In alphabetical order…
Mikko Alanne is a screenwriter and documentary filmmaker best known for penning director Oliver Stone’s upcoming Vietnam war drama Pinkville. He is currently finishing West With The Night for Angelina Jolie at Warner Bros. and the Chilean dissident thriller The Dictator’s Shadow for director Daniel Espinosa and Phoenix Pictures. Alanne recently adapted investigative journalist Adam Penenberg’s auto safety scandal expose Tragic Indifference for Michael Douglas, and wrote adaptations of New York Times best-sellers The Long Road Home and Franklin and Winston, the latter to star Sir Anthony Hopkins as Winston Churchill. Alanne also penned Renny Harlin’s war correspondent drama 5 Days of War, starring Andy Garcia and Rupert Friend. Alanne also wrote Rampart: A Detective’s Requiem, about the infamous LAPD scandal, for HBO Films, and was called to testify about his research in Federal Court. Alanne’s documentary films include Voice of Dissent, which caused The Los Angeles Times to call for a reopening of the Robert Kennedy assassination case, and the History Channel’s acclaimed Terror Strikes Moscow, about the infamous theater hostage siege in the heart of the Russian capital. http://www.finngatepictures.com/
Celia Alario is a media and public relations strategist, with an expertise in serving communities most impacted yet often most disproportionately left out of the debate on critical issues of social justice, human rights, environmental justice, peace and corporate accountability. She was a grassroots organizer first, then a campaigner, so she approaches media as an organizing tool and works at the intersection of the three areas. While providing folks with the tools they need to get their story out via the corporate media, she also utilizes creative visuals, emerging web tools and documentary film as vehicles for social change. She’s consulted with filmmakers to develop engagement campaigns associated with their films. She trains folks to be strong spokespeople and pitch stories, as well as supporting the development of strategic communications and media plans, and advising on messaging and framing. She’s worked with dozens of groups who use peaceful protest and nonviolent civil disobedience as a transformational tool, and appreciate the opportunity to use creative communications strategies to reach an audience. She’s also produced and hosted television programming, and community radio news and talk shows for 8 years. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/celia-alario
Larry M. Bogad (www.lmbogad.com) is an author, performer and creative strategist. Guided and goaded by the ghosts of Groucho and Zero, he writes, performs, and conspires with the Yes Men, Agit-Pop, and La Pocha Nostra. Bogad is a veteran of the Lincoln Center Theatre Director’s Laboratory, a co-founder of the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army (www.clownarmy.org), and founding Director of the West Coast Branch of the Center for Artistic Activism (http://artisticactivism.org/). As a professor at the University of California at Davis, he teaches classes such as “Satire, Irony and Protest,” “Tactical Performance,” and “Oppositional Performance and Social Movements.” He was co-Editor-in-Mischief on Yes Men prank newspapers: a “New York Post” (www.nypost-se.com), and an ”International Herald Tribune” which called attention to climate chaos.
Bogad’s produced plays have covered topics such as the Haymarket Square Riot, the FBI’s COINTELPRO activities, the Egyptian revolution, the Pinochet coup in Chile, and global climate chaos. His play, COINTELSHOW: A Patriot Act was recently published by PM Press. His book, Electoral Guerrilla Theatre: Radical Ridicule and Social Movements, analyzes the international campaigns of performance artists who run for public office as a radical prank. That book, and his many articles on political performance, are used in college classes internationally. His next book, Tactical Performance: On the Theory and Practice of Serious Play, analyzes and critiques the use of guerrilla theatre/art for human and civil rights, and for social justice, labor and environmental campaigns.
Bogad has led Tactical Performance workshops, helping activists create performative, nonviolent images to contest and critique power, in revolutionary Cairo, Reykyavik, Buenos Aires, across the USA and Europe, for the Center for Victims of Torture, as the Humanities and Political Conflict Fellow at Arizona State University and at Carnegie Mellon University both as an Art and Controversy Fellow, and as a Distinguished Lecturer on Performance and Politics. The British Academy and British Arts and Humanities Research Council funded his documentary, Radical Ridicule: Serious Play and the Republican National Convention. He has been a commentator on political performance on Air America, NPR, Pacifica, Peace Radio, and other radio stations and programs.
