Burning Cake (A Cautionary Tale)

My experiences for the last 17 years at Burning Man have been so amazing and transformative that I have a hard time seeing any shifts in the event as a real threat. “Bring on P.Diddy and the Turnkey Camps!” I said.   I still believe that.  But I also am able to understand the current fear more clearly now than I once did.  

Like everyone, I am eagerly awaiting the official response to the recent controversies.   I do *not* think Burning Man is doomed.  Quite the contrary.  I have faith we will figure this out and thrive.

Once we get a handle on the current challenges and correct the course, the magic will shine as bright as ever.

The fable below is fictional.  Take it with a grain of dust.

 

Once upon a time there was food enthusiast who hosted a fantastic baked goods potluck.

He invited 10 adventurous cooks he knew and they started gathering each month to share delights.

Their culinary skills were varied…but they all sure loved food.

The spreads were AMAZING!

People went WAY over-the-top.

Exotic ingredients, rare fruits, fine wines.

For some participants it became almost a game: who could produce the most fantastic dessert?

MC Escher Cakes, Donut Macramé, Ghost Orchid Truffles.

Not all the dishes were so insane.  The host baked the same modest (but delicious) raspberry drizzle brownies every month.

There was no animosity between  Jenny who brought an intricate ‘Bacon Coliseum” 8 layer cake and Tony who brought a simple angel food cake.  It was even cool that Edward purchased and brought a pre-made dragon fruit tart from his local bakery.  The point was that everyone contributed towards the experience.

Very quickly, the event grew.  People started bringing their culinary-minded friends.

Occasionally people would misunderstand and show up without a dish.   They quickly felt uncomfortable and usually offered to help with dishes or something…then made sure they brought something awesome the next time.

Word started to spread of this amazing potluck with the life size Miley Cirus-sized peanut brittle and wasabi saffron pudding.

The host started asking everyone to chip in $5 to pay for table rentals and a next day maid service. Some of the original participants thought that was uncool.  But most people had no problem paying a little (on top of whatever they were already spending to create their own dishes) for this unbelievable food extravaganza.

Many of the average chefs got inspired to study the baking arts.  The desserts got better and better. And attendees started to bring more and more friends.

Until the host’s villa was filled to capacity.

So the host implemented a system: To reserve your space  at the potluck, you paypal in your cleaning fee in advance and received an entrance ticket in exchange. (The fee had been raised to $10)

He gave away the tickets by way of a lottery – with some spots reserved for the OG cake masters who made the event what it was.  The lottery was…well, that is a tale for a different day.

Not soon after the first lottery, a long time attendee brought a respected food writer from the local paper. The writer did not bring a dish.

Most attendees were fine with this.  It was an honor to have the writer there and who knows, maybe she would be inspired by what they were doing and bring something special to the next potluck. And, in fact, thanks to an article and the writers introductions, several attendees got hired at restaurants and booked to make dishes for fancy events.

The gathering was special to all who attended.  It felt like their potluck was the center of the dessert universe.  The event became an important part of attendees lives and identities.

Unbeknownst to the other attendees, one old timer, Beatrice, made an announcement at her Ladies League meeting.  “For $100 I will bring you to the most amazing tasting party in the world.  Don’t worry about baking anything, I’ll make something and you can just come with me. “  Quite a few people in the League took her up on the offer.  Beatrice paid the hostess an extra cleaning fee, but otherwise did not share the funds with anyone else in the potluck group.

At first nobody noticed.  Or didn’t care.  It wasn’t that a big deal that some of the attendees were not contributing in the same way.   They seem like good people and maybe attending would inspire them to create a dish next time.  Many of them were the type that might hire an attendee to cater a private tea party, in fact.

But as word spread of this new wave of “tourist” attendees, the original attendees started to feel taken advantage of.  They felt like suckers. What was once a joyful experience of sharing their talents now felt, well, commodified. Why would they go to the store, buy all the ingredients with their own money, and invest all their labor just so Beatrice could make a buck off of them?

A number of the original attendees dropped out.  More and more bakers started to look for ways to get compensated.  But still, the waiting list to attend grew and grew.

What many considered the final blow was when people found out that the host was reserving spots for Beatrices’s League friends.  While everyone else stressed and struggled to get in, the non-contributing newbie’s were able to buy their way in via Beatrice.  Apparently they pledged big chunks of cash towards the host’s ever-growing “cleaning fund” established back in the day.

It was even discovered that Beatrice went so far as to bring a thermos of gourmet coffee to the potluck but only shared it with her League friends who had paid her.

The joy of gifting had become corrupted.  The magic faded.

Attendees started to use the potluck as a way to advertise their catering businesses.  Or would “partner with” (aka sell their spots) to retail bakeries.  The food was still delicious, but things were different.  It wasn’t fueled by mutual respect and a desire to share. It felt more like a trade show.  Attendees started to question the return on their investment and rarely contributed out of their own pocket unless they could justify the promotional value.

The potluck is still going, but the original experience is long dead. People still gather once a month to sample yummy treats and most enjoy it.  You may still hear someone say, that was the best pie I’ve ever eaten.

But you rarely hear anymore, “That potluck changed my life.”

 

“This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper.” T.S. Eliot

 

 

About the author: John "Halcyon" Styn

John

Halcyon is a 18-year Burning Man participant and founder of Pink Heart camp. He is author of "Love more. Fear less." and producer of the Burning Man short film, "The Pink Path." He's won Webby awards for his over-the-top personal site & his "Love On Demand" video podcast HugNation.com. He hosted the defunct NBC.com web series "Fears. Regrets. Desires." and frequently speaks about Gratitude & Gifting. In 2010, Halcyon co-founded the San Diego based "1st Saturdays" homeless outreach program based on Burning Man Principles and the idea of "Service Without Sacrifice." You can find his digital home at www.JohnStyn.com.

137 Comments on “Burning Cake (A Cautionary Tale)

  • Chango says:

    Very well put, John.

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  • Sandstorm says:

    Halcyon: THANK YOU SO MUCH for writing this parable and for having THE COURAGE to post it HERE. You are a BRAVE man. Dusty hugs,

    Sandstorm

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  • Finn says:

    I like your tone!

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  • Ranger says:

    Halcyon, Bravo! This analogy helped be see this current moment of the evolution of our beloved potluck in a whole new light that rang very true for me. Thank-you for the thought and insight you brought into this story. Your voice and perspective is welcomed and I find it quite astute.

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  • Jeff Z says:

    I am impressed to see this posted on the official burning man blog.

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  • LEMUR says:

    “Extended metaphors can provide gentle uplift and support, but they make poor lifeboats. Avoid extended cooking and spell-casting metaphors unless you can carry it off in a truly novel and delightful way. They may be apt, but are without question overworked. “

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  • burnersxxx says:

    An apt metaphor, for those who want to have their cake and eat it too.

    You missed the bit where Jenny put a picture on her web site of her “Bacon Coliseum cake, as seen at the potluck dinner” – and got a letter from the event organizers threatening legal action. And Mrs Fields got appointed to the Board.

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  • Jason says:

    One secret detail I guess you didn’t hear about the potluck…

    At one point, Beatrice told the host “You know, it’s getting to be too much work to bring all these people and bake everything on their behalf.”

    But the host had come to so enjoy Beatrice’s “cleaning fees”, as well as her connections to certain movers and shakers that were in the Ladies League, that they made a secret rule for Beatrice.

    The host told Beatrice “You know what? You don’t have to bring any baked goods at all, not for you, nor for any of your guests. Everyone else is bringing stuff, there will be enough there for you to enjoy without having to go through all that effort yourself.”

    Unfortunately for the host, people later found out about this secret rule.

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  • dusty burner says:

    And with this being published I guess we have official word that the camps are here to stay and BM is now over, may EDCoachella begin…..

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  • @dusty burner – You miss the point entirely. I was simply trying to express an understanding of the FEAR, not the future. The sky is not falling, yet.

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  • Leo says:

    Thanks Halcyon for this breath of fresh air!

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  • Peace says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. Perfect. I feel understood. Don’t worry that some aren’t going to “get it”. Some are so angry at this point, they will react negatively to anything. You are a hero!

