Ripe

The first drink I ever legally bought myself was a $7 airplane beer on the flight to Burning Man 2008. It was my first time. The theme was The American Dream, and as far as I could tell, this was it. Happy 21st birthday to me.

Diesel, my lover and associate, was in the seat beside me. She had more than something to do with getting me into this. We shared a blood brother, Harry; he and I played in a band together, and he was coming, too. There was also Val, AKA Human, another friend of theirs, whom I was just getting to know. But Vivid was the one who brought this all together. To the extent that going to Burning Man was any one person’s idea, it was his.

PHOTO: Jon Mitchell

Vivid hailed from Mendo, and he was in with the Phat Cat Lounge, a wild younger-brother camp to the Skinny Kitty Teahouse, which appeared to be a venerable outfit. He had the plan. Diesel and I would fly out to Oakland from Boston, where he, Val, and Harry would pick us up, and we’d strap our bags to the roof of his Subaru and take a midnight drive into the hills. The next day, we would buy supplies and try not to forget anything. Then, the day after, we’d go to Burning Man.

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Tis the Season: Burners Gifting Back

The spirit of generosity is in the air. Checkout lines are miles long, stockings are hung by the chimney with care, and our hearts (and our wallets) are open. While the world’s attention is so highly focused on gifting during this holiday season, Burners across the world are creating ways for their friends, family, and fellow Burners to gift back.

A Vegas Volunteer at the Hot Dog Stand Smiles Photo Courtesy of BamBam

This weekend, Andie Grace, our Communications Manager, and her husband Tom Price held a Christmas party at their home in San Francisco. Rather than having guests bring the obligatory bottles of wine and holiday trinkets, Andie and Tom turned their gathering into a diaper drive. Their party invite read, “All we want for Christmas is to fill the bathtub with diapers to donate. Please bring a package of disposable baby diapers of any size to help Bay Area babies in need via Help a Mother Out.” When I arrived with my baby wipes in tow, the tub was already half-full. Andie happily reports that she and Tom collected four big bags full of diapers to give to Help a Mother Out.

As I talked with Burners across the country this week, I found other examples of friends coming together during this hectic month to make a meaningful contribution to their local community.

Feeding the Homeless and Hungry in Las Vegas

On Sunday, December 19, 2010, a group of twenty-five Burners, their children, and friends served over 450 meals to the homeless and hungry of North Las Vegas.

Last year, on Christmas Eve of 2009, BamBam, a ten-year Burning Man veteran and owner of the mobile hot dog stand he calls “Hot Diggity Dog,” enlisted the support of his partner Pebbles and a few other friends and took his stand down to the corner of Las Vegas Blvd and Owens in North Las Vegas. That evening, the crew served over 250 meals of jumbo hot dogs, chips and sodas to the homeless and hungry. BamBam set up a canopy and a big sign that read “HOT DOGS” and watched lines form around the stand. (more…)

Burning Man’s charitable donations for 2010

Every year since 2003, Burning Man has used proceeds from ice sales at the event to make year-end donations to various charitable, art and service organizations in Northern Nevada and the San Francisco Bay Area. For 2010, we worked to increase the total dollar amount of our donations, committing a total of $159,850 for the year. On the heels of the recent news about the closure of the US Gypsum plant in Empire,  we gave special consideration to those charities that benefit the people and communities of Northern Nevada.

Below is a list of charitable donation recipients for 2010:


Black Rock Arts Foundation
Black Rock Solar
Best Friend’s Animal Society (in memoriam Bill Carter)
The Crucible
Yick Wo School
Lawyers for Burners c/o Trip Knight
Leave No Trace
Surprise Valley Chamber of Commerce (Cedarville)
Nimby
Circuit Network
Dogpatch Neighborhood Association
Nevada Organizations
Gerlach Volunteer Fire Department
Gerlach High School
Gerlach Gen. Improve. Dist.
Gerlach-Empire Senior Citizens Palace
Crisis Call Center
Friends of the Black Rock
Nevada Museum of Art
Nevada State Museum
Historical Society of Dayton Valley
Sierra Arts Foundation
Bruka Theatre
Nevada Discovery Museum
Kiwanis Bike Project
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Nevada
Lovelock/Pershing Organizations
COUNTY CHARITIES
Pershing County Government General Fund
PRIVATE CHARITIES
Pershing County Senior Center
Eagle Scholarship
Pershing County Community Center
Pershing County High School (Athletic Department)
Pershing County Domestic Violence Intervention
Pershing General Hospital & Nursing Care
Pershing County Humane Society
Lovelock Frontier Days
Lovelock Lion’s Club
Friends of the Library
Marzen House Museum
Kid’s, Horses & Rodeos
Lovelock Food Bank
Lovelock Boy Scouts Association
Lovelock Little League Association
Lovelock Chamber of Commerce
Pershing County Arts Council
Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary
Project Graduation

