Why We Burn: Orion Keyser

(I really need to interview DJs I’ve booked more often. I’ve been lucky enough to have Orion spin at a couple of things I’ve done, and not even because he’s been one of the main selectros in the DISORIENT universe for years. His sonic sense impeccable, and I was honored to talk to him about how music at Burning Man has evolved over the years. Show him some love & if you’re in the city and need studio time, let me do you a favor. Interview by Terry Gotham)

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1. Favorite Burning Man memory?
I guess my favorite DJ memory from Burning Man is playing music for sunrise. It’s always amazing to DJ at the Burn, but sunrise is the most beautiful time of day out there and playing music for it is a rare and wonderful thing. I generally play something a little more sentimental than usual for a sunrise, in order to make the moment more meaningful and to bring a sense of pause into a sound world that is usually insistent or frenetic.

Most of my other favorite Burning Man memories come in the “stumble upon” variety. I usually do a bit of wandering about in deep playa at odd hours of the night, and the things or the people that you run into when you are away from everything are often the best. It used to be just some little lonesome temples and things like that, I remember one burn when there was a full moon I stumbled upon some wooden structure that had a mostly working telescope on it and I was able to focus it on details on the face of the full moon that I’ve only seen in pictures before. Another time I was far away from everything and hungry and confused and I stumbled on an open air Diner serving coffee and grilled cheese sandwiches that was serendipitously staffed by some friends from SF I hadn’t seen in four or five years. Surprises like that are always the best.

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Shadow History Part 3: Satan’s Birthday Party

Screenshot 2016-07-26 21.15.56

It’s been a long time coming. Part 4 has been recorded too, and will hopefully be out soon. There’s a lot of ground to cover establishing the When and Where, before we get to the Who.

All clips, images and quotations used for non-profit, educational purposes. The title came from this 2001 web post.

Download the Part 3 presentation here (PDF) and the notes here (PDF), or the whole thing as a Powerpoint. This file is provided as reference material for the citations, quotations, and claims made in the video.

Catch up on Part 1 and Part 2. These videos were subject to a fraudulent copyright claim by Douglas Dietrich. He got them removed from YouTube for a few weeks, we managed to get them restored. Please download and share on your own channels, help get the message out as widely as possible. The Satanists might try to shut this one down too.

Thanks to Jan Irvin at Gnostic Media. Read his series The Secret History of Magic Mushrooms:

1) R. Gordon Wasson: The Man, the Legend, the Myth. Beginning a New History of Magic Mushrooms, Ethnomycology,and the Psychedelic Revolution. By Jan Irvin, May 13, 2012
2) How Darwin, Huxley, and the Esalen Institute launched the 2012 and psychedelic revolutions – and began one of the largest mind control operations in history. Some brief notes. By Jan Irvin, August 28, 2012
3) Manufacturing the Deadhead: A Product of Social Engineering, by Joe Atwill and Jan Irvin, May 13, 2013
4) Entheogens: What’s in a Name? The Untold History of Psychedelic Spirituality, Social Control, and the CIA, by Jan Irvin, November 11, 2014
5) Spies in Academic Clothing: The Untold History of MKULTRA and the Counterculture – And How the Intelligence Community Misleads the 99%, by Jan Irvin, May 13, 2015


[Update 7/26/16 11:00pm]

Some things I couldn’t adequately answer during the interview:

– the significance of the Apple/Newton quote, “a mind forever voyaging through strange seas of thought, alone”

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The quote is from a poem by William Wordsworth, which refers to a prism. In 1986, a video game was released based around this quote “A Mind Forever Voyaging”, in which “PRISM” was a sentient AI. In 2013 Edward Snowden revealed PRISM as the name of the supercomputer surveillance system used by the NSA and other government agencies to profile and track us. The program was officially launched in 2007.

A_Mind_Forever_Voyaging_Coverart

Wordsworth isn’t just any old poet.

