For the last six years, it has been my privilege to meet and work with the most extraordinary people as part of Burning Man’s media team. No more. As of this month, I have resigned my commission as Volunteer Coordinator for Media Mecca in order to spend more time with my family. (Okay, fine: that’s a lie. To even claim I’ll be spending more time with my family is technically in violation of a court order.) This will not affect your life at all. But it has reminded me that I’ve always meant to write a post explaining Burning Man’s often opaque volunteer system to people who are thinking about trying it on for themselves. It was obvious to me, as I waded through my first few hundred volunteer applications, that a hell of a lot of people have no idea how the system works. This is that post. Read more »
Posts for category Participate!
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.
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 »
This is the official call for designs for the 2013 Burning Man stickers! Your design could be the one passed out with the materials you receive as you pass through the Greeters Station upon entering Black Rock City. Other designs will become official sticker schwag passed out on-and-off the playa throughout the year. Help us remember our wonderful home in the desert even when we’re away throughout the year. So, don’t hesitate. Participate! Thank you and good luck!
Size: Your designs must use one of the three die sizes:
• 2. 5″ x 5.75” with a 0.125” corner radius
• 3″ x 3″” square with a 0.062” corner radius
• 3” Diameter Circle
We’re excited to announce the launch of Burning Man’s official YouTube Channel … and YOU are invited to participate!
This channel showcases the best videos and films about (or inspired by) Burning Man’s history, ethos, global community, and growing year-round culture. It highlights videos that capture the reverie and reverence of Black Rock City — where we celebrate community and creativity in a crucible of ideas, art, and technology — and illuminates the global reach of Burning Man culture. In short, this channel tells the story of Burning Man’s evolution in the world, including reminders of the past, landmarks for the present and inspiration for the future.
We invite your participation! Read more »
The camp fell together by happy accident. At a dinner in 2003, I seated my brother the construction guy next to my BFF the drag a capella singer, hoping their shared love of Burning Man would get them through a meal. Over that meal they conjured The Vault of Hivin’, a bewinged VW beetle towing chalkboards for a spelling bee, and a sound system that blasted the Bee-gees, the B-52’s, and Sting. They decided to collaborate on this vision and camp together, reasoning that the construction gearheads needed artistic vision, and the drag queens needed a ratchet up with implementation. After a decade of sticking together, we are truly a ragtag, multigenerational family of folks who love our annual reinvention fest. Having campmates with wildly diverse skills is a gift – somebody has to remember how to put up the shade structure, and somebody else has to make it blingy but not moopy.
Our best theme was probably Miajuana! which combined Lucha Libre Mexican wrestling with a Titty Tequila bar festooned with a whole laundry line of the largest and smallest bras we could scavenge (until the big bras all got appropriated as costumes.) Our construction wizards built a regulation-size wrestling ring on two trailers, surrounded by a two-story viewing platform and a repurposed tiki bar. The drag queens pumped lavender mist water on the shockingly large crowds who came, while the gearheads offered goopy-cheese nachos, and tang-and-tequila margaritas; we had colorful ringside commentary and interactive NSFW “burro rides” during intermission. We poured through gallons of booze and bales of chips, but the canned ‘cheez’ and pickled jalapenos never seemed to run out. Wrestlers of both genders showed up with their own multicolored masks. When it rained, it deteriorated into clothing-optional mud wrestling which ended when we all stopped to watch the double rainbow. It took us eight months to develop amnesia over that one. Read more »
Since the year 2000, there has been a Temple at Burning Man, and when we talk about the Temple, most people think of what started that year with David Best and Jack Haye, and became a long line of temples that have graced the playa. The Temple has evolved from what became a memorial to their friend into an “emotional nexus” of our community, where thousands make pilgrimage each year to remember those they have lost, to celebrate and affirm life, to heal and to forgive.
In 2012 I was fortunate to meet many of the people who are involved with building the Temple each year and to research what I came to believe are some of the essentials of understanding what the Temple at Burning Man has become. It is a place where our community goes to unburden itself and it is a representation of our maturity as a community as well as a natural manifestation of something sacred in the City of Black Rock.
