BREAKING: Anonymous Terror Group Claims Responsibility For Burning Man Attacks [Updates]

anonymous fire

Last night somebody calling themselves “anonymous burner” left this comment on our Hooligans Attack and 2016 Scandals stories. The details indicate it is legitimate. They claim there are 4 in this terror cell, located around the world. They threaten continued attacks on White Ocean if they ever return, and on other elitist Burners and camps too.

Whats true and whats not…
There were no cables cut
yes super glue in key holes
yes chicken and beef cubes in rv resivoir
yes dye in rv water too
Dish soap added to shower water cubes
Yes water dumped
yes olive oil in the bathroom floors
no personal items were stolen
yes lug nuts off their art car were taken
Not connected to the hotel cube collapse

Why?
The four people that were targeted were Timur, Oliver,Eduardo, Kfir…. these rich seperatists think they are above the burning man ways.. they think they can stronge arm people with threats of violence from their connections to the russian mafia and or throw lawyers with lawsuits at you to force you to do what they want…. they hire mexican workers to do all the camp setup and breakdown for burning man and their other events(further future)… if they cant demand their way then they bribe it… why do you think they were even allowed back after the last few years…all they allow at their dinners are the rich and famous and they dont even bring food or water for the mexican workers they hired… them and their friends drug women and try to take advantage of them, and btw their drug mule is ########… they only put Paul okenfolds name on the camp so the bm community would “feel it”…. because what burner could really relate to a billionaire russian gangsters son? With all of the people tgey have fucked over and threatened over the 4 years they have been a compound at burning man they deserved some payback… This is just the beginning, every year they return people will mess with them and their camp… This should happen to all the elitest groups on and off the playa…
These rich entiteled bastards dont deserve to treat the playa like their own personal parties…. it is the communties…
This was done by 4 highly trained individuals who are spread out in the burning man community around the world listening to how the other elitest groups are treating their fellow burners… take your community back, stand up against these kinds of snobby bastards ruining burning man…

This is no conspiracy theory. The perpetrator – or someone close enough to them to be an at least an accomplice – is quite clearly telling us it is a conspiracy. What more do you need?

It seems unlikely that this is the same “Anonymous” as the hacker group, although they were very involved with the #occupy movement, as were many Burners in the Burn Wall Street project. This seems to be a new group of terrorists saboteurs, specifically targeting wealthy burners.

anonymous ferguson

The commenter calling themselves “anonymous burner” has the same IP address as an earlier commenter on this blog, who was upset with White Ocean’s red MOOP score in October 2015:

Im a part of White Ocean, we cleaned, everyday we cleaned up trash left from the partiers in our dance area… everyday of breakdown we had people doing their part cleaning, while the structure was be dismantled we made sure no bolts or washers or nuts were dropped… our core stayed a day after everyone else to moop the area(thursday)…… so understand that there are many reasons why we could red like this, and we are wondering why ourselves… also note that its been years since a corner got less than red on its dance floor(which u showed fur us, 2010, the only year that corner was clean) also look at how we took care of our area last year… we are trying….

Ps .. we actually made this huge grid n dropped all of the pooh n piss n other shit yall left fur us just to get the perfect red square….
n Fuck Off, n Fuck ur Day!!!

Pss…. burners.me, ur a kunt…
I have posted my real name and email, if there is any issues with White Ocean or myself, please feel free to contact me, I wont hide behind a blog…:-)

I would never share the name of an informant who requested anonymity. I think I’ve proved that now in almost 5 years of blogging and 1657 posts. This is just a commenter, though. They didn’t contact me requesting anonymity before sharing information – as in the case of every other tip I’ve shared here from Anonymous Burner. Instead, they just posted here (twice) proclaiming themselves to be “anonymous burner” (lower case). This is less of a tip, and more of a confession to a crime and a threat of more crimes to come. And in the above case this commenter made quite a big deal over his desire to not be seen as “hiding behind a blog”.

Before any Ray Donovan types rush to bring this guy to the interrogation chamber, if you were the perp this would be a simple way to finger someone else for the blame (although he did post this last year). 2 posts from the same IP address are not evidence it is the same person – could be room-mates, or a company account. If you lose power or turn your modem off, your cable company might assign you a new IP address – but there is no way that 2 posts a year apart from the same address, both about White Ocean is an accident. If the police want to contact me I’d be happy to provide the IP address and other details (it is located in California).

Remember when Burning Man used to be about fun? It was just a party in the desert?

