Thought Police: Don’t Call It A Festival

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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

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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:

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“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.

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[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:

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

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[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.

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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

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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:

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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.

 

What’s Up With Low-Income Tickets This Year? 

A reader just sent me this. I have no answers, but it’s very well written, and I think they raise some puzzling questions. Hence, a guest post from Anonymous Impecunious.  Any ideas, Burners? Just more of the same? Or is there some method behind this madness?

Could this have anything to do with the Anonymous new owners of our tax-exempt Permanent Autonomous Zone?


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I’m writing to you because you seem like the only person on the Internet who’s willing to acknowledge both the positive and the negative about Burning Man—or, rather, mostly about its management.
Do you have any idea what’s up with the low-income ticket program in the last few days? This seems like it could use some of your trademark investigative reporting. The BMorg recently announced that they MUST receive 8,000 applications in order to award the 4,000 tickets earmarked for LI. Why?? Why on earth would they need to reject fully 50% of applicants? And assuming there is some legit reason, why would they not have known (or chosen not to announce) this before late June?
There even seems to be some question as to whether they will award ANY low-income tickets if they don’t receive at least 8,000 applications. That could cause quite a problem for the 2,000+ people who have already been awarded a low-income ticket—or so they were told. I haven’t seen anything from BMorg assuring these people that the LI tickets already awarded will be honored, only that the Org MUST receive 8,000 applications if they are to award the 4,000 tickets. It doesn’t make any sense at all. 
As might be expected, after the announcement, hopefuls who hadn’t considered applying before are now throwing their hats (and their W-2s) into the application pool, yet many seem to be getting rejected, and getting rejected extremely quickly. Granted, I’m basing that mostly on posts to Reddit and Eplaya and replies to the BMorg’s original thread. So not only is that probably skewed towards the disgruntled, but, in the interests of full disclosure, I’m one of the rejects myself. 
I’d previously thought of the low-income program as for people who absolutely CANNOT afford a main sale ticket, in the same way that I absolutely CANNOT afford a DaVinci ticket. But once the Org started begging for applicants and noting that you could apply even while enrolled in STEP (which I am), I figured why not? I’m far from wealthy. Besides, I’ve quickly learned that, when it comes to obtaining Burning Man tickets, playing by the rules is for chumps. (To wit, dozens of people buy pre-sale or DaVinci tickets, then as soon as they obtain main sale tickets, they palm off their more expensive insurance policies, I don’t understand why can’t all the insurance companies just be like insurancepartnership.org/motor-trade-insurance/ they would totally get more custumers. But God help you if you dare to pay $700 for a ticket on Ebay? Talk about situational ethics.)
Anyway, my LI application was rejected within a matter of days. The BMorg made their plea for more applicants on June 21; it’s only June 25 and I’ve already heard back, as have apparently many others. Meanwhile, some of those who applied back in March, April, and May are still waiting for a reply. So maybe I’m just bitter, but something about this whole situation stinks to high heaven! I just can’t put my finger on exactly what. 

Prior to the June 21 announcement, the Org had already received 6,000 applications. If fewer than 4,000 of those were eligible, then why not award fewer LI tickets and dump the rest into STEP, or into the OMG sale, or sell them for $1,200 to their special friends? Why the sudden and urgent NEED for double the number of LI applicants than there are LI tickets? 

For months, I’ve been reading your opinions of the BMorg with a skeptical eye, but this is the first time I’ve had cause to think that they’re as craven and corrupt as you’ve quite often demonstrated. Again, maybe I’m just bitter, but I’m actually bothered more by what seems like Org manipulation than about being turned down for a ticket program I had never planned to apply for in the first place.

I’ve never been to Burning Man before and this is making me wonder if I want to be any part of it. My only hope is that whatever the hell is going on with management does not trickle down to participants on the playa.