Burners We Once Knew: Paul Addis

by Mrs. Lucky

The Man burned twice that year.
The Man burned twice that year.

Even before he died in late 2012, it was a safe bet Paul Addis was never coming back to Burning Man. He set fire to the Man in 2007 in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, during a lunar eclipse. His conviction for felony destruction of property landed him in a Nevada prison.

Paul was studying for his bar exams when he came to Black Rock for the first time in 1996. A last minute addition to the CYBERBUSS crew, C y b e r sAM remembers him as a real trooper, a key supporter of their mission to bring images from the Playa to burners bound to their cubicles back home. With a demoed satellite phone, a borrowed laptop, and a pong-pinging dial-up modem, the team uploaded the first-ever images direct from the desert.

It changed the direction of Paul’s life. “He got in touch with his inner-village idiot,” says sAM. A short, intense, intelligent man, Paul became a passionate advocate of the prankster ethos. “Basically, if it wasn’t stupid or dangerous we weren’t interested,” says sAM. Paul enlisted sAM as lookout when he hung a pair of beach-ball cojones from the Man’s crotch. As Burning Man expanded its rules, Paul became rabid critic of what he saw as a sellout to the tourist mentality.

After his incarceration Paul’s life nosed-dived. Stripped of his license and unable to return to practicing law, he turned his attention to performing on-stage manifestos. While touring with a Hunter S. Thompson tribute he added a rap for terroristic threats when he went Gonzo on a hotel clerk.

Paul threw himself off of the Embarcadero platform in front of a BART train, ironically creating one last sad spectacle for the very tourists he disdained.

2 thoughts on “Burners We Once Knew: Paul Addis

  1. >repost from burners.me

    vincent wrote:
    The Black Rock Beacon is the BM-state sponsored newspaper, for those who don’t know. Now read the bit about Paul Addis. Love or hate Addis, BMorg made sure he was charged with a felony. Be happy with that, or not – but check out how they say “After his incarceration Paul’s life nosed-dived.” This little piece is not in-memoriam of Paul Addis, – it is a warning to others.

    Toby wrote (in response):
    There were several Burners to died over the last 12 months, and they chose to give an in-memoriam to Paul Addis? They didn’t choose to put a picture of him, but rather and image of his ‘sad’ deed against the community. Finally stating that his final moment was a sort of performance; ‘ironically creating one last sad spectacle for the very tourists he distained. [sic]‘

    That is very dark.

    1. Thank you for your comments on the Paul Addis story. You are right. This is not a memoriam. Take it as a lesson, if you will. We see it as our history, a side of the tale appropriately told to mark a life’s end.
      One correction, the Black Rock Beacon is not sponsored by BMorg. Our ancestor publication, the Black Rock Gazette, founded by Danger Ranger, was a semi-official organ. We’ve been slogging it out on our own dime lo these 10 years now.

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