Event Horizon: Burning Man, Burning Reno

[Written by Nathan Aaron Heller]

A documentary has recently been produced on Burning Man’s impact on the Reno area and what it may mean for communities near and far.  Event Horizon – Burning Man, Burning Reno premiers this evening at 7pm at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno.  Check out the Event Horizon documentary trailer, and visit the Event Horizon Facebook page for further information and future showings.

Ever wonder how Burning Man is actually rubbing off on the outside world?  Beyond the trash fence, how are our Ten Principles making their way across the globe?  What does it mean to be a “Burner”?  Can Burning Man actually revolutionize the way people live?  How could one possibly measure Burning Man’s impact?

Located 100-125 miles to the south, Reno and its sibling cities and towns — making up a metropolis of 500,000 people — provide one source of clues to the answers.

Reno: More than a last-minute shopping stop

Most of you have been through the Reno area on your way to Burning Man.  Perhaps you flew in.  You probably got gas, water, and groceries there.  Maybe you even stayed the night, got a hot shower, and played craps at one of the casinos.

In fact, because of you and your fellow 50,000+ Burners’ descending en masse from all corners of the globe with your dreams, art projects, and desert homes piled up high on your cars, an enormous amount of resources are bought and utilized in Reno during Burning Man, perhaps more than at any time of the year. (more…)

BRC Gets Green Light from BLM: What Does This Mean for Tickets?

Black Rock City, 2010

Exciting news! Today the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) signed a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), issued a decision record on our Environmental Assessment (EA), granted us a Special Recreation Permit for 2012, and announced a maximum population for the 2012 event of approximately 60,900 participants!

Check out our press release.

Read BLM’S letter announcing their decision.

Join us today in celebrating: we have a permit for this year’s event and approval to expand our population!  We know this will have many readers asking if this means there will be additional tickets for this year.

Now that we have our permit, we have an accurate number to work from when discussing the best approach in the coming weeks.

We had previously been working with a projected population of 58,000 and now we know that we can have a peak population of 60,900 in Black Rock City.

The Directed Ticket Distribution process is still underway.  For more information about how any additional tickets made available by the new population cap will be distributed to Burners looking for tickets, keep your eyes on the Jackrabbit Speaks Newsletter!

Copies of the Final EA, Finding of No Significant Impact, Decision Record, SRP Decision and related documents are available for viewing and upon request from the BLM Winnemucca District Office and online here.

BLM Issues BRC Permit for 2012 Event

Contact: Megan Miller
415-865-3800 x158

Black Rock City, LLC Gets Green Light from the BLM for 2012 Event

June 12, 2012, San Francisco, California. – Black Rock City, LLC, the organization that hosts the annual Burning Man event, is pleased to announce that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has authorized a Special Recreation Permit (SRP) for this year’s event, set to take place from August 27-September 3rd on the Black Rock Desert Playa, approximately 8.5 miles north of Gerlach, Nevada.

In addition to authorizing the one-year SRP, the BLM signed a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) on the related Environmental Assessment (EA) of Burning Man’s proposed actions for 2012-2016. Black Rock City, LLC has been working with BLM and Aspen Environmental Group for the past two years to complete this EA. The document suggests environmental mitigations based upon a gradual increase in population to 70,000 over the next five years.

For this year’s event, the BLM has set a maximum population of approximately 60,900 participants, or “citizens” of Black Rock City.

“As we celebrate this milestone, we’d like to thank our partners at the BLM and look forward to working with them towards securing a multi-year permit in the near future,” said Marian Goodell, Burning Man co-founder and Black Rock City LLC’s Director of Business and Communications.

Burning Man is the largest permitted event held on Federal land. For twenty years, the Black Rock Desert, north of Reno, Nevada, has played host to the annual art event, which began on a beach in San Francisco in 1986 and has grown to attract more than 55,000 participants annually, from every state of the Union and twenty-three countries worldwide. The BLM has issued a permit for Burning Man each year since 1992.

Curious about how this will impact further ticket distributions for this year’s Burn?  See this blog post.

Update: Leo Villareal Lighting Up the Bay Bridge

A ways back, we let you know about an exciting project by artist Leo Villareal called “The Bay Lights” — a monumental light art sculpture proposed for the San Francisco Bay Bridge celebrating its 75th Diamond Anniversary.

The plan is for Leo and his team to secure arrays of 25,000 energy-efficient white LED lights to the vertical cables of the west span of the bridge, and create elaborate computer-controlled light animations to delight visitors and locals alike for two years. It’s going to be pretty amazing.

