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]
Unrest At Burning Man: "Handcrafted, Artisanal Popsicles" A Bridge Too Far
Said popsicles, bending over backward for Leonardo DiCaprio, paid "mistresses of merriment," and wrist-band only bars are not what Burning Man is about (says, among others, an actual clown quoted for this story).
Financial Services Employee Living In Relative Squalor Takes On Adversity And Wins
Back in February, Bloomberg ran a deeply distressing story about financial services employees whose lives had been turned upside down as a result of bonuses being slashed last year. There was a guy who who was forced to sell two motorcycles in order to keep his labradoodle and bichon frise in the $17,000/year lifestyle they'd grown accustomed to. Another had to turn down an offer to attend a wet tee-shirt contest in New Orleans. One man had to start shopping at Fairway and buying discounted salmon. All harrowing, to be sure, though none could quite compare to the story of Andrew Schiff, whose situation we wouldn't wish on our worst enemy. Schiff had almost too many woes to mention but they included having to scale back his Connecticut summer house rental from four months to one; the pressures of paying private school tuition for two kids; traffic (“Schiff was sitting in a traffic jam in California this month after giving a speech at an investment conference about gold. He turned off the satellite radio, got out of the car and screamed a profanity. ‘I’m not Zen at all, and when I’m freaking out about the situation, where I’m stuck like a rat in a trap on a highway with no way to get out, it’s very hard,’ he said”); and living in a smaller Brooklyn duplex than he wanted. "I'm crammed into 1,200 square feet," he told Bloomberg. "I don't have a dishwasher. We do all our dishes by hand. [I want] 1,800 square feet...three bedrooms, maybe four." But what we want and what we can have are often two very different things, and when one is hovering around the poverty line, it's difficult to imagine a way out of cramped quarters and washing the dishes in a sink, like some kind of hobo. Sometimes, though? Miracles happen. The director of marketing for broker-dealer Euro Pacific Capital Inc. has purchased a condo at 35 Woodhull Street in nearby Carroll Gardens for $1.23 million, according to city records...Besides more space, the four-bedroom, three-bath condo has “a huge private terrace off the master bedroom” and “jaw dropping views of Manhattan and the harbor.” There are 10-foot ceilings, “rich walnut wood floors,” and built-in speakers with an iPod deck, according to the listing. But what of the kitchen? Well, as Mr. Schiff and Ms. Barnes relax to the lulling whir and gurgle of their new dishwasher[!!!], they can gaze with pleasure at the stone counters, glass-tiled backsplash, Shaker cabinets, Liebherr and Bosch appliances and a Bertazzoni range. Lest anyone get too excited, though, Schiff would like to make it clear that the new digs are far from luxurious and actually quite similar to tenement house-living, pointing out to the Observer that the condo is "a walk up...about 50 yards west of the BQE." Andrew Schiff Finally Buys Own Brooklyn Apartment on Measly $350,000 Salary [NYO] Earlier: Nightmare On Wall Street