Weaponized Principles

A superlative guest post from Terbo Ted, the first DJ at Burning Man and therefore one of its Unofficial Founders.


Weaponized Principles


Larry Harvey and I were onstage together in 2000 as part of a panel discussion at SOMARTS in San Francisco’s SOMA District. The event was called Webzine. Everyone in the panel was Gen X and some sort of web developer or coder, except for Larry. I was in my early 30s and Larry had to have been in his early 50s. He was there because he was an influencer, a voice of the counterculture. I had worked with Larry from 1992-1996 on the Burning Man Festival (Larry did proudly call it a “Festival” back then) but I had quit working on BM in 1996, when someone died on the playa, multiple others were badly injured and there were numerous arrests. Larry and I remained cordial, he was always a valuable friend and mentor. Larry obviously carried on and the Burning Man legacy continues.


During the panel discussion, we fielded many questions from the audience, largely about the role of early internet corporations such as Yahoo!. This was before google, facebook and today’s internet giants, in an era when much of the internet was still being built by small design firms and ad hoc coalitions of mercenary contractors such as myself. Larry- who didn’t write code- was a brilliant intellectual, cultural engineer and visionary, and he made a statement on that panel that still rings true in my head today. Larry had the audacity to say to a large audience of young, independent creative people in an art gallery in San Francisco that corporations were not bad. In essence, Harvey explained that you didn’t want to be milling the rubber for your own tires, or soldering together circuit boards for your own computer. Words of wisdom.


It was still a few years before Harvey introduced the 10 Principles to the Burner community. “Radical Self-reliance” is one of those principles. Looking back at the context of the mid-90s, San Francisco- which spawned Burning Man- was a beacon for DIY culture. The 1995 film ‘Tank Girl’ felt like it was about my friends.


SOMA was home to young women with nose piercings who’d be chain smoking while fixing their motorcycle, talking about wanting to go to welding classes- and crudely painting things in garish colors with their spiky hair in disarray- while wearing grimy paint-stained coveralls. I miss that nuts and bolts era, years before everyone was glued to their phones. Even at the 2000-era Webzine conference, the community there was hand coding its own web sites, DIY in full effect. But there’s reasonable limits to DIY. For example, we were able to figure out how to rent a generator from a construction supply company, cart it out to the Black Rock Desert with enough fuel to run some lights or sound system or coffee maker or whatever we wanted out there for a few days. For the most part- I can’t speak for everybody, because there were crazy Tesla coils being trucked out there back then- most of us had no interest in building our own generator, or processing our own fuel. Radical self-reliance wasn’t entirely literal. Larry didn’t design or weld together his own Airstream trailer, or hand-stitch his own trademark Guayabera shirts.


It’s important to realize that the 10 Principles are not Burning Man’s actual rules. Rules are things like ‘no dogs’ or ‘no firearms’. There were almost no rules in the early days on the playa, and there are pages and pages of rules now. Without rules, Black Rock City could not exist at today’s scale. In my opinion, Larry drafted the 10 Principles to try and explain- Larry was quite an explainer- shared cultural values that had become common among a good number of- but not necessarily all- Burners, based on years of shared communal experience.


Today’s Burners can be an odd set of internet trolls- myself included- and it’s hard to make sense of all the snarky comments and jokes online about bacon or sparkle ponies and so on. “Radical Self-reliance” has become a weaponized keyboard warrior shout down directed at classes of burners who are perceived to be ‘doing it wrong’ by the “Burnier than thou” types. /eyeroll. When I first went out to the Black Rock Desert, we had no idea that we’d need goggles. People would do stuff like take a nap on the playa surface in the midday sun. There were lots of errors in the trial and error. But the beauty of shared wisdom and interaction helped create this enormous culture. So to all of you zealots who keep repeating “Radical Self-reliance” without thinking it through, do you really want to go to the playa and spend the whole week camping by yourself, without saying a word,
saving all your own fecal and urine waste and dutifully carrying it back home in your vehicle? Of course not. Actually, it would be cool performance art if you did.


