What? Who? Where? WTF?

I will not presume through this page to ass-u-me I know everything there is to know about all of you. The mission of this site and it’s members are: ‘LGBT plus all the blurry lines in-between‘. What is gay or queer or lesbian or trans or whatever is less important than the ties that bind us is that we are just who we are.

staywithfamilydotcom

Radical Self-expression is something a lot of queers have known for years. Besides being a gay male, a burner, and a self described artist I am often identified as: “off”  or  “quirky”  or  “artsy”. I got to Walmart in my kilt and boots that have metal plates on them up to my knees. And I am very comfortable doing so… in fact going anywhere.

We, the queers and off-beat, are radical self-expression and more for years long before the 10 principles.

When I see the things some Burner Queers are doing I have to sit back cheer them on! Of course most people are familiar with Comfort & Joy as well as the Camp Beaverton camps what really put on quite a production every year. in fact a lot of our queer camps do some amazing stuff and it is very worthy to watch the Queer Camp List.

The Queer Camp List will be updated in July when BMorg releases the official list of theme camps and villages. Involve yourself with these camps if you can and help support their infrastructure. Participate in the making of something very special.

In a blog I wrote in 2009 I was really blown away by what I witnessed in my first year at Burning Man. It was the only year I went and just stepped back and observed, tried learning about the people of the Burner culture, and came away with some really interesting observations.

I felt, while watching a lot of people given permission to be outside the box (possible the first time in their lives), sorta spiral into a short circuit frenzy. There is an insurmountable amount of men inspired to dress as women or wearing women’s clothing and a lot of expression of sexuality.

There is nothing wrong with any of it, with any healthy expression, hopefully making the journey back into the default world a new journey, too.

It took me back to the 70’s and 80’s (yes, I am that old) where gay and lesbians were finally stepping out the shadows in droves and were demanding more and more recognition which has been growing consistently.

We are all not “gay” or “lesbian” on this thing called ‘gay burners’. We are the blurry lines and make no apologies for it. We support your right to explore your own identity/orientation/none-of-the-above. Feel free to share your stories below.

Burning Man Leadership Summit

This is a trip report: March 31st-April 3rd saw the 5th Annual Regional Conference and Leadership Summit held in San Francisco at a couple locations. It started with the Bentley Reserve in downtown near the Financial District. Then over to the Kabuki Hotel for the rest of the time in Japan Town. Turns out the owner of the Kabuki is a Burner!!!!

Although I did not get a lot of pictures, hopefully what I am sharing tells a good story.

Terry at the Kabuki LoungeThursday we were hosted at the Kabuki in their Lounge with a lovely cocktail party. Right away I started connecting with amazing people from all over the world. Early on I connected with Dave Umlas and Marrrilee Ratcliffe from Austin, Texas who have this amazing dynamic and it seems they are building the Temple this year with their team.

I also met Terry who was visiting from the Western Colorado Region who I have now adoption as my Burner Mom. If only my Burner Dad knew!!!

Early the next morning we convened at the Bentley Reserve where PODS began in the form of classes. There were a lot of options and the schedule was so well orchestrated that it seemed like no matter what your Mes in Regionals 101role in the community was there was something for you. This turned out to be a long day and a lot happened:

  • Morning Classes like Regional 101
  • Lunch Mixer and then participation with $tephen Ra$pa in the St. Stoopid Day Parade
  • Afternoon meet and greet with offices at Burning Man; like technology, H.R., Burning Man Earth, and camps like Comfort&Joy; Flux Foundation and so much more…
  • Then evening welcoming ceremony that featured a speech by Larry who talked extensively about the new future of Burning Man and becoming a Non-Profit

On Saturday we were back to the Kabuki Hotel for more PODS and team building that was what a lot of us needed. One of which was Conflict Resolution. Real situations that were submitted to Burning Man from a variety of communities including my own region. Should I mention I was the only being complained about in the letter?

The result was interesting feedback for one and all in the 12 situations that were presented. It forced a lot of people to share and add a input of strangers with no prior knowledge not to effect the position of the argument and to explore potential solutions effectively. It shows the groups can mediate, but it also showed that something in the mix was still missing which I will blog about later on.

Burning Man hosted a great mixer late that night that involved Dj’s, Scrabble Letters, and karaoke. I neglected to mention the open bar. The beat, the vibe, the energy was immense and a lot of us got to bond even further.

Then Sunday was going to be the last day of events. They did something called World Cafe that brought all of us together in small groups exploring more situation effecting the health and structure of the community as a whole. In bits and pieces, shifting around to new ideas, we each were able to add input into these circumstances and saw potentially new resolutions for future experiences.

More PODS concluded the day including Events Planning with $tephen Ras$pa (this is how his name appeared everywhere) and Social Networking with WillPants. All were so highly informative and teaching/mentoring that it was all just this amazing blessing to be a part of.

There is talk of opening this up in the future for any interested party. I was able to go because I was nominated after a request because of the things I have been doing in Vegas and with Gay Burners [dot] com for the last couple years.

Gay Burners

I had a chance to pose the question: Should we as members of the LBGT+ (and all the blurry lines) have our own Regional representation? I can only give you my opinion, but turned out someone else posed the question before me from another ‘sub-culture’ of the Burner world. We all do have such strong geographical Regional representation that one based on an interest, lifestyle, orientation or other might be redundant.

A web site like gay burners is a network and linked into the BMHQ (especially now after introducing it presently) and networking with a force like WillPants. This site is growing and exploding. We are a gateway.

Day 1 Leadership Summit

The day started off with registration and a chance to reconnect with friends new and old. Last night’s reception was a great warm up.

