Burners Without Borders 2015 Walk the Talk Grantees Announced

Burners Without BordersBurners Without Borders — soon to become a program of the Burning Man Project — has been awarding Walk the Talk Grants for three years, through a partnership with the Burning Man Regional Network. Walk the Talk is a program aimed at funding innovative community projects within the Burning Man Global Network, particularly programs that create collaborations, produce direct actions, utilize Burning Man’s Ten Principles, are reproducible, and creatively tackle local problems.

We are excited to announce the Walk the Talk grantees for 2015. Congratulations to all of these grantees and thank you for the good work you’re doing in the world!

Veggie Gifting Cart for the Angier Ave. Neighborhood Farm – Triangle, NC – $400
These folks are collaboratively fabricating a bike-powered veggie cart. This cart will allow them better outreach to the surrounding community in East Durham (a food desert) where the Angier Ave Neighborhood Farm is located. They will use the cart to gift their overstock of vegetables to community members in need, whom are physically disabled, sick, or for other reasons unable to be mobile.

Christmas Isn't Over crew (Photo by Vert Umnus)
Christmas Isn’t Over crew (Photo by Vert Umnus)

Art Lots Metal Support – St. Louis, MS – $400
Art Lots is a coalition of artists who work to combat blight and make St. Louis neighborhoods more livable. Providing art workshops and access to tools, they take the refuse and discarded items found in St. Louis and turn it into public art.

Christmas Isn’t Over – Vancouver, BC, Canada –  $200
Christmas Isn’t Over is a group of compassionate independents made up of Burners and non-Burners who organize and gather to be of service in our community. They bring stews, soup, baked goods, salads and grill 300 grilled ham and cheese sandwiches all to be gifted to those in need at Oppenheimer Park in the Downtown Eastside, Vancouver, BC Canada, one Vancouver’s most at-risk and in-need areas.

If you’d like to apply for a grant, learn more on the Burners Without Borders website.

Larry Harvey in a Worm Suit: 2015 Global Leadership Conference Kicks Off

The 9th annual Burning Man Global Leadership Conference is officially underway! From humble beginnings in 2007, where 70 regional contacts joined us at Burning Man HQ, the GLC has since grown to include over 400 participants from around the world.

$teven Ra$pa addresses GLC attendees (Photo by Sidney Erthal)
$teven Ra$pa addresses GLC attendees (Photo by Sidney Erthal)

These highly-energized folks are Burning Man’s global representatives and community leaders, ambassadors of Burning Man culture in their regions who throw any of 65 regional events in 20 countries. They participate in the GLC to share ideas, best practices and inspiration, and to make the invaluable face-to-face connections that may just lead to the next big thing.

DW5A0132
Danger Ranger and Stuart Mangrum (Photo by Sidney Erthal)

This morning, Rachel Klegon, Matthew Naimi and Ryan Doyle kicked off the proceedings with an inspiring talk about creative placemaking and “The Next Creative Renaissance”. They should know a thing or two about that topic, as they hail from Detroit, Michigan, where one of the most fascinating urban renaissances is happening.

And what better topic, since Burning Man is all about supporting contexts where connections, creative inspiration and collective action can thrive. These folks have done incredible work using art, community and sheer determination to foster recycling programs, engage the youth of Detroit to take control of their futures, and energize rejuvenation of this economically devastated region. Here’s their presentation:

Their talk was followed by (literally) goosebump-inducing updates from around the Regional Network, including report-outs of goings-on in Lithuania, Asia and Brazil. Want to see how Burning Man is translating around the world? Check it out:

The international report included this video recap of the second Burning Man European Leadership Conference in Amsterdam:

Burning Man co-founder Crimson Rose gave an update on Burning Man Art, and spoke passionately about the emotional experience of building and burning of David Best’s Temple in Derry~Londonderry. Watch:

The next few days are going to be long and exhausting, challenging GLC participants to pack as much information and ideas and conversation into their brains as possible before heading back to their region to bring the seed home. One thing’s for sure, they’ll leave as tired as they are inspired.

Oh and here’s Larry Harvey in a worm costume:

DW5A0031
Larry “Bookworm” Harvey is judging you (Photo by Sidney Erthal)

Burning Man Global Leadership Conference is Comin’ Up!

