Gay Bashing/Larry Harvey Bashing

Share your views on the policies, philosophies, and spirit of Burning Man.

Gay Bashing/Larry Harvey Bashing

Postby xevioso » Fri Aug 27, 2004 10:24 am

Wednesday on KQED's Forum in San Francisco, Larry Harvey was on, talking about Burning Man.

One of the callers was a guy who said that two or three years ago, a bunch of local cops came by their camp, and basically demanded that the guy take down the sexually explicit wooden sign/art project that fronted their camp. This guy was gay, as were most of the people in the camp, and he said the cops were real jerks and essentially made really homophobic comments about that camp and this guy.

I can't remember if this guy was evicted, arrested, or what for refusing to take down his sign, but he had a beef with Larry Harvey, and called up to complain.

Larry's response was that he knew of the incident, and said this guy basically wanted to get arrested to make a scene. Also that yes, some of the local cops are somewhat homophobic, but what can you do...the generally do a good job. It sounded like Larry knew exactly who this guy was, and this guy was continuing to make hay over something that happened a while back and wouldn't shut up about it. I know there are two sides to every story, but it sounded like the guy was being a drama queen.

I'm wondering if anyone knows of this incident, and what the details are. I'm genuinely curious. My apologies if I got this entirely wrong.
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Postby swampdog » Fri Aug 27, 2004 10:44 am

from what I've gathered here (I'm a first timer with no direct experience) there was a HUGE flap over some art at a camp called Jiffy Lube. Query eplaya for Jiffy Lube and you can probably get most of the scoop - and probably 10 hr of posts to read! Many hard feelings around whether BM will be forced to be "toned down".
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Postby Sensei » Fri Aug 27, 2004 10:46 am

Drama queen. Big time drama queen. Hell, I heard he was a first timer and the pros at Jiffy Lube were embarrassed by him. I went to the protest. There were many who eloquently made their points, and then there was the drama queen... That nutcase was purple with rage and shrieked on in a high pitched squeal about rampant homophobia at BM and how we ought to be tearing the place down, or some such shit. It was fuckin' pathetic. I can't believe that somebody would actually listen to that psycho. Really.

I believe the general consensus among the crowd was that drama queen hadn't been laid any time recently, and his prospects were exceedingly dim.

Look, I'm straight, OK? But to let fucktards like that have the last word on subjects they know nothing about (even less than me, for god's sake) is a mistake. Hence this post.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Fri Aug 27, 2004 10:54 am

Yes, it seems to be widely called the "Jiffy Lube Incident." I think a lot of the discussion was on the "Old E-Playa" look for the link at the bottom of the index page and search there to. If you find an interesting thread that you wish to re-vive, post the url (with "old" in front) so those of us who were not e-playans can follow if we chose. There is little doubt that there is a big local difference between local mores and SF mores in terms of acceptance of homosexuality and that statutes against public sexual expression are more stringently enforced against gay men on-playa.
Many of the e-playans who might have something to say are either burned out on the subject, or off on travel already or both, so you may have to wait for a couple of weeks and see if the topic picks up.
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Well

Postby xevioso » Fri Aug 27, 2004 11:18 am

here are some threads about the incident.

http://oldbbs.burningman.com/index.cgi? ... 4gPa96phEF^8@.eedcd55/52

http://oldbbs.burningman.com/index.cgi? ... 4gPa96phEF^6@.eedd083/0

This whole thing seemed to be rather interesting. The one common thread through all of this is that Burning Man is so much like an actual city, that many of the same concerns (rights of free speech, the rights of children vs adults) that occur in a real city rear their head here in a smaller scale.
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Postby Sensei » Fri Aug 27, 2004 12:41 pm

xevioso wrote:...The one common thread through all of this is that Burning Man is so much like an actual city, that many of the same concerns (rights of free speech, the rights of children vs adults) that occur in a real city rear their head here in a smaller scale.


BINGO! That's why I was there at the protest; I was curious as to how this would go down in our little town. I mean, what does it look like when burners (citizens) protest in BRC? There was anger and there were hurt feelings; and there was some very interesting discussion. Aside from drama queen, it was cool. The folks of BRC (straight and gay) got to speak their minds about this censorship (they were against it), and then everyone basically went on with their hijinks.

