Burner Art Becomes Symbol Of Hope In Fire Disaster

Our heart goes out to everybody affected by the unprecedented California fires. One place particularly affected was Paradise Ridge Winery, which hosted many Burner art pieces in the Voigt Outdoor Sculpture Collection.

We told you about this amazing North Bay Burner art collection in our 2013 story Temple Burns: Not Just For Burning Man Anymore and discussed some mainstream media coverage of it in the 2014 piece  A Permanent Temple in Paradise

Laura Kimpton and Jeff Schomberg’s famous piece “LOVE” was there, and survived the burn.

Here’s Burning Man beat reporter Jenny Kane, writing in USA Today:

SANTA ROSE, Calif. — Amid a charred grove of oak trees, one relic still stood this week at the Paradise Ridge Winery — the 12-foot-tall, four-letter word: Love. 

The sculpture, which originally debuted at Burning Man in 2007, is probably the most iconic piece of art at the Santa Rosa winery, which over the years has collected dozens of pieces for its sculpture garden, many of them originally from Burning Man. The sculpture, a rustic steel sculpture stamped with flying birds, is popular with newlyweds and is the work of Reno’s Laura Kimpton and Jeff Schomberg.

“That ‘Love’ sculpture has become a symbol of hope in Sonoma County,” said Sonia Byck-Barwick, whose parents opened the winery in 1994. “As my brother said, love conquers all. He took that photo when the property was briefly opened on Monday, and it’s gone viral. High school kids are sharing it on Snapchat and Facebook. It’s their symbol that it’s going to be OK. I mean, how can you not love a sculpture that says love?” 

The winery was largely destroyed Sunday night in California’s deadliest week of wildfires. One photographer captured images of wine simmering across the hot ground in the aftermath. More than 8,000 firefighters are battling the 21 wildfires that so far have killed 40 people, burned more than 200,000 acres and destroyed an estimated 5,700 homes and businesses. 

The art, however, and most of the Paradise Ridge Winery’s grapes, miraculously survived. Most of the winery’s supply also was in storage, so the business will be able to sell its supply to other distributors.

It’s Santa Rosa, not Santa Rose. Connected to Santa Cruz, the rosy cross – home of the first ever Acid Test. Read the full story here.

The winery was “largely destroyed”, but the art, the grapes, and the harvest miraculously survived. Perhaps the art and the temple and the love brought good luck to Paradise Ridge.

The sculpture survived the fire singed but standing strong. SFGATE

The Temple visible in the background indicates this is not a current picture. Image: Facebook

Local Sheriff Overwhelmed By Burner Arrests

Because the Sheriff arrests people related to Burning Man before the event and after the event, he is sending a bigger bill to BMorg. He’s “not sure” if last year’s bill was even paid by the $40 million festival.


Re-blogged from News4Nevada:

 

 

Debra Reid, News4Nevada

Wednesday, October 04, 2017 1:00 AM

Vito Schnabel

 

Celebrity arrests among difficulties of managing Burning Man

The arrest of a celebrity’s ex-boyfriend at Burning Man drew inquiries from the tabloid press at the sheriff’s office last week. The calls indicated how time-consuming the world-famous festival can be.

Other duties had to wait as Sheriff Jerry Allen and Undersheriff Tom Bjerke researched the case and issued a press release on burner Vito Schnabel who had been in custody for alleged drug possession.

It wasn’t the first time the sheriff’s office has been barraged with media calls about Burning Man.

“This has happened before – when the man died in the fire this year, when the model from Hong Kong was arrested in 2015, when the participant was run over this year,” Allen said. “There are times when my office gets overwhelmed with calls for information regarding events at Burning Man.”

The total criminal statistics for this year’s event have not been released as crime reports are still coming in from an event that ended a month ago. The After Action Report anticipated by county officials, festival organizers and the media could be ready next month, Allen said. With two vacancies for sheriff’s deputies to be filled, he has little time for the paperwork right now.

“We haven’t condensed all that information yet. We’re still processing crime reports and getting more information together,” he said. “I’m hoping to have the report by the end of next month. That’s if I can get my staffing up and get myself away from the deputy’s job and back to doing my own job.”

