December 19th, 2013  |  Filed under News

Burning Man’s Charitable Donations for 2013

bm_logoEvery year since 2003, Burning Man has used proceeds from ice sales at the event to make year-end donations to various charitable, art and service organizations in Northern Nevada and the San Francisco Bay Area. For 2013, our donations totaled $139,675. Below is a list of charitable donation recipients for 2013:

Bay Area & National Organizations:
Best Friend’s Animal Society (in memoriam Bill Carter)
Black Rock Arts Foundation
Black Rock Solar
Burning Man Project
The Crucible
Lawyers for Burners c/o Levin Law Firm Client Trust Account
Leave No Trace
Friends of Potrero Hill Nursery School
San Francisco Parks Trust
Surprise Valley Chamber of Commerce (Cedarville)
Yick Wo School

Nevada Organizations (not including Pershing Co.):
Gerlach Volunteer Fire Department
Gerlach High School
Gerlach General Improvement District
Gerlach-Empire Senior Citizens Palace
Crisis Call Center
Friends of the Black Rock
Nevada Museum of Art
Nevada Outdoor School
Nevada State Museum
Historical Society of Dayton Valley
Friends of the Nevada State Railroad Museum
Sierra Arts Foundation
Bruka Theatre
Nevada Discovery Museum
Kiwanis Bike Program
Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Museum
Pyramid Lake Volunteer Fire Department
Consolidated Agencies of Human Services
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Nevada

Lovelock/Pershing Organizations:
Pershing County Senior Center
Eagle Scholarship
Pershing County Community Center
Lovelock Middle School (Special Education)
Pershing County High School (Athletic Department)
Pershing County Domestic Violence Intervention
Pershing General Hospital & Nursing Care
Pershing County Humane Society
Lovelock Frontier Days
Lovelock Lion’s Club
Friends of the Library
Marzen House Museum
Kids, Horses & Rodeos
Lovelock Food Bank
Lovelock Boy Scouts Association
Lovelock Little League Association
Lovelock Chamber of Commerce
Pershing County Arts Council
Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary
Lovelock Volunteer Fire Department
Project Graduation

December 18th, 2013  |  Filed under News

What’s Up With the Burning Man Project?

So, what’s the Burning Man Project been up to lately?

Wait … let’s step back a minute. What is the Burning Man Project? Short answer is it’s Burning Man’s non profit dedicated to spreading Burner principles and values worldwide – it’s taking the playa to the planet!

Burning Man Project received its 501c3 status as a charitable organization in May 2012, has been getting its administrative house in order and is starting to make things happen. We’re wading into deeper waters now, taking on projects on a variety of topics. We wanted to take a minute to highlight a few of the recent ones.

Event flyer

NYC Symposium

New York City Symposium on Burning Man, Technology, Religion and the Future

In November, the Burning Man Project joined Columbia University’s Department of Religion and Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life to present a free forum on Burning Man, technology, religion and the future, featuring panelists Larry Harvey (founder of Burning Man), John Perry Barlow (founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation) and Peter Hirshberg (disruptive cultures and technology expert). Dr. David Kittay of Columbia’s Department of Religion moderated a lively conversation about Burning Man as a philosophical movement, its history, and its predicted global applications.

More than 300 turned out for the two hour-long discussion and Q&A session.

We’re looking to offer traveling symposia like this in more cities around the world as part of the Project’s education programming. They’re an ideal way to share the wisdom of Burner values with the academic community and beyond.

Youth Educational Spaceship at Burning Man 2013 (photo by Sue Holland)

Youth Educational Spaceship at Burning Man 2013 (photo by Sue Holland)

Youth Education Spaceship (Y.E.S.) Project

Burning Man Project collaborated Black Rock Arts Foundation, Black Rock City, The CrucibleExploratorium, and Maker Faire to work with Burner artist Dana Albany and kids from San Francisco’s Tenderloin and Hunters Point neighborhoods to build a 12′ diameter 10′ high space ship from repurposed and found objects.

Y.E.S. is a mobile spaceship classroom and collaborative art project that gave the kids experience creating and exhibiting their creation, which has gone on tour to Burning Man, the Exploratorium, Hunter’s Point Open Studios, and Maker Faire in San Mateo.

Downtown Project, working with Burning Man Project, helped bring Y.E.S. to Las Vegas, where it opened to the public at the Learning Village November 15, with a variety of family friendly programming including spaceship tours, mosaic workshops with recycled materials, wiring and interactive robotic demos. The spaceship has taken up temporary residence at Zappos headquarters.

The response has been fantastic and the Project is looking at similar programs in other cities.

