11/16 News Letter

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November

How exciting it is that 2016 is finally coming to an end. Politics…. media non-sense… now we can look ahead to the holiday season and enjoy family and friends. People in the U.S. are getting ready for a very prolific holiday (especially this year) called Thanksgiving. This is when we take a moment to stop and evaluate the things we are genuinely thankful for. We focus on the positive and the genuine. The 11th Principle: Gratitude.


We made a t-shirt for our community to share and encourage personal strength the leadership in the community. The money derived from this sale will only go to support Queer Burner properties like the web site, patches and stickers. BUT THIS TIME: we will donate all proceeds of this shirt through the end of the year to:

Community Shout Out: Kitten from Comfort & Joy

One of the early supporters of Queer Burners and a #queerburnerperson who played an important role in the community is trying to make himself a new life. Please help us send some love and support. ALL UNITE T-SHIRT SALES WILL GO TO KITTEN’s GoFundMe. But you can donate directly to:
https://www.gofundme.com/kittencalfee

Upcoming Events to Note

The “All Of Us” Event 2016 is about to be announced. You can still be part of the machine that makes it all work. We have just started meeting and have some great roles to fill. Some of our leads need helpers and many more roles. This is an unofficial regional style event with a remarkable new management team working with the old one to bring something super amazing. Fill out this form (link) to talk to the leads about joining in. A volunteer sheet will be out in 2017, but ticket sales will start soon.


And much more on the December 1st news letter! Share this and tell your friends! Help us make Queer Burners the best and richest resource for queer camps going to the burn.

Community Bulletin Board

A burner wrote QB asking… are there any queer burners in Chicago and so we asked. We posted a poll asking where people are at and then we can see if we can get resources in that area.

Are you a camp leader and on Facebook? There are several resources you should know about. This is for camp leaders now and future:

AND…. 2017 Camp Listing: this year we are asking camps to submit their entries for the web site so there are fewer assumptions from the producers of Queer Burners. You need to be part of the current leadership team of a camp to submit and please submit only once to this link (embeded).

Camps already submitted include: (if you see your camp submitted and want are not sure if this was done correctly there will be a chance to correct it before published):

  • Glamcocks (submitted and confirmed)
  • Sun Guardians (submitted and confirmed)
  • Down Low Club (submitted and confirmed)

Gay Pride at Burning Man

The last big post we shared got less attention than hoped, especially about a huge subject like this. Your feedback and input is really needed right now. Please take a look at this post about Pride & Burning Man.

Fun Raising for QB

We started a fund raising campaign on July 1st asking our community for $2500. that will pay a little of on Queer Burners and give us enough money to create the legal entity needed for the fulfillment of Queer Burners under “Life Grand Brilliant Triumphant Production” as an umbrella. Our mission is:

To create and curate events & spaces for intentional development of community and leadership based on the Burning Man 10 Principles. To give members of the community the space to rise into roles that let them become leaders and creators and drive the wake that makes, creates and promotes radical creativity. Promote projects and collaboration.
7/22/2016 undergoing revision

Since the campaign began, on days 1, we received a wonderful donation of $20 but since then it has been rather quiet. Mama may not get that raincoat after all.

Hope still reigns that over the next 10 days or more that things might turn around and goals will be achieved. The money has vert specific goals meant for it as noted above.

Our bank balance is $20. The 2016 Queer Burner Retreat was not meant to be profitable, but neither was it meant to dig into my pockets especially as deeply as it did. There was some overflow from 2015 that went into gifts for the community.

As for 2017 the plan is a lot more stable and we are already building a frame work so that finances are well managed and there is a bank balance in the end with a marvelous team. In fact we had our first meeting last night signing the contract for the 2017 Event.

2015 Fund Rising

The campaign launched in January 2015 hoping to raise money for Queer Burners was a major flop. It was setup to set some flag stones into place to help finance a revamp of the web site and make the upcoming Spring Break event more accessible to people. Either way, it seems we are still able to achieve goals.

We raised $160 according to IndieGogo but it is likely because we did not achieve the desired goal that half of those donations will never make it to the site. As you can see, if you are visiting the site, many updates and edits have already been made with the little fortune we have had. Lemons… meet lemonade.

QB Network Numbers

One of our claims is an audience of 5000 on our network. While many have opted in and signed up in one form or another many are accessing the free resources on the web site on a daily basis. That number is a wide reaching number based on the engagement of our social networking and web site numbers.

Web Stats provided by Buddy Press plugin

Above are stats provided by software on the site / Below is from Google Analytics. See how they compare.

Web Site Analytics from Google

While it is not clear which is more reliable for data, they are showing very similar algorithms happening. It’s clear there is a lot of activity and people are seeking out information we have on the site. 1400+ sessions in the last 30 days and 1200 visitors with 80% being unique and new as far as software tracking can determine.