Most folks realize that Nevada is actually a pretty conservative place, and that the LEO's are in fact cutting us slack in millions of ways. Public nudity, for one. Check out the number of arrests and tickets against the number of citizens; and consider what many, if not most of those citizens spend their week doing... They're workin' with us, alright.

Yeah, compromises were made and are being made all the way around the table. But ask the boys at Jiffy Lube if they've toned down their act any before you go thinkin' that the event has been tamed.
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Postby Simply Joel » Fri Aug 27, 2004 12:56 pm

In my humble opinion.... not being actively "pro-homosexuality" does not make someone "anti-homosexuality..."

I recall a young woman from SF telling visiting friends from London that Burning Man was not "gay-friendly" enough... and I have no idea what criteria she was applying... but it seems a whole lot friendlier than say the midwest where I live.


Personally, I live a "live and let live" lifestyle... and for the most part... I am "pro - live and let live"

I thought the Jiffy Lube sign in question was pretty graphic and funny... and I think it got a response (which I think was the artist's intent).

No story here folks, everybody move along in an orderly fashion.
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w

Postby xevioso » Fri Aug 27, 2004 2:34 pm

What I find funny and sad is that the Drama Queen still was angry enough years later to actually call into Larry's interview at KQED. I bet that if you were to listen into other shows with Larry, this guy has probably called numerous times trying to get through. I could be wrong, and maybe he was just happening to be listening...

But I used to be a radio producer at KGO in San Francisco, and we had people calling in all the time who waited and waited because they were obsessed about talking about something.

The guy who thinks that Stephen Spielberg killed John Lennon is a great example. He called all the time. And another guy who wrote his thoughts as mathematical equations and would fax them to us ALL THE TIME, every hour. Like we would read that shit on the air if we could even decipher it.

--Jeremy
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Re: w

Postby theCryptofishist » Fri Aug 27, 2004 2:57 pm

xevioso wrote:
The guy who thinks that Stephen Spielberg killed John Lennon is a great example. He called all the time.
Dang, Steven Lightfoot is something else. The East BAy Express once did a cover story on him. I'm not qualified to make a psycheatric diagnosis, but I think "Paranoind Schitzophrenic" is a good guess. I have a link to his website on this board somewhere.
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Re: w

Postby Rob the Wop » Fri Aug 27, 2004 3:08 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:
xevioso wrote:
The guy who thinks that Stephen Spielberg killed John Lennon is a great example. He called all the time.
Dang, Steven Lightfoot is something else. The East BAy Express once did a cover story on him. I'm not qualified to make a psycheatric diagnosis, but I think "Paranoind Schitzophrenic" is a good guess. I have a link to his website on this board somewhere.


I'm thinking him and Rex could make a cute couple.
The other, other white meat.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Fri Aug 27, 2004 3:16 pm

Well, my beloved sock, why do you think I created you and sent you back in time to 2004 if not to break up Rex's marraige before he spawns. Once that happens, I'm sure he'll turn to the e-playa matchmaking service, or to be more precise the so-anti-e-playa-that-we-turn-you-back-to-e-playa match making service. Then we can find his perfect soul mate.
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Postby Steven bradford » Fri Aug 27, 2004 6:29 pm

The problem was, the Deputies were legally and morally in the wrong.

Larry sided with the Deputies.

Just calling someone a drama queen doesn't make them wrong.

In nevada, Cops can't decide on their own to order something taken down for obscenity reasons. A complaint must first be filed with a Judge, who must then order the art or whatever taken down. This takes about 60 secs to look up on Google.

Harvey sided with conservative suppression off expression because he didn't want to rock the boat with the deputies. Which is of course often a wise course of action. But perhaps not at a countercultural art event with paid admission. It wasn't downtown Reno after all.

Instead, encouraging the deputies to act extra legally, harvey was pursuing his dream to turn the event into a family fun friendly outing.

But all this is of course nullified if we can just say that the proprietor of Jiffy Lube was a screaming nelly drama queen activist.