Thomas Drake’s recently and successfully concluded legal ordeal as a whistleblower with the federal government – while on the receiving end of a retaliatory Department of Justice national security investigation, prosecution and Espionage Act centered indictment over the past several years – lies at the nexus of the rise in the national security state, secrecy, rank over classification, the military-industrial-congressional-intelligence-surveillance-cybersecurity complex, violations of FISA, unaccountable and unlawful electronic surveillance, government corruption and malfeasance, irresponsible executive decision making, and direct assaults on freedom of speech (including speaking truth to power), thought and innovation, privacy, our civil liberties and the Constitution. His case was highlighted on 60 Minutes with Scott Pelley and in a blockbuster article written by Jane Mayer for The New Yorker magazine in May 2011.
From 2001 through 2008 he was a member of the Defense Intelligence Senior Executive Service at the National Security Agency (NSA) and served in various technical management and leadership capacities. While there he became a material witness and whistleblower for two 9/11 congressional investigations centered on what NSA knew, didn’t know, or could have known or done that may have very well prevented 9/11. He was also a material witness and whistleblower on a multi-year Department of Defense Inspector General audit of a failed multi-billion dollar flagship program called TRAILBLAZER and an operationally ready, working, ready to deploy, highly innovative, revolutionary and breakthrough multi-million dollar intelligence data collection, processing and analysis system called THINTHREAD – that was specifically designed to handle the massive data volume and variety of the Digital Age with built-in 4th Amendment and privacy protection safeguards by design while providing superior intelligence, but rejected by NSA.
He blew the whistle on massive waste, contract fraud, abuse and government wrongdoing as well as egregious violations of the 4th Amendment, illegal electronic surveillance and data mining conducted on a vast scale within the US and against US Persons combined with huge losses in intelligence capability and capacity that fundamentally weakened national security and eroded our precious liberties.
Mr, Drake is also the founder and senior leader of Knowpari Systems, a boutique leadership development and executive consulting firm formed in 2008 and focused on business intelligence, IT-corporate governance, risk management, operations analysis, systems thinking, strategic advising and deep learning through people, process and technology – expanding capacity, increasing performance and enhancing social and relational well-being for individuals, teams, and organizations.
His outreach and speaking expertise center on delivering dynamic, interactive and compelling content in the areas of strategic leadership, international relations, contemporary international problems, professional ethics, executive management, business intelligence and decision support systems, resource strategy, complex systems (social and technical), human relations, dynamics of the information and knowledge age, information management, organizational sustainability, executive leadership, 21st Century issues, governance and decision-making, the Constitution and civil liberties as well as whistleblowing.
His particular focus is the strategic and global perspective while placing events, people, trends, and movements in the larger context, finding their meaning and the connections and then making sense of them.
He was a visiting professor of strategic leadership and information strategy at the National Defense University with the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. Previous to NSA, he was a principal in a couple of dot coms.
He also served in the military for some 14 years as an active duty US Air Force aircrew member performing cryptologic linguist duties on the RC-135 airborne reconnaissance platform and as a Mission Crew Supervisor on the EC-130H electronic warfare mission. He also served in the US Navy as a reserve commissioned all-source intelligence officer assigned to the National Military Joint Intelligence Center at the Pentagon and had a short stint as an imagery analyst at the CIA.
He has 12 years of industry experience in change leadership, senior management, organizational leadership and development, quality assurance, software and systems engineering (having analyzed over 150 million lines of code), learning strategies, acquisition and program management, operations and technology life-cycle integration as a contractor and consultant with both government and commercial clients including Fortune 500 and Fortune 50 companies. He was at Booz | Allen | Hamilton as a management, strategy and technology consultant and software quality engineer from 1991-1998.
He currently works full-time as an Expert at a Washington, DC area Apple Store providing enhanced technical support and creating compelling experiences for customers with retail and business needs.
