Burning Man sold out
for the first time in its history last year, marking another painful evolutionary event
and, in the process, attracting scammers and scalpers
who violated the dearly-held Burner tradition of selling tickets for no greater than face value.
In an effort to thwart scammers and scalpers this year, The Burning Man Project
replaced the event's long-standing first-come-first-served web-based ticketing system with a controversial new lottery system
to distribute the first 43,000 tickets at random. Prior to ticket registration, the system required entrants to fill out the Burning Man 2012 Tickets Main Sale Participant Survey
, which asked, among other things, how many years the respondent had attended Burning Man. "(Don't worry, your answers will in NO WAY affect your likelihood of receiving tickets.)"
When stalwart mega-camps like Deathguild
and Opulent Temple
came to realize that a disproportionately small number of their members were awarded tickets, one Burner
smelled a rat and created an informal survey
to test his hypothesis that the survey did indeed affect one's likelihood of receiving tickets.
His survey is beginning to show an inversely proportional relationship between those who have previously attended the event and those who were awarded tickets
This, combined with the description of this year's theme, Fertility 2.0
, is leading some Burners to wonder whether these are indications that Larry Harvey
has tipped his hat
to his most insidious prank yet: "killing off" Burning Man's faithful and its intelligentsia, like the love child of Jim Jones and Joseph Stalin, to make room for an all-new Burning Man populated by wide-eyed Virgins.
From this year's theme: Black Rock City is a kind of Petri dish. Theme camps cling in fertile clusters to its latticework of streets, artworks tumble out of it, like pollen on the air. These nodes of interaction mutate, grow and reproduce their kind. Burning Man communities have now escaped this capsule world: our culture in a Petri dish has effloresced - it spreads across five continents. This year's art theme contemplates the tendency of any being or living system to create abundant life.