Leo Villareal & The Bay Lights: Flip the Switch!

The Bay Lights, artist’s rendering

Remember this? Well, the fundraising and permitting process was a success, and the project is moving forward!

That’s right, long-time Burner, Disorient founder and artist Leo Villareal is creating the world’s largest LED light installation on the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Workers started attaching 25,000 white LED lights to the bridge in October. The installation is 1.8 miles in length and 500 feet high; the lights will be switched on early in March 2013 and will remain for at least two years.

Leo was inspired to create programmed light installations by his experiences at Burning Man in the mid-90’s, wandering in the darkness without any points of reference. The New York Times just published an article about Leo and the Bay Lights which includes the story of Leo’s Burning Man roots … here’s an excerpt:

“Like most of the crazier ideas that come out of San Francisco these days, the Bay Lights owes its genesis to Burning Man, the end-of-summer bacchanal on the Black Rock Desert playa where overworked Silicon Valleyites and underworked counterculturalists gather to stay up all night, party and cross-pollinate. Davis is a longtime regular at the festival and says that for him it conveys “a sense of spectacle, a sense of wonder and awe, a sense of generosity and shared experience. But he was growing frustrated with the annual ritual and becoming aware of a fundamental disconnect between the magic on the playa and the drudgery of daily life. How could he bring the beauty he saw every year at Burning Man back home?”

The project’s website, www.thebaylights.org, features a video animation of the project as it will appear in action. You can sign up on the Community page to receive bi-weekly updates on the project, including info on public events.

For those of you on Facebook, please like The Bay Lights page, and check it for updates.

The Convergence Ritual of Welcoming

A few weeks ago Charlie Smith, who is based in Atlanta, came to California to do a little fundraising, have a workshop to teach a little welding and other skills while building community and working on his 2012 Burning Man Honorarium Installation,“Timing is Everything – The 24×7 Time-Star”. We stopped by to take a few photos since we have know Charlie for years, and MonkeyBoy got to weld a little and I sat down and did a little filing.

We had a great time. Charlie’s cousin, Mary Gilbert, lives in San Francisco and helped put the weekend together. (more…)

Spark: Facilitating Collaborative Connections

Burning Man is pleased to announce the launch of Spark!

Spark is an online application designed to facilitate connections among Burners, fostering collaborative efforts related to theme camps, art installations, mutant vehicles and other Burning Man–related projects. Spark provides a secure, centralized place for people to post listings to seek or offer resources and skill sets to make projects a reality.

So let’s say you can’t possibly pull off your project without a carpenter, electrician, sword-swallower, welder, dancer, aerialist, fire performer, painter, hooper, dude with a truck, seamstress, zebra trainer, project manager, or a 6’5″ woman who juggles flaming chainsaws. Pop a listing onto Spark seeking what you seek!

Or let’s say you’re any one (or more) of those things and you want to offer your skills to a worthy project. Pop a listing onto Spark offering what you have to offer!

But keep this in mind: Spark is not intended to be a commercial connection engine — it’s about collaborations. If you’re offering commercial services, please do that elsewhere. If you’re looking to promote your fundraiser, Spark is not the place for it … use our Support a Project page for that. Take a look at our Spark community guidelines for more information.

We hope you find this to be a useful tool in sparking your ultimate Burning Man experience. Now, click the link and … go forth and collaborate!

http://spark.burningman.com

Burning Man Desert Arts Preview 2012 – June 21

Burning Man 2012 Desert Arts Preview – Annual Artist Lecture Series

Thursday, June 21, 2012
6:30pm-10pm (program begins at 7pm)
Location: The International Art Museum of America
1025 Market St between 6th & 7th St, SF 94103 (click for map)

FREE admission!
…But if you wish to make a donation, proceeds will support the Black Rock Arts Foundation artist grant program and the Burning Man Project
Limited seating for 100, so COME EARLY to ensure your seat and not miss anything!

Portal of Evolution by Bryan Tedrick. Photo by Oly Rivas.

