Well, after a long wait the Borg released ticket information. As it turns out the Nevada Entertainment Tax does not seem to apply to Burning Man, but some genius somewhere is charging $80 / car pass now. That blows balls! Anyhoo, at least we finally have word.
Burning Man just updated info on its 2016 Ticket Sales:
-Directed Group Sale tix and Main Sale tix will remain $390
-Low Income Sale tix will remain $190
-2 levels of limited Pre-Sale tix increase to $990 and $1290
-The new mandatory Nevada “Live Entertainment Tax” of 9% will be collected from you at the time you purchase a tix
-Nevada still hasn’t answered Burning Man’s inquiry as to if/why the 9% tax applies to Burning Man
-If Nevada sees it Burning Man’s way (“Hello, Hell? Is that snow?”) the 9% collected will be refunded
-Vehicle Passes increase to $80 for 2016 yet are not subject to the 9% tax
-See tix sale info on BurningMan.org at http://bit.ly/1PiXeNj
-See tix sale 2016 Important Dates at tickets.burningman.org
-You must register to participate in any tix sale
-To register, you must have created or updated your Burner profile in order to buy tickets. Do that NOW at profiles.burningman.org
Out of the 61,000 tickets announced Jan 8th/2014 only 4,000 are being provided to people of low or limited income. That means 7% of the tickets available are set aside for low income. According to representatives from Burning Man that is considered generous. (Harley in 2012 in a meeting that focused on the 2012 ticketing disaster and BM HQ when low income ticket available went from 1000 to 4000).
Of course artists have money to burn! The $380 price tag is chump change to people who spin fire and do creative stuff… right? Because all that free art brought out there and put on display, theme camps and activities paid for by the community is no big deal.
We all know the the journey to get to Burning Man really is also part of experience. It is never easy and the escalated ticket prices set to match the escalating cost of setting the event (court fees permits) might eat into the millions of dollars of revenue.
NOT to echo the complacency of other blogs noted on our site, but the imbalance of ticket prices is simply leveraging out the people that made this event what it was. If it was possible, let’s see 10,000 more of those tickets made available at a lower rate. The last two years have seen a huge leap in the cost of attending. Who is left in a sea of plug and play camps and glamping?
In my last post I talked about balance. Although I was talking about one person who was posting some very strong opinions on Burners.Me it has since come to light that this one voice was not alone. The tone of some blogs has been quite strong while it seems most burners want nothing but happiness and joy.
While even I have been critical in various posts of BMorg (Burning Man Organization) I have always driven myself to see the big picture. That is to say there is never a black and white in burner-land, I have learned there is a lot of gray area.
Burning Man Blogs of Note
There are tons of burning-blogs out there and many are worth following including burners.me but within context. No one wants to listen to someone ranting about the negative.
Now, the previously mentioned naysayer has also been a friend to the LGBTQ Queer Burner population and posts under the pseudonym “Grant Hitchcock” but on his site as “Whatsblem the Pro”; all aka M. Otis Beard and more.
He was recently under attack by prominent members of our community. He earned a few red rashes from people who took exception to his posts (seen on his new blog site www.BurnerNews.com).
Otis was fired from Burners.Me and it ended up a very public mess, but he moved on to other ventures; hence burnernews.com.
in the end each of the sites listed above carry a different tone and all are worth following. Burners.Me was founded following the ticket fiasco of 2012 and carried a critical torch on BMorg since. The only thing is, even with the dismissal of Whatsblem the Pro (aka Otis) it still carried a negative tone.
BAR (Burn After Reading) has been a generally balanced and positive view into our Burner community.
BurnCast is run by daBomb (her playa name) and features some great coverage of the community.
We all take away from these blogs what works for us. The king of Burner Blogs is the P.R. machine at Burning Man (BMorg) itself. Take a look at the Burning Blog here.
It had occurred to me that there is at times a lack of balance with some of the things we involve ourselves within the community (Burner community). As a blogger here on this site and others I have been very critical of BMorg on those occasions; they do make it so very easy. I will explain this a little more later.
Balance is a key to life in many areas of our existence and finding it ideally brings harmony. At least that is what some spiritual good feeling stuff tells us. While we can be critical of BMorg and it’s operators true analysis comes in examining the whole picture.
