Sunshine Superheroes

by Whatsblem the Pro

Looks like that troublemaker Sol is in jail again

Looks like that troublemaker Sol is in jail again


Black Rock Solar, a non-profit run by superhero burners, has just completed the installation of a large photovoltaic array on the roof of another non-profit that serves the homeless and hungry in Carson City, Nevada.

The array consists of 130 solar panels delivering a whopping 28 kilowatts of unmetered, mostly green electricity to Friends in Service Helping (FISH), Northern Nevada’s largest services provider to those in crisis. FISH provides a dizzying panoply of services to the needy, and served 18,337 Nevadans in 2012 alone.

The solar array is expected to cut FISH’s electric bill by an estimated $6,500 per year. With a projected lifetime of at least twenty-five years, the solar array – which cost $112,000 to build, at no cost to FISH – is worth approximately $162,500 in energy savings.

Jim Peckham, Executive Director at FISH, was quoted in Black Rock Solar’s press release, saying “the savings from this array will make it possible for us to do more for our people. For example, it could double the amount of food we can serve in our dining room, or cover the cost of the insulin we provide to diabetic patients.”

With the project completed just in time for the holidays, FISH will be able to put even more on the table at their 2013 Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless and indigent. Along with cooked meals served in their free dining hall, the non-profit organization also provides those in need with groceries, showers, clean clothes, counseling, shelter space, and a free medical clinic; FISH also operates several thrift stores in the area, but 95% of their yearly budget comes from donations. Their motto is “not just a handout, but a hand up.”

Funding for the solar array came via a large rebate from NV Energy, supplemented by crowd-funding conducted by Black Rock Solar. Thanks to the rebate, Black Rock Solar was able to provide $9.33 worth of free solar to FISH for every donated dollar. “It’s an exciting opportunity to see donation dollars doing real good in the community,” noted Patrick McCully, Black Rock Solar’s Executive Director.

“This has been a special project for us,” said Marnee Benson, Deputy Director of Black Rock Solar, citing both the technical challenges of installing the array, and the funding requirements. “We’re pleased the array is completed just in time for the holidays, so FISH can start channeling more of their donations directly into programs and services.”

This is not Black Rock Solar’s first rodeo by a long shot. On October 21st of this year, they won the Brian D. Robertson Solar Schools Memorial Fund Award after being nominated by the fund’s Board of Directors and then selected by public vote as the most deserving organization of 2013. The non-profit has installed a host of solar arrays totaling some 3.5 megawatts to date, all at zero cost or deep discount. Recipients of their energy-efficient generosity include a number of Northern Nevada’s other non-profits, along with Native American tribal councils, rural towns, and school districts. If you keep an eye peeled on your way in or out of Black Rock City, you just might see one or two of those installations along the way. The non-profit also makes a significant contribution on-playa at Burning Man each year.

Doin’ it right. Black Rock Solar, we salute you.

To find out more about Black Rock Solar, visit their website at http://www.blackrocksolar.org, or drop in on their Facebook page.


Black Rock Solar in Black Rock City, Burning Man 2011

They Ride Roughshod

by Whatsblem the Pro

The principle of Decommodification that so many burners hold dear takes yet another brutal pounding this week as Australian chartbusting singer-songwriter-actress Missy Higgins releases her new music video. . . ‘We Ride,’ also known as the theme from the film Spark: A Burning Man Story. The single, along with the rest of the Spark soundtrack, is now available on iTunes.

The film, featuring footage shot at Burning Man 2011 – in other words, images of thousands of unconsenting, uncompensated burners and the art they built and transported to the Black Rock Desert at their own expense – would be forbidden by the Decommodification rule, if not for the fact that the people who forbid you from doing things like making commercial films at Burning Man happen to have a large financial stake in this one.

If you or I attempted to release a documentary shot at Burning Man, and followed it up with a soundtrack and a single by one of Australia’s top musical acts, the corporation that runs Burning Man would initiate legal proceedings against us in the name of protecting the culture from commercial exploitation. The fact that they have no problem with that kind of profiteering as long as they themselves have a financial stake in it and get a cut of the money should tell us something: that, once again, they’re not at all interested in protecting us or our culture, and care only about making money and protecting their monopoly on exploiting us and our creativity.

If the culture, the event, and burners as a group need to be protected from predators with commercial interests, then there should be no exceptions.

