Dr Devious’s Gypsy Circus and Sideshow Carnival

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll be familiar with the refrain “if you don’t like it, start your own”. It’s a BMOrg “talking point” that their allies like to parrot when they come to our site to blast back at us for posting anything that is critical of the almighty BMOrg. You know, BMOrg, the ones who say “everything’s fine because we’re a non-profit now”, while they run the World’s Biggest Guest List and come up with ticket lotteries, new taxes and scalper opportunities, $150 scarves, and all manner of absurd lawsuits – always, at the expense of the Burner community.

Well, once again, someone has tried to start their own alternative, and once again, BMOrg is trying to shut them down.

Newsflash, people: it is possible to LOVE Burning Man, and NOT LOVE the organization that profits from it. They are two three different things. One, is an annual party put on by us Burners. We bring all the art, art cars, music, drinks, food, and everything else you get given for free. There are “No Spectators”. The other, is a mysterious organization that makes all the money from this, who are prone to making public statements that are not congruent with their public actions. The organization that actually puts on the event is technically Black Rock City, LLC, a subsidiary of the Burning Man Project, a 501(c)3 charitable corporation; but, most of the work actually gets done by another group of Burners who are key to the event, DPW – Burning Man’s Department of Public Works. DPW are primarily volunteers who go to the desert for months to build the city where we put the party on. We mention them to point out to newbies that the people who build the party are not the same as the people who send the lawsuits out, but they’re not part of this discussion, we love those guys and gals, we rely on them, there’ve been no posts critical of DPW at this blog.

The problem with “if you don’t like it, start your own”, is that this friendly non-profit BMOrg corporation that is “trying to spread Burner culture around the world”, will threaten you with legal action at the slightest hint that you actually are spreading Burner culture around the world. Meaning that, in their minds, ALL BURNER CULTURE EVERYWHERE BELONGS TO THEM FOREVER. And they can monetize it however they like, as much as they like, and stop everyone else while they’re at it. This would be OK if they were Microsoft and Oracle, and had spent billions to create proprietary intellectual property that they licensed fairly to a global market. In this case, though, BMOrg are more like Linux. The success and strength of what they’ve created has come from those who’ve contributed to it, and is due to its open source nature, liberal intellectual property licensing, crowd-sourcing, and crowd-funding. Linus doesn’t go around suing people who contribute to his code, he doesn’t try to get forks in the code shut down. Companies like Red Hat have been very successful at monetizing the free, open source Linux, without doing anything to take its value away from anyone else in the world. The $30 million+/year tax free BMOrg juggernaut, allied with Rockefellers and Rothschilds, boasts a considerable team of lawyers –  lawyers who have no problems suing governments, getting laws changed to suit them, or correcting judges in the media. Any little old Burners inspired by Larry Harvey’s speeches 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”, are going to have to figure out a way to stand up to this formidable crew of One-Percenters. 

dr devious gypsy circusWe’ve covered this topic before over the years, especially in these three pieces:

Love It Or Leave It

Do Not Use The Words Burning Man

The Fishy Smell of Corporate Excess

Well, record attendance numbers, a sold out show, and the public statements from the Founders that their non-profit future is as “Catalyst for creative culture in the world”, have done nothing to change a wolf into a sheep. This is still the same greedy, rapacious, litigious beast as ever. Their latest victim? Some Burners in Southern California, who dare to have an event on private land where they burn an effigy. Do they use photos from Burning Man to promote their event? NO. Do they use the words Burning Man or Black Rock City? NO. What’s their crime, then? It appears to be someone writing about the event in a blog, saying that like Burning Man you have to bring your own generators and provisions. How committed are BMOrg to money? So much so, that their representatives change their names to demonstrate where their loyalties lie:

“$teven Ra$pa, Arts Advocate & Community Event Producer, Burning Man”

Mr $teven Raspa, Arts Advocate , would seem to be the same person as $teven Ra$pa, Regional Network Committee, who sent the letter below to the Dr Devious organizers. You need to watch the $’s closely, they’re somewhat slippery, they move around in bizarre ways – a bit like BMOrg themselves.

“Are you the organizer of Dr. Devious’ Gypsy Circus & Sideshow Carnival? If so, it looks great but some concerns have come up I need your help to address. 

