Get Your Timeshare Slot In The Sultan

If this is a troll, it’s the most elaborate one I’ve ever seen. It’s either real, or an ironic “seeding of the market” like the AirBnB listings. They can put the brochures in the Souk and test the appetite and interest level, measure how many outraged reactions there are (if any)…all the while pretending it’s not really happening in the name of irony. Except this IS really happening. Playa hotels are really happening, commodification camps are really happening, so is Burning Man ephemeral real estate leasing really happening too? Or is it just a mirage? A big farce?

From occidentaloasis.com:

Experience™ Black Rock City like you never have before with a choice of accommodations and services ranging from opulent luxury for the refined individual to comfort and convenience for the seasoned adventurer.  

Occidental Oasis is the preeminent Experience™ ownership and Experience Club™ membership program in Black Rock City. Ownership of a deeded real estate interest provides Members with a lifetime of unsurpassed experiences via the most innovative and flexible club in the industry. Experience Club™ members choose when and where to travel, enjoying the comfort and convenience of residential-style resort accommodations in select, renowned festivals throughout the United States and world. Each Experience Club™ property provides a distinctive setting, while signature elements remain consistent, such as high-quality guest service, spacious residences and extensive on-property amenities. From exciting Black Rock City, Nevada and dynamic Forgotten City, Las Vegas, to the laid-back lifestyles of Saguaro Man, Arizona and Soul Fire, California, or the frozen landscape of Frost Burn, we take pride in offering our guests a superior Experience™ ownership program in the world’s most celebrated locations. For those aspiring to the good life, Occidental Oasis offers a passport to endless opportunities for radical self-expression.

Since its formation in 2010, Occidental Oasis has worked closely with the Burning Man Organization (BMORG) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to finally bring this exciting opportunity to Burning Man participants in 2014.  In a market where large, publicly held theme camps have recently begun to dominate the landscape, Occidental Oasis has carved out a niche deep in the playa. 

Our Black Rock City sales offices are located in the 6:00 Souk Tent Suite D2 at The Man.  We are open daily from 10am to 2pm.

Occidental Oasis is an inclusive resort property  located deep in the playa of Black Rock City, Nevada.  The resort caters to Burning Man participants that want a unique experience tailored to their individual desires.  Occidental Oasis provides participants with a choice of accommodations and services ranging from opulent luxury for the refined individual to comfort and convenience for the seasoned adventurer. 

The Oasis is located just beyond the temple and extends deep into the playa.  Our fleet of private art cars and bike pool allow guests to quickly get from the oasis to all the action in Black Rock City.

BLACK ROCK ESTATES

Enjoy Black Rock City from the luxury, beauty, and warmth of our private villas surrounded by miles of pristine playa and mountain views.  Indulge in all the luxuries of home and enjoy a haven of rejuvenation where friends can revitalize and enjoy unforgettable moments in paradise.  Renew your spirit and inner child with spa treatments and five-star hotel services.

BLACK ROCK ACRES

Black Rock Acres is a private oasis offering its own unique experience within the Burning Man event.  Relax in your private accommodations, take a break in our dust free clubhouse with live HD coverage of the event, or express yourself in our exclusive theme camps and works of art.

BLACK ROCK PARK

Our basic accommodations in Black Rock Park provide an accessible entry point for those adventurers seeking a solid foundation to launch their daily excursions into Black Rock City.  Enjoy access to our private fleet of art cars as well as many other services that will make your burn an experience to remember.

 Whether you choose the luxury of Black Rock Estates, the comfort of Black Rock Acres, or the conveniences of Black Rock Park just remember that our home is your home in Black Rock City.

Packages:

Occidental Oasis creates unique and unforgettable experiences for the discerning Burning Man participant.  Each participant works with one of our highly trained Experience Associates™ to develop an Experience Profile™ that determines their desires for self-expression and appraises their self-reliance needs.  After completing an Experience Profile™ a participant will work with an Experience Agent™ to tailor a package of services and amenities that will deliver an unforgettable Burning Man experience.  The Experience Agent™ will work with the participant to finalize the necessary documents and secure a reservation at Occidental Oasis

 


Sparkle Pony

  • 6 day standard accommodation in BRC
  • Non-refundable, non-transferable
  • 1 emergency extraction to Reno
  • IV hydration package
  • Discount medical and legal services
  • All inclusive meal and beverage plan
  • Bicycle plan

Shirt Cocker

  • 3 day basic accommodation in BRC
  • 120qt cooler
  • Bud Light, Coors Light, or Miller Lite
  • PBR / Tecate (additional charge)
  • Ice service

Veteran

  • 10 days Black Rock Acres or Black Rock Park
  • Early entry and vehicle passes
  • Theme camp setup/teardown
  • Theme camp staffed by Occidental Oasis

 


Executive

  • 7 days Black Rock Estates
  • All inclusive (wardrobe, dining, entertainment)
  • VIP access
  • Personal art car with driver
  • Satellite Internet
  • Express entry/exodus
  • Chartered Flight RNO/SFO (additional charge)

Wanderlust

  • Regional events package (US only)
  • Tent/RV services
  • Travel arrangements
  • VIP Access

Ambassador

  • International events package
  • Travel and luggage services
  • Medical and legal services

 

They were recruiting paid employees for their venture:

Join the Occidental Oasis Experience Team™


An in-house Occidental Oasis Experience Team™ member is responsible for presenting the Occidental Oasis Experience™ ownership products and services to our guests and owners to generate maximum net sales volume while maintaining a professional and ethical representation of the company.

WHAT WILL I BE DOING?

As an Occidental Oasis representative, you would be responsible for presenting the Occidental Oasis Experience™ ownership products and programs to Owners, Exchangers, Owner Referrals, Courtesy Tours and our guests in order to generate maximum net sales volume while maintaining a professional and ethical representation of the company. You will take guests and owners on resort tours, present our products, and follow finance guidelines. You will also commit to the company’s operating policies, principles, sales and customer service philosophies.

WHAT ARE WE LOOKING FOR?

Every Burning Man participant is a very important person at Occidental Oasis, and it’s our promise to potential owners that they will enjoy the best of everything with us. That’s why the Experience Team™ is responsible for converting each participant into club members by providing them with information about our club point packages. Team members also provide additional knowledge and details regarding our ownership programs in order to help generate optimal sales volume from every participant.

