ticketless burners, gatekeepers, and money

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

ticketless burners, gatekeepers, and money

Postby _john_ » Tue Sep 02, 2003 2:10 pm

this year i read in the gazette (brg 8-29-03) of would-be burners hiding in vehicles to sneak in without buying a ticket. accroding to the article by technomad, the stow-aways were then found by the gatekeepers and given a choice: pay an arbitrarily-decided-upon sum of money or do not enter the event. according to the article, sometimes everyone in the vehicle was made to pay. i hope this is just another example of annoying rumor-mongering by the gazette. i'll forge ahead with my rant though, because, if true, this smells like the seeds of corruption.

sure, it's only fair for every burner who uses the potty-boxes, adds body-count to the blm fee, etc. to pay for a ticket. it may even be reasonable for there to be some penalty the brc community imposes on freeloaders. but if that is the case, that penalty should be pre-determined by the community and applied uniformly. if it is possible for gatekeepers to abuse their position by taking bribes from would-be stow-aways, then corruptable people will soon find out and become gatekeepers. the day may come when some gatekeepers run a side racket letting in people without tickets, thus draining the community's funds and tarnishing its spirit.

our current gatekeepers are altruistic burners who trade partying for exhausting, dusty hours helping brc thrive. they are the kind of people we want on the job. let's not tolerate a situation that may replace them with the kind of people we don't want.

--john
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Re: ticketless burners, gatekeepers, and money

Postby Lydia Love » Tue Sep 02, 2003 2:42 pm

_john_ wrote:that penalty should be pre-determined by the community and applied uniformly. if it is possible for gatekeepers to abuse their position by taking bribes from would-be stow-aways, then corruptable people will soon find out and become gatekeepers. the day may come when some gatekeepers run a side racket letting in people without tickets, thus draining the community's funds and tarnishing its spirit.
--john


I disagree. I think if the penalty were codified and those who would sneak in could know exactly what that penalty is it would create a situation in which stow aways could prepare to pay the penalty and "risk it". By making it arbitrary the risk becomes unknowable and therefore riskier.

I think anyone sneaking in or helping someone sneak in gets off easy having to pay *any* amount. I'd just send every fucking one of them away.

I'm willing to risk trusting the gatekeepers on this one. They are in a better position to judge the situation on the fly than "the community" is IMHO.
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Postby precipitate » Tue Sep 02, 2003 3:07 pm

I'd be very surprised if the penalty were not the current gate price of a ticket, which does increase daily. That could be a source of confusion if a stowaway on Monday had to pay $250 and one on Wednesday had to pay $300.
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Postby III » Tue Sep 02, 2003 3:10 pm

>our current gatekeepers are altruistic burners

you don't actually know any of the gate staff, do you?
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Postby diggum » Tue Sep 02, 2003 3:14 pm

On the other hand, 3 of the 5 in our bus needed to pick up their tickets at will-call. we sat in line at the gate while they ran to get their tix. i was redirected from our long line to an open one and when i explained the other members of our party were getting their tickets, i was asked to pull aside and have them go back to the gatekeeper and get their ticket ripped. when i had them do this, the gatekeeper was in awe that someone would be honest and run back. had we simply sent most of our party over to pretend to be buying a ticket, then came back to the bus, we could have easily entered BRC with 3 freebies. There seems to be a gap in security there.
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Postby warrior queen » Tue Sep 02, 2003 3:42 pm

When we entered they didn't even check our tickets in the confusion of the moment; we did get there late on Thursday though!
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Postby gladeye » Tue Sep 02, 2003 5:04 pm

In my opinion, anyone with the gall to try to sneak in doesn't deserve any options but to leave. Further, I think the drivers and other passengers in the car should be made to do the same. Maybe print explicitly on the backs of the tickets that this will be the consequence if it isn't already. Sure, you can't physically, forcibly remove the tickets from their posession, but you can make them sweat and suffer for attempting to screw BM. It's not just toilets and camp space you are paying for. It's a lot of infrastructure too, like the roads, the materials and labor that create center camp, all the clerical and administrative work, and the grants that help fund the artists who make all the groovy little installations we all like to ooh and ah and trip out on. I want to be able to trust the gate keepers and I do. As soon as we start distrusting the people who are part of the Burning Man backbone (i.e. gatekeepers and rangers) then we start to lose a lot. I want to believe it's us and us, not us and them. In fact, don't try to be a freeloading asshole in the first place and you won't but them in a position of having to penalize you.
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Postby dusthead » Tue Sep 02, 2003 6:15 pm

" all the clerical and administrative work"

you are referring to the "black rock bureaucrats" I believe, the main reason that tickets are so expensive now... bureaucracy is expensive!