GLC (Global Leadership Conference)The Burning Man Global Leadership Conference (GLC) is an annual conference of Burning Man community leadership that happens each spring in San Francisco, and it starts April 9. The conference is for organizers and community leaders in the Burning Man Regional Network, and space is limited, so attendance isn’t open to the public, BUT …

We’re going to be covering key sessions that are of interest to the larger Burning Man community here on the Voices of Burning Man, as well as on Twitter (for a full-throated coverage, follow @burningmanglc; for more select coverage, follow @burningman and/or watch the #bmglc15 hashtag).

If live video is more your thing, we’ll be livestreaming our plenary sessions, including keynotes on Friday and Saturday mornings. If you’re not an early riser, no problem, the videos will be available afterwards. Here’s the livestream schedule:

Friday, April 10
9:00-10:30am PDT
Plenary Session 1: The Next Creative Renaissance, Busting it Out, Building it Up, Bringing it Home!

10:30am-12:00pm PDT
Plenary Session 2: Updates — From the Desert to the World

Saturday, April 11
9:00-10:15am PDT
Plenary Session: Keynote Talks with Marian Goodell and Dennis Kucinich

Speaking of which …

We are excited to welcome a special guest keynote speaker to this year’s GLC! Former U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich will join us in person on Saturday, April 11 to address why Burning Man culture matters to humanity at this time of great global change.

Dennis is a statesman and philosopher who believes the fundamental truth of our existence is human unity — that we are all one, and that we are interconnected and interdependent. This belief has guided him through public life and he shares it with audiences everywhere. An internationally known environmentalist, Dennis is passionate about the great evolutionary potential which comes from repairing our relationship to the natural world and to each other.

He has had a long and distinguished career in public service, including serving as a Cleveland City Councilman, Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio State Senator, and U.S. Congressman. He was a two-time Presidential candidate.

Dennis participated in Black Rock City for the first time in 2014. Through the creativity and human connection of Black Rock City and the Burning Man Regional Network, he sees that “Burning Man represents an incandescent vision of a world within our grasp.”

Burning Man Represents at SXSW 2015

SXSW — maybe you've heard of it?
SXSW — maybe you’ve heard of it?

Ever since SXSW was a small gathering of creative types back in the day, we’ve sent folks from BMHQ down to Austin to participate. Over the years, we’ve hosted (or were on) a number of panels, held some workshops, and did a heck of a lot of connecting with like-minded people. And it’s funny … one of the most common questions we get is why we’re there. Why would Burning Man do SXSW?

Well, during our 25+ years of producing Burning Man, we’ve learned a thing or two about collaborative creation, participation-driven cities, inspiring creativity, creating crucibles for innovation, alternative socioeconomic models — things that we’re as eager to share with the broader creative community as they are to hear it. So for us, it’s as much about skill sharing as learning and community engagement.

So … that said, we’re happy to once again be sending a small contingent from Burning Man HQ to participate in SXSWi this year.

Rosie von Lila has put together a pretty impressive group of panelists to discuss participatory cities on March 14, and Burning Man Founder and CEO Marian Goodell will be on a panel about creating a space for social good on March 15.

We’ve also coordinated a couple Burner meet-ups, one for Austin Burners on March 14, and another for SXSW badge-holders on March 15. Details below … and if you’re in Austin during SXSW, we hope to see you!

Panel: Participatory Cities: Inspiring Access and Action
Austin Convention Center, Room 10AB, 500 E Cesar Chavez St.
Sat, Mar 14, 12:30-1:30pm

Panel: Sandbox Stories, Creating a Space for Social Good
Burning Man Founder & CEO Marian Goodell, panelist
Sun, Mar 15, 9:30-10:30am
Austin City Hall, Council Chambers, 301 W 2nd St

Badge Holder Meetup: SXSW Burning Man Meetup
Sun, Mar 15, 5-6pm
JW Marriott, Room 508, 110 E 2nd St (SXSW badge required)

Public Meetup for Austin Burners and Wannabe Burners (please spread widely!)
Friends in Austin! Please join folks from Burning Man HQ for an informal Austin Burners (and wannabe Burners) meet-up — come say hi and shoot the breeze. We’ll be in the back yard of Justine’s, just far enough away from the SXSW craziness. We’d love to see you!
Saturday, March 14, 5:30 pm
Justine’s Brasserie
4710 E 5th St, Austin, TX 78702
(512) 385-2900

Call-Out for Burning Man Sticker Designs!