At these links and on your ticketing page you are drawing numerous direct associations with Burning Man as a way to affiliate and appeal/market to people and you are using a Man likeness. This combination is an infringement on intellectual property and is leading to confusion about your event being an officially sanctioned event Burning Man is affiliated with and/or something we are organizing. That is how it came to my attention, as my role is supporting official community events by and for the community involving a local regional contact. 

You seem to be burners and so we don’t want to be unnecessarily difficult, but I need to request that you not use the Man likeness and so heavily associate yourselves in your promotions and be clearer about who is organizing this for what purpose and who will gain financially from this event. You are charging for tickets but not fundraising for any art projects or theme camps for Black Rock City that I can tell. 

As burners I would sincerely appreciate your help in being clear about these things and with a couple quick and easy tweaks you can help us preserve our vital trademarks from hostile infringements by non-burners and those who are looking to financially gain from our community–which we must be vigilant about

I must request you remove the image of the man effigy from your promotions and reduce your references to “just like Burning Man” in your marketing. I can help you with what to say to strike the right balance.

If you are supporting a good cause we’d love to be supportive, but we do need your cooperation quickly on this. 

Do you have a moment to speak by phone and can I call you to discuss this further and help you to let burners know they are welcome but not do so in a way that leads to confusion?

If so, what number can I reach you at? I’d love to talk with you and learn more about your goals. 

Alternatively, please call me at the number below. Part of my role is helping out in cases like these. 


$teven Ra$pa Regional Network Committee  Burning Man

https://www.facebook.com/events/1390048944589266/ http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/560670

There’s lots of flowery prose in there trying to soften the blow, which perhaps was ordered from on high via this committee, but there’s no mistaking the message: the iron first of BMOrg inside the lovingly supportive velvet glove of $teven Ra$pa. “Those who are looking to gain financially from our community” is, unquestionably, BMOrg. We don’t deny them their right to make money, good on them for being capitalists in the second richest city in the world’s #1 capitalist country – but their “it’s not enough for us to win, everyone else must fail”, zero-sum game, take no prisoners and burn the villages approach, is 19th Century robber baron thinking that does not gel with the 21st century high tech world that we live in today. Here’s a response from the Dr Devious side:

Are these people on crack? They are under the impression that someone will mistake “Dr. Devious’s Gypsy Circus and Sideshow Carnival” for “Burning Man” ? Not to mention he can’t tell the difference between a Man and a “Pyramid”… Your Burning Man Dollars At Work (this is the exact reason I’m an Ex-Burner). What an insult to the Burning Man Community The Burning Man Thug Organization has become, in my humble opinion…

Perhaps Dr Devious already moved the offending links, because we sure can’t see any. The only things that seem to be even slightly related are:

We are planning a man burn, an effigy burn. This is a radically self reliant and Leave No Trace event. It’s near Red Rock (not Black Rock), Garlock (not Gerlock). “LEAVE NO BURNER BEHIND”

That’s it! Burning Man doesn’t own the town of Gerlach, and as far as I know they don’t own “Gerlock” either. The Black Rock desert was there long before they were, although they do own the trademark “Black Rock City”. Wicker men have been burned for thousands of years, an idea they stole from the Druids, witches, and Bohemian Grove for their event. Leave No Trace is a registered trademark – of the US Department of Agriculture, not BMOrg. Another piece of culture taken by BMOrg then claimed as their own and used to muscle others with. From the blog that mentioned the event, we see a few more words…but really nothing that seems questionable or confusing:

this is a Burner Event, if you come you bring your own Equipment, Power, Etc just like Burning Man, no one is paid to bring there Art, Perform or Set Up a Theme Camps

That is hardly anyone saying “we are Burning Man” or “this is a Burning Man event”. An original picture of their effigy under construction looked like this: dr devious man The final version has “tits and a vagina” – so, clearly not a man of any kind other than metaphorical. Here’s Burning Man’s 2014 effigy: 14_theme_man Other than, both statues are made of wood and are vaguely resemblant of humans, I see no similarities whatsoever. They have some statues with blinky lights…so what? dr devious man lights dr devious man sunset There is some history between BMOrg and these organizers. In the past, they put on a party called “Not Burning Man”, and were told by Burning Man that was too confusing. Couldn’t be more clear, if you ask me! Anyway, the organizers obliged and changed the name.

