29 October 2010

Friday's Burning Man Music Post! )'(

Elite Force - Burning Man 2010 RIPEcast Mix

First posted on 22 August 2010:

This week The Space Cowboys are pleased to bring you a very special Burning Man edition of The RIPEcast courtesy of Tech Funk pioneer and good friend, Elite Force [U&A Recordings]. Featuring several unreleased Elite Force "revamps", this masterful RIPEcast exclusive mix is the perfect tune-up for the Playa, Boys and Girls. Don't forget to add it to your list of things to pack for Black Rock City.

For a complete schedule of Elite Force Burning Man gigs, including his Friday night set at the Black Rock Hoedown on the Unimog inside The Temple of Flux, visit: http://www.uaarecs.com/burningman.htm

And for a free download of the Elite Force vs. Prodigy "Smack the Force Up" MP3 visit: http://t.opsp.in/K9lB

Track List
1. Intro - LSD
2. Seductive - Take Control (Tom Stephan Mix)
3. Djedjetronic - Bit This Thin
4. Chemical Brothers - Horse Power (re-fueled)
5. Proxy - Vibrate (Noob Mix)
6. Lee Coombs - Italo Disco (Maelstrom Mix)
7. Dom G - Work (DJ Dan & Mike Balance Mix)
8. Chasing Shadows - Amirah (Elite Force Revamp)
9. Elite Force & Various - Hangover Deep (Revamp)
10. Chems Vs Dyson - Swoon (Elite Force Revamp)
10b. Elite Force - Psychotrope Jams (extract)
11. Zodiac Cartel Vs Elite Force - Devil's Mashup
12. Felix Luker - Mechanical
13. Paul Chambers - Yeah Techno! (BeatauCue Mix)
14. Bitrok - Closest Strangers (Loops of Fury Mix)
15. JDS - Blackout (Elite Force Re-fix)
16. Felix da Housecat - Oops
17. Don Diablo - Who's Your Daddy (Black Noise Mix)
18. Ed Rush & Plaza da Funk - Keep Your Pacman (a Revamp)
19. MJ Cole - Sincere (Nero Vs Elite Force Revamp)
20. New Originals - 1979
21. Excision - Subsonic (Elite Force Revamp)
22. Elite Force & Bar 9 - Shaolin Style
23. Outro - Now Generation

Simon Shackleton’s Elite Force project began way back in 1996, debuting on his own newly founded Fused and Bruised label with a series of peerless 12s and remixes. After a successful five years, he put Fused and Bruised on the backburner to concentrate on production work, and following several years with Whole9Yards and Moonshine he became a mainstay recording artist for AdriftRecordings (formally known as Kingsize Records) before moving on to set up hisown hugely successful U&A imprint.

Often credited for being a lynchpin in the developing the tech-funk genre (an amalgamation of breaks, house, techno and electro) he has released a series of highly successful singles in the past few years, finding broad support from DJs and musicians across the board, including the likes of James Zabiela, Sasha, Crystal Method, Laurent Garnier and Fatboy Slim to name but five. In 2008 released a semi-retrospective double album’s worth of remixes and re-workings of a 12-year back catalogue, with over 25 mixes coming from such luminaries as Miles Dyson, Rogue Element, Deepgroove, Dylan Rhymes & Calvertron.

In addition to these solo singles, Meat Katie has been a regular collaborator with Elite Force, a relationship that had begun in 2003 with the massive-selling 'Toba', and that will see their creative relationship come to fruition in 2009 with the launch of their new joint project under the name ‘Dustbowl’, as well as a series of singles under the ‘Meat Katie & Elite Force’ banner.

As a remixer, Elite Force has always been in huge demand, with re-workings for the likes of Grandmaster Flash, Crystal Method, Jungle Brothers, Stereo MCs, UNKLE, Infusion, Rennie Pilgrem, Shiloh and Dylan Rhymes all contributing to his reputation as one of the most creative and effective remixers around.

