BRC Honoraria Art Grants — New Process for 2015!

Big Rig Jig by Mike Ross, 2007. (Photo by Gabe Kirchheimer)
Big Rig Jig by Mike Ross, 2007. (Photo by Gabe Kirchheimer)

Burning Man Arts — the new department combining the Black Rock City Art Department with the Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) — will launch a new online system in mid-November designed to make it easier for artists to apply for honoraria grants for art destined for Black Rock City.

Read the complete original article here on the Burning Man blog

This year, applicants will be required to first submit a Letter of Intent (LOI), which will allow the Grant Committee to select which projects will be invited to participate in the full grant application process, saving everybody time and effort.

The system will go live in mid-November, and LOI submissions will be accepted for four weeks. The Grant Committee aims to inform artists if they are invited to participate in the full grant application process by the beginning of 2015.

All artists hoping to receive a Black Rock City honorarium will need to participate in this new LOI process.

More information will be made available via the Jackrabbit Speaks and on the Burning

QB Leadership

Our community is expansive. We are part of the Burning Man community and by the latest numbers it appears to be somewhere around 66,000 people who show up in the desert and up to 200,000 around the world.

Where does leadership come into play with these numbers

  1. The Borg : The Burning Man Organization who are based out of San Francisco
    There is an annual event called the Burning Man Global Leadership Conference / Regional Contact Conference that focuses on major projects and community leaders.
  2. Regional Contacts : R.C.’s are official representatives of Burning Man who are volunteers who help guide communities all over the world and help protect the brand.
  3. Community Leaders : also voluntary roles where people take on various Burning Man related projects that are on all kinds of scales. They often are a source of leadership for groups.
  4. Camp / Project / Art Leaders : often involved in smaller groups but are engaged on some level with any of the above.

Queer Burner Leadership

There is no one in charge of anything related to the Queer Burner Community. The work through the Queer Burners pages is also voluntary and many of the people who are self identifies leaders in the LGBTQ Burning Man scene have also gone to the Global Leadership Conference in order to better engage our community.

Since 2012 (3 years) Queer Burners host Toaster has held a leadership conference in San Francisco. The Queer Burner Leadership Network operates under handle Quire : Queer and Fire. We have had great success at these events and hope to see them continue in whatever form they take in the future.

Who’s Who in Queer Burner Realness

Several people have been very responsible for helping make this successful. We have leadership throughout the LBGTQ who have great successes in their own areas but occasionally amazing people reach out past that.

Mario CisnerosA personal note from Toaster: While I have many people to thank it cannot go without mentioning Mario Cisneros of Moonbow camp who left us in 2012. He called me on the phone days before he left the earth and gave me the most amazing pep-talk.

He started the Gay Pride parade at Burning Man and was the host of the Offcial Queer Burner Meet & Greet which I took over for now at least until the mantel is taken over by someone else.

Kitten CaffeeOne of the earliest people on the queer burner train was Kitten from Comfort & Joy. He has been a fantastic ally in many of the projects initiated by this group.

08282012_burn-3033 of the Mayors of Camp Beaverton have also been fantastic partners in this process and that includes Bucket, Foxy and Glo. It was hard getting in and meeting this amazing group of people but what fantastic people.

Scott BeardetteScott Beardette from camp Conception has also been a huge asset and partner over the years. His ability to network, troubleshoot and respond to community issues is amazing.

1959620_614030481983786_1056781635_nCyndi Vee and Pink Pants from Gender Blender have been  rock stars in this community. Running the largest trans/fluid sexual identity camp at Burning Man. Not only that, has really brought it to San Francisco Decom and have been a great ambassadors for Trans issues in our culture.

A lot of thanks and love out to many many others as well. Catcher and Red from the Down Low Club have allowed us to host the Official Meet & Greet at the Down Low Club the last 3 years and were strategic partners with Mario too.

Ranger Sirius from BloAsis who has been a great asset to the community and has also been helping Toaster on some additional projects beyond the QB banner.

manAndEdAnd Ed Edmond and all his amazing people out of Burner Buddies who have also hosted the after party for the Gay Pride parade for… more years than I can count. The also hand out the official Gay Cards!

It is more than a handful of people. Because voices make up a chorus and that is what Quire is all about either directly or indirectly. Kelly Kidd from Mudskippers, Matty from Yes,Please, Tom and Matt from Camp Stella, Turtle from Coffee Camp and more more more.

