Ball of the Burning Men: Temperatures Rose at Hot Royal Party

Ball of the Burning Men: Temperatures Rose at Hot Royal Party

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The world of medieval aristocracy was always plagued by extravagance, power, and eccentricity. Where there was an abundance of power and wealth, the great leaders and kings of the world descended into a world of pleasure, of art and music, balls and feasts. Their wealth and power allowed them to pursue the pleasurable paths of life, and to leave the toil and suffering to the poor citizens of their realms.

But when the lights went out, the curtains were lowered and the wine flowed freely, things could often get out of control. The sober minds calculated, the hateful plotted, and the lackluster were fooled. And that is how the great blunders of history came to pass. And one such blunder is the subject of our latest story - a grand ball of the French nobility that got terribly out of hand. Instead of fun, laughter and party, the nobles witnessed a terrifying incident that left lasting impressions on the entire state. It is known as the Ball of the Burning Men, and Charles VI of France was at the center of it.

Charles VI’s Start to Life

Charles VI of France was born on December 3rd, 1368. He was the King of France for 42 years - from 1380 until his death in 1422. During his rule he was known initially as Charles the Beloved, but later on as Charles the Mad. And it is the latter title that ties in perfectly with the incident that we are about to retell.

Charles the V (the Wise) died in 1380, and was succeeded by his 11-year-old son, Charles VI. Four of his uncles acted as regents, ruling in his stead until the king came of age. This regency soon went sour - two of the uncles: Louis of Bourbon and John of Berry, showed little interest in governing the realm, perhaps being bribed not to. The third regent, Louis of Anjou, plundered the royal treasury, abusing his power, and fled to Italy. This left only Phillip of Burgundy as the regent - one of the most prominent nobles in Europe at the time.

Depiction of the coronation of Charles VI of France at the age of 11. (Jean Fouquet / )

From the get-go, young King Charles VI was plagued with instability and difficulty. Inheriting the kingly crown from such an early age certainly brought its own burdens along. Wealth and aristocratic life most likely contributed to this fragility, and in no time, weaknesses of royal character came up to the surface.

Charles VI assumed full governorship over the kingdom when he came of age, i.e. when he was 20 years old. He quickly pursued a foreign policy that was markedly different than that of his regent - Phillip of Burgundy. He pursued peace with England, reinstated the traditional counselors of his predecessors, lowered the taxes, and worked towards centralizing his government. He managed to negotiate an important three-year truce with England, known today as the Truce of Leulinghem. By all accounts, his early independent rule was marked with a shrewd rulership and sensible policies. But soon after, things went south.

Charles the Mad King, and the Prelude to the Ball of the Burning Men

Charles the VI began showcasing clear signs of insanity. The first of these attacks of insanity happened in 1392, and was only the first one of a lifelong series of afflictions. It was brought on by the intrigues and struggles that plagued the nobility of his court. His lead counselor, Constable of France, head Marmouset (nickname for Charles VI’s group of counselors), Olivier Le Vieux de Clisson, was attacked in an attempted assassination. The whole incident was knowingly orchestrated by John VI, Duke of Brittany.

This was the spark that brought on an “ insatiable fury” in the personality of the young king. He took the assassination attempt on the Constable of France as a direct attack on the Crown, and immediately sought retaliation against the plotting duke. He quickly assembled a force of knights and footmen, and departed in a retaliatory invasion of Brittany.

Still, in an almost fantastical turn of events, young Charles VI quickly displayed further bouts of his increasing insanity. On the way to Brittany, he suffered an attack of insanity where he drew his weapon and turned against his followers, amongst them his brother, Louis I, Duke of Orleans. He attacked his own retinue, shouting: “ Forward! Against the traitors! They wish to deliver me to the enemy!” In his insanity he slew four of his own men and had to be subdued. Soon after, he descended into a coma, which lasted for four days.

Madness of Charles VI: The king brandishing a sword, mistakes the members of his retinue for enemies and attacks them.

Not Fit to Rule

His uncles and ex-regents quickly took advantage of the situation, as they believed that the king was beyond salvation. They seized power, and disbanded the Marmouset counselors that Charles the VI had reinstated.

Luckily, the afflicted king soon woke up from his coma, and began a rapid period of recovery. He was soon well enough to return to Paris. Many of his nobles believed that their king was a victim of sorcery, or was a subject of a divine punishment. But it was clear that Charles VI was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, which was evidenced by his paranoid attack on his own retinue.

Even so, the king returned to the throne, but he was still plagued by bouts of insanity and general madness. For example, he claimed that he was made entirely of glass, and kept howling like a wolf. Many of the contemporary chroniclers of the French court confirm that Charles VI was thoroughly mad - his state was no subtlety, and was noticeable by all.

In time, the king’s chief physician retired, hopelessly refusing to treat his liege any longer. He advised that the king should be excused from all kingly duties, and that any work and pressure be avoided, alongside any irritation. This contemporary source tells us that the condition of Charles VI was anything but light. And the king’s court decided to heed the physician’s advice. This they did by throwing elaborate and lavish parties in the king’s honor, showering him with fabulous and extravagant dances and balls. And that is where our story takes a truly grim turn.

A Party to Entertain the King

On 28th of January 1393, a special masquerade ball was held for Charles. The event happened in Hôtel Saint-Pol, a royal establishment that was built by the young king’s father. The main orchestrator of the event was the king’s own wife - Isabeau of Bavaria. Even before that, she was the main person behind the lavish and eccentric balls and parties held for Charles VI. Consequently, she was openly blamed for the ludicrous expenses and eccentricities that were involved in these parties.

Depiction of Isabeau of Bavaria, the queen that organized the Ball of the Burning Men (‘Le Bal des Ardents’). (Master of the Cité des Dames / )

Nonetheless, she believed - apparently - that the parties would help Charles’ condition and that they would alleviate his insanity. And on that 28th of January 1393, she decided to hold a masquerade ball, seemingly to celebrate the third marriage of her own lady-in-waiting. By royal tradition that was well established in courts throughout Europe, such a re-marriage by a widowed woman was never celebrated in a solemn and normal fashion. Instead, it was cause for a silly party, full of charades, masks, and loud noisy music.

As this ludicrous party heated up, the key event came to pass - and it involved the young king Charles VI. The king and another five of his close companions, disguised themselves as ‘wild men’ - hairy savages that were a common part of European folklore. This whole event was instigated by a certain Huguet de Guisay, a member of Charles’ court, and was a notoriously cruel and outrageous person. De Guisay was well known in the court as an arrogant and somewhat mad noble, who was termed as the “ cruelest and most insolent of men ”, who had a particular habit of abusing his servants and forcing them to bark like dogs.

The Temperature Rises at This Truly “Hot” Royal Party

On the suggestion of this man, the king and his companions dressed themselves in full body costumes. To emulate these hairy wild men, they wore suits that were first covered with resin, and then with flax, which simulated abundance of hair. The costumes were made from simple linen, and basically drenched in resin wax and pitch, which was the only way for the hair-like hemp to stick on. They also wore scary, bestial masks, as it was a masquerade ball after all. Therefore, no one could know their identity for certain.

Depiction of what the ‘wild men’ may have looked like at the Ball of the Burning Men (‘Le Bal des Ardents’). (Albrecht Dürer / )

Several sources cite that these six men - the king amongst them - were bound together by chains. They entered the hall where all the nobles were gathered, and danced in a wild frenzy, howling like wolves and creating a fun display of ‘wild men’. Beforehand, the officials strictly forbade any torches to be lit or carried inside the hall - to prevent the flammable materials of their costumes to catch fire.

The so-called Dance of the Savages went on, with the dancers acting out crazy movements and obscene gestures. All the while, the gathered nobles tried to guess their identities. Unknowingly to most, King Charles VI - hidden behind his wild-man mask - began teasing and making obscene gestures before a 15-year-old noble lady - Joan, the Duchess De Berry. At the same time, two men entered the hall - these were the king’s own brother, Louis I, Duke of Orleans, and one Phillipe de Bar - both of them were drunk and very late to the party. They stumbled into the hall carrying torches - even though they were banned - and quickly approached the dancing men.

What happened next was a disaster. Seemingly in order to discover the identity of the dancing ‘wild-men’, Louis I brought a lit torch close to the face of one of the dancers. Most of the contemporary sources state that a single spark fell onto the dancer, lighting his leg on fire. A single source states differently - that Louis I threw the torch. Either way, the highly flammable costumes of the dancers quickly caught fire, which spread from one dancer to another.

Depiction of the Ball of the Burning Men (‘Le Bal des Ardents’). (Philippe de Mazerolles / )

The hall quickly erupted into sheer chaos. The six men were completely aflame, the king included. His wife, Isabeau, began shrieking in despair, knowing that the king was amongst the masked men. Several of the onlookers caught fire, and the scene was one of utmost disaster.

The most composed person on the scene was also one of the youngest - the 15-year old Joan De Berry. This young duchess stood close to the king and recognized his features - she quickly gathered the enormous train of her dress, and threw it over the blazing king, stiffening the flames. The other men screamed terrifyingly as the flames consumed their flesh.

