May Bi Monthly News Letter P2


It’s mid may and we are heading deep into Festival Season and Gay Pride. The year passes at such a high velocity some times it is hard to keep up with the latest and the greatest. Here is our quick and dirty attempt.

In this issue of the monthly news letter:

  • All Of Us Update
  • 2017 Queer Camps List
  • Events
  • The Mechanics: How this email works

All Of Us

Many thanks to the many people who bought the many tickets to the most amazing event we have ever produced. Literally, we have a catalog of things for the weekend that are beyond the anything we could have imagined over the last couple years. We will miss Groundswell for sure, but this new area is larger and wider with more amenities. Not quite surviving in the desert, but why not treat yourself before that happens… right?

 

What was formerly the Queer Burner Retreat is now All Of Us event. It is the only regional style event in the world focused on LGBTQ++ participants in the Burning Man culture. It is a 10 Principles based event with a mission of fostering Community & Leadership. We also seek to see others rise into their own in whatever forms they take that goes to the next level of participation and doing.

  • ALL PARTICIPANTS must have legal identification when checking in at the gate showing they are at least 18 years or older.
  • Everyone will have to complete a waiver agreement when coming in. It would be really helpful if you had it printed and filled out before you came – LINKED HERE
  • Need a ride or can offer one? Sign-up on the Carpool – LINKED HERE
  • Sign up early for your volunteer role – LINKED HERE
  • Sign up for workshops – LINKED HERE
  • Housing / Food Needs – LINKED HERE

The waiver has some language in it that is very important. Please look it over carefully. And yes, in order to come into the event it must be completed with your identification. All participants will have to wear a colored bracelet upon check in:

  • 1 color if under 21
  • another color if 21 plus
  • and/or another if you do not want to appear in photos or video

We want everyone to feel safe and welcome.

Some quick facts:

  • IF you are in a bed you MUST have bedding. There is a place to order it on the Eventbrite. Or, you may be required to buy it when you arrive unless you have your own.
  • Bring your own towels, toiletries, cup … just like going to Burning Man
  • SCREEN PRINTING at ALL OF US!!! Bring a t-shirt or garment for large screen prints
    “The Journey” is printing art logo prints and the All Of Us Official Logo
    You can bring t-shirts, coats, anything that can take screen printing
  • There are 2 meals a day : 10 am Brunch & 6:30 Dinner : & snacks
  • There is a lot of activities from amazing hiking to pool and jacuzzi space
  • This is a clothing optional event (except in dining room and kitchen)
  • NO GLASS is allowed in the pool area at any time
  • SMOKING IN DESIGNATED AREAS ONLY
  • Bring your favorite bottle(s) for you and to share with your fellow campers along with any desired mixers. There is no open bar… but I bet someone will share. But… radical self reliance… BRING A CUP makes it a lot easier
    *anyone giving persons under 21 alcohol will be asked to leave *

2017 Queer Burners Camp List

The list is taking shape and camps are seriously gearing up to get ready for “Radical Ritual” Burning Man 2017. Do not be one of those people who wait til the last minute to commit because you WILL be left out. Check out the 2017 Queer Burners Page on our web site. 

Events

This is a list of events we know about:

Submit your events for the news letter in the link below.

The Mechanics

Thank you to everyone who has contributed and helped keep this network thriving. As we get closer to event season there is room for more people to play in this garden. If you sign up on the Queer Burners web site and are verified, then you too can write posts and continue conversations relevant to the community at large. Thank you to so many of you.

Radical Inclusion: Doing Better

There were 2 highly visible incidents during burn week where people had a wide audience who complained they did not feel welcome in the queer neighborhood affectionately known now as Rainbow Road. This is not news to a lot of people, because we have had problems in the past, among LGBTQAI people exploring the area of Black Rock City.

Given the conversations we have had among leadership in the community, it is hard to believe that such a thing can still happen today. We strive to make Rainbow Road accessible to everyone.

