Message To Participants

The days are getting warmer, tickets are showing up in the mail and the trolls are spreading mistruths online.  Yes, it is that time of year again:Pre-Burn Season!

This is also the time of year that first timers start to ask for advice from their veteran Burner friends.  I first send them to the fantastic survival guide, then to my tips & tricks videos (starting with the ones for Virgins).  Then I pat their head, tell them it is all going to be okay, and share some version of the message below.  In addition to bringing the right gear, it is important to bring the right attitude.

*This video was requested from participants of this year’s Midburn. It is worded in a way that applies to people heading to any event where Radical Self Expression and Gifting is embraced.

**If, after watching, you don’t feel drawn to attend this year, please sell your ticket back through official channels. There are many eager and well deserving people waiting for your ticket in the STEP program.

Halcyon’s Tips & Tricks # 16 “Rangers!”

Episode 16 is less of a “trick” and more of a clarification and definition. “Who are the Rangers and how do I relate to them?” More importantly, “Do I have to act sober around them?!”

 

 

 

Priceless Temple

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I got a message in my inbox about fundraising for the 2015 Temple.

And it made me think about how the Burning Man Temples have impacted my life.

I’ve hugged, sobbed, spoken and performed weddings there.

I’ve taken offerings to the Temple for myself, family members and online friends.

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  • My Grandparents’ bibles.
  • Love letters for deceased spouses.
  • My grandfathers’ ashes.
  • And I’ve placed the ashes of a friends’ child who lived just hours. (The child was named, “Caleb” after my grandfather.)

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I have sobbed so deeply that I can barely recognize what it was I was feeling… just that I was FEELING.

I have read the written words and felt soul-connected to people I have never met. I’ve had conversations there about the nature of life itself.

The Temples have changed what my concept of “art” could be and what a sacred space was.

What is the value of a place where all this is possible?

Priceless, of course.

Thank you to everyone who has helped design, build, fund, and protect the Temples of the past. I appreciate the opportunity to contribute towards this year’s Temple. (Fundraiser ends in a few days)

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What Is A Festival?

I’m sure we’ve all cringed when a friend or co-worker says, “Burning Man? …that’s like Coachella, right?”

But it is hardly their fault. There are now TONS of events that are called “Festivals” and it is hard to understand how they differ.

In this video I talk about the different kinds of Music Festivals, Conferences, Transformational Festivals, and Participatory Gatherings.

NOTE: While I make the case that the participatory nature of Burning Man and sanctioned regionals have a special kind of magic, I did not mean to imply that the others do not have participation.  There is just something incredibly mind-blowing about looking out at the Playa and trying to grok, “So, none of these artists were paid? They created all of this as a gift for US?!”   It shifts something inside us and shatters our models of “audience,” “performer” and “participant.”

Did I miss any categories or important events? Share your thoughts below.

(For a great discussion by some organizers of other Transformational Festivals and how Burning Man influenced them, click here.)

Major Laser Bummer

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Laser Show, 2003 from Erick Leskinen

 

You can do almost anything you want at Burning Man. But there are some important don’ts.

Like, “Don’t shine lasers at people’s eyes.”

Seriously.


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Ranger Halston was permanently blinded in her left eye at last year’s burn.

11082770_10153163472751575_503569414_nThat is WAY too much to give up.

And now she has mounting doctors fees and lost wages.

“It’s all fun and games until…”

I like to think that If I accidentally drop my scarf on the playa, a fellow burner will pick it up.

That if I am thirsty in deep playa, a fellow burner will give me water.

That if I hurt my leg on rebar, a fellow burner will help me back to camp.

And if I damage my sight while serving as a Ranger, fellow burners will help me out.

If you can, please gift to her fundraiser.

UPDATE:  Will Chase has posted a more in depth look at Ranger Halston’s situation.

 

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The Man Glows, 2002 from Lewis Jacobs

 

 

Gifting vs. Gift Exchange

As a Burner, you would think that I would love the Xmas season.

It’s the time of year when normally modest streets turn into suburban Esplanades – with glowing plastic reindeer and gaudy strings of lights everywhere.

We even have a obsessive cultural focus on Gifting during the holidays.

Far surpassing eggnog, mistletoe or jingle bells, the importance of gift giving dominates the Xmas season.

This makes sense because the entire economy depends on end-of-the-year spending. The Dow Jones could care less about the rise and fall of snowmen or the number of carols sang per capita.

But a cultural frenzy of spending? That is important. And the barrage of lights, music, and advertising are all going to make sure you don’t forget.

This seems like it should be a good thing. Gifting is one of the 10 Principles – so wouldn’t a cultural focus on gift giving be a good thing?

Unfortunately, there is something about Gifting that has been lost in our modern practice of holiday cheer.

Let’s review what a gift is. (more…)

Mom’s First Burn

“No time to explain, Mom. Take my hand and follow me!”

My family has always been a big part of my Burn.

My brother went with me my first year in 1998, and for the next five.

My Grandpa was the first to call Burning Man my “congregation” and sent heirlooms with me (like his childhood bible) to burn each year.  I placed his ashes in the Temple in 2007.

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Hanging a tribute to Grandpa Caleb in ’08
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Photo by Julian Cash (supersnail.com) Pants by Grandma Shikles

My grandma sewed my first fur pants. (Including a matching fur bag, “because I had left over fabric,” she said.)

And when my grandma passed on, my mom became my go-to seamstress for my Playa creations.

I treasure the bonding experiences that my mom and I share each summer as we craft together in preparation for the Burn.

She helped me sew cushion covers for the Hugmobile, fur covers for my platform boots, and helped create the epic Octobike. (aka “Snuffleoctobike”).

(more…)

Burning Cake (A Cautionary Tale)

My experiences for the last 17 years at Burning Man have been so amazing and transformative that I have a hard time seeing any shifts in the event as a real threat. “Bring on P.Diddy and the Turnkey Camps!” I said.   I still believe that.  But I also am able to understand the current fear more clearly now than I once did.  

Like everyone, I am eagerly awaiting the official response to the recent controversies.   I do *not* think Burning Man is doomed.  Quite the contrary.  I have faith we will figure this out and thrive.

Once we get a handle on the current challenges and correct the course, the magic will shine as bright as ever.

The fable below is fictional.  Take it with a grain of dust.

 

Once upon a time there was food enthusiast who hosted a fantastic baked goods potluck.

He invited 10 adventurous cooks he knew and they started gathering each month to share delights.

Their culinary skills were varied…but they all sure loved food.

The spreads were AMAZING!

People went WAY over-the-top.

Exotic ingredients, rare fruits, fine wines.

For some participants it became almost a game: who could produce the most fantastic dessert? (more…)