Charles VI of France huddling under the Duchesse of Berry's dress at the fiery Ball of the Burning Men (‘Bal des Ardents’) in 1393. (Master Anthony of Burgundy / )

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In the Aftermath of Catastrophe

From the six ‘wild men’ dancers, only two survived the flaming ordeal. One was the king Charles VI, whose flaming suit was extinguished by the skirt of Joan De Berry, and the other was Sieur de Nantouillet.

The latter jumped into a huge vat of water, which extinguished the flame. The other four dancers died. They were: the Count De Joigny - who died at the spot in terrible pain; Yvain de Foix, heir to Count de Foix and Aimery Poitiers, heir to Count of Valentinois, both of them dying after two days of excruciating torment, and Huguet de Guisay, the main instigator of the whole ‘wild man’ charade. He lived for three days before succumbing to his catastrophic wounds. Contemporary accounts state that he kept cursing all the nobles and dancers, spewing foul curses until his final breath.

Depiction of the aftermath of the Ball of the Burning Men (‘Bal des Ardents’). King Charles is tended to by Joan De Berry with her dress putting out the fire. Sieur de Nantouillet jumps into the vat of water, while the others desperately try to put the fire out. (Jean Froissart / )

In the aftermath of this catastrophe, the citizens of Paris stirred in great commotion. Blaming the king’s brother, Louis I, and citing the depravity of the nobles and therefore, the common folk threatened to rise in revolt. They were at last calmed down when Louis I sought atonement for his mistake, and donated a great sum to build a chapel at the Celestine monastery in Paris. Furthermore, the whole court, including the king’s uncles and King Charles himself, rode through the city in a markedly apologetic royal procession of humility.

In the aftermath, the reputation of Louis I, Duke of Orleans was thoroughly ruined, and the whole ordeal only cemented his history of odd behavior. He would be assassinated in 1407.

On the other hand, Charles the VI began his decline afterwards. His only later notable act as king, happened just a year after the fire, in 1394, when he expelled all the Jews from his realm, as ‘apparently’ they had been exploiting the Christian French citizens, and had continually deceived and abused all non-Jews. His mental health kept deteriorating after the infamous Ball of the Burning Men, and his role as a king was merely ceremonial up until his death.

Intrigues, or Simply the Foolishness of Nobility?

The Ball of the Burning Men presents a unique page in the rich history of French nobility. It also poses several key questions that concern the royal lines and nobles of medieval Europe. Was the excessive wealth and eccentricity of the nobles a clear weakness? Was it also the leap that further distanced them from the poor classes of their realms?

Moreover, were the actions of Louis I of Orleans purely accidental? Perhaps this was an attempt to assassinate his brother and usurp the throne. Either way, this chaotic and eccentric masquerade ball is one of the most intriguing events of medieval France, and it could easily fit onto the pages of a ‘ Game of Thrones ’ novel, filled with intrigues and medieval craziness.

Bacon's Rebellion

Pen and Ink drawing of Bacon's troops about to burn Jamestown

Drawing by Rita Honeycutt

Bacon's Rebellion was probably one of the most confusing yet intriguing chapters in Jamestown's history. For many years, historians considered the Virginia Rebellion of 1676 to be the first stirring of revolutionary sentiment in America, which culminated in the American Revolution almost exactly one hundred years later. However, in the past few decades, based on findings from a more distant viewpoint, historians have come to understand Bacon's Rebellion as a power struggle between two stubborn, selfish leaders rather than a glorious fight against tyranny.

The central figures in Bacon's Rebellion were opposites. Governor Sir William Berkeley, seventy when the crisis began, was a veteran of the English Civil Wars, a frontier Indian fighter, a King's favorite in his first term as Governor in the 1640's, and a playwright and scholar. His name and reputation as Governor of Virginia were well respected. Berkeley's antagonist, young Nathaniel Bacon, Jr., was actually Berkeley's cousin by marriage. Lady Berkeley, Frances Culpeper, was Bacon's cousin. Bacon was a troublemaker and schemer whose father sent him to Virginia in the hope that he would mature. Although disdainful of labor, Bacon was intelligent and eloquent. Upon Bacon's arrival, Berkeley treated his young cousin with respect and friendship, giving him both a substantial land grant and a seat on the council in 1675.

Bacon's Rebellion can be attributed to a myriad of causes, all of which led to dissent in the Virginia colony. Economic problems, such as declining tobacco prices, growing commercial competition from Maryland and the Carolinas, an increasingly restricted English market, and the rising prices from English manufactured goods (mercantilism) caused problems for the Virginians. There were heavy English losses in the latest series of naval wars with the Dutch and, closer to home, there were many problems caused by weather. Hailstorms, floods, dry spells, and hurricanes rocked the colony all in the course of a year and had a damaging effect on the colonists. These difficulties encouraged the colonists to find a scapegoat against whom they could vent their frustrations and place the blame for their misfortunes.

The colonists found their scapegoat in the form of the local Indians. The trouble began in July 1675 with a raid by the Doeg Indians on the plantation of Thomas Mathews, located in the Northern Neck section of Virginia near the Potomac River. Several of the Doegs were killed in the raid, which began in a dispute over the nonpayment of some items Mathews had apparently obtained from the tribe. The situation became critical when, in a retaliatory strike by the colonists, they attacked the wrong Indians, the Susquehanaugs, which caused large scale Indian raids to begin.

St. Maries Citty Living History Interpreters demonstrating the firing of Match Lock Muskets

To stave off future attacks and to bring the situation under control, Governor Berkeley ordered an investigation into the matter. He set up what was to be a disastrous meeting between the parties, which resulted in the murders of several tribal chiefs. Throughout the crisis, Berkeley continually pleaded for restraint from the colonists. Some, including Bacon, refused to listen. Nathaniel Bacon disregarded the Governor's direct orders by seizing some friendly Appomattox Indians for "allegedly" stealing corn. Berkeley reprimanded him, which caused the disgruntled Virginians to wonder which man had taken the right action. It was here the battle lines were about to be drawn.

A further problem was Berkeley's attempt to find a compromise. Berkeley's policy was to preserve the friendship and loyalty of the subject Indians while assuring the settlers that they were not hostile. To meet his first objective, the Governor relieved the local Indians of their powder and ammunition. To deal with the second objective, Berkeley called the "Long Assembly" in March 1676. Despite being judged corrupt, the assembly declared war on all "bad" Indians and set up a strong defensive zone around Virginia with a definite chain of command. The Indian wars which resulted from this directive led to the high taxes to pay the army and to the general discontent in the colony for having to shoulder that burden.

The Long Assembly was accused of corruption because of its ruling regarding trade with the Indians. Not coincidentally, most of the favored traders were friends of Berkeley. Regular traders, some of whom had been trading independently with the local Indians for generations, were no longer allowed to trade individually. A government commission was established to monitor trading among those specially chosen and to make sure the Indians were not receiving any arms and ammunition. Bacon, one of the traders adversely affected by the Governor's order, accused Berkeley publicly of playing favorites. Bacon was also resentful because Berkeley had denied him a commission as a leader in the local militia. Bacon became the elected "General" of a group of local volunteer Indian fighters, because he promised to bear the cost of the campaigns.

After Bacon drove the Pamunkeys from their nearby lands in his first action, Berkeley exercised one of the few instances of control over the situation that he was to have, by riding to Bacon's headquarters at Henrico with 300 "well armed" gentlemen. Upon Berkeley's arrival, Bacon fled into the forest with 200 men in search of a place more to his liking for a meeting. Berkeley then issued two petitions declaring Bacon a rebel and pardoning Bacon's men if they went home peacefully. Bacon would then be relieved of the council seat that he had won for his actions that year, but he was to be given a fair trial for his disobedience.

Bacon did not, at this time, comply with the Governor's orders. Instead he next attacked the camp of the friendly Occaneecheee Indians on the Roanoke River (the border between Virginia and North Carolina), and took their store of beaver pelts.

Governor Berkeley standing before Bacon and his men challenging them to shoot him

In the face of a brewing catastrophe, Berkeley, to keep the peace, was willing to forget that Bacon was not authorized to take the law into his own hands. Berkeley agreed to pardon Bacon if he turned himself in, so he could be sent to England and tried before King Charles II. It was the House of Burgesses, however, who refused this alternative, insisting that Bacon must acknowledge his errors and beg the Governor's forgiveness. Ironically, at the same time, Bacon was then elected to the Burgesses by supportive local land owners sympathetic to his Indian campaigns. Bacon, by virtue of this election, attended the landmark Assembly of June 1676. It was during this session that he was mistakenly credited with the political reforms that came from this meeting. The reforms were prompted by the population, cutting through all class lines. Most of the reform laws dealt with reconstructing the colony's voting regulations, enabling freemen to vote, and limiting the number of years a person could hold certain offices in the colony. Most of these laws were already on the books for consideration well before Bacon was elected to the Burgesses. Bacon's only cause was his campaign against the Indians.

Upon his arrival for the June Assembly, Bacon was captured, taken before Berkeley and council and was made to apologize for his previous actions. Berkeley immediately pardoned Bacon and allowed him to take his seat in the assembly. At this time, the council still had no idea how much support was growing in defense of Bacon. The full awareness of that support hit home when Bacon suddenly left the Burgesses in the midst of heated debate over Indian problems. He returned with his forces to surround the statehouse. Once again Bacon demanded his commission, but Berkeley called his bluff and demanded that Bacon shoot him.

"Here shoot me before God, fair mark shoot."

