Plug & Play/Turnkey Camping

Share your views on the policies, philosophies, and spirit of Burning Man.

Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby Jackass » Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:04 pm

I haven't heard a single comment on here about anyone ever being allowed on "Christina" except camp members, just tales of people getting dissed.
Sooner or later, it will get real strange...

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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby EspressoDude » Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:05 pm

Any one or group that has to go to the effort shown here to justify their existence among a group of peers has fundamental problems of perception.
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby zerzura » Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:09 pm

Nipple wrote:
zerzura wrote:Some of those "art cars" (should be mutant vehicles) could be said to be "plug n play as well as they were built for clients...


The Scorpion Janus mentioned (not the one you've seen pictures of with the preying mantis), was made by (the ironically named) Paid 2 Play Kre8ions out of Las Vegas. Our camp spent some time with the two guys that were out there as hired crew. Super nice guys.


Yes, I did think he meant the big Scorpion that Kirk built, so thank you for the correction. Although it seems the Playaskool Scorpion was also made for a client with a hired crew.
Again, I don't care -- I am happy artists are getting some sort of wealthy patronage.
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby Pop_Tart » Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:18 pm

My friend Todd Spero was invited to Spin on the big furry bus. Todd brought a crew of people with him (me included) to hang out on the bus while he played. We hung out for a while in the Playa School open area, listened to some good speeches from random people on random topics and even jumped in the swimming pool of stuffed animals for some photos. I met John La Grace, and got the impression that he is a good person, very entertaining and endearing. We all hung out for about 2 hours waiting for the bus departure, but no dice. Too many indians, not enough chiefs. Since there was a definite hierarchy as to who was in charge, the camp members were just kind of hovering around waiting to be told what is next while the camp leaders were nowhere to be seen.

I kind of feel sorry for John's camp a bit. When you have too many people in a camp, even a simple outing can be super complex. Combine that with the need for a 'tour-guide' for every outing... I'm amazed they were able to interact with anyone on Playa...
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby chromatest » Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:47 pm

cosmicgiggle wrote:Now I learn that the "viral" video mainly responsible for the sudden HUGE influx of people wanting to come to this years burn which in turn lead to the lottery snafu which in turn lead to *many* long time camps NOT being able to attend this year is connected to your (MEGA PnP)camp?!?!?! :shock:


Actually, he said his camp-mate made "Home". The video most people are blaming is "Oh The Place's You'll Go".
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby 5280MeV » Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:51 pm

Jackass wrote:I haven't heard a single comment on here about anyone ever being allowed on "Christina" except camp members, just tales of people getting dissed.


I walked right on after the Trojan Horse Pull. Waved to the driver, danced on the deck for thirty minutes or so while the sun set. It was a good afternoon. I had been sorta shy for most of the burn before that regarding MVs, it was actually the second one that I rode, the first being El Pulpo Mechanico.

Beginners luck I guess...

For the record I have yet to be dissed. The only car I tried to get on but couldn't was a pedal driven bar which I guess doesn't count as an MV anyway since it is human powered. That was not a diss - it was simply full and I gave up after following it for ten minutes.

Maybe I will get dissed for the first time in 2012?
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby ZaphodBurner » Wed Mar 21, 2012 3:09 pm

Drunk N. Pilot wrote:Which of the 10 Principles do these Plug n' Play camps adhere to? I would guess the first, Welcome the Stranger, and the last, Immediacy, sorta, except for the participation part. Uh, is there radical-self-exclusion in there somewhere?


Heya, DP! (You wouldn't remember my wife and I but that's alright. We met you when she was tending the airport bar ("Remove before flight" shirt) and I was working the UNICOM.

We had a plug-and-play camp across from us in 2008. Several identical, undecorated touring coaches. We didn't see a single soul coming into our out of their camp from the day we got there until after the burn.

I think if people want to KOA-camp, there are places to do that. Not everybody can do Burning Man, which was sort of the charm. I think the problem with Black Rock City is that it's too weird to try to stuff into a handful of "principles" which didn't seem to exist until the last ten years or so. We know that Plug and Play camps helped the handicapped, the...whatever...but, most of them don't. They're quite simply a commercial enterprise trying to make money by selling the Burning Man experience to people who are wealthy enough to pay thousands of dollars for such a thing. They cater to the super-wealthy because the fact is, that's where the money is.

Show me a Plug and Play camp for, say, blind people or disabled veterans and I'll change my opinion; the P&P camp across from us included a recently-retired couple who owned a factory in Vietnam.