The Scales of Thought
The ticket fiasco in 2012 is one of the best examples of finding balance in a difficult situation that hit the community and affected all of us. As most know, the ticket lottery in 2012 was a solid brown poo on the heads of many of us who have been engaged in the community. Many seasoned burners were so pissed off from it they walked away and never looked back. While these extreme reactions are not un-typical here is something as an example:
– ticket lottery | + expanded ticket dispersal for theme camps / artists
– BMorgs initial reaction | + acknowledgement of problem (though late)
Albeit extremely simplistic in its context you kinda get the idea with the handy +’s and -‘s, right?
So who is under fire more? BMorg leadership or the community? While the house of the BMorg is made of glass the villagers are too stoned to really grasp the complexity of this relationship. Balance often comes late from the people held so highly and balance gets mired down in the expectations of the people who consider themselves devotees to the cause.
Many members of the community demand a drama free zone without concern or focus on the leaders of this community. Being held to the light of the flames the people driving Burning Man bear the cross when the gray lines of the 10 principles are being applied ___ like they were scripture.
Burning Man Leaders
Let’s go back in time to “Green Man” in 2007 where for the first and last time ever the people who brought you Burning Man allowed sandwiches to be sold at center camp and ‘green vendors’ showing their wares. The ramifications of allowing these elements into an event that talked about Decommodification was loud. But, who can fault the organizers for trying something new?
Selling coffee was new once, but these days no one could imagine center camp not having coffee or the amazing people selling it.
Going back one last time to the 2012 Ticket Fiasco the leadership recovered very well in the end, but their proximity to the issue seems to have clouded their ability to revel in their success. The SPARK movie was an unnecessary revisit to that mess, but a win with giving me a visit to the playa while in the default world; see it’s all about balance.
Burning Man Participants
2012 made a lot of people fall off the fence with the obscene growth of the attendance at TTITD. For reasons of their own, the days of HELLCO and FrogBat (in their glory days) are gone, and some people have moved on in their journey.
Has Burning Man jumped the shark with the numbers swelling? Who is still adding Burning Man to their bucket lists? And… are the people who made it what it is still going?
1st Year attendees never shut up about Burning Man
2nd Year your new Mega-Theme Camp is destiny
3rd Year you are a seasoned veteran and are living the dream
6th Year you’re so old school burner
7th Year, you think Burning Man has sold out
12th Year, Burning Man sucks but you keep going….
Look, we’re all basically insane for doing this year after year. Anyone we know outside of the community thinks we’re out there fornicating endlessly and tripping out on drugs anyway. This ki-ki is cra-cra… (yeah, I thought that right after typing it too…. I already regret not editing it out).
Can we be critical of the BMorg without destroying the people that make this elaborate event happen every year? We are the people who pay for the ticket and they are the engineers who make fantasy land reality.
As long as we keep going things will continue to evolve and whether we choose to believe it or not, I think the BMorg Board is willing to meet us along the way. Keeping the community happy is in their benefit, so we think, but to keep this going we cannot be afraid of change.
As mentioned above, Burning Man leadership has made it incredibly easy to take a pie in the face when it comes to criticism. Over the many years some decisions were made and their presentation was so mired in arrogance that it was dumbfounding. Arrogance? Maybe ignorance is the better example, because this nest of heterosexual white hippies are so busy defending their ideology that they often forget the emotional and fiscal needs of the people who have pledged loyalty.
One of the latest controversies was Rape Kits on the playa. At the 2012 Burning Man Regional Conference and Leadership Summit in San Francisco I brought some very real issues to the table in a forum attended by community leaders, board members and Regional Contacts from around the world. Because of the projected (at the time) 70% of expected attendees who were unfamiliar with our 10 Principals we were concerned for people vulnerable to physical attack including women and fae queers.
While we have the Gayborhood where ANYONE can find safety (a promise made by Queer Camp leaders at the 2012 Queer Burner Leadership Summit) we were worried that given the expanse of the attendees was not being matched to assure education and safety of people in attendance; particularly women and fae.
Andie Grace (aka Action Girl, formerly with the communications team with Burning Man) very confrontationally stated in the public forum said that people were responsible for their own safety. Well, that year sexual assaults were on the rise AND there was a very publicized rape behind the Emerald City just off the Esplanade. There were others too and Burning Man was moot.
