A PSA For The St. Valentines Day Massacre (a.k.a. the San Francisco Pillow Fight)


photo by Dave Young

Every Valentine’s Day, quite literally thousands of people converge on Justin Herman Plaza at 6pm to engage in a mass Pillow Fight wherein faces are pummeled, backs are thwacked, and many a giggles had. However, this fun comes at an awful price. Each year tens of thousands bits of feathers, fluff, and foam get strewn across the plaza and they quickly clog the storm drains leaving is toxic debris no other choice but to run into our delicate bay.

Pillow Fight

photo by Scott Beale

The other hidden cost behind this spectacle of fluffy carnage is this stress it causes on SF government’s relationship to public art and fun. As you may know, some elements in the San Francisco municipal government are waging a War on Fun. While the primary target of the War on Fun has been the clubs and music venues that enrich our lifes, it also includes public art and the very really cost of the Pillow Fight has and can be used justification to stop other events like the Urban Iditarod or lead to further cracking down on other forms of art like the Obama Street Change.

Causes of Pillow Conflict

The event has even lead to the U.N. issuing a resolution on Pillow Conflict And Teen Sexual Tension. As Guest Blogger/Part Time UN Commander EDW Lynch reports:

“The United Nations Unconventional Culture Commission (UNUCC) strongly condemns the 2010 San Francisco Pillow Fight and the deplorable attacks on UN pillow inspectors in 2009. A new UN Resolution blames the surge in pillow conflict on an alarming rise in teen sexual tension and the growing influence of radical Talibro pillow extremists, whose testosterone and Red Bull-fueled brosurgency has turned the San Francisco Pillow Fight into a massive melee.”

All of this from some fluff. Ok, a fuckton of fluff. Thus, if you do go to the pillow fight, be aware of its costs and stay to help clean up the mess. Have fun, but don’t be a jerk.

(This message brought to you by the Association of Joyous Tentacles and Mothers Against Drunk Douchebags)

Mistletoe Randomly Appears Around San Francisco

guest post by Burstein!


photo by Qarly Q

Around thirty mischievous merry makers sneaked out in the dead of night on Friday, December 18th, to not-so-covertly install bundles of mistletoe over public spaces where people congregate in San Francisco. In a brief discussion with the mastermind behind this devious plan, he explained his motivations:

The theory is that by installing mistletoe over places like crosswalks, bus stops, the instersection in front of the ferry building, etc., we can cause a few moments where random folks will see the mistletoe, make eye contact, and then be faced with the choice of social norms: ignore the stranger and be a callous soulless creature, or smile and kiss a total stranger. I think this is interesting because most everyone wants to do the later, but not many people will take the risk of trying to kiss a stranger – unless there is encouragement.


photo by Burstein!

The mistletoe can be found hovering above cross walk all along Valencia Street, The Castro, Church and Market area, the Ferry Building, and the Upper and Lower Haight. Go out and encourage people, or better yet, find some and lead by example.

David and Krissa kiss under the mistletoe.

photo by Qarly Q

Noisebridge Year 1: Open Hacker House

guest post by Burstein!

Noisebridge Open Hacker House

The hackerspace Noisebridge is one of San Francisco’s cultural and artistic gems. Its members have contributed a wide variety of art, hacks and local culture.

Noisebridge is a space for sharing, creation, collaboration, research, development, mentoring, and of course, learning. Noisebridge is also more than a physical space, it’s a community with roots extending around the world. We help people build neat and awesome things.

On Friday, October 2nd, these über-makers and geeks are having an open house for their one year anniversary that will show off what they have done and can do. This alone is worth the price of admission, which is free. Things to see include:

Also at the event will be the Reverse Engineering Bar with only the geekiest of drinks and music by DIY-band Corpus Callosum and Cally McMorrow, circuit bender of legend.

A Conversation With Hal Robins

guest post by Burstein!

Ask Dr. Hal (11-16-05)

photo by Scott Beale

In this special post, Contributing Coleoidea, Burstein, interviews the legendary Hal Robins (aka Dr. Hal) on his talents, arts, and history of involvement in the San Francisco fringe arts. Dr. Hal is truly a cultural treasure with a mind so engaging that there is a live action game show Ask Dr. Hal where its basic premise is, in effect, to simply ask the man questions. See it live this week at S.P.A.C.E. (Space Preservation Agency for Creative Enterprise) in the J.R. “Bob” Dobbs Memorial Hall at 354 5th St. (5th St. at Folsom).

