“Nothing For Sale On The Playa”: 2017 Burning Man Vendor List

I had to file a FOIA request to get Burning Man’s vendor list, even though I spoke to the BLM’s Winnemucca office some time ago and they initially told me it would be no problem to provide it. Somehow that got intercepted, just like the arrest statistic information seems to have been. Maybe #Chocotacogate caused a distraction.

Perhaps it is time to stop the charade that Black Rock City is a world where nothing is for sale except ice and coffee. I count 84 different vendors, none of whom appear to be selling those products. In addition we have BMOrg ($4o million), the Feds ($4 million), the State ($3.6 million), the Counties (hundreds of thousands)…and whatever black market activity might be going inside a Utopian pleasure city of 80,000 people…and about $100 million being added to the local economy from all the Burners hitting up the casinos, Wal-Marts, gas stations, CostCos and Whole Foods on the way.

Burners vs Bureaucracy

In the wake of the Santa Rosa fires, many Burners wanted to do whatever they could to help. The shelter situation was dire, with 3000 homes destroyed (5% of the total housing stock) and 100,000 people displaced.

Advanced Shelter Systems of Napa stepped up with SHELTERPODs for first responders.

Burners from Camp Epic raised $30,000 to bring their camp accommodation to Santa Rosa to create Oasis Village. 40-ft shipping containers decked out with power, lighting, insulation, and climate control. They got some land donated from a local weed medical marijuana grower, and shipped the containers out, set them up in a village ready for fire survivors to occupy.

And that’s when The Man stepped in to kill it.


Danger Ranger brought the first shipping container to Burning Man in 1997, a military psyops unit used during the Vietnam War.

Burning Man 2008

Since then, containers have become part of the fabric of Burnitecture.

ian ross container 2012

ekoVillages.com upcycled art container

We contributed several containers to the Burner-founded [free|space] project in SF, earning a commendation letter from the Mayor’s Office. However we were very careful to ensure the containers were not used for residential purposes.

freespace mission2

Thanks to Tim Lipton (pictured) for bringing this sad story to our attention

freespace missionst

ekovillages.com up-cycled art containers at [free|space]

 Read more about the [Free|Space] project here:

Temporary Autonomous Zone: Proof the Model Still Works (2013)


No Gifting for Santa

Shipping containers are heavy, expensive to move, and in many ways impractical forms of shelter. But they are solid enough to withstand windstorms, and much more comfortable for a family than sleeping in a car.

So what was the problem in Santa Rosa? They were fitted out in Nevada, not California. And they didn’t have windows. So the city said “no way”, leaving the Burners with a foul taste in their mouth, swearing to never do anything in California again – and leaving the families who’d lost their homes still sleeping in their cars. “Cars have windows”, said the building inspector.

Communal Effort and Gifting means Burners want to help others. This is why Burners Without Borders was formed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Many Burners went to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake in the same spirit.

More recently, Burners have created a cryptocurrency for disaster relief and are rebuilding Puerto Rico as a crypto-Utopia.

Unfortunately it seems that in Burning Man’s home state of California “Civic Responsibility” is a buzzkill for the other Principles.

The project was initially lauded in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat and USA Today. Burners Without Borders promoted the fundraiser. Appeals to previous Burning Man supporters Gavin Newsom and Jerry Brown fell on deaf ears.

Here is the full story from the SF Chronicle (hat tip to Tim Lipton from Black Rock City’s Volunteer Response Team for bringing this to our attention).

