“13 Times More Dangerous Than Returning From Active Combat”

4. Barbie Death Camp IMG_0396

Salon has done an excellent piece on the epidemic of suicides amongst Burning Man workers.

There is a great deal of concern about the high frequency of depression and suicide among Black Rock City LLC (BRC) workers. While several factors contribute to depression and suicide, and correlation is not causation, the fact remains that 3 suicides (in a year) is an astonishingly high rate for virtually any population so small, and more so because, while these deaths are mourned, they are not entirely unexpected.

To put this in perspective, the US Army in 2011 reported a peak of 22.9 suicides per 100,000 soldiers, which was the highest rate seen in a decade. Per 100,000 appears to be a standard metric for this sort of thing. Assuming the combined numbers of Gate, DPW and Rangers to be approximately 1,000 strong, that would mean a suicide rate of 300 per 100,000. Statistically speaking, Black Rock City’s staff are 13 times more likely to kill themselves in the off-season than veterans returning from active combat duty. Even in a “slow year”, where only one BRC worker commits suicide, that is still 4 times the Army’s highest recorded suicide rate.

Read the full story at Salon.com

The story has also been picked up by the Daily Mail, Rave Jungle, and EDM Tunes. There’s also a rebuttal piece on Medium. If the suicide rate is just standard, nothing special to Burning Man, then why are there no other festivals with such a high death toll?

The seven suicides in seven years were just for DPW workers. There have also been Burners who committed suicide at the event, or after the event, workers who died on the job, and tragic fatal accidents.

Burning Man’s official history traces its origins to a secret society known as The Suicide Club. Coincidence? Or dark irony?

1998 ticket

Some previous related coverage:

DPW vs the Org – Labor Relations Board Ruling (2018)

Protesting the Protestors (2014)

Man Burns When Man Burns (2017)

RIP Lost Tom (2017)

RIP Spoono (2015)

Burning Man Electrician’s Tragic Death (2014)

Burner Dies At Utah Regional (2014)

Woman Dies At Burning Man (2014)

How Not To Die At Burning Man (2014)

9 Ways to Die At Burning Man (2013)

Monday is the New Saturday (2012)

There have also been two deaths by drowning at regional events, political activist Jay Houston Marx at Transformus NC (2015) and Matthew Vo at Lakes of Fire MI (2016).

The Black Rock Beacon also covered deaths at Burning Man in 2014:

Black Rock Beacon: A History of Deaths (2014)

Before this year, there were at least six deaths in Black Rock City. An additional number of Burners passed away after being evacuated.

The known deaths, reported by the Black Rock Beacon and other media or the Burning Man organization:

  • 2011 – Erika Kupfersberger, cerebral hemorrhage.
  • 2007 – Jermaine “Jerm” Barley, suicide by hanging.
  • 2006 – Adam Goldstone, a DJ with a known heart condition, died in RV after fainting.
  • 2005 – Sam Rich, a member of the fire-dancing group Controlled Burn, heart attack. Rich had sustained a head injury for which he was given stitches on Wednesday, the day before he died.
  • 2003 – Katherine Lampman, run over by art car she was exiting.
  • 2001 – A participant chose to run into a fire, according to the Afterburn probably the burning of Amazing Larry’s Lucky Seven Ages, the casino built into two large dice in the Deep Playa.

Among other event-related fatalities, an unidentified 52-year-old female Burner died in a Reno hospital after being transported from the Playa in 2010 because of an “unknown” medical condition, according to the Afterburn.

In 2005, a second Burner suffered cardiac arrest on the Playa and died that October after slipping into a coma in the hospital.

One fatality occurred from one of the two aircraft crashes in 2003. Barry Jacobs, the pilot of one of the planes, died after being hospitalized.

Two additional deaths in 2001 associated with the event included a Department of Public Works volunteer who died in a motor vehicle accident on the highway before the event and a second traffic fatality on Highway 447 during Exodus.

Michael Furey died in a motorcycle accident as the event was being set up in 1996.