A settlement agreement limits Burning Man’s payments for law enforcement and other county services according to the number of festival participants. Last year, however, Allen said he billed organizers about $40,000 for law enforcement services on the playa outside the event’s eight-day schedule.

Allen wasn’t certain if the bill had been paid but event organizers can expect another one for 2017.

“This year, we’re going to be over budget again because we’ve taken enforcement action before the event and after the event,” Allen said. “I will submit (a bill) for those calls pursuant to the event.”

Cops Seize 36 Different Types of Drugs in Large Scale Operation at Aussie Regional

Screenshot 2017-10-01 13.04.59

The headline basically says it all. Re-blogged from Sydney’s Daily Telegraph (emphasis ours):

POLICE have charged 17 people with drug offences after an operation at Australia’s version of the Burning Man festival.

The large-scale long weekend police operation at the Burning Seed festival in the Matong Forest, near Wagga Wagga concludes tomorrow with police seizing a large number of drugs.

Sergeant Maggie Deall said there had been 40 drug detections and a total of 70 drug exhibits seized with additional police from Sydney helping in the operation.

“Some of those drug detections involve multiple drug possession matters,” she said.

“We have actually come across 36 different types of drugs; ranging from the party drugs that are fairly standard at these events.

Ecstasy, MDMA, cocaine, all the way through to magic mushrooms, cannabis, and prescribed restricted substances like buprenorphine…People are so laissez-faire about their drug use given that they’re so far from medical help, I think it’s a fairly risky behaviour to undertake,” Sergeant Deall said.

“You may have taken 100 different pills, 100 different times and nothing has happened.

“You never know what’s in them. The next one could be the pill that kills you.”

The festival is now in its seventh year…

Those charged are believed to be from Sydney, Melbourne, the Northern Territory and even Germany and all listed to appear in court over the next couple of weeks.

[Source: Daily Telegraph]

Emmy Mack at MusicFeeds has more details:

Police have wrapped up their first ever drug operation at Burning Seed festival — Australia’s version of Burning Man — charging 17 punters with drug offences.

Cops with sniffer dogs set up a roadblock at the entrance to the ‘deep space’ themed music festival, which is currently underway at ‘Red Earth City’ in the Matong Forest, west of Wagga Wagga, seizing “a large variety of drugs” including cannabis, mushrooms, cocaine and ketamine.

“Police are very concerned with the amount of drugs that people are trying to take into the festival and the danger to their health and safety,” Acting Inspector Maggie Deall from Wagga Wagga police station tells the ABC.

While a dude named Rodney, who volunteers as second-in-command on the festival’s front gate, argues that the majority of the event’s attendees were ex-hippies who aren’t even that into drugs.

“I’m 35 and I’m one of the younger ones there really,” he says. “It’s not a drug-fuelled music festival. You can lose yourself without having to get inebriated.”

Punters angry about the police presence at this year’s festival have flooded the Burning Seed Facebook page, calling for the event to be shunted interstate where drug detection isn’t as tough.

A man from Canberra — where the government has just given the green light to pill-testing measures — writes: “I advocate for not holding it in NSW or even VIC going forward given how both those State Governments are treating festivals of late like this, come to the ACT where we don’t go hard on those responsibly having a good time.”

Like Burning Man, Burning Seed culminates with the burning of a wooden temple and a 13-metre effigy.

The five-day festival is now in its seventh year, and is due to wrap up on Monday.

It comes after the tragic death of a man at this year’s flagship Burning Man event in Nevada, after he ran into the flaming effigy.

[Source]

A “punter” in Aussie parlance means a participant. It also means gambler, so perhaps they are suggesting that these 17 chose to try their chances against the sniffer dogs and came out on the losing side.

Here is a link to the discussion at Burning Seed’s Facebook page

A story on Triple J’s Hack.is being discussed at the Hack Facebook page.

Some photos from the Daily Advertiser:

[Source]

ACT, Australian Capital Territory, is not technically a State of Australia, it is a special district – like District of Columbia in Washington D.C., or Distrito Federal in Mexico City, or the City of London. Interesting that they are making a play now for the rave scene. It’s home to the nation’s capital city Canberra, where the politicians rule the country from. Canberra is a notorious hotbed of porn and prostitutes, another city laid out from a Masonic masterplan.