When Brian from Crisco Disco, Chickpea – Cody – Blitzy – Coop – Poohbear … oh so many from Comfort & Joy … all these people are more engage they are bringing something amazing.

So what about it?

The people talked about here have been real givers. They believe in this community and are engaged and always willing to give to their communities; not just queer burners but their regional and social communities.

THANK YOU!!!

Art Beyond Burning Man – Making, Thinking, Understanding

Building art for Burning Man always seemed to be part of my yearly cycle. I love what I have been a part of creating in Black Rock City; I have grown up and cut my teeth building art out on that remarkable desert canvas. Over the last several years, though, I’ve found myself bringing more art to life out here, “beyond the fence.” Thanks to the efforts of so many, we can now cite several instances of Burning Man art in lots of cities around the world.

Zoa Crew Photo by Kim Sikora

At FLUX we have created 12 works of art in our 4 years of existence. This is something we are truly proud of. We’ve successfully made interactive art accessible to a wide audience, and we use this art as a platform to engage people in the core values we have cultivated as Burning Man artists. Our works have been experienced by people in Oakland, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, and now, San Francisco. Sometimes, we are so busy building we forget to take a moment to celebrate and share what we’re creating. In this case, we are celebrating our newest interactive sculpture, Carousel.

read the complete article on the Burning Man Blog by clicking here

Dispatches from Burning Man

In less than a week, over 70,000 people will converge on a dry lake bed in Northwestern Nevada to create Black Rock City, which hosts the festival known as Burning Man. Founded on the principle of radical self-expression, it’s natural that it would attract more than its share of folks who identify as queer. I am one of those people.

What has kept me coming back year after year since 2005 is that Burning Man makes me feel boring and pedestrian. Being a stereotypically flamboyant gay man, I was often the most “creative” or “out-there” person in family settings, at work, or in other social settings.

My first trip to the playa (the term used to refer to the dry lake bed) made me realize just how many other people had similar approaches to expressing themselves, many of whom had developed it to a much more sophisticated level than I had. It is comforting to have such a wealth of inspiration.

In this article I present the perspective of five other queer burners. I will be referring to people by their “playa name.” It is simply a snapshot, one of thousands that could be taken.

To read the complete original article on EDGE Media Network…

Kitten

During Kitten’s first burn in 1998, a particularly violent storm scattered all his belongings, which were then cemented into the ground by a three-inch downpour of rain. Desolate, he wandered the streets aimlessly until he stumbled upon a camp focused on providing mani/pedicures.

“My hands and feet were all cracked, and through the process of cleaning, moisturizing and painting my nails I became much more hopeful. It made me appreciate the value a camp could bring to my fellow burners.”

After centering himself, he was able to focus on getting some action.

“A lot of my awkwardness before going to Burning Man was from trying to fit into other people’s parameters of hotness. I was shocked that I could get as much play as I did out there, from the type of guys who wouldn’t have been interested in me in the city.”

Although Black Rock City had a population just over 10,000 at that point, there were already a couple of camps that had a queer sexual vibe to them.

“Bianca’s Smut Shack looked like a typical suburban home, except for the pornography spread throughout the place. It wasn’t necessarily an orgy happening, but people of all persuasions would have sex there. They also served grilled cheese sandwiches every night at 3 A.M. I heard about Jiffy Lube as the place to go for man-on-man action, but I couldn’t locate it until my second year.”

(Jiffy Lube, which started in 1995, sparked one of the greatest controversies at Burning Man in 2001, when a large mechanized illustrated sign of two men fucking was used to advertise their space. For the full story, visit www.pissclear.org/Articles/2002/coverstory_Jiffy%20Lube_1.html)

These early experiences, plus a few years being a part of another theme camp, inspired Kitten to help found Comfort & Joy.

“Our platform for success is to feed people well, and take care of their physical needs, so they’re able to do their art, whatever that may be.”

This philosophy helped grow the camp from 35 people in 2005 to 140 people by 2013. It features a large courtyard with several interactive art pieces, a large shade structure, a kitchen/commissary area, a gym area painted bright pink, two fire pits, a drag closet, an elaborate multiple head shower, and most famously, a 20 x 50′ tent that hosts workshops, performances, nightly dance parties, and all manner of sexual expression.

The entire camp is highlighted by large neon flags, which are visible from half a mile away.