But the point I’m making is that it’s okay to realize that in a city of 70,000 people there are folks who are going to highly specialize in what they can offer to the city. It’s okay to eat food prepared and paid for by someone else for example. Or to experience art that you didn’t make yourself. As Larry said, you don’t need to mill the rubber for your own tires or solder your own circuit boards. If you did, that’s great too, go for it.


“Immediacy” has to be my favorite of the ten principles, especially in how it relates to the default world. Harvey used to explain that when people would go out to the void of the Black Rock Desert, people’s true essence would shine out of them, because there were no other reference points, it was an authentic experience, you saw people for what they really were when we were “Out There.” There were no cell phone towers anywhere back then, and certainly not on the playa. Today’s world is this crazed media-fueled monster. Stuff that happens thousands of miles away to people we don’t know and will never meet suddenly becomes instant narrative with cultural battle lines being drawn out over every minor detail, true or
not true, it doesn’t matter. This world we inhabit today can be as far from actual “Immediacy” as possible, it’s not based on our actual individual experience right in front of us.


I’m going to argue that Larry missed a few principles. “Gifting” probably could be interpreted to include the Burner slogan “The Playa Provides.” But “The Playa Provides” would be a great 11th principle. The last time I was on the playa in 2017, my favorite incident was as follows: I had befriended a Cigar Camp and was sitting in the shade smoking one of their fine gifted cigars, watching people walk and ride by. It’s got to be 105 out in the sun. A young, slight woman trudges by, her skin burning hot, she’s out of breath, on the edge of tears, dragging her playa bike behind her with considerable effort. “Hey hey hey” I yell at her, “you need to get out of the sun! Did you ride your bike behind the water truck?” She nodded yes and looks like she’s about to cry in frustration. Sure enough- a burgin- she rode her playa bike behind a water truck, and as the wet playa mud dried and hardened, her bike seized up and was unrideable. We get her into the shade, tell
her she should rest a bit, get her some water or a beer or soda or something.


Communicating to the camp mates there, we are able to retrieve a screwdriver, a chisel, some water, some WD-40. We show the young woman how to remove the hardened playa from her bike. Eventually and with considerable effort on her part, it’s in fine running order, she’s cooled off and happily rides away. I can’t remember her name, Australian. Anyway, that vignette sums up ‘gifting’ and ‘the Playa Provides.’ It wasn’t some pre-meditated intention, it was a spontaneous episode that showed how great people can be when we truly need some help to get by. Immediacy.


Let’s go back to Webzine in SOMA in 2000. I was booked to DJ the end of the
event, and a reporter from a TV station in Holland was out to see me play. But my set was cancelled, as Survival Research Labs set off a jet engine in the adjacent parking lot next to SOMARTS, shaking the geiger counter, it was like a terrorist attack, event immediately over. This sort of hazing from older artists was normal back in the day. SRL I think was quite pleased to deliberately show up all these young web coder kids and shut down a ‘rave’. SRL to this day is amazing and awesome, and their vibe very much corresponds to the early SF Burner ethos- hardcore industrial anarchist pranksters- all the respect possible to this tribe.

Connecting this to the Burner timeline, I was part of the first DJ camps at Burning Man from 1992-1996, and I would say that other than the main trio of BM organizers then, namely: Larry Harvey, John Law and Michael Mikel, the other older Burners as a whole typically hated our musical contribution, treated us like pariahs and blamed us ‘ravers’ for just about everything possible that went wrong.

This is well documented. [link]

Let’s go back to the concept of immediacy. If you’ve followed the Burner culture this offseason, news stories have been published as far and wide as the New York Times and BBC talking about official new Burning Man policies against a certain camp- friends of mine- who were singled out and named by name by the official CEO of the org itself, who is also my friend. No one was killed or injured or arrested, as happens now every year at Burning Man. And then hundreds if not thousands of people starting chiming in online in gleeful accord against the new ‘bad’ guys camp because of the news articles flying around. We’re half way around the sun from the burn, and people are openly dissing a camp they’ve never visited or experienced, spewing random heresay, speculation, falsehoods and slander, based on their own biases, prejudices and tilted belief systems. This is as far from immediacy as possible you people, get a freaking clue.