The idea is nice, and including it is within the character of Burning Man, but, radical-inclusion can be taken to absurd and non-standarized lengths. For example, they kicked out Girls Gone Wild. Would we radically-include Idaho Neo-Nazis, or a KKK march? "Radical inclusion" is just a philosophical excuse for an unchangeable situation.
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby Nipple » Wed Mar 21, 2012 3:19 pm

zerzura wrote:
Nipple wrote:
zerzura wrote:Some of those "art cars" (should be mutant vehicles) could be said to be "plug n play as well as they were built for clients...


The Scorpion Janus mentioned (not the one you've seen pictures of with the preying mantis), was made by (the ironically named) Paid 2 Play Kre8ions out of Las Vegas. Our camp spent some time with the two guys that were out there as hired crew. Super nice guys.


Yes, I did think he meant the big Scorpion that Kirk built, so thank you for the correction. Although it seems the Playaskool Scorpion was also made for a client with a hired crew.
Again, I don't care -- I am happy artists are getting some sort of wealthy patronage.


Oh, I don't know Kirk...I can't talk about that Scorpion, only the Playaskool scorpion. (I was their neighbor...) I didn't meet anyone from the camp outside of the hired help. (And people blowing through my kitchen.)
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby Pop_Tart » Wed Mar 21, 2012 3:47 pm

So.. are we trying to turn BM into Communist Russia where everyone has to grovel in the dirt equally miserable (unless you are part of the party elite), regardless of the resources and effort they are able and willing to bring to the Playa. If it takes a not-for-profit P&P camp to get a wall street broker to the burn, well then I'm all for it. More of our 'haves' within society need to experience a burn and hopefully then be transformed by it. Maybe it takes a P&P to lure them out of their comfortable lives the first time they go. Maybe for them its another crazy vacation that doesn't affect them at all. Maybe it is a life altering experience that makes them want to participate in new and interesting ways in future years. Regardless, at least they were there and had the chance to transform themselves.

That said, the concept of a for-profit P&P is just as disgusting as paying above face value for a ticket.
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby trilobyte » Wed Mar 21, 2012 3:49 pm

It's worth pointing out that if you'd like to discuss the topic with the placement team in person at the Burning Man headquarters, there is a great opportunity to do that on Saturday! They'll be hosting another Theme Camp Forum on Saturday, at BMHQ, from 11am to 2pm. If you'd like to attend, RSVP to rachel@burningman.com to reserve a spot.
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby cosmicgiggle » Wed Mar 21, 2012 4:10 pm

Headmaster Janus wrote:@cosmisgiggle
Yes, after 13 years of camping and watching Burning Man evolve, this is what makes sense to me...
Let's keep the conversation going --- it's really good. I think what's important here is that there are different models for Plug and Play and the evolution of sharing resources is about connecting with your community.


Hey Janus,

I get it. You are under fire. The cognitive dissonance sets in. No one is attacking you personally. We are just critiquing your choices. That is the crucial part you need to pay attention to. Trying to imply that somehow "we are all in this together/me & you are the same" while in the same breath saying "sure I made bad choices but what are YOU doing? let the first innocent cast the stone..." is not at all sincere. (btw i have been going for the past 17 years and many of my burn buddies have been going much longer)

You do not seem to get that you have allowed your ideas and choices to affect others without having an awareness of how those choices affect others. Even beyond stories of others who had less than stellar interactions with your camp, you seem to be willfully ignorant to the consensus regarding how your past and possibly future choices affect the event as a whole.

To be clear, this discussion is about the CULTURE of the burn and specifically theme camps. How some theme camps aid the culture while others hinder it. The question remains if your (PnP) theme camp is helping/hurting the culture. Does an individual attending burning man have an obligation to the community or just to their specific group/camp? That seems to be the core issue. It is clear at least to me that each person at BM needs to work and struggle in some significant way for at LEAST one week in order to get the huge payoff that the event has to offer. Would you claim that someone who comes in Friday and leaves Sunday morning is truly getting the experience of BM?

If you disagree, can you then not understand that is pretty much more or less what PnP camps are promoting in the culture? Why is it hard for you to see that promoting the idea that BM welcomes people who do nothing more than pay for the privilege to attend, who are there only to party and make movies/take pictures and exploit the artists who work hard to get their art on the playa, negatively impact the entire community and degrade the culture? PnP's are essentially diminishing the experience of all those DPW, staffers, volunteers and burners who aren't trying to cut any corners in being a part of the community.

"No Spectators" has been a motto for a very long time. Camps supporting the idea of Tourism are not participating with the community or helping the culture of BM...irregardless of whether or not they profit financially.
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby forty_eight » Wed Mar 21, 2012 4:17 pm

Pop_Tart wrote:
That said, the concept of a for-profit P&P is just as disgusting as paying above face value for a ticket.