Mr. Drake holds a bachelor’s and two Master’s degrees as well as numerous graduate certificates.
He is pursuing a PhD in public management and leadership with a dissertation focused on the paradox of power and politics in the 21st Century and the role of transpersonal leadership creating and sustaining psychologically healthy workplaces through social networks of performance and cooperation rather than power and control.
In partnership with Jesselyn Radack, Director of National Security and Human Rights with the Government Accountability Project, he writes and speaks on whistleblowing, privacy, civil liberties, secrecy, surveillance and abusive government power.
He is the recipient of the 2011 Ridenhour Truth-Telling Prize and the co-recipient of the 2011 Sam Adams Associates Integrity in Intelligence award with Jesselyn Radack.
Daniel Ellsberg was born in Chicago in 1931. After graduating from Harvard in 1952 with a B.A. summa cum laude in Economics, he studied for a year at King’s College, Cambridge University, on a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. Between 1954 and 1957, Ellsberg spent three years in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving as rifle platoon leader, operations officer, and rifle company commander.
From 1957-59 he was a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows, Harvard University. He earned his Ph.D. in Economics at Harvard in 1962 with his thesis, Risk, Ambiguity and Decision. His research leading up to this dissertation—in particular his work on what has become known as the “Ellsberg Paradox,” first published in an article entitled Risk, Ambiguity and the Savage Axioms—is widely considered a landmark in decision theory and behavioral economics.
In 1959, Ellsberg became a strategic analyst at the RAND Corporation, and consultant to the Defense Department and the White House, specializing in problems of the command and control of nuclear weapons, nuclear war plans, and crisis decision-making. In 1961 he drafted the guidance from Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara to the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the operational plans for general nuclear war. He was a member of two of the three working groups reporting to the Executive Committee of the National Security Council (EXCOM) during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.
Ellsberg joined the Defense Department in 1964 as Special Assistant to Assistant Secretary of Defense (International Security Affairs) John McNaughton, working on the escalation of the war in Vietnam. He transferred to the State Department in 1965 to serve two years at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, evaluating pacification in the field.
On return to the RAND Corporation in 1967, Ellsberg worked on the top secret McNamara study of U.S. Decision-making in Vietnam, 1945-68, which later came to be known as the Pentagon Papers. In 1969, he photocopied the 7,000 page study and gave it to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; in 1971 he gave it to the New York Times, theWashington Post and 17 other newspapers. His trial, on twelve felony counts posing a possible sentence of 115 years, was dismissed in 1973 on grounds of governmental misconduct against him, which led to the convictions of several White House aides and figured in the impeachment proceedings against President Nixon.
Ellsberg is the author of three books: Papers on the War (1971), Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers (2002), and Risk, Ambiguity and Decision (2001). In December 2006 he was awarded the 2006 Right Livelihood Award, known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize,” in Stockholm, Sweden, “. . for putting peace and truth first, at considerable personal risk, and dedicating his life to inspiring others to follow his example.”
Daniel Ellsberg lives in Kensington, California with his wife, Patricia Marx Ellsberg. Their son, Michael Ellsberg, is the author of The Power of Eye Contact. His oldest son, Robert Ellsberg, is publisher and editor-in-chief of Orbis Books. His daughter, Mary Ellsberg, is Vice President of Research and Programs at the International Center for Research on Women in Washington, D.C. He has 5 grandchildren.
