Sexual Assault in Black Rock City

Black Rock City is a community of thousands of well-meaning people. But like any metropolitan area, there will always be a handful of individuals with criminal intent.

Each year there are a few reports of sexual assault on the playa, and this year is no different. In light of the community’s concern regarding public safety, we would like to share our procedure for addressing these situations and outline plans to increase education and prevention efforts for the future.

Specifically, we’ve recently received a few inquiries as to why Burning Man does not conduct sexual assault forensic exams (commonly referred to as “rape kits”) on site. Organizers have examined this several times, each time facing the reality that this type of exam requires specialized training and equipment not designed to operate in desert conditions, and which could produce legally questionable results if not performed in an appropriate facility. There are only three designated facilities in the entire state of Nevada that regularly perform these exams. The closest to Burning Man is the Northern Nevada Medical Center in Reno. (more…)

Black Rock City Aerial Tour 2012

When I arrived home and started to miss [BM] I saw this amazing video that I wanted to share with you.

And here is some information that Experimental Airlines wanted to share about the video:

The most huge thanks to my spotter and ground crew T.R. “Deluxe” – I could not have done it without you!

“Ready To Fly” by Clayton Joseph Scott, from his album “More Love”, gifted to me by the artist himself on the playa. Listening to this song on the way back to the default world I realized that the lyrics encompass the Burning Man experience quite perfectly. The flying reference also made it great for this video. Clayton has kindly allowed me to use his song.

Missing Teen Reunited With Parents at Burning Man

15-Year old Nikki Peress reunited with parents 24 hours after being reported missing.

Black Rock City, Nev. — Burning Man organizers, in conjunction with local law enforcement, successfully located Nicole “Nikki” Peress, a 15-year-old girl who had been reported missing at the event Thursday afternoon. Following an investigation by the Pershing County Sheriff’s Department, Peress’s disappearance was classified as a runaway child.

When Peress was reported missing, Burning Man initiated its missing child protocol, including an Amber Alert and citywide shutdown operations, whereby all outbound traffic and airport departures are halted. Burning Man’s Black Rock Rangers posted flyers throughout Black Rock City and distributed public service announcements via Burning Man Information Radio.

“The system worked,” said Marian Goodell, Director of Communications for Burning Man. “We have a system set up to reunite minors who have become involuntarily separated from their parents, and it’s also effective for voluntarily-separated ones. This is a very tight-knit community, and it’s gratifying that our participants really step up to help in situations like this. We’re very happy that Nikki has been returned to her parents.”

Peress was found Friday afternoon when a participant recognized her, and brought her to a Burning Man medical station, whereupon she was reconnected with her parents.

About Burning Man:
For 22 years, the Black Rock Desert outside Reno, Nev., has been home to the increasingly popular and influential Burning Man arts event. Started on a beach in San Francisco in 1986, the event now attracts more than 60,000 participants annually, from every U.S. state and 22 countries. For media inquiries, please call 415-906-2441.

Intellectual Pursuits at Burning Man 2012

Burning Man on the Brain, button by Editrix Abby

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.) (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 Golden Spike

“Just be awesome.”

We thought we’d seen the beginning of Burning Man before, but we didn’t  know until Monday that we really hadn’t.

This will be the fifth year that we’ll be out there as miles and miles of fence get put up in a day, and we’ve always associated the fence with the beginning of the Burning Man year.  But we’ve been wrong.

Coyote, aka Tony Perez, has been teasing us for at least a couple of years about fence day. “Don’t all those pictures look pretty much the same as last year?” he’d ask. And the answer has always been yes, of course, they’re the same as last year. Only different. Just like the event itself. It’s the same, but different. Different people, different feel, but still the same.

So we accepted his invitation to come up and see what the survey team does before the fence crew arrives, and we weren’t really prepared for the experience. (more…)

Turnkey Camping Guidelines

Peter Doty’s “Christmas Camp”, Burning Man’s first theme camp, 1993. Photo by Gerry Gropp.

[Please note we’ve changed the nomenclature for these types of camps from “Plug & Play” to “Turnkey” to better reflect the way they function.]

Groups of people who set up a camp at Burning Man – or hire help to set up a camp – with the explicit intention of having things ready to go in advance of the arrival of others, are engaging in what we’ve termed “Turnkey camping” (see previous posts on this topic here and here).

In recent years, we’ve seen a rise in Turnkey camping services, and the Burning Man organization has decided to address the issue by providing guidelines for these camps and their organizers. We thought you’d like to see them.

We welcome your feedback on this topic in the comments section below. (more…)

What’s Up With Traffic at Burning Man?

[Kristy Evans is a senior manager in the Gate, Perimeter and Exodus Department, where she has helped manage the task of getting people in and out of Black Rock City since 2007.  The logistics of traffic, people movement, and staffing a huge department still fascinate her, and with an ever growing city there is always more work to do. She first made the trek to the Black Rock Desert in 2003 and began volunteering in 2005 with Gate. She is a member of the Burning Man Leadership Forum, and you can read the rest of her bio here.]

Exodus Traffic, 2004. Photo by Jocko Magadini

Getting participants in and out of Black Rock City is one of our greatest challenges, and we figure it’s high time to share our ongoing work on the traffic front with you. For most Burners it isn’t the most vibrant topic, except for some of us nerdy types who like to think about systems and logistics (which is probably how we found ourselves huddling around fire barrels drawing traffic scenarios in playa dust for fun).

After the 2011 event, we received more responses (through our Feedback Loop process via about traffic and wait times than any other topic. And we are listening. Those of us in the Gate, Perimeter & Exodus Department have been reading your feedback for years and have carefully considered the many suggestions put forth by the community. (more…)