However, it appears that in 2013 Rape Kits did make it to the playa but how they were implemented is not clear. The fact is that a Rape Kit is a very complicated thing to implement and the balance is that Burning Man simply cannot have a hand in it. But, an official agency can.
While the short sighted reactions to things much like Angie Grace’s comments make the leadership look very dull in their ability to respond to their community.
Tearing Down the Man
There are not shortage of critics. There is also no shortage of people with glitter in their eyes when it comes to how we see Burning Man leadership at the BMorg. It is so easy to find holes in the thinking, but this event and this community is really doing a lot of very positive things. The hypocrisy of BMorg is second to the results. And, the future of Burning Man itself is unclear.
In an article that came out today (update 1/6/15: the following url ceased to exist and was unlinked: http://www.groundedmedianetwork.com/fuck-burning-man/) the above video was attached. You can see here where there is a lot of holes in thinking and what this is all about, but maybe this is being take too seriously?
When we criticize are we looking at destroying Burning Man? Are we demanding they see reality from our perspective? Do we not give them the gay area to make mistakes and come back with a solution? Do we consider balance? While almost everyone who has gone says that this has changed their lives or made an impact that in itself is the big win.
This pre-season rhetoric has seen so much criticism lest we forget the gift of evolution. Yes, the environmental impact of the event might be questionable. The motivation of the BMorg might be questionable. We can find holes in anything, but if Burning Man were to throw their hands in the air and say “fuck it, we’re fucking done” we would all feel the world got a little more darker that day.
Let’s face it. The BMorg has made some stupid decisions. So have we as individuals. Yes, ticket prices are obscene and becoming more and more out of reach for the average person. The cost of going is less for the accessible for the average person and more so for the privileged. YET, many of us without much cash still manage to get out there (myself included).
Balance is the key. Knowing the difference between attacking windmills versus standing up for a real issue impacting the community is key, too. Right now we have Regional Contacts (R.C.) (except for San Francsico) who represent BMorg to their regional communities and R.C.’s who have a voice back to Burning Man. Hold your Regional to the fire, because he or she is like your state senator for Burning Man.
BMorg – Burning Man Organization usually referring to the home office in San Francisco, CA.
Let’s be honest, you better start preparing for your upcoming ticket purchase for Burning Man 2014: __ (unnamed entity) ___. The last few years has been absolutely hell with ticket purchasing. Here are a few heads up, a couple gripes, and a hint or two about making it easier to get your tickets.
2011 ticketing sales were pretty much an attempt to keep people from bitching about the on-line purchase system that was cumbersome and made you wait in an online cue for a long time; sometimes loosing your place and being bounced out.
2012 was the year Burning Man lost their damn minds and put in the lottery system that ended up pissing off enough of their core people that the whole paradigm of Burning Man was forced to change.
to their credit they bounced back in the end quite well
2013 BMorg said… well, fuck you again, and sold almost all their tickets at the higher tier price of $380. with some set aside for low income.
Ticket Sales for 2014
Of course BMorg (Burning Man, LLC or The Burning Man Project or whatever they are calling themselves now) has not announced ticket sales for 2014 yet but you can pretty much bet a few things will happen and you need to start stashing some cash under your mattress now.
Holiday Sales will be at least 25% higher that the highest starting somewhere in the middle of December-ish for about $650./each
2014 Sales will start around/about January 16th
2014 Low Income Tickets will start at some point, BUT!!! If you register to buy full priced tickets you will get screwed out of low income.
I think a lot of people would prefer we went back to the old system at this point and maybe people would find less reasons to bitch and kvetch. If that is the price it takes to get tickets and get them with less bullshit attached then please let’s serve it up. Unfortunately that ship has likely sailed and the Burning Man image has shifted along with it to a slow crawl to being a Coachella.
Let’s also hope ticket prices are less like a fisting and more like a happy-ending. Ticket pricing in 2012 and 2013 were just wrong and are only affordable to those who the privileged class. The same people who show up with their plug n’ play camps and roll in with their moving apartments while many of us barely have tents.
We all know that Burning Man was being raped themselves last year with Pershing County trying to gouge the hell out of the organization. Not to mention, we forget sometimes, how many people have their greasy palms out looking for more grease.
