(This week, I’m truly honored to have spoken to two East Coast Burners that are truly larger than life. If you’ve partied in NYC in any significant fashion you’ve probably seen them out, dressed to the nines. They’re four time Burners with a unique perspective that we’d all do well to learn from. Diva PsychicStar (Patricia) repurposes furs & The Geniuz (Jeremiah) commands broadcasts. This is a deep dive folks, so turn on one of their favorite sets from playa, from White Ocean, Robot Heart, Pink Mammoth & Distrikt, while you read!)1. How was Burning Man 2015?! How did this all start for you two? Burning Man 2015 was challenging! It was our fourth Burn with each one being different and each one offering a new experience and takeaway. It takes a lot of money/effort to trek across the continent from New York to join the tens of thousands of Burners for an event culminating months of regional festivals and camp fundraisers. Our style is to mitigate as much of the dry, dusty Playa harshness as possible by bringing as many creature comforts and tried and true costumes as we can. We have always been RV campers, which gives us a leg up when it comes to daytime sleeping and shelter from the dust storms. Continue reading
For some holiday weekend reading, here’s a fascinating story from Natural News on the role the big pharmaceutical companies have played in the development of the global drugs market.
Re-blogged from Natural News
The secret history of Big Pharma’s role in creating and marketing heroin, LSD, meth, Ecstasy and speed
Most consumers think that street drugs are in an entirely different class than prescription drugs, and they believe that pharmaceutical companies would never manufacture or sell street drugs. But guess what? As you’ll read here, drug companies actually invented many of the street drugs now considered to be the most devastating, including heroin and meth (“ice”). That’s right, we need Pharma Watch Dogs, lots of them; groups, sites and movements.
Here are seven facts you probably never knew about the connection between street drugs and pharmaceutical companies:
1. Heroin was launched as a medicine by Felix Hoffman, an employee of Bayer, only a few days after he invented aspirin. Bayer immediately applied for a trademark on the term “heroin,” then began marketing the drug as a cure for morphine addiction. It was also marketed as cough syrup for children.
2. Parke-Davis, a subsidiary of Pfizer, promoted and sold cocaine. It even produced a “cocaine injection kit” complete with a syringe for shooting up. Skeptical? You can view the picture yourself by clicking www.NaturalNews.com/gallery/articles/ParkeDav…
3. A subsidiary of Novartis, Sandoz Laboratories, introduced the world to LSD in 1938, marketing it as a psychiatric drug named Delysid. This same drug company also created saccharin, the artificial chemical sweetener.
4. Drug giant Merck pioneered the commercial manufacture of morphine from opium and was a heavy pusher and marketer of cocaine. Merck also patented MDMA (Ecstasy, the rave drug). After World War II, Merck also began producing pesticides and food preservatives.
5. Ritalin is “speed” for children. A chemical amphetamine, Ritalin is made of controlled substances that would land you in prison if you sold them to a kid on the street, yet the drug is currently prescribed to millions of schoolchildren in the United States to treat a “brain chemistry condition” that was invented by the drug companies.
6. In the 1930’s, drug companies marketed amphetamines as over-the-counter inhaler medicines for treating nasal congestion. Tablet amphetamines were also widely available in tablet form and frequently abused by students, truck drivers and other groups.
7. Meth was originally synthesized by chemists and later refined by drug companies. During WWII, “meth” was actually prescribed to soldiers by the U.S., Germany and Japan. Even Hitler was known as a “meth head” by his own staff. By the end of the war, millions of military personnel were addicted to the drug.
Today, meth (“crank”) is made from ingredients found in over-the-counter cold medicines. While a meth epidemic sweeps America, destroying entire communities and even threatening some states (Hawaii in particular), drug companies insist their cold medicines should remain over the counter and not be classified as controlled substances. There is currently no legislative effort whatsoever to ban over-the-counter cold medicines containing the chemicals used to create meth.
Also related: Coca-Cola really did contain cocaine during its first few decades on the market (it also contained kola nut extract, hence the name). Cocaine was later removed from the formula and replaced with caffeine, a substance that is similarly addictive and serves much the same purpose.
Once you realize the connection between street drugs and prescription drugs, it’s easy to figure out why Big Pharma is such a strong supporter of the Partnership For A Drug-Free America — because they don’t want consumers getting their drugs from street dealers, they want people buying their drugs from drug companies! Drug companies’ attempts to outlaw street drugs are little more than a way of eliminating the competition and monopolizing the drug market.
Ultimately, Big Pharma is just another drug pushing cartel that has the same goals as any drug dealer: Convince customers they need your drug, get them hooked on it, and eliminate the competition.
The only difference is that Big Pharma has been so successful at dealing drugs that it has enough funds to buy off Congress, the Food and Drug Administration and practically the entire psychiatric industry (not to mention medical schools and mainstream media outlets).
Today, more than 40 percent of the U.S. population ingests FDA-approved synthetic chemicals manufactured and marketed by drug companies.