Since the end of the Vietnam War, Ellsberg has been a lecturer, writer and activist on the dangers of the nuclear era, wrongful U.S. interventions and the urgent need for patriotic whistleblowing. http://www.ellsberg.net/
He is a Senior Fellow of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. http://www.wagingpeace.org/
Mike German is a Policy Counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington Legislative Office, where he develops policy positions and pro-active strategies on pending legislation and executive branch actions concerning domestic surveillance, privacy, whistleblower protection, intelligence and law enforcement practices. Prior to the ACLU, Mr. German served 16 years as a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where he specialized in domestic terrorism and covert operations. As an undercover agent, German twice infiltrated violent domestic terrorist groups using constitutionally sound law enforcement techniques, and prevented terrorist acts by winning criminal convictions. Mr. German’s final assignment with the FBI was as a counter-terrorism instructor at the FBI National Academy. There, he taught courses on extremism in democratic societies and developed a graduate-level training program for state, local and international law enforcement officers. Mr. German left the FBI in 2004 to make Congress and the public aware of continuing deficiencies in FBI counterterrorism operations. Mr. German is the author of “Thinking Like a Terrorist,” (Potomac Books) published in January 2007.
Ray McGovern received an M.A. in Russian Studies from Fordham University; a certificate in Theological Studies from Georgetown University; and was a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program. A “Distinguished Military Graduate,” he served in the US Army from 1962-64 as an intelligence officer and was a mid-level officer in the CIA in the 1960s where his focus was analysis of Soviet policy toward Vietnam. He was one of President Ronald Reagan’s intelligence briefers from 1981–85 Later, McGovern was one of several senior CIA analysts who prepared the President’s Daily Brief (PDB) during the first Bush administration. http://raymondmcgovern.com/Raymond_McGovern/Current.html
Birgitta Jónsdóttir (born 17 April 1967) is a member of parliament of Althing, the Icelandic parliament, formerly representing the Citizens’ Movement, but now representing The Movement. Her district is the Reykjavík South Constituency. She was elected to the Icelandic parliament in April 2009 on behalf of a movement aiming for democratic reform beyond party politics of left and right. Birgitta has been an activist and a spokesperson for various groups, such as Wikileaks, Saving Iceland and Friends of Tibet in Iceland. She acts as a spokeswoman for theIcelandic Modern Media Initiative.
Born in Reykjavik, Birgitta is also a poet, writer, artist, editor, publisher, activist and has used the internet for these activities. Her first poetry collection was published when she was 22 years old by Iceland’s biggest publisher, Almenna Bókafélagið, AB books, in 1989. Birgitta organized “Art against war” where a number of Icelandic artists and poets came out to protest the war in Iraq. Birgitta set up the first Icelandic online art gallery in 1996 for the Apple Shop in Iceland. Birgitta has participated in several international projects related to writing and activism including “Poets Against the War”, “Dialogue among Nations through Poetry”, and “Poets for Human Rights”. She also edited and published the two international books The World Healing Book and The Book of Hope which contains writings by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Rita Dove, the Dalai Lama, Rabbi Michael Lerner, John Kinsella, and Sigur Rós. Birgitta is a founder of Beyond Borders Press and Radical Creations. Birgitta is a part of International Network of Parliamentarians’ for Tibet (INPaT)
Birgitta was an active volunteer for Wikileaks and had an important role in the making of the Collateral Murder video, including co-production. She has advocated to make Iceland a haven for press freedom and is the chief sponsor of the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative. Wikinews has related news :ACLU, EFF challenging US ‘secret’ court orders seeking Twitter data
On 18 June 2010 she told ABC News’ Brian Ross that Wikileaks will be releasing a leaked video of a US airstrike in Afghanistan ”hopefully very soon.”
On 7 January 2011, Birgitta announced on her Twitter page that she had been notified by Twitter that it had been served by the United States Department of Justice with a subpoena demanding information ”about all my tweets and more since November 1st 2009.” According to Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com:
The information demanded by the DOJ is sweeping in scope. It includes all mailing addresses and billing information known for the user, all connection records and session times, all IP addresses used to access Twitter, all known email accounts, as well as the ”means and source of payment,” including banking records and credit cards. It seeks all of that information for the period beginning November 1, 2009, through the present.
On 14 April 2011 Wired Magazine online published an article “WikiLeaks Associates Hit Back Over U.S. Twitter Records Demand” describing a ”contentious legal battle with the Justice Department” with the three Wikileaks volunteers, charging in a court filing that the government’s argument “trivializes both the Parties’ and the public’s constitutional rights.”