Elite Force's music has also been the soundtrack to many a movie, with a huge list of impressive A-list credits to his name, including the likes of the Matrix, Charlie's Angels, Arlington Road, Mortal Kombat, Crow, The Bone Collector, The Jackyll, Spiderman 2 and his music has appeared on a wide array of TV shows, from CSI to Top Gear, from Football Focus to LA Doctors. He's also soundtracked a number of computer games, including no fewer than 5 FIFA games, several of the Wipeout series, The Matrix and Motorstorm 1, and he is currently writing some bespoke music for forthcoming games for Ferrari and Motorstorm2.

On the decks, Elite Force has been a prime mover since 1990 when he cut his teeth playing huge student nights and self-promoted acid house nights in the South West of England, before moving up to ....London.... and ultimately gravitating towards his tech-funk style, with which he now has a full diary of global bookings. He has become known as one of the top technicians on a circuit that has included massive shows in Belarus, Hungary, Australia, Italy, USA, Czech Republic, India, Turkey, Spain, Japan, Georgia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and China, amongst others, as well as numerous festival slots including Glastonbury, Coachella, Bloom, Wickerman, the Glade and more recently Burning Man.

He was also responsible for the hugely influential Strongarm Sessions webcasts which became something of an institution since their inception back in 2001, receiving as they did around 20,000 downloads per show, but now put on the backburner to concentrate on other projects, such as his own blog (Techfunkmanifesto) and his other musical projects, such as Dustbowl (with Meat Katie).

For more information on Elite Force visit: 

For more information on The Space Cowboys visit:

26 October 2010

So Connected... ?

Saint Hollywood style at Burning Man 2010!

22 October 2010

Friday's Burning Man Music Post! )'(

Burning Man Base Soundscape: Sounds From The Urban Innerground by Searchl1te

Today's particular music offering by Searchl1te is totally cool.  It's really not so much music as it is an aural taste of the sounds of Burning Man. It reminds me of an old episode of the BURNcast podcast entitled "Hope, Not Fear - A Podcard from Burning Man 2006".  Having cut my teeth on audio podcasts I prefer sound recordings from the playa if for the simple fact that the listener must use their imagination more so than watching videos of Burning Man and in so doing, enjoy nuances and remembrances of the event that are deeply personal.

Of these recordings, Searchl1te says:
"These are previews of the sound design that will be installed on the base of the Man at this year's Burning Man Festival.'

"Sounds From the Urban Innerground is a 24-hour sequence of recordings gathered by our team as we visited urban centers around the world.'

"The piece is structured in blocks of time that are archetypal in many urban environments: Early morning -> Morning transition -> Morning bustle -> Lunchtime shuffling -> Afternoon bustle -> Afternoon/Evening transition -> Dinnertime shuffling -> Nighttime revelry -> Overnight dreamscape.'

"We approached the project with the idea that the Man Base brings civic engagement into sharp relief. Like a visit to any central monument—from the Statue of Liberty to the Great Wall of China—people will be most connected to the event and its theme when they come to the Man. Generally, our environment will reinforce that experience by creating indelible memories of moments inspired by sounds and the feelings they conjure. Specifically...well...just visit the Man and hear for yourself."

19 October 2010

Burning Mensch!

Jelvis the Jewish Elvis entertains on the playa.

14 October 2010

Tarp Surfing Burning Man 2010

Looking for tasty waves and sweet swells but the waves are flat? No problem. If you've got a tarp, you can surf the playa any time.

12 October 2010

A Burning Man Timeline in Stick Figures by Surly Girl

Click on image to embiggen and be taken directly to Surly Girl's website.

10 October 2010

Today @ Noon in Los Angeles: Burning Dan's Memorial Potluck

Above is a playlist of memorial videos uploaded to YouTube since the passing of Burning Dan. If you would like your video to be included please contact me on YT.

Also, today at straight up noon is Burning Dan's Memorial Potluck in Griffith Park, Los Angeles, at Western and Los Feliz.

08 October 2010

Friday's Burning Man Music Post! )'(

stadenco live at Burning Man 2010 by stadenco

Stadenco recorded live after the burning of the man, Saturday 9/4/10, in the dome at Camp Aluminaughty.

07 October 2010

It's Been A Month Since Burning Man

It's been a month since Burning Man 2010 ended and BURNcast has been all-Burning-Man-all-the-time since we got back from Black Rock City, serving up fresh videos, music and more every day, twice -- sometimes thrice -- a day, five days a week.

