All We Want For Chri$tma$ Is Your Money [Update]

image: Susan Averello/Flickr (Creative Commons)

image: Susan Averello/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Remember Burning Man? That unique experimental city, free from the commodification of commercial transactions? Well, now that the owners have transferred it into a complicated corporate combination of tax-free and for-profit companies, that seems to be a thing of the past.

Welcome to Burning Man 2.0 – where new revenue streams are the raison d’etre. The latest one? Taking a cut of our spending on Christmas presents. Taxing our gifting.

While most of us were enjoying our Thanksgiving turkeys, grateful to family and friends and counting our blessings, Burning Man’s Minister of Propaganda Will Chase was counting the cash. Looking at all the money that was about to be spent for “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday”, and wondering – “how do we get a piece of that action?”

He posted at Voices of Burning Man a plea to use Amazon’s Smile feature, to divert funds away from needy charities and give it to BMOrg’s non-transparent non-profit.

The post immediately encountered criticism, and was quickly yanked from the site, replaced with a heartwarming Halcyon story about taking his Mom’s Virginity. One of our eagle-eyed readers spotted it and saved it. We wrote about it here: Boycott Commodification – Or Just Give Us Your Money.

We thought they pulled it because they realized it was a lousy move, and inconsistent with the Ten Principles. Taking a percentage of peoples’ Gifting, WTF? Sadly, though, it now seems to have been more about keeping negative comments off their precious new site.

Yesterday, they sent out a “Special Edition” of the Jackrabbit Speaks newsletter. Was it wishing us Season’s Greetings and a Merry Christmas? Was it thanking us for everything we’ve done for them over the years, all the art and talent and spectacle we’ve brought to the Playa, to help their Directors fill their Commodification Camps?

Nope. There’s not a Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah to be seen. Not even an invitation to buy above-face value tickets as Christmas gifts, to help the poor. It’s all about them.

This time, they sent it out as an email, no doubt to mute criticism of further acts of Commodification from a corporation that increasingly appears to be focused on the almighty dollar. It’s more of the same thing as before. “Give us your money. And give us a cut from your Christmas shopping too”:

Now is the time for Burning Man to grow its capacity to have a transformative global impact. With your generous support, we will make the Burning Man experience accessible year-round and across the globe; nurture the network of Regional Contacts who build our community; provide more grants, training, and support to creators of radically interactive art and events both on and off the playa; and fund civic programs that teach communities the power of collaboration.

Together we can turn our growing potential into programs and experiences that will help transform people’s lives throughout the world. But we need your support to make it happen.

How will they transform peoples’ lives? So far, by speaking for a few minutes about themselves in panel discussions at conferences, and helping get an art car into Zappo’s HQ lobby. It’s very meta: “we do good in the world by telling people that we do good in the world”.

Burning Man’s gone through a significant structural change in the last year, and that’s created some confusion as to who’s who and what’s what … so who are we now?

The short answer is that we are proudly Burning Man. Burning Man Project is simply the legal name of the umbrella organization for all of our programs and activities, including Black Rock City, LLC (which runs the annual event in Nevada) and the Black Rock Arts Foundation (now Burning Man Arts).

A bit confusing right? So for simplicity’s sake, we call the whole thing Burning Man, representing all that we are, all that we do, and all that we hope to create in the world. And when we say ‘we,’ we really mean YOU. In fact, we created the non-profit to support and proliferate the wide variety of Burner-initiated programs and projects we saw springing up spontaneously all over the world.

Oh great. We can call it Burning Man now. And donate more money to them while we’re at it, in the name of transforming peoples’ lives.

“Support and proliferate” is an interesting synonym in BMOrg- speak for “sue and claim credit for“.

What about the significant structural change that saw the main assets of the business being transferred to Decommodification, LLC? That doesn’t get a mention. Should we consider this private, for-profit, non-transparent company “proudly Burning Man” too? I mean, it’s the thing that actually “owns” Burning Man. When we give to Burning Man, are we helping its owners, or Burners?