A few years ago Camp Beaverton has a hard nut to crack. That is a women only space (women identified too) and there is a need to protect and honor that space. But the gay men-folk love their lesbians and thanks to the efforts of camp leadership starting with Bucket and then someone like Foxy and Galaxyled the way to make the Beavers more engaged and invigorated community partners.

The Beaverton space is still a space to be honored for women as Gender Blender is to gender queer and trans people which are all spaces that need to be respected. The GB’s have always maintained a sense of welcoming.

Nobody can deny how much The Glamcocks have worked to build into community awareness and to make sure that their camp was accessible by people of all shapes, sizes and ages. It’s been YEARS since there were any complaints and anyone holding into the past needs to explore the future.

That was the Past: The Now

Incident 1: As mentioned in a previous post, there was a meeting at Sun Guardians Village that was attended by a lot of Queer Burner Leaders, non-Queer specific and others. This was attended by Placement and Placers from Burning Man HQ. One of the attendees complained he was ostracized by queer Burning Man participants because he was an ex-porn star, ex-escort and so forth. In fact his position was so anti-Gayborhood and loudly spoken that it derailed the meeting with Placement for at least an hour.

This one person claimed that he posted on the Queer Burner boards and was treated horribly, though I have not been able to find that discussion. In fact the only thing I can find is an offer to help camps with grey water back in August this year.

This was a powerful situation, highly visible, from a person who has a voice in the Burning Man community at large and should never have had a negative experience, but things happen. We have some strong opinions and defenses out there but not to the point of exclusion.

Another Instance

Big Gay OwlIncident 2: A Facebook Queer Burners user Matt Melnicki  posted his misgivings about they way he was received in the Rainbow Road camps. As someone in the process of coming out of the closet, plus putting out an art piece as part of his coming out process, I think from the discussion it was important for him to find that radical acceptance that even his own family hard a hard time giving him; a story we all know (depending on that generation you stem from).

This was his coming out piece, one which he was very proud of. As for some of the supporting posts on the Facebook feed he had a lot of admirers for his work.

Matt Wrote:

Hey, I’m the artist who did the little owl piece (near the library). I came “home” to some disconcerting messages from my mother urging me not to post about it on social media, and I don’t know how to respond to her (nor do I want to). She was initially supportive when I told her before I went into BRC last week. (The owl was a coming-out piece, for those who missed it). I don’t have the pictures yet to do my big FB post, but now I’m feeling a lot of the empowerment gained at BRC to be dissipating. (I also had several disappointing experiences of unwelcomeness at gay events/camps this year, but that’s another issue). Anyway, I feel alone and confused and sad again and I actually could use some advice if anyone wants to help me finish taking the biggest step of my life..

  • Rich Martin Matt: I also have enjoyed the same cold reception from the “gay ghetto”,…and I’ve created some of the pieces that have helped make BRC a destination for my fellow citizens 🙂
    Don’t take it personally. As you are finding, charting your own path and being answerable to no one but yourself is a big deal. As an artist, it’s important to realize that your self-worth depends on no one but you. The Ten Principles play big here: radical self-reliance is one of the heaviest hitters.
    Personally…I REALLY HEART THE OWL. ***Please*** post pix. Definitely a piece worth sharing.
  • Matt Melnicki i just spoke on the phone with my brother, who for most of my life has been closed-minded…. UNCONDITIONAL SUPPORT! wow. i’m crying so much. he told me to ignore our parents and do whatever i feel i need to do to be happy.
  • Jay Michel Hi Matt! The owl is wonderful. 🙂 I would love some details on your experience with gay events/ camps this year. As a member of one I hope it was not us that made you feel unwelcomed! But I know we and all the camps are always looking to improve so sharing might be helpful for next year. If you rather not post here, you can always message me.

There were a lot of other posts that went along with this and this is not even a good representation of the highlights. The problem is bigger than this because a lot of people have had similar experiences. I am also personally aware of some camps who have made tremendous efforts to improve accessibility of camps. I am aware of some camps who have done nothing, but the beauty is the people that have – have accomplished a lot.