And like all good things, this too must end.

Well, maybe just power down just a teensy bit.

Starting next week we'll be scaling back our blog posts to one or two times a week. Of course, depending on the community's (drink!) activity with posting to our Facebook fan page, you could also check in there from time to time to see what's happenin'.

But don't be sad! We're not stopping this train completely. We'd love to keep posting well into these next few months and we can't do it without you!

So if you've got music, videos, photos, essays -- anything to share that has to do with art, culture and community (drink!) of Burning Man -- then by all means submit your work here.

Oh, and just think: the Man burns in 330 days!

"My Epic Adventure in Black Rock City 2010" by ErzenDesign

Today's slide show comes to us from ErzenDesign who wrote in to say: "This was my 8th year in Black Rock City, and I was invited to be the photographer for the Fire Conclave group "Poi's in the Hood" on burn night. Being allowed into the great inner circle was such and honor to me, and since I had my camera gear, I figured I'd take pictures all week long. I'm a freelance photographer, and a long time burner. I feel that these images capture the vibe as well as tell the stories of the Epic Adventures in Black Rock City 2010. I mean starting off with a double rainbow was one hell of a good omen!"

Amazing New Video by 1ml Entitled "RIP BURNING DAN: in memoriam"

This stunning video portrait of Burning Dan was lensed and edited by 1ml.

Note: this video is featured in HD. If you have a slow connection it is really worth the wait.

06 October 2010

In Loving Memory: Burning Dan

The RenFaire and Burning Man communities have suffered a great loss when Daniel Gordon-Levitt aka "Burning Dan" passed away on Sunday, 3 October 2010 at 3:58 am on Monday, 4 October 2010.  The details as to his demise are sketchy however according to Teafaerie: "It was a tragic accident. I was with him when he passed, and he was not in pain or afraid." The featured video above is an edited clip from a longer episode of BURNcast TV  which posted last year.  In this excerpt, Curious Josh introduces Burning Dan.

----------- )'( -----------

UPDATE 6 OCT 2010: Earlier this evening Teafaerie posted on Burning Dan's Facebook wall the following statement: "The media has been reporting that dan [sic] died of a drug overdose. This is not true. It was a drug-related accident, but he was always smart enough to check dosage. There will be no further comment on this topic. Please help us to focus on his life and not on his death. Thank you for your respect."

----------- )'( -----------

I met Dan for the very first time back in 2002 when he was a guest at my themed birthday party entitled "Kings & Queens". He showed up all decked out in an awful, fugly brides-maid's gown, a huge pink wig, long white gloves, a bouquet of roses and a tiara. The sash he wore said "Prom Queen". He was absolutely spectacular! I was introduced to him on the dance floor and together we caused a scene to Abba's "Dancing Queen".

Yup. That was my introduction to Dan and it was epic!

After Burning Man this year, Dan posted an essay that he had co-written with Teafaerie on Facebook entitled "Dangerous Art". It was so wonderful, I asked him to share it on BURNcast and we were working on making him an admin to the BURNcast blog in order to contribute before his untimely death.  Below is their collaborative essay.

Dangerous Art
by Burning dan and The Teafaerie

"Come be reborn!"

I'm standing out on the Esplanade, watching two hot chicks working the crowd. Everybody at Burning Man is hot. It must be over 100 degrees out. These girls are also adorable though, and their fluorescent faux fur bikinis don't leave much to the imagination. I eye their installation warily. The hotties are wielding a pressurized tank of ice water, but in order to get hosed down I'd have to take off all of my clothes, climb up three stories of construction scaffolding, crawl out onto a big weblike hammock thing and wriggle face first down a long tight macrame tube. The guy who's stuck in there now forgot to remove his piercings and one of the girls climbs up on a ladder to help him out. She asks him what he wants his new playa name to be, but he demurs. Her partner solicits suggestions from the crowd. Someone shouts out "Puppycat!", and there is a general murmur of approval. Soon he's twisting and screaming in the icy spray, struggling gamely to free himself while the sweaty throng chants his new moniker and cheers him on. Eventually his head emerges from the bottom of the tube, and then the rest of him, rather suddenly. He hits the ground with a thud, but he's smiling. "Dangerous art right here in Black Rock City!" The scantily clad docent winks as she returns the nipple ring. "And you thought it was going out of style."