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  • Dusty burner says:

    Was simply being sarcastic and frankly a venting a bit, sorry. Still question BM for even allowing this to be posted. Burning man will never be over, it lives within the burners that reside in brc each year. Regardless of what the bmorg decides to do, the core ideas will live on through those that have attended…who will follow their decision rather than lead themselves is yet to be determined…

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  • John E. Baker III says:

    Actually, instead of Eliot, I’m reminded of Princess Amadala: “So this is how liberty dies… With thunderous applause.”

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  • Peace says:

    You might be interested in the book “Island” by Aldus Huxley. In that book a society has the choice of being destroyed, or abandoning their principles. They choose to be destroyed, because abandoning their principles would mean they had been destroyed anyway.

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  • Franko says:

    Except for the missing part where Beatrice was made a member of the planning board, and continued to get her friends in while both she and the host profited, this was a brave and timely parable that summarized things pretty nicely to me.

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  • simon of the playa says:

    can we still have rolling cupcakes?

    nice parable….

    i’m more of a ho-ho and twinkie and devil dog kinda guy, and i grew up eating little debbie every day, so i can appeciate the metaphor, and applaud your veiled lament.

    our community has diabetes….we got “the sugar”….

    time to deal with it like adults.

    by sneaking chocolate bars when no one is looking…

    in all seriousness, a burn unexamined is a burn not worth igniting.

    this discussion is healthy, and obviously, needed to be had.

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  • GreyCoyote says:

    Well done, John. Well done indeed.

    It doesnt change really anything in the bigger picture, but it shows you understand the issues, and hopefully the BMORG will too.

    Three cheers for His Pinkness! :)

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  • @GreyCoyote – No, it is not a change. Just an attempt to simplify the cause of the furor. I took a few painful slugs as I tried to understand why everyone was so angry. Some of the issues at hand are complex – some are simply. At best this will help the BMORG and people new to the conversation to understand why so may people are screaming.

    @Simon – the cupcakes! THAT is what I should have used as a photo image. Doh!

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  • dandy says:

    You forgot the part about Beatrice creating a 10 Point Checklist then breaking the rules herself. And surprise: group ticket sales has existed for a while. These turnkey spectators are not only getting our tickets — they are literally leaving their shit for others to clean up. Thanks for making it impossible for my family & friends to attend while DoucheFest300 pisses on your dogma. Has anyone seen my war bonnet?

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  • Vladimir says:

    This reminds me when I went to an art car and they had a bouncer at the door who told me I needed a band because it was members only. It was my first time at Playa, so I thought that was ok. Now I know it wasn’t…

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  • Brady Radovich says:

    Once again, you NAILED it! “But as word spread of this new wave of “tourist” attendees, the original attendees started to feel taken advantage of. They felt like suckers. What was once a joyful experience of sharing their talents now felt, well, commodified. Why would they go to the store, buy all the ingredients with their own money, and invest all their labor just so Beatrice could make a buck off of them?”

    Dance Monkey, Dance!

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  • Gumby says:

    Halcyon well said. I won’t go on about all the turnkey issues here, only the one that is most upsetting for me.

    I cannot afford to contribute large and impactful art/MV/camps to BM, but I believe what I put my heart into, though small in size, when added to all the other small people’s gifts/presence helps make BM what we all know and love. And it’s our contributions that make BM great, but those with power & money are profiting off of my gift meant solely for other participants. A gift that should have no value.

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  • aplaypal says:

    Fuck Beatrice. Tell her to go back and pick up all the crap she and her friends dumped out on Kandafar out there and Assplanade. Carryshitsicles…

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  • Melonblue says:

    Yay! Thanks John,

    You took the time to understand. That means alot.

    Now we wait…with popcorn to see what happens next.

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  • Bob says:

    This isn’t a fear you are describing…it is the current reality. Only the outcome is yet to be determined. Most of us don’t need a parable to understand the concept of being taken advantage of by those in control; and still trying to understand how this makes Burning Man any better than the default world.

    “He behaved like an ostrich and put his head in the sand, thereby exposing his thinking parts.” – George Carman

    Quite a change from your original blog supporting the inclusion of these safari camps.

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  • @Bob – I don’t want to get into a debate, but you should re-read my original post “defending plug-and-play.” I said there was value to plug-and-play in making the event more accessible for people like my Mom and P. Diddy. It happened to come out the same week as the Sherpa story got legs so some people (who read the headline and not the article I’m assuming) thought I was defending Carivanicle.
    It is human nature to find evidence for whatever we are looking for.

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  • xaramonkey says:

    Okay, this is really pretty damn good. It hits some valid points using a great analogy,but kinda misses the mark when it comes to what is most important.

    Things change. EVERYTHING changes. This is a good thing, because really, who wants to be that poor guy forced to live thru Groundhog Day over and over and over? Nobody.

    Beatrice is a sneaky, manipulative, profiteer. She needs a good stern talking-to and then a hug. She will be invited back next month once she promises to play by the rules like the rest of the Potluck-Participants.

    What’s missing here, is that Beatrice is not just a participating cake baker who had a misunderstanding. Beatrice is “the food enthusiast” who started the monthly Cakefest in the first place.

    Not understanding the game is a VERY different thing than being the person who makes the rules of the game…and then breaks those same rules on purpose

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  • Dean "enigma" goodwin says:

    I too became frustrated with the over attended bake festival. Waiting in line for hours and hours. Realizing that my friends could no longer see me when I wanted to find them. Sudden awareness that my volunteer time might be considered worthless in my own eyes and the eyes of others.

    So me and my local friends started having our own desert– ahem — dessert events. Smaller. More intimate. Local folks from my own county or region. It was understood… when these smaller baking parties started — that they would be a return to the days of the original party… which became large and lacked the old intimacy.

    Even the founders of the (now huge) baking party were supportive. Many other areas started having their own events… region by region.

    The founders recognized that travel from afar, and crowds eventually required an infrastructure undreamed of. They understood in advance that these numbers *might* make it impossible to hold the party at all. No space was big enough for the tons upon tons of food and supplies and cleaning. The efforts before and after the baking party had progressed beyond what *any* volunteers could support.

    With diligent work of the local organizers **and** support from the founders of the original baking event, the smaller parties continue.

    They have grown a great deal in recent years. Many are now acclaimed events in their own right… and could withstand the cancellation of the original event. The local communities are not a subset of the original event.. They have a unique personality all by themselves.

    I agree that the event has changed dramatically over time. (I remember the year that the “feel of the event” was doomed— because they built streets with names on them).

    The event evolves.

    This is not the first time that large “clients” brought big monied camps to the event. Does anyone remember the insanity and huge sums of money that the Dot Com days brought to the event? When “company party” was combined with a tax deduction? Perhaps the days… when you called the bomb squad to inspect your explosive device… before they let you detonate it? Perhaps when a firewall was 40 feet long… and consisted of actual *fire*?

    The event will continue to evolve. How people choose to participate will evolve as well. After 12 years of volunteering, two years ago I chose to take a break from volunteering. I did not do this because the event had “lost it’s magic”. My decision was **Not** because I did not agree with the artistic motivation of some of the other camps. My decision was not because I had a “problem” with the giant bake off. My decision was not because I felt that the original organizers did not “get it” and were no longer being inclusive of everyone.

    I did it because my vacation stopped being a vacation (for me).

    Now I experience the event with totally fresh eyes. I camp with people who have been friends (and volunteers) for over a decade. We each play a part in our camp. The camp is nearly a village. We Interact by offering services to (literally) hundreds of people each day.

    When not at the “big bake off” our camp (and friends) have smaller gatherings. Larger events several times a year. Very small events once a week. People that have attended events dozens of times in the past are as welcome as people who have “just heard about it”. The smaller gatherings are also an easier introduction and more inclusive to recent new bakers.

    We each make our own choices… We each are part of the evolution.