I agree. All theme camps should do double entry bookkeeping and open the ledgers for transparency's sake. I am "volunteering" to do the forensic audits for the BMORG ... for a price ... AND a ticket! lol

Not totally kidding about some financial reporting, though.
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Concierge Camping

Postby gyre » Wed Mar 21, 2012 4:20 pm

It seems the proper name for this is concierged camps.

I have heard people call them valet camp too.
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby EspressoDude » Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:05 pm

Eagles:

"Hotel California"

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night
There she stood in the doorway;
I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself,
"This could be Heaven or this could be Hell"
Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way
There were voices down the corridor,
I thought I heard them say...

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
Plenty of room at the Hotel California
Any time of year (Any time of year)
You can find it here

Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends
She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys she calls friends
How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat.
Some dance to remember, some dance to forget

So I called up the Captain,
"Please bring me my wine"
He said, "We haven't had that spirit here since nineteen sixty nine"
And still those voices are calling from far away,
Wake you up in the middle of the night
Just to hear them say...

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
They livin' it up at the Hotel California
What a nice surprise (what a nice surprise)
Bring your alibis

Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said "We are all just prisoners here, of our own device"
And in the master's chambers,
They gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives,
But they just can't kill the beast

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
"Relax, " said the night man,
"We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave! "
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby cosmicgiggle » Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:50 pm

chromatest wrote:
cosmicgiggle wrote:Now I learn that the "viral" video mainly responsible for the sudden HUGE influx of people wanting to come to this years burn which in turn lead to the lottery snafu which in turn lead to *many* long time camps NOT being able to attend this year is connected to your (MEGA PnP)camp?!?!?! :shock:


Actually, he said his camp-mate made "Home". The video most people are blaming is "Oh The Place's You'll Go".


I know. They both got picked up in the social media sphere and both primarily function as an enticing way to view a burn. which is kinda like propaganda when you think about it.
(for example, perfect weather, barely dressed women, large scale art, etc.)

sigh, unfortunately I feel like that is basically a description of Coachella...which is why I guess I could do without that stuff being presented as what BM is all about to people who have not yet been there.
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby junglesmacks » Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:55 pm

Just color me excited with something new to talk about. I'm so happy I could poop.




..and an actual healthy, productive, forward thinking, community benefitting, growth promoting one at that. It's group fucking hug time.
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby Headmaster Janus » Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:56 pm

@Cosmic --- not taking it personal, no worries there. If you mistake somehow how sharing my perspective is seen as defensive, then something is lost in translation. I understand that people feel strongly about Plug and Play and I've offered to take part in the conversation, hopefully shed some light about how we do things, create visibility to another model of Plug and Play, engage in conversations that seek to find a solution to something that is a reality: whether they register or not, people come to Burning Man and are tourists.

To be clear --- that is not Play)A(Skool. We are not catering to tourists nor providing tours. We don't build our programming around amusing JUST our Skoolers. We build our programming around the entire Burning Man community and our Skoolers participate and GIVE BACK through this venue --- our SkoolHouse. The Art Cars are another form of giving back and yes, I know that people get upset when they can't get on one. If you've ever been involved with an art car you know --- it's not easy. And there are restrictions for safety that come with a Registered vehicle. And sometimes there are times you don't mind 50,000 people wanting to ride on it, and other times you just wanna roll with your friends. That's how it works. Again, I don't see harm or foul in that. There have been many times when I've tried to hop a ride on an art car and I did just that. And there have been a few times I was told I couldn't. I guess my rose-colored lens on life just keeps me from dwelling on whether I got dissed or if it just wasn't meant to be? No biggie.

Am I trying to say we are perfect or that I don't see how this is about Culture? No way! That's how this entire Plug and Play conversation started --- because we weren't perfect but we are an interesting and long-standing part of the cultural fabric of Burning Man. We are a group of 200 people who have camped in other camps before for years and formed Play)A(Skool this year, for it's first year on the Playa. We are friends and a growing global family who through the years have enjoyed Burning Man and hope to see it grow and prosper because the impact it has on me, you and anyone that attends is profound. Why would you ever want to NOT share that? Virgins are always welcome but no one is able to "buy" a ticket to our "tour" of Burning Man on some website or otherwise. If I want to introduce a Virgin friend to my camp and Burning Man, then I'm welcome to invite that person. And that person will hold a share of responsibility for the camp duties. But there is no slated tour. They can do whatever they please. They will be expected to fulfill their camp responsibility, faithfully just like everyone else. If they want to go and disappear and come back after the Temple burn --- good for them as long as they have done their share! If they want to do absolutely nothing: then they don't get invited back. We hold our own to our standard as Burners and we are all in it together and choose to do it in a way that we believe is best for the entire community.

