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

The Anti-Burning Man

The New York Times has a story about the Bombay Beach Bienalle at the Salton Sea in California.

They just had the first one, seems like it was a hit. Art, opera, and weirdness: sign me up.

The Times have coined it the Anti-Burning Man.

Last weekend, a mostly abandoned town on the Salton Sea was transformed into a pageantry of art and opera and weirdness.

The three-day Bombay Beach Biennale was free to attend, unpublicized and driven by a mission of local engagement.

Call it the anti-Burning Man.

The idea came from Tao Ruspoli, a Los Angeles filmmaker, who years ago became fascinated by the Salton Sea, a onetime tourist mecca straddling the Imperial and Coachella Valleys that has succumbed to environmental decay.

He started visiting often and even bought a house in Bombay Beach, a speck of a town on the eastern shore.

“This idea of Bombay Beach Biennale popped in my head because rather than play up the sadness of the place,” he said, “I thought it would be more interesting to play on the surrealness of the place…It’s such a mixture of contradictions, of natural and unnatural, of beautiful and ugly.”

[Source]

Forget Leave No Trace. These artists want to leave it better:

Mr. Ruspoli partnered with two friends, Stefan Ashkenazy, an art lover and hotelier, and Lily Johnson White, a philanthropist and member of the Johnson & Johnson family.

Last year, the trio self-funded the inaugural festival, under the theme “Decay,” and invited artists, philosophers, writers and other assorted merrymakers from their network of friends to join. It was a hit.

But rather than simply clear out once the fun was over, the festival has aimed to reinvent some of the abandoned buildings in town as permanent art spaces.

“The ethos is to be playful but also leave a lasting impact to the town,” Mr. Ruspoli said.

[Source]

The Johnson (and Johnson) family are full of interesting characters, to put it mildly.

crazy rich

Stefan Ashkenazy is the owner of La Petit Ermitage, one of the commercial hotels doing pop-ups at Burning Man VIP camps.

petit ermitage

And as for the third player in this trinity, the description of “film maker” doesn’t quite do him justice:
Tao Ruspoli is an Italian American filmmaker, photographer, and musician. Ruspoli is the second son of occasional actor and aristocrat Prince Alessandro Ruspoli, 9th Prince of Cerveteri and Austrian-American actress Debra Berger. He is the older brother of Bartolomeo dei Principi Ruspoli, second husband of oil heiress Aileen Getty.
A prince(ling), whose sister-in-law is a Getty. No big deal. Oh and he got engaged to Olivia Wilde at Burning Man and married her at 18 on a school bus
olivia wilde tron
The Salton Sea is a seriously trippy place.

This year the Biennale theme was The Way The Future Used To Be. There were more than 100 artists and performers, with attendance “in the hundreds rather than thousands”.

Carmiel Banasky in LA Weekly described the psychedelic space station and other accoutrements:

My first stop at the fest was a Mad Hatter-esque tea party, where cake pops (made by a local family), joints and edibles were passed around while fairy women made bondage art in the branches. Along the beach was a lifeguard stand turned into a psychedelic space station. Colorful smoke bombs set off at sunset through large sea creature cut-outs asked us to remember where we were, while the outdoor bar next door (tended by men in yellow bikini briefs) asked us to forget it.

Read the full story at the New York Times

Read the LA Weekly Story

See more photos on Instagram

An art installation on the sand at Bombay Beach. Credit: Jennifer Wiley
Photo

Artists explored the surreal setting of the decaying Salton Sea. Credit: Laura Austin
Photo

Men in yellow bikini briefs tended a bar at the Bombay Beach Club. Credit: James Frank
Films were screened at a drive-in theater featuring the shells of broken-down cars. Credit: James Frank
A performance at the Bombay Beach Opera House featured dancers from the San Francisco Ballet. Credit: James Frank

Resident of Oakland Firetrap Blames Burning Man Crowd

Breitbart News brings a first hand report of the history of the Satya Yuga collective that appears to have rented the property as a warehouse, yet somehow for at least 2 years had as many as 20 residents plus children and pets. Only one of the tenants perished in the blaze, resident genius computer expert and homeless Harvard graduate Peter Wadsworth. The other 35 dead were there for the rave all night underground EDM event.