dr devious rocketsPlenty of big theme camps, lots of Djs, we have a 25′ Pyramid that will have a light show and DJ… We throw burner Events all the time. Every year at the same time we throw a Local burn called “Not-Burning Man” and cost $20, this will be our 4th year. We started with one of the now regional managers Athena Demos, but they started trying to produce their own local burn and on the 3rd year they said we couldn’t use the name Not-Burning Man, because people would conflict the two, so we changed the Event to Burning Love Festival…

Here is the Facebook page for the upcoming Event…


and here is the Facebook page for last Event “Jingle Burn” that had over 300 people attend. https://www.facebook.com/events/681614688530361/

We just bought this 22 acre piece of Property in Dec so we are just starting out here, after a bad economy made us give up our last spot. But it is such an amazing place, people told us it was just like being back at the BM Playa only better, no cops, no rules other than don’t be a Dick, and cheap, easy to afford tickets, Vendor Fee Free, (we encourage people to come and set up a table and sale anything you want for Free. We Support the Arts and the Artist…

We are 10 miles from town, 5 miles from a Gas station, snack shop, propane market, and 6 Rickey Ricardo Campground for Potable water and a grey/black water dump. 35 miles from a Homedepot, Walmart, Etc.

Type this address into your map…13144 Munsey Road, Cantil California 93519

I typed the address. It’s about 500 miles away from Black Rock City. The idea that this is a threat to Burning Man is preposterous. The idea that anyone could mistake “Dr Devious’s Gypsy Circus and Sideshow Carnival” in March 2014 in the Mojave Desert (Southern California), for Black Rock City, LLC’s event “Burning Man Caravansary” in August 2014 in the Black Rock Desert (Northern Nevada), is ludicrous. So what, then, is really driving BMOrg to act like the biggest bully in the global TAZ playground? The oldest motivators in the book. Greed. Money. Power. We gifted the culture to them, now it’s theirs and only theirs, we can’t have any piece of it. No matter that we created it. No matter that they’re corrupting it, with their endless saturation of mainstream media publications, rambling speeches supposedly representing our culture, ever-present price increases while begging for donations, and their determination to sell tickets and merchandise to newbies in preference to old-timers.

It’s not on. Burning Man, as the world’s biggest and most famous arts festival, should be a beacon of support and encouragement for Burner artists everywhere. Not some kind of EDM/Pagan culture patent troll. We ask Burners, please support Dr Devious’ Gypsy Circus. They’re not making rock videos at Burning Man or selling soundtracks. They’re Burners, wanting to throw their own party. We need more events like this, BMOrg needs to understand that they DID NOT invent burning effigies or raves in the desert. They stole these things off others! Any Burners who want to use an event, should use the words Burning Man as much as they can get away with, use photos that may or may not be of the event, and use satire to make fun of BMOrg. Let’s overwhelm their letter-sender bullies with thousands of these frivolous lawsuits for them to  launch. Then let’s complain to the IRS that the 501(c)3 non-profit created from our self-expression is spending all of its money suing its donors.

Hope to see you all at the Gypsy Circus. It’s Friday March 14- Sunday March 23, at 13144 Munsey Road, Cantil CA 93519. It’s right by the Airplane Graveyard in the Mojave desert, 2 hours from LA, 4 hours from San Diego and Las Vegas, 5 hours from San Francisco and 6 hours from Reno. dr devious flyer 2014

Dr Devious’s Gypsy Circus & SideShow Carnival 2014The World’s Most Amazing Circus Sideshow Carnival ever.http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/560670

Its that time of Year, It’s Summer Time. City Life has just about driven you Mad, and you long for the Serenity of the Desert, but yet you still want to Party your Ass off.. Depressed you can’t go to Bequinox, because you have Pets, or afford the Ticket, etc. or if you just want to come here then go there, you are Welcome to Camp here, and do such! Well, we don’t want you to feel Lonely and UnBurny during the Equinox… So we decided to plan a 7 Day, “LEAVE NO FAMILY BEHIND” Camping Event called “Dr Devious’s Gypsy Circus & Sideshow Carnival”… THIS IS NOT A RAVE!!! SO DONT COME IF THATS WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR!!! BRING LOTS OF FIREWOOD!!!! (no plastic or painted parts ie. must be striped of any moop) this is a self-reliant Event, if you come you bring your own Equipment, Power, Etc, no one is paid to bring there Art, Perform or Set Up a Theme Camps all ages 14 and under, are Free. ‘