Bacon refused. Berkeley granted Bacon's previous volunteer commission but Bacon refused it and demanded that he be made General of all forces against the Indians, which Berkeley emphatically refused and walked away. Tensions ran high as the screaming Bacon and his men surrounded the statehouse, threatening to shoot several onlooking Burgesses if Bacon was not given his commission. Finally after several agonizing moments, Berkeley gave in to Bacon's demands for campaigns against the Indians without government interference. With Berkeley's authority in shambles, Bacon's brief tenure as leader of the rebellion began.

Even in the midst of these unprecedented triumphs, however, Bacon was not without his mistakes. He allowed Berkeley to leave Jamestown in the aftermath of a surprise Indian attack on a nearby settlement. He also confiscated supplies from Gloucester and left them vulnerable to possible Indian attacks. Shortly after the immediate crisis subsided, Berkeley briefly retired to his home at Green Springs and washed his hands of the entire mess. Nathaniel Bacon dominated Jamestown from July through September 1676. During this time, Berkeley did come out of his lethargy and attempt a coup, but support for Bacon was still too strong and Berkeley was forced to flee to Accomack County on the Eastern Shore.

Feeling that it would make his triumph complete, Bacon issued his "Declaration of the People" on July 30, 1676 which stated that Berkeley was corrupt, played favorites and protected the Indians for his own selfish purposes. Bacon also issued his oath which required the swearer to promise his loyalty to Bacon in any manner necessary (i.e., armed service, supplies, verbal support). Even this tight rein could not keep the tide from changing again. Bacon's fleet was first and finally secretly infiltrated by Berkeley's men and finally captured. This was to be the turning point in the conflict, because Berkeley was once again strong enough to retake Jamestown. Bacon then followed his sinking fortunes to Jamestown and saw it heavily fortified. He made several attempts at a siege, during which he kidnapped the wives of several of Berkeley's biggest supporters, including Mrs. Nathaniel Bacon Sr., and placed them upon the ramparts of his siege fortifications while he dug his position. Infuriated, Bacon burned Jamestown to the ground on September 19, 1676. (He did save many valuable records in the statehouse.) By now his luck had clearly run out with this extreme measure and he began to have trouble controlling his men's conduct as well as keeping his popular support. Few people responded to Bacon's appeal to capture Berkeley who had since returned to the Eastern Shore for safety reasons.

On October 26th, 1676, Bacon abruptly died of the "Bloodie Flux" and "Lousey Disease" (body lice). It is possible his soldiers burned his contaminated body because it was never found. (His death inspired this little ditty Bacon is Dead I am sorry at my hart That lice and flux should take the hangman's part".)

Shortly after Bacon's death, Berkeley regained complete control and hanged the major leaders of the rebellion. He also seized rebel property without the benefit of a trial. All in all, twenty-three persons were hanged for their part in the rebellion. Later after an investigating committee from England issued its report to King Charles II, Berkeley was relieved of the Governorship and returned to England where he died in July 1677.

Thus ended one of the most unusual and complicated chapters in Jamestown's history. Could it have been prevented or was it time for inevitable changes to take place in the colonial governmental structure? Obviously, the laws were no longer effective as far as establishing clear policies to deal with problems or to instill new lifeblood into the colony's economy. The numerous problems that hit the colony before the Rebellion gave rise to the character of Nathaniel Bacon. Due to the nature of the uprising, Bacon's Rebellion does seem at first glance to be the beginnings of America's quest for Independence. But closer examination of the facts reveals what it really was: a power struggle between two very strong personalities. Between them they almost destroyed Jamestown.

Neville, John Davenport. Bacon's Rebellion. Abstracts of Materials in the Colonial Records Project. Jamestown: Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.

Washburn, Wilcomb E. The Governor and the Rebel. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1957.

Webb, Stephen Saunders. 1676-The End of American Independence. New York: Alfred A. Knope, 1984.

The Freakeasy is Chicago's best kept underground party paradise

“I always say in Chicago, bad is good and good is bad,” Freakeasy co-founder Matt Fusello says over a plate of late night lo mein in the Windy City’s Chinatown. Fusello and Freakeasy partner Striz have asked Mixmag out to slurp down noodles in order to impart the feel and history for this legendary Chicago party before we attend. Amid the bang and steam that leaks out of the tiny kitchen, Fusello commands the conversation with big body movements and bravado. “If it fell off the back of a truck, good!” he declares with a hearty laugh. “If you snitch, bad!”

It’s true. Chicago has a long and storied reputation of allowing things to happen behind its shiny veneer, under handshakes and quid pro quo. And that includes underground parties like The Freakeasy.

The Freakeasy, a portmanteau of freaks and speakeasy where sweaty bodies gyrate until the sun rises, has been run by Chicago-based trio Matt Fusello, Striz and Justin Reed since 2009. That’s an impressive stretch for any event that runs under the radar, but to Fusello’s point, Chicago’s “good is bad and bad is good” mentality has allowed them to forge relationships that have protected The Freakeasy from external bureaucratic forces.

Though the first formal Freakeasy event debuted in 2009, inklings for creating this monthly event started back in 1997. Fusello went to Burning Man and, as it goes, was captivated by the feelings of creativity, freedom and community that it inspired. He yearned to bring it back to the city with him, but at the time, Burning Man’s popularity hadn’t fully broken into Chicago. “I felt this great energy,” says Fusello. “I could be myself. No one was judging me. It made me wonder – how can I feel like this more than once a year?”

Fusello started by joining the regional Burning Man Chicago mailing list. He scrubbed (a sort of precursor to Facebook aimed at the Burning Man community), and found local groups from message boards. He saw hints of a Burning Man community bubbling under Chicago’s surface – they just needed a catalyst to bring them all together, and Fusello saw his chance. “It made me realize I should focus my energy into the local scene to see what could be accomplished.”

After integrating into the small, but present Burning Man-inspired pods popping up across the city, Fusello teamed up with illmeasures, a DJ collective comprised of Striz, Reed and Brad Miner (who passed away in 2013). Three components made the group a perfect partner: they’d been throwing underground loft parties since 2000, were well versed in logistics and owned a sound system. In 2006, the four put together a party called Resonate, featuring then unknown Bassnectar (who was booked for merely $500). It attracted 250 people, and they reinvested profits, building larger and larger crowds each time, eventually becoming a welcomed monthly extravaganza. So in 2009, The Freakeasy was born. It sold out. And so did the next one. In fact, every single Freakeasy to date has sold out ahead of time with an average attendance of 600-650 people.

“Participation is the key,” Fusello explains. “Most festivals hire acts, and you watch the act. At Burning Man, [I learned that] you are the act. Burning Man is the canvas, and people are the paint.” Though The Freakeasy has seen its fair share of bigger names grace the decks (J. Phlip, John Tejada, Gene Hunt, and Farley Jackmaster Funk among them), this isn’t the primary reason many flock to the event (although it’s certainly a bonus). Tonight is no different - despite the fact that hometown heavyweight Derrick Carter is manning DJ duties, he is not a headliner. He, like the people he is performing for, is the proverbial paint: here to dance, feel free and have a good time without the trappings of a traditional nightclub experience. “We’re not a club. We’re a group of friends,” says Fusello. “Everyone at the The Freakeasy is my mother, my father, my brother and my sister, as far as I’m concerned."

Within The Freakeasy walls, there is no VIP, no dress code, no gatekeeper judging at the door. There isn’t even a green room (privacy is afforded in a limited fashion to performers who are changing or DJs about to hop on the decks). “No one’s a rock star and everyone’s a rock star,” explains Fusello. “You can’t pay extra to get special treatment at The Freakeasy. If there’s a sense of exclusivity, then it means there are people who feel left out. We don’t want that. We want to equalize everything.”

By design, the entrance to The Freakeasy isn’t easily visible from the street. But once found, there’s a quick, friendly exchange with security and just beyond, a Technicolor-lit smoking area. It’s packed, but out of respect for the event and surrounding neighbors, conversation is kept to a murmur as cigarette curls mingle with the hot damp air that lingers from an earlier thunderstorm. To enter, Mixmag heads to the left. A lone open door beckons for visitors to come in with dull thumps bleeding out from the party upstairs.

As stairs are climbed, the temperature climbs, too. In a matter of seconds it becomes positively tropical as the air thickens with heat churned out by hundreds of bodies moving in tandem with the DJ. At the top of the stairs, turn a corner, and suddenly the space reveals itself. The main room is shrouded in a vibrant, purple wash, with all manner of decoration occupying pillars, corners, and bits of the ceiling. It feels like a perma-loft party. Strings of fairy lights, a hefty disco ball, a pirate flag, and a sign that spells out Freakeasy in large carnival bulbs (designed by Miner and displayed in his memory) are all here among the heaps of décor. A bar flanks the back wall, shouldered on one side by the DJ booth, and on the other by tiers of lofted beds, where partiers can perch to take a breather. It’s busy quite early, and packed with all manner of age groups, ethnicities and personal aesthetics all here for one common purpose: dancing the night away in a place where it feels entirely safe to be yourself.

To that end, it’s all this dancing, orchestrated tonight by Carter, that’s created the room’s soupy climate. Clothes begin to come off, and, by 3am, about half the room is missing some portion of attire, but is all smiles through the sweat as soulful house beats thump away. The carefree attitude is infectious, and noticeable. “There’s an osmosis that happens when someone is having a good time,” Fusello explains. “It affects the people around them. That’s how we’ve lasted so long. The vibe is good.”

