[Affinity, a Burner since 2000, was legally married on the Playa in 2001, and was wedding coordinator and then training coordinator at Burning Man, before becoming the Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) Social Media Coordinator and an Advisory Board Member. She interned with the Human Awareness Institute for 10 years, and is a craft dilettante. This post is part of the Metropol Blog Series.]
Theme Camps are arguably the cultural lifeblood of Burning Man. Participants gather their friends to camp together, establishing a common theme on which to base the interaction they hope to engender with the citizens of Black Rock City. As freeform and wide-ranging as they can be, from the sublime to the ridiculous, Theme Camps create an ambience, a visual presence, and in some way provide a communal space or provide interactivity. As such, they are very much the cultural engine of Black Rock City.
As part of the Metropol Blog Series, we thought you might like to know more about how Black Rock City’s Theme Camps are formed and how they operate. So we went to the source and did some interviews with a (wildly broad) representative sampling of camp organizers, including Bad Idea Theater (an entertainment camp), Kidsville (for families and children), Mal-Mart Mega Store (a parody camp), Root Society (a dance camp), and Suspended Animation (an BDSM bondage camp). We asked them a whole bunch of questions, and we’ll present more in future posts. Here are the responses we received for the first set of questions:
What is the purpose of your camp?
Bad Idea Theater: Our stated purpose is “To Serve and Project”. We strive to create a safe and entertaining social space along the lines of a friendly neighborhood tavern. In order to be considered a true “Metropolis”, a city must have at least one gin-joint, and a third-rate moviehouse. We are honored to help fill these vital roles.
Kidsville: The purpose of Kidsville is to provide a unique and fun space specifically for children and their families within the larger Black Rock City community.