Posts for category Afield in the World


August 8th, 2013  |  Filed under Afield in the World, The CORE Project

Meet the Builders of Portland CORE: Ludum et Refugium

People have lots of ideas about what Portland is like. Portland is weird and eclectic, some think, and the cable comedy Portlandia is partially a documentary (it’s not). I have met a lot of great people from Portland. Yes, some of them are weird. If you are familiar with the kilt-wearing, bag-pipe-playing, Darth-Vader-mask-wearing unicycle rider from the famous meme, I can assure you he has a real name and is a great guy to talk with.

But as far as Burners go we all like to think we are weird. And the team for the Portland region’s CORE project certainly self-identifies as such. They are bringing art that presents Portland’s soul to add to the circle at Burning Man.

Top row: James Dishongh, Pope Tart Second row:  deadletter, Magn0lia, Jackie, Mayem, Pi, Marklar, Catherine Third row: Lory Osterhuber, Jason Brulotte, Browse, Brend

Top row: James Dishongh, Pope Tart
Second row: deadletter, Magn0lia, Jackie, Mayem, Pi, Marklar, Catherine
Third row: Lory Osterhuber, Jason Brulotte, Browse, Brenda

Read more »

July 30th, 2013  |  Filed under Afield in the World, The Ten Principles

The Morris Hotel: The First Burner Hotel in the World

Jungle Jim in front of the Morris Hotel (YouTube screen capture)

Jungle Jim in front of the Morris Hotel (YouTube screen capture)

If you’d like to see Burning Man’s 10 Principles in action in the real world, just head down to 4th Street in Reno, and have a look at the Morris Hotel. Recently purchased by Jim Gibson (aka Jungle Jim on the playa), The Morris will be the first Burner hotel in the world.

Communal effort, radical inclusion, radical self-expression, gifting, civic responsibility, participation, leave no trace, immediacy — they’re all here in spades, and in a way that makes for an inspiring alchemy.

The hotel boasts 43 rooms, each of which will be designed and decorated by Burner artists. There’s a back lot for fire performers to practice and hone their craft. There are hopes of establishing a community garden to support the local homeless population. And of course, as happens with Burners, there are a slew of other ideas percolating. While the hotel is technically open right now (and will be hosting a small number of international Burning Man artists before this year’s Burn), Jim hopes to have it all spit-and-polished by the end of the year.

They have a long way to go, but Jim sure seems like the kind of guy — together with the incredible Reno community — to make it happen. Jim says he’s fallen in love with Reno and its artists, and we suspect that love will not go unrequited. We’re excited to see how this experiment unfolds.

Here’s a video from Ky Plaskon, where Jim talks about his vision for the Morris Hotel:

If you’d like to get involved, head over to the Morris Burner Hotel Project group on Facebook. We’ll post more as we hear about it.

July 26th, 2013  |  Filed under Afield in the World, Events/Happenings

“This Is Burning Man”

Brian Doherty, Larry Harvey and Michael Mikel at Z Space on Thursday night in San Francisco

Brian Doherty, Larry Harvey and Michael Mikel at Z Space on Thursday night in San Francisco.
(All photos by Erica Bartel)

Larry Harvey his own self got us in a desert mood the other night, talking about the beginnings of Burning Man even as we beat the playa out of our rugs and dodge all the Indiegogo campaigns and get ready to head out to Black Rock City again.

You probably know the story of how Burning Man began. Maybe you’ve read some magazine articles or a book or two. Ok, maybe you’ve only read a bunch of Facebook posts, but you know it all began when Larry was upset about breaking up with a girlfriend, so he burned a wooden effigy on Baker Beach to ease his troubled mind, and things took off from there.

Well, that’s not quite right, but that’s ok. An event that’s stretched its wings so far beyond the desert (twenty-three countries! fifty-five events!) is going to have some myth-making attached to it, and the bad-breakup-with-the-girlfriend story is one of them.

News came this week that the Bureau of Land Management has given the Burning Man organization official permission to hold the event for the next four years, with a maximum population of 68,000 wandering souls in 2013. That’s a big number; bigger than ever, and who could have envisioned that a spontaneous, just-for-the-hell of it Baker Beach bonfire in 1986 would grow into something that has changed the popular culture in unprecedented ways. And that’s not just hyperbole. Burning Man IS different – different than the Summer of Love, different than Woodstock, and way different than Altamont. It has endured, it has changed, and it continues to grow. And as the Burning Man Project pushes outward into the world, there has been an accompanying movement to pull back – a get-back-to-basics effort to remember the beginnings and try, as the Ten Principles do, to describe what happens out there, so that it might be replicated and extended.

So that’s what brought us to Z Space in San Francisco the other night. Harvey was there, and so was Michael Mikel, another of the founders, and Brian Doherty, the author of “This Is Burning Man,” really one of the best things you can read if you’d like to understand the underpinnings of the event. Harley DuBois, another one of the founders, said in her introduction to the evening that while she read the book, “I could almost smell the playa dust again.” Read more »

Austin’s Burning Flipside: Taking Leave No Trace to the Next Level

 

Everything’s bigger in Texas, including the Burning Man regional event. By working with authorities to override a long-term population cap, Burning Flipside organizers have successfully rewritten the rules!

