Orientation Sessions for First Time Burners

“Ouroboros”, Photo by Ales Prikryl

Burning Man is not your typical festival … not by a longshot.  If you’re a first timer, you honestly don’t have any idea what you’re really in for — and just how great (or miserable) your Burning Man experience will be is directly proportional to how well you’ve prepared. Lucky for you, there are a LOT of veteran Burners who are eager to share their expertise with you to get you oriented so that you’re ready to take this incredible experience head-on and rock it.  They’re gifting their time and talents to help the greater community … because that’s what we do (Gifting and Communal Effort are two of the Ten Principles, after all).  Read on, and find one in your local area (they’re in no particular order). Also, you’re encouraged to hook up with your local Regional Network group and get connected. (more…)

Turnkey Camping: A Clarification

Photo by Ales Prikryl

[6/25/12 UPDATE: We’ve changed the nomenclature for these types of camps from “Plug & Play” to “Turnkey” to better reflect the way they function.]

We recently posted about Turnkey camping to start a dialog about this new form of camping we’ve seen happening more frequently in Black Rock City. The Burning Man organization genuinely wants to know what our community members are seeing, what they care about, and what good ideas are out there around this to create the best outcome for the community.

There have been no new decisions made about how to respond to Turnkey camps thus far. We have neither sanctioned them (and now “welcome them with open arms” as some have suggested), nor have we decided to ban them altogether. Your input on the blogs and forums, when civil, has been welcomed and appreciated, and is being incorporated into this decision-making process.

In order to facilitate this ongoing dialog, we would like to address a few key areas of confusion, so everybody’s on the same page: (more…)

The kids (at Burning Man) are all right

Photo courtesy of Black Rock Kids

It’s strangely easy to be judgmental about the way other people raise their kids. The idea that a young person  is being raised badly brings the knives out.

Perhaps it’s because kids are innocent and helpless, so that defending them is one of the few truly noble deeds we can perform in this life.  Perhaps it’s because everybody’s got parents and everybody was raised somehow – so parenting is one of the few standards we have in common.  Or maybe we’re all just judgmental fucks looking for an excuse.  It would explain so much.

Whatever the cause:  Complaining about what other people’s parents are doing wrong is perhaps the most popular human pastime after making kids in the first place.

That’s probably why every subculture I’m familiar with has, at some point, had an existential crisis about their kids.

People in the Society for Creative Anachronism worried about how their kids will develop if they feel a little too comfortable with feudalism;  parents into BDSM have worried how much to disclose and how much to keep secret.  Is it okay to insist that your 10-year old son be a flag bearer who died at Antietam for three weekends a year?  Can you bring your kids to a Star Trek convention if you want them to grow up and enjoy a healthy sex life?

God, people are weird.

All of them are worried – and yet only the children of the rich are famous for consistently turning into horrible, horrible, human beings.  Makes you think.

These same tensions bubble up periodically among Burners.  (more…)

CameraGirl Speaks on BMan Tech at the MLOVE ConFestival

Why doesn’t Burning Man just provide the Internet to participants? Why doesn’t Burning Man encourage Cellular coverage? Why doesn’t Burning Man have an Official App?

Heather “CameraGirl” Gallagher, Burning Man’s Technology Dominatrix (or “director”, in default-world parlance) will be speaking on technology and Burning Man at the MLOVE ConFestival in Monterey, CA, April 24-26, 2012.  MLOVE invites 200 thought leaders and innovators to discuss the powerful and inspiring potential of mobile as a catalyst for change and opportunity. Heather will be speaking about technology in Black Rock City, as well as how technology is utilized to facilitate Burning Man’s year-round production efforts.

The MLOVE website describes the ConFestival as follows: “The MLOVE ConFestival brings together CEOs, innovators and entrepreneurs from across multiple disciplines to share, learn and cross-pollinate ideas with an array of scientists, artists and other thought leaders. The event exposes the mobile industry to the best minds outside of mobile to maximize the opportunity of creating life-changing services and applications that can impact us all for the better.”


ArtPadSF – BRAF Benefit

Join the Black Rock Arts Foundation at San Francisco’s most innovative venue for art: ArtPad SF!

If you were able to attend our special event at ArtPad SF last year, you know how unique and fun this event is. Join us for a festive gathering of BRAF’s community of supporters, Burning Man’s art lovers, and the Bay Area’s leading art galleries and art scene.

ArtPadSF invites San Francisco’s world-renowned museums, galleries, arts institutions, and artists to transform the Phoenix Hotel into an alternative venue for art. The hotel is reinvented as a vibrant and visionary community of prominent international and local artists.

The art fair culminates in a lively evening of performance art, fashion, dance, music and art experiences on Friday night. This unique event celebrates the wealth of local talent in the Bay Area, and raises funds to benefit the BRAF’s public art and grant programs.

Tickets on sale now at blackrockarts.org/events/artpad-sf.

Ticket Packages:

BRAF ArtPad “Super Star” Experience

6:00 pm – 1:00 am
$125 limited advance tickets only
Generous Hors D’hoeuvres selection provided by Chambers 6pm – 8pm
Hosted Bar until 9pm
Early Access to All ArtPad Gallery Rooms until 8pm
(Galleries open at their discretion after 8pm)
Gallery, art, music, performers and visual arts feast until late

BRAF ArtPad “Happening” Experience

7:00 pm – 1:00 am
$30 Tier 1 limited advance tickets
$40 Tier 2 and at the Door as available
One complimentary welcome drink
Access to All ArtPad Gallery Rooms until 8pm
(Galleries open at their discretion after 8pm)
Gallery, art, music, performers and visual arts feast until late

All tickets are 21 and over.