Present Parliamentary Committees
• Member of the Parliamentary Review Committee on the SIC report since 2009.
• Member of the Committee on the Environment since 2009.
• Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs since 2009.
• Member of the Icelandic delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly since 2009.
Johanna Lawrenson is an organizer and widow of the late Abbie Hoffman. his running mate, as he liked to call her, for the last 15 years of his life. Together they organized and co-founded Save The River!, while living underground on an island in upstate New York. This group of 1000s of concerned citizens in both Canada and the US, in a 7 year battle, stopped the Army Corps of Engineers from destroying the majestic St. Lawrence River. Johanna and Abbie organized for El Salvador and took groups to Nicaragua to see the Revolution during the 1980s. Since Abbie’s death in1989 Johanna and family and friends have held events on Abbie’s birthday to carry on his work and legacy. The Abbie Hoffman Activist Foundation Archive Project collects and catalogues his writings, videos and tapes that clearly show that the achievement is not in the fame but to the contrary, the fame is in the achievement.
Carol Leigh has been a sex worker and activist since the late seventies. A poet and performance artist, she coined the term “sex worker” in 1978. Leigh founder of BAYSWAN (Bay Area Sex Worker Advocacy Project) and the Trafficking Policy Research Project. She volunteered at the HIV Prevention Project (needle exchange) for several years and founded a street outreach project in conjunction with the Coalition on Prostitution. As a founding member of ACT UP, she organized a campaign against mandatory HIV testing of prostitutes. She was lead writer and organizer of the San Francisco Board of Supervisor’s Task Force on Prostitution representing San Francisco’s Commission on the Status of Women. She served as a consultant for the development of the AIM For Human Rights Trafficking Policy Impact Tool (Netherlands). She is a founding member of SWOP-USA, BAYSWAN and a long time COYOTE member. Leigh founded and directs the San Francisco Sex Worker Film and Arts Festival (sexworkerfest.com). The “Scarlot Harlot Video Festival” podcast is available on iTunes. Leigh received the prestigious Creative Work Fund Award for her video documentation. Since the late seventies, Leigh has written and performed political satire as ”Scarlot Harlot,” work based on her experience as a prostitute and has toured internationally and in the US with the Sex Worker Art Show Tour. She has produced work in a variety of genres on women’s issues including her video, Blind Eye To Justice: HIV+ Women Incarcerated in California was narrated by Angela Davis. Leigh’s book, “Unrepentant Whore: The Collected Work of Scarlot Harlot” was published by Last Gasp in 2003.
Dr. Frank H. Lucido MD has been practicing in Berkeley since 1979. He graduated from University of Michigan Medical School, and completed his Family Practice training through UC Davis. He is on the steering committee of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, and is a committed anti-nuclear activist. His goal is also to continue the work that has begun towards normalizing medical cannabis practice. He would like to see more primary care physicians (and treating specialists) give safe and appropriate recommendations for medical cannabis, since they know the patient best, and have the best documentation of the serious illness for which they have been following the patient. But until medical cannabis and its safety become more widely known to the primary care and specialist community, there will be a need for medical cannabis consulting physicians as a specialty, to fill the compassionate need of many sick patients. http://www.drfranklucido.com/
Alexandra Paul is the star of over 75 feature films and television programs, She is also a spokesperson for the Volt, a plug in car by Chevrolet. Alexandra was featured in the highly acclaimed, award winning documentary Who Killed The Electric Car. Alexandra was honored by the ACLU of Southern California as their 2005 Activist of the Year for her long history of fighting for the environment, voting rights and peace issues. In 1997 the United Nations commended Alexandra for her environmental activism. In 1999, she won the International Green Cross award. She walked across America for over five weeks on The Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament, and has been arrested over a dozen times for protesting at the Nevada Nuclear Test Site. Alexandra is also a guest blogger at the Huffington Post. http://alexandrapaul.com
Jesselyn Radack graduated from Brown University and Yale Law School. She joined the Department of Justice through the Attorney General’s Honors Program, where she practiced constitutional tort litigation for four years and then served in the Professional Responsibility Advisory Office for another three. As an ethics advisor, she became embroiled in the case of so-called “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh, one of the most prominent prisoners of the Afghan war.
