Posts during January, 2012


January 27th, 2012  |  Filed under Spirituality

The Soul of Burning Man is Freedom…

Quinn (aka Ghost Dancer) is Burning Man’s Nevada Properties Manager, which includes the year-round oversight of Burning Man’s Ranch (our staging and production facility), located north of the event site. Apropos of this year’s Art Theme, Fertility 2.0, we’d like to share this wonderful piece he wrote:

"Free!" Photograph by Betty Emirzian, 2009

Beyond judgments and dogma, Burning Man is at its core simply a stage of opportunity for people of all the world’s cultures to come together for a single week of the year to explore, exchange and express ourselves without the shackles of fear within an arena free of judgment, free of repression, free of self denial in an open free environment which supports and encourages that very intention.

For 7 short days; some 50,000 human beings join together in peaceful self expression, passionate self exploration and joyful giving of themselves to their fellow man without expectation of return or personal gain. This organic stage of opportunity for potential enlightened self experience is unique in the world and it happens but for a single week right here in our small sleepy little town of Gerlach.

Long ago the Constitution of the United States was drafted, many wars have been fought and many lives tragically sacrificed to protect your unalienable Right to Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of Happiness and the Right to “freely express yourself” while doing no harm to others. Yet there are many who would deny you these Rights or who simply choose to live life in a self-imposed prison of conditioned fear while sitting brain dead in front of the Television vegetating on what Paris Hilton’s wearing today.

Not the Burner…

These human beings of ecstatic spirit and a lust for creative living who discover and attend the Burning Man event are not content to just sit and watch TV nor passively accept whatever soulless doctrine is currently being spoon fed by the media. No my friends, Burners are in my observation the Peaceful Warriors of today’s potential humanity who are inspired by confronting the lifeless face of the mundane, and who burn within to awaken and live life to the fullest with an open fearless heart passionately driven to create and explore meaningful and lasting relationships with their fellow man in harmony with the natural world which supports us all.

As the gate opens and the people join together to spontaneously create Black Rock City, each and every ongoing moment is a completely unique creative expression unlike the moment before or after it, each person is more clearly seen and accepted for who they truly are through the process of contributing their individual perspective while simultaneously giving birth to more and more beauty and art inspiring deeper and deeper self reflection for both the individual and the collective experience. Basically it’s freedom of expression giving birth to greater levels of freedom of expression and mutual respect as a result, for 7 days and nights.

At least that’s how I see it.
You may call me a dreamer, I hope some day you’ll join me…

Thank you, Quinn!

January 27th, 2012  |  Filed under News

Burning Man 2012 Tickets: After the Main Sale

The registration period for the Burning Man 2012 ticket Main Sale wrapped up last Sunday night, and our ticket vendor is currently de-duping and cleaning up the registrant database (including removing known scammers), before we do the drawing for the three pricing tiers on January 31 and February 1.

And guess what? Turns out, people are VERY EAGER to go to Burning Man this year. So much so, in fact, that they found creative ways to increase their odds of getting tickets in the Main Sale. As a result, there are a lot more tickets being requested than there are tickets available — an inordinately large number, in fact, and far more than we projected even after last year’s sold-out event. It seems that people a) likely got their friends, family and campmates to order tickets as well, and/or b) requested more tickets than they actually need.

So the unfortunate net result is that there will be a lot of people who aren’t awarded tickets from the Main Sale … BUT DO NOT FEAR!! Because this means that there will be a large number of tickets in circulation within the existing community, tickets that simply need to be redistributed to those who need them. Based on our analysis, we hold a strong belief that things will settle out over the course of time, once that redistribution takes place, such that most everybody who wants a ticket will find their way to one.

In order to facilitate the redistribution of those extra tickets now in circulation, we have set up the Secure Ticket Exchange Program (STEP). The STEP is a web-based system that will allow Burners to sell their unneeded tickets, and Burners wanting tickets to access them. This will allow for safe and secure transactions in a central place for community-monitored, face-value resales. This is in addition to 10,000 tickets going on sale on a first-come first-served basis in our March 28th Open Sale.

We would like to reinforce that we all share responsibility for preventing the scalping of Burning Man tickets. Burners can commit to only selling their tickets at face value, and to never buying tickets above face value. Friends don’t let friends buy from scalpers! We can work together by using STEP, keeping a vigilant eye out for scams and inflated-price vending, and reporting known scammers on our ePlaya ticketing thread.