Drug companies think this number is too low. Their goal is to have 100 percent of the U.S. population taking not just one drug per day, but multiple drugs every day, for life.
Over at burningman.com, Caveat Magister’s attempts to laugh off the Burner community’s Commodification Camp concerns – Why Am I Making Fun of Burners and 12 Shocking Revelations About Ultra-Rich Plug and Play Camps – went down like a lead balloon.
Commenter Metapony likened it to the 2007 DPW workers rights protest at BMHQ, during a Regionals Conference:
This burning blog posting mocking people and misrepresenting the issue reminds me of something…
Oh yes, I remember! This is like the time there was a small protest across the street from the Burning Man office (during the spring regionals summit in 2007) and the BM Org sent a bunch of people out to make fun of them…
So carry on that fine tradition of misrepresenting and mocking folks with real issues, CM. Good job.
This is an interesting chapter of Burning Man’s history that I had never heard of before. From Bright Path:
Today, Feb. 18, 2007, a few workers, some with their heads covered by paper bags, staged a small demonstration outside of Burning Man headquarters in San Francisco to protest what they say are reductions in pay, forced “death waivers” and lack of adequate health care for the workers who primarily clean the desert up after the Burning Man event.
Now that I’ve seen the video, it definitely has some resonance with the current situation.
The protest begins in a fairly low-key fashion, with 2 of the protestors afraid to show their faces for fear of losing their jobs or future art grants. Caleb, the unmasked protestor, is very well-spoken about the reasons for their protest. Then, Burning Man HQ’s doors open and some other protestors stream out to disrupt the protest with a protest of their own: mocking the seemingly valid concerns about pay cuts, medical treatment, and possible violations of labor regulations.
At the time these events occurred, he spoke out on tribe.net about the sock puppets that were dispatched to attack him as revenge against his peaceful protest. People wondered on ePlaya if the counter-protestors were acting independently, or if they were sent out by BMOrg to misdirect the situation. Some of the protestors were identified as Regional representatives of the Org.
Does anyone know the real story behind this? Was it all just a Cacophony-style prank, another Big Farce – or were the protestors expressing legitimate concerns? Did BMOrg ever respond seriously, or was the pranking the extent of it?
If you feel like protesting today, sign the petition against Commodification Camps.
[Update 11/2014 9:32pm]
A Burner who was there that day at the Regional conference but wishes to remain anonymous contacted us and provided some further details. I asked:
Were the protestors concerns fake? Did BMOrg do anything about them? When the anti-protestors learned what the protest was about , what did you do then? Did you go back inside and report back to anyone, or did nobody care?
Anonymous Burner replied:
We’ve just been contacted by Burner Lise, who’s a little butt-hurt that we described Norway’s giant 130-foot high Midsummer bonfire as “the world’s biggest burn”. The flame measured a “mere” 135 feet, and one brave soul lit it from the top.
She insists that their 2007 Burn in Slovenia was even taller, at 142 feet:
From fire breathers to Mother Nature, the element of fire has set an assortment of world records…
…In celebration of Labour Day, a bonfire with a volume of 60,589 feet cubed was constructed by SKD Mladi Bostanj and lit on April 30, 2007 in Bostanj, Slovenia. The bonfire was also more than 142 feet tall qualifying it for the [tallest] bonfire in the world on record.
It ‘slovely. Apologies to the Lovely People of Slovenia, we never meant to cast aspersions about the size of your
Their bonfire celebrated Labor Day, also known as the Feast of Ba’al. In American ritual ceremony Labor Day is the weekend of Burning Man. The occult nature of our Wicca burn is preserved on America’s Labor Weekend, by the
pentagon pentagram that contains it.
Burning Man’s highest Man+Base to date has been (officially) 2011, when the height was 104 feet. Will the flames rise above the new baseless Man, more than 38 feet from its top? It’s arguable, I don’t think so. The Man’s arm raises up in a Nazi-style one handed salute, fireworks go off, then the structure burns and collapses on itself.
This year’s “Craven Ass Eerie” theme is a throwback to Mans of old, before there were themes…when there was no base and the Man stood his own ground. Can you climb up it? Can you slide down it? No-one knows but the Gamemasters:
How high will the Man stand without a base? Before, it has been around 40-feet tall. It seems unlikely that it will be 170 feet+ tall. How high do the flames go? Well, how does anyone really measure?
Lift your game and lift your flame, Burning Man!
In 2007, Burning Man had the largest ever structure burned, the amazing “Crude Awakening” Fire. The platform itself was 99-feet high, Christopher Lawrence played on it. Burner estimates claim a 300+ foot fireball. Wired claimed the flame as 1000 feet high, above the 100-foot platform.
The brains behind the tallest structure ever built at Burning Man plan to produce the tallest fire ever seen at the event as well — a 1,000-foot column of flame, primed by 900 gallons of jet fuel and fed by 2,000 gallons of liquid propane. Its creators hope this massive flame will send a powerful message about the oil economy.