And as the ticket prices go up, so does the intensity of the vehicle searches.

Funny, we let BMORG search us, but we'd scream out if the cops did.

I felt like I was being squeezed by the mob at the front gate. When they said "welcome home" I laughed because I would never call a place home that they searched my vehicle for 10 minutes when I got there.

How soon until BLM rangers are "assisting" with the searches at the gate?

I'm never going back to Burning Man because of this.

Radical Free Oppression!

PS- everyone gets pissed about people sneaking in, but no one complains about BMORG giving free tickets to their friends and those they want to impress.
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Postby clandyone » Tue Sep 02, 2003 6:29 pm

Dusthead, the car searches are necessary because BMOrg must present an accurate headcount to the BLM to ensure their permit. If too many people are unaccounted for, than the BLM can no longer trust the org's numbers.

The BLM fee depends on number of persons attending.

Sure, filthy lucre is a factor, but what in tarnation do you EXPECT them to do when their permit is contingent on an accurate census?

Edited to add: And why should people be allowed to sneak in, hmmmm?
Last edited by clandyone on Tue Sep 02, 2003 9:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Stowaway fine...

Postby Borris » Tue Sep 02, 2003 8:54 pm

Forcing stowaways, and only them (not their coconspirers, the car owners-drivers) to pay a fine is extermly fair in my mind.
the fine wasn't arbitrary, it was 70$ on top of the ticket price, and they had special tickets printed out with this price for the stowaways. (I happened to see a stowaway being caught and him and his group were treated more then fairly by the gate staff)
and Dusthead, u need to remember that Burning Man is no longer a partisan operation for 1000 people in the desert, working with the authorities requires a bureacracy and some concesions to be made, I'm still amazed that the authorities play along with the BMorg. I come from Israel, and I see no feasable way that the authorities back home would allow such an event.
if a search by gate is what is requred (and please remember they do not care what u have in your bag, only if all people have a ticket and you aren't hiding anyone behind all those boxes and bags) to make this event happen then I'll allow it in my car.
Shit, where was i for the last week... ehm...
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Postby Hotspur » Tue Sep 02, 2003 11:22 pm

To compare a search by the gate staff to a search by the cops is really quite silly. There are all sorts of places we all voluntarily go where we submit to simple searches for specific contraband--we know this and we accept it as part of the price of admission.
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Forgot

Postby Borris » Tue Sep 02, 2003 11:25 pm

Basicly, at home, I get searched on average 2-3 times a day, every time i want to enter a mall, or an official building, there is a guard that searches me at the entrance.

Maybee we israelis are weird????
Shit, where was i for the last week... ehm...
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gatecrashers

Postby Burn_Stormer » Wed Sep 03, 2003 1:23 am

I had heard the rumor of a certain "element" - what I call frat boys who didn't actually go to school - but refused to believe it until I encountered some on Thurs. Long story short, I wasn't able to come out to BM until the last minute and knew there would be some of the spectator folks arriving at the same time, but was really disheartened to get caught in line behind about 20 talking about how they could sneak in and not pay. It was so anti-thetical to the BM experience I expected, I was really disheartened UNTIL a woman strolled by and asked if anyone needed one ticket. I said that I did. Before I could even offer the $300 I was already prepared to pay she said, "I paid $225, my friend couldn't make it." I only had $20 bills and asked if I could please pay $240. She refused and would only take $220. She single-handedly revived my Playa spirit. (Thank you, whoever you are.)
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Postby TheJudge » Wed Sep 03, 2003 7:59 am

dusthead wrote:" all the clerical and administrative work"

How soon until BLM rangers are "assisting" with the searches at the gate?

I'm never going back to Burning Man because of this.


