Pink Card Experiment

As you come through the gate at this year’s Burning Man event, along with the What Where When, Tip Sheet and map, you’ll get something new from the Greeters – a little pink postcard that’s part of an interactive, social-digital-anthropological experiment we’re about to embark upon.

There is space on the card for you to fill out your name, email, Twitter account, whether you’re male or female, and your zip code or country. That’s it.
You can drop it off at several locations around the playa.

Pretty easy, right?

But why? And what’s up? Simply put, there has never been much of a reason or motivation to attempt to identify who attended the event until now. We all know what a strong and dynamic community of artists, performers, makers, and Burners has grown up on the playa. Until now, the social connectivity that’s accompanied that growth has been completely organic. (more…)

Get into the C.O.R.E.! Dispatches from Black Rock City!

The Circle of Regional Effigies (CORE) is taking form before our eyes out here in dusty Black Rock City! Now in its second year, CORE is a massive collaborative art installation comprised of 34 effigies created by Burning Man Regional groups from around the world. The majority of CORE project leads will arrive tomorrow but a few groups have already started building their art out here in our desert home. This afternoon, Squishelle, our resident CORE Cheerleader and one of our Vancouver Regional Contacts, and I hopped in her blue VW van, Peacock, to greet the groups and see how the projects were coming along.

Stella Octangula crew from Mid Atlantic hard at work! (Photo by Squishelle)

We first laid our eyes on Stella Octangula, the MiAtlantic/Philadelphia project. When we first arrived, they were staging they their second geometric shape to be connected to the first one that they’d perfectly laid into the playa. Eventually, it will form a giant star tetrahedron, which is a symbol of divine essence and beauty. The crew members were warm, friendly, and offered us a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (yum! My favorite!) and we talked Jersey and Garden State Parkway exits.  During the CORE Art Walk on Tuesday afternoon, the Stella crew will host a workshop about how to created divine geometric forms through the art of origami. They will also be having a ritual dance performance that embodies the archetypal dualities between fire and air at 5pm on Tuesday. (more…)

PSA: A Burning Man Tip – Where do I find the Internet?

One week to go! I’m so excited I can’t feel my legs! Do you think I’ll need those?

One of the most commonly asked questions on the playa is: “Where can I get an internet connection?” Today’s Public Service Announcement is here to help!

You can listen below:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Or Click Here

If you need more information, here are some other recent PSA’s you might enjoy (WARNING: PSA’s were made in a facility containing peanuts):

Leave no Trace!
Prepare for the Weather!
Cope with Traffic!
Meet the Theme Camps!

Caveat is the Volunteer Coordinator for Media Mecca at Burning Man. His opinions are in no way statements of the Burning Man organization. Contact him at Caveat (at)

The ARTery is Open for Business


Yes, as you’ve heard,  Black Rock City’s infrastructure is coming along nicely due to the efforts of our valiant DPW. We’re seeing shade structures going up for the various Burning Man departments and we experienced a little population bump yesterday when people began arriving to ramp up their departments like Gate, ESD and Greeters. The Center Camp Café structure is built thanks to Monkeyboy and his team who pretty much worked with such efficiency and focus to build a structure that provided shade to continue working beneath, that it made me stop several times just to take in the talent and skill that oozed off them. Now Café décor is moving in and containers are being unloaded of dusty couches, carpet and other pieces of the Café.

Greeters collating – photo portaplaya

We’ve arrived at that point where all the departments moved over to their own channels from the main DPW channel. Those once quiet nowhere channels are now chattering with communications for things like Art Placement, Gate and IT. Main Gate at 8 mile is complete, at least six lanes wide leading from the new Gate to Greeters and the lanes are set with traffic cones like candy corn as far as the eye can see. It is all brand new awaiting your thousands of conveyances, empty and neat and clean, except for all the dust of course. Currently there are 30 Greeters in a container out there collating 70 thousand maps, “What Where When” guides and other things to give to you when you finally make it through the gate wait next week.

Random weird quotes abound around here these days. Moving about town I met Anika who was making a stencil “Practice Sustainable Jackassery,” Jackassery being a predominant pre event meme. At breakfast I shook a guy’s hand who said, “I’m Dustin” and I laughed then told him that was a good playa name. He said, “Oh, no my playa name is V.D. You might want to wash your hands” so I laughed … then washed my hands in the Tunnel of Love. As they passed along, someone said, “We put the DP in DPW.” New groups from different departments are moving in, setting up shade and generally staking their space that was so empty only 3 days ago. The hive mind is alive and buzzing.


The Time Is Now

Smoke from wildfires in California has turned the desert skies pink

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but holy crap it’s going off all over the place out here in the Black Rock Desert.