Photo by Mark Kaplan.

Photo by Mark Kaplan.

In order to increase the event’s capacity, State regulations required Flipside organizers to provide potable water, daily trash service, trash receptacles, cups, napkins, lighting and other services. But Flipside is a Leave No Trace event based on personal accountability; participants are expected to bring in everything they need and pack it out when they leave (sound familiar?).

The vast majority of large-scale events and festivals do provide trash cans, based on the assumption that attendees are not interested in picking up after themselves. Leave No Trace events like Burning Man and Burning Flipside have a different ethos. The latter trust that community members are not only perfectly capable of cleaning up after their own wild rumpuses, but that they feel satisfied and self-reliant as a result of doing so.

We come together, build something amazing, burn it to the ground and then pick up every last cinder. It’s an achievement we’re proud of, and it’s part of what defines us as a community rather than merely an event. We do it because we respect the land and the right of others to enjoy the land once we depart.

Incorporating trash services would change the very nature of what Flipside is about and Austin Artistic Reconstruction (AAR), the organization running Flipside, wasn’t willing to subvert the community’s values just to sell more tickets.

Faced with a choice of either going against our community’s values by providing trash cans, or limiting the population, AAR did what they had to do:

They changed the rules.

Read more »

June 12th, 2013  |  Filed under Afield in the World, Events/Happenings, Participate!

Participate! Vote on Burners Without Borders’ next grant recipient!

From Hurricane Sandy relief to empowering marginalized street-living youth through the MotoMoto Circus project in Kenya, Burners Without Borders has supported innovative disaster relief programs and community initiatives that have a positive lasting impact since 2005.

Burners Without Borders

Tomorrow, Burners Without Borders invites you to join their tele-salon and select their next grant recipient! Their new Walk the Walk Grant program seeks to fund innovative community projects within the Burning Man Global Network.

Four finalists will each have 10 minutes to pitch their project during the call. How does the project embody the 10 Principles, creatively address local challenges and produce direct actions and collaboration? Join the tele-salon and find out tomorrow. Read more »

June 11th, 2013  |  Filed under Afield in the World

How [freespace] Challenges Burning Man’s Emergent Principles

In San Francisco Burner circles, close to the source, I often hear the Burner’s Dream expressed thusly: Our dream is to bring the principles we embody out on the playa back to the default world.

We want to be as awesome as we are at Burning Man all the time, and we want our cities and towns and neighborhoods to be that awesome as well.

freespace

This June, a bunch of San Francisco Burners fell into the opportunity to take over a 14,000-square-foot SOMA warehouse for $1 and turn it into [freespace], a three-story blank canvas for artists, hackers, farmers, builders, and whoever else wanders in, meant to be a staging ground for inspired experiments in hacking on the meaning of urban space.

Sounds like that Burner’s Dream come to life, right? Naturally, Burning Man got involved. But what does that even mean? Who is this “Burning Man?” Is it the Burning Man organization? is it the fledgling non-profit Burning Man Project? Is it Burning Man participants acting of their own accord?

Yes.

Read more »

June 6th, 2013  |  Filed under Afield in the World

Art and Whimsy are renewable resources

Significance of the Water, by Alexander Spivak.  (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License)

Significance of the Water, by Alexander Spivak. (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License)

Where’d all the fun people go?

A recent San Francisco newspaper article was ostensibly about a book – the newly published history of the Cacophony Society.  But its headline asked a very pertinent question:  “Whither the tricksters?”

San Francisco used to be full of mischief makers who played extraordinary pranks on normal society – or at least as normal as it gets in SF, a city where phone apps for vegan bicyclists are considered a literary form.  But many of their greatest feats have been institutionalized (Santacon … runners in salmon costumes “swimming” upstream during a major race between the ocean and the bay), and new public activities seen to have just … disappeared.

What happened?

There are many answers, but one of the big ones is that Burning Man sucked all the air out of the city.

That’s not intended as a hostile comment – and indeed there’s quite a bit of truth to it.  Burning Man became a San Francisco Cacophony Society event early in its history, turned into the definitive Cacophony event in the mid-90s, and soon a small army of whimsical geniuses who otherwise would be setting up rappel lines between corporate rooftops were working on art cars, theme camps, and port-a-pottie logistics for the annual trip to the desert.

Even for the high-energy aesthetic dissident of means, there are only so many costume parties and conceptual mind-fucks you can come up with in a year.  Those of us who have to work for a living have even less time to spend in gorilla suits.  At some level yes, Burning Man took all the time and inspiration that otherwise would have been spent doing Cacophony events in San Francisco.

What are we to make of this?

Read more »

Firefly Opens Studios to Boston Area Community

No need to wait three months to dive into the art of Burning Man! Burning Man Regional Groups in more than 120 regions spanning over 20 countries are developing ways to engage local communities around the creative spirit, year-round.

Firefly Arts Collective

Firefly Arts Collective lights up Somerville Open Studios (Photo Credit: Jonathan Macleod)

Earlier this month, Firefly Arts Collective  – who organize the official New England Burning Man regional event Firefly – took part in Somerville Open Studios, one of the largest weekend-long open studio events in the United States.

Home to many Firefly artists and a growing arts community, Somerville is located just north of Boston. Read more »