Says Kitten, “If you are just walking by the camp, there is nothing overtly gay about it, but the bright colors of the flags and the art draw you in.”

Over the past five years, many queer camps have been requesting to be situated next to Comfort & Joy, creating a “gayborhood” in Black Rock City. A previous incarnation of the gayborhood existed from 2000-2008, during which a collection of queer/queer-friendly camps assembled themselves into Avalon Village.

Kitten would like to extend the philosophy of Comfort & Joy to the outside world. The group holds several parties a year in San Francisco, holds educational workshops related to helping fellow queers, and is building a relationship with the Paiute Indians, on whose ancestral land Burning Man takes place.

“As a queer person, I sympathize with other oppressed peoples,” said Kitten. “The Paiutes have a rich tradition of honoring Two Spirits (people believed to possess both the masculine and feminine). Unfortunately, due to colonization of their tribe, the Two Spirits are considered sinful by most other tribe members and most are closeted. Therefore, Comfort & Joy coordinates a food drive every year, where we encourage people leaving the burn to donate their leftover food at two sites marked by our neon flags. By identifying ourselves as Two Spirits while interacting with tribe members, we hope to change tribe members’ perceptions of Two Spirit individuals.”

(Learn more about the food drive at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1446811415604268)

Amanda Love

For Amanda Love, who first attended in 2007, “It was a very magical and very intense year. I went with my boyfriend at the time who was there to spread the ashes of a loved one, while at the same time my brother was battling cancer.”

One of the ways he processed this was by visiting the Temple, the second largest structure at Burning Man. Designed to allow contemplation, people place all sorts of notes, photographs, and objects relating to their thoughts. The entire structure is burned on Sunday night, the day after the “Man” is burned.

Amanda has been burning on and off since then, always as a member of Comfort & Joy. “They allow me to be included in a group without having to conform to a set type. No judgement happens, just open arms.”

As a hairdresser, one of the ways he likes to participate is by providing manscaping, a service which has proven quite popular.

“I’ve had a line of twenty guys, both gay and straight, waiting for me to groom them.”

One of the straight guys would become erect every time Amanda held his junk to shave something.

“Lines are very fuzzy out there,” said Love. “Sometimes guys are horny, but they don’t really know where they’re going with it. I’m not going to be the one to shove them over that line, so I’m gentle about those things.”

What Amanda appreciates the most about Burning Man is the overall environment. “Burning Man creates so many different flavors of spaces for people to explore their identity, all crammed right next to each other. It brings out the best in most people. The intention behind something is where you find the magic.”

Ariel Pink Pants

After driving from the East Coast in 2005 in a biofueled bus with two other people, Ariel Pink Pants and her pals named their first camp “Unifried.”

“My first year was about my own self-experience, but it developed into a desire to give people like me a place to shine,” said Ariel. “I was sitting on the playa with my friend when we realized there was no camp talking about trans issues.”

Inspired by her experiences at Comfort & Joy and Camp Beaverton (whose members are primarily queer women), Ariel helped create Gender Blender in 2009, “to give gender queer people a safe space, and to give cis-gendered people a place to explore.” Their first year was a bit rocky but instructive.

“We were placed on the Esplanade (the most heavily trafficked road) by the Placement Committee, because they liked what we were doing and wanted us to get lots of exposure. Our neighboring camp had a much larger budget than we did, and it showed. They were so put off by the scrappiness of our camp they put an orange net fence between us. Since then, we have requested to be next to more sympathetic camps in the gayborhood.”

That experience gives Ariel pause about the supposed difference between Burning Man and what is often refered to as “default world.”

“Trans people do not have the same access to resources as the broader gay community does, or society in general. Most of our camp members are on low-income tickets and we run our camp on a shoe-string budget. I would like to see a discussion within the Burning Man community about how this sort of work can receive more support, particularly in light of the phenomenon of ‘plug n’ play’ camps, where attendees spend tens of thousands of dollars to have everything assembled and taken apart for them, without really adding anything to the Burning Man experience.”

In spite of these difficulties, Ariel is excited about the opportunities she is providing people.

“At our play parties, we have trans people of all stripes, gay men, lesbians, and straight people. What we are doing is unique even for Burning Man.”

Hysterica

“My first year was 1996,” Hysterica recalls. “We arrived at the entrance and were told by the lady standing there to drive 4.6 miles straight ahead, then turn 90 degrees and drive 2.5 miles. All this through a blinding dust storm. Somehow at the end of it, the storm lifted and we were in Shangra-La.”