Screenshot 2018-03-14 14.57.52

Screenshot 2018-03-14 15.03.02Screenshot 2018-03-14 14.58.09Screenshot 2018-03-14 14.58.16Screenshot 2018-03-14 14.58.23Screenshot 2018-03-14 14.58.28Screenshot 2018-03-14 14.58.34Screenshot 2018-03-14 14.58.57Screenshot 2018-03-14 14.59.03Screenshot 2018-03-14 14.59.11Screenshot 2018-03-14 14.59.18Screenshot 2018-03-14 14.59.24Screenshot 2018-03-14 14.59.34Screenshot 2018-03-14 14.59.39Screenshot 2018-03-14 14.59.45Screenshot 2018-03-14 14.59.49Screenshot 2018-03-14 14.59.56Screenshot 2018-03-14 15.00.06Screenshot 2018-03-14 15.00.13

Screenshots from SF Chronicle, Feb 25 2018

Read more:

Exclusive Interview with SHELTERCOIN Founder Christian Weber

Burners Building a Crypto-Utopia in Puerto Rico

Burning Man Unofficial Founder Dies

John Perry Barlow first went to Burning Man in 1994, and has been a key shaker and mover of the event ever since.

He has shared a stage with his friend Larry Harvey many times, notably in a session called The Founders Speak at Columbia University in 2013.

barlow larry

John Perry Barlow, left, on stage with Larry Harvey at Black Rock City

He passed away peacefully in his sleep after a long battle with illness. He died on the 22nd anniversary of his famous Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace.

He wrote 57 songs for the Grateful Dead, and founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Obituaries at Rolling Stone, EFFVariety, Ars Technica, Jambase

barlow and friend

Barlow was definitely one of the most fascinating characters I’ve ever met. He touched the lives of many Burners and technologists. He managed Dick Cheney’s first electoral campaign, and John F Kennedy Jr was sent to Barlow’s Bar Cross Ranch to “straighten him out”. He went from trying to blow up Harvard and hanging out at Timothy Leary’s Millbrook Acid Castle to consulting to the intelligence community.

Screenshot 2018-02-08 14.52.53

His interview with Larry Harvey and Tech Crunch’s Mike Butcher in London kicked off my whole Shadow History research project.


A couple of his best interviews:

John Perry Barlow, Cognitive Dissident (Wesleyan Alumni magazine)

The Legend of John Perry Barlow, Jambase (via Internet Archive)

RIP Barlow, true pioneer of the electronic frontier. You will be missed.

natacha weir bob barlow

John Perry Barlow at Bob and Natascha Weir’s wedding, Mill Valley 1999

2016 Financial Analysis

It’s that time of year again.

Burning Man 2016 Annual Report

Burning Man 2016 IRS Form 990

Burners.Me Previous Financial Coverage: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

Some highlights:

  • revenues up to almost $46.2 million, up from $36.9 million in 2015.
  • Revenue less Expenses= $9,242,666
  • Donations received over $8 million (including Fly Ranch mega-donors).
  • salaries up $2 million
  • Cash and receivables: $9.5 million
  • Total assets: $24.4 million
  • Ticketing $873,795


Screenshot 2018-01-18 16.35.21

Even though it is more than a year and a quarter since Burning Man 2016, they still aren’t able to share with us the actual data in their annual report. A lot of it they just took from 2015.

Screenshot 2018-01-18 15.09.09

I can’t make the fancy graphics like them, but I can look on their form and see what “Grants Provided” and “Donations Received” were for 2016, the year this report is supposed to be about.

Grants Provided 2016: $1,518,490
Donations Received 2016:  $8,074,456

Note that for the last couple of years at least, “grants” has included all the cost of the Man, base, and the various structures that now surround the Man base. Donations went up nearly $7 million, total revenue went up about $10 million, while grants went up less than a hundred grand.

The image above makes it look like 5% of the budget goes to Burners Without Borders, and Fly Ranch takes up about 10% of their year-round time and money. Neither of these figures matches the actual numbers.

We commented last year that it seemed a little pathetic that Burners Without Borders, an organization that once held so much promise, donated a mere $4000 across 8 projects. They’ve managed to cut those outrageous costs, donating now $3415, or less than 1/13,000th of Burning Man’s revenue.

Screenshot 2018-01-18 16.40.40

We’re making the world a better place, with $3,415. They spend way more on their European Leadership Conference. I mean, shouldn’t things like that be self-funding, if not actually raising funds?

