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Burning Man Journal
All The News That's Fit To Burn: 1998 Winter Newsletter

Community Notes
By Maid Marian

Burning Man is more than just an event in the desert. We are all members of a greater community. It takes a great deal of work and collective coordination to bring Burning Man to fruition each year. Your role as artist, theme camp creator, pre-event or onsite volunteer, ranger or musician is critical to creating a safe, expressive and commerce-free community. You will find all the information you need to connect with us in these community notes.

Burning Man is about participation on a variety of levels. Preparations span the entire year, and we gratefully accept your assistance at all times. There are a number of ways in which you can join us as we prepare for the 1998 event. Please consider attending our first Town Meeting of '98, April 5th, 1 p.m., at SOMAR, 985 Brannan St. (at 8th) in San Francisco. This is a pot luck event, and last year's was very well attended. Presentations by Burning Man organizers will be made. Questions about the Town Meeting or any other volunteer position listed below should be directed to the hotline: 415-985-7471 or John Nettle at: volunteers (at) burningman (com).

Summary of Contacts:
Volunteer: volunteers(at)burningman(dot)com
Perform: performance(at)burningman(dot)com
Build: performance(at)burningman(dot)com
Ranger: rangers(at)burningman(dot)com
Gate Duty: gate(at)burningman(dot)com
Theme Camp: themecamps(at)burningman(dot)com
Benefits: hramazon(at)burningman(dot)com
Flambé Lounge: events(at)burningman(dot)com
US Mail List: snailmail(at)burningman(dot)com
The Jack Rabbit Speaks: bman-announce-request(at)burningman(dot)com - type "subscribe" in the body of message

Builders: Lampposts, The Man, The Nebulous Entity, The City. At dusk during the event the lamplighters move among the participants and place four lanterns upon each crafted 12-foot lamppost. This spring we will build additional lampposts and are looking for builders interested in this task. Some individuals will also be involved in constructing the Man, while others may be interested in working on the Entity (see Performers), a unique creation which will debut on Saturday night.

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Costumers, Mask-Makers, Fire Artists: Though our gates open on Monday, August 31, 1998, the fire will ignite with the aid of the sun and a parabolic reflector on Wednesday, September 2, 1998. The fire will be tended by Crimson Rose and members of the Pageant Camp. Artists from this group and participants from throughout Black Rock City are invited to bring a contribution and create a nightly ritual that will culminate in our Sunday night procession to the Man. All interested individuals are invited to join in the monthly Beach Burns (which commenced Saturday, January 31, 1998).

General: Some of the assistance we need before the desert includes setup and cleanup for special events, mailings, and other miscellaneous jobs such as distribution of the newsletter. Also, professionals with specific skills and education are always needed. Don't be shy if you are located outside the Bay Area. There are often Burning Man events in other cities and organizers of these gatherings would love to connect with you. If you would like to be a local contact for your city, please let us know. The following cities have contact points:
reno(at)burningman(dot)com, austin(at)burningman(dot)com, la(at)burningman(dot)com
Get connected.

Builders: Site development will begin in stages several months before the event. However, the last 3 weeks are the most critical. If you are interested, please outline what kind of time you have available, and what your skills are. Individuals who are able to commit to building a city are encouraged to contact Will Roger at site (at) burningman (com).

Rangers: The Black Rock Rangers create the core support infrastructure for our community. They are the mediators of public safety and providers of information. Rangers are communicators, medics, concerned citizens. Black Rock City functions very effectively as a self-governing entity, and the Black Rock Rangers are community leaders who live and work throughout the city to ensure our collective survival. Nearly all of the 1997 Rangers are returning in 1998, and because we are a growing city this team will increase significantly in members. We encourage you to contact the Rangers (rangers(at)burningman(dot)com, or the hotline) or visit the website for information and to fill out an application.

Gate: As a member of the gate crew you are the first friendly face arriving participants see. Your infectious enthusiasm undoubtedly calms the road-weary nerves of many a new arrival. Everyone remembers how they are greeted at the gate. Consider making your bid for a 4-hour time slot ahead of your departure. We need gate coverage from August 28 until September 7, 1998. For further info contact Gate Guy and Space Ghost at rangers(at)burningman(dot)com.

Lamplighters: As the heat of the day wanes into the twilight hour, the lamplighters emerge to push back the darkness. As the pink-orange glow of dusk settles over the City and participants scurry to ready themselves for the night's festivities, it is magical to watch the lamplighters swirling about in their robes to the soundtrack provided by the Burning Man Band. Join this team in their civic ritual.

Café: The Café Temps Perdu and its proprietor, Miss P, will again be at Burning Man in 1998. This is a beverage-only coffeehouse operated by the Burning Man Project as a public service, no other food or beverage vending will be onsite this year. Experienced café workers should contact the hotline or volunteers(at)burningman(dot)com.

Cleanup: All participants are expected to Leave No Trace. This is a mandate from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and one to which we wholly subscribe. There will be no dumpsters, and no trash barrels. You must remove what you bring. Any participants who stay on site past Monday will be asked to assist in the cleanup process as we break down structures, sweep up charred remains of the Man and return the playa to the way we found it (smokers are once again reminded to bring a wind resistant vessel or tin to contain ashes and butts).

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This year will see changes and additions to Black Rock City. The most important change will be no main stage. This is not meant to discourage performers, but rather encourage collaboration between performers and theme camps and villages. Musicians and theater groups may bring their own stage or connect with a like-minded camp or village and coordinate a performance schedule. Acoustic performance will occur at our Café in central camp. If you would like to establish a stage or would like to find one please contact Harley at: themecamps(at)burningman(dot)com.