Now in 2018, there’s been almost a decade of Freakeasy parties, and the trio has thrown nearly 200 individual events. Mixmag asks Fusello if he ever envisions his future without The Freakeasy in it. He briefly stops eating, his chopsticks frozen mid air with a pinch of noodles between them, thinking. “Sometimes I get burnt out and I think, what if I just quit?” he says slowly. “I think that would be a negative for me. I can’t imagine not having these people in my life.”

Dani Deahl is a freelance writer based in Chicago. Follow her on Twitter at @danideahl

[Photo credit: David Ziemba, Simon Rubinstein]

The ball of the burning men also called the ball of the savages in 1393 : french king Charles VI often organized sumptuous parties in royal places. during one of them, on the night of january 28, 1393 , as the king ans some of his friends were dressed as

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The Ball of the Burning Men

Wholly unexpected events were one of the things the Game of Thrones series used to its advantage. One of the most shocking was the third season’s “Red Wedding”, where leading members of the protagonist Stark family were massacred at a wedding reception. Today marks the 628th anniversary of an equally shocking event albeit one that involved neither murder nor intent.

Today, history knows King Charles VI of France (1368-1422) as “Charles the Mad.” In April 1392, Charles experienced the first of 44 attacks of madness. The attacks lasted from three to nine months and were interspersed with three- to five-month periods of sanity for the rest of his life.

His queen, Isabeau of Barvaria, evidently believed that lavish parties she threw would help alleviate the king’s madness. Thus, on January 28, 1393, she decided to hold a masquerade ball, supposedly to celebrate the third marriage of her lady-in-waiting. The ball was a charivari, which historian Barbara Tuchman characterizes as having “all sorts of license, disguises, disorders, and loud blaring of discordant music and clanging of cymbals[.]” One nobleman came up with the idea that he and five cohorts, including King Charles, should masquerade as “wood savages.” Their costumes consisted of of linen cloth sewn onto their bodies and soaked in resinous wax or pitch to hold a covering of frazzled hemp, “so that they appeared shaggy and hairy from head to foot.” That’s right, pitch. You know, the extremely flammable tar-based resin. Maybe you can see where this is going.

According to Tuchman, when the wood savages entered the ball, they “capered before the revelers, imitating the howls of wolves and making obscene gestures while the guests tried to discover their identity.” Because of the costumes, torches were forbidden. However, the king’s brother, Louis of Valois, staggered into the party drunk with a lit torch. As the “savages” were near impossible to identify, Louis had the bright idea of holding his torch close to the face of one of them. The highly flammable costume quickly ignited and as the man ran in panic to put out the flames the other flammable men caught fire. Guests who tried to douse the flames and tear the costumes from the victims were badly burned.

Charles VI, however, was saved by the 15-year-old Duchess of Berry. Amid the chaos, she had the presence of mind to wrap the train of her dress around the king to extinguish the flames. One other wild man jumped into a vat of wine (or dishwater, depending on who’s relating the story). One of the remaining four men died at the scene, two died two days later and, in what might be considered a bit of poetic justice, the noble who came up with the idea suffered for three days before dying.

The event, which came to be known as Le Bal des Ardents (the Ball of the Burning Men), caused “great commotion” in Paris. King Charles would ride in solemn procession to Notre Dame to appease the people. Behind him, the king’s brother and uncles followed barefoot as penitents. Louis also sought to atone for his actions by building a chapel at the Celestine monastery in Paris. That monastery no longer exists.

The king’s second episode of madness occurred in June 1393. Lasting about seven months, he insisted he was not King Charles VI and was unable or unwilling to recognize his wife, to whom he was persistently hostile. There were occasional brief periods during this time when he seemed relatively lucid. Eventually, though, the bouts would worsen, even to the point that Charles came to believe he was made of glass and would shatter if he was touched. At least fire doesn’t slay glass it only melts it.

This ghastly affair, coming so soon after the King’s madness, was like an exclamation point to the malign succession of events that had tormented the century.



The infamous summer of 1976 has been described as a 'yardstick' for British heatwaves.

Forty-two years on, 2018's own heatwave may yet beat several records set during '76.

Highest temperature: 35.6°C (96.1°F) in Southampton on June 28.

Longest period above 30°C (86°F): 18 consecutive days

Longest period without rain: 45 consecutive days in the South West

Highest temperature: 35.3°C (95.2°F) in Faversham, Kent, on July 26.

Longest period above 30°C (86°F): Nine consecutive days

Longest period without rain: 49 consecutive days in Suffolk

Forty-two years ago, Britain experienced a heatwave so severe the government introduced a Drought Act.

A Minister for Drought, Denis Howell, was appointed to encourage people to use less water – and purportedly was even ordered to do a rain dance on behalf of the nation.

Average temperatures this June matched those of June '76, coming in at 19.9°C (68°F) - making them the equal second warmest on record.

But July 2018 was hotter than its '76 counterpart with average temperatures of 22.6°C (72°F) - the second warmest behind 2006, which reached 23.2°C (73.8°F).

July 1976 was the fifth warmest on record at 21.6°C (70.9°F).

The '76 heatwave's record of 18 consecutive days of 30°C+ (86°F+) heat could also be beaten if current weather trends linger.


There are several leading theories as to what caused the global heatwave, according to University of Reading climate scientist Professor Len Shaffrey.

1. Climate Change : Temperatures are increasing globally due to the burning of fossil fuels increasing concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The global rise in temperatures means that heatwaves are becoming more extreme. The past few years have seen some record-breaking temperatures in Europe, for example the 2015 heatwave and the 2017 ‘Lucifer’ heatwave in Central Europe. Unusually warm summer temperatures have been recorded elsewhere, for example in Canada and Japan, and climate change is very likely to have played a role here as well.

2. North Atlantic Ocean Temperatures : Temperatures over the North Atlantic Ocean can play a role in setting the position of the jet stream, which in turn has a profound impact on the weather we experience in the UK and Ireland. This summer has seen relatively warm North Atlantic Ocean temperatures in the subtropics and cold ocean temperatures to the south of Greenland. These are thought to be influencing the high pressure over Europe and pushing the jet stream further northwards.

3. La Nina : Every few years, ocean temperatures in the Tropical Pacific swing between being relatively warm (known as El Nino) and cool (La Nina). Since October last year the Tropical Pacific has been in a La Nina phase. La Nina is sometimes associated with cold winters in North Western Europe (for example the winter of 2010/11 and the recent cold spell in March 2018). However, this year’s La Nina had started to weaken around April and had almost gone by June when the current dry spell in the UK began.

4. It’s the weather : The above factors influence type of the weather get in the UK and Ireland but good or bad luck also plays a role, especially for very unusual weather such as the current hot and dry spell. This summer is no different and the hot and dry weather is partly due a combination of North Atlantic Ocean temperatures, climate change and the weather. Should weather patterns continue as they are then we might expect this summer will turn out to be as hot and dry as the extreme summer of 1976.

The highest recorded temperature in 1976 was 35.6°C (96.1°F) on June 28 in Southampton.

So far this summer the highest temperature hit is 35.3°C (95.2°F), which was recorded in Faversham, Kent, on July 26.

Experts told the MailOnline that this summer-high is unlikely to be broken by the weekend's weather.

A Met Office spokesperson said: 'When looking at the weather for today and the weekend it looks like temperatures may well reach 31°C or even possibly a 32°C today in the south east of England and again possibly on Sunday.

'However, it is unlikely at this stage that temperatures will reach those recorded Faversham in July.'

The UK's current all-time record temperature for July stands at 36.7°C (98.1°F), which was recorded at Heathrow in July 2015.

The remarkable 1976 heatwave saw the country gripped by a severe drought, leaving some households in Wales and west England without tap water for much of the day

Britain has seen its driest first half of summer since 1961, as August has kicked off on a blistering note, stretching out July's heatwave that marked the longest in five years. Pictured: Bournemouth beach on Wednesday

In 1976 Britain was hit by 18 consecutive days of 30°C+ (86°F+) heat - double the longest run in 2018 so far.

Meteorologists say both heatwaves are the result of warmer surface waters in the Atlantic Ocean and lingering high pressures above Europe.

Periods of high air pressure cycle periodically over Earth, causing temperatures to rise well above average.

But this pressure is rarely sustained for such a long period.

The average mean daily temperature in June 1976 was 15C (59F). This is still the highest since records began. The provisional figure for June 2018 is 14.8C (58.6F), which would rank as the third highest on record

The sustained pressure is cause by a weak jet stream - the column of strong winds around five to seven miles (8-11km) above the surface of the Earth that drives weather patterns around the planet.

The stream forms over long periods due to temperature differences between the northern and southern hemispheres, and at its weakest brings settled weather patterns that leave temperatures unchanged for days, or even weeks at a time.

The jet streams of 1976 was extremely weak - as is the one we are currently experiencing.

This means areas of high-pressure form over parts of the northern hemisphere and take a long time to move on, experts said.

The Met Office has warned parts of Spain and Portugal are set to sizzle with temperatures ranging between 104F (40C) and 118F (48C) in the coming days from the Iberian plume that's heating up the UK as well

Jet streams are the result of a complex mix of phenomena, and become especially weak during the summer months when there is only a small temperature difference between northern and southern regions either side of the stream.