In 1898 Havelock Ellis reported to the Smithsonian Institution: “If it ever should chance that the consumption of mescal becomes a habit, the favorite poet of the mescal drinker will certainly be Wordsworth. Not only the general attitude of Wordsworth, but many of his most memorable poems and phrases cannot — one is almost tempted to say — be appreciated in their full significance by one who has never been under the influence of mescal. On these grounds it may be claimed that the artificial paradise of mescal, though less seductive, is safe and dignified beyond its peers.” At the turn of the century, both William James and Havelock Ellis undertook their study of hallucinogenic agents. James used nitrous oxide (apparently to avoid bad stomach cramps) while Ellis used the newly discovered peyote.

In 1902 William James of Harvard “redefined religion” as an “experience rather than a dogma.”


[Source: Erowid]

Wordsworth’s totem animal was the Owl, connected to Bohemian Grove.

In English literature the owl had a sinister reputation probably because it was a bird of darkness and is always associated with death. During the 18th and 19th century, the poets Robert Blair and William Wordsworth used the owl as their favorite “bird of doom”. During that period many people believed that the screech of an owl meant imminent death.

[Source]

There is a Wordsworth dictionary of the occult.

Read more about the history of the Apple logo.


– Who was at the Rosemary’s Baby premiere? Was Polanski there?

The stars were Mia Farrow, Ruth Gordon and John Cassevetes. The movie is about witchcraft and the birth of the Devil.

From the Church of Satan by Michael Aquino:

Screenshot 2016-07-26 23.04.54

Screenshot 2016-07-26 23.06.24

[Source]

The Manson Murders were in 1969, after the Premiere in 1968. Rosemary’s Baby won an Oscar in 1969. Polanski fled to Paris in 1977.

Support Plug-n-Play – it’s not what you think!

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Legendary Burners Parts (Plug4) and Bacchus (Disorient, or as it is known this year, D16Orient) have teamed up to bring vinyl and old school beats back to the Inner Playa.

Parts at Plug4 has teamed up with The Mayor of Disorient, Dave ‘Bacchus’ Marglin to create an experiential installation called Plug ‘n’ Play on the playa.

A tribute to the essential power of hip-hop and its five foundational elements: Emceeing (oral) • Deejaying (aural) • Breaking (physical) • Graffiti (visual) • Knowledge (spiritual)

Plug ‘n Play is a countercultural interactive art installation at Burning Man 2016.

Within Plug ‘n Play, we facilitate, teach, and honor our analog past.

Plug ‘n Play is a large orange wooden electrical plug protruding upwards. Passersby can drop in on turntablism demonstrations, live MC cyphers, scratching lessons and sessions, lectures, films, and videos, ‘twerkshops,’ and other interactive moments.

Surrounding the Plug are five Quad Boxes – where you can immerse yourself in a gallery; each Quad Box visually represents one of the five elements of hip-hop.

We plug in; we explore & amplify the almighty vinyl record, the mic, and the crowd. Feel what it’s like to drop the needle on the record and physically engage with music and hip-hop culture at Plug ‘n Play.

While Burning Man has given us an honorarium, we have quite a way to go to cover our projected expenses. Please show your support and contribute so we can get things officially in Play!

To make a larger, tax deductible donation please contact Parts at ninjaneered@gmail.com

[Source]

This promises to be one of the highlights of the year, and the team behind it are some of the best Burners I’ve ever met. For decades they have selflessly given back on the Playa by helping literally thousands of Burners. This is the first time they have done an art project. They are reaching out to the community for help with the installations, volunteers and donations are needed. They did receive an Art Honoraria grant from Burning Man, but this is not enough to cover the cost of the project. With less than a week to go, they’re at 65% on Tilt.

Parts says:

Hello out there! As some of you know, I’ve taken on a sizable art project this year. When asked the age old question “What is Art?”, the great philosopher and millennial-whisperer Tyler Hanson once said, “Art is a conversation.” Yes indeed!

This project has been a social experiment from day one, thus the name Plug ‘n Play. What better thing to burn?!? Let’s talk about the elephant on the playa and figure out how to connect patrons with artists and build bridges while burning old models of experiential consumption, hyper social capitalism, and radical self indulgence.