Goodbye. See-ya. So-long.

Ticket prices go up because of the cost of running the event. Since we population of the city increases every year, the costs increase as well. When someone sneaks in to the event, they put an increased burden on the structure of the city that the rest of us now have to pay.

You've opened your theme camp on the esplanade. Does this mean that 30,000 people now have the right to show up at your Friday night cocktail party and expect you to get them drunk? The same holds true for the gate. Those that paid to be a part of the city deserve to get in as quickly and cheerfully as possible. Those that think they are better than the rest of the population and try to sneak in should be stopped.

The gate searches for stow-aways. Nothing more. I dont care if you've got 12 prostitutes snorting cocaine and blowing animals in the back of your rental truck. I'm just looking for the spectator that is trying to sneak in.
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Postby Booker » Wed Sep 03, 2003 11:15 am

I'm never going back to Burning Man because of this.


Definitely. Hasta la vista, dusthead. Reminder to self: Build a screen door at the gate so we can warn whiners like this not to let it hit 'em in the ass on the way out.
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Efficient searches

Postby TestesInSac » Wed Sep 03, 2003 11:20 am

I, for one, have no problem with searches <i>per se</i>, but it should be done far more efficiently than I witnessed. I was actually searched twice, despite the fact that it should have been obvious to any seasoned searcher that no stowaway would survive in my truck or trailer. What's more, I witnessed searchers casually conversing amongst themselves, almost as if noone were waiting, when in fact the line was growing rapidly.

My campmates reported that Monday, the line extended onto 447, a clear no-no for safety reasons, and quite inconsiderate not only of burners, but of non-burners needing to travel 447. This one thing is a larger threat to the event, I think, than the crashes or the fatality during the event.
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freedom is expensive

Postby eli eli eli » Wed Sep 03, 2003 11:33 am

go on. search me.
i'm willing to allow it
oust the spectators.
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mind is dusty - try again

Postby eli eli eli » Wed Sep 03, 2003 11:44 am

go on. search me.
i'm willing to allow it.
oust the freeloaders.
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Postby precipitate » Wed Sep 03, 2003 12:23 pm

> It's not just toilets and camp space you are paying for.
> It's a lot of infrastructure too, like the roads, the materials
> and labor that create center camp, all the clerical and
> administrative work, and the grants that help fund the
> artists who make all the groovy little installations we all
> like to ooh and ah and trip out on.

What ever happened to radical self-expression and radical
self-reliance? Didn't that used to be the byline on the web
site before the penultimate redesign? How come I'm subsidizing
corporate art?*

If you're going to use my ticket money to pay for "services,"
then I'd prefer that only ticket holders benefit from those
services. Gate searches help ensure that. Yeah, it'd be great
if everyone were honest and no one tried to sneak in. But
human nature being what it is, that's not feasible.

I do agree that the searching needs to be more efficient.
I'm sure there are lots of ways to do that, and do it safely.
Since this seems to have been the first year when gate
searches drastically held up the entrance line, I wouldn't be
surprised if gate staff made streamlining the search process
a priority for next year.


* OK, I have no idea if they got a grant. I'm just being pissy.
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assholes pay more

Postby Jp » Wed Sep 03, 2003 1:20 pm

I was talking to a Perimeter person who told me that the ticket price for people they caught at the fence was inversely related to the amount of attitude said person displayed upon being caught. If I ran the world everything would be based upon the same system.

Jp
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Postby Halo Joe » Wed Sep 03, 2003 3:05 pm

Booker wrote:
I'm never going back to Burning Man because of this.


Definitely. Hasta la vista, dusthead. Reminder to self: Build a screen door at the gate so we can warn whiners like this not to let it hit 'em in the ass on the way out.


Ha! Exactly. Each year, I spend a bit more on my vacation. And usually, each year I have A LOT more fun. Is BM worth the financial cost? It is for me, every year. (Now the emotional and physical costs are getting a bit steep, but I digress.)
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Postby MusicVixen » Wed Sep 03, 2003 4:27 pm

III wrote:>our current gatekeepers are altruistic burners

you don't actually know any of the gate staff, do you?


