Gifting For Permanent Art [Update]

disorient 1

photo by Liz Hafalia, SF Chronicle

photo by Liz Hafalia, SF Chronicle

At least we know there’s one BMP Director who gets it. Leo Villareal has been a Burner since 1994, and is the founder of Disorient. If there is a “spectrum of camps” like BMOrg says, then Disorient is clearly on the good end of the spectrum. They provide a major sound stage with many DJs, as well as several areas of their camp that are open to all Burners. They bring multiple art cars, which give rides to the public; and they gift an Art Car Wash every year which every art car can participate in. Everyone who camps with Disorient is expected to volunteer some of their time at the burn in multiple shifts, to give back to the community. While they charge dues, it is in the hundreds of dollars, not tens of thousands, and no-one in the camp is trying to make a profit. Those who stay longer to break down and pack up get a discount on their dues, but even those hard workers still pay to be a part of a camp.

Leo is also an accomplished artist. He’s the first Burning Man artist to have an exhibition of his interactive works at a major art museum (the San Jose Museum of Art).

Wikipedia:

Villareal has permanent installations at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York, as well as in the private collections of contemporary art collectors CJ Follini. His work has also been on display at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., Madison Square Park in New York City, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the PS 1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City, New York and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Oh, and if you’ve been anywhere near San Francisco in the last couple of years, you’ve probably seen one other little piece he’s done: an $8 million commission he got to build the largest electronic sculpture in the world, The Bay Lights.

image: Illuminate The Arts

image: James Ewing/Illuminate The Arts

The Bay Lights were only ever intended to be temporary, and have already lasted longer than the original plan. They have become a beloved feature of the San Francsico skyline, and have had a measured boost on the city’s tourism and the trade of businesses along the Embarcadero waterfront.

Good news, Burners! The Bay Lights could be here to stay. Thanks to the generosity of a number of donors, if the project can raise another $293,000 before the end of the year, Caltrans has agreed to pick up the maintenance tab and keep the installation on the Bay Bridge – permanently.

Illuminate The Arts CEO Ben Davis says:

Dear Bay Lights Lovers,

There’s good news and even better news.

The Good News: If we raise four million dollars in gifts and pledges by the end of this year, we keep The Bay Lights forever.

This is a one-time raise of $4m, made possible by Illuminate The Arts’ break-through agreement with Bay Bridge officials. With that money, ITA will install a new set of LEDs – expressly engineered to withstand the harsh environment of the San Francisco Bay. 

We would then gift these new lights to the Bay Area Toll Authority and Caltrans, in exchange for their on-going stewardship. The Bay Lights would become a permanent fixture of the Bay Bridge, just as the 50th Anniversary necklace lights did in 1989.

This means, Leo Villareal’s temporary masterpiece will become a permanent work of public art, establishing a global icon that lets the Bay Area shine around the world in perpetuity.

The Even Better News: Thanks to a $2 million challenge grant from Bay Area philanthropist Tad Taube, every new dollar raised will be matched until the $4 million goal is reached. Tad’s inspiring gift has already helped spur another $1.7m in private gifts. That means we have only $293,000 left to raise.

If you love The Bay Lights, now is the time act. 
 

MAKE A TAX-FREE DONATION NOW

Here are some other recent media highlights: 

  • Featured in the San Francisco Chronicle yesterday, ‘”Bay Lights” get offer of permanence from bridge officials” Read Here 
  • San Jose Mercury News features “Bay Bridge light sculpture to shine on with big donation” Read Here  
  • San Francisco Chronicle Editorial, “Keep the Bay Bridge lights Shining” Read Here
Thank you for your continued brilliance,
 

Ben Davis
Founder and CEO, Illuminate the Arts

Tad-Taube


Tad Taube is an 83-year old former USAF officer, who escaped the Nazis and became a real estate and tech magnate and major philanthropist. He is connected to the Koret sportswear empire that was sold to Levi Strauss, and runs charitable foundations worth more than $500 million that gave away $26 million in 2012. He’s challenged the community to match his gift to the Bay Lights, many other donors have stepped up, and we’re almost there.

Every little bit helps – a mere $4 from everyone who went to Burning Man this year, would be enough to keep the Bay Lights going forever. Click here to donate.

Why doesn’t the Burning Man Project step up too, and provide a financial contribution to support the biggest and most famous piece of Burner Art being shared with the world forever? Seems like giving $10,000 to this would be more directly relevant to their mission of spreading Burner culture than $10,000 to the Exploratorium.

If Burners want to donate to help promote the art and culture of Burning Man worldwide, making this amazing installation permanent seems like incredible bang for our buck. It’s permanent, internationally renowned, and has already been enjoyed by more than 25 million people. The Bay Lights puts a permanent Burner stamp on the city’s skyline.

The documentary Impossible Light, about the dream that led to the Bay Lights’ Creation, makes a nice Christmas stocking stuffer for your Burner friends.

[Update 12/17/14 10:00pm]

The Bay Lights has met its funding goal, and will be staying permanently:

From SFGate:

There will be permanent, artistic lights at the end of the tunnel — the westbound tunnel of the Bay Bridge leading into San Francisco, that is — come 2016.

After a two-month campaign, the nonprofit Illuminate the Arts announced Wednesday that it had raised the needed $4 million to reinstall the “Bay Lights” as a permanent fixture on the western end of the bridge.

Billed as the world’s largest light sculpture, the display of 25,000 LED lights turns the 1.8-mile San Francisco portion of the span into a nightly show of constantly changing abstract images.

It was first announced as a temporary two-year installation to be taken down in March 2015. Now, after some cable maintenance and repainting, it’s to be replaced with a sturdier set of lights that will begin glowing in time for Super Bowl 50, scheduled for February 2016 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

“This is a great moment for public art and a great gift of the holiday season for the people of the Bay Area,” said Ben Davis, founder of Illuminate the Arts.

Backstage Flare-Up at SF Decom [Update]

john goodwin camp

Fire dancers are not all warm and fuzzy. It sounds like some shit went down backstage at last weekend’s officially sanctioned Decompression party in San Francisco – an assault, or nearly one. The Black Rock Rangers who were volunteering in a security role and the event managers refused to call the police, preferring to downplay the incident.

“Safety third” used to be a funny Burner saying, but this year we have had to deal with the tragic death of a Burner who was crushed by an art car, and several suicides of Burners – 1 who jumped into the fire in front of 1200 people at Utah’s Element 11 Regional Burn, and 2 (or is it 3?) DPW workers since the Man burned. Safety and mental health issues are extremely important. Maybe it’s time to put safety first, instead of third.

