Environmental Protest Mistaken for Burning Man Party

(This article originally appeared in the SF Weekly)

Bear head guySAN FRANCISCO – A group of 40 protesters, some dressed as polar bears, were discouraged Saturday when their vitally important point about oil drilling on public lands was consistently mistaken for a bear-themed Burning Man camp.

Passersby said they were stunned to learn that the bears dancing to dubstep were, in fact, part of an environmental message and not warning up for a night on the playa.

“I could swear I saw those guys there last year,” said San Franciscan Will Thornstein. “Wasn’t that the bear who gave me ecstasy?”

Oakland resident Lena Spencer agreed. “They’re making the sixth mass extinction seem like a pretty cool time,” she said. “Can I buy tickets?”

Center for the Environment spokesman Steve Johns admitted that the line between partying and protesting has become almost unmanageably thin.

“A lot of people aren’t attracted to traditional activism anymore, which is why we use colorful costumes and party stunts,” Johns said. “It really helps us get noticed, although, come to think of it, people did keep asking if there was a drink minimum.”

Johns added, “Do you think the strobe light was too much?”

The event’s DJ, LobsterCrack, said he loves performing for activist events.

“It feels amazing to drop the bass for a good cause, even if nobody can remember it in the morning,” he said. “Honestly, we must have saved the environment like, six, seven, times now. You’re welcome.”

Reached for comment, PR consultant Abigail Burns said that in certain cities it’s become nearly impossible to tell the difference between parties, protest rallies, and product launches.

“I was at the bear thing on Saturday,” she said, “and I left convinced that they were launching an App called ‘Artic Shelf.’ On the other hand, the last Lyft party I attended was raising money to save the redwoods. I guess as long as we’re all using the same buzzwords, what does it matter?”