WHAT BENEFITS WILL I RECEIVE?

Your benefits will include a competitive starting salary and, depending upon eligibility, a vacation or Paid Time Off (PTO) benefit. You will instantly have access to our unique benefits such as the Team Member and Family Travel Program, which provides reduced rates at many of our properties for you and your family, plus discounts on products and services offered by Occidental Oasis and its partners. After 90 days you may enroll in the Occidental Oasis Health & Welfare benefit plans, depending on eligibility. Occidental Oasis also offers eligible team members a 401K Savings Plan, as well as Employee Assistance and Educational Assistance Programs. We look forward to reviewing with you the specific benefits you would receive as an Occidental Oasis Experience Team™. The above information is provided as a highlight of the major benefits offered to most full-time team members in the United States. All benefits listed may not be offered at all locations. This is not a summary plan description or official plan document.

Their Facebook page only has 43 likes.

It has reviews, which suggest the (ironic) experience being sold now will be available next year. If enough Burners were fooled and signed up, then perhaps it will:

  • Turner Rentz

    Survival camping in harsh environments really requires the best from me, and I’m proud to let Occidental Oasis become a member of my team. My friends who roll in, in nice, expensive RV’s and even those that use their own chef and only come out at night to avoid the harshness of the environment … should all seriously look into this experience(tm). I especially love the idea of having someone do all the bothersome design work of my own, unique art car that really helps express who I am! When it comes to self reliance, I rely on Occidental! What an AMAZING service!! FIVE STARS!!!
  • My Experience™ Agent Frank set me up with the perfect little EconoPod™ in Black Rock Park. As a bonus for signing the deal before the event he threw in a free Shirt Cocker and Sparkle Pony package. I went for the 30 year agreement which also gives me preferred scheduling for my vacation reservations. I can’t wait to take my first trip to the Oasis in 2015!
     
  • I’m so excited that time shares are finally coming to Black Rock City! This will be my 11th year, and frankly I’m ready for a little luxury. My 2015 Experience™ will be the best yet!
     

On August 15 2014 – before the Gentrification and Sherpagate scandals broke out – they posted:

Have you ever wanted to make a little piece of the Burning Man Experience™ your own? Now is your chance to own 1/70,000 of your home away from home. The Occidental Oasis is the preeminent vacation ownership and timeshare program in Black Rock City.

Stop by The Man and visit us in the 6:00 Souk tent. One of our Experience™ Agents will work with you to find the perfect property and activities package.

The Occidental Oasis sales office will be open Monday through Friday 11am – 3pm. If you are interested in becoming an Experience™ Agent we are holding a job fair on Monday August 25th from 12:30pm – 3pm.

Do not miss this opportunity to secure you own Burning Man Experience™ for years to come!

Visit Occidental Oasis online at http://www.occidentaloasis.com/

occidental oasis

 

 

 

Own your own piece of the Burning Man Experience™ at the Occidental Oasis. Whether you choose the luxury of Black Rock Estates, the comfort of Black Rock Acres, or the convenience of Black Rock Park, the Occidental Oasis Resort will provide when the playa does not. Units are selling fast. Stop our sales office at The Souk M-F 11-3 to speak with an Experience™ agent. Visit us online at http://www.occidentaloasis.com/

 occidental estates occidental oasis square tents

Our units provide an accessible entry point for those adventurers seeking a solid foundation to launch their daily excursions into Black Rock City. Enjoy access to our private fleet of art cars as well as many other services that will make your burn an experience to remember.

Black Rock Acres is a private oasis offering its own unique experience within the Burning Man event. Relax in your private accommodations, take a break in our dust free clubhouse with live HD coverage of the event, or express yourself in our exclusive theme camps and works of art. — at Black Rock City

Black Rock Acres p3 Black Rock Acres p5 Black Rock Acres p2 Black Rock Acres p1 Black Rock Park p2 Black Rock Park p3 Black Rock Estates p2 Black Rock Estates 1 2014 black rock park burning man the siesta occidental oasis 2014 the herdsman black rock park occidental oasis occidental oasis econopod black rock park

 

Black Rock Estates

Black Rock Acres

Black Rock Park

Adherence to the Principles is done for you, as well as Principle # 11, Sherpa Reliance:

Communal Effort

Occidental Oasis employs many  creative and generous people that provide services and artwork to the greater community.   You can rest easy knowing that your membership in Occidental  Oasis is a valuable contribution to the greater experience of those in Black Rock City.

Public Art Installations

Unique Theme Camps

Volunteer Sponsorship

Civic Responsibility

Occidental Oasis provides trained  Experience Guides™ knowledgeable of
all local, state, and federal laws. 
Our guides will monitor your behavior in a non-intrusive manner providing
timely feedback and intervention with the community that will allow you fully
express yourself without consequence. 
Occidental Oasis also provides professional legal services on-site and
after the event.

Knowledgeable Experience Guides™

On-site Legal Support

Leave No Trace

Occidental Oasis provides full trash service as well as single stream
recycling allow you to consume what you need
when you need it without worrying about the bits you leave behind. 

Trash Service

Single Stream Recycling

Post Event Cleanup


 

Radical Inclusion

 

Everyone is welcome at the Occidental Oasis.  Stop by our sales office at The Souk to speak with one of our Experience™ Agents.

 

 

Gifting

Occidental Oasis Gift Scouts™ will scour the playa in search of only the very best gifts for our guests.  When possible scouts will collect and return to the resort with the gifts that best match our guests’ requests.  Scouts will arrange transportation in our fleet of private art cars to experience those gifts which the scouts cannot hand deliver.  

Our resorts ofter gifting packages and professional gift coordinators that will help provide our clients with gifts for giving.  Gifting packages can also include gift distributions which can be schedule to provide maximum impact to the greater burning man community and relieve our clients of the burden of gifting.

Gift Scouts

Gifting Coordinators

Gift Distribution Services

Custom Gift Packages

 


Decommodification

Occidental Oasis is a cashless facility.  Your initial investment along with your annual maintenance fee provides you unlimited access to all the resort has to offer.  All inclusive packages for meals, drinks, and entertainment are available and can be arranged when you reserve your stay.  Just contact your Experience Agent™ or the on duty Experience Concierge™ to make your selections.  

