goggles

Though money’s not allowed when you get to Burning Man, there aren’t any rules about how much change you drop before you head to the playa. As is so often the case when festivals become popular, the original stash of artistic, perma-shrooming, ambiguously-employed “Burners” who flocked to the Nevada desert every August for the last decade or two has become cut with more and more corporate honchos looking for an excuse to become “unplugged” for a week. And, apparently, many of these 1%-ers are hitting up New York’s legendary Screaming Mimis vintage store for their costuming needs, spending the equivalent of four round-trip tickets to Reno, Nevada for furry headdresses, steampunk goggles and leather gear…One CEO who’s giving a TED talk at the festival stopped in to buy a kilt, top hat and goggles to wear during his presentation. Another customer had his pseduo-personal assistant call the store to “vet them” for their inventory and whether they could give him personal assistance. Perhaps not surprisingly, a chauffeured car idled outside while he came in to scope out the headdresses and leather vests. “He was actually a really wonderful guy and was so excited and into it,” Wills remembers. The best thing Will says she’s noticed is that her Burning Man customers — whether art students or hedge funders — are “the most fun people.” “A completely conservative guy came in wearing chinos and an oxford shirt and bought a headdress, goggles and an astronaut jumpsuit and helmet we had. But when we were ringing everything up, he said, ‘One second,’ and ran over and grabbed a bright electric blue tutu,” Wills says. “he plunked it down and said, ‘Yeah, I’ll probably just end up wearing this the whole time.’” [Paper Mag via Dealbook]

Investors gave Bernie Madoff money because they trusted him. They gave Sam Israel money because they liked him—a gregarious, disarming goofball who, as a Wall Street apprentice, had invented an alter ego he called Captain Proton, a fearless superhero whose special powers were granted by vodka and cocaine. Now in his forties, he lived in a Westchester mansion, rented from Donald Trump for $22,000 a month, with an adjacent chapel in which he had built a replica of the Bayou trading floor alongside an 800-­gallon saltwater fish tank and a menagerie of rare reptiles. He’d also installed a high-end studio for jam sessions, where he’d play with the Allman Brothers’ drummer when the band was in town. He owned a fleet of Porsches and signed personal checks printed with the image of SpongeBob SquarePants…Once he’d welcomed his family home from a short trip standing in the driveway wearing cowboy boots, his wife’s bikini underwear, a lacrosse helmet, swim goggles, a life jacket, and a cape, then started screaming at his wife when she didn’t get the joke. [NYM, related]