I’m sitting in Warsaw airport in Poland, waiting for my long-anticipated flight to Vilnius, Lithuania. I’m on my way to Degantis Jonas, the first Burning Man Regional event to take place in the Baltic States. A few years ago, when Goku, our Lithuanian Regional Contact, first reached out to us at BMHQ to tell us about the burgeoning Burner scene in Lithuania, I remember being completely fascinated that a Burner community had sprung up in what felt like so foreign and far-flung a place. Lithuania? And, where is that, exactly? Not only did the community’s existence seem exotic, but it was also clear right away that the Lithuanian Burners were an impressively ambitious lot. During our first Skype call, Goku told me about the LT Burners’ plans for a large-scale theme camp at Burning Man 2011. Camp “Blukis,” made to look like the Blukis tree stump, a symbol in Lithuanian folklore, the space would house a bike-powered cinema (the “Velocinema”), potato pancake pow-wows and drum circles. Goku was also in the midst of planning the first Burning Man Film Festival in a Box in Kaunas, and seeing to it that films were translated into his native tongue. Though we’ve only met once on the playa, Goku and I have become close comrades through countless email exchanges, Skype calls, and Facebook posts. I’m now picturing him greeting Playground, my traveling companion, and me at the Vilnius airport in a few hours. I’ve been practicing my greeting: “Labas, kaip sekasi?” (Hi! How are you?) and, though sleep deprived and delirious from 21 hours of travel, I couldn’t be more excited. Read more »
Posts by Meg Rutigliano
For the few hundred Burning Man participants from South Florida, Black Rock City can feel like it’s a world away. Not only are the Burners there separated from the playa by great distance (it takes five days of driving to get to Burning Man), but, as Jack Trash from Ft. Lauderdale jokes, “we have such a high water table but no ‘underground.’” Longing for opportunities to express their inner creativity in a place where the status quo reigns supreme, Jack and a tight-knit crew of doers and art-makers decided to bring the spirit of Black Rock City to their hometown.
And, what? What did these crazy Burners do? They built a zany, colorful, and interactive CIRCUS!
Last weekend, as part of Ft. Lauderdale’s FAT Village Artwalk, the “Circus Basura” came to life! When Ft. Lauderdale residents came upon the circus, they were greeted with a “Step right up!” and were invited to participate in costumed photo shoots, games, and the quirky experiences of circus life! The suite of boardwalk games the “Circus Basura” barkers offer runs the gamut from silly to satirical. As part of the game “1% Pachinko,” one could put on a top hat and monocle, drop a gold coin down the slot and see where it landed. The gag is that the gold coin never makes it to the bottom but gets stuck along the way on banks, yachts, and fat cat bellies. The gag prizes included the highly coveted collection of Olivia Newton John workout DVDs and a host of other completely ridiculous and trash “basura” prizes. “The Circus Basura,” Jack explains, “is whatever you make it.” The game, costumes, and the antics of the circus crew combine to create a grand sense of play. The circus is an umbrella under which anyone can be whatever they want to be. It’s especially exciting that a circus of freaks is flourishing in South Florida because it’s something new for people to experience, it pushes boundaries and creates room for more radical acts of expression.
The talented crew behind the “Circus Basura” has a history working together. Many of the South Florida Burners came together when Burners Without Borders mobilized to provide relief to Haitians in the wake of the earthquake. Several of the local Burners are airplane mechanics and they made daily runs to the airfields to repair planes that were taking food and supplies to survivors of the disaster. And, back in 2009, the crew transformed an old bus into a double decker art mobile fit for the playa. The South Floridians drove the “Nautibus” 3,800 miles to the Black Rock desert and gave rides to participants around the desert. “Building the bus was a really unifying experience for the Florida crew,” Jack says. With the costs of operating the bus and transporting it to the desert rising each year, the crew decided to skip bringing the bus to the desert this year. Instead, they’ve loaned it to their Burner brethren in Tennessee for the Summer and the TN Burners are working on restoring the bus and will take it to their first local Tennessee burn, Serendipity.
With the Nautibus project on a bit of a hiatus, the crew quickly rallied behind the “Circus Basura.” The circus has given the local Burners an outlet for their energy and creativity and, as Jack explains, “[They] all just like working together and being around each other.” The crew has been sewing costumes, building sets, and coming up with ideas for the circus for months. It seems that this past weekend’s successful presence at the FAT Village Art Walk is just the beginning. In early November, the “Circus Basura” will participate in Ft. Lauderdale’s annual Day of the Dead processional. They’ll be working in collaboration with Jim Hammond, a local puppeteer and set designer, to create giant skull masks and parade floats. There’s also been talk of a Day of the Dead costume ball. “There’s just nothing like this in South Florida! We’re excited we are taking the circus to the streets and that the folks here get to experience what we’re all about, what keeps us going to Burning Man year after year,” Jack muses. There are also plans for a few guerilla circus experiences in the area. For Jack, providing these circus experiences, “opens the door for anybody to try anything and enables people to do things they don’t normally do.” We can’t wait to see what the “Circus Basura” crew tries next!