When challenged on what some consider their money-grubbing hypocrisy, the Org typically has one of two general responses, depending on the nature of the complaint: either they take the stance that Burning Man is a culture in an attempt to justify the exploitation of so many hard-working volunteers, uncompensated artists, and other unpaid participants, or they take the stance that Burning Man is a business entity in an attempt to justify their iron grip on the trademarks associated with it.

How long will we allow them to have their cake and eat it too? If Burning Man is a culture, then everyone who participates in and contributes to that culture should share ownership of the trademarks, and either be equally allowed to profit from them, or equally forbidden from doing so. . . no exceptions! If Burning Man is a business, on the other hand, then there shouldn’t be a single volunteer putting in a single minute of unpaid work on it. So which is it?

The film has already made over a quarter of a million dollars since it was released less than three months ago.

It may be worth noting while watching this film that the general consensus among old school burners seems to be that it sanitizes quite a lot of the dark side of Burning Man, and functions a little too heavy-handedly as pro-Org propaganda, and not an accurate reflection of reality.

What else should we have expected? Caveat emptor. . . and caveat possessorum, too.

[update from BurnersXXX] – note the “ignite.me” in the video credits, that seemed like an independent site to me at first, but now it appears to be yet another sales and propaganda channel for BMOrg. It was launched in December 2012 and the movie premiered at SXSW in Austin in March 2013…

Burning Man: Love It or Leave It?

by Whatsblem the Pro

IMAGE: Whatsblem the Pro

“If you don’t like the way it’s run, go start your own event!”

When people start talking about the negative aspects of Burning Man – whether they offer solutions or not – it’s a good bet that others will cite the inevitability of change, and say things like “if you don’t like what Burning Man has become, go start your own event!”

It’s a sentiment that recalls a bumper sticker often proudly displayed on redneck pickup trucks during the Vietnam War era, that read “America: Love It or Leave It.” Like that bumper sticker, it expresses an idea that is strongly counter to the culture it pretends to support. Burning Man, like America, is supposed to be a participatory place where you take enough pride in your citizenship to actively criticize what needs criticizing, and try to fix it.

In more specific terms, “go start your own event” ignores and clashes with at least three of the much-vaunted Ten Principles – Civic Responsibility, Communal Effort, and Participation – as well as some of the most deeply-held unofficial tenets of our culture, like the idea of a ‘do-ocracy’ in which you are expected to refrain from merely complaining about problems you see in favor of actually getting involved in solving them. What’s behind “if you don’t like it, go start your own event” is a deeply jingoist attitude suitable only for insufferably flippant spectators who are assuming you are a spectator too. . . and a spectator is one of the worst possible things you can be at Burning Man without committing some kind of actual crime.

Even the corporation that runs Burning Man seems to put a lot of effort into encouraging burners to spread the culture around and start new events rather than trying to change the existing one. . . but what they don’t mention is that they insist you move forward only with their approval and their trademark licenses. In other words, you can go start your own event if you don’t like the way they run Burning Man, but you have to do it the way they — the people who run Burning Man — tell you to.

Corey Rosen, aka ‘Endeavor,’ hasn’t left Burning Man; he loves it and still works as a Greeter each year. He is, however, currently in the process of spreading the culture around by starting his own event. . . the Digital Renaissance Faire, a gathering that in spite of the name has everything to do with burner culture and burner values, and nothing whatsoever to do with the Renaissance Faire.

Since he — like nearly all burners — is creative and has ideas on how the Burning Man model could be improved, Rosen is doing it his own way instead of slavishly following the example set by the Burning Man organization’s decisions.

Possibly the biggest difference between Burning Man and the Digital Renaissance Faire is that, at Burning Man, only the corporation that runs the event — known as “the Org,” or “BMOrg,” or even “the Borg,” — is allowed to make any money. On the plus side, this means that nobody is trying to sell you drinks or t-shirts. . . but a miserly three to four percent of the ticket revenue is paid out as arts grants, while hordes of participants build and transport their art to the event without any remuneration at all, often spending huge sums to do so. In recent years, even the art projects lucky enough to get grants from the Org have had to turn to crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to raise the rest of the money necessary to build and transport the mind-blowing creations that are a large part of what makes Burning Man so popular and successful.

