October 24th, 2013  |  Filed under Events/Happenings

Event: “Collaborative Creativity, Collaborative Spaces”

Philly Mid-Atlantic CORE Team and their creation "Stella Octangula", 2012 (photo by Terry Pratt)

Philly Mid-Atlantic CORE Team and their creation “Stella Octangula”, 2012 (photo by Terry Pratt)

Join us for an evening of discussion and knowledge-sharing about radical collaboration! Burning Man Project presents:

Collaborative Creativity, Collaborative Spaces
Thursday, November 14
7:00 – 9:00 pm
@ Burning Man Project
660 Alabama Street, 4th Floor, San Francisco (NOTE: New location!)

Description:

Effective collaboration is critical to manifesting the large-scale installations and experiences that have become the hallmark of Burning Man culture. And it’s just as critical to have access to the kind of physical spaces that are conducive to these collaborative efforts.

Please join us for an evening of discussion about the ins and outs, ups and downs of creative collaborations and the places in which they happen. You’ll hear from artists and place-makers about what works, what doesn’t, best practices, and potential pitfalls.

Featured presenters:

Jess Hobbs, Artist, Flux Foundation
Mike Zuckerman, Place Maker, [freespace]
Tomas McCabe, Executive Director, Black Rock Arts Foundation
Moderated by $teven Raspa, Arts Advocate & Community Events Producer, Burning Man

Information and Tickets:

For more information and tickets, visit http://www.eventbrite.com/event/8866274265.

October 24th, 2013  |  Filed under Events/Happenings

Event: “The Gift: From Economy to Cosmology”

The Gift

The Gift

Join us for a lively discussion about the power and dynamics of gifting!
Burning Man Project presents:

The Gift: From Economy to Cosmology
Monday, October 28
6:00 – 9:30 pm
@ The Sunflower Center
1435 North McDowell Blvd. Suite 100, Petaluma, CA

Description:

The gift and sharing economy is becoming an important component of our culture. The economic consequences of this movement are profound, signaling a transition to a new economic era. Beyond economy, this movement toward gift is part of an even bigger shift in our conception of self, nature, and cosmos.

Charles Eisenstein

Charles Eisenstein

This exciting and inspiring evening will feature a presentation from Charles Eisenstein, followed by a panel with special guest gifting artists David Best and Joshua Coffy, moderated by Julia Bystrova of Transition’s Heart and Soul outreach. We will have a lively discussion!

The evening will benefit the work of Transition US and Burning Man Project. These nonprofit organizations are doing real work in the world to educate and build community in the spirit of a more sustainable and just society. Because this is a fundraiser, we will be inviting your gifting. There is no set cost to attend though we do ask a contribution based your value received. Donations to both organizations are fully tax deductible.

Organic wine and Lydia’s healthy fare will be available for purchase. Come early to enjoy and connect!

For entry cost info or to reserve your spot please click here.

Your donation will reserve your space, and will be divided equally between the two organizations. You may attend and choose to make a donation of any amount at the door, if there is still space available.

Featured presenters:

Charles Eisenstein, author, “Sacred Economics”
David Best, artist
Joshua Coffy, artist
Moderated by Julia Bystrova, Transition’s Heart and Soul

Information and Tickets:

For more information and tickets, visit http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/477809.

October 24th, 2013  |  Filed under Events/Happenings

“The Artumnal Gathering: Metamorphosis” – A BRAF Benefit

Artumnal Gathering: Metamorphosis

Artumnal Gathering: Metamorphosis

The Black Rock Arts Foundation presents…

The Artumnal Gathering: Metamorphosis
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Dinner 6:00 p.m., Main Event 9:45 p.m.

The Bently Reserve
400 Sansome St.
San Francisco, CA 94111

For the last twelve years, BRAF has enjoyed the privilege of working with artists who are breaking the mold of public art, and who prioritize community benefit and involvement in their work. We believe in their vision and are honored to offer them our support.

BRAF is nearing a pivotal moment in our evolution. We recognize that there are more avenues of growth to be explored, more communities in need of art, and more connections and collaborations to be nurtured.

Now is the perfect time to recognize our community’s extraordinary artists! Join us in celebration of our past work and collaborators, and support BRAF’s future initiatives!

BRAF’s seventh annual gala event includes epicurean delights, sophisticated libations, tantalizing treats, wondrous pleasures, captivating featured and roaming live performances, DJ’s, original artwork by BRAF’s favorite artists, dancing, raffle, gallery art sale, live and silent auction featuring exclusive experiences and items, and abundant expressions of creativity!

This event sells out! Buy tickets today!

All tickets are 21 and over. Black Rock Arts is a 501(c)3 non-profit. A portion of your ticket price is tax-deductible.

Buy tickets here!

Please feel free to contact us for more information by emailing artumnal here: artumnal (at) blackrockarts.org.