 

Image: Fest300

Shadow Banning: It’s Not Just Conservatives

Shadow Banning is in the news this week, with Silicon Valley tech giants Google (YouTube), Facebook, LinkedIn, and Apple all kicking Alex Jones off their platforms in a simultaneous multi-platform purge. Predictably, the Streisand Effect kicked in, sending Alex Jones’s InfoWars app trending to #3 on the download list at the App Store.

Twitter kept Jones on and CEO (and Burner?) Jack Dorsey went on Fox News’ Hannity talkshow, where he claimed they do not shadow ban accounts or target conservatives. If they don’t shadow ban accounts, then why is there this site shadowban.eu where you can type in your Twitter handle to test if you are shadow banned?

Google are good guys, aren’t they? Don’t be evil? They would never abuse their monopoly power to arbitrarily punish sites. They’re Burners, and used the Burning Man logo to promote their company to the tech industry. So they must love freedom, freedom of speech, and radical self expression, right? The goal of their search engine is to put you in touch with the best information…isn’t it?

Well maybe their vast powers of Artificial Intelligence can give me an explanation for what’s going on.

Burners.Me is by far the largest blog about Burning Man on the Internet, with almost 2000 stories written by 30 different people over 6.5 years. We have 270,000+ followers on Facebook, 15,000+ on Twitter, and tens of thousands more who subscribe to every post on email. We’ve been quoted by the New York Times, Bloomberg, The Guardian, VICE, and many other mainstream media outlets. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of other sites that link in to our articles.

We have been the #1 blog and #1 post on WordPress multiple times; and frequently in Top 100. This is not just about Burning Man, this is out of all blogs in the world. WordPress powers 27% of the Internet, 75 million blogs

So you would think that a search for “Burning Man blog” would bring this site up pretty quickly, yeah? For most of Burners.Me’s life, we were on page 1 of the search results for this. Now, it’s on the bottom of page 5, behind many smaller and abandoned blogs and some totally unrelated content.

 

What about a search for “Burning Man“? We have thousands and thousands of pages about every aspect of the event.

Bottom of page 11.

Hmmm. What about “burning man drugs” – we have scores of harm reduction posts by Terry Gotham. We have the actual data about drugs found at Burning Man and drug-related arrests from the Pershing County Sheriff’s office, as far as I know the only location on the Internet with that.

Funnily enough, if you search “Terry Gotham” Burners.Me is on page 1.

Use a proper search engine, duckduckgo.com, we come up 3rd for “Burning Man blog”. As it should be. Accurate search results, not Deep Mind controlled propaganda narratives.

This blog’s a hobby for me. My art project. I started it to share my opinion, not to get an audience. So the consequences of this particular search result manipulation are pretty minor. But think about what it means in context: someone from the Burning Man Project went to someone from Google – possibly direct to the Billionaire Burner founders – and said “do us a favor, mute this voice”? And they did it? No trial, no opportunity to mount a defense, no notification that anything at all had even happened. Not even the courtesy of a label like the “Fake News” people get. All you can see (if you pay attention to such things) is your web traffic go way down, for no apparent reason.

How many times a day does this happen to people that “They” don’t like, and how many messages and voices are getting invisibly tuned out of The Matrix like this? Do they do the same thing to me personally, to my friends, to my companies?

Is it right that corporations should have that kind of power? Is it right that a festival should? One that purports to be all about making the world a better place?

Perhaps there is a genuine explanation for why smaller blogs with less content rank higher. I’m all ears, Google.

What she said:

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:

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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.

Thought Police: Don’t Call It A Festival

thought-police-framed-poster_24x36_wall_mockup_grande

thought policeYet another preachy Burnier-Than-Thou post at the BJ telling Burners they’re doing it wrong.

For all the things that Burning Man certainly is, one that mindful Burners will vigilantly note that Burning Man is not, is a festival.