In every story there are usually three sides: his side, their side, and the truth. I am publishing this story because a reader asked me to, and we encourage the whole community to share their opinions here. I believe it highlights some safety issues that might otherwise remain un-addressed. Other people involved in the incident have come forward to describe a slightly different version of events. Usually, in this type of incident, if someone was drunk they don’t turn around the next day and say “it was all my fault because I was drunk”. Denial is a common strategy. If there were any other witnesses to the event, please comment. I’m presenting both sides, I trust that you can make up your own minds, readers.


 

john goodwinJG: My name is John Goodwin and I have been a fire performer for 18 long years. I performed at Burning Man as part of Fire Conclave in 2011. I have been a part of the fire stage for Unscruz, the Santa Cruz Regional. I have been a fire performer and worked hard part every part of the fire stage and back stage facilitating others’ performances for the San Francisco Burning Man Decompression event 2010,2011,2012,2013 and my final year this past sunday october 12th 2014. I’ve been a part of the Union Square Fire Dance Expo the past 3 years. I worked from around 1p to 10:30 this year back stage at sf decompression. I helped build out and tear down the fuel spin out structure and with the fuel depot. I have also been to a lot of renegade fire and spin jams and watched a large community of fire dancers grow and develop in the San Francisco Bay Area. Most fire dancers are warm, overly nice open-minded people. Unfortunately that means that they don’t always speak out when they see a problem that might stop their fun. Many times these illegal renegade spin jams happen because permits or safe private property with owner’s permission is expensive. They’ve been wearing out their second chances and warnings from the police and fire dept. in San Francisco, so they come to the ghettos of Oakland or by Lake Merritt. Drinking and drug use are both serious problems that no one wants to address in the fire dance community, even though everyone gives lip service to not drinking and doing drugs as a part of safety. I left the last fire conclave I practiced with, because they had a nasty habit of proving themselves unsafe,untrustworthy, smoking by fuel, drinking and playing fire and occasionally starting fires that they couldn’t put out or hurting each other. Every time somebody gets hurts, they say that’s what happens when you play with fire and don’t address the issue. These include their leader, [name removed] and others who volunteered to be fire safety for the stage the day of. That’s because the stage manager did not line up any professionals long before hand! That means I had to explain and argue with her twice, that no you don’t put everyone at risk by having untrustworthy, dangerous criminals in a position to do the most damage as “safeties”!

Other serious problems including the fact that they kept removing the signs that said no smoking or drinking, that meant chasing drunken smokers away from where we keep all the white gasoline, lamp oil and propane tanks. We also had big black cables from the generator and extension cords all around near the fuel area. I’m thinking that’s bad and having to explain we couldn’t have a fuel depot or spinout area over the black cables was really bad too. That’s super dangerous and we learn day 1 not to smoke near the fuel.fire twirl john goodwin I would say or do absolutely anything to ensure the public safety of our audience because I love them and I would  do the same for my brother and sister performers. Later that evening before show time I had a drunken, crazy asshole get in my face and question that decision, trying to intimidate me by getting too close when its not crowded. I told him that I didn’t know him, would not be questioned by him and we don’t let drunks back stage and walked away to get help. No help for over 5 minutes as he chased after me starting when he again tapped me on the shoulder and got in my face. Once again I made it clear he needed to leave me alone and go home, you’re drunk. At the time I had a fire staff, with worn padded wick covers in my hands. This crazy drunk chased me around backstage while I dodged his attacks, danced or just ran away the whole time screaming for help and police and security. There was some shoving with hands and gentle prodding with the padding end of my staff and warning that I’d defend myself and still the drunk kept coming.It really doesn’t have to be an epic battle, where some one gets hurt to be harassment and assault, the fact is self-defense is avoiding physical violence usually and I used all my skills doing exactly that. I regret not hitting him now, because he isn’t facing consequences. Maybe next time he’ll hurt someone!john goodwin fire stickI understand that at some points even though I was defending myself and standing up for what is right and actually doing everything in my power to not come to blows with this thug, sent by [name removed] saying he’s from FAC or FAFC the group I knew to be unsafe and did not trust and wow did he prove my decision right, still I may have looked like the angry violent burner all armed with weapon. Even if that’s so, why was there no police or security called on me either?To be fair the last I saw the villain he was with 2 rangers in khaki, but when a ranger in black finally came to help me backstage, thing is they refused to let me talk to the police and make a report!  I was also prevented from talking to the on site Fire Marshal responsible for the permit. I think she needed to know! The fire show went on while i hid backstage because there is only 1 of me and the only way out was through the front. Performers that saw the incident stayed away and did not get help. Some now even blame me. Stage management, burning man org and a lot of idiots ruining my beloved arts are now trying to sweep it under the rug. I did get an escort out to a cab after insisting on it and after still working to do tear down and clean up. More unpaid labor, replacing skilled workers by the way.They don’t like being called out for the drunken hooligans they are. They don’t like it when I point out just how quickly fire arts can turn to arson and are unsafe! I’m already being accused of slander just for speaking the truth. If they were really good, they wouldn’t do that, they would clear their name by disassociating themselves from unsafe and violent people. The Burning Man people, the Special Events team that put it on are horrible for putting seriously important things like event security and fire stage safety in the hands of unpaid volunteers. The stage manager [name removed] was exceptionally disorganized and it put the general public, the show and everyone at unacceptable risks!I would gladly share my story and expose the madness because I won’t be there to prevent them from burning the place down. They just don’t understand why I refused to compromise with safety or use some hippy conflict resolution or de-escalation when I had a drunk after me backstage where there all kinds of torches and tools that double as melee weapons, hazardous fuels and wires everywhere. Sometimes the conflict only ends when the problem people are removed. I agree completely with what you published recently: Burning Man is like modern Roman Orgies celebrating at the fall of western civilization complete with a zombie apocalypse of humans so degraded by drugs that become zombies and they’ll eat the brains of fools who keep their minds so open that they are failing out.We had serious safety issues with fire stage this year and lots of unpaid volunteers replacing the paid positions of skilled labor, nearly had the opposite of fire safeties between the fire stage and audience, I was assaulted backstage and they are covering it up. More over my “friends and peers” are protecting who ever attacked me and pouring on the hate, because I speak the hard truth and stand by my principles. I’m no great journalist and writing this all out is very upsetting. Burners.me is obviously dedicated to blowing the whistle on Burning Man and Burner related problems, please help me blow the whistle now. I’m getting betrayed and ganged up on, by people that should really be supporting me on this.Thank You

 

I have also been emailed some of the counter-arguments:

Andrew:

Hey there Burners.me, I would like to reach out and make contact because it has come to my attention that one John Goodwin, is making allegations that certain groups at SF heat the streets decompression fire performance stage were under the influence of alcohol, and are criminals…..