In our first glimpse of American-sponsored torture, a trophy photo circulated worldwide that showed Lindh naked, blindfolded, and bound to a board with duct tape. Against this backdrop, when the Justice Department sought Radack’s opinion about the ethical propriety of the FBI interrogating Lindh without his attorney, she advised that his counsel must be present. When her advice was disregarded and then purged from the office file in contravention of a federal court discovery order, she resigned and blew the whistle. The Lindh case collapsed, with him pleading guilty to two relatively minor charges.
The Justice Department then retaliated against Ms. Radack by, among other things, making her the target of a federal criminal “leak investigation,” referring her to the state bars in which she is licensed as an attorney (based on a secret report to which she did not have access), and putting her on the “No-Fly” List.
During her exile, Ms. Radack began writing on and speaking publicly about torture, “enemy combatants,” legal ethics and whistleblowing. In June 2005, she was elected to and served on the D.C. Bar Legal Ethics Committee, despite still being under investigation by the disciplinary arm of the bar. From 2006 until 2008, she began representing government contractor-whistleblowers in qui tam (False Claims Act) lawsuits alleging reconstruction fraud in Iraq.
In 2008, she became the director of National Security & Human Rights at the Government Accountability Project, the nation’s leading whistleblower organization, where she focuses on torture, political discrimination, and government secrecy and surveillance. She is one of the lawyers who represented Thomas Drake under circumstances that closely resembled her own.
The Justice Department decided not to refer the authors of the “torture memos” to the D.C. Bar, yet the bar referral against Radack is still pending 8 years later.
Jesselyn jointly received the 2011 Sam Adams Associates Integrity in Intelligence award with Thomas Drake.
Peter Samuelson is President of Film Associates, Inc. http://www.samuelson.la a media consultancy and production company. Samuelson is mainly a film and television producer, but has also been a production manager, senior corporate executive and starred in The Return of the Pink Panther as the Clothing Thief. He was previously President of Splashlife, Inc. and Chairman of the Executive Committee of Panavision, Inc. After serving as production manager on films such as The Return of the Pink Panther, he emigrated from London to Los Angeles and produced Revenge of the Nerds, Tom & Viv, Wilde, Arlington Road and many other films. Peter also served on the initial three person Advisory Board of Jeff Skoll’s Participant Productions:http://web.archive.org/web/20071009223659/www.participantproductions.com/company/Advisory+Board/
Samuelson is a social entrepreneur. In 1982, inspired by a little boy battling an inoperable brain tumor, Peter and his cousin actress Emma Samms conceived of the Starlight Children’s Foundation http://www.starlight.org, building it into an international charity dedicated to granting wishes for seriously ill children. In 1990 Peter brought together leaders including Steven Spielberg and General Norman Schwarzkopf to create the STARBRIGHT Foundation http://www.starbright.org —a charity dedicated to developing media and technology-based programs to educate and empower children to cope with the medical, emotional and social challenges of their illness. On June 5. 1995, Peter Samuelson, General Norman Schwarzkopf and Steven Spielberg launched the world’s first, and longest continuously running, fully interactive social network, Starbright World, delivering video, sound, text and avatar-based communication to hospitalized children. In 2004, Starlight and STARBRIGHT completed a formal merger and became the Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation. Samuelson currently serves as the international chairman of the organization. In 1999, he founded First Star Inc. http://www.firststar.org, a charity headquartered in Washington, D.C. that works to improve the public health, safety, and family life of America’s abused and neglected children. In 2005 Samuelson founded EDAR (Everyone Deserves A Roof) Inc. to develop and widely distribute a mobile single-user structure which in the daytime serves as a purpose-built recycling vehicle while at night time transforming into a comfortable tented bed enclosure. The sponsorship price point is $500 per EDAR. http://www.EDAR.org
Cindy Sheehan is an American anti-war activist whose son, U.S. Army Specialist Casey Sheehan, was killed by enemy action during the Iraq War. She attracted national and international media attention in August 2005 for her extended anti-war protest at a makeshift camp outside President George W. Bush’s Texas ranch—a stand that drew both passionate support and angry criticism. Sheehan ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2008. She is a vocal critic of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy. Her memoir, Peace Mom: A Mother’s Journey Through Heartache to Activism, was published in 2006. Sheehan was nominated for the Noble Peace Prize in 2005.