Maybe the Feds want to move Seed out closer to Pine Gap, all the better to keep the All-Seeing Eye of JORN on the trippers…

Cartoon by John Shakespeare, Sydney Morning Herald

 

Could be a Burning Man art installation…or could be Australia’s version of HAARP. JORN antenna array in Longreach, QLD

Is that White Ocean’s new camp setup?

Pine Gap is a great place for a party, as some lucky ravers in the year 2000 can attest

The Jindalee Operational Radar Network, a Lockheed Martin project

 

BREAKING: Man Burns When Man Burns [Updates]

[Update 9/5/17 0:45am PST]

There’s a Reddit thread with more eyewtiness accounts.

He had a history of trying to self-harm while on psychedelics (allegedly: friend of a friend saying)

[Source: Reddit]

[Update 9/4/17 11:43pm PST]

There was a chain-link fence surrounding the Temple when they burned it on Sunday night. The new normal?

From the RGJ:

More than 600 volunteers and staff ringed the perimeter of the Temple, backed up by a hastily installed metal security fence. The fence and additional security were new conditions sought by the federal land manager, said Burning Man co-founder Crimson Rose. 

 

…Rose said federal Bureau of Land Management officials wanted Burning Man to call off the Temple burn, the ceremonial finish to the weeklong festival of 70,000 people in the Nevada desert. She said the government wanted 350 extra security guards. Burning Man found nearly double that number.

 

“We are showing the government we can step forward,” Rose said as she joined with other perimeter guards. “It is a testament to our spirit. We have a ritual to complete”

 

[Source]

The show must go on, says the High Priestess. It’s a Radical Ritual of death and rebirth, so why let more death stop it?

An eyewitness account from a friend of Christina Duncan was posted on the official Burning Man Facebook page