Which isn't true either. He didn't push it, he could of.

And he's quite involved in the event this year.
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Here's How I Understand It...

Postby Whelp » Fri Aug 27, 2004 7:03 pm

1.) The person who made the phone call, also known as "the big drama queen", wasn't the artist of the piece in question. The actual artist, as I understand it, consented to the piece being moved to a less confrontational part of Jiffy Lube, and there was no further problems between him and the authorities. I've been given cause to believe that he has no hard feelings regarding the matter.

2.) The art being discussed here wasn't confiscated or covered, it was just moved to a less casual-passer-by area of Jiffy Lube. Given the number of children at the event, this isn't an unreasonable suggestion. If you don't like it, get rid of the kids (something that I'd be happy to advocate). As long as there are children present, we will experience these issues with law enforcement.

Of course, I could have been given faulty information, or I could be misinterpreting things, but I really don't think that what happened was as big a deal as has been suggested.
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Postby Steven bradford » Fri Aug 27, 2004 7:41 pm

Other than there being no legal basis for the action - no.

Meanwhile, much more "offensive" art, at least to many, such as the large painting of Christ suggestively embracing a little league ballplyer from behind, remained up. So it's difficult to draw larger conclusions.

Accusing Larry of homophobia is a reach. I'd say it was more he wanted to avoid an uglly confrontation with the cops who were not acting on the basis of anyone in the community, but totally on their own, but particularly to have it jeopardize future relations with county government, and other people who's only interest in the event is to regulate or inveigh against it. That's always a hard place to be.
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It

Postby xevioso » Fri Aug 27, 2004 8:48 pm

Sounds to me like both parties were in the wrong in some respects. Clearly the cops were not cool for demanding the piece be moved while allowing other pieces that were equally as offensive to some people to remain where it was.

Likewise, if it is true the guy, who shall henceforth be called "The Drama Queen" wasn't even the artist who made the piece and was just plain old mad at perceived homophobia, normally entirely understandable, then he would have no legal standing if the issue was a legal one at the end of the day.

I can totally understand where Larry was coming from by trying to quiet things down...now that we have a two year permit to hold BM, maybe next time he will be more confrontational if such a thing ever happens again.
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Postby Interested bystander » Fri Aug 27, 2004 10:46 pm

the LEO's are in fact cutting us slack in millions of ways. Public nudity, for one.


Sorry to beat this dead horse again in this thread but the LEOs are not cutting you any slack when you go nude at BM. BM is held on federal land and there is no federal statute against being naked. While public nudity is illegal in Nevada, federal law has superceding jurisdiction on federal land.

To be a little on topic I agree that the deputies were wrong in making Jiffy Lube remove the sign. While I may not have fully appreciated the artistic merit of the animated sign I think that they had every right to have it at an event such as burningman. I've heard all the arguments about how Larry had to compromise to save burningman but we all have to ask ourselves how much we are willing to compromise. I feel that letting the local law enforcement dictate what art is acceptable and what is not is too much compromise.
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Re: It

Postby Steven bradford » Sat Aug 28, 2004 2:16 am

xevioso wrote:Sounds to me like both parties were in the wrong in some respects. Clearly the cops were not cool for demanding the piece be moved while allowing other pieces that were equally as offensive to some people to remain where it was.


Does the whole concept of the first amendment, and rights and responibilities of both citizens and the government completely elude most people?

The "coolness' of the cops is not at issue. Nor for that matter is whether or not other things are or are not demanded to be removed.

The deputies didn't have legal standing. Drama queens are ultimately the people who cause laws to be enforced or not enforced, complaints to be raised, cases to go to trial. It's not about balancing sides and "fairness".

Or maybe Rosa Parks, the Jehovahs Witnesses, One Magazine, and the Auroura were all Drama Queens.

      NRS 201.241 Action to declare item or material obscene and obtain injunction.


      1.  The district attorney or city attorney of any county or city, respectively, in which there is an item or material which he believes to be obscene, may file a complaint in the district court seeking to have the item or material declared obscene and to enjoin the possessor and the owner from selling, renting, exhibiting, reproducing, manufacturing or distributing it and from possessing it for any purpose other than personal use.