Proposing to be the one who builds the Temple at Burning Man is serious stuff involving quite a bit of work within an existing structure of volunteers and other Temple minded folks to create something for the community. One question that was raised over and over again as I spoke with people who have done this before was that you should not ask yourself “WHAT am I doing this for?” but rather “WHO am I doing this for?”
For many Burners, the Temple is a vital place where those who build it possess a solemnity and a respect for that process. It is also a place for those who attend the event to use for grieving or celebration of life in an environment that is in contrast to a lot of the rollicking and outrageous things happening elsewhere on the playa that week in late summer.
Walking around the Temple at the middle of the week, I personally get overwhelmed by the amount of emotion that is focused like a beam in there. It is as if, from its inception each year, to all the planning and all the hands that build it, then when the event begins and it becomes “the largest collaborative art project” on the playa; that the energy of so many caring people turns whatever sublime Temple structure is built that year into something far greater than any art project.
Stopping to read the remembrances of so many loved friends, family and pets who have passed on, seeing the pictures of so many of them, pausing at the altars and shrines where people have lovingly placed tokens of their lost one’s lives, well, that can really get you right in your plexus where you feel that big sorrowful empathy wave. The Temple is a profound space where some of us who have lost loved ones can let them know that they are still loved and missed, but that it is all ok, they can pass and we can move on.
I’m a large, somewhat dim and oafish fellow, and I can only stay in there for so long before I have to walk away from it out onto the blankness of the playa with the Temple behind me, and breathe deeply so as to not betray the tough guy façade I live behind.
It is a heavy place. If you’ve been there, you know what I mean.
Regardless of who builds the Temple, it is always something spectacular and special. There are bona fides and expertise that are a prerequisite to building the Temple at Burning Man and I was privy to finding out what some of those were this year.
I’ve written an article about what I discovered after being on playa (and attending the Temple construction before leaving for Black Rock City) for the building of this year’s Temple of Juno. I was able to research and read some of the intellectuals who’ve written about the concept of the Temple, including Lee Gilmore, Sarah Pike and Larry Harvey; and I had the pleasure of speaking with some of the folks involved with building Temples through the years including David Best, Jessica Hobbs and Jack Haye. The article is on the Burning Man website and is titled, Spirituality and Community: The Process and Intention of bringing a Temple to Black Rock City.
Burning Man would like to have a conversation that explores what you feel about the Temple and to get your insights on it since it is really your Temple. Please read the article as it is meant as a starting point to stimulate discussion. Our community loves discussions and the Temple is something many of us have very strong feelings about. Feel free to read the article and post your thoughts here.
Have you come up with a theory about how Burning Man should handle ticket sales yet?
If not, congratulations: you’re the only one.
My blogging colleague Jon Mitchell wrote about a pre-Halloween brain-eating session to discuss how Burning Man should handle ticket sales to groups – if it does that at all. I attended that meeting because there was an open bar, and am pleased to report that their signature cocktail was a combination of black vodka, blue Curacao, and Sprite. It was delicious. Especially when you really stirred it around so the layers mixed.
The other thing I noticed was that of the 30-some people in attendance, there were 40-some theories about how Burning Man could best handle ticket sales – it was as though “radical incompatibility” were the 11th principle.
My impression is that discussions were equally convoluted at the Burning Man staff retreat. I wasn’t there (I’m a volunteer), so I can only confirm that while the Org staff were out talking about the future of Burning Man I opened a bottle of 25 year tawny port which had a taste of leather and chocolate on the back palate.
There are no questions in this world as inflammatory and divisive as questions of identity – which is why what should be the bland and technocratic discussion of how to sell tickets gets so many people so worked up so fast. How we handle ticket demand is widely seen as an indicator of who we are. Burning Man is the participants – and the participants are the people with tickets. Aren’t they? Read more »
By now you have hopefully done your laundry (check), cleaned your tent (check), cleaned your other gear (not yet) and settled back into life at home. If this was your first year in Black Rock City and you are reading this blog, then you were probably deeply affected by your experience. Did you learn about yourself, your friends, your community, and creativity? Many of you are experiencing a post Burning Man malaise as you try to figure out how to integrate your experience with your life at home. Decompressing can be tough and most of us go through it in some form or another no matter how many years we have been going. Fortunately, you do not have to go through this alone if you know where to look.