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  • Rage The Elephant says:

    Yawn, yeah yeah blah blah yadda yadda more avoiding addressing the issues and answering the simple questions which every satellite event has to answer promptly or be expelled. Another pretty pink post by John, who will probably again will have his feeling hurt, and again he will say “Oh boo hoo, I shouldn’t have posterd this”, then he will again say some “ad type of thing” about himself and his camp, and then spout his blurb about how everyone (like his Mom and Diddy and all lazy fucking rich douches) should have access to “climbing” Mount Everest no matter that they want to be carried to the top and be coddled and served the whole time. These rich schmucks don’t want to do the work, they just want to try to claim that they conquered the mountain. LMAO, They didn’t conquer the mountain, they just want to blather to their sissified rich douchebag dinner party acquaintances (they have any real friends).

    Enough with this lame analogy blathering bullshit posts. Enough with the apologists explaining how it is all fine.

    How about Larry come clean and simply explain why so many normal people could not get tickets last year. You did not make burning man what is it today. Lazy rich pukes who buy their way in did not make burning man what it is today. Answer the simple fucking questions. Explain why the people who built and created burning over the years excluded in the last several years while piece of shit rich fucks obtained all of the tickets they wanted. Spit it out Larry. Put on your big boy pants, this is why you are paid the big money.

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  • Burner_family says:

    As virgin burners this year who traveled to BRC without tickets all the way from the Eaat Coast (who have participated in a community potluck much like the beautiful one you started with for many many years here in Florida), I can honestly say that the burn I attended this year inspired me to bring my best “baking” next year. Literally and figuratively. While it may not be the burn you all knew and loved at the inception, I will say, that participating this year was one of the most powerful and memorable experiences of my life. Second only to the homebirth of my son, who was also with us at the Burn (thanks Kidville for an awesome communal camp experience!). I cannot imagine missing the burn *ever* again, no matter where we are living, no matter what the cost… although I am hoping that the costs do not greatly increase as Burning Man is something so many people I know need to experience (awesome artistic, beautiful souls who simply haven’t been because of cost and distance- I only know one person from my pre-burner life who has ever been… it is rare on the East coast to find experienced burners!).

    So I hope that whatever politics is leading to the sell-out of all that is good an powerful at burning man to stop. Burning man is a beautiful thing (still), whether you can see it or not. But don’t let sell it to those who are willing to pay the highest ticket price or it will be dead and gone before you know it.

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  • Greg Frankhouser says:

    This will be my 1st BM. I am coming because a friend got a job, running a PnP camp. I’m reading all I can, and will be in charge of Trash services, so, at least this one PnP, you won’t have to clean up after.

    I know that the comparison is NOT direct, but the growth of Pennsic War has been similar. Things grow, things change, and use who were there BACK WHEN either get grumpy or quit worrying. Pennsic has leveled off the past 5-7 years or so due to hassle factors. Too far from camp to do the stuff you want to do.

    No answers, just a mention that THIS Newb will be trying to get it right.

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  • simon of the playa says:

    dirt jesus only bakes matzoh.

    plain, dry, dusty matzoh.

    but it keeps well, in the desert…

    just sayin’.

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  • Elkay says:

    If you are coming because you and a friend are hired employees, there to serve your employers and not the larger community, you are already doing it wrong. Your ticket is why burners can’t get tickets.

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  • simon of the playa says:

    and it’s kosher, and cheap, and goes well with pickles.

    long live pickle, Bacon is Dead.

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  • fri-'net-ik says:

    Does anybody remember what Larry did in 2007? That was the first Larry-sponsored commodification I saw. And I was just as Chicken Little as a lot of people are now. But it didn’t have any lasting effect on the event to the point where I’ll bet nobody even remembers, and it happened before most of the complainers ever experienced the event. And I find the old one a more blatant and egregious violation of decommodification.

    I’m confident this will blow over. And you guys I called Chicken Little? The volume and vehemence of your discontentment will be a major driving force for it. It’s your city – make your voice heard. And if nothing changes your anger will be justified because it’ll illustrate that somewhere along the line recently built and moved into an ivory tower.

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  • simon of the playa says:

    call me when you get kicked out of your rent controlled apartment and tell me again how zuckerberg enhanced delores park….

    seriously.

    this is indeed a Macro issue being played out on a Micro Stage.

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  • Turner the Burner says:

    @Greg Frankhouser

    Uhm, yeah, dude you are NOT going to burning man, you are going to work. You are going to a job and from the sound of it you will be a janitor, an assistant janitor.

    You will be a worker NOT a burner and facts be known you are taking away a ticket from a burner.

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  • Peace says:

    @Greg Frankhouser – Welcome Greg. It will be hard to get it right if you are coming with a true pay and play camp. They are often antithetical to the principles Burning Man is supposed to stand for. But perhaps your camp will be interactive and teach your participants the proper principles. My biggest concern is that any camp would put someone with no experience IN CHARGE OF TRASH SERVICES. The trash situation on playa is unique and should not be given to someone who has never been there. But basically, let me tell you how you should do your job…wait until all your participants have arrived and gotten settled. Call a camp meeting where everyone is required to be there. Stand in front of the participants and say, “PICK UP YOUR OWN SHIT, IF YOU DON’T YOU’RE OUT ON YOUR ASS” and that should be the whole of your job for the rest of the week. Burning Man is about personal responsibility. People should police their own trash. If you do it for them, they are not getting anything out of Burning Man but the show. The point of even allowing PnP camps is that the beautiful people will come, have their minds blown, and go out and change the world. That won’t happen if they are not required to live by the principles while they are there. If PnP camps aren’t going to insist their participants live by the principles while they are there, there is no point in having PnP camps, so maybe they should be banned. It’s one thing to have an advance team come out and setup your infranstructure, it’s quite another to hold wipe participants butts once they are on playa. BTW, we call trash MOOP. Hope you have a great burn. Maybe we’ll have a beer.

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  • frosty says:

    yep….that’s exactly it.

    now what BMORG?

    are you organizing a pot-luck, or are you running a bakery restaurant?

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  • THE PEACE SPEECH says:

    How cool would it be if every single paid worker heading out to the playa could be intercepted and be convinced to give “The Peace Speech”.

    Call a camp meeting where everyone is required to be there. Stand in front of the participants and say “PICK UP YOUR OWN SHIT, IF YOU DON’T YOU’RE OUT ON YOUR ASS” !!

    Do the same for every job they hire out.

    Convince every employee heading out to the Playa to work for money at our non money event do this. Have them show up, get their tickets and go to the camp and when it comes time give the appropriate speech, be it about ANYONE WHO WANTS TO RIDE IN THIS ART CAR CAN, IF YOU DON’T YOU’RE OUT ON YOUR ASS!!….

    YOU WILL CONTRIBUTE TO COOKING, IF YOU DONT….

    Even have security guards whose job will be to exclude burners(without the proper wrist bands) give the speech at the correct moment “YOU WILL WILL ALLOW ANYONE WHO WANTS TO COME INTO THE PUBLIC PART OF YOU CAMP COME IN AND IF YOU DONT….

    All the employees would give the speech and then walk out and disappear into the Playa dust. It would be cool if there was various designated refugee camps around that will help out the “gone” employees. The “gone employees” (“Peace employees”?) would agree to contribute to camps in exchange for salvation.

    Convince all paid Playa employees to-
    Give the speech, here after known as “THE PEACE SPEECH”!!

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  • xaramonkey says:

    @ Greg Frankhouser Total FAIL…and you haven’t even gotten there yet.

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  • Jason says:

    >”It would be cool if there was various designated refugee camps around that will help out the “gone” employees.”

    Next to the sparklepony corral? ;) The problem is, some of the slave labor has signed contracts, with teeth, and have been told they will lose their jobs back in Defaultia if they break contract.

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  • Iron Clad says:

    Not only does the slave labor have to sign contracts with teeth, this year they forcing all camp slaves to attach locking GPS tracking ankle bracelets, so anyone “wandering” off will be tracked down and forced to return to their job.

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  • Dave Rabbitt says:

    Kudos to the Org for posting this analogy. Your blog post yesterday was a bit alarming – it stated that the masses think there is a problem, but didn’t admit to any problems. Posting this story by Halcyon is finally a step in the right direction.

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  • Patrick Gleason (Buff) says:

    Thank you, John.

    Very well done. Like.