Sheehan just published her 5th book: Revolution, A Love Story and is the host/director of Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox–a radio show and blog. She has three surviving children and is grandmother to four.
Joey Skaggs is a fine artist and social activist. Although he has painted and sculpted throughout his life, starting with his iconoclastic and controversial performance-art protests in the Sixties, his public work took on a new direction. Skaggs realized he could use art to challenge the system. Appalled at the cultural hypocrisy he saw around him, especially how it was blindly supported in the media, he began to satirize social issues with public performances and elaborately contrived media hoaxes. The mass media in turn became an unwitting collaborator in his concepts, reporting his satire as news. Joey Skaggs quickly acquired an international reputation as a cultural satirist and media critic. His work incorporates guerrilla tactics and traditional public relations techniques to promote his staged performances. Few media outlets over the last four decades have not fallen for one or another of his hoaxes. He has been covered in newspapers, magazines, and on radio and television around the world, in some cases many times as different people.
At the School of Visual Arts Joey Skaggs taught Media Communications including “Culture Jamming and Media Activism,” a course of his creation. He also taught at Parsons The New School for Design. He now lectures internationally on divergent approaches to addressing social issues through art. He’s the creator of the Universal Bullshit Detector Watch and the publisher and editor “The Art of the Prank” blog. A master storyteller, he inspires in his audiences original and inventive insights while sharing the tools and techniques that foster independent thinking, media literacy, and creative activism. Like the Wizard of Oz, he reveals the man behind the curtain, showing, in a visceral way, the influence mass media has on society. http://joeyskaggs.com http://artoftheprank.com
Annie M. Sprinkle is an internationally known multi-media artist whose work is often studied in History of Performance Art classes, gender studies and film studies at major Universities/Colleges. Sprinkle has continuously toured one-woman theater performances about her life since 1989, such as Post Porn Modernist and Hestory of Porn. One of the pivotal players in the 80’s “sex positive feminist movement,” Ms. Sprinkle’s art work has long championed sex education and equal rights. The film she produced and directed, The Sluts and Goddesses Video Workshop has played in well over 100 film festivals, at museums and galleries, including at the Guggenheim in NYC. She became the first sex film star to successfully bridge into the world of art, and to earn a Ph.D., which she was awarded from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco, in 2002. She is a popular visiting artist at many Universities. Annie Sprinkle’s autobiographical book, Post Porn Modernist broke new ground in art books that include sexually oriented imagery. Her book,Hard Core From the Heart; The Pleasures, Profits and Politics of Sex in Performance was published by Continuum Press for the academic market and won the Firecracker Alternative Book Award (2002). www.anniesprinkle.org
Andy Stepanian is a social justice activist, artist, and political rabble-rouser. Andy is the co-founder of The Sparrow Project, a grassroots PR outfit that aims to braid popular culture, the arts, and revolutionary activism. In 2002 The Financial Times characterized Andy and his fellow activists as “succeeding where Karl Marx, the Baader-Meinhof gang and the Red Brigades failed.” Their actions drew the attention of Wall Street and the FBI resulting in a politically charged landmark free speech case called the SHAC 7 trial where Andy and 5 others were charged and convicted as terrorists for their activism. Sentenced to 3 years in federal prison Andy spent his last 6.5 months in a secretive federal prison program that NPR would later name ‘Guantanamo North’. Andy’s activism as part of the SHAC7 is the subject of a feature-length documentary due out in 2012 from Finngate Pictures. Since his release from prison Andy works for a publisher, consults for social justice groups, and speaks on his experiences at universities.