An unusual mixture of cool water near Greenland and close to the British Isles, as well as warm water further south, has been linked to warm, dry UK summers.

The addition of sustained high pressure means hot weather patterns don't move east, leading to lengthy bouts of heat.

Speaking to MailOnline last month, Professor Len Shaffrey, a climate scientist at the University of Reading, said: 'The high pressure means that the storms we occasionally get at this time of year are being steered much further northwards towards Iceland.

'The high pressure system is unusually persistent and has been building up over Europe throughout spring and early summer.'

Forty-two years ago, Britain experienced a heatwave so severe the then government introduced a Drought Act. The parched and cracked bottom of Ladybower reservoir is pictured above in 1976

Scientists warned last week that rising global temperatures caused by human activity are making the heatwaves gripping the northern hemisphere more likely.

Professor Peter Stott, Met Office science fellow in attribution, likened the increased chances of a heatwave to rolling a dice and getting a six – but that climate change was weighting the dice.

'What we've seen this summer is repeated throws throwing up a six in different parts of the world.

'If you get a six over and over again you start to think 'This is not normal, somebody has given me a loaded dice'.'

Pictured is a parched section of the Wayoh Reservoir spanned by the Armsgrove Viaduct at Edgworth near Bolton on Wednesday

He said the chances of the 2003 heatwave in Europe happening was more than doubled by climate change, and predictions by climate models that heatwaves would increase in frequency 'are coming true before our eyes'.

He said the 'jury is out' on the extent to which climate change is affecting the jet stream, whose current pattern is keeping an area of high pressure to the west of Britain and causing the hot, dry weather.

But he said: 'It's settled into a pattern here this summer, and what that means when it's in this pattern, the Arctic temperatures are very much warmer, and temperatures are globally very much warmer, it's fuelling these heatwaves.'

Key to both the 1976 and 2018 heatwaves is the combination of several weather phenomena coming together at once.

A blistering heatwave nicknamed the Iberian Plume has swept into Britain, driving temperatures towards a scorching 90F on Friday. Pictured: Student, Anuschka Pinto, 21, takes a stroll along Bournemouth beach today


Temperature records worldwide were shattered by an unusual global heatwave in late June and early July 2018.

Stifling heat cracked roads and buckled roofs across Britain, as Motherwell hit the highest temperature ever recorded in Scotland at 91.8°F (33.2°C). The previous record was 91.2°F (32.9°C) set in August 2003 at Greycrook.

Glasgow had its hottest day on record, hitting 89.4°F (31.9°C).

In Ireland, on June 28 Belfast also reached a record high, as it hit 85.1°F (29.5°C). Shannon also hit its own record at 89.6°F (32°C). In Northern Ireland, Castlederg hit 86.2°F (30.1°C) on June 29, its record highest.

In Canada, Montreal smashed its previous record for the hottest temperature, as readings showed 97.9 °F (36.6°C)

Ottawa posted its most extreme combination of heat and humidity on July 1.

Meanwhile in the US, Denver, the Colorado state capital, tied its all-time high-temperature record of 105°F (40°C) on June 28

Burlington, in Vermont, set its all-time warmest low temperature ever, recording a low of 80°F (27°C) within the 24 hour period on July 2

Whilst the islands in Western Europe smouldered in its own heatwave, Eurasia was baking as well.

Yerevan, in the previously Soviet state of Armenia, saw temperatures soar to 107.6°F (42°C).

Russia, the host country of the World Cup this year, is also in the midst of a heatwave and several spots across the south of the world's largest country either matched or exceeded their warmest June temperatures.

In the Middle-Eastern nation of Oman, the lowest temperature for 24 hours on June 28 was 108.7°F (42.6°C) in the coastal city of Quriyat's.

These fantastical numbers come just months after Pakistan posted the hottest temperature ever seen on Earth.

'Ball of the Burning Men', 1393. (c1470).

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Year-Round Staff

Burning since 2007, Sunny continues to shine on and off playa. She joined Philanthropic Engagement as their fundraising coordinator in 2020, after seven years managing hospitality for the San Francisco office. She loves to meet new people and hear their inspiring stories. Fundraising has renewed her, as she feels it's exceedingly important for Burning Man Project to flourish in our world. Personally she enjoys sewing, knitting, embroidering, hiking, and yoga. She prefers rain over sun, forests over beaches, and can't resist a good long birthday celebration.

Ally D'Ambrosio

Salesforce Administrator

Ally supports Burning Man Project as a Jedi mastering the Force…the Salesforce. She works on and off playa with all departments to streamline and improve the unique processes that keep the Man burning. She works closely with the Art Department, Placement Team, and more, to constantly adapt their Salesforce instance to support their evolving work and mission. Ally is a big-picture thinker and loves to focus on tech development that gives users confidence and excitement about the tools at their fingers.

Off-playa, Ally is a competitive weightlifter and outdoors enthusiast. Due to her voracious appetite, her coworkers in the Tech Department have affectionately dubbed her, “Second Breakfast.”

Ally Deraps

Deputy General Counsel

Ally Deraps assists Burning Man’s General Counsel with navigating a variety of legal issues related to the annual event in Black Rock City and Burning Man’s mission to extend Burner culture to the wider world. Ally also manages Burning Man’s Intellectual Property Team, which works to protect event participants’ right to privacy and to preserve the Principle of Decommodification.

Ally’s first year on the playa was 2004, when she made the pilgrimage from New York with a longtime-Burner friend. A few months later, she moved to San Francisco, and has returned to Black Rock City almost every year since. Ally received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from New York University and her law degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, Boalt Hall. After practicing intellectual property litigation at a firm in San Francisco, Ally was thrilled to join Burning Man’s Legal and Government Relations Team in 2014, enabling her to combine her twin passions for Burning Man and the law.

Andie Grace

Philosophical Center Producer

Andie Grace is a producer, publisher, editor, writer, and nerd for community and culture. AG (short for Actiongrl) has been burning since 1997, when she reluctantly packed her bass guitar to play some art thing in the desert her bandmates wouldn't shut up about. In '98 she volunteered at Media Mecca and quickly fell into a lifetime of participation, eventually as a full time senior staffer managing Burning Man's Communications Department and the Regional Network.

After 13 years, Andie stepped away from her role to pursue other interests in film and communication, but in 2019, she was beckoned back to a full time role with the Project, happily returning home. She is passionate about storytelling, and sharing the philosophies and inspiration of Burning Man as they can be applied to individual, civic, and global human experience. AG lives in Berkeley with her husband and kid, and the best rescue dog in the land. She plays music, cooks a lot, collects bad jokes, and is a karaoke queen. She'd like you to please tell your dog she said hi.

Andrew Lowe

Burning Man Tech Team Web Developer

Andrew builds new websites and applications, and maintains many of the Burning Man web properties. He has been an organizer, musician, entrepreneur, circus performer, crypto-puzzler, teacher, event producer, and writer. He works with Burning Man to combine his artistic, technical, and cultural interests, and play a part in propelling Burning Man to the forefront of culture and technology.

Anjelika Petrochenko

Senior Product Manager

Audrey Whaling

Event Operations Project Manager

In 2013, after dancing her way across the desert, volunteering and working on various art projects, Audrey (a.k.a. Audacity) started working for The Man. She works on a wide variety of projects including Burner Express Air, Burner Express Bus and the BRC Storage Program. When she’s not zipping around Black Rock City, she can be seen either at the Airport, the BxB Depot or playing on art. In her spare time she moonlights on various production teams, stilt walking, and “racing” in running and Ironman events around the country.

Brigid McKell

Office Operations Manager

Brigid is in charge of…pretty much anything she puts her mind to. Brigid joined Burning Man Project as the Office Operations Manager in 2018 and is already on a roll! She's passionate about the 10 Principles and is supremely excited about exploring her new role within the organization this coming year, on and off playa. Never one to shy away from a new adventure, she's tackling numerous activities and contributing to the short and long-term goals of the organization. Something new? Something challenging? Something tasty? Brigid’s ready! Come back and visit next year for an update on what she has accomplished.

Brigid lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family. She has a BS in Psychology from Plymouth State University.


Project Manager

Brody works year-round as a Project Manager for Burning Man Arts, and has worked at Burning Man since a 2011 escape from the corporate world. Brody's dual missions in life are to increase the amount of happiness in the world, and to learn how to carve a bear with a chainsaw. These two things are not necessarily related.

Bryant Tan a.k.a. Level

City Planning & Placement Manager

Level started burning in 2009 and joined the Placement Team in 2014 after several years as a theme camp lead for Dilated Peoples Eye Spa. The Placement Team is a vibrant volunteer crew responsible for reviewing, mapping, flagging, and placing theme camps and other groups in Black Rock City. Prior to joining Burning Man Project's year-round staff, he worked for the City and County of San Francisco. He also worked for several community-based organizations in youth and community development, transportation planning, affordable housing development, program design and evaluation, public finance, and Asian Pacific Islander and LGBTQ communities. In his free time, Level enjoys playing Sim City and Tetris, doing anti-oppression work, hiking around the Bay Area, and serves as an Urban Planning Representative on the SF Entertainment Commission. He holds a Masters in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and received his B.A. in Ethnic Studies from UCLA.

