NOISE: Burned out in Oakland


Guardian intern Sam Devine weighs in on this weekend's Dustfish Burning Man camp benefit:

The Oakland Police Department busted the Dustfish Burning Man camp benefit party Sunday, March 11, early in the morning. It was a massive party of 3,000 in a warehouse on Mandela Parkway. The building was so huge that a charter bus company, seemingly indifferent to the bash, was coming and going from another part of the warehouse.

Thelony on Rye opened, playing strange, noisy bebop. Then came Dr. Abacus, playing a similar but grooving jazz that had the room jitterbugging and hopping around. In a side area, DJs spun drum and bass and industrial garage while people banged on a steel statue of a stick figure with large metal bolts.

Fuzzy hats were all around. A boat, converted to a hot tub, was filled with naked partygoers. Spiky, steel columns were licked with fire on one side of the main floor. Colossal metal statues of men and women decorated the space. There was a small wine bar inside a miners shack. Strange. It was Burning Man-ed out.

Shortly after Dr. Abacus finished, the police moved in for the first time. The East Bay Rats, security for the night, supposedly couldn’t do much to stop them. There were reports of 10 police cars. The music stopped, and the lights came on. But the party continued.

I smoked a spliff and drank a Tecate while talking with a man named Mathew T. Whatley, esq. He claimed to operate a legal establishment, having attended Golden Gate University and a handful of other schools, one in Hong Kong. He said, while in China, he would regularly go about with a foreign ambassador, abusing diplomatic privilege to score free lunches. Fantastic.

The police finally came in at about 4 a.m. (or really 3 a.m. because of daylight savings time). They walked around, taking pictures. Seemingly cool with everything, they talked with a few people.

The room cleared out. The party was over.