En Los Barrios: Theme Camps at Nowhere

Pirate Shenanigans at Pillage Village

Like our annual event in Black Rock City, Nowhere 2012 is truly a global gathering. Now in its 9th year, Nowhere is one of the largest Burning Man Regional events and drew over 1,100 participants this past week to the desert plains outside of Zaragoza, Spain.  Over the past nine years, Nowhere has served as a nexus for the Regional groups throughout the world who keep the ethos of Burning Man alive year-round. For these international Burners, making the trip aboard to the U.S. for Burning Man is a major undertaking and it can often be quite challenging to gather the supplies and materials needed to build a theme camp or a large-scale art project. Most of the participants do make the annual journey to BRC but often join up with other U.S.-based camps and artists. Nowhere is their chance to go BIG in their creation of their theme camp homes at Nowhere and to do so in their own unique cultural style. (more…)

Regional Networking at Nowhere!

Playground (DPW Lead, San Francisco), Robert Atkins (Singapore Regional Contact), Yours truly (Megs, Regional Network Manager) and Snowstorm (UK Regional Contact)

Over 200 Regional Contacts worldwide and an extensive network of Community Leaders host Meet n Greets, art events, Burner Town Halls, hands-on community projects, CORE (Circle of Regional Effigy) builds and put forth a host of other efforts and events to keep our global community tight knit and Burners’ social calendars filled to the brim. After having transformational experiences at Burning Man and Regional events like Nowhere 2012, Burners throughout the world return home to the default world longing for ways to stay connected in between their sojourns to Burner events. Burning Man’s maintenance and nurturing of the Burning Man Regional Network is our answer to this widespread community need. I was drawn to Nowhere this year, a dynamic and creative gathering of over 1,100 Burners outside of Zaragoza, Spain because I knew it would be a rallying point for Burning Man’s European Regional Contacts and Nowhere’s own leadership network of what they term Cultural Attaches. I wanted to have a chance to chat with our Regional leaders face to face and also to create opportunities for them to meet one another. To this end, I hosted two meet ups—a Celebration at our camp, No Rules, and a more formal meeting of the minds at Nowhere’s No Info Center. (more…)

Dispatch from the Middle of Nowhere!

Dearest Burners,
I wrote this post from Nowhere last week and, being that I was in the Middle of Nowhere, you’re receiving it NOW. Enjoy! More coming!

Megs here. I’m writing you from the land of wind, dust and mountains outside of Zaragoza, Spain. After spending an unforgettable weekend at Lithuania’s Degantis Jonas (and, yes!, I promise to write a detailed account of my experiences there), I’m at Nowhere (http://www.goingnowhere.org/), a Burning Man Regional event where Burners are gathering from all over the world to build a beautiful city. Nowhere started nine years ago as a gathering in the desert in Spain (at that time, the moniker “Nowhere” was yet to be born) and has, over the years, grown into a thriving event with a highly developed infrastructure, twenty-four registered theme camps, and art and performance artists from across the globe.

Welcome to Nowhere! Minx of Media Mecca at Nowhere’s bright gates.
See the flags flapping? Wind! Wind!

We arrived at dusk last night after our San Francisco crew and our Lithuanian friends, Goku and Lleva, traveled in true Burning Man fashion with a van packed full of food, tent, water jugs, playa finery and all of the supplies we’d need to survive for ten days in the desert. The event officially opens on Tuesday but Nowhere crewmembers have been working out here for weeks getting the desert site ready to absorb the impact of the estimated 1,000 participants that will venture through the rocky canyons, down twisty and seemingly abandoned roads to make their way through Nowhere’s gleaming red gates. We’re here to help build the city. (more…)

Kaip Tau Sekasi? A Burning Dispatch from Lithuania

Photo by Meghan Rutigliano

Kaip tau sekasi? How’s it going? WOW. It’s been a lovely few days here in Vilnius. And, it seems, the universe is on our side. We’ve met really lovely and friendly people, recovered two lost bags, and we’ve been graced by warm and wonderful hospitality. I’m proud to say that my little Youtube language tutorials have paid off as I can now order my morning coffee in broken Lithuanian and greet people, in their language, with a bit of confidence. I always find it fun to at least try to speak the local tongue and the locals have been all too happy to guide me through the nuances and tricky pronunciations. My curiosity about the Lithuanian Burners and sense that their creative spark was something special have led me to just the right place at the right time. Things are really happening here and it’s fun to participate. (more…)

Burning Man Lietuvoje!

Logo Courtesy of our friends, the LT Burners

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. (more…)

Join the Circus! South Florida Burners Kickin’ It Carny Style!

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!

Photo by Bruce Almberg

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.

Photo by Bruce Almberg

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!

Photo by Bruce Almberg

Want to run off and join the circus?

For more information on “Circus Basura,” you can feel free to contact southflorida@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!

Generous Gifts from “Profiles in Dust” Crew

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.


La Vie Parisienne, Burning Man Style

The Eiffel Tower at Sunset

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.

Burning Cafe at the Bric a Brac Bar in Oberkampf

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. (more…)