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  • Dave – To clarify: this was posted independently and not subject to editorial review or editing. It is my personal (fictional) opinion, and does not represent the BMORG.

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  • chrissyp says:

    I only started going in 2012……. with the ticket fiasco, I thought to step up, so, I worked on a CORE project all year, mostly doing fundraising rather than building….. I upticked my festival gear to be able to withstand playa conditions, I built a safe and comfortable home for 10, provided meals, kitchen use, booze, costumes. etc…. I very angrily cleaned up after ‘experienced’ burners who basically trashed the home I built and shared….. little threads left to blow as they cut up clothes I’d brought to make their own…. sleeping in my living room all day because it was cooler than their tent (under my shade)….

    In 2013, I upticked even more, being totally in love with the burner life style…. this time, I stayed away from the experienced burners I knew, and I brought a bunch of burgins…….. burgins who own restaraunts…. I drove (poorly) a large refrigerated catering truck…….. wooohah! I only slightly bumped into things twice with it….

    The burgins I brought that time had the spirit that I believe burning man is about…… we shared so much with one another, with our neighbors, and with others, folks who had paid ‘dues’ to stay in other camps, but, hung out with us instead…….. those other will prolly camp with me when I go back next…… they send me notes, and ask what types of structure they should get to tie in with what I have…. they helped to break down our space, asked good questions, etc..

    I love burning man. I am not an artist, but, I am a manager, I think in large and accommodating ways, for the good of us all. I shop, gather, imagine, set up, give direction, don’t ask anyone to do anything that I won’t or haven’t.

    I am so sad and unsurprised that there is something new to bitch about this year…… each year that I have gone, there has been a big horrible awful thing, and I sometimes think that those awful things make the rest of us step up to do a better job……

    only 2 years in. and my only art car ride was in 2013… two guys showed up in a space craft and abducted me….. I was barefoot……. we were gone for hours. That little spaceship was, I understand, one of the very first mutant vehicles…… it no longer flies.

    Burning man is. It will be controversial. how much more interested can we get? I love your writing Halcyon……

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  • Flabio says:

    Well done John.
    My guess on what happened was that some entrepreneurs were offering large amounts of money to be able to host a PnP camp. The powers that be said to themselves, “well it is a lot of money, and if we put the PnP on the street furthest from the Man, nobody will notice, and we get a lot more money, including lots more money for the Art foundation.”
    Well, you can’t slip anything by Burners and the internet. Now there is a mess. I’m not trying to judge right or wrong, just how we got here.

    Report comment

  • junko says:

    @Rage The Elephant

    I hate to say it, but bring in the pink clown – get everyone to remember how “transformative” (no one knows what that actually means) the event is. Everyday of your life is transformative. The playa doesn’t make it more so unless you’re a really dull person.

    So everyone says, “thank you! so much!” to the pink clown and the heat is turned down.

    Job done. For now.

    Report comment

  • chrissyp says:

    I wish I could delete my above post…… the ‘experienced’ burners who trashed my first year camp….. probably litter all year round, and had ‘been’ to burning man a couple of times.

    The ‘experienced’ burners I have worked CORE with in 2012 and 2013, and with whom I share time all year round have probably Never been people who litter. They live burning man all year round, and I am so grateful to be welcome in their homes and hearts…

    Mostly, I just meant that we all are who we are.. Burning man is so important to so many of us…. it is a shame when folks are not living the spirit that so many of us believe TTITD to be about.

    It’s a shame that the founders have allowed this spirit to become so tainted……. effing money anyway.

    My little home on the desert is such a tiny little microcosm of the macrosm within which my home is built……of course we get angry cleaning up after those who would trash the dream, angrier still when they don’t even acknowledge the damage they have done.

    Report comment

  • tomboy says:

    @Greg Frankhouser

    I totally agree with you. Most of these burners forget that Burning Man is constantly evolving, and PnP is just another phase of its evolution. Some people can’t handle change. I think they’re cowards, but I suppose they could also be described as merely ‘set in their ways’. That’s sad for them because so many of these posts ITT reflect their unwillingness to change. They’re afraid of the change. This fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. We all know this is true. I wish we could help to relive their suffering, but some things can’t be helped.

    Report comment

  • Peace says:

    @Greg Frankhouser

    I had to look up what the Pennsic Wars were, and now you should picture me with my head in my hands trying to make everything alright. Burning man has nothing to do with your SCA games. Nothing against them, just not even in the same continent.

    @tomboy

    This is not about change, it is about context. The principles provide the context for Burning man to happen. They are the rules of the game we all agreed to play. You can change the plays, you can change the players, but when you break the rules, you get called on it. We agreed to play by the org’s rules, they have to do the same. This has nothing to do with hate, this is about love. We love this event and we will fight to protect it.

    Report comment

  • jannus says:

    @Peace

    The principles are penned by Mr. Harvey in 2004. They are from his imagination. He wrote them in 2004. Before that, what was the context of the event without the principles? I know it existed before 2004 because I was there, but you’re saying there was no context then without the principles… Interesting.

    Report comment

  • socks2 says:

    If no one has caught this @ Greg Frankhouser
    already has a guaranteed ticket for next year from his P&P camp.
    And we need more time to think about this what BS

    Report comment

  • Brigit says:

    What I found hopeful is that Danger Ranger reposted this blog on his FaceBook page.

    Now–can the BMOrg PLEASE speak up? We’re waiting to hear more than just platitudes about how Burning Man will go on and how this is actually GOOD for the event….what’s the excuse for this BLATANT violation of (to me at least and obviously many others) one of the most core of our principles? What is the BMOrg going to actually DO to stop this commodification–if anything?

    Report comment

  • Pink says:

    I caught that the Greg Frankhouser post means that Commodification camps have probably already been paying their tithes to the Borg, and now with this ‘kerfuffle’, Larry & Co are trying to figure out how to placate us peons while not breaking any contracts already signed.

    Report comment

  • Alex R Now says:

    @chrissyp I was very pleased and happy to have read your post, you are an awesome burner, thank you for all you do. Thank you for helping show burgins the way, you are an awesome person. hugs

    @tomboy The only people who come close to being cowards in this are Larry and the BMorg who are cowering in the shadows not explaining what they have done and are doing, but still they are not cowards. I think they are good people who have been lead astray by the lure on big money, and now are having a hard time explaining themselves.

    Then there is you, you little piece of shit calling good burners cowards while you are not even close to being as good a person as real burners. It is disgusting how you admit having no issues with you and your fellow worker slaves taking away tickets from real burners so you can be there to to wipe the shit off the ass of the rich who are unable to take care themselves in place where taking care of one’s self is a cornerstone of the event.

    tomboy, I don’t expect you to be able to understand any of this, you are to focused on Dollars signs and dreaming of the money to be made. You don’t “get it” and no amount of explaining can help you understand that “working for cash” on the Playa goes against everything burning man is about.

    Do not imagine that you are “going to burning man”. You are going to a job that happens to be on the Playa where you will serve a master. And know this, it will go bad for you and when it does don’t whine, cry or wallow in your self pity, and don’t ask “oh why me? why do I deserve this?”. You know why. Take your beating and then learn to respect the man a respect real burners who do it the right way.

    Respect burners who are as far from being cowards as humans come.

    Report comment

  • It looks like the plans for PnP camps are firming up.

    The placement map can be located using the name link…

    FYI- This image in preliminary as complaints about the worker barracks
    being placed too close to the PnP camps are already being filed. They
    are requesting that all worker barracks be out of sight, hopefully in Reno,
    and have the worker slaves brought in as needed. Playa real estate is far
    too valuable to be wasted on worker scum.

    Report comment

  • Peace says:

    @jannus

    When Larry wrote the principals down, he himself said he was capturing what Burning Man had always been about. Just because they’ve only been codified for 10 years doesn’t mean they’ve only existed for ten years.

    Report comment

  • Peace says:

    If the BMorg were to come out and say, “look folks, we fucked up. We shouldn’t have allowed these commodification camps to exist and make money a factor in how you are treated in regards to placement and tickets. So we are changing the rules to reflect the communities desire for a level playing field…blah, blah, blah…Unfortunately we already have signed contracts with a few camps that are binding for the 2015 event”. I would be okay with that. We want to protect the event long term. If the BMorg admits the mistake and fixes it, even if they can’t for 2015, I think they should be forgiven.