Well I was present, and witnessed a good deal of how John claims to have handled the situation.   I was filling in as center safety, as the one who volunteered did not show up.   While I was backstage, I witnessed John yelling and moving around aggressively some dude in a red shirt.   now  I have been apart of the Bay Area fire scene for some years now, and I have noticed this kid likes to stir up drama, and cause conflict when his views are not accepted by everyone.

I have studied and practice de-escalation techniques to resolve conflicts, and what I witnessed from Johns actions of yelling in the guys face, and poking him with a fire staff as opposed to just walking away and getting security (before security was called on him for being aggressive to others)  Is a joke to me being present when the event happened.  Then to make sweeping generalizations about the the “criminals” working safety can be offensive.  I for one was not intoxicated in the least as fill-in center safety for the performances.

I am writing on my behalf as well as my friends with the FAC and Ministry of Flow, that we put safety first when it comes to public/private performances.   While John Goodwin is going around blocking people who disagree with him on social media, Facebook, i just wanted to put it out there that a vast majority of the community realizes his tendency to cause drama, and would like to have both sides of the story present.

Jacob:

Hey just wanted to let you guys know that the story that John Goodwin is writing to you is all fabricated and full of lies. He was the instigator with his situation, threatened to beat people of with his fire staff, is lying about FAC, and everything else. We have multiple witnesses who saw what happened and were backstage. [libellous statement removed]. If you would like anymore information please feel free to contact me. 


 

There has been quite a bit of discussion about this on John’s Facebook page. His wife RL was traumatized by the incident.

 

JG: at one point he asked all stupid are you really going to hit me with that and I had to say “yes! If you come near me and make defend myself” All my fire dancing was spent keeping from not fighting him, because a staff is also a pretty serious melee weapon. I wouldn’t let myself get hurt, and the charges are the same even in self-defense. So, seriously all just dancing away and gentle,gentle pokes with a padded end, a couple shoves with hands while yelling for help. Danced and yelled around backstage like that, easily 5 minutes, definitely longer than my stage in time was meant to be all used in gracefully avoiding a serious fight against a determined assailant while calling for help.

[name removed] witnessed at least some of this. He told me to put the staff down and I would not. He criticized my self-control. I did not actually come to blows with my assailant, I did not swing on him with my staff, all my martial and fire dancing arts were instead used to avoid violence – the essence of mastery according to my traditions. Of course i will not disarm before such an enemy, however I would not seriously hurt such a drunken fool either.

Carolyn:  You should never have been put in that position. Back stage is supposed to be a safe space.

Isa: Sorry this happened but good for you for not working free. I gave up performing at Decom and BM events years ago in part for this reason.

John Z: I stayed away this year, for the first time, partly because of the negative comments about the producers of Decompression I’ve read from [a sound camp]. Stage security is so important at any event, and relying on volunteers to maintain the peace is asking for trouble. Getting paid to perform is a step in the right direction towards professional productions, which take the safety of their talent seriously. Needless to say, consider the drinking establishment before you say yes to performing. Sorry you had to suffer a jackass to cement your resolve.

Bekka: I’m glad you’re ok, John. I didn’t see this happen, but I do know the person you’re accusing of attacking you and his account is drastically different than what you describe here. I’m not saying he’s right or you’re right. I care about both of you and am ultimately glad that nobody got hurt. I’m sorry we didn’t get to see your performance and that your night was disrupted in such an extreme way. I do know that this person was sober- at least most of the night while he was working backstage, certainly when he and his wife gave me a ride home- and had a very good reason to be backstage. Whoever claimed that only performers should be backstage is forgetting about the multitude of crew members (from stage hands and managers, to emcees, to djs/drummers/sound and light crew, to fire safeties) that actually facilitate the execution of a show. Performers would not be able to perform without these hidden hands making it possible. This person facilitated a lot that happened that night by helping to set up and strike as well as carry the massive drumset for our drummers in his truck. He wasn’t some vagrant off the street that randomly snuck backstage. As to the fire safeties, they were respected and very experienced members of the fire community and I’m not sure what makes them criminal, but I certainly admit I don’t know the full story as to why you dismissed them, so perhaps something happened I’m unaware of. I do know that they have been spinning and teaching for years, run a collective and have organized conclave multiple years, host fire jams regularly, etc so they seemed qualified to safety and like you, they were volunteering their time to do so and had nothing to gain other than making a contribution to their community. Another thing I know is that you, John Goodwin, and the other person involved in this encounter are both well respected long standing members of the Burning Man community- you as a fire artist, he as a welder at American Steel and member of DPW and he is often volunteering his time and energy to the fire community via his wife who performs (and she performed with us last night). I don’t think either of you are bad people, and suspect that there was a misunderstanding, and we all know tensions are always high during performances. I just feel compelled to offer my perspective that both of you are unique talented individuals who were both trying to contribute in your own way last night. It really sucks this happened, and I’m sorry you had to deal with the stress. I have a lot of appreciation for the many hours you volunteered to make the show happen last night, John. I also think it’s totally acceptable for anyone to draw the line and reject unpaid work at any point in time. I do, however, feel it’s worth noting that this was a charity event. We weren’t just performing for free for kicks… we were donating our time and passion to raise money for the Burning Man Project and you can read about the awesome ways they make art accessible to the public on their website and I think that’s a cause we all cherish. Thanks again for all your hard work John. I hope I get to see you perform soon. You are an inspiration to many. Much love.

JG: No, that asshole was a crazy drunk that got in my face to start a fight back stage you want to name him [name removed]? Because I want to press that charges on that guy,he was crazy! As for FAC my advice is to stay away, they proved crazy, you will get yourself hurt and get involved in arson or other illegal activities. As far as I’m concerned, they are a gang of criminals, not artists. Also fuck the big, well funded Burning Man Project that ain’t why volunteered my time.

If that guy wasn’t a drunk that snuck in, that is so much worse! His coming to fuck with me back stage only proves what I say is right! No way he wasn’t all kinds of drunk, if he was not, that also only makes it so much worse, because that must mean he is always so violent and stupid! Also, he didn’t have shit to do with our backstage, i was there all day and night, because I don’t just perform I do a lot of other work facilitating others’ performances.

RL: What kind of thoughtless jackass considers a situation like this “just a misunderstanding”? It’s not a misunderstanding when one guy has to be fended off until the second guy can get away, leaving the second guy feeling so unsafe he can’t even go onstage for his set. This was a giant fuckup on the part of the stage manager, security and the drunken asshole who tried to start a fight. John was not at fault, he was trying to get away from a violent piece of crap. I also don’t understand those who want to stand back and criticize how John handled this situation, and call that “helpful”. It’s not helpful. It’s victim-blaming. Fuck off.