Circus-Folke $29 after March 1st $39

Non Circus-Folke $39 after March 1st $49 (you need a special code to purchase Circus-folke Tickets)

To get this send an email requesting one to mlook420@gmail.com All Ticket(s) are non-refundable.

For those with RV’s, right up the road is a very inexpensive Water refill, and Grey Water Dump station, at Red Rock State Park Ricardo Campground, please call them for up to date info. ( http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=631)

The Details: Its on 20+ empty acres of private desert land, up Highway 14, but only 2 hours outside LA (instead of 12), near Red Rock (instead of Black Rock), just down the road from Garlock (instead of Gerlock). ** Its just to get a head count of how many are coming so we can get enough Portos. Some Cell Phone and 4G Data services do not work out there, however AT&T seems to work fine. You can Tent, RV, Camper, or sleep in your Vehicle. Radical Self Reliance must be practiced here. Just like any Camping Trip, bring everything you will need. You will need your own H2O as well. And as always, Leave No Trace.

You can come out as early as march 13th, but I’m sure most will arrive on march 14th ….. We will have several nice sound system out there, and various DJs will be spinning a set. If you want to provide some entertainment, please let us know. You are welcome to bring your fire toys, but also bring your fire safety equipment as well. All musical instruments are welcome. (will be posting more info such as performers etc. later on in the month as time slots/spaces are filled) Hey Guys Just So You Know…

We are a VENDOR FEE FREE Event… Come and set up a table, sell your wares, there will be no set-up/Booth Fee of any Kind. We encourage Artist Painters Jewelers, Artisans to Barter, Share or Sale Their… We may set up a Bartertown” area over by the Drumcircle. Sound like something you be interested in Contact Mindy or myself… “Support the Arts, and the Artist.” Our World would be just a little bit duller without you… We are planning a Effigy Burn! On the property there are 2 little Bars (mostly BYOB), Volley Ball, Badminton, a 2 Story Pyramid, 16′ Dome, Desert Golf, Horse Shoes, Darts and 2 private RVs. Oh, and Fun… In the area there are many really cool things to do as well. The Mojave Boneyard or the Airplane junkyard, and Mojave SpacePort are right down the street. There are a few Ghost Towns in the nearby area, one Living, and some awesome yet bizarre manmade Rock Formations. And you are welcome to bring some of your Art out there as well, large or small. Bikes are welcome too, and highly recommended, the desert is a big place.

Yes, Pets are allowed.ONLY IF THERE ARE PET AND HUMAN FRIENDLY THE OWNER OF THE PROPERTY IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR PET, YOU ARE!!!! Please RSVP the following information: Camp Name or Your Name: Number of people in camp: (not everyone in your camp needs to RSVP. We just need a total head count) Arrival Date: Type of camping: RV, Camper, Tent, Vehicle Approx. footprint size needed: (No one will have assigned camp areas, we just want to make sure there is enough room for everyone. )

IMPORTANT INFO FOR PERFORMERS, ARTISTS, DJS, ART CARS, AND MAJOR THEME CAMPS PLEASE EMAIL ME at mlook420@gmail.com with your name, general info, (ie. phone number, email where u can be contacted) and your ETA. This is a non paid gig, all money made from the event helps establish the ranch for future events..so that we can continue providing a safe place to play! it also covers portos! Don’t forget to include a short summary, pics etc of what you would like to bring to be considered for two comp Tickets. Please note: Theme Camps unfortunately still only get two Tickets..we may be able to provide discounted Tickets.