Want to run off and join the circus?
For more information on “Circus Basura,” you can feel free to contact southflorida here: southflorida (at) burningman.com with CIRCUS BASURA in the subject line and to check out their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/events/223273267784782/.
Want to build a circus in your own town?
Do it, you crazy Burner! Bring the big top, bring the noise, bring the red noses, and then tell us all about it!
Jack Trash’s advice to all of us: “Don’t dream little dreams. Dream big ones!”
Thank you, we’ll see you on the HIGH WIRE!
At the 2011 Burn, a small group of talented video producers and friends got generous. As part of a public relations gift initiative, they undertook to produce video treatments of selected art projects. The idea was to give Burning Man artists the benefit of what Media Team members do well, and to give the artists new tools to promote their work, their teams and their dreams.
The videos on this blog have all been gifted to the artists, and are being simultaneously made available to you. They are an example of how unexpected generosity serves new friends in original ways, just as it serves art in new ways. These “Profiles in Dust” are a gift from the Burning Man Media Team to all artists and Burners, whether depicted in this collection of films or not.
We encourage you to share these videos with your friends, family, and others who are interested in Burning Man. It’s truly amazing what happens when talent and inspiration unite with the spirit of gifting.
I’ve long been fascinated by French culture—the fashion, art, film, music, and “je ne sais quoi” of French life—-and decided, after a busy Burning Man season, to hop a plane across the Atlantic and immerse myself in Parisian life. In preparation for my trip, I reached out to our French Regional Contacts, Filouz, Marc, and Eddy, to see if there were any Burner events happening during my stay. They assured me that there was always something going on in Paris and invited my friends and I to a lovely French dinner and to their monthly “Burning Café” event that draws in Burners and artists from all corners of the City of Light.
The French Burners organization, which started as a small group of Paris Burners who decided to meet up each month at local cafés, has expanded over the past few years into a large and vibrant community that spans all of France. Thanks to the dedicated efforts of the French Regional Contacts and the increasing interest in Burning Man culture in Europe, Burning Cafés now happen in the South of France, Aix en Provence / Marseille, Toulouse, Bretagne, and Dijon. These café meet ups are meant to be a place where Burners can get together to just hang out and get to know one another. They are a space where people make connections and where “Newbies” can get a sense of the community. Read more »
This year, The Burning Man Media Team is working as never before to support the artists of Burning Man. We’ve providing Media Relations support so that artists can get the word out to their local communities and to the greater world about the amazing work they’re bringing to the playa this year.
We recognize that most of the time, artists are so busy working on their art and fundraising that they don’t often have time to create a strategy for getting the word out about their pieces. This is where the Media Team has stepped up to help. Planning with the Media Team in advance can ensure that artists’ teams and our city’s amazing artwork get the spotlights they deserve, and that the presence of hundreds of journalists is a realized opportunity for Black Rock City’s art makers.
A group of top notch Media Relations professionals—all Burners—recently put a webcast on for artists bringing their gifts to the burn this year. Hosted by Los Angeles Burning Man Regional Contact Athena Demos, the panel’s focus was preparation for the Playa, and how to promote your art, your team and yourself during Burning Man. Here, we present you with our panel materials.
This audio file contains excerpts from our panelists. Read on for contact information for the Media Team, tips, a checklist, and videos of Burning Man Art Department and Media Team staff members and Art PR expert Paul Klein about on-playa Media Relations.
WEB CAST EXPERTS:
Cynthia Washburn, Poetic Kinetics (www.poetickinetics.com), Lynn Hasty, Green Galactic (www.greengalactic.com), Lucinda Michele, New Media Producer, Clear Channel Communications (www.clearchannel.com), Linda McWilliams, Reporter, LA Weekly (www.laweekly.com), Martin Burns, Reporter, Fox News Los Angeles (www.myfoxla.com)
HOW TO USE MEDIA MECCA ON THE PLAYA
• Make contact with art-pr here: art-pr (at) burningman.com to make sure our team knows about you and your work.
• Provide a folder of material for journalists (including press release, still pictures, contact information)
• Check in with Media Mecca on Playa and ask about Happy Hours and chances to meet journalists.
• Ask us about Media Mecca “Interview Training” advice so you give the best interview possible, if the opportunity arises.
CHECKLIST FOR PLAYA P.R.
