I like to think of Burning Man as a family reunion. The Burn marks a time when we, being a colorful and vibrant family, come together to create a space for both celebration and reflection. If we’re lucky, we make the annual trek out to Black Rock City and re-emerge dust-soaked, full of new ideas, new relationships, our perspective shifted. We return to the default world only to start mentally preparing ourselves to return to Black Rock City next year.
Rakuville Temple Fireworks Photo by Linda Loca
So what happens when friends and family can’t make it back to our desert home for the Burn? How do they stimulate new ideas, new relationships, and personal growth?
Though technology has made it possible for thousands of wayward Burners to experience the Nevada event through simulcast, there is something that happens out in the dust that is hard to really feel anywhere else. Or so I thought.
Returning home, I began to talk with friends of mine about their off-playa experiences. Through these conversations, I started to realize that some of the more meaningful stories about the 2010 Burn that I was hearing didn’t happen out in the Nevada desert. The stories I loved the most were about the magic moments that happened when our wayward Burner friends came together to create a sense of home during the Burning Man event in cities all over the world.
This year, our beloved Bex Workman, who has participated heavily in Burning Man for over a decade was unable to make it to Nevada for the first time in 14 years.
Now living in London with her new husband Tom, Bex reports, “I admit that I kinda freaked out and started talking about Burning Man non-stop. The more I freaked, the more I talked to people, the more I learned that my fellow community members here in London were going through the same thing and weren’t going to the playa either.” Read more »
The Official Burning Man Film Festival will showcase 20 short and feature length films when it takes place on June 12-13, 2010 in San Francisco. Produced by Andie Grace and Dave Marr, the Film Festival will offer theatergoers a unique look at Burning Man through the eyes of filmmakers who’ve documented various aspects of the event throughout the years. Saturday’s “Then” line-up will feature films shot between 1991 and 2003 and Sunday’s “Now” queue boasts an array of films shot from 2002 to 2010. On Saturday evening, there will be a special screening of Juicy Danger Meets Burning Man and a reception with art, roving performance, a raffle and more! The festival will be held at the Red Vic Movie House at 1727 Haight Street, SF, CA 94117. For a full listing of films and to purchase advanced tickets, visit: http://www.burningman-filmfest.com/home/.
“This festival is a rare and unique opportunity to see Burning Man from the beginning,” said festival co-producer David Marr. “[The Film Festival] is a chance to see how [Burning Man] was created and what effect it has on us today.”
Over the past few years, the Burning Man “Film Festival in a Box” program has been a way for Burners across the world to bring their communities together and to educate others about the Burning Man culture and values. Recently, BM film festival screenings were held in Paris, Los Angeles, and Saskatchewan. In February, the San Diego Burning Man Film Festival was held at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park and local hoop troupes, belly dancers, and musicians offered their talents up as part of the weekend program. If you are interested in having a BM Film Festival in your city, get in touch with your local Burning Man Regional Contact.
We hope to see you at the Red Vic in June!
Over 100 Burning Man Regional Contacts and Community Leaders converged last weekend in San Francisco to attend the 4th Annual Regional Leadership Summit. A generous donation of space at-cost from the Bently family made it possible for us to hold our event at the beautiful state-of-the art Bently Reserve in Downtown San Francisco. The purpose of the Summit was to bring together leaders from across the world to exchange ideas, learn new skills and to explore the nature of community as it pertains to the evolving Burning Man Regional Network.
The 4th Annual Regional Leadership Summit brought together over 100 Regional Contacts and Community Leaders from around the world: Photo by Nightshade
The Summit kicked off on Thursday with rolling registration and happy hour at a neighboring bar and restaurant. Just like Burning Man, the Regional Summit is a family reunion for many who return to San Francisco each year to participate. Thursday evening’s happy hour was packed with Summit guests, Burning Man staff, and the local Burner hosts who so graciously open their homes to our out of town guest during the Summit weekend. Later on that evening, many of the Summit attendees caught the midnight screening of Alice in Wonderland in 3D. In pure Burner fashion, there were white rabbits, Alices, Queens of Hearts, and many outrageous and Wonderland-ready costumes.
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The Country Line Up to Newcastle
After savoring a small taste of Sydney life, we took a train up to Newcastle, a city at the very end of Sydney’s Country Train line. Sydneysiders draws a clear and divisive line between the cosmopolitans and the “bogans” (Aussie slang for “hicks”) as you can either take the Countryline or the Cityline train up the coast. Expecting to find nothing but mullet-heads and high tops, I was pleasantly surprised when Marian and I laid eyes on Phil Smart and his partner, Fiona’s, Rolodor Café. Covered in bright murals designed by a local artist, the Rolodor was clearly a bastion of creativity, a pure labor of love. Just as I saw the glimmer of places I loved reflected in Sydney, the Rolodor and its eclectic charm reminded me of my favorite cafes in my San Francisco Mission neighborhood. I felt even more at home when I heard that my friend Holly from San Francisco, who’d recently moved to Newcastle to spend some time with her mom, had met Phil and Fiona earlier that week when they connected over the Burning Man sticker on the coffee maker behind the counter at the café. Similar to my experiences at Burning Man, where there seems to me to be more of a connectedness between encounters and events, delightful synchronicities sprung up for me everywhere in Oz. It made sense to me that on a travel through a new Burning Man world, I would feel like I was in Black Rock City.
Panorama of Rolador by Maid Marian
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Boarding the 14-hour flight to Sydney, Australia, a flurry of butterflies filled my belly. Though I’d been daydreaming about this trip for some time, it only now felt real. Stepping off this plane in Australia would put me farther than ever before from my family, friends, and community in San Francisco. However, the knowledge that I’d be welcomed into a network of Burners in Australia and New Zealand made the start of my journey much less intimidating, the gap between our continents that much smaller.
Maid Marian and I had crafted a tight itinerary for our travels abroad and had a lot to accomplish in a short amount of time. Our first mission was to connect with the movers and shakers behind the upcoming OzBurn Seed 2010, Australia’s first Regional Burn that will take place in June, 2010. Over the past several months, I’d shared countless conversations and emails with Burning Man Australian Regional Contact Robin and local community organizers Phil Smart and King Richard about the work they were doing to nurture the growth of the Burning Man community in Australia. Though I knew that the work they were doing was significant, from my desk in San Francisco—and without a background in Australian culture—I had a limited frame of reference through which to understand their experiences. By visiting them in Australia and connecting with the local Burning Man community, I hoped to gain the perspective I needed to comprehend what their contributions meant to the international Burning Man Regional Network.
- View from our plane over Sydney Photo by Maid Marian
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Once Upon a Pinkie Swear
In 2005, when I promised my friend Devin that I would to go to Burning Man, little did I know that I would soon be taken in by a community that would school me in the fine arts of friendship, performance, love and BACON. Up until I fell into the Burning Man community, I thought you needed a stage to perform. That’s not to say that this Lioness doesn’t love the limelight but over the course of the past few years, I’ve discovered that life is performance art and that the immediate moment is as good a time as any to act out your grandest gestures.
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