Life at VW BusCamp

BusCamp is made up lotsa folk including many veteran Burners who can make the trip every year. I soon met up with Bill and Merileu – a couple from Oregon that I met on my 2007 BurningMan Trip. They went out of their way both this year and 2007 to welcome me and it was very nice to see them again. I also caught up with Gary – who is the Bus Camp commissioner and always leads the yearly organization of the camp. BusCamp was already pretty well laid out by the first day and included a central area with a small bar lounge and a place to host BusZilla – a VW art car that was constructed by Bus Camper Heather and a dedicated crew of folks.

flickered momentarily…….

Along the beginning of the week – I got to meet more of the Buscamp folk as they arrived as well as more veterans that I managed to miss in 2007. A buscamp couple Paige and Kurt were married on Tuesday evening at BurningMan and the wedding party all rode in Walter – the world’s largest VW bus. Walter was HOT !

















It was a beautiful night for a wedding and there was a fantastic sunset i tried to catch.

During the week I brought out the Dutch oven a couple of mornings to share with campmates. It was always interesting to get up in the morning to make cobbler and see BusCamp quietly asleep.






























Several ( many?) folk at VW BusCamp have involved with “Hooping” – which as it implies – involves Hula Hoops. I really did not know much about Hooping – but I have a new respect for it now and what a great work out and dexterity activity it can be.
















Of course – an evening of watching folks use Hula Hoops that were on fire – certainly added to visual fascination.









I managed to catch a lot of great pics with the new Ricoh on long exposure.


More Fire Spinning images on Flicker here


Later that week – Joel, Ramona, Matt and I had some more fun with the camera and some glow sticks













More glowstick images on Flicker here

Other activities at BusCamp during the week included a Tye-Dye workshop hosted by Annie and Silkscreening with Joel and Heather. All fun and really brought out the folks at camp and beyond. Later in the week – the camp hosted a Red party potluck as well.










A great camp and group of folks to hang with at Burning Man and the constant VW tech talk is all FREE!

More information on Walter the Worlds largest VW bus here

More information on VW Bus Camp here

More information on Buszilla here

Fund Raising Season

We are seeing a lot of camps promoting their agendas and asking members of the community to come and support the infrastructure of their camp. It comes with an amazing evening with other burners who fly under their banner and help make the experience at TTITD* whole. We all know that it takes the community, the people that bring their own infrastructure, that make Burning Man happen.

When we look at a camp like Opulent Temple (who unfortunately is not coming out for 2013’s Cargo Cult) is takes upward of $50,000 to make that camp happen. Comfort & Joy have a pretty steep budget but are driven by an amazing core of volunteers; much is the same for many other camps within the LGBTQ Burner Community.

Who is funding these ventures?

While we see successful Kickstarter campaigns and events positioned throughout the world who is really dropping coin? From my perspective it is a lot of money coming from outside the community while successful campaigns (generally speaking) have come from public events drawing in dollars from the general public.

Opulent Temple and Pink Mammoth for example run major shows through their production teams all around the country. In San Francisco OT recently held an amazing successful party at the Endup (at 6th and Harrison). Comfort & Joy holds a series of event called Touch and Afterglow through the year that drawl people in like flies.

Look around at these events and count how many burners are actually there. While C&J have a strong burner audience half or more people attending are from the secular community. These are non-burners.

Community Fund Raising

Over the last year camps that have been in the scope of the Queer Burner mission have done some amazing work. Last year, the things the Rocket Collective did to support the camps in this community was landmark. The Rocket Collective, consisting of members of the AstroPups (DJ’s Brian Maher, Trevor Sigler, Mathew Dos Santos and David Sternsky), raised money for other camps as well as their own and was really well attended at first.

Comfort & Joy have their monthly Touch parties to resounding success every time. The next event is March 30th.

Just recently the GlamCocks held a beer bust at the Midnight Sun in San Francisco while their brothers/sisters in New York and Los Angeles hold their own events.

Camp Beaverton just announced their next fund raiser is on April 24th.

The question is still out there… who is funding these ventures?

The Question

To find success are fund raisers reaching the demographic of successful funding or anticipating that the community itself is going to step in and be there? Cash cows seem to have come from reaching people outside the community (outside the queer burner demographic) and making their target audience more general; e.g. Pink Mammoth and Comfort & Joy.

Is there enough people within your group (cliche, demographic, or camp membership) to fund your venture?

…and where were you when those other camps were asking for support?

An Observation

I have made every effort to attend and support any event thrown by burners in and outside of my community. Yes, I was entertained and partied my socks off, but I was there either in spirit or in force. Yet, I looked around and saw almost no one from the community at-large.

For example, at the recent GlamCocks beer bust there was a smattering of Queer Burners that showed up. It was at a gay bar in the Castro and the handful of people outside of GlamCocks camp that were there came because of Facebook and Twitter posting that I made; these were also friends of mine from the community as well; as far as the people I knew and recognized were concerned.

Not calling anyone out or not putting anyone on the spot, but when it is time to put the honey pot out what did you do to support the people you are now asking for? This is one of the reasons that I have been talking a lot about “Community”. We are LGBTQ Burners and while Burning Man IS NOT a gay event our community brings a very important personality to the mix.

A Conclusion

Events put on by Queer Burners and camps from the community are chances to embrace our unique culture and support each other in our projects. It is a way to stay connected and draw on energy as we spread our wings into the year when things get a little quieter… it is also a chance to stay energized as the season begins accelerating.

Leadership in Queer Burners

We held the first Queer Burner Leadership Summit (QBLS) in 2012 as the pre-step before the internationally attended Burning Man Regional Summit now called the Burning Man Leadership Summit (BMLS) and Regional Conference. There was a very important notable difference from this year to that is that there were some genuine issues that needed to be brought from one to the other; safety. [Link to the 2012 Summary]

In 2012 there was a nutty result of the way tickets were managed that was exposing Burning Man to an influx of people who were never part of the culture before or knowledgeable about the basic tenants of Burning Man (10 Principals) and have problems with personal and physical boundaries. The discussion was brought to the BMLS and we received a dicey reaction at first (the Org looked pretty bad as a result) but in the end Burning Man / the Org really came through! [report]

This year in 2013, we are focusing on the internal forces that make our community stronger. Yes, we Queer Burners are a community that is another chink in the mesh that makes us a stronger fabric of the whole quilt that makes us part of the Burning Man Community/Culture.

Leadership comes from a handful of people who are part of the unit. Successful leadership seeks out those others who are willing to help them grow into whatever wings they have. Do we have successful leadership under the banner of Queer Burners? I say yes.

In the above video there is something that is very prolific in how we are looking at the people around us and help raise people to get them to be a functioning part of our communities and units. What tribe does your camp members belong to. See how many are part of the 2nd Tribe versus the first. I dare say there are few in our culture that could survive as the 1st one. Check out this TED video and see what I mean.

Do these exist among leaders in this community? While we, as leaders, are looked to carrying the flag we need people who are self motivated to follow it. Often they cannot do it on their own and need a boost psychologically or by shifting priorities to help them get there

“The greatest road to enlightenment is
helping someone else get there first.”

The above quote comes from the Dahli Lama and plays over and over in my head when I think of success. Please check out the video and add your comments below.

Register today to attend the Queer Burner Leadership Summit through Eventbrite. Events on the weekend of April 6th include but are not limited to: [RSVP for QBLS on this link]


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