He Helped Build an Artists’ Utopia. Now He Faces Trial for 36 Deaths There.
The New York Times Company · Elizabeth Weil · 12/12/18
The New York Times Company
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60 min read


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  • joanne - 3 months ago
    OMG...so hard to read but beautifully and thoughtfully written, if you don't mind your heart being torn out of your body it's a fascinating hour. I felt I knew those souls drawn to a community of shared living, food and art. Of course in hindsight the place was a fire trap, I'm appalled that neither the city of Oakland or PG & E didn't share any responsibility for inspections and follow up visits. I thought it was horrific that the Max Harris and Almena were tried together. I definitely want to follow up on Max's story....so tragic.
  • bill - 3 months ago
    Holy fuck.

    If you’re prone to tears and not in the mood for a cry, steer clear.

    If you’re ready to stare God-slash-humanity in the face, and look at all the ugly and beauty for a full hour - this one’s for you.

    This is especially excruciating for me because Oakland is my town and because these people are my people. Dreamers. Mad in all the best, most important ways. I can’t get Kerouac, Bay Area artist-bum of yesteryear, out of my head: “The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’”

    Sometimes there’s nothing to do but hurt.


    Thank you to Elizabeth Weil for writing something truly special. Something that will forever alter the way we remember this tragedy and these people.