Tis the Season for Art Grants

It is once again that most merry time of year when there is a sudden chill in the air and we are rushing around, planning, contriving, concocting, conspiring and otherwise devising our grand plans. We are making lists and checking them twice all for one reason and one reason only; that being that the day has come for us to download and begin filling out the Burning Man Art Grant Form. Yes, after waiting all year, it’s finally time to apply for a Grant!

First off, to get there, go to the Submit Grant page and read about how to Submit your Grant proposal. Then download the ZIP file at the bottom of that page at the Art Grant PDF Form Instructions and Submission Form ZIP link. There is also an updated Technical FAQ that should answer any questions you might have about filling out the form.

Minaret by Bryan Tedrick - photo by Anthony Peterson
Minaret by Bryan Tedrick - photo by Anthony Peterson

Everything you need should be on those pages, but the short of this is that the Burning Man organization gives away a lot of money from ticket sales every year to artists to help them build and get their art out to Black Rock City. There are grants for large or small projects so don’t be shy about the size of your idea. The Art Grants from Burning Man are unique in that they require nothing but that the project is on display in Black Rock City, from the very start of the event and that documentation like video and photographs are shared with Burning Man and the community so you can take your rightful place in the pantheon of Art Installations that have graced the playa.

I’m also told that on January 13th there will be an Art Grant Writing workshop in a yet to be determined location where you can work on your Grant form from 5:30 – 7:00pm then afterward the Art Lounge will be a celebration of Artists. It’ll be a great place to get pointers on putting together your Grant form and as always it will be a good time.

These Art Grants are meant to serve as seed money for a project and one common misconception is that Burning Man fully funds projects. If you’ve been around in the summer as projects are getting closer to coming into fruition on the playa, you know that just about every group that has grown up around an Art project is throwing fundraisers or setting up accounts for donations so they can get over that last final push to finish it and get it out there.

Why is that? Well there are two things the Grant process hopes to encourage. Those are Collaboration and Interactivity.

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Help Burners Without Borders help the Gulf Coast

‘Tis the holiday season, and dirt-rave-goers know that Buy Nothing Christmas is the best way to spend the winter solstice — giving mutual gifts of togetherness, experience, action, pay-it-forward-ism, and all that other fuzzy stuff which lasts forever and won’t be tossed aside and end up in a landfill.

photo by Craig Morse / Culture Subculture

Burners Without Borders is throwing its support behind the Coastal Heritage Society of Louisiana. If you have been following the Oilpocalypse story at all, you’ll know that Kindra Arnesen is one of the most furious angels in this whole dealio, blowing lids off coverups and using every available microphone and rally to alert the American people that this thing is so far from over, it may not have even begun. Her own health issues are well-documented in the media too; the breaking news, however, is that her brother is in the hospital — after trying to tough out the Gulf Blue Plague like self-sufficient Cajuns are wont to do, he submitted to the need for IV fluids and critical care. Doctors on the Gulf Coast, see, they don’t want to treat patients who utter the words “oil spill” or “BP.” They don’t want to spend the rest of their lives testifying in court, lose their jobs, and/or end up getting Matt Simmonsed. Anyway.

watch Kindra’s first public speech (and she hasn’t slowed down):
Kindra Arnesen – speech against BP and Halliburton, Gulf Coast 2010

Kindra and her homegirls in Plaquemines Parish (more…)

Power Rangers

Photo: Rygg Larsen

Who are the Millennial Burners, those who came of age alongside Burning Man itself? Is their experience different in any fundamental way from that of the X-ers and Boomers who joined the party at the same time? Is there a distinction at all?