Balancing Perception v. Bias

Some of us walk into a space with our own baggage or prejudice and see people of a group in a certain light. The challenge in Radical Inclusion is a two way street which means to be received as an open heart, you have to go in with an open heart. To be accepted openly that person has to come in openly.

Each of us has a biased world view because we are all limited to a single camera perspective. That is we can only see what comes before us, we can only hear what is around us, and we can only read that which is in front of us. No one has the definitive version of reality, including the the author of this lesson. Our social locations helps inform our world view – our race, class, gender, religion, sexual orientation, culture, etc.Our world view impacts how we view, respond, and react to every experience. Our job in this lesson is to learn what stereotypes and biases are, how to recognize our own biases…” – Recognizing & Understanding Stereotypes and Bias on cptc.edu

I have seen two very different reactions to the same kind of interaction in a camp like Glamcocks (or any camp) for example. It is no secret that the Glamcocks live up to their name filled with gorgeous men who are smart, witty and on the cutting edge of their respective communities. A middled aged man walks into camp and:

  • circumstance A: he sees all the lovely people and feels like he is part of that vibe and dances with joy. His expectations are open. His defenses and fears are practically null. He dances and enjoys the vibe and leaves thinking he had a great time. While he was there during his fun, he met several camp members and will be back. He felt connected to the vibe, music and space and will come back.
  • circumstance B: he sees all the lovely people and wants to be part of the vibe and dances but looks for acceptance. He fears he will not click with people. He engages and was greeted and welcomed to the camp. He continues dancing and makes some superficial connections but, although attracted to a lot of the crowd, find himself detached and leaves. It’s their fault for not connecting with him because of his age (weight, hair color or whatever).

I have been on other sides of these equations. This is almost a personal testimony. Where is my heart in this interaction in the reality of the situation. What baggage am I bringing to the table? We all need to ask ourselves these questions and reflect.

In the last few years I have not seen a situation where a camp has not been welcoming. But then again I have a certain level of comfort and ownership that I bring into my interactions that are a lot different than where I was 8 or less years ago.

Conclusion

Without being in Matt’s shoes, or Rich’s shoes, we cannot speak for them. In no way can we blame these folks or apply fault for their perceptions. We can apply tools to help for the future. Or maybe provide tools for others. There is a lot of stuff online including a cool Huffington Post article.

In the end what we take into a situation is what we will experience. Smiles are contagious. An open heart is a road paved in gold.

The thing about our Burning Man world is that it is diverse in it’s psychology. We are all looking for something to hold on to. We want to hold on to each other but we have to be prepared for that union.

Preparation – Some Basics

How prepared are you? It seems like a lot of people have sought out camps in the last month or so to fill a surprising high amount of camp openings. In those numbers, it seems like there were a lot of Burgins (Virgin Burners). Many people start their preparation as early as January.

So what resources should you be checking to make yourself ready?

Acculturation

Before going out, do everything you can to make yourself aware of the 10 Principles and how they apply to life out there and in your life outside the playa. Why do you need to know these things before participating in the event in the desert?

The 10 Principles came into life long after Burning Man started being a thing and were written by Larry Harvey one of the original founders. They were created in the spirit of fostering participation and community in a place completely hostile to it.

They were crafted not as a dictate of how people should be and act, but as a reflection of the community’s ethos and culture as it had organically developed since the event’s inception.” -burningman.org

Prepare yourself for participation and inclusion. As festival culture grows and expands the difference between the resources of this community and others is the fundamentals they are based on.

10 Principles Lost: Dissolution of our Foundation

Burning Man co-founder Larry Harvey wrote the Ten Principles in 2004 as guidelines for the newly-formed Regional Network. They were crafted not as a dictate of how people should be and act, but as a reflection of the community’s ethos and culture as it had organically developed since the event’s inception.