    Report comment

  • Jason says:

    >Tomboy: “Most of these burners forget that Burning Man is constantly evolving, and PnP is just another phase of its evolution.”

    By violating the principals they claim to support, what the BOrg is doing is guarantee that the volunteers and the freely-gifting Burners, who, all taken together, are the only thing that make Burning Man be what it is, will stop coming. And then Burning Man will be an empty desert with no roads, no art, and no people. The BOrg shouldn’t treat the people that make the event happen like they are less than dirt, while letting others commodify and make huge profits off marketing what others are freely giving.

    Tomboy, you don’t have the slightest idea what Burning Man is about, or what makes it happen.

    Report comment

  • hugs and drinks says:

    I <3 Jason, hugs

    I <3 Peace, hugs

    I <3 chrissyp, hugs

    I <3 burnersxxx, hugs

    I <3 Burning Man, drinks.

    Report comment

  • Swagmeister says:

    Thanks Halcyon. This is EXACTLY how I feel about the issue.

    Especially this part: “But as word spread of this new wave of “tourist” attendees, the original attendees started to feel taken advantage of. They felt like suckers. What was once a joyful experience of sharing their talents now felt, well, commodified. Why would they go to the store, buy all the ingredients with their own money, and invest all their labor just so Beatrice could make a buck off of them?”

    This hit the nail on the head. As a member of the art / build scene, I have a huge problem with the fact that BM is allowing “Beatrice” to profit off our freely given hard work. Especially when artists and photographers aren’t allowed to profit off their OWN playa art.

    Report comment

  • Steve says:

    One related practice that hasn’t gotten much attention: “Exception” tickets that were offered to sob stories (such as counterfeit/invalid/lost tickets) at the gate. They would sell you a ticket, but only at a $650 rate. I understand the need for disincentives to people just making up stories, but $650?!? That’s a shake down. And it was usually of people that were already out ~$400 on their original purchase. That shit really makes me sad.

    Report comment

  • Luthor says:

    My prediction? 2015 prices will be $550-$650 face value and $1000-$1100 for the marked up tickets. They just don’t seem to give a fuck anymore and like so many other good things things that have gone bad it will pretty much be a cash grab and event rape from here on out

    Report comment

  • Storm the Camps says:

    In any corporate structure, if a BOD member screws up and costs investors, they resign. If Mr Tannenbaum values our values, he resigns. If he has financial interest in his Popsicle Camp moving forward that is greater than the will of all who create Burning Man and does not resign, there is your proof. He is already rich beyond most of our dreams. He is only still in the picture because of vanity, legal or capitalist intent.

    Burning Man, the first step is the sacrificial lamb and that is Tannenbaum. You want to play like a corporation? That is the reality. This will give you leeway to fudge another year around the onslaught of commodification camps versus our values. In 2015 we as a population can acculturate the K Streets to come in our own way. And Rest Assured, a machine is being built to influence experiences of the safari crowd. But you need to throw something to the proles now to satiate them.

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  • Making Movies on Location says:

    You know what might make a good (albeit long) movie title?

    “Bring me the head of Jim Tananbaum!!:The rise and fall of Burning Man aka How real burners rebuilt the man”

    Can we please get that one documentary film maker working on this?

    Report comment

  • Roundabout says:

    @Swagmeister
    DITO. You hit the nail on the head about where Halcyon hit the nail on the head.

    Report comment

  • Jake Edmonds says:

    Dear Larry;

    We are STILL WAITING.

    How long does it take for you to simply say “yes, I sold you out, covered it up, sold your tickets quietly and above face value to rich bastards after stealing them from the STEP program. I facilitated and preferentially placed Plug & Play camps, took home a bundle of favor-money, and I shamelessly commodified your event. Yes, my board members have completely run amok and I get a nice little piece of this action. So what? And as the Chief Philosophical Officer for BM, I philosophically say FUCK YOU to anyone who may have noticed my arrogance and duplicity. If you pollyanna Burners dont like it, then dont come!”

    Oh wait. You did say that. You said it when you refused to answer The Question, to wit: “We know what kind of lying, thieving, sniveling whore you are. We just want to know your PRICE”.

    The longer you wait, the brighter the torches burn, and the sharper the pitchforks get.

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  • Kayla says:

    I think Mr Harvey has said all he will say on the matter. We made him rich. This silence is all the thanks we will ever get. I know several volunteers that will not give him another chance and will step down from helping make the burn work. He lied to us and commodified our work. Someone needs to make him stop this sick game of financial gain based on broken trust.

    Report comment

  • Really this is me. says:

    as someone under 40 I dont see what the problem with all this is. i like the music at burning man and would only be so lucky to be abl to pay for a camp that made things easy. last year was grate but hard and i slept on couches.

    Report comment

  • Treats Forall says:

    The problem is getting tickets.

    Unfortunately many many self centered rave kiddies, frat douches, sparkle ponies, spoiled rich fuckheads and morons in general are too busy texting and talking or too stupid to understand and/or empathy for other people’s issues until they go through the same thing, then then, and only then, are they instantly pissed off. That is a bad trait.

    Everyone should be able to empathize for others issues and porblems without having to feel the pain their self.

    One huge problem is every Richie Rich staying in a camp where they require Sherpas to take care of them are taking up extra tickets which means a ticket goes to a Sherpa instead of a real burner. It is sad that this problem is so difficult for so many morons to grasp.

    Report comment

  • Treats Forall wrote:
    >Everyone should be able to empathize for others issues and porblems without having to feel the pain their self.

    >Unfortunately many many self centered rave kiddies, frat douches, sparkle ponies, spoiled rich fuckheads and morons in general are too busy texting and talking or too stupid to understand and/or empathy for other people’s issues until they go through the same thing, then then, and only then, are they instantly pissed off. That is a bad trait.

    Jesus Christ. I’ve never heard a such loud-mouthed & hypocritical group of people complaining about something they seemingly fed off of for years. Take a step back and listen to yourselves! “Everyone should be able to empathize…” Yet, “Waa waa waa, entire group A, B, and C are not to my liking and therefore morons! They have more money than me so let me bitch about it!”

    Get a grip people. If you don’t like what’s going on then DON’T PARTICIPATE. Otherwise, shut your mouths if you can’t form constructive criticism. Larry & Co are running a CITY for you and me and YES: rich people as well. Something about radical inclusion comes to mind.

    TL;DR – Put a sock in it, Treats Forall

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  • Treats Forall says:

    @SickofWhining You are, and sum up, the exact type of asshole I was talking about.

    Report comment

  • Sickof Whining says:

    @Treats Forall Thank you. I always enjoyed a good asshole! Now avoid the event and pass your ticket on to someone who will appreciate it and the work that goes into making it happen.

    Report comment

  • Treats Forall says:

    Look at this pathetic loser telling people to avoid the event, lmao, Fuck off loser. You are the exact type of asshole, someone who is so proud and happy to be a piece of shit, who is ruining Burning Man with your shitty attitude.

    Report comment

  • Sicko Whining says:

    @Treats Forall – If by ruining the event you mean volunteering for 3 weeks out of the year with DPW building the city then yes! Guilty!

    And I’m not telling people to avoid the event… Just you. ;-)

    Report comment

  • Treats Forall says:

    Well folks, it looks like we ware finally getting to them.

    It is about time they sent in some assholes to talk back,
    beings Larry is too much of a pussy to say anything himself.

    Keep it up, these pukes know they are wrong.

    Report comment

  • Sickof Whining says:

    Not sure who “them” refers to. If by “them” you mean volunteers then I take it you aren’t one? Please enlighten us to your contribution to the city and how you feel it should change / move forward. So far it seems you’d rather just spew vitriol.

    On topic I too have major issues with JT and given the opportunity I will voice it. So far, I haven’t been asked. Pretty low on the totum pool and I do not speak for anyone but myself. The problem with Burning Man in its current incarnation, to me, is asshats like you who would rather bitch with foul language than provide constructive criticism on how to make the city evolve into something *everyone* can enjoy… Not just those *you* deem ‘real’ burners.

