Is a Secret Banksy Event Headed to Cambridge?

The mystery event could be a film screening at Cambridge's Brattle Theatre.

Bristol, United Kingdom - March 28, 2011: Street graffiti paintings in central Bristol, United Kingdom. City of Bristol is a very popular place to exhibit street graffiti art of different anonymous artists.

A Banksy stencil photographed in Bristol, UK, in 2011. / Photo via iStock/rafalkrakow

A secret event related to the notorious British street artist Banksy is, apparently, coming to Boston. And Banksy himself might, but probably won’t, be there.

On Friday night, Cambridge’s Brattle Theatre will host a special screening of a 2012 documentary called DocoBANKSY, a distributor for the film tells us.

According to Anatol Chavez, director of Beverly Hills-based Synergetic Distribution, the venue will play the movie around 11 p.m. The screening has not yet been listed on the Brattle’s website, and it’s not clear yet how to buy tickets.

Reached by phone, the theater’s creative director Ned Hinkle says he has been instructed not to say much, saying, “I can neither confirm nor deny that there is anything happening here.”

The screening appears to be the solution to the riddle that has been playing out this week on the mysterious website, which has been teasing the Internet with little pieces of jumbled letters every day since July 1. The site asks viewers to unscramble the messages piece-by-piece, then submit their answers, and has been confirming correct submissions as they come in.

The letters, once decoded, point to a secret happening at 11 p.m. on Friday, for which people are invited to show up wearing hooded sweatshirts and either masks or sunglasses (in order to receive a “limited edition gift”). A select few, the decoded messages say, will be invited “to a private after party.” The site has not yet specified a location for the event, and before now there had been no clear indication that it would be in the Boston area.

The total decoded message so far goes like this, with the as-yet-un-decoded segments marked “???”:

Secret Banksy event / July fifteen twenty sixteen / to get a limited edition gift / wear hoodie and sunglasses or mask / the first one hundred tickets will / receive invitation to a private after party / ??? / this is not a photo opportunity / nor a time for autographs / eleven pm / laugh now but Friday we’ll be an town/ ???

Did you catch that clue in the final sentence? “Beantown.”

The message posted July 12, according to Boston amateur code-breaker Matthew Carson, is an even clearer nod to the city. It reads, “this is our Boston accent,” he says. It has not yet been confirmed on the site.

And here’s the kicker: according to Carson, the clue from July 7—which has also not been confirmed by the site’s administrator—indicates that, “the artist may be in attendance.” We can assume we are supposed to believe that means Banksy.

There is good reason to take innuendo about a Banksy appearance with a grain of salt. The artist has kept his identity a jealously guarded secret for his entire career, and his anonymity has helped him sell artwork for ungodly sums. There is no mention of the Secret Banksy website on Banksy’s actual website. And pretending that Banksy is going to show up someplace in an effort to trick the Internet has been done before.

The Secret Banksy site caught the attention of some code-breaking enthusiasts when it was shared to the Secret Boston Facebook page. The link had been posted a day earlier to a Facebook page whose “about me” section includes only a link to the DocoBANKSY website.

DocoBANKSY’s producers have not yet responded to requests for comment.