Video has been released of Larry Harvey’s speech last month at the Being A Man 2014 conference in Southbank, London. The warm up to his talk suggested it might be rather controversial, with Larry’s revelations about child abuse and necromancy. The talk itself is not so juicy, and consists mainly of Larry reading a long email about his hat that he wrote to his dog-burning son Tristan (“if he’d only perservered!”) during a time of great tribulation.
Larry says in his speech that the first burn “gave me the idea finally that it was OK just to do things, without worrying about the venue and without worrying about permission, without unduly worrying about the purpose, and to do these things in a spirit of pure self expression that was shared with other folks”.
In later burns, watching others “pulling together” to haul the ship’s rope to lift the Man statue he designed up right “it was as if people had merged with it, and it mirrored us all back to one another. It was so conspicuously self conscious that we thought that we were the man – we were being a man, together”.
Here’s Larry on another panel from the conference, hosted by the winner of the George Orwell prize for journalism who wrote a compendium on conspiracy theories. Note he’s swapped out his trademark cowboy hat for the Burning Man Project Not Merchandise scarf, the hit new fashion accessory of the winter.
One significant aspect of these talks is, did Larry Harvey get paid for the engagement, or is this our donation dollars at work? The Burning Man Project, a non-profit, is now the owner of the Burning Man event. All the profits from the event, as well as our additional donations, go to the Burning Man Project. In the new structure they’ve devised, our tickets and vehicle passes are not tax deductible for us, only BMOrg gets the tax advantages. We buy them from their for-profit subsidiary, which then can reduce its tax bill to $0 by making an annual donation to its non-profit parent. This way, BMOrg and its owners get the benefit of the deal – ie, the tax break – and Burners foot the bill.
What does the Project do with all the money, both profits and donations? It pays salaries, travel, and costume expenses. And it supports a UFO art project going to Vegas, an event in their office on crowdfunding, and a sympoisum with the founders in New York that we were told would be released on video, but is still being kept a secret. One wonders, what was said there? We heard that Larry said Burning Man would accept Bitcoins (not true). Anyone else got any tips on what might have been said that was so controversial it had to be hushed up?
Sadly, we’re not just providing a few selected examples of all the good that the Project does. That’s it – this is the extent of it. It’s been several years now since what the Bay Guardian called the Old Bait and Switch. How is the Burning Man Project being a Catalyst for Creative Culture in the world? BMOrg don’t seem to be interested so much in gifting and sharing Burner culture, as they are in monetizing Burner culture for their own benefit and leveraging it to promote themselves and spread their own principles and ideas and rules.
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So here’s how I just read that article.
“Cool.. Larry is speaking around the world on the event…”
(But…When’s it gonna happen ?!?!?)
“Ahh neat, Larry is talking about the communal aspects of the first burns…”
(But….When’s it gonna happen ?!?!?)
“Interesting video of Larry on a panel….”
But…When’s it gonna…. Oh… here we go… The part of almost every article on this blog criticizing and whining about the org and money aspect of Burning Man.
We have 89 posts in “Complaints Department”, out of 813 total. About 10% of our posts are critical of those who commercially exploit Burner culture.
You’re just whining about whining, which as criticism may have some mileage, but is not really constructive. We’re trying to make a point and help preserve a culture that some people really cherish. Is this about art, or money? See my next post for why I think Larry’s quote that I highlighted here is particularly hypocritical.
Did you even watch Larry’s speech and consider our viewpoint, before coming here to bash us yet again? This is what the millions donated to the cause by Burners are doing to promote this thing we’ve all made together to the world into the future. Surely anyone can see that the messaging and inspiration could be way, way better, given the incredible amount of creativity being dedicated to this community. How is it going to improve, if there is only ever feedback from sycophant insiders trying to score a few extra vehicle passes that they can flog on Stubhub? Or, “Social Capital” aka Burner Points