Posts in Participate!

January 11th, 2013  |  Filed under News

Announcing Burner Profiles

Black Rock City from afar on Burn night. Photo by Cameron Grant

Burning Man is excited to announce the launch of Burner Profiles, a system to help facilitate the flow of information we regularly collect from Burning Man participants for ticket sales, theme camp and art installation registration, mutant vehicle applications, What Where When submissions, and other things that people do and create for Black Rock City.

Initially, the Burner Profile will be used as part of the pre-registration process for ticket sales to Burning Man 2013. To create your profile and pre-register for access to ticket sales, the only information you’re required to provide is your first name, last name, email address, and mailing address. That’s it … the same info required whenever you buy Burning Man tickets. Read more »

September 14th, 2012  |  Filed under Afield in the World, Culture (Art & Music)

Opera de la Playa

[Jennifer Raiser is an avid long-time Burner, Burning Man Project board member, theme camp leader, and Black Rock Ranger. Her writing has appeared in the Huffington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Nob Hill Gazette and most often for her publication, SFWire.]

 “How was Burning Man?” they inquire as I ascend the shallow red-carpeted stairs leading up to the Opera House. It is five days after Exodus, and I am reluctantly back in San Francisco, Center Camp of the default domain. I am here to mark the festive highlight of another tribe, the ninetieth annual Opening Night at the Opera. To some, this happy occasion commands the same kind of importance that we associate with Burn night. Tonight’s task is to write about the grand gesture of opera and the people who are its patrons. I am charged with distilling and interpreting the evening into an article to be read by those who attend, and those who do not. The dual role as enthusiast and observer is familiar. On playa, I am a passionate participant, a Ranger, a theme camp leader, a volunteer and an author; here, I am a friendly alien who comes from that arid planet near Gerlach and happens to pen a social column.

Acquaintances here are polite and prodding about the desert. They indulgently inquire about Burning Man in the same way you might bring up a shared alma mater, or a mutual love of licorice, knowing it is a certain conversation starter. Some truly want to know, some want me to know that they know, or think they know, about my annual retreat to my happiest (and saddest, and most demanding) place on earth. I try to disarm their suspicion with the comparisons between tonight and the burning of the Man. In both places, I remind them, like-minded spirits gather to share a communal dinner, enthusiastic dancing, and well-stocked bars openly coursing with goodwill. We are corseted and costumed in ensembles carefully curated for the occasion.  We mark this artistic triumph with the biggest party of the year. Read more »

August 7th, 2012  |  Filed under Participate!

Who Works the Gate? Great People! Maybe You?

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 »

August 1st, 2012  |  Filed under Culture (Art & Music), Participate!

Why The Nose?

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:

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 »

July 13th, 2012  |  Filed under Tales From The Playa

We Are All Magic!

Tales From The Playa are dreams and memories of events that took place at Burning Man, as told by its participants.

I have a friend named Party Radar and I have known her for over 10 years in the Burning Man community. We have been on volunteer teams together, I have seen her dance on a bar (one of those things you see in movies but don’t really ever expect to see real people doing unless they are getting paid), and she sometimes lives in the world as a bunny. She sent me a little story the other day and asked if there were a way to get it posted on the Burning Blog. Well, who can say no to a bunny.

Once when I was at Burning Man I was working at my job at Volunteer Resources. This is when it was still behind Center Camp. This older gentleman comes up. He looked like this kind of nutty engineering type guy. He was wearing a plain white t-shirt that was horribly unfancy so I decided to help him. I took my sparkly t-shirt paint and wrote “Kiss Me” on his shirt. I told him that now not only does he look a lot better but now people will want to kiss him. He said something like ‘Yeah, now all I have to do is find someone to kiss me’, as if that would NEVER happen.  No sooner had those words passed his lips but some sassy little lady around his age turned to her right and said “I’ll kiss you” and she planted one right on him (a good one too) then they took off together. It was MAGIC.

June 15th, 2012  |  Filed under Tales From The Playa

It’s okay to be miserable at Burning Man

Tales From The Playa are dreams and memories of events that took place at Burning Man, as told by its participants.

I wish someone had told me that before my first year at Burning Man.  Or my second.  I figured it out myself on my third.

We’re under 100 days ’till Burning Man. People are excited – and they want it to be contagious.

So do I. This year’s going to be awesome.   But in that well meaning spirit I’ve recently been asked: “why don’t you use the blog to be more positive? You should only write stories to get people fired up about Burning Man! Why don’t you stick to that instead of talking about negative stuff?”

Well I’ve already said that there’s too much goddamn positive energy at Burning Man.  I stand by that.  It’s also true that Burning Man affects me profoundly in ways that are challenging and difficult.   I’m guaranteed at least two existential crises every Burn, and they were much worse before I realized that they weren’t a result of my doing something wrong at Burning Man – they were just part of the experience.  I’ve heard similar confessions from a lot of people.

But I’d really like to answer that question with a true story.

Two years ago. I was walking through the desert, across the open playa in the early afternoon. It was hot, and I was very, very unhappy.

I don’t remember why, anymore, but I remember what that mood felt like. It would have been depression if I hadn’t been so angry, so resentful. I wanted to bite someone. I wanted to yell at someone. I wanted to punch you in the face. You, personally.

I think I was heading over to one of the Irish bars. I wanted to start a bar fight. Right now.

Out in the middle of the dust I saw four desks separated from a small line of people by a velvet rope. Three men were at the desks, and a fourth was behind a small podium managing the line.

The bouncer spotted me. “Hello sir!” he shouted. “Is there anything you need?” Read more »

May 30th, 2012  |  Filed under Participate!

Bee Here Now!

Rendering by Andrew Johnstone

Every year since 2001, the Man has stood atop an elaborate base designed to reflect the spirit of that year’s art theme — and each one has included some kind of interactive element.  This year, the art theme is Fertility 2.0, contemplating the tendency of any being or living system to create abundant life.

As such, the Man will be perched atop a dramatic pavilion reminiscent of the Pantheon of ancient Rome, under which will stand an intricate 38′-tall sculpture representing a flower’s pistil. In case your memory of high school biology has eroded as much as ours, pistil (from the Latin pistillum meaning pestle) describes each discrete unit of the gynoecium, a collective term for the reproductive organs of a flower. (Phew … thanks Wikipedia!) Read more »

December 20th, 2011  |  Filed under Culture (Art & Music)

The Combinatorial Whimsy of Interactive Art

Whether you can twiddle it, tweak it or twirl it, Burning Man art oftentimes requires the viewer to somehow complete the piece through their engagement with it.  With interactive art, the viewer becomes an active part of the experience, rather than a passive observer. They become a participant.

Fish car, entrapped

And an awesome corollary to this is the unexpected combinatorial whimsy that spontaneously happens in what is essentially a community of 50,000+ performance artists spending a week in a giant dusty idea factory.  Here’s a place where you’ve got fish, and you’ve got fishermen.  You’ve got maids, and you’ve got dirty people.  You’ve got folks running around in animal costumes, and you’ve got Animal Control officers.  You’ve got platforms, and you’ve got performers.  And you’ve got an appreciative audience that might just get involved, given the opportunity.

This, of course, makes for a fabulous melting pot to brew up those magic playa moments … those serendipitous vignettes you stumble across and find yourself uttering “Oh my God … only at Burning Man” before chuckling, shaking your head, and smiling as you head off to the next adventure. Yes, if Burning Man offers us one thing, it’s the permission to rediscover our inner child … to be spontaneous, and PLAY.

So here you go … here’s a quick collection of some great ones that were caught on film.  If you know of others, pop a link to them in the comments, and tell us the story! Read more »