Perhaps this is why BMOrg need Flysalen now: a Gated Community for First Camp and the elite Burners, while the Black Rock City Communist Party (last post before BM2016: Psychedelic military attack) and the remnants of the Cacophony Society wreak anarchy and havoc at Burning Man. Leave The Man Burn to the cops and the plebs, watch everything on HDTV and just chopper in for fancy dinners with the Sheriff and meetings with promising startups.

anonymous leader further further peter ruprecht 2016


[Update 9/7/16 2:50pm]

Perhaps predictably, “anonymous” has now come forward to confirm his identity and his desire not to hide behind blogs. He claims to just be the messenger, not the perpetrator – and he “was just talking shit”. He just happened to be the one to answer the Playa telephone when the call came in with all the details of the crime, and wanted to share it on this blog so badly that he posted it twice. Interesting that nobody else has shared anywhere near this level of detail, even though by John’s account a lot of different people had them.

screenshot-2016-09-07-13-55-10

YMMV.

telephone_burning_man_art_car


Some Burners have claimed about the grammar of calling this a “terror” attack. When Pershing County Sheriff Jerry Allen warned of terror attacks at Burning Man 2 weeks ago, I’m not sure MOOPing the freshwater was quite what he had in mind. The word that has been widely used in headlines for these attacks is “sabotage”. Sabotage is the same thing as terrorism, just minus the violence. It’s easy to see how taking lug nuts off a car’s wheels or making a floor super-slippery might lead to people getting hurt. What was the point of this sabotage, if not terror? Entertainment? Education? Intimidation is the purpose.

screenshot-2016-09-07-14-05-08

Terrorism vs Sabotage: What’s the Difference?

[Update 9/8/16 8:40am

with-us-or-terrorists

Click here to learn about the Logical Fallacy called “The False Dilemma”

“You’re either part of White Ocean and we’re gonna get you too, or you’re a true Burner and with the terrorists”. One Burner’s terrorist saboteur is another’s Freedom Fighter.

Sabotage is either a military action, or a terrorist action. And these are actually the same thing, it’s just the army has a different composition.

This is pretty low on the spectrum of terrorism – attacks aimed to intimidate psychologically, rather than through violence. As far as we know, there was no physical harm done – but by the sound of it there easily could have been.

It reminds me of the anti-Burning Man rancher’s expensive yacht mysteriously sinking in Tahoe when he was in a dispute with Burners. Nobody was harmed and no violence was involved in that act of sabotage. See Don’t Pick A Fight With A Burner

In my opinion this is a group, not a lone individual. They are operating covertly, with threats/plans to do more attacks. They try to “Leave No Trace”, choosing the type of attacks that are hard to photograph. This is a psychological operation. The purpose is to change White Ocean’s behavior and attitude, to conform more to a profile desired by the attackers.

“It’s a self service cult. Wash your own brain” – but if you don’t wash it the right way, expect sabotage and psychological warfare.

]


The report last night came from Sacramento. I note that the Sacramento Cacophony Society announced they were starting “the next phase of cacophony” in early December 2014. They changed their Facebook group from Closed to Secret and then kicked me out. At the same time Danger Ranger launched his anti-rich attack on me, and the Burning Man Facebook Group was overthrown in a coup which several long-term members suspect had the backing of both BMorg and Facebook Inc.

sacramento-cacophony-launching-mayhem

 

According to their web site today, “Project Mayhem” is underway with funding and personnel:

screenshot-2016-09-07-14-26-15

 

You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to suspect that “attack the rich” and “Project Mayhem” may be the same thing.

Million Dollar Tickets – Coming Soon

BMOrg’s embrace of all things Medici may have inspired some other festivals to follow suit.


 

Re-blogged from Music Vice

Icleland’s Secret Solstice has made a $1 million dollar ticket package available. And you thought Coachella was expensive!

For $1,000,000 you get your own private jet, two private performances, access to luxury cars and driver’s, helicopter transfers, tours,  a luxury villa and and access to the world’s first concert inside a volcano.

Secret Solstice takes place on 16-19 June in Reykjavik, and features a stellar line-up including Radiohead, Deftones, Of Monsters and Men, Die Antwoord and Action Bronson. The good news is, all this plus the stunning Iceland scenery, can be yours for less than a $1,000,000 too – with more modest ticket prices starting at 24,900 Icelandic krona (approx. £143/$202/€177) for a full festival pass, or 34,900 Icelandic krona (approx.£200/$283/€249) for a VIP pass to the entire event.  Tickets are available at secretsolstice.is.

