The Oasis: A Half-Baked Theme Camp Idea

The Oasis: A Half-Baked Theme Camp Idea

Postby Here and there » Wed Aug 25, 2010 2:50 pm

I'm not going this year - no money - so this isn't a 2010 camp idea unless somebody else would like to run with it, but I don't see a general theme camp section, so I'll post on this board.

I've noticed that when one goes out looking for a drink in BRC, what one always gets is something that doesn't quench the thirst. Usually, it will be something that tastes good - iced coffee, some nice mixed drinks. Sometimes, something that leaves me scratching my head - like Black Sambucca which, honestly, tasted to me like licorice sticks dissolved in vodka. But always something laced with a diuretic - alcohol or caffeine - and we're in the middle of a desert. That always seemed strange to me, and a great way of adding to the city's supply of yellow mud. People don't always make it to the portapotties in time.

What I'd be serving would be soft drinks. No, not Coke or Root Beer. I came across some recipes for traditional soft drinks served in India, Greece, North Africa and the Middle East, and thought some of those might be fun. Water would get the job done even better, but I could easily picture some guy dropping by and trying to pick up water for his sun shower. "All done! Can I have another?", while he hopes we don't notice the bucket he has with him. Not that I have anything against people bathing, I just think that helping to keep somebody out of the med tent is something I'd like to set as a higher priority. Dehydration, right?

For example - there's something called "vissino", a sour cherry syrup one puts into ice water. One ends up with something a little more tart than lemonade. Mint tea, which is more of a tisane than a true tea, but so it is called, and is very nice iced, even if the Moroccans don't traditionally do that. Etc. etc. This would be done in what is basically a chill space, set out as far onto the Playa as one needs to find a little quiet, with maybe a little poetry and fiction reading as events, but no amplified or recorded music.

Very, very premature, as I won't be out for a few years - but any potential interest?
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Postby Nitevenus » Wed Aug 25, 2010 6:00 pm

The idea of an "Oasis" sounds like it might be something to run with. However, wouldn't your proposed location make it more of an interactive art installation being situated deep playa and not a theme camp? Theme camps are located in the camping area. Would it be something where the *quenchers* were served only in the day time or 24 hours? Would the artist be allowed to actually camp in the oasis? This is if it is located out on the playa.

With all the lemonades, mint teas and such that are also offered out there, I think everyone has the true idea of refreshment in mind. Offering something else on the flavor pallette would be a good idea.
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Postby Here and there » Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:41 pm

Nitevenus wrote:However, wouldn't your proposed location make it more of an interactive art installation being situated deep playa and not a theme camp? Theme camps are located in the camping area.


If it hasn't already, the LLC is just going to have to budge on that at some point, and I don't mean specifically just for this proposed camp. Complaints about noise have been with us and growing over the years, as one can see just by following ePlaya. One can't have a poetry reading or a play next to a rave. It just can't happen. Even if the listeners could hear those speaking, the atmosphere would be broken.

The org has either failed or refused to get the noise problem under control. Either they're going to let the camps that need the quiet move out of the way of that problem, or people are going to eventually just give up on trying to create anything but loud sound camps. If that happens, with that little diversity left in the offerings, at that point, who is going to bother to come? If the whole event evolves into being nothing more than one giant rave with a lot of dusty, empty dance floors, then why wouldn't people just stay home, where they can get the same raving experience or better for less, with more comfort?

I'm sure that some Kool Aid drinker will jump in with the usual cliches about "no expectations", but attitude won't pay the bills, and I think BMOrg knows that. At least, I'll credit them with knowing that until they prove otherwise.

Nitevenus wrote:Would it be something where the *quenchers* were served only in the day time or 24 hours? Would the artist be allowed to actually camp in the oasis? This is if it is located out on the playa.


I'd have to let a member of the Org speak to that.

Nitevenus wrote:With all the lemonades, mint teas and such that are also offered out there, I think everyone has the true idea of refreshment in mind. Offering something else on the flavor pallette would be a good idea.


What did you have in mind?
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Postby Nitevenus » Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:37 pm

Nothing certain in mind on flavors, just a comment to the fact that you were thinking in lines of other flavors from different locales from what is already out there.

I think that BMorg is attempting to put the larger sound camps on the outer streets where most ravers would gravitate to. It is actually quieter on the back inner streets. If the Esplanade is the front of the action, why wouldn't "come back to the Oasis" make a good invitation. Or consider a rolling Oasis for journeying art seekers to discover....