Al a carte and premium services chosen while at the event will be billed directly to your account.  Just sit back and relax knowing that it is all being taken care of for you.

Cashless Facility

Direct Billing

24 hour Experience Concierge™

 


Self-Reliance

Occidental Oasis makes your journey to the playa as easy as a first class flight to the Riviera. 

We provide around the clock access to beverages, meals, consumables, transportation, entertainment, and support services.  Our facilities include onsite medical care and emergency transportation on/off playa should you encounter pressing needs to come and go from the event.

 

24 Hour Dining

Private Showers

Art Car Fleet

Wardrobe Services

Onsite Medical Care

Emergency Transportation

 


Self-Expression

Occidental Oasis provides professional self-expression consultants that will help you choose from a variety of packages that express your unique self.  Choose from an assortment of costume, makeup, and bike options.  OurSelf-Expression Packages™ have been rated as some of the best on the playa. 

Our professional photographers will be sure to catch your most expressive moments.  We have a range of photo packages to choose from that will allow you to impress your friends. 

Our consultants can also help you manage your online presence after the show to ensure your experience will be remembered by others for years to come.

 

Wardrobe Consultants

Makeup Artists

Professional Photographers

Self-Expression Packages

Memories Packages

Post-event Support

 


Participation

Occidental Oasis pampers our guests with VIP access to the big burns and events on playa.

Party with similar minded people in our exclusive theme camps, art cars, and outings. 

VIP Access to The Burn

Exclusive Theme Camps

Private Art Car Fleet

Special Events


Immediacy

Occidental Oasis has its fingers on the pulse of Burning Man.  We know exactly what is going on when and where and how well it matches your Experience Profile™. 

We provide a daily briefing and a schedule of suggested experiences that may be of interest. 

Simply contact the on-duty Experience Concierge™ to select the activities that interest you most and our fleet of private art cars will be dispatched to pick you up and shuttle you to the event. 

Each guest is provided with a high precision GPS transponder and communicator that will allow us to locate you, confirm your desires, and get you to the next event. 

Personalized Event Schedules

24 Hour pick-up/drop-off

Radio Dispatched Art Cars

GPS Tracking Services


Civic Responsibility

Occidental Oasis provides trained Experience Guides™knowledgeable of all local, state, and federal laws.  Our guides will monitor your behavior in a non-intrusive manner providing timely feedback and intervention with the community that will allow you fully express yourself without consequence.  Occidental Oasis also provides professional legal services on-site and after the event.

Knowledgable Experience Guides™

On-site Legal Support


 

Their web site hosts some glowing testimonials from satisfied Occidentists:

“We had an outstanding trip. Our Experience™ could not have been better. Frank was technically an exceptional Experience™ guide and we always felt safe. Prior to our visit he was very accessible which made us feel more comfortable. As the burn continued I think we got to know him personally and had some very meaningful evening discussions.”

— Dirk Hainey
 

“Frank was a very accommodating guide. I felt like everything happened very smoothly and with precision. I would highly recommend this Experience Team™ and a stay at the Roca Negro Villas. The private art cars were always very clean, overall a great experience. Would go again. ”

— Sandy LaPlage
 

“Jess, our self-expression consultant, was creative and delicious. She had obviously reviewed our Experience Profile™ and her costuming was great.

The villa itself met our expectations and was very clean and comfortable. We are already thinking about next year.”

— Seymour Glass
 

“Wow!”

— A & P
 

“To have enjoyed this extraordinary experience any other way is unthinkable. My stay in The Sultan was truly opulent. The private access road make entrance and exodus a breeze. Occidental Oasis transformed my trip into the experience of a lifetime. ”

— Buckminster C.
 

“It is what I would call a solid 4.5 star experience. In other words, I give it a 9 out of 10.”

— Quentin

 

They started the week with an officially promoted on burningman.com Playa event, a job fair recruiting PAID workers to sell the real estate.

Occidental Oasis Job Fair!

Date/Time(s): Monday, August 25th, 2014 12:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Hosted by Camp: SizzleVille
Location: Occidental Oasis – Souk @ The Man Base
URL: http://www.southbayburners.org/

Description

Get in on the ground floor as a first-round employee of Occidental Oasis Holdings, an exclusive timeshare resort offering 1/70,000 ownership in BRC! Opportunities at BRC, with future expansions across the US and at international burns too! Highest commissions in the industry! Short hours, you can even learn to work from home! Learn about the BRC Properties: Hex Village, Yurt Villas, and Black Rock Estates. These gated communities provide free Wi-Fi and HDTV broadcast of the burns, two-bike garages, and plumbing in the BRC-Municipal Utility District (MUD). Package levels available: Sparkle Pony, Shirt Cocker, Veteran, Wanderlust (at regional events), and Ambassador (at international events). Optional package add-ons include sky diving arrivals, helicopter exodus, personal art car, plus more! If sales isn’t your thing, become an Occidental Oasis concierge! OO Resorts’ concierge service has its fingers on the pulse of Burning Man. We know exactly what is going on when and where and how well it matches our guests’ personal profile. We will provide a daily briefing and a schedule of suggested experiences that may be of interest to our honored sales prospects.

The South Bay Burners give us a hint that it might be a prank. 

From burningman.com

South Bay CORE/Occidental Oasis Job Fair

In classic cacophony style, we’d like to invite you to join us as the “staff” of the Occidental Oasis! Come for a job interview, and stay to help be a part of the most interactive Man Base in history! The South Bay’s Souk will be located in the south-east quadrant of the Man pavilion. For more information, visit http://www.occidentaloasis.com/events/2014/8/25/job-fair

The South Bay’s Occidental Oasis will offer a 1/70,000th share in the playa, offering ownership of a part of the future of an expanded Black Rock City. Come in, relax, and sit through our time share presentation to hear about the opportunity to own a permanent location in 2015′s 360-degree BRC township. Get brochures for special activities and freebies, plus a CERTIFICATE OF OWNERSHIP!

Selling out the Playa. Could it get more commodified? I guess the answer is yes, unfortunately.