For those of you with a cool mill to spare, here’s the full details of what the world’s most expensive festival package gets you:

  • Private chartered business jet (Gulfstream G300 or similar) return to Iceland from any destination on Earth for 6 people
  • 24/7 access to two luxury cars, personal drivers, and private security for the entire week in Iceland
  • Luxury 6-room villa for 7 nights in the center of Reykjavík over the Secret Solstice 2016 festival week
  • Exclusive admittance to Secret Solstice 2016, including chaperoned access to off-limits areas of the festival site where possible
  • Access to the sold out Secret Solstice presents Inside The Volcano event, the world’s first concert inside a volcano over the Secret Solstice 2016 weekend, including helicopter transfers from Reykjavík
  • Private viewing areas for all major acts at Secret Solstice 2016, where possible
  • Access to the private VIP artists bar on the festival site, only accessible by main stage artists and super-VIP guests
  • The world famous Blue Lagoon reserved privately for an evening for the ticket purchasers and their invited guests, plus helicopter transfers for the ticketholders to the Blue Lagoon from Reykjavík
  • Access to the sold out Secret Solstice presents Inside The Glacier event, the world’s only event inside Langjökull glacier, including. helicopter transfers from Reykjavík
  • Access to the Secret Lagoon party in a 120+ year-old geothermal lagoon (Iceland’s oldest), including helicopter transfers from Reykjavík
  • Access to Secret Solstice 2016’s Midnight Sun Boat Party
  • Private concert outside Reykjavík by prominent Icelandic act in a lava field, including helicopter transfers to the location
  • Private show at the guests’ holiday residence in Iceland by prominent Icelandic act
  • Private half-day Icelandic nature helicopter tour, to experience Iceland’s incredible natural sights from the air, with champagne lunch at a geothermal hotspot
  • Personal engraved and framed memorial ticket for each guest, made from Icelandic lava rock
  • 24/7 access to personal assistants during your stay in Iceland
  • Private Icelandic dining experience with a prominent Icelandic chef personal chef at your holiday residence on a chosen night during your stay
  • Private Icelandic food experiences on site at Secret Solstice 2016 on request
  • Introductions where possible to Secret Solstice 2016 artists
  • All food/drinks at Secret Solstice 2016, including hyper-premium drinks
  • Private whale & dolphin watching tour
  • Private airplane day tour over Iceland’s south coast, including Vatnajökull glacier and the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon
  • Midnight sun glacier walk on top of a glacier in Iceland with the sun still up after midnight, including helicopter transfers from Reykjavík, and a private glacier snowmobile experience
  • Private tours of any additional Icelandic holiday/tourist experiences where possible, with time permitting
  • More to be announced soon!
Full Lineup for Secret Solstice 2016:
Radiohead [UK] – June 17
Deftones [US]
Of Monsters And Men [IS]
Die Antwoord [ZA]
Jamie Jones [UK]
Skream [UK]
Flatbush Zombies [US]
Art Department [CA]
Róisín Murphy [IE]
St Germain [FR]
Action Bronson [US]
Kerri Chandler [US]
Lady Leshurr [UK]
General Levy [UK]
Slow Magic [US]
Richy Ahmed [UK]
Visionquest [US]
Edu Imbernon [ES]
Bernhoft [NO]
M.O.P [US]
Afrika Bambaataa [US]
Apollonia [FR]
Hjaltalín [IS]
Deetron [CH]
Darius Syrossian [UK]
Derrick Carter [US]
Kelela [US]
Infinity Ink [UK]
Bang Gang [IS]
Mammút [IS]
Högni Egilsson [IS]
Gísli Pálmi [IS]
Agent Fresco [IS]
Benoit & Sergio [FR/US]
Lil Louis [US]
Úlfur Úlfur [IS]
AmabAdamA [IS]
Ryan Crosson [US]
Lee Curtiss [US]
Stacey Pullen [US]
Troyboi [UK]
Matt Tolfrey [UK]
Shaun Reeves [US]
Kúra [IS]
Fufanu [IS]
Ylja [IS]
Emmsjé Gauti [IS]
Droog [US]
Midland [UK]
wAFF [UK]
Maxxi Soundsystem [UK]
Chez Damier [US]
Paranoid London [UK]
Novelist [UK]
XXX Rottweiler [IS]
Ocean Wisdom [UK]
Glacier Mafia [IS]
Reykjavíkurdætur [IS]
Soffía Björg [IS]
Herra Hnetusmjör [IS]
Dr.Spock [IS]
Will Saul [UK]
Youandewan [UK]
Robert Owens [US]
Maher Daniel [CA]
Nitin [CA]
Axel Flóvent [IS]
Shades of Reykjavík [IS]
Glowie [IS]
Exos [IS]
Problem Child [UK]
Jack Magnet [IS]
Bensol [IS]
Voyeur [UK]
Artwork [UK]
Yamaho [IS]
Rix [IS]
Plastic Love [US]
Clovis [US]
Bones [CA]
MANT [UK]
Big Swing Soundsystem [UK]
Þriðja Hæðin [IS]
Faces Of The Walls [IS]
RVK Soundsystem [IS]
DJ Hendrik [IS]
Lord Pusswhip & Svarti Laxness [IS]
Pink Street Boys [IS]
Halleluwah [IS]
Lily The Kid [IS]
Vaginaboys [IS]
GKR [IS]
Stephane Ghenacia [FR]
Lily Of The Valley [IS]
EinarIndra [IS]
Gervisykur [IS]
Wølffe [UK]
KSF [IS]
Valby Bræður [IS]
Tanya & Marlon [IS]
Alexander Jarl [IS]
Mosi Musik [IS]
Alvia Islandia [IS]
DJ Kári [IS]
Fox Train Safari [IS]
Frímann [IS]
Casanova [IS]
French Toast [UK]
Tusk [IS]
Dalí [IS]
Stefán Karel [IS]
Marc Roberts [UK]
Captain Syrup [IS]
Auður [IS]
Geimfarar [IS]
Marteinn [IS]
Átrúnaðargoðin [IS]
ILO [IS]
Sonur Sæll [IS]
TRPTYCH [IS]
Kíló [IS]
Brother Big [IS]
Rob Shields [UK]
Balcony Boyz [IS]
Rímnaríki [IS]
Will Mills [UK]
Since When [US]