Dangerous art might be on the decline at Burning Man, but to suggest that it's passe is sort of a sacrilege. Sure there's a ban on firearms these days, and the Molotov cocktail throwing range has long since passed from memory into legend, but the back of every ticket still says "You voluntarily assume the risk of serious injury or death by attending," and the week long festival of community, creativity and excess still threatens to change its participants lives forever.

Most of the time the Black Rock Desert is, well, deserted. Way back in the Pleistocene the enormous Lake Lahontan covered much of Northwestern Nevada, but relentless climate change eventually dried it all up, leaving behind a desolate playa of whitish alkali salt flats. Nothing in nature is tenacious or foolhardy enough to call the hostile environment home, and humans use it only rarely. In fact, aside from occasional attempts to break the world land speed record and such, nothing much goes on out there.

Once a year, however, the playa shimmers like a mirage and transforms itself almost overnight into a sort of counterculture Brigadoon. On the week leading up to Labor Day, that most forsaken of wastelands becomes Black Rock City, the seventh largest community in Nevada. It's many things to many people, but even the most jaded of its critics agree that it's never boring. Burning Man is a social experiment, a networking opportunity, an outdoor art museum, a rite of passage, a great excuse to blow stuff up and the best damned party in the world. It's a confusing co-incidence of opposites to be sure: The land itself is entirely dead and yet the event positively teems with the essence of what it means to be alive. The constraints of camping in the desert make for a stark yet lush wholly human environment that is by turns austere and wildly hedonistic. Almost totally uncensored, the art itself is at once beautiful and irreverent, addressing both the sacred and the profane with the same frank and ironically self-aware panache. It is an exercise in radical self reliance and also an effective demonstration of our essential interdependence. It's an immersive experience, intended to shock the senses and stagger the mind. To compare it to any other festival would be specious. There is a truism amongst enthusiasts that Burning Man, like the psychedelic experience that informs a large subsection of it's culture, cannot be satisfactorily described to a non-initiate. That doesn't stop folks from going on and on about it about it, though, as many long suffering friends of devoted participants can attest. First year Burners are the worst. They sound exactly like zealous converts to some kinky new religion; except the only dogma seems to revolve around the decommodification of goods and services, radical self expression, total participation, low environmental impact, and the primacy of immediate experience.

Ever since 1986, when founder Larry Harvey first burned a wooden effigy on Baker Beach in San Fransisco, people have been asking what it all means. Larry himself has been intentionally vague on the topic. Like the homonymous event, the 70 foot tall sculpture of a man is not intended to mean anything in particular. What you take out of it depends on what you bring with you. The Burning of The Man, which occurs on Saturday night, is ritual for the sake of the ritual itself; signifying nothing and at the same time providing the framework around which to design and interpret one's own wholly personal experience. It's a ceremony perhaps uniquely appropriate to the largely cynical and secular citizenry of Black Rock City, many of whom would loosely define themselves as seekers after the human spirit but who are nevertheless keen to disassociate themselves from the vague fluffy newage (rhymes with sewage) that dominates the tone of many so-called "spiritual" events.

The old guard has been whining that Burning Man is dead for at least a decade. It used to be more chaotic and perhaps in a sense more free; a true temporary autonomous zone where road warrior types could toss back a few beers and bust out the old flame thrower without attracting the unwelcome attention of the local fuzz. Pot smokers didn't have to look over their shoulders in the bad old days. You could burn your art where it stood. You could bring the dog, drive fast and set off sketchy fireworks. You could leave a big mess behind you when you split. It was quite an experience, to be sure. You can find your camp easier now that there are well marked streets, though. The porta-potty situation has improved, and nobody gets run over by mutant vehicles in their sleep anymore. Still, there are those who complain that the event has been co-opted by artists (to say nothing of the masses of iPhone packing techno-hippies and blissed out candy ravers whom the hardcore survivalist types hold in only partially affected contempt). This year's art theme was Evolution, though, and even the crustiest of old-timers can see which way the wind is blowing when the dust is up. Nothing living stays the same. And who would want it any other way?