Cailen Caplan

Government Relations and Permitting Coordinator

Carolyn "Lina" Tanner a.k.a DixieRaeSparx

Senior Advisor, Government Affairs

Lina is an attorney based in Reno, Nevada, and works part-time for Burning Man Project. She specializes in energy, natural resources and land development, and she provides exemplary service to corporate, nonprofit, and governmental entities before the Nevada Legislature, local, state and federal agencies, and the courts in Nevada. As an advocate and policy advisor in the fields of energy, natural resources, and land use, Lina has spent her career working with diverse groups to achieve the consensus and cooperation necessary to meet common goals.

Lina is a Northern Nevada native, with her first Black Rock City experience coming in 2009. Since that time, she has moved to a tiny farm that serves as the satellite office for her Burning Man camp, and houses dedicated and determined Burners from all over the world. Her daughter Ruby and their meddling goats especially love it when August brings another wave of worldly travelers. Lina received her bachelor's degree from Occidental College, and law degree from the University of Denver.

Charlie Dolman a.k.a. Louder Charlie

Event Operations Director

Charlie oversees event operations in Black Rock City, including Emergency Services, Gate-Perimeter-Exodus, the Black Rock Rangers, BRC Department of Public Works, Community Services, the Cafe and Ice services, the Department of Mutant Vehicles, and on-the-ground Art operations. He also oversees the Special Recreation Permit Burning Man holds with the U.S. Federal Government during the event season. As part of this role, Charlie sits on the Black Rock City Operations Management Board, the Budget Committee and the Executive Committee. He also chairs the Event Operations Team and Event Leadership Team meetings.

Charlie came to Burning Man from the UK, having spent many years working at an array of events where his roles included production, finance, licensing, promotion, and management. Events of note include: Secret Garden Party, Wilderness Festival, and Lovebox — where Charlie played instrumental roles in founding, growth and development.

Chris Neary

Associate Director, DPW

Chris "ChAos" Neary has been attending Burning Man since 1999. He first got involved with the Organization in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, when he spent extensive time in Biloxi and Pearlington during the inception of what became Burners Without Borders. ChAos served as DPW’s Heavy Equipment dispatcher on the playa from 2007 through 2010 before joining the DPW Council as DPW Heavy Equipment & Transportation Manager, overseeing all machinery and trucking operations in the Black Rock City. In 2016 he stepped up to lead the DPW Council and oversee the entirety of DPW operations on the playa.

Chris Petrell a.k.a. Taz

Nevada Technology Support

Chris (a.k.a. Taz) lives year-round in Gerlach, Nevada. Formerly he was a Unix system administrator who worked for several larger corporations but moved on after the dot com bust. Now he is responsible for building out, managing and providing support for all the technologies located on Burning Man's Nevada properties along with providing internet and technical support to the staff before, during and after the Burning Man event.

Born in Southern California and raised in Half Moon Bay, CA, Chris attended his first Burning Man in 1997, volunteered with DPW and highway cleanup from 1999-2003, and joined the Burning Man year around staff in 2003. Chris served for six years on the Gerlach General Improvement District (GGID) board, being Chairman for two of those years since he moved to Gerlach.

Chris enjoys spending time with friends, Taking spontaneous road trips, soaking in the local hot springs, riding his quad around the desert and hills of Northern Nevada, playing with fire, and geeking out — often all in the same day. Sadly there is no more ice hockey in Chris’s life, as there just is no ice to skate on in Nevada.

Christopher Breedlove

Director of Civic Activation

Christopher supports the volunteer-driven community leadership work of BWB, whose goal is to unlock the innate skills of local communities to solve problems that bring about meaningful change. Supporting citizen-led civic engagement solutions and community resiliency projects around the world, BWB is known for bringing unbridled creativity to every project.

Christopher has served as Board President of both Burners Without Borders and the Chicago 501c3 Bold Urban Renaissance Network and co-founded the Lakes of Fire Regional Burn, where he co-created both their Volunteer Coordinator and Arts Honorarium programs. Before joining Burning Man, Christopher worked as a freelance designer, fabricator and experiential producer. He's produced several large-scale interactive sculptural installations for festivals and corporations, and he’s an avid silkscreen and laser technology print maker.

Colin Ballou

Ticketing Coordinator

Bay Area native and Sacramento-grown, Colin first learned about Burning Man in high school while watching the now off-air Current TV and made his first journey to the playa in 2014. He fell in love with the playa instantly. He has camped with Dragon Clan and led various projects including a fire-flow-arts first aid class. Upon accepting a new role at Ticketfly in 2016, Colin made the trek back to the Bay Area, where he was given the opportunity to serve on the Burning Man support team to resolve ticketing issues for thousands of participants. In 2018, Colin accepted the role as Burning Man’s Ticketing Coordinator and after a mishap, scored a new playa name! He acts as an in-house expert in participant support and assists with year-round planning for Box Office operations. Colin is a long-time snowboarder and dad-joke enthusiast. When he’s not dancing the dust off or shredding pow, you can find him reading a book or spinning fire, although he does not generally practice those last two simultaneously.

Colette Crespin

Director of Kindling

As the director of Kindling, Colette has been spearheading the new initiative from a live event into the conception, execution and success of the organisation's new access portal and a new way to convene. Bringing together user-generated, curated content, technologists and a Multiverse for 2020’s virtual Burn Week, all hacked together as social products with a vision of gathering the community, capturing the atmosphere and values of Burning Man as digital experiences with a vision to evolve the organisation during this rapid need to pivot and survive under the current climate.

Born in Melbourne and raised in North London, Colette has studied in the UK, Australia, India, Thailand and the Middle East. Currently based in Silicon Valley with her husband and two small sons, she brings 20 years of global experience in film, advertising, PR & marketing, festivals and experiential production to Burning Man Project. Successfully founding two start ups and facilitating a variety of hybrid positions, Colette is driven by new challenges, pushing creative boundaries and working with incredible talent to generate successful experiences. She has collaborated with brands, companies and organisations including Acne, Ridley Scott Associates, Apple, Facebook, Google, eBay, Macy's, Salesforce, Partizan, BBC, Great Guns, and Dreamforce.

She discovered Burning Man in 2001 and finally managed to get out to the desert in 2009, got married in 2012 in the Temple of Juno after spending a month building it with David & Maggie Best and the entire team. She now hangs with the Gauchos Del Fuego Argentina Regional Burning Man crew. A qualified yoga instructor and reiki healer with extensive knowledge on herbalism, ayurvedic medicine, macrobiotics and healing with food, Colette brings an honest approach to everything in life and believes that Love is the source of everything.

Danny Kaufman

Director of Philanthropic Engagement

Danny is passionate about community-led strategies for creating a more equitable, sustainable, and joyful world. Danny brings 15+ years of experience working for non-profit organizations in the U.S. and internationally, with a focus on education, open-source technology, human rights, environmental justice, philanthropy, and decentralized movement building.

As Director of Philanthropic Engagement, Danny supports Burning Man Project’s efforts to ensure the long-term financial sustainability of its global events and programs. Danny was previously the Lead Development Outreach Manager for the Wikimedia Foundation, where he was responsible for raising $15 million annually. His previous experience includes resource mobilization, project management, advocacy, and strategic philanthropy with non-profit organizations in the U.S., Latin America, and Europe.

Danny resides in San Francisco, CA and holds an M.P.A. from the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy & Governance. Danny has been an avid Burner since 2014 and currently leads a 75-person mythology theme camp.

Dave X

Fire Arts Safety Team Manager

Dave X manages all things burning in Black Rock City. He holds several certifications for fuel management, is a licensed Pyrotechnic Operator, and has worked on fireworks displays for major event clients, including the Oakland A’s, San Francisco Giants, and the Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary Celebration.

In 1992, Dave was lured to the Black Rock Desert where he knew he had seen the future — which was made of wood, and stood tall and proud on the desert floor before igniting in a blaze of fire. In 1999, after several years of creating large-scale fire installations, he realized that the use of fire and fuel had grown to a tipping point. He saw the time had come to either self-regulate its use or face outside regulation, and thus he became the most combustible manager on the playa. His current licensing includes: LP Gas certificates from the Nevada LP Gas Association, Federal Explosive Possessor Handler, and California licensed Pyrotechnic Operator.

Deets Shay

Content Manager

Deets joins Burning Man Project’s Communications team as Content Manager, overseeing social media content strategy and execution, in addition to leading print production projects. She attended her first Burn in 2012, when she quickly realized she identified with the culture, and has been going back almost every year since. Prior to joining Burning Man Project’s year-round staff, Deets camped first with the House of Yes, and then with Camp Beaverton. She also volunteered for the Department of Mutant Vehicles, where she helped process mutant vehicle applications before the Burn, and approved vehicle licensing on playa.

Deets comes from a past in brand design and creative direction, having specialized in social and digital campaigns for Fortune 500 companies while working at several top advertising agencies in San Francisco. She holds an MFA from the Academy of Art University and a BFA from Syracuse University. You can generally find her hanging out with her amazing wife Ginger Snap, their corgi, Mini Waffles, and Shiba Inu, Jinkx.

Devin Quitral

User Success Specialist

Devin joined the Burning Man Project in 2018 and now works with the User Success Team to help keep Users Successful. Devin came to Burning Man Project with 7+ years of IT experience in nonprofit and corporate environments. He has a degree in psychology and a lifelong passion for improving everything with technology. A founding member of the office’s BGCGB (Board Game Committee of Game Boards), Devin’s always down for a quick (or not so quick) game.