The 10 Principles were drilled into me when I first came into the community and I adopted them whole-heartedly. As a camp and community leader it is vital I embody these, but is the meaning of these being diluted with the ever growing commercial access of TTITD?

Radical Inclusion
Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.

  • QB: exclusion is something we as a community know well as being excluded and a large part of the LGBTQAI population consider themselves MARGINALIZED in society. This is one of the Principles that holds an extremely important characteristic we  value and are attracted to.

Gifting
Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.

  • QB: Gifting is not Bartering. Accepting a gift with kindness and appreciation without expectation of exchange is also a key part of this Principle.

Decommodification
In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.

  • QB: This is about taking the commercial and mass marketed part of products out of the experience.

Radical Self-reliance
Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.

  • QB: Do not be a “Sparkle Pony” – come to the burn prepared to survive long enough to not die.
Join the conversation in the 10 Principles blog series.
Join the conversation in the 10 Principles blog series.

Radical Self-expression
Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.

  • QB: “Don’t dream it, be it…” – Dr Frankenfurter

Communal Effort
Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.

  • QB: Some camps have this down like a fine art, some camps seem to be struggling with getting people rallied to make a camp happen. It seems that the larger the event gets, the more accessible by the bucket list crowd, the more attendees are looking at theme camps as hotels for the weekend where everything is set up for their pleasure. Getting some people engaged is a struggle while some get very motivated participants.

Civic Responsibility
We value civil society. Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.

  • QB: Part of this is the responsibility of the camp to provide an attraction for the city residents. It includes making sure that our spaces and streets are safe and clean. In fact there is a lot that falls under this umbrella. I think some camps are not evolving and working on making their presentations fresh for the years as they progress.

Leaving No Trace
Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.

  • QB: Pack it in and Pack it out… if you bring it with you take it with you when you leave. LNT is vital for camps and individuals and is perhaps one of the most abused and bruised Principles on the list. e.g.:
    • ever see the trash left along the side of the road on your way out of burning man?
    • campers who dump their excess on follow campers and leave without taking any trash with them?

Participation
Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.

  • QB: We have layers of community and it is important that each one supports the other with near seamless lines. From our group of friends, our camps, our queer neighborhood and the city at large.

Immediacy
Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.

  • QB: That means now. Your team needs to get a goal accomplished that means that people are needed to spring into action.

EVERYTHING IN RED IS  a copy / paste from http://burningman.org/culture/philosophical-center/10-principles/

EVERYTHING in Gray is written by the author/presenter: Toaster

Depending on where you are in this community of Burning Man participants you might see the 10 Principles and how they can be applied. As camp leaders, community leaders or individual participants perspective is perhaps very different.

I think we are in trouble of loosing some very important ties to the 10 Principles in the wake of a tourist/festival mentality that is filtering into a culture that many of us have really opted into. As a camp builder and community leader, I personally see a lot of holes that participants are not filling in while leaders scramble to make up the difference.

Some leaders are really good at reaching into the assets of the community and asking for, selecting people, that are perfect for filling those spaces where someone is needed. On one hand it might seem like a lack of immediacy and civic responsibility when that volunteer is asked for, but on the other hand I hear participants say “I’ve done my share.”

Another area I think we are loosing ground is in the area of LNT. Leave No Trace is a case for the environment and the ability of our community to show we are reducing our impact on the very precious land we gather upon. This is something that has a point of view as well.

As a camp leader and community leader we often see participants unconsciously leaving their footprint on people in those roles. While it is not seen as a direct assault on the idea of LNT the importance of a camp leader is to get that green and hopefully the entire camp can feel proud about getting that green on the MOOP map.

Campers departing from the event often abandon furniture, food or other items with the assumption that someone else will take care of it. This is the biggest complain heard by camp leaders year after year. It takes the community minded collective to see the project from built to breakdown and leaving the space clean upon departure.

