Larry Harvey, founder of Burning Man, was deliberately cryptic and brief about one topic in the Black Rock City press conference this year. Your local Black Rock Beacon hacks sniffed and by the end of the conference pounced, as no one in the international media present had touched it.
Harvey had stated that, “We may have the opportunity in the future to create another venue. It would be something that would be rather wonderful that lasts … unlike Black Rock City.”
The Beacon asked, “Were you talking about buying a piece of property and land so it can live somewhere? You’re skirting around something, a permanent structure?”
“I don’t want to talk about real estate negotiations while we’re in the process,” Harvey answered, smiling.
“People say, ‘wouldn’t it be great to live Burning Man all year long’—literally?! I don’t advise it!” he joked. “I think it can live all year long as the place is internalized by people and then applied to daily situations—but not manic states of celebration.”
Even if you don’t do something stupid at Burning Man, bad things could, theoretically, happen to you. Like a heart attack. A pesky urinary tract infection. Your eyeballs dry up and fall out of their sockets. Someone gifts their humble self to your bike and you have to crawl what feels like a hundred miles across unforgiving Playa to the nearest Ranger station or the medic tents at the 3:00 and 9:00 plazas. You are so parched you’re in kidney failure.
Maybe it was a little too much of the illegal intoxicant GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid) and, even though there’s no dust storm, you’re having your own personal whiteout.
Or maybe you were like me and flew down the PerVertical Playground slide at 90 miles per hour, right past the beanbag landing off the back of the truck and onto last year’s hard-packed Playa surface, and found yourself suddenly in need of an x-ray.
If you were really unlucky, you were in the three-story structure that collapsed last year, and in an unexpected Rite of Passage, got an ambulance ride to Humboldt General Hospital’s “Rampart” urgent care unit near Center Camp at 5:15 and Esplanade.
By Tony Tohono
By now we’ve all seen that the Burning Man organization keeps posting about how not everyone is going to get a ticket this year. We also hear a lot of people telling us to calm down and stop stressing out and being so negative. And yes, it’s usually a bunch of assholes that already have tickets telling us this. To the former I say, “Thanks for screwing this up so bad.’’ To the latter I say, “If you assholes would have stuck with ordering one pair of tickets this situation wouldn’t be so screwed up so why don’t you do us all a favor and shut the fuck up.’’
If you are one of the unfortunate many that do not have a ticket I’m here to alleviate some of your stress. The end of the world is not coming until December this year so you can still pull off going to Burning Man one more time. If you want to go, and you’re willing to be patient and put forth a little extra effort, you’re most likely going to be able to get your own golden ticket.
The more time that passes, the more I thoroughly believe this. Just remember, you’re going to have to work for it and/or shell out some extra bucks (like $390 and fees).
Step One: Be patient. Don’t jump the gun and start looking at ticket scalping sites. Looking at these sites is only going to cause undue stress. Remember; no one has tickets yet so the people listing them are just creating a false sense of panic. This is the way the speculators drive up prices. If we all remain calm and refuse to buy into this atmosphere of panic we can crush the bastards under our collective foot.
The voice of the Burner group-mind has been heard, and it has cried out in anguish: “OMG, BORG, what the hell were you thinking?”
Long before the 2012 ticket lottery happened, many Burners complained the system could easily be gamed by scalpers. In the true spirit of Burning Man, several loyal citizens have stepped up with potential solutions. Not just the “I didn’t get my ticket, cancel the lottery!” sort of solutions, but real, innovative concepts that could radically improve ticketing for everyone.
As Burner Fatemeh pointed out on the Burning Blog, “Please, please, please – listen to the community now. Not just because we’re venting spleen, but because many of us are in operational and systems planning in our default lives, and we have DEALT with these kinds of issues before.”
Details trickling out from Burning Man central make it increasingly likely that the organization efficiently distributed up to 20,000 tickets to scalpers via what might be the worst major admission system to anything this millennium.