October 17th, 2013  |  Filed under Culture (Art & Music)

Burning Down the Library

Peruse it or Lose it LibraryIn 2003 posters went up around Los Angeles featuring cuddly dogs and the cutest of kittens.  Above them, in big block letters, were the words:

We will kill our pets to protest the War.

If President Bush didn’t pull out of Iraq, the poster went on to say, “We, the Raelian Pet Owners United to Stop War, will kill our pets.”  It listed a date and time.  At a dog park, of course.

It was hilarious … and actually generated a police investigation … but it was only so interesting.  Because of course the Los Angeles Cacophony Society (the poster’s true author) wasn’t really going to kill any pets, and of course George Bush wasn’t going to pull out of Iraq, and there was nothing any members of the public could do about it anyway.  So, yeah:  very funny joke, but nothing to see here.

Ten years later, two Arizona Burners may have just done Cacophony one better.

In July Admiral Fiesta and Sista Turtle Dove began work on the “Peruse it or Lose it Library,” which had its first shelf life at last weekend’s Arizona Decompression.  The premise is simple:  they built a library for Decompression, and at the end of the event they burned it – along with whatever books were left.

If you didn’t want a book to burn, you … yes, you, the person walking by … had to take it.  Otherwise it went up in flames.

“We were compared to Nazis on several occasions,” Admiral Fiesta told me.  “To paraphrase a friend’s argument on Facebook, the Nazis were burning books as an act of censorship – particularly censorship of deviant art and pornography.”

The Nazis, however, were not famous for willingly letting things go.  The “Peruse it or Lose it Library” was different:  practically begging passers-by to be their own Schindler.

“During the event I had many people come up to me and ask, ‘Are you really going to burn books on Saturday?’” Sista Turtle Dove said.  “My typical response was, ‘Only if there are any left…’” Read more »

October 15th, 2013  |  Filed under Afield in the World, News

Black Rock Solar Honored for Selflessness

Black Rock Solar

Black Rock Solar

Well now … Burning Man’s spin-off non-profit Black Rock Solar is being recognized for their great work and good deeds over the years!

Solar Power World Newsletter has announced that Black Rock Solar has been awarded the Brian D. Robertson Solar Schools Memorial Fund Award — honoring BRS’s selflessness in solar advocacy, installations and education work. BRS Executive Director Paddy McCully will accept the award at the Solar Power World Top 250 Gala in Chicago, during the Solar Power International conference.

Here’s the story from SPWN:

By popular acclamation, Black Rock Solar, a Reno, Nev.-based solar non-profit installer, will be awarded the Brian D. Robertson Solar Schools Memorial Fund Award.

The Brian D. Robertson Solar Schools Memorial Fund will recognize the non-profit at the Solar Power World Top Contractors Gala on Oct. 21 at The Drake Hotel in Chicago for its selfless solar advocacy, installations and education work.

Black Rock Solar began as a volunteer crew installing a 30-kW solar photovoltaic (PV) array at the Burning Man festival in 2007. That fall, the array was donated to the nearby town of Gerlach, Nev., and Black Rock Solar began its mission of building low-cost solar for organizations and communities who can use it the most.

Since 2007, Black Rock Solar has installed more than three megawatts of solar power for tribes, non-profits and schools in Nevada. Many of its systems have been built at zero cost to its clients.

The BDR Fund is a project of The Solar Foundation, a national non-profit dedicated to expanding access to solar energy and broadening solar energy education in our nation’s K-12 schools. Named for Brian Robertson, a young entrepreneur and solar pioneer who died in a plane crash in December 2011, the award was created to honor Brian’s legacy and recognize the often overlooked work of community-oriented organizations and companies in the world of solar.

“Black Rock and others who have demonstrated their dedication to solar philanthropy make us proud to be part of this industry, and it is important that their generosity be publicly acknowledged,” said BDR Fund Board Member Jigar Shah.

Grid Alternatives and Solar Liberty also competed for the award.

The Top Solar Contractors Gala, taking place during Solar Power International 2013, is the culminating ceremony celebrating the publication’s 2013 Top 250 Solar Contractors rankings. The event will bring together more than 80 companies and 300 installation professionals.

UPDATE: Here’s a nice recap of the gala.

October 14th, 2013  |  Filed under Afield in the World, Events/Happenings

SF Gets Decompressed

IMG_0187

We went to San Francisco’s version of Decompression on Sunday, and the cool grey city of love was looking anything but cool and grey: sunshine and late-summer warmth carried the day.

Esprit Park was jammed, the drinks were cool and the outfits were fantastic. No, we weren’t in the desert, and no, Burning Man wasn’t still happening, but wherever and whenever you get to the people and things that make you happy, that’s a good thing. And Decompression is that good thing.