Damn right, it’s confusing. Perhaps sending our money to them will somehow help make it less confusing. Or – here’s a thought – maybe if they provided the transparency they’ve been promising for years, instead of propaganda, spin, and misdirection, we could look at what’s really going on for ourselves and be less confused.

While ticket sales cover the cost of producing the event in Black Rock City, all donations support our year-round programs, projects and initiatives. And since Burning Man is, in its totality, now recognized as a non-profit, all donations are tax exempt.

If you read the fine print, they actually say donations are tax deductible to the amount recognized by law. The burden is on the giver to figure out what that means.

As for ticket sales covering the cost of producing the event in Black Rock City? As recently as last weekend, BMOrg CEO Marian Goodell said that their annual budget is $30 million.

Thanks to their recent revelations, we can recalculate ticket sales:

bm ticket calcs dec 2014

Revenues will be at least a couple of million dollars higher than this, because it is solely based on official ticket numbers. It does not include Exception Tickets that are sold at the gate and last-minute Bitcoin ticket sales. The only official number we have for how many tickets were re-cycled by Burners through STEP is a statement from BMOrg on July 17; STEP kept running for a few weeks after that, so there may have been more, leading to more handling fees. The vehicle passes were not a requirement from the Feds and are not transparent, so we have to take their word that they only sold 35,000. So far we haven’t heard a single instance of someone being turned away at the gate because they didn’t have a pass.

On top of these revenues, Burning Man also sells ice, energy drinks, coffee, merchandise, gas, propane, takes a cut on fine art sales, earns a percentage from movies and their soundtracks…and accepts donations.

They say that “ticket sales cover the cost of the event”. What does it cost to put on the event? We have covered this in some detail for 2013 and 2012, taking the numbers from their Afterburn reports.

BMOrg’s Afterburn chart breaks down their expense into “Event-Related” and “Year Round”. We don’t have information for 2014, and won’t for probably another half-year; but we know that despite the sale of at least 69,735 tickets, the population was 65,992 – down from 69,613 in 2013. It seems unlikely that it could have cost them more to support less people, so the costs are probably comparable between 2014 and 2013.

Total “Event-Related Expenditures” for 2013 was $11,232,928 

Total “Expense categories that include both event-related and Organizational” was $11,169,506

As you can see, $28.6 million of ticket sales is more than enough to cover the costs of putting on their annual crowd-sourced event. Most of the cost of Burning Man, including the art, music, art cars, costumes, and spectacle, is actually paid for by Burners, in addition to the money we give the bureaucrats in ticket sales.

The largest single event-related expense Burning Man has is their fees to the Federal Bureau of Land Management. They have to reimburse the agency’s costs, as well as pay a 3% cut of their revenues. For 2013, this amount was $3,450,000. The BLM also gets a 3% cut of revenues from the 45 licensed vendors who are conducting commercial transactions on the Playa. There is an unexplained “Other Usage fees” discrepancy of $1,072,952, which we have speculated is the license payment to Decommodification, LLC, and BMOrg have never bothered to clarify.

The largest “both event-related and Organizational” expense is payroll and contractors: $8,194,389.

The next largest is lawyers and accountants: $1,427,177.

What do all these people do all year, except picking the theme, trolling and doxing their critics, and inventing ever-increasing ways to stick their hands into our pockets?

Jackrabbit repeats their claim:

Together we can instigate cultural change in the world.

While the costs of operating the annual event in Black Rock City are covered by ticket sales, the work we do through our year-round programs is supported by community giving.

In 2013, Donations to Nevada schools and other Local Organizations was $199,329 (funded by ticket sales)

2013 Grants given out by BRAF were $101,556 (funded by the Artumnal party)

We’ve covered the merger of Black Rock Arts Foundation into Burning Man Arts in Art World Rocked by Burning Man’s Latest Move and 2013 Charity Results Released. Basically, these non-profits seem to accumulate more cash than they distribute out in grants.