Burning Man actively discourages the use of secondary resources (eBay, Craigslist, StubHub, etc.) for the resale of tickets, and we encourage those who do not obtain tickets from the Main Sale/Open Sale to utilize community-centric sources to keep a handle on this process together. Please use STEP and/or direct local connections to known Burners to find the tickets you seek. We will post information on how to access and use STEP next week.

So, folks, it’s up to all of us to decide how this all plays out … we can work together in our communities to ensure that most everybody who wants a ticket to Burning Man can get one, and avoid falling prey to third-party price gouging. Just as we’re able to create the world’s largest Leave No Trace event — against all odds, in the middle of the remote desert — we can see this challenge through together as well.

As always, you can find full ticket information on the Burning Man tickets page, and you can be sure to stay informed by subscribing to the Jackrabbit Speaks email newsletter.

January 27th, 2012  |  Filed under Afield in the World, The Ten Principles

Gifting the Seed of an Idea

[This post is part of the 10 Principles blog series, an ongoing exploration of the history, philosophy and dynamics of Burning Man's 10 Principles in Black Rock City and around the world. We welcome your voice in the conversation.]

I admit it. I search for related communities around the world embracing and incorporating collaboration and gifting into their everyday lives. With this lens, I stumble upon many interesting projects, ideas, and happenings around the globe. Given this years’ Burning Man theme, Fertility 2.0, the following example seems rather topical.

Ai Wei Wei holding the seeds from his Installation Sunflower Seeds at The Tate Modern

You can love it or hate it, but the theme this year is an interesting and timely one. The beauty of the theme is this: the myriad ways it can be interpreted. I’m sure there will be lots of mother-earth-vagina-art, which is beautiful in its own way, but I choose to view this year’s theme as a metaphor; one of sowing seeds. Seeds are an eloquent imagery that describe the process of dissemination, care-taking, timeliness and growth. These elements also aptly describe the formation of an idea, a community or a movement. There are many varieties of seeds in all sorts of shapes and sizes, all of which have evolved to interact with their environment. Seeds can be receptive to light, others to moisture, some even need fire to start their process of germination (hmmmm, I seem to like this one best). Their diversity is spectacular. Some seeds must germinate within a specific time frame, and some can survive for thousands of years.

And now for an example of seed sowing; the Incredible Edible project in the town of Tormorden in the UK.

Surplus vegetables grown at the high school go on sale, with all proceeds going directly back to the school. Image from wakeup-world.com

The lofty goal of Incredible Edible is for the town of Tormorden to become totally food self-sufficient in 7 years. How did the seed of this idea start? With a bit of something familiar to us – that good old gift economy. Three years ago Mary Clear, co-founder of Incredible Edible, did a very unusual thing. She lowered the front wall to her yard and encouraged passers-by to walk into her garden and help themselves to free vegetables.

There were signs asking people to take something but it took six months for folk to ‘get it’.

Now there are 1000’s of vegetables grown around town in 70 large beds. And one of the biggest recruiters for the project is officer Janet Scott. She watches from the station’s security camera as townsfolk come up and pick from three large raised flower beds in front of the police station.

“‘I watch ’em on camera as they come up and pick them,’ says desk officer Scott, with a huge grin. It’s the smile that explains everything.”

Why the smile, these vegetable enthusiasts are not thieves. These veggies are for taking. They are Free.

Have you seen examples of other seeds that have been sown? Please share them here.

And to find out more about Incredible Edible, visit: http://www.incredible-edible-todmorden.co.uk/ and Follow: @incredibledible

 

January 26th, 2012  |  Filed under The Ten Principles

Does wearing a utilikilt and fuzzy boots make you more “authentic?”

[This post is part of the 10 Principles blog series, an ongoing exploration of the history, philosophy and dynamics of Burning Man's 10 Principles in Black Rock City and around the world. We welcome your voice in the conversation.]

I’m not so sure.  Burning Man has a profound psychological, even spiritual, impact on people – but are we really more authentic than anybody else?

I’d be a lot more convinced if so many people at Burning Man didn’t dress so much alike:  as if strapping on a leather harness and glow sticks because it makes you fit in at the sound camp really makes you more authentic than someone who dresses in a gray flannel suit for his job at the accounting firm.

I’d be a lot more convinced if all the music wasn’t so similar – surely all our inner selves can’t be DJs?

I’d be more convinced by claims to authenticity if more people’s “authentic” selves didn’t fit so neatly with ideals that other people thought up. Nobody gets authenticity points for following the 10 commandments:  why should they get them for following the 10 principles?