2013 Ticket Sales Applied to 2014*
A flat rate of $380. plus handling fees is a lot for some of us and nothing to others. Imagine if that were to go up. Also, educate yourself with the Burning Man Afterburn Reports where they usually divulge the overall cost of running the big show.
There were AT LEAST 69,000 people at the Burn this year excluding some staff.
Say they sold 64,000 tickets at $380.00 each: $24,320,000
Say they sold about 5,000 Low Income tickets at $190.00 each: $950,000 $25,270,000
A full .08% of tickets were made available to low income ticket people. This is excluding tickets gifted to artists, staff and other performers of this, that or another.
It is in all likelihood that Burning Man oversold the event once again. So we can expect to see dents in these numbers anyway… *AND it should be clear that none of these number above are official and are rough; just to show the displaced nature of tickets for high income people versus low income.
There is no secret. Many of us need Burning Man to remember that while their incomes are soaring through the roof that many of us that love this community are simply not as flushed with cash. Hopefully the voice of the community will be heard in this case.
Save your pennies now! Create a piggy bank and put some cash in it from each of your paychecks.
Get involved with your regional community because there is a lot of good people, resources and sometimes a budget that will help “do’ers” get there on a more affordable course
You knew it was coming but did you know it was going to be $650.00? That’s right! Higher price for the benefit of having that tickie in your hand. The upside, the money goes to The Burning Man Project… yeah.
From the JRS:
Early-birds can participate in our Holiday Sale, which allows folks to buy tickets in time for holiday gifting. PLEASE NOTE: Holiday Sale tickets are priced dramatically higher than our regular tickets will be and Black Rock City, LLC will donate 3% of the price of each ticket sold during this early Holiday Sale to the Burning Man Project, a new nonprofit dedicated to spreading Burning Man culture around the world. (In addition, Black Rock City, LLC makes other substantial contributions throughout the year to support the Burning Man Project, including contributing the proceeds from fundraising events and many other forms of support.)
So ... here are the details:
- 3000 tickets will be offered at $650 each for the Holiday Sale.
- In order to participate in this sale, you must pre-register at:
- Registration is open NOW and will close at noon PST on Wednesday December 19th.
- Those pre-registered will be able to participate in the first-come first-served sale on Thursday December 20th, starting at noon PST.
- You may purchase a maximum of 4 tickets per person.
- These tickets are not eligible for STEP, but are transferable (you are welcome to resell them on your own, if you wish).
- The only payment types accepted are Mastercard or Visa credit cards, or debit cards with either the Visa or Mastercard symbols. If you don't have one of these cards, you will need to obtain a one-time use card.
- Physical tickets will be shipped between June 1 and July 15, unless you opt for pick-up at Will Call in Black Rock City.
(We will not be implementing identity-based ticketing (e.g. name-on-ticket) ... for more information, see this blog post from Larry Harvey: http://blog.burningman.com/?p=23887.)
As always, you can find find full ticket information on http://tickets.burningman.com, and answers to your questions in our Ticketing FAQ (http://tickets2.burningman.com/faq.php) and spiffy new online ticketing forum (http://ticketsupport.burningman.com/home).
The more the merrier? With the (oh not so long ago) shit storm with the ticketing situation many disenfranchised and sad-sallie burners could never have imagined any hope of recovery. The mud on BMorgs face could have been a cleanse?
Many of us were pissed off. Many of us saw the lottery for the flaws the minute it was announced. What if it was a success, then who would be wearing the face-mask? Well, it wasn’t and according to a press release a lot of tickets went to people who never participated in the Burning Man experience before. It was estimated to be 70% (yes for real) people who never looked at the 10 principles before.
The fabric of the burner community has been changed, perhaps ripped away, then made into something new. Not only is this the year that Burning Man, LLC became The Burning Man Project 501(c)(3), but the participants who buy tickets also changed. There will be tens-of-thousands of new heart beats out there with new points of view and new expectations.
Thankfully before the last 10 to 20 thousand tickets went on sale BMorg (Burning Man Organization) took a step back and setup a system where people had the pleasure of buying Tier 4 tickets for $390/bux each instead of a real chance at getting anything less. Fortunately, some of those tickets also went to help low-income applicants.
So, on the chess board that was the ticket shit storm BMorg made some headway.
Camps were portioned allotments with the ability to purchase for their encampments. Tickets went to Art Cars, Artists and finally moving in the direction they needed to be.
