Halcyon’s Tips & Tricks #9 & #10

Topics covered in this video: Theme Camps, Burning Man clothes, & Consensual Misting. (topics came from Facebook comments & from live chat.)

#10 includes: Cell Phones, Cameras, Night vs.Day, Labels, & Cops

These tips are solely the views of Halcyon and do not represent the opinions of The Burning Man Organization or Major League Baseball.

Stay tuned for more tips! Have some tips? Share in the comments!

A Warm Welcome

Photo: Chance

Certainly, Burning Man is a society that deviates from The Norm. But it would be silly to suggest that Burning Man is a place without norms. One of the truest conceits of Burner culture, in my opinion, is the distinction between “home,” the playa, and the “default world,” which gives our annual gathering a sense of deviation, but also one of return. We leave behind our default values and behaviors, and we return to something more natural and fundamental to us.

 

But clearly, “home” is not an arrangement without order, tradition, or hierarchy. I doubt humans can help themselves. We may not like to think of Burning Man as a stratified place, but it is.

Nothing wrong with that, though. Not inherently. The fact is, some people have been burning for 20 years, some for 10, some one, some none. Those are remarkable differences in experience of something so extreme and dynamic as Burning Man. It’s only natural that those who’ve been before will set the tone for those still bewildered by the blinky lights. (more…)

Feed the Artists – Moving Out Into the World!

The folks at Feed the Artists are taking their good works initiative — born in Black Rock City — out into the real world. Learn how you can help. They write:

Feed the Artists (aka FtA) is a communal art grant that enriches Burner community ties through food gifting. The program has literally fed thousands of artists since 2007, and inspired radical collaboration amongst diverse groups of Burners. FtA has grown quickly at Burning Man, as many have come to embrace the program’s four primary goals:

  1. To support artists in the Burning Man community
  2. To create healthy and meaningful interactions between artists, theme camps, and their peers through bonding, collaborating, and sharing resources for the benefit of the entire community: Radical Collaboration.
  3. To elevate the role of food on the playa to an art form.
  4. To allow the power of these shared values to generate a self-sustaining tradition at Burning Man, then the Regional Burns, and then to the world beyond. (more…)

Life As Theme Camp

Amsterdam
Traveling through Amsterdam in fur pants - as a Theme Camp ambassador.

Burning Man is overflowing with lessons. One that I’m becoming increasingly aware of is that life is more awesome when you live as an ambassador from a Theme Camp.

Last week, during my Hug Nation broadcast, I discussed what Theme Camps are and how they have profoundly affected the way that I interact with the world.

Love,

Halcyon )'(

How Does a Theme Camp Leave No Trace?

[This is the third and final post in our series about Theme Camps for the Metropol Blog Series.]

Theme Camps are arguably the cultural lifeblood of [BM]. Participants gather their friends to camp together, establishing a common theme on which to base the interaction they hope to engender with the citizens of Black Rock City.  As free form and wide-ranging as they can be, from the sublime to the ridiculous, Theme Camps create an ambience, a visual presence, and in some way provide a communal space or provide interactivity. As such, they are very much the cultural engine of Black Rock City.

So we went to the source and did some interviews with a (wildly broad) representative sampling of camp organizers, including Bad Idea Theater (an entertainment camp), Kidsville (for families and children), Root Society (a dance camp), Suspended Animation (a BDSM bondage camp), and the Golden Cafe (an exotic bar). We asked them a whole bunch of questions, as you have read in our prior posts, and for this final post we ask them: “How do you Leave No Trace?“.

Before we start, a little lexicon.  MOOP is Matter Out Of Place, or things that don’t belong where they currently are.  LNT is Leave No Trace, and Burning Man is the largest Leave No Trace event in the world.

To read more about each camp click on the link that is the name of their camp. Here are the results of that interview:

Kidsville: Kidsvillains understand the village’s responsibility to uphold the larger Black Rock City community’s commitment to Leave No Trace.

photo: Susan Becker

As articulated within Burning Man’s 10 Principles, LNT exists out of respect for the environment.  The phases of incorporating LNT principles into Kidsville’s planning include education, participation, and follow-up.  Bridging all of these is communication.

Education: Each year Kidsville’s Master or Mistress of MOOP, a volunteer, prepares Kidsville’s LNT Plan.  A couple of months prior to the event the LNT Plan is emailed out to all of us and is also posted on the internet. It is required reading for all Kidsville families.

Participation: Each Kidsville family is expected to keep their own camp area clean of MOOP, and each Kidsville citizem is expected to take person responsibility for keeping ALL of Kidsville clean.  We share ideas for ways to keep individual camping areas clean. During the event, it is not unusual to see parents organizing groups of children to participate in “walking the grid” to clean up MOOP in community areas.

Follow-up: After the event, the Kidsville Mayor and/or the M. of MOOP emails out a report to our community regarding the condition of the Kidsville area after most families have left Black Rock City. If specific camps left behind MOOP, that is reported out to the community (peer pressure is often effective!).  If the LNT violations of a specific camp are particularly egregious, the Mayor may inform that family that they are not welcome as part of the Kidsville community in future years.  Another part of  follow-up involves reviewing and discussing (online) the Burning Man Organization’s LNT map following the event.  And, as mentioned previously, we communicate, communicate, communicate regarding LNT.

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Vertical Camp: Creative Urbanism

[Tyronus first set foot in Black Rock City in 2002. His Masters Degree in Urban Planning, experience in responsible real estate development and silver tongue have earned him the position of chief communicator for Vertical Camp, where he promotes the ideas the structure communicates. Urban infill housing has the power to create better communities, and quality of life as a result. This post is part of the Metropol Blog Series.]