Burstein! – Dr. Hal, your knowledge of poetry is legendary, as is your capacity to recite verse at whim. What draws you to verse in particular, and do you generally prefer verse to prose?

Hal – Well, I find he best verse has an incantory quality, like chanting a spell. Some poems in fact are spells. But verse has rhythm — a beat– which propels it forward. Of course, to memorize long stretches of prose one must also seek out and find this beat, which is idiosyncratic and more subtle. The structure of verse is amenable to memory. And then there’s the matter of the content. Ezra Pound characterized poetry as, “language charged to the utmost with feeling.” Though not a fan of Mussolini, I endorse Pound’s view. You get a better performance from the freighted words of verse than you would from reading the telephone directory– though that, too, has its place in the annals of public performance.

Ask Dr. Hal

photo by Scott Beale

Burstein! – Can you tell us if your love of literature has affected your graphic art?

Hal – Literature helps and informs the graphic artist. The thankless task of cartooning and drawing comic books is vastly aided by wide reading and understanding.

Burstein! – Would you say the impact has been different upon work for SubGenius materials, as opposed to the Dinosaur Alphabet?

Hal – Oh, the impact doubles for producing theologically correct images when the task is to illustrate our Church of the SubGenius literary material– you must do the homework before you can create an appropriate picture for a work such as our Revelation X: The “Bob ” Apocryphon. As for my book Dinosaur Alphabet, it is a collection of short poems about various dinosaurs, which I then illustrated and provided with copious notes to defend my assertions. I also designed the Alphabet itself, initial letters, or drop-caps, each of which incorporated an image of the eponymous dinosaur.You might also look for my other self-illustrated book, The Meaning of Lost and Mismatched Socks, from North Atlantic Books.

Dinosaur Alphabet

Burstein! – How did you become involved with the Church of the SubGenius?

Hal – Years ago, working at Rip-Off Press, the underground comic book factory and studio, Paul Mavrides retrieved the ur-pamphlet, the first put out by the Church at the beginning of the Eighties, from the wastebasket of Fred Todd, the publisher at Rip-Off, who was never sent a good idea that he didn’t discard. Paul and I, however, found the pamphlet intriguing and hilarious. Responding to the (then) address of the SubGenius Foundation on the pamphlet, Pamphlet No.1, which begins, “The World Ends Tomorrow and You May Die!,” we entered into correspondence with Rev. Ivan Stang, the Sacred Scribe, who, it turned out, was already familiar with our work, and quickly became involved at the highest levels with Stang and his people. I have written lyrics for the Church, Hymns, Elegies & Orations. Eventually we were all present at the assassination of J.R. “Bob” Dobbs, in 1984– the so-called “Night of Slack.”

Burstein! Could you go further into this?

Hal – I prefer not to… the memories are painful… Students of San Francisco history know the sad details. Archived material is at the SubSite– subgenius.com –for those who feel they have to wallow in the details. The assassination has often been ritually enacted at our “Devivals.” The next one of these will be this October in Portland, Oregon.

Burstein! – You are locally known for, amongst other things, the Ask Dr. Hal Show, which is co-hosted by Chicken John. How did you two fall into cahoots together, and how did that lead to the Ask Dr. Hal! Show?

Hal – Somewhere back in the middle Nineties I was performing at the old Klub Kommotion on 16th St., a venue like many others now long gone. Chicken approached me and told me I could do better– i.e. perform with him. Our association in various shows swiftly taught us each other’s strengths and weaknesses. In the Black Rock desert Chicken constructed the monstrous, Cyclopean buttocks of the flame-spouting Wizard of Ass, a mechanism in which I was concealed with a microphone. I answered the questions of various supplicants until forced to leave the giant structure, as it was on fire at the time. This question-and-answer show was, in fact, the template for the stage shows we do now.