This one camp has been blamed for just about every crime possible against core Burner values, despite their insisting on adherence to the 10 Principles and putting their blood, sweat and tears into their inspired and meticulously planned camps like everyone else. Reading comments from people online who claim to hate this camp after allegedly camping near them, I can’t help but think, why couldn’t you befriend this camp and enjoy the burn with them? I certainly did when they were my burgin neighbors back in 2016! Or if things were going bad for them, why didn’t you help your neighbors in the moment instead of heaping scorn on them on the internet half a year later? WTF. Even worse, I can’t help but take this whole episode of hating on one camp personally, as BM has a long history of blaming people for “ruining” Burning Man. [link]

I am- with my early 90s campmates- very high up on this list of ruining the early years and subsequent trajectory of the ‘festival’ which is no longer officially called a ‘festival’ anymore. To be clear, the org doesn’t owe anyone anything and they can determine whichever camps they choose to work with or not work with, that’s up to them, right or wrong, good or bad, arbitrary or not. If it was up to me, the org would never publicly shame a group by name for failure or errors, myriad or minor, deliberate or accidental. But that’s not my decision to make. We’ve just witnessed the ferocious power of the mainstream news media permanently destroying the reputation of a specific Burning Man camp. We’ve come so far… but for this?

I somehow feel like Emmanuel Goldstein from Orwell’s 1984 as I type, a historical early adopter turned outcast dooming themselves to eternal damnation for speaking up against the controlling regime. I’m not sure I’m ever welcome again in Black Rock City, home to 70,000 people. I would be scared to show my face in First Camp now that Larry has passed, as they are well known to aggressively boot interlopers, random wanderers and unescorted guests out of their space, where guest chefs prepare amazing gourmet meals with the finest ingredients for the anointed hand-picked intelligentsia. The real missing 11th Principle is “Conform or be Cast Out.” Toe the line or else! You will be ostracized! All you Instagram models better dress exactly like all the other Instagram models in perfect Burner costume, or you’ll get singled out and attacked for doing it wrong!
Conform or die! Hmpf.


About the storyteller:

Terbo Ted first visited the Black Rock Desert in 1992 when there was no gate, no perimeter, no road, no trash fence and you could drive your car as fast as you wanted in any direction. Terbo was the first DJ to play in Black Rock City, with no one there to hear his set on a dusty Friday afternoon. Later, in the early years he was the only one ever to be called “Mayor of the Techno Ghetto.” His playa self and default world self can be remarkably similar these days.

#


“The Org Shows Its True Colors Once Again”: Staff Ticket Scandal

A post from Cranky_Monkey at Reddit:

The Org shows its true colors once again.

Fucking greed. Pure, unadulterated greed.

The Org has once again oversold the event, after coming within 60 attendees of the pop. cap last year. But as they say, actions have consequences:

This time the Org pulled earned tickets from departments. As in, people they bargained free labor last year in exchange for a ticket this year are being told AS THEY DRIVE IN to turn around and go home. These are people that were submitted on staff lists months ago. I’ve personally seen the confirmation emails from two list submittals to the Org.

Evidently, last Thursday the Org notified departments of their “oversight” and that they would not be honoring many staff tickets. DPW, Gate, ESD among others were all affected. Hundreds of workers for the event left holding the bag, many while enroute.

Keep it classy, Burning Man. First you hoodwinked so many to work for free, now you’re actually costing them money lost to preps, fuel, etc for an event they’re not even allowed into. To work. For you. For free.

What a fucking joke.

Feel free to give Event Director a piece of your mind: charlie.dolman@burningman.org

EDIT: No, I cannot share emails and texts. Most are coming from participants, and the emails they would share come from their department leads. Sharing them would immediately out them to their department.

You shouldn’t ONLY listen to me, but if you know anyone from any of the departments listed, feel free to reach out and ask “Hey, heard something is up with tix for staff & volunteers in Org departments” and see what they say.