So to start this conversation, two unlikely tribes – Plug4 and D16orient – have come together to celebrate and educate around an underrepresented culture on the playa via the elements of hip-hop.

Five structures represent the five elements: DJ, MC, Breakdancer, Graffiti Artist, and Knowledge. Some argue that Producing (beats) is an element, as is Beatboxing. Ah, the conversation continues!

Here is what is confirmed thus far:

– The DJ Dojo from Austin is coming with multiple “vinyl manipulation stations” where Manuel Muniz will teach basics of scratching and turntablism.

– The visual works of Gabe Shaughnessy and Dan Cohen will grace the exterior, while other notable muralists are stepping up to contribute to the interiors.

DPW’s own Summer Burke will be hosting a Twerkshop to teach basics of Nola Bounce and discuss the origins she witnessed during her time down there. We also hope that any playa-bound bboys and bgirls will drop in for our intimate 7″ sets at 7pm featuring some of the original breaks on vinyl.

– A special guest Master of Ceremonies will be on hand to educate and inspire at the Plug each afternoon while we have our workshop, lecture, or screening.

So why are we poking at Plug ‘n Play as a name and a concept? It is time to have this conversation around art on the playa, openly and unabashedly.

One of the major things that we pride ourselves on for this project is that we are also employing local carpenters in Reno and commissioning our artists as best as our budget allows.

In this final fundraising push, I’m asking for some last-minute support so we can share these funds within our community of builders and artists, helping us prepare for the big push to get this project out to the desert.

As another part of this social experiment, we do have some patrons that are matching funds that we raise within our own circles. Anything you could do to support this Conversation Called Art is much appreciated and will come back to the project many times over.

Thank you!!!

P.s. We will also need 100+ volunteers to help with our burn perimeter on Friday evening! Message me if interested…

If you believe “fuck plug and play, let’s take it back to the old school”, support this project. Or if you believe “I’m a Medici, let them snort cake!”, support this project.

And just for the sake of clarity, DISORIENT IS NOT SUPPORTING PLUG AND PLAY CAMPS. Disorient pride themselves on being the sort of camp where everyone participates and everyone gets the Ten Principles, NOT a dreaded “turnkey camp”.

 

What Could Be: A Look At Australia’s Idiotic Lockout Laws

By Terry Gotham

For the Aussie Burners, this is going to be old news, but I wanted to take some time to explain what’s occurred across Australia, as it relates to the continued specter of clamp-downs, permit-driven events and the challenges cities like LA & NYC present to even the most seasoned producers. Lockout laws have eviscerated the once legendary Australian nightclub & dance music scene. After following the story for months and seeing a second Australian state engage in this idiocy last month, I couldn’t stay quiet anymore. New South Wales is one of the fronts in the war against drug checking, with pill testing being done at festivals, despite government bans or restrictions. The parallels between our fights provide opportunities for learning, while showcasing champions of harm reduction, like Alex Wodak, president of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation and business leaders willing to stand against the pearl clutchers.

Since 2010, lockout laws (laws forcing bars & clubs to stop serving alcohol and shut their doors early) have been enacted across Australia. In Sydney, a survey way back in January purported to find that 68% of NSW (the state Sydney is in) residents supported lock outs. This was interesting because a similar number (60%) also said they considered the city unsafe on a Saturday night. In the United States, in a lot of suburban areas, I bet you could probably find similar levels of support for Blue Laws (laws that prevent the sale of alcohol) and dry ( totally alcohol free) counties. In Baltimore, for example, last call is at 1:30, sometimes earlier, which ensures a lot of drunk people end up on the street, sometimes, before they’re ready to leave. The survey didn’t provide location data or any real information on demographics, only 353 people were polled, and it was sponsored by The Foundation for Alcohol Research & Education, an anti-alcohol advocacy organization, we can see who could be on the other side. There’s a healthy amount of fear-mongering going on, which is surprising, given that Sydney was voted the safest city in the world as recently as 2013, as referenced by their own Tourism page. Oh, and for anyone keeping score, dry counties in the USA have severe meth problems. But, enough about hyperbole and exaggerated claims. What’s actually happened in Sydney?