JG: He got into my face, stepping in so close as to be touching me and spitting in my face to argue about our decision to not let untrustworthy people “help”. Like waaay to close in my face, trying to be intimidating. I was busy and in no mood to have stage management decisions questioned by a crazy drunk ass hole I don’t even know, so I told him so. We don’t let drunks backstage anyway or shouldn’t. I moved away after telling him as much and he chased after me. There was lots of him chasing after me. There were times he lashed out trying to punch me and he simply couldn’t land a hit on me because i kept dodging and moving away and keeping him back with a staff. It wasn’t much of a fight or an assault, however he definitely attacked me and chased me around over 5 frustrating minutes until security came, they didn’t act like real security either, wanting to talk instead of do their jobs. i get really upset just thinking about and trying to type it all out.

Thing is it didn’t have to be an epic battle with someone getting hurt for it to be a fight or an assault. Touch when someone doesn’t want touch, move in too close when its not crowded, keep messing with someone who doesn’t want to talk to you, thats assault and harassment and fuck conflict resolution, that shit gets resolved when dumb drunks get bounced, preferably in handcuffs.

Andrew: I was backstage when it happened. I feel raising your voice and holding up a prop is the opposite of de-escalation. Walking away works pretty great. From my point of view I only saw you moving around agitated making loud shouts. I don’t have a judgement, just what I saw, and then chose to walk away from the area.

JG: So you saw and you did not get the police or security? That’s bad! Walking away didn’t work with that crazy drunk violent asshole! He needed to be ejected or better yet, not allowed backstage to fuck with me in the first place! That’s “de-escalation” not being attacked by an angry drunk in the first place!

Andrew: I thought you were the instigator from my point of view, I didn’t hear what you were saying i just heard yelling and felt aggression.

JG: Mostly I was yelling “Help!” and “Police!” and “Security!” and ordering the drunk to “Get away from me!” I can see how it may have looked from your point of view, because I was armed. That’s one more reason I didn’t lay him out cold like [name removed] suggests and instead poked him back very gently all things considered with the padded end. I trained in 5 different martial arts and a shitload of fire dancing to be able to dodge and run away and keep out of reach, instead of escalating use of force. That’s how come i’m sitting at home explaining to you that the next time you see some shit like that -“yes get away is right, and then do the right thing and get a police officer or security to sort it out!” instead of my being with a police officer behind bars along with that asshole.

Next time you sense that much aggression the back of a fire stage or similar setting, seriously be safe and get security or the police quickly, it is too dangerous to mess around.

Bekka: I do not know his last name but even if I did I feel uncomfortable stating names publicly without prior consent. I don’t think a mediated (non-violent) encounter would be a bad thing if that’s something you desired. If you’d like to reach this person, I’m sure I can link you to people who can help you do that. PM me if interested. I am not trying to make light of the stress or trauma of what you experienced. I am not saying you are in the wrong. I am only saying that it’s possible that this man’s intentions were not to physically assault you, and perhaps he approached you more aggressively than was necessary or appropriate and things escalated from there. I think both of you had high emotions about the topic at hand, and neither of you understood this about the other (as the FAC safeties were his friends and they were only fulfilling their volunteer shifts they had committed to [which they actually thought were greeter shifts, not fire safety shifts, and somehow they got reassigned to fire safety] and he was trying to get answers as to why his friends were being blacklisted from an event that, as far as he knew, they were qualified to work for). I also feel that it’s not accurate that he wasn’t supposed to be backstage… he was assisting, and did facilitate [name removed]‘s performances. I honestly have the utmost respect for every single person who was backstage, and both of you are included in this. I hope you can find a way to recover from this and move forward in a direction that’s constructive for your life -whether that’s reaching out to confront this person in a safe, non-violent environment, or discontinuing your participation with Decom if that’s what you desire, or whatever else- and I encourage you to discuss this situation with any other organizers involved with that stage so that such encounters can be prevented in the future. Perhaps something as simple as backstage access passes (which would have alerted you that he was not a rando off the street but someone there helping one of the groups), or each group providing their own safeties (so that you would not have to rely on whatever volunteer coordinator’s decision it was about assigning safeties), could have prevented this situation. I am sorry this happened, and don’t let it get you down. I know how much you love your art and this community. Your passion for fire arts is very obvious and appreciated. I know how much you contributed Sunday by organizing the fire stage, not to mention your contributions throughout your many years as a fire artist. I support you, and let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.

RL: How long would this asshole have had to chase John around before you actually got it through your head that he was the aggressor, caused a problem and should not have been there? Is five minutes not enough for you? Where’s the cutoff? Ten minutes? Or does the aggressor have to actually have John’s blood on his fists before you finally understand that he’s not a nice person? Why is John being chased from backstage and feeling so unsafe he had to be escorted out not enough for you? Because the bullying drunk who did it is your buddy? Nobody chases a guy around and has to be fended off with a fire staff for five whole minutes because he’s “looking for clarification”. Stop minimizing what this son of a bitch did to John and the stress we’re both under as a result. You have ZERO idea what it was like for him, or for me for that matter. Your buddy’s “innocent” actions left John enraged, bitter, scared for his personal safety, and completely alienated, and left me having anxiety attacks at home as I worried for his safety. This is not a matter of “misunderstanding”, unless we’re counting your total inability to understand that your friend wronged John and put us both through Hell.

RL: It makes me sick how many people will attack someone for getting justifiably angry and kicking up even a small fuss about it. It’s like they expect you to just help them cover up the situation, avoid rocking the boat and never seek any kind of justice or vindication. I guess they don’t want their fun interrupted by inconvenient realities–like needing to rein in a small but very troublesome group of aggressive, booze-loving idiots. Or needing to make sure security isn’t so fucking lax that a guy can get chased around by an angry drunk for five minutes before any of them notice. Or that job you ended up doing a lot–keeping idiots from smoking while standing over the damn fuel depot. These are all common sense things that responsible people would see to. But being responsible takes work and effort, and that distracts from funtimes. So I guess it’s just more convenient to them to try to silence the person making the complaint.

JG: Rangers as event security was the worst, they would not get the police and help press charges when they had that bastard in custody! They prefer to sweep problems under the rug and don’t like enforcing rules or harsh consequences like when a violent thug needs to be arrested because he’s chased a performer all around a dangerous back stage area! They sure weren’t preventing drunks and smokers from getting backstage!