This is our very popular annual artist lecture series, where you get a sneak preview of some of the many notable art projects in progress right now for Burning Man 2012. You’ll hear directly from artists who are creating revolutionary works of art, often in radically collaborative ways. Some have been doing work on the playa many years and will be sharing humorous war stories associated with creating art under extreme conditions. This is also a great opportunity to learn how YOU can get involved and support these and other artists and projects.

If you can’t make it, look up their projects at the link below and directly contact these and other artists/projects you feel inspired to help and work with. Get involved and help make the art you wish to see in the world! (more…)

Update: Leo Villareal Lighting Up the Bay Bridge

A ways back, we let you know about an exciting project by artist Leo Villareal called “The Bay Lights” — a monumental light art sculpture proposed for the San Francisco Bay Bridge celebrating its 75th Diamond Anniversary.

The plan is for Leo and his team to secure arrays of 25,000 energy-efficient white LED lights to the vertical cables of the west span of the bridge, and create elaborate computer-controlled light animations to delight visitors and locals alike for two years. It’s going to be pretty amazing.

Well, here we are with a progress update. Permits are at-the-ready, there’s deep cultural and community support swirling, and more than $5.2m in private funds have been committed so far. $1.8m more is needed by July 1st to make the project happen. There’s also a major matching grant in place, so every donated dollar equals two.

If you’re so inclined, join the community of folks supporting The Bay Lights, as we’d all love to see this epic undertaking of artist, maker and Burner happen.

Here’s a video of the artist’s rendering of the project:

 

Burning Man 2012 Honorarium Art Projects Announced

The Temple of Juno, by David Best

This year, a record 349 applicants submitted grant proposals seeking almost $5 million in total funding. The grant committee did the difficult work to winnow down this list to 47 projects, awarding more than $700,000 – the most ever, and a $100,000 increase over last year. This year’s list of artists includes many returning artists, as well as some new blood. We’re also very excited to announce that David Best — Burning Man’s original Temple builder — will return after a three-year hiatus to build the Temple of Juno this year.

Thank you to all who submitted grant proposals, and congratulations to this year’s honorarium artists … we’re very excited by this year’s artistic offering. Here’s the full list of the honorarium art projects for 2012: (more…)

ArtPadSF – BRAF Benefit

Join the Black Rock Arts Foundation at San Francisco’s most innovative venue for art: ArtPad SF!

If you were able to attend our special event at ArtPad SF last year, you know how unique and fun this event is. Join us for a festive gathering of BRAF’s community of supporters, Burning Man’s art lovers, and the Bay Area’s leading art galleries and art scene.

ArtPadSF invites San Francisco’s world-renowned museums, galleries, arts institutions, and artists to transform the Phoenix Hotel into an alternative venue for art. The hotel is reinvented as a vibrant and visionary community of prominent international and local artists.

The art fair culminates in a lively evening of performance art, fashion, dance, music and art experiences on Friday night. This unique event celebrates the wealth of local talent in the Bay Area, and raises funds to benefit the BRAF’s public art and grant programs.

Tickets on sale now at blackrockarts.org/events/artpad-sf.

Ticket Packages:

BRAF ArtPad “Super Star” Experience

6:00 pm – 1:00 am
$125 limited advance tickets only
Generous Hors D’hoeuvres selection provided by Chambers 6pm – 8pm
Hosted Bar until 9pm
Early Access to All ArtPad Gallery Rooms until 8pm
(Galleries open at their discretion after 8pm)
Gallery, art, music, performers and visual arts feast until late

BRAF ArtPad “Happening” Experience

7:00 pm – 1:00 am
$30 Tier 1 limited advance tickets
$40 Tier 2 and at the Door as available
One complimentary welcome drink
Access to All ArtPad Gallery Rooms until 8pm
(Galleries open at their discretion after 8pm)
Gallery, art, music, performers and visual arts feast until late

All tickets are 21 and over.

Entertainment

Bay Area artists set the stage for this exciting event with site specific and multimedia performances, interactive art, live music and DJs with original scores and mixes created especially for the occasion.