In light of Sherpagate, Signgate, and general gentrification, the irony now seems a lot less funny. What they’re promoting as a joke in the middle of the city, they’re pretty much doing at its fringes. Or maybe this is real, and yet another Safari Camp earning millions monetizing our spectacle.

BMOrg have now publicly established, via the New York Times and others, that people will pay $13,000-$25,000 per head for luxury Commodification Camps. What would they pay for ownership of Real Estate, and access to luxury villas with pools and private access roads? The number of units is not even close to 1% of the population, so plenty could afford it. This semi-professional looking sales effort is placed in the most prime real estate of all for marketing, in their marketplace, the bizarre bazaar in the middle of their event at the base of The Man, the main attraction of the whole shebang. Is Burning Man really putting these sales brochures there because this is a hilarious joke? Because some of their Directors are selling exactly this on K Street, is that the joke?

Or are they, with the help of their AirBnB luxury boutique hotel Commodification Camping Millionaire and Billionaire Directors, testing the market to see if this idea could really fly for next year? Preparing the pitch for the Home Shopping Network?

What are Burners supposed to respond with, when receiving a real estate pitch at Burning Man, being handed these brochures? Some would be fooled into going along with the prank and responding positively to the sales pitch, just like in classic Cacophony style they were fooled into selling their souls to Satan via Helco, in BMOrg’s 1996 affairs. Others might think it’s now fine to hand out brochures for whatever cause or company you want to promote at Burning Man, in the big mall they have at the middle of it.

A prank can be ironic if you’re not actually doing it, you’re just joking; but if you’re actually doing it then which bit of it is the irony again?

First, sow confusion. It plants a seed, mixing possibility with plausible deniability. Next, sprinkle chaos. Finally, when the seedling grows, start harvesting. Sell that annual crop for cash.

Burning Man timeshares...not coming soon, already here. 

 

 

South Bhak – Burning Man and South Park S18 Connection *Again*

Bhak Jolilcouer may have a point. He saw a lot of parallels between last week’s South Park Season 18 premiere, Go Fund Yourself, and his situation with a trademark that was in the public domain in Canada. It inspired him to create a Gofundme looking for help in his battle against the mighty BMOrg legal machine. Please give him some support, he’s about half way towards his modest goal. He can’t afford an attorney so he is looking for legal assistance also.

redskinsAnyway, I went back and watched the episode again after respected commenter Nomad Traveler separately told me that he too saw a lot of parallels between Go Fund Yourself and the Burning Man situation. The second time round, I was convinced that they were both right. The episode could absolutely be a metaphor for Burning Man, and their trademark wars.

Episode 2 of the latest Season just aired tonight, and I’m now more sure of this connection than ever. Watch Season 18 Episode 1 and you too will probably notice the many parallels between Burning Man’s trademark fight against the Canadian Burners who are battling to keep the term in the public domain (as it has been up there in the North for decades), and the South Park kids’ fight over the Washington Redskins. The cultural sensitivity issues of feathers and head-dresses obviously resonate with many Burners, and the idea of making money for doing nothing via crowd-sourcing is somewhat reminiscent of Burning Man.

Marketwatch had an article about the episode entitled “What South Park Can Teach Us About Silicon Valley’s Bro Culture” (Burning Man IS Silicon Valley, remember…):

The show pokes painfully overt fun at the American sociocultural niche that is Silicon Valley. “It captures a lot of the way the rest of America views what’s going on in this small corner of capitalism,” said Josh Brown, a New York–based financial adviser at Ritholtz Wealth Management and writer of the well-known blog The Reformed Broker. “Outside of that [tech startup] space, people don’t have the luxury to build companies that are made to just sell to someone else.”

cartman 4 point plan“South Park” character Cartman lays out a four-point plan for startup success: start up, cash in, sell out, bro down.

“By pledging just one or two dollars,” Cartman urges potential investors in a mock Kickstarter video, “you are helping us in our fervent quest of not having to do stuff.”

This, of course, is an exaggerated portrayal of reality…But, as with any satire, this parody is laced with truth.

Well-known venture capitalists…have criticized the culture of modern-day startups, particularly regarding so-called burn rates, or the speed at which new companies burn through the cash they have raised.

Broners, dude?

This week the idea that South Park may be giving us a timely message related to Burning Man continued. Either that, or both Bhak and I are going mad and thinking the TV is talking to us…you have been warned!

Without giving too many spoilers away (but I will further on), an awesome party that everyone was looking forward to was cancelled. And the people couldn’t believe that the decision makers just gave up. Cartman goes tripping in the desert and saves the day.

South Park is made in about a week – an astonishing accomplishment, and most definitely Bad Ass Burner-worthy. I recommend the documentary on the making of it, 6 Days To Air. I know that people involved in the show at a high level are veteran Burners, and love Burning Man.

The show is made in LA. This week, the LA Decompression party was cancelled. The LA Decom organizers decided a week out from the event that they wanted to take a year off.

Dear LA Burner Community,

 There will not be an LA Decom this year. We are officially taking the year off. 

We honestly and very sincerely tried. The park is closed for renovation (this we knew a year ago). We found a new location that we were very excited about but then management changed and so did the terms of the agreement making the location no longer perfect for our event.  So we went on the search for a new location. For months, we made numerous phone calls to venues, talked to city officials, and went location scouting. And we did find a wonderful location right in downtown LA. But the date when we want to use it, backs up to another production already there shooting. It is a less than ideal situation that could easily be disastrous for us if that production runs late by one day. And it probably will.

towlie-south-park-videoSo the bottom line…We’re tired. Exhausted really. And we honestly need to take a year off from producing this event. And we know many on the team feel the same way. At the Town Hall meeting in February several theme camp and art installation leads expressed similar feelings about taking a year off. So we are throwing in the towel and finally listening to you and probably also the universal playa dust. It is time to take a break.

We highly encourage your participation in San Francisco Decompression October 12th www.burningman.com/blackrockcity_yearround/special_events/decompression/decom2014.html and YOUtopia in San Diego October 16-19.  http://sdyoutopia.com

Locally, we have monthly Burner Meet ups the first week of every month. Wednesday at Barbara’s at the Brewery in Downtown LA, Thursday at Roosterfish in Venice, and Sunday at The Other Door in North Hollywood.

December will bring the White Blissmas Charity Ball and March is BEquinox.