The crowd at Distrikt, 2013 (photo by Jared Mechaber)

The crowd at Distrikt, 2013 (photo by Jared Mechaber)

Crowdfunding: Trends in the Sharing Economy

Earlier this month, Burning Man Project hosted a free panel discussion on trends in the sharing economy. Crowdfunding and the sharing economy reflect our principles of gifting, communal effort, civic responsibility and decommodification, and we brought together Kate Drane from Indiegogo, Daniel Miller from Fundrise, and Harry Pottash from Kiva to talk about the future of crowdfunding.

More than 50 people turned out to discuss the state of crowdfunding, the challenges they’ve faced, and new ideas on how this movement can be used to empower underprivileged projects through the democratization of fundraising.

Like What You See?

If these are the kinds of programming you find interesting and want to bring to your community, we can use your help with a donation to the Burning Man Project. We’ve got even more ambitious plans for 2014 and we need your help.

December 9th, 2013  |  Filed under Culture (Art & Music)

Crowdfunding Art Conundrum: is money “participation” in any meaningful sense?

Andy Warhol thought this was art.  But is it participation?

Andy Warhol thought this was art. But is it participation?

The closest I’ve ever come to “crowdfunding” something was asking a room to tip generously.  But I’m told that web 2.0 and the “sharing economy” have revolutionized the process of funding theme camps and art for Burning Man.

Granted, we live in a time when “revolutionized” can apply to the way people shop for car insurance, so the word doesn’t mean what it used to.  But the number of successful camps and cars at this year’s Burning Man that used Kickstarter or another crowdfunding platform couldn’t be ignored.

And why should they be ignored?  These are all volunteers trying to create amazing things for the community’s enjoyment:  anything that makes their lives easier is all for the good.

But let’s play Indiegogo show-and-tell and see if something comes up, like a body floating to the surface.

Most of the premiums offered for supporting projects the Burn are of the “have a t-shirt!” or “get a piece of the art for your home when we’re finished” variety, and there’s really nothing to see here.

But when you reach the upper echelon of donations, a different kind of premium reward often emerges.  Can you spot the pattern? Read more »

December 3rd, 2013  |  Filed under News

Joseph Pred, Burning Man’s Emergency Services Operations Chief moves on

Joseph Pred

Joseph Pred

Joseph Pred, who founded the Emergency Services Department and served as its Operations Chief, has announced he is moving on after 17 years to focus on his consulting work. Joseph helped develop the Black Rock Rangers prior to the 1996 event and it was his vision that grew the event’s Emergency Services Department to a world class organization.

From his early involvement as a volunteer medic with the Black Rock Rangers, he spun off the Emergency Services Department in 2001 as the event grew and organizers recognized a need for a dedicated focus on fire and medical support for Black Rock City. He joined the organization full time in 2003.

“Philosophically, what makes ESD different from any other event in the world is the municipal nature of what we’re doing,” Joseph said. “In the early days I don’t think we realized how groundbreaking it was. We weren’t following any blueprint.”

In the 13 years since ESD was created it has grown to an organization with more than 100 managers and 1,000 staff involved in oversight and strategic planning year round overseeing advanced and basic life support, fire, dispatch, communications infrastructure and mental health services for a temporary city of 68,000. Read more »

November 22nd, 2013  |  Filed under Culture (Art & Music)

Burning Man and the psychology of the “exotic”

And this represents ... what ... to the stranger?

And this represents … what … to the stranger?

Having reached the point where any development from Burning Man provokes a media storm (we’re just a few years away from “Larry Harvey sneezes, stock market slides”), I can’t help but wonder:  what is the Burning Man shaped hole in the western psyche?

That might not make any sense.  I apologize.  It’s dark out all the time now, which adds a lazy, self-indulgent, streak to my writing.  Like this paragraph.  Completely unnecessary.  Yet here we are.  I know better.  Ah well.  What’re ya gonna do?  To fix this I’d have to edit the first paragraph, and who has that kind of energy?

Let me explain, in a drawn-out, round-about, kind of way, what I’m asking.  Those of you who aren’t charmed by unnecessary digressions might want to skip to this article about sex in the U.S. Senate.  Salaciously speaking, that’s the high point of this post.  I’m not going to mention fellating a U.S. Senator again.

In his magisterial new book “Anti-Judiasm,” historian David Nirenberg traces … not exactly the “history” of anti-Semitism, but the various shapes it has taken over the last 3,000 years.  What he demonstrates is not just that a lot of people have hated Jews for a lot of stupid reasons, but that the justification for the hatred has often taken the shape of whatever was supposed to be wrong with Western culture at the time. Read more »

November 21st, 2013  |  Filed under Events/Happenings

Event: Crowdfunding: Trends in the Sharing Economy

Please join us for this special discussion on December 12 at Burning Man Headquarters!