The real answer is Acculturation Training. While it will come from a variety of perspectives having a clear understanding of the 10 Principles and how they apply to the burn experience on and off the playa is the key to success in the culture.

Community

When listening to old Larry Harvey speeches COMMUNITY is the same reason Burning Man was founded and allowed to evolve. We build a city every year with a gift based economy and sew the seeds of love that inspire almost super-human creations; then we burn it all down and come back the following year. It is the life cycle of a phoenix over and over again.

“Community is the result of a group of people
striving for a common purpose.” – unknown

Most of us strive for a diverse and interesting population we are welcoming guests into our camps for various functions on the playa better than we do in the default world sometimes. We find comfort in out cliques and forget through the glass bubble that people on the outside can just as easily see in. For the Queer Burner population we have been challenged at an even higher standard from within and out to make ourselves accessible and escapable. That is the Gayborhood has been unfairly accused of being a wall keeping people in and out. Some camps have been accused of the same, but many of us have worked hard to show them they have no foundation for that claim.

“Well it seems to me, that all real communities grow out of a
shared confrontation with survival.Communities are
not produced by sentiment or mere goodwill. They
grow out of a shared struggle. Our situation in
the desert is an incubator for community.”
– Larry Harvey

In the comfort of our camps and social groups the unintentional barriers based on looks, social similarities and basic needs exclude some people. Again, some camps have worked very hard to turn that image around with tremendous success. Others have been less willing to forgive and others have enjoyed the bounty of more mature and less synical memories of the past and looked to a shining bright future.

The Gayburbs out at 4:30 & I:
This space developed as queer camps began
coalescing with the familiar for neighbors who
made the experience safer.

As leaders in the community we have a responsibility to our people. Radical self reliance is a good principle to live by, BUT watching your team-mate’s back is also important to solid. We have those camp mates that do not use self-care and sometimes it is by choice or reaction to the new world around them. The weather and the fervor of the TTITD event can be overwhelming. By watching out for a fellow beings we further strengthen the bonds of our foundation.

What defines community?

The people behind the common goal. It really takes those who can see the vision of a unified force to speak up and stand out and then show the leadership qualities that create the wake that others follow in. We have our leadership and we have our participants. The ties that bind us are the thin string of individual faith and unspoken desire to be safe and secure that we rally behind. Sometimes, as we have seen time and time again, is merely proximity. Sometimes safety and community develops out of something greater. But we do it together.

Blogs of the Burnerverse

Where do you get your information about Burning Man? In that first year, with glitter filled eyes, the best sources are YouTube and Facebook. The hungrier you are for Burning Man related posts the the less those two networks can satisfy, because what is the content that context is made from? What are those 10 Principles and how and when are they applied.

Burner Life

If you are a person who thinks the 10 Principles is something you hold on to for 8 days and nights a year then we respectfully ask you to put the toys down and back away slowly. Your inexperience with firey toys will get someone burned. Likewise, you are a tourist in a world many of us have committed to.

While Facebook and the hundreds of Burning Man related groups and pages that exist there are an amazing source of materials about the community, there is still more. While YouTube is a bonanza of burner videos and we see pretty boys and girls singing Dr Suess rhymes as what brought them out there. That is what writings of fellow burners can bestow upon you.

Here are, in our humble opinion, the best Burner Blogs:

  1. Voices of Burning Man Blog [Web]
  2. Burn After Reading Magazine [Facebook] [Web]
  3. Burn Life [Web]

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

good : the blogs listed above have been really true to the mission of the playa. While this is only a limited list of good ones out there that is not to say there are not others. These are just the noteworthy ones really deserving your read.

bad :  there once was a child who was really sweet, but someone spoiled the little brat. Some time ago Queer Burners published a post about other blogs.  The web site Burners.Me was once a platform of one person who raised a lot of dust; not in the good way. Well, after some serious bounce back that person supposedly went away but another took over with even more noise and rancor. So much so even a usually quiet FOUNDER of Burning Man came out swinging against him. Burners.Me was the good blog that threw itself on a sharp object and never recovered.

the ugly : the ugly side was pretty clear. But was is also ugly is when something good goes away. One of those jewels we lost was BurnCast.tv that saw it’s last post in 2012. 2012 was a transitional year. We have those points along the way that are milestones of change.