    Report comment

  • Treats Forall says:

    Boy, you came right at me attacking like the troll you are, you got the
    exact type of reply you deserve, and then you cry about it. Too funny.

    btw- no one cares to hear your lies on an anonymous board.

    Let people post their opinions, and you post yours, and then move along, OK sonny?

    I will stop now because back and forth flame wars do nothing for this cause.

    Report comment

  • The professor says:

    Ok. What about this as a partial solution. BM runs one big luxury hotel camp. Somewhere near center camp, it is design architecturally by one architect a year, chosen as the Temple architect is chosen. It’s construction is paid for by BM. All “staff” in the hotel must be volunteers. Like other BM volunteers, they can qualify for tickets if they put in enough time, but they are not paid. BM creates a DPH like DPW–a department of publif hospitality. DPH runs the hotel and handles the tickets that go along with having a room there. DPH must be transparent each year about the number of tickets sold with room reservations, and if there aren’t enough of these special tickets/rooms, too bad. DPH can hold a separate lottery if it wants, for room/ticket reservations, or it can just keep raising prices on these rooms/tickets. But again, it has to be transparent. In addition, the hotel facility must have public space as part of the design consideration. It can have some private spaces too, but that must be disclosed in the design sub,is soon by architects competing for the design in a given year, and must be somewhat limited. There can be no private mutant vehicle or art Carsten by DPH unless for accessibility reasons.

    DPH could be a revenue raiser. Charge $50,000 a room–charge whatever it takes to build an amazing public space each year that can make burners proud. And let rich people enjoy the hotel, but also be in an environment where they aren’t paying “staff.” They have to understand that all those they are interacting with are volunteers. They have to meet real burners. They have to interact. And their contribution to the playa is an amazing new piece of architecture each year, done in a transparent way that is accountable to the community. The BMORG gets its needs met–it can accommodate the wealthy benefactors that do make some of the art possible. That’s fine. But it does so in a controlled way that is WAY less offensive than the turnkey camps with their bouncers and attitude and wristbands and secrecy.

    Thoughts?

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  • Plumb Bob says:

    i think its a interesting, albeit bad idea. I can not fathom why we should accept or encourage commodification in any form. Basically we would need to cut out a chunk of our real estate in the dust, commodify it completely, and pretend its ok. And then we walk 500 yards away and suddenly everything changes and commodification is against the rules again?

    I dont want to shoot the messenger here. At first blush it seems like a workable compromise, but the path Larry Harvey took (the lies, self dealing, subterfuge, nepotism) should never be accepted or forgiven by the burning community, much less promoted.

    If he had been candid and honest in presenting this as an experiment, I could swallow it. But not now. Not after all the revelations that have come to light. Not after the behavior on-playa.

    Commodification must die at Burning Man. Its just that simple.

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  • Leo says:

    To the Professor:
    While you have an interesting idea, I think this would accelerate the “Disneyfication” of Burning Man. Plumb Bob nailed it on the commodification of Burning Man. If someone wishes to stay in a luxury hotel in a desert, go to Dubai, Las Vegas or Palm Springs.

    Report comment

  • The professor says:

    I definitely get and share the concern. At the same time, commodification is always on a spectrum. We all pay for tickets–they aren’t free. Much of the big art and big sound is heavily paid for, just behind the scenes. The relevant question is whether we could make some accommodation that would be less offensive than what is happening now, because it was transparent and depended on public accountability. Commodification is bad when it pervades and undermines other values. But if a community decides to accommodate guests on its own terms and for reasons that will benefit it, that may become a mechanism for supporting the community’s values, not an undermining influence. Will some wealthy guests be turned away by having to stay somewhere where they are not in total control? Yes. Fine. Good. Don’t come. Will some burners object? Yes. But we already depend on DPW, on the revenue that pays for the permit on the land, on the $$ that build the man and the temple and various other things. I’m not saying “give in to commodification.” I’m saying that controlled, communitarian effort to create something that provides benefit to the entire community on ITS terms may be a solution that is morally and aesthetically and culturally sound, and certainly better if done properly and in the open than the corrosive alternative of slow, secret commodification…

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  • Elkay says:

    But….. In the case of profiting at a commodification camp, the commodity being sold is us. Clearly not the same as your examples, professor.

    Report comment

  • The professor says:

    I agree. I forgot to put in my original post that all paid camps other than the DPH hotel would be banned. Pure and simple.

    Report comment

  • Elkay says:

    Making a terrible idea worse.

    Report comment

  • Peace says:

    “Commodification is always on the spectrum” unless you refuse to put it on the spectrum.

    Report comment

  • Art vs. Money says:

    Another revealing post from burners.me about the shitty one-sided contract all artists must sign with the BMORG if they get a grant. Click on the “Art vs. Money” link to read it.

    Report comment

  • Another revealing post from burners.me about the shitty one-sided contract all artists must sign with the BMORG if they get a grant. Click on the “Art vs. Money” link to read it.

    Report comment

  • bobby dobbs says:

    Burners.me is run by a VERY wealthy gentleman who since he has been shunned by the bmorg for being an asshole has vowed to destroy them..

    just sayin’…

    a grudge is a horrible thing to taste…

    Report comment

  • burnersxxx says:

    “Shunned by the BMOrg” might be right, but Burners.Me have never vowed to destroy them. There’s no grudge. If you actually read the writing there, you will see statements like:

    “I have no problem with the Founders cashing out, they’ve built an amazing event over nearly thirty years and they deserve it”.

    Burners.Me is one of the few sites on the Internet trying to *save* the amazing thing that Burning Man’s culture was, in the face of rampant commodification, BMOrg silence on important issues, and misleading propaganda from the Org – if you think I’m making that up, note that the organization has a full-time “Minister of Propaganda”. Or just read any of the other thousands of comments here from Burners this month.

    The site is a free gift to the community, Burners.Me does not profit from Burning Man in any way.

    Perhaps it’s hard for you to believe, Mr Dobbs, but not everyone in the world sees sucking up to BMOrg as their highest goal in life.

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  • bobby dobbs says:

    oh please, how droll.

    a man with a King Phillip / Jaques De Molay Complex…

    “can’t buy the party, I’ll destroy it”

    it’s like a bad star trek episode…

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  • Sandra Ickstal says:

    funny how when burners.me wrote about the stuff the former temple designer wrote they left out the stuff which he seemed the most deeply passionate about: proper citations for photographs.

    who’s really screwing whom?

    isnt this the same guy who complained about at length about being asked to take-down reuters images used without permission…

    used by someone who could easily pay for them?

    im not gonna be too concerned about what he has to say on the matter

    Report comment

  • burnersxxx says:

    From the Art vs Money article:

    “Have you noticed how in all the media publicity surrounding the event, the photographers sometimes get credited, but the artists never do? Burners.Me are as guilty of that as anyone else, but how are we supposed to know who the artist is behind a given art car or art piece? It seems that BMOrg, who control the placement of the art, the funding of the art, and the commercial use of the images of the art, are in a position to know. They should make an effort to identify and promote the artists involved. How many people work full-time in their media department, 6? How many in their art department, 2? That’s a lot of resources that could be used to help promote the artists who slave away to create the photo ops.”

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  • bobby dobbs says:

    keep dancin’, boyo…

    your shit is beginning to stink….

    Report comment

  • burnersxxx says:

    I could say “Bobby Dobbs has vowed to destroy Burning Man”, but that doesn’t make it true. There are 1315 free, gifted posts at Burners.Me that anyone can read if they would like to make up their own minds. If my intention was destruction, it would be a terribly inefficient way of going about it. Only 1 in 12 posts at Burners.Me is critical, so why write so many positive posts if all I wanted to do was harm?

    The De Molay reference is interesting: Larry Harvey’s father was a Freemason, and his brother Stuart was a member of De Molay, their boys’ club.

    Perhaps BMOrg will comment soon on this post, or the previous ones, and address the community’s concerns, instead of sending their troll army out to all corners of the Interwebz to attack Burners.Me. I keep giving them the benefit of the doubt, sadly they keep disappointing me.