This year they have implemented new plazas back in the general camping area to promote new ideas that would spring up. I can see where your concern is with the noise, but there are already a good deal of camps that have less noisy locations to offer things like nightly movies, discussions on philosophy etc. You might personally inquire of them after event on how their locations were affected by neighors.

I like the idea of an Oasis, conjures up exotic thoughts of sand, palms and colorful flowing fabrics....but that's just me! Keep mixing, it will become more than just half baked...
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Thu Aug 26, 2010 4:09 pm

You're on a couple of different tracks. :)

There are quite a few non-alcoholic camps, such as Skinny Kitty. You could certainly get a selection of Torani syrups and a soda maker. Could you serve drinks on the open playa/zocalo? I think that the only thing prohibited out there is camping, but if your art project was a soda stand (with health dept permits) I don't see where anyone would stop you.

On the other track, all the hoi polloi can do is continue squeaking until the Borg hears it and clamps down on the noise in a real way. Plus if you don't like the noise, go out and make some of your own. :)

H&T, I'll be back next year, how about you?
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Postby Here and there » Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:48 pm

Nitevenus wrote:Nothing certain in mind on flavors, just a comment to the fact that you were thinking in lines of other flavors from different locales from what is already out there.


Thanks.

Nitevenus wrote:I think that BMorg is attempting to put the larger sound camps on the outer streets where most ravers would gravitate to. It is actually quieter on the back inner streets.


That's good news.

Nitevenus wrote:If the Esplanade is the front of the action, why wouldn't "come back to the Oasis" make a good invitation. Or consider a rolling Oasis for journeying art seekers to discover....


I guess it would depend on how big an oasis. Very large art cars are cool - at least I think so - and I love the possibilities they offer as spaces. People hop on, they hop off and the moving space becomes a kind of bridge between the different parts of the city. The only thing that holds me back on that is the principle of pessimism in planning - never count on something you don't have firmly in hand.

I am amazingly, frighteningly broke, and a real art car is something beyond my financial reach. Also, even if I had the money, I don't know anybody who could handle one a very large vehicle, safely, in close quarters. If somebody with a big art car (like Draka) wanted the oasis onboard, on the other hand, those problems would be solved and I'd be totally up for that. Especially since almost all of the preparation (eg. boiling down sour cherry juice) would be done before I ever left home, meaning that the bouncing floor probably wouldn't be a problem.

Frying up food to go with the drinks might be a different issue, to mention something else I had been thinking of, but I've heard that getting health department clearance for food camps is very difficult. Also, again, there is the question of where the money would come from. And the packing space and the refrigeration.

I had briefly toyed with the idea of doing a vegan salad camp - grains, greens, beans, nuts and some of the things that can be done with them - but the greens were sort of the killer. With a good, cold refrigerator I can easily keep most greens bright and fresh for a week, but one has to get awfully dangerously close to freezing to pull that off. Wilted sorrel and purslane can get pretty nasty when raw.

Nitevenus wrote:This year they have implemented new plazas back in the general camping area to promote new ideas that would spring up. I can see where your concern is with the noise, but there are already a good deal of camps that have less noisy locations to offer things like nightly movies, discussions on philosophy etc. You might personally inquire of them after event on how their locations were affected by neighbors.


Will definitely do. These sound like good camps to network with.

Nitevenus wrote:I like the idea of an Oasis, conjures up exotic thoughts of sand, palms and colorful flowing fabrics....but that's just me! Keep mixing, it will become more than just half baked...


We'll see who's interested.

Ugly Dougly wrote:On the other track, all the hoi polloi can do is continue squeaking until the Borg hears it and clamps down on the noise in a real way. Plus if you don't like the noise, go out and make some of your own. :)


In principle, I agree ... but have you ever gotten to a point in your life when you just said "no mas"? When you figured if somebody was getting weird, you'd just get up and walk away, and to Hell with the principle of the thing? I'm sort of there, right now. I just want to do my reading, maybe a little scribbling and cooking, and leave the fights to other people.

Ugly Dougly wrote:H&T, I'll be back next year, how about you?


If I can, but I probably can't. As always, the show stopper is money.

I worked my way through school, putting in long hours before studies. I still got high marks. What I didn't get, was a chance to have a social life as I was doing this, so when I got out of school, I didn't know anybody. I went looking for work, got stonewalled by human resources, and along the way, joined the ranks of the long term unemployed, before I ever got my first job interview. That status has since been held as one strike against me as I've gone looking for work, so-called "over-qualification" being another. Lack of experience becomes the third - those jobs I worked to put myself through school don't count as "real jobs" in the eyes of HR, for some reason.