Conclusion

This is such a limited list of voices out there. Even a google search kept looping me back to a few. The Borg has done a great job marketing The Voices of Burning Man and they are really great posts. What are you favs? (Comment Below)

2015 Burning Man: Global Leadership Conference

The Burning Man Global Leadership Conference happened again this year and Toaster went representing QueerBurners.Com. There were a lot of other LGBTQ++ burners there working the event as well as participating.

Toaster, Jim Taflinger the Georgia Regional, and Bobby (aka Poohbear) from the New York Community
Toaster, Jim Taflinger the Georgia Regional, and Bobby (aka Poohbear) from the New York Community

The 9th Annual Global Leadership Conference runs Thursday, April 9th through Sunday, April 12th, 2015. Each day will be action-packed with incredible workshops, presentations, and fun gatherings. The 2015 Burning Man Global Leadership Conference will take place in the San Francisco Bay Area. The conference theme is “The Next Creative Renaissance: Buildin’ it up, Bustin’ it Out, and Bringin’ it Home” aimed at inspiring civic engagement through art and community. We want participants to return home full of ideas about how to make a meaningful impact in their hometowns, cities, and regions. Featured speakers and programming will address and explore activating and nurturing Burning Man culture and communities across the world.

– taken from the conference web site page

There were queer burner leaders in attendance, but only one wore the badge that said “QueerBurners.Com” LGBT Burners; that was your very own Toaster.

Scope

This was a weekend full of amazing dialog and communication building for the “Carnival of Mirrors” event, but the scope of the Leadership Conference is developing community and the Burning Man ideology (brand, projects and identity protection). One thing is definitely sure, what Burning Man IS has changed. The up and coming leaders (in the community, not necessarily employees) have changed.

Burning Man is a business and the many limbs of Burning Man are wrapping around themselves building a stronger core by collapsing those ancillary entities into the whole. In recent months: the Black Rock Arts Foundation and Burners Without Borders are now internal elements of the Burning Man Project instead of satellites. Those employees are now Burning Man employees and they now have the resources that Burning Man has developed as well as the influence.

Politics and Wrangling Not Your Thing?

This ‘thing’ has grown and is still growing. Burning Man is not just Burning Man (in the desert) anymore. It is a corporation that works hard to maintain it’s identity. It seems to work hard from being too mega and from being marginalized.

  1. It fights to maintain representation of the 10 Principles and the gray area surrounding them while increasing its ability to give the people who are a part of the culture a chance to really have a piece through community effort.
  2. It also fights to be seen as something more than a rave-like festival in the deep Nevada desert filled with cracked out naked hippies.

Burning Man is in that wide field in-between all that. While this is all an opinion being shared here as a participant, it became clear to me that some of the ugly parts of Burning Man are being matured away from by a generation that does not accept the snark, sexually aggressive, community destructive ideas. But at the same time while the community as a whole is growing into new shoes the struggle to really maintain the 10 Principles every day has also been a struggle.

10 Principles

See the 10 Principles here… CLICK. One of the questions that came up was: What is Radical Inclusion … Really? Here are two scenarios:

  • Creepy individual in camp stalking or pushing themselves on other members of the camp; does this person have the right to be a part of the camp under the Radical Inclusion umbrella or not? Most say no, but those that do not have to deal with the consequences say maybe or yes.
  • A camp of people with a certain “body type” or an “aesthetic” with an age limit or gender requirement is approached by someone that does not meet that standard; do they have the right to say no? Many would say no, but we have the right to choose who we camp with. The value of that individual is not known until we get to know that person.