The festival will feature the world’s first party inside a volcano. From Mixmag:

Iceland’s Secret Solstice is pushing boundaries again this year, taking the festival deep inside the Thrihnukagigur volcano for a one-off performance.

Following last year’s party inside a glacier, this one on June 18 is a world’s first, featuring a performance by a “well-known international act” for just 20 people 400 feet down inside an inactive magma chamber.

It’s not cheap mind, costing £1380 which includes entrance, helicopter transport from Icelandic capital Reykjavik, refreshments and a VIP ticket for the main festival from June 17 to 19. So not too bad at all, really.

Secret Solstice’s director Fred Olafsson said: “I will say that it will be an acoustic performance by a very famous name, and we promise guests will be impressed when we finally make the big reveal.”

Just in case you’re wondering about it erupting, don’t worry. The last blowout was when the Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Giza was built. If you’re history knowledge isn’t quite up to scratch, construction started in 2560BC!

volcano3

Easter Bunny Brings Plenty More Tickets [Update]

this Bunny Slippers?

Bunny Slippers, anyone?

Thanks to Anonymous Burner for this tip-off. Tickets and Vehicle Passes are still for sale. Just go to your Burner Profile.

Screenshot 2016-03-27 17.37.33

Screenshot 2016-03-27 17.22.01Anonymous Burner questions how would we know if only 500 of these tickets get sold? If 5,000 were sold at this price, how would we know?

November, 2013. I made the call. Burning Man tickets $500, and above $1000 by 2020.

My prediction is we will see ticket prices go above $500 in the next 3 years, and I would not be surprised if they were more than $1000 by 2020

Little did I know that we would hit both milestones in 2016.

Think I’m kidding? The cost to buy 2 tickets and a vehicle pass in 2016 is $973.74. You pay a $7 service fee on each item you purchase, even though it’s a single transaction and mailing.

 

bm2016 tickets

It might not sound like much to BMOrg, managing their almost $40 million annual budget; but 9% Live Entertainment tax on 2 $390 tickets should be $70.20, and Burners are being charged $70.74. I mean hey, it’s only 54 cents, what’s that on a $500 ticket? $37,800 $18,900 if you’re the one selling 70,000 tickets! That is more than any individual art grant (unless you’re David Best)

What sort of mindset do these people have, that they would do this to us? Rip us off even further, for less than an extra 0.01% take. When we are the ones providing their party in the first place.

One wonders if this random number for the Live Entertainment Tax of $70.74 is because they really mean $77.40 – what the 9% would be if we were paying the tax on the Vehicle Pass as well.

The vehicle passes look cheap, the tickets look kinda pricey.

Stubhub:

Screenshot 2016-03-27 17.51.01

Tickets are around $750 on eBay and Vehicle Passes start at $250.

 


 

[Update 3/28/16 7:26am]

In the comments, Trey said:

The extra $.54 is explained on the website ticket cost page. No conspiracy.

Who said anything about a conspiracy? We’re clearly being ripped off by BMOrg, it gets worse every year, and no conspiracy theory is required to see that because it is obvious to anyone who pays for their own ticket.

But what of this comment?

I went to the “website ticket cost page” – presumably this http://tickets.burningman.org/

I searched for “54”. Nada.”27″ just took me to the 27,000 vehicle passes.

On the ticket support page that Nomad (not Trey) helpfully posted, there is a clue – but you have to be very, very dedicated to get to it.

