BMOrg’s Global Leadership Conference just happened, at the Kabuki Hotel in Japantown. Why there, you ask? Well, perhaps this is just a coincidence, but it’s a Joie De Vivre boutique hotel, part of the empire built by BMP Director Chip Conley. Hope they got a good discount on the space.
BMOrg had promised us that we would be able to watch the sessions on video, even if we weren’t lucky enough to be invited to the conference. Unfortunately, Friday’s sessions were plagued with technical difficulties, so all we at home got to see was the warm-up. @motorbikematt from the Mars Rover Art Car team (and NASA) was in charge of the streaming; it appears sending live video from the Mission to Mars, is not as technically challenging as streaming it from the Mission in San Francisco. The stream was working slightly better on Saturday. Not all of the sessions have been uploaded to YouTube, I hope they will be soon.
BMOrg are “side by side with us, collaborating, co-creating”…
Of course, they’re still camped in a private Commodification Camp which is not shared with the public. And they’re making this statement at an event that regular Burners can’t attend, only insiders.
Marian made the point that if we want change in the Org, we should just be patient because it’s a hundred year plan. She revealed that the size of the business now is $34 million in revenues.
They are going to cut the wait times at Will Crawl by a third to a half – so it might drop to 4 or 5 hours. They are negotiating to increase the population cap, too – a team of 5 are going to Washington in 2 weeks, meeting high level people in the Department of the Interior and Law Enforcement.
You can see Marian’s presentation in this video, you will need to fast-forward to 18:49. The recording is a little patchy.
Handheld lasers are now banned; fixed lasers are still permitted.
As much as I love lasers, this is probably a good thing. Idiots scanning the crowd led to blindness for a BRC Ranger. Another safety concern is people pointing lasers at the Man and the Temple on burn night. Both structures get packed with highly inflammable materials – it’s not just wood – so that they burn brightly and in a controlled fashion. Right up to the Burn, there are people inside the structures preparing them. If some of this combustible material was hit by a powerful enough laser, the whole thing would go up before it’s ready – maybe before the people can get out.
It is interesting to note that in this case, which I would see as a workplace injury, it was Burners who provided the financial compensation to the injured worker. BMOrg just made up a new rule to restrict the behavior of Burners. I kind of think it sucks that Burners pay for this and get punished; all BMOrg has to do is come up with a new rule. Lasers could have been managed with licenses, regulations, and fines – like how they are handling drones – instead of an outright ban. This seems like a knee-jerk reaction. What’s next, someone OD’s, so they make drugs illegal? All have to pay the price for the idiocy of a few, while BMOrg has to pay $0. Burners carry the cost, BMOrg get all the benefits. They don’t even have to worry about their workers comp insurance premiums going up! Since they’re side-by-side with Burners, perhaps they could at least match the funds raised by Burners.
BM founder Harley Dubois is determined to change corporate America.
Larry Harvey expressed similar sentiments recently, when he told Bloomberg “my mission is to reform the 1 percent“.
This reminds me of the Timothy Leary days, when all politicians and CEOs needed to do was drop acid and then they would “get it”, so the world could be saved.
BM founder Crimson Rose is fresh back from Ireland, where she was sent to watch David Best’s Temple burn.
In Crimson’s session, she revealed the combined power of Burning Man Arts (basically, The Burning Man Project acquired Black Rock Arts Foundation as well as Black Rock City LLC). Her numbers also include art grants within the Regional Network. Art grants for 2015 are up to $1.2 million, and a further $100k has been granted to off-Playa art projects. Of course, we don’t know what the official figures for Burning Man Project are for 2014 or 2015, that information is years away – we’ll just have to take Crimson’s word for it. Was any of the
$1.2 $1.3 million “in kind” contributions, or was it all cash? Again, we won’t know until we see the 2015 IRS Form, some time in 2017. This new multi-year lag in transparency makes it easier for BMOrg to make claims that can’t be verified, which in turn makes the Minister of Propaganda’s job easier.
For 2015, Burning Man Arts received 510 Letters of Intent for art projects. Of these, 222 were invited to submit a grant proposal. 210 were submitted, plus 34 from the regionals. In total 123 grants were awarded in 2015, for $1.3 million – an average of $10,569 per artist – substantially down from previous years. The amount of Art Grants as a percentage of revenues has stayed about the same, even as revenues have grown massively.
I have updated my previous table with the new information, and to list BRAF and Art Honoraria grants together.
The 2014 and 2015 figures have been distorted further by including art grants from the Regionals network. It’s not clear to me if these are now funded by BMOrg, or by the Regionals from their own ticket sales. So far, I have no information that BMOrg ever sends money to the Regionals for any type of grants; rather, the Regionals are required to put some of their own ticket money into funding art projects. If BMOrg are going to count all these art grants in their public figures, then they should count them the same way in their tax filings. Right?
There seem to be four types of Art Grants now:
- Honoraria Grants – partial funding of on-Playa artworks
- Global Art Grants, continuation of BRAF’s Grants to Artists program. 12 years starting in 2003, awarded $450,000+ to 112 projects – an average of $4000 each. These were in 23 US states and 18 foreign countries.
- Civic Arts – formerly a BRAF program. 10 years, starting in 2005. 45 projects to date. $216,800 to 8 projects in 2014 (average $27,100 each).
- Community Innovation Grants: collaboration and partnerships with like-minded people.
Crimson stated that since 2001, Burning Man has funded more than $8 million in art. Let’s drill into that a bit.
That’s over 14 years; in the last 5 years, they’ve made more than $122 million in ticket sales to their Art Festival, and spent just under $5 million on art. We will probably never know how much they spent on lawyers and accountants since 2013, the last year when they made their financial chart available to Burners. Now it is secret, while they boast about being more transparent. Ah, such irony! What we do know that in the 5 year period of 2009-2013, they spent more than $6.6 million on lawyers and accountants, and $3.6 million on art.
Interestingly, BMOrg are no longer sharing the 2010 Afterburn financials on their web site. They’re still available at the Wayback Machine.
Dennis Kucinich spoke about Quantum Physics, manifesting your ideal destiny, the nature of reality, and being a Fox News analyst.
We got a report from Detroit, about what Burners are doing in the city where houses cost less than Burning Man tickets:
And we got an update from the International Regionals:
It sounds like the most important issue will be addressed…”coming soon”.
Finally, here is the Dear Leader of this cultural movement:
The next few days are going to be long and exhausting, challenging GLC participants to pack as much information and ideas and conversation into their brains as possible before heading back to their region to bring the seed home. One thing’s for sure, they’ll leave as tired as they are inspired.
Oh and here’s Larry Harvey in a worm costume:
[Update 4/13/15 1:13pm]
There has been some confusion in the comments about the funding of the Regionals.
Here are the relevant slides from Crimson Rose’s presentation.
So it looks like for 2015, there were 78 Burning Man projects, as well as 27 art projects funded by the regionals. This makes 105 projects, and $1.2 million. It appears to me that the funding for the regional art projects is being included in the total. However, maybe there has been some sort of policy change now, and money will be flowing from the non-profit out to all the Regionals to spread Burner art through the world. We can only hope…
Everything might be within the $1.2 million, including the $100,000 Global Arts Grants. And what of the Civic Arts grants? $216,800 cash handed out in 2014, is this part of 2015’s $1.2 million budget, or on top of it?
As for Global Art Grants, it seems the 4 international projects are part of the 18 total; but, are the 18 counted in the 105? Are the 8 Civic Arts Project part of it? Or is it actually 131 art projects funded in 2015?
Confusing, isn’t it.