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Thousands of Rich Hipsters Convene At The 2011 Burning Man Festival via Gawker and Palm Beach Post

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How Rich People Do Burning Man

By Lauri Apple | Gawker

Unless you’re wealthy, you’ve probably been spending Burning Man Week moping about how you couldn’t afford tickets to America‘s favorite festival of radical self-expression this year. But make no mistake: Those rich people touring the playa on their Mad Max cruisers are suffering, too.

As the Wall Street Journal tells us, many of this year’s Burners With Money to Burn are doing all they can to avoid the heat, food shortages, and other potential inconveniences of Black Rock City life by spending shitloads of money to recreate the comforts of home. Reps from the RV rental company Classic Adventures RV, for example, tell the WSJ that Vanity Fair New Establishmentarian and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk hired them to set up “an elaborate compound consisting of eight recreational vehicles and trailers stocked with food, linens, groceries and other essentials for himself and his friends and family.” That’s not all:

[Classic Adventures] charges $5,500 to $10,000 per RV for its Camp Classic Concierge packages like Mr. Musk’s. At Mr. Musk’s RV enclave, the help empties septic tanks, brings water and makes sure the vehicles’ electricity, refrigeration, air conditioning, televisions, DVD players and other systems are ship shape. The staff also stocked the campers with Diet Coke, Gatorade and Cruzan rum.

But isn’t part of the point of Burning Man to “rough it,” radically? Perhaps in the olden days this was true. But rich people bring to the festival their own values and beliefs:

  • Sleeping in a tent sucks
  • Being really hot sucks
  • Making your own art is hard, especially when you have no artistic skills or actual creativity whatsoever

About that last item: The WSJ tells us about one San Francisco real estate mogul who either didn’t feel like or lacked the capacity to construct their own sculpture, and therefore they hired a “team of artists and metalworkers” to built one on their behalf. The mogul wasn’t available for comment, but a chef who cooks up gourmet meals for Burners with refined tastes explains: “People have less and less time to be radically self-reliant.”

Despite their relatively resplendent accommodations, upper-crust Burners can’t shield themselves from every hardship:

Adam Stephenson, a 40-year-old marketing director for Symantec Corp., says that even though he is paying a premium for RV service, he put a lot of work into building a shade tent and buying costumes and supplies. And the RV isn’t the Ritz. “It’s not super easy,” he says. “The air conditioner is not on all the time.”

And when the A/C does break, the rich people sweat just like the poor people sweat. The sun treats everyone the same. This is one of the lessons you learn out there on the desert, when you’re not mastering leadership and contemplating how creativity can bourguignon-beef up your bottom line.

If you’re still sad about missing out on all the adventure and enlightenment and rich-people whining, this live-cam takes you to the action:
Live Video app for Facebook by Ustream

Burning Man 2011: Rites of Passage | Palm Beach Post

Tens of thousands of people have descended on a great expanse of Nevada desert to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Burning Man, a gathering of free spirits, artists, entrepreneurs — and anyone else who managed to get a ticket.

Several thousand more would-be participants will have to wait until next year, as 2011 marks another historic milestone: the first time the event has ever sold out, said Burning Man communications manager Andie Grace.

(Story continues below)

TIP: You can use your keyboard’s left and right arrow keys to navigate through the gallery

According to an agreement with the Bureau of Land Management, the event is permitted an average of only 50,000 people per day, Grace said.

The theme of this year’s festival, “Rites of Passage,” is an appropriate one as it also previews a change in the structure of the California-based Black Rock City, L.L.C., which runs the event, from a for-profit organization to a not-for-profit that will continue to promote the festival’s ideology throughout the year.

10 Offices Cooler Than Yours (probably) via [mentalfloss]


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Stacy Conradt
by Stacy Conradt 


I’m not complaining about where I work – I spend my days in a pretty cool building. But it’s no Google. Then again, not much is. These 10 awesome company headquarters will make you shake your fist at your cubicle in rage… unless you work at one of them, of course.

1. Google. I know, everyone knows about Google, but it seems like a glaring omission to do a list about cool company headquarters and not list them. Among the amenities at the Googleplex? Sand volleyball games at lunch, a ball pit, foosball and ping pong tables, video games, and bicycles to get from meeting to meeting (it’s a huge complex). Not impressed? Let’s talk about the décor – pink plastic flamingoes, doors that go nowhere, a giant PlayMobil pirate, a dinosaur skeleton and lava lamps. Still yawning? There’s more. So much more.

2. Pixar. Tom Hanks recently Tweeted a picture of the bathroom doors at Pixar if that gives you any indication of how seriously they take themselves there. It makes sense that they have a 600-seat movie theater, but the organic vegetable garden and cottage-like cubicles (pictured) are just plain cool.

3. The Cartoon Network. Sure, they might work in cubicle-land just like the rest of us, but at least they have Rosie the Robot smack in the middle of it all. They’re also allowed to decorate their cubes in any manner they see fit. Given the creative types that work there, that makes for a pretty interesting work environment.

4. Red Bull. A fancy color scheme does not a cool company make (though their shiny red, blue and silver scheme is pretty neat) – it’s the slide that leads from the second floor to the first floor that won this headquarters a spot on the list. All I can think is, “But what about the liability issues?!” There’s also a huge skateboard ramp and meeting room tables that double as ping pong-playing surfaces.

5. Nike. The video speaks for itself, but one highlight is an employee store with killer selection and a (allegedly) generous discount.

6. Volkswagen. I bet you didn’t know an assembly line could look so modern, sleek and tidy. I didn’t! The inside of this factory in Dresden, Germany, is so elegant and gorgeous that when Dresden’s opera house was flooded in 2002, they put on Carmen in factory instead. There’s also a restaurant and a simulator that gives test drives, among many other cool features.

7. McLaren. I suppose it just comes with the territory of being a company that produces Formula One race cars, but how many offices do you know that come complete with a 475-foot wind tunnel used to test cars?

8. Selgas Cano Architecture. Want an office with a view? Look no further than Selgas Cano, just outside of Madrid, which lets employees sit in the middle of nature while they work.

9. Bloomberg. Get a complete tour here – at least, as complete as you can get with security stalking you constantly.

10. Zappos. If working for a shoe company isn’t your dream job (If it means a steep discount on shoes, I’m in), consider this: they have Dance Dance Revolution set up as a stress-reliever, themed meeting rooms, nap pods and lots more. Check it out:

Do you have another nominee for the list? Let us know – especially if you work in one!

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