John Law Interview at East Bay Mini Maker Faire

John Law & Doggie Diner Dog Heads

photo by Scott Beale

On Sunday, October 16 I’ll be interviewing long-time counter-cultural instigator and organizer John Law about making culture & cacophony live onstage at East Bay Mini Maker Faire. John is also a partner in Laughing Squid, serving as “Head of Special Projects”. The event takes place at Park Day School in Oakland, California.

We’ve written about East Bay Mini Maker Faire earlier, the lineup is pretty incredible. Here’s the description of our talk:

11AM — How to Start your Own Cultural Revolution:
Laughing Squid’s Mikl-Em interviews John Law, co-founder of Burning Man and a long-time member of such counter culture institutions as The Suicide Club, The Cacophony Society, and Survival Research Labs. John will discuss climbing bridges, hunting robot cars, giant dog heads, cheap Santa suits, what the Moonies and Old Navy have in common, and making your own culture at home and in the streets.

There’s a lot to talk about. John Law arrived in San Francisco in 1976, saw a giant cartoon dachshund head hocking hamburgers, and went immediately down the rabbit hole. In the 35 years since he has done incredible and ridiculous things: climbing bridges and writing about it, helping start a festival in the desert and later suing the festival, driving fast food mascots cross-country and making a film about it, and a lot more stuff his lawyer won’t let him discuss.

I like this writeup by another long-time troublemaker Stuart Mangrum:

Like most of John Law’s events, it began with cryptic instructions: “We will be leaving from the Vaillancourt Fountain in Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco at 7:01 pm sharp. Look for the man in the Top Hat. Bring legal ID, $2.75 in quarters, and a flashlight.” There was no indication of what we would be doing, other than the event name, ‘COVERT,” and John’s rich history of hosting off-the-grid excursions.

John Law @ Saint Stupid's

photo by mikl-em

Each May since 2006 at the San Mateo Fairgrounds the Make Magazine folks produce Maker Faire featuring hundreds of DIY makers showing their stuff from tesla coils to tarot decks for tens of thousands of visitors. They’ve done similar large scale Maker Faires in Austin, New York & Detroit as well. But there’s also a series of independently-organized events called “Mini Maker Faires” at dozens of locations across the US and Canada.

The “Mini” events are smaller in scale–for Sunday they expect a few thousand visitors and will have 130 makers on hand–but just as diverse in content including robots, bees, Arduinos, art cars, free radio, and a whole lot more projects from motivated makers who want to share their enthusiasm and experiences. They are family-friendly and nerd-tastic.