Celebrating the creative contributions of and with performances by:

– Adnan Sharif is the resident dj and promoter of Forward, A monthly that takes place in underground locations and clubs in SF, always bringing music and events to new places! (www.forwardsf.com)

– The Carpetbag Brigade collaborating with Teatro Taller of Columbia – By synthesizing acrobatic stiltwalking, butoh dance, contact improvisation, and physical theater The Carpetbag Brigade has pioneered a unique approach and corresponding technique that has resulted in 10 original feature-length performances and tours to Europe, Latin America, Canada and throughout the U.S. Now based in the Bay Area, they are just back from performing a new work in Columbia. We are especially fortunate to have them creating a unique collaboration with Teatro Taller of Bogota, Columbia for this very special ArtPad evening, who is debuting their work for the first time in San Francisco! (www.carpetbagbrigade.com and www.teatrotallerdecolombia.com)

– Dex Stakker – (Opel/Opulent Temple) – Dex Stakker – Spinning underground breaks, slammin’ electro, electro house and aggressive progressive at numerous community events and countless fundraisers. (www.dexstakker.com)

– DJ ICON (Illeven Eleven Records) – DJ ICON is an iconic figure in the dance music industry. With a career spanning over a decade, she has captivated audiences the world over with her magnetic stage presence and signature bass-heavy vocal-infused cross-genre DJ sets consisting of Breaks, Electro House and Dubstep. It’s no wonder she’s been dubbed one of the leading ladies of this domain! Her accolades include stellar reviews for her productions on Illeven Eleven Recordings, a spot in Shejay’s “Top 100 Female DJs”, being voted one of San Francisco’s best DJs in Nitevibe’s “Top 10 DJ Dreamteam” Poll, and touring throughout the US, Canada, Europe and Asia. She has been a generous supporter of the Bay Area music and arts scene and is much loved throughout the community. We are pleased to celebrate her work as a Bay Area artist extraordinaire and expect big things to keep coming from this driven and versatile performer. (www.djicon.com)

– Gamelan X – Drawing musical inspiration from Indonesian, Balkan, African, Indian and American traditions, Gamelan X combines complex interlocking rhythms and sinewy melodies into an entirely new and visceral groove experience that excites and entrances the world. (www.GamelanX.com)

– KUNST-STOFF: A site specific dance performance specially conceived for ArtPad by internationally acclaimed and local artistic treasure, KUNST-STOFF Arts. (www.kunst-stoff.org)

…and much more! Stay tuned!

Black Rock Arts is a 501(c)3 non-profit. A portion of your ticket price is tax-deductible.
poster credit: Jared Gutekunst

A Blue Electric Thread

One year back in the last century, after our peculiar yet determined convoy made it to Black Rock City through gate, unpacked and set up enough of our tents and shade, we did what everyone does and found ourselves skipping off into the playa dust like giddy children and making our way out to see that year’s Man up close and personal. We walked up his hay bale steps and it was still early dark, just nightfall with a few people milling about and large red and black fireballs boiling up near center camp to faraway cheers.

the Man 1998 by Andrew Penn

The Man stood tall over us and I touched the steel support that held his leg and at that moment also accidentally touched my friend and shocked him. After a breath we slowly tried it again and realized that one of us could hold the Man’s leg and then just barely almost touch a finger tip with another and this tiny, delicate thread of light neon blue electricity would dance between our fingers. It was so beautiful and unexpected, like it came to visit us and wanted to play a while. We formed a chain of people almost touching out from the leg, adding one after the other until eventually the person at the end of the chain would say, “I don’t feel it.”

When that happened, we’d move that person to the front at the Man’s leg and another line of us would form and barely touch finger tips until this repeated and another person from the rear was sent to the leg. This went on for a time until some other sparkly thing distracted us and we set out with one purpose across the dusty playa to investigate, leaving our discovery for others to enjoy.

This, of course, was right before Burning Man was officially declared dead.
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