The only founders still working full time are Marian Goodell (50 hours) and Larry Harvey (40 hours). Harley Dubois must knock off work early, or maybe she takes a longer lunch break – she only puts in 36 hours per week.

Screenshot 2018-01-18 17.46.39

The guy actually running Burning Man, Charlie Dolman, only gets paid slightly more than the many and varied PR and IT staff.

Kudos to the board members who give their time to Burning Man for free.

Legal costs remain astronomical, more than half a million dollars a year. And that’s after Board member Terry Gross gave a generous (for a lawyer) 20% discount on his firm’s fees – although he clawed some of that back with $20k+ in personal payments.

The Artumnal fundraiser appears to have made a loss. They paid $31,904 rent for the use of The Regency Ballroom for an evening.

Burner money paid for a lot of international junkets speaking engagements, including Marian Goodell sharing the stage with the Vatican…which kind of makes sense given the sort of thing we’ve seen from this Satan-praising Pope

Screenshot 2018-01-07 15.49.05

popes throne


popes audience hall snake


This guy is in charge of culture for the Vatican.

Paul Tighe (born 12 February 1958) is an Irish prelate of the Catholic Church. He has been the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture since his appointment on 28 October 2017. He is the highest-ranking Irishman in the Roman Curia


In her talk, Maid Marian says “cellphones don’t work” and “the Internet is left behind”. Isn’t it a cardinal sin to lie in front of a bishop?

They still seem to have no idea what they are going to do with FlySalen. It’s coming up on 2 years now since they bought it. Is there some secret stuff going on out there, which isn’t being shared with the Burner community? Radical Rituals of some sort?

pterodactyl model 1984 (Large)

The biggest individual contributions to Fly Ranch were: $1,750,000 , $1,500,000, $999,965, $500,000. Some big backers there – can we match the name with the money? Elon? Sergey? Guy from Cirque do Soleil? Geomagician Ping Fu got a board seat, so presumably she wrote a pretty big check. Which one of these high rolling Billionaire Burners stiffed them on the $35 wire transfer fee?

They received $171,000 in land and $489,915 in marketable securities – that “donate us your stock options program” looks to have been a lucrative move.

One name that stood out to me on the Donors list was Amanda Sackler. You may have read about her family in Esquire Secretive Family Making Billions From The Opioid Crisis , the New Yorker Family That Built an Empire of Pain or my favorite from Dr Mercola Meet The Sacklers – The Family That’s Killing Millions (Maybe More Than Stalin)

…more than 200,000 killed so far this century, but hey, at least we got a donation.

Congratulations to Marian and team for delivering an excellent financial result. Costs trimmed, sales up. A well oiled and greased machine. How much trickled out into grants, which of course mostly went to the same old same old (shout out to newcomer Plug-n-Play LLC?)

“In 2016, $78,250 was awarded to 17 global projects.”

Screenshot 2018-01-18 17.01.00

Screenshot 2018-01-18 16.37.51



Pinchbeck #metoo Spotlights Consent Principle


Daniel Pinchbeck went to some trouble to insert himself into the media as one of the leading Burning Man scenesters, following in his counter-cultural heritage at the heart of the Beat scene growing up on Ginsberg’s lap.

Pinchbeck’s “Evolver” group was a Burning Man-related social engineering think tank run out of Baltimore, Maryland.

Whether you are a Playa newbie or the most grizzled Burner veteran, there is always more to learn and new techniques to master for maximizing your Burning Man adventure. As we approach Burn 2012, with hordes of rabid newbies getting prepped to descend on Black Rock City in faux fur, this is the moment to prepare your Psyche for the sub-cultural onslaught coming your way imminently, and brush up on your Playa protocol. In this learning experience, we will explore deep questions such as:

*Is it a good idea to snort bath salts from the bellybutton of a stranger?

*Is getting branded on your tongue something you are likely to regret later?

*Are Sparkle Ponies worth taming?