At the very bottom of the FAQ is an item: Live Entertainment Tax. This item requires you to log in before you can even read it. And it’s not logging in to your Burner profile: it’s yet ANOTHER account with BMOrg to create. It requires 2-factor authentication, you have to verify your email with them – before they can answer any “Frequently Asked Questions” about the tax. The password security on this account is much higher than on the Burner profile, so you might need to pick a new password also. I guess BMOrg is terribly concerned about hackers trying to get answers to frequently asked questions. Fortunately, no hacker could ever figure out how to create a fake email account – phew! Nice saving us from scalpers and hackers, BMOrg!

In three decades of using the World Wide Web, this is the first time I have ever encountered an FAQ where some of the answers were password-protected. Helpful? Transparent? Or more PITA jumping through senseless hoops, to avoid giving Burners a straight answer?

When you get there, it says:

Screenshot 2016-03-28 07.30.47

 

Then I found this on the Tickets Page:

  • A 9% Nevada Live Entertainment Tax will be added to the price of all tickets and $3 of the $7 per ticket service fee. Will Call delivery is the only delivery method subject to this tax. The $12 Will Call delivery charge will be inclusive, meaning additional tax will not be added for choosing this delivery method ($1.08 of the $12 fee is built-in tax).

Let me try to parse these two statements, so we can figure out what’s going on. They’re sure not making it easy for us.

You pay $7 on top of each item. Ticket, vehicle pass, doesn’t matter.

You pay $0.27 per ticket extra for the Live Entertainment Tax being applied to just $3 of the total $7″handling” fees; all handling is done by computers outside Nevada.

Although you pay the same handling fee for buying a vehicle pass in this transaction, you don’t have to pay any tax on vehicle passes.

You pay $1.08 tax out of your $12 Will Call fee, but Burners don’t have to pay this particular sub-tax because BMOrg will.

Everything else, Burners pay.

Why is it 9% of $3 of the $7? That will require some further password-protected answers, probably. I certainly couldn’t find an explanation in the FAQ.

As Nomad says, have you ever seen a more convoluted and confusing ticketing system?

So each ticket is $390 Face Value

Actual cost is $397

And the tax on each ticket is (390 * .09) + (3 * .09) = $35.10 + $0.27 = $35.37

Making each ticket (without vehicle pass): $432.37

plus $22 domestic mailing charge = $454.37

plus $87 vehicle pass = $541.37

Look at what we have to go through, just to figure out how much tickets cost. It’s certainly not “$390 – unchanged from last year”. Tickets actually cost 40% more than face value – yet Burners are supposed to snitch on other Burners selling tickets for anything more? Because we’re trying to prevent scalpers? It’s quite clear who is selling tickets above face value, from the very beginning.

In the example I gave originally, each ticket was subject to an additional 27c “Live Handling Tax”, creating a further 54c cost to buy two tickets. So I was incorrect in saying that BMOrg benefits by $37,800. It was a mere $18,900.

BMOrg are collecting the tax from us now, when they sell the ticket. But the tax isn’t due until the event, almost half a year away.

Now, interest rates are low, and it’s not a great time to be sitting on cash. But you can still get more than 1% on a 6-month CD. The best offer here is 1.6% and here 1.74%, but that is retail. People with powerful friends on the inside of the banking system (not to mention $40 million or so in up front cash) could probably get better deals.

How much interest does BMOrg earn on our tax money, before handing it over to the Nevada government?

Screenshot 2016-03-28 09.37.18

The new information that the Live Entertainment Tax is not being charged on vehicle passes, but is being charged on $3 of each handling fee (for tickets, not vehicle passes), is now incorporated in this chart. However, we may still be missing 4,000 tickets worth of revenues from the count.

There has been a lot of talk about 72,000 tickets this year, including tickets to staff and Fire Conclave performers (not that a live performance is live entertainment, or anything…). The change on total revenue from this has a significant impact:

If those extra 4000 tickets are sold at $397, $38,861,090

If they are sold at the VIP “Da Vinci” price, $42,392,690

They are being sold right now at the VIP price – the point of this post. But we are told only 500 of these are available and the total tickets for paid participants is 68,000, so anything else is pure speculation.

Sticking to what we know – $2,682,900 LET; and a retail 1.74% interest rate for 6 months, how much could BMOrg make in interest? $23,341.23

For BMOrg to eat the Live Entertainment Tax on handling fees for all of us, not just Will Call users, would have cost them less than the interest they’re going to earn from collecting the tax money from us now and paying the government after the event.