RL: I’ve been crying off and on at work because this is just so much like what happened to me with the Pagan group where I was sexually molested. The people in that group acted just like the people in this group. They denied, minimized, called me crazy, claimed I was overreacting and otherwise made a million excuses why it couldn’t have happened and I didn’t deserve help. They picked at my responses to being molested. They claimed I was “just sexually uptight”. They did everything they could think of to ignore and dismiss the problem so they could go back to their fun. And when I wouldn’t let it slide like they wanted, they ostracized me. These people defending that thug are just as terrible, and I’m really glad that we’re going where we won’t have to deal with them any more.

JG: they are just mad that I blow the whistle, that I stand firm by my beliefs and decisions and I don’t just cave in. I went to extreme lengths to avoid hitting or being hit by a determined assailant. It is the height of irony that I am now being lectured on de-escalation and avoiding conflict. I was running away, I was looking for help. Why not tell that to the drunk who kept chasing me, determined to fight about that hippy pacifism crap?

Why did event security and others prevent me from making a police report?!

[Update 10/16/14 6:35pm] Bekka has provided further details, an alternative perspective on events from someone who was there.

I am writing from the perspective of someone who was present backstage during all of this, who has been at least casual friends with John Goodwin for years and who is also the close friend of his “assailant’s” wife. Therefore, I don’t have a personal bias and wish both parties involved nothing but the best.

John had a falling out with the people assigned as fire safety a long time before this event. I can’t speak much to that as I wasn’t involved, except that it had something to do with accusations about lapse in safety standards from both sides. When he found out they were assigned as safety, he was upset and claimed they were not qualified (despite that these people are well known in the community [have run conclave multiple years, host fire jams, teach classes, safetied for many events] and all the other performers felt either honored or at the very least neutral to have them as safeties). If John truly felt unsafe, he certainly had a right to express that and I don’t fault him for that (though I don’t agree with his assessment), but for the other members of the community who disagree with his judgment and in fact have high respect for these safeties it is difficult not to view this as a personal vendetta rather than truly a safety issue. Personally, I feel if he truly felt endangered by these people (again, this is not how I felt) then making mention of this is the right thing. What I found frustrating was that he did not have a solution to the problem- he had no replacement safeties lined up. His interests seemed much more aligned with causing drama about these people he didn’t like, than ensuring that a safe show continue to go on as planned. Luckily some of the performers volunteered to safety when they weren’t onstage, so this resolved the problem.

The encounter happened when the husband of my good friend, who was backstage WITH permission to assist in setting up the massive drum sets for our performances with Aries Fire Arts, approached John to ask why he made such accusations about his friends who had been assigned to safety. And just to be clear, they had signed up for greeter shifts at Decom, but upon arrival found that they were reassigned to fire safety. This was not their request- someone (presumably a volunteer coordinator who knew of their qualifications and involvement in the fire community) had reassigned them. My friend’s husband has known these people for years and felt strongly they were qualified and good people, and did not know of the drama from the previous year between them and John Goodwin. Frustrated that the show at this point had no safeties due to John’s allegations (and a fire show can’t occur without safeties), and further frustrated that John’s opinion was evidently not shared by anyone else there and wanting to defend the integrity of his friends, he approached John and asked why they couldn’t safety. John, of course, is not obligated to answer such questions, but it’s not surprising that he was asked repeatedly when refusing to answer.

I did not observe the actual interaction of this man asking John questions. I was, however, (like about 50 other performers) standing about 10 feet away. Therefore, if there had been an assault I’m pretty sure I would have stopped what I was doing and looked at the commotion- which is exactly what I did when I heard the screaming, which I only heard from John. Not a single witness saw any of the things John claims to have happened. We were all right there next to it, and nobody saw this man threaten John, assault him, or touch him, or even scream at him. ALL OF US however, were well aware of John screaming for 10 min or so for security and police and help. I personally approached John to see if he was ok, not knowing what happened. I found him (in the midst of what appeared to be a panic attack) behind a structure backstage hyperventilating. I asked what happened, and he said he’d just been attacked by a drunk man. I offered him some water and asked if I could help, and he waved his hand to dismiss me, as it was clear he was so agitated he could barely speak. Security/rangers DID come promptly, as John requested but John either refused or was unable to speak with them so they were only able to speak with the other person involved. The determined that the situation had deescalated and left. I do not think John’s claims that the rangers prevented him from filing a report with police or speaking to the fire marshal are accurate, as I was told that the rangers weren’t able to speak with John despite their attempts. I didn’t even know that my friends’s husband was the other person involved until the end of the night when he and his wife gave me a ride home. I can tell you that he appeared to be very sober throughout the entire time, as did the people assigned to fire safety. I also witnessed nobody moving any smoking signs. I did not hear my friend who approached John when it happened so it’s hard for me to believe it was truly an attack or assault as John claimed (besides the fact that I don’t believe my friend’s husband would do that). I don’t doubt that he was emotional and defensive of his friends when he approached John, and this may have appeared aggressive and made John feel attacked and unsafe. This probably triggered panic in John, so I am sure John’s feelings are valid. However, his description of the story simply is not accurate, and the multitude of witnesses confirm this.

Regarding safety at the show, it all seemed well organized and safe to me (as someone who has received a lot of fire safety training years ago when I started spinning from Temple of Poi, have worked volunteer safety shifts repeatedly at fire spinning festivals such as FireDrums and Pacific Fire, and as someone who has performed locally and also 3 times in the Great Circle at Burning Man in conclave so I feel pretty competent in assessing safety). The fire marshall was present and inspected every performer’s props before going onstage. The fuel was contained in an area greater than 25 feet from the performance space, as per regulations. There was a temporary drywall structure erected for spinning off fuel from props before lighting up, which prevented fuel or flames from dripping onto the ground or onto other performers. There were multiple safety persons with flame-retardant blankets waiting to put out props after I walked offstage, and I felt safe trusting them to put out any accidental igniting of clothing/performers that could have occurred onstage. Every performer was experienced with their props. Security was called when John requested it… I’m not sure what else you would have happen to boost safety and security, though (as you can see from my comments you copied and pasted) I encouraged John to discuss his concerns with the stage managers and Decompression organizers rather than publicly complaining on facebook about it. Also, I don’t personally feel that the event was unsafe or insecure and I don’t think anyone else (besides John felt that way) and I personally had a great time and felt honored to be there. Safety and security can always be improved, but just ranting about it to cause drama isn’t going to do that. It would be much more productive for John to work together with his community and with the event organizers to ensure that, rather than divisively ranting and making extreme accusations that nobody else can corroborate.