The piece is called Crude Awakening. It’s the brainchild of Bay Area artists Dan Das Mann and Karen Cusolito. Its collaborative execution brings together eight different artists who have previously received art grants from Burning Man, and involved the help of 180 different people.
The centerpiece is a 99-foot-tall wooden oil derrick that was receiving final touch-ups Wednesday afternoon, including the completion of the steps inside that allow attendees to climb to the top.
To the left of the derrick stand eight metal sculptured human figures, most of whose surfaces are made of connected metal rings, each designed with their own different participant-activated fire effects via propane tubing. The statues are 540 percent of the size of a normal human. Some are standing, hands waved in supplication; many prostrate in various ways. All of them, Das Mann says, emulate the prayer posture of some religious tradition.
The piece is meant to dramatize the worshipful relationship and dependence modern man has toward oil. The idea occurred to the married couple during their honeymoon in India two years ago, and fit in with this Burning Man’s environmentally minded theme of “Green Man.”
The piece’s fruition comes in a performance Friday evening, to be aired live on Current TV beginning at 10 p.m. PST. At its climax, four different containers at each corner of the tower will shoot a total of 900 gallons of jet fuel (given away by NASA as unusable for its purposes, Das Mann says) to engulf the top of the structure in a huge fireball.
Seconds later up the center of the derrick, 2,000 gallons of liquid propane in a pipeline stretching out to the derrick’s right will shoot out at once through a remote-control 5-inch pneumatic ball valve. The piece’s creators figure this should create a 1,000-foot-high column of flame.
The detonation of the piece will create 2.4 gigawatts of energy, which Das Mann and Cusolito say is enough to “power the entire Bay Area for one minute.”
The artists realize that it might seem indulgent to burn so much fuel for art meant to dramatize our warped relationship with fuel. They understand those concerns. But they stress the personal conservation efforts about environmental and carbon impact that working on the piece created in all the 180 people involved, which they expect to continue.
The fuel the piece consumes only amounts to an ounce or so of fuel per attendee at the event, they note. Cusolito, who says she is thought of by her friends as somewhat of an “environmental Nazi,” says she thinks of Crude Awakening as if “all the energy I have not consumed by living the way I do, it’s almost as if I get credits” to use the fuel to “make the biggest environmental statement I could make in my lifetime.” The pair hopes the message will reach far beyond the 45,000 or so who might see the finale at Burning Man.
Das Mann and Cusolito stress the massively collaborative nature of the project, including fire work from Donya Parkinson and Joe Bard of Pyro Kinetics, and Mark Perez’s carpentry work on the derrick, among many others. Let’s also not forget the tireless work done by the best tile saw ever! That thing is running 24/7 during set up.
I guess the Guinness Records crew weren’t there that day…
Do fireballs count? Or is it the height of the sustained burn that’s important? What do you think, Burners? Did Slovenia beat us, and Norway too? Or does Burning Man reign supreme in the Fire God Wars?
by Whatsblem the Pro
It has been a year now since Paul Addis, the man who went to prison for burning the Man early in 2007, leapt to a cruel death under the steel wheels of a BART train at Embarcadero Station in San Francisco.
So much has been said about Addis and his actions; people have expressed some very wide-ranging – and very strongly-held – opinions, calling him insane, a criminal, troubled, brilliant, a genius, a pointed performance artist, a bold rebel, and much more.
Whatever you might think of Addis, the response on the part of the corporation that runs Burning Man was very telling for a lot of people. . . many of whom stopped attending in protest after Addis was convicted and sent to prison on the strength of the testimony supplied by Burning Man’s leadership.
Love him, hate him, or wonder. . . but nobody who knows even part of the story has forgotten, or ever will forget, Paul Addis’ early burn.
There’s a lot we could say about all of it, a year after his suicide. Addis was barred from working in his rather lucrative chosen profession, thanks to his felony conviction for burning the Burning Man, and reduced to whatever minimum-wage jobs he could find as an ex-con on parole. One can only imagine the sense of helplessness and despair that led him to throw his body into the path of an oncoming subway train. Love him, hate him, or wonder, but in the end he was our fellow human being and our fellow burner, and deserving of at least some minimum of our sympathy in his darkest hour.
Spokespeople for the corporation that runs Burning Man – Marian Goodell in particular – have persistently claimed in public that Addis’ conviction was out of their hands, and expressed sadness that he was convicted of a felony serious enough to carry a prison sentence with it. . . but that claim remains one of the most glaring examples of slick, dishonest, corporate-style insincerity on the part of Burning Man’s executives in the event’s history. It doesn’t matter what you think of Paul Addis, who is gone forever. . . but it does matter what you think of the people who brought the hammer down on him. It matters a lot.
In the video below, Paul Addis speaks for himself from beyond the grave about the early burn, the response from those who hold the keys to our kingdom, and the comeuppance he received. We wish his friends and family an easy first anniversary of his death, and good closure going forward.
[Update from ed: 10/31/13] Thanks to Burner Dave for providing a link to radio traffic from the night after Paul Addis lit the Man.