You know how every year when you leave Burning Man after partying your butt off, interacting with amazing art, seeing your friends and making new ones, and wandering around an amazing city unlike any you’ve ever encountered that magically rises up out of a prehistoric lakebed; you go home and take a shower and maybe have a beer and think about how great that was? Well, there are people still out in those dust storms and that searing heat making sure everything is torn down, stowed and shipped and any little bits of trash you possibly, accidentally were inconsiderate about not taking home with you are being all picked up so we can throw this little event again next year.
DA and crew, photo by fling93
I was talking with DA who runs the Playa Restoration (or Resto) Crew and he told me how when the event is over they spend weeks tearing down Black Rock City’s structures and then walking miles each day in the sun over grids, making sure to pick up every last bit of trash that may have made it to the playa floor. The goal is to leave the playa as clean as it was before the event and it is hard, grueling work. They start early in the morning and DA tells me that around 3:15 in the afternoon someone will invariably yell “Morale!” and the crew will stop, go to the shade and drink a couple cold beers and eat some snacks. This makes the remaining two hours go by faster.
That beer and snacks are donated by you, kind citizen of Black Rock City.
As you come through the gate at this year’s Burning Man event, along with the What Where When, Tip Sheet and map, you’ll get something new from the Greeters – a little pink postcard that’s part of an interactive, social-digital-anthropological experiment we’re about to embark upon.
There is space on the card for you to fill out your name, email, Twitter account, whether you’re male or female, and your zip code or country. That’s it.
You can drop it off at several locations around the playa.
Pretty easy, right?
But why? And what’s up? Simply put, there has never been much of a reason or motivation to attempt to identify who attended the event until now. We all know what a strong and dynamic community of artists, performers, makers, and Burners has grown up on the playa. Until now, the social connectivity that’s accompanied that growth has been completely organic. Read more »
While Burning Man has gained a well-earned reputation for being one of the greatest parties in the world, it’s a somewhat lesser known fact that it’s also a crucible for creativity, innovation and intellectual discourse. We’ve done a round-up of all the workshops, talks, conferences (yes, conferences) and other intellectual pursuits happening in Black Rock City this year — turns out there’s a lot of ‘em! Read on, then get out there and get your cerebellum stimulated! You’ll also find a list of academic events on the back of the What Where When guide, which you’ll get at the Greeters Station.
(Please note that as with any “scheduled” event in Black Rock City, your mileage may vary. Camps move, times shift, weather blows things away, and people aren’t 100% reliable … so take this schedule with a grain of salt, and check in with the organizers directly if you want to make sure things are happening when and where you expect them to.) Read more »
Burners sometime muse, “What if Burning Man were year round” but would you *really* want to be living in Black Rock City year round? There’s tons of dust and you form an uncomfortable intimate bond with our blue friends the Porta Potties. There’s Exodus (assuming you ever left the playa to resupply) and there’s the heat in the summer and frozen bone chilling wind in the winter I am told.
No Pilgrim, when the event is over, it’s probably best to go home to return again someday.
Ouroboros, the Austin CORE project photo by Alvaro Barrios
And once home, all cheeky and clean in your post Burn warm fuzzy stupor, you can always hang at regional events. The Regionals have grown in leaps and bounds and starting last year we even celebrated them specifically in our Circle of Regional Effigies, or the CORE that are wooden sculptures representing the identities of each Regional that participates.
This year the Circle of Regional Effigies consists of 24 effigies in a 600 foot ring around the Man with an additional two circles of five effigies each. Last year’s Burn had 23 Regionals representing.
From what I’ve heard, the idea of putting Effigies around the Man to represent regional communities was first discussed in advance of the 25th anniversary of Burning Man. A perfect storm of the community growing larger and Regionals becoming more and more defined, hit at the same time Mr. L. Harvey was working on the Rites of Passage theme. With the anniversary and the Rites theme, a sense of forward movement, where the event is the epicenter of our culture but the Regionals really carry forth the flame out into the world congealed. This all dovetailed nicely with this year’s Fertility 2.0 theme. I suspect there is some kind of method to this madness.
The folks working the Gate are great people … and you might not realize this but they’re ALL volunteers. And they work HARD. Take a moment to learn more about this amazing crew, and you might just find that volunteering for the Gate is right for you!
This great video (thanks to the LOVE project) highlights the work of some of the volunteers who make the gate run. We’ve also got the transcript of a nice interview with Shimmer, an Exodus Pulsing volunteer working the job. Finally, you can learn the nuts and bolts of how the Gate works in our Gate FAQ. If you’re interested in volunteering with this hardy crew, visit our Gate participation page or visit the V-Spot on playa, in Center Camp next to Playa Info.
(WARNING: Volunteering may lead to meeting really incredible people and developing an amazing sense of accomplishment and belonging by helping to make BRC possible. You have been warned!)
Our LOVE crew showed up Monday of Labor Day, 2011, and talked to Shimmer at the last Pulsing spot. Here is what she said made her volunteer experience tick:Read more »
We came across Tex Allen and his awesome calling-cum-project through the magic of the interwebs, and we tracked him down to give us the inside scoop on the nose. Cuz we love the nose. Here’s Tex:
It’s hard to explain exactly WHY the Nose and I’m not saying that as an artistic redirect, you know, to add MYSTERY. The truth is, the Nose just happened one day. Overnight, I just started wearing it out in public and three days later, it HAD me. My YES, the one thing that was SO easy to do and not only made ME happy, but transformed people around me with joy. Real joy. Let me say that when you’re presented with your YES, it’s not an easy handshake. The best analogy I can think of right now is having a floodlight flipped on, just above your head, in a dark room, while you were sleeping and someone pulled the covers off you. Then 5 seconds later, you find yourself sitting in a chair across from Morpheus, in the Matrix, chatting about Why? you wear a clown nose in public. 90% of the time. Yeah, that’s kinda how it felt then AND now. Read more »
Don’t be surprised if a group of lab coat-clad scientists descends upon your vehicle as you approach the Greeters station this year. You might just be one of the lucky ones selected by the Census Samplers! These eager burning nerds are keen to include you in a scientific probability sample of Black Rock City’s population. They’re gathering data to get a more accurate picture of who is attending Burning Man this year. Aren’t you curious to know?
Last year 42% of the people who participated in the Black Rock City Census considered themselves artists, and an additional 35% considered themselves artists sometimes (read prior stats from the Census). Do these numbers seem high to you? Low? We don’t know if the people who voluntarily filled out the Census were truly representative of the citizens of BRC. Read more »