John Solomon, owner of Café Venezia on University Ave. in Berkeley conceived of and ran the annual “How-Berkeley-Can-You-Be-Parade” 1996. He personally invited Cacophony to “do anything you want” in a phone call to Sebastian Melmoth before the first parade.
Melmoth & J.D. Boggman put out a call for “meat providers” such as Carrie White from the movie “Carrie” Leatherface of Texas Chainsaw fame and Kal Spellitech from the Industrial Art Ensemble SEEMEN. These and throngs of other meat crazed Cacophonists created the first Meat Parade featuring P.E.T.A. (People Eatin’ Them Animals) and their mandatory Berkeley counter protestors The Veget-Aryans” Cremating entrails on BBQ grills, tossing generic brand cigarettes to the hordes of families and old hippies lining the streets and chainsawing pigs heads for two more years, P.E.T.A. hung up the cleavers in 1998 and the event morphed into early Zombie attacks and other meat related parade floats over the years.
This event was conceived of by William Binzen, assisted by Judy West and John Law, with the tactical support of the SF Cacophony Society and over fifteen individual artists. Taking place during Summer Solstice three years running, DSW conceived, crafted and implemented a philosophy of collaborative art as life. A huge area around Trego Hot Springs that had been a material storage for the railroad was repurposed (with the express intent of returning the area to its original condition) into a colossal art canvas containing over twenty earthworks and surface installations. Rituals, performances (for the participants only – there was no audience) and ongoing fabrication and modification of large-scale installations went on for ten days. These sessions in 1992 at Black Rock Springs, 1993 at Trego and 1994 at Frog Pond Springs at Garett Ranch pioneered the “Intentional Community” philosophy that informs and inspires the best components and participants of the Burning Man Festival to this day.
Here is a sampling of videos of various Cacophony events from over the years. Some of the videographers featured are: Doug Wellman, Scott Beale and Chuck Cirino.
Watch all in in one place great videos from events spanning the history of cacophony society by videographers: Doug Wellman (Puzzling Evidence), Chuck Cirino (Weird America / Weird TV), Scott Beale (Laughing Squid), among others.
———————— Doug Wellman (Puzzling Evidence)
Doug, an avid videographer from the earliest days of Beta and VHS video, began shooting Cacophony, Burning Man and related events and organizations in 1994. His video and film work goes back to his days as a cadet in the US Naval Academy and subsequent filming of various hi-jinx during his tours of duty in Viet Nam where he sacrificed his youth so that you and I could eat donuts and smoke pot in the safety and comfort of the most slack filled culture in history.
Doug’s extensive video compendium is surely one of the most disturbing ever compiled.
This was one of the last Cacophony group climbs to the top of the Bay Bridge.
The ill-fated “Martini 8” climb on December 31st, 1999 was the very last.
Chad Mulligan collected 500 TV’s with the help of Melmoth and M2. Then, he and 800 of his closest friends smashed, blew-up, eviscerated, skewered, drove through, stomped and generally beat the living crap out of those TV’s
The 5th annual “official” SantaCon. By this year, the “meme’ of this event had, for better or worse, taken off, escaping the mad-hatter clutch of Cacophony. Rev. Al and his Los Angeles crew added many unique and amusing SoCal twists to this already sorta tired annual event. Chief among them was the human wave “Santa Beduin” attack over the sand dunes of the Iron Pit” on the Venice Beach Boardwalk. Look for it in the video.
A slide show and in-depth report on scaling big bridges.
Survival Research Labs, founded in 1978 by Mark Pauline, Eric Werner and Matt Heckert was the group that most directly and profoundly initiated the entire genre of modern machine art. Every battle-bot, junkyard war, exploding machine event and mechanical myth-busting sound bite owes this protean group and it’s grinning avatar Mark Pauline a tip O’ the hat. In the mid-90’s there was a lot of cross-over between SRL and Cacophony. The Kill Your TV event was a collaboration & Cacophony members were major collaborators on the Austin shoe:
The SF Doom show:
among many other SRL shows.
Harrod Blank, Philo Northrup, Emily Duffy, Tom Kennedy and many many other Art Car artists we’re Cacophony Fellow Travelers over the years
The Space Cowgirls officiated at many Cacophony and Burning Man events during the mid-90’s
Artist Brian Goggin’s whimsical and epic street event/massive public art unveiling was, perhaps the defining moment of underground subversive art/pranking as it became more visible to the culture at large. Heavily informed by Cacophony, and genuinely embodying the best of the Burning Man “ethos,” Defenestration was a melding of public art, street performance, underground pranking, street art, circus culture and other vibrant proletarian art forms.
Doug’s epic 23 episode video of Burning Man 1996 (the Helco Year)
This was the pivotal year in Burning Man’s history. This was the year BM left the cocoon of Cacophony and for better or worse became something else entirely.
Burning Man 1996
Sharing a vision and kicking off concurrent with Defenestration, artist Kate (Warrior Girl)McGlynns ambitious Spacewalk event informed countless events to come and the street philosophy necessary to create such ephemeral and affecting celebrations.
Warrior Girl’s Spacewalk September 25th 1997
An ode to the Bridge
Dr. Hal & John Law at the Golden Gate Bridge 3-5-09
Ed Holmes, in addition to 3 decades of St. Stupid Parades and over 20 years as writer/director/actor in San Francisco’s world renowned Mime Troupe, Ed, due to his physical appearance and devious inclination doubled as the 46th Vice President of the US of A on numerous occasions
VP Dick Cheney at Obama Ceremony San Francisco 1/20/2009
Chuck Cirino is an action/exploitation movie director, producer, movie musical score composer, and a (largely unheralded) early pioneer and originator of the concept of “Reality TV.” Chuck was made the first in depth feature Burning Man Video in 1994 (to be available online soon). Chuck filmed many mid-90’s Cacophony events for his TV show and filmed Affiliated groups such as People Hater, Seemen and the like.
Scott Beale joined S.F. Cacophony in 1995. Scott was a nascent filmmaker and had recently finished a documentary film on fabulous but virtually unknown California surrealist painter Alonso Smith . Scott soon began filming Cacophony events and would hand over a VHS copy of his video to the event organizer(s) much to their amazement and profound thanks (no one had time, money or cameras to shoot their own events.) Scott along with Stuart Mangrum initiated Burning Man’s firs.t web prescence. Soon, Scott through his company Laughing Squid was providing web design assistance to his poor Cacophony friends and then free webhosting for their nascent websites. LS evolved over the years into one of the best regarded blogs on the net.
You’d Better Watch Out: Portland Santacon ’96
Bacardi Rips-Off The Cacophony Society With Salmon “Swimming Upstream” Commercial
As covered in Boing Boing
David Warren Poem Ode to The Camera Obscura
———————————- Doggie Diner:
Trailer for the feature length film by Flecher Fleudujon & John Law.
HEAD TRIP. 2008 78min.