Admittedly, we’re shooting in the dark a little here, because BMOrg’s transparency leaves a lot to be desired. We’re comparing 2014 ticket sales and unknown extra revenues, with what information we do have about 2013 expenses.

The latest plea for cash suggests Burners find out if their employer has a donation matching program. Bank details are provided for you to wire your funds directly to them. This statement also raised some eyebrows from Burners:

STOCK
Bank: Wells Fargo
WellsTrade account number: [snip]
DTC number: [snip]
First Clearing/Wells Fargo Advisors

Yes, they don’t just take cash – you can give stock to them as well. This could be useful, for example if you invested $10,000 in a start-up, which got a subsequent funding round at an increased valuation, meaning your stake on paper is now worth $20,000; but perhaps the startup is seeking more funding and has a questionable future, so you want to give the stock to BMOrg. Writing off the investment at a loss probably has to be done at cost price ($10k), but donating the stock could perhaps be done at market value ($20k). As always, I’m not an accountant or lawyer, get your own advice – I’m just pointing out a hypothetical way that this new offering from BMOrg could potentially help Burners. I guess they figure that with so many tech people coming, they might as well get a share of all the startup action they can get their hands on (for free, of course).

Some Burners thought that this meant you could buy stock in “Burning Man”. This is not possible in “The Burning Man Project”, which is a 501(c)3 non-profit. It acquired 100% of Black Rock City, LLC, which is the operator of the annual Nevada event. Black Rock City, LLC has a license from Decommodification, LLC to use the Burning Man name and logo in its marketing and sales activities. Can Decommodification sell stock? Unknown, but unlikely – since most LLC’s don’t have stock. The Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws of Decommodification, LLC are secret – we don’t know if it is possible for them to add new members or sell the company (and thus all the assets of Burning Man). Apparently Danger Ranger created some sort of “deadman trigger” in this company which means that its assets are transferred to the Burning Man Project in 3 years unless the Directors vote otherwise; however, we have to take his word for that, since they are not sharing any of this documentation with Burners.

Interestingly, in doing the research for this story, I found out that one of the members of Black Rock City, LLC is now yet another private, secretive corporation:  “NV Event Production Co”. If anyone has any information about who is behind this entity, please share.

Finally, the “Special Give Us Your Money Edition” of the Jackedrabbit asks us to give them a cut of our Amazon purchases:

If you’re in the throes of getting your holiday shopping done, maybe consider making some good stuff happen with your purchasing power?

If you shop on Amazon, do it through AmazonSmile, and Amazon will donate .5% of your sale price to the Burning Man Project, supporting our year-round efforts to share Burning Man culture with the world. You get your stuff, and more people get to experience Burning Man. Win win.

How does this make “good stuff happen”, or “more people get to experience Burning Man”? Veteran Burners who want to go already struggle to get tickets if they’re not on some special list, and the recent mainstream marketing in The Simpsons and the Daily Mail is not going to help with that. It’s hard to see how giving money to this tax-exempt structure will.

I nominated Reallocate for my Amazon Smile. They’re a real charity, all Burners, doing really good things. In 2013, for every $1 given to Reallocate, about $10 of engineering time from its volunteers was applied to help needy charities with technical expertise.

If you want to do good, donate your money to causes that actually are doing good.

Ho, ho, ho. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, Burners – I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and a fantastic New Year.


 

[Update 12/14/14 8:18pm]

It’s not Gifting, if they have to ask for it. Larry Harvey said:

in the culture created by Burning Man, the value of a gift, when rightly given and received, is unconditional. Nothing of equivalent value can be expected in return; this interaction shouldn’t be commodified

Larry Harvey in The Atlantic:

Gifting, says founder Larry Harvey, emerged as the preferred system because “participants were unwilling to distance themselves from others through economic transactions.”

