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Frank Chu at SantaCon 2011.
|Born||March 24, 1960|
Frank Chu (born March 24, 1960) is one of San Francisco's best-known eccentrics. Since 1999 or earlier, Chu has been campaigning to impeach an array of former U.S. Presidents he considers guilty of collaborating with a nefarious network of alien populations called the "12 Galaxies" to film him against his will, to broadcast this footage intergalactically, and to embezzle the royalties he is owed as a television and movie star. Chu lives in Oakland, and commutes daily to San Francisco and nearby locales in order to reach the largest audience of passers-by and television news crews for his street protests about this labor dispute. He produces a new sign weekly through Signographics in San Francisco and supports himself through sign sponsorships and small donations from his supporters and with help from his family.
Before his protests
According to Chu, before he started protesting, he worked as an accountant, attended UC Berkeley, and earned an associate degree in business administration from California State University, Hayward.
Frank Chu protests daily, or nearly daily, typically walking throughout the daytime hours in downtown San Francisco (particularly along Market Street and Montgomery Street) holding one of his serial protest signs, on which he displays codified rows of text in his characteristic lexicon. He doesn't shout or cause a noisy disturbance. He always wears wrap-around sunglasses, often wears a suit and tie, or a sports coat and dress shirt. If engaged, Chu supplements the public presentation of his signs with spoken remarks about their terminology, about his campaign to reveal his exploitation as an intergalactic television and movie star and to be compensated financially, and about his recent news coverage.
Although the form of Chu's actions is that of a picket-sign-carrying protester, it is misunderstood if interpreted merely as a protest or picket. He sometimes refers to "a live performance of my protest" rather than simply "my protest".
He occasionally protests elsewhere, for instance in downtown Oakland and at the University of California, Berkeley campus. Chu will deviate from his usual rounds in the pursuit of a larger audience, and he is frequently seen at street fairs and protests. Although he claims to be a Republican himself, he seems equally at home at protest demonstrations representing all shades of political opinion. Occasionally, people who oppose a protest group will single out Chu as an example of the protest group's incoherent message, not realizing that he is not protesting the same issues as the other protesters in the group.
Chu also likes to appear in the news media, and will try to position himself in view of television news cameras and to offer himself to be interviewed. He pays close attention to the local news media scene and keeps tabs on where he has received good coverage. He will depart from his usual parade ground to attend media-magnet events, for instance the Scott Peterson trial, the BALCO grand jury hearings, or the court case deciding on the timing of the California recall election.
World view and interests
Frank Chu holds Bill Clinton, Grover Cleveland, George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and other former U.S. Presidents responsible for working with the populations of the 12 Galaxies and directing the CIA, FBI, Universal Studios, and other agencies and corporations to embezzle royalties owed to him as the star of a television and movie series called "The Richest Family". Chu believes he has starred in the series since childhood, which has been a major success in other galaxies. Yet, because the syndicated series is shot with top-secret invisible cameras and edited weekly, Chu claims he was unaware of it until he received telepathic messages from supportive former Soviet and UN presidents in the mid-1990s. Chu asserts that many of the US presidents responsible are actually duplicates, therefore his protests have frequently called for the impeachment of Clinton even after Clinton was no longer in office. The 12 Galaxies also regularly commits war crimes and treason in this and in other galaxies.
Chu is strongly interested in television reporters and newscasters for their potential in bringing him the publicity he requires to inform the world of the injustices committed against him. He hopes that this wave of publicity will cause a public outcry and lead to more than "$20 billions" in compensation for the damages he and his family have suffered.
The now-closed 12 Galaxies bar in San Francisco was named in honor of Chu's cause. Chu occasionally spoke about his campaign and its coverage on-stage at the 12 Galaxies. His performances had a similar theme to his signs, with riffs off of the twelve galaxies theme and the seemingly abstract use of syllable combinations for poetic effect; to this he added the use of a percussive "ah" syllable at irregular intervals between words, superficially similar to the "uh" speech disfluency or discourse marker seen in ordinary conversation but with a more constant tone and duration.
Chu has been sponsored by the likes of Laughing Squid, Harputs adidas/Y3, Learn iT!, DoctorBase, a Quiznos Sub restaurant, Rasputin Music, Chris Daly's 2006 San Francisco Supervisor campaign, Phil Angelides' 2006 California gubernatorial campaign, and Expensify—typically through ad-space purchased on the back of his signs. As of May, 2005, his going rate was $100 (U.S.) per week.
Chu's signs with colorful, all-caps lettering on a black background are instantly recognizable even by those who know nothing else about him. His signs change from day to day, and tend to go through syntactically similar phases, with the phrase "12 Galaxies" being his trademark and a constant presence in the signs. In June 2007, Chu broke from this tradition and started replacing this with "85 Galaxies", "130 Galaxies", and "800 Galaxies". At the 2007 Castro Halloween Party, Chu's sign claimed "7,645,000 Galaxies", at MacWorld 2008 he was up to 75,850,000, at the Iraq War protest on March 19, 2008 he was up to 8,685,000,000, and 785,249,000,000,000 by June 21, 2008.