Theme Camps
Theme Camps ARE the interactive core at Burning Man. Anyone can and is encouraged to create a theme camp environment. We reserve the frontage facing the Man, known as the Esplanade, for those theme camps that apply early; this involves filling out the Internet application and purchasing tickets for your group members. Information and communications go through themecamps(at)burningman(dot)com.

This year we are encouraging a number of special camp areas. Like-minded folks may want to be aware of the following possibilities:

  • Recycling: This area will be dedicated to recycling of plastics and aluminum. This is not a replacement for the pack-it-in/pack-it-out policy, but an environmentally responsible addition. We encourage participants to leave glass and extraneous packaging at home. Bring food in cans or plastic.
  • Kid's District: The number of children attending Burning Man continues to grow. Participants planning this district see it as an opportunity for parents to pool resources; this is not day-care. Burning Man will be more enjoyable if responsibilities for kid-based interactive activities are shared.
  • Alternative Energy Zone: This is intended to be a generator-free zone where solar and wind power are used to generate any necessary electricity.

Anyone interested in connecting and following through in building these ideas should contact Harley at themecamps(at)burningman(dot)com. These projects are infrastructural support areas, and therefore differ slightly from the traditional theme camp. A list of camps will be available on the Internet in July. A partial list will be distributed with the Survival Guide and a more complete list may be available on site. Register NOW as we are currently preparing the camp infrastructure.

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Beach Event
Each month as we build up to the desert burn, Burning Man will hold a burn on the beach. Crimson Rose, performance coordinator and mistress of the fire, will host these events in San Francisco. We would like to connect with members of the community at the ocean, around the fire as the event first began. Bring drums and other instruments. Should you be interested in joining the Nebulous Entity, bearing a torch the night the Man burns, or tending the cauldron in center camp please join us on the last Saturday of each month.

Benefit Events
After Burning Man 1997, several groups and individuals came forward and immediately organized benefit events to help defray our debt. In San Francisco we were immediately feted on a Wednesday by the Cyberbuss at the Minna Street Gallery, and a week later on a Saturday by the great band: Here Are The Facts You Requested) at their home and music studio space. In Los Angeles, Linda Williamson, la (at) burningman (com), organized two events to benefit Burning Man, both were successful. George Paap III, austin (at) burningman (com), and Hugh Seagraves (in Dallas) organized a Burning Man Benefit Tiki Party in Austin, Texas that was besieged by rain, but still managed to connect folks from Dallas, Houston and Austin. In mid-November, Scott McKeown organized a lovely Wednesday night event in Cotati at the Inn of the Beginning, which was the start of a soon-to-be-more-active North Bay scene, northbay (at) burningman (com). Each event raised between $500 and $3,000.

Currently, there are five other benefit events in the works, the dates for some of which you will find below. If you are interested in hosting a benefit event for Burning Man, we encourage you to contact Harley at themecamps(at)burningman(dot)com. We have a special party pack available for you to share with event attendees.

Photo Database
Burning Man relies on participants to share images with us. There is no "official" photographer, which means we would love to see images you've taken. We are creating a massive image database from which we will draw for the web site, postcard series, and a future book. A poster is also in the works. Edit judiciously and then send your favorites in electronic, paper-based or slide format to:
Maid Marian
Burning Man
P.O. Box 420572
San Francisco, CA 94142-0572
or e-mail to images (at) burningman (com). Thank you for your contribution to this very important documentation process.

We've often been called a "digerati" event. More clearly, however, we have simply benefited from the ease and flexibility Internet communication provides. The current incarnation of the website (http://www.burningman.com/) debuted in June of 1997. Email in particular seems to have provided an opportunity for much-needed dialogue. There are over 15 email addresses on the email page, and all are answered by Burning Man staff members. Bulletin boards are particularly active and this spring we will launch more BBSs, and this summer a weekly chat forum.

Current e-mail account holders should subscribe to The Jack Rabbit Speaks, the Internet Oracle of Communication for the Burning Man Project. This newsletter drops in your e-in box every few weeks during the winter and increases in frequency as we draw closer to the start of Burning Man. To join, please send an email to bman-announce-request (at) burningman (com). Put "subscribe" in the body of the message. Your email address is secure and will only be used by the project to disseminate information to you.

Burning Man Events Calendar

  • February
       18 Wedsnesday, Book Promotion, Printers' Inc., Palo Alto, CA
       28 Saturday, 8 p.m. Beach Burn, San Francisco
  • March
       7 Saturday, 8 p.m. Benefit, Point Arena, CA.
       14 Saturday, 8p.m. Flambe Lounge, SF, CA
       21 Saturday, 7 p.m. Benefit, Reno, Nevada, Area 51.
       28 Saturday, 8 p.m.. Beach Burn, SF
  • April
       5 Sunday, 1 p.m., SOMAR, Town Meeting - Pot Luck.
       11 Saturday, All Ranger Meeting
       11 Saturday, SOMAR, Dance, Benefit.
       15 Weds., Ticket Price moves to $80
       18 Saturday, 8 p.m. Flambe Lounge, location, TBA
       25 Saturday, 8 p.m. Beach Burn, SF
  • May
       16 Saturday, 8 p.m. Flambe Lounge, SF
       30 Saturday, 8 p.m. Beach Burn, SF

Check the web calendar for more information on these and similar events.