THERE IS A DEAD LINE OF MARCH 1st TO HAVE THIS INFO TO US AND TO BE CONFIRMED, PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU TAKE NOTE OF THIS AND GET YOUR INFO IN PROMPTLY THANK YOU… For Future Info and Pics/Videos of the Event, as well as Questions about the location… join our group https://www.facebook.com/groups/556290801106792/ See you in the Desert,

14 comments on “Dr Devious’s Gypsy Circus and Sideshow Carnival

  1. Pingback: Decommodification, Incorporated | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  2. I LOVINGLY HEART the Burning Man blog post of the transition to the non-profit Burning Man Project! An awesome discussion is appearing in the comments, except for typical adhominem attacks by several with organisation relationships, beneficial comments by knowledgeable organisation workers, and a reply, by all appearance, of a respresentative of Larry Harvey. It is an awesome first initiative towards being honourable going forward with the Burning Man Project!

    Marion Goodell has stepped to the fore-front as president of the Burning Man Project, Larry is now a member of the Burning Man Project board, stepping down from the president ministry. I LOVINGLY HEART the actions of the Burning Man Project board, appearing to be purposed towards the benefit of the Burner community. They have described how Black Rock City, LLC, is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the Project, and will thusly continue to minister the event and describing how 501(c)3 rules limit decisions purposed toward the benefit of the few. Their actions are very honourable and commendable.

    It is an awesome first initiative towards being honourable going forward with the Burning Man Project! They promise open communications from the Project with the Burner community, an updated Project web site with real information, and open communications with the Burning Man community towards successes and challenges in the future of the Project.

    All is not roses, there are many isues towards going forward, towards including Burner voices and Burner concerns of the ministry of the event, towards including Burner voices towards guidance of the Project and of the culture, and towards allowing the Burner community to throw regional parties sans organisation interferences. But, one awards due where due is earned, this communication by the Project is an awesome first initiative.

      • Ha. No, but, the leadership of the org has changed. Credit is due for these decisions, this communication, and for promises toward open communications from the Project in the future. The 17 member, or, perchance, 16 member, Burning Man Project board appears to heart Burner values and made reasonable decisions. Power does appear to be given up over the next several years by the six BRC LLC members.

        My issue has been the prior decisions made by the BRC LLC members purposed towards their payout, as opposed to towards the benefit of the Burner community, in addendum to the issue of fairness. This has potential for change in the future should the Project involve Burners in true communications and true conversations towards the event and towards the initiatives of the Project.

        My maths say the six LLC members shared over $4,000,000 in annual salary and benies from 2010 through 2013 – the increase from $3,200,000 to $7,200,000 in salary payroll from 2009 to 2010, while having only thirty employees to move to their Market Street HQ and six BRC LLC members as senior staff, give this numeral. In their six year plan to sell their BRC LLC and trademarks to the Burning Man Project, announced in early 2011, they gained their large payout in late 2013 for all shares of the BRC LLC, and gain continuing large payouts for the next three years for the value of the trademarks, ending after the event in 2016. One can safely assume the annual payouts are not less than the prior $4,000,000 salary. If others disagree with these maths, what are your maths? Is it good for taxes to gaining the money as payouts for selling the BRC LLC and the trademarks, as opposed to gaining the money as salaries?

        The change to the Project could initiate new conversations with the Burner community towards the event and towards the initiatives of the Project. Perchance, involve and converse with the Burner community upon decisions, or upon guidance for decisions. This hasn’t been done towards selling tickets to 40% newbies each year replacing many veteran Burners resulting in a changed culture on the playa, the constantly increasing rules, the embrace of the LEOs in 2013 despite their actions, the $40 vehicle levy, and many additional concerns of the Burner community. The change towards the Project has potential towards change in a positive way for the Burner community, it’s a 16 or 17 member board whom has authority and responsibility for setting direction, far different from solely six BRC LLC members having this authority.

      • Upon pondering again the Burning Man Project blog post, it’s a good restart, but there is a long trail to go. Not stated in the blog post was including Burner voices upon the direction of the event. That is the next step, please, Burning Man Project Board members, give direction to include and respect the voices of Burners whom have contributed mightily to the crowd-sourced event in decisions that have effect upon us and upon the direction of the event. Please.