There was a huge emphasis on how we as a community do several things. One of the most important was another new word in the Burner Community: Enculturation. Even at the Leadership Summit in March 2012 that hosted in San Francisco and attracted leaders from all over the world, there was a strong emphasis on this.
Queer camps like Comfort & Joy, Camp Beaverton, and Astro Pups have all embraced this concept in different ways.
The goal is to get new attendees to embrace the 10 principles and make their participation meaningful without destroying those already entrenched in the life. This means much more than a party or festival. This is more than a bucket list item. But, for many that is all it will ever be.
10,000 More People
Yes, there will be close to 65,000 people out there this year than last year; more than 10,000 additional souls with a prediction for another 10,000 in 2013. The ticket screw ups earlier in the year aside, there is a flushing out as it were, and change is forced upon us.
Not many burners are really welcoming of “change” in spite of the hippy attitude projected on burner activity. Burners and Burner Leadership have to set the example.
We have no choice. We embrace and move forward. We saw the BLM bring sanctions with a deep inhale and the exhale follows an announcement of 10,000 more souls.
With that comes responsibility, too. For US who need to embrace change and for THEM whom we hope to enculturate. It will hopefully culminate in WE in the light of the temple burn. The 10 principles are the biggest key we can hand over to a new generation or a new breed of burners. But this thing, by Larry Harvey and his cavalcade of 5, is/was something very meaningful and the fear is that it will be lost…. or changed.
The Burning Man Project is the new face of Burning Man as they move into non-profit status and work on expanding their model as a guide for community growth. While Burning Man is growing limbs the journey and mission for Toaster was to reach to the roots.
The 3 day plus summit brought 185 representatives from around the world to network and share resources. Everyone was bringing questions about their own projects, regions and Burning Man related plans. Out of the 185 attendees approximately 60 were Regional Contacts and the remaining were various Community Leaders.
Regional Contacts are officially placed representatives from Burning Man who are geographically located (in almost all circumstances) and have a couple of ‘jobs’: 1. they help protect the brand and report back to Burning Man when it is being abused. 2. many help build community events and cultivate the relationship between Burners in their area.
Community Leaders are people in the Burner culture who have emerged and are cultivating the community without any official recognition or remuneration.
Neither get paid for what they do and are voluntary roles.
A Distilling of BM’s New Mission
Burning Man has an amazing network and a lot of people within it looking to make things happen. However, the means to achieving these things has changed. Along with the 501(C)(3) status of the new Burning Man, it’s minions are taking their projects in directions with more legal protection and mechanisms to protect assets and resources under various legal entities.
The network is looking to cultivate more community based projects and are looking for ways of embracing more people into the concept laid out in the 10 principles. That means developing community relationships by sharing our culture and we were given a lot of examples of how to do that and what people have done in their communities.
Burning Man still says the future is in their Regionals. This was a word was called into question a lot. For those unaware (as noted in the opening paragraphs) Regional Contacts have an official role in communities. Regionals are also the names of events that have an official recognition from Burning Man that are micro Burning Man events.
Conceptually the word “Regionals” is deceiving only that with term has become deprecated. R.C.’s are conduits for the community up to Burning Man and down to the communities they represent. It also has a sense that is separates THEM from the community on some level. There was a lot of talk about this word and better ways to communicate the mission of people in these positions.
Also, $teven Ra$pa gave us a great example of the ticket crisis with a visual representation showing why Regional Events are getting more and more relevant over the Burning Man Event in August. Showing us eggs (like ovaries) and a field of sperm working their way in the eggs soon displayed signs saying “Full” and “No Vacancy” representing the ticket sale process that sent so many people into a frenzy recently. He colored in the areas surround the eggs describing those as where people need to flow into; the Regional events.
I have attended a lot of the events like: Element-11 in Salt Lake City, Toast for Arizona, Dark Skies for Las Vegas which went away and now has Forgotten City. Transformus in the Carolinas, Lightening in the Bottle and so many more.
The word Regional was was called into question and with the recent invention of the Meta-Regional roles. Meta-Regionals are a layer between the Regional Contacts and BMHQ. Some are geographical and some are specialized in areas like event planning, conflict resolution or other things relevant to helping stitch the R.C. network together.
