Larry Harvey Called to Congress?

justburnusWe welcome new Burner site to the blogosphere. It’s great to see the Burner community continuing to develop  outside the party, and to have more voices joining the conversation about the future of Burning Man.

They seem to have a number of scoops, with a mole on the inside of the recent Burning Man 4-day offsite summit.

Larry Harvey has been asked to testify before a Congressional Committee whose motto is “Blow the whistle on fraud and abuse”. From

WASHINGTON DC – In an interesting development the founder of the Burning Man art and music festival was listed as one of those called to speak at an upcoming meeting of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. 
While the exact substance of the testimony that Mr. Harvey is to give is unclear a source close to the matter said that it had to do with questions relating to an obscure US Code. Under title 50 sub-chapter 4 section 842 of US Code those groups or parties that are considered to be subsidiaries or successors to the former communist party are forbidden certain rights and freedoms. It is unclear how Burning Man has any relation to any successor or subsidiary but it has been theorized by an individual who was formerly a Burning Man staffer that the concern comes from the recently announced discussion at Columbia University about Burning Man as a religious and philosophical movement, a talk that is to be moderated by someone from the Department of Religion. Commenting on the information the unnamed former staffer had this to say:

While I cannot get in to exact details I will say that Black Rock City LLC has long had a history of speaking in public about aspirations for Burning Man that were global and for drastic world change. Larry Harvey himself is quoted as speaking about this in many papers. I wouldn’t be surprised if his call to DC has something to do with that.

In an attempt to corroborate these claims a source provided information that seems to imply that a Title 50 Chapter IV S 842 violation might be the item of concern that has resulted in those in Washington DC calling for a hearing. This is some of the information that this source provided: 

“needless to say we’re ambitious and we think we can effect the course of things in this century, we hope to” -larry harvey

“my partners are thinking beyond our lifetimes in doing it, it is a bit of a legacy project, which is really interesting, a very interesting exercise and then we’re saying 100 years, and that’s an interesting thing because if you do that it makes you think differently about the present, and so what would make something that durable, what will keep it alive that long, well, we’ve seen we’ve been alive and grown for a quarter of a century so it doesn’t seem like hubris to imagine an entire century at all” -larry harvey

“… commandeer some part of the public environment and make your own show, create your own rules, and then, before the authorities [show] up, … melt away back into the jungle. It is an anarchist notion … all that you can do is fight these little guerrilla battles …” -larry harvey

While it is hard to say the true intent behind these supposed calls to change the world through Burning Man, it appears that those in congress want to know more. Considering that Burning Man takes place on federal land it is likely within their scope to ask questions about what their intentions are. Though it is unclear what will come out of these hearings many feel that this is nothing but a witch hunt.

Justburn are thinking that this is going to be something that is against Burning Man, but maybe not. Maybe this is about all the agencies trying to get their slice of the Burning Man money pie.



They also have another big scoop. They suggest that the Temple will be moved to a different location, and its burn will be treated as a religious ceremony so fines can be given out for people causing disturbances.

Marian Goodell, director of business and communications for BRC LLC, who appeared to avoid the question of obscenity as it related to nudity and free expression, feels that the greatest impact to the event could be the Chapter 201 violations that would relate to The Temple. Though some changes to the location of The Temple would be required to fully adhere to state law she feels that applying the law could be a benefit to the community, in a prepared statement she had this to say on behalf of the LLC:

Upon further review of the pertinent law and participant feedback we feel that this might result in a win for our community. For years people have complained about distractions during the Temple Burn. The continued distractions and recent rise in drone use has given us cause to act on behalf of the community. We feel that using the power of state law, in partnership with local law enforcement, can ensure those who cherish the solemnity of the Temple Burn will continue to find what they seek.

An individual who has information regarding the changes made available a document that goes on to list the possible changes to The Temple burn and the justifications for any participant impact. It shows that BRC LLC intends to use the provisions under Chapter 201 section 270, which deals with disturbing religious meetings, to enact the changes many have called for in yearly feedback. The regulations under NRS 201.270 state that the following infractions would quality as a misdemeanor under state law and would be enforced to protect community interests.

Every person who shall willfully disturb, interrupt or disquiet any assemblage or congregation of people met for religious worship by noisy, rude or indecent behavior, profane discourse, either within the place where such meeting is held, or so near it as to disturb the order and solemnity of the meeting; shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

In order to further comply with the extended provisions of the regulation BRC LLC will move The Temple further out to ensure that it complies with NRS 201.280, which prohibits the distribution of alcoholic beverages within 1 mile of any camp or field meeting for religious worship during the time any such meeting is being held.Some feel that the much asked for changes to The Temple burn are a way to cover up the impending First Amendment restrictions that attendees can expect when state obscenity laws are fully enforced.
They also had a high-level source inside a closed room meeting of the 6 BMOrg principals:
SONOMA – In a closed door meeting the six members representing Black Rock City LLC, which is responsible for the annual Burning Man arts and music festival, agreed that mistakes had been made regarding their annual financial disclosures to the Burning Man community. A high level source attending the 4-day long offsite “Staff Retreat”, where staffers and organizers examine “the state of Burning Man”, confirms that event founder Larry Harvey became aware of the issue last week when a newly hired intern was doing an internal audit of the Afterburn website, where the financial data is posted.
Representatives from the six member board of Black Rock City LLC itself could not be reached to comment on the exact details of the mistakes that were made, as the retreat is ongoing, but an individual who wished to remain anonymous was quoted as saying:

It had been going on for 10 years or more, and I cannot believe nobody noticed sooner.

Sources close to the LLC reveal that the mistakes made are likely related to the possible intentional redaction of information about the multimillion-dollar corporations sources of income in the annual financial reports released to the public. Public records show that since at least 2001 the Financial Charts released by Black Rock City LLC show only expenditures, leaving out an itemized list of income sources.
In a prepared statement released this morning Marian Goodell, Director of Business and Communications, had this to say:

We at Burning Man value transparency. At the heart of our shared ethos is Decommodification. We believe that this founding principle guides us in creating an event free from the concerns of profit making and we strive to protect our community from those who would exploit it for financial gain. It is unfortunate that for over 10 years we have not been reporting the sources of our income and we will get to the bottom of how that happened. We are committed to doing right by our community and expect to have this matter resolved soon, holding whomever was responsible for the oversight to account.

Long held up as an example of financial transparency and goodwill on the part of Black Rock City LLC it is unclear how the lack of income disclosure on the annual financial reports released to the public went unnoticed for so long. With the annual staff retreat wrapping up soon sources close to the LLC claim that a series of resignations is likely.
I should point out, that all of these posts had the tag “satire” attached to them. Well done, they almost had me fooled until I got to the bit about the resignations.

6 comments on “Larry Harvey Called to Congress?

  1. Props to you for having the time and energy to run this and the justburnus site. Totally ingenious way to keep getting your message across and try and build buzz for both sites…. well, least that is the rumor I heard

  2. Pingback: MOOP-n-play | Burners.Me Burning Man commentary blog

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