Standing Rock Coming to Black Rock

It seems the Burning Man Project outreach to Standing Rock last year may have paid off, with some radical names in the Social Justice scene headed to the Playa this year. No wonder they had a big talk at the Leadership Conference about Mixing Politics With Burning Man.

Will they be bringing their Burner-incubated composting toilets with them?

Earlier coverage:

“Dear White People, Standing Rock Is Not Burning Man”

From Black Rock To Standing Rock (BJ)


Red Lightning Brings Standing Rock Prayer to Black Rock City

When: Tuesday, August 29, 2017 at 6:30 PM

Where: Burning Man, Black Rock Desert, Nevada, USA at the location of 8:15 on Esplanade

B-Roll: Create a space for the Standing Rock spirit and leadership to be present at Burning Man. Amplify the voices and messages of indigenous wisdom keepers and tribal members. Create and stream the world’s largest global synchronized drumming prayer circle through the Unify platform.

CONTACTS: Joshua Tree; (310) 498 4886; standingrock@redlightning.org

The Great Sioux Nations have a long and deep-rooted history. Recent chapters at Standing Rock represent a continued unfolding of prophecy under the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Nations, inviting us to listen deeper to traditional indigenous wisdom. This past year a small encampment of peaceful water protectors blossomed into an unprecedented gathering of indigenous tribes and allies when people from all over the world united in solidarity to protect tribal sovereignty, Sacred Water, Land, and Mother Earth. Standing with Standing Rock has become a peaceful battle cry – A prayer for Mni Wiconi: Water is Sacred, Water Is Life, igniting a powerful global stand uniting Indigenous Nations and all people. This historic movement is reminding us, with clarity, of the necessity of protecting pristine environments and traditional homelands for future generations.

THE POWER OF PRAYER creates a sacred space for the Standing Rock spirit to be present at Burning Man. We are inviting the global movement to the temporary metropolis of Black Rock City, created by more than 70,000 people who come together to reach a peak human experience. The intention of the project is to amplify the voices and messages of wisdom keepers and tribal members from across Turtle Island. Our intention is to listen to their teachings and stories, to connect with each other through song and the beat of the drum, dance and celebrate what brings us together as human beings. At the heart of the vision is our commitment to support cultural restoration and the provision of grants to create cultural artifacts, including teepees, traditional seating, and drums. We wish to encourage creative tribal participation on many levels and facilitate a space for First Nations representatives. THE POWER OF PRAYER shares tribal wisdom not just in the Burning Man community, but in all of participating society, and the world at large.

“I am thrilled to be joining Red Lighting Camp at Burning Man this year. Our movement that began at Standing Rock to preserve water and protect the environment has become a fight to protect freedom. We will only succeed in growing awareness and making our stand effective when we form bonds with communities who share our values. Burning Man is an experiment in progressive living — a space where people give rather than sell, where human potential is explored rather than disregarded. I look forward to bringing the values of the water protector movement to Black Rock, alongside my co-counsel at the Lakota People’s Law Project, Daniel Sheehan”.

—Chase Iron Eyes

On Tuesday, August 29th at 6:30 PM at 8:15 and Esplanade, we will gather in a drum circle around sacred fire, where tribal beats will amplify across Burning Man’s best sound-system through the well-known art car Mayan Warrior, joining us all the way from Mexico City. The drumming prayer circle will be streamed out over synchronized prayer platform Unify, who has a reach of over 16 million people. At 7:00 PM, we will come into prayer led by wisdom keepers.

Our community, Red Lightning, a Burning Man camp, had the honor of serving with a presence at Standing Rock in the main encampment, Oceti Sakowin (7 Council Fire) from September 2016 until the camps were evicted in February 2017. We lent support through solar power, wind power and dome offerings, where community met in leadership council, women’s circles, decolonization meetings, reconciliation workshops, cultural celebrations and prayer gatherings. We also assisted with camp clean-up efforts upon eviction.

We’re searching for words to share Red Lightning’s journey from Black Rock to Standing Rock, as the experience has left us asking – who are we and what are we going to do in the time of prophecy? How can we listen deeper, and actually hear what is being communicated?

The Medicine Wheel is present within many tribes across the American continent from North to South, East and West, connecting what is known as Turtle Island. There are many tribal perspectives on the Medicine Wheel: for many it represents the interconnectedness and interdependence of all things within the circle of life and the unification of all tribes. The Medicine Wheel also represents the four directions, the cosmos, the water, the air, the earth, the forests, the mountains and fire, all living things and all of the world’s people, including the two-legged, the four-legged, the flyers, and the swimmers. Indigenous wisdom considers all living beings related as brothers and sisters.

It is said that the prophecy of peace will not come on the Earth until the circle of humanity is complete; until all four colors sit in the circle and share their teachings.
We’re searching for words to share Red Lightning’s journey from Black Rock to Standing Rock, as the experience has left us asking – who are we and what are we going to do in the time of prophecy? How can we listen deeper, and actually hear what is being communicated?

THE POWER OF PRAYER was born from a direct request by the 7 Council Fire leadership to carry the prayers of Oceti Sakowin in our spirits to the places we came from, and to connect with First Nations near our communities who are facing similar challenges. It was this heartfelt request that ignited and gave birth to THE POWER OF PRAYER vision, as we seek to carry forward the prayers of Oceti Sakowin, along with deep reverence for Mother Earth.

We invite the world to join us in person at Burning Man, or to create and participate in a local prayer drum circle, where we share a single moment of focused intention. Together, we pray for good health and better understanding. We pray for deep listening. We pray for unity, peace, and love. We pray for Mother Earth.

SUPPORT THE POWER OF PRAYER:
For more information on the ‘Power of Prayer’ visit:
https://www.redlightning.org/powerofprayer

Click here to support the Power of Prayer:
https://www.paypal.me/rlpowerofprayer

Can Millenial Progressive Elites Spark Utopian Socialist Change?

How does Burning Man change the world? How does this centrally managed counter-culture exist in a world where politics shouldn’t be spoken of, in a 30 minute speech about politics?

The comments are classic (reproduced below). Is he dressed as a faun? Is that a remote control or a pan flute?

Like most of these Millenial Burner TED talks, it is almost entirely about himself with very little about the stated topic.