Saturday of Burning Man, everyone in our group was pretty fed up with the desert and ready to be home with our families and pets. Then we went to the burn. We spun conclave in the middle of the great circle, looking out at the sea of people and art cars with their neon lights and bumping music. It was a rush unlike any other. Afterward we settled in to watch The Man go up in flames. We cheered as the biggest effigy to date produced an impressive fire works show and serious explosions. Laughing and joking, all of us talked about how we had earlier been ready to leave but after performing and watching The Man burn, maybe we ought to discuss coming next year after all. Then suddenly people were yelling. A man was barreling through the crowd right toward our fire group. Nick was on his feet and running after the guy, the perimeter people called at him to sit down so he pulled a baseball slide and tried to trip the runner, barely missing. The guy darted at the perimeter, a relatively tall man looking very in shape, he dodged the sandmen rushing him with incredible speed and agility. He was determined and bigger and faster than anyone chasing him. As he bolted to the fire, I kept thinking he wasn’t really going to make it. No way. But then he was running into the fire, the sandmen couldn’t follow him any more. The fire was hot as hell from where we were sitting so I can’t imagine being that close to it. He ran back out of the fire, circled back a bit and ran right into the middle and laid down (or tripped backward maybe). None of the firemen could go after him until a piece of the effigy fell, then they rushed into the fire and pulled him out and loaded him into an ambulance. I can’t even describe the emotions. I was crying, gasping for breath, saying “Oh my god, please no” over and over again, feeling a panic attack clenching my throat in a steel grip. We didn’t want to look but we couldn’t stop watching. I saw my friends crying as well, shoulders shaking, hands covering their faces, partners trying to comfort their loved ones while barely keep it together themselves. I couldn’t take it anymore. We asked the perimeter guards if we could leave and they graciously let us stand up and rush away. Nobody got to run around the fire that night. Instead we muscled our way through the crowd, sometimes hearing people ask if someone had run through the fire as we rushed out sobbing. Most people were too far back to know what happened and were partying and having the time of their lives. It was so disturbing to have just witnessed someone lay down in a massive fire then leave to see that the world went on like nothing had happened. Once back at camp, we had lengthy discussions about the happening. We wondered what the guy had taken, he was obviously neck deep in some sort of intense psychedelic experience. We wondered if he was already suicidal and chose that moment to end his human contract or if he was just so fucked up that he actually thought he could do it and live, driven by feelings of godliness. There was a lot of anger. If the man was suicidal, why did he have to do that to us? Was it necessary to imprint that horrifying scene into our minds for our entire lives? We expressed how lucky we were to have our tribe, to be confident that if one of us ever reached that point we would for sure wrestle the person to the cops or a med station even if it meant clubbing then upside the head and tying them up. Because really, who the fuck are this guy’s friends? Then there is the perimeter itself. It’s weak. The sandmen are spaced too far apart and aren’t big enough and strong enough to take on all types of potential runners. I know burners are about handling business themselves but damn, hire a trained security team of big beef cake meatheads in top notch health. It has happened before, multiple people run every year, some have even made it. And what about telling the crowd not to help? I get it to some extent, but several people in our group could have tackled that guy and restrained him until help arrived momentarily. Or at least slowed him enough for the sandmen to get into position to catch him. Maybe we are somewhat in the wrong for not trying anyway. A man’s life was on the line and everyone followed orders instead of doing the right thing. Why were the sandmen chasing him in circles instead of blocking the fire and creating a barrier? By doing that, they left the fire wide open for him to run into. This man tried THREE times to break perimeter. Three. Why aren’t people who do that escorted to safety and monitored and maybe even banned from burns in general? Now I am not blaming any one person directly. Someone that sets that sort of intention and makes such a decision is clearly at fault for the consequences of their actions. However, could the safety precautions being modified and strengthened? Ab-so-fucking-lutely. And they should be. Not only for the mentally unstable runners, but for the sake of the thousands of witnesses who are traumatized by such an event. Nobody go burnier than thou on me and defend Burning Man, especially if you didn’t see what we were forced to see. These sorts of events bring an already misunderstood event like Burning Man under the microscope scrutiny of police and government organizations who already disagree with people who live as freely as burners do together. What could possibly be more important than protecting the sacred oasis that is Burning Man and regionals, the only places that so many of us feel safe being who we truly are? I’m trying to sort through this. I don’t want to be dwelling on this and circling around it, talking about it, reading articles and looking at pictures of the guy of Aaron Mitchell and wondering what he was like and what made him snap but I am and it just won’t stop. I saw some of the most amazing art in the world, danced at incredible sound stages with fire sculptures breathing flames and towering speaker stacks throwing bass across the the playa. I got to see what can happen when creative people want to build something amazing to uplift those in their burn community, when people just want to make others happy and taken care of while encouraging them to become more self reliant. The Ten Principles really are the guidelines for building a truly free and sustainable community, I really believe that. I am in awe always over the potential and motivation of true burners. But…just to the forefront of all that wonder and magic is Aaron Mitchell, laying down in unfathomably hot blaze, the man who probably just took too strong of drugs and thought he could survive fire, the stranger who died and left a scar on our hearts forever. Honestly, that is burn life. It won’t always be fun, sometimes it’s incredibly hard and you’re forced to evaluate parts of the human experience that aren’t comfortable and it happens in between the moments of love and elation and connection that we all crave. I’m learning from this, I’m growing as a person and am reminded of how incredibly lucky I am to be alive and deeply loved. Thanks for reading. Hug your loved ones. If you need help, don’t be afraid to seek it out. If you think someone needs help, reach out and offer them some. I will abuse the cliche again and say that we truly have to be the change we wish to see in the world.

 

All my love.

 

[Source: Facebook]

[Update 9/4/17 9:27pm PST]

There’s video. WARNING. This is intense. The Man had burned but the Temple of The Man was still standing.

[Update 9/12/17 11:26am PST]

A lot of censorship is being generated around this post. Thomson-Reuters gave me a takedown request for the photos, which we complied with, but that wasn’t good enough. They also objected to the screenshot of the Drudge Report headlines which incorporated one of their images. How far does this go: embedding a YouTube video, which may contain some of their photos? Linking to a Facebook discussion where somebody else posted the photos? At what point does non-profit, educational Fair Use become a consideration to MainStream Media #fakenews conglomerates? Remember, these are the people who brought us the 9/11 conspiracy and WMDs in Iraq, while profiting enormously. One wonders why free blog sites about Burning Man are so important to them.