Thank you for your participation and contributions to the 12 years of LA Decom. We will come back in 2015 for our 13th year rested up and stronger. Ready to burn brightly and shine on! 

The LA League of Arts and Your LA Regional Contacts

South Park are some of THE most talented and cherished artists in the world, and most especially Los Angeles. I could easily imagine the Burners on their team feeling bummed to lose their Decompression at the very last minute, because the regional contacts were “tired” and knew about a problem for a year but just decided to take this year off “in case” their venue cancelled on their (existing, paid-for?) booking? There are a lot of Burners from LA, 16618 at LA Burning Man, 4329 at Curious Josh’s LA Burners,  and 2879 at Burners.Me’s Facebook.  That’s 23,826 people, just on our three groups. There are a lot of LA Burners, including many who didn’t go to Burning Man this year but were looking forward to hearing all the stories about it when they met up with their friends at Decompression.

Many of my LA Burner friends could organize a party for several thousand people at the drop of a hat, so cancelling like this with a week to go is pretty lame. Couldn’t they at least hand it over to a club, so they didn’t have to do anything and Burners can still attend? If Burning Man was owned by the Community, that could happen; in Decommodification world, this is the result. One wonders if there is some other, unstated reason, behind this cancellation – a request for insurance or a royalty payment from BMOrg, perhaps?

Watch the episode for yourself and see what you think. Spoilers ahead…


ebola suitsI’ve watched it a few times now, the more I see it the more connections I see to the Burning Man story that we’re all part of right now. The transition to a non-profit, presented as a benefit to the community, has instead led us to Commodifcation Camps and the classy spectacle of charity-on-charity lawsuits. What that means for the future of the community is uncertain. A huge influx of virgins every year seems to be an indication that pleasing the Burners who built the city and brought the spectacle out there on their own dime for so many years, is less important to shark-jumpers BMOrg than preaching the Gospel of the Principles and social engineering to an increasingly mainstream audience of misty-eyed first and second timers.

Some of the links I see:

The kids want to throw a party, it gets cancelled by the suits. Turning the pyramid upside down, things aren’t going to get better they’re going to get worse (according to Cartman), the big fuss about nothing, the fear that something bad might happen which is kind of ridiculous. All the rule makers getting involved and trying to spoil the fun and ruin the party.

south-park-s18e01c02-furry-balls-plopped-menacingly-on-the-table-INC_16x9Epsiode 1 of Season 18 – Go Fund Yourself – saw the kids having a good time on top of the world, as they used crowd-sourcing to get rich off the efforts of others; and ended with them bummed. “I guess we gotta go back to school”, sighs Cartman. This aired on Comedy Central tonight immediately before Episode 2.

Episode 2 of Season 18 – Gluten Free Ebola, or GFE – begins with everyone remembering stuff from the week before, which in my memory hasn’t happened before in South Park (although they’ve had several multi-part episodes). The boys comment on it. It builds a link to Go Fund Yourself, which will also be repeated later in the episode.

Someone has set fire to the gym. Since it burned down, the kids are bored and have nothing to do. The other kids won’t talk to them after last week’s adventures. They need a big fucking party that the other kids can go to as well, so everyone thinks they’re cool. They need a cause to throw the party for, because they can’t throw it for themselves.

They go to the media to promote the most epic party ever.

“Get the party started”, sings Pink leading them in.

Stan: “It’s going to be this weekend”. LA Decom was going to be this weekend.

Cartman: “we want to give back to the community and show everyone a good time”

Later, the party gets shut down because of the rules changing.

The rule-making suits talk about Poppycock and dough.

gluten free ebolaThe parents – afraid that gluten is like the Ebola virus – take all the pizza and cake, preventing the kids from throwing the party. They throw the goodies in a big bonfire, and stand around it in a circle yelling boorishly. The grown-ups look very much like the Default world, not the happy joyful world of the party the kids wanted to be in.

Men in black sweep through the fields of gold (wheat), Burning everything in sight – destroying it. The scorched earth policy, show no mercy.

The suits from their strategic command center say they’ll do whatever it takes to stop this crisis, but it’s too little, too late for the kids. Their party is cancelled.

Cartman, falling asleep: “The world is upside down guys. Things aren’t going to get better, they’re going to get worse”

In a dream sequence, Cartman hears

Clyde: “you fouled at the party. Your party sucks”

Token: “c’mon guys let’s go”

Jimmy: “no food at a party? And I thought I was handicapped”

Voices: “what’s up with this party? where’s the food? What a loser!”

Cartman then meets Aunt Jemima on the porch in a magical forest.

Aunt Jemima: “There’s people in trouble Eric. They need to be shown the way. You need to get to the USDA child. They looking for a sign”

Cartman eats Aunt Jemima’s pancakes, and starts tripping in the desert. Aunt Jemima tells him to look for a sign from the USDA. By this time the Feds have got involved with the labcoat suits.

Aunt Jemima: When you’re stuck, look to the pyramids. They got it wrong child, the world is upside down

Cartman: oooo …tripppy

Day goes into night, while Cartman is tripping balls in the desert.

Aunt Jemima: tell ‘em they gots it backwards.

Cartman: “they got what backwards”?

A big white explosion of light happens at the climax of his trip.

A golden triangle that looks just like the face of the Man appears, shining. There is a white line running across the face of The Man/side of the triangle. The white line intensifies, and the face cracks then explodes.

Jason_friend_iconDistorted, disappointed, Disoriented faces of some of the kids appear, amplified in mirrors. One of them looks like a character from the awesome South Park PS 3 game The Stick of Truth who I’m sure is based on a certain real-life Burner I know and love.

I can’t make out everything the kids say, “adventure!” and “party!” and “fun!” sound like three of the words.

Then Aunt Jemima’s head explodes, and is replaced with the golden triangle with the white line across it – the face of The Man atop a humanoid body, holding a tray of the magickal pancakes.

When Cartman wakes up from his dream, ending the scene, his first words are “Fuck I want pancakes”.

Once the triangle appears as the face of Aunt Jemima, I think they are making it pretty clear that it is meant to be a face. So its similarity to the face of The Man is striking. The white line…well, make of that whatever your mind conjures up. Playa caterpillars.