He boastfully shares that he lied on his resume to get a job in Washington DC (remember, there is nothing in the Ten Principles of Burning Man about honesty, integrity, ethics, morality, or kindness). He doesn’t even care that the organization found out about his lies, it was worse when his friends found out.

Screenshot 2017-07-02 07.12.54

Ronan’s husband, “Rainbow”

He went to Hogwarts for environmentalists. He quotes a report from British think tank the New Economics Foundation, which suggests days should have 21 hours instead of 24. Because the main problem most of us have is too much free time.

He was studying a Masters of Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University. This is where former Clinton Foundation CEO Eric Bravermannamed as the DNC Leaker by Chief of Staff John Pedosta, and now working for Pentagon adviser Eric Schmidt – who was ambushed at Oxford last week by George Webb’s truth-sourcing spidey sidekick Jason Goodman. We’ve also explored some of the recent connections between Burning Man and Oxford University over the fluid gender-reaffirming census, funded by the CIA-spawned Templeton Foundation.

Although Ronan begins his talk by saying “this talk is not political”,  by the end of it he is predictably pushing Progressive Politics and “reimagining masculinity”.

The basic gist of the argument is that going to Burning Man and having a transformational episode is the thing that will fix politics by helping people experience their own power. “Personal growth in the future will be the lode star of progress” – I wonder how many holocracy meetings were necessary to Groupthink that?

I guess fake news and political corruption don’t matter if you can just Tune In (to the propaganda), Turn On (by taking drugs), and Drop Out (from meaningful political discourse). Want to transform politics? Focus entirely on yourself, go to raves and party up, have sex with any of the 75 genders you like, merge Google into your brain and get a Robot Heart…it’s all good, do what thou wilt! Just make sure that under no circumstances do you ever read WikiLeaks or Judicial Watch or research #Pedogate.

Screenshot 2017-07-01 19.56.35Screenshot 2017-07-01 19.56.17Screenshot 2017-07-01 19.55.53Screenshot 2017-07-01 19.55.37

 

 

Is This The New New Thing?

Larry's expression when Kucinich asks "what about your humanity?"

Larry’s expression when Kucinich asks “what about your humanity?”

 

I have just stumbled across youtube.com/burningman. Sure, there have always been plenty of YouTube videos about Burning Man – earning revenue for Google whenever they play. This seems to be something more co-ordinated, though. Many of the videos have an intro that says “From the Burning Man Archives”. This is accompanied by old fashioned World War 2 propaganda film music, a thematic resonance with Caveat Magister’s “not official” Burning Man Minute series…

24 videos have been added in the past week, showcasing Regionals as well as ancient history. Another 6 were added a month ago from the 2015 Global Leadership Conference.

Some of the videos on the channel are showing ads. We may never know whether this revenue is being donated to the Burning Man Project, or channelled into Decommodification, LLC. Whoever gets it, someone is Commodifying Burning Man here:

Screenshot 2015-07-18 16.57.19

Is this return to the old being simultaneously accompanied by an attack on the new?

And is the “really really BIG RAD thing” we were promised was “coming soon” last November? A bunch of video content released from the archives, and a bunch more created from the Founders’ philosophical discussions?

They seem to be kicking off with Larry Harvey interviewing Denis Kucinich at this year’s Global Leadership Conference.

Here’s the full interview from YTBM, if time is limited skip down to the next clip which is the main highlight I want to discuss.

DK: “What I saw at Burning Man is, there’s a new matrix being built“…

DK: “What Burning Man does is to create a space, that no other organization has created in quite this way, to creatively explore the human potential for an evolutionary response to the challenges of our times. The world today is beset by so much conflict, people are yearning for an opportunity to get past it and find a way to come together”

Larry: “Meaningful political dialogue is in many ways increasingly inhibited by both money and aspects of the media. I’m not anti media, books are media , media implies communication and that’s a good thing

DK: “The politics that you describe…Burning Man creates a platform for a whole new discussion about everything, for a whole new relationship we have with each other, with our government, and that’s what I think is so valuable. When I see a space for a new discussion, I’m exhilirated. I think wow! We can actually have a real discussion about what the implications are without anybody worried about “well, what’s the party going to think about this” or “what are my supporters going to think about it”. Burning Man is in a position to go very deep in the implications of the current system and to have a discussion which has the potential to produce solutions that otherwise couldn’t be brought forward because existing structures are so hidebound, in tradition and in political practice, that there’s a limitation in the dialogue that occurs and they can’t really get to any kind of a synthesis outside the box that they’re in. Burning Man begins outside…Burning Man is not in a box, and that’s the beauty of it”.

So Larry’s a talk show host now?

While the politicians are being inspired by the creativity of Burning Man, BMOrg themselves seem to keep coming up with rules, bans, and punishments – all things notorious for stifling creativity.

Although only 45 seconds long, the clip above may give us some insight into the collective Borg mindset these days. It is interesting that they chose to create this as a highlight of the entire interview.

“We don’t prescribe content, we design context”.

Perhaps this philosophy explains some of the recent EDM war battles like Dancetronauts, Opulent Temple, and now Mayan Warrior.

Mayan Warrior, a popular art car with more than 22,000 Likes, said “we’re bringing these DJs”:

mayanwarrior2015

…then got publicly slammed (and threatened) in the wee hours of Friday morning by the Burning Man CEO.

Screenshot 2015-07-18 10.53.17

Why did they get slammed? Because of the content they published. Of course, Burning man doesn’t prescribe content.

No matter that the policy hasn’t even been created yet. Nobody has been told the rules, all we have is a story in BRC Weekly from last year, publicly shaming White Ocean:

sound camp lineup ban

They’re doing it for the Burners. So we can all have more chance to win tickets in the OMG sale. Right. 80,000 Burners missed out on the general sale. The majority of Burners who tried to get tickets, didn’t. There don’t seem to be many STEP successes. So we already have 79,000 Burners who are going to miss out on the remaining 1,000 tickets. There is already a 99% chance you’re not going to get a ticket in the OMG. So what if more people hear about Burning Man and want to go? And on that point, what about Grover, Denis, Diddy, and all the other celebs who have been commodifying Burning Man by talking about it to non-Burner audiences? Is their crowd OK, but Mayan Warrior’s isn’t? Whatever happened to radical inclusion?