This was then confirmed by tistrue1:

Completely true. The ORG oversold the event and now they are not honoring staff tickets and credentials earned last year. If your WAP/ticket was put into TicketFly in a timely manner and you have an e-mail from them; then you are good. If your department manager or the person they instructed to put the info into TicketFly didn’t for whatever reason (dropped the ball!) then you’re screwed. Even if you told them you would be attending and they confirmed.

I personally know at least 20 Gate personnel this affected. They are/were on their way to the event and were told to go home.

Here’s the e-mail from the personnel manager of Gate sent yesterday (8/21) at 3:30pm.
This is a tough message.
It is very hard to say this but very important to get the word out. Last Thursday every department at Burning Man was told that there were no more tickets of any kind available. This includes staff credentials, reduced price tickets, and gift tickets. Over the past few days we have been trying to see what kinds of resources we could muster to address the shortfalls we know we have. In most years we are able to continue issuing credentials and tickets up to the day before the event opens, and we can catch the persons that fell between the cracks.
Please check to see if you have an email confirmation from Ticketfly that has the words STAFF CREDENTIAL in it. If you can’t find one it is quite possible you do not have a ticket to Burning Man this year, and for that we are very sorry to disappoint you and break the promises we have made. This is the hardest message I have ever had to put on announce, and I fully expect to hear about it and will field all questions about this.


some other comments:

2016 The Scandals: Further Details

We have a number of updates on this year’s scandals.

The biggest one appears to be the Hooligan Attacks on White Ocean during the White Party. This has been picked up by all the usual EDM rags like Market WatchBusiness Insider, New York PostThe Telegraph, the Guardian, the Independent, Russia Today.

It was front and center on the Drudge Report today – the #1 news site in the world.

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 7.26.36 AM

Of course, all these highly paid professional media outlets are just re-hashing the same story by the Reno Gazette Journal’s Burning Man beat reporter Jenny Kane. You could read 200 of them, and not get any different information or context.

Fortunately Burners.Me is here for free to fill you in with further details.

A Burner returning from the Playa informed us that the camp structure that collapsed was part of The Lost Hotel. They were notorious for their involvement building the Mega-Bucks Board Director camp Caravancicle, home of sherpa whistleblower Beth Lillie.

2014 lost hotel courtyard

The Lost Hotel courtyard, 2014

Photo: Lost Hotel/Facebook

2014. Lost Hotel is in the middle; Caravancicle’s camp is to the right. Both use canvas cube hotel rooms from a company reportedly financed by JT    Photo: Lost Hotel/Facebook

This is one hell of a coincidence. Two major incidents at Burning Man in two days – and they both relate to the two most notorious plug-n-play camps? Meanwhile, class war instigator Danger Ranger’s latest thing is high-profile homelessness

Who benefits from these two attacks? They seem to promote “traditional values of Burning Man” (ie. romanticized reminiscing of the Cacophony Society), at the expense of the BMorg 2.0 Flysalen vision of “advance your career with acid and networking”. The vandals don’t respect the “newer” Burning Man values like the Ten Principles – in particular, Leave No Trace, Civic Responsibility, and Radical Inclusion.

It seems like whoever did these attacks approached the job like a military operation. To pull this off without getting caught required detailed knowledge of the camp layout and movements. Some have said “that shows it must be an inside job”, because who but someone camping there would know this? This assumes that sparkle ponies flying in on private jets and paying $10k+ for hotel rooms get involved in the nitty-gritty of camp logistics. Most people staying in Fancy Camps at Burning Man would have no idea which lines are the main generator lines, which tanks are the fresh water, which trailers are the food storage, or how to obtain and operate glue guns. Each camp must provide a great deal of this type of information to the BMorg placement team, including number of people in camp, art cars, and diagrams of the camp layout.

The sabotage (or remarkably coincidental accident?) of the Lost Hotel seems to have dangerously backfired. Six people were injured, one so badly they had to be airlifted out – the media are not saying “to Reno”, which suggests the injuries were extremely severe and a specialist was required.

