For the past 4 years from 2015 to 2018 Queer Burners / Scott K (Me) created an event with the goal of building bridges in our community. Before that for 3 or 4 years there was the Queer Burner Leadership events that also tried to do the same. Queer Burners has been a conduit of my personal agenda for a platform for leadership and participation for the LGBT participants of Burning Man. It would be a place that let us reach beyond our camp borders and help foster collaboration and more.
The Queer Burner Retreat we held at Groundswell for 2 years before moving to Saratoga Springs Retreat Center never really broke 150 in the last 3 years. Our first year we had 90. I feels like a tremendous success. In 2018 it started feeling like a real “Regional” style event, the kind of which maybe Burning Man Org could start getting behind. By all accounts, as a participant, it was a huge win.
Unfortunately the production team really struggled and some key players in the event moved on and away from this project. I have been involved with productions and events in the Burnerverse for almost a decade and discord is not an uncommon thing. Having different points of view are valid and my critics were standing on some very valid points. I do not want to get mired down in the details of that as it would not serve anyone to finger point or drag out any negativity further than it has.
For me – personally speaking – I am dealing with my own health crisis, my mothers serious medical issues (cancer, COPD and pneumonia to name a few), and struggles financially of my own. I never seem to have enough time and when the call went out for help to run AOU there were some answers but 20% of the team I needed. As we rolled into February (3 months before launch date) I realized I was not equipped (on several levels) to pull this off.
Before I signed a contract that committed me to a debt I could not climb out of. Before I paid for insurance for the event. I had to be sure I had the steam to do it. It was clear that I was not equipped to make this event happen.
If you want details why I had to pull out, and why this had to shut down AOU2019 as we knew it, I may share that soon as long as it does not seem or give the impression of negativity. Over the last year I feel like I learned a lot of hard lessons in life because 2018 really kicked my ass. Why is this about me? Queer Burners and LGBTProduction has been a sole proprietorship even though it had not-for-profit events like the ones listed above. Insurance, media, licensing and identity fell squarely on my shoulders. Hardly any of these things could be mentioned without my name being associated with it for all the work over the last 11 years.
Thankfully some of the people who worked with me in the past found a way to keep this possible magic alive. These are some of the brightest lights we have in our community. They are people of whom I think are amazing and better equipped to carry a torch into the future.
As for me? I have been forced to take a step back in order to move forward. For medical reasons and peace of mind I had to make this move. I dearly hope people can relate and understand. Maybe one day forgive me. Walk a mile in another person’s shoes before you think you understand what they are going through.
Tickets Sales and Fund Raising was only about $5k since August of 2018 with the Indiegogo Campaign and Eventbrite ticket sales.
– All Eventbrite Ticket Sales were refunded as of 2/23/2018 – All Indiegogo Donations minus some expenses will be refunded over the next week
Expenses Include (but not limited to): – $120. Facebook in Boosted Posts – $250. Eventbrite Fees – $250. Bank Fees (Checking Account and QuickBooks online)
Burning Man is coming up quickly and in July the Placement department will start spelling out the city layout. Just this week Burning Man opened the listing for the What Where When booklets and camps submitted their planned events for the burn.
There are no plans for BRC Pride events except for a fun run organized by a Beaverton member. See BRC Pride on Facebook for links and info.
Here we are in Pride Month and nothing planned for Burning Man this year. If anyone wants to do more please go to BRC Pride on Facebook.
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.
Queer Burners is first about creating and fostering community and safe space for LGBTQAI+ people and our allies. We have a handful of leaders in the community that have united to help unite us all, while also fostering their individual group missions as well. Get engaged, be a part of making community a part of your life, at any level. This holiday season, step out of your bubble and do something extra for someone else completely selflessly.
All Of Us Event 2017
We have a whole production team working very hard on this event already. It is the third year for the Queer Burner Retreat now branded as the “All Of Us” Event. In our next news letter there will be some seriously HUGE news so stay tuned. Check out the Facebook Group to get announcements. Yes, we have kept it pretty quiet for now, but that is about to change. We have Instagram and Twitter accounts for this event. Social Media #allofusevent2017
Happy Holidays Everyone!
