December 7th, 2012  |  Filed under Culture (Art & Music)

Leo Villareal & The Bay Lights: Flip the Switch!

The Bay Lights, artist’s rendering

Remember this? Well, the fundraising and permitting process was a success, and the project is moving forward!

That’s right, long-time Burner, Disorient founder and artist Leo Villareal is creating the world’s largest LED light installation on the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Workers started attaching 25,000 white LED lights to the bridge in October. The installation is 1.8 miles in length and 500 feet high; the lights will be switched on early in March 2013 and will remain for at least two years.

Leo was inspired to create programmed light installations by his experiences at Burning Man in the mid-90′s, wandering in the darkness without any points of reference. The New York Times just published an article about Leo and the Bay Lights which includes the story of Leo’s Burning Man roots … here’s an excerpt:

“Like most of the crazier ideas that come out of San Francisco these days, the Bay Lights owes its genesis to Burning Man, the end-of-summer bacchanal on the Black Rock Desert playa where overworked Silicon Valleyites and underworked counterculturalists gather to stay up all night, party and cross-pollinate. Davis is a longtime regular at the festival and says that for him it conveys “a sense of spectacle, a sense of wonder and awe, a sense of generosity and shared experience. But he was growing frustrated with the annual ritual and becoming aware of a fundamental disconnect between the magic on the playa and the drudgery of daily life. How could he bring the beauty he saw every year at Burning Man back home?”

The project’s website, www.thebaylights.org, features a video animation of the project as it will appear in action. You can sign up on the Community page to receive bi-weekly updates on the project, including info on public events.

For those of you on Facebook, please like The Bay Lights page, and check it for updates.

December 7th, 2012  |  Filed under Events/Happenings

An Evening with David Best at the Nevada Museum of Art

The Black Rock Design Institute Presents “An Evening With David Best”
Thursday, December 13, at 6pm
Nevada Museum of Art
180 West Liberty Street
Reno, NV

Temple of Juno by David Best and The Temple Crew, 2012

Internationally acclaimed sculptor and architect David Best has created seven temples for Black Rock City, including the first “Temple of the Mind” in 2000, and the “Temple of Juno” in 2012. With inspiring scale and intricacy, David’s architecturally and psychologically significant structures are striking on the vast Black Rock Desert canvas. More importantly, David’s designs serve as a monumental community touchstone for Black Rock Citizens, and for the lives they have touched, culminating in a serenely beautiful burn. As many testify, David often gives spontaneous, deeply insightful, and emotionally moving talks about the intent, meaning, and experiences of the Temples. This lecture will be a wonderful opportunity to hear David’s deeper insights and broader outlooks on these phenomenal works.

Temple of Juno, 2012

Kerry Rohrmeier, cultural geography researcher and urban planner, will also be giving an introductory presentation on “Welcome to Black Rock City”. In studying Black Rock City through varied cultural, geographic, and historical lenses, Kerry will share some emerging lessons for participants in the creation of our yearly ephemerapolis.

Museum doors open for the evening at 5pm with refreshments and socializing. Lecture begins at 6pm. Tickets are now available here.

Black Rock Design Institute, the host for the evening, is a not-for-profit 501c3 comprised of Reno-area designers dedicated to improving our urban environment. More on the Black Rock Design Institute can be found here.

(Content generously provided by Nathan Aaron Heller and Kerry Rohrmeier.)

December 4th, 2012  |  Filed under News

Burning Man Hires Event Operations Director

I am excited to announce the hiring of Charlie Dolman, who very soon will assume the role of Event Operations Director for the annual Burning Man event in Black Rock City.

Charlie Dolman at Burning Man 2012

In this capacity, Charlie will oversee and direct event operations and logistics, and will play a major role in strategic planning to ensure the long-term success of the Burning Man event. Among other responsibilities, Charlie will oversee management of BRC event-specific departments, including Emergency Services Department, Department of Public Works, Community Services, Playa Safety Council, Art, and Café/Ice. He will also be a member of the Budget Committee, provide leadership to the Operations Team and serve on Burning Man’s Executive Committee.

A native of London, England, Charlie comes to us with 17 years of event-production experience, 12 of which he spent producing events of all sizes across Europe and the UK (and one in Zambia!). He co-founded and later served as Financial Director of The Secret Garden Party, an annual music and entertainment festival with 30,000 attendees. Charlie has extensive event-related experience in project management, logistics, safety, licensing, marketing, budgeting, crises management, and managing and developing teams. Most recently, he served as Projects Director for the MAMA Group.

Charlie first traveled to the playa in 2006 and has hasn’t missed a Burn since. He co-ran a camp on the Esplanade (The Flying Monkey Pub) his first year and has been instrumental in the leadership of several large-scale communal camps: The Untied Nations Embassy, the UnNatural History Museum, Burningdales, HMS XS, and in 2012, Terminal Y. Charlie is deeply committed to the 10 Principles and enthusiastic about this opportunity to facilitate their manifestation in Black Rock City and beyond.