__ Make a plan
__ Ask someone in your team to specialize in Public Relations for the art and team.
__ Write list of what makes your project newsworthy or special
__ Write good press release on your project.
__ Bring thumb drive with images of your build, your plans, any background info.
__ Bring camera and take some shots of your build and team.
__ Be reachable in case reporter expresses an interest.
__ Be ready with prompt follow up for reporter after event.
__ Produce press kit (including release, still photos, artist bio, team list) and provide
multiple copies to Media Mecca and your own PR specialist.
__ Attend Happy Hours (4:30-6pm) M-F at Media Mecca (Center Camp)
The folks at Media Mecca are ready to help you think through and act on this checklist. Please feel free to contact us via art-pr here: art-pr (at) burningman.com if you would like our Media Relations support.
ANDIE GRACE, Manager of Communications and the Regional Network, Burning Man
CRIMSON ROSE, Managing Art Director, Burning Man
BETTIE JUNE, Associate Director of Art Management, Burning Man
TOM LAPORTE, Manager, Media Mecca, Burning Man
MEGHAN RUTIGLIANO, Media Team Manager, Burning Man
PAUL KLEIN, Klein Artist Works (www.kleinartistworks.com)
Special thanks to our panelists, to Andie Grace, Crimson Rose, and Bettie June, Paul Klein, Paynie, The Red Loft (www.theredloft.com), John Fenoglio, Athena Demos (www.laburningman.com), Patrick Shearn, Kristoffer Taylor (www.streamguys.com), Stu Smith, Jim Graham (www.jgpr.com), Tom LaPorte and Meghan Rutigliano
When the Temple of Transition burns on Sunday night of this year’s Burning Man event, it will be both a cathartic release for participants and a celebration of what might be the playa’s most internationally collaborative project to date.
The driving force behind this year’s Temple of Transition, The International Arts Megacrew (IAM), is comprised of artists from literally all over the world. Project Co-Leads Diarmo Horkan, Beav, Roamer and Kiwi hail from Dublin, Ireland, London, UK and Auckland, New Zealand and have assembled a crew of over 100 Burners and artists from Australia, London, San Francisco, Vancouver, and many other cities in between.
As Diarmo sat across the table from me here at Burning Man Headquarters a few weeks ago on his way from Dublin to Reno, NV, his eyes beamed brightly as he talked about the crew’s transcontinental Skype meetings and the ways in which the Burner community has rallied around this exciting project. The seed for this year’s temple was planted at the 2010 event when the crew brought their massive project, Megatropolis, to the playa. “We looked around and thought, we can do this even bigger and better,” Diarmo reflected, “It’s time.” Before their fit left the playa, plans were set in motion for this ambitious artistic collaboration.
The IAM has set up shop at Hobson Square in Reno, NV and crewmembers have already started physical labor on the Temple. Throughout the Summer, new crew members will arrive in Reno and get straight to work. After their long days, many of the workers will enjoy the gracious hospitality of Haggy at The Black Rock International Burner Hostel in Reno. For updates on the progress of this year’s Temple, visit http://temple2011.org/.
On Wednesday, May 25th, 2011, the Temple of Transition crew will host a FIRE SALE and a Meet n Greet at the Bently Reserve in San Francisco from 6-10pm. There will be music, mingling, an auction, a raffle, and the opportunity to hear more about this amazing project from Kiwi and Diarmo. For more information, visit: http://temple2011.org/fire-sale-at-the-bently-reserve/.
It is with great pleasure that The Regionals Committee announces Lithuania as the newest country to join the Regional Network, and the first of the Baltic States to be added to our World Map!
While it’s no surprise that Burners are everywhere, we were particularly intrigued when our new Lithuanian Regional Contact, Geidrius Kavaliauskas aka “Goku” first wrote the Burning Man office about a year ago to express his interest in the Regional Contact role. Not only did Lithuania seem like an exotic place for Burner culture to emerge but the group of about 40 Burners and artists that has formed over the past few years in the capital city of Vilnius seemed to be working hard to integrate the ethos of Black Rock City with that of their Baltic home. The “LT Burners” (as they are known on Facebook) are using a blend of performance, ritual, film and interactive art to educate Lithuanians about Burning Man and Burners about Lithuanian culture.
“O’ahu” is Hawaiian for “The Gathering Place.” In keeping with its name, I found O’ahu to be the most diverse Hawaiian island I visited and also the most cosmopolitan. The pristine beaches and lush hills are sharply contrasted by the skyscrapers, highways, and factories of Honolulu and its surrounding areas. Amidst this duality, one finds business moguls, adventurous tourists, surfers and wayward souls who fled “The Mainland” for O’ahu and decided to stay. Such was the case with our two O’ahu Burning Man Regional Contacts, Geoff Hearl and Andi Cuniberti as well as with many other Burning Man participants who have created a home for themselves on this island in the middle of the Pacific.