In contrast, the Digital Renaissance Faire issues shares to all active participants, in proportion to their level of participation. At the end of the week, any profits generated are distributed to the people who actually build the event, bring the art, put on performances, organize workshops, and otherwise contribute.

Corey Rosen and his Digital Renaissance Faire are not a threat to Burning Man; the DRF doesn’t take place the same week as Burning Man, for one thing. . . and the DRF is actually designed to facilitate Burning Man, by providing large art and theme camps with both a testbed where they can shake the bugs out of their projects before taking them to Black Rock City, and a convenient spot to store their gear year-round that is not terribly far from the playa.

Since Rosen practices transparent accounting and shares the event’s take with the artists, performers, and workers who actually build it and operate it, it would be seriously unjust to say that he’s trying to commercialize the aspects of the event that are inspired by Burning Man. If Rosen was trying to cash in on Burning Man’s cachet and ethos, he’d do it just like the corporation that runs Burning Man does it: by keeping the accounting secret, and keeping the lion’s share of the profits for himself. Instead, he directly facilitates the art, theme camps, performers, etc. by cutting them all in for a percentage. Meanwhile, at Burning Man, only three to four percent of the ticket revenue – which is not the only income generated by the event – goes out as art grants; furthermore, those grants only go to those few projects hand-picked by the people clutching the purse strings. . . and as for the workers who build all the infrastructure, most of them don’t get paid at all.

Corey Rosen, acting in good faith on the constant exhortations from the corporate heads of Burning Man, is trying to spread the culture. . . but he’s also trying to play fair with the money, and his transparent business model that shares the revenue equitably with the participants who build everything presents a serious threat to Burning Man’s Board of Directors. If Rosen succeeds and proves that his business model is sound, the tiny group of amateur oligarchs that own Burning Man will no longer be able to claim that such a business model is an unworkable pipe dream. If that happens, they may very well come under pressure to follow Corey Rosen’s lead, and finally step down from the back of the cash cow they’ve been riding for decades.

Rosen has a lot to teach us about what actually happens when you act in good faith by taking the Burning Man Org at their word, and do what they tell you to do.

[NOTE: As you read Rosen’s account of his dealings with Burning Man, keep in mind that most of the Ten Principles were not written by anyone at Burning Man. . . for instance, “Leave No Trace” began as an ad campaign by the Federal Bureau of Land Management, and came to the playa via the Cacophony Society.]

Corey Rosen speaks:

My first interaction with the Burning Man organization about the Digital Renaissance Faire was back in October of 2012. I got in touch with my main contact over there to tell him we were planning a co-op festival, and he said Burning Man could not sanction the event because the participants were being paid. He then explained to me that Burning Man is working on another way to work with events similar to theirs that are more profit-driven. I came to find out that certain events given approval by Burning Man do pay talent, so I didn’t understand why an event that pays all the participants based on the profit of the event would be a problem. I also found that asking that question might cause problems, so I chose not to.

For over a month, I reached out to my contact at BMOrg to work with him on making sure we were in compliance with the event we were inspired by, with little response. Most of the responses I did receive were to tell me that he was too busy to contact me.

Once we launched our website, I received this email from him:

You are not a sanctioned event and did jump the gun to modify the Ten Principles and list them as if they were your own invention and writing. For trademark purposes it is better to not alter something and instead link to the original thing in a way that is clearly not plagiarized.

I think you should actually take them down because the Principles can be misconstrued to be something you originated and they are not. They are clearly derived from Burning Man’s Ten Principles.

Right now my understanding is that it is better to say you have been inspired by the Ten Principles of Burning Man and link to them vs. change them and make them seem like they are your own. I think you should also say “this event is not related or affiliated with Burning Man or The Burning Man Project, but we have been inspired by the guiding Principles of Burning Man.”

I am uncertain at this point if you should even directly link to the Ten Principles. So I guess the safest thing you can do right now is remove the plagiarized ones you have on your site and simply say “we have been inspired by Burning Man and it’s guiding principles” and then we can talk again.

I’d rather you not promote your event at the Artumnal Gathering until we have had the proper time to review this. I am sorry, but these things take time to properly vet. As I told you on the playa we have about fifty official regional events a year and what you are doing does not fit into the process we have in place at the moment. What you are doing is not something we have done before and we are not prepared to recognize it as official or sanction it at this time.