Okay, so maybe you already read all that stuff above with definitions and floating data about some of the workings in Burning Man that I tried to distil as best as I could. The most frequent question I have been asked so far from OUR community is about the tickets.
Frankly, Burning Man makes limited apologies for the ticket situation but looks at it for some results in a couple ways. 1. Lesson learned; they have tried for years to give us a working ticket system and people get pissed off every year anyway. 2. Who knew??? Who knew there would be such a demand for people wanting to actually go to Burning Man and fill those many Bucket Lists. Well, they should have had an idea since there own mailing list is gi-normous. There is a viral video that went out that is believed to have inspired a lot of attention to the event itself.
If you need tickets there are ways to get them still without having to rely on scalpers; for some people. Be a part of the machine. Be a cog in one of the wheels; an art project, theme camp, volunteer… something integral and save your fucking pennies because you have to be prepared to make sure your needs and safety are met out there no matter what!
Ticket Issue: Done –
Personal Safety on the Playa
The 2012 Queer Burner Leadership Summit revealed one major concern that I brought safety to the table in several ways and I made myself heard: Personal Safety. With the expected influx of people not invested in the Burner lifestyle there is a concern that there will be more aggression threatening otherwise very vulnerable people at Burning Man in 2012.
Vulnerable means EVERYONE! Although we talked about women for the most part, we also talked about our drag queens and trans-gendered people.
At Burning Man many of us have come to feel we live in a place called Home. It is a place where we have learned to drop our guard. Our guard, walls, shields, anxiety protect us from the harsh realities of the default world. The dog eat dog of society where live 52 weeks a year versus where we are thinking about gifting and hugging everyone we meet is something very special.
Many of us might be physically vulnerable, but if impaired and unable to protect oneself, it is even more important to rally each other and always travel in groups.
Why this level of concern? And is Burning Man listening to OUR concerns? I brought this to Burning Man as OUR main concern as it was related during the QBLS.
I wrote a report on the QBLS that got noticed and started a dialog. On the private Regional Contact list the topic started to get some serious attention but it devolved into something of a joke among the R.C.’s and this was confirmed by a Meta-Regional as well as other R.C.’s who are active on the list.
In a main hall discussion I asked about steps Burning Man would take to help assure personal safety. As usual I was shut down very fast by Andie Grace (aka ActionGrl) when she said: “Everyone attending Burning Man is responsible for their own safety“. And there it died for the day on Saturday. In the main hall this was not a place to chose a battle.
Many more Regionals were genuinely concerned about this subject and were shocked that there was a severe enough issue. Females knew there was a problem especially around Critical Tits and have been vocal.
When I spoke up in the main hall I was trying to channel words spoken by Foxy, Shayna and Kitten; they brought the most real light to the discussion during the QBLS.
The Regional Coordinators (BMHQ) have been incredibly resistant to the idea of any official representation for the Queer Burner Community. Frankly, I am not sure we need our own R.C., but when I discover some of the dialog that has taken place away from the community at large I feel deeply troubled about it.
In the end… Yes, we are all responsible for our own safety so we have to work together to make sure we have safety valves in place for ourselves. It made me smile to talk about the Drag Queens, Drag Kings and Bull Horn use employed by some camps as a great way to defuse situations. Humor and being vigilant is the key and we can help each other with that.
Instead of a response that acknowledged the concern or worry that has been echoed by many of the female population out there already the response was very cold and concise. She called me out by my default world name so she knows WHO I am . I AM not anyone special, but I have been a voice for a long time and sometimes the occasional thorn. However, I sincerely wonder if the question had come from any of the heterosexual women in that audience would we have seen the same kind of response either by delivery (tone) or maybe got a bit more consideration. My question was this:
“With the influx of so many people who are not familiar with the Burning Man culture and lifestyle expected at Burning Man in 2012; is there any plan to increase security for personal safety?”
Maybe from that alone you can see WHY I got the answer I did get?I did have a chance to revisit it through various workshops on Sunday and heard from people more one on one but time will tell how it all sorts itself out.
There was a perception in some cases that the entity Queer Burners itself was our way of being separate from the BRC community. And it is not unnoticed (in perception only!) that it seems like other Burners and BMHQ perceive us as if WE are asking for some kind of special treatment from Burning Man.
