans are afoot for an big event in San Francisco so check back!

[pl_alertbox] September 9, 2013
Housing Works Cafe and Bookstore

126 Crosby Street, Manhattan
7-8:30p; $free [/pl_alertbox]

[pl_alertbox]September 10, 2013
Gemini and Scorpio Loft
RSVP for address
Gowanus, Brooklyn
8p; $10 [/pl_alertbox]



[/pl_alertbox] Tales of Cacophony: How to Make Your City a Playground

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, co-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.


More Details: Facebook
Nonsense NYC
[/pl_alertbox]Nonsense NYC presents:
John Law: Scaling Big Bridges
John Law is obsessed with bridges. He’s studied them, written about them, and worked on them. And he’s climbed them. A lot of them. Without permission.
Law is an adventurer. An urban explorer before anyone had heard of the term. He started climbing bridges with the Suicide Club in San Francisco in the mid 1970s and continued with the Cacophony Society in the 1980s and 1990s. Along the way, he scaled massive spanners around the world, including every major bridge in New York. And he took his camera.
Law’s lecture tonight features spectacularly lucky photography to accompany his amusing, improbable, and occasionally harrowing tales. He’ll explain what it took to finally get up the Verrazano-Narrows, why he ran the Brooklyn Bridge cables in a Santa suit, and why he no longer climbs the Golden Gate. He’ll talk about his book of short stories, The Space Between (Furnace Press, 2009), and share exploits recorded in his newest book, Tales of the San Francisco Cacophony Society (Last Gasp, 2013).
Whether you’re an armchair adventurer or a seasoned explorer, Law’s inspiring talk will change the way you see the city.

 Commonwealth Club at the Castro Theater: Chuck Palahniuk and the SF Cacophony Society: Creating Culture from Mayhem

Mon, Sep 23 2013 – 7:30pm
Chuck Palahniuk, Author, Fight Club, Choke; Member, Cacophony Society Portland Chapter
John Law, Main Organizer, Cacophony Society; Co-author, Tales of the San Francisco Cacophony Society
Carrie Galbraith, Main Organizer, Cacophony Society; Co-author, Tales of the San Francisco Cacophony Society
Brad Wieners, Executive Editor, Bloomberg Businessweek – Moderator

Ever wonder how Chuck Palahniuk came up with the idea for Fight Club’s secret society of recreational fighters? Or how a giant wooden “man” ended up on fire, inspiring one of the world’s most radical gatherings? Welcome to the Cacophony Society, an underground group of pranksters whose culture-jamming antics have shaped the contemporary zeitgeist for the past three decades. Now, from Flash Mobs and SantaCon to groups like Improv Everywhere and the Yes Men, new generations of instigators are taking a page out of the Cacophony book, driving pranks and events with social media tools. Join us as Society founders, celebrated members and those they’ve influenced take us through the origins of Cacophony, the importance of play in adult life, and how to kick-start your own culture.

Location: Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street, San Francisco
Time: 6:15 p.m. check-in, 6:30-7:30 p.m. premium reception, 7:30 p.m. program, 8:30 p.m. book signing
Cost: General admission: $25 non-members, $15 members; Priority seating with book (includes a copy of Tales of the San Francisco Cacophony Society and seating in Rows F-J): $45 non-members, $35 members; Premium (includes a book, seating in Rows A-E, and VIP reception with speakers): $75 non-members, $65 members; Group Ticket*: 6 tickets for $60
Also know: In association with the Club’s Business and Leadership Member-Led Forum

*Note: The Group Ticket only applies to groups of 6 and is available for a limited time only. $60 for 6 General Admission tickets.

– See more at:

Previous Readings:
May 16th City Lights – San Francisco CA
May 18th Maker Faire San Mateo
May 19th Green Apple Books San Francisco
June 14th Powells Books Portland, OR
June 22nd La Luz de Jesus Los Angeles, CA

Suicide Club

The Suicide Club was the organization that Cacophony morphed out of some years after the Clubs demise in 1982. Begun in February 1977 and growing out of former S.F. State University “free school” Communiversity (that went rouge breaking free of institutional restrictions and forming a non-profit school) Communiversity birthed the Suicide Club as a “class” in it’s Winter 1977 calendar of free classes. The Suicide Club became known for bridge climbing and other urban infra-structure exploration, Infiltrating cults like the Moonies, street theater (naked cable car stunt, etc.) and live action games on city streets among other types of events.

Tribute to Paranoia – photo by Bob Campbell

Louise Jarmilowicz, Nina Feldman, David T. Warren & Kathy Hearty at the Suicide Clubs “Tribute to Paranoia” at the Roxie Cinema.

One of the many endeavors of Gary Warne during his short life was an early “weird film” series that he co-hosted with Ron Sol called The Fantasy Film Festival. Each week at Gary’s bookstore on Judah St., you could settle into a giant pile of pillows and futons and watch a double bill of movies that were guaranteed to keep your interest. Perhaps the hi-light of the series took place at the Roxie Cinema in late 1978 when Gary showed the (long forgotten and virtually unknown at that time) “Dr. Suess’ Five Thousand Fingers of Doctor T.” The second movie on the bill remains one of the very strangest I have ever seen: the Italian made “Catch as Catch Can. This film starred Vittorio Gasman as a fastidious, dirt loathing TV star who is incessantly attacked by any and all animals (bulls, pigeons, insects) that he happens to run into.


Suicide Club food fight "before" - photo by Greg Mancuso
Suicide Club food fight “before” – photo by Greg

Communiversity Summer 79
Communiversity Summer 79

This parody of hippy dippy new age
free schools such as “Lifeschool” (real non-profit school in SF in the
70’s) and Marin County sensibilities in general went out with the class
calendar mailer for OUR hippy dippy new age free school, Communiversity.

SFSC newsletter #14.12
SFSC newsletter #14.12

SFSC newsletter #14.13
SFSC newsletter #14.13

Suicide Club event planning tips 1977-pg 1
Suicide Club event planning tips 1977-pg 1

Suicide Club event planning tips 1977-pg 2
Suicide Club event planning tips 1977-pg 2

Twisted Times

Stewart and Michelle Mangrum created the entertaining zine “Twisted Times”. Full of wit and lore it often documented the adventures of the Cacophony Society.

A Small Sampling of Rough Draft Newsletters

The US mail delivered Cacophony Newsletter ended up with the oddly appropriate title “Rough Draft” when no one could think of a name for it. Rough Draft excited Cacophony Society members mail boxes (metal or wood containers in front of your house/apartment that wo(men) in uniforms used to deliver paper documents to) from August 1987 til 2001 when the internet made such arcane communication (sadly) unnecessary.

RD147-b December 1998
RD147-b December 1998

RD006 February 1987
RD006 February 1987

RD082 July 1993 Cover
RD082 July 1993 Cover

RD082 July 1993 Back Cover
RD082 July 1993 Back Cover

RD104 May 1995
RD104 May 1995