The environment can be pretty brutal, but that's part of the fun. On one level it's an ordeal ritual, intended to break participants down both physically and emotionally, leaving them more vulnerable to inspiration. The shared survival challenge is an unparalleled team building opportunity for camp mates and strangers alike. It can also test friendships and strain individual sanity. It challenges human endurance on a number of levels. Triple digit temperatures are common in the daytime, and it can get downright cold at night. A homogeneous desolation of superfine salty alkali powder that erodes whatever it touches, the playa itself is almost comically pernicious. It gets into absolutely everything. It sucks the moisture from exposed skin and twists hair into fantastic playa sculptures that are almost impossible to comb out. It rarely rains, but when the wind picks up it can raise whiteouts that limit visibility to a few feet, and it's not uncommon to see an improperly staked "tumbletent" roll by in a big playa storm. (Normal tent stakes aren't good enough as many campers find out the hard way. The standard method for keeping things from blowing away involves rebar pounded into the playa with a sledgehammer). Masks and goggles are de rigour, but they only do so much good. Walking or biking for miles every day takes its toll on the body, as does the chronic dehydration and sleep disruption that can occur when a Burner gets sloppy. Catchphrases like "piss clear" and "party like a pro" remind Black Rock citizens to take good care of their physical condition. Other popular slogans address mental health issues: "Don't sweat the petty things, just pet the sweaty things."

Black Rock has a right to call itself a City. Peaking at around 50,000 citizens, BRC boasts everything that a major metropolis needs to function. There is a working post office (with its own postmark!) where paper mail can be sent to address on the playa and exchanged with the world beyond. The freaks who work there are surly and they sometimes have to be bribed, but that's part of the art of course. There are theatres, schools, hospitals, and places of worship as well as entertainment establishments like bars, night clubs, bowling alleys and roller rinks. Extravagantly decorated art cars provide free public transportation. There is more than one daily newspaper, and several radio stations broadcast around the clock. The Department of Public Works keeps things running smoothly, as do the Black Rock Rangers: Burning Man's own internal volunteer participant police department. Rangers work with local law enforcement to solve problems, but they're not really cops and they're not out to bust participants. There is surprisingly little violence and not much crime to speak of except for the possession and consumption of scheduled substances. A typical call might involve a dispute between someone with ten foot tall speakers sitting directly on the rhythmically thumping playa and a sleepless sledgehammer wielding neighbor who has come to his wits end. When words fail to achieve a satisfactory resolution, Rangers have the authority to escort malefactors to the City's borders. Since nobody really wants to get kicked out of Burning Man, Rangers mostly get the respect and co-operation that they deserve.

It's late Friday night and I'm cruising for adventure. Laid out like a gigantic clock with the Man at its center, the basic map of Black Rock City has become as familiar to veteran Burners as the smell of their favorite sunscreen. I spent most of the evening wandering around in the residential zone, checking out Theme Camps. The street closest to The Man is called the Esplanade and the rest of the streets are named according to the annual art theme. The first street behind the Esplanade begins with the letter A, the second one starts with B and so forth. This year they stretched from Adapt all the way back to Lineage. That means it's almost impossible to walk through the whole city in a week while still stopping to appreciate your most compelling finds. Even on a bike it would be a challenge. It's like a post apocalyptic Disneyland for adults. I know there's no way to see it all. Even if one were to grid off the playa and go about exploring it systematically, new stuff keeps getting built all week as more and more Burners show up. The Esplanade is reserved for highly interactive Theme Camps, but far more projects fall into that category than can fit on the front row, and almost every camp in town has some sort of art set up. One of the coolest things I saw this year was way the heck out at 3:30 and Jurassic.

Right now I'm heading for open playa, though. There is no camping in the half a mile or so between the Man and the Esplanade, and the blank canvas extends beyond the circular mandala of the City proper for quite a distance before you come to the orange trash fence that defines the edge of the world. The open playa is reserved for art installations, and due to a persistent perceptual illusion created by the flat featureless environment, most of them turn out to be much larger and farther away than they initially appear. Sometimes the best pieces are way out in the middle of nowhere, hundreds of meters away from anything else. The best way to find the cool stuff is by talking to people. When a work of art gets buzz on the playa, it gets seen no matter where it's placed. If somebody mentions your art to a neighbor it's kind of like getting a blue ribbon. There is so much great art out there that if you hear about a piece three times, it must be something extra special.

