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JRS VOLUME #9; ISSUE #10

JRS:V9:#10:01.17.05

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-Jackrabbit: Home From The Range
-Burning Man Art Grants
-The Bet

HOME FROM THE RANGE!

The Jack Rabbit has just returned from five very interesting weeks of travel around these lovely United States. I saw Burners in Tucson, El Paso, Kerrville, Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Lubbock, Tempe, Santa Fe and Ventura. Now that I’m home, I hope to post photos and stories of my adventures. I had lovely experiences with a wide variety of Burning Man attendees. In the meantime, with the recent announcement of this year’s art theme, Psyche, art is very much in the air! This edition of the Jack Rabbit Speaks is devoted artists and art.  

 
BURNING MAN ART GRANTS – TIME FOR PROPOSALS…

Every year Burning Man awards a limited number of art grants to participants. Anyone, of course, may bring their art to our event, whether it is funded or not, and we ask EVERY artist to first read our Art Installation Guidelines at: http://www.burningman.com/themecamps_installations/installations/index.html

 If you wish to apply for an art grant from Burning Man, please go on to read EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT BURNING MAN ART GRANTS at: http://www.burningman.com/themecamps_installations/installations/art_guidelines.html   The DEADLINE for proposals is February 15, 2005! If you you’ve been planning to fund your own art project, we encourage you, in the spirit of radical self-reliance, to please do so. Seek support in your community. Your local Burning Man Regional Contact may be able to help you [To find your Regional Contact go to: http://regionals.burningman.com/ ]  You will discover that gifts contributed by your neighbors can be a lot more connective than money! However, ambitious artists and their projects may sometimes require extra assistance. David Best’s annual temples, for example, would never have been created without partial funding from the Burning Man Project. Many other acclaimed, though less stupendous, projects have received help form us over the years. If you feel you need such support and are ready to create a detailed plan and budget, please read the URL’s above and contact us.      

Another useful document, entitled

Top Ten Burning Man Art Myths, may be found at: http://www.burningman.com/themecamps_installations/installations/top_myths.html  It addresses several popular misconceptions that have been bumping about in our community for several years in the form of second and third-hand rumors. Anyone who’s every wondered what we do for artists and how and why we do these things is invited to peruse this Q&A fact sheet. You may find it enlightening!

Finally, if you missed the announcement of this year’s art theme, entitled PSYCHE, you’ll find it on the home page of our website. You can proceed directly to it at:
<http://www.burningman.com/themecamps_installations/bm05_theme.html>  Please read and enjoy! POP QUIZ: Why and how is Burning Man REVOLVING?


THE BET

In case you haven’t noticed, a picturesque brouhaha, very typical of San Francisco, has recently erupted here in our hometown. It is a wooly tale, complete with manifestos, petitions, speeches, rending jeremiads, as well as some coverage in the local press. A lot of heat, so far (and now, a little breaking light).  Naturally, it features a colorful cast of characters. If you want to get to the heart of the matter and avoid this hurricane of words (the following URL’s involve quite a lot of reading), skip forward to the next paragraph. In mid-November of last year, a local group of underground artists circulated a petition <http://www.borg2.org./Petition.html> Larry Harvey then replied to this petition <http://www.borg2.org./Petition.html>.  This eventuated in THE BET <http://www.borg2.org./AnnouncingBet.html>, and Larry’s letter of acceptance <http://eplaya.burningman.com/viewtopic.php?t=7744>

The most concise summery of this strange eventful history may be found in the San Francisco Bay Guardian, one of our local alt weekly’s, at: <http://www.sfbg.com/39/10/news_burningman.html>  The best explanation of the actual bet as it currently stands is contained in the following excerpt from Larry’s letter of acceptance below:

“To enter more fully into the sporting spirit of this contest, please let me rehearse the terms of the wager. You pledge to create a "massively collaborative" art installation achieved through "radically democratic means" in an allotted district of Black Rock City, and you will accomplish this feat entirely with your own funding. The art that you produce will then be matched against our own poor efforts at supporting and creating art. Should your woo woo trump our hoo ha on the playa, I pledge to reconsider my opposition to your radically democratic curatorial methods. Should our hoo ha make your woo woo look ho hum, you commit to sit all day in a dunking booth at next year's Decompression. Let Chaos Provide! “

Heavy stakes, indeed. As part of the terms of this bet, the Burning Man Project has agreed to allow the opposing party in this affair of honor (known collectively as Borg2) to post on these pages. The following message is from Chicken John, whose voice has been heard before in this forum.The Borg2 is about to engage in elections. They'd like you to participate. There are some very talented people running for "guest curator". Digest the information and participate. Chicken has promised that if you "vote" in their election for the various available roles your email address and name will not be subsequently "harvested". [EDITOR’s Note: The JRS received the following message only very recently, midday on Friday, January 14 and we’ve passed it on to you as soon as was feasible. We were asked to post today, on January 17]

Here's the communiqué from Chicken John to YOU:

“Chicken John would like to hold court for a moment and tell you a story about: Dancing and Whooping with Shit In His Pants....

Good people of the JRS,

 Allow me to introduce myself; my name is Chicken John. My partner in art is Jim Mason. We live in San Francisco and have done many things at Burning Man. Just like many of you. We boom-pow in the desert. Just like many of you. We still think that Burning Man is unique and worthy of our time and energy. Just like many of you. We also get pissed off…like many of you. So we decided to do something. At first we made demands with a petition to let everyone know what we were pissed off about. Then it was pointed out to us that if we wanted to see changes, we sounded like spoiled rotten brats by demanding that the BMorg [EDITOR’’s Note: aka the Burning Man Project] implement them. We agreed and changed our tactics and approach. We organized. We put together what we thought was a solution to the problem. Behold: DEMOCRACY! OK, so it’s probably a nightmare, but man has it been a lot of fun. And totally cathartic. We are now an organized, energized, vitamin A & D fortified group of people dedicated to making BM about the art again. There are over a thousand of us.