For the sin of publishing unprescribed content, Mayan Warrior couldn’t just get a personal message alerting them that they’d broken an unwritten rule, asking kindly if they could please make it right. No, they had to get a public statement against them, a shaming. Then, even when they fixed the problem and apologized, the statement remains. And, 2 days later, there is still no policy or description of what rules were broken.

Prescribing content is just fine in this post from BMOrg telling us which art projects they selected to receive our money this year. Decommodification is no problem when it comes to soliciting money for a select few of those (I wonder if BMOrg get a percentage?).

“Music is not art, and people dancing to a DJ are not interacting with the music” seems to be the new party line.

The vision behind the Mayan Warrior is amazing. A crew from Mexico, passionate about music, wanted to make an art car and bring it to Burning Man with local DJs playing. They could showcase the modern day sounds of Mexico to Burners from all around the world! They could share their culture with us as a gift.

mayan warriorThe Mayan Warrior art car has just released some of the first names who will play at Black Rock City this year. The Mayan Warrior was originally created to showcase the music of Mexican electronic artists at Burning Man. Pablo Gonzalez Vargas, the executive producer of the interactive mobile and sound system since 2011, explained that the car was inspired by the playa’s limitless creativity, and the Mayan visual concept comes from ancient Mayan culture, crop circles, and principles of sacred geometry.

[Source: Dancing Astronaut]

Of course, if the Mayan Warrior didn’t tell us that their vision was to bring Mexican DJs, we would not get a fundamental point of the gift. The first time I saw the art car, I didn’t even realize that its face was Mayan. Sometimes, to get the context of art, you need some sort of description of the content. I would much rather they let us know which DJs will be playing in a flyer, than by getting on the mic every 10 minutes to say “this is DJ So and So, how you feeling BURRRRNNNNNINNNNNGGGG MANNNNNNNNN!!!!”

This year's Man design. Image: Burning Man

This year’s Man design. Image: Burning Man

Meanwhile, the geniuses at Burning Man HQ spend decades in the lab “designing context” – that is to say:

  • “CARgo Cult”, “CARavansary”, and “CARnival of Mirrors”
  • A UFO with the Man on top, a plain Man but giant on top of a market, a plain Man but giant on top of a circus.
  • Words from A-L that are supposed to be connected with the theme (like “geek” and “carnival”).

What Larry’s saying is that’s what made Burning Man great and brought the population up to 70,000: those 3 designs (which did what the 17 themes before them couldn’t) and the street names. Not the content: the music, the dancing, the art, the Burners, the beautiful people and the sex and drugs: no, the themes. The “context” for “our” self-expression. Because of the inspiration designed into these themes, we now have Google, Tesla, SpaceX, and Solar City.

(Side note: in 1998, when Google famously launched themselves with Burning Man’s logo on their home page, the theme was Nebulous Entity. Given the revelations that have since come out of Google’s relationship with spy agencies, hey, perhaps this theme did actually inspire them!)

Or am I missing something: does BMOrg “design context” and socially engineer us in other ways?

Personally, I think Larry has it all wrong. Burning Man takes place in the desert in Nevada, not an ivory tower in the Mission. Burners supply the creativity and inspiration. Burners have the ideas. Most Burner art and activities have nothing to do with the themes – many Burners don’t even know (or care) what the theme is. We give money to artists to create the art. We give money to Burning Man’s charity – they take most of it for their own expenses, and pass a small percentage of it on to the artists to create the art. All the art projects they choose to redistribute our money to still need further support from the community to make it out to the temporary city and back. We give money to BMOrg to buy our tickets. They use it to rent portapotties and pay the cops and buy ice creams for the Federales.

I am not convinced by this “Burning Man TV” 2.0 philosophy. Burners can change the world, and the first step to do this is banning things and making more rules. Err, what?

I’m still on the side of the Burners. Burning Man is awesome because of everything all of us contribute to it, not the theme or the First Camp guest list.

BMOrg are Commodifying the culture we create for each other, when they use it to promote the politicians they want to curry favor with, the commercial tour package vendors that are their mates, the artists they choose to receive the funds we’ve given them, and the vendors that they choose to give monopolies to. We’re supposed to just accept that all of that is fine, but if your camp wants to bring musicians, and tell people who you’re bringing? You must be punished. We’re gonna ban your art car and shame you to the community. Because, Decommodification – the alleged Principle, not the ironically named LLC.

They are trying to create a gravitas around themselves. “We mingle with politicians! The Google guys and Elon Musk go and get technology ideas there! VCs network and do deals!” They want to re-shape the event in their own image, to support their importance in cultural history.

Meanwhile, many Burners love music, and appreciate it as art just as much – maybe even more – than taint washes and polyamory workshops. These Burners want to lose it on the dancefloor to their favorite DJs. They want to hear amazing new music that draws them in from a distance and keeps them for hours, in a crowd who are all sharing a special moment together, united by the beats. They want to discover new artists to become fans of. Camps who are gifting those DJs are getting excited about it, and want to share the good news so Burners can get excited too.

They must be banned. All that fun is getting in the way of a pie-in-the-sky vision for “what Burning Man could become”, that politicians who went once and went to bed early are now espousing. Crack down on doof. Implement more rules, more policies, more restrictions on Burners’ freedom. Jack ticket prices sky high, to price out the dirty hippie freaks. Bring in more cops so you can try to promote it as family friendly. Favor rich new tourists over hard-working veterans. Promote it in the mainstream media, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Inc, The Simpsons. Bring politicians who will recruit more politicians, maybe they can get this apathetic disillusioned bloc of Burners escaping from the Default World to get off their disgruntled asses and vote – for them, natch.

How will human potential evolve, by banning more and more cool stuff that Burners gift? If communication is a good thing, why can’t BMOrg communicate what the rules are to everyone at the same time? Why can’t camps communicate what art they’re bringing? Because, scalpers? Because, EDM fans are bad but politicians are desirable?

art car sharkIs this the new new thing? Is this what we jumped over the shark for?

 

There’s some fierce debate on the Interwebz already about this issue, with some who are not EDM fans saying “good riddance” and wishing for a return to the past. You can’t go backwards, people. I don’t like seeing so many people on smart phones on the Playa, but the answer isn’t “ban smartphones”.