Elizabeth M. Stephens is interdisciplinary artist, activist and educator who has explored themes of sexuality, gender, queerness, and feminism through art for over 20 years. Her current passion is SexEcology: the art of exploring the Earth as a lover. This work is designed to create the desire in others to love, cherish and honor the earth as they would their own lover, instead of expecting the earth to take care of them as one might expect from one’s mother. SexEcology combines Stephens’ interest in sexuality and ecology in order to help stop environmental degradation and bring about environmental healing and pleasure. Some of her other works include the bronze sculptural installation, The Academic/Porn Star Panty Collection; the road trip performance piece Wish You Were Here; the video installation, Kiss, as well as her ongoing collaboration with Annie Sprinkle in the Love Art Laboratory. She has exhibited and performed in museums, galleries and festivals around the world. http://www.elizabethstephens.org
Adam Sterling, born in 1983 in Los Angeles, California, was the Executive Director of the Sudan Divestment Task Force, a project of the Genocide Intervention Network,and a graduate of UCLA with degrees in Political Science and African American Studies. He appeared in the film Darfur Now as himself, trying to reduce the effects of genocide on the Sudanese through a bill he proposes to Governor Schwarzenegger. He has received many humanitarian awards,and been nominated for awards such as the “Do Something” Teen choice award and his works regarding Sudan have been published in The Wall Street Journal, The LA Times, The New York Times, and more.
Reverend Billy Talen In the late 1990s Bill Talen created a character that was a hybrid of street preacher, arguably Elvis, and televangelist called Reverend Billy. This character was performed in various San Francisco alternative theater venues, where Talen had earned a considerable reputation as both a performer and a producer. In New York, Talen began appearing as Reverend Billy on street corners in Times Square, near the recently opened Disney Store. Whereas other street preachers chose Times Square because of its reputation for sin, Reverend Billy’s sermons focused on the evils of consumerism and advertising—represented especially by Disney and Mickey Mouse—and on what Talen saw as the loss of neighborhood spirit and cultural authenticity in Rudolph Giuliani’s New York. The Church of Stop Shopping is a non-profit organization that includes Talen, theatrical director Savitri Durkee (who is married to Talen), a 34-member choir, and an 8-piece band. Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping What Would Jesus Buy? is also the title of Reverend Billy’s book, subtitled ”Fabulous Prayers in the Face of the Shopocalypse,” released in March 2007. http://www.revbilly.com/
Retired Colonel Ann Wright Army Colonel, Foreign Diplomat, Anti-war Activist, Peace Advocate attended the University of Arkansas, where she holds a Master’s and a Law Degree. She also has a Master’s Degree in National Security Affairs from the US Naval War College. In her junior year at the University of Arkansas, she attended a three-week Army training program after meeting with a visiting Army recruiter. That experience helped inform her decision to join the service. There she would remain for 13 years in active duty, with another 16 years in the Army reserves, retiring as a Colonel In all those years, Ann Wright was proud of her representation of America. However, on March 13, 2003, the eve of the US invasion of Iraq, Col.. Ann Wright sent a letter of resignation to then Secretary of State Colin Powell. She felt that without the authorization of the UN Security Council, the US invasion and occupation of a Moslem, Arab oil-rich country would be a disaster. Only two other State Department officials resigned at that time over the imminent invasion. In an interview, Ann explained that, in Foreign Service, “Your job is to implement the policies of an administration…if you strongly disagree with any administration’s policies, and wish to speak out, your only option is to resign. I understood that and that’s one of the reasons resigned – to give myself the freedom to talk out.” Talk out she has.
Since resigning, patriotism for Ann Wright has been as an anti-war activist. She worked with Cindy Sheehan organizing Camp Casey, and appeared in the documentary “Uncovered: The Truth About the Iraq War”. She travels and lectures on foreign policy issues. She has been arrested five times in the past year for protesting Bush’s policies, and has referred to herself cheerfully as a “felon for peace.” http://www.voicesofconscience.com/