Kings of impersonation, Mike Bonanno and Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Men will give a multimedia presentation in Campbell Hall tonight at 8 p.m.
The group is known for exposing the folly and corruption of conglomerates and government institutions they suspect of employing unethical labor practices. Featured in their 2003 release, “The Yes Men” and the 2009 “The Yes Men Fix the World”, the political activists have gained fame for posing as corporate associates and spokespeople in order to disgrace organizations and bring attention to critical issues.
The speakers will discuss and display never-before-seen footage of their most renowned “actions,” which include posing as Exxon Mobil and McDonald’s representatives. Tickets cost $10 for UCSB students and $15 for the general public.
Aside from performing “actions,” Bonanno said in an interview to the Daily Nexus on Oct. 5 that the Yes Men also specialize in literary satire.
“One of the best publicized [actions] was when we printed an entire fake edition of the New York Times and we distributed 100,000 copies on the streets of New York along with volunteers from our mailing list,” he said. “It was a New York Times that was full of good news, basically a lot of hopeful news. It came out about a week after Obama was elected and the message of it all was to keep pushing people to keep pushing after the election, not to just stop.”
According to film and media studies professor Constance Penley, the Yes Men are a great inspiration to anyone who wants to make a difference in the world.
“The Yes Men inspire by going right into the belly of the corporate beast in brilliant performances that reflect back to the beast its own rapacious and hypocritical behavior,” Penley said in an e-mail. “In an age of ‘no,’ students can learn a lot from the Yes Men.”
Arts & Lectures associate director Roman Baratiak said the Yes Men are comparable to television personalities like Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert.
“They’re very funny and inventive and quite effective in what they do,” Baratiak said. “Satire can be very effective. It resonates as being meaningful for people. Some of the stunts they do are pretty wacky.”
Baratiak said the event will shed light on vital societal issues and offer practical solutions to seemingly unsolvable dilemmas.
Arts & Lectures senior writer and publicist Meghan Henry said the Yes Men will have students thinking outside of the box.
“[They are] about not always believing what you hear, but thinking for yourself,” Henry said. “Think about what you can do as an individual and how you can be active in your life, environment and campus, and what you can do to make a difference.”