“Burning Man is like a big family picnic,” he told me. “Would you sell things to one another at a family picnic? No, you’d share things.”…

“People give because they identify with Burning Man, with our city, with our civic life,” he says. “The idea of giving something to the citizens of Black Rock City has enormous appeal to them because it enhances their sense of who they are, and magnifies their sense of being. That’s a spiritual reward.”

He says gifting—defined as the act of giving without the expectation of anything in return—alters the notion of value.  

“What counts is the connection, not the commodity,”

The spirit of Christmas is not asking for presents.

One of our readers pointed out that since SherpaGate and DangerGate, we’ve added a lot of new audience members who may have missed our earlier coverage of the Burning Man 2.0 non-profit.

Related Posts:

We’ve looked at the efficiency of their charities before, here:

The Art of Giving went through everything Burning Man Project (BMP) has done since they came up with it 4 years ago.

Art World Rocked By Burning Man’s Latest Move looked at the merger between BRAF and BMP, and the poor track record of both charities in giving grants out to the causes they support, versus accumulating cash in the bank and spending it on overheads.

2013 Charity Results looked at the performance of BRAF from the latest IRS filing. We’re still waiting on the 2013 IRS Form 990 for BMP.

Art Versus Money looked at the terribly one-sided Arts Grant contract, that seems to treat artists with contempt.

Charity Versus Tax-Free considers the idea that “non-profit” is not the same as “charitable”, and looks at some of the clauses in the organization’s new Bylaws that don’t seem consistent with Directors running lavish Commodification Camps.

Burning Man’s Gift Economy And Its Effect On Mainstream Society talks about the hypocrisy of BMOrg claiming credit for the charitable efforts of Burners, and pretending they gave financial support to charities that they actually didn’t – including a couple that were substantially funded by myself, and received $0 from BMOrg who promoted them as examples of “all the good Burning Man is doing in the world”.

 

image: Flava Claus/Flickr  (Creative Commons)

image: Flava Claus/Flickr (Creative Commons)

21 comments on “All We Want For Chri$tma$ Is Your Money [Update]

  1. Pingback: Asking for Gifting: 2015 | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  2. Pingback: BMOrg Asks For A Gift AGAIN | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  3. Does the BLM also get 3% of revenues from oil and gas drilling – you know, the things that *really* impact the land? My guess is hahahahaha.

    Like

  4. “Burning Man’s gone through a significant structural change in the last year, and that’s created some confusion as to who’s who and what’s what … so who are we now?”

    “significant structural change” No, the same people are still in charge.

    “and that’s created some confusion as to who’s who and what’s what” That’s not the only reason for the confusion- a ton of the confusion comes from the confusing, contradictory statements made by Borgmembers. Here are some of them:


    Being a member of the Burning Man Project Board does not grant any authority to make decisions about, or influence the operations of, the Burning Man event.


    The short answer is that we are proudly Burning Man. Burning Man Project is simply the legal name of the umbrella organization for all of our programs and activities, including Black Rock City, LLC (which runs the annual event in Nevada) and the Black Rock Arts Foundation (now Burning Man Arts).

    A bit confusing right? So for simplicity’s sake, we call the whole thing Burning Man, representing all that we are, all that we do, and all that we hope to create in the world. And when we say ‘we,’ we really mean YOU. In fact, we created the non-profit to support and proliferate the wide variety of Burner-initiated programs and projects we saw springing up spontaneously all over the world.

    “While ticket sales cover the cost of producing the event in Black Rock City, all donations support our year-round programs, projects and initiatives. And since Burning Man is, in its totality, now recognized as a non-profit, all donations are tax exempt.


    This account of how money flows through our organization also has another dimension. In 2014 the owners of the Burning Man event transferred their shares to a not-for-profit corporation called the Burning Man Project, and the event is now nested within this new organization as a wholly owned subsidiary. The mission of the Project is to spread our culture throughout the world. This is an ambitious goal, to say the least, and such a start-up enterprise requires money. Over a span of three years, the Burning Man event has spent quite a lot of money in order to create this new non-profit and fund its operations. In other words, the Burning Man event has been the Project’s chief contributor.