In his current signs, Chu has replaced "galaxies" with "populations" and lists figures which surpass any normal accounting; he had reached "DESKROTHULLIONS OF POPULATIONS" by 2011, for example, and "VITGROROLLIONS OF POPULATIONS" by 2012.
The earliest of the photos of Chu's signs show his "classic" phase, in which the signs typically read "IMPEACH [figure] 12 Galaxies Guiltied to a [modifier] Rocket Society", where [figure] was typically a living or dead former U.S. president, and [modifier] was something along the lines of "Zegnatronic", "Omegalogical", etc. The very earliest examples are handwritten, for instance:
Guiltied to a
Frank Chu has exhibited his serial protest signs in exhibitions, including "Frank Chu" at the Planetarium, Vilnius (2014); "Portable Holes", which took place in the San Francisco Pavilion during the 9th Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai, China (2012); "Sõida tasa üle silla (Ride gently over the bridge)" at Galerii Noorus during the ART IST KUKU NU UT Festival in Tartu, Estonia (2012); and "Psymulation: Reenactments of the Present" at Photo Epicenter in San Francisco, US (2008). His work was the subject of "Jretdrostrenikal Exhibitions", an exhibition at Objectif Exhibitions, in Antwerp, Belgium.
Frank Chu has received the following awards:
- 2000 "Best Protestor" San Francisco Bay Guardian.
- 2007 "Best Pathological Citizen", SF Weekly.
- Reed, Dan (Sep 26, 2001). "Protester promotes his cause - S.F. shop owner takes other side". San Jose Mercury News.
- Kamps, Garrett (Nov 17, 2004). "Frank Chu: the man, the myth, the "Experience"". SF Weekly. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
- "Or Maybe It's Something Completely Different: Frank Chu and the 12 Galaxies". neromagazine.it.
- "Signographics - San Francisco". SIGNOGRAPHICS. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
- Vigil, Delfin (February 6, 2005). "A Frank Chu F.A.Q." San Francisco Chronicle. p. 17.
- "Behind Closed Doors in Washington". starve.org.
- "Four Minutes with Frank Chu". >bt: brain terminal. March 21, 2003.
- Hay, Tim "T-shirts cause buzz outside Redwood City courthouse" Oakland Tribune 5 October 2004. p. 1
- Padecky, Bob "Bonds Part of Grand Jury Freak Show" The Press Democrat Santa Rosa, Calif.: 5 December 2003. p. C1
- Hubler, Shawn "The Recall Campaign: Outside a Sedate Courtroom, Scripted Chaos on the Street; In what has become a routine spectacle, candidates, advocates and oddballs compete for the media's attention in San Francisco" Los Angeles Times 23 September 2003. p. A20
- "Infamous eccentric Frank Chu explains the 12 galaxies". sfexaminer.com.
- Vigil, Delfin (Feb 6, 2005). "Three of clubs". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
- Beale, Scott (November 4, 2009). "Laughing Squid Sponsors Frank's Chu Sign". Laughing Squid.
- "Frank Chu at impeach Bush rally at federal building 10/31". Blue$treak @ Flickr.
- "Governor Votes, Angelides Gets Last-Minute Endorsement". Political Muscle. Los Angeles Times. November 7, 2006. Archived from the original on December 7, 2008.
- Tomikka Anderson (March 26, 2016). "Famed SF protestor Frank Chu has new sponsorship". San Francisco Chronicle.
- "Zegnatronic protester rockets toward profits". San Francisco Business Times. August 24, 2001.
- Reed, Dan (26 September 2001). "S.F.'s perpetual protester subs for capitalist". San Jose Mercury News.
- "Chu-bot report". tribe.net. May 11, 2005.
- "Where'd Those 73 Other Galaxies Come From?". SFist. June 25, 2007. Archived from the original on May 22, 2008.
- "Fillmore Jazz Festival 2007". megac0rp @ Flicker.
- "Frank Chu, Yahoo! Pride, & 800 Galaxies". barrio dude @ Flickr.
- Jade, Charles (January 20, 2008). "Macworld.Ars: West Hall wasteland —not". Ars Technica.
- "Winter just before spring - Frank Chu at Iraq war protest". Steve Rhodes @ Flickr.
- "Bicycle music festival 2008". Steve Rhodes @ Flicker.
- "Frank Chu at OWSwest!!!". youtube.com.
- "Even Aliens Don't Like Clinton". The Bagelfather. Archived from the original on 2006-06-23.
- "Impeach Clinton! Impeach Bush! 12 Galaxies Guiltied to a Zegnatronic Rocket Society: Dedicated to Frank Chu".
- "I love working Downtown". Story Time. Archived from the original on April 5, 2001.
- "Art Ist Kuku Nu Ut".[permanent dead link]
- Moyer, Edward. "Urban Living". San Francisco Bay Guardian. Archived from the original on August 18, 2000.
- "Best Pathological Citizen - 2007: Frank Chu". SF Weekly.
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