      2.  In such an action, no temporary restraining order may be issued.

      3.  A trial on the merits must be held not earlier than 5 days after the answer is filed nor later than 35 days after the complaint is filed. The court shall render a decision within 2 days after the conclusion of the trial.


      (Added to NRS by 1979, 363; A 1981, 1688)


 
      NRS 201.243 Evidence probative of obscenity of material or item. In prosecutions under NRS 201.235 to 201.254, inclusive, evidence of circumstances of production, dissemination, sale or publicity of the material or item, which indicates it is being commercially exploited by the defendant for its prurient appeal, is probative of the obscenity of the material or item and can justify the conclusion that it is, taken as a whole, without serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.
\

      (Added to NRS by 1979, 364)

      NRS 201.245 Surrender, seizure and destruction of obscene item or material; undertaking not required for injunction; defendant chargeable with knowledge of contents after service of summons and complaint.

      1.  If a final judgment declaring an item or material obscene is entered against its owner or possessor, the judgment shall contain a provision directing the owner or possessor to surrender to the sheriff of the county in which the action was brought the item or material declared obscene and a direction to the sheriff to seize and destroy it.

      2.  In any action brought to declare an item or material obscene, the district attorney or city attorney bringing the action is not required to file an undertaking before an injunction is issued.

      3.  A sheriff directed to seize an obscene item or material is not liable for damages sustained by reason of the injunction in cases where judgment ultimately is rendered in favor of the person, firm, association or corporation sought to be enjoined.

      4.  Every person, firm, association or corporation who sells, distributes, or acquires possession with intent to sell or distribute any allegedly obscene item or material, after service upon him of a summons and complaint in an action brought to declare an item or material obscene is chargeable with knowledge of the contents of the item or material.

      (Added to NRS by 1979, 363)

note the role of the sheriff and his personnel in this process.
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Postby Steven bradford » Sat Aug 28, 2004 2:19 am

For Larry Harvey and the BMORG, they're in a tough spot. Essentially it's frontier justice-- Having quick access to legal advice in a "charged" situation involving overzealous law officers with guns is pretty damn difficult on the playa, with no phone service or other reliable way to access info. LH and the Org have to worry about the event too.
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Postby Steven bradford » Sat Aug 28, 2004 2:25 am

Interested bystander wrote: I feel that letting the local law enforcement dictate what art is acceptable and what is not is too much compromise.


You summed it up a hell of a lot better than I did, IB!
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Postby Hotspur » Sat Aug 28, 2004 1:48 pm

The law is the law, but it's almost certainly better for Jiffy Lube & Burning Man for the LEOs to ask Jiffy Lube to move the sign than for them to go through the court process (which I suspect neither JL nor BMORG want to deal with, cost money, etc) and then seize it.

Are the sherriff's overstepping their bounds? Not really, if they ASK to have the sign taken down or moved. In fact, I would argue that's simply good police work: you don't clog up the system, you quickly arrive at a mutually-acceptable solution, it's win-win.

Otherwise, the sheriff takes the case to the DA, who files the neccesary papers, everybody has to trudge over to a hearing, and furthermore if JL loses, they lose their sign.

So sure, you can say, "this is how you go by the book," but I don't think it's at all clear that "going by the book" was in JL's best interest. I dont' know all the details. Maybe the sherrifs showed up and said 'take that down right now or go to jail' which would be overstepping their bounds. But it seems to me that when the police work with a community -- as they did here -- to arrive at a mutually-acceptable solution that's often prefferable to a formal legal process.
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Postby Steven bradford » Sat Aug 28, 2004 5:29 pm

Now that's a pantsload.
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Postby Hotspur » Sat Aug 28, 2004 6:26 pm

So you think the first Jiffy Lube should have heard about it was when the cops showed up with a summons?
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Postby Badger » Wed Sep 08, 2004 8:30 pm

But all this is of course nullified if we can just say that the proprietor of Jiffy Lube was a screaming nelly drama queen activist.

Which isn't true either. He didn't push it, he could of.


