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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Woman to Hang Herself from Hooks in S.F. to Protest Shark Fin Soup

Posted By on Tue, Aug 23, 2011 at 12:50 PM

click to enlarge Alice Newstead, shark pasionaria
  • Alice Newstead, shark pasionaria

The debate over a proposed state ban on the sale of shark fins has involved plenty of shouting in San Francisco. Environmentalists note that shark-finning is a grisly practice that has devastated the animals' population. But shark fin soup is a prized delicacy among Chinese Americans, leading some in San Francisco to take up the cause of preserving the fin trade as a cultural issue.

AB 376 passed the California Assembly in May, and is now being considered by the state Senate. But just in case the argument over shark fin soup wasn't already emotional enough, a stunt is taking place in San Francisco tomorrow that is sure to provoke strong reactions (and perhaps some turned stomachs). Performance artist Alice Newstead plans to shove shark hooks through her skin and hang herself from scaffolding in a cosmetics shop, to "shed light on the plight of sharks and how their future is literally hanging in the balance."

click to enlarge newsteadhooks.jpg

Newstead is being sponsored in her endeavor by LUSH Cosmetics, a business that has taken up the anti-shark-fin cause and launched a commemorative line of soap, Shark Fin Soap, the proceeds of which go to support efforts to ban the fin trade. Newstead will engage in her act of self-mortification at noon at the LUSH store at 2116 Union St.

Be forewarned: Photos of Newstead's past exploits (including the above shot, taken in London) suggest that this demonstration isn't for the faint of heart.

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Peter Jamison


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