Hysterica camped next to Mascara, which featured legendary club promoter Ggreg Taylor (who would arrive on-playa fully decked out in evil clown make-up, sometimes dripping with lit candles on his shaved head), and drag artiste Phatima Rude, who was fond of lounging in a play pen.

One morning Hysterica and his playa boyfriend (term used to describe someone you meet and hang out with only at Burning Man) started a tradition that lasted several years, The Romp of the Playa Hookers.

“We came up with the idea of being playa hookers,” he said. “We got all scantally dressed up and walked all over town, amusing people and causing mischief. The next year, we had 20 more people along with us. I’ve tried to retire it several times but so many people would come up to me the next year asking to be a part of it.”

He was and is thrilled by how friendly people are on the playa. “Burning Man has a very bisexual energy,” said Hysterica. “People in general are very kind and flirtacious. One Sunday night after Temple Burn, I was riding my bike around, looking for one last party. I struck up a conversation with a straight man, who then confided he would like to experiment with another man. So we went back to my tent and had a lovely time.”

Mucho

Mucho heard about Burning Man for almost a decade before finally attending with his partner Matt in 2010. “We felt very welcomed,” he said “A lot of care was taken to make us feel a part of our camp and of Burning Man in general.”

He immediately sought out ways to participate in the wider Burning Man community, including joining the Rangers, the volunteer force of intermediaries between law enforcement and the burners.

“One year, I often worked alongside a straight ex-navy guy, who was very cool about me being gay, and felt comfortable telling me intimate things about himself. People out there are very open about things. They break down barriers and share.”

Last year he helped create the art car dubbed BAAAHS (Big Ass Amazingly Awesome Homosexual Sheep), a school bus converted into a giant sheep/mobile sound system.

“I was a ‘rear entry specialist,’ developing the chute through which people would enter BAAAHS. When we’d meet people driving around the playa, they’d get a big thrill out of sliding into its asshole.”

Burning Man inspired Mucho and Matt to relocate to San Francisco from New York to be closer to a larger concentration of burners. “We’re not fond of circuit parties,” he said. “Burner parties have a much broader array of people who all comfortable around each other and are creating amazing spaces.”

Decompression

Because Burning Man is such a magical environment, many people get depressed when it is over and they have to return to the default world.

I used to feel this way, until I finally relocated to San Francisco last year after attending Burning Man for nine years. Just like Black Rock City, San Francisco can be very physically and emotionally challenging, but it’s also full of dynamic, creative people who gently push me to be a better person. Burning Man is the natural by-product of this city’s ability to foster all kinds of people, especially queer ones.

2014 Census Results

2013 Census Results
2013 Census Results

In the 2013 post census report there was a radically different report when it came to LGBTQ++ people who attended Burning Man. It was more detailed than previous years, but one of the most notable factors was that queer presence was growing.

Not everyone wants to be associated with the gayborhood. In fact, there are a number of active Burning Man participants that do not even know the gayborhood exists.

  • there are queers who actively see out the Gayborhood and seldom venture beyond it for a variety of reasons.
  • there are queer / questioning that float in and out of the Gayborhhood to tap into that energy to get-off or just touch base
  • there are some that are just seeing it for their first time and may or may not come back
  • and there are some who call it the Gay Ghetto and dismiss the validity of the Gayborhood for all it is without rhyme or reason….

The gayborhood has, however, become an attraction at the burn. The carnival like, high visibility, feature inclusive has blossomed especially since 2012. Since the Gayborhood migrated into the 7:30 corridor we have been given a chance to really show our talent!

Below is a copy of the census report re:LGBTQ : to read the whole report click here.

Identity: LGBT

Black Rock City’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Burners are 15.4% of the overall population, but that data alone cannot paint the wider panorama that is gender and sexual orientation on the Playa. Remember as you review the information that both gender and LGBT status is self identified, and that these questions were asked of all Burners, not just the subsection of those identifying as LGBT.

LGBT
Of all females, 15.6% identified as LGBT, compared to 14.1% of males.

Of Burners who listed their gender as “fluid or neither,” 61.7% identified as LGBT.

Another Census question asked about sexual orientation, with options wider than just “gay, straight, or bi*.”

