Pillow Fight!

At 5:30, the King, Cap’n Raspberry and I rode into San Francisco on the 108 to attend an organized flash mob pillowfight at Justin Herman Plaza.

king tired on the bus

It had been a long day for all of us, and naps were needed.

cap'n sleeping on the bus

We ambled down Market towards the Ferry Building, noticing a growing number of individuals toting pillows of various sizes, along with suspiciously bulging backpacks.

woman holding pillow

About thirty seconds after I snapped this blurry photo, all chaos erupted, and I hit that woman square across the chest with my lethal couch pillow. The crowd started to surge while eyes went wild…

spectators watching the pillow fight

Hundreds of bystanders lined the pillow fighting arena, holding up cameras of all sorts along with cell phones. As I loped along the perimeter looking for a good target, I could hear hurried conversations shouted on cell phones.

“No, Embarcadero! You can’t miss it! All these people with pillows showed up out of nowhere! I’ve never seen anything like this man!”

people getting ready to pillow fight

Along the edges, people milled, setting themselves up, taking breathers, or watching the action with bemused expressions.

overhead shot of pillow fight

Here’s what it looked like from above.

I fought my way into the core of the action:

middle of the pillow fight

And my glasses fell off about two minutes later. I underwent a moment of panic, thinking for sure that this would be the last time I ever saw clearly, and luckily recovered them, hopelessly bent. I stuffed them into a pocket to deal with later and proceeded to beat everyone I could distinguish.

long shot of pillow fight

I stepped out now and then to snap shots of the violently milling, gleeful crowd.

side shot of the pillow fight

The Cap’n flung himself in with a frenzy…at one point, we were fighting back to back, with feathers flying everywhere, and were viciously attacked by a team of hipster girls who almost devastated our defences. We rallied and carried on, into the depths of the action, where we were met by a man with a loudspeaker.

“Why can’t we all just get along? Stop the pillow on pillow violence!”

“No blood for pillows!”


“Do not *grunt* fuck with *grunt* TREASURE ISLAND,” I hollered, as I pounded on the back of a businessman wearing a tie and wielding a paisley pillow. When we looked up, I noticed this scientist, complete with lab coat, taking notes.

There was only one rational response: yes, kids, I hit him square on the hard hat.

“No, NO!” he screamed, as I beat him.

petering out

The pillow fight started petering out, and we noticed a friend in the crowd.

the king beats on a friend

We didn’t even know ou would be there, but the King rose to the occasion with style.

the king delivers the beat down

Some of the bystanders seemed a little shocked by the ferocity.

pillow tossed overhead

As the fight waxed on, pillows sometimes sailed gracefully overhead, frozen in mid air for a moment before releasing a crowd of feathers…the fight must have been visible all the way to Montgomery, because of the cloud of feathers that hung suspended in the air over us, and coated the ground like a slick snow drift uder us.

When I got home and blew my nose, feathers came out.

My glasses: fucked. I bent them into shape enough to wear, but if they take one more hit, I’m facing blindness.

Here are some Flickr photosets taken with cameras other than cell phones…I was impressed both by the number of people with cameras, and how respectful everyone was of them. Laughing Squid is posting roundups of the action in two posts, which both link to a plethora of photo sets and video.

I appear in this shot by Laughing Squid, as well as several others.

Truly, a fight to remember!

[pillow fight]
[San Francisco]
[Valentine’s Day]