They cancel the party because of stupid rule-making decisions by the bureaucrats.

randy papa chicken johnsRandy and Mr Garrision get seized and taken to Papa John’s (pizza…Chicken?)

“This whole thing was a setup”.

The older Burners characters end up isolated in quarantine at Papa [Chicken] John’s.

Randy: “they don’t care about us any more”

“Maybe Papa [Chicken] John can help us”

The boys go on a radio show, hearing angry calls from the people about the cancelled party.

“This is not a time to party. This is time to get serious”, says Stan, always a buzzkill.

Clyde: “I knew you guys were going to bail on the party”,

Jamie in Como: “you say you’re going to throw the most epic party of the decade and then you rip it away…it’s kind of like telling everyone to go fuck themselves” – which is another reference linking this episode to Season 18, Episode 1.

Wendy: “why are you doing this party Stan? Was it because you made people mad in school, or because you just wanted to be a big shot?”

Stan: “we wanted to bring people together and help [a cause]“

Wendy: “so then in the time when people really need to come together, you cancel on them. I’m pretty sure [the cause still exists]…When things change or things come up, you don’t forget about everything you promised people”

Cartman calls in, sounding like he’s still tripping, with the answer from the pyramids.

Suits: “the pyramid? That’s ancient stuff you’re talking about, are you sure?”

Suits: “the pyramid doesn’t work, we’ve already tried it”

Cartman: “the pyramid is upside down”

When they flip the pyramid upside down, putting all the naughty things first, the people rejoice! The triangle shape appears again, stabilized in green light.

The kids’ party is a huge success. The Fun booth is crowded.

Token: “Well I got to admit, you guys throw a pretty sweet party”

The boys accept the praise humbly: “We’d do anything for our bros man”

“I’m glad people aren’t mad at you any more“, Cartman tells the USDA suits.

Randy sings as tranny Lorde. The suits take photos on their smart phones.

“I loved him and he needed me”, Stan tells Wendy

“You’re so transparent Stan”, replies Wendy… “You wanna dance?” She takes his hand and leads him to the dance floor.


What does it all mean? Well, Music Times sounded baffled:

So what are Trey Parker and Matt Stone trying to get at here? We have two theories: 

1) News networks are flipping out regarding Ebola and the possibility it may come to the United States. The South Park honchos might be mocking the paranoia and general ignorance displayed by panicking Americans. Ignorance is playing a huge role in the spread of the disease in Africa and this might be a subtle shot at that. Of course, Texas just got a confirmed case so hopefully Stone and Parker don’t look stupid come next month (for the sake of the world). 

2) Last week’s episode unexpectedly ran into this week’s episode…could it happen again? Perhaps the inevitable side effects of eating straight butter will play into next week’s plot. Stay tuned. Either way, we refuse to believe that South Park would make as little sense as it seemed to have at first watch this week, especially after last week’s tight and seamless master satire. 

Read more: http://www.musictimes.com/articles/11154/20141001/south-park-recap-ebola-gluten-guest-appearance-lorde.htm#ixzz3ExfHrO8H

It also made little sense to IGN.

Let me propose to you an alternative interpretation, Burners. When seen through the lens of Burning Man, and the cancellation of the LA Decompression, this episode can be easily understood, and is hilarious. Cartman tripping in the desert – could it be any more obvious? The new South Park season started a few weeks after Burning Man ended. Did anyone on the production team go? I bet they did. And I bet they’re talking to us through their show.  It’s not just a mindless cartoon, there have always been very strong, deliberate (and awesome) messages in South Park. As an interesting side note, the Daily Show is also at Season 18 on Comedy Central.

aegean turkeyIs this episode about a party that gets cancelled actually a reference to the cancelled Decompression party, and the lack of effort by the owners of the Decompression trademark to support the very strong and vibrant Burner community in LA? All they had to do was let some other Burners throw the party instead, and use the Decompression name. Burners NEED to decompress, we can’t all take luxury yacht cruises along the Aegean coast as our recovery from Burning Man. Many Burners need to get back to work, and find adjusting to the Default world again hard – they long for Decompression. “Go to San Francisco or San Diego instead” is pretty lame when you consider that LA is the 2nd largest metropolitan area in the United States, and 13th largest in the world. It’s about the same distance driving to Burning Man headquarters as Burning Man itself is, it’s an hour flight. 18.2 million people, and they couldn’t find one person who could be bothered to throw a party for Burners? Methinks they doth not try very hard. Maybe it’s not too late, if anyone down there wants to step up please comment.

Decompression is no longer owned by BMOrg, it’s now owned by the 6 founders of Burning Man. They would rather have official (Law) suits against people who’ve been promoting the Burner scene for 20 years in foreign countries, than a simple fun party for everyone in LA. Like the folks in this South Park episode, they don’t care if the everyone is mad at them about Commodification and all the stupid rules; they don’t seem to care that their rules lead to a cool party like LA Decompression being cancelled.

Are South Park telling us that Decommodification LLC have it backwards, suing Burners for trying to keep Burning Man in the public domain? If they don’t turn the pyramid upside down, the white lines are going to make the whole thing explode?

Non-profits suing non-profits does sound to me like they have it all backwards.

Decommodification LLC own the trademarked term “Decompression”, so that they can control Burning Man Decompressions. So any Decompression has gotta be either theirs, or nothing. As we can see from the current lawsuit against Napalm Dragon, they believe that ownership extends everywhere in the world – and owning a trademark for the term in your own country means nothing to them. Wanting to keep a public expression based on a non-unique phrase in the public domain, within the laws of that country, should be over-ridden, the name seized, and the charity should be punished to the tune of $40 grand. That’s about 100 tickets to them, meaning they give away more than that to their friends. It’s not clear whether Decommodification LLC is paying for their own lawyers, or using the Burning Man Project’s attorneys – a $1.4 million annual budget item for the group.

Burning Man’s LA contacts were too tired this year to throw a party. This was officially announced on Monday, but the word about the decision may have got out earlier. The party was supposed to be this weekend, October 5, so this is pretty abrupt notice.