Last year a camp (White Ocean) and this year an art car (Mayan Warrior) were publicly scolded by Burning Man, despite not breaking any actual rules. They committed pre-crime, like in Minority Report. The policy is still, as I write this, unwritten and “coming soon”. How hard can it be to write a paragraph? Is this some holocracy thing we’re waiting on, establishing consensus within BMHQ?

The BMOrg supporters echo Maid Marian’s argument that publishing your events in advance might lead to people wanting to come to Burning Man who we don’t want there. These people might think that the whole thing is a festival, because there are certain events on at pre-set times.

Well, take a look at this, Burners. Here are some of the 2015 Burning Man events that have already been published. Apparently every single one of these is fine, including those that feature named stars, because this is at burningman.org. It is just EDM events they have a problem with. #radicalinclusion #gratitude

Note: these are just the events on Monday August 31.

From burningman.org:

Scheduled Events

See also:

PulseRadio.Net: Burning Man vs EDM – Is The Hammer Starting To Drop?

 

BLM Want Their Own Million Dollar Compound With Popsicles and Donuts [Updates]

Jenny Kane at the Reno Gazette-Journal breaks an exclusive story “BLM Wants VIP Compound at Burning Man” . It’s about the unprecedented, eyebrow-raising last minute demands from the Bureau of Land Management, which need to be met before a permit for this year’s event can be issued.

That’s right, Burning Man starts in about 60 days, but the permit has not been issued yet. No permit, no event. The negotiation stakes are high, and the big guns are being shown at the table.

Some have speculated that the permit may be held up this year due to complications with festival stalwart CrowdRX taking over the medical responsibilities from proven local team Humboldt General Hospital. Whether that is a real issue or not, the latest problem that needs to be settled before the permit gets issued is this: VIPs need ceramic toilets, goddam it!

Read the full story and watch the video at the Reno Gazette Journal. Emphasis is ours.

Image: Boing Boing

Image: Boing Boing

The largest event on Federal land is turning into quite the luxury camping adventure for the hundreds of government workers paid to go to Burning Man.

BLM officials contend that their staff can no longer stay in the “primitive” accommodations available in Gerlach, which is about 20 minutes from the event location.

“We’re very concerned about where we put people that are part of our staff and that are part of the support and permitting,” said BLM Winnemucca District Manager Gene Seidlitz.

Recently the BLM spent $3 million building these so-called primitive Gerlach accommodations, which feature hot and cold running water, flushing toilets, refrigerators, and other amenities. These are no longer sufficient for the $30 million+, 70,000 person billionaire’s safari experience that is Burning Man 2.0. Perhaps we should be glad that they’re not asking to spend the $1.2 million on facial recognition technologies and x-ray vision that can see through tent and RV walls…or maybe they already did that…

The BLM already gets $3.5-4 million in fees from Burning Man for the annual permit, as well as a 3% cut of the gross revenues of any of the 100+ vendors out there every year.

Screenshot 2015-06-27 20.24.36

BLM fees from Burning Man
2011: $858k
2012: $1.4 million
2013: $2.9 million
2014: $4 million
2015: About $5 million.

[Source: Burn.Life]

BMOrg convinced a BLM Director to come across to the corporate world and lobby for them. Now it seems that the BLM are demanding perks. More perks.

Details of the request were included in an email exchange obtained by the RGJ between a Burning Man official and Bob Abbey, the former BLM director who is now a consultant for Burning Man organizers.

Having been a career BLM employee, I expect agency employees to behave competently and professionally in their interactions with the public,” Abbey said in his email. “I don’t see these traits being applied in their dealings with (Black Rock City).”

The proposed layout of the camp, published by the RGJ, shows 8 double VIP rooms. So as many as 16 unnamed VIPs are coming. Could this have anything to do with BMOrg’s recent trip to Washington DC? They were there to meet with bigwigs in the BLM, Department of the Interior, and State and Federal Government representatives.

BLM Winnemucca manager Gene Seidlitz seems to think so:

As to who will be included in the VIP crew making its way to Burning Man this year, Seidlitz said that he likely will not know until the day of the event.

Right now, I don’t have the exact names. But there are those in upper leadership at the state level of BLM and the national level of BLM,” Seidlitz said. “Based on the issues and concerns of last year, it does have the interest of the Department of Interior.”

Seidlitz said that Washington, D.C., officials are concerned about upholding the standards of the “American public” and they will be coordinating visits to Burning Man while making other stops in the West.

“Burning Man is on everyone’s list. They come out to see the event, and to meet with everyone from BLM

Yep, it’s on everybody’s bucket list now. Great. Swell. Neato.

Image: Charles Doyle/Facebook

Image: Charles Doyle/Facebook

The VIPs don’t have to participate very long. They can just come, get in a couple of quick rounds of Burner Bingo, enjoy the spectacle put on for them by the freaks, then be on their merry way.

None of the VIPs will be staying the entire period that the Blue Pit compound will be set up, from Aug. 27 through Sept. 11. Many will be popping in for a day, maybe a half-day, Seidlitz said.

Special Agent Love is the bloke responsible, says the RGJ. Is this from Love, or above? Who is next up the chain of command? It definitely isn’t Harry Reid.

BLM Special Agent Dan Love of Salt Lake City was cited multiple times as the person behind many of the BLM requests, according to the emails. He did not return requests for comment. Love also led the BLM operation against Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy that ended in a standoff with Bundy’s armed supporters.

Is this really just coming out of the blue from the local team, who have all been working with BMOrg for decades? Perhaps they suddenly decided that if the Founders are handing the reins of Burning Man over to a new non-profit – while they and their Directors and staff are staying in luxury camps that have all these amenities – that maybe it’s time for the BLM boys to retire and enjoy the good life too. Maybe – but that still doesn’t explain the mysterious VIP units. They also have 4 private medical units in the VIP compound. What sort of contingencies are they preparing for?

It’s worth noting that the “Blue Pit” – the name for the BLM’s Caravansicle – is not even at Burning Man.

The VIP encampment, called the Blue Pit, is a new request this year. It is in addition to the more bare-bones accommodations for the employees who will be staying at the BLM’s headquarters, which houses up to 150 working staff during the main event.