2007 Burning Man sticker by Eggchair Steve
2007 Burning Man sticker by Eggchair Steve

This is the official call for designs for the 2015 Burning Man stickers! Your design could be the one passed out with the materials you receive as you pass through the Greeters Station upon entering Black Rock City. Other designs will be official sticker schwag distributed throughout the year. Help us remember our wonderful home in the desert even when we’re away!

So, don’t hesitate. Participate! Thank you and good luck!

The Details:

Size:

Your designs must use one of the three die sizes:
2. 5″ x 5.75” with a 0.125” corner radius
3″x 3″ square with a 0.062” corner radius
3” Diameter Circle

Design:

Whichever type of sticker tickles your fancy (or maybe you’re very ticklish and want to enter several designs), remember there IS a theme, and we like stickers that attempt to use the theme. Read up on the Carnival of Mirrors theme!

Must include: both the name Burning Man and the year 2015 in your design.

Colors:

If using 1-3 colors, set up the file to print as PMS
If using 4 or more colors, set up the file to print as CMYK

Priority:

Round stickers are given priority for winning the coveted “Gate Sticker” spot, going out to ALL Black Rock Citizens. Other sticker sizes are printed out and handed out to volunteers throughout the year.

Submitting your Art:

Send either a PDF file OR (preferably) the original Adobe Illustrator (.ai) file to stickers here: stickers (at) burningman.com. You must OUTLINE all fonts. Whether sending your design or questions, please put your first and last name in the subject header as well as the phrase “2015 Sticker Submission”.

Deadline:

Monday, May 18. No art is accepted after this date.

Thank you!

BWB Winter Ball Fundraiser for the Chicago Community Grant Program!

[This post reprinted from Burners Without Borders.]

Photo by ‘Great Eye Films’
Photo by ‘Great Eye Films’

Chicago’s annual Burners Without Borders fundraiser, ‘The BWB Winter Ball’, was a night to remember for all of the organizers, artists, volunteers, and participants who made it such a huge success. It was a night filled with art, food & performances; an evening exploring how artists can contribute their gifts in meaningful ways to their local communities.

Photo by Jenka Pechenka
Photo by Jenka Pechenka

The fundraiser was held to support the ‘Chicago Community Grant Program’: a collaboration between the local BWB chapter and Chicago’s burner-run arts & culture 501c3 Bold Urban Renaissance Network (BURN) that started in 2012.  Based loosely on ‘The Sunday Soup’ model, the program is an experiment in opening up the grant selection process by allowing community members to vote for the grant winners themselves.  Twice a year, a salon event is held where four civic projects are invited to come and give a ten minute pitch explaining their ideas and the audience follows up with a five minute Q&A session.  After the pitch session everyone is served a delicious meal and has the chance to cast one vote that decides that evenings winners.  After three years and six cycles, the program continues to exist as an enriching community event and vital funding model for grassroots initiative.

(Read more about the program here.)

Orielle Anaïs Caldwell, aerialist (Photo by Jenka Pechenka)
Orielle Anaïs Caldwell, aerialist (Photo by Jenka Pechenka)

The BWB Winter Ball was conceptualized to be the main fundraiser for this program, and such a successful event shows that the local community believes in what’s been happening.  This year’s fundraiser brought a 338% increase in earnings compared to the year prior.  Another way to put this success into context is to consider that BWB Chicago raised more money on this single night than they’ve been able to give away over the past three years of the entire grant program’s existence. After expenses just under eight thousand dollars was raised!

So what does this mean for BWB Chicago and the Chicago Community Grant Program? The ability to have more impact!  The program is looking at expanding in size, awarded grant amount, and number of grants given.  Implementing a completely new microloan program for business focused projects is also under consideration.

Curious where the funding goes? Take a look at our 2015 Honored Projects:

Jakmel Ekpresyon – (www.facebook.com/JakmelEkspresyon)
Slow + Roll Chicago – (www.facebook.com/SlowRollChicago)
Free write Jail Arts – (www.facebook.com/freewritejailarts)
Share Your Soles – (www.facebook.com/ShareYourSoles)
Consensus Chicago – (www.facebook.com/consensuschicago)
Why Not Here? – (www.facebook.com/quinncommunitycenter)
Follow the Alphabet Road – (http://marylyonschool.com/)
Kedzie Carroll Garden –  (www.facebook.com/TheKedzieStop)

Keep in Touch with Burners-without-Borders Chicago:
www.facebook.com/bwbchicago    /   Civicgrants here: Civicgrants (at) boldurban.org

Individual Sale Recap

Ticket pile!
Ticket pile!