 

[Update 3/28/16 11:47am]

Vivid tickets have cheaper prices than either eBay or Stubhub – $748.

http://www.vividseats.com/concerts/burning-man-tickets.html

Anonymous Burner confirmed that even after buying two VIP tickets, the link is still available on their profile to buy more.

2016 vip ticket

 

 

Art Budget Shenanigans [Update]

A Burning Man artist has responded to my request for feedback in yesterday’s post Follow the Money, with a most interesting tale.


 

From Anonymous Burner:

BMHQ Artists meeting, 2014

BMHQ Artists meeting, May 2015

 

This picture was taken at the Follow Up Artists’ Summit held last May at BMHQ.  This was the second meeting after the first one in 2014 where a group of artists tried to make changes in the artist contract for the event but were met with a meeting facilitator that broke everyone up to bitch in different sessions.
 .
Then last May they held the follow up meeting.  Whereas there were upwards of 50 at the first meeting, this one was poorly attended.  Besides myself there was 2 other “Playa” artists and a bunch of newbies.  No one would show up because they knew nothing was going to come out of this meeting. They had tons of food…
.
Looking at the pie chart, they state that for 2015 they would spend $3M on the art.  For ease of discussion, look at 40% Grants, 40% Services, and 20% Administration.
,
1.2M for Grants (now includes Man and Man Base)
$600k on Admin?  Pick a number of FTEs for BRC art at $100k each.  They don’t have 6 FTEs working on BRC art and they sure as hell aren’t paying them $100k
$1.2M on Services?  For the heavy equipment thats used to build the site and is already out there?
.
They won’t feed the artists at the Commissary.  The art projects have to pay for water, fuel, light towers, wood, DG for burns, Etc, Etc.  Plus pay for Port-o-Lets, feeding their crew, and everything else.  How are these service and Admin amounts calculated?
.
Here’s the problem these folks have:
.
They can’t raise money for the BM Project because if you donate to it, what is your donation doing?  I see lots of folks flying around the world talking.  What specific programs can they point to to make a case for donating money to the BM project?
.
That leaves them trying to run the non-profit on the back of the event.  Yes the event makes money, finally – they ran the outfit out of a cigar box for years –  but leaves them unable to increase funding for the artists.  And given the way these lemmings throng to get a spot on the cliff, why should they even consider it.
.
And now that they have to raise money for the BM project, where do they go?  To the folks that have been funding these pieces and supporting the artists.  It is a very shallow donor pool.  The result is “donor fatigue”  these folks are weary of being badgered by the Org and look for more permanent art installations.
.
At the same time, they have to be careful in getting the community to support the artists more – Larry’s latest efforts are lame in that he keeps referring to the moneyed class and most folks say “he can’t be talking about me, I don’t have any money”.  My wealthy friends that have supported art projects in the past have been insulted by his “let the rich folks pay for it”.  Many are taking the year off this year, as am I.
.
Well, I found that somewhat cathartic.  Thanks for hearing me out.

 

burnersxxx:

Thanks very much for sharing that. The artist raises some good points.

Specifically, from a $3 million budget, the numbers work out to:

$1,290,000 Art (43%)

$570,000 Admin (19%)

$1,140,000 Services (38%)

Heavy Equipment Rental was $2.45 million in 2014.

From a $1.2 million Black Rock City art budget, in 2016 they are paying for:

60 Honoraria art projects. Partial grants, artists have to raise most of the project costs themselves

33 Guild Workshops. Regional projects. Projects required to raise almost all the funding and supply personnel themselves.

The Man

The Piazza

The “Turning Man” contraption

The Temple. Partial grant, artists who “win” the project have to raise most of the funding themselves

4 Belltowers

A blacksmith shop

Possible other sculptures

Is the $90,000 what gets spent on art across Burners Without Borders, Black Rock Arts Foundation, Burning Man Arts, and all the other non-Playa activities?


[Update 3/15/16 5:44pm]

The artist has responded to some of the questions raised in our comments. emphasis ours