Burning Man art transcends traditional aesthetic canons and spans the full range of quality and style. Much of it demonstrates astonishing technical ingenuity, often using eco-friendly sun, wind and human power in novel and inspiring ways. The most talked about pieces tend to have a few things in common every year. They are simple, elegant, beautiful, interactive and fun. I've been to posh museums all over the world, but most of the art that has ever stopped me awestruck in my tracks has been found on the playa. Burning Man art is largely experiential; which is to say that it is intended to be explored rather than passively taken in. In fact a lot of it doesn't really do what the creators intended it to do unless there are people playing with or on it. It's art of which one is a part, drawing in observers and transforming them into participants in the evolving scene. Without realizing it I've been tacking in the general direction of the Wedge, which is an excellent example of the genre. An inclined plane several stories tall and as wide as a semi trailer, the Wedge is essentially a gigantic slide. (I've also seen giant swings, teeter-totters and merry-go-rounds over the years, re-enforcing the impression that Burning Man is the perfect playground for our collective inner child) There is no ladder but you can run up the side of the thing if you use the handrails. The part that you slide on is covered with AstroTurf, and as I approach the base a bunch of dust covered hooligans come whizzing down on a plastic toboggan, laughing as they smash through a ziggurat of stuffed black cubes. Up at the top perhaps a dozen happy silhouettes can be seen against the sky, which has perceptibly begun to lighten. A big tattooed guy in a pink utili-tutu makes it almost all the way down standing on his feet and the crowd cheers as he rolls to a stop amongst the piles of playafied pillows. "I love this town!" he exclaims, pumping his fist in the air before racing to the top again with a broken skateboard under one arm.

I want to play on the slide but as I'm about to begin the ascent I spot the Dogfish on the move and quickly plot an intercept course. The Dogfish is a roving tiki bar that I had ridden on a couple of days before, and I knew they'd have a lively scene going on. The Department of Mutant Vehicles sets a high standard these days, which means that if you want to drive around on the playa you have to have a car that is also a cool work of art. I've seen everything from full-fledged pirate ships built on top of buses to golf carts that look like fire breathing dragons. Climbing onto a moving art car takes practice, but some helpful souls extend their hands and soon I'm sitting on a bouncing barstool, sipping a margarita and marveling at the carnival fantastic still going off all around me in the predawn glow. I didn't pay for the margarita. I didn't even trade for it. Nobody sells T shirts or tacos at Burning Man. It's a gift economy, built on the principle that when thousands of people get together and start giving things away, everybody ends up getting something. Even advertising for off-playa commerce is considered extremely tacky, to the point that people take pains to cover corporate logos on rented vehicles. Sound is funny on the playa, and never more so than on a moving art car. We pass through the large scale sound art area, where several raves and dance clubs are thumping to different rhythms. I can also hear the mingling strains of rock, reggae and disco - and way off in the distance, someone playing the blues really really well on a tenor saxophone.

I thank the Dogfish crew for the drink and hop off at The Temple. A couple of fire spinners are working their magic and I stop to watch. Fire spinning wasn't born at Burning Man, but it grew up there, and it spawned the blossoming Flow Arts movement. Part sexy performance art and part something like Yoga, spinning fire both hones and displays the state of relaxed responsive focus known as flow. Dancing with fire is beautiful and dangerous at the same time, which makes it perfect for the playa. A handsome fellow in watermelon colored leather pants is spinning poi, which is to say that he's got a fireball on a chain in each hand and he's dancing with them, gracefully twirling the flaming orbs in hypnotic patterns that leave spiraling traces on my transfixed retinae. Tomorrow night there will be hundreds of fire spinners performing in the Great Circle as part of the extravagant pyrotechnics display that kicks off the Burning of The Man, but this guy is particularly good and when I sit down to watch he moves close enough that I can feel the heat, closing his eyes and slipping into a beatific trance as whirling death swirls around his graceful flowing form.