The “Ghost Ship,” the warehouse and artists’ colony where 36 people lost their lives in the Oakland fire last Friday night, was “a serious attempt to bring the Black Oakland culture back into the art scene,” former resident Alexander Doré told Breitbart News.
However, that vision was overrun by what Doré referred to as the “Burning Man crowd.

“We called it ‘the space,’” Doré said. He described himself as a close acquaintance of Derick Ion Almena, the man known as the leader of the community, and one of his wife Mika’s close friends.

We didn’t even give it a name. It was meant to be private. None of it was for sale,” Doré said. “[Almena] wanted me to be a partner and I was brought over to the space by some local musicians and a lady who lived there because I was the third bass player in Sly and the Family Stone,” a well-known American band from San Francisco that was very popular from the 1960s through the 1980s.

Of the owner of the building, Oakland landlord Chor Ng, Doré said: “He should have applied for the permits.” The building was found to lack sprinklers and fire alarms, and the city’s efforts to inspect the premises were unsuccessful — though critics charge that local officials were lax in their duty to enforce fire codes.

“Ending up at this warehouse was part of my, I don’t want to say ‘downfall,’ but I got lost,” Doré said. He later left the community.

“I decided to say goodbye to Derick because I felt there was too much dark energy there due to the people living there,” he said, including youth that he claimed were into drugs, and who took advantage of Almena’s comparatively reasonable — although allegedly illegal — living accommodations in an area where skyrocketing rents have pushed traditional residents out.

Doré explained to Breitbart News that the vision behind “the space” was to revitalize and harness the Bay Area’s seemingly lost African-American culture.

[Source]

What to some is perceived as a “serious attempt to bring the Black Oakland culture back into the art scene”, is seen by others as the classic gentrification model. The (mostly white) artists get sent in to drive the black families out of the neighborhoods. Black artists might get invited in to create the appearance of integration; maybe you find another Basquiat. Usually the ones that make it don’t stick around in the same neighborhoods they grew up in.

I’ve seen it happen over the last 20 years in the Tenderloin, SOMA, the Mission, Hayes Valley, Oakland, and in downtown LA. I’ve heard about it happening in places like Dallas and Houston too. First they send in the crack, and ruin the inner city neighborhoods, driving property values down and spreading poverty. Foreclosures boom, and buildings end up in the hands of the banks. Then, the artists come in, usually following the drugs and not caring about run-down buildings because they can paint them. They get away with more street art because the neighborhood is otherwise decrepit. Get enough artists together in one area and it can be marketed as a “colony”. Then the gays come in. They do all the houses up and make the neighborhood flourish with their higher disposable incomes and on-trend tastes. They don’t mind that the area is unsafe for children, since generally they don’t have them. Then the hipsters come, also without children. And then the rich yuppies. By then, the neighborhood has become safe for children again: private school children. Most of the people who built the community can no longer afford to live there and are no longer wanted. Then  comes the foreign money, looking for a blue chip home for their offshore investments. By this point the mortgages have been pooled and collateralized and synthesized and repackaged into bond and share offerings. The jobs left are service jobs, and if there is any art left is in high end galleries.

I’m sorry if anyone finds that description offensive, but it happens time and time again with such consistency that it cannot be coincidence. It is either a biological wiring, something in the DNA of humanity; or it is a long-term plan of social engineering – so successful that it keeps being repeated, regardless of the consequences. Hollywood itself began as one of these occult artists colonies. Qui bono? Follow the money. When an Oakland townhouse goes from $100,000 to $1 million, imagine what that does if you own 20-story buildings and entire city blocks.

My information is that the rent to be part of the Fruitvale Satya Yuga collective was $5,000 per month and the residents were paying $750 per month – which would be $15,000 per month if all 20 paid the same. If anyone can confirm or correct this please comment. The money clearly was not reinvested in safety, but it does indicate the potential real estate profits lurking darkly in the background of this and other tragic fires.

One resident, who had a fire extinguisher in hand and discarded it for a cat carrier, described the space as “amazing”, “beautiful”, and “family oriented”. YMMV.

