November 10th, 2004 Chris Lydgate | Special Section Stories
 

THE PRANKSTER

Igor Vamos

     
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In 1990, Igor Vamos was another crazy, mixed-up college kid. Now, he's a star of The Yes Men.
THEN: Reed College art senior who engineered the surreal reverse-peristalsis protest of 1990, when a dozen demonstrators greeted Vice President Dan Quayle with a hail of red, white and blue vomit.

NOW: After graduating, Vamos started the Barbie Liberation Organization, which swapped the voice boxes of hundreds of talking Barbie dolls with those of GI Joe--so that Joe would giggle, "Math is hard!" while Barbie spat, "Dead men tell no lies!" The BLO then put the surgically altered dolls back on toy-store shelves, to the consternation of Mattel.

Vamos later directed a sly mockumentary about the fin de siècle Paris "fartiste" Joseph Pujol, whose flatulent performances at the Moulin Rouge had audiences swooning.

But Vamos' most ambitious prank so far is the Yes Men--a satirical band of reality-hackers who infiltrate groups like the World Trade Organization and take free-market theory to its illogical extreme (check out the recent documentary or www.theyesmen.org.)

When he's not subverting the dominant paradigm, Vamos, now 36, is Assistant Professor of Integrated Electronic Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., and last year landed a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Intro | Tonya's Mob: Tonya Harding, Jeff Gillooly & Shawn Eckardt | The Crusader: Gordon Shadburne | The Meteor: Billy Ray Bates | Satan's Pilgrim: Rex Diabolos Church | The Firebrand: Ron Herndon | The Bad Boy: Frank Peters | The Broken Halo: Michael Stoops | The Crack Mother: Anita Nichols | The Veejay: Kennedy | The Girl from Electra: Treva Throneberry | The Perfect Victim: Azalea Cooley | The Grappler: Dutch Savage | Wonder Boy: Pat Gillis | The Ex-Files: Marcia & Steve Moskowitz | The Witness: Dave Mazzella | The Prankster: Igor Vamos | The Intern: Monica Lewinsky | The Runaways: Diane Walden & Peter | Top Cop: Mark Kroeker | Sprawl Kitten: Kate Schiele | Authority Figure: Rocky Balada | The Hulk: Dry Dock 4 | The Candidate: Gail Shibley | The Super: Ben Canada | The Organ Grinder: Dr. William J. Brady | Pillars of the Community: The Lovejoy Columns | The Survivor: Giles Thompson | The Contender: Andy Minsker | Space Invader: The Phantom Dialer | The Red Menace: Ma Anand Sheela

 
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