The Individual Sale for Burning Man tickets started at 12 noon PST yesterday. Just over an hour later, the allotment of 40,000 tickets and 12,000 Vehicle Passes had been purchased.

Nearly 80,000 people registered for the sale and each person could buy up to 2 tickets (and one Vehicle Pass). In the end, roughly 21,500 people purchased the 40,000 available tickets (the average was 1.87 tickets per purchase).

So it makes sense that a lot of people are disappointed that they couldn’t get a ticket — for every one person who purchased a ticket (or two), there are nearly three more who were registered for the sale but didn’t reach the front of the queue before tickets were sold out.

The tough reality is that demand for Burning Man tickets is just way higher than the supply, and not everybody who wants to attend will be able to in any given year.

So, how does the system work?
We wanted to give you a little insight on how the ticketing system works, because while a number of people are understandably upset about having not gotten tickets, the system actually worked. We hope the technologists out there will forgive us, as we’re going to put this in layman’s terms.

The system had to process roughly 80,000 people hitting the server at almost the same time (12:00pm PST). So imagine 80,000 ball bearings being dumped into a funnel at once, all vying for a spot in line to make it through the hole at the small end. Physics (in this case, load-balancing and sorting technology) sorts them into a line (in this case based on the time they clicked the ticket link), and a queue is formed in a matter of milliseconds. Some are going to be in the front, some in the middle, some at the back — but only the first 20,000 are guaranteed to get through to purchase a ticket (40,000 tickets for sale, maximum two per person).

So even if you clicked the link right at 12:00pm PST, you may not have gotten to the front of the line. Is that fair? Inasmuch as everybody’s in the same boat, it’s about as fair as it can be.

What about the fluctuating wait time indicator?
The wait time is an estimate — it fluctuates based on the time it’s taking people to actually make their purchase, which is determined by how fast people click and type, how fast the servers are processing, and how fast the queue is releasing people into the purchasing stage. A few minutes into the sale the queue was intentionally paused for 5 minutes (to allow the system to catch up to all the people hitting it), which is why your time estimate changed.

So what about the rumors of people sneaking to the front of the line?
Unfortunately there is some truth to this. Approximately 200 people created a technical ‘backdoor’ to the sale and made their way to the front of the line. Absolutely no tickets were sold before the sale opened at 12:00 pm, but they were able to purchase the first batch of tickets when the sale started. The good news (for us, not them) is that we can track them down, and we’re going to cancel their orders. The tickets from those orders will be made available in the OMG Sale in August. Of course, steps are being taken to prevent this from happening again in future sales.

Did the servers crash?
No, they never did and the ticket buying process was never stopped — the queue was intentionally paused (briefly) to allow the servers to catch up to the demand — and nobody lost their place in line as a result.

Why were people held in line for so long only to find out tickets had sold out?
The system lets people into the purchasing stage, and then people purchase their tickets. Until they’ve all successfully purchased their tickets, it’s not sold out. If for some reason somebody doesn’t complete their transaction (bad credit card, they bail out, etc.), then their spot is given to the next person in line. So we don’t remove people from the line until all the tickets have been successfully purchased, because technically you still have a chance to get one.

Why was there still an opportunity to donate to Burning Man Project once tickets had sold out?
Honestly, that was a mistake — we didn’t realize that option would still be available once the sale had ended. We totally understand how that came across as adding insult to injury, and we feel badly about it. All transaction pages including the donation page should have been pulled as soon as tickets sold out.

Were people given any advantage if they made a donation?
No, not at all. It was first-come, first-served for everybody.

What about the other reports of glitches in the system?
There have been some additional claims of technical issues with the sale, including a report of an individual bypassing the line by going through Ticketfly’s homepage and one about someone using multiple codes to buy more than two tickets. So far we haven’t found any proof to substantiate these claims, but we are continuing to look into it and committed to its resolution. When we have more information to share, we will certainly do so.

