Why We Burn: Ryan & Erika

(In an effort to bridge the gap between the coasts & inject some positivity around these parts, I’m going to be taking time to interview some of my favorite East Coast burners about the Burn & their experiences on-and-off playa. I’ll be talking to luminaries, logistics gurus, producers & minor celebrities in the Burner community here on the East Coast. Asking them about a number of things, but most importantly, why they burn.) By Terry Gotham

Photo by Saida Mouradova - http://twentyfivehundred.com/

Photo by Saida Mouradova – http://twentyfivehundred.com/

1. How long have you been burning & what originally motivated you to make the pilgrimage?
Ryan: This past year was my 5th consecutive year. What originally motivated me? It all started when I went to go help with a DiSORIENT party back in 2010 I would say. I was going to New York City all the time on a bus, every weekend I’d ask my friend what sort of events were going on. He was like”You should go to this DiSORIENT party, they’re these like, burner people, and they need help setting up their party” and I was sort of into that at the time. I fell in love with the vibe of the whole Burner scene through that. In 2011, I had a brother-in-law/veteran burner of maybe 7 years? He messaged me on Facebook being like “Burning Man tickets are on sale you should buy one. If you can’t go, just sell it.” So that’s what I did. From there I managed to find friends who were going and coordinate with them.
Erika: I have only been one year. I went because of Ryan, but I did say when I was a teenager that I would always go when I turned 25. And I’m 25 this year, so I decided to go.

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Ketamine: Destroyer of Scenes, Savior of the Depressed

This week, I want to discuss a substance that has developed a huge global following and staunch defenders on both sides of the Atlantic. Ketamine has become one of the most used substances in the Burner, rave & dance music communities. Whether you’re in London, New York City, Hong Kong, Cairo or Seattle, you’ve seen it diffuse into your scene. A dissociative anesthetic that’s never actually been used on horses, the crystalline powder took many dance floors by storm. In recent years, it’s not just become tethered to dance parties, but to treatment-resistant depression as well, with Ketamine infusion centers popping up at a surprising pace. But first, a little bit of local history.
I can’t speak for how the Ketamine may have filtered into your personal scene, but I can speak about the parties that I cut my teeth on, back during the era that people still thought we’d be greeted as liberators in Iraq. My friends and I first saw the issue when people in the psytrance scene couldn’t find LSD here in the city. While some chose to do 2C-I or roll, others began using this psychedelic powder that seemed to only last 40-60min. The utility of having a powder that only lasted 40min vs. a tab that could last 6-8hrs seemed to be immediately apparent and it started being THE thing.

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Be Leery Of The Leary [Update]

 

2015 leary sarandon

There has been a lot of press this year about Susan Sarandon’s ceremonial procession to lead Timothy Leary’s ashes to the Totem of Confessions, where they were placed underneath the Masturbating Nun (supposedly locked up to censor protect children from offensive art).

Now, further details are coming out. Most of the people in the parade partook of the “sacrament”, which meant drinking the ashes. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if some LSD was mixed into this magic punch.

A number of videos of her speech have been posted online, and covered in mainstream publications like the Daily Mail – but strangely most of them cut the video before she started talking about the CIA. This one contains the full speech, and some analysis about the broader occult context behind it:

Sarandon says “If anyone doesn’t know who Timothy Leary is and you’ve taken acid, you should be ashamed of yourself…he was the leader of the whole thing to take acid away from the CIA, and make it a means of exploration for everybody”.

After the Burn, Sarandon went on the talk show circuit to promote the ritual. Media coverage included People, Hollywood Reporter, Vogue, Entertainment Weekly.

 

She told Jimmy Kimmel: “Burning Man is a celebration in the desert of all different kinds of people. It’s about self reliance, it’s about acceptance, it seems to be about drugs and nudity – there’s a lot of that too. A lot of art all over the place. This year I had a mission, which was to take Timothy Leary’s ashes, which I had some of, and take them to a chapel…we did drink them”.

Who gave Susan this mission? And who gave Timothy Leary – the man who wrote the CIA’s entrance exam, known as “The Leary”his mission?