  3. I have been apart of almost every event we’ve had out at the Garlock Ranch, I’ve even ended up the “Resident DJ.” The “Not Burning Man” event is for those that can’t make it to the Burn for reasons such as money, time, etc. I am on the fence myself on whether or not we should be burning a Wo/Man, although the effigy is pure magic and exciting for all. I see this all in fun and paying homage to the GREAT festival that is Burning Man, so I don’t know why someone would think we are trying to ‘take their money.’ I am not responsible for the name and theme of these events, yet I have expressed that we do not need the word “Burn” within the name. BUT! I cannot express how amazing it was to have the Jingle Burn last new years, which brought a lot of Burners, and Burner types to the party. These events we are having are forming into their own type of conscious celebrations with their own twists. Even without a Man to burn, it still would be fun as hell. More than the Man, the Pyramid (which is originally from Burning Man) is more of the main attraction in my mind. I have been saying for a while that we need to use the Pyramid as our symbol, and build something other than a man shaped piece of art to burn, but I am not in control over those things.
    I just want to thank the author for writing this and supporting our efforts to expressing our art, music, and love. Hope to see some new faces out here in the desert due to your exposure on our gatherings!

  4. It’s time for the end of free labor for Burning Man. It’s time for the DPW and any other ‘volunteers’ to be reimbursed for their time and labor. Free tickets (if they get them) isn’t fair compensation. I realize that’s their choice but IMO is an unwise one especially when you consider how much money the event draws.

    This is not a charity or an altruistic organization-it’s a money making venture for the Borg and the efforts of volunteers only further enriches them.

  5. just noticed this in the tickets terms and conditions page.. was it around in the past? i dont recall it: Decommodification LLC:

    “I acknowledge that the name “Burning Man” is a trademark owned by Decommodification LLC and licensed to BRC, and that BRC LLC has been given the sole right to license and enforce that trademark, and that all of Burning Man’s logos, trademarks or other intellectual property are owned by Decommodification LLC and licensed to BRC, and I understand that these two organizations control all rights regarding the licensing and reproduction of any imagery recorded at the Event. I agree that I will not use the mark “Burning Man,” the logos of Decommodification LLC or BRC LLC, or the likeness, drawings or representations of the Man or of the Black Rock City map, or any other trademark of Decommodification LLR or BRC”


    re: the non-profit transition…. i wonder what this has to do with any of it?

    • ajJenks, much obliged for your information upon Decomodification LLC and your link to locate additional LLCs owned by the six board members. Perchance, may the following be the intentions towards Decomodification LLC?

      2011/4/5, scribe, SFGB – ‘Yet Harvey and the other board members, such as Michael Mikel and Marian Goodell, insist that the board plays an important role in shepherding the event and the culture that has grown up around it, which is why they plan on waiting three years to turn control of the event over to the new nonprofit, the Burning Man Project, and another three years after that until they liquidate their ownership of the name and associated trademarks and are paid for their value’

      Perchance, could the vessel that holds ownership of the name and associated trademarks, Decommodification LLC, be the big payoff over the next several annums, when the sale of the name and associated trademarks to the to the Burning Man Project is completed in late 2016? Is Decommodification LLC to be sold in totality to the Project, or are the name and associated trademarks to be sold from Decommodification LLC? Perchance, could Burning Man LLC, an owned subsidiary of the Project, be transferring large sums of cash to Decommodification LLC each annum for utilization of the of the name and associated trademarks? Considering BRC LLC is presently owned by the Project, and Decommodification LLC is presently owned by, at minimum, three of the six former owners of BRC LLC, what are your maths?

      Perchance, might this be the rationale of BRC LLC having zeal towards their ministering of the name and associated trademarks, the gaining of future cash?

  6. Once again very successful capitalist show their fascist hearts. Since the leadership has climbed the ladder of prosperity, they now want to pull up the ladder behind them before someone else starts to climb it.

  7. In some ways this ‘not a non-profit’ transition of theirs serves as a powerful PR device to shut down criticism…

    a lot of people will think they are totally nonprofit (they arent) it will further serve to appeal to the kool-aid drinkers who become a mob when a rock band makes a youtube video but whom shrug and praise the makers when its a blessed-by-larry SPARK documentary.. both of which serve to commodify the culture

    this grip they have on the culture, which was warned about in the past.. only seems to keep people from enjoying it.. as can be seen in this example..

    • agreed. A combination of propaganda and bullying, the carrot and the stick. Whilst vast quantities of Kool Air are being globally gifted. In the name of…what?

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