San Francisco Institute of Possiblity

From the blog

Support Jane Kim and John Avalos’ advertising free skies law!

Keep this out of our neighborhoods!

Keep this out of our neighborhoods!

The fight to free San Francisco’s skies from advertising has taken a … small … step forward.

But it’s a step.

On Monday the Board of Supervisors’ Land Use and Economic Development Committee considered a measure by Jane Kim and John Avalos to ban all aerial advertising in San Francisco.  (The measure came out of discussions with the San Francisco Institute of Possibility’s board.)

It should have been a slam dunk – but instead it’s on the slow and scenic legislative path, the kind that doesn’t always get where it’s going.  (Cough cough:  immigration reform.) (more…)

Help us free San Francisco’s skies from advertising!

It's coming to your skies - unless you do something!

It’s coming to your skies – unless you do something!

Look, at the rate things are going it’s just a matter of time before an energy drink hires a fleet of planes to fly around San Francisco pulling messages like “Feel the Rush!” and “Gives hackers the 24 hour energy boost they need to innovate!”

Do you really want that?  I mean, what’s the damn point of living in a city with beautiful views of they bay if those views are constantly blocked by advertising?

You know it’s coming.

BUT … in response to a question by a member of the SFIOP board, Supervisor Jane Kim and Supervisor John Avalos are proposing a ban on “the use of aircraft, self-propelled, or buoyant objects to display any sign or advertising device in airspace over the City and County of San Francisco.”

That’s right:  advertising free skies!  When you look out your window you’ll see mountains, bridges, and coastal waters, rather than hashtags for the social media campaigns of snack food companies!


Help the Ferris Wheel Boat float!

It was like this, only a boat, on a lake, with your best friends in it.

It was like this, only a boat, on a lake, with your best friends in it.

It’s a Ferris wheel!  On a boat!

Do you get it?  A Ferris wheel … on a boat!

There’s no simpler way to describe what it is, or how amazing.

Wanna see some video?

Paul Cesewski has creating this amazing thing, this feat of innovation and daring, and we helped pay for it to  come out to Camp Tipsy – where it was 24 hours of non-stop delight.


Camp Tipsy: More Fun Than You Can Shake a Mizzanmast at!

Yeah, this happened

Yeah, this happened

Picture a yacht.  Picture a whole harbor full of yachts. Big fancy things, million dollar boats.  Boats that are chromed and polished and full of every iGadget on the market.  Everyone there is trying to one-up each other:   who’s is the biggest, whose is the shiniest, whose is the most expensive.

And then … we pull into the harbor, piloting a boat made of garbage.

That’s right:  garbage.  Completely recycled materials.  Unique in all the world:  there will never be another boat like it.

And all eyes turn on us now.  And every jaw drops.  Because our boat, which we built with our bare hands out of stuff from the dump for almost nothing, is cooler.  It’s WAY more interesting.  And everybody in the million dollar boats wants to know:  “how did they do that?”

That’s happened.  Repeatedly.


Kevin Evans in hiding because he owes money to The Yes Men


No one has seen Kevin Evans for over 48 hours.  According to a statement issues by a representative, Evans is in hiding because The Yes Men are in town to honor him for his book “Tales of the San Francisco Cacophony Society” – and he owes them money.

“Lots of money,” Evans’ statement said.  “Put a dress on the Trans-America Pyramid for Valentine’s Day money.”

The statement indicated that if he goes anywhere near the Castro Theater tonight, where The Yes Men are headlining in Agents of Chaos, his life is as good as over.

“They threatened to satirize me viciously if I don’t pay up,” he said.  “They could go on national TV claiming I’m a representative from an oil company here to make a statement about global warming.  They have absolutely no conscience about that kind of thing.”

Reached for comment, a spokesman for the Yes Men said that he was French Premier Francois Hollande, and that he wanted to make amends for the colonialism of the French Fourth Republic. (more…)

We’re in the newspaper!

This is the book.

This is the book.

San Francisco used to be so much fun – whatever happened to all the fun people?

That’s a question asked by an SF Weekly column in this week’s issue, using the newly published history of the Cacophony Society … and our upcoming show … as inspiration.

“The Evolution of Trouble Making” is worth reading – especially for the Bradley Manning joke.  Check it out here.