While there’s certainly a lot of iconoclasm and personal eccentricity at Burning Man … there’s also a hell of a lot of conformity.  Given the chance to go out in the desert and do anything, it’s obvious that many of us decide to imitate each other.  But the rhetoric of authenticity persists.  What causes so many of us to feel authentic while we’re keeping up with the Sparkles? Read more »

January 25th, 2012  |  Filed under Tales From The Playa

Strange dust art left on our vehicle

Tales From The Playa are dreams and memories of events that took place at Burning Man, as told by its participants.


by Greg and Lili

At Burning Man 2010, my wife and I traveled with some good friends and had an amazing week on the Playa. It was all our 1st time there and it met and exceeded all our expectations.

After we left, I noticed the back window of the truck had this dust pattern on it:

amazing since the theme was Metropolis!

Here is a close up of the magical “city”:

January 23rd, 2012  |  Filed under News, Participate!

Theme Thoughts 2012

Larry Harvey announced the 2012 Theme at Artumnal on Nov 19. 2011.
BurningMan.com posted it on Jan. 22, 2012.
Welcome, “Fertility 2.0″

It may not be official, yet.

But while you are brainstorming how to create your 50 foot phallus, here’s some silly theme thoughts:


Recorded live during Hug Nation, Nov 22, 2012.
**NOTE: I AM NOT AN OFFICIAL REPRESENTATIVE OF BURNING MAN. I am merely a Participant with a passion for the event, people, and principles of Burning Man. Half-baked ideas & views expressed aren’t necessarily those of the Burning Man organization.” **

January 19th, 2012  |  Filed under Events/Happenings, Participate!, Photos/Videos/Media

Bonfires at the beach — a tale of two cities

We had a little outing to Los Angeles  just after New Year’s, and we were down there in time for the Christmas tree burn on the beach last Sunday.

Zach Fromson organized the outing, and there were maybe a hundred or so people at the height of things. Zach and his crew had spent the weekend gathering trees; they had gone all over the Southland in a rented truck picking them up, and then they hauled them all to the beach.

When we showed up, we saw a big truck loaded with trees, so of course we walked over to help unload them.  But the guy in the back of the truck looked at me kind of funny and asked, “Are you part of the family?” and I said, “uhhhh … Burning Man?” Then the guy said no, this was a private thing, a family thing, and “the other people are over there.”

The “other people” would be the Burners, of course. But it was a smaller group than you’d think for all of L.A., but although it’s a big, big place,  the Burner community seems to be spread hither thither and yon.

Zach, on the left, organized the LA beach burn

Read more »

January 15th, 2012  |  Filed under Afield in the World

The First (un-official) Border Burners “Orphan Burn” …

The Border Burners with Their Effigy

Here’s a great story we’d like to pass along … as our global community has grown, we’ve heard about more and more “Orphan Burns”, where Burners who can’t make it to the playa for Burning Man get together to celebrate on Burn night.

And while we’d rather use a term like “Alterna-Burn”, since “Orphan Burn” implies one is without family, which clearly isn’t the case here, to each their own! It’s quite possible that down the line, as this phenomenon grows, this natural extension of Burning Man will simply be called “The [insert your locale here] Burn”. Time will tell.  Stevil of the Border Burners writes:

Spinning Poi at The Burn

“Representing one of the world’s smallest communities of Burners, the Border Burners from El Paso, TX, Las Cruces, NM, and Juarez Mexico, held their first “Orphan Burn” on Saturday, September 3, 2011; while over 1200 miles away, The Man was burning in Black Rock City. While not a sanctioned/official Burning Man event, it was a time for the few Burners from this area to get together and keep the Burning Man flame lit, even though we couldn’t make it to the Playa this summer.

Representing the far other end of the statistics spectrum, there were about 20 people in attendance … 6 of whom had been to Burning Man before. Our effigy was built out of scrap lumber on the day of the Burn by Border Burners Gordon Howell and Fernie Fernandez.

Fire!

In general, the Border Burners try to keep our tiny community of a handful of Burners (and Burners at heart) connected while we’re waiting for the next Man to burn on the playa. We have a monthly poi/fire arts workshop in Las Cruces, NM. We have a few slide shows and documentary screenings throughout the year. We are starting to have a presence at many local civic art events, and have an active announce list with over 300 subscribers. We also try to establish a Border Burner’s presence when on the playa (semi-famous for our tamales); and we usually have a small group who attend the local regional Burns closer to home, such as Saguaro Man and the Arizona Decompression.

For any more information about the Border Burners, please contact Stevil at : elpaso here: elpaso (at) burningman.com

Border Burners 2011 Orphan Burn from Tortilla Productions on Vimeo.