*Is the Burning Man camp a new form of social organism?

*Can hipster cache be bought with a credit card?

All these questions and more will be addressed in this unique one-time only webinar. Please bring your own “burning” questions to this interactive forum.

Join Daniel Pinchbeck, executive director of Evolver, along with Jill Ettinger and Baza Novic, Evolver LA honchos, with special guests, on a journey into the practice and philosophy of Burning Man, the festival’s dust-blown past and unclear future. We will discuss the evolution of the festival, its ever-growing cultural impact, this year’s ticket fiasco, and much more. Also, how do you integrate Burning Man into your daily life?

He has been a frequent stage speaker at Burning Man. We’ve talked about him a few times before:

The Greatest Cultural Movement of Our Time

Pinchbeck: “Why I’m Not Going To Burning Man This Year”

Sesame Street Cred

Webinar with Daniel Pinchbeck: Evolver Field Guide to BM 2012

Ayawhats Up?

In particular I recalled seeing him on stage at LIB explaining:

the reason women make noise during sex, is to attract the other males in the tribe to come and have sex with them, too – thus increasing their chance of being inseminated

Back in those days, like 2011-12, this neo-anthropological, polyamory and group sex positive view of the world seemed highly compatible with Burner culture. I would go so far as to say that it WAS the culture, based on almost all of the veteran Burners I know (let’s just close our eyes to all the kids and black magic which are also such a big part of the event).

Well, times have changed. 2012 is long, long behind us. Trump is President, Republicans run the country, the economy is booming, NFL is dying, the Clintons colluded with Russia for money, Weinstein is a rapist, and it looks like Pedowood is going down.

HUNDREDS of victims have already come forward. Thanks to effective and authentic hash tag campaigns like #rosearmy and #metoo, the dam is breaking and we are hearing reports of sexual abusers in advertising, Silicon Valley, WikiLeaks critics, and now one of the leading charismatic characters of Burning Man counter-culture has been dragged into #metoo.

The New York Post said Writer Blames Predatory Ways On Women

Pinchbeck took to Facebook with a confessional, justifying his abuse as being a victim of abuse. We have to break the cycle people, and that is why #pedowood must be exposed.

In the past, I have been sexually fixated, creepy, predatory. I acted in ways that were hurtful and upsetting to women. I feel very guilty about my past behavior. I want to make amends. I feel the way I can best do that is to speak honestly about what I did, and why I believe I did it. To do this I also have to explore my personal history.

To be clear about lines I never crossed: I never had nonconsensual sex, sex with a minor, sex with someone unconscious, or lied about my intentions to get someone into bed. What I have done are many unaware and disrespectful behaviors, specifically: Pushing for sex without listening to why she was hesitant; seeking sexual contact with volunteers in an organization that I helped to start; the use of substances as tools of seduction; being incredibly insensitive and tone-deaf to women’s wants and needs; making unwanted advances; focusing on much younger women


He has never had non-consensual sex, but he HAS pushed for someone to have sex and didn’t listen to her saying no and HAS used substances as tools of seduction. Dude, this is some Bill Cosby shit. Drugging them is not consent.

daniel and taoThere has been a push within the Burner community for some time to get an 11th Principle added, that of Consent. It is really just so important to the preservation and survival of Burner culture. If we want to all feel free at home, there needs to be mutual respect by everyone.

Pinchbeck at least had the decency and guts to write a lengthy apology, more than some of the other celebrities named so far.

Daniel is certainly not the only person within the Burner scene who has ever acted like this.


Or is Burning Man the place for all of the Weinsteins of the world to go to once they check out of rehab, Radical Inclusion meaning we welcome them whatever their sins?