Dominic Tinio a.k.a. DA of Black Rock

Environmental Restoration Manager

DA is in charge of keeping the Black Rock Desert clean and beautiful throughout the creation and removal of Black Rock City each year. He ensures the success of Burning Man’s Leave No Trace (LNT) effort as the event and community increases in scale. Also a graphic designer, DA is the creator of the MOOP Map, a visual infographic produced annually to measure Black Rock City’s LNT effort and gauge the Burning Man community’s Matter Out of Place (MOOP) impact. As a poster artist, DA has annually illustrated the official Burning Man theme, beginning with 2006’s Hope and Fear: The Future. Despite the progressive growth in the Burning Man event, the community’s LNT effort continues to improve, as shown by the MOOP Map data and annual passing of the BLM Site Inspection. DA loves the Black Rock Desert and believes that if we leave no trace, we can continue building and burning for a long time to come.

Dominique Debucquoy-Dodley

Associate Director of Communications

Dominique is Burning Man Project’s Associate Director of Communications. He is responsible for managing many of the Communications Department’s functions, including press inquiries, external communications strategies, cross-departmental collaborations, social media, and on-playa media operations. Dom first visited Black Rock City in 2013, and served on the board of POrtalBurn, Upstate New York’s official Regional Event for three years. Dom came to Burning Man Project from nearly six years on the breaking news desk at CNN in New York.

Doug Robertson

Director of Finance

Director of Finance since 2009, Doug provides oversight and management of the financial and accounting operations for Burning Man, and is a member of various Burning Man leadership committees. He is an eight-year financial management veteran, experienced in building financial administration, operations, and services in corporate and non-profit organizations. Doug has provided consulting services and managed finance and accounting operations at the highest level, and has developed and implemented policy and procedure, oversight, analysis and forecasting across numerous industries, including real estate, hospitality, family offices, medical, and financial services. He has worked with Pacific Union Development Company, the Maybach Foundation, Pacific Crest Group, Charles Schwab and Company, and Wells Fargo. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Doug first attended Burning Man in 1996, and has been committed since. To him, Burning Man feeds the soul.

Emma Weisman, J.D.

Associate Director of Operations, Burners Without Borders, Civic Activation

Emma joined the Government Affairs department as their Government Agency Relationship Manager in 2018, a natural progression in a peripatetic career including athletic fashion retail buying and management, law, natural disaster response management, emerging agricultural industries consulting and management, and international nonprofit management. It's her privilege to have transitioned into the Burners Without Borders and Civic Activation departments in an operational capacity.

Emma first went to Burning Man in 2009, where she found many parallels between her own beliefs about art and civic involvement and the 10 Principles. In 2010 Emma went to Haiti where she collaborated with BWB alums and other volunteer disaster responders to found Haiti Communitere and Communtiere International. She is a member of the Birds of a Feather art collective and a part of the theme camp Hearth, which merged with Awesome(ville)! and then splintered back out to become Awkward(ville)!.

Types of party

Birthday party

A birthday cake with lit novelty candles

Children at a birthday party

A birthday party is a celebration of the anniversary of the birth of the person who is being honored. The tradition started in the mid-nineteenth century but did not become popular until the mid-twentieth century. Ώ] Birthday parties are now a feature of many cultures.

In Western cultures, birthday parties include a number of common rituals. The guests may be asked to bring a gift for the honored person. Party locations are often decorated with colorful decorations, such as balloons and streamers. A birthday cake is usually served with lit candles that are to be blown out after a "birthday wish" has been made. The person being honored will be given the first piece of cake. While the birthday cake is being brought to the table, the song "Happy Birthday to You" or some other birthday song is sung by the guests.

At parties for children, time is often taken for the "gift opening" wherein the individual whose birthday is celebrated opens each of the gifts brought. It is also common at children's parties for the host to give parting gifts to the attendees in the form of "goodie bags". Children and even adults sometimes wear colorful cone-shaped party hats.

Birthday parties are often larger and more extravagant if they celebrate someone who has reached what is regarded in the culture as a milestone age, such as transition from childhood to adulthood. Examples of traditional coming of age celebrations include the North American sweet sixteen party and the Latin American quinceañera. Template:Clear left

Surprise party

Template:Redirect A surprise party is a party that is not made known beforehand to the person in whose honor it is being held.

Birthday surprise parties are the most common kind of surprise party. At most such parties, the guests will arrive an hour or so before the honored person arrives. Often, a friend in on the surprise will lead the honored person to the location of the party without letting on anything.

The guests might even conceal themselves from view, and when the honored person enters the room, they leap from hiding and all shout, "Surprise!" For some surprise birthday parties, it is considered to be a good tactic to shock the honored person. Streamers, silly string, and balloons may be used for this purpose. Evidence of a party, such as decorations and balloons, are not made visible from the exterior of the home, so that the person honored will suspect nothing.

Dinner party

A buffet (Smörgåsbord) set for a party on board a Swedish ship for Christmas 1990.

A dinner party is a social gathering at which people eat dinner together, usually in the host’s home. At the most formal dinner parties, the dinner is served on a dining table with place settings. Dinner parties are often preceded by a cocktail hour in a living room or bar, where guests drink cocktails while mingling and conversing. ΐ] Wine is usually served throughout the meal, often with a different wine accompanying each course.

At less formal dinner parties, a buffet is provided. Guests choose food from the buffet and eat while standing up and conversing. Women guests may wear cocktail dresses men may wear blazers.

At some informal dinner parties, the host may ask guests to bring food or beverages (a main dish, a side dish, a dessert, or appetizers). A party of this type is called a potluck or potluck dinner. In the United States, potlucks are very often held in churches and community centers.

Garden party

A garden party is a party in a park or a garden. An event described as a garden party is usually more formal than other outdoor gatherings, which may be called simply parties, picnics, barbecues, etc. A garden party can be a prestigious event. For example, invitations by the British Sovereign to garden parties at Buckingham Palace are considered an honor. The President of France holds a garden party at the Palais de l'Elysée in Paris on Bastille Day.

Cocktail party

Template:Main A cocktail party is a party at which cocktails are served. It is sometimes called a "cocktail reception". Women who attend a cocktail party may wear a cocktail dress. A cocktail hat is sometimes worn as a fashion statement.

Tea party

An outdoor tea party in Australia (between 1900 and 1910)

Template:Main In Anglo-American culture, a tea party is a formal gathering for afternoon tea. These parties were traditionally attended only by women, but men may also be invited. Tea parties are often characterized by the use of prestigious tableware, such as bone china and silver. The table, whatever its size or cost, is made to look its prettiest, with cloth napkins and matching cups and plates.

In addition to tea, larger parties may serve punch or, in cold weather, hot chocolate. The tea is accompanied by a variety of easily managed foods. Thin sandwiches such as cucumber or tomato, bananas, cake slices, buns, and cookies are all common choices.


Reception at an art exhibition opening

Formal receptions are parties that are designed to receive a large number of guests, often at prestigious venues such as Buckingham Palace, the White House or Government Houses of the British Empire and Commonwealth. The hosts and any guests of honor form a receiving line in order of precedence near the entrance. Each guest is announced to the host who greets each one in turn as he or she arrives. Each guest properly speaks little more than his name (if necessary) and a conventional greeting or congratulation to each person in the receiving line. In this way, the line of guests progresses steadily without unnecessary delay. After formally receiving each guest in this fashion, the hosts may mingle with the guests.

Somewhat less formal receptions are common in academic settings, sometimes to honor a guest lecturer, or to celebrate a special occasion such as retirement of a respected member of staff. Receptions are also common in symposium or academic conference settings, as an environment for attendees to mingle and interact informally. These gatherings may be accompanied by a sit-down dinner, or more commonly, a stand-up informal buffet meal.

Receptions are also held to celebrate exhibition openings at art galleries or museums. The featured artist or artists are often present, as well as the curators who organized the exhibition. In addition or instead, a celebratory reception may be held partway through or at the end of an exhibition run. This alternative scheduling allows guests more time to see the exhibition in depth at their own pace, before meeting the featured guests. Some food is often served, as in academic gatherings.

Refreshments at a reception may be as minimal, such as coffee or lemonade, or as elaborate as those at a state dinner.


In the 18th century, in France and England, it became fashionable for wealthy, well married ladies who had a residence "in town" to invite accomplished guests to visit their home in the evening, to partake of refreshments and cultural conversation. Soirées often included refined musical entertainment, and the term is still sometimes used to define a certain sophisticated type of evening party.

Society hostesses included actresses or other women with a larger-than-life reputation. The character of the hostess obviously determined the character of the soirée and the choice of guests.

Famous soirée hostesses include Hester Thrale

Dances and balls

Template:Main A dance is a social gathering at which the guests dance. It may be a casual, informal affair or a structured event, such as a school dance or a charity ball. Dances usually take place during the evening. An afternoon dance is formally known as a tea dance. Some dances feature specific kinds of dancing, such as square dancing.

A ball is a large formal party that features ballroom dancing. Women guests wear ball gowns men wear evening dress.