Should we kill people over the Ten Principles now that Decommodification is an LLC?  Is that how Burning Man makes the world a better place? Perhaps this is why the Satanists wanted a Jonestown segment when they launched their theme camp idea in 1996.

Plug-n-play has got out of control in recent years, ever since BMorg made a movie complaining about it called Spark. They moved almost immediately from throwing Playa)'(Skool under the bus for having RVs in their camp to promoting bus tour packages and concierge culture. We’ve seen the escalation of executive luxury from Chip Conley’s catered celebration camp to Billionaire’s Row with wristband-only cocktail bars and $54,000 a “head” swinger camps. Burning Man’s own airline now offers a VIP helicopter taxi service. Even the cops are cashing in, with BLM-branded art installations, multi-million dollar air-conditioned compounds and helicopter joyrides for their families to lavish dinners. We’ve had a War on EDM which saw long-time participants given the cold shoulder and resulted in the creation of a DMZ. And all of this is happening while Reno becomes the latest tax haven for oligarchs fleeing the Panama Papers scandal.

2016 police bull

No Chocotacos? Then we demand Art!

A little bird told me the reason why the cops love ChocoTacos so much.

It seems that a few years ago they came up with quite a successful undercover sting. Someone would roll into camp with an ice cream cart full of treats. They would hand them out to everyone who wanted one. The natural response from many Burner camps would be “thanks, can I offer you something?” The phony ice creamer would then ask for drugs (the scam would also work if the narc was under 21 and wanted an alcoholic beverage). The ice creamer would then leave the camp, which (if they were generous enough to gift something to the Burner) would mysteriously be raided by rangers and dogs a few minutes later.

Given that last year there were more than 600 citations which start at $525 each, it sounds like the Chocotacos are a solid investment for the people of Pershing County, even if they have to buy their own instead of getting them comped by Burners. We heard this year that the police could not provide adequate personnel to an active shooter situation elsewhere in Pershing, because everyone was too busy ogling titties writing cannabis citations at Burning Man.


We have had a comment from the Onceler about last year’s near-fatal medical situation, which sounds reasonably informed:

THE MONIQUE ROSE KETAMINE INCIDENT

The actors: Monique Rose (Paramedic HGH, Winnemucca, Deputy Pershing County Sheriff, Pershing County), Pat Songer (EMS Manager, HGH Winnemucca), Jim Parrish (CEO HGH, Winnemucca), Pershing County Sheriff’s Dept., Dr. Charles Stringham (Medical Director HGH, Winnemucca)

Incident: Deputy Monique Rose is trained as a paramedic and employed by Humboldt General Hospital, Winnemucca, NV who was deputized by Pershing County Sheriff’s Dept. supposedly dual role capacity at Burning Man 2015. Deputy Rose administered a lethal dose of Ketamine to a 110 lb. intoxicated female who was resisting arrest. The woman in custody went into respiratory failure twice and had to be resuscitated twice by medical personnel on scene and at the hospital. Luckily the patient lived.

Questions: First, Ketamine is not indicated in any form to subdue a noncompliant individual. Second, what was the determined does and route of administration? Did the individual have an IV in place? Third, where was Pat Songer (Supervisor) when this event occurred? Next, where did Deputy Rose get the Ketamine from, was she carrying her own narcotics working as a Deputy? Lastly, under which physician’s license was Deputy Rose operating under?

If Deputy Rose was operating under Dr. Charles Stringham (Medical Director of HGH, Winnemucca) than Dr. Stringham’s license should be reviewed to see if he allowed Deputy Rose to administer a drug, which has no indications for the event. Pat Songer also needs to accept accountability and responsibility for a paramedic who works under him who acted reckless, is dangerous, and almost killed a Burning Man participant. Finally, Jim Parrish CEO of Humboldt General Hospital, Winnemucca needs to answer for the actions of Dr. Stringham, Pat Songer, and Deputy Monique Rose as to how what if any corrective, administrative, or loss of employment occurred.