The most moving installation on the playa, The Temple is the size of a large four story house. This year, intricate carvings representing dozens of religions and philosophies filigree almost every available surface in a stunning display of dedication and craftsmanship. There's also a large Plexiglas tube in its central core with a fire tornado inside, which lights the whole installation from within like a magical lantern. It's ridiculously ornate, almost defiantly so when you consider that it's only intended to exist for a few days. Literally thousands of working hours must have gone into its construction, and it's obvious from just glancing at it that it was a labor of passionate love. Burning Man is a festival of ephemera, and nowhere is the transience more deeply felt than here. The Temple is covered in inscriptions all over, stretching up as high as a tall person can reach by standing up on someone else's shoulders. Hundreds of small altars have been erected there by participants, many commemorating the recently deceased. Some represent things that Burners want to let go. Others are inspirational. I find the spot where a picture of my maternal grandmother flutters amongst other people's ribbons, tickets, trinkets and magical trash; each tiny sacrifice telling a secret story of release and redemption. "Please liberate me from heroin" one sharpie scrawled petition implores. "I'm sorry about my abortion," another admits. Tears roll down my playa streaked face as I pour over the prayers of a culture on the edge. A battered teddy bear with the word "forever" emblazoned on its chest shares its penultimate sunrise with me on the second story balcony. Someone has written a poem there about old friends they just met. Below me, people are preparing for a wedding.

I like the Temple Burn even more than the Burning of The Man. When the Man burns, it's all fireworks and frenetic energy with most of 50,000 people freaking out with excitement and screaming their heads off like Beatlemania. It's kind of the big build-up to the blow out party and the City is ready to pop. There's so much big fire surrounded by so much potentially-mob-like chaos that I sometimes feel poised between a panic attack and an orgasm. When the Temple Burns the mood is reflective, silent and reverent. People cry and hug strangers. Burning Man is pretty much over at that point and it's time for folks to wrap up their vision quests and start pulling up the rebar. There is a strong sense of having shared something profound amongst the whole supertribe. We've survived a week in the desert together. We've made new friends and gotten exited about new ideas. We've gotten hot and high and tired and frustrated and silly together. We've inspired one another to be good art. Some of us have even been reborn.

Soon the sun will drive most of us under cover. I decide to walk back to my camp before it gets too hot to fall asleep. A young man in a playafied business suit rides by on a fuzzy bike, playing a blue guitar. His hands are occupied with the instrument and bicycle seems to be steering itself. "Happy new day!" he calls out to me as he passes. I try to shout my agreement, but he has already disappeared into the haze, like characters do in a poorly rendered computer game. It makes me think about how virtual this all feels. It's perfect for people who grew up using massively multiplayer online games as a social outlet, because at Burning Man you can present yourself as your avatar. You can be a warrior princess if you want to, or a superhero, and the community will play along and support you recreating yourself. You can be who you've always wanted to be, and do what you've always dreamed about. Burning Man is not put on by some corporation for our consumption, it's made by Burners for Burners. It's alive. It evolves. It's whatever we make it. It's a trial answer to the question "what would people do if they could do anything that they want?" I'm encouraged to report that when most people are given almost total freedom, they tend to create beauty and make people happy.

I remember watching movies about the 60s when I was a kid and thinking that I'd missed all the good stuff. It seemed to me like there had been one great spasm of explosive freedom before I was born, and then it all slipped back to business as usual. Now ever increasing change has taken business as usual off the menu, but most people still feel like spectators. Unsure of how to turn the juggernaut of history, many of us bury our heads in the silicon confetti rendering ourselves too numb even to despair. Burning Man illustrates that we can do anything we put our minds to. Burning Man creates a context in which we feel free and inspired to be the change we want to see in the world. Burning Man makes me feel that this is the most exciting possible time to be alive and the best part is just beginning. Burning Man is the epicenter of a true cultural revolution that turns spectators into participants in the art of life, and there is nothing more dangerous and beautiful than that.

Teafaerie's column on Erowid.org 

Burning dan's Burning Man photo gallery

05 October 2010

The MEGATROPOLIS Burn at Burning Man 2010

MEGATROPOLIS was an art project for Burning Man 2010 headed up by Chris "Kiwi" Hankins  and  Otto Von Danger. It was described as "a loose interpretation of the city skyline, ironically built in one of the least inhabited places in the entire world."

