Are You Missing “The Burn”?

Most of us are home and cleaning the playa dust from this year’s [BM].  My kitchen continues to smell like vinegar since my husband and I arrived home two weeks apart.  But most of my friends are talking about missing the community and spectacle they experience at the Burning Man event. For some of them, like us, it has become a part of their lives.  I know there are a lot of videos out there but I thought you might like to see “Burn Baby Burn”.  It does have some enhancements so if you are a purist about the Burn this might not be the video for you, but I loved it:

Music: BRAPT, an underground Belgian artist
Animation: John Ferran (Dustfish)
Video: Mister WA or MisterWAvideo here: MisterWAvideo (at) gmail.com

MOOP Map Live 2012: The Day We Fail to Leave No Trace …

One of the sexiest things about Burning Man — which you don’t always hear in the media — is that we’re the largest practicing Leave No Trace event in the world. BOOM! We build it, we burn it, we blow it up, and we make it all disappear so it looks like nothing ever happened.

The Man explodes on September 1, 2012. Photo by Neil Girling. Click for original.

With 50,000+ attendees in 2012, Burning Man is the largest gathering on U.S. Public Lands. The Bureau of Land Management permits us to celebrate our culture in the Black Rock Desert, but we must make sure the playa is returned to its pristine condition, Leaving No Trace behind. After all, it is public land and it’s meant to be shared by everyone.

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MOOP Map Live 2012: …AND THEY’RE OFF!

Moopers at the starting line. Photo by Vertumnus. Click to enlarge!

Hello, hello, HELLO to all you MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! Welcome to our LIVE coverage of the event of the year, the thrilling final quarter of Burning Man 2012, the nail-biting conclusion to a rollercoaster season. That’s right: We’re about to start creating this year’s MOOP Map.

If you’re tuning in for the first time, here’s what you need to know: Burning Man may technically be over, but for the 115 members of the Playa Restoration team, it’s just getting going. These all-star, highly attuned and maniacally dedicated moopers are about to comb the width and breadth of Black Rock City, picking up every last piece of MOOP they can before time runs out. What will they find? Will they finish in time? We’re about to find out.

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A Sacred Place amidst the Dust

Temple and Dust

This year I was fortunate enough to spend time with some of the Temple Crew and I was privy to the energy, values and belief they put into building the Temple of Juno. I found that talking about the Temple soon becomes a discussion about something ethereal, something bigger than an art project and rather something that is a significant locus not only in Black Rock City but also within each of the people who are working on constructing it, including those who fill it up once the structure is finished. The Temple is something vital and real to our community. It is a sacred place amidst the dust.

I’m not an expert at these kinds of things, but from what I’ve encountered, the Temple Crew is a group who feels deeply about what they build. Many have been touched by grief. They are all unified in their sense of purpose, even if they all bring different points of view and motivations to the creation of the Temple.

Temple Crew in the Dust

I hung around the work site, then at their camp and they were a hard working bunch, but they always had time to talk to me when I asked about what they were doing. That seems to be a running theme among the crew.

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Opera de la Playa

[Jennifer Raiser is an avid long-time Burner, Burning Man Project board member, theme camp leader, and Black Rock Ranger. Her writing has appeared in the Huffington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Nob Hill Gazette and most often for her publication, SFWire.]

 “How was Burning Man?” they inquire as I ascend the shallow red-carpeted stairs leading up to the Opera House. It is five days after Exodus, and I am reluctantly back in San Francisco, Center Camp of the default domain. I am here to mark the festive highlight of another tribe, the ninetieth annual Opening Night at the Opera. To some, this happy occasion commands the same kind of importance that we associate with Burn night. Tonight’s task is to write about the grand gesture of opera and the people who are its patrons. I am charged with distilling and interpreting the evening into an article to be read by those who attend, and those who do not. The dual role as enthusiast and observer is familiar. On playa, I am a passionate participant, a Ranger, a theme camp leader, a volunteer and an author; here, I am a friendly alien who comes from that arid planet near Gerlach and happens to pen a social column.

Acquaintances here are polite and prodding about the desert. They indulgently inquire about Burning Man in the same way you might bring up a shared alma mater, or a mutual love of licorice, knowing it is a certain conversation starter. Some truly want to know, some want me to know that they know, or think they know, about my annual retreat to my happiest (and saddest, and most demanding) place on earth. I try to disarm their suspicion with the comparisons between tonight and the burning of the Man. In both places, I remind them, like-minded spirits gather to share a communal dinner, enthusiastic dancing, and well-stocked bars openly coursing with goodwill. We are corseted and costumed in ensembles carefully curated for the occasion.  We mark this artistic triumph with the biggest party of the year. (more…)

Hey, First-Timers! How was your Burn?

Photo by Spencer Jones

Burning Man 2012 is a wrap! And now we’re curious … what did you think? We specifically want to hear from first-time Burners about your experience.

What were your impressions going in? How did the reality differ from your expectations? What did you get out of your time on playa? What did you learn? What are you taking home with you?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Oh and also: welcome! We’re glad to have you with us!

And if you’d like to give specific feedback about the event (good or bad), please email it to feedback here: feedback (at) burningman.com before November 1st … that’s our official Feedback Loop channel.

Send Us Your Temple Stories From Friday And Saturday

If you have a story, an image, or anything to share from Friday or Saturday at the Temple this year, we want to see it.

My friend Sarah and I are working on a project that covers the span of time from midday Friday to midday Saturday at the Temple of Juno. That encompasses at least five weddings, the gnarliest dust storm of the week, and many more emotional highs and lows.

Were you there? Send your memories to us {at} templestories.com. Make them as long or as short as they need to be. Please include names to go with your stories, though the names can be whatever you want.

Please only share information you’re willing to share publicly online.

You’ll hear more about this project very soon.

We love you,
Jon & Sarah

Thanks forever to Scott London for the photo.

Defending What Matters

Black Rock City is the greatest city in the world.
But every city has assholes. And thiefs. And rapists.

YES, we should continue to assume that we are dealing with the 99.9% of the city that is AMAZING, but be aware that there are dark spots out there among all the light

You can no longer pretend that there are no bikes stolen at Burning Man – you have to use a lock.
And we can longer pretend that there is no Sexual Assault at Burning Man – you have to use good judgement, look out for one another…AND speak up when somebody crosses the line.

There is an important conversation going on on ePlaya about the challenges and need for Rape Kits & other preparations in Black Rock City. (EDIT: Now locked. Additional conversation happening here & new blog post here.)

In this week’s Hug Nation (“Back From Burning Man”) broadcast, I discussed my own camp’s episode this year which involved a camp mate who crossed the line and ended up leaving in cuffs.

What we create within the Walls of BRC is sacred. We need to acknowledge the darkness as it creeps in and banish it with light. Admitting that Burning Man is not a perfect Shangri La is not a failure…it is a necessary step required to defend our borders and create even safer spaces for expression, creation, and Love.

(The sexual assault discussion starts at 27:34.)