In a dedicated effort to bring the Burners on O’ahu together and to keep the Burning Man spirit alive year-round, Andi and Geoff offer a warm welcome to those wanting to get involved with the Hawaii Burning Man community.
Upon our arrival in Honolulu, Andie Grace and I were greeted, leis in hand, by Andi, Geoff and Mike, a Hawaiian Burner who’d come to Black Rock City for the first time in 2010. Over a home-cooked dinner at Andi’s house on the North Shore, we learned a great deal about Burner life on O’ahu and the ways in which Andi and Geoff are encouraging year-round participation through a range of projects, Meet n Greets and other community gatherings.
One way in which Burners can participate in Hawaii is through the first ever CORE Project (Circle of Regional Effigies). This year, Hawaii and over twenty-five Burning Man Regional groups from across the world will be building effigies on playa in a circle around the Man. These effigies will be burned ceremoniously on playa to celebrate the year-round communities that have grown out of the Burning Man event. Many Regional groups have chosen to create an effigy that symbolizes their city or state (for example, the Las Vegas Burners are building a showgirl) while other groups have chosen to recreate an effigy from one of their official Burning Man Regional events. The Hawaii Burners’ contribution to the circle will be “The Phoenix,” an effigy they built for Rebirth, an annual camping event that takes place on the Big Island. The design for “The Phoenix” was initially conceived by artist Mike Muang who travels each year from Boston to Hawaii to build the wooden sculpture that is burned, like the Man, on Saturday evening each year during Rebirth. Recreating “The Phoenix” on playa will take a lot of man power as well as some fundraising. Currently, Andi and Geoff are looking for artists and other creative spirits to come forward and share their ideas and skills.There are currently myriad ways to get involved with the CORE project as well as Burnal Equinox, an upcoming community event in Honolulu.Proceeds from Burnal Equinox event in Honolulu will directly fund the purchase of supplies and materials for ‘The Phoenix” effigy build. For more information, visit the Hawaii page in the Regionals section of the Burning Man website.
The CORE project is not only a way for the Hawaii group to come together through hands-on participation but also a way to let other Hawaiian Burners know that there are ways to stay connected to Burning Man year-round on O’ahu. “Burners from all over Hawaii go to Burning Man but they don’t always know that we have a local community here on the islands,” Andi explains. “Maybe having ‘The Phoenix’ out out on playa this year will raise awareness.”
Another way in which Andi and Geoff have been encouraging year-round participation has been through hosting Meet n Greet events on O’ahu. During our visit, Andie Grace and I had the pleasure of attending a Meet n Greet at Bar 35 in Honolulu’s Chinatown. With a wide grin, Geoff told us about how the O’ahu Meet n Greets have, over the years, been a great way to bring local Burners together and to welcome visitors into the local Burner scene. “I get a call or email from a Burner several times a month. Sometimes they are just passing through but other times, they are new to the island and looking to connect,” Geoff beamed. “If there’s a beach burn or a Meet n Greet happening, I invite them. Otherwise, I make it a priority to meet up and show them around town.”
The twenty or so Burners that made it out for the Meet n Greet at Bar 35 ran the gamut from the seasoned Burner to the excited Newbie. As our luck would have it, Playarazzi Andy, a professional photographer who registers with us each year at Media Mecca, happened to be visiting O’ahu at the same time and made his way to Bar 35. Through chatting with other Burners at the Meet n Greet, Andy was able to get contact information for a local fire troupe whom he’d hoped to connect with and photograph during his stay on O’ahu. It seemed that other new friendships were being created and we ended the evening with a group photo (I will post photo asap for your enjoyment). Another Meet n Greet will likely be held next month and, as always, Geoff and Andi welcome any and all interested to attend.
Even though there are so many ways to get involved with the local Burner scene, Andi and Geoff explained that it can sometimes be difficult to get people together. On O’ahu, even the most ambitious and well-meaning Burners are easily distracted by the big waves and warm climate. But, Andi and Geoff are not easily discouraged. “We’ll continue to host gatherings and get the word out about what’s happening here,” Andi says, “and we’re always hoping more people will come out of the woodwork and make new things happen.”
After the crowd thinned out, we made our way back to the North Shore. Andi and Geoff seemed happy that the Meet n Greet had been so successful and also that they’d had the opportunity to “show off” all that O’ahu has to offer. Though Andie Grace and I were sad to leave O’ahu, we were looking forward to connecting with more Burners on our visit to the Big Island.