There were art cars and info booths, Black Rock Solar and BMIR, flames and glowies, and plenty of happy people. It’s funny: during the event you might tend to stick with your own kind; ravers are with ravers, artists are with artists, builders are with builders. But at Decompression we all kind of get thrown together along four long blocks in the Dogpatch, and you see all the disparate sides of Burning Man in a comparatively small space.

There was Larry his own self behind the yellow tape at the Friends of DPW area (and thank you Caitlin and Pinkie and Abbey and all the rest who gave their time and money and energy to create a safe landing place for the slightly shell-shocked folks who only last week got back from the desert after finishing up Playa Restoration).

There were sound stages all along the event area, and there were DJs and live music, and interestingly enough there were also spoken-word performances, which leads you to believe that the entertainment and scope of what happens at Decom continues to expand and evolve. Late in the night a young guy was telling the story of a recent breakup, and there was a good 60 people or so, sitting and listening and feeling a little more connected to the experiences we all share.

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There was Marian and Lady Bee and Will Chase and Lightning and other BM luminaries, and there was Plex and Deborah and dozens if not hundreds of other volunteers who make all this possible. It never ceases to amaze us how much is accomplished because of the kindness and generosity of and open-heartedness of the volunteers. None of this could happen without them, and we thank them sincerely, if inadequately, every chance we get. Thank you for getting up early, thank you for staying up late, thank you for working the whole time. Thank you.

We naturally gravitated around the DPW enclave, because it felt like home. We could watch the parade of people strolling by, the stilt-walkers and the sparkle ponies, the makers and artists, the veterans and the newbies.

You probably remember how challenging it was to readjust to the default world when you got back from the desert. But imagine if you had been out there since the beginning of August and just now returned to your other life. The desert cleanup is finished, but the BLM inspection hasn’t taken place yet because the government is at least partially shut down. And it’s unclear when that inspection will happen. But if history is any guide, and of course it is, there won’t be anything to worry about; the Resto crew went over the playa inch by inch so that we can truly say that Burning Man is a leave-no-trace event.

There were signs yesterday, though, that environmental mindfulness can get left behind in the desert. At the end of the night, as we walked out to Mariposa street, we couldn’t help but notice how much litter was on the ground. Sigh. And that’s why there was another team of volunteers on duty very early Monday morning, making sure that we could justifiably claim that Decompression, like Burning Man, is a leave-no-trace event. It just needs a little help.

Read more »

October 10th, 2013  |  Filed under News

Your New Nobel Laureate in Chemistry is a Burner

Go figure. The most recent winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry is a Burner.

Helix thing.

Helix thing.

Congratulations to Michael Levitt, professor of structural biology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He was awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work back in the 1970’s “for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems.” According to the Stanford News, “Levitt’s work focuses on theoretical, computer-aided analysis of protein, DNA and RNA molecules responsible for life at its most fundamental level. Delineating the precise molecular structures of biological molecules is a necessary first step in understanding how they work and in designing drugs to alter their function.”

(Admittedly, we only understand this at a barely-survived-10th-grade-chemistry level at best … there was something about cool-looking spirally things.)

Michael and Rina and their sculpture "Unity" at Burning Man 2013. (Photo c/o "Soloride" on Reddit)

Michael and Rina and their sculpture “Unity” at Burning Man 2013. (Photo c/o “Soloride” on Reddit)

It’s notable that the Prize is related to work that the 66-year old Levitt did back when he was just 20 years of age. Most of us likely boast no greater achievement at 20 than moving out of our parents’ house. Or back in, as the case may be. So we’re thinking this guy really had his sh*t together.

But anyway, the reason you care about any of this (if you’re not a die-hard chemist or Nobeliphile, a word we made up) is that Levitt and his wife Rina are Burners. According to the article, “[h]e and his wife together designed a two-dimensional wire sculpture for the 2013 Burning Man festival in Nevada. Rina, the artist, designed the piece, called Unity. Levitt, of course, used a computer to calculate the exact shape and dimensions the single long wire outline should assume.”

And that? Is pretty cool. We love our people.

October 10th, 2013  |  Filed under Participate!

Why does Burning Man seem so much like a political movement?

This is not Burning Man.  Not even close.

This is not Burning Man. Not even close.

As America convulses and political gridlock is on everyone’s mind, it seems as good a time as any to look closely at the facile relationship between Burning Man and politics.

I caught heat, back in 2011, for saying that Burning Man and Occupy Wall Street actually have very little in common.  I think time has vindicated me, but that heat shows that a lot of people see Burning Man as a kind of political movement … or something close to it.  They see Burning Man not just as something capable of influencing society, but as a movement capable of taking power – though they might not use that exact phrase.

And sure, watching people work on their art cars, build their structures, prep their costumes … and especially coming and going from Burning Man, it’s hard to shake the idea that Burning Man is a force that will change the world.

But is it a political force?  Is Burning Man a political movement?

The answer is:  No.  Obviously.  Fuck you.

But … if you disagree with me about this, you’re in good company.  A lot of people do.

Read more »