We are blessed to be able to do what we do in our lives and that many of us get to experience such love and support so generously. All those FREE HUGS signs and dusty smiles mean so much. This year a lot of people have been attacked with cancer, depression, and many other medical and life issues that drain the soul. All we can do is try and be present by listening, by delivering when we can, and by being supportive to make sure we know these loved ones are not alone. Some shed tears outside, some shed them inside, but seen or unseen they are vanquished often with one of those precious hugs or acknowledgements. Love & Light to you all.
Radical Inclusion: Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.
A. Very new and different from the usual, ordinary or traditional
B. Favoring extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions.
C. Very basic and important
What is so radical about being inclusive? I feel like it should be second nature to us. We are a diverse community with extremes in ever direction. How is this new and different? Probably because growing up gay has left some of us frail, cautious and weary. I have been raised as a gay man very differently than you, just as you have been raised differently as a gay man, woman, trans, etc. I use the word ‘raised’ loosely. I’m personally speaking in terms of when I started to live my life as a gay man. Who raised me? Who raised you?
I was raised as a gay man in Omaha, Nebraska. There, it was “Oh, he’s so fun! Let’s go dancing!” type of attitude from my straight friends, being gay was like a fairy tale. From my gay community it was a little more intricate. I was the new gay out of the closet and I was curious and others were curious about me. I hooked up carelessly. I fell in love. My heart was broken. I drank a lot. I danced a lot. I was challenged with drugs. I was learning a lot and I lived curiously within my means. I made best friends, met some mean characters and connected with everyone in between.
“Oh, he’s a whore.” whispers the sexually frustrated gay.
“Let’s do shots and make-out with strangers!” cheers the vivacious gay.
“He’s got HIV, be careful” ignorantly says one gay.
“He’s cute, kiss him. Then let’s go to Flixx for girls night” encouraged the lesbian.
“You think you’re better than me because you’re cuter than me?” shouts the just as cute gay.
“You’re fun, let’s dance on the speaker” flirts the queer.
“Stick with me kid, you won’t have any problems” winks the drag queen.
“Hi, I’m Mike.” says my future lover.
Those are just a few examples of statements I would hear any given night about me and/or other people in a bar. Even at a young age, I thought I knew what was right and what was wrong. I can proudly say that I frequently challenged my fellow gays, and it often lead to either a change in behavior or the loss of an acquaintance. I too have been challenged by my fellow gay man and woman, and have grown from my ignorances. I say “gays” because I didn’t feel a strong connection with the word “queer” at that time in my life. I was obviously in the wrong city.
Many people had a positive impact on my life as well. Chris, for example, is the happiest gay man I have ever met. He is 40-something… eh, he will always be 40 years old to me. I swear he grows younger every year. He has this joie de vivre that transcends to everyone he encounters. He could be talking about his bankruptcy, his heart attack, his crazy sister or the death of a drag queen and yet all of his stories have this warm and light tone. He never undermines the seriousness of any situation, but he simply embraces the reality for what it is. I’ve held him when he cried. He has held me in his arms while I cried, once when my heart was broken and another when I shared with him that I was HIV positive. No matter who you are, what you wear, where you are from, how long you’ve been out of the closet, your religion, body type, your sexual drive…you always feel like you belong in his presence. Chris is one of the many who raised me as a gay man.
So to me radical inclusion is about accepting our differences, and most importantly embracing myself so I am not my own stranger. “Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community”. Anyone may be a part of our Queer Community. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community. To be radical is to challenge and change ordinary and traditional ways, especially about what is very basic and important, such as a sense of belonging. It’s important for me as a human to respect myself in order to embrace another. As a Queer man, it is important for me to embrace my life style for me to truly respect another’s life style.
No one is perfect, yet we are all beautiful. Shall we challenge how we may have been raised and shed the bad and embrace the good?
The Man burns in 6 months and 30 days.
[I encourage comments and discussion, as I have no expectations with this post, other than challenging thought]
Well, we survived another year at the burn. Burning Man: Carnival of Mirrors was spectacular. It was a year that felt inspiring again after a few years of transition with the organization that makes everything happen. Since 2012 Burning Man feels like it has gone more commercial than ever yet somehow maintaining a grasp on the desired core values of the past.
Carnival of Mirrors theme was another big hit. The abomination that was Fertility 2.0 that went to Cargo Cult (loved it), then Caravansary (Fabulous), and now Carnival of Mirrors… what’s next: “Carrot Top”? While struggling to think of something Carrific we are eagerly awaiting next year’s theme.
Carnival of Mirrors featured a Midway that was as superb as the Souk from last year, showing that Burning Man is working on elevating the features of the-man experience. If this is the working model moving forward it certainly brings a greater sense of excitement to the event. It’s very marketable.
Another change to the Gayborhood layout made it much larger this year. It also lent to a greater opportunity for the queer camps of Burning Man to make a greater presentation. We were laid out on “D” street between 6:30 t0 8:30 which the Gayborhood renamed Rainbow Road.
Some new camps in the Gayborhood made quite a splash:
Hanging Gardens rocked the hood with an exciting presentation
Cubhouse participated in the Naked Bike ride and served it
Bierdhaus struck out from their village last year and rocked it
Sun Guardians delivered and grew rapidly
Some established camps in the Gayborhood schooled us animal style:
Mudskippers: Whitney Houston Party always epic
Glamcocks put on an amazing show
Celestial Bodies, BloAsis so many…
…they killed it. There are so many camps in the Gayborhood who really uped their game this year and make Rainbow Road spectacular. But there were a few Queer camps outside the Gayborhood that brought it as well.
Disco Château – amazing
Peterson’s Pink Pagoda – awesome
Burner Buddies – Nacho Daddies sexiness….
Queer camps were all over the playa. Our preplaya map that was published before the event including Get Nailed that was over on B street. It was exciting and having the chance at having so many friends all over the city just a huge bonus.
Evolution in the Gayborhood
Rumor has it that a few more camps are going to enter cocoons before the 2016 unnamed event and come back in new forms. We hear that Comfort & Joy are going to go through a few changes again. Also, rumor control has it that the Down Low Club is not coming back in the same form as they have since 2001. It seems that Comfort & Joy is always evolving anyway and as they seem to be always at the epicenter of the Gayborhood we appreciate the work they put into their real estate with those amazing lights and art displays.
Theme camps and villages are the interactive core of Burning Man. An ideal theme camp should create a visually stimulating presence and provide a communal space or other opportunity for interaction. – Burning Man Theme Camp Organizer Facebook Interactive Group
Is it rumor or true? We will find out next year, but the sources were rock solid, and if these camps and others grow, evolve or transition then we stand behind them. Many camps have stayed the same for years and Burning Man is demanding that camps evolve in order to get placement. Staying the same is just not acceptable. We have to offer engaging and interactive camps that bring something to the event.
We as patrons and proprietors in the Gayborhood make choices of what we engage and offer in the neighborhood. The growth and new structure of the Gayborood, aka Rainbow Road, lends to a whole new level of opportunities and leverage that we have began sampling. Working together, like the 7:30 Block Party by Hanging Gardens, is a big win for the community.
This is not the first time camps working together have found such a huge success. Glamcock’s Cock-talks and Beaverton’s workshops are another level of success. Comfort & Joy has also been a champion in this area of radical inclusion.
We, as a community, have chances to make our community and culture stronger. We are certainly not confined to just Queer Camps (because we are radically inclusive) and have non-queer neighbors interlaced with the Gayborhood that want to benefit from the A.D.D. razor like focus and creativity we have to share.
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
good : Other than all the previously mentioned goodies at the burn this year, there was an amazing piece of history that reappeared on the playa this year. Taking Burning Man back to it’s roots of radical expression was the ‘art piece’ that appeared on the playa in 2001 that was censored by the Org. It was an important and amazing presence on Comfort & Joy’s courtyard.
Queer camps had a chance, better than any year before, to make a presentation that was a solid win. The stretch of Rainbow Road was phenomenal.
bad : Unfortunately this was not the year where the Burner Gods smiled upon the BAAAHS crew as they experienced a lot of challenges that they did not expect to meet. A neighbor or two or three or so complained about their sound levels; an absurd idea as they and Camp Conception were camps with some serious speaker action. (Yes, many of us knew going into the burn this year we had new restrictions on sound). One neighbor actually made it her mission to rally the neighbors against BAAAHS but many stood by the BAAAHS crew solidly.
But that was not all. This was BAAAHS 3rd or 4th year on playa and this year they got dinged on a legal issue that may or may not have been noticed before, they were just over the legal size to move through the street by the DMV. Aparently mustant vehicles have to be on a diet to roam the streets of the BRC; maximum size is 14′, And it seems BAAAHS was 14′-6″… yikes!
The restrictions greatly limited what BAAAHS was able to do in the city and it was sad. We, as a community, support and love what BAAAHS and their support team delivers. It is awesome and it is entertaining. John Major, aka M*J*R wrote on Facebook how the year could result in diminishing his passion for Burning Man (heavily paraphrased); well we hope not.
ugly : Evolution is the only way Theme Camps can survive on the playa. As a community and subculture we also have to police ourselves. Reputation can follow for years but here are a few notions that we need to revisit:
Glamcocks is an unfriendly camp to visit for anyone over 30
GET OVER IT: Leadership in the Glamcocks camp has worked really hard to change the perception of this. Key leaders have made very public and vocal efforts to show they are welcoming to all. They have initiated concierges for their camp and a requirement for camp mates to welcome people who come to their camp and their events off playa.
The Gayborhood keeps people in and others out
GET OVER IT AGAIN… yeah! Many camps in the Gayborhood host events clearly programmed to welcome people from all lifestyles, orientations and genders. While a few may be specific to one of those demographics the bigger picture is that this is an unfair projection from people who dismiss the Gayborhood who typically have never been to it.
Annual events suffered this year for a variety of reasons like th Official Queer Burner Meet & Greet as well as the Gay Pride celebration.
The Official Queer Burner Meet & Greet on Monday failed to appear in the What Where When, but many burners remembered that Monday night was the night to come to the Down Low Club camp. The event itself was in memory of a beloved burner who left us a few years ago; Mario Cisneros. Participation last year was off the chart, but on this occasion the event was nice and cozy.
The Gay Pride Parade was supposed to be a strong show of pride and celebration but fizzled into nothing before we got very far. The restriction that knocked BAAAHS off the city streets also put the smack-down on our parade plans. Thankfully Burner Buddies party with Nacho Daddies was still a huge win.
While there are more, the politics of keeping a positive focus prevents them from being written about here. The goal of this project is to promote and encourage growth, evolution and elevation of our part of the city.
2015 was an awesome year. The borg is demanding, even forcing, change and evolution on the community. The people feeling it most are the people building camps, art cars and attractions. With new sound restrictions and a surging growth in law enforcement the radical side of Burning Man is waning. Fortunately it is still a life changing experience with the chances of our own individual growth and chances to grow our community. All it takes is a ‘we’.
Burning Man is not so much the drugged up party in the north many of the norms out there wish it was. Nor is it the fantasy many weekenders are seeking when they get out there. It is so much more.
We have a secret. It’s not an us versus them secret. We have privileged information when it comes to Burning Man. It’s because many of us have made this part of our daily lives and have embraced the 10 principles. Some of us are in different stages of what those principles mean.
Now what are you doing with your two weeks in the desert? Please don’t go there looking to get fucked up for no other purpose than pussy or cock. This is a chance to connect, love, embrace, get an eye-gasm and soar with people with a mindset like no other.
