GLC ’14: Burners Bringing Worlds Together

glc audience

Burners have a lot to be proud of here at the GLC. After a rousing first morning of high-level talks about the power of Burner art and values, we were treated to a series of presentations by Burners from all over the world about how they pulled off some fantastic feats of civic art. Not only will these works be a part of Burning Man history, they’re useful templates for us to consider when we’re out building the next crazy thing. (more…)

GLC ’14: How Burners Do The Impossible

glcteam

Well, here we are! The eighth annual Burning Man Global Leadership Conference is underway. It’s a gathering of the people who are defining the global future of Burning Man culture, and it’s a whole new world. Sixteen percent of GLC attendees are international. Half of them are here for their first GLC, and another quarter are back for their second. While the average GLC14 attendee has been to Black Rock City four times, three people here have never been, and that’s just fine. They get their Burning Man kicks elsewhere in the world, and that’s what this conference is all about. (And hey, Terry Dovido, here from Boston, has been to Burning Man 20 times, so GLC is all about that, too.)

The GLC is for figuring out how we’re doing in our mission of bringing Burning Man culture to the world at large. It’s driven by the inspiration we find on the playa, but its purpose is to focus that energy on repairing the world. As Stuart Mangrum, the Burning Man Project‘s education director, put it this morning, there are two ways to get more Burning Man into the world: The first is “sister cities,” the regional burns put on around the world by so many of GLC’s stellar attendees, and the second is Burnerly projects back in the off-playa world, and the people at GLC do a lot of that, too. We saw some of the highlights in Friday’s opening session. (more…)

What’s Going On Here?

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Marian Goodell at the opening cocktail party for the Global Leadership Conference

We went to our first Burning Man Global Leadership Conference event last night and of course we were very nervous and uncomfortable, because hey, Global Leadership? We are suspicious and skeptical when it comes to just about every organized movement, and we reached adulthood around the time Jim Jones took his People’s Temple to the jungle, and now here we are talking about Ten Principles and Global Leadership and all the rest of it. So what exactly is going on here? We love Burning Man, love love love, but why would people come to a conference like this? And what grand plan is the Burning Man trying to foist on an unsuspecting public? We had questions, and we muscled up our courage and went seeking answers.

Fortunately, there were cocktails, which helped immensely.

Maybe the first thing you need to know is that it wasn’t always like this. The esteemed and august Global Leadership Conference had humble beginnings. Very humble, as in, some of the founders went to Austin with their hats in their hands, and then they passed the hats around the room.

“We were $200,000 in debt,” Marian Goodell recalled last night on the rooftop of Burning Man headquarters in the ever-so-hip Mission District of San Francisco. “We had never had a human being ask to do something outside of San Francisco.”

The human being who asked to help was George Paap, aka Tiki, who had been staging elaborate tropical parties with flaming volcanoes and fancy umbrella drinks in Austin for some time, and he had found his way to Burning Man in 1997, where he experienced a profound sense of belonging that made him want to do more.

“I had been in a deep depression for two or three years,” he says loudly and jovially now, so jovially that it’s hard to picture him in any subdued state of mind. But he had been struggling, and Burning Man was a solace and an inspiration. So he contacted Harley DuBois with the idea of holding a fund-raiser in Austin.

“Harley sent him a book about Burning Man, and some videos,” Marian said, to help build the interest and explain what Burning Man was about. But not many people came, and only $500 was raised. But that seemingly couldn’t have mattered less. “He sent us an email apologizing,” Marian said, “because only 25 people showed up. But they drove from Dallas and Houston in a rainstorm in November. … And we cried! I’m not kidding, we cried!”

Marian Goodell, George Paap and Larry Harvey
Marian Goodell, George Paap and Larry Harvey

That was 1997. Now, 300 people have gathered in San Francisco, and no one is passing the hat. The conference is heavily subsidized by the Burning Man organization (regional leaders attend for free, and their guests pay $100; they pay their own way to get there, though, and finding a place to stay is up to them). (more…)

Educational Event: Building Community Through Cooperative Living

Cohousing!
Cohousing!

Please join us at Burning Man HQ for an evening of lively discussion focused on building community through group living arrangements.

Building Community Through Cooperative Living
When:  Thursday, April 17th, 7-9pm
Where:  Burning Man HQ, 660 Alabama, San Francisco, CA

Cooperative living arrangements have been popular in the U.S. for decades. These arrangements take many forms, from low-income options, such as squatter warehouses and affordable housing co-ops, to those requiring more capital, such as resident-designed cohousing developments. Faced with increasing home prices, the rise of the ‘sharing economy’, and a renewed focus on the importance of human connection, individuals are turning to cooperative living environments across the Bay Area and beyond.

This panel will bring together Burners from a range of cooperative living situations to talk about their experiences—the benefits, the challenges, and the cultural consequences of creating and living in shared spaces. Our panelists will explore what it is about cooperative living they find compelling, and what elements are important in building vibrant community.

Please RSVP HERE

Panelists:
Raines Cohen, East Bay Cohousing
Nicole Sawaya, Project Artaud
JT Yu, Cooperative Roots
Jessy Kate Schingler, Open Door Development Group

This program is part of an ongoing series of events produced as part of the non-profit Burning Man Project’s Educational Program, supporting its cultural, philosophical and educational initiatives around the world. For information about past or upcoming events, or to propose one, click here.