I would last like to attest to the characters of both parties involved. My friend’s husband accused of attacking John is a good person. He has been a longtime member of the Burning Man community, member of DPW, welder with studio space at American Steel. He supports the fire arts, not as a spinner himself, but as an appreciator and via his wife who has performed with multiple conclave groups and been in the community for years herself. He has welded props for us, helped backstage, and put a lot of love and sweat into the performance at Decompression as well as many others. John Goodwin is also a good person. I think most would describe him as very very eccentric. He has some very extreme opinions about a lot of things, and he is often described as volatile, easily agitated, and very difficult to work with though I personally have experienced more good than bad from him. He is a talented spinner and cares very very deeply about his art and his community, even if his behavior occasionally isolates him from that community. I believe that John FELT attacked and physically threatened, but I do not believe the other man involved actually threatened John or assaulted him. This whole situation is very very unfortunate because I don’t like to think of anyone I know feeling unsafe, especially doing something they are so passionate about. I wish there had been a way to handle the situation better but I’m not sure what could have really been done differently. I also wish that John felt comfortable asking for help with this situation, rather than lashing out in a public forum. I think a lot of us (certainly myself) would have been willing to help both during and after the fact if he’d been capable of communicating better about what he was feeling. As I told John on the fb thread, I would have happily linked him in contact with the other person involved if John wrote me a private message about it, but I wasn’t going to publicly implicate that person on Facebook. That’s just inappropriate and not constructive towards any resolution- even a legal one, if that’s what John truly wanted. John never wrote me a private message to get that information, so it was clear that moving forward to resolve things (legally or otherwise) was not his interest- but publicly flaming this person was.

 


Burners.Me writing now:

Bottom line? I wasn’t there, I don’t know what happened. Decide for yourselves. It sounds like security and safety were pretty lax, and arrangements were changed at the last minute. Having backstage passes on lanyards (like other events do) to indicate authorized personnel in areas that are restricted for safety reasons seems like a pretty basic idea to me – with all this money, you’d think someone could arrange it. I guess this is one of the big problems with a de-centralized do-ocracy – when something goes wrong, everyone points fingers at each other, while BMOrg stays stony silent, hoping it’ll all blow over. I don’t expect them to make a comment on this, any more than they’ve done with Commodification Camps, safety-last promo videos from their Directors, or the poor track record of their charities.

Of course, if some Burner comes up with a good idea to improve safety and security, they will be quick to claim credit for it and point out how clever their model is.

 

San Francisco Parties Into The Next Weekend

opulent temple 2014

Burning Man’s official Decompression is not until October 12, but for those who still have the beats of the Playa ringing in their ears and wish they were back there, there’s plenty of good stuff going on this weekend in San Francisco. Playawear is encouraged.

Got another Burner gig? Post it in the Comments.


 

Friday

Opulent Temple are off the Playa and straight back into it, bringing Stanton Warriors to Public Works this Friday night.

Friday, September 5th

Opulent Temple & Public Works presents ‘Dust Off’

While the playa glow is still fresh and because we’re gluttons for punishment, before we’ve even unpacked we’re getting back together to swap stories and smiles at Public Works with the kings of jack!

THE STANTON WARRIORS (stantonwarriors.com / UK)
+
SYD GRIS (Opulent Temple / Opel)
MATT KRAMER (Distrikt)
BILLY SEAL (Opulent Temple)
ELiKi (Opulent Temple)
TAMO (Space Cowboys / Angels of Bass) Vs
VIAJAY (Angels of Bass)
DJ DANE (Dusty Rhino)

& more TBA

Visuals by FulMelt

A 100% benefit to help OT get out of what is looking like some inevitable debt from this year’s (soon to be) epic camp.

Presale tickets available now HERE:
http://www.ticketfly.com/event/636547-stanton-warriors-uk-san-francisco/

If we get enough pre-sale we’ll look at adding a silent disco outside so commit early 😛

9:30pm-3:00am+,
Both floors of Public Works.
161 Erie St @ Mission.
21+

Dress funky!

Both the boyz are in town for this one (and neither are at Burning Man), and we’ll have OT residents and playa staples joining us to dust it up some more! Save some mojo, this party has always kinda totally rocked.

www.opulenttemple.org


Saturday

Space Cowboys will be rocking it at Monarch.

A Space Cowboy knows that reentry is always harder than takeoff. It’s all the work in reverse but minus the energy and enthusiasm. So coast into home with us at our Space Port of choice: Monarch. We’ll shake off the last of the dust and help spin new memories into epic legends as our DJs do their best to piece it all back together. You can wash those costumes next weekend, you won’t need um till Decom anyway.

8Ball
ShOOey
DJ Deckard
Kapt’n Kirk
Tamo
Special Guest tba


On Saturday September 6th, Mighty presents “DUST-BUSTER #6”, a Post-Playa bash featuring some of the most talented DJs representing Burning Man’s top sound camps. Open bar 9-10!

Syd Gris (Opulent Temple)
Anthony Mansfield (Disco Knights)
Ben Seagren DISTRIKT)
Josh Vincent (Heart Phoenix)
Alvaro Bravo (Dusty Rhino)
Derek Hena Pink Mammoth)

Photos and videos from this year’s Burning Man will be projected on the Mighty screens throughout the night, so if you had FOMO from not making it to the Playa, or want to relive the experience, come on in! Playawear encouraged, the dustier the better! Otherwise just come as you are.


 

STANTON WARRIORS (UK)

Stanton Warriors (UK)

Since bursting onto the scene with their multi award-winning compilation “The Stanton Sessions” back in 2001, the Stanton Warriors’ irresistible and inimitable sound has consistently remained the soundtrack to some of the world’s biggest and best parties over the past thirteen years; from East London warehouses, Miami boat parties and illegal Detroit raves, to the stages of Glastonbury, Exit, Burning Man, Ultra and Coachella, selling out global tours and topping DJ lists along the way.

In the studio, Bristol’s Mark Yardley and Dominic Butler have honed a trademark, uncategorisable sound that is at once all their own, but also utterly indefinable, leading to high-profile releases on XL Records, Fabric, Cheap Thrills, Central Station and Universal, alongside official remixes for everyone from Daft Punk and Fatboy Slim, to MIA and Gorillaz. This phenomenal output and remarkable longevity has ensured the Stanton Warriors legendary status amongst not only their fans, but also their peers, as they remain fresh, original and relevant; obstinately dancing to beat of their own drum and helping to pave the way for new talent.

In 2013 alone, the Stanton Warriors topped the Beatport charts (again), inspired Disclosure’s Grammy-nominated album Settle, got Annie Mac dancing on her living room carpet, opened London’s 3k capacity Building Six club, saw their podcast shoot to No. 3 in the iTunes chart and smashed the stages of Coachella, Ultra and Glastonbury.