    Report comment

  • PlayaPlaya says:

    Keep on keeping on burnersxxx,
    You are awesome and needed. You ahve posted a lot of great information that many were afrid to post. Please do not be dissuaded by the influx of assholes here, it was bound to happen and facts be known it is a good sign you we are getting to them.

    Please do not do the typical thing where people are complemented 100 times but then only pay attention to 1 negative comment. At least give equal weight to the positive… and even better ignore the Debbie Downers.

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  • bobby dobbs says:

    The De Molay reference is interesting: Larry Harvey’s father was a Freemason, and his brother Stuart was a member of De Molay, their boys’ club.

    paranoid much?

    Report comment

  • burnersxxx says:

    Thanks for the support PlayaPlaya. Burners.Me in the last week is being attacked from many different directions at once.

    For example, “Sandra Ickstal” posts here, and at the same time “Glebe Schulze” posts basically the same thing on the (unofficial) Burning Man facebook group.

    People should wonder what the motivation is behind this. It seems more than just petty jealousy, or a dislike of some of our content.

    I can take criticism, like Ross Asselstine says in our Art Versus Money story, a culture has been created here where many Burners are afraid to “put their head above the parapets” because of social media attacks. I’ve been on the Web for more than 20 years now, and am familiar with flame wars, trolls, sock puppets, smear campaigns, ad hominem and straw man attacks, and all the other weapons in their cyber-arsenal that are being deployed against Burners.Me.

    This is a charity, right? So why the need for all these trolls? Why the co-ordination of attacks at this time?

    Burning Man didn’t used to be about money. It used to be a place where all Burners were the same, regardless of what they did for a living or what their “net worth” was. That’s what my objective is, preserving that culture – because it was fucking awesome. I’d rather have 30,000 true Burners than 5,000 true Burners and 65,000 safari tourists in Commodification Camps, excluding Burners because they don’t have the right wristbands, and gifting nothing to the community.

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  • bobby dobbs says:

    what is your gift to the community besides flying in on your own plane, being whisked away to your air conditioned RV and ogling women you can’t possibly have unless they fuck for money?

    oh right, you write a “blog”….

    Report comment

  • burnersxxx says:

    I’ve never flown in to Burning Man. I bought a $19,000 RV off eBay to take to Burning Man, so what? Most of the 11 times I’ve been to Burning Man, I brought a girlfriend with me, again…so what?

    We all have different skills and talents. I make my contribution to the Burner community every single day, thousands of hours’ worth. What do you do that’s so special?

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  • PlayaPlaya says:

    Right on burnersxxx, you know what is going on including all of the usual tactics they use.

    You seem to be correct about most of this and you are admirably willing to publicly defend your words and posts… while the BMorg seems to be very wrong about several things and is not even willing to discuss it… instead they seem to be sending out trolls to do their talking.

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  • bobby dobbs says:

    you can’t HANDLE what I do…

    seriously…

    “if you don’t have A/C, you’re doing it wrong”

    ^burnersxxx^

    Report comment

  • Bill Pixels says:

    wow. it looks like people are finally starting to get sick of burners.me and zos

    The blog is OK. That is about as far as it goes, it is OK. To build it up as some amazing gift is a bit much. It’s your personal ramblings. 99% of which is stuff other people already talk about on a daily basis.

    I recently found out on a forum that the guy behind burners.me is worth tens of millions of dollars. And here he is talking all paranoid about BMORG goons out to attack him?

    Maybe people are just sick of it all. This guy says he can take critic.. but he can’t. He claims his critics are actually organized by Burning Man LLC to harass him. Nobody could honestly dislike his antics.

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  • burnersxxx says:

    I know plenty of people in yurts and tents who have A/C.

    You’re all over the place, dude. I can’t even imagine what your gift could be that’s so special I wouldn’t be able to handle it. Sucking up to the BMOrg, perhaps? Snitching to the Feds and running undercover stings against Burners?

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  • bobby dobbs says:

    “playaplaya”…

    dear god…..he can’t even come up with a clever sock puppet…

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  • It is a shame that many in our community are so quick to get nasty in online conversations. In a dust storm, I’m pretty sure every one of us would help hold down another’s shade structure if we were walking by.
    But online, we forget how much we are all part of the same family. We judge by how much we spend? How we Burn?!
    (I should clarify that is a small group that gets mean. But in an online venue, those voices sound LOUD.)
    It can be fine and healthy to disagree – or even argue – with family. But if you want it to be effective, it needs to be done with love. (Of course, if you just like the feeling of shit stirring & righteous indignation, rattle on.)

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  • bobby dobbs says:

    “Snitching to the Feds and running undercover stings against Burners?”

    if thats the case, i guess i Would be Paranoid too…

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  • PlayaPlaya says:

    bobby dobbs = epitome of troll, only here to disrupt, start trouble, change the conversation… basically a piece of shit.

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  • burnersxxx says:

    Bill Pixels, I’ve had critics from day one. That’s their right, just as it’s my right to express my opinions on my own blog, and defend myself from false accusations on others.

    My traffic, followers, and engagement are growing faster than ever, so clearly there are fans as well as haters. More than 110,000, at last count. I don’t mind haters, they can read any blog they want, or as BMOrg like to say “if you don’t like it start your own”. But the idea that “now people are starting to get sick of Burners.Me” is ludicrous, and flies in the face of all available evidence.

    So far in November, I’ve made 40 posts. BMOrg on this blog have made 4, and 2 of them were from Halcyon who makes it clear he doesn’t work for them. We give other voices in the community who want to speak out the opportunity to, and Halcyon has written guest posts for Burners.Me too.

    I think if Burners are getting sick of anything, it’s the continued silence and misdirection from the event’s organizers.

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  • Lorna says:

    This Is Silly.

    People are only talking about this blog site because someone came here to advertise it. Why is this a fitting place? We are here to talk about Halcyon and his writing.

    But it is now the subject and While I dont Agree with their methods, I have to AGREE with some of the others. Burners. ME is not a good thing for Burning Man. It is Negative. It is like the FOXNEWS of burning man. IT causes divisiveness, which the person who runs it openly stokes. As you can see in this comment section now.

    I think it would be good if this Burners. Me would take a break for a while and let burners explore things without his interruptions and conspiracies.

    No. I am not sent here from the Burning Man Headquarters. I’m just someone who thinks Halcyon deserves better.

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  • PlayaPlaya says:

    The facts are the facts and the rest of the noise is just trolls trying to distract from the facts.

    FACTS/PROBLEMS/ISSUES
    1) Isolation / exclusivity of safari-style camps (wristband areas)

    2) Use of paid labor of ticket holders during the event. (Some people working as gifts to community while others are working to make money)

    3) Camp organizers running turnkey camps for profit. (Commodification of the Burning Man experience)

    4) Unfair attainment of tickets by wealthy donors. (blocks of $650 tickets offered “discreetly” – while others use STEP)

    5) Unfair placement of turnkey camps (Inadequate interactivity while others do not get placed)

    6) Board member connections to above practices.

    7) Silence from BMOrg on all of the above

    8) Lack of transparency (promised since March).

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  • PlayaPlaya says:

    The product that the BMorg is marketing, selling and making a profit from is the people of burning man, that is not cool.

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  • JV says:

    I’m the one who posted the link to the Art vs. Money article on burners.me, I put the link in the name field because the Burning Blog doesn’t allow linking from the comments section (a prudent policy, in my opinion). I’ve never been 100% on board with burners.me, I think he’s a little bit of a conspiracy nut, but on this issue, the one that Halcyon has attempted to address twice now, burners.me has been spot-on correct. And since the BMORG still hasn’t come out with a full explanation, I’m using this most recent post on the Burning Blog to mention relevant posts elsewhere that readers here might not have seen.

    I LOOOOOOVE Burning Man. Just like all of you. Seriously. Sometimes too much. But that doesn’t mean I’m willing to sit quietly by and let the BMORG veer off course by bringing on board members whose very careers are based on monetizing cultural/social phenomena, with the seeming intent to do the same to Burning Man. Criticism isn’t inherently destructive. In this case, I think it’s warranted and crucial, even. People like burnersxxx, who apparently has the funds to keep up the pressure full time, are fighting the good fight, in my opinion. Criticize the substance of his argument, if you will. I know I have at times on his blog. But coming on here with the boilerplate “sock puppet” “troll” nonsense is silly.

