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Archive for June, 2016


Posted by >>>>> on June 1, 2016

Tactical Performance front coverThe Man Behind Some of the Most Outrageous Acts of Political Pranksterism, Subvertisement, and Cultural Sabotage Shares His Secrets in a New Book

“(L.M. Bogad) is (t)he love child of Lenny Bruce and Saul Alinsky…” —Guillermo Gómez-Peña, writer, performance artist and pedagogue

“Appalling bad taste and worse judgment make Bogad’s interventions memorable and frequently effective…”—Peter Sellars, theatre and opera director

L.M. Bogad’s artful activism blends the strategies of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King with heaping doses of Harpo Marx. He is a professor and “tactical performer” who is committed to “speaking mirth to power.” In his long career he has used his talent for outrageous theatrical spectacle to skewer governments, corporations, and power brokers of all sorts. Bogad has worked with the Yes Men and with unions and human rights groups on picket lines and occupations around the world. He helped to create and train the spectacular Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army (CIRCA) and to make the Billionaires for Bush—with their calls for “Government of, by, and for the Corporations”—a fixture at the protests that shadowed George W. Bush’s time as president. All of this “serious play” is informed and inspired by constant research into the long history of creative resistance.

Now, Bogad has released TACTICAL PERFORMANCE: THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF SERIOUS PLAY (Routledge, February 2016, paperback), a complete how-to guide and comprehensive study of creative nonviolence, pranksterism, subvertisement, and cultural sabotage for activists, performers, and anyone who is ready to take the streets. If that’s not bad enough news for the status-quo, a second edition of his landmark ELECTORAL GUERRILLA THEATRE: RADICAL RIDICULE AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS (Routledge, April 2016, paperback), which explains how to run for office as a gnome and actually get elected, also recently hit the shelves (especially apropos for this bizarre election season).

Bogad is available for interview. He can also write a short article for your site or magazine and provide excerpts. Here is just some of what he can discuss:

  • Why we need street theater, pranksterism, and cultural sabotage now more than ever; reflections on more recent creative movements, and a dramaturgical critique of the performances of our current coterie of politicians
  • Some of the best classic examples of tactical performance and why they were successful. These include the lunch counter sit-ins used by Civil Rights activists, the Yippies showering the New York Stock Exchange with dollar bills, the work of ACT-UP, the “beautifully bizarre and mischievous communications” of the Zapatistas’ Subcommandante Marcos, and the Native American take over of Alcatraz Island
  • How tactical performance serves as a “political crowbar, or force multiplier” for movements
  • The little-known history of how the Civil Rights Movement used tactical performance, and rehearsed and theorized their “sociodramas” and “creative suffering”
  • Seeking synaptic misfire: How street theater jars us into new ways of thinking and seeing the world, and inspires us to act
  • What tactical performers can learn from their opponents, or why Exxon is also a tactical performer
  • How to gauge risk, read the local cultural terrain, and avoid direct, pitched battle with authority figures, or why the clown-kissing-police stunt happened in Scotland not the US
  • How his upcoming performance, “The Glamorgeddon Limo Lectures”, will incite radical dialogue from a pink limo on the streets of Oakland in June

Bogad Press Kit PhotoL.M. Bogad is Professor of Political Performance at U.C. Davis. He is the author of the books Tactical Performance: The Theory and Practice of Serious Play and Electoral Guerrilla Theatre: Radical Ridicule and Social Movements, and the plays COINTELSHOW: A Patriot Act, HAYMARKET, SANTIAGO 9/11, and GGPS: The Guillermo Gómez-Peña Global Positioning System. Bogad is a veteran of the Lincoln Center Director’s Laboratory and cofounder of the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army, and this strange duality informs his activist work. He’s performed on many picket lines and with the Yes Men, La Pocha Nostra, Reclaim the Streets, and many labor unions and other activist organizations. He has also performed, lectured and led art-activist workshops from Finland to Egypt to Argentina, and was “Art and Controversy” Fellow at Carnegie Mellon and “Humanities and Political Conflict” Fellow at Arizona State University. Bogad is the world’s best, worst, and only economusician.



“Lucid, sharp, funny, Bogad’s Tactical Performance is the book we’ve been waiting for on creative activism.”

Diana Taylor, Director, Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics; Professor of Performance Studies, New York University; author of Performance

Tactical Performance rehearses theatre and social justice strategies at their best: historically connected, culturally informed, alive and nimble in their responses to the political moment.  With the savvy of a participant/observer and the acuity of an historian and critic, Bogad provides a lively overview of important activist performances, asking us to reconsider its effects and its promise.  A crystal-clear argument in a must-read book for all who care about performance and social change.”

Jill Dolan, Annan Professor of English, Princeton University, and author of Utopia In Performance: Finding Hope at the Theatre

“Beautifully written; a playful, potent mixture of history, how-to, and theory, informed by the author’s many years of personal front-line experience.”

The Yes Men (Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno)

“The love child of Lenny Bruce and Saul Alinsky, Bogad has worked, on the street and behind the scenes, at the nexus of some of the most compelling art-interventions of the past 15 years. He brings his truly original and bizarre performance-art sensibility both to his activism and to this ground-breaking book. Read it!”

Guillermo Gómez-Peña, writer, performance artist and pedagogue

“Appalling bad taste and worse judgment make Bogad’s interventions memorable and frequently effective.  Don’t try this alone at home.  These actions should be undertaken with friends, and preferably with very good friends.”

Peter Sellars, theatre and opera director






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