What’s That? A PUA You Say?

Photo by Karie Henderson, 2002

Burning Man was built on freedom of expression, and participants shouldn’t have to worry that photos or videos of their on-playa activities might appear online (or elsewhere) without their permission.

Going way back (pre-2000), Burning Man has requested that participants intending to record video on playa sign a Personal Use Agreement (PUA) to protect participants’ privacy in Black Rock City. In fact, it was this policy that allowed us to stop Voyeur Video from broadcasting illicit videos they’d recorded of unwitting Burning Man participants in 2002.

Burning Man’s photo policy is spelled out in the online terms and conditions applicable to all tickets: any participant is free to disseminate photos for personal use only, and cannot use them for any other purpose without the written permission of Burning Man.  The PUA simply provides another mechanism to make participants aware of the limitations on photo use, and the distribution of the PUA at Playa Info also assists in this process.

Of course, technology is evolving quickly. Back when video cameras were big and bulky and rare, we asked that each be tagged so people could identify the person taking their picture. Flash forward to 2012, and now just about everybody has a video camera on their person in the form of a smart phone or handheld video camera — so while collecting PUAs has become more logistically challenging, protecting the privacy of our participants is more important than ever. (more…)

Kidsville, Black Rock Scouts and FUN Program for Families

[Judes has been a Burner since 1999 and an advocate for playa families. She first brought her son Dexter to BRC when he was 16-months-old, who has 8 Burns under his belt. For 4 years, Judes hosted Hot Monkey Sox, a popular sock monkey workshop camp in Kidsville. In 2010, she founded the Black Rock Scouts program so kids could attend playa-cational events, volunteer with BRC Departments and learn to give back to the BRC community.]

Bringing your kids along to this year’s Burn? There are some great resources and programs for Burner Families that we want you to know about. Kidsville, Black Rock Scouts and the new FUN Child ID Program run by Black Rock Rangers are here to support every burning family, including yours! (more…)

It’s a Dusty One, Folks

Pop quiz: what makes for a solid playa conditions? Answer: A winter season full of precipitation, which compacts and solidifies the playa surface.

Whiteout Inside a Tent, photo by Joseph Pred, taken August 13, 2012.

Well, folks, due to one of the most anemic winters the west coast has seen since 1977, this promises to be one of the dustiest years ever in Black Rock City. If 2011 was your first year, YOU WERE BLESSED BY UNBELIEVABLY GOOD WEATHER AND PLAYA CONDITIONS. It was an anomaly at best, and it won’t be like that this year, no siree. Veteran Burners will tell you that dust is always an integral part of the experience, and it’s so very true … but as much as we revel in and love its alkaline awesomeness, it’s much less fun when you’re not prepared for it. (more…)

The Guide to Getting Into and Out of Burning Man

I’m just another Burner like you, but I’ve done this a few times. After a couple years, you start to hash out a game plan for getting in and out of Black Rock City. Arriving and leaving always rank among the hardest things about the trip. That’s true for emotional reasons as well as practical ones.

As far as the feelings go, that’s all you. But here’s what you need to know about the down-to-earth part of going to and coming from Burning Man.

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Playa Preservation Tips

Our man Dave X, who manages the Fire Art Safety Team (FAST) and all the awesome pyro stuff you see on playa (yay fireworks) wrote up a great post about taking care of the playa, and what you can do to help … a lot of stuff you are likely not aware of that makes a big difference. Take it to heart, and your planning process! Dave X says:

When I first came to the Black Rock Desert (in 1992) for Burning Man I was amazed at the place. ”NOTHING” in any direction: no plants, no rocks, no people and no rules. The place seemed indestructible and the perfect place for all kinds of jack-assery.

MOOP Map 2008, photo by Jay Longson

Well, over the years (as I returned over and over) I started to notice (when I got there early before anyone else) that I could find here and there old Burning Man trash: a piece of firework cardboard, some odd, burned gravel, or something shiny…

I also learned that a slow leak of RV juice or fuel made small spots on the Playa that can, like the tip of an iceberg, represent a huge area that is soaked just below the surface and that is hard to dig out. (more…)

Handy Round-Up of Preparation Tools

Preparation: It doesn’t have to be like this. Photo by Steven Fritz.

As we hurtle headlong on the downslope towards Burning Man 2012 (woot!), here’s our round-up of some of the helpful tools available to smooth your preparation process:

Burning Habits in 30 Days

Newsflash: Burning Man is soon. (Cue panic…go on, panic. I’ll wait. Ok? Are you back? Great, read on.) A quick spin through the internet will tell you that it takes approximately 21-30 days to create a new habit. Even if you procrastinate for a few days (oh, you), there’s still time to get in the groove of some useful habits before the gates of Black Rock City (metaphorically…no actual gates, but lots of Gate) swing open to embrace your soon-to-be-dusty butt.

For what things should I be developing a pattern of behavior, you might inquire? I’m glad you asked.

Image by Olga Degtjarewsky

Ride Your Bike
That aforementioned butt will thank you. Begin by riding down to your locally-owned bike shop and getting your trusty steed a tuneup. Make sure you have an extra tube for on playa, while you’re at it. Then, go ride your bike, a little bit every day! Roll down a street you’ve never explored, run some errands, obtain a baguette and pedal home with it sticking out of your bike basket. If you don’t get used to riding your bike now, your first few biking days on playa will be sore ones. There should be certain cuss words reserved specifically for the feeling of mounting your bike first thing in the morning after riding a lot the day before, if you’re unused to being in the saddle. I bet there’s a German word for it. (more…)

Preparation, Social Capital, Northern Nevada and You

[This post was written by long-time Reno resident and Burner Nathan Aaron Heller, who works closely with Northern Nevada businesses on behalf of Burning Man.]

Gerlach’s new town sign, painted by Gary Mann.

On your way to and from Burning Man, whether you are traveling by auto, air or both, you will make your way through Black Rock City’s neighboring communities.

A store advertises its Burning Man-ready wares. Photo CC-BY Jennifer Morrow.

And while you’re there, most of you will spend money on supplies (of course, the seasoned among you know that doing so saves money and hassle). Did you know that your impact on local economies is HUGE? In fact, Burning Man estimates that in 2011 participants spent over $15 million in Northern Nevada, a region especially hard-hit by the ongoing recession. Many local businesses will tell you that Burning Man season is even bigger than Christmas. Pretty amazing, really.

Social Capital

The Burning Man experience has inspired many of us to take a serious look at our financial choices and relationships, including the effects of our economic decisions, directing our money towards resources and businesses that align with our values. By doing so, we invest in social capital. And because of Burning Man’s influence, many local businesses are giving additional attention to social capital and how it impacts the way they do business. (more…)