Vertical Camp
Vertical Camp

Black Rock City has always been a city planner’s dusty dream.  From its thoughtful layout to its interactive streets and its perfect bikability, many of us wish our cities and towns in the default world were so engaging.  You could even describe it as radical urbanism, if you haven’t already.

The streetscape of any city is important.  Factors such as setbacks, the types of uses that line a street, and the massing of structures all govern our views, our movement, and often our moods.  Black Rock City provides several different neighborhood environments – from the dense, packed activity of Center Camp and the Esplanade to the comparatively suburban corner of 8:30 and H.  Along the way, the structures can be incredible feats of temporary engineering.  On the other hand, one can’t help but feel a little uninspired by the sight of a beat up, blown out tent, its last stake tied off to a sagging piece of shade cloth.

Vertical Camp Under Construction
Vertical Camp Under Construction

Vertical Camp has been improving upon the built environment of Black Rock City, and we’ve been doing it through building up.  We’re a group of designers, planners and real-estate types (along with an assortment of brilliant and talented creators) who want to challenge the dominant land use patterns that exist at Burning Man.  Since 2005, we’ve utilized re-usable scaffolding to create an efficient and comfortable tower structure that houses dozens of campers in individual, private apartments.

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Theme Camps: Encouraging Participation, Contribution and Consensus

[This is the second in our series of three posts about Theme Camps for the Metropol Blog Series.]

Theme Camps are arguably the cultural lifeblood of [BM].  Participants gather their friends to camp together, establishing a common theme on which to base the interaction they hope to engender with the citizens of Black Rock City.  As free form and wide-ranging as they can be, from the sublime to the ridiculous, Theme Camps create an ambience, a visual presence, and in some way provide a communal space or provide interactivity.  As such, they are very much the cultural engine of Black Rock City.

So we went to the source and did some interviews with a (wildly broad) representative sampling of camp organizers, including Bad Idea Theater (an entertainment camp), Kidsville (for families and children), Mal-Mart Mega Store (a parody camp), Root Society (a dance camp), Suspended Animation (a BDSM bondage camp), and for this post we have added the Golden Cafe, an exotic bar. We asked them a whole bunch of questions, and we’ll present more in future posts.

In these interviews the theme camps responded to questions about how they encourage participation and contribution and whether they create consensus out of conflict within their camps. To read more about each camp click on the link that is the name of their camp. Here are the results of the interviews:

How do you manage participation and contribution within your camp?

Bad Idea Theater:  The camp is run as a co-op, with each member being a co-owner of the project. Each member funds the project with dues and is responsible for working shifts in the public area as well as responsibilities in the private camp area; there are no exceptions to this rule. Contribution and participation are required by each member as a requirement of being a camp member.  As a co-op, every member agrees in advance to work schedules and all camp plans. The vast majority of camp members are veteran Burners who are very familiar with what it takes to run a full time theme camp on the Playa.

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Theme Camps – Why and How!

[Affinity, a Burner since 2000, was legally married on the Playa in 2001, and was wedding coordinator and then training coordinator at Burning Man, before becoming the Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) Social Media Coordinator and an Advisory Board Member. She interned with the Human Awareness Institute for 10 years, and is a craft dilettante. This post is part of the Metropol Blog Series.]

Destiny Lounge Theme Camp
Destiny Lounge Theme Camp, 2009

Theme Camps are arguably the cultural lifeblood of Burning Man.  Participants gather their friends to camp together, establishing a common theme on which to base the interaction they hope to engender with the citizens of Black Rock City.  As freeform and wide-ranging as they can be, from the sublime to the ridiculous, Theme Camps create an ambience, a visual presence, and in some way provide a communal space or provide interactivity.  As such, they are very much the cultural engine of Black Rock City.

As part of the Metropol Blog Series, we thought you might like to know more about how Black Rock City’s Theme Camps are formed and how they operate.  So we went to the source and did some interviews with a (wildly broad) representative sampling of camp organizers, including Bad Idea Theater (an entertainment camp), Kidsville (for families and children), Mal-Mart Mega Store (a parody camp), Root Society (a dance camp), and Suspended Animation (an BDSM bondage camp).  We asked them a whole bunch of questions, and we’ll present more in future posts.  Here are the responses we received for the first set of questions:

Barbie Death Camp and Wine Bistro, 2006
Barbie Death Camp and Wine Bistro, 2006

What is the purpose of your camp?

Bad Idea Theater: Our stated purpose is “To Serve and Project”. We strive to create a safe and entertaining social space along the lines of a friendly neighborhood tavern. In order to be considered a true “Metropolis”, a city must have at least one gin-joint, and a third-rate moviehouse. We are honored to help fill these vital roles.

Kidsville: The purpose of Kidsville is to provide a unique and fun space specifically for children and their families within the larger Black Rock City community.

Mal-Mart Mega Store:  Our purpose is to satirize and comment on our modern society’s need to consume and spend… two years ago during the 2008 American Dream theme, the Original Mal-Mart was conceived as a way to parody the shopping mall culture by exposing reckless consumerism as an essential part of the American Dream… the dream of peace and prosperity for all has been replaced by greed and self-interest.  So this year, the Metropolis Theme demands that Mal-Mart once more takes a stand against the societal drift and reveals that it is the life of the Big City itself  that fuels humanity’s impending doom!  Through the use of irony, Mal-Mart Mega Store stands for the unity of humanity, the co-operation skills we all have, and the power to create our entire world around us… isn’t it time we started using that expansive power for the good of the many instead of the one?

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