    We hope the Burning Man Project will soon become completely self-reliant – The Little Engine That Could can’t really pull many more cars. But until that time arrives, a portion of our ticket sales will continue to benefit the Burning Man Project.
    ” -Don Harvey

    Some other reasons this doesn’t all make sense include: lack of transparency, and the constant spewing of total fucking bullshit, AKA “Propaganda”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Reb, great selection of quotes. This one in particular:

      “We hope the Burning Man Project will soon become completely self-reliant…But until that time arrives, a portion of our ticket sales will continue to benefit the Burning Man Project.”

      So what happens to the money generated by the Burning Man Event, when that time arrives and the Burning Man Project is self reliant from donations? Doesn’t ALL the profit from “we call the whole thing Burning Man” go to the Burning Man Project it’s a wholly owned subsidiary of – which, as a non-profit, is supposed to then distribute it to the causes it supports?

      This seems to imply that if the charitable organization could cover its own overheads, funds from the event would be diverted into other companies in the group.

      Like

      • Yeah, less than 2 weeks before the plea: “While ticket sales cover the cost of producing the event in Black Rock City, all donations support our year-round programs, projects and initiatives”, Don Harvey wrote: “We hope the Burning Man Project will soon become completely self-reliant… But until that time arrives, a portion of our ticket sales will continue to benefit the Burning Man Project.”

        So, they’re asking for money during the holidays to support what, the BMP? “Burning Man Project is simply the legal name of the umbrella organization for all of our programs and activities, including Black Rock City, LLC (which runs the annual event in Nevada) and the Black Rock Arts Foundation (now Burning Man Arts).” so now BMP is everything under Borg control, and everything under Borg control is Burning Man? But wait, I thought Decommodification, LLC controls the phrase “Burning Man”; but Decommodification, LLC isn’t listed as part of BMP in the above quote. So, they’re claiming that they need even MORE money for year-round operations because the ticket sales don’t cover that stuff. But they just said that a portion of ticket sales go to support BMP, which they claim is: “an umbrella organization for all of our programs and activities”. So, the ticket sales DO benefit the BMP for year-round programs and activities! And then these motherfuckers wonder why people call them out as goddamned liars?!

        Well, maybe now since they’re trying to call the whole fuckin’ thing Burning Man, they “need” to raise the funds to license the term “Burning Man” from themselves, as Decommodification, LLC. “So for simplicity’s sake, we call the whole thing Burning Man, representing all that we are, all that we do, and all that we hope to create in the world. And when we say ‘we,’ we really mean YOU. In fact, we created the non-profit to support and proliferate the wide variety of Burner-initiated programs and projects we saw springing up spontaneously all over the world.” Goddamn it, they sue people for using the phrase “Burning Man”, and not even the artists who make the Big Arts that help drive the BMP BoD’s safari buisinesses are allowed to use that phrase! Yeah, “for simplicity’s sake… call the whole thing Burning Man” and donate to the Decommodification, LLC Legal Fund to send their lawyers straight up the ass of anyone who actually mentions the phrase “Burning Man”.

        What. The. Dusty. Fuck? The confusion comes from The Borg’s conflicting statements, AKA Lies!

        If you look at the BMP’s organizational structure here: http://z9hbb3mwou383x1930ve0ugl.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/BMP-Restated-Bylaws-July-24-2014.pdf you’ll notice that their visualization is based on a map of BRC. The Principles Purposes is in the geographical location of The Man, and Philisophical Center is the location of The Temple. This visualization is obviously intended to be highly symbolic. Although the irony might be lost on those who have not attended TTITD, both the Principles Purposes and Philisophical Center are placed in the locations of the event’s two biggest burns! They are placed front and center, draw the most attention, are burned every year, and rebuilt (differently) with the intention of also being burned down!