… BUT …

Don’t just check it out here.  Also pick it up at the newsstand and take a look.

Why?  Because … correct me if I’m wrong … but I think the print edition has a special message for us.

I could be wrong.  But, seriously, take look and tell me.

Chicken John selling Castro Theater marquee to the highest bidder

This could be you!

This could be you!

Did you know that if you rent the Castro Theater for a show, you get to decide what they put up on the marquee?

It’s true.  It can be anything you want.  I’d say “within reason,” but, this is San Francisco – so reason need not apply.

Want to tell a joke?  Commit a hate crime?  Propose marriage?  Tell the truth about 9/11?  All options are on the table.

Pretty cool, huh?

We think so – and as it happens we’re renting the Castro Theater for a show this Friday.  It’s called “Agents of Chaos,” and it will be epic.  The Yes Men headlining, the Cacophony society being honored against its will, Ivan Stang from the Church of the Subgenius hosting … the likes will probably never come again.   Read the full description here.

Since we’ve got the theater … we get to put up anything we want on the marquee, right?


YOU get to put up anything YOU want on the marquee.

The San Francisco Institute of Possibility has authorized its Executive Director, Chicken John Rinaldi, to sell the Castro Theater marquee for the day of our show to the highest bidder.  At least, the highest bidder who also has the best idea.  It’s not about money so much as that a bidding war makes it more hilarious.


Laughing our way to Tomorrow

Stefan Zweig

Stefan Zweig

You’ve probably never heard of Stefan Zweig.

I only discovered him recently.  He wrote this book, you see, back in 1942.  An autobiography.  It’s called The World of Yesterday.

All of a sudden, people out of nowhere were recommending it to me.  An old college professor.  A friend’s wife.  My mom.  My freaking mom asks me on the phone “Have you ever read Stefan Zweig’s autobiography?”

So I call up a local independent bookstore.

“Green Arcade books,” says the man on the other end of the phone.  “How can I help you?”

“Yes, hi.  I’m wondering if you have Stefan Zweig’s autobiography, The World of Yesterday?”

He responds immediately.  “You’re JOKING!”

I give this some thought.  “No, I’m pretty sure I’m not.”


Top reasons San Francisco was picked to host Super Bowl L in 2016:

  • In San Francisco, a massive half-time show is called "Wednesday."

    In San Francisco, a massive half-time show is called “Wednesday.”

    Steadily increasing rent and home prices will have driven out all the protesters by then  

  • Ed Lee’s displays of personal athleticism
  • We’re the only city that really understands Roman numerals
  • Our opera kicks the Miami cultural scene’s ass
  • Willie Brown knows a guy
  • We can’t lose EVERYTHING to Santa Clara
  • MUNI buses should have gotten rid of the stink by 2015, tops
  • NFL players are really into Burning Man 
  • We offered to give them everything the America’s Cup hasn’t already made off with
  • 20 years of pranks by the Cacophony Society have made us strong and resilient against our foes

Pope Francis, Carrie Galbraith, continue decades long feud

One of the many Vatican bars Carrie Galbraith has been banned from.

One of the many Vatican bars Carrie Galbraith has been banned from.

Vatican City, Vatican, May 23 – A spokesman for His Holiness Pope Francis confirmed today that the Pontiff will refuse to review “Tales of the San Francisco Cacophony Society.”

According to Father Federico Lombardi, the Pope will also refuse to provide a blurb for the book’s press tour, or to Tweet about it on the Vatican’s Twitter account.

“His Holiness Pope Francis does not endorse this book in any way, and frankly doesn’t see what’s so funny about gluing toasters to the side of buildings,” Father Lombardi said.  “He prefers the sharp satire of a Mark Twain impersonator.”

The Pope’s refusal to read or promote the book is part of a long continuing feud between the Holy Father and former Cacophonist Carrie Galbraith, which began (according to sources in the Italian press) when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires.  In 1989 both Francis and Galbraith wore the same black frock and red sash to a Catholic Cabaret Party, leading to an embarrassment that the Archbishop called “devastating in the eyes of the Lord.”

Since that time His Holiness has written several poor Yelp reviews about Galbraith’s book art workshops.