Block party

Template:Main A block party is a public party that is attended by the residents of a specific city block or neighborhood. These parties are typically held in a city street that has been closed to traffic to accommodate the party. At some block parties, attendees are free to pass from house to house, socializing, and often drinking alcoholic beverages.

Costume or fancy dress party

At a masquerade ball, guests wear masks to conceal their identities. Guests at a costume party or a fancy dress party wear costumes. These parties are sometimes associated with holiday events, such as Halloween and Mardi Gras.

Christmas caroling party

In English and American culture during the Christmas season, it is traditional to have a Christmas caroling party. People go from door to door in a neighborhood and sing Christmas carols. Some popular Christmas carols are "We Wish You a Merry Christmas", "Deck the Halls", "The Twelve Days of Christmas", "Frosty the Snowman", "Jingle Bells", "Silver Bells", "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town", and "O Holy Night".

In Spain, this type of party is called El Aguinaldo. It is the same as in England and the United States, but the only difference is that the children who sing the carols are given tips. Α] Christmas songs are called villancios in Spain they are mainly sung by children at small parties. Β]

Parties for teenagers and young adults

Dance parties are gatherings in bars or community centers where the guests dance to house music, techno music, or disco. The music for dance parties is usually selected and played by a disc jockey.

A spin-off of dance parties, the rave involves dancing to loud house music, techno music, or industrial music. Rave parties may be attended by as few as a score of people in a basement or, more likely, by a few hundred people in a club, to as many as thousands in a large warehouse, field, or even tens of thousands in a sporting arena, amusement park, or other large space. Raves are associated with illegal drugs such as Ecstasy and psychedelic drugs.

A house party is a party where a large group of people get together at a private home to socialize. House parties that involve the drinking of beer pumped from a keg are called keg parties or "keggers." These parties are popular in North America, the United Kingdom, and Australia and are often attended by people under the legal drinking age. Sometimes, even older party-goers run afoul of the law for having provided alcoholic beverages to minors. Arrests may also be made for violating a noise ordinance, for disorderly conduct, Γ] and even for operating a "blind pig", an establishment that illegally sells alcoholic beverages.

On college campuses, parties are often hosted by fraternities. Δ]

Outdoor parties include bush parties and beach parties. Bush parties (also called "field parties") are held in a secluded area of a forest ("bush"), where friends gather to drink and talk. These parties are often held around a bonfire. Beach parties are held on a sandy shoreline of a lake, river, or sea, and also often feature a bonfire.

A pool party is a party in which the guests swim in a swimming pool.

School-related parties for teenagers and young adults include proms and graduation parties, which are held in honor of someone who has recently graduated from a school or university.

Singles dance party and mixer

A singles dance party and mixer is a party which is organized for people who are not married and who want to find a partner for friendship, dating, or sex.

Usually a "mixer game" is played, to make it easy for people to meet each other. For example, each guest may be given a card with an inspiring quotation on it. The game is to find a potential partner who has the same quotation. Couples who have matching cards may be given a small prize.

These parties are sponsored by various organizations, both non-profit and for-profit.

Fundraising party

A fundraising party, or fundraiser, is a party that is held for the purpose of collecting money that will be given to some person or to some institution, such as a school, charity, business, or political campaign. These parties are usually formal and consist of a dinner followed by speeches or by a presentation extolling whatever the money is being raised for.

It is very common to charge an admission fee for parties of this kind. This fee may be as high as several thousand dollars, especially if money is being raised for a political campaign.

Graduation party

In some places, parties to celebrate graduation from school, college or university are popular.

Marriage-related parties

Wedding Feast in front of a Farm by Flemish artist Pieter Brueghel c. 1620


Template:See also A shower is a party whose primary purpose is to give gifts to the guest of honor, commonly a bride-to-be or a mother-to-be. Guests who attend are expected to bring a small gift, usually related to the upcoming life event, like getting married or having a baby. Themed games are a frequent sight during showers as well.

Housewarming party

Template:Main A housewarming party may be held when a family, couple, or person moves into a new house or apartment. It is an occasion for the hosts to show their new home to their friends. Housewarming parties are typically informal and do not include any planned activities other than a tour of the new house or apartment. Invited family members and friends may bring gifts for the new home.

Welcome party

A welcome party is held for the purpose of welcoming a newcomer, such as a new club member, a new employee, or a family's new baby.

Farewell party

In many cultures, it is customary to throw a farewell party in honor of someone who is moving away or departing on a long trip (sometimes called a bon voyage party). Retirement parties for departing co-workers fall into this category. Several are described in Japan in Shusaku Endo's 1974 novel When I Whistle. Ε]

Cast party

A cast party is a celebration following the final performance of a theatric event, such as a play, a musical, or an opera. A party of this kind may also be held following the end of shooting for a motion picture (called a "wrap party") or after the season’s final episode of a television series. Cast parties are traditionally held for most theater performances, both professional and amateur.

Invited guests are usually restricted to performers, crew members, and a few others who did not participate in the performance, such as sponsors and donors who have helped fund the production.


A pre-party is a party that is held immediately before some event, such as a school dance, a wedding, a birthday party, or a bar mitzvah. These parties are usually of short duration and sometimes involve getting ready for the event (e.g., the guests may put on makeup or costumes). Guests usually leave at the same time and arrive at the event together. Often people engage in pregaming or drinking before an event or a night out, especially if the event lacks access to alcohol.


Template:Redirect An after-party is a party that is held after a musical or theatrical performance or after some other event, such as a wedding or a school dance. Guests are usually limited to friends of the host.

Manipulating the Public Mind

Why is such historical evidence of Earth’s natural, cyclical weather patterns ignored? It is inconvenient truth for the alarmist political Left. They allege that carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels is causing catastrophic global warming. Their irrational mantra to avoid debate of the subject is: “The Science Is Settled.”

Leftists intend to parlay their created fear of global warming into legislation to limit consumption of life-giving energy. They typically call for a reduction of fossil fuels by 80 percent of the 2000 usage by 2030. For perspective, imagine having one-fifth of the gasoline, one-fifth of heating and air conditioning, one-fifth of energy to run schools, hospitals, and factories. Yet leftists expect these major deprivations to lower the temperature only a fraction of a degree by 2100.

NASA, NOAA, and CRU have a marked history of masking their political agenda under the guise of climate science. NASA’s former administrator James Hansen, professional alarmist since the early 1970s when he was trumpeting an approaching ice age, has been arrested numerous times since his retirement in 2013 for trespassing and other misdemeanors while inciting rioters at global-warming protests. Should we believe his 2015 warning that sea-level rise in the next 50 years will bring the “economic and social cost of losing functionally all coastal cities”? (In case you are concerned, remember that melting of the North Polar ice cap would cause no sea level rise, as it floats in the Arctic Ocean, just as melting of ice cubes in a glass of water does not cause the water to overflow the glass. The South Pole has an average temperature of -57ºF and is not expected to melt anytime soon no matter how much hot air Hansen produces.)

Another climate alarmist holding great political sway is CRU Administrator Phil Jones. He was one of many infamous climatologists involved in the 2009 Climate­gate scandal. When hackers broadcast hundreds of incriminating e-mails, they revealed that these scientists deliberately deleted evidence of data fraud prior to an expected Freedom of Information request from the U.K. government.

Yet these are the people convincing us of a supposed apocalyptic danger from CO2 emissions. Government is quick to cooperate, with huge amounts of money for grants and awards to academics who faithfully report the global-warming party line. Base your proposed study on that, and you’ve got the grant.

It didn’t take long for colleges to jump on the wagon. Fifty years ago, universities had no Environmental Science department, or even a degree at the bachelor level. The word “ecology” was unknown to most people. Today shows 130 U.S. colleges and universities with masters and/or Ph.D. programs in environmental, ecological, or sustainability studies.

Richard Lindzen, former Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at MIT and a National Academy of Sciences member, has seen the whole scam unfold. “Remember this was a tiny field, a backwater, and then suddenly you increased the funding to billions and everyone got into it,” Lindzen told James Varney of “Even in 1990 no one at MIT called themselves a ‘climate scientist,’ and then all of a sudden everyone was. They only entered it because of the bucks they realized it was a gravy train. You have to get back to the people who only care about the science.”

So, was 2016 the hottest year on record? Highly unlikely. Even if the temperature record were entirely accurate, with the “differences” being less than the margin of error, the trend is flat. But actual proof has been destroyed by criminal conspirators with a monetary and career bias toward convincing us that our activities are bringing on a climate apocalypse that can only be avoided by impoverishing ourselves and giving power to a wise and benevolent government. Moreover, proof isn’t attainable because the weather-monitoring stations have been closed, moved, or flawed. The rising amount of CO2 in the atmosphere does not appear to have any significant effect on the climate according to the most accurate measurements: Argo buoys and satellite data. Unfortunately, the keepers of official climate data are partisans with a financial interest in showing a trend toward catastrophic global warming. Their duplicity is propagandized as gospel truth by leftists in academia and the mainstream media. We suggest keeping a cool head, and worrying less about Mother Nature and more about those interested in expanding government control over our businesses, our culture, and our lives.

Dennis Behreandt

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Bob Adelmann
Dennis Behreandt
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Raven Clabough
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Gregory A. Hession, J.D.
Ed Hiserodt
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Warren Mass
John F. McManus
James Murphy
Dr. Duke Pesta
Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
C. Mitchell Shaw
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