That’s 1 BLM agent for every 453 Burners. And this is in addition to the Pershing County Sheriff’s department, and other agencies such as the FBI and DEA. These 150 staff are already styling, compared to most Burners who are forced to use Radical Self Reliance, Participation, and Leave No Trace:

The headquarters also are expected to have trailers with flushable toilets and sinks, though no showers or washers and dryers are requested. The headquarters will be located at the end of the 12-mile playa entry road, 12 miles north of Gerlach. The Blue Pit compound is about two miles past the playa on County Road 34 near an old gravel pit.

The RGJ obtained a number of documents, including this brochure of the bathtroom units. No port-a-potties for these guys.

portable restroom trailers

Image: Documents Obtained by Reno Gazette-Journal

This is the layout of the “Blue Pit”. It does not say where the stripper poles are located, that is left up to your imagination.

blue pit rgj

Image: Documents Obtained by the Reno Gazette-Journal

The BLM says that they are concerned about safety after the tragic death of a Burner last year, and that extra security people need to come now to assess things.

The request, unprecedented in Burning Man’s history, has turned into a point of contention as organizers negotiate with the agency for their annual permit to stage the event in the Black Rock Desert. No permit has been issued for this year’s event, which runs Aug. 30 to Sept. 7. Typically permits are issued in early August.

Burning Man has refused to comply with the BLM’s request, which the federal agency submitted on June 1, according to Burning Man spokesman Jim Graham. “We want to work this out. We’re getting close to the event, but we feel that there are more common-sense and cost-effective solutions,

Look, I fully support officers of the law and servants of our Federal government working in nice conditions and safety. We Burners pay several million dollars a year for their “services”. It’s for a week, not life. Surely they can find cops from around the world who would volunteer to come to Burning Man for free and take care of their own accommodation? Or, spend their own budget on this stuff. Don’t make Burners pay even more – because you know that is what BMOrg is going to do. They won’t be eating this expense themselves – that’s why we have this latest “leak the email chain to the media” move. Permit be damned! We’ve got Harry Reid!

Except that Harry has retired recently. Maybe no-one got that memo. Still, Harry’s written a strongly worded letter to the Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell – is she on the list for 2015?

Harry Reid, 75, is retiring this year. He injured himself using exercise equipment on New Year's Day Image: Yahoo

Harry Reid, 75, is retiring this year. He injured himself using exercise equipment on New Year’s Day Image: Yahoo

Reid wrote a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, an avid outdoorswoman and former head of REI, saying the BLM needs to get over itself about asking for flushing toilets and other amenities. The BLM is in charge of permitting the annual event, which takes place this year from Aug. 30 to Sept. 7.

“While I agree that the BLM should take its permitting duties seriously and work with Burning Man to both guarantee the safety of its participants and the protection of the environment, providing outlandishly unnecessary facilities for the BLM and its guests should be beyond the scope of the permitting requirements. Part of Burning Man’s philosophy is self-reliance and living with the elements is part of the experience. Flush toilets and laundry facilities can be found about ten miles away in Gerlach, Nevada, if BLM’s employees need such amenities,” Reid wrote, noting that he was an author of the legislation that designated the area a federally protected space. [Source: Roll Call]

The RGJ has published the full rider here. Some readers have had problems accessing this story due to the RGJ’s login system. I have reproduced the rider below, presumably this is public information and not some sort of classified state secret. RGJ have filed FOIA requests for more information and we will bring you updates to this story if we hear anything more.

Jenny’s story has also been picked up at reason, boingboing, Roll Call, Fark, the LA Times, Yahoo News, CBS LocalUSA Today, and Reddit – where one wag likened the BLM to the IOC (or FIFA).

Dr Yes at Burn.Life thinks this is “attempted extortion”. He has created a petition against this.

Image: Burn.Life

Image: Burn.Life


[Update 6/28/15 8:38am PST]

The BLM’s Black Rock Administrative Station in Gerlach. Image: Bureau of Land Management

Thanks to our reader A Balanced Perspective for providing links to the documentation for BLM’s existing facilities, which opened in 2011 at a cost of $3.5 million – or about a year’s worth of Burning Man’s annual fee payments to them.

From the BLM press release:

Black Rock Station was constructed utilizing almost $ 3.5 million authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. The contract provided jobs for about 50 construction workers over a 10-month period, which helped the local economy by making purchases at the local restaurant, gas station and motel

The facility will be open seasonally from March through November and will be staffed by BLM personnel. A BLM fire crew will operate out of the facility from July to September.

[Update 6/28/15 4:40 pm PST]

Reader Grey Coyote has alerted us to some online ill-will towards BLM Special Agent Dan Love, who ran the failed Bundy Ranch standoff operation last year.
Meanwhile, the BLM have disputed the $1 million cost for the Blue Pit Compound, saying that the event’s organizers are exaggerating.


[Update 6/29/15 8:26am]

Fox News has picked up the story, with further quotes from the BLM. They’re now saying the $1 million cost estimate is “robustly exaggerated”

Burning Man organizers have refused the request, saying amenities such as flush toilets, washers and dryers, showers, air conditioning and refrigerators at the bureau’s on-site camp in the Black Rock Desert would cost $1 million and hike its permit fees to about $5 million.

Gene Seidlitz, the bureau’s Winnemucca district manager, said Sunday that the cost of the portable units is being “robustly exaggerated” by organizers. The compound will offer basic amenities only for top agency officials who oversee the quirky art and music festival event held on public land the week leading up to Labor Day, he said.

The number of Bureau of Land Management personnel on hand at the festival has doubled to 160 over the last five years as the peak crowd size has soared to nearly 70,000, he said, and the bureau has run out of places around the nearby town of Gerlach, Nevada, to house employees. Most of the agency’s employees stay at a motel or rental properties in the tiny town.

“A lot of folks think we’re like participants in that we are out there to enjoy the event and party,” Seidlitz told The Associated Press. “But my staff and I have to be rested, well-nourished and accommodated to the bare minimum so we can ensure health, security and safety at the event.”

Organizers stand by their cost estimates for the amenities and their position that bureau fee increases have outstripped the festival’s crowd growth significantly in recent years, spokesman Jim Graham said.