I see both episodes so far of South Park’s Season 18 as very much talking to all of us about Burning Man – or at the very least, teaching a lesson which is particularly relevant to our community at this point in time. Perhaps this is a sign of support for the cause of open-ness and public domain. If you truly believe in Communal Effort and Civic Responsibility, then Free, Open Source software and hardware systems and transparent, efficient, and pleasant government should be the goal for how your city is run. The public domain, the Creative Commons, benefits all of us – and especially at Burning Man. This is the very essence of the thing, it’s raison d’etre, the pure spirit of Burning Man. That’s what it’s all about, sharing our gifts with each other. We all gift our art and performances to each other, for the benefit of all. It is difficult to see how Decommodification, LLC benefits more than a small cabal of 6 owners and their retinues of retainers.

That’s why I’m supporting Bhak, and – even if the TV’s not really talking to us – I hope the Burners at South Park studios and all their fans will help out too. If anyone from the South Park team is reading, please comment – we love you guys.

Free Burning Man! Radical Inclusion, Participation, Gifting, Communal Effort, Civic Responsibility, Immediacy, Leave No Trace, Radical Self Expression, Radical Self Reliance, Anti-Commodification – they all support a free thing that we make together, not an EDM festival that a handful of people monetize and sell as a commodified package to high rollers.

Thanks to Burner Paul for sending in Why You Should Care That Lady Gaga’s Suing Me For $1.4 Million , an interesting apertif for readers who’ve enjoyed this story.


Saving The World With Apps

firechat logoThis year Open Garden’s Firechat smartphone app debuted at Burning Man. Although it was just another of dozens of uses for smartphones at the festival, it seems its peer-to-peer networking may become the foundation infrastructure of an “Asian Spring” political revolution. Firechat is backed by at least one of the Google founders; the original Arab spring was created by Google staffers; Google have a long history of commercial use of Burning Man as a technology test site.


 

source: Hollywood Reporter

firechat hong kong

FireChat, the offline chat app, has seen 100,000 downloads in the territory since Sunday

Now into a fifth day of pro-democracy protests that has seen downtown Hong Kong, one of the busiest districts in the world, come to a virtual stand still, demonstrators have been notable for their preparedness. 

Goggles, face-masks, plastic ponchos and umbrellas have been standard items carried by most protestors to counter the elements, pepper spray and tear gas. Water, food and mobile battery packs are also reportedly essential parts of the kit for demonstrators expecting to dig in for the long haul. But the most intriguing tool has been the smartphone app FireChat, which up until now was mostly popular with music festival goers and Burning Man attendees than political rallies. 

FireChat is a free app that uses Bluetooth technology for its chat platform, negating the need for a WiFi or cellular connection. Launched in March and developed by the small, privately held company Open Garden, the app has been downloaded over 100,000 times in Hong Kong since Sunday, reported The Wall Street Journal on Monday

Although it is still unclear how many protestors are using it, the leaders of the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement expect that authorities may be tempted to shut down the cell network to cause disruption and keep organizers from communicating. 

The Chinese government, which governs Hong Kong as a Special Administrative Region, is known for tight controls on communications inside its borders. On Monday, the Chinese government reportedlyshut down mobile-photo sharing app Instagram in various parts of the country.  

Read more China Cranks Up Censorship of Instant Messaging Services

Original story Hollywood Reporter

 

 

Help Canada

David, Goliath and Mom.
BurnBC, the non-profit collective of (some) Canadian Burners who is being sued by BMOrg for $40,000 for daring to have a legally registered trademark in their own country that they’ve been using for 20 years, has asked for our help. They’re trying to raise the modest sum of $2500 to cover the costs of appearing in court to defend themselves against a $30-million a year behemoth which spends more than $100,000 every month on lawyering.

If you want to help spread culture around the world, a donation to BMOrg will lead to more lawsuits, and a donation to BurnBC will help them have their day in Court. Let’s let the law decide, instead of one party with more resources being able to bully a weaker one. According to BMOrg, this is all in the name of charity and making the world a better place – but there are very few non-profits that go around suing other non-profits. It’s kind of against the point of the whole thing – unless the point of the whole thing is a tax-free way for 6 people to earn royalties off the efforts of Burners, rather than the stated aims about Principles, values, and cultural expansion.

Please help their Gofundme if you can, they’re not asking us for much so even a small donation helps.

For some of the history of the case, including how Burning Man’s US trademark was in widespread public use for many years before corporations took it over in this country, see:

Back in the Day

Embattled Burners Ask Community For Support

Canada Draws Battle Lines for Burner Culture

Back In The Day

In the current lawsuit between “non-profit” BMOrg, and non-profit BurnBC, a Canadian arts collective, BurnBC claim that “Burning Man culture” was something that arose in Canada independently of  how the US Burning Man culture developed and was seized by corporate interests.

Certainly, TTITD was not called “Burning Man” for many years. The first trip by the Cacophony society in 1990 was called “Zone Trip # 4″. Their first permit was issued in 1991 – it is not clear to whom, or if the permit mentioned Burning Man at all. By 1992, they were marketing the Cacophony Society event with the words “Burning Man” and asking for donations of $25. The first ticket sales were in 1995. In 1997, they formed a corporation “Paperman LLC” and registered the trademark. Larry Harvey let the corporation’s registration lapse, and the trademark was filed again in the US in 2003. The trademark has now been transferred from “The LLC” (Black Rock City, LLC, which puts on the Nevada event, and this year was sold to The Burning Man Project), to “Decommodification, LLC” (a private, secretive company created by Burning Man’s founders in 2010 to own and monetize the intellectual property assets).

first flyer 1987

We can date this flyer to 1987 because that’s when June 20 was on a Saturday. The )'( logo was probably added later

cacophony flyer for zone trip 4

the Cacophony Society’s 1990 flyer mentions “the Burning Man” and “Burning Man committee”

1992 black rock desert trip flyer

Cacophony Society and Burning Man founder John Law says that the Cacophony Society came up with the name Burning Man, and used it to describe the Baker Beach burn in 1989. This is in direct conflict with Burning Man’s trademark filing, which claims the mark was first used on June 1, 1986. To put that in perspective, their first Solstice burn (with a wooden dog effigy also) happened on June 21, 1986. Either they called it Burning Man before they ever built and burned a man, and had a vision for it being a money-spinner from the get-go, many years before they first sold tickets; or someone is being fast and loose with the truth. Here’s Larry Harvey saying the event began in 1985, a claim that is not supported anywhere else:

Note that the capture and deliberate incarnation of a spirit is the stated purpose of the event.