A question was raised about tickets and that was a good point.  I don;t know how the value of the tickets given to artists/art projects is calculated or categorized.  Here is what I do know – 
.
Registered art pieces (funded and non-funded) get access to free tickets, vehicle passes, early arrival passes and the coveted 12 mile (aka Point 1) access privilege
 .
In addition to the free art project tickets, there are also half price (aka staff tickets) that are made available to the project depending on project scope, schedule, and staffing.  And if that isn’t enough, the Org can also press the special button and grant full price tickets to the artists as well.
.
When the Org gives an artist a free ticket (or a half price ticket) how is it categorized in the accounting?  I would bet that in the calculations for the BRC art budget that the tickets are added to Administration or the Services figure at face value ($390).
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One way artists can take advantage of the Org is to have a high profile project start to go bad.  When that happens the tickets and vehicle passes can really start to flow.  A case in point is last year’s Temple – they had like 150 people in their build camp – due to physical constraints they really couldn’t have more than about 30 people working on the Temple at a time.  Even allowing for a generous support crew there was still upwards of 50-75 burners early to the event getting the party started early.
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The other question that was raised had to do with the construction of the Man Base and The Man.  One of the reasons the contractors category has been growing is that the “traditional” Man Base and Man Build crews have been terminated.  The Man and the Man Base are now basically built by hired carpenters – the Org has outsourced the construction function under the guise that “professionals” were needed to build the infrastructure for the city.  They got rid of the Man Base crew in 2013 (Cargo Cult) and the Man Build crew in 2014 or 2015 depending on how you define the termination.
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Another change for contractors happened this year when the Org eliminated the DPW Power Crew and outsourced the electrical grids to Agreko.  They kept a small crew of former DPW Power folks in supervisory roles, and the end result is a little more Disneyfication of the event.  Eventually they’ll outsource gate and perimeter to a security firm and the event will have all the charm of a visit to Ikea.
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The shark was jumped in 2012 with the ticket lottery.  When we look back 10-15 years from now I believe we will acknowledge that the year tickets became scarce was the year the Org stopped caring.
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This is an interesting point about the accounting. If a $397 ticket is sold for half price, do they write it off in the books as $200 of “Admin Costs” (claiming full revenue for the ticket, then the lost revenue as an expense) and then claim that they are contributing this towards arts?
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Why is the only time this “$3 million on art” figure appears in a small, quiet meeting with artists – and all the press discussion is of $1.2 million or $1.5 million? Why do they feed artists generously  (and unnecessarily) at HQ, yet shut them out of the Commissary during their builds?
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Thanks very much to the artist who has been contributing here, I can confirm that I have also heard what they are saying about entire crews being sacked and replaced with contractors from other sources. People who have given a decade or more of their lives to physically constructing Burning Man have been shunted out the door, while newcomers get to cash in. One consequence of this corporatization/Disneyfication is that it is more scaleable and movable. As I said recently to VICE, let’s take this show on the road!

Follow the Money [Updates]

If you thought this year’s theme of “Da Vinci’s Workshop” and the corresponding shift of Propaganda Minister Will Chase over to the Maker Movement meant that 2016 was going to be all about 3d printing, laser cutting, computer-controlled manufacturing, nanomaterials, and all of the exciting things going on in Silicon Valley with the built environment…think again.

So far, it seems, it’s all about money.

We’re not quite 10 weeks into the year, and already we’ve had:

Art, Money and the Renaissance: Re-imagining the Relationship

What Powered the Renaissance? (Could it Have Happened Without Cash?)

The Renaissance’s $ecret Weapon for Arts Funding

How Burners are Re-Inventing the Artists Workshop (answer: “fronted by a master and funded by a relatively small group of wealthy clients”)

And now, Larry Harvey’s latest post “Following the Money: the Florentine Renaissance and Black Rock City”

Is it just me, or is there a bit of a “theme within a theme” starting to emerge here?

In the new post, Larry likens BMOrg spending $1.2 million in art grants to Lorenzo de Medici taking notice of the young man Michelangelo and moving him into his palace to get intimate, or Peggy Guggenheim sponsoring Jackson Pollack.

When Lorenzo de’ Medici adopted the young Michelangelo into his family, he did much more than hire on a hand to serve his needs. Private patronage is personal; it is immediate and intimate, and what is true of Florence and our temporary city is also true of every celebrated art scene ever known. One example is the relationship of a famous heiress, Peggy Guggenheim, and Jackson Pollack, a struggling painter. Peggy paid the painter’s daily bills, bought his work when no one else would, and organized his first art show. At a soirée held in her home, she even let him pee in her fireplace (though not on the carpet)…

…Money sluiced through the streets and piazzas of Renaissance Florence, and yet the sheer hydraulic force of capital did not determine every outcome. Money was a means, but not an end. What mattered most was social interaction in the context of a networked culture driven by ideals, and Burning Man may be regarded in a similar light. One way to fathom this phenomenon is to follow the money. In 2016, Black Rock City will distribute 1.2 million dollars to artists in the form of honoraria.

It is around 3% of revenues – almost exactly half this year’s $2,349,000 Vehicle Pass take.

Artists have been asking for a fair and equitable contract. Here at Burners.Me, we have been suggesting more should be spent on art than on lawyers. It doesn’t sound like Larry & Co are listening to either of these groups, so we wonder where the feedback he’s getting is coming from – and if his information diet is being distorted and propagandized as it moves up the food chain.

