Alberta is a vast cold pine forest in central Canada. The largest city, Calgary, is so perfectly snow-covered that it once hosted the Winter Olympics, and the regional Burn there is held on an elk farm in the summer. The elk wander around, gazing at the otherworldly lights from the darkness of the forest and probably wondering what’s going on. The regional is called Freezerburn, and it is so far north that the sun comes up at 4 a.m.
I met a sound engineer from Alberta at the Global Leadership Conference this year. He belongs to a camp called Space Gnomes, and is asked by fellow campers to “fix the sound,” meaning to redirect sound waves.
Most of the time, flat speakers broadcast, sending sound waves in all 180 degrees; he focused the waves on certain areas, on a dancefloor, in one direction. That works for high frequencies, but “bass is more omnidirectional,” he said.
“So bass waves spill more,” I said.
“Basically,” he said. Read more »
Tales From The Playa are dreams and memories of events that took place at Burning Man, as told by its participants.
by Jordan Nguyen
My first Burning Man experience was the single most transformative event of my life. But I was at a lost when trying to convey just how profound it was to me without sounding crazy. Suddenly I was no longer an atheist? Suddenly I believed in love and magic? And what’s this about a giant rubber duck?
I realized that I needed to tell the whole story. Who I was, how I came to Burning Man, and how that’s made all the difference — essentially, the story of my life. It’s become rather important to me, something I plan to rewrite and recite for the rest of my days. Below is an audio recording of it. Enjoy, and please share if you like it.
I was not always accepting of Christianity. In fact, I had a bitter life chapter where I woke up to the Lies of Institutional Religion(TM) with deep anger and judgment towards Christians and Christianity.
Then two things happened:
1) I went to Burning Man and learned how Radical Inclusion gives a framework to support others, even as you disagree with them.
2) I started co-hosting a podcast with my Grandfather, Rev. Caleb Shikles. And He showed me that Burning Man was my church.
Don’t get me wrong: I agree that countless atrocities have been done in the name of religion. And that blind acceptance of any teachings paves the way for horrible things.
But I would argue that the main difference between a student of the teachings of Jesus and a follower of the 10 Principles is the amount of dusty faux fur in their closet.
(NOTE: Near the end of his life, my grandpa actually called himself a “Jesus Man” or “Baptist Buddhist” because he felt that the word “Christian” had come to mean so many things in contrast with the teachings of Jesus.)
While I appreciate the teachings of Jesus, I am not a Christian, by any means. I don’t mean to defend or promote Christianity – only to point out that Radical Inclusion gives us a model for loving our neighbors – be they Jiffy Lubers, Death Guilders, Pink Hearters, or Human Caracas Carwashers.
This applies to “neighbors” on the default world, as well.
The beautiful thing about a religion or tribe is that it gives us a congregation. It gives us a non-biological family to reflect and affirm us. When we are “Welcomed Home” we come to understand that “who we really are” is okay. Not just okay, but amazing. This community acceptance allows us to recognize and cultivate our true selves.
It was Burning Man that showed me the power of this type of community – and the powerful impact on personal growth. But as I grow in the world, I see people blossom in all types of loving congregations. I have seen magical communities grow around Comic-con, Knitting, flow arts, and even the Insane Clown Posse. Yes, god bless the Juggalos.
Putting up a Grandpa memorial at the temple
As we congratulate ourselves for casting off the chains of our socialization, it can be tempting to judge others who have attached themselves to belief systems or communities that differ from our own. But the whole point of Radical Inclusion means accepting those who have taken different paths and express themselves differently. We must remember that in today’s world “being different” can mean clown face paint, but it can also mean being devoted to an ancient tradition or long dead prophet.
It is easy to throw out baby Jesus with the bongwater – but the path of Radical Inclusion means we need to practice accepting everyone.
During today’s HugNation broadcast, I went deeper into these ideas:
This time of year, every year, as the sun returns and days grow longer, I am perpetually surprised and overwhelmed by the indubitable flourish of life that rises from a thawing long winter existence that held us cold and gray transfixed in darkness for what seems like so long. All around us rises the essence of resurrection as plants pop, bulbs shoot with flowers blooming, bees buzzing and every living thing is struggling upward towards the sun and suddenly where there was nothing but defeated pulverized grass, crawls extant these growing tendrils of life breaking through everywhere; climbing, exploding with color, painting the earth green and blasting fast across our part of the planet that is once again tilting towards our sun.
With spring sprung and flowers a poppin, whilst sugar demon peeps are peepin all seeping into your Easter EGGstatic consciousness and the vestige of winter sog slop slogging is stopping, I felt our newborn sun creeping warm across my whiskered face and my thoughts turned to reveries of my most resplendent time with some bunnies.