For example, he said, the crowd for this year’s event is expected to grow by only 2,000 participants over last year, yet the agency’s infrastructure costs will climb by roughly $500,000 to $1 million.

“They include construction of an entirely new facility, and we maintain they have not considered more cost-effective alternatives,” Graham said in a statement. “We look forward to working with BLM on solutions that meet everyone’s needs.”

[Source: Fox News]

I’m inclined to agree. The “million dollar compound” seems to be coming from BMOrg, rather than BLM saying “give us another million”.

If you’ve ever built your own camp, you understand that it doesn’t cost $1 million to rent 10 trailers and 12 containers for a week. However, if your experience of Burning Man is limited to plug-n-play accommodations like Caravancicle and First Camp, with an army of thousands of volunteer and paid workers to do your bidding, it might be harder for you to keep in touch with real world expenses.

As for the Bureau fee increases outstripping the festival’s growth, 5 years ago Burning Man’s ticket revenues were $13.5 million and this year we estimate them at $30.5 million, an increase of $2 million+ just from 2014. 2010 attendance was 51,454; this year 68,000 tickets have been sold to paying participants (as well as another 3000 or so volunteers, and a few thousand children who get in free). This represents a population increase of at least 32%. Part of the BLM fees relate to Outside Services Vendors, and there are now more than a hundred of those.

This issue has now gone to the Bureau of Land Management’s Washington DC spokesman. The food requests are identical to last year’s rider, and apparently the Blue Pit Compound is “not really for VIPs” – those containers labelled “VIP containers” in the map should really have said “high level officials containers”. These officials will be roughing it like they’ve been deployed to a war zone.

Seidlitz acknowledged the bureau erred by billing the encampment as a place to house VIPs. Actually, it would only be for 15 to 20 top state and national Bureau of Land Management officials charged with ensuring safety and security and environmental compliance at the festival, he said.

“When you hear ‘VIP,’ it’s like they’re coming out on the government dime and bringing out friends,” he said. “But I have nowhere to put these senior leaders for a good night’s rest. They come out to interact … and ensure what I’m doing is meeting their intent.”

Most will spend no more than a couple of days at the festival, and the compound would save time because of its location only a mile from the festival and not 15 miles away in Gerlach, he added.

The amenities are similar to what the military provides soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq, and what federal agencies offer crews fighting wildfires, bureau officials said.

The bureau also is asking organizers to provide them mandatory food items for three meals a day and snacks during the festival. The food choices are identical to those provided under a contract with organizers last year, said bureau spokesman Craig Leff in Washington, D.C.

“We have every expectation that these issues will be resolved,” he said. “We have very good working relations with (organizers), and we want to continue to have good relations. We’re working hard with them to finalize the permit for this year’s event.”

[Source: Fox News]

Sounds like someone in DC has been told “fix this”…

U.S. Representative Mark Amodei, a Republican representing the part of Nevada where the festival is held, said in a phone interview the requests raised ethical questions and appeared to demand “the Black Rock Desert version of the Four Seasons hotel.” [Source: Reuters]

BMOrg are waiting for a response from the BLM today. On Sunday, they told the Reno Gazette Journal that they stand by their cost estimates, and that Burning Man is NOT Afghanistan.

Burning Man officials stood by their estimates of the BLM requests on Sunday. The organization has asked for an official response from the BLM by Monday, according to a letter from Burning Man addressed to Seidlitz.

“We stand by our estimates to accomplish what the BLM has required in the statements of work,” Jim Graham, Burning Man spokesman, said in an email Sunday to the Reno Gazette-Journal.

“They were submitted well into our production cycle for this year’s event, they include construction of an entirely new facility, and we maintain they have not considered more cost-effective alternatives. We look forward to working with BLM on solutions that meet everyone’s needs.”

Graham also questioned a comparison made by a federal BLM spokesman in the RGJ report that likened the amenities requested to those provided by the military to soldiers in Afghanistan.

“Burning Man is not Afghanistan,” Graham said.

[Source: RGJ]

 [Update 6/29/15 1:27pm PST]

The BLM have said they are reviewing the request:

Update 12 p.m.: BLM Deputy Director Steve Ellis issued the following statement Monday…”I am concerned about the reported costs associated with supporting the Burning Man festival. I have directed that BLM staff take a fresh look at the initial proposals for food and facilities at the event. Our priority is to provide for participant and employee health and safety, sanitation, and environmental compliance at this unique event that is attended by up to 80,000 people in a remote part of the Nevada Desert. I have full confidence in BLM staff and their ability to develop a plan that is cost efficient and ensures public health and safety.”

[Source: RGJ]


[Update 6/29/15 3:31pm PST]

The LA Times said Harry Reid’s fuming:

The BLM — the Department of the Interior agency that oversees permitting for Burning Man — has reportedly asked for a VIP compound to house staff at the festival’s Black Rock Desert location before it issues a permit for this year’s event.

And that has made Reid angry. Withhold-gifts angry. Leave-a-trace angry. Burn-something-in-effigy angry.

Gotta love the LA Times. Using emotional language to make a dry story more entertaining, and rile up their readers a little while they’re at it.

Screenshot 2015-06-29 15.30.15

At the Grateful Dead last night, the Burners from Playa Slumlord told me they only have a few nice trailers left. The BLM should just rent those for their VIPs senior officials. They can park them at the Blue Pit if they like, but to really experience Burning Man on our Civic Responsibility public dime, we should encourage them to Participate Immediately and get amongst it! Especially if they’re only coming for one bingo day.


Bureau of Land Management: Burning Man Rider

Mandatory Items for Breakfast

• Butter and margarine, instant hot cereal, jelly or jam, peanut butter, salt, pepper, sugar, cream (or substitute). These items shall be individually packaged. Mustard, ketchup, steak sauce, salt and pepper shall be provided in approved dispensers or original bottles in the dining trailer area.

• Salsa, hot peppers, brown sugar and raisins or other dried fruit shall also be made available, in appropriate serving containers, not individually packaged.

Mandatory Items for Hot Lunch/ Dinners

• Butter and margarine, jelly or jam, peanut butter, mustard, ketchup, steak sauce, salt, pepper, sugar, cream (or substitute), tea and hot chocolate. These items shall be individually packaged. Mustard, ketchup, steak sauce, salt, and pepper and other large scale condiments shall be provided in approved dispensers or original bottles in the dining tent area.