        Like

    • Reb, your quotes of Larry Harvey is a reason I am of the belief there is a divide in the BMOrg, and of that he acts like he is still running a business. His statements are much different from the other statements from the BMOrg, including his statements on concierge camps. His statement of ‘But until that time arrives, a portion of our ticket sales will continue to benefit the Burning Man Project’ illustrate his lack of understanding of their corporate structure, and, perchance, illustrate his desire to do (unknown) projects, which require cash.

      The statements, in the JRS, of ‘While ticket sales cover the cost of producing the event in Black Rock City,’ and ‘While the costs of operating the annual event in Black Rock City are covered by ticket sales’ forget to state their big cash out is also covered by ticket sales, with the exception of their reasonable salaries on the Burning Man Project, which are paid by the Project.

      When their cash out takes numerous millions from cash that might be utilized to support the Burning Man Project, pay DPW and the costs of the artists, and the present leadership loses support in due of this and many of their other decisions, the Project board must make very difficult decisions.

      The responsible people on the Project board must make very difficult decisions for the benefit of the Project, Burning Man, and the Burner community, to permit the Project, the Burning Man event, and the awesome Burner community and culture to grow and flourish into the future.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Steve, ABP, and all burners.me readers for not only putting up with my occasional swearing, but for also offering deep insights into the possible causes of the conflicts arising from the multi-headed beast.

        I thought that the complex web of statements made by various high-ups, have slowed down the process of officially responding to the various scandals. I probably haven’t mentioned this yet, but when I refer to The Borg, I mean the 6 cash-out Directors who seem to be on every single Board of the octopus. Every Director is obligated by law to act in the best interests of that company and its mission, and not in their own self-interests. The recent posts by Don Harvey and Danger Ranger regarding Commodification Camps seem to not only expose their out-of-touch NPD perspective: they seem like the downward-spiraling throes of a full-blown mid-life crisis with their retirements on the line. They have a ton of shit to slog through before their cash-out date; let’s continue to rake the muck before they get there.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Did they not have hight priced pre-holiday tickets on sale last year at this time?

    If so, that may indicate they are aware of the shit storm brewing and they are cooling their jets for now.

    I await their announcement of the 2015 ticketing procedures and price structure, and another resultant shit storm.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No. The high priced holiday tickets weren’t sold before the holidays last year. They went on sale in January. They’ve never explained why. I thought it might be something to do with changing the ticketing provider, but that doesn’t make sense for this year.

      Seems kind of stupid that Burners can’t buy tickets as a Christmas gift, but they expect us to donate.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Awesome post, burnersxxx, I am amazed at the accuracy of all your statements and facts, the amount of effort that requires is immense!

        My belief is last year, the delay of the ticket sales was in due of the donation, or ‘transition’, of the BRC LLC, dba the Burning Man event, to be a subsidiary of the 501(c)3 non profit Burning Man Project on December 31 and January 1, and all the ‘executives in control’ politics involved with their Bait and Switch, purposed towards Larry, and Marian, remaining in near total control.

        My belief is this year, December 2014, the delay is in due of the responsible, and ethical, Project board members realizing they must make changes to the executives in control for the benefit of the Project, the Burning Man event, and the awesome Burner community whom crowd sources the Burning Man event and many other Burner events. My belief is there is much yelling, and screaming, occurring behind closed doors, purposed towards a few retaining executive control, and honorable Project board members stating pay all costs of the artists, pay DPW a fair wage, do transparency in the financials, distribute many more tickets through the Burner community, and treat the Burner community with the respect they deserve. Might the responsible Project board members win their arguements, the Project, and Burning Man, have a great future.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Looking long term, I think success has gone to the Org’s head and the “we can do no wrong” mentality has kicked in.