LGBTorientation

The largest percentages for the overall, male, and female samplings represented heterosexual Burners, however, for the group identifying as fluid/neither gender, only 17% of them chose heterosexual as their orientation. The overall data depicts the Playa as a largely hetero, but bicurious environment. The same was true for females Burners. However, the male population was largely hetero with the second-most reported orientation as gay, while the fluid/neither Burners were mostly bisexual and refused labels.

LGBTcomparison.update
If you compare Black Rock City to these cities in the United States, it is most similar to the urban areas of San Francisco or Seattle, which is representative of where many Burners come from, and where the event was originally birthed.

How does this compare to your (other) hometown or nearest urban area?

Written by: Tabicat
Edited by: Wendi Corbin goulette

————————— end copy / paste

Burning Man is a community event and we are a distinct and contributing part of that. We are a part of that culture. We are also Burning Man.

 

Plug and Play & Other Bad Things

There has been a lot of talk about things that went down at Burning Man in 2014 that people got fired up about. The big noise has been the value of Plug and Play (PnP) camps at Burning Man and how they (generally speaking) have failed to comprehend the 10 Principles. The MOOP map this year was a clear example of complete failures when it came to those kinds of camps on the playa.

PnP Camps: Pro or Con

Gypsy Flower Power abandoned moop, Burning Man 2014
Gypsy Flower Power abandoned moop, Burning Man 2014

This year the postmortem came with a stinging post by The Hun that asked about a specific PnP camp called Gypsy Flower Power International; a felonious level badly run camp. Take a look at the 9:00 & BFE as well as the 3:00 and BFE areas where such camps were positioned and see the bright red markings.

This site already did the finger wagging over the MOOP Issue in a previous post. What this post talks about is the problems or PnP camps versus the virtues. We have a lot of people with too much money injected into the Burning Man scene without the slightest grasp of this sense of community created by Larry and his cronies.

As for PnP camps there seemed to be more successes than failures in that department. But the failures were pretty big. Travis Puglisi has been making a lot of noise on Facebook and Burner.Me* [link] in defense of that system. He makes his money off of that business.

It seriously pays to read these if you have any feelings on the subject and read the comments on the pages. The Burning Man blog site has had some great posts while *Burners.Me has been more the Fox News of the Burner Community I would definitely read their posts but form your own opinion before leaning on them too hard.

Burner Express hates Radical Self-Reliance

Another issue stemming form this year’s burn we could learn from is the disconnect that Burner Express forced on a lot of camps. People who rode on BE were only allowed to bring limited personal items and not much at that.

src: itsallmadeup.org
src: itsallmadeup.org

While if the rider was in a plug and play camp where all their needs were met they should have been fine. People camping on their own would have probably been fine. But participating in a theme camp there was no way riders could bring their share.

Word was that the Borg told theme camp participants that their fellow camp mates would have to bare the brunt of addition items needed to make the camp happen. While that makes sense on many levels it took away the individuals ability to do more than the basic. That also included taking out camp trash at the end of the week because the rider was only allowed to take 1 bag of trash and 1 bag of mixed recyclables.

Many participants had to pay a lot extra to ship their camp gear on containers from their regions which in some cases was rather expensive.

Wrapping up

The enigma of PnP camps and their growing association with the Borg since 2013 has been a mind-boggling curiosity that has definitely sent Burning Man down a path (along with other things) of commodification and becoming that main-streaming juggernaut people joked about for all these years. Somehow the spirit of the event is still alive in spite of it.

While this author hates the PnP camps and their effect on the event it is not going to divert the path of the bullet already in flight.

And Burner Express has been around a few years but became the only player left on the board with 2014’s change in strategy, but still ultimately provided an amazing service for a lot of people. It really is up to the individual who is traveling to make sure their sucks are in a row and that they are not the sparkle pony in the dust.

Coming Together in Hard Times

There have been a lot of high profile deaths in the Burning Man community and when we see people grieving it is hard to know where to take those feelings. The death of a regional community member has an impact. It can be devastating.

Please know you are not alone!

There are Black Rock City Rangers in every community and a special section of them called Green Dot who have special training when it comes to issues of the heart and mind.

Green Dots are Rangers who help participants through situations that have a strong emotional, psychic, or internal component. Green Dots are first and foremost patient listeners who seek to hold space for participants undergoing inner transformation or experiencing internal distress.

Whatever the case, you might need something closer to home. Maybe just a voice. We have friends all around and do not be afraid to use them. Here are some more resources:

Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255

or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)

 

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