Leary said “at least 80% of the people I ever worked with were part of the CIA”. He described the “Liberal CIA” as “the best mafia you can deal with in the Twentieth Century”. He gave “total credit” to the CIA for creating the entire counter-culture movement.

John Lennon also said “we must remember to thank the CIA and the Army for giving us LSD” in his last interview. He was assassinated by a mind-controlled patsy in front of an ex-CIA doorman a few days later.

Timothy Leary and Billy Mellon Hitchcock at the Millbrook Estate

Timothy Leary and Billy Mellon Hitchcock at the Millbrook Estate

In fact it was British agent Aldous Huxley who tasked Leary with forming an “LSD Illuminati” to spread the drug. He did this with the help of members the powerful Mellon banking family, who provided a castle for his cult and helped fund global drug distribution networks after LSD was made illegal in 1966. At that point the CIA was the biggest purchaser of LSD in the world, having bought an estimated 100-250 million trips, or a third of all the acid ever manufactured, from Sandoz in Switzerland – owned by another powerful banking family, the Warburgs.

Huxley’s goal was to use drugs to create painless concentration camps for entire societies. His brother Julian is generally regarded as the father of transhumanism.

Today's Titans of Transhumanism - now called ABC.XYZ

Today’s Titans of Transhumanism – now called ABC.XYZ

Leary’s famous catchphrase “tune in, turn on, drop out” was actually developed on Madison Avenue by marketing guru philosopher Marshall McLuhan.

There are some interesting parallels between the values of the hippies in the Sixties, who thought they were changing the world with drugs and free love, and today’s socially engineered Burners, who think they are changing the world with “drugs and nudity”, as Sarandon puts it.

Robert Anton Wilson said “perhaps the final secret of the Illuminati is you don’t know you’re a member until it’s too late to get out”sound familiar, Burners?

Nothing to see here, move along…and be sure to worship the prophets you’re told to.

sarandon kimmel

Sarandon on Jimmy Kimmel live:

The official mini-documentary from Future Eyes TV:

“America is going to become a Burning Man country”


 

[Update 9/22/15 5:09pm PST]

This occult ritual-within-an-occult ritual was promoted in Burning Man’s official newsletter The Jackrabbit Speaks V19#35, the week before the event started. As usual, not all of the information coming from this source was accurate. In particular, they got the details of his most famous catch-phrase wrong.


 

Burning Man 2015: Final Resting Place of Timothy Leary

Date: Thursday, September 3

Time and Locations:

6:00 pm – Gathering at Cirque Gitane (8:15 & Geek)

6:30 pm – Art Car Procession to the Man.

7:00 pm – Join forces with the Billion Bunny March Against Humanity.

7:30 pm – Marching Band, Art Car, Kazoo processional to Totem of Confessions. Electric Kool-Aid party

Lauren writes:

“One of the most famous countercultural icons of the 1960s, Timothy Leary, was among a small group of renowned social scientists who abandoned traditional Western methodologies for the sacred culture of Tibetan Buddhism in an effort to pursue mystical revelation and personal liberation. As an advocate of guided meditation through hallucinogenic drug use, Leary initiated a cultural renaissance with his ‘turn off, tune in, drop out’ mantra. After his death in 1996, several grams of Leary’s ashes were launched into space aboard a Pegasus rocket. The rest of his ashes were dispersed amongst loved ones, some of which are making their way to the playa this year through Cirque Gitane, an intergalactic travel camp located at 8:15 & Geek.

On Thursday at sundown, Cirque Gitane will encourage everyone on the playa to be a part of a Timothy Leary extravaganza. This celebration of Leary’s life will turn into an elaborate funeral procession that will travel through the playa to veteran artist Michael Garlington’s ‘Totem of Confessions’ on the 3:00 Promenade and 1600 feet from the Man.

The march will culminate with the ashes being placed inside the ‘Totem of Confessions,’ and when the Totem is burned, the ashes will burn with it. Burning Man will be one of the final resting places of this exceptional man, who President Richard Nixon called ‘the most dangerous man in America’. Leary taught people to tap into the wisdom of indigenous cultures and to treat the natural world as an extension of themselves.”

