After the horrible attack on a mosque in Egypt, in which more than 300 Sufi Muslims lost their lives at the hands of Daesh, I decided it was time to explain the connection between Sufism, drugs, spirituality, rebellion, and of course, prohibition. We’d like to think that drug use in the classical Islamic period of 700 AD doesn’t have anything to do with the attack last week by almost 30 ISIS militants, but history paints a different story. Many members of Sufi orders throughout history have been persecuted for their substance use, especially as a pretext by conservative rulers to shutter coffee houses, opium dens, brothels, bars, and other meeting places of potential insurrectionists.
Muslims invented the coffee house as we now know it, and were responsible for coffee finding its way into Christian Europe. But when coffee first made its way from Ethiopia into Yemen and up the Arabian Peninsula, some Muslims challenged its appropriateness. It was clear to early observers that coffee had an effect on people, but legal thinkers had to decide whether these effects qualified as intoxication. More threatening than coffee’s impact on the body, however, was the drink’s social consequence. Like wine drinkers, coffee drinkers tended to assemble in groups. Could the coffee house invite the same troublesome activities that surrounded taverns? Moreover, coffee appeared to assist Sufis in their all-night gatherings, leading some to consider that prohibiting coffee would also aid in the suppression of controversial religious practices and subversive teachings. ~Confession of a Muslim Psychedelic Tea Drinker, Michael Muhammad Knight (VICE.com)
Philippe Glade has been a fan of Burning Man for 20+ years. He takes time every year to travel the entirety of Black Rock City looking for amazing examples of architecture. He has brought us the Golden Rebar awards, which we covered here:
Philippe finally took his work and published it as a book, thinking that others in the community would be interested in what took years of his life. We get a shout-out in the book, Burners.Me is thanked for being the “counter-culture” of Burning Man.
Sadly, only 289 people were interested enough to buy one. Philippe, disillusioned, plans to quit Burning Man for good and burn the remaining copies of his book. He says “as far as I see participants are not really into the fabric of their city, this is a sour surprise for me.”
After 21 burns and 10 years blogging it’s time to call it quits.
This blog was created to be more reactive than my old pages going back to 1996 and with the hope to inspire and grow a community of like-minded participants building a functioning city in an inhospitable environment while having fun, mostly.
Within the years I posted thousands of images of camps, structures, along with hundreds of reliable links, which was an exhausting labor of love, my ethereal gift to the community.
The Golden Rebar Award was created to highlight the innovative or most surprising shelters that I considered as important as the various art installations all along the playa.
My secret fantasy was to have an informal and zany ceremony were I could give away the physical Golden Rebar Awards.
2 years were spent on Research / Writing / Editing / Design and Layout (which paid off with a 2017 Graphic Design Award) / Production and Problem Solving / The result was a burner worthy book with a tactile cloth cover and blind embossing, packed with info, data, tips and, most of all, a very large visual spectrum of our vernacular architecture.
One year was spent on a worldwide promotional campaign with stellar results: features on CNN, Wired, Wallpaper (of all!!), Architectural Digest and more (not too bad for a Frenchman working alone from a tiny San Francisco bedroom)
From around the world 289 buyers daringly purchased this self-reliant project.
This dismal performance resulted in several drastic personal changes.
As for the commodification debate, the goal was with the profit, to publish limited edition books of two talented playa photographers.
Instead of working on this exciting project, I am looking, now, for international movers to cheaply and sheepishly regroup and recoup overseas. Time to burn the page.
Unable to keep a sales structure and book cases in storage, by respect for my daring 289 buyers, the remaining books (850) will be terminated (Baker beach style) at the end of the year without any Black Friday, French tickler Sunday or Tutu Tuesday.
The good news is: there will be one less photographer on the playa and one less overwhelming blog to read.
Support Philippe and buy one of the limited edition books before they are gone forever. It’s really very good, the range of Burnitecture on display is truly mind-blowing. Big thanks and much kudos to Philippe for taking the photos, and all the imaginative Burners who created the structures.
The Global Leadership Conference for 2018 has been called off, perhaps to avoid answering awkward questions raised by our Shadow History of Burners investigation. Is this it for Burning Man now? Are people just over it? Is it really a lifestyle and ideology that can change the world, or is it just a fun party for one week a year?
Will other temporary cities emerge with this kind of ephemeral architecture? I sure hope so.
Welcome to Black Rock City 2017 Golden Rebar Awards
Golden Rebar for keeping up with Buckminster Fuller
Black Lotus Society Camp with true geodesic sphere of 24′ diameter
Golden Rebar for Serene Scene
Serene is the least word you would associate Black Rock City with.
Weathered burners know this place, so I will not mention it in a vain attempt to keep it as is,
an oasis of silence Octayurts in the Mindfield
Sometimes there is a fine line between an art installation and a camp
There goes the Neighborhood Golden Rebar
Suburbia Camp 2017 once again brought tongue-in-cheek and joie de vivre with its white picket fences, plywood mansions, mailboxes, astroturf and traffic lights