Bay Area artists set the stage for this exciting event with site specific and multimedia performances, interactive art, live music and DJs with original scores and mixes created especially for the occasion.

Celebrating the creative contributions of and with performances by:

– Adnan Sharif is the resident dj and promoter of Forward, A monthly that takes place in underground locations and clubs in SF, always bringing music and events to new places! (www.forwardsf.com)

– The Carpetbag Brigade collaborating with Teatro Taller of Columbia – By synthesizing acrobatic stiltwalking, butoh dance, contact improvisation, and physical theater The Carpetbag Brigade has pioneered a unique approach and corresponding technique that has resulted in 10 original feature-length performances and tours to Europe, Latin America, Canada and throughout the U.S. Now based in the Bay Area, they are just back from performing a new work in Columbia. We are especially fortunate to have them creating a unique collaboration with Teatro Taller of Bogota, Columbia for this very special ArtPad evening, who is debuting their work for the first time in San Francisco! (www.carpetbagbrigade.com and www.teatrotallerdecolombia.com)

– Dex Stakker – (Opel/Opulent Temple) – Dex Stakker – Spinning underground breaks, slammin’ electro, electro house and aggressive progressive at numerous community events and countless fundraisers. (www.dexstakker.com)

– DJ ICON (Illeven Eleven Records) – DJ ICON is an iconic figure in the dance music industry. With a career spanning over a decade, she has captivated audiences the world over with her magnetic stage presence and signature bass-heavy vocal-infused cross-genre DJ sets consisting of Breaks, Electro House and Dubstep. It’s no wonder she’s been dubbed one of the leading ladies of this domain! Her accolades include stellar reviews for her productions on Illeven Eleven Recordings, a spot in Shejay’s “Top 100 Female DJs”, being voted one of San Francisco’s best DJs in Nitevibe’s “Top 10 DJ Dreamteam” Poll, and touring throughout the US, Canada, Europe and Asia. She has been a generous supporter of the Bay Area music and arts scene and is much loved throughout the community. We are pleased to celebrate her work as a Bay Area artist extraordinaire and expect big things to keep coming from this driven and versatile performer. (www.djicon.com)

– Gamelan X – Drawing musical inspiration from Indonesian, Balkan, African, Indian and American traditions, Gamelan X combines complex interlocking rhythms and sinewy melodies into an entirely new and visceral groove experience that excites and entrances the world. (www.GamelanX.com)

– KUNST-STOFF: A site specific dance performance specially conceived for ArtPad by internationally acclaimed and local artistic treasure, KUNST-STOFF Arts. (www.kunst-stoff.org)

…and much more! Stay tuned!

Black Rock Arts is a 501(c)3 non-profit. A portion of your ticket price is tax-deductible.
poster credit: Jared Gutekunst

Andie Grace to Leave Burning Man Organization

“Going off comm.” (Photo by Arin Fishkin)

It is with heavy heart that I announce that Communications Manager and Regional Network Manager Andie Grace is leaving the Burning Man staff. She’ll remain with us through May as we work with the resulting change and transition.

Andie has collaborated with me, the Founders and the staff at Burning Man HQ for nearly 13 years. Her contribution to the fabric of our culture as we’ve grown is immeasurable and the role that she inhabited is impossible to replace.

Those that had the good fortune to work with Andie know of her open heart, empathetic nature and attention to the needs of those around her. Anyone who’s read her writing for the Jack Rabbit Speaks, blog, comments on the ePlaya or 3Playa and other forums know of the care she has put into firmly sharing the organization’s perspective but with a gentleness only she could deliver.

We warmly wish her well in her future endeavors.

Thank you Andie!!

The Burning Man Founders: Larry, Harley, Crimson, Will, & Michael

You can’t Burn on Facebook

By Maxo. [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) via Wikimedia Commons
If you get enough burners together in a room, they will probably (A) throw a party that involves at least partial nudity, or (B) create a sculpture installation that involves at least partial nudity.  Because … well … really, is there a better option?

But if you get a lot of Burning Man regional representatives from around the world together into one room, they will probably end up having a panel discussion on best practices – and it will involve serious note-taking.

I mention this to set the stage for the Burning Man Regional Network Summit, where I found myself surrounded by many of the people who are absolutely essential to Burning Man at the state and local level … and geez, were they taking notes.  What I’m saying is:  data was compared.  Best practices were rocked.  Flow charts flew.  Did they have fire?  No – but they had mad fire safety tips.  There were no DJ’s … which is kind of a blessing, once you’re in the middle of a nice conversation with a woman from Prague and you actually want to hear what she’s saying … but there was a lot of talk about how to integrate people who want to DJ into your volunteer structure.  Because, Christ, a lot of you want to DJ.

It clearly takes all kinds to Burn a Man, and one of the first meetings I attended was about how to reach out to your local burner community and keep everyone in the loop.  This is essential, not just because it helps them know what Burning Man is up to but because it also makes people more likely to come out of the woodwork and explain how they can help.  Because, goddamn, those of you who don’t want to DJ often have incredible skills no one saw coming.

But with such a diverse community (or at least a community with such diverse interests) … how exactly do you keep everybody in the loop? (more…)

Burning Man at the Conference on World Affairs

Fresh off her well-received (and lightning-speed) talk about Burning Man at The Economist’s Ideas Economy forum, we’re excited that Andie Grace is now representing Burning Man at the Conference on World Affairs, taking place this week at The University of Colorado, Boulder.

Andie will be speaking on several interesting panels, but the most pertinent to Burners is the “Burning Man Women” panel with Burner/scientist Kiki Sanford this Friday at noon. The event is free and open to public … if you’re in the vicinity, head over there!

Here’s more information about the conference (which Roger Ebert called “the conference on Everything Conceivable.”), and a video that’ll give you an idea of what it’s about: