Trip Report: Burning Man Placement

On Saturday the 29th Burning Man called in the troops and passed out a mega-ton of information about camps preparing for the playa. That also means preparing people and resources.

It can’t be emphasized any more that this: get your shit together. If you are planning on requesting placement you will be working with the most gregarious team at Burning Man and they want your experience to be the best possible. However, your project has to be thought out and complete and submitted by July!

Hot Button Issues

You have to see the right pages for the right thing. There is no single source for all your questions. Just remember this, deadlines matter and getting your documentation in early counts.

  • Theme Camp FAQ
  • Outside Services: Thinks have changed: Linked Here
  • Vehicle Passes: MUST HAVE: Recommended Blog Post
    (Note: this is still very confusing. How do people who need vehicle passes get them if they are not purchased at the time of the ticket purchase? Who thought of this? How do low-income ticket purchasers get passes…)
    – Alternatives: The Burner Express

This tiny blog cannot answer all the important questions, but radical self-reliance means a guuurl has got to take action with immediacy. Wurkit.

Trip Report: SPARK Movie

Yesterday I went to see “SPARK” in San Francisco at the Roxie Theater where it is showing on Saturday and Sunday at 4:30pm.   And, just a recommendation, right around the corner is Puerto Allegre with some seriously good Mexican food!

I cried through half of the movie as I saw an amalgamation of 5 years of my Burning Man experience played out on the screen with footage that went back to 1989. It did gave the sense of a scabs and all view of Burning Man but that was simply not the truth.

The story was amazing. The visuals were inspiring. It was all very touching and a fairly honest expression of Burning Man and the people responsible for it’s existence.

Three people are credited for the first Burn on Baker Beach in 1989: Larry Harvey, Micheal Mikel and John Law. John dropped out of the scene around 1996 and divorced himself from Burning Man for his own reasons while Harvey and Mikel (aka Danger Ranger) continued on with a new cast of crazies that included Harley, Marian, Crimson and others that are all in the movie and credited as “Co-Founders”.

Queers in the Film

There were quite a few Queers in the movie but only 1 talked about his orientation was John La Grace founder of Playa )'( School theme camp. Although this is not a Queer identified camp it gives that deeply help ideology that BMorg seems to continue to perpetuate is that LGBTQ and the rest of the burner community blur together seamlessly.

The Film

This is a fantastic film but it is clearly a tool of BMorg in answer to their ticketing fiasco of 2012. It is an amazing film in spite of that perception. The often staged sessions of angst in boardroom discussions are 2 dimensional based on some of my personal history with some of the people I have known in those meetings.

Fact or Fiction

The movie is amazing. My previous comments should not be taken as a negative reaction to the film, just an observation based on personal experience. My favorite person in the film was Otto Von Danger working on his project from 2012 called “Burn Wall Street”; he gave the most honest portrayal of anyone there.

It has to be seen. This movie should be seen by every Burner. But then again, it was like a trip back to the playa over my lifetime as a Burner. Joy.

2013 Cargo Cult : A Trip Report

After 2012’s Fertility 2.0 and the crushing ticket fiasco of all times it would seem hard to bounce back, but Burning Man Project did and pretty darn well. All the pomp and pageantry came to Black Rock City in a glorious way with Cargo Cult and John Frum.2013 Temple

What were the numbers? Anyone will tell you there was a glut of newbies, virgins and tourists on the playa with other terms like dark-tards, weekenders and any of many other words for the people who are more and more becoming the gross of the population.

Speaking of population, another fiercely growing majority are LGBTQ people. We cannot see it in a skin color or any other physical trait but it is becoming more and more clear to the observer.  LGBTQ people have been open to the embrace of radical self expression over our counterparts who are still learning to wake that part of themselves up. This tremendous sense of living is what brings us back every year.

Gayborhood 2013

Before Burning Man 2013 the Placement Team announced where placed camps would end up which included the camps that would normally consist of the Gayborhood. The Gayborhood is a concentration of camps with camps like Comfort & Joy Village, Camp Beaverton and others at the nexus.

In the formation of the Gayborhood camps were spread out along the 7:30 corridor which brought trepidation and curiosity to this admin. In fact, the Gayborhood was just as good as ever, but we also had the benefit of being half of the 7:30 Plaza.

This area is the Castro of BRC and provides a valuable channel for queer, questioning and our friends to enjoy the special vibe LGBTQ Burners bring to the event.

The Gayburbs are the camps radiating around the Gayborhood.

There were some really bright stars in all of this:

  • congratulations to Comfort & Joy for their amazing courtyard and Village. The neon flags, glowing flowers and glow in the dark badminton were popular with everyone.
  • big applause for Crisco Disco who really proved to be a community art car; Brian and his crew who really focused on the community he was a part of and made it special for so many people.
  • and to BAAAHS who seemed to have a lot of mobility problems but were big hits on the playa with a sound system that matched or out-classed many other art cars out there.

In spite of being spread out the city the Gayborhood was a win! BloAsis Village dominated their block with one of the best setups I ever saw. The Beavers and Gender Blender were great hosts and their vagina glory hole even made the BRC newspaper. Many others were business as usual with business that is loved by the community.

Official Meet & Greet on Monday

The official Gay meet & greet was sponsored by The Down Low Club and welcomed over 200 people through the evening. It went on 3 hours with visitors from all over the city. They served a playa cosmo and snacks.

Guests included many people from this web site whom I had the pleasure of meeting face to face; some for the first time. We also saw Terry and Chris who built the ‘Time To Burn’ Aps for Android and iPhone. There was Tacoboy, Craig and so many others!

I did speak at this event for the first time and extended my appreciation to so many people the community. I had to thank Catcher and Red (Down Low Club managers) for once again sponsoring this event. I had warm thanks to Kitt, Matty Morin, Blitzy, Foxy, Scott Burdette, Indigo (Russ Smith) and so many more for being a part of the Queer Burner Leadership Network and helping make this project work over the last 5 years.

BRC Gay Pride @ Cargo Cult on Friday

In memory of a lost leader in our community, Mario Cisneros, the parade left The Man at 1pm. We managed to get everyone on wheels either via art car or bicycle which allowed us to take a slightly longer route that included the Gayborhood.

The Gayborhood had never been included in the parade before. It went from The Man, passing Center Camp, a lap around the Gayborhood and then off to the Gayburbs where a party was sponsored by Burner Buddies.

Crisco Disco was the shining gem in the crown of the parade and special thanks to everyone who brought out flags and banners. Though Crisco Disco was the only art car it really delivered. Kai Noble from Comfort & Joy worked the megaphone through the whole route adding to the amazing energy from the people participating.

Cargo Cult

The theme this year was the best in a long time and filled the imagination of so many. The iconography and pageantry was only matched by the hundreds of thousands of people who came to be a part of it. The weather all week long was optimal and there was very little wind. We enjoyed small bouts of rain, but in the end it was rain that chased many off on the last Monday afternoon of the event.

Entrance wait times were marginal for many, but up to 9 hours for some. Exodus seemed to average about 5 hours according to social networks.

Saturday night’s burn was breathtaking and it was a shock for many when a huge wave of large burning pieces and smoke tumbled into the crowd due to wind on the 11 o’clock side of the construct.

Sunday’s temple burn was moved up an hour to let people escape the city earlier because of the pending threat of rain the next day in an effort to minimize the time to get out the gate.

tumblr_msl9q5TBTv1qb4uc7o1_500Wins!

The weather, art cars, amazing art pieces, camps that filled the city even beyond the outer ring and more events that ever to shake a stick at. More people than ever seemed to state quite confidently than I have ever heard that this was their best year ever. The coolest MAN I ever saw.

Losses!

Unspeakable amounts of MOOP and investments in glow sticks. Darktards out the wazoo! Art-cars unwilling to take on passengers for one reason or another… and on the other hand people who think walking in front of an art car to stop it who think that is a wise decision. There were an unspeakable amount of fake entries in the What Where When, too, frustrating many of the city explorers.

Draw!

A disconnected Gayborhood spread through the 7:30 corridor above D street. More newbs than veterans and an uncommon amount of frat boys, tourists and weekend warriors.

It takes all kinds to make Burning Man happen and all the different flavors can be really fun, but this event and lifestyle are nothing like Coachella or EDC and is in danger of becoming all too much as such.

Conclusion

comfort_and_joy mapBest year yet. And what makes me qualified to levy that claim? Just my own experience as well as the general feeling in the air. Those of decades past might say otherwise, because it is not the same Burning Man of the nineties or the eighties. Although there were a lot of people who could not begin to harness the ideals of community and the 10 principles the city was more amazing than ever.

The art was exemplary and fascinating. CORE delivered and their Thursday night burn was pure gobsmack!

In spite of a spread out Gayborhood we were blessed. This year the Gayborhood had art cars, a spectacular nexus provided by Comfort & Joy, and such amazing life represented by Glamcocks and Paradise Motel among others. BloAsis was a new shining star on the 7:30 Strip! Thank you BAAAHS and Crisco Disco for your amazing service to the community.

Queer Burner Leadership Summit (QBLS)

We did it. I could not do it alone. Although I did put a lot of effort into this event it could not have happen if a few people had stepped up and lend a hand here and there. Whatever their efforts were I am grateful. Some of the people I would like to specifically thank is:

Bernadette Bohan | Kd Calfee aka Kitten |
Jean-Jaques | DJ Momme aka Fathom

This was our 2nd year and believe it or not year 3 is already somewhat on the calendar, but no real planning will go on until after the beginning of the year (September).

The expenses in 2012 for the event was $1200 and that may not sound like a lot, but it is when this is a non-money making operation. In 2013 we spent almost 50% of that to bring a stronger overall event.

Check out the reports and please make comments. If you can, please join us next year!

My eyeballs were falling out of my head the Friday night before. I was hoping to get out to First Friday in Oakland, but it was not meant to be. Alas, we had such an amazing day in the end.

We had attendees that traveled in from Georgia, Sacramento and Los Angeles.

Memories of 2012

Seems like a lot of people are energized and motivated for 2013 by their experience in 2012. Who would have known that people would have been encouraged with all the misgivings that came out of Mario Cisnerosthe ticket fiasco to get to renewed energy about Burning Man and its culture.

This year the Gay Pride Parade and the Official Meet & Greet were held in honor of one of our burners that passed on. Although many friends have gone, this man named Mario Cisneros was an active leader and participant in the Queer burner community as well as his region. That means he was active in the general community with Burners in Los Angeles where he was from.

Enjoy these pics from the pride parade this year… and click here to see all the pics uploaded by members or add your own below.

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2012 Burning Man Trip Report

While this site continues to be a launching platform for Queer and Queer Adjacent members of the Burner Culture it also has an intent to keep the 10 Principles alive in our day to day living. Whether you also include the 10 commandments, Buddhist beliefs, Kaballah, Torah, or whatever the 10 Principles are merely ideas for community living.

The following is a different kind of trip report and talks about a lot of things. There are criticism but there is also a lot of appreciation for a lot of work people did to achieve something amazing. This is a single person’s point of view and you are encouraged to add comments or write your own trip report with all your exciting stories.

Burning Man (Fertility 2.0)

The theme itself, this year, left us somewhat perplexed at first trying to figure our how the LGBTQ++ community fit into it. We did studies, videos, testimonies and in the end there was very little of the theme in the scope of the event n the delivery. It came across a little 2d unlike recent years like “Rites of Passage” and “Evolution” that had an umbrella of possibilities and translations to art and culture that were represented on the playa.

Keep in mind that there was …WAS an estimation of 70% of ticket sales went to people with no previous affiliation with Burning Man either in theory or pARTticipation who – in all likelihood – did not know how to bring it. Many probably learned while it seemed that many fled early from the event. Fled? Yes, wicked dust storms scared off the less sturdy and left us with a max attendance at one point of 52,000 or so people; less than last year and way short of the 60,000 tickets actually sold.

Bottom line, there was a great deal of success to the event because as the vacationers fled the play ground became a lot more burner-centric; which means experienced burners slowly became a majority again. This also includes de-burgined newbies that embraced the scope of Burning Man principles and will be coming back. Joy.

 Nomenclature

This year we had a very strong Gayborhood thanks to the placement team at Burning Man HQ and (finally) someone listening to some LGBTQ++ concerns with the influx of new people that might further inflame some homophobic issues in the past. So far there has been no direct reports of those problems but we will be seeking feedback from the community moving forward.

The Gayborhood basically started around 7:00 and E in the city stretching back to approximately 7:30 and F; not to exclude anyone just outside that zone. Some of us started calling the surrounding area the Gayburbs. Camps in the Gayborhood included:

  • Comfort & Joy
  • Camp Beaverton
  • Gender Blender
  • Camp Montage
  • Celestial Bodies
  • Dusthaven
  • AstroPups
  • Camp Crack Whore
  • Camp Stella
  • Glamcocks
  • Quixote
  • Camp Blo Pop
  • Down Low Club
  • Poly Asylum

The Gayburbs on the other hand was a little more spread out. This might be a new term coined this year, or recycled, who knows. But there were an awful lot of Queer Pride Rainbow flags out there flying. Some had the word PACE on them which is the Italian word for Peace. Some of those camps included:

  • Motel Paradise
  • Tiny’s Lounge
  • Yes, Please
  • Vietnamese Coffee Camp
  • Camp Conception
  • Area 69
  • Run Free Camp
  • Camp Homoerectus

Wait? Is that all? No… there were a lot of camps, either overt or not, that surrounded the area who were self identified queer camps or queer-adjacent.

Gayburbia was a term that we came to agree to call the far off smaller circle of gay camps on the other side of the city that 2 years ago was coined the Gay Ghetto. The fine folks at the center of that area over near 4:00 and J was Burner Buddies. These were smaller, more clustered groups who camped close to each other for “safety” purposes. That was the exact word used. Queer camps that could look out for each other through the event.

Placement

RevBloodshotHuge thanks to Placement for their continued follow up, interaction and support to the queer and queer friendly camps at Burning Man. Rev. Bloodshot was the star player in the placement team who was extremely active in making sure there was support and security included in the placement of the Gayborhood.

The outstanding work and follow up by this team was a topic of discussion among the Queer Burner Leaders and generally agreed that they deserve huge levels of appreciation.

Processes

Without a doubt getting in and getting out of Burning Man was a win-win. A one to three hour max Exodus has not been experienced in nearly a decade and talk about a finely executed ballet. I was traveling with Foxy (Mayor of Camp Beaverton) and we both anticipated a 6 to 8 hour wait along with our newbie Uniboob (just kidding Sarah) and were braced for the long wait and we rolled right out without a single pause or surge.

Streets: Traversing the city, though huge, was very well laid out as usual though the roads were in BAAAAD shape by Friday. The ruts were deep and teeth chattering on most bikes and some art cars.

Toilets: maintained remarkably well and occasionally decorated and left smelling of lavender by wonderful fellow burners.

Center Camp: The strongest and best year of my experience, plus a great haven from the dust.

Law Enforcement

In 2011 with an increase in population there was an increase in Law Enforcement (aka L.E.). With the addition of 10,000 tickets sold for a sold out venue you better believe there was even more police presence out there. If you were paying attention, there ‘seemed‘ to be a lot of police activity. Specifically, they appeared to be searching for illegal substances.

Camp Poly Asylum was raided by police and dogs and apparently little was found. Was this harassment or was this an honest attempt to discover behavior that endangered the camp as a whole?

One member of my camp was stopped at the front gate and was subjected to a dog search of his car even though he has nothing to do with drugs.

However!!!! (Taken right from Burners.Me)

For an event with a peak attendance of 52,385, attended by eagle-eyed Law Enforcement Officers by the hundreds, Burners did incredibly well at keeping the peace, staying out of trouble, and obeying the law.

According to the Associated Press, this year’s scorecard was:

  • 22 Arrests
  • 230 Citations for drug and other violations
  • 441 verbal warnings for everything from speeding to washing their hands and dishes on the playa

Well done Burners – except for 22 of you –  and well done LEOs.

In comparison to previous years, there were more arrests but fewer citations. Here’s some recent statistics regarding arrests and citations at Burning Man 2010 and 2009.

2010- 293 citations; 8 arrests
2009- 287 citations; 9 arrests

I found one site on the Internet claiming that in 2011 is that there were 4 arrests for battery. However this site says:

2011 – 42 citations; 3 arrests – this might only be the BLM though and not include County cops

(end – Burners.Me repost: it was too good not to share. There is more if you will to follow the link in the header of this section.)

Who’s Who

Before the last 10,000 tickets went on sale there was a projection that about 70% of the people attending this year would be people who have never been experienced to Burning Man or it’s culture; 10 Principles and more. Even with the additional 10,000 tickets the event became sold out. Yes – selling out for the 2nd year in a row.

Who actually attended this event that resulted in 52,000 attendees which is way short of the 60,000 tickets sold? It should also be noted that a lot of those bucket list burners could not take the extreme conditions of the dust and wind and went home with their tails tucked.

  • 40% returning and contributing Burners
  • 20% ravers and crackheads looking to party
  • 25% circuit queens
  • 15% posers /  tourists / people abducted

*strictly subjective

The above is all in good fun. It is as accurate as what the Huffington Post published last year from Oscar Remundo’s popular blog.

Enculration: Did it work?

Many camps had processes in place to make sure Burgins staying with them were enlightened with an understanding of the 10 Principles and how they applied to their stay at Burning Man and their camp. Among the toughest to make this culture work for their newbies was Comfort & Joy, Camp Beaverton and AstroPups.

MOOP: There was still a lot of MOOP (Matter Out Of Place) out there; basically littering. However, it seemed that there was generally less crap blowing around this year than I saw last year.

pARTticipation: There was the usual great participation out there that makes the city what it is. It did seem, from personal observation, that there was a little more active recruiting to help out between experienced burners.

Art: There was a notable lack of creativity on the playa save the amazing CORE projects out there on some level. While a few pieces really stood out: (note: this is a personal observation)

  • Shipwreck w/ The Pier
  • Mumuration (Queer Project)
  • Aztec Calendar
  • …and the new Orbitron*

*from the people who brought you Cubitron in previous years.

Theme Camps

New standards were breached on amazing camps! There was some definitely excellent work that went into many of them. Although we are a world of radical inclusion, non-judgyness,some should genuinely be rewarded for their amazing work:

Most Welcoming Ambiance

  • Comfort & Joy
  • Beaverton/Gender Blender
  • AstroPups
  • Celestial Bodies

Best Construction

  • Comfort & Joy
  • Glamcocks
  • BaalMart
  • Celestial Bodies
  • Motel Paradise

Most Chillin at Home Vibe

  • Yes,Please
  • Camp Conception

Best Entertainment

  • Comfort & Joy: Friday’s Full Moon & AfterGlow Party
  • Burner Buddies: post Gay Pride celebration
  • Camp Conception: Thursday’s Dance party with DJ Dan
  • AstroPups: Wednesday Night feat. Rocket Collective
  • Down Low Club: Monday Official Meet & Greet
  • Celestial Bodies… every night

Radical Inclusion and Intimidation

One of the best camps for creating a welcome atmosphere, certainly the most successful depending on your point of view, has been Comfort & Joy. I witnessed people from all corners come into their camp and structures because they provide such a secure and safe space.

This could be said very much the same for a camp like Celestial Bodies who attract a very eclectic crowd and have a loving and special atmosphere; AstroPups and Down Low Club were very open.

While some camps are not open to street traffic through the week it is usually relatively clear who those were. Camp Conception hosted an amazing party on Thursday night and were raffling off some amazing art pieces; but visiting the camp felt awkward.

Glamcocks had this amazing open structure, they hosted and published some top notch parties, but in my 3 visits there it never felt welcome. I observed a lot while visiting and it felt very cliquish.

PLEASE DO NOT BE OFFENDED… this is a perception and one held from a removed point of view. I have and had no agenda other than working on networking camps so be can be supportive with each other and develop a better leadership collective.

Flow is important for a camp setup and clear boundaries for what is welcome space versus private space. Nectar Village is very good at defining these boundaries. A host or an active engagement with people visiting the camp can mean a world of difference if you have the people in your camp that flower in this area.

On another note: I received an email from a recognizable member of our community who complained he went to one of the above mentioned camps and was ignored; C&J. Upon reflection I realized I feel the same in some camps, but it is up to me to engage people in order to socialize. This is radical Self-Reliance in motion.

A host can be a great tool, but sometimes you (the individual) have to make the first step. As much as one can feel like they are not welcome at a camp, the camp and the individual each have the power to embrace someone new into their world.

THE BURNING MAN EVENT

Finally, with all the blah blah blah above we get into talking about Burning Man (Fertility 2.0) 2012. As this trip report it concludes with a solid thumbs up. The Gayborhood was a huge success to itself, but it is one element of the whole city. The Gayborhood was really a village that was larger than any other with Comfort & Joy and Beverton/GB at the nucleus of it.

Although the art was not quite up to par as years before there were some memorable pieces that includes the Pier with Shipwreck and a queer project called Murmuration. Yet, the CORE project (all 34 of them) were the best ever seen before (it is only the 2nd year for CORE).

Socially, queer camps really brought it big time and in pockets and in the Gayborhood we had branches that constantly reached into the city and welcomed anyone and everyone to participate along with us including the Gay Pride parade and a Naked Pub Crawl; which totally rocked. OMG Duck Pond was a hoot with their giant slip ‘n Slide.

The vibe was very different and though it might have felt a little foreign at the beginning of the week it felt very familiar by the end. Huge thanks to Placement at BMorg and the Exodus team. No no no… the whole freaking outfit!!!! Recovering from the ticket explosion in January to such a successful finale was sheer brilliance.

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