(Photo by Philip H. Bailey, CC-BY-SA)

El Sherpo: Latina Labor Abuses At Plug-n-Plays

Representing my country

A post shared by Valerie Kelly Sandyballs (@mexicansandyballs) on

(NB: the Burner pictured is a full participant, not a sherpa in any way)

A guest post by Buena Chica. This first appeared in the last edition of this year’s Black Rock Beacon.


 

Everyone has their breaking point – when we sit in silence, break down, and cry on Playa. Sometimes we cry out of gratitude, in awe of the beautiful installations and experiences that have been so laboriously created for our entertainment. And sometimes we cry at the realization that we have been doing it all wrong for so long in our lives.

My own tears this year had a completely different base. I had long heard about those plug-n-play camps: Building a compound surrounded by giant RVs to keep the “peasants” out of the decked-out “members’ only” elaborate amenities. Considering the “Sherpa” phenomenon of last year’s burn, and the promise by Bmorg that these camps would align to our Ten Principles, I was shocked to encounter the construction of one such camp during my own Early Arrival on August 21st.

Let me be absolutely honest, my fellow Burners, and tell you that even now I am crying as I write these words: My shock quickly turned to horror as I observed that this particular plug-n-play camp was being built by Latino laborers. Every day, as all the Early Arrival Burners went on building the city for you, these Latino laborers worked from early morning through the night to build a camp for people who are obviously oblivious of the Principles that have taken so much time to establish in our temporary city.

It took me four days to build up enough courage to talk to some of the laborers to learn about the appalling conditions they contracted to: Low pay and no leaving the camp nor being present on the rare occasion the camp opens its doors to the general population. As more and more Burners started arriving to set up their own camps, I was further appalled by the comments they would direct to these workers. From my own tent I heard on more than four occasions passengers of art cars driving by hurling insults such as “How does it feel to work for rich people?”, “Fuck your Burn, Sherpas,” and “Get out of my city.” So not only were the Latinos brought in to serve a particular kind of people who do not abide by our Principles, but now they were being abused by our fellow Burners who did not understand the situation: They are NOT Sherpas, as at least Sherpas are invited to entertain at parties. The workers were particularly selected to build these kind of camps then stay out of view and not partake in the rest of “our” Burner experience.

We hear it every year: Why are there no minority Burners? Well, here is one answer for you: You bring people who look like me to serve you but not to be seen or integrated as equals.

Just yesterday I walked around Center Camp Cafe to see the amazing artist murals. There is a display of colorful pictures. As I stepped closer, I observed that everyone in those pictures looked like me – Latino, African-American, minorities – who had been killed by cops in the Default World. I turned around to see Burners in various getups and outfits on bikes going in every direction. Nobody looked like me. I turned back to see the mural again; everyone looked like me. And then I remembered the 15 or so Latino laborers at the plug-n-play camp hidden away from view not far from the 9:00 Plaza.

Why are there so few minorities on the Playa? The answer lies within. How do you see me? How am I included in your own lives in the Default World? Am I just your hired help? Or do you include me as a participant in your own community? If you do not ask these questions, then you are Doing It Wrong, not only these abhorrent plug-nplay camps.


This article was written Saturday morning and published in Sunday’s edition of the Black Rock Beacon. On Saturday evening, Buena Chica was at The Temple of Promise and observed the BLM arrive in a procession with pictures of fallen comrades.  A crowd of Burners started chanting “All Lives Matter” which is a total indignation and insult to the “Black Lives Matter” movement in the default world……. but as the BLM receded, Buena Chica finally read the message written by the BLM upon the Temple’s entrance: Police Lives Matter.  She is grateful for the Burners who stood in solidarity and acted with IMMEDIACY to remind the BLM that they are Doing It Wrong and do not fully follow our Principles as well.