I happen to personally know a member of the gate/perimeter staff. The unbelievable amount of hours they put in are mind boggling. I know for a fact that one of them worked a 20+ hr shift that began on Friday morning @ 6am. I was fortunate enough to ride with this person a few times during the week. They do in fact WORK THEIR ASSES OFF!!! A huge majority of the gate staff never get to experience the playa like the rest of us. I commend them as they are some of the hardest working people I have ever known!!! I wish the people I worked with in my day to day job were as dedicated to their positions as the BM Gate Staff are to theirs.

JMHO
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Postby gladeye » Wed Sep 03, 2003 4:55 pm

It is incredibley naive to think 30,500 people are just going to keep it together and civil because they're "cool" or something. This anrachist fantasy that if there were no controls then we'd still respect each other is a load of severly reeky bullshit. I LIKE having streets (with names), a center camp, street lighters, rangers, a post office, camp Arctica for ice, greeters, fire dancers before the burn, etc. Would you really rather it was just a blob of that many people doing anything wherever? I mean, they kind of do already, but would it be more fun if you had few reference points for finding friends or even your own camp and artcars struggling to weave through people camped anywhere and everywhere? Would you rather it was just you and the cops instead of having rangers as a go between? And who the hell do you expect to pay for and build the man FOR YOU? Call ME naive but I don't think Burning Man is out to hustle us. Larry Harvey has articulated his visions and philosophies very well and there are some great transcripts of his speeches available on the web. I saw a recent documentary with footage of him sitting in a very modest little apartment kitchen. I'm sure he endures more aggravation than we can imagine trying to accomodate this thing. I refuse to become cynical about the guy's intentions. He's the real deal and he does care. Let's see YOU host over 30,000 people with zero controls and see how much better it goes. And to the guy who called the installations "corporate art", where were the logos pasted? I missed them. Where was the sponsorship? How much cash did the guys who busted their asses dragging the temple of gravity or the giant chandeler out there make anyway? And how did they make all that cash? Big (and slanderous) claims require big evidence. Lay the FACTS on us...
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Postby precipitate » Wed Sep 03, 2003 5:06 pm

> Lay the FACTS on us...

Read the press release and draw your own conclusions. I posted the link.
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Postby Lydia Love » Wed Sep 03, 2003 5:20 pm

Just an interesting thing - under the temple of gravity Invest link:

"Gravity Group, LLC was formed upon the award of $20,000 by Burning Man 2003 to build a radically new and monumental sculpture called the Temple of Gravity.

Our purpose is to ensure the creation of this sculpture and facilitate it's sale."

etc.
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Postby clandyone » Wed Sep 03, 2003 5:43 pm

Lydia Love wrote:Our purpose is to ensure the creation of this sculpture and facilitate it's sale."

WHAT?!!!!

That is a bunch of BULLSHIT.
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Postby precipitate » Wed Sep 03, 2003 5:47 pm

In the general sense, I don't think it's bullshit. People gotta make a living. The things I object to are my ticket money going to subsidize the art, and the use of Burning Man as an advertising source.
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Postby Lydia Love » Wed Sep 03, 2003 5:48 pm

and the use of Burning Man as an advertising source.


This would be the factor that makes me itch the most.
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Postby clandyone » Wed Sep 03, 2003 5:51 pm

Lydia, Precip, you're both exactly right.

I have no problem whatsoever with people making a living through art, of course. I do have a problem with... hell, y'all already said it.
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Postby PJ » Wed Sep 03, 2003 6:05 pm

precipitate wrote:...People gotta make a living. The things I object to are my ticket money going to subsidize the art, and the use of Burning Man as an advertising source.


I don't have a problem with a subsidy of a few major artworks. David Best's flammable temples must cost more than most people (especially alternative artists) could afford to produce annually. And I suspect the $20K grant didn't go too far on a giant steel and stone assembly that had to be engineered, assembled, and trucked in from Georgia. In early 1999 it might have been easy to sell to some company wanting a lawn ornament but in today's business climate I won't be surprised to see it sit in storage for years. If name-dropping Burning Man helps the artist unload it, he'd be dumb to not use that sales edge.

Full disclosure: I liked the piece, but I only saw it at night. If I'd thought it lame maybe I'd feel differently about the above.
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