This morning my first class was Regional 101 where it went over what a Regional Contact is and does.

I posed the question… what kind of leadership is supposed to come from a regional? There answers are many and the solution is all of them as long as it supports the growth of the communiy.

The second class I took was informative but not really applicable to me in m.y roll today. It was on the Mailman software used by R.C.s.

After lunch the venders, camps and a lot of other entities took the floor. There was a lot of cool showcasing going on.

More to come soon!

Burning Man Leadership Summit

Next week starting April 1st will be the annual Leadership Summit and Regional Conference in San Francisco. Many issues will be discussed as well as tools provided that will help some of us with the things we do with our communities. I discovered this last year while it was underway and was determined to go the next time it was on!

Stephen RaspaWhy was I invited? Well, at first you might say I impressed myself because I wanted to meet and learn from Stephen Raspa. If you do not know who he is then… well, then you don’t know Burning Man. It is not unlike saying who is Marian Goodell and who is Larry Harvey.

Well, another reason I was invited is because I am a candidate for a Regional Contact position in Vegas which has been a process for a few months now following an extensive interview process. That is a story for another day.

The Question

So I ask you; Do we as the queer burners have any special needs/considerations/positions that needs addressing? I would love to bring anything from OUR sub-community… is that even the right word? Are we really integrated with the Burner community as a whole or are we that politely acknowledged presence of the would be super-liberals…? HA HA HA… not so much a serious question as cankerous nudge in the ribs of anyone wondering about social dilemmas. (No, I don’t really know either).

We the People

There is a full schedule of classes ranging from event setup to dealing with social and political issues in the community. Some classes I would take are layered on top of each other which means I had to choose one or the other.  For example, Fridays classes are “Mailman Training” v. “CORE Project Leaders” which was a simple choice in my case with the CORE project off my grid at the moment (Mailman refers to keepers of community lists and how much should be throttled and moderated).

Classes range from Public Relations, Event Planning, and Ranger resources… a lot of arms to this thing we call Burning Man and how to hopefully strengthen the community and the resources of same. The community is Black Rock City, all the Regions beyond that, then the pods/cells/fractures within. I know one question being asked is how do we deal with the fractures within communities and should we?

Conclusion

So, I will be posting about this as I go and be on my cell at all times. Feel free to text me or email.

Burnal Equinox

March 5th marks the 1/2 way point of the year where we are officially at the furthest point from the night the man burns. It is the halfway point before the children return home.

If you have not been to a Burning Man event you may not be able to appreciate the life altering experience of WHAT it is. In theory, you do not have to have gone to Burning Man to be called a Burner. I think this is something that is either in you or not. But, having gone is something every single person in our community should experience.

This is like… well, I am a Veteran having served in the military. When I go to the V.A. or meet another Veteran from any generation, there is a tie between us. Being part of this community produces the same tie – I think.

So… 6 months from now I will be at Burning Man. Makes my heart smile.

Burning Man Food….watch me work!

Hey Folks,

OK, not really like me, but I’m going to shamelessly pimp my blog, 3 Day Chef about food and I promise I’ll post about my Burning Man meals. Right now, we’re just getting ramped up with delights like Cajun Roast Beef, Ravioli 3-way, and other savory favorites including vegetarian pepper beef.

In my mind (OK, I don’t entirely look like one, but I’m a bear at heart), food is a quintessential part of celebrating with friends and Burning Man pretty well fits that bill.

Hope to see many of you watching my culinary exploits!

Lotsa Love,

Nosler

A very BurningMan evening…..

a clip from my blog you can find here –>   Mot’s blog

A very Burning Man evening

A early week snafu ended up cancelling some evening plans for me and left me in a funk for the evening. ( And let me tell ya – I know how to Stew..) But in a odd twist – my funk was crashed by strangers who managed to pull me out for a very fun – very Burning Man / very not Tom evening.

It began basically out on Center Playa while I took sunset pics from a great temple. I was trying to put the brakes on my SNIT FLYWHEEL** ( which was hitting about 14,000 rpm) by distracting myself.

**- You may find that phrase strange unless you are genetically related to me – **

After a couple of conversations with very nice folks and a stop back at camp – I headed back towards the playa for some evening pictures and an attempt to walk off my funk.

But it was not meant to be!

2 strangers promptly stopped their 4 person bike and asked me to get on and then evening promptly took another direction. A wonderful Burning Man kind of experience to suddenly team up with people you have just met to share the evening touring the night sights of the playa.

We stopped by a neat camp called Big Pink Heart and had our pic taken. The photographer Aaron Dressin had a neat set up that reflected in the eyes of the subject if you look carefully. I ended up at a camp all the way across the playa drinking rum(?) and hanging with some very funny people. It was a fun end to the night.

I still contemplate the evening for some reason.

I note how I can shut myself off when in such a bad mood – yet a random act can so quickly pull me out

I think i also focus on how startled I get to have 2 straight guys just want to be buds. The whole straight guy ” you’re gay??” awkwardness thing is too ingrained on my experience. I expect it always and on the rare occasion it does not happen… I just get spooked. I think you can almost see it in the picture. ( Which I love BTW) I have spent a lot of time since then thinking how/if this jades my daily life or whether BurningMan was the exception.

How to keep the windows open despite the rain?

Recovery? How’s it going?

Every year, for those feeling affected by the journey/experience at BRC, there is an amount of time it takes to get back into the flow. For this guy, I am still trying to swim to the surface.

Yesterday and today I have been in a funk, thinking about my time out there, yet looking ahead. Share your story…

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