The word “festival” encompasses a lot of ideas (film festivals, music festivals, taco festivals etc.) but usually it expresses a period of celebration. Burning Man contains some of the same ingredients, but it’s a totally different recipe. At Burning Man an effigy is raised and eventually burned, but the experience is accompanied as much by tears as by laughter.

Do we celebrate at Burning Man? Absolutely. Ask any Burner why they’re involved, though, and their response will often sound much more purposeful, like you might expect from a teenager running away to join the circus or a monk on a pilgrimage in a foreign land.

[Source]

Barf. Hate to break it to you, BMorg, but not everybody goes to Burning Man because they want to be a monk on a pilgrimage. Some go to have a great time, that is: entertainment. That is the product that is being offered here.

Hey, if the culture is suffering, it couldn’t be because of Caravansicle or VIP tickets or all the cool celebrities and 100+ licensed vendors on the Playa, or the luxury chopper flights for the Sheriff’s family to 18 course dinners, or BMorg starting their own private airline. These are all important parts of a circus for teenage runaways radical self-reliance and civic responsibility.

Cultural challenges can’t be because of the founders starting to celebrate their 70th birthdays. And there’s no way that a year-round organization of more than 100 full time staff dedicated to spreading the culture could be doing a bad job, because they all got together at Esalen and the GLC and told each other how great they are in a group hug. So that only leaves one group left to blame. We, The Burners. And if we could all just stop calling it a festival, then we wouldn’t have to radically include so many of those gosh darned ravers!

black rock helicopter da vinci

burner air express helicopter

Friends don’t let friends call Burning Man a festival? If that is true, then it proves that BMorg is no friend to Burning Man. Here’s their web site:

Screenshot 2017-04-12 09.59.27.png

“Burning Man isn’t your usual festival”. Makes is sound like it’s a festival, albeit an unusual one.

Here’s the trademark, part of the actual ownership of Burning Man which the founders did not transfer into the non-profit structure, instead creating a new company which earns revenues from licensing Burning Man’s intellectual property that they ironically named Decommodification, LLC.

Screenshot 2017-04-12 10.02.21

[Source]

That sure makes it sound like an art festival (with live entertainment). Seems pretty clear.

Burning Man’s press kit in 1995 described it thus:

an arts festival, a ritual sacrifice, a spiritual quest, and a post-modern carnival of the absurd” [Source: Burning Man archives, Bancroft Library]

This is also how it was seen by the Black Rock Arts Foundation, the charity non-profit pre-cursor to the Burning Man Project of today:

Screenshot 2017-04-12 15.37.41

Here’s Burning Man founder/owner Danger Ranger calling it a festival on their board of directors page at burningman.org:

Screenshot 2017-04-12 14.16.09.png

[Source]

And while we’re talking about the Board, we also have Burning Man Project Director Chip Conley and his site Fest300, which tracks the top 300 festivals in the world. Not only is Burning Man a permanent feature in this list, but so are several of its regional subsidiaries. If you look at the mix of the content on the site, Burning Man certainly gets far more coverage at this festival site run by a Burning Man director than any of the other 299 festivals.

In the original August 15, 1994 partnership agreement between Larry Harvey, John Law and Michael Mikel to form Paperman LLC and operate a business under the name Burning Man with its principal place of business in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, it is specifically called a festival:

[Source: Case 3:07-cv-00134-WHA Document 15-1 ]

In 1994, they had no problem making net profit from the sale of the Burning Man Festival videos:

Here’s some bragging from BM founder Harley Dubois that she knows a thing or two about how festivals run. Presumably completely irrelevant experience to Burning Man, since it’s not a festival. So why bother even mentioning it in the BJ?

As founder of Burning Man’s Community Services Department, she knows a thing or two about how festivals run…

“What a treat to be invited to Boom to sit on a panel with founders from other festivals.” [Source]

That sure sounds to me like someone who sees themselves as a founder of a festival.

A search for “festival” on Burning Man’s web site turns up 1130 articles. Sure, there are a few saying “we’re not a festival”, but that seems to be a more recent development.