Queer Burners the Community and Burning Man
I described QueerBurners.Com (aka gayburners.com) as a social network for burners of a like mind can come together and find resources within the queer culture inside the community of Burning Man. We are a community as much as Oakland is a community as much as Austin, Texas is a community and we seek each other out for safety, for comfort and for support.
In fact, I also described my experience with the Burner Community in Las Vegas as a community that was very well integrated. Queers blended right in with everyone else and it works pretty much that way in almost every community out there; Burner specific. I was very proud to be a leader in that community. But since then I moved to San Francisco and it plays out very differently here.
In the 9 months I have been here the Decompression is where I witnessed groups blending. There was something called Rites of Massive out on Treasure Island where I was happy to see some more sharing of space among people of various origins.
Personal Note: This might be a time to do some reflection and evaluation. For me, Toaster, I have taken my own position on this relationship with BMHQ. My impression and perception is based on some interesting experiences with Marion and Megs while I was being considered for an R.C. role in Vegas last year. It may have tarnished something in my eyes or jaded my faith.
I could easily say… they don’t get it. BUT! I would be partially wrong. Queers in the Burning Man culture have our own unique and applied perspective just like ALL the others; speaking of geographical regions because we are also a part of those. The irony is that this organization came out of the gayest city of the nation and cannot see the unique puzzle piece like us; it’s pink and covered with glitter and feathers.
Not Burning Man’s Fault
With a lot of listening and absorbing we have to fight for our own place in the sun and not look to Burning Man to fertilize that. Communities, camps and other entities in Burning Man are doing it on their own. Maybe this is a case of Burning Man helping those who help themselves.
I have been looking at Burning Man leadership for a sense of acknowledgement and approval and they are looking up higher in their growing tree and so far I (ME) am that termite that passes in their line of site once in a while.
In the opening of this report I said I was reaching in while Burning Man was reaching out to things past me. I am swimming against the current and risked putting everything in jeopardy for this project in spite of what I was building until this weekend.
We have an opportunity here that is being handed to us and it came from this summit with a gold tray beneath it. We have a tool we can all be a part of, build from, and in turn give back to Burning Man in a way that helps their mission and puts our community in a better position.
At the 2012 QBLS one of the agenda items was the Queer Burner Fund, LLC. We make this a reality and take a step back from wearing a Burning Man label like the word “Burners”. We define our own structure and resources that we can use to help each other raise funds, conduct community projects and provide grants to the community. More to come… so watch out for this one!
It was 3 days of recharging. 185 people went to get their kool-aide containers refilled and we heard about HOW the Burning Man Project is taking on a whole new identity. Burning Man, the event in the desert, has manifested into something else.
Burners seem to hate change, but we embrace it once we get past the lumps. WE, as a community, have to unite and grow with the changing face of what we love. WE need to reflect what is going on around us.
It is, at its core, the same thing we grew to love. Yet this monster sheds its skin and hisses once in a while , it bites, but WE (ALL BURNERS irregardless of identity) rally and find strength in what makes some flake away making way for new.
Authors note: I am Toaster, aka Scott, and have had a strange upbringing in this community. Once upon a time I was going to be an R.C. in Vegas and had some pretty terrible problems with another R.C. and a Community Leader who was a lot more old school Burner than I, which there is nothing wrong with. We tangled over an issue and both had strong opinions on it and it spilled over into the community of Las Vegas at large. BMHQ came in to actively mediate the issue, but there was a point where they gave up. I was told, you guys need to resolve your own problems. Again, I hated the answer but it was true. Out of that, although it may not sound like it, I came to have some expectations out BMHQ that were completely unrealistic. Never has Radical Self Reliance hit me in the face with more frequency than anything else; you would think I would finally get it. Well, I learned a lot this weekend. I hope you will join me on this journey and take some of the ownership of what this project (Queer Burner Project) is and help make it something more grand.
Inspired by a recent post by DanNation.Org it was time to do some hindsight into the Burning Man Ticket fiasco and start looking ahead instead of looking backward. @queer_burners on Twitter call this horse-hamburger and that might have been premature. Since then there has been statements by 2 key voices of BMorg (Burning Man Organization) that have come out in recent days.