  • Introduction of 1:30a “lock-outs” (if you leave you can’t go back in) & 3a last drinks.
  • State-wide shuttering of liquor stores at 10p.
  • On-The-Spot Fines of up to $1,100 for disorderly conduct or disobeying a police officer.
  • Police allowed to impose “immediate” precinct ban of up to 48hrs to anyone they see fit.
  • Freeze on new liquor licenses (even if venues with existing licenses shut their doors)
  • A couple of good things, like free buses.

Over the last 4 years, King’s Cross, a storied region for bars, clubs & restaurants in Sydney has lost 84% of its foot traffic, forcing 40% of small nightlife based businesses in the region to close. Oxford Street, another thoroughfare, lost a similar 82% of foot traffic, with a commensurate drop in revenue. Venue after venue has closed their doors for the last time. This is salt in the wound to a nightlife market that saw a 60% drop from 2010-2012 when precursor regulations kicked in. The only institutions that are exempt from these laws are casinos, which is hilarious and terrible. If a casino is the only place you’re able to drink after a certain hour, how long before you decide to play some slots with the change from your late night snack? How long until you start going out on the weekends just to go to play blackjack? I think we can agree that Las Vegas casinos can be nice and all, but casinos at large can be exceptionally predatory, much more so than a live music venue or even a bar. And they do so, because it’s staggeringly profitable for them to do so.

The Star Entertainment Group, one of the larger gaming groups in Australia, has seen its share price more than double over the last 3 years, from $2.30 in December 2013, up to $5.74 as of July 18, 2016. This increased revenue comes not only from Casinos being open later, but being there to grab customers who are looking for places to go now that 40 of their favorite live music venues have closed. Additional revenue comes from relaxing restrictions on daily gambling limits for gamblers with a problem, which is about as gangster as you can get. While the UK is protecting venues, Australia might as well be burning them to the ground.

The pretext for these laws includes a campaign to raise awareness about “one punch” attacks, a rash of overhyped violence similar to the “Knockout Game” that occasionally pervades the news cycle here in the United States. Penalties for “random” or “drug and alcohol fueled” violence are varied across the country, but were implemented after a couple of high profile assaults had conservative forces attempting to crucify live music in punishment. These laws didn’t reduce the assault levels, but that didn’t stop sitting members of government from saying they did.

Matt Barrie, prominent businessman & founder at Freelancer.com has spent the last several months rigorously documenting how bad these laws are. His first article, “Would the last person in Sydney please turn out the lights?” was exhaustively researched and exceptionally well-received was the #1 read article on LinkedIn when it dropped in February. His second one, is even longer & more exhaustively researched. If you’re into this kind of policy wonk stuff, I encourage you to read both. They’re a master class in how to dismantle institutional bullshit.

A bad idea usually spreads, much to the chagrin of the Brisbane nightclub & live music scene and Queensland. NSW’s neighbor state approved similar laws, with them taking effect last week. After midnight, shots can’t be ordered, some venues will be forced to close at 2am, with “late-night” venues closing their doors at 3am. It looks as if they’re totally ignoring the protests that occurred in Sydney.

The party people in Sydney have been fighting back as hard as they can. Rallies, internet campaigns, celebrity advocacy & parties have occurred for months to try and get the changes reversed. Millionaire, venue & construction company owner Scott Hutchinson has gone on record to say he’d be willing to bankroll “whatever is necessary” to get the Queensland’s lockout laws back off the books. Even if he can’t get them removed across the country, a state-by-state fight could be successful if planned correctly. A motley crew of supporters in Queensland is attempting to help Scott, but right now, they need all the help they can get.

