LOWERNINE.ORG: yall come down now, y’hear?

ADOPT-A-DIRTBAG: Why not send a DPW / Gate / Burning Dude desert-rat hooligan (or yourself) to New Orleans to help rebuild with Lowernine.org?

Hurricane Katrina still haunts New Orleans, and she likely always will. She is an ogre. She is an abusive ex-lover out on parole. She is the backdrop, the turning point, the literal dark cloud hanging over everyone’s past, seeping out into the present, humidifying the future. Her human survivors remain buoyant — awash with both what-can-you-do resignation and silver-lining contentment.

Katrina gave America the biggest mother-nature bitch-slapping in its history … right upside this murderous and gorgeous city’s face. 80 percent of New Orleans flooded, and 1500 people died — half as many humans as the ones who perished on September 11th, 2001. Then, while the government callously sat back and watched in catatonia — like an 8-year-old pouring gasoline on an ant-hill — the good people of the United States mobilized to help.

When the storm hit, for a blessedly large number of out-of-towners, horrified empathy morphed into positive action.

Ricks the one in the grey T-shirt
Rick’s the one in the dark grey T-shirt

In 2006, Rick Prose chaperoned a church trip from Maine down to post-Katrina New Orleans with his daughter’s youth group. Working mostly in the Gentilly area, Prose shot some video of a man scavenging gutting debris on the curb. The scavenger said something like: “You think it’s bad over here … Wanna come see my house in the Lower 9th Ward?”


The Women of The Man KCrew

The Women of The Man KCrew
From L to R: Nifer Fahrion, Lisa Schile, Meredith Scheff, Brooke Buchanan. Not pictured: Juicy Sanchez

Given that the Man KCrew draws its members from the wildly eclectic citizens and creators of Black Rock City it should come as no surprise that we too are a broadly diverse group of folks. For example our oldest builder is 62, our youngest only 24. Similarly (and perhaps despite its name) the Man Crew is by no means a boy’s club. Many women have helped create the Burning Man throughout the years. 2009 is no different, with five incredible women lending their unique skills and personalities to the task.


A Tale Full Of Sound And Fury, Signifying Everything

Black Rock Station, Nevada – June 27th, 2009

Tabula Rasa

Yesterday, the DPW workshop stood empty, a nondescript metal quonset amidst the low, gravelly scrub that rings the Black Rock desert. Today the workshop is full.

Full of people. Full of movement. Full of sawdust.

Full of activity and creativity and – to keep things balanced – a little destruction.

Full of music from a dusty stereo, doggedly fighting its hopeless battle with The Carpenter’s Orchestra: the bass drone of belt sander and shop vac, the baritone buzz of table and chop saws, the three tenors, jigsaw, Sawzall and drill, and the 30,000 rpm soprano herself, the trim router, ever the diva.

Full of intention, the magickal force necessary to resurrect an icon from the ashes, so that it may once again take its place at the center of Black Rock City, our dear dusty Brigadoon.

Full of the elaborate dance of lore, luck and skill that gives birth to the Burning Man.

Man Build 2009 has begun.

You too could be a Flaming Lotus Girl!

A few months ago I was hanging out at Zeitgeist and a new friend of mine, Jessica Wollow, tells me she is interested joining the soma-jess-jessFlaming Lotus Girls (FLG).  So we chat about how to contact them through their web site, and what I know about other people who have become part of their artist’s collective.  And the next thing I know Jessica is working on SOMA, the new FLG piece that was chosen as one of the Burning Man 2009 honorarium installations.   Most of you are familiar with the Flaming Lotus Girls.  They are a female-driven group of artists who formed in 2000 to create elegant fire sculpture, they call themselves the mavens of lipstick and accelerants. Their sculptures are composed of steel, stainless steel, copper, glass, wood, light, and fire.


That is Jessica up there in the corner and these are her photos of one of the two spinning balls of fire that are going to be inside the “nucleus” of SOMA.

Is there something you have always wanted to do, build, create, take to Burning Man, share with other Burners?  Strike out and try it today.

So I give you my friend Jessica and her introduction to the FLG.

And for those of you who like a little more action check out the video.

Reno’s Rockin’ it! Celtic Forest Opening Reception, Free Workshop & Lecture

Previously exhibited at Burning Man 2008, Celtic Forest, by artists Laura Kimpton, Jeff Schomberg and Bob Hofmann, is unique in its materials (metal and fire), scale and artistic vision. Fire will glow weekly from the Book of the Raven and surrounding tree-like candelabras with fire dancing by Controlled Burn.

Opening Receptionceltic-forest-invite
Friday, June 26 5-10pm
Corner of Sierra St. and Island Ave. Reno, NV
Wine & Appetizers: Sierra Arts Foundation Gallery

Featuring Celtic Music from 5-8pm
Fire Dancing by Controlled Burn 8-10pm

In addition Laura Kimpton will be giving a free workshop and lecture on Saturday, June 27.  We will be there and hope you will too.

This art installation is brought to you by the Black Rock Arts Foundation’s Civic Arts program as part of its mission to bring interactive artwork into communities worldwide.

BRAF extends its sincerest gratitude to the City of Reno Arts and Culture Commission, Freight House District LLC, Sierra Arts Foundation, United Rentals, Fernley Electric, Peppermill Resort Spa Casino, Sands Regency Casino Hotel, and the BRAF-Reno Support Team.

To read about free live music on Sundays and Fire Jam Tuesdays throughout the summer: http://braf-reno.ning.com/events

And here is the Reno Passport review.
photo: Jaz Fabry

Rathskellar Cultivates a Culture of Participation

Rathskellar wants you to get out of their camp.

Get out of their camp and do something, that is. The organizers of Rathskellar, a new theme camp “risen from the ashes of Spike’s Vampire Bar“, are asking all of their members to volunteer with at least one other group at Burning Man.

As Rathskellar co-founder Chris “BoyChaos” Bishop says, “Many of us already choose to work with other groups for the growth and benefit of our city. Making this a requirement to join our camp was a good way to encourage more people to do the same, and to show them the value of such participation.”

Diter building a table at Black Rock Station

Their experiment is already bearing great results. At two recent DPW volunteer work weekends, the Rathskellar crew showed up in force, contributing their sweat, blood and beers to the many tasks needed to prepare Black Rock Station – Burning Man’s Nevada work ranch and permanent staging area – for this year’s event. The Black Rock Desert also benefitted from their efforts, with Rathskellar volunteers helping to clean the playa of nails and other MOOP (Matter-Out-Of-Place) which is sometimes brought to the surface by heavy Winter rains.

“These work weekends play a vital role in delivering on Burning Man’s promise to Leave No Trace,” says Chris, noting that “They’re a lot of work, but they’re also a whole lot of fun.”