It is clear Deputy Rose actions were reckless and criminal in nature and should never be allowed to practice medicine again. If she is still employed by Humboldt General Hospital in Winnemucca, NV than Pat Songer, Dr.Charles Stringham, and Jim Parrish are shielding her. Furthermore, she should never be allowed to function in any medical or civil capacity at a Burning Man event ever again.

In closing, Humboldt General Hospital, Winnemucca, NV used to have the contract for medical services at Burning Man and lost the contract two years ago to CrowdRx. Perhaps the powers at be were aware of the reckless, dangerous, arrogant actions of the paramedics who work under his leadership and wanted to avoid any such events…. Too bad Burning Man participants didn’t.

Wait a minute…“lost the contract two years ago to CrowdRX”. That’s my information too. So why isn’t this 2015 incident CrowdRX’s responsibility? What was anybody from Humboldt General doing there in 2015, after BMOrg publicly ditched them months before? Why does CrowdRX take over, somebody nearly dies, and immediately it’s the fault of the people no longer involved?

I don’t really get why Onceler wants to hate on all Burning Man participants for the incompetence of medical personnel. But, I do understand why many of the locals harbor resentment to Burning Man for all the trash they get dumped with – so maybe it’s related to that – “all Burners are bad because of this one Burner”. Or, perhaps this person has a hidden agenda…you’ll notice that in the list of “the actors” in their tale, nobody from CrowdRX or BMOrg is involved in any way. So where the hell were they, when their rivals are running around the festival injecting ketamine into disgruntled Burners?


Anyone needs a lawyer as a result of their Transformative Experience, call Lawyers For Burners.

It didn’t take long for video of The Man burning to be uploaded to YouTube. The big “O” ring surrounding The Man stayed intact right to the end, then fell as one piece into the flames (25:42).

Finally, we have some info on White Ocean and tantalizing nuggets of further stories from Anonymous Burner. Anybody hear about any of these?

These folks hire a different camp producer every year and stiff everyone that works for them.

Given the sabotage that happened to the camp, it has all the fingerprints of someone who knows camp infrastructure.

Putting rotten meat in the A/C units, bullion cubes in the water tanks they didn’t drain, cutting generator cables without frying, glue for door locks.

This wasn’t a spontaneous vandal attack or class warfare. IMHO, they stiffed the wrong individuals, someone who knows how to mess a camp up.

I wasn’t going this year but a generous friend gifted me a ticket and a seat on a plane for a 48 hour rock star tour that started yesterday at noon.

Still gathering the unpublished stories on this year’s event. Why did the chef for first camp leave early? She bailed, and she has done this for years

DMV shenanigans, why the Man didn’t spin, what was up with that small head and skinny arms? He looked like he was born with the Zika virus

Sheriff Takes Family on Raven Trip to Burning Man

raven washoe 5155

Who said Burning Man is not a rave? The Sheriff of Washoe County took his wife and kid on a joyride official police business trip to Burning Man in the company chopper. The name of the military grade, electronically souped up aerial enforcer? RAVEN.

Anjeanette Damon at the Reno Gazette-Journal has the scoop:

Washoe County Sheriff Chuck Allen hitched a ride on a preplanned RAVEN helicopter flight to Burning Man last year, and brought along his wife and adult son.

Allen said he had to attend a multi-agency meeting at the annual arts celebration in the Black Rock Desert 110 miles north of Reno on Sept. 5 and didn’t want to make the two-hour drive that often ends in a traffic jam. So, Allen said he asked the department’s chief pilot if he could jump on the flight planned for that day.

“Yes, I did include my wife and son,” Allen told the Reno Gazette-Journal on Thursday. “I can do that as sheriff.”

“I checked to make sure I wasn’t breaking any of my own policies,” he added.

The policy that governs the sheriff’s office helicopter program does not specifically address civilian ride-alongs. It has a section, however, that limits “non-RAVEN affiliated personnel” who are authorized to ride in the helicopter.

“Police, fire, REMSA, (Search and Rescue), county, city, state, military and federal employees actively involved in public safety missions may be carried on RAVEN aircraft in accordance with public law,” the policy reads.

