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Friday, August 7, 2009

Premature Burner Paul Addis May Have Been Granted Parole, But Don't Expect Him at This Year's Burn

Posted By on Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 12:59 PM

click to enlarge Paul Addis' entry in the Best Mug Shot Ever competition
  • Paul Addis' entry in the Best Mug Shot Ever competition
Starting August 31, a sizable portion of San Francisco will dust off their faux-fur legwarmers, bloomers, and stale MDMA to spend a week on the playa exchanging bodily fluids and other things at this year's Burning Man festivities. The ostensibly anti-establishment, anti-consumer party is marked here in the city by recent local events like Sports Basement's second annual Prepare for the Playa party, where self-proclaimed "burner-preneurs" vend playa survival wares like hot pants and LED collars.

But there's one former burner who won't be attending this year's party: 39-year-old former San Franciscan Paul Addis, AKA Senior General Chaos, who in 2007 took it upon himself to stick it to The Man behind Burning Man and show him what radical self-expression really means by lighting the 60-foot "Man" structure on fire four days too early. The stunt landed Addis a minimum 12-month prison sentence for destruction of property, and although he was granted parole in June, he'll still be incarcerated in Nevada until mid-September, according to representatives of Nevada's Parole Board.

Addis also has a history here in San Francisco after being busted allegedly trying to set Grace Cathedral ablaze roughly two months after his stunt at the playa. The San Francisco Police Department arrested him for possession of explosives among other felonies. But defiling a church carries lesser penalties now than, say, in the days of Henry V. According to the District Attorney's office, Addis was sentenced to three years probation and was ordered back to Nevada to face criminal charges there.

Meanwhile, back at the playa, debates still rage on about whether Addis is hero, pariah, or none of the above; lengthy threads following articles about Addis indicate he has become an icon among those who feel his antics were exactly the shot in the arm the party needed, and a pariah among those who think his stunts were more like a canon ball to the crotch.

Whatever the case, although he may have been granted parole, he's not expected to return to the party, or the city, any time soon.

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Anna McCarthy

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