I enjoyed talking to you about it on the playa but I also told you then that the “profit sharing” model and this not being originated through the regional network made it something that would require careful consideration and we cannot directly affiliate with it at this time. I am truly sorry I could not get complete clarity and meet with you when you wanted. To be perfectly honest I feel you rushed the process and even now at a time when I must focus my energies elsewhere you are being a bit demanding. I realize you don’t mean to be so, but I need to be clear that I gave you no permission on behalf of Burning Man to take the steps you took.

I immediately changed the text on the website accordingly, and received this follow-up e-mail later that same day:

Thanks and forgive me if I am a little edgy right now. It has been a very busy Fall and I am in final production mode for Artumnal Gathering.

Yes, it is fine for you to talk to people about your event and fine to tell them about your unusual concept and that you are a burner and are inspired by Burning Man.

I received no more contact until I reached out to him about my not getting on the list for the Burning Man Summit in April, which I found out three days before the event. Nothing malicious there, just someone forgetting to submit my name and getting no help from the Burning Man organization.

Some time after my last contact with the BMOrg, we decided to put together a decompression event. We even called it DRF Decompression. Less than twelve hours after posting the event details on Facebook, we received a message from Burning Man sent to my partner’s e-mail address, saying that we had to change the name of the event because Burning Man owns the name Decompression. I had multiple people telling me to fight it, but I chose to let it go, be cooperative, and change the event name.

The most recent interaction I had with Burning Man was right before the event. Since we are creating the Digital Renaissance Faire as a participation-funded co-op festival, we have been given many things to make this event successful. I had the idea of creating a Digital Renaissance Faire token to give out as a gift to the community that inspired us. I found a token company and we were going to buy a thousand of them and give twenty each to the DRF community members going out to Burning Man. When I told the owner of the token company what we were doing and what our event was all about, he decided to donate 10,000 tokens so I could give a hundred to each of our community members, to gift out at Burning Man. I thought this was a generous offer and graciously accepted.

Unfortunately, the tokens could not be shipped and in our hands until the Monday the event started. I posted on my page for help looking for a place to have them shipped to, and someone coming to the playa Monday night or later to receive them. Instead, I received a phone call from my partner saying she received a cease and desist order from Burning Man telling us that we were not allowed to bring our “promotional material” to the event.

I contacted their intellectual property attorney and spent almost two hours on the phone with him explaining that they are not promotional material, but gifts for the community that inspired us. Once he understood what our non-corporate community-based entity was all about, he said I could bring them out but only give them to campmates and close friends. 

If you’re in Northern California and you’d like to learn more about the Digital Renaissance Faire and maybe show a little support, you have a golden opportunity coming up on November 11th, when the DRF Synchronicity Celebration takes place simultaneously in three separate California towns: Vallejo, CA; Nevada City, CA; Lake Tahoe, CA.

Happy Halloween: Burning Man is America’s Largest Pagan Ritual

Which idol are you worshipping, kiddies? Whose rituals are you really performing on All Hallow’s Eve?

Now The End Begins is a web site dedicated to welcoming in the End of Days. First we had Y2K, then we had 12/21/2012 and the Mayan Calendar, now it seems Burning Man itself is becoming the symbol of Armageddon…

“Then said I unto them, Cast ye away every man the abominations of his eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.” Ezekiel 20:7

The adherents to this religion are appropriately called “burners”, and the Burning Man Pagan Festival began like this:

“Burning Man stems from a small group of free-spirited artists in the San Francisco area who got together to burn a wooden effigy on the beach in 1986; and the little beach event has grown to an annual gathering of nearly 70,000 attendees and has moved to the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, where hippies, yuppies and wannabe bohemians of every type meet up and enjoy a week of crazy self-expression, self-reliance and communal craziness.” source – Explorer News

burning-man-pagan-festival-occult

But the reality of the Burning Man is much closer to worship of the gods of the underworld than it is to Woodstock. Every manner of perversion and occultic practice is on open display during the annual Labor Day Weekend extravaganza. This is Old Testament Baal worship on overdrive. Here is a report on this year’s Burning Man theme:

“By morning on Wednesday, there were 15 streets circling the temporary city created by attendees and the forecast remains free of dust storms. Many have been impressed by the size and look of this year’s Man Base, a structure that houses the iconic ‘Man’ figure burned each year near the event’s close. Inside a flying saucer under the Man is a multi-level structure with zoetropes, a giant chandelier and views of Black Rock City. Slides serve as exits. 

burning-man-pagan-festival-occult-temple-worship-all-seeing-eye-horus

Now Is The End seem confused by “Cargo Cult”, and for some reason seem to associate aliens with the devil. So, angels aren’t aliens, but demons are? Or, both are aliens? Jesus was an alien? I get confused, but then there are half a dozen or so series’ worth of Ancient Aliens episodes, as well as years’ worth of YouTube stories, all with their own differing theories on the matter.