Burning Man’s trademark application was filed in 2003, and approved in 2010. It claims that the mark’s first use anywhere was 6/1/1986 and its first use in commerce was 6/1/1987.

From Trademarkia:

International class code 41, and US classifications 100, 101, and 107: “Education; providing of training; entertainment; sporting and cultural activities”

ORGANIZING COMMUNITY FESTIVALS FEATURING A VARIETY OF ACTIVITIES, NAMELY, LIVE MUSIC, ART DISPLAYS, AND PARTICIPATORY GAMES; CONDUCTING ENTERTAINMENT EXHIBITIONS IN THE NATURE OF ART FESTIVALS; AND ENTERTAINMENT IN THE NATURE OF ART FESTIVALS

According to Wikipedia, the first ticket sales were in 1995 ($35). It’s hard to see how the mark was used in commerce before then, although Larry’s friend Flash used to sell t-shirts: “I had my concessions. I was the only one who made money, every single time” (This is Burning Man, Brian Doherty, p 111)

 

Cacophony Society flyer, 1990

Cacophony Society t-shirt, 1990

Michael Mikel’s 2006 lawsuit claimed:

“In 1997, the claimant, Michael Mikel, formed a Limited Liability Company with respondents Larry Harvey and John Law. That company is known as Paperman, LLC…[it] owns one asset – the federally registered mark BURNING MAN – and Paper Man has one business activity, to license the mark BURNING MAN to its licensed operators of the desert arts festival that uses that name… Ever since its creation in 1999, Paper Man LLC has licensed the mark Burning Man to Black Rock City LLC for its use in connection with the desert arts festival

…on May 14, 2000, Paper Man LLC and Black Rock City LLC entered into a re-stated license agreement…[that] gave Black Rock City a non-exclusive, non-asssignable license to use the service mark for a period of 7 months…at a license fee of $1800

….in 2004, however, Black Rock City LLC announced that it would no longer be bound by the written agreement. Instead, Black Rock City demanded that Paer Man sign a one paragraph document that granted Black Rock City an exclusive license but failed to include any terms for quality control or maintenance of Paper Man’s right to police the mark. Paper Man, nonetheless, has continued [to] exert control over the mark, despite Black Rock City’s regular protests

…Michael Mikel learned, under established principles of trademark law, the type of “naked license” that Black Rock City demanded from Paper Man can be worse than no license at all…it would be possible that the designation BURNING MAN, and thereby the event itself, could fall into the hands of a corporate owner, in direct contrvention of every principle of which the BURNING MAN festival was founded

…Larry Harvey presumed to act for Paper Man LLC, and then used that position to obtain a benefit for himself in his capacity as Director of Black Rock City LLC…His action was simply the latest in a series of efforts to seize control of the BURNING MAN mark, to exclude other members of Paper Man LLC from participation in the comapny’s operations and control of its assets, and ultimately to divert ownership of the mark from Paper Man LLC to Black Rock City. These actions, undertaken in secret and in complete contravention of Paper Man LLC’s interests, constitute a breach of the fiduciary duty…Larry Harvey’s conduct over the past several years towards Paper Man LLC and its other members demonstrates his on-going disregard of – indeed, contempt for – the obligations of utmost good faith and loyalty that he owes them. 

John Law then got involved in the suit, arguing that BURNING MAN should be in the public domain. The case was settled out of court.

If Burning Man is really a movement, the name should belong to everyone, not three guys who don’t get along anymore,” Law said.

From the Black Rock Beacon:

a crucial point is Law’s contention that it was the Cacophony Society that came up with the name “Burning Man.” His suit claims that the term was coined in a 1989 Cacophony newsletter. Law claims he and the Cacophony Society also played a critical role  in moving the event to the Desert. Harvey was “completely defeated and dejected” when police blocked the 1990 Burn in San Francisco, but Law says he suggested burning the Man at an already-planned Cacophony trip to Nevada. The Nevada Burn was successful, although Law claims Harvey “did not participate at all other than to arrive at the event as a spectator after it was completely set up.”

John Law: “I was sleeping in Golden Gate Park in 1976, after hitch-hiking here with an arrest warrant out for myself in some central state…then I met all these weird people and it’s been ongoing ever since”

This film from 1994 shows the term BURNING MAN being used at the event’s gate, and on t-shirts.

In 1994, Australia’s government TV channel ABC aired this documentary from Journeyman pictures. Check out the drive-by shooting range, including bicycle drive-bys.

Larry considered himself a “social engineer” even way back then, and Satanic (death of god) religious values were very much a part of it: “it’s like a religion that you make up as you go along”…”the camp was divided into Heaven and Hell, with angels and demons competing for lost souls”…”Bill Smythe is known in Hell as the father of devil spawn”…”this is just a big slumber party for Boy Scouts from Hell”.

One of the more astonishing claims in this video is that “the Monks from Heaven” were recording video of Burning Man and uploading it to the Internet at $9/minute via a satellite phone. This was before the first advertising appeared on the Internet. In 1994, it had only recently become possible to view color graphics on the World Wide Web. There was no standardized digital format for video files, there were no browser plug-ins to play video – there were barely even any browsers. Stanford spin-off Yahoo was a document you downloaded with a list of web sites, not a search engine. The first YouTube uploaded was in 2005. This demonstrates that as early as 1994, Burning Man’s attendees had access to the world’s most advanced technology, very probably military-grade.

From Quora:

The first video footage ever shown over the Internet was probably a live feed of a June 24, 1993 performance by Severe Tire Damage, a garage band consisting of employees of DEC Systems Research Center, Xerox PARC (company), and Apple Computer.  The footage was broadcast on the Internet just a few months before researchers at the Computer Laboratory of the University of Cambridge created the first webcam by broadcasting static footage of the Trojan Room coffee pot on the Internet in November 1993…conditions were so primitive by today’s standards that broadcasting the video of Severe Time Damage into cyberspace required hogging almost half of the bandwidth of the entire Internet.

The first image on the Internet, July 1992

The first image posted on the World Wide Web, July 1992

A random bunch of hippies could use half the entire Internet for their desert festival? Who the Hell was watching?