Crowdfunding: Trends in the Sharing Economy

The crowd at Distrikt, 2013 (photo by Jared Mechaber)

The crowd at Distrikt, 2013 (photo by Jared Mechaber)

The sharing economy is taking off – whether it’s peer-to-peer rentals, skill sharing, crowdfunding, ridesharing or unused parking spots. Spawned by a confluence of the economic crisis, environmental concerns, and the social web coming of age, the sharing economy is quickly becoming the hottest trend in economic paradigms.

We in the Burning Man community are particularly interested in the dynamics and the future of the sharing economy, since it reflects our principles of gifting, communal effort, civic responsibility and decommodification.

Please join us for a panel discussion focused specifically on the future of crowdfunding, one of the fastest-developing areas in the sharing economy. We will explore the role it plays in creative community development, and how it’s being applied to entrepreneurial endeavors in the form of spaces (local real estate) and support for small businesses (micro loans).

When: December 12, 7-9pm
Where: Burning Man HQ
Address: 660 Alabama Street, San Francisco

Panelists:
Daniel Miller, Fundrise
Harry Pottash, Kiva
Kate Drane, Indiegogo

Moderator:
Will Chase, Burning Man Project

Please RSVP to attend.

This program is part of an ongoing series of events produced as part of the non-profit Burning Man Project’s Educational Program, supporting its cultural, philosophical and educational initiatives around the world. For information about past or upcoming events, or to propose one, click here.

November 20th, 2013  |  Filed under Tales From The Playa

The Playa Has Her Own Plans

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


by Playalive

This was my first year. I was so careful in my planning & research. I thought I had prepared myself as much as one could. Newbies! The Playa has her own plans for us. She decides what will happen. She is a living entity. I could feel her energy almost immediately.

Day 2 I stopped trying to fight the dust as I realized it was a losing battle. I went ahead & breathed her into me. I ate the food she got on. I let her live on my skin. I became one with the Playa. The deeper I got- the more she showed me.

One evening while walking to my block from middle Playa, a little dust storm picked up. I braced my back against it, put my mask up & pointed my flashlight around to see how thick it would get. I told the Playa it looked like we were under water. She told me she was showing me how she used to look. She remembers when she wasn’t dry & dusty. She remembers when water & life were a part of her day to day. I fell totally in love with her that night.

When people started packing & leaving, she was very sad. So sad- it was pulling me into the depression. I didn’t want to leave her alone but when the time came for me to leave, my RV wouldn’t start. I realized that we had to talk. I sat down put my hands on her & explained that I knew she missed hosting life & she looked forward to us coming home every year because for the shortest time she wasn’t alone & she was useful… almost like old days for her. I told her I loved her but that she had to let me go. I promised to always return to her & assured her that I knew this was now my home. The tow truck that had been blocked at the gate showed up shortly after.

Next year- no planning! I know our beloved Playa is the one that spins the magic & I will dive right into her dust & let whatever she has planned for me happen.

November 20th, 2013  |  Filed under Tales From The Playa

Phoenix: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of Cape Carnival

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

by Josh Boyer

 

When I left Burning Man in September 2012, I thought I might never again see the alkaline dust that lines the dried lake bed we burners call home. I had a rough go of it. After helping build a theme camp and an art car, I was left feeling disinterested in both by the time they were finished, so much so that when I had an opportunity to bask in the gift of a week in the most amazing place on Earth, I had trouble enjoying it. If not for a Saturday experience at the Temple, a place that the citizens of Black Rock City, NV consider sacred.

For those who don’t know me, I’m basically the guy who grew up as the all-American kid. I played sports all my life. I spent a large amount of my adolescent life in the Boy Scouts, achieving the rank of Eagle Scout on the eve of my 18th birthday. I was a letterman in football in a town that lived for its local team. I graduated high school in 2000 and two weeks later left for the Marine Corps, in which I served as an infantryman. At that point, it was all looking up for me and my future. I had no idea of the impact that decision would have on my life going forward.

As we all know, about a year after I joined the military, this country entered a state of war the likes of which our generation had never seen. Of course, with the job I signed up for and the way things went, I found myself leading young men into the deserts of Iraq at the ripe age of 20. I turned 21 somewhere on the way to Bagdad. I look back on that time and can say I did everything honorably and got my guys home to their families. For that, I will feel pride until the day I die. Read more »