Social Networking Links

  • Queer Burners [dot] Com Web Site : 600 Members
  • Queer Burners Facebook Page : Link : 2009 Followers
  • Queer Burners Facebook Group : Link :  1373 Followers
  • Bay Area Queer Burners : Link : 591 Followers
  • SoCal Queer Burners  : Link : 111 Followers
  • Atlanta Queer Burners : Link : 40  Followers
  • Las Vegas Queer Burners : Link : 25 Followers
  • Europe Queer Burners : Link : 3 Followers (newest board)
  • Quire (Queer Burner Leadership Network : Link : 97 Followers
  • Twitter @queer_burners : Link : 650 Followers
  • MailChimp Mailing List : 583 Recipients

3rd Party Queer Burner Boards

  • NYC Queer Burners : Link : 284 Followers
  • DC – MA- VA Brothers of the Man : Link : 27 Followers

What are they looking for?

An overwhelming number of people coming to the site are looking for Queer Camp and networking information for their planned expedition to Burning Man in 2015. They are looking at:

  • Pictures from previous burn years (mostly 2014 right now) : Link
  • Queer Camps on the 2015 List : Link

There is a clear sense they are looking for more and are not exploring some of the more interactive features on the site like the Groups and Forums. If we can get the site to allow a more robust social networking feed, better than what the RSS page offers, then I think on these accounts the site will be more than just a spot to check of static information.

The 2015 Fund Raising Campaign

The first goal of the campaign is to improve the site. We can do that by paying someone to help or having someone in the community volunteer. This is a Buddypress driven site and if worked more like a Facebook feed then it would make the project a lot happier:

  • cleaner feed on what is now called the RSS Page
  • Greater personalization of the profiles
  • Easier to communicate between members
  • Better way to share projects and events

Then we will focus on the Queer Burner Leadership Summit for the late Spring and/or a structured campout for Queer Burners.

Launched!!!! A Campaign…

indiegogo_square_logo_color_print_black_vWell, there ya go. Our fund raising campaign for 2015 launched this morning and we are asking burners all over the place to help us out. The goals is to make this project more but setting the bar higher and creating new means of developing community.

Relative nature of the Gayborhood and the people in it.
Relative nature of the Gayborhood
and the people in it.

We are not looking to segregate our LGBTQ++ participants, but help make the world we walk in and network through a little stronger. By upgrading the web site (the small potatoes) and making the Leadership Summit stronger, then a camp out for Queer Burners, it is a way of massing and further forging our community.

Another important factor by Toaster and some of the other Admins is the security and safety of the Gayborhood. How this manifests is still in the air, but the ultimate pass/fail this year is going to be who steps up. Who steps up to make this project a success. Who steps up to make a better stronger project?

Toaster: I am willing to foster and stand behind someone/people willing to work for the goodness of the community with the mindfulness of LGBTQ issues; which the Borg is not. When it comes to issues around Women and Queers in the community the Borg has a history of turning a blind eye until 2013-2014 when somehow along the way they started paying attention. Nothing changed much, but this project has hopefully been an answer to that on some levels.

What’s up with Queer Burners?

We are gearing up for some new changes and also trying to make the site more dynamic and interactive for the 2015 season moving forward. We are so excited about the Carnival of Mirrors theme and what Burning Man has predicted with the upcoming event. The new Midway… if it is anything like the Souk from 2014 …wow.

How things happen?

We are looking for people to invest in a few ways: 1. Fund Raising which is starting mid January and ending March 30th that will provide us funds for the following 3 things: improve the web site, prepare and set the Leadership Summit for 2015, and then create a meetup for Queer Burners, 2. Get more people writing on the site, 3. …and finally give more people the tools to engage each other and promote and create an unbelievable kinetic energy for the upcoming season.

IndiGogo

The fund raising campaign will begin in mid January and we are looking for up to $4000.

It is time to take the project up to another level. This has been a strictly grass roots level project managed by a single person with occasional help from committed leaders in various regions elsewhere geographically.

  1. Upgrade the web site with more user friendly features and a better social networking strata; upgrade software, upgrade hosting, buy and install applications to make it more independent and user focused. About $500.
  2. Originate a Queer Burner Campout on private land that we can get campers to and from easily so we can get maximum attendance; deposit for land, insurance, a fund to help artists and performers, and just enough to get started as the rest and a bank will be created by charging a fee for the event. About $2500.
  3. Create a more intense and focused Leadership Summit for 2015 with  sound principles that will fulfill and help camp, project and community leaders with LGBTQ++ (all inclusive) in our community forge ahead strong. Provide programs that might require outside speakers. About $1000.

While more details will appear below, above are the bullets of what this funding is requesting. The goal is to provide a strong resource for LGBTQ burners that stands on its own since it is a project that is not associated with or connected to Burning Man, LLC or the Burning Man Project TM; this is a project created for the community and strength of the Gayborhood* that is not for profit and not a private entity.

Fund Raising Season

We are seeing a lot of camps promoting their agendas and asking members of the community to come and support the infrastructure of their camp. It comes with an amazing evening with other burners who fly under their banner and help make the experience at TTITD* whole. We all know that it takes the community, the people that bring their own infrastructure, that make Burning Man happen.

When we look at a camp like Opulent Temple (who unfortunately is not coming out for 2013’s Cargo Cult) is takes upward of $50,000 to make that camp happen. Comfort & Joy have a pretty steep budget but are driven by an amazing core of volunteers; much is the same for many other camps within the LGBTQ Burner Community.