Both these were discussed at the summit and in one case a unsolicited comment was made by one of the Gayborhood camps in a session of leaders. Most had never heard of the camp before, but as a member of the community behind this camp I was stunned and reeled.

the 11th Principle

There was a lot of talk about an eleventh principle. Seems like communities all over have developed something with the word “radical” put in front of it and found meaning with it. Among them, for a long while anyway, was the word Gratitude.

  • Radical Vulnerability: among leaders needing permission to look for a support team/system when working/building/launching events.

(See our post on this that started this conversation at the GLC: CLICK)

Conclusion

BMGLS2015 attendeesAll those leaders who went to this event (400 of them) should be bringing these tools back to their communities. It should be a trickle down idea and it will hopefully see some people be inspired and step up to help make leadership better. To all Queer Burners… I give this site to you. I present this whole project to you. Only you can take the baton and raise the bar for the future and yourselves and your communities.

Admin Note: Discussing about Acculturation

In the last few days we talked a little about Acculturation and the way it was written on the playajoy.org web site resonates with me a lot. This being my eighth year in the community I am struck by the perceived vacuum of understanding Burning Man culture when engaging people out of context; e.g. when in a Burning Man environment versus outside. When the frat boy or O.C. housewives make their tourist destination a burn and treat it like they were at a mainstream festival. Their disconnection is something that I feel.

Definition: Ac·cul·tur·a·tion 1. A process by which the culture of an isolated society changes on contact with a different one. 2. A process by which a person acquires the culture of the society that he/she inhabits. – playajoy.org

Being a Radically Inclusive culture means that we embrace people for whomever they are and where-ever they stem from which includes people like Pip Diddy (or whatever he calls himself these days), and billionaires in inflatable houses, pop-stars in bustiers and (heavy sigh) Segway riders. It’s always we… otherwise it becomes us versus them.

The 10 Principles are important. The glittery glint in a newbie’s eye when they drink the burning man punch is something that makes salty veterans smile and avert their eyes because the saltier they are now the more glittery they were then. We remember when we chased those pretty lights with fishing-line behind them?

We have been forced to learn that at some point the radical inclusion had a gray area: I don’t want to hang out with the frat boys or others that do not appreciate …TTITD*. My gray area is that I get to say ‘no’ to a group or individual that I do not choose to embrace.

Show me a principle and let me show you a gray area.

Show me a principle and let me show you how it fits into my life… so both are true. Life is about balance. Life is perspective and the 10 Principles shine very differently depending on where you are in your journey through the Burning Man culture.

Why is Acculturation important?

Or one might ask why is acculturation necessary? Depends on how deep the proverbial bug bites. If you chose to embrace the popular gypsy image of burners or the outlaw anarchist.

Burners come in all shapes and sizes. Often naked or shirt-cocking. But one either finds a life in the playa or simply moves on to new things.

There is an interesting trend for those who are smitten:

  • Year One: Can’t shut up about it
  • Year Two: This is the year you bring a theme/sound camp or art car
    (that is better than all the others you saw because it can be done)
  • Year Three: The real year you get a theme camp going or you make that great art piece

The culture of this community we celebrate is still growing around the world. It’s inevitable commercialization are seeds falling from the trees starting new forests of followers.

Acculturating to Burning Man Principles is not giving up your individuality, but embracing new definitions of what it could mean.

1. A process by which the culture of an isolated society changes on contact with a different one.

This could go either way. Who is isolated?

2. A process by which a person acquires the culture of the society that he/she inhabits.

Opening the mind to the ways of others.

Acculturation: Acceptance

Definition of ACCULTURATION from Merriam-Webster

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/acculturation

1
:  cultural modification of an individual, group, or people by adapting to or borrowing traits from another culture; also :  a merging of cultures as a result of prolonged contact
2
:  the process by which a human being acquires the culture of a particular society from infancy
ac·cul·tur·a·tion·al
\-shnəl, -shə-nəl\ adjective
ac·cul·tur·a·tive
\ə-ˈkəl-chə-ˌrā-tiv, a-\ adjective
————
*TTITD = That Thing In The Desert

Acculturation in 2015

I think most people will agree that over the last 28 (or so) years the thing that started off as Burning Man has evolved into something else. The word “festival” is used more than it should. Does not matter if it meets the definition of festival or not, people who made this a lifestyle balk at the word.