Well, here we are with a progress update. Permits are at-the-ready, there’s deep cultural and community support swirling, and more than $5.2m in private funds have been committed so far. $1.8m more is needed by July 1st to make the project happen. There’s also a major matching grant in place, so every donated dollar equals two.

If you’re so inclined, join the community of folks supporting The Bay Lights, as we’d all love to see this epic undertaking of artist, maker and Burner happen.

Here’s a video of the artist’s rendering of the project:


Join the Circus! South Florida Burners Kickin’ It Carny Style!

For the few hundred Burning Man participants from South Florida, Black Rock City can feel like it’s a world away. Not only are the Burners there separated from the playa by great distance (it takes five days of driving to get to Burning Man), but, as Jack Trash from Ft. Lauderdale jokes, “we have such a high water table but no ‘underground.’” Longing for opportunities to express their inner creativity in a place where the status quo reigns supreme, Jack and a tight-knit crew of doers and art-makers decided to bring the spirit of Black Rock City to their hometown.

And, what? What did these crazy Burners do? They built a zany, colorful, and interactive CIRCUS!

Photo by Bruce Almberg

Last weekend, as part of Ft. Lauderdale’s FAT Village Artwalk, the “Circus Basura” came to life! When Ft. Lauderdale residents came upon the circus, they were greeted with a “Step right up!” and were invited to participate in costumed photo shoots, games, and the quirky experiences of circus life! The suite of boardwalk games the “Circus Basura” barkers offer runs the gamut from silly to satirical. As part of the game “1% Pachinko,” one could put on a top hat and monocle, drop a gold coin down the slot and see where it landed. The gag is that the gold coin never makes it to the bottom but gets stuck along the way on banks, yachts, and fat cat bellies. The gag prizes included the highly coveted collection of Olivia Newton John workout DVDs and a host of other completely ridiculous and trash “basura” prizes. “The Circus Basura,” Jack explains, “is whatever you make it.” The game, costumes, and the antics of the circus crew combine to create a grand sense of play. The circus is an umbrella under which anyone can be whatever they want to be. It’s especially exciting that a circus of freaks is flourishing in South Florida because it’s something new for people to experience, it pushes boundaries and creates room for more radical acts of expression.

Photo by Bruce Almberg

The talented crew behind the “Circus Basura” has a history working together. Many of the South Florida Burners came together when Burners Without Borders mobilized to provide relief to Haitians in the wake of the earthquake. Several of the local Burners are airplane mechanics and they made daily runs to the airfields to repair planes that were taking food and supplies to survivors of the disaster. And, back in 2009, the crew transformed an old bus into a double decker art mobile fit for the playa. The South Floridians drove the “Nautibus” 3,800 miles to the Black Rock desert and gave rides to participants around the desert. “Building the bus was a really unifying experience for the Florida crew,” Jack says. With the costs of operating the bus and transporting it to the desert rising each year, the crew decided to skip bringing the bus to the desert this year. Instead, they’ve loaned it to their Burner brethren in Tennessee for the Summer and the TN Burners are working on restoring the bus and will take it to their first local Tennessee burn, Serendipity.
With the Nautibus project on a bit of a hiatus, the crew quickly rallied behind the “Circus Basura.” The circus has given the local Burners an outlet for their energy and creativity and, as Jack explains, “[They] all just like working together and being around each other.” The crew has been sewing costumes, building sets, and coming up with ideas for the circus for months. It seems that this past weekend’s successful presence at the FAT Village Art Walk is just the beginning. In early November, the “Circus Basura” will participate in Ft. Lauderdale’s annual Day of the Dead processional. They’ll be working in collaboration with Jim Hammond, a local puppeteer and set designer, to create giant skull masks and parade floats. There’s also been talk of a Day of the Dead costume ball. “There’s just nothing like this in South Florida! We’re excited we are taking the circus to the streets and that the folks here get to experience what we’re all about, what keeps us going to Burning Man year after year,” Jack muses. There are also plans for a few guerilla circus experiences in the area. For Jack, providing these circus experiences, “opens the door for anybody to try anything and enables people to do things they don’t normally do.” We can’t wait to see what the “Circus Basura” crew tries next!

Photo by Bruce Almberg

Want to run off and join the circus?

For more information on “Circus Basura,” you can feel free to contact southflorida@burningman.com with CIRCUS BASURA in the subject line and to check out their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/events/223273267784782/.

Want to build a circus in your own town?

Do it, you crazy Burner! Bring the big top, bring the noise, bring the red noses, and then tell us all about it!

Jack Trash’s advice to all of us: “Don’t dream little dreams. Dream big ones!”

Thank you, we’ll see you on the HIGH WIRE!