Who is funding these ventures?

While we see successful Kickstarter campaigns and events positioned throughout the world who is really dropping coin? From my perspective it is a lot of money coming from outside the community while successful campaigns (generally speaking) have come from public events drawing in dollars from the general public.

Opulent Temple and Pink Mammoth for example run major shows through their production teams all around the country. In San Francisco OT recently held an amazing successful party at the Endup (at 6th and Harrison). Comfort & Joy holds a series of event called Touch and Afterglow through the year that drawl people in like flies.

Look around at these events and count how many burners are actually there. While C&J have a strong burner audience half or more people attending are from the secular community. These are non-burners.

Community Fund Raising

Over the last year camps that have been in the scope of the Queer Burner mission have done some amazing work. Last year, the things the Rocket Collective did to support the camps in this community was landmark. The Rocket Collective, consisting of members of the AstroPups (DJ’s Brian Maher, Trevor Sigler, Mathew Dos Santos and David Sternsky), raised money for other camps as well as their own and was really well attended at first.

Comfort & Joy have their monthly Touch parties to resounding success every time. The next event is March 30th.

Just recently the GlamCocks held a beer bust at the Midnight Sun in San Francisco while their brothers/sisters in New York and Los Angeles hold their own events.

Camp Beaverton just announced their next fund raiser is on April 24th.

The question is still out there… who is funding these ventures?

The Question

To find success are fund raisers reaching the demographic of successful funding or anticipating that the community itself is going to step in and be there? Cash cows seem to have come from reaching people outside the community (outside the queer burner demographic) and making their target audience more general; e.g. Pink Mammoth and Comfort & Joy.

Is there enough people within your group (cliche, demographic, or camp membership) to fund your venture?

…and where were you when those other camps were asking for support?

An Observation

I have made every effort to attend and support any event thrown by burners in and outside of my community. Yes, I was entertained and partied my socks off, but I was there either in spirit or in force. Yet, I looked around and saw almost no one from the community at-large.

For example, at the recent GlamCocks beer bust there was a smattering of Queer Burners that showed up. It was at a gay bar in the Castro and the handful of people outside of GlamCocks camp that were there came because of Facebook and Twitter posting that I made; these were also friends of mine from the community as well; as far as the people I knew and recognized were concerned.

Not calling anyone out or not putting anyone on the spot, but when it is time to put the honey pot out what did you do to support the people you are now asking for? This is one of the reasons that I have been talking a lot about “Community”. We are LGBTQ Burners and while Burning Man IS NOT a gay event our community brings a very important personality to the mix.

A Conclusion

Events put on by Queer Burners and camps from the community are chances to embrace our unique culture and support each other in our projects. It is a way to stay connected and draw on energy as we spread our wings into the year when things get a little quieter… it is also a chance to stay energized as the season begins accelerating.

Support Art

Art is the core of Burning Man. No, not the whump-whump-whump-whump-whump-whump-whump-whump …no. Art is the core because without it it might as well be the Electric Daisy Festival. But then again, even EDC gets burner art at their event.

CharonIn recent years we have been blown away with pieces like Charon, Bliss Dance and so many more. Art by Queer Burners can’t be separated from the herd, but we can talk about it a little more as we honor our pink-tinted brothers and sisters of the playa.

This year there are more exciting projects and the fear that art was vanishing because of the ticket disaster might have been premature… or they fixed the issue. Either way let’s look ahead to some cool stuff.

A few pieces have made their way to the Gay Burners page on facebook and we anticipate greatness on the horizon. Exciting… but money is needed to make these things happen and even $10. can go somewhere.

Murmuration

Murmuration is an insanely cool interactive kinetic art piece for Burning Man 2012! We are a small group of L.A. Burners bringing art and fun to the Playa. Looking forward to bringing this insanely interactive kinetic art piece to the Playa 2012!

Issues on the Table

This one is the most personal project to date as it goes back and reaches deep into the very dysfunctional relationship I had with my father growing up. Looking at the graphic you can clearly see two sides of a dining table with one side melting into the other.

The Pier 2

Last year 25 great friends came together to build a 300 foot long third world pier in the middle of the Black Rock Desert for Burning Man. We all thought the idea was pretty cool but we were unsure of how well everyone else would receive it. Much to our surprise the people of Black Rock City seemed to adore The Pier and we were asked to bring it back!

Mayan Tricycle

I want to build a great big “hamster wheel” that people can run in that will roll inside an even larger wooden wheel all connected to an odometer to show the workings of the Mayan Calendars. It will stand 22’+ tall, have gears meshing with gears and the whole thing will burn down a week later.

Breaking Wave

The Breaking Wave sculpture wants you to be involved with it’s construction. We want random pieces of wood, specifically abandoned lumber that has drifted onto a west coast beach or coastal area. The Breaking Wave will be constructed from scratch on the Playa at Burning Man with drift lumber contributed from all  over the World.

  • Web Site

Support art going to Burning Man any way you can.

Why were these pieces chosen out of so many? Well, these are actively engaging our community and are reaching out to us.

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