We have shown already some of the Org’s attempts to shut down any discussion of this incident on social media, which has been backed by what appears to be co-ordinated troll attacks. Looks like there is an effort to take down all the related videos too. It would be nice to think they were doing this to prevent copycats and further sacrifices, but I suspect there are other motivations at work.

 

[Update 9/3/17 2:36pm PST] The man has been named as (Aaron) Joel Mitchell, 41

 

 

 


In a scene reminiscent of 2014’s tragic suicide at the Element11 regional in Utah, a man has run straight into the fire after the main event of Burning Man.

From the Las Vegas Review Journal:

About 10:30 p.m. Saturday, the man broke through safety perimeters at the Northern Nevada festival and ran straight into a fire, Burning Man officials said in a statement. Black Rock City firefighters entered the flames to rescue the festival-goer.

 

The man was treated on the scene before being transported to an on-site medical facility, officials said. He was later airlifted to a burn treatment center…

 

The man’s condition as of Sunday morning was unknown.

 

[Source]

Here’s the official statement from BMorg:

At approximately 10:30 p.m. Saturday evening, a male participant at the annual Burning Man event in Northern Nevada broke through a safety perimeter and ran into a fire. Black Rock City fire personnel rescued him from the fire.

 

The individual was treated on scene, transported to the on-site medical facility and airlifted to a burn treatment center.

 

We will share more information as it becomes available.

There has now been confirmation that the man is dead, our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones. In 2005, a man intentionally ran into the fire and survived. He went on to try to sue Burning Man for his stupidity, unsuccessfully.

As well as the 2014 Utah fire death, there were deaths by drowning at Regional events at Transformus 2015 (North Carolina) and Lakes of Fire 2016 (Michigan).

One of the Honorarium art installations this year was “The Pyramid of the Dead”   dedicated to celebrating death: “Death is a part of life as much as life is a part of Death, and we invite you to celebrate this relationship with us”

A couple of days ago RT ran a story “Beware of Fire: Deaths at Burning Man”. There seem to be far more deaths at this event than any other festival, including much larger ones. Of course, it’s just a coincidence that it’s an occult ritual burning a wooden effigy inside a pentagram celebrating death and rebirth, surrounded by Pyramids and Temples for the Dead, lit from a fire kept burning in a magic soul-cooking cauldron called El Diabla. There are many other large scale public occult rituals that go on without such deaths…oh wait. Sorry, my mistake. There are no other such rituals.

[Images from YourEDM removed at the request of Thomson Reuters]

[Update 3/9/17 5:44pm PST]

Some links to counseling information from BMorg. Many Burners are seriously traumatized about witnessing such an horrific event during the peak moment of the party:

Emotional support teams have been made available to participants and staff. For people on playa, the Zendo Project is providing peer counseling at their space at 5:15 & A. Support staff from our Emergency Services Department’s Crisis Intervention Team are stationed at 3:00 & C, 9:00 & C, and 5:30 & Esplanade. Please seek them out.

 

If you are not on playa and are feeling the need to talk to someone, don’t wait. You can reach 24/7 crisis and suicide hotlines at 1-800-273-8255 or 775-784-8090. You can also text LISTEN to 839863.

 

Now is a time for closeness, contact and community. Trauma needs processing. Promote calls, hugs, self-care, check-ins, and sleep. We have found this article helpful for understanding how trauma affects us: “A New Normal: Ten Things I’ve Learned About Trauma”.

 

[Source]

Some eyewitness accounts have shown up already on social media:

Screenshot 2017-09-04 12.38.01

Screenshot 2017-09-04 12.47.07

Source: Official Burning Man Facebook Page

The official Burning Man Facebook group is censoring reports and photos of the tragedy:

Screenshot 2017-09-04 12.43.35

There were originally comments on the BMorg official posting, these have been disabled too.

More as it comes in. BMorg said the Temple burn will continue as scheduled tonight…the show must go on.