Larry Harvey and Marian Goodell - The Business Side of Burning Man
Larry Harvey and Marian Goodell

So, when the 10 Principles spilled from Larry Harvey’s golden lips and they were heard by all many of us struggle to communicate what they mean and how they are fed into our daily lives. Some of us adopt these ideals 365 days a year and some for a mere 7 or 8 or less while frolicking in the desert.

The trick is perspective. Many of the burners who discovered this world go a little hard-core in the beginning, but over time the zealot ener-gasm becomes good old fashion snark and sarcasm.

  • Years 1 to 3 head in the clouds, glitter in the eyes
  • Years 4 and 5 Burning Man sucks and it is suddenly changed more than you like
  • …after that somewhere along the way it all settles into whatever it might become…

For many there is a burnout somewhere around 7 years. While this is not the same ride everyone experiences getting used to blurry lines is a matter of survival.

Marian Goodell
Marian Goodell

A personal note: one year I was dealing with a serious community issue with some bad behavior by a leader in our community and was trying to get Burning Man involved. I talked to Maid Marian (Marian Goodell who is the current CEO of The Burning Man Project) who told me that there were times when those lines are blurred and accepting that is a reality.

10 Principles

The foundation of what Burning Man culture has set itself on is the 10 Principles which is also more stoically defined right on the Burning Man web site. We tried giving your the dummy’s version of the 10 Principles in one of our past articles about them like this:

 

  1. Everyone is welcome
  2. No money needed, give from the heart expect nothing back
  3. Let’s get rid of the corporate bullshit
  4. Stand strong on your own
  5. Express yourself freely and honestly
  6. Stand strong on your own but a community is stronger
  7. Your community is stronger when it is responsible to itself and the environment
  8. Keep our world clean
  9. Get involved and no sitting on the sidelines
  10. …and act. Act now. Act up.

Of course, follow the Burning Man Blog link for the precise wording of the 10 Principles at the top of the paragraph above.

So, what is Acculturation?

It is the process where you are prepared for your accession into the community and to know what is expected of you while you are on the playa. While it may come across as cultish and kooky the fundamentals of these ideals can be a strong foundation for a gifting culture like we enjoy.

There are drawbacks and there are pieces missing, but keeping this fundamentals and not letting anyone harsh your burn. We don’t focus on what’s missing but endeavor to add to the richness of what is laid out in front of us.

So, we support each other but count on everyone to be self reliant. We keep our nature clean and leave no trace. We play well with others and rally when needed. We build out community even if it lasts a few days in the desert.

 

Education is Everything: Better Behavior Through Learning

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Here’s what I remember being surprised by the most during my first visit to Black Rock City, in 1998: No garbage cans.

I had come utterly unprepared, and had little idea what going to Burning Man meant. Traveling separately from my only other friend who was going, I grabbed a spot on the Green Tortoise, packed a couple of bags, and made my way to the playa.
Danger Ranger, Burning Man Cultural Ambassador, 2013 (photo by Mark Hammon)Danger Ranger, Burning Man Cultural Ambassador, 2013 (photo by Mark Hammon)

Even today, I frequently recall wandering the Esplanade during Burning Man 1998, a wad of garbage in my hand, and simply not grokking why there was no place to throw my trash. Having failed to read the Survival Guide, that just didn’t make any sense to me. Not that I was the kind of person to blithely toss crap on the ground, but I had no idea what to do. Eventually, I found a nook in some wooden structure crammed with others’ refuse, and jammed mine in alongside.

See the original source of the post here: CLICK HERE

 

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