In 2014, the Stanton Warriors typically show no sign of slowing down, with sold-out Stanton Sessions tours across the USA and UK, collaborations with Claude Von Stroke’s Dirtybird-signed Cause & Affect, a re-release of their smash Bring Me Down, main stage slots at London’s SW4 and Miami’s Ultra festivals and a slew of exciting releases on their own tastemaker label Punks.

“Stanton Warriors’ Bring Me Down is pretty much the perfect garage beat. Everything about that song – the vocal line, the chords, the melody – is totally original.” DISCLOSURE

“Oh my Gosh, SO good! This is the kind of music that makes you literally want to go mental on the nearest dancefloor. As tried and tested on my living room carpet!” ANNIE MAC, BBC RADIO 1

“Stanton Warriors make bass music; intentionally vague, un-pigeonholeable, brilliant bass music.” NOISEY, VICE

“Their relevance and influence has grown with every year and their Stanton Sessions parties simply reaffirm their position atop the pedestal.” MTV

“Stanton Warriors always deliver, this latest track just takes it to a whole other level.” ZANE LOWE, BBC RADIO 1

 

Get Your Playa Wear Here

For San Francisco Burners, there are a couple of sales coming up this weekend featuring Playa-ready outfits. If you’ve never been to a Burning Man trunk show before, I highly recommend it. There’s a bar, DJs, and you can support the Burner ecosystem while getting decked out in the latest fashions.

jumpsuitsNIMBY in Oakland

8410 Amelia St

Saturday 10:00-17:00:

Are you still looking for that perfect Burning Man outfit? Well look no further and come visit the East Bay Burners at NIMBY on August 9th. We have faux fur, sparkly spandex, jewelry, funky shoes, glow in the dark T-shirts, unique crafts, swag, and the list goes on. Please come on by and pick something up and support your local burners as they continue to fundraise to bring their large scale art projects out to the playa.

We are also still accepting donations of costumes, crafts, treats for a bake sale, booze, volunteers to help out. Contact leorigill@gmail.com


And at Mighty in the city, a trunk show featuring more than 30 designers:


beyond the fence image8th Annual BEYOND THE FENCE Trunk Show!
Saturday, August 9th
@ Mighty – 119 Utah San Francisco
Noon – 6pm
Free Entry
https://www.facebook.com/events/658419364252890
Our trunk show highlights over 30 local independent designers showcasing designs for both on and off the playa. We are very excited to be bringing you some new designers and kick off the shopping season properly!

On the Decks:
Anthony Mansfield – Disco Knights
Joel Conway – Housepitality / Bubble
Wichita Ron – Disco Knights/Magnificent 7

BEYOND-THE-FENCE-2014-520x804The Designers:
10th Muse
Aya Papaya
AvaTailor
Blue Moon Designs
Dr. Cory
Dreamtime
Eghan Thompson
Firebird
Flow Toys
Gata Designs
Ghetto Goldilocks
Gita Salem
Griffin Wings
Gypsy Streetwear / Firefly Style
Hipstirr Belts
In Visions
Jan Hilmer & Sparrow
Kayo Animae
KrakenWhip
Malvoye Enterprises
Minerva’s Antennae
Miranda Caroligne
Nomadic Nectar
Om Gaia Tree
Opal Moon Designs
Phoenix Rising
Pretty Kitty
Renegade Couture
Sefirah Fierce Designs
Shawna Hoffman
Sheila B
SilverLucy Design
Skin on Skin Belts
SuperSugarRayRay
T.S. I LOVE YOU
Tamo Design
The Window Lady
Tooth Gem’s by Foxy
Warrior Within Designs

Elon Musk: “Burning Man IS Silicon Valley”

Mike Judge is one of this country’s comic greats.

As well as Beavis and Butthead and King of the Hill, he made the classic movie Idiocracy.

Now he’s back with a terrific new show on HBO, a sardonic look at Silicon Valley called “Silicon Valley”. It has been called “Entourage with Asperger’s”. It debuted last night, I just watched it with a friend who also has a lot of experience in the Valley, and we both found it hilarious. They’ve totally nailed it, and I can’t wait for the show to develop.

Trailer:

Here’s the whole first episode:

spacex-headquarters-main-office-4Being San Francisco, of course, not everyone is happy about it: including Burner and Tesla founder Elon Musk, who has judged Judge for not radically including himself in our shenanigans. He should be a Burner more like Elon, who flies in by private plane to his plug-n-play Segway model RV compound. Does that put you in a position to be saying “Silicon Valley is Burning Man”?  Hey, when your plane takes off from your office which has 5 Spaceships and you bring the Lucent Dossier Experience to the party, that’s fine by us! You clearly know how to do it better than the fresh-from-Crimea virgins who (shock! horror!) wore a t-shirt with some sort of logo on it, or had to hitch a ride because they couldn’t score a vehicle pass.

Recode brings us the full story, of Elon’s comments over bacon and waffles:

If the crowd reactions at the Silicon Valley premiere of HBO’s comedy series “Silicon Valley” are any indication, the show will hit a nerve with tech’s power players.

Young programmers said they saw themselves in the show. Lawyers and venture capitalists were happy that people would finally see how much power engineers have these days. And Tesla founder Elon Musk, whose name was dropped in the first few minutes of the first episode, hated it.

vice-mike-judge-talks-beavis-butthead-2Created by Mike Judge, Dave Krinsky and John Altschuler, and filmed on location in Palo Alto, the show, which debuts on April 6, follows six roommates, all programmers, as they try to strike it rich in Silicon Valley. During the first two 30-minute episodes at Redwood City’s Fox Theatre, the audience of around 400 locals responded with laughs and sighs as the characters enacted the constant pitching, striving and inanity that felt familiar to those in the recent tech boom.

Afterward, the audience and cast filed uneasily together down Broadway to an after-party at the Fox Forum banquet hall, where a group of Silicon Valley lawyers and venture capitalists formed a tight circle.

“It was no more unreal than real life here,” said Selwyn B. Goldberg, a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. “Since the last bubble, it’s been complete insanity.”

Simon Roy, president of Jemstep, agreed, and said the show captures the enormous power that engineers have today.

“In the ’90s, in the 2000s, it wasn’t like this.”

If the VCs and law firm partners were fans, serial entrepreneur Musk was less so. He sees the Valley through Playa-dust encrusted glasses:

Elon Musk, whose high-profile companies SpaceX and Tesla have made him a very big star of tech, recognized a friend in the VC scrum, and joined in.