Our agenda is a small, winnable battle: “It’s the art, stupid.” Our motto came from a conversation I had with Larry as I was yelling that BM would become a giant group hug if someone didn’t do something. I told him “We need more Woo Woo for your Hoo Ha.” That kinda says it all. We don’t want to tell anyone what BM is about. We’ve just organized around the ideas that WE want to contribute our time, our resources and our money to: Burning Man’s art. We don’t like to snuggle. Well maybe we do, but not enough to make an operation of it. We have been making a lot of noise, but to many of you this will be the first you hear of us. We are the Borg2. So allow me to make introductions.


Borg2, meet the people of the JRS.

People of the JRS, meet Borg2.

If you would like to catch up or be involved in our little experiment, you can do so at:
http://www.borg2.org
        Or
http://BORG2.tribe.net

We are having elections for our Art Council on Tuesday the 18th and Wednesday the 19th. We encourage you to check them out. Please remember that this is just an experiment on a pretty small scale and in no way is an “official” Burning Man function. This whole thing is an attempt at creating improvements within this event we adore so much. We think the art part can use a little more thrust instead of the dodge and parry that has been going on for years. Really. So I would like to tell you a little story. It’s quite lovely. I think you’ll enjoy it. May I take your arm? Lets have a walk down memory lane, shall we?

I'm standing around the fire of what used to be a small Tudor house. I was so smitten with someone I felt it necessary to build them a house with a king-sized bed and bath tub for them to inhabit for their stay at Burning Man 1998. It’s Sunday night, a week after the end of BM '98. There are few of us, and the rains have stopped after 4 days.[EDITOR's note: the JRS was there, it only rained for 12 hours, but it took 4 days for the mess to dry up; CJ exaggerates, if you can believe this, for the sake of effect sometimes]. I'm exhausted. I have low morale. Everyone does. Rain. It's making cleanup impossible. There is alot to do. Mud. Shitters are overflowing. Can't get trucks out to the site. We're picking up the garbage and burning it at night to keep warm while the crew drinks and tries to keep it together: they are living in tents in mud. Everything they own is wet and there is no escape from the mud. I feel responsible for bringing these people out here. I feel like a failed leader. But we have to keep going. I send someone to Reno to buy $200 worth of socks and underwear and $400 of cigarettes. I am talking to a man I don't know who is kinda stuck out here, but seems to be very happy. Kinda mad. Not angry mad; crazy mad. I find out he is newly freed from some sort of weird prison. Allow me to explain...

Ya see, he had an idea for a camp-type thing... he and a bunch of friends... were gonna build a windmill thing... theme camp.... split the expenses... all build this windmill together.... community type thing... you know the deal. He puts all the expenses on his credit card, including the food. People come over to his house on weekends to help build the thing, but they don't know anything about building, and they end up designing this thing that is just wrong. It comes to the playa and they put it up but the wind just blows it down. It catches too much wind; the blades are too big. The windmill is supposed to spin a slip-ring and turn brushes on a coil that powers a tricky light system. A giant cool blinky windmill. Ambitious. Fun.

It was a disaster. His credit cards were maxed out, his friends left him to fend for himself after a huge argument ensued when the design (that he was responsible for) failed and he 'missed' the event by working on the project non-stop. He ignored his girlfriend; she dumped him and promptly found the company of one of his friends. He was so dehydrated that he had diarrhea Sunday night after the man burned (yes, it used to burn on Sunday night back when people knew how to clean up after themselves),. He abandoned his project in disgust; leaving his tools and the plans in the dirt just where they lay and wandered off for at least one night looking for something, ANYTHING else. He didn't know what.

Cold, dehydrated, shitting, friendless, broken hearted, broke and broken, he finally retreated to his tent. He slept all the next day. He awoke to the arid sunset of another day in Black Rock City and realized he’d shit his pants as he’d slept. He had a pounding headache and was hungrier than he had ever before been in his life. He crawled out of his filthy tent. …And what do you think he saw? I can imagine the look of dread on his face, a man who had seemingly lost everything, change to wonder and bliss. Yes, his credit cards were still maxed out and it was unlikely that anyone was going to help him pay them back. Yes, his love had found another. Yes, his friends had abandoned him. Yes, there was shit in his pants. But the thing that he wanted most of all he had: community.

He danced and whooped around his fully functioning twinkly be-lighted windmill as it spun, it's little blades trimmed to the appropriate size, the uprights firmly dug into the ground. Dancing and whooping with shit in his pants. DANCING AND WHOOPING WITH SHIT IN HIS PANTS. You see, someone had stumbled across his abandoned project. Saw the plans, the tools and the broken stuff. And just fucking finished it. Someone like one of the people on CSI. They figgered out the puzzle, rose to the occasion and did the thing. He stayed an extra week to help with clean-up as appreciation for this amazing event that changed his life. We drank and told stories until late. I never saw him again, but I felt great about Burning Man again and decided that a little water is a good thing. It keeps you from shitting your pants. So I forgave the rain. And can’t help but wonder when I see people dancing and whooping if they have shit in their pants. Or if they’ll ever get to a place where they could dance and whoop with soiled drawers.

Thank you very much for your time and the stroll. We are all looking forward and paying careful and close attention. 2005 is gonna be a great burn. See ya there…”.

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