Kelber woke up to hearing someone screaming “fire” and grabbed a fire extinguisher. She opened her gate and looked down the hallway and saw 15-foot flames, “a giant fireball.” 

She then tossed the fire extinguisher, realizing it wasn’t going to do her any good, and tried to grab her cat carrier from a loft area.

“I was almost knocked unconscious by the smoke,” she said. Then the power went out. The smoke pushed her window open, which let in air that fueled the fire.

She grabbed her cat and ran out. “The fire trucks still weren’t here so I went racing around the corner screaming ‘fire,’ carrying my cat.” 

Kelber and Frito said that they thought 22 or 23 people lived in the building, which was 10,000 square feet.

“It was one of the most amazing, beautiful spaces,” Kelber said.

She said somebody was always working on a different project, or cooking something.

“It was one of the most amazing, family-oriented spaces,” she said. “That’s why it was created.”

The idea that it is acceptable to have all night dance parties in family oriented spaces is not widely shared throughout the rest of the world. Even in Melbourne, arguably the world capital of warehouse parties, the “artists” would not try something like this. The police and family protection services would be there in a heartbeat. So why would it be socially acceptable in the San Francisco Bay Area?

This is an example of why the propaganda that “kids at Burning Man are fine” is dangerous. The argument goes like this: “All these smart billionaires go to Burning Man, and people take their kids to Burning Man, therefore it is smart to have all night dance parties around children”. This is a logical fallacy, a non sequitur.

I don’t see too many billionaires bringing their young children to Burning Man, why is that?

There is a great deal to be said for the good old-fashioned family unit. One man, one woman, and the biological children generated by mixing their genes together. Bringing the children up with good values, in an environment of love, promoting honesty and kindness. This model has taken humanity this far, why do we need to attack it? To go back to the Dark Ages? I am all for including other lifestyles, but surely nobody thinks it is OK that children lived in this place surrounded by skulls and occult imagery.

This music video was filmed at the Ghost Ship warehouse. It is full of occult symbolism and mind control visual techniques. The name “ROCChilds” seems like an almagamation of Rockefeller and Rothschild, as well as a nod to Illuminati rapper Jay-Z’s record label ROC-A-Fella records.

The song is not bad, with some impressive guitar work at the end. But the imagery is very concerning, in light of the holocaust that subsequently occurred at this temple to Shiva.

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Crypto-landlord Derick Ion Almena and his partner Micah Allison make a cameo in the video

The Halcyon Principle

Burning Man has gathered 100 of the leading thinkers in the Burner community at Occult Base Esalen, to try to come up with some ideas about increasing revenue Sustainable Creative Communities.

[Download their 70-page discussion paper here, thanks Dispatch]

Think you’re cool for buying Leonard Da Vinci tickets for triple the price? Are you on the Burner100 list? No? Well, you might have to up your Gifting game if you want to swing with the Big Playa Players. If you kiss the right asses they might even name a Principle after you.

Halcyon with his dad, Bob Weir. Image: BJ

Halcyon with his dad, Bob Weir. Image: BJ

Pink Jesus, aka John Halcyon Styn, raised the radical idea that what used to make the art at Burning Man so magical was that people created it for free to share with each other. So paying artists could be Commodification.

He was roundly shot down by the group, but after breakaway sessions they came back with the idea that not paying artists was excellent, and they could blame it on him: aka “The Halcyon Principle”.

Gifting is the answer the everything. Or my answer, at least. Over and over at the conference, I brought the conversation back to Gifting. While there is so much magic happening in the Burning Man movement, I think the core of it is in Gifting.
A) It teaches us to receive joy from giving joy.

B) It helps us to start seeing ourselves as having talents and art of our own to share.

Shifting people’s from self-identity from “consumer” to “creator” is world-changing.
I spoke up on the first day and questioned a line of thought by reminding people that, while I want to get artists paid, I am more passionate about making sure the art remains a gift. I said I was transformed by that first awareness that all this amazing stuff on the playa was created — not for financial reasons — but purely to blow my mind. It created an energetic surplus in me that made me want to give back to this place and community for the rest of my life. There was a quick rebuttal to what I said and I instantly regretted speaking up. Maybe I am too naive for this conversation I thought. I shouldn’t be here.

