Reno Gazette-Journal from Reno, Nevada on August 16, 2017 · A3
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Reno Gazette-Journal from Reno, Nevada · A3

Reno, Nevada
Issue Date:
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
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Reno Gazette-Journal Wednesday,August16,2017 3A Local Man relics, just a sliver of the more than 6,000 items that the museum has collected for its Burning Man archive at the Center for Art and Environment. The exhibition will travel to the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in spring 2018. “We reached out to the six modern- day co-founders, but we knew that there were a lot of other voices that needed to be included in this narrative, including John’s,” said Ann Wolfe, senior curator for the museum. Law, who showed up in San Francisco in 1976 as a 17-year-old delinquent from Tennessee, was part of many of the formative groups that served as the roots of Burning Man, including the Suicide Club and Cacophony Society. He later became one of the initial three founders, along with Larry Harvey and Michael Mikel, who officially founded the first Burning Man organization. The year that changed everything for Burning Man was 1996. Aman died. Several folks were injured. There were guns and cars driving at high speeds. Some call it the best year, some the worst, in Burning Man’s history. And, afterward, John Law left. Since leaving, Law, considered Burning Man’s rogue founder, has been openly critical of Burning Man in the media. But on Thursday, Law will give his first public, exclusive talk about Burning Man since he left. “... I’m going to talk about the people in the beginning who made this into a magical thing, so magical that it’s become gigantic,” said Law, 58, who spoke to the Reno Gazette-Journal from his office in the former Oakland Tribune clocktower where he has maintained the building’s neon since 1997. “I’ve got my feet up on the desk, and I’m downloading Curtis Mayfield.” Law will speak at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 17 at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno as part of the museum’s exhibition, “City of Dust: The Evolution of Burning Man,” on site through Jan. 7, 2018. Those who cannot attend may watch a Facebook live of the event via the Reno Gazette-Journal’s page, or video posted later to the Reno Gazette-Journal’s web- site. The museum’s exhibition is a more than 300-piece collection of Burning Law, during his talk, will be talking primarily about Burning Man’s first decade, between 1986 and 1996, and the preceding years, during which performance arts and exploratory groups set the stage for Burning Man, including the Communiversity, Suicide Club, Cacophony Society, Survival Research Labs and Desert Siteworks. “The younger guys don’t know about these groups. For crazy nerdy history buffs like me, quirks and footnotes are what make history interesting. Unless someone writes a book about it, 90 percent of it gets forgotten,” he said. Having co-authored a 300-page book about the Cacophony Society, an experimental group that largely was responsible for the ideas and principles behind Burning Man, Law already had the makings for a comprehensive look at Burning Man’s birth. “I’m surprised that this hasn’t been done before,” said Law of the museum’s exhibition, noting that — up until now — most efforts to explore Burning Man’s history were “piss-poor academia.” “This is a huge cultural movement,” he said. Law loaned the museum about 10 items, including his Remington shotgun and the BLM’s first authorization letter for the event, faxed personally to Law in 1991. “I had to dig through a bunch of stuff, alot of items that I hadn’t dug up for a while. When you look back at some of this stuff, it starts to bring back memories. I had largely filed Burning Man away,” he said. Law doesn’t miss Burning Man. He was one of the first to adopt a playa name, “John the Bathless,” a gun-toting mud-slathered character, but he now finds the almost obsessive practice, “childish, navel-gazing and self-mythol- ogizing.” He admits he sometimes misses the high desert hot springs, and the vistas and the freedom of driving fast across the playa without concern for so much as apebble, but he’s happy with his ensconced memories, and he has no desire to taint them by seeing the playa today. “It’s just so different. I don’t live in the past,” he said. Law is happy with his life for the moment. He has a girlfriend, his son is healthy, he enjoys his job and he fuels