Legendary cultural icon John Law to speak on 'How Everything Started in San Francisco'

This looks great. For the San Francisco History Association, John Law is giving a presentation on "How Everything Started in San Francisco (While We All Thought We Were Just Fooling Around)" at Congregation Sherith Israel on Tuesday, October 30.

Here are the details:

John Law will discuss how the Free University movement and other pivotal former scenes, including the hippies, Beats, Situationists, Dada, adventure and pulp fiction, B-films, and a ton of other stuff prominently influenced San Francisco (and national) scenes. He will also examine related influences on the rise of Silicon Valley and its connection to the SF underground “art” scene.

John Law has been involved in the S.F. underground art and pranks scene since 1977. He co-founded the Billboard Liberation Front and the Burning Man Festival, and has crewed for Survival Research Labs and S.F. Cyclecide. He was an original member of the infamous San Francisco Suicide Club, and helped to establish the Cacophony Society. He is the coauthor of Tales of the San Francisco Cacophony Society (out in paperback from Last Gasp in 2019), the definitive history of the group that birthed Burning Man and SantaCon (sorry 'bout that one!) and influenced underground culture worldwide. He is owner and steward of the Doggie Diner Dog Heads, the ten-foot-tall, six hundred pounds (each) fiberglass symbols of an iconic post-computer-age San Francisco. He lives in North Beach and has an office atop the signature Oakland Tribune Tower.

Doors open at 7 p.m. with refreshments and a historical book sale; presentation begins at 7:30 p.m.

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SF peeps: Paint the town white with the 'Brides of March'

Michele Michele

The Ides of March will soon be upon us. In San Francisco, that means it's once again time to don a a white wedding dress to paint the town white with other "brides."

Now in its 20th year, the annual "Beware the Brides of March" gathering was started by Burning Man co-founder Danger Ranger (previously) who thought of the idea while in a thrift store:

I saw a rack of used wedding dresses and realized how often the dream of an ideal marriage had failed and how so much of this dream has been fabricated in order to fuel the ever-increasing consumption of new products. I thought it would be funny to take the primary symbol of this sacred institution and twist it around, much like what the Cacophony Society did with the Santa Rampage. This is classic Situationist ‘Detournament’, the hijacking of a message.

Want to be part of this bridal party? On Sunday, March 18th, arrive promptly at 2:30 PM at Bar Fluxus (18 Harlan Place at Grant Ave, SF):

We’ll have a few rounds of drinks at the bars and wait for late arrivals. By 3:30 PM we’ll be suitably liquored up for a stroll around town, with stops at our favorite Formal Wear store, and diamond importer. From there, we’ll continue on Grant and turn onto Maiden Lane, Stopping for a photo op at the gates of Maiden Lane. Then we’ll race across the street to Union Square and gather around our edifice of desire, the monolith of John Dong Long.

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The story behind 5:04 PM, the art car made by the Loma Prieta earthquake

Twenty-eight years ago today, an art car was born in an earthquake. 

Its owner, Burning Man founder Michael Mikel (aka "Danger Ranger"), shares the story:

On October 17, 1989 at 5:04 PM, the Loma Prieta earthquake struck the San Francisco Bay Area and a brick wall collapsed on the rear half of an Olds Cutlass parked by Clayton and Page streets. Michael Michael saw it there and the creative wheels began to turn. “I bet that will still run”, he mused, and he placed a note on the car offering to buy it.

Within a few days, the car had changed hands, and with the addition of a new paint job and a license plate bearing the exact time of the earthquake, it became a conceptional art piece and a testament to the powerful forces of nature…

In 1991, 5:04 was the first “art car” to make an appearance at Burning Man, beginning a trend that has grown to epic proportions.

This legendary car made an illustrated appearance in John Law's 2013 book, Tales of the San Francisco Cacophony Society:

recent photo by Michael Mikel, 1991 photo and art by Kevin Evans Read the rest