The weekenders, tourists, norms, creeps and more sour flavors of the burn become blurry background to a burn done right. Checkout our 2015 Events page and get some key software. What’s the right tool for your burn? Get the Time to Burn App for Apple | Android | not Windows [Facebook]
There is a said about the 2015 Spring Retreat and the general consensus is that it was a success. It was a success for the right reasons. It was a success because every single soul that went help make it what it was. This was a true community effort. We will wait and see what next year brings because people asked for it again. Groundswell was an excellent host and the perfect space for us.
Financially we did not bring in as much as we hoped, but it was not about making money. The funds from the event will go back to you: the community anyway. No one was expected to make money though we ended up paying some people for their volunteer work.
$8345.00 Revenue from Ticket Sales
$1133.00 For Queer Burner PR / Projects / Community Efforts*
(*final numbers as of 6/3/2015 – updated)
Will be meeting with Kyle on 6/4 from Groundswell to talk a little about the past and future. Updates to come.
On May 22nd through May 25th, Memorial Day Weekend, a group of leaders who are part of the Quire / QBLN got together and created what could be our first major event called Spring Retreat: A Queer Burner Camp out. It was held at the Groundswell Institute in Mendocino county 3 hours drive north of San Francisco.
– Toaster from QB & Sun Guardians
– Shane Alan from Glamcocks
– Foxy from Camp Beaverton
– Indigo from AstroPups
– DJ Justime (Music Dir. from Comfort & Joy
…and who helped make it real
– Glamcocks for their amazing community effort
– Glamcocks for buying out the bar on Saturday
– BAAAHS & Steve for lighting and energy
– Groundswell for providing the best space possible!!!!
Attendance and Pass Sales
Passes went on sale March15th with a strong showing in the beginning but they slowed down until the end when there was a sudden up-turn. The land could safely hold 120 people but we capped at 90 people which turned out to be a very good number for our first year out. See the rest of the post here… link
If you are new to GroundSwell then there are a lot of things you should absolutely know before you go out there. Since this is a 10 Principles based event, there is no difference between what will happen at this event than any of the others of its kind. Radical Self Reliance means self preservation.
Here is a quick re-cap
18+ Event (MUST carry ID)
No Pets and No Minors…
Bring Mosquito Spray
Bring Sun Block
Be careful with Ticks
Bring bathing supplies
….including a towel
If you have not completed the survey for special needs or reserved your place for a “pay at the gate” pass please use the survey form. LINK
Transportation to the Event
One of the biggest topics of the week! Many of the respondents who answered the survey are saying they need rides out to GroundSwell. But a lot said they have space to share in their cars. It’s at 18500 Highway 128, Yorkville, CA 95454 .. it is a 3 hour drive from the city on a normal day. Google Maps Link
Possible group ride being organized. (You must have completed the survey)
Driving up on your own?
BE SAFE. The road is multi lane highway the first 2/3 of the day but the last 1/3rd is two lanes and runs through the hills. There are deer on the road.. better yet there are wineries along the way too. But the land opens to us on Friday May 22nd at Noon and Dinner will be served at 7!!!
Parking: there are designated areas to park unless you are car-camping. There will be people to help direct you on your arrival
When you arrive:
Look for a sign that says GroundSwell on the west side of the road and pull into that driveway. Look for a sign that will merge you down that says “CAMP” and you will come to a 8.5′ wide bridge crossing the creek that will take you deeper into the property.
drive down into the camp to a clearing where check in will be set up next to the dining hall and the safety building: you will check in there.
At check in you will present you valid ID, sign the safety waiver, choose your cabin or camping spot, and hopefully get all that done while it is still daylight.
Getting there late? Park in a safe place, NOT BLOCKING ANY LANES OR FIRE LANES, and finish your check-in in the morning. BE SAFE and have fun.
Once again our friends at Comfort & Joy Village have worked out a food drive for the local native population that surrounds the place we go annually for Burning Man. Pyramid Lake, Nixon and Wadsworth have indigenous populations that can really use some thought. How can you help the community?
drop of non-perishable and other foods at taco stands along the 447 marked with brightly colored flags
buy the delicious taco at those stands so income enters their community
get some of you last minute essentials like cigs at the Nixon market on your way in from the South.