Posts in burner

October 10th, 2013  |  Filed under News

Your New Nobel Laureate in Chemistry is a Burner

Go figure. The most recent winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry is a Burner.

Helix thing.

Helix thing.

Congratulations to Michael Levitt, professor of structural biology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He was awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work back in the 1970′s ”for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems.” According to the Stanford News, “Levitt’s work focuses on theoretical, computer-aided analysis of protein, DNA and RNA molecules responsible for life at its most fundamental level. Delineating the precise molecular structures of biological molecules is a necessary first step in understanding how they work and in designing drugs to alter their function.”

(Admittedly, we only understand this at a barely-survived-10th-grade-chemistry level at best … there was something about cool-looking spirally things.)

Michael and Rina and their sculpture "Unity" at Burning Man 2013. (Photo c/o "Soloride" on Reddit)

Michael and Rina and their sculpture “Unity” at Burning Man 2013. (Photo c/o “Soloride” on Reddit)

It’s notable that the Prize is related to work that the 66-year old Levitt did back when he was just 20 years of age. Most of us likely boast no greater achievement at 20 than moving out of our parents’ house. Or back in, as the case may be. So we’re thinking this guy really had his sh*t together.

But anyway, the reason you care about any of this (if you’re not a die-hard chemist or Nobeliphile, a word we made up) is that Levitt and his wife Rina are Burners. According to the article, “[h]e and his wife together designed a two-dimensional wire sculpture for the 2013 Burning Man festival in Nevada. Rina, the artist, designed the piece, called Unity. Levitt, of course, used a computer to calculate the exact shape and dimensions the single long wire outline should assume.”

And that? Is pretty cool. We love our people.

July 30th, 2013  |  Filed under Afield in the World, The Ten Principles

The Morris Hotel: The First Burner Hotel in the World

Jungle Jim in front of the Morris Hotel (YouTube screen capture)

Jungle Jim in front of the Morris Hotel (YouTube screen capture)

If you’d like to see Burning Man’s 10 Principles in action in the real world, just head down to 4th Street in Reno, and have a look at the Morris Hotel. Recently purchased by Jim Gibson (aka Jungle Jim on the playa), The Morris will be the first Burner hotel in the world.

Communal effort, radical inclusion, radical self-expression, gifting, civic responsibility, participation, leave no trace, immediacy — they’re all here in spades, and in a way that makes for an inspiring alchemy.

The hotel boasts 43 rooms, each of which will be designed and decorated by Burner artists. There’s a back lot for fire performers to practice and hone their craft. There are hopes of establishing a community garden to support the local homeless population. And of course, as happens with Burners, there are a slew of other ideas percolating. While the hotel is technically open right now (and will be hosting a small number of international Burning Man artists before this year’s Burn), Jim hopes to have it all spit-and-polished by the end of the year.

They have a long way to go, but Jim sure seems like the kind of guy — together with the incredible Reno community — to make it happen. Jim says he’s fallen in love with Reno and its artists, and we suspect that love will not go unrequited. We’re excited to see how this experiment unfolds.

Here’s a video from Ky Plaskon, where Jim talks about his vision for the Morris Hotel:

If you’d like to get involved, head over to the Morris Burner Hotel Project group on Facebook. We’ll post more as we hear about it.

April 5th, 2012  |  Filed under The Ten Principles

Who the hell are “Burners,” anyway?

We are what we do

A few months ago I was asked, in one of those email groups where people ask each other things like this:  “what does it mean to be a burner?  What are the core beliefs that unite us?”

I didn’t respond, first and foremost because honest-to-God do I have that kind of time?  No I do not, and it is hugely irresponsible of people to ask me open ended questions.  It’s like offering a hypochondriac free medical advice.  His whole weekend’s shot.

But I also didn’t respond because I’d been wrestling with that question for some time … and had no good answer.

I know that the most common response is “The 10 Principles,” but … I don’t see it.  I bet 90% of the Burners reading this can’t name all 10 without looking them up.  Of that 10% who can, I bet 90% of them didn’t know all the 10 principles … or anything about the 10 principles … back when that magical moment happened and they first decided:  “Oh, I like this.  I want to be a part of this.”

It’s also commonly understood … though not often talked about … that most of us interpret the 10 Principles differently.  Some of us (I’ll raise my hand) believe that “Radical Inclusion” means “everybody can participate in Burning Man,” while others take it to mean “everybody should feel included and accepted by people at Burning Man”:  we’re worlds apart.  Exactly what “Gifting” means is not a matter of settled tort.  How “communal” does “Communal Effort” have to be?  You might as well ask how many Burners can dance on the head of a pin, except that this was settled by 2005’s massive art project “Dance on the Head of a Pin!”  It’s 82, and they light the pin on fire.  Man that really should have been funded. Read more »