• Salsa and hot peppers shall also be made available, in appropriate serving containers, not individually packaged.

• A variety of dessert will need to be served with each dinner.

• Salad bar should be available for both lunch and dinner.

Hot meals between scheduled meal hours (These items are only available during non-meal hours. Please see Attachment 3 for meal times and more details)

• Grilled Cheese Sandwich

• Quesadilla

• Deli Sandwiches

• Hamburger

• Hot dogs

• Grilled chicken

• Chicken fingers

• Veggies

Mandatory items for 24 Hour Service Bar

• Hot Regular Brewed Coffee (regular and decaffeinated). Flavored coffee may be served in addition to regular coffee at the Contractor’s option.

• Hot Water

• Hot Chocolate

• Chilled 100% Fruit Juice

• Brewed Coffee

• Tea Bags (regular and decaffeinated)

• Cold Drinks (Coke Products)

• Iced Tea (regular and decaffeinated)

• Assortment of Dry Cereal (Golden Grahams, Fruit loops, Raisin Bran and 1 other flavor)

• Oatmeal

• Chobani Greek Yogurt

• Yogurt

• Bread both white and wheat

• English muffins

• Milk – Both white and chocolate milk shall be available

• Milk alternative (almond, vanilla, and soy)

• Including but not limited to the following: Personal pizzas, Hot Pockets, burritos, noodle cups, M&Ms, Snickers, Payday, Skittles, licorice, jerky, meat and cheese snacks, cookies, brownies, protein bars, nuts, chips, popcorn, fresh fruit, apples, oranges, bananas, etc.

Ice Cream: This needs to be in a standalone freezer for ice cream available all day long

• Drumstick

• Choco Taco

• Individual served ice cream assorted flavors

Popsicles

• Ice cream sandwiches

And here’s a list of meal suggestions by BLM:

Hot/Cold Breakfast

• Eggs – 2 fresh eggs (3 when scrambled) or 6 oz. of liquid eggs (no egg product).

• Meat – 4 oz. (raw uncooked weight).

• Bread or Hot cakes or French toast or Waffles – or equivalent starch (equal to 3 (1 to 1½ oz.) slices of bread.

• Potatoes – 6 oz. or equivalent starch

• Fresh Fruit

• Muffin(s) or equivalent – 3 oz.

Lunch and Hot Dinners

• Steak -10 oz. (boneless) or 14 oz. (bone-in), or Beef – 10 oz. (boneless) or 14 oz. (bone-in), or

• Beef and Pork Ribs – 10 oz. (boneless) or 18 oz. (bone-in), or Pork – 10 oz. (boneless) or 14 oz. (bone-in),, or Poultry – 8 oz. (boneless) or 14 oz. (bone-in), or Ham – 8 oz. (boneless) or 12 oz. (bone-in), or Fish – 8 oz.

Non Meat Protein – 4 oz.

• Vegetables – 4 oz.

• Potatoes – 6 oz. or equivalent starch.

• Bread – Two 1 to 1½ oz. slices or equivalent starch.

• Dessert – 4 oz.

Self-Service Salad Bar shall contain:

• Five salad toppings

• One tossed green salad with equal amounts of three types of leafy vegetables

• Three types of salad dressings (regular and/or low/non-fat)

• Three salad condiments.

Sack Lunch

• Regular and vegetarian sack lunches shall be provided as ordered by AJ Ramos. Vegetarian sack lunches shall be prepared for the Ovo-Lacto vegetarian classification level and shall consist of the same quantities and items as regular sack lunches.

• Definition: Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian – This is the most common form of vegetarianism. Ovo-Lacto vegetarians do not eat meat, chicken, fish or flesh of any kind, but do eat eggs and dairy products. Sub categories are Ovo vegetarians that eat eggs but not dairy products, while Lacto vegetarians eat dairy products but not eggs.

• NOTE: Pre-prepared sandwiches shall not be frozen. Sack lunches shall consist of the following items:

Entree 1 – One Meat Sandwich (or Sandwich with Non-meatSubstitute for Vegetarian)

• The sandwich shall be wrapped in plastic wrap or plastic bags.

• The sandwich shall contain two 1 to 1½ oz. slices of bread.

• The meat sandwich shall contain 3½ oz. sliced whole muscle meat or a combination of sliced whole muscle meat and cheese or equivalent vegetarian substitute.

• Appropriate individually packaged condiments shall be provided and not be put directly on the sandwich.

Entree 2 – Variety Item

• Fruit – The fruit shall be one apple or one orange or other fresh fruit of comparable size.

• Factory-Wrapped or Resealable Individually Wrapped Snack – Two (2) or more snacks with a combined minimum nutritional value of at least 600 calories. It is preferred that these snacks be high in complex carbohydrate content. All ingredients shall be identified and attached to the product for easy identification.

• Condiments – Four individual factory-wrapped packets of condiments appropriate for the entrees being served.

• Paper Napkin and Pre-Moistened Towelette

Menu Variety

Menu items shall provide variety on a daily basis as to the types of meat and bread used in sandwiches, other sack lunch entrees, snacks, juices and other meal items served. Menus may include a wide variety of recipes. The following are examples of variety options.

• Meat

• Beef

• Steaks – rib, loin, T-bone, New York, sirloin, cubed, filet and pepper steak.

• Roast – Prime rib and sliced roast.

• Short Ribs – baked, broiled and barbecued.

• Ground Beef – lasagna, tasty meatloaf, meatballs in spaghetti sauce and ground beef patties.

• Pork

• Chops – loin cut, spare-ribs, country style ribs and barbecued.

• Roast – sliced and tenderloin.

• Ham – sliced.

• Sausage

• Chops – grilled and barbecued.

• Roast – sliced.

• Poultry

• Sliced, or whole pieces or parts (such as breast, thigh or leg).

• Fish – grilled, baked fillets or steaks.

• Processed Meat Items – pastrami, Polish/Italian sausage and corned beef.

• Breakfast Meat – ham, bacon, sausage, steak and pork chops.

• Eggs – Fried, hard-boiled, poached, omelets or scrambled.