The sheriff’s office Regional Aviation Enforcement Unit was formed in 1996, when the department obtained four helicopters through the U.S. Department of Defense’s surplus program. The unit’s primary mission is to respond to crimes in progress, search and rescue operations and drug enforcement surveillance missions…

Allen said he saw the trip to Burning Man no differently than if his wife went along with him to a department function in “my vehicle assigned to me.”..

Allen said his undersheriff and a chief deputy also brought their wives along on a previous flight to Burning Man…

Allen needed to make the trip to Burning Man to meet with Pershing County Sheriff Jerry Allen, as well as Bureau of Land Management personnel. Burning Man staff also gave him a tour of the 70,000-person Black Rock City. Allen said he also greeted all of the Washoe County deputies working the event and attended a dinner, which included other law enforcement personnel and their spouses…

The day Allen and his family traveled to Burning Man included the celebration’s pinnacle event of the burning of the man.

Read the full story at the Reno-Gazette Journal

What is RAVEN? It’s the Regional Aviation Enforcement Unit.

In 1996, The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office was able to obtain four helicopters through the Department of Defense’s excess property program. The four aircraft that were delivered to the county were hulks that need quite a bit of restoration and overhaul before being transformed into useable assets. Building two flyable aircraft from the original four, the Regional Aviation Enforcement Unit, or RAVEN, was born. In addition to the two Kiowas that the unit operates, RAVEN is the proud operator of the very first of only 30 manufactured HH-1H Huey helicopters, originally built by Bell for the United States Air Force for Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) purposes. The two Kiowas and one Huey are all in outstanding mechanical condition thanks to the dedication of the full time and part time maintenance personnel assigned to the unit, and were acquired and refurbished using drug forfeiture money rather than taxpayer dollars.

Originally staffed with part-time pilots from the local Army Guard helicopter unit, RAVEN has become a self sufficient aviation unit that has dedicated deputies assigned both full and part time to flying duties.

[Source]

The RAVEN unit operates both rotary and fixed-wing aircraft. They use the OH-58 Kiowa, which is a 2 seater surveillance chopper; and the HH-1H Huey, which is a USAF Search And Rescue variant of one of the largest passenger capacity helicopters ever made. The standard model can take 14 troops as well as the 2 pilots. I’m guessing the Sheriff and his family rode in on the Huey; were there other civilians with them on this flight?

The story has this to say about the logistics:

The Reno Gazette-Journal obtained a flight log from the sheriff’s office that listed three RAVEN flights to Burning Man last year on Sept. 3, Sept. 4 and Sept. 5. However, no public records apparently exist to document the family members’ flight or whether any other civilian ride-alongs have occurred in the past.

According to the log, the helicopter departed Reno at 10:50 a.m. and returned at 11:20 p.m., reporting a total of three hours of actual flight time.

Allen said the flights were not “joy rides.” Rather, they were pre-planned missions that were able to accommodate the extra passengers.

“I would have to stress, yes, it was a scheduled mission,” he said. “I would never encourage or even allow someone to go on a joy ride.”

He said his wife and son stayed with him the entire day and did not travel to participate in the Burning Man event itself.

“My wife and son shadowed me the entire time,” he said.

[Source]

Even though they watched the Man burn (presumably from a VIP position), and attended a fully catered dinner, the Sheriff takes pains to stress that they didn’t participate in the Burning Man event. This is similar logic to BMOrg’s claim that 80,000 people sitting down to watch a 30-minute uninterruptible performance with hundreds of fire dancers, followed by an hour+ pyrotechnics show when they burn the Man, does not in any way constitute live entertainment.

It doesn’t sound like these civilians needed tickets. Glad to hear that the LEOs can entertain their families by spectating on all the participants. Hey, if they can’t have bottomless Chocotacos, at least they can perv on some titties and shirt-cockers, and laugh at all the freaks they’re looking down on.

washoe sheriff huey1

Read more about the Washoe RAVEN unit at Vertical Magazine.

 

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