What about all the overpriced tickets being sold on StubHub, eBay, and other reselling sites?
Our community has historically demonstrated its commitment to buying tickets at face value — a very small percentage of participants in the past have paid inflated prices, and we are certain that “scalpers” are not responsible for the high demand for tickets. While our options for preventing this behavior are limited, we do actively weed out known resellers as part of the registration process (that’s one of the reasons we have you register for the sale). But as long as people are willing to buy tickets at exorbitant prices (we wish they wouldn’t, but some apparently do), there will be a market for predatory resellers. It’s antithetical to our community’s ethos, but it’s also the reality of supply and demand (and technically legal). When we’re able to find out the serial numbers of these tickets (see below for how to report them), we void them. We’ll publish a list of voided ticket numbers on tickets.burningman.org this summer (so you can double check the number if you are buying a ticket on the secondary market).

Here’s how to report marked-up tickets on different sites:

eBay
See this.

StubHub
Send an email directly to yourfeedbackmatters here: yourfeedbackmatters (at) stubhub.com containing the name of the event (2015 Burning Man Festival and 2015 Burning Man Festival Vehicle Pass), the dates of the event, and if you want to get super detailed you can also list exact URLs for each ticket you want to report. IMPORTANT: Include your contact number so they can reach you if they have further questions — they’re far more likely to take the complaint seriously if they can actually reach someone to respond. They want to help, so don’t abuse the StubHub folks, they’re not the ones who listed the tickets.

CraigsList
Offer the buyer face value plus fees. If that doesn’t work, flag the post and it’ll be taken down … do it often enough and maybe the seller will be more willing to listen to reasonable offers.

Anywhere Else
If you see marked-up tickets being offered anywhere else, contact ticketsupport here: ticketsupport (at) burningman.com so we can pursue it (and yes we really do). The more information you can provide us, the better, including screenshots since people often pull down posts if they think they are being flagged.

Gah! Vehicle Passes Sold Out Before Tickets Did?!

Vehicles on Gate Road, 2010 (Photo by George Post)
Vehicles on Gate Road, 2010 (Photo by George Post)

As part of our multi-pronged effort to reduce the number of vehicles traveling to and from Black Rock City (which is one of biggest challenges Burning Man faces, and a significant risk to the future of our event), we started requiring every vehicle driving into Black Rock City to have a Vehicle Pass (VP) in 2014. The intention of this program is to encourage carpooling.

This year, we reduced the total number of Vehicle Passes we’re making available from 35,000 to 27,000, based on the number of passes that were actually used in 2014 (e.g. 27,000 of them). And since Black Rock City will be the same size this year as last year, there should be plenty of VPs to go around — in fact, people were literally giving them away on Gate Road last year.

So why did VPs sell out before tickets did in the Individual Sale? We analyzed the buying habits and demand for VPs in each of our sales last year and then cross referenced that with actual use. From there we allocated specific amounts to each sale to ensure that every sale would have an appropriate number available and they wouldn’t just all be gobbled up in the earlier sales. As a result, fewer VPs were made available (12,000) in the Individual Sale than tickets (40,000) and some of you were able to purchase a ticket (or two) but not a VP. But the good news is that the ratio of purchases of VPs to tickets was actually really good today — 36,000 tickets were sold before the 12,000 VPs sold out.

If you didn’t get one, please know that you’ve still got options:

  1. Vehicle Passes will be sold in the OMG Sale. In fact, there will be more VPs available than tickets. For those who have not purchased a VP from us yet, there will be an option to register to purchase just a VP — so if you didn’t get a VP in the Individual Sale, you’ll be able to register to purchase one in the OMG Sale.
  2. A lot of folks bought a VP not knowing if they need it or not, and will be looking to offload theirs. Ask around, and keep an eye on the open market for them — they’ll be out there.

And if for some reason you can’t get one, there are alternatives to driving your own vehicle to Burning Man:

  1. Burner Express shuttle buses run from San Francisco, Reno and possibly a third location that has not yet been determined.
  2. Check this out: if you’ve got a bunch of folks looking to ride from your city, you can ask Burner Express to pick you up.
  3. The Burning Man Rideshare Board, which will crank up in the Spring, connects people offering rides with those needing rides — it’s always a good option.
  4. Get information about chartered flights into the Black Rock City airport.

OK so you can feel good about the fact that you’ve secured your ticket. And don’t worry, you’ve got plenty of opportunities to get your transportation sorted out, too.