Actually, he was a drama queen. I think I have some license to say this because it was my truck that toted the Jiffy Lube sign out to center camp that day. I heard the KQED interview with Larry a few days before the event and quite frankly was embarrassed by his (Jeffrey's) little tirade. His revisionist recall of the episode was off the mark by a mile and served no purpose other than to scrape a deeper scab by misrepresenting the situation as it happened. And though I still have issues with something that happened several years ago I believe that the truth - regardless of what side of the fence it it springs forth - should not have to suffer reinterpretation due to someone's personal agenda.
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Postby Sobretta Franjipan » Thu Sep 09, 2004 4:59 am

Now that's a pantsload.


Oh I just love Jiffy Lube too!
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Postby Simply Joel » Thu Sep 09, 2004 6:12 am

Badger wrote:I believe that the truth - regardless of what side of the fence it it springs forth - should not have to suffer reinterpretation due to someone's personal agenda.


Wow, well put...
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Postby Kiba » Thu Sep 09, 2004 8:50 am

Yeah, sounds to me like someone, regardless of their passions or intentions, inadverdantly put their own burning man experience above that of others. I'm glad I missed it. ^_^
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Postby arthur » Mon Sep 27, 2004 8:43 am

I suppose the real question is this. Would Larry Harvey have folded if the structure at the center of the storm depicted a man and woman having sex with each other, or even a woman with another woman?

As for whether there are elements of homophobia to Burning Man, possibly. Even the most self-proclaimed open-minded straights can be homophobic. They jump on the gay bandwagon when it suits their purpose to fight the far Right - but when it comes to celebrating gays, they run a million miles away from the bandwagon. I've also read that Brian Doherty's new book on the Burning Man festival pays scant attention to the contribution that gay men and women have made to it. Hope I'm wrong.
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Postby Simply Joel » Mon Sep 27, 2004 9:17 am

arthur wrote:I suppose the real question is this. Would Larry Harvey have folded if the structure at the center of the storm depicted a man and woman having sex with each other, or even a woman with another woman?

As for whether there are elements of homophobia to Burning Man, possibly. Even the most self-proclaimed open-minded straights can be homophobic. They jump on the gay bandwagon when it suits their purpose to fight the far Right - but when it comes to celebrating gays, they run a million miles away from the bandwagon. I've also read that Brian Doherty's new book on the Burning Man festival pays scant attention to the contribution that gay men and women have made to it. Hope I'm wrong.


you know, i have gone to Burning Man 5 years in a row... and i didn't really categorize people based upin their sexuality...

i believe my perspective can be summed as... "get over yourself, you are at burning man"
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Postby geekster » Mon Sep 27, 2004 9:26 am

Arthur, I wonder why we feel a need to classify people and pay tribute to their classification rather than their individual self? I mean ... how do you know he paid scant attention to the contributions of gay men and women? How do you know some of the people he did pay attention to aren't gay? Maybe he just paid attention to them as individuals rather than as belonging in any particular pigeonhole.

If a person does great work or crappy work, they do that as an individual and it reflects on them as an individual. I would much rather someone said I did a pretty good job at something rather than say I as a heterosexual, did a pretty good job. What about the contributions of Libertarian men and women, what about the asshole men and women that contributed ... paid no attention to as a group either, I bet. I don't think we have a need to. Good or bad work is what it is and people should stand or fall according to their own merit as individuals, not as part of some group they might identify with. I fail to understand why not specifically mentioning that someone was gay or lesbian or episcopal or scorpio matters.
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Postby KellY » Mon Sep 27, 2004 11:11 am

arthur wrote:I suppose the real question is this. Would Larry Harvey have folded if the structure at the center of the storm depicted a man and woman having sex with each other, or even a woman with another woman?



Actually, the real question is whether the COPS have would wanted the sign moved if it wasn't two guys buttfucking. IMO, probably not, at least not in 2002. THere has been a creeping enroachment of sexual censorship on the playa that is more noticeable to me every year, but that's beside the point of this thread.

The cops in question were back-country homophobic rednecks with guns and badges, and that was the problem. If they had complained about sexual art of a non-gay nature, I strongly suspect that Larry and the Org would have acted just the same.
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