Burning Man’s 8th Annual Global Leadership Conference

Global Leadership Conference!
Global Leadership Conference!

We’re hosting the 8th annual Burning Man Global Leadership Conference from April 3-6, and we’d like to invite YOU to follow along as we report out from the proceedings.

Over 300 Burning Man community leaders from around the world will gather in San Francisco to connect, share ideas and get inspired about spreading Burning Man values in their local communities — and we’ve assembled a crack team of reporters to keep you in the mix.

They’ll be covering the GLC here on the Burning Blog (tag: BMGLC14), and tweeting to @BurningManGLC … follow along there. We’ll also do our best to answer any questions you may have, too.

So yes, tune in!

“Taking My Parents to Burning Man” Screening at BMHQ

Do not try this at home ...
Do not try this at home …

WHAT: “Taking My Parents to Burning Man” Screening plus Q&A with Filmmaker and Artist, Bryant Boesen
WHEN: Tuesday, April 1st, 2014, 7:30pm – 10pm
WHERE: Burning Man HQ, 660 Alabama Street, 4th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94110
RSVP: rsvp here: rsvp (at) burningman.com

Burning Man, known to many as a debaucherous arts event, isn’t your average family vacation destination. Meet Bry, artist, provocateur, son. Now meet Bry’s nearly-retired parents, Lilice and Charles. Immersed in Burning Man culture year round, inspired by the community, artistry, and frivolity, “Taking My Parents to Burning Man” is a parental coming-of-age story. Follow our three heroes as they depart Canada and set out to tame the vacant heart of the wild west.

Doors open at 7:30pm. The ninety minute film begins at 8pm and will be followed by a Q&A session with the filmmaker, Bryant Boesen. Light appetizers and a wine and beer bar will be open during the first thirty minutes of the event.

Space is limited and all guests must RSVP to rsvp here: rsvp (at) burningman.com no later than Monday, March 31st, 2014.

To learn more and watch the trailer, check out the film’s website.

Event: Crowdfunding: Trends in the Sharing Economy

Please join us for this special discussion on December 12 at Burning Man Headquarters!

Crowdfunding: Trends in the Sharing Economy

The crowd at Distrikt, 2013 (photo by Jared Mechaber)
The crowd at Distrikt, 2013 (photo by Jared Mechaber)

The sharing economy is taking off – whether it’s peer-to-peer rentals, skill sharing, crowdfunding, ridesharing or unused parking spots. Spawned by a confluence of the economic crisis, environmental concerns, and the social web coming of age, the sharing economy is quickly becoming the hottest trend in economic paradigms.

We in the Burning Man community are particularly interested in the dynamics and the future of the sharing economy, since it reflects our principles of gifting, communal effort, civic responsibility and decommodification.

Please join us for a panel discussion focused specifically on the future of crowdfunding, one of the fastest-developing areas in the sharing economy. We will explore the role it plays in creative community development, and how it’s being applied to entrepreneurial endeavors in the form of spaces (local real estate) and support for small businesses (micro loans).

When: December 12, 7-9pm
Where: Burning Man HQ
Address: 660 Alabama Street, San Francisco

Panelists:
Daniel Miller, Fundrise
Harry Pottash, Kiva
Kate Drane, Indiegogo

Moderator:
Will Chase, Burning Man Project

Please RSVP to attend.

This program is part of an ongoing series of events produced as part of the non-profit Burning Man Project’s Educational Program, supporting its cultural, philosophical and educational initiatives around the world. For information about past or upcoming events, or to propose one, click here.

The IlluminArts Walk – December 5

EL-wire people, 2010 (photo by Neil Girling)
EL-wire people, 2010 (photo by Neil Girling)

Hey! If you’re in the Bay Area, come participate in The IlluminArts Walk! (Or if you’re not, perhaps organize your own illuminated walk, and send us your pictures to attach to this blog post!) The IlluminArts walk is in conjunction with San Francisco Travel’s “Illuminate SF”.

When: December 5, 2013, 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Where: North Beach to Embarcadero/Pier 15 Exploratorium via Filbert Steps
What: The IlluminArts Walk: an evening of participatory pageantry!
Why: Let’s shine a light on art and participation in our community.
Who: Black Rock Arts Foundation and Illuminate The Arts in harmony with the Exploratorium and San Francisco Travel

As early winter dusk descends upon our City on December 5th, Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) and Illuminate the Arts invites residents and visitors of San Francisco to don lighted gear and illuminated wearable art, and engage in an evening of participatory pageantry. The IlluminArts Walk is a strolling light installation at the human scale – where participants become art by illuminating their most fun evening finery and walk from North Beach to the Embarcadero. The route explores three works of illuminated art, traverses two neighborhoods, and brings new energy to our sidewalks and Telegraph Hill, all while enjoying gorgeous vistas of The Bay Lights. This event has been created in support of San Francisco Travel’s inaugural “Illuminate SF”, a new seasonal program which offers the entire city of San Francisco as a gallery of light-filled art, illuminating the dark winter evenings. (more…)