A total of five large buildings comprised the MEGATROPOLIS project including the Transamerica Pyramid, an iconic smokestack, an apartment building and the mega mall. A tower in the city's center was the largest building yet and featured a scissor-lift-cum-elevator that went up four stories.

The MEGATROPOLIS project burned on Friday and this video was submitted by Fburn from Paris, France who writes "My point of view of Megatropolis burn at Burning Man 2010 shot with an old Panasonic DMC-FZ18 (the Canon didn't survived the playa dust!) C U next year on the playa!"

04 October 2010

"Living Working Burning Man" - Panorama Photography by Bradley Milton

As part of Bradley Milton's participation at Burning Man, he produces a series of panoramic photographs entitled "Living Working Burning Man”. This slide show from 2010 provides an introduction to the project but you really ought to go and check them out in higher res here.

Of his work, Milton writes:
"There are so many photos that show the incredible public beauty and vitality of Burning Man. (Over 10,400,000 if you believe Google.) There are far fewer that capture the efforts of the thousands of volunteers and participants who make Black Rock City the event that it is. There are fewer still that capture both the environment and the activity of Black Rock City: the tents, domes, yurts, RVs, trailers and other structures and the burners that live, work and play in them.

'In 2010, the theme Metropolis: The Life of Cities begged for that effort and its result to be recognized, and so as an act of participation, I chose to photograph as many of the outstanding camps as I could, and to photograph them “in the round” – broad panoramas capturing all of the activity in a space, as well as the space itself, all in an instant. The resulting portfolio document begins to document the effort put forward by these campers and the incredible environments they create."

01 October 2010

Friday's Burning Man Music Post!

From Dave Decibel, this fun mash-up collection was put together for your road trip or the voyage to Black Rock City and back. This collection includes:
  1. Intro - Billy "Fatback" Cornelius as Lt. Horatio Caine & Dave Decibel as Officer
  2. The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again
  3. The Who Vs Bay City Rollers Vs The Doors - Saturday Night Fool at the Soul Kitchen
  4. DJ Zebra - I'm a Fireman
  5. DJ Fox - Come See About Down
  6. DJ Schmolli - No Good Cockeyed Tiger
  7. The Temptations Vs Deadmau5 - Papa Was a Ghost
  8. Lazyellow - Blah Blah Blah Chillin Romance
  9. Roxy Cottontail, Larry Tee & Afrojack Vs Major Lazer - Let's Make Nasty Vs Pon De Floor
  10. Major Lazer Vs Harold Faltermeyer - Pon De Foley (Ludachrist Remix)
  11. Faroff - You Ring Me Round (Like a Telephone)
  12. DJ Zebra - Roxanne Should Be Dancing
  13. The White Panda - Pop Bottles Baby
  14. DJ M.I.F. - Smack My Hotstepper Up
  15. Kanye West Ft Twista - Overnight Celebrity (Dave Wrangler Remix)
  16. Go Home Productions - Temptaion of the Police
  17. Mashup-Germany - Imagine One Day (So Far Away)
  18. Massive Attack Vs Mariah Carey - Heat My Body
  19. Clockwork - Office Musik
  20. DJ BootOX pres Blaze Music - California Skank
  21. S-Tone - Prolly Know Me from the Ran
  22. Go Home Productions - Rock In Black
  23. Mashup-Germany Hit and Drop All the Single Ladies
  24. DJ Zebra - Come Closer
  25. DJ Schmolli - Rude Boy Resort
  26. DJ Morgoth - Stylo It's No Good
  27. CJR Mix - You've Got the Sweet Harmony
  28. Lady Gaga Vs Ace of Base Vs Kalomira - The Return of Alejandro
  29. G3RSt - Dub of Fire
  30. Westside Connection Vs Holy Fuck - Bow Down to Latin America (Dave Wrangler Remix)
  31. Fissunix - Whole Lotta Sex Machine
  32. Black Eyed Peas Vs Jim Croce - That's Not the Way I'm Feeling
Thanks to all the Mashup producers out there keeping us entertained and consistently producing quality fun in the realm of Bastard Pop! 

Have an awesome weekend y'all!  For those of you in Los Angeles, come find BURNcast at Los Angeles Deeeeecommmmmm tomorrow!







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