It’s Monday. Less than a week till the gates open. As Cobra Commander said at the DPW morning meeting, “Holy s— it’s Burning Man.”

And it’s true. It is upon us. It is upon you.

The desert already feels like it’s getting crowded, although that’s ridiculous. There are maybe a couple or several thousand people out here now, and many more on the way. Today is the first official day that artist theme camps are allowed to start setting up on the playa. Roads are in place, spires are up in many parts of the city, and the big art pieces are well underway – Otic Oasis, Burn Wall Street, Thistle,  Ego, Zoa. … the ones you should be marking down on your “who what where” list, because it’s going to be worth a trip from anywhere to visit them.

The more fundamental aspects of the city are either set to go or coming together fast. Trenches are being dug and power lines are being strung all around. The Center Cafe is all up and rigged (that giant sail of shade and rest in the center of the city), and the pretty-izing crew of Cafe Decor are setting up shop now, getting things all ready for you.

Ranger stations, emergency medical crews,  Gate and Perimeter, the various ice-dispensing Articas – all the backbone pieces of Black Rock City are ready or damn close to being ready for you. It’s almost become a contest among the various tribes and constituencies of the building crews out here; who can get it done right, and get it done first? Who’s going to win  Burning Man?

The crew from Otic Oasis has to haul gear out into the walk-in camping section of the city

Some of you may be familiar with all the preparation that this event requires, but some of you may be surprised by the logistical requirements. After all, the event only lasts a week, and then  because it’s a “leave no trace” event, when everybody goes home, it’s as if no one had ever been here, right?

Let’s just say, not really.

There is an insane amount of work done by a large number of people in insanely harsh conditions. All to get the place ready for you, because it’s you who are going to be bringing the awesomeness.

But by all accounts, this has been one of the hottest years ever. Don’t take my word for it; listen to Logan again, who said this morning that he’d never experienced the heat that has hit the city this year. And of course you’ve heard that this is going to be the dustiest  year in the history of Burning Man. You’ve seen the “Dustpocolypse” picture on the internets. But I’d caution you to avoid jumping to conclusions. Yes, there have been whiteouts. And maybe they’ve happened a little early. But there have been whiteouts during the early time in other years, too, so it’s a little too soon to make grand pronouncements. (more…)

(An unlikely) Public Service Announcement – Meet the Theme Camps!

Photo by Fanghong
There’s no problem in this world that a good PSA can’t fix – with the exceptions of genocide and erectile dysfunction.

That’s why today’s Public Service Announcement is about how to meet interesting people on the playa – a solvable problem! Although, be careful: it may lead to genocide or erectile dysfunction.

You can listen below:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Or click here

If you need more information, here are some other recent PSA’s you might enjoy, none of which were made with animal products:

Caveat is the Volunteer Coordinator for Media Mecca at Burning Man. His opinions are in no way statements of the Burning Man organization. Contact him at Caveat (at)

The Early Burn, a photo essay

What follows is a short photo essay of last night’s Early Burn. These photos and captions are from Todd “portaplaya” Gardiner, who will be working with some of the bloggers here during the event this year.

portaplaya writes

The Early Burn is a celebration of the accomplishments of the staff and volunteers. Many of the people out this early have been building the event for more than two weeks without a day off. and this short event allows each team to make an expression of their specific contribution and provides an evening of R&R before going into the last week before the event opens.

Small core teams of artists were formed by various larger groups. The projects are rather competitive and the results range from crass to classy. The next few photos show what these builders created in two day’s time, often from scrap materials.



an Angel from EGO


The Secret to Eating Vegetables at Burning Man

[Guest blogger Jennifer Scribner is a lazy foodie and enthusiastic Burner since 2006. As a Nutritional Therapist and the founder of Body Wisdom Nutrition, she specializes in helping people learn to prepare delicious whole foods to heal illnesses by healing digestive problems first. She wows her campmates and neighbors with seemingly gourmet meals that are actually based on minimal effort in the default world.]

The only vegetables I brought to my first few Burns were small packages of baby carrots. Anything other than that seemed like too big of a hassle. Why take time to fool with veggies on the playa when I want to be out participating? Plus, won’t they just go bad in a couple of days? I’ll stick to my string cheese and goldfish crackers, thanks.


By my fourth Burn I thought, “If eating veggies in my daily life makes me feel awesome, why would I give them up for the week when my body is exposed to extreme conditions?” I became determined to figure out how I could make eating veggies at Burning Man easy and convenient. That’s when I stumbled upon the secret: chop all your veggies before you leave for the Burn, then seal them up in plastic containers or Ziploc bags and pack them in your cooler. (more…)