• Bread and Equivalent Starches – wheat, white, 7-grain, rye, pumpernickel, French, garlic, biscuits, muffins, rolls, croissants, bagels, cornbread, donuts, sourdough, tortilla and pita pocket.

• Dry Cereal – Varieties of flaked, toasted, or baked cold cereals and granola.

• Hot Cereal – Oatmeal or grits, Cream of Wheat®, etc.

• Fruit – oranges, tangerines, apples, bananas, grapes, pears, peaches, plums, nectarines, grapefruit, or melons.

• Dried Fruit – apricots, cherries, dates, mango, pineapple, pears, banana chips, peaches, prunes, raisins or other dried fruit.

• Vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, corn, peas, green beans, mixed vegetables, etc.

• Non Meat Protein – BBQ beans, vegetarian patty, vegetarian hot dog, Tofu, beans, soybean product, bean burritos, peanut butter, cheese, tempeh, quinoa, hummus.

• Potatoes and Equivalent Starches – baked, mashed, fried, boiled, scalloped, rice, stuffing, pasta, sweet potatoes, or yams.

• Juice – orange, tomato, grape, V8type, apple, cranberry, or pineapple.

• Sandwich Meat and/or Cheese – ham, corned beef, roast beef, turkey, pork, beef pastrami, chicken, cheddar, Swiss, or other natural cheese, excluding American processed cheese.

Salad Bar

• Salad Toppings – kidney, garbanzo or pinto beans; carrots, mushrooms, celery, cauliflower, green/red bell peppers, broccoli, cheese, cottage cheese, beets, peas, tomatoes, eggs, cucumbers.

• Prepared Salads – macaroni, carrot and raisin, potato, pea, gelatin, coleslaw, fruit, rice or pasta salads.

• Tossed Salad Greens – romaine, endive, iceberg, green leaf, red leaf, butter, spinach, or cabbage.

• Fruit – melons, peaches, grapes, bananas, strawberries, pears, applesauce or seasonal fruit.

• Salad Dressings – regular and low/non-fat French, Ranch, Italian, vinaigrette, Thousand Island, Blue Cheese, etc.

• Salad Condiments – croutons, wheat nuts, sunflower seeds, crackers and taco chips, bread sticks, olives, pickles, or other fresh pickled or marinated vegetables.

• Dessert – cakes, cookies, pies, cobblers, puddings, pastries or ice cream.

• Tea – black, herbal, green, and spiced. Flavored tea may be served in addition to regular tea at the Contractor’s option

• Milk – white, (Whole, 2%, Skim), and Chocolate.

• Milk alternative

• Snack Varieties – Candy bars, bagged candy, trail mix, cookies, and brownies. Granola bars, energy bars, fresh vegetables, pretzels, shelled nuts. Factory packaged meats such as dried meats, sausage, pepperoni, jerky, etc., are acceptable. Processed cheese and cheese food products are allowed for this item only. The Government retains its full right to reject any product offered under this paragraph if the quality of the product is rejected by users. For variety two different products shall be used each day.

Koo-koo-koo-choo…The Big K Headlines at BurnerCon

kucinich talk

The most recent Black Rock City Census has revealed that today’s Burners lean pretty heavily to the left. 43 % of Burners are card-carrying members of the Democrats (versus 6% Republican and 3.5% Libertarian), and for Burners that aren’t particularly tied to a party, 76% voted Democrat at the last election (versus 7.4% Republican and 5.6% Libertarian). A hefty 92% of Burners came in somewhere between “left” and “center”, while only about 0.1% consider ourselves Right Wing.

So it should come as no surprise that BMOrg have gushingly announced the headline act for their annual BurnerCon Global Leadership Conference: two-time former Democratic Presidential Candidate and Fox News Political Analyst Dennis Kucinich.

Kucinich went to Burning Man for the first time last year, giving a speech at IDEATE and an on-Playa in depth interview with Luke Rudkowski from We Are Change.

Now he has learned enough to tell the rest of us how important Burning Man is to changing the world.

We are excited to welcome a special guest keynote speaker to this year’s GLC! Former U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich will join us in person on Saturday, April 11 to address why Burning Man culture matters to humanity at this time of great global change.

Dennis is a statesman and philosopher who believes the fundamental truth of our existence is human unity — that we are all one, and that we are interconnected and interdependent. This belief has guided him through public life and he shares it with audiences everywhere. An internationally known environmentalist, Dennis is passionate about the great evolutionary potential which comes from repairing our relationship to the natural world and to each other.

He has had a long and distinguished career in public service, including serving as a Cleveland City Councilman, Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio State Senator, and U.S. Congressman. He was a two-time Presidential candidate.

Dennis participated in Black Rock City for the first time in 2014. Through the creativity and human connection of Black Rock City and the Burning Man Regional Network, he sees that “Burning Man represents an incandescent vision of a world within our grasp.” [Source]

Within whose grasp? Burners live in this world. Does he mean politicians? The Man? Let’s hope he can show us concrete examples of how he has learned from our culture and is now changing the world with it, and spreading it to others.

I have to disclose that last week I became a huge fan of Mr K,  when I learned that he recommended this book to a friend at Burning Man:

sacerd geometry dc

Like the Bilderberg Group and Bohemian Grove, the Global Leadership Conference is just for the elites of our culture. It’s not open to “rank-and-file” Burners, only specially selected members of the Regionals Network, and other insiders. BMOrg will be streaming their main sessions live on the Interwebz, for those of us who want to provide global leadership by watching passively from our armchairs. They assure us that the videos will also be available afterwards, if you don’t manage to catch the panel discussions live.

Burning Man Social Alchemist Bear Kittay, L; Burner Dennis Kucinich, R

Burning Man’s Social Alchemist Bear Kittay, L; Burner Dennis Kucinich, R

Friday, April 10

9:00-10:30am PDT
Plenary Session 1: The Next Creative Renaissance, Busting it Out, Building it Up, Bringing it Home!

10:30am-12:00pm PDT
Plenary Session 2: Updates — From the Desert to the World

Saturday, April 11
9:00-10:15am PDT
Plenary Session: Keynote Talks with Marian Goodell and Dennis Kucinich

Watch the stream here. We will be live commenting it on our Twitter @burnersdotme  …if I get out of bed early enough.

We’ll let Burning Legend Jim Carrey take us out…