his creative juices through groups such as the Billboard Liberation Front and bides his time with urban exploration. Sometimes he finds time to watch his favorite show, “Sex and the City.” “I don’t care who knows. Watched it three times from first episode to last,” Law said. Still, a lot of old-school Burners seem to miss Law and his taste for grassroots chaos. “I don’t have a following; if I do, then they should go somewhere else,” he said. He added, “There is no permanence. ... The most creative people, they think about what they’re creating in the moment.” ROGUE BURNER IS READY TO TALK PHOTO COURTESY OF THE NEVADA MUSEUM OF ART John Law, Burning Man’s rogue founder, will be speaking at the Nevada Museum of Art. JENNY KANE JKANE@RGJ.COM Mon-Fri7am-6pm Sat8am-2pm 800KietzkeLane•Reno•786-3111• RJ-0000539253 Changeoilupto5qts.ofconventionalqualitymotoroil.Replaceoilfilter withACDelcooilfilter.LubeChassis.Check&topoffallfluids.Diesel, Camaro,Corvette,andvehicleswheresyntheticorDexos1oilisrequirednot includedinspecialpricing.Notvalidwithanyotheroffers.Discountapplies toGMvehiclesonly.Plustax&suppliesExpires8.18.17 Lube,Oil&Filter $ 24 95 w/ coupon CHAMPIONCHEVROLET WELCOMES RJ-0000542404 800KietzkeLane|775.786.3111 FINDNEWROADS TM COMECHECKOUTTHEBESTSELECTIONOF PRE-OWNEDCARS&TRUCKSTODAY! ALRAFFETTO tothe#1SalesTeam inNorthernNevada! Alhasbeenin thecarbusinessfor over35years!Stop byandseeAltoday. AReno man who was mauled by a police dog after surrendering during a police chase has settled his excessive force lawsuit against two Washoe County deputies for $17,500. Eugenio Corona sued the two deputies in July, claiming they used excessive force and violated his civil rights by sic- cing a K-9 on him as he knelt on the pavement with his hands held on his head. With unusual swiftness, Washoe County offered to settle the case for $17,500 in an effort to control litigation costs. But Washoe County Sheriff’s deputies Jason Wood and deputies Francisco Gamboa did not admit liability, nor did they admit Corona suffered any damages from the attack. “We thought it was saving taxpayer dollars to settle it for the amount we did rather than go through to trial,” said Deputy District Attorney Keith Munro. “We thought the officers would be vindicated, but it would cost considerably more to have them vindicated.” Corona sued the deputies individually and did not sue Washoe County. But because the deputies were sued for something that happened while they were working, the county paid for their defense and will pay the settlement. Corona’s lawyer Terri Keyser-Cooper, who has built a practice on bringing civil rights lawsuits against police agencies in Northern Nevada, said it’s unusual for an agency to offer to settle so quickly. “In 32 years of practicing civil rights law I have never seen that before,” she said. She argued the settlement offer came so quickly because video from the deputies dash cameras clearly show Corona had surrendered the chase before he was attacked by the police dog. “It is unconstitutional to use more force than is necessary in a given situa- tion,” Keyser-Cooper said. The lawsuit stemmed from a police chase in January when the deputies, working with federal marshals, attempted to arrest Corona on a federal warrant. Dash camera footage shows Corona sped awaywhen deputies attempted to pull him over on McCarran Boulevard. Corona led the deputies on a high- speed chase down Wedekind Road, running through stop lights, nearly causing several collisions and speeding past two schools buses full of children. At one point, deputies said Corona fired a handgun out the window of his truck. Corona eventually crashed his truck into a fence on Montello Street. He jumped out and began to run, but when deputies rounded the corner, he stopped, kneeled down and put his hands on his head in a “surrender position.” As he knelt on the ground, Wood unleashed his police dog Rony on Corona, telling him to “get that bad guy.” Rony bit Corona on the shoulder and torso, locking onto his shoulder as he writhed on the ground. As Gamboa worked to put Corona in handcuffs, Corona grabbed his hand, prompting Gamboa to punch Corona in the face. The deputies ultimately secured Corona and took him to the hospital for treatment of his wounds. Corona remains at the Washoe County Jail while he faces trial on charges he violated his probation by possessing a gun and methamphetamine. Man mauled by police dog will get $17,500 settlement ANJEANETTE DAMON ADAMON@RGJ.COM

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