We greatly look forward to working with Charlie, so please join us in welcoming him!

December 3rd, 2012  |  Filed under Afield in the World

Getting Dusty With Sandy

The line between light and dark. The anatomy of a New York City blackout.

At the end of October, a San Francisco-based group from the Burning Man Project traveled to New York City. We had planned four days of meetings with the thriving Burner community, and were eager to engage with new friends. What we hadn’t planned on was engaging with Hurricane Sandy. Which is how our intrepid crew from San Francisco found ourselves discovering unexpected playa lessons on a very urban landscape.

The Burning Man Project nonprofit seeks to extend the Burning Man ethos beyond the desert, and New Yorkers have some good ideas about how to do that. We had made plans to meet with regional contacts, to see Board Member Leo Villareal’s newest art installation, to host a participant discussion about the Project, and to attend a local theme-camp-inspired Halloween party.

Thrust into the eye of the storm, we found ourselves without power or water, unable to leave the City and largely unable to communicate back to California. Fortunately, we also found ourselves witnessing Burners helping each other through, conducting meetings by candlelight, respecting the resilience of New Yorkers, and affirming the importance of shawarma.

Continue reading for an account of our big learning Big Apple adventure … Read more »

November 30th, 2012  |  Filed under Tales From The Playa

Expectations / Reality / Flipping the Switch

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


by Cavelle

#1. “Expectations”

Our Black Rock City Campsite:
With its Emberglow exterior
Hot, Mysterious, Sirenic
Soft-bodied drape and flow into

The Dark, Shady Place -
Our Shade Core
a Touchstone Space
a Renewal Site
Cool, blue-green shelter
A private, restful portal to our…

Deep Camp -
Scheherazade Tent
Lush, Plump, Furry mounds of Fuzzy Flame-colored Pillows,
Chinese lanterns, Orange seventies high/low carpet:
Our Sacred and wombishly Yoniverse

#2. “Reality”

Blown
Choked
Shaken
Thrashed
Like a sobbing bride standing alone at the altar
She wishes herself to the lacy temple for a
Sanctified Revirgined Do-Over.

#3. “Flipping the Switch”

I let myself be danced into this new day:
Do-Over Day
I live in Nowcamp
I am enough
Suddenly reignited by wonder
Life is a Playa-eye-gazing puja with
Everyburners everywhere
My dance is a throbbing, womb-based lightshow
All sparkles and twinkles
of Curiosity
Discovery
Surprise
I’m el-wired
Connected
Aglow
Pulsing with Playasensuality
Laser Lightstrings attach to each cell of my yoni
through my Rainbowlit Chakraself
Relaxed, Responsive, Authentic -
Even Photogenic -
I’m my Soul-Sourced
Expansive light-being-best:
This is Burning Man.

November 27th, 2012  |  Filed under Tales From The Playa

Astronauts

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

from Portal Collective

I’ve told my portal story from 2012, in which I found out my destiny to be a Portal Keeper. I’ve also told my story of The American Dream in 2008, when I encountered Harlan Gruber’s portals for the first time. But I have another portal story from Rights Of Passage in 2011, which is perhaps the strangest of them all.

Read more »

November 20th, 2012  |  Filed under Tales From The Playa

Bill Hornstein’s Burning Man 2012 Photo Odyssey

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


by Bill Hornstein

Check out the rest of Bill’s odyssey on www.billhornstein.com.

November 19th, 2012  |  Filed under Participate!

How many theme camps can dance on the head of a Burning Man ticket?

They all want tickets

Have you come up with a theory about how Burning Man should handle ticket sales yet?

If not, congratulations:  you’re the only one.

My blogging colleague Jon Mitchell wrote about a pre-Halloween brain-eating session to discuss how Burning Man should handle ticket sales to groups – if it does that at all.  I attended that meeting because there was an open bar, and am pleased to report that their signature cocktail was a combination of black vodka, blue Curacao, and Sprite.  It was delicious.  Especially when you really stirred it around so the layers mixed.

The other thing I noticed was that of the 30-some people in attendance, there were 40-some theories about how Burning Man could best handle ticket sales – it was as though “radical incompatibility” were the 11th principle.

My impression is that discussions were equally convoluted at the Burning Man staff retreat.  I wasn’t there (I’m a volunteer), so I can only confirm that while the Org staff were out talking about the future of Burning Man I opened a bottle of 25 year tawny port which had a taste of leather and chocolate on the back palate.

There are no questions in this world as inflammatory and divisive as questions of identity – which is why what should be the bland and technocratic discussion of how to sell tickets gets so many people so worked up so fast.  How we handle ticket demand is widely seen as an indicator of who we are.  Burning Man is the participants – and the participants are the people with tickets.  Aren’t they? Read more »