End result: What I get by on is tutoring and other odd jobs, and what I live on, mostly, is rice and beans. I do, frequently, wonder why I ever bothered to go to college, much less graduate school. If I had just saved the money I was earning instead of wasting it on tuition, I'd have the beginnings of a nest egg and one less strike against me as I went looking for work, but here I am, and what is, is. What can one do, other than warn others not to make the same mistakes?

So, I'm stuck where I am, with no sign of any way out, and where I am, a few hundred dollars is an almost impossible sum to raise. As time goes on, I find that money becomes harder to get, not easier, even if one doesn't take inflation into account, so it is quite possible that I will never even be able to afford to travel away from home for the rest of my life, much less travel to a specific destination, with a multi-hundred dollar cover charge. This is where that line about poverty being a prison without walls comes from; one truly is trapped.


Hence the interest I hinted at, in finding others to pick up this concept and run with it. The fact that I will not be free to implement an idea should not keep the idea from being implemented, if it has any merit. If I should find that I can't hope to get out, I can still create recipes that others can use, when they go out, and publish those recipes online, for free. Third world cooking, in general, tends to be very affordable, for obvious reasons, and so kitchen testing will not ruin me. For writing, what does one need but paper and pencil ... ?


You get the idea.
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Postby Here and there » Fri Sep 10, 2010 3:30 am

For the time being, I think I'll put this idea on hold. What I just saw happen in the Ugliest Temple discussion didn't really leave me in the mood to invest any more time in Burning Man. Yes, I know - ePlaya isn't the real Playa. But it is the official forum, so it's hard not to wonder if what I just saw was a reflection of how the organizers think. Some of whom, I hear, post to this board.

It is their show, so for better or worse, their spirit is going to end up being the spirit of the event. If one can't look at a poorly done art piece and say "I didn't like it" without a lot of drama following, that's more insanity than I'm willing to put up with. It would be, even if I was getting in for free, and that seems to be where the community is, by choice. Or at least, that's the impression I get, perhaps a mistaken one.

I'll take a break for a while, and see if I'm getting the same impression when I return.
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Postby AntiM » Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:43 am

I have had lovely drinks served from a cart near the trash fence. True, they were alcoholic, and true, it was motorized, but it was a wonderful break in the day. This was several years ago. I experienced this from another group this year, near an art installation. Moving targets, delightful when experienced. More of a Mirage than an Oasis.

A small cart, set out a few pillows, and serve a limited amount of drinks. Very third world, I have the noodle carts of Japan in mind, or the Ab Anar carts in Shiraz, the taco stands here in Ogden. Those are my main experiences with street carts. Mostly you'd need a hand washing station and require people to have their own cups. Still, expensive without funding.

As for "officials", well, a few are here now and then. Not often. I met the tech team for the first time this year. When I introduced myself as a volunteer mod, they're say "Thank you". The tone made it sound very much like "I'm sorry".
we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. . . .
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Postby Here and there » Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:42 pm

AntiM wrote:A small cart, set out a few pillows, and serve a limited amount of drinks.


Perhaps, but it would surely have to be motorized, like the one you saw, would it not? I'm picturing the experience of trying to push a handcart through the dust.

Complicating factor, but only if I'm the one doing this - I'm not built to be very heat friendly. I'm a big guy, which is a wonderful deal during a Midwestern winter, but not so good when it's 100 degrees out. At Burning Man, I cope with this in one of two ways during the day:

1. Hugging the shade, and keeping my activity to a minimum.
2. Going naked. And resisting the urge to apologize profusely.

Option two is ruled out if one is serving food or drink. The health department won't accept that. A good, well ventilated shade structure, though, can work wonders as I'm sure you know.

AntiM wrote:As for "officials", well, a few are here now and then. Not often. I met the tech team for the first time this year. When I introduced myself as a volunteer mod, they're say "Thank you". The tone made it sound very much like "I'm sorry".


LOL, but with sympathy. I can imagine.

Coming back, I find I'm not quite as put off by the trolling elsewhere on the board as I was when I last posted. The people I've met in real life, offline, still are who they were, back during good times I can easily remember. Meeting a few jerks on the Internet doesn't change that, and it's not really an unusual experience, unique to ePlaya in any way. Why should I let it color my view of the event?

I just needed to count to 100,000 and regain a little perspective.
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