Do we look at the impact we have? Absolutely. Again, that's why I'm a part of this conversation. I wonder how many camps actually do though? Personally, I think our SkoolHouse programming last year was really great, thanks to the hard work of our Interactivity team. They curated classes by looking at the full spectrum of our community, published in JackRabbitSpeaks asking for speakers from the community to come and share ideas. We look at the full-spectrum of our Interactivity program that we offer as a camp on the Esplanade. And yes, we look at our impact and believe that it's positive and fulfills our Mission of helping to Bridge the Gap. We want to share the amazing world of Burning Man, not selfishly lock it away just for ourselves.

Play)A(Skool this year will continue to spread it's global reach through participation in Burning Man, but also other Regional Burns including: AfrikaBurn, NoWhere, KiwiBurn, Appalachia Burn, Siberia Burn and Ayer's Rock, to name just a few. Our Skoolers believe in the principles of Burning Man and act on that by bringing visibility of this incredible experience to people and places around the Globe.
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby alt12 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:59 pm

chromatest wrote:Heheh...
The first guy, Jon la Grace, "Theme Camp Organizer"...

A friend of mine on the bike club told me that this guy was trying to steal a whole slew of Yellow Bikes. They almost started a physical fight. Turns out that it was a misunderstanding or something... The misunderstanding was that Jon thought they were his bikes. How would somebody not know that they weren't his bikes, you may ask. Well, his clients were told to leave their (provided by the company) bikes in camp and they would be taken care of. MANY yellow bikes were left in camp, and Jon was so new to the event (and evidently his own business venture) that he had no idea that all of those yellow bikes weren't bikes that his company provided.

I don't know about you, but this isn't the sort of thing that I want to support at Burning Man.

Another way to look at what these camps are doing:

Volunteers build and work the entire city. DPW, Rangers, etc. put in uncountable hours making sure the event runs smoothly. These plug and play camps are then coming in and earning a profit off the work of us volunteers. How do you feel about that?


He's a 100% total docuhebag. That's how I feel about that. Thank you for confirming my initial impression from watching the video (i.e. a "theme camp organizer" so fucking clueless that he didn't know about vendors passes or the Nevada Health requirements.) Maybe he should learn how to attend burning man as an actual participant for a couple of years before deciding to leach off the event for his own personal profit and ego-boost....
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby lemur » Wed Mar 21, 2012 7:07 pm

Headmaster Janus wrote:Ah — my Dear Friends and Fellow Burners — it’s Headmaster Janus from Play)A(Skool aka Jon La Grace, one of the people on the Plug and Play video, reaching out to all of you and hoping to address some of the notions and ideas of what Plug and Play IS and IS NOT. I represent Play)A(Skool — a Plug and Play Camp.


great! you showed up on eplaya!


Hopefully some of you were able to come and participate in our Interactive heavy schedule last year that included daily talks, classes, demonstrations in our SkoolHouse as well as hosting the first-ever TEDxBlackRockCity at our camp — an incredible venue to share some of the great voices and incredible Ideas Worth Spreading from OUR wonderful community. Or perhaps you stumbled on our Sunday Graduation party with the amazing Lee Burridge spinning for 7 hours leading up to the Temple Burn? Hundreds of people were there and the moment was, for me, sublime — We had envisioned this very party while planning Play)A(Skool, and that vision was eclipsed by the true beauty of the moment. Our gifts to the Burning Man community not only included these incredible events, but we also shared 8 different art cars in our camp including Shaggadelica – the big furry bus, Shagillac, Christina (the 70ft boat), The Scorpion, BalanceVille, FishTank I and II, and others. One of our campers created the now viral video called, “Home” — which hopefully you’ve seen? Images of Burning Man that were featured in many global media outlets from a number of famous Burner photographers — yes — they too are from Play)A(Skool. As a Plug and Play camp, we eagerly invite each and every one of you as our gift to the community.


OH....... so thats how it is..

I dont see why you felt the need to preface your comments on this issue with this list of activities your camp was involved in. It really doesnt seem to be the subject of the discussion. It seems like an attempt to ingratiate..... ..it reads like youre attempting to sell us on the idea.

But really more-so it comes off as defensive (which you may understandably feel like right now.. ). "BUT WAIT, THERES MORE!" But really.. No matter if you were giving out free gold bars and water or not..