The latest piece of the puzzle came via a contrite (at least contrite-sounding) apology from Andie Grace, the Bmorg communications manager. In it, we learned that 40 percent of the ticket requests came from self-described newbies, thanks to a survey that was wedged into the application process. She also confirmed the back-of-the-envelope math that demand was three times the available tickets, or roughly 120,000 in the main sale.
The Bmorg has so far refused to release the number of bids received at the various price levels, so what follows in necessarily conjecture. We invite them to illuminate us if we are missing something.
We know from on-line postings theme camps received roughly a third of the tickets they requested in the pre- and main sales, which took the form of lotteries for 43,000 spots. The camps likely provide a large enough sample to be representative of all veteran Burners and a few of their first-time campmates.
To the apparent surprise of the Burning Man organization — and almost no one else – bidding for tickets in the main phase of the 2012 sales program was far stronger than had been projected, irking Burners throughout cyberspace.
“There are a lot more tickets being requested than there are tickets available,’’ Bmorg’s Will Chase wrote in a Jan. 27 Jack Rabbit Speaks e-missive and on the Burning Blog website, “an inordinately large number, in fact, and far more than we projected even after last year’s sold-out event.’’
The reason? “It seems that people a) likely got their friends, family and campmates to order tickets as well, and/or b) requested more tickets than they actually need.’’
Waiting in a whimsically bestickered box upon my return to Bahrain from BRC 2011, was a copy of Julian Cash’s The People of Burning Man: Portraits of Revolutionary Spirits. The book presents images of people and things taken in Black Rock City. The book exudes love. Palpably.
Cash, his wife Jackie, the Super Snail team and other co-conspirators capture a slice of the stunning spirit of BRC that keeps attendees returning and the curious aspiring. Each picture says much more than its allotted 1000 words. Thumb through the book and take a magical ride through the eyes of the subjects, through the lens of Cash’s camera and down the rabbit hole.
In a kick-off ceremony attended by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Board of Supervisors President David Chu and simulcast to the world over the Internet, the “Burning Man Project” was announced on August 5. The Project is described as a way to create and explore relationships for art and community. Chu said it will be a forum for ‘experimentation’ in San Francisco, and not just in magic mushrooms. The non-profit Project seeks to foster ways for the community to come together.
Larry Harvey, one of the Project’s founders and a member of the 17 person board of directors, described the opportunity to bring Burning Man culture back from the Black Rock Desert to the rest of the world. A guiding principal was that it would be built by everybody so that it could be shared by everybody.
“Figment,” the organization that puts on Figment will tell you, is what Andy Warhol once said he wanted as his epitaph*. Figment, circa 2011, is a free three-day arts fair on Governor’s Island in New York Harbor that gives Burners a bit of vacation from not being in, and non-Burners a taste of, Black Rock City.
While it isn’t an official regional event Figment shares the Burning Man ethos of participatory art. Figment brings the art, fun and games in an urban- and family-friendly way. That is until someone loses a retina in a foam-weapons joust and people scramble looking for it in the rain-soaked grass – and then it becomes outstanding.
AMSTERDAM, June 20, 2011 – The Exchanghibition Bank (exchanghibitionbank.com/) brought its art of turning art into money at its kiosk in the Magna Plaza and the Brakke Grond from June 16-19, 2011. CEO and Founder Dadara along with the Financial Department representatives Messrs. Sommerdijk, Weeber and Sultan were on hand to exchange ideas about money, art and to exchange art for money.
Visitors to the Bank did not really seem to understand at first the mix of physical art and performance art as they spoke with Bank staff. Bank personnel reported a moment you could see an understanding come into eyes of most Bank patrons when you see the penny drop and people understood that this was an art project to which they could contribute. Some chose to rid themselves of dirty currency in exchange for the Bank’s Zero, One Million and Infinite Bank Notes. Bank personnel reported receiving mostly euros but also being offered currencies from the UK, USA, the Kingdom of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in exchange for the Notes.