    Long live Burning Man. Seriously.

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  • HomerMan says:

    Hi Everybody,
    Sorry to hijack the thread but I looked around and could not find any information I need, so maybe some of you good folks can help out.

    After seeing the Simpsons last night we have decided that we need to attend Burning Man at least once, so we are going next year! We are so excited! It looks like a great time. We love EDM, rap and raves so this should be great.

    We are going next year and need to get tickets and some information.

    We are not really into camping so we need to find one of the places where we can rent a room or RV or something on the fair grounds. I would hate to have our tent get blown away like Homer. lol :)

    How does that all work? Who do we call? Can we buy an all inclusive package with tickets, room and food included? How about getting there? Is it a long drive or should we fly in? Is the airport right by the fair grounds so we can walk or is there a bus to take us to our room?

    What about the shows? Are tickets all inclusive to getting into the individual concerts and shows? Who will be playing next year, is there a list of entertainers posted anywhere yet?

    Do you think Skrillex will be back next year? He is such a great whatever he is.

    Is it true that you can get anything you want once you are inside the fair grounds? It was cool how the Simpsons showed how Marge got dosed by a stranger and she started liking it better once she was tripping. Can you really buy whatever drugs and stuff you want once inside? How about beer? Is there a liquor store?

    And what about costumes? Are there stores on the fair grounds where you can rent costumes or buy feathers and blinky lights and stuff? And is there a bike rental place?

    That is all I can think of now, but we are so excited to finally be going to this concert, even if we can only stay for 2-3 days, it should be great.

    Does anyone have any information about this? or maybe a phone number I can call to talk to someone at the location? What is this BMorg I keep reading about? What is their phone number?

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  • JV says:

    @HomerMan

    Ha! Nice one.

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  • Sickof Whining says:

    @bobby dobbs I know what you do out on the playa. It’s a shitty job, literally, and I thank you for it! Everyone here should as well.

    It’s pretty clear that PlayaPlaya is also TreatsForall. Funny how he calls a bona fide shit-cleaning DPW person a troll and questions your contribution. Called me the same, also a member of DPW, while deflecting my question (and yours) to HIS contribution. It is pretty clear who the troll is — and how much, or little, he contributes other than vitriol.

    Sorry to hijack the thread, Halcyon, but you walked into a shitstorm with this post.

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  • Leo says:

    I think burnersxxx is doing a great job with his blog. The truth isn’t always pretty, and truth seems to be in short supply from the BMORG these days. We are still waiting for answers from the BMORG, unless their silence is their answer, which it probably is.

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  • JV says:

    @Sickof Whining

    If you’re a DPW member, and especially if you’re one of the many who volunteer their time on DPW, then this issue is particularly pertinent to you. Your time and effort are being sold. If that’s OK with you, then carry on, but at least point out where burnersxxx got something wrong on this issue if you have a problem with him criticizing the BMORG. If it’s not OK with you, then I don’t understand why you’d be against what burnersxxx is doing.

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  • bobby dobbs says:

    “Rashoman”…

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  • Sickof Whining says:

    @ JV

    You are correct, this issue is especially important to me. However, unless burnersxxx is also Treats Forall and/or PlayaPlaya then I have not yet made a post directed at him. In fact I think his blog is doing good work in that all of us need to examine these issues from both sides — especially people who volunteer their time but even more so for the artists required to sign this atrocious contract. I have questions which need answering. As does every participant, volunteer, artist, and even staff.

    I fall into a special category on the playa in that I would do my job even if being sold out. I love what I do out there and BM is one of the few places I get to do it. I also do it to give back to the community. This does not change if Larry & Co sell me out. What does change is the general ‘vibe’ of the event which I feel will crumble if commodification creeps in. I will still do my job, because I love it, but you bet your ass when the founders visit I will voice my opinion. Will they listen? Probably not.

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  • JV says:

    The Rashoman effect, OK, fair enough. Your take on this issue is different. What is your take on this issue? Where do you feel burnersxxx is getting it wrong?

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  • bobby dobbs says:

    “every nail looks like a hippie, when you have a giant hammer”

    it’s a matter of INTENT…

    how do you intend to use this tool, to create? to Fix? To Build?

    or, in his case, to bludgeon…

    let’s fix what is broken, Duh…and let’s not forget that it is still the best place on earth.

    can it be better, yes, it can..

    do we need to be a little bitch and whine about everything, while sitting in a gilded cage?

    well, obviously some people feel the need to do so.

    their INTENTIONS are what i question.

    btw, i have been burning since 1996,

    and i’ve seen a lot of shit…

    i’m sure WE, the community, will get our shit together, we always do, even as people talk shit, and fling shit, because they themselves feel like shit, deep down inside…

    in actuality, that shit might just need a hug…..who knows.

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  • JV says:

    Yeah I know you’re a long time burner, you’re the “shit queen of burning man” as per ValleyWag. I don’t doubt your intentions, but in this case, I think a bludgeon is in order in the form of a constant stream of informed, constructive criticism and investigative reporting in lieu of transparency from the BMORG.

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  • Marvin says:

    Sickof Whining and bobby dobbs are the same poster. He is only here to distract and disrupt, ignore their posts and stick to the issues. Thanks to JV, Leo, burnersxxx and others who are doing the right thing by asking questions and making legit posts.

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  • Peace says:

    It is important we keep up the pressure. It is also vital that the pressure be constructive, focused, dispassionate, and kind. There are lots of reasons to post expressions of impotent anger, but they are not helpful at this point.

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  • burnersxxx says:

    So “Bobby Dobbs” is a woman, and a paid employee of BMOrg. Thanks, that explains a lot. According to the Valleywag article, she hates RVs and wants everyone to shit in her portapotties.

    Keep your shit on the Playa, Bobby, there’s no need to spread it here. Burners who GIFT their time and money to the event are genuinely concerned about the issues that have been raised on this blog for the last 2-3 months. Some have tried the “peace, love and unicorns” approach; some of us have tried the speaking frankly and providing evidence approach – what you call a bludgeon. None of it seems to be working: all approaches are met with continuing silence from the BMOrg. Even Halcyon’s post, that theoretically we’re all discussing in these comments. Your “fling shit at the messenger” approach is not working either.

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  • LEMUR says:

    youre thinking of robby dobbs.

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  • bobby dobbs says:

    what lemur said.

    Gee Whillikers, Dudexxx, get a grip…

    your paranoia is showing.

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  • Fran says:

    Easy mistake to make as much as much as bobby dobbs whines, crys and bitches like a woman at the wrong time of the month. Give it a rest booby, stop being hysterical.

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  • On task says:

    Could we please drop the personal attacks and get back to the subject?

    This fighting doesn’t help fix anything.

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  • Marvin says:

    Agreed, Sickof Whining and bobby dobbs please drop the personal attacks and get back to the subject.

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  • mancakes says:

    Only the Borg have the power to fix this, at least within the context of the Gerlach regional. And they’re still slowly doing whatever it is they’re doing to come up with an answer. Supposedly the commodification issue is being taken seriously, but by gum it’s taking them a long time.

    I think that if they fail to fix this, then Halcyon’s parable will become reality and some or even many people will disengage. And those Burners will move onto other things.

    Hell, maybe we should short-circuit the process and start looking at what we could run around the same time, starting with the involvement of as many theme camps as possible, but starting afresh with a nascent event, back to the underground.

    OR focus on the regionals, I guess. They’re cropping up like mushrooms here in Australia.

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  • sosad says:

    Hey Halcyon, can you stop by first camp in 5 minutes? I have a big “client” from China I’m trying to ink a deal with. I think if they could get a couple of really great hugs from you I can get the deal done. I can’t pay you anything for it cause that would go against my principles but I assure you it will work out great for me. yours truly evil, J. Tanenbaum.

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  • sosad says:

    ABSOLUTELY no offense intended to you Halcyon.

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