There was a lot of frustration and anxiety thrown at Burning Man with the announcement of the Lottery and the snarky, bitchy responses to any criticism noted in a previous post on this site a moot now. No, many are busy making excuses for the debacle. They say scarcity was the problem but really, the registration was just too easy and the true believers* would have waited through a queue to get those tickets while the tourists might have fled for an easier choice.
SO MANY EXCUSES
There were a lot of blogs and no shortage of people ready to either complain or swallow the unqualified responses of anxiety riddled believers*. This blog is not going to judge which was which except to say that the opinion of this writer is “scarcity” is a diversion. WITHOUT A DOUBT hindsight is 20/20 and if the Lottery did work the way it was intended there would be something people would be bitching about.
VOICES OF REASON
It took a while but it was not an unreasonable amount of time, but 2 people we needed to hear from gave us the voice we needed. There was an acceptance of the situation and ownership of the failure… yet with a solution/answer still pending we as a community have some reasonable expectation that a band-aide is coming.
Marion Goodell (aka MaidMarion) posted a letter out through the JRS and followed up with an interview on NPR. The letter, on first review, reeked of spin and asking the community to be patient (while some translated that as ‘get over it’). Certainly her voice in the interview was a clear acknowledgement of the crisis and the perfect follow up to the letter because she sounded sincere and concerned. [LISTEN]
Andie Grace (aka ActionGrl) sent out an announcement that was authentic and true to the character of this caring, compassionate fixture at Burning Man. Her voice and presence in the organization has benefit Queer Burners in the past as an avid supporter of the community as a whole; which we are a part of. See the Andie Grace comments embedded in a blog post by DanNation.Org
JRS – Jack Rabbit Speaks news letter is the vein of communication from Burning Man… even more than their Facebook, web site and twitter (@burningman). It is merely a channel and where Marion’s letter appeared days after it was publicly published inviting people to comment on the BurningMan.Com blog pages.
The mystery of this upcoming 2012 Burning Man event called Fertility 2.0 is slowly coming into focus. The viral decomposition of the event with many upon many of it’s participants now without tickets (including this author) and a foreseeable solution that brings it all around. I cannot imagine it not happening.
*Believers are not swayed with this issue and those of us with a full glass of the Burning Man Kool-Aide will be the positive force to an ultimate solution. Yes, this ticket issue shook the faith… but there are signs all over the web where new energy and positive voices are working to make it better. Those who are making excuses… those who are deluding themselves as believers who cannot accept mommy & daddy can be flawed… those who want to turn their back on something they have LONG benefit from … chill out. We hold the powers to be to the fire and the fire is bright, but we know how to play with fire and make it fun.
Where o’ where will your tickets appear…. or where or where will it be? So the mystery deepens and thought ticket say went relatively smoothly the aftermath is something we may or may not need to suffer with.
Someone on the list said: “Stop bitchin’, it works for Flipside…“* Newsflash flower girl, this ticket feeding frenzy is not the same thing. If there were a million or so hits on the ticket site and hundreds of thousands registered because Burning Man was on their bucket list… or gee it sounds so neato… where does it leave the returning members of the community?
Admittedly, changing to the lottery system was scary and the answers missing… many within the community are still staring wide-eyed into their email boxes waiting.
“Unfortunately your chances have been greatly reduced. Due to so much attention brought to our fair city via the timely release on the day of ticket lottery opening of “oh the places we’ll go” (over 1 million hits during the ticket registration) the release of a televised Burning Man story in Europe, countless sites & people touting “GET YOUR TICKETS NOW” all over the interweb. This facebook page alone gained over 8,000 new people during the two week registration period. No one but BMorg will ever know the exact number of registrants, but with all the buzz put out there at the exact time the ticket lottery was open, yours and my chances of getting our cherrished ticket went down significantly. Still keeping my fingers crossed I WIN the opportunity to BUY a ticket!”
– Posting on the Burning Man Facebook page
There was an interesting survey leading into the registration that one might hope will give weight to whomever gets the golden ticket. While eagerly waiting for “Fertility 2.0” some have already resigned themselves from going because of this ticket nightmare.
Some have resigned themselves to seeing what they could get in the final 10,000 tickets at $420 each.
The best thing is a wait and see attitude and not take this as a smack in the face by BMorg. Be positive and hope for the best. Burners don’t do conflict or drama.
When the Lottery was announced there was fear and loathing… we have yet to see if it was all worth it.