Daniel’s mom, Joyce Glassman, was a central member of the New York beat scene when this free-love, sex & drugs counter-culture was just starting to break through from the elites to the masses. It didn’t make her happy. Pinchbeck first blames his wacky childhood…

The roots of it go back to my early childhood. I was traumatized when I was very young. The main things were: My grandmother and great aunts used to give me frequent enemas, which I believe I internalized as a form of sexual abuse. This left me with trauma and I would say a bit of OCD. I was never breastfed and believe that left me feeling lacking and desperately craving some essential connection to women. I feel my childhood was tinged with this sense of lack, even despair.

I became dangerously sick as a child with a spinal infection…The illness slowed down my psycho-sexual development and made me feel fragile and exiled from the world. It is because I experienced this core separation from the world and the body that I developed a particular kind of intellect that is able to think through areas that are uncomfortable for most people. It was how I learned to protect myself while I was in the hospital and afterwards. It also led me to mental rationalizations, idealizations, and justifications as a tendency.

My mother was a Feminist author and book editor. We lived together. She was alone, without a partner, and often depressed. I internalized a lot of her pain and frustration with men. I didn’t want to be another hurtful man – but I also lacked positive male role models.

…and then celebrity and the drugs he once promoted:

I had a taste of what it must be like to be rock star or a successful DJ – to a certain extent, it was the opportunity I had been yearning for. I had many beautiful and consensual experiences that I still treasure. What had been once so difficult to “attain” became normal.

When my second book on prophecy became a bestseller, I was suddenly a modest celebrity. I also put a huge amount of my energy into launching a company, Evolver.net, which drained me. I lost focus on my own creative work, which added to my frustration and resentment. In that several year cauldron of becoming famous, starting Evolver, feeling hopeless and futile in a prophetic mission that seemed utterly beyond me, my Shadow material got activated – and the area of its expression was my sexuality. I believed that I was propagating the same free love ideology that Allen Ginsberg, one of my heroes, had promoted. This included breaking through the boundaries around erotic expression. I now see I was ignoring issues of power dynamics as well as my own complexes.

One negative element, for me – I now understand – was the ongoing use of some of the mind-expanding chemicals I wrote about in my first book. Because I was compared to Leary and McKenna, people assumed I was a maestro of mind expansion – and I assumed it as well. In actual fact, I now see that the continued use of certain chemicals had a negative impact on my personality over time. They made me more impulsive and self-centered


Do what thou wilt.

How many thousands, if not millions of people were lured to use these substances based on Pinchbeck’s promotion of them – and the media’s promotion of him? It is the same thing for Leary, McKenna, Ginsberg, Burroughs – the lot of them. All people closely connected to the Deep State, but being sold to us through the media as counter-culutral icons, role models for rebellion against The Man. Telling us to get out of our minds on drugs, because this will somehow make us smarter and better. How many relationships and lives have been ruined, not just by chemicals, but by the entire Crowleyan counter-culture that has been peddled by this Shadow World crew over the last 50 years?

Pinchbeck somehow manages to work President Trump into his tale of regret.

“I remember one friend – the son of a famous NY art gallerist who kept giving me heroin – giving me the same advice as Trump: If I wanted more success with women, I should just grab them between the legs,” he said. “The basic model of sexuality in that scene was aggressive, dominance based, and involved transgression of boundaries as a norm … This was the model of how things worked in the world where I found myself coming of age as a man – how I was conditioned. Looking back, it was incredibly primitive.”

Perhaps coincidence, perhaps connected, but famous New York art gallerist Vito Schnabel was arrested at Burning Man this year for distributing drugs. He is the son of even-more-famous New York artist Julian Schnabel

Pinchbeck wrote a post in 2013 defending himself from accusations by a former friend that he was a serial rapist. There is a broader story here about sex, consent, and psychedelics.

Screenshot 2017-10-25 13.19.23

What can Burners do about #metoo?

Add an 11th Principle: CONSENT. We can make it first out of the 11.

How else are we going to educate the 40% virgins coming every year?

We’ll let Mr Pinchbeck have the last word:

I feel terrible that I could have avoided causing hurt to women if I had just been more aware and had some protocols and principles around sexual conduct – training in how to articulate desires and define boundaries