In some ways, Burning Man is such a radical thing that it doesn’t matter who you are while you’re there. Your story starts at chapter 1 when you ring that bell and roll in the dust for the first time.

I don’t care what year it is or how old you are; your first arrival at Burning Man was, is, or will be weird. If you have been to Burning Man, or if your buddy has, chances are you’ve heard the playa compared to the moon or Mars. The playa has been that way for about 10,000 years, since Lake Lahontan dried up, and it has been the site of Burning Man for the 20-odd years since it earned its capital B and M. The place itself is so breathtaking, you won’t recognize the planet on which you live.

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Statement from Burning Man about USG plant closing in Empire, NV

The Burning Man organization is saddened at the news of the approaching closure of the USG operations in Empire, NV. The Empire gypsum mine and manufacturing plant has been an important part of the area’s economy and community for many decades.  We understand the breadth of the impact even a short closure can have in a community this small, and the implications for a long term closure on the businesses and service industries supported by USG employees. In the weeks ahead, we will monitor the situation. If there are opportunities to help, we will share this information with the Burning Man community.

We have already been asked about the Burning Man event, and our organization’s presence in the area year-round. While we can’t know the future, we do know how to stage an impossible event in a remote location, and have historically risen to meet the challenges of that pursuit. Doing so has been at the very heart of the experience, and we intend to continue our commitment to the Black Rock Desert and to the Gerlach/Empire residents and businesses that help support our annual presence there.

For now, our concern is not for our event, but how these towns and families will be affected by the changes ahead. In Burning Man’s 20 years in Nevada, we’ve put down roots of our own, investing in and supporting these communities; we’ve long aimed to be good neighbors in Nevada. We’ll continue to support Gerlach and Empire in whatever way we can, and our thoughts are with the workers and their families. We hope others will join us in sending best wishes to all who will be affected. [para_end]

A Call for Feedback: Burning Man’s New Five-Year BLM Permit

One side of the Burning Man world that participants rarely have a chance to …well…participate in, is the permitting process we go through to have our event on federal, public land.  Well, here is your chance.

2010 marks the last year of Burning Man’s current 5-year Special Recreation Permit from the Bureau of Land Management. Currently, Black Rock City, LLC is applying for a new five-year permit to hold the event from 2011-2015. The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public comments as part of the process of issuing the new permit. A record of documented, positive and constructive comments from persons or organizations within the Burning Man community will help BLM in reaching its decision.

In particular, as BLM’s role is to protect public land and those that use it,  the positive impacts of Burning Man on the greater public, such as economic benefits to Northern Nevada, or  education about Leave No Trace and other environmental messaging, would be most helpful. So if you’re part of a charity, business or other organization that benefits from the Burning Man event, then we encourage you to contribute to the decision-making process.  Also, if you’ve learned environmental stewardship, the value of volunteering, or any of the other infinite ways that Burning Man changes people’s lives positively then please let your voice be heard. Please note that though we wholeheartedly agree, comments such as “Burning Man is cool,” or “I love Burning Man,” won’t really add much to the information, and will inadvertently cause more work for BLM in the public comment process. In addition, this is not the right forum for commenting on BLM Law Enforcement at Burning Man, but if you would like to do so, please email legal here: legal (at) burningman.com.  We want everyone’s voice to be heard, but we also want to be efficient about getting the right kind of information to the BLM. Please respect the valuable time that BLM is putting into this formidable project, in an effort to listen to the voices of the people we have affected.

If you would like to submit a written comment then please do so by December 13th. Letters can be sent to:Cory Roegner, Attn: Burning Man Permit Renewal, BLM Black Rock Field Office, 5100 E. Winnemucca Blvd., Winnemucca, NV 89445-2921. Or via email to wfoweb here: wfoweb (at) nv.blm.gov.  Please be sure to put “Burning Man Permit Renewaql (Roegner)” in the subject line.

There will also be three public meetings in Northern Nevada, hosted by BLM. For more information on the meetings, as well as the permit process in general please visit: http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/wfo/blm_information/nepa0/recreation/burning_man.html