Methylone: Proof The Market Decides, Not The Legality

c/o New York DanceSafe

c/o New York DanceSafe

by Terry Gotham

Continuing the series on “things your dealer cuts your drugs with,” this week I’m talking about Methylone. We’re a couple of years out from peak Methylone (circa 2012), but it’s still popping up in MDMA & Molly across the US, the UK & Australia/NZ. We live in the digital age now, so instead of people being busted for selling it in the club, we’ve got dealers getting pinched for buying it online. Including one who was indicted for murder because a kid died after taking it.

I wanted to use it as a quick case study on how little recreational drug users care about scheduling & legality. There are enough years of data on Methylone vs. MDMA to get a sense of the last couple of years & Stay Safe Seattle has done some anecdotal research which provides a neat explanation of what’s been going on. For more formal information on Methylone, check out this doc by the UNODC (United Nations Office On Drugs & Crime).

Graph c/o Stay Safe Seattle.

Graph c/o Stay Safe Seattle.

The ravers, burners or club kids who have consistently rolled since the economic crash of 2008, you may remember the MDMA shortages that plagued the first term of Obama’s presidency. Because of the lack of viable sources for many people, dealers began cutting their MDMA with Methylone & other legal highs.

Cutting pressed pills or baggies of “Molly” isn’t anything new. But instead of cutting them with Stacker 2, Dexetrim, pseudoephedrine & other grey market stimulants, dealers began adding “legal highs” to the stuff to ensure people still had an oxytocin-filled good time.

c/o New York DanceSafe

c/o New York DanceSafe (Yes, this was a legit info sheet)

This stuff was legal for years, but it definitely isn’t harmless. It’s been implicated in the deaths of a number of people, notably three young people in Florida back in 2012. Remember those two kids who died at Electric Zoo in 2013? One of them had taken Methylone instead of MDMA. Granted, the dehydration/heatstroke was the exacerbating factor in their deaths, but let’s be real about the fact that they probably didn’t know what they were getting.

Of course, there are a subset of recreational drug users who enjoy Methylone & would prefer to take it, even if they had access to MDMA. Unlike other legal highs, Methylone has developed a following across the Western world. The shorter duration, the lack of cardiovascular stimulation, reported empathogenic effects and dose control are preferred to the dice some roll when it come to pills (That pun was awful). Though, when purity of MDMA tablets rose & it was more easily found in a lot of areas, rates of Methylone consumption plummeted, as the graph above illustrates.

At the end of the day, I want to emphasize (like I always do), that the problem is that people don’t have access to the drug that provide the experiences they want to have. When they can’t get what they want, they’ll start looking for a proxy substance that can provide a similar, if not exact array of symptoms.  Of course, there are plenty of people who took the drug, found out they liked it, and were able to correctly disentangle the MDMA experience from the Methylone experience. But that takes time, effort, access to vaguely pure substances and honest dealers. If you’re showing up at a party and you’ve never taken either of these before, you won’t be able to tell the difference, as you have no point of reference.

The drug war forces people to make these choices, simply because they can’t get what they want. Instead of requiring humans to play street chemist & behaviorist, let people do what they want. Legalize, regulate, require branding to disclose ingredients & allow users to discuss effects with their doctor. As opposed to Lupo their street pharmacist telling them how dope the new Molly is & how it’ll have them hugging their friends and grinding their teeth by the time that new Axwell & Ingrosso track hits the deck.

I’ll leave you with this quote from a Playboy in 2013 that documented just how bad it had gotten in Miami:

“According to the Miami Police Department, methylone and mephedrone, along with another synthetic cathinone called 4-MEC, account for the vast bulk of the molly seized by narcotics cops in the area. A DEA spokesperson told me that in the first six months of 2013, the DEA’s Miami field office seized 106 consignments of molly, which contained 43 different substances, 19 of them so obscure even government chemists couldn’t identify them. So much for purity.”

Test your shit folks. Know your source, know your set/setting & do your research before setting off on a new adventure. Tally ho into the wilderness, but we want y’all to come back safe & sound with stars in your eyes. To talk more about this, join me, Ravelrie, NY DanceSafe & Stay Safe Seattle on Twitter at 1:30p PST using the hashtag #M1FF on Friday, Sept. 18th.