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Tales of the San Francisco Cacophony Society Hardcover – May 15, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Last Gasp (May 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0867197749
  • ISBN-13: 978-0867197747
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.5 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #286,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"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

About the Author

Kevin Evans is a games industry professional with a history of SF Cacophony involvement that reaches back to his art school days. Kevin Evans is a native Californian, born in San Luis Obispo, and resident of the San Francisco bay area since 1985. Chosen mediums are painting, printmaking, sculpture and digital media. Since 1995, Kevin has worked as an artist in the CGI/computer games industry. Professional associations include: Lucasfilm/Lucasarts Entertainment Company, Take 2, Activision, and Sony.

An early Cacophony member, Carrie Galbraith maintained the cacophony precepts in her travels and while living abroad, pranking the Venice Biennele and other venues in Italy as well as events while a Fulbright Scholar in Romania. Carrie Galbraith picked up a Rough Draft newsletter in a café in San Francisco in 1986. She attended her first event shortly thereafter and immediately subscribed to Rough Draft. She then became involved for many years in both the Editorship of Rough Draft and producing many types of events including initiating the Zone Trip concept, the Atomic Café and others

John Law has been integrally involved in creating underground culture for 35 years. He has climbed the Golden Gate Bridge over 100 times. He joined the San Francisco Suicide Club in 1977 and helped create the Cacophony Society in the mid-80's. He was co-founder of the Burning Man Festival. Under the pseudonym Jack Napier, He founded the Billboard Liberation Front; this group is generally credited as one of very first of the "Culture Jamming” groups. This social movement promoted by Adbusters magazine inspired the "Occupy” culture of recent times.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By lrobhubbard on May 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Full disclosure - I was a very small part of some of the events mentioned in this book, and am a contributor, so I'm obviously a bit biased...

... 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!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By jason on May 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
History and tales by the folks who lived it. The book is a perfect coffee table book to which guests will try to thumb through out of curiosity and 3 hours later finally remember you were even in the room.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By William Van Brunt on May 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Massive chronicle of history of the Suicide Club, Cacophony Society including photos, flyers, newsletters, ephemera.... I'm only on page 81, and although many of the events are described many times in many ways (no perfect chronological time-line) it is never a boring read. I haven't seen mention of the yippies pranks as being an influence, although earlier influences are well noted. (see Yippies at wikipedia) In fact, that omission is the only reason I give it 4 stars. What might be most fun for lifelong adventurous readers could be self-identifying with the statement : "...you may already be a member (of the Cacophony Society). The repetition of that in the articles reproduced and in the photos of flyers, newsletters, etc. reminded me of how, YES, I have been a member since I was a kid! And anyone who has been to Burning Man.... come on! Buy this book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By lono on June 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
By design and mutual consent, the San Francisco Cacophony Society had no leaders, did not schedule meetings, did not maintain memberships, kept no formal records, and avoided media attention. This would make any attempt at collecting the 30+ years into a history almost impossible, yet here we have a gorgeous book, packed full of facts and remembrances. It's the Original Dadaist Miracle!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T. Xander on December 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover
One of the most impressive and beautifully produced books of its kind I've ever owned. From the minute I opened its cover, I was transported back to San Francisco's art subculture through compelling narration and hundreds of photographs, illustrations, factoids and snapshots of a cultural phenomenon in the making. Tales of the San Francisco Cacophony Society details the art of a non-conformist movement, brought about by challenging the norms of urban social behavior, politics, art and expression by a collective of insanely creative and open minds who were dedicated purely to having fun through unorthodox means of entertainment, using the City as their playground. In doing so, this collective became a movement by accident and indirection, and secured for themselves a place in underground history on par with New York's "The Factory". A must-have book for any aficionado of urban art and social subculture.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a sometime member of the LA Chapter I had heard many of the origin stories, but this book finally summarized in a single place the great nebulous cloud of psychedelic clown gas that is SFCaco. And while many of the events are still active, and many were loud and full of fury, this history also shows some of the quieter, more literary events taking place under Cacophony. And while it appears to be a great cookbook for mayhem, one should rather think of it as a primer, with the goal of creating one's own events, ideas, and groups. "All you need are two weirdos and a plan," is possibly the best high note this opera could end on.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By T. Evans on May 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Disclosure- I am the wife of one of the editors. =) With that said, I am so impressed with this book. To start, it's a HUGE book! It has a great mix of photographs, small blurbs, long reads, scans of actual ephemera from the group, new artwork, and even a comic of one of the events. It's colorful, fun, and filled with musings from a bunch of different people. I still, even though I watched it come together and have seen all the pages bunches of times through the editing process, find it interesting and fun to read.
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