Screenshot 2017-04-12 14.19.16.png

You can also read about the Burning Man festival in their academics and books about Burning Man sections.

For many years they have had no issues with Burning Man being described as a festival in TIME, Dezeen, Wikipedia, Bloomberg, NPR, Stubhub, ABC News, The Atlantic, Hollywood ReporterWall Street Journal , Washington Post, the New York Times…it would be easy to find more, but I think I’ve made my point.

Conclusion

It’s either

a) all these sources, including respected media publications, the founders and legal documents like the trademark registration, are in error and it’s not a festival. In which case Chip Conley needs to do the right thing and remove all references to Burning Man from his Fest300 site. Burning Man themselves need to say “it’s not a festival” on their web site, instead of “it’s not your usual festival”, and submit a new trademark application.

Or,

b) of course it’s a fucking festival. It’s a huge fuck-off party in the desert, with tons of stereo equipment and lasers and glowy shit. In which case this latest bullshit about “friends don’t let friends call it a festival” is simply more “social engineering” from BMorg, a minority group in Black Rock City who think they’re important and leading the way when in fact they are creating the problem. They are trying to keep the ravers out to clean up the city for their VIP spectators, and pointing fingers everywhere but the right direction. This battle was lost a long time ago. The ravers are part of the DNA of this “event”. Look elsewhere for the causes of your cultural decline.

As one commenter so aptly put it in the epic Burn.Life discussion,  the fish rots from the head down. Arguing semantics about such matters as if it’s a festival (after 30 years) or if hundreds of choreographed fire dancers and a multi-hour pyrotechnic show are live entertainment seems like pointless navel-gazing to me. What’s the deal with all these plug-n-plays and on-Playa vendors? What’s the vision for Fly Ranch? These are much more pressing issues that the Burner community would like to see addressed. Who cares if people want to Instagram their burn, so long as they pick up MOOP and be kind to one another. It’s 2017, most of the people at the festival never knew a time without Internet and cellphones. Let them call it anything they want, as long as they participate.

 

 

False Amber Alerts Imprison Thousands: 17 year old Missed Curfew, Gate Closed for 3 Hours

2016 exodus line

Image: Reddit

Burning Man was shut down twice when Burners wanted to leave, due to minors that could not be located by their parents. The first Amber alert happened after The Man burn, shutting the gate for at least 30 minutes. Then the Gate was closed on Sunday night for at least 3 hours when a 17 year old girl could not be located.

Here’s what happened:

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 9.37.23 PM

 

It’s a little hard to piece together, since the people here are discussing TWO Amber Alert incidents. Details were reported on BMIR that do not seem to match the actual event.

Reports on BMIR said the 17 year old was last seen at White Ocean. Was this a real incident, or another insider attack designed to “name and shame” those chosen for exclusion from Radical Inclusion?

It is reminiscent of a similar “false AMBER alert” incident in 2012.

Whether the girl was really missing or not, the procedure for “handling” it trapped tens of thousands of disgruntled Burners for most of the night in 18 lanes of Exodus. It foiled the plans of those who chose to skip out early before the Temple burn to beat traffic.

As one Burner said on Facebook “a 17 year old missed curfew! Lock down Los Angeles!”

The age of consent is 16 in Nevada.

Sign the petition to make the largest adult activities event in the world adults-only:

#nokidsatBMan
Burning Man exodus on 4 September 2016 was held up for more than three hours with exit to the highway completely blocked by the organization with no evident plan and in a manner that inconvenienced and endangered the lives of thousands queued to leave. Burning Man is a sometimes perilous adventure chock full of adult situations that should only be taken by those who are ready, willing, and able to care for themselves. As the organization clearly does not have well conceived plans for dealing with emergencies involving children and the event is not the place for those who cannot care for themselves, participants under the age of 18 should be banned.

[Sign here]

Why should every adult Burner suffer because of a teenage girl and an inattentive parent? Why should a ranger ignore the wishes of the parent, and punish all Burners?

