Mobile Stage - Still looks like a van

Mobile Stage - Still looks like a van

Postby Dewey » Sat Apr 21, 2007 5:20 pm

So I'm goin to BM for my first time. And going with a first year theme camp crew. A few of them have been before, but most are totally new to the playa. We've got our shit together for the most part, but something has been brought to our attention I'd like to get more opinions on.

We've taken a late 80's ford e-150 van, built a stage on top and plan on registering it as an Mutant Vehicle as an addition to our theme camp. The van will be painted up nicely, all windows gold mirror tinted, our crazy crew will be hangin off of it, and the music will be rockin in all directions from our awesome talent we're bringing. The van just looks simply like a van with a stage on top though. We've been told by a few experienced burners that the vehicle can't/shouldn't LOOK like a just a van with a stage on top.

To anyone that has experience with what BM is looking for: Is it absolutely neccessary that the vehicle doesn't resemble a vehicle? (The ultimate goal of course will yield this grand mutant effect) Are the creative theatrics and ragin tunes not sufficient?

If I've left any detail that may help any responses better serve my question please let me know.

Thanks for your thoughts. :-) :?:
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Postby MikeVDS » Sat Apr 21, 2007 5:38 pm

That is probably not sufficient. Sounds like a cool van but you also have to understand how many people are packed into a very small area, for the population. There are lots of art cars and they can disturb other activities. Many people think there are too many around already. For these reasons they try to keep the standard high on who they let through. Instead of having very subjective rules, making the people working decide if something is "cool", they set some rules that are slightly more objective. Though your rig might be more impressive or cooler than a lot of the junk driving around, it does not sound like it fits in the guidelines that they set out.

The good news is that you have time and there are probably simple ways to fix your problem. You could probably do something as simple as take fabric drape it down from the sides of the stage and get a little creative with what you put on it. With what you already have you can do things to make it much less van-like.

Remember this is burningman. People go over the top. Something that may seen cool on an average day can be typical at burningman and other things that seem dull during a normal day could be amazing at burningman. Go over the top as much as you can. A pretty, tricked out van probably won't impress people as much as something that confers emotions.
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Postby Zhust » Sun Apr 22, 2007 6:52 am

Consider the "standard" suggested on the DMV page:

The primary mission of the Black Rock City Department of Mutant Vehicles (DMV) is to license Mutant Vehicles for movement at Burning Man. For information on other types of vehicles on the playa, visit Vehicles on the Playa. Mutant Vehicles contribute to the surreal thread that binds Black Rock City together. They are "art on wheels": radically, stunningly, (usually) permanently, and safely modified motorized vehicles. For aesthetic reasons, Mutant Vehicles should not represent the base vehicle, and for safety reasons, should not mimic any type of emergency services or law enforcement vehicle. Mutant Vehicles include non-standard motorized vehicles such as couches, beds, and armchairs. Let the words "whimsical" and "surreal" guide you through your creative process.


I only wish they were more strict about it. The vehicles that just eek by the standard look downright stupid: remember that scissor-lift painted neon colors from a few years back? There was no artistic point to it. How about golf carts with a bit of EL-wire? I'd hope that the most ornery assholes make the call at DMV -- I'd even be too nice and let stuff slide if they made a case for putting a lot of effort.

As for your vehicle, why not just make a stationary stage? Either that or chop up the van and make it a much lower stage -- extending the edges with platforms supported by heavy-duty casters seems viable (or at least set up as training wheels in case of unbalanced loads.) It would be cool as heck if it folded out from the existing sides -- something that could stealthily be driven on the highway and transformed into something awesome on the playa.
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Postby Dewey » Sun Apr 22, 2007 1:26 pm

thanks for the referal info. I'll go read up.

The idea is to bring the party to people, instead of them have to find a party in the blistering hot sun. We'll find a non suspecting (suspecting is totally cool too) subject/camp/group and party AT them. We will be moving the van from point to point but I'm pretty sure most of the time we will be stationary when performing. There will be scheduled performances on the weekend within our camp, but during the week will be movin around. We have plans to either attatch or slide out something on the sides things like shade, more ways to attatch more sound, lighting effects, all sorts of cool stuff. I like the idea of draping something around. Something like a shower curtain or cloak to disguise the van...at least for this year. Next year will yeild something even better but we gotta go with what we got fer now.