Mike Baird, the NSW premier is not popular. No seriously, like, 84% negative reactions to his posts supporting lock out laws and anti-event actions. He demanded festivals “do something” about deaths, then refused to allow pill testing & other forward thinking harm reduction measures, I’d say he’s earned the ire he’s getting. Maybe getting compared to Vladmir Putin by morning radio in NSW is a bit much, but when morning shock jocks are calling you a kleptocrat that’s out of touch with the people, you’re probably not doing everything right.

Interestingly, Victoria (another Aussie state) cancelled their own 2am lockouts year sago. Melbourne tried it, and it went hilariously badly. No seriously:

Independent audit firm KPMG found the Melbourne lockout led to an increase in reported assaults between midnight and 2am and also between 2am and 4am. There were also more ambulance trips due to assaults between 8pm and midnight, compared to the three months before the lockout. ~The Age, 2014

The demands from protesters who are fighting against them are almost mundane. Lifting of late night retail restrictions, late-night transportation (San Francisco, take note), ending the new license freeze for live music venues & small bars (to help get new businesses back in the area), and the creation of a Night Mayor, a city official that New York City desperately needs. This includes a creation of a 24hr area of the city, with late night work & play spots, and administrator of that space, called the Night Mayor. By smoothing relations between that region & the neighboring communities, this person can greatly affect the success of nightlife, and how the live music/bar/club community is viewed by the city at large. It’s such a good idea, there are now Night Mayors in Paris, Toulouse, Zurich & Amsterdam, with London and Berlin debating creating one.

So, what does this have to do with LA, San Francisco & New York City? Los Angeles flirted with banning electronic music events entirely this spring, with that measure being defeated despite the best efforts of a number of groups. New York City is all but devoid of outlaw events, with retail venue rentals regularly exceeding 5 digits in booking fees alone. Economic activity from electronic & live music events could be not only shared by many more producers that don’t have the cool $35,000 to throw a party with actual headliners, and communities wouldn’t have to hate renegade parties and Burns, if we can learn from Australia’s mistakes. Berlin, London, Munich & Amsterdam could teach major American cities a thing or two.

Not just about how to make small business thrive, but how to keep partiers safe, by deploying smart, tested harm reduction best practices. With people willing to go to jail to deploy these practices in Australia, perhaps the Mayors of San Francisco, Miami, LA & NYC can see the gift horse being presented to them. This could lead to a lot of money being made by non-party people. Capitalize on the surprisingly non-deflated live & electronic music markets in their respective cities, and test out harm reduction/security/law enforcement tactics that have been honed across both oceans,  If all of a sudden, this stuff works, and it’s easier, and safer to throw events in these cities, who knows, it might spread. It’s fun to dream.

(Thanks so much to Stoney Roads for their continuing coverage of this story & general dopeness when it comes to music choice and their give-no-fucks attitude.)

Burning Man Now Starts at 00:01

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BMOrg have announced a change to the gate opening time. It’s now  12:01am Sunday August 28. Unfortunately Burners who do manage to beat the traffic and get in before the “official” opening time of 6pm are now expected to put Civic Responsibility ahead of Immediacy, Radical Self-Expression, and Radical Self-Reliance.

Here’s what they said:

In a move designed to alleviate the crush of traffic on Gate Road at the start of the event, Burning Man and the Bureau of Land Management have agreed to begin allowing vehicles to enter Black Rock City at 12:01 am Sunday, August 28.

The official start of the event is still 6 pm Sunday. We’re asking everyone to use the extra time to focus on getting your camp set up, and to refrain from getting your freak on until the official start Sunday evening.

Keep in mind traffic on Highway 447 is heaviest in the early afternoon and evening. (Think about it: You wake up, grab a leisurely breakfast, do some last minute shopping and then hit the road — just like 49,999 other people who show up on Sunday and Monday!)

Help us help you by timing your arrival “off peak”. We promise a good time will be had by all (starting at 6 pm Sunday).

I say, let your freak flag fly! It’s Burning Man, FFS. “Official start”…who writes this stuff? What, is a horn going to sound or something…”now, Burning Man can begin! You may leave your camps, go forth and be freaky!”

Image: Eric Cheng

Image: Eric Cheng