There are further details on Reddit about the gate also being closed on Saturday night due to an Amber Alert:

Hmmm they had a Amber alert last night as well at 10:10pm after man burn. We got 7 cars from gate. Took about 30 mins. For that situation to resolve.

In 2013, a pedophile was found making plans on Facebook to kidnap a kid at Burning Man. Last year someone was arrested for kidnapping, and there was another arrest for a sex offender failing to register with the police. Then we have this…is it art? Ironic? Or just Creepy AF?

Perhaps it is another one of these frequently occurring coincidences that Hakim Bey, inventor of the Temporary Autonomous Zone and pen pal of Larry Harvey, writes man-boy love stories for NAMBLA. From his Wikipedia page:

Wilson’s freeform poetry, as Hakim Bey, has appeared in Exquisite Corpse, the Panthology and Acolyte Reader anthologies, Gayme, P.A.N., NAMBLA Bulletin, Ganymede,and various samizdat zines. Many of the poems were collected in an unpublished volume DogStar, praised by Burroughs and Ginsberg. Currently his works can be found regularly in publications like Fifth Estate and the NYC-based First of the Month.

self service cult slimEven if you believe that to be nothing more than a mysterious curiosity, the pedophiles have now found out about Burning Man. The annual TAZ city is an idyllic Pirate Utopia for them, as well as a fertile hunting ground for predators targeting impressionable minds of all ages.

We hear “pedophiles” and we think of monsters molesting infants and toddlers. But the real danger is “growing up too fast” teenagers, with hormones raging. It’s dark, it’s dusty, people are wearing makeup and masks and costumes…and let’s face it, 16 year olds want to fuck. Especially at Burning Man, where the 5000-person Orgy Dome is internationally renowned. Let’s not kid ourselves that Burning Man is all face painting and art galleries.

How important are children to our Sacred Principles? As important as nudity? As important as tripping?

Will Flysalen also feature this mix of children, nudity, hallucinogenic culture and self-service cult? Esalen trustee and BMP Director Chip Conley was tweeting from the Playa about bathhouses:

This year, tens of thousands of Burners had to suffer because of BMorg’s vision to mix teenagers, nudity and drugs together in the one government-supported venue.

The first report was on Reddit, approx 9:30pm Sunday night:

They announced it on BMIR. 17 year old with 31 year old boyfriend (?!?!?!) missing since early Sunday morning. Last seen at White Ocean. About 5’5″, 110 lbs, last known items of clothing a white coat and black cat ears.

It seems the boyfriend was 21 or 22, but reported on BMIR as 31. 17 is a minor, and protocol dictates that every single person in the city must be held hostage until the lost minor is found. No medical, family, or work emergency is more important than a 17 year old’s curfew.

Although from Twitter it appears that the gate was only closed for 80 minutes, BMOrg themselves said “3 hours” and Burners who were in the line said “5 hours”, leading to Exodus times between 9 and 24 hours.

 

The woman just mentioned her missing daughter to a Ranger, thinking she might be able to drive around in someone’s vehicle and look for her. The risk-averse ranger called in the Amber Alert and locked the city down, pooping the party for thousands against the wishes of the parent.

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Burners were not impressed.

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On a lighter note, on Facebook Tim Mehoves came up with

10 ways to know the wrong people are going to Burning Man.

1. They complain about how hard it was to get their ticket…but they got a ticket.

2. They complain about the wait in line to get onto the playa.

3. They complain about the Portos

4. They complain that all the art projects and theme camps aren’t complete by the time they arrive.

5. They complain about the lack of cell charging stations and reception.

6. They complain about the dust.

7. They complain about the inability to sleep because of the sound camp they set up right next to.

8. They complain about the lines for coffee at center camp or ice at Artica.

9. They complain about Larry Harvey not making time to talk to them because “they drove all the way out there”.

10. They complain about the wait in line for Exodus.

TL:DR version…They complain.