We have a couple other ideas in mind, but I'm not sure how solidified they are yet.

It's funny you mention a scissor lift. Our crew actually has some ideas for something like that next year. Did that idea not go over well? We had planned on cloaking the entire thing except where the DJ was 20 feet above everyone. Probably just use it at night and have it lit up all wacky and trippy like.
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Postby MikeVDS » Sun Apr 22, 2007 3:19 pm

There have been a couple boom lifts that people costumed to look like giant flowers. I liked them.
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Postby emotion_sickness » Sun Apr 22, 2007 5:46 pm

[quote="Dewey"] We'll find a non suspecting (suspecting is totally cool too) subject/camp/group and party AT them.[/quote]

come party at me! or at least drive by... ive never had someone party at me before!
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Postby mdmf007 » Sun Apr 22, 2007 10:54 pm

Dewey wrote:thanks for the referal info. I'll go read up.

The idea is to bring the party to people, instead of them have to find a party in the blistering hot sun.

heres a party every 80 yards. I would concentrate on hiding the van beneath. How about some stage curtains, that wrap aroud the entire rig? I envision the big red or purple ones with tassles like in te old school theartres.

just an idea
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Postby Dewey » Mon Apr 23, 2007 9:54 am

that beats the crap out of my shower curtain idea. The way our platform is designed will allow easy attatchment of just about anything. Whether it people or a huge stage curtain, it shouldn't be too difficult. We are gonna have the inside completely air conditioned for anyone that wants to come hang in the booty wagon. Won't be able to see much around you with our newly disguised van but there will be plenty of debaucherous times within. :-)

Emotion Sickness: We will be MORE than happy to come party at you. :twisted:
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Postby Teo del Fuego » Mon Apr 23, 2007 10:00 am

in '05 there was a scissor lift kitted out to be a mobile party platform with soundsystem. It was wrapped in billowing fabric and looked way cool
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Postby Thecatman » Sat May 05, 2007 10:09 pm

Don't want to discourage you from having fun but BE CAREFUL OF "PEOPLE HANGING OFF IT." I know you're aware of that. A few years ago a young lady lost her life by jumping off a moving mutant vehicle.
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Postby Bob » Sat May 05, 2007 10:39 pm

Just add fake fur. Simple.

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Postby frenchblue1 » Mon Jun 11, 2007 4:12 pm

You have to remember that many of those vehicles that lack art or are a little weak may be handicap art cars. The MVD can not eliminate those who have handicap needs.

Make sure you do up your vehicle. I know a few people who were shot down over the years. Please participate :) I wish I had some suggestions for you so I'm being constructive but I am dry...I need a creative boost!
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Postby trilobyte » Sat Jun 16, 2007 3:08 pm

The playa has an abundance of stages - both stationary and mobile. The last thing it needs is a feeble attempt at an art car that promotes the generic frat party vibe.

I say either step it up and make some kind of creative, mutant vehicle or skip it altogether. In other words, do it up right or don't do it at all. Besides, it would suck for you and your campmates to bring it all the way out there only to not get approved and not be able to take your party anywhere.

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Postby gyre » Fri Jun 22, 2007 8:58 pm

Don't forget lighting.

One goal is to make the vehicles not recognizable as what they were originally.
Light white cloth does wonders for this.
Some really nice pieces were rejected by this standard.
Some really dull stuff passes because it is amorphous enough.
Cloth works great for lighting at night though.

Whatever you use, just remember, it only has to be good enough to stay on in the wind.
You can use that to your advantage in some cases.
The wind is always blowing.

Some art cars are dull in the daylight and fantastic at night.

If there is no tag of any kind, it's either illegal or law enforcement.
There have been fake art cars.
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Postby Dewey » Sat Jun 23, 2007 5:45 pm

we've found this really cool metal plating that's going to cover the entire thing. We've also tinted every window with a gold mirror tint. It's lookin filthy. :-)
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Postby trilobyte » Sat Jun 23, 2007 5:56 pm

Sounds interesting - I wish you luck!

And don't forget, the mutant vehicle registration deadline is coming up, applications are due a week from today.

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Postby gyre » Sat Jun 23, 2007 8:06 pm

If you aren't certain it will be altered enough, check directly with the dmv.

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