    I for one, and a few of my pals I may say, are disenchanted – the pay camps, the “donation” tickets, a “special” exceptions all fly in the face of the 10 principles no matter what the verbal contortions involved. Being a lawyer, I see this creative stick handling every day and I am neither fooled nor impressed.

    We may well be seeing the denoument of BM. All empires decline and BM is, and will be, no exception.

    I..

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Emperor has no clothes…what would become of this empire, under new leadership? Professionals, not millenials.

      It seems they will have no problem selling out the event, and thus preserving the financial aspects; the threat is more toward the culture, IMO. There’s still plenty “coming soon”, like the “really really rad thing”, and the new educational system; who knows, perhaps these things will be more than band-aids, and will represent an about-face to this decline.

      Like

      • I for one am interested to see how in the coming months the theme camps and large scale playa artists respond to the Com Camp Controversy. There’s also the potential for on-playa anti-ComCamp and anti-First Camp pranks There’s also the veteran burners who are saying NO MAS to BM. I’m not convinced that Burning Man is either in the clear or about to take a cultural kill shot. IMHO next year’s burn will pay a price for SHERPAGATE and how Larry & Co. dealt with the ComCamp Controversy. I’ll be eagerly waiting the election results with my freshly popcorn popcorn. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

    • ‘Looking long term, I think success has gone to the Org’s head and the “we can do no wrong” mentality has kicked in.’

      I believe Larry still acts as if he is running his ‘business’, as he termed it prior, whereas it is now a 501(c)3 non profit, taking donations of stock, cash, labor, and art, with a board of directors required to follow California law. But, my belief is he, or he and others, do not truly comprehend the rules are now different. I do not see the manner in which actively hiding their take, utilizing encouraged, and coordinated, online troll attacks, false statements, misdirections, and lies of omission, and stonewalling numerous requests for transparency in regards of their take, while remaining in near total executive control, is within CA 501(c)3 law.

      The people whom are receiving this cash remain in near total control of the Project, the BRC LLC, dba Burning Man, and their related corporations. Michel, despite their current take being set up by contracts penned prior to the BRC LLC becoming a subsidiary of the 501(c)3 Project, what is your opinion in these matters?

      (My belief is the Project board of directors must make very difficult decisions, prior to the end of 2014, to clean up this matter, and place the benefit of the Project, the Burning Man event, and the awesome Burner community and culture, over the desires of a few people to remain in near total control.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, the nice thing about the required transparency of a 501(c)(3) org is that transactions between related parties must be disclosed in detail on Sch. O. I will be very interested in analyzing the 2014 and beyond 990s. One thing we know from what has been released so far is they are sitting on a ton of cash. Plus BRAF has a lousy record of grants to overhead expenses.

        Liked by 1 person

    • As a veteran Burner, we could just choose to walk away. In the sort term, that would perhaps be the easiest, if not the most sane thing to do. But, with the way the commodification of our culture is going, in the long run, there are many issues to be considered, including IP. Like, what happens to all of the art and artists who ever expressed themselves at TTITD if, say, The Borg were to begin striking out, or Clear Channel bought the rights to the IP currently controlled by the Borg?

      You know that faux-fur and dust-covered bike in your storage unit- expect to pay royalties if you want to ride it in public or share a photograph of it ever again. That whole portfolio of playa art or photos- you may lose the right to ever show them again. Oh, you took a photo in a desert somewhere, or made some art that just happened to get dragged out to the Playa a certain week of the year? They’ll just call it theirs, y’know, “for simplicity’s sake”.

      All the rights we’ve ever waived by buying and using an event ticket don’t just go away- they’re being held somewhere, by some entity; possibly Decommodification, LLC. Who knows? That whole idea of simply taking our art, and our culture, and starting our own totally new thing? It seems we’ve gifted it not just to each other, but also the rights to its likeness to some mysterious corporate entity; waiting to prey on us if we ever bring it up. Besides the moral and other issues, the lurking reality of IP also really makes it difficult for veteran Bruners to “just walk away”.

      Liked by 2 people

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