Posts by Meg Rutigliano

February 15th, 2011  |  Filed under Culture (Art & Music)

Hawaii Part One: Maui’s Burgeoning Art Scene

After years of hearing about the art scene on Maui through my many friends who’ve migrated there from the Mainland, I finally made the trip out to Maui from San Francisco this weekend to check things out for myself.

Public Art in Maui: Ku'au Market Mural by Lanikila

I arrived Saturday into Kahalui airport and my dear friend and our resident Media Mecca decor diva, Fruit Loop, picked me up in her teal-colored hoopty and took me on a tour of this lush and laid back island oasis. I quickly found myself immersed not only in Maui’s beautiful environs but also in a vibrant, artistic, and highly driven group of Burners and creative spirits. As I explored Maui from Fruit Loop’s point of view, I discovered that with some focus and determination, artists can find a wealth of opportunities to pursue their passions and make a decent living in this tropical paradise.

Creative Inspiration: Maui's Big Beach

Maui is a hub for international tourists, many of whom are enticed there by the artistic expression of the artists who call the island home. Art collectors are drawn to the tropical motifs, ancient symbolism and bright colors that they find in Maui’s public murals and inside her many galleries. If you were to hang out in a cafe in Paia or Hana, you might even spot a celebrity. In her short eight months working at Cafe des Amis in Paia, Fruit Loop has waited on Woody Harrelson, Paris Hilton, Pink and Flea. With such a constant influx of art lovers and high rollers, Maui is an appealing place to try to make an earnest go of it as an artist.

Burners and artists on Maui have pooled resources to create spaces to display their work to the wider world. Like the Brewery in Los Angeles or American Steel in Oakland, the Pauwela Cannery in Haiku has been converted by local artists from a manufacturing center into a series of artsty storefronts and studios. Fruit Loop recently signed a lease for her first storefront which she will soon be turning into a visionary art gallery. Getting your foot in the door is one thing but in order to thrive on Maui, Fruit Loop says, you have to be highly focused. “Everyone who comes here to be an artist was successful in their hometown. It’s tough. You have to constantly stay motivated if you want to make it work.”

Vibrant artwork at "Maui Open Studios"

One goal of Fruit Loop’s is to have her storefront included in the next Maui Open Studios.The first annual Maui Open Studios took place this month and I was fortunate enough to catch the tail end of it this weekend. Yesterday, we visited a series of studios where artists were displaying everything from beautiful fabric paintings, to stained glass, to sculptures. Sarah, one of the artists at the Pauwela Cannery, told us she had four possible sales on the horizon after yesterday’s  “Open Studios.” By having her act together enough to open her studio doors to the public this weekend, Sarah found doors opening up for her. Sarah’s story is proof that for the motivated artist, opportunities abound on Maui.
“It’s exciting,” says Fruit Loop. “I finally feel like I am able to fully be a professional artist.” I for one can’t wait to see the “Open” sign on Fruit Loop’s studio door.

December 22nd, 2010  |  Filed under Participate!

Tis the Season: Burners Gifting Back

The spirit of generosity is in the air. Checkout lines are miles long, stockings are hung by the chimney with care, and our hearts (and our wallets) are open. While the world’s attention is so highly focused on gifting during this holiday season, Burners across the world are creating ways for their friends, family, and fellow Burners to gift back.

A Vegas Volunteer at the Hot Dog Stand Smiles Photo Courtesy of BamBam

This weekend, Andie Grace, our Communications Manager, and her husband Tom Price held a Christmas party at their home in San Francisco. Rather than having guests bring the obligatory bottles of wine and holiday trinkets, Andie and Tom turned their gathering into a diaper drive. Their party invite read, “All we want for Christmas is to fill the bathtub with diapers to donate. Please bring a package of disposable baby diapers of any size to help Bay Area babies in need via Help a Mother Out.” When I arrived with my baby wipes in tow, the tub was already half-full. Andie happily reports that she and Tom collected four big bags full of diapers to give to Help a Mother Out.

As I talked with Burners across the country this week, I found other examples of friends coming together during this hectic month to make a meaningful contribution to their local community.

Feeding the Homeless and Hungry in Las Vegas

On Sunday, December 19, 2010, a group of twenty-five Burners, their children, and friends served over 450 meals to the homeless and hungry of North Las Vegas.

Last year, on Christmas Eve of 2009, BamBam, a ten-year Burning Man veteran and owner of the mobile hot dog stand he calls “Hot Diggity Dog,” enlisted the support of his partner Pebbles and a few other friends and took his stand down to the corner of Las Vegas Blvd and Owens in North Las Vegas. That evening, the crew served over 250 meals of jumbo hot dogs, chips and sodas to the homeless and hungry. BamBam set up a canopy and a big sign that read “HOT DOGS” and watched lines form around the stand. Read more »

October 27th, 2010  |  Filed under Culture (Art & Music)

Regional Spotlight

If you Build It…

The ethos of the Burning Man community continues to spread far beyond the orange trash fence of Black Rock City. From coast to coast and out into the far reaches of cyberspace, Burners are creating the conditions for communal effort, radical self-expression, and public art.

Part 1: Asbury Park, New Jersey

"Momento Mori" in Asbury Park, NJ Photo by Marah Fellicce

Since back in the Spring, New Jersey Regional Contact Marah Fellicce has been participating in an interactive art piece she calls “Memento Mori.” On a vacant condo lot amidst the suburban sprawl of Asbury Park, New Jersey, Marah uses wood pilings as the base for large fabric wrappings. Marah says the pilings were drilled into the ground in 2005 on what was to be the site of a new complex but the pilings have remained unused as construction has yet to begin on the lot. The first pieces Marah created were a part of  “Sculptoure,” an annual outdoor urban sculpture exhibition presented by The Shore Institute for Contemporary Arts. The art work has continued to evolve since the May exhibition and has taken on a life of its own.

Superman, flamingos, and tikis, oh my! Photo by Ruby Re-Usable

Over the past several months, Marah has added elements to the football-sized art piece and has held space for others to participate in creating “Memento Mori.”  A local grafitti artist was inspired to contribute and painted bright tiki faces on many of the pilings. Reflecting the idea of constant change inherent in this temporary sculpture, passersby also rearrange rocks and leave contributions such as a prom dress with colored stencils, pink flamingos, a brightly colored Superman bust, and other found objects that become part of the artful display.The lot has become a place for locals to express themselves and the eclecticism of the project inspires conversations. A writer known online as “Wizard 343” from the website Weird New Jersey happened upon Marah’s work and, after talking with Marah, wrote a lovely article on the artwork, on Marah’s creative process and on how Marah relates her art to the Burning Man principles. For photos and a great story, visit

October 7th, 2010  |  Filed under Events/Happenings

Celebrating Our New Year Across the World

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 »

May 14th, 2010  |  Filed under Events/Happenings

Burning Man Film Festival-San Francisco

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:

“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!

March 18th, 2010  |  Filed under Events/Happenings

The 4th Annual Burning Man Regional Leadership Summit

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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February 18th, 2010  |  Filed under Afield in the World

Megs Eats World: 2.2 The Australian Adventure Continues

The Country Line Up to Newcastle

ozblogrolaAfter 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

Panorama of Rolador by Maid Marian

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February 15th, 2010  |  Filed under Culture (Art & Music), Events/Happenings

Megs Eats World 2.1: Adventures in Australia

Melbourne Mural

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
View from our plane over Sydney Photo by Maid Marian

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