The art theme this year is ‘Cult Cargo’ and focuses on a strange being called John Frum. ’He is known to us by many names, this Visitor from Elsewhere, dispenser of endless abundance and wielder of mysterious technologies: John Frum, Quetzalcoatl, Osiris, “Bob,”‘ reads the website. ‘His cargo is splendid, his generosity boundless, his motives beyond our understanding. But across the ages and around the world, the stories all agree: one day he will return, bearing great gifts. ’Our theme this year asks three related questions; who is John Frum, where is he really from, and where, on spaceship Earth, are we all going?’”source – Daily Mail UK

burning-man-pagan-festival-occult-temple-worship

burning-man-festival-2013-fires-of-hell

“And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.” Revelation 13:13,14

Burning Man must be devil worship, because Hell is filled with fire. Hmmm…seems like somewhat of a non sequitur to me. That’s like saying the Sahara Desert must be Burning Man because there’s a lot of sand.

The Devil and all His followers are fascinated with fire and things burning. This is easy to understand as Hell is filled with fire and those there will burn forever and ever. The ironic twist to it all is that the Devil Himself will burn in the fires of His own Hell.

burning-man-pagan-festival-occult-2013

It is no coincidence that as we get closer to the end times events described in the Bible, that the dark underworld of Satan will dramatically rise and assume a larger and larger role in our everyday society. Everything that the Burning Man festivals stand for is described in the Bible as things that God hates. False gods, idol worship, the groves…all these things incurred God’s wrath on the practicers.

God hates Burning Man? So, God’s a hater? Oh dear, where’s the love?

Cradle of MIR Artist Arrested; Do You Have a Picture of Sasha Mironov?

by Whatsblem the Pro

Alexander 'Sasha' Mironov with a model of the MIR space station

Alexander ‘Sasha’ Mironov with a model of the MIR space station


Alexander ‘Sasha’ Mironov, artist behind The Cradle of MIR, is in jail in Los Angeles and needs any photos you may have of him at Burning Man.

The 38-year-old from Moscow, Russia was arrested by the California Highway Patrol at 10:20 PM on October 15th, 2013 on undisclosed felony charges. He was booked at the LAPD Pacific Division station near Los Angeles International Airport, and is currently being held in the North County Correctional Facility in Castaic, California, which is part of the Pitchess Detention Center, aka ‘Wayside.’ Mironov has not been granted bail; as a foreign national he may be considered a flight risk, and U.S. Immigration has a hold pending on him.

Mironov’s friends on The Cradle of MIR project are calling for any photographs you may have of him, as they may help provide evidence of the artist’s innocence in the case.

Dim Borisov writes:

WE NEED PHOTOS. Your photos!

If you have a photo that was taken on Friday, August 30, the day of “Cradle of Mir” burn, that has Alex on it PLEASE send it to us as soon as you can! This will serve as evidence for where he was at that moment. We need the originals, with the date the file was created, so it is clear when the photo was taken. The photos should be dated August 30, 2013.

Please email your photo to: mironov.ram@gmail.com

Help us, PLEASE, this is VERY IMPORTANT!!

I can’t speak about any details publicly, as any extra information could lead to complications while the case is ongoing. At time we’re just asking for photos, the rest will be disclosed and put to rest hopefully sooner than later.

We don’t know what Sasha Mironov is accused of, or how guilty or innocent he might be, but with evidence the truth will surely out. . . so if Mironov looks familiar to you, please check your photographs and videos from Burning Man.

Mironov in San Francisco

Mironov in San Francisco

Mironov (left) at the Cradle of MIR build site; Burning Man 2013

Mironov (left) at the Cradle of MIR build site; Burning Man 2013

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The Cradle of MIR, Burning Man 2013

The Cradle of MIR, Burning Man 2013