Ask Dr. Hal (11-16-05)

photo by Scott Beale

Burstein! – Dr. Hal, what are your current projects, in general, and do you have any comic projects ongoing at this time? And tell us whether you are self-publishing or not.

Hal – I am working on a 3-page story for a comic book which will probably come out this winter– yes, they still exist. Look for “Belly Dance Comix No. 2” from Clone Comics. I am also working on a series of trading cards called Rockets, Jets and Spacemen for Monsterwax Cards in Florida. At this time I’m also designing tattoos for various people in the arts here, and hope to complete some art for Loop! Station in the near future.

The only self-publishing I seem to be doing these days is putting out the weekly Dr.Hal Report, a mass-mailed email to my special list about our shows. I know some people, who have complained of its fatiguing length and complexity, would rather this journal just go away. But if you’d like to receive it, write me at hal@askdrhal.com –and make sure the words, “SUBSCRIPTION REQUEST” appear in the header.

Burstein! – Thanks, Dr. Hal! Why don’t you give us a plug for your show?

Hal – Gladly. We are doing the Ask Dr. Hal! Show every Wednesday night. Though Chicken is still away, he’s expected to return at any time, and we expect to take up the show again where it’s been most of this year– at his place on Cesar Chavez. The official web site at askdrhal.com will be the place to check for the news when it happens. Chicken has grandiose plans about extending the show into other dimensions of performance.

Right now we are at 3 blocks below the Powell St. BART Station and 2 blocks south of Mission. But, for now, we’re no longer in the Mission, but “south of the Slot.” Our crowds seem to be finding us at S.P.A.C.E. (Space Preservation Agency for Creative Enterprise) in the J.R. “Bob” Dobbs Memorial Hall at 354 5th St. (5th St. at Folsom).

Monster By Mail, Summer of the Supervillain

guest post by Burstein!

The Dark Master of Business Intelligence & Analytics

Len Peralta is the Cleveland artist behind “Monster by Mail” is back with “Summer of the Supervillain”, where Len will draw you a sketch of any monster of your choosing for $25. Just give him the name of a monster, like The Dark Master of Business Intelligence & Analytics for example, and Len will give form sketch a very appropriate monster for the name and mail it to you. An extra ten bucks will get you a video of him bringing your monster to life paper.

Diagnostico -World Domination Through Microscopy

“Diagnostico -World Domination Through Microscopy”

Of course, you can order one for a loved one because, “Nothing says ‘I care for you’ like a personalized monster, creature or spook from Monster By Mail!” Here are a couple of my favorites:

Uncle Fun

“Uncle Fun”

Dr.Brandon from Skullcrusher Mountain with half monkey/half pony and Scarface

“Dr.Brandon from Skullcrusher Mountain with half monkey/half pony and Scarface”

Coming Soon

And, of course, you can get his coloring book, AARGH! The Incredibly Ghoulish, Frighteningly Creepy Coloring Book Of Death, is still available through lulu publishing.

See Previously:

Monster by Mail and The Coloring Book of Death
Monster By Mail Presents: Aliens

Journey to the End of the Night: An Interactive Street Game In Oakland by SF0

guest post by Burstein!

Journey to the End of the Nigh

Journey to the End of the Night is an interactive and free street game that is being produced by SF0. While the rules are a bit more complex, the game is an extended version of tag where the players will try to make it through a series of checkpoints while being chased by the organizers. If you get caught, you then become a chaser.

It starts Saturday, June 20th, 7pm in the amphitheater at Mosswood Park near the MacArthur Bart.

My Milk Toof: A Blog About A Pet Milk Toof

guest post by Burstein!

Milk Toof

photo by Inhae Lee

My Milk Toof is a photo blog where each post tells a story over 1 to 10 images of two Milk Toofs that happen to reside at Inhae Lee‘s home.

When I was young, I placed my baby teeth under my pillow and when i woke up I’d find a shiny new quarter. But whatever happened to those little teeth? Where did they go? Would I ever see them again?

Many years later, a little tooth was standing at my door. It looked familiar. It’s name was ickle. Welcome home, my milk toof!

The stories are exceedingly cute, simple and elegantly illustrated through the photos. As one commenter noted, “it’s like a ticklish photo haiku.”