In the case of Burning Man, such quasi-governmental patronage does not exhaust resources that are devoted to art. As with competitions sponsored by the Wool Guild, Black Rock City’s honoraria are awarded by a small committee, but this curatorship, as practiced by a few, is counter-balanced by a radically populist patronage. Each year many artist groups will subsidize their projects through community fundraising events and crowd-sourced campaigns on the Internet. Some critics say that Burning Man should shoulder all of these expenses, but we have found that self-initiated efforts create constituencies, loyal networks that support these artists on and off the playa.

This has produced a flow of art that’s issued out of Black Rock City in the form of privately commissioned work, civic installations, and exhibitions subsidized by festivals. Now this surge of money in support of art is going global.

[Source: Burningman Journal]

Radically populist patronage? Sounds like Sanders and Trump voters.

I would love to see a link to somewhere on the Internet where somebody said that BMOrg should pay all the costs of all the art at Burning Man. I think the general consensus here has been that they should pay more of the costs than a third of the pieces they promote the crap out of and claim credit for – and they should probably pay for The Temple, the same way they do for The Man.  Let us spend our artist funding budget supporting pieces that wouldn’t otherwise get there, rather than mega-works you can promote with Oprah and Dr Phil and sell tickets to for $1207+ for spectators to come and behold.

Here is a recent link to Larry Harvey repeating his oft-told tall tale that “no artist has ever signed their art at Burning Man”. This previously espoused philosophy seems to be the antithesis of his latest claim, that the art at Black Rock City funded by their annual Medici donation of $1.2 million (by year BM30) has enabled outside careers and markets for its artists. Personally, I believe the latter to be closer to the truth, and his earlier claim to be false. Nice to see you coming round, Larry.

Last year, in an interview with Ignite Channel, BMOrg were claiming to have created their own art market.

So instead of trying to cater to the traditional art market, Burning Man has created its own. The Burning Man Project not only funds art projects shown at the festival itself, but supports artists creating interactive projects in cities internationally. 

Many cultural festivals have since followed Burning Man’s example in putting art front and center. With pride, Harvey shares: “Many people come [to Burning Man] for the art and stay for the community. (…) We are making it more possible for artists to sell their art in such a way that they can live off their art.” By supporting artists who would otherwise struggle to gain recognition in the traditional art market, Burning Man and other festivals are giving birth to creative dreams while shining a light on unlikely art.

“Anybody who’s going to take art as a vocation has to endure enough. Artists deserve to make a living.” — Larry Harvey

I would be interested to hear the opinions of some Burner artists about this. Has BMOrg helped them to live off their art? Last we heard, BMOrg’s artist contract specifically forbade artists from paying themselves anything from the art grant. It also said BMOrg take a 10% cut if the art piece is sold off-Playa.

Are they going to claim credit, and a cut of the money, for this? If you ask me, the credit and the money should all go to Marco.

Bliss-Dance-Marco-Cochrane-web_t1000

Artist Marco Cochrane with Bliss Dance, now in front of the MGM at Park Las Vegas. Image: MGM Resorts

[Update 3/13/16 11:55pm]

A reader has let us know that the reason the art grants have “increased” from $850k to $1.2m in the last couple of years is that the costs of The Man are now being lumped together with Art Honoraria grants.


 

[Update 3/13/16 5:42pm]

Here’s what BMOrg said last week:

Burning Man Arts is funding BRC art to the tune of $1.2 million this year, including these Honoraria recipients, as well as the sculptures, the bell towers, and the 33 Guild Workshops in the Piazza around the Man.

The sculptures? Meaning, The Man and his rotating clock frame? Or other sculptures as well as the Man and the Temple?

The $ are also funding blacksmithing collective Iron Monkeys, linked to BMOrg Board member Kay Morrison, to provide a functioning blacksmith shop in the desert:

There will even be a functioning, participatory blacksmith shop — the Piazza de Ferro — built by the Iron Monkeys. Sparks will fly!

What further indications do we have that the $1.2 million BRC art budget is funding The Man, as well as everything else listed and fractional funding of 60 art projects?

In the most recent financial information we have for the Burning Man Project (2014) the Man and platform can be found at the bottom: $407,055 for Cargo Cult and $237,581 for Fertility 2.0. It’s hard to imagine that 2014’s 120 foot-high Man cost much less than this to construct.

As you can see, in 2014 the Man and Platform are no longer being listed as a separate line item (Donations to Schools and Regionals have also disappeared). Are they office expenses? Contractors has risen $2 million from 2013 to 2014, neatly mirroring a drop in (estimated) profit after all expenses from $4 million to $2 million. Perhaps it could be hidden away in there – but, why?

2014 bmp comparison financials 2013 2013 burnersdotme 2