“The truth? It’s stranger than the fiction,” Musk declared, as the large group debated the verisimilitude of the show and also tech versus Hollywood in general. “Most startups are a soap opera, but not that kind of soap opera.”

Musk did not much like the show and continued talking about the issue of truth versus fiction, in what was an instant television review of “Silicon Valley.”

The verdict of the digital Roger Ebert? Thumbs very much down.

“None of those characters were software engineers. Software engineers are more helpful, thoughtful, and smarter. They’re weird, but not in the same way,” he insisted. “I was just having a meeting with my information security team, and they’re great but they’re pretty fucking weird — one used to be a dude, one’s super small, one’s hyper-smart — that’s actually what it is.”

Musk continued his lively assessment, as waiters passed trays of sweetbread, truffled potatoes, Brussels sprouts and bacon and waffles around them, making larger points about the tech landscape and offering a kind of on-the-fly script notes session for those gathered.

“I really feel like Mike Judge has never been to Burning Man, which is Silicon Valley,” opined Musk. “If you haven’t been, you just don’t get it. You could take the craziest L.A. party and multiply it by a thousand, and it doesn’t even get fucking close to what’s in Silicon Valley. The show didn’t have any of that.”

An early Tesla prototype spotted at Burning Man in 2007

An early Tesla prototype spotted at Burning Man in 2007

Musk looked around the circle and asked who had been to colorful annual desert festival that is a favorite of tech’s elite. Not a one answered in the affirmative.

Then, Musk made the observation that the geeks are without the same social aspirations as those in the entertainment industry, an aspect which he thought the show completely missed.

“The parties in Silicon Valley are amazing because people don’t care about how they’re perceived socially, which I don’t think Mike [Judge] got. Hollywood is a place where people always care about what the public will think of them … and the show felt more like that,” he said. “I’ve lived in Hollywood 12 years, and I’ve never been to a fucking good party.”

Musk reached for a bacon waffle and proclaimed that he would take Judge to Burning Man this year.

We look forward to seeing a Beavis and Butthead art car (at least). Huh huh huh huh. These people are naked. Huh huh. Or at least, a Silicon Valley episode set at Burning Man. Starring Elon, natch.

If Elon thinks that there aren’t just as many celebrities at Burning Man as at your typical Hollywood party, then clearly he hasn’t been reading our coverage of the event.

After his film review, the twice-divorced billionaire Musk was forced to deal with the bevy of young hotties wanting to learn about the latest in SULEV technologies.

musk girl geeksDespite some misgivings about the show, it was clear that Musk was definitely more of a star than anyone present at the premiere. A coterie of millennial women, waiting for him to break away from the group, circled him.

Outside on the street, actor T.J. Miller was having a cigarette. Was he having a good time at the party?


“Yeah, but, and I’m not gonna name names, but if the billionaire power players don’t get the joke, it’s because they’re not comfortable being satirized,” said Miller, who plays a buffoonish character named Erlich, who owns the hacker house. “And they don’t remember that to be a target of humor is an honor — you have to be venerated to be satirized. Like, I’m sorry, but you could tell everything was true. You guys do have bike meetings, motherfucker.”

Also outside smoking was one of the show’s writers, Clay Tarver, who said he had been anxious about having the premiere in the heart of the Valley.

“We knew this would be either a lovely evening or the worst night of our lives,” Tarver said. “I’m still not sure which it is.”

musk_and_obamaTarver said he felt that Silicon Valley was a perfect topic for satire — and that the increasing public resentment toward tech means that the show didn’t even feel that mean anymore (after all, earlier that morning, protesters had vomited on a Yahoo shuttle in Oakland).

“When I first read the pilot, I thought maybe it was too harsh,” he said. “But even just in the last four months, the resentment toward the Valley has come through the roof, so I think it works.”

The HBO jet was docked at an airstrip nearby, and the media execs started filing out to head back to Los Angeles. By the photo booth in the back of the banquet hall, the stars of the show were dancing with their girlfriends.

“The Valley is a place that takes itself too seriously, and it has yet to be properly lampooned,” said lead character Thomas Middleditch. “So it’s time for … it’s time for a wedgie.

It sure is. And I can think of another San Francisco subculture of self-important hipsters who could use a wedgie or three also. Let’s hope Elon gives Mike Judge a LOT of inspiration at Caravansery.

Elon’s comments got some feedback from the show’s creators in the Hollywood Reporter:

producer Alec Berg was still trying to make sense of Musk’s criticisms. “I’m not quite sure what going to Burning Man has to do with anything that was in the show,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “I feel like [Musk] may have a slightly skewed opinion of people because he’s a billionaire and everyone wants to be helpful to him. It’s like he’s the most beautiful woman in the world and he’s saying, ‘Gosh, men are so helpful. They carry your bag and they get the door for you.’ If no one ever says ‘no’ to you and everyone is following around trying to help you, you probably lose perspective pretty f—ing fast.”

He added: “I also feel like the people that disliked it the most are the ones we were most going after, so it seemed like we probably hit the target if they got irked.”

Judge appeared less bothered by Musk’s remarks. “I would not claim to know Silicon Valley better than he does. I’m just going off of what I’ve observed,” he told THR, joking: “Maybe I’ll go to Burning Man with him and smooth it over.”

The show — which has been dubbed “Entourage with Asperger’s” by those involved — follows Richard (Middleditch), a young, socially awkward programmer who creates a search engine that allows musicians to see if their songs are too similar to existing ones. When a bidding war erupts between two tech billionaires over the algorithm behind the app, Richard has to decide between $10 million or taking a risk and possibly making billions. Judge relied on his past experiences working as a test engineer for a Silicon Valley start-up and a few tours of modern tech companies, including Google, to create the series.

While Musk may not have found the satire entirely accurate, he still was able to appreciate the humor. “Some of these billionaires, we have to poke fun at them. That’s the idea,” noted actor T.J. Miller. “They may not love that we’re pocking fun at them, but I said to [Musk], ‘Did you think it was funny?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, it was funny. I was laughing.’ ”

The biggest laugh at the Silicon Valley screening came with one of Kumail Nanjiani‘s (Dinesh) lines, in which he joked that Google co-founder Sergey Brin‘s partner, Larry Page, actually does nothing. (The line didn’t play quite as well with Thursday’s Hollywood audience.) 

“What was neat is all the inside-baseball tech stuff – all stuff we were thinking, ‘Is this right? Are people going to get this?’ – they got all that stuff,” added star Thomas Middleditchof a reception he found rewarding, acknowledging: “We were kind of nervous premiering Silicon Valley to the Silicon Valley.”