Contribute to Peter Doty fundraiser here.
Peter Doty was a Cacophony Society member, who would go on to form arguably the first theme camp at Burning Man. As a member of Cacophony Peter (a/k/a Pierre, La Marquis de Gateau and Dwayne Neutron), lead several memorable pranks.
Pierre, Le Marquis de Gateau, a.k.a. Peter Doty
Crumbs anyone? On the morning of Bastille Day, 1994, 31-year-old Peter Doty and a couple of friends went to San Francisco’s City Hall dressed in full 18th century attire and carrying fancy trays with a few crumbs on them. After presenting Deputy Mayor, Frank Jordan with the “Copper Crumb” award for crummy homeless policies, Doty and company joined a crowd gathered to show support for Food Not Bombs activist Keith McHenry. Unfortunately, the members of the San Francisco Police Department present that day had no sense of humor and proceeded to arrest Doty’s co-conspirators for serving food without a permit.
Despite the arrests, Doty remains undaunted. In fact, Doty, also known as Pierre, Le Marquis de Gateau, says the annual roast at Union Square, “Let Them Eat Cake,”
has become something of a hit. Every Bastille Day, July 14, Doty and a host of others make decadent desserts and serve them to the resident homeless people. The servers all dress in 18th-century French aristocratic 139 garments, but often homeless people help with the act.
“We had one guy last year who sat down at a piano and played Mozart,” Doty recalls.
Doty says his pranks are meant as “shame tactics.” And he hasn’t limited himself to care of the homeless. Satires of whiny political correctness and pack journalism, for example, are probably his favorite pranks.
When the Castro Theatre decided to show Disney’s Fantasia in July 1991, Doty formed CAFE, the facetious Coalition Against Fantasia’s Exhibition. Calling himself Dwayne Newtron, Doty wrote a statement claiming that his six-year-old daughter’s terror at the Night on Bald Mountain segment had prompted him to form SPASM (Sensitive Parents Against Scary Movies).
SPASM anchored the CAFE, which also included Dieters United (who claimed that hippos in tutus were offensive to overweight people) and BADRAP (Bay Area Drought Relief Alliance Party, which felt that “water conservation efforts will be hindered by showing Mickey Mouse’s waste of water in the ‘Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ sequence”).
The San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner and The Washington Post all reported the protest as real; not one reporter bothered to check out Newtron and his nonexistent daughter or call anyone else in SPASM’s constituency. The denouement of the media hoax came a few weeks later when it was mentioned in a Time Magazine cover story. Finally, on April Fools’ Day the following year, Doty came clean and The Wall Street Journal tracked down the reporters who’d been had, including The San Francisco Examiner’s Rob Morse.
“I’ve been in San Francisco so long, I tend to believe anything,” Morse told The Wall Street Journal. “You’ve got to go pretty far in San Francisco to make something look like a joke.”
Peter Doty Fundraiser
From Peter Doty:
My name is Peter Doty and I am raising money to pay for costs related to completing cancer treatment, other medical expenses, to get out of debt, and to move my things out of California. My sole source of income is Social Security disability, which is not enough to pay for these things.
I have been disabled for over ten years. I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, I have a mystery movement disorder, and psychiatric disabilities (worse of late.) Recently I have been dealing with prostate cancer. I had radiation treatment this summer, while staying in a medical homeless shelter. I’m really hoping to avoid doing the shelter thing again.
For those of you who are interested in Burning Man, I played a vital role in the creation of Theme Camps, with Christmas Camp (1993.) There, I also created the original Naughty Santa character (inspiring the subsequent SantaCon events.) I can say with confidence that my late-friend Larry Harvey (Burning Man founder) would support my fundraising efforts here. Larry was always effusive about my inventing the Theme Camp art form. Perhaps this fundraiser can be my Burning Man “pension.”
Yours truly co-producing the first Burning Man Theme camp.
I‘ve been a long time artist and fixture in the San Francisco underground. I’ve been a “big cheese” in the San Francisco Cacophony Society, as well as working on my own in a variety of media: fine art photography, writing, painting, tie-dye, songwriting, acting on stage & screen, printmaking, filmmaking, costuming, and political activism.
A while ago I lost rent control for my San Francisco apartment*; I have been dealing with financial uncertainty ever since. I came to New Mexico to help out my elderly mother who has had some problems for a few years. I hope to move my things to New Mexico, and have a new debt-free financial start.
* (For those paying attention to such things, note that I am yet another priced-out artist caught in the Northern California Creative Diaspora.)
I will use the money I raise for expenses to finish up my cancer treatment, past-due storage fees, professional movers, personal debts, past-due medical bills, and upcoming medical expenses (i.e. dental work, new eye-glass lenses, etc.) My disability income will not cover any of this, so I’m hoping this fundraiser will be successful.
Thank-you for reading all this, and bless anyone who can help out.
Cheers- Peter Doty