[Update 9/3/17 6:23pm PST]

The Reno Gazette-Journal has more information about Joel Mitchell:

Update 4:45 p.m. Sunday: The mother of Aaron Joel Mitchell confirmed that her son was the man who died after running into flames at Burning Man on Saturday night…

 

Joel grew up in McAlester, Oklahoma but was living in Switzerland. 

 

“He’s 41, but they are always your baby,” said Johnnye Mitchell. “He was loving and a nice person…Joel liked hiking and outdoors, running.”

 

Mitchell said she saw her son on Aug. 1 before he headed to Oregon to go to an Eclipse festival.  She knew he was planning to go to Burning Man with friends and it was his first time to the annual festival. 

 

She said he is married but does not have any children. His wife is from Switzerland. He was working in construction.

 

“He was in great spirits when we saw him…We are just in shock, total shock,” she said. “We can’t believe this happened.”

 

…The Burning Man organization canceled scheduled burns through noon Sunday but will proceed with the scheduled Temple burn at 8 p.m.

 

[Source]

 

There is an investigation into his death. So far it is not known where he was camping.

 

 [Update 9/3/17 7:44pm PST]

The RGJ has some further details from the Sheriff:

The Pershing County Sheriff said Sunday night that the initial rescue efforts were hampered due to a portion of “the Man” falling at the time rescuers were attempting to retrieve Mitchell from the debris. 

 

“Rescuers had to leave him to allow the structure to fall and provide for rescuer safety before they could go back into the flames to extract Aaron from the debris,”…

 

It remains unclear whether Mitchell was trying to run into the fire or tripped and fell into it while trying to avoid security staff

 

One safety ranger who witnessed the incident teared up as she told her campmates early Sunday morning how she tried but failed to stop the man. 

 

Rangers who work the event are told in advance to look out for three kinds of people likely to rush toward the fire: people trying to get attention, people who are on drugs or intoxicated and don’t understand the danger, and the suicidal

 

Photo: Reno Gazette Journal

 

 

[Source: Reno Gazette Journal]

 

Joel was airlifted to the UC Davis Medical Center specialist burn unit, where he was pronounced dead

Some of the MSM coverage of the tragedy:

CNN

 

SFGate

 

The Guardian

 

The Sun

 

The Daily Mail

 

New York Post

 

Vulture

 

VICE

YouTube videos are starting to be made.

BMIR Radio Off The Air

BMIR-Headquarters-800

Image: Mark Gunderson

Some Burners are disappointed that they can’t get pumped up for the Burn by listening to their favorite radio station, BMIR.

Here’s why:

Screenshot 2017-08-16 12.43.48

Tune in FM 94.5 on the Playa, bmir.org or iHeartRadio

Administrative issues, hmmm? Who is taking control of the Playa airwaves?

BMorg says:

Burning Man Information Radio

BMIR – 94.5 FM (aka Burning Man Information Radio) is the official radio station of Burning Man. Broadcasting on the playa and streaming over the internet (both from Burning Man and year round) at BMIR.org. BMIR broadcasts an eclectic mix of music, playa news, burn information, playa weather reports, interviews with participants and artists, theme camp and event promos and much more.

BMIR starts broadcasting from the playa 24/7 the Wednesday before the gates open to the public. Many people tune in to the internet stream from home while they are doing their last minute packing as well as stream BMIR on their smartphones while they travel to Black Rock City for info on how the city is coming together, updates on playa and traffic conditions and late breaking important information about the event.

It takes a whole lot of people to make a radio station run and there are many roles to be filled both on and off air. We are a highly interactive department with lots of public contact. Previous radio experience is not necessary. What’s important is desire and commitment to our mission of being the guardians of the airwaves for the citizens of Black Rock City.

If you’re interested in joining our team please send an email to BMIRVolunteers@gmail.com. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you see yourself contributing to the team. We look forward to hearing from you!

[Source]

Looks kind of official to me! Did it get Nationalized by the Org, and is now dysfunctional? Maybe someone with administrative skills can volunteer to this team and we can get the radio turned on again. $40 million. 80,000 people. WE CAN DO IT! Communal Effort. Participation. Immediacy. Radiocal Inclusion. Radiocal Self Reliance. Radiocal Self Expression.