But the next day, someone approached me and thanked me for saying something. Then another. Then a breakout group told me that they had a long conversation about what they were calling “The Halcyon Principle” based on what I had said.

A surreal highlight of the week (that was already a highlight of my life) was having Maid Marian, CEO of Burning Man, write “Halcyon Principle” on the whiteboard during the final Symposium wrap-up.

It’s not about paying artists! We can just give them hugs! Remember the Halycon Principle!

Read the full article here.

I’m not knocking Halcyon, he makes some good points and he has been kind enough to write guest posts here. Forgive me for being cynical about groupthink and congruency between words and actions, but I’ve been writing about BMorg for almost 5 years now. The ratio keeps growing, in the wrong direction. More people at the off-site symposia and invite-only conferences, more TED talks and panel discussions, lots of people being flown all around the world for words; less visible actions promoting art or making the world a better place. Who cares about which gender Burners identify with, buy some kids a skate park or a library.

free-book-tank-library-weapon-of-mass-instruction-raul-lemesoff-1

This collective experiment in temporary community has owned Fly Ranch for half a year, and Burners are mobile and self-reliant even in harsh conditions. Especially the Top 100 of them. Yet somehow the future of Flysalen needed to be plotted in the acid-laced hot tubs of Esalen, rather than the oil drilling byproduct hot springs of Fly Ranch.

Image: Pinterest

Image: Pinterest


Being on the boards of both Esalen and the Burning Man Project, Chip Conley swings both ways. Image: Fest300

Being on the boards of both Esalen and the Burning Man Project, Chip Conley swings both ways. Image: Fest300

For $6.5 million They could have bought a lot, and done a lot. At Esalen it’s $900 for no accommodation or a sleeping bag and $1300 for a dormitory bunk bed; if a couple wants their own room it’s more than five grand. At these rates they might as well just have their symposium at Caravancicle or White Ocean. Was this a pay-to-plug-n-play deal, or did Halcyon and 99 others get comped? Where does your ticket money go?

The 2014 Afterburn report claims a total of 896 paid employees. Obviously at least 90% of them didn’t get invited to the Esalen symposium. There are about 100 year-round staff on the Burning Man web site, wonder what percentage of them got to attend?  The last payroll figure we have for the Burning Man Project is for 2014, $7,485,059 (plus another $3,441,179 in contractors). So one week of the Burning Man Project’s time is around $150k of salaries. For $150k I will give them a vision, I’m sure it will be better and easier to implement than whatever the Burner100 came up with.

Image: Esalen.org

[Source: Esalen.org]


Conclusion

100 people had a bunch of ideas and told each other how great they were…for a whole frikking week. Were there hugsies involved? Some form of Orange cordial, perhaps?

I got in the tubs twice. Most people were in there as much as possible. I spent much more time standing on the cliffs looking out at the jagged coast

Sounds productive. Vision 3.0. Coming soon.

camel-horse-committee

A camel is a horse designed by a committee

 

The Big Picture

 

andrew-johnstone-cargo-cult-lancashire

Image: This is Lancashire

Black Rock City was designed by Rod Garrett, a member of the Beat Generation. His apprentice Andrew Johnstone from American Steel took over Rod’s role when he passed away, becoming Design Steward of the Man. He designs The Man Base every year with Larry Harvey.

His side project is to address the $20 billion a  year in the US ($100 billion worldwide) being spent wasted removing graffiti. Give the kids paintbrushes, and save on aerosol cans; give them permission, and turn them into artists. This is art literally transforming peoples’ lives.

An amazing project, Mr Johnstone deserves to be commended. This seems to be exactly the type of thing that the Burning Man Project was granted a tax exemption for. Andrew has a @burningman.org address, he’s definitely an insider. So why haven’t we heard anything about this at burningman.org? Why no glowing stories in the BJ?

Perhaps it is because the last thing anyone would want to do with at-risk teenagers is bring them to Burning Man, and expose them to the world’s biggest market of temptation, where everything is free including sex, drugs, and EDM.

Or perhaps the project doesn’t need support, since the Tides Foundation is behind it. Tides is a notorious George Soros front, with further financial muscle from the Rockefeller, Ford, and Heinz Foundations.