Those Bunnies are the Bunnies of Bunny Jam, and same Bunnies of the Billion Bunny March; a most happy hopping, seriously protesting, floppy eared kind of kindest fuzzy kin.
I’ve written about my love of Santas for I have been a Santa, drunk and boisterous, and of Clowns with whom I have marginally experimented, and I’ve mentioned my encounter with an aught two unholy alliance those unkempt ruffians formed against the Bunnies at Santa’s Black Market. My friend Mr. Evans with his fellow conspirators in thought crime, duly and most wonderfully documented the exploits of a motherload of culture jamming that manifested in the SF Bay Area in their “Tales of the Cacophony Society”, however, one group, the Santas, like all good things after one too many bottles of Pine Sol, began their inevitable slouch towards becoming a tad more of an interloper social menace party and less a group of spontaneous subversives. As the Santa stroll bar hop was hitting its stride a silly hopping kind of phenomenon rose from another holiday and rooted in carrot love, populated by gentle spring time sprung , furry familiars – raised its floppy eared head.
If I tell you that “Western Culture” is dying, will I seem alarmist?
If I say that it is our responsibility, as citizens and Burners, to pick the gauntlet of culture up, will that seem absurdly triumphalist?
It does to me. But, over the next thousand words, that’s pretty much where I’m going to go.
Dammit. I hate it when I get like this.
A sense of mission looks bad on Burners, we’re much more appealing when we’re just having fun, but ignoring the evident is worse.
I missed this year’s Global Leadership Conference, but I am told that a moment came when a mass of people finally acknowledged that the idea of the “default world,” a real world from which Burning Man is an escape, no longer holds water. There are too many leaks. There are hundreds of thousands of self-identified Burners engaging in hundreds of regional events around the world.
That’s what makes this era of Burning Man different from what came before. We can no longer even pretend there is a “default world.” To quote the 1980s: we are the world. Only a small part of it, but inseparable from.
This is the official call for designs for the 2014 Burning Man stickers! Your design could be the one handed out with the materials you receive as you pass through the Greeters Station upon entering Black Rock City. Other designs will be official sticker schwag distributed throughout the year. Help us remember our wonderful home in the desert even when we’re away!
So, don’t hesitate. Participate! Thank you and good luck!
Your designs must use one of the three die sizes:
2.5″ x 5.75” with a 0.125” corner radius
3″ x 3″ square with a 0.062” corner radius
3” Diameter Circle
Whichever type of sticker tickles your fancy (or maybe you’re very ticklish and want to enter several designs), remember there IS a theme, and we like stickers that attempt to use the theme. Read up on the Caravansary theme! Must Include: both the name Burning Man and the year 2014 in your design.
If using 1-3 colors, set up the file to print as PMS
If using 4 or more colors, set up the file to print as CMYK
Round stickers are given priority for winning the coveted “Gate Sticker” spot, going out to ALL Black Rock Citizens. Other sticker sizes are printed out and handed out to volunteers throughout the year.
Submitting Your Art:
Send either a PDF file OR (preferably) the original Adobe Illustrator (.ai) file to stickers here: stickers (at) burningman.com. You must OUTLINE all fonts. Whether sending your design or questions, please put your first and last name in the subject header as well as the phrase “2014 Sticker Submission”.
Monday, May 5. No art is accepted after this date.
We’re postponing launch of the Secure Ticket Exchange Program (STEP) for at least 24 hours until we resolve an issue relating to people who’ve used Gmail to register a Burner Profile in the past two weeks.
Gmail users have not been receiving confirmation emails that allow them to complete their Burner Profile account, or request a password reset. Because STEP — which is linked to Burner Profiles — is a first-come, first-served system, we want to ensure people using Gmail are fully registered before launching the program.
We expect to have this resolved quickly and will update this post to announce a new launch date and time for STEP.
UPDATE: Monday, April 21, at 12pm (noon) PDT, STEP will open to participants who want to submit their tickets for resale. The following day, Tuesday, April 22, at 12pm (noon) PDT, participants wishing to purchase tickets will be able to register for STEP. Full details on the ticket page.
It’s a wrap! The 2014 Burning Man Global Leadership Conference was a heck of a party, but it was also a great meeting of minds. It was a chance for the far-flung leaders of Burning Man regional culture to learn from each other, and that includes the San Francisco Regional, sometimes known as Burning Man HQ. After all these groups compared notes at GLC, there could no longer be any doubt: Burning Man happens everywhere, all the time. The one week in Nevada is just for practice.
We had people on the ground tweeting and blogging about the conference and the sessions that seemed of interest to the wider world. Here’s a round-up of the major messages, so you can share in the learning, and some photos of the beautiful people. Read more »