The History of The Squid List, A San Francisco Bay Area Events List


Before there was a Laughing Squid website and blog, there was The Squid List, our San Francisco Bay Area events list that I started in 1996. For many of you Bay Area “old-timers”, The Squid List is probably how you first found out about Laughing Squid.

Before I created a formal email list, I used to cross-post events to the Burning Man mailing list run by Eric Pouyoul on The first Squid List event that I ever posted was on September 23, 1996 for the Playa Dust Lounge, the very first public Burning Man decompression event, which I organized along with Danielle Engelman and a crew of amazing volunteers.

As the Burning Man list grew in size, many of my friends started unsubscribing from it and so I stopped cross-posting events to the Burning Man list all together and created an informal BCC list using the emails of around 100 of my closest friends. In the beginning the events I posted to list were related various creative projects in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Burning Man, The Cacophony Society, Defenestration and others, as well as events organized by Chicken John. The BCC list was sent out under the name Alpha Squids List. I was reading Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World at time and this was our little A-List for the Alphas.

The list kept evolving organically and eventually, people referred friends of friends and so on. By 1997 BBC list became too big, so I set up an actual mailing list using majordomo hosted at the long-gone (back when that domain belonged to an independent San Francisco ISP, not a satellite radio service).

In October 1998 I ran into to my friend Brian Behlendorf (Apache Software Foundation, Organic, HotWired and CollabNet) at a Survival Research Labs demonstration (in conjunction with the Web 98 conference) at the corner of Third and Brannan Streets in San Francisco. Brian generously offered to host both The Squid List and the Laughing Squid website on Hyperreal, his infamous server that was home to SF Raves, (at the time) and many other great community-based websites. When we migrated the Squid List to Hyperreal, we began using the ezmlm mailing list program for the list.

Over time people started referring to the list as just “The Squid List”, so eventually, that became the official name.

We launched our web hosting services in late 1998, but still continued to host the list on Hyperreal through 2000, but then eventually moved the Squid List in-house. Soon after we migrated to the mailman email list program.

In 2003 we finally decided to post all the Squid List events on an online calendar, in addition to the mailing list, using a script developed by John McDonnell, who was our sysadmin at the time.

In 2006 we gave The Squid List an complete redesign, migrating the online calendar to the Helios Calendar script and the email list to FeedBurner.

In 2008 we brought on our friend Simone Davalos to administer The Squid List and she’s did an awesome job keeping the events flowing in the last few years. She also maintained The Squid List account on Twitter.

In 2009 The Squid List moved to its own domain:

In 2013 The Squid list was decommissioned. Thanks to everyone who submitted and attended events over the years!

Scott Beale
Scott Beale

Scott Beale founded Laughing Squid in 1995 in San Francisco and is currently based in New York City. When not running the blog, Scott can be found posting on Threads and sharing photos on Instagram.