Your level of interaction, or not.. isnt the discussion. As i see it, the discussion is should we even allow a camp Business (non profit or not) like Playaskool to operate at burning man.

And we are very proud of our Family and their work to help bridge the gap —


What gap are you referring to? Guessing by the preface of this contribution to eplaya being a list of apparently noble things the camp has done, would it safe to assume the gap is one between many in the community not supporting the existence of such a camp and how much a camp like playaskool could do to gain favor in the community?

It sounds like you intend to bridge the gap between the apparent unacceptable existence of such camps with gifts?.. when has that ever worked?



Let me describe Play)A(Skool to you so perhaps it frames how our Plug and Play camp works. We are a NOT FOR PROFIT organization. Our books are open to anyone in our camp who requests to see them, as well as to the Burning Man Organization.


Im not a member of your camp and not the LLC. Can I look at your financial records?


Our financial model is simple: we look at what our needs are going to be for the year — power generation, water, dumping, providing shade structures for our lounge, kitchen, tenters, creating the SkoolHouse, Sound needs, Art provisions, etc.. — we take that number and divide it by the number of campers we have and that’s that! To me, that’s no different from when there were 8 of us at Hualapai Playa — we took the total cost of getting ourselves there and setting ourselves up and divided it by 8?? I’m not really sure how if we divide that number by 200 how all of the sudden we aren’t modeling the 10 principles?


We probably wouldnt be having this discussion if there were not any concern that camps like yours werent upholding the standards that many in this community have seemed to agree upon in the form of the 10 principals. In fact, id venture to say.. the fact that you apparently dont realize this might indicate you either dont 'get it' or youre able to rationalize them in a way that suits the business model (whether for profit or not)

There wouldnt be a video, or a blog post.. or this forum thread if there wasnt any concern that Playaskool and camps like it were adhering to the 10 principals.


We had 1 person that volunteered his time to overseeing the camp operations and we allocated a ticket for that person. We also allocated tickets to an additional 4 people who volunteered as well. One person was licensed to drive the water truck. The other 3 who were licensed to build the SkoolHouse from pallet racks and operate the SkyTrak lift. We ended up taking a collection at the end from out campers as gratitude for these guys that took time from their full Burning Man experience and offered to pay them for their time and work.


Why pay them money as gratitude?

You see.. this is the type of thing many in the community are likely frowning about.. In the world of the business of playaskool (for profit or not) and camps like it.. The way to show gratitude is by giving someone money.

Many in the community would surely frown on such behavior. Theres not much doubt in my mind that the reason we are having this discussion is because of the attitudes that create such an environment in a camp are against the principals and values that many in our community have begun to accept, in the form of the 10 principals.

Additionally, we hired a team of people to come to the Playa to make sure our LNT plan was fulfilled. (Here’s the kicker — the team we actually DID pay — they failed the LNT plan and we ended up getting a red mark — so this year, we are eliminating even THAT component and instead we are asking a group of PlayaSkoolers to stay for an additional week to ensure our compliance.)


So you learned that if a group has no investment in the camp itself, because they were paying customers who mooped up the place, or paid employees who were just working a job.. They had no real investment in the camps success.

This is that gap you mentioned earlier showing its head, i believe.

You found something that many learn, at burning man and elsewhere, that the only ones who really care about doing something right are the ones who have something to lose if they do it wrong. Your customers who paid to be a part of the camp? They had nothing to lose by mooping all over the place. The paid employees who were tasked with cleaning up? Apparently they didnt have anything to lose either.. it would seem that getting paid was their concern.

The camp got a RED mark on the moop map. It appears nobody involved apparently was concerned with the personal pride of cleaning up after themselves. Nobody seemed to seek the respect of the community at large for having done their duty to clean up.

We see that the culture of such a camp and the reasons for its existence create a problem that dont jive with the 10 principals that many in the community seem to agree on, no matter how many good things you do during the week in the form of activities... something didnt work out.

Other than that, it was the 200 people in our camp that were told WELL in advance that they would be part of a cooking team and a moop team — that they would be responsible for their RV’s and costumes. For all this talk about the Entitled Plug and Players — I can’t tell you how FAR that is from the reality of PlayaSkool. That’s the ticket to PlayaSkool — it doesn’t matter if you are a CEO, MD, Ph’D, MBA, CFO, WTF — we are all equal on the Playa — anonymous — and you’re gonna be responsible for our camp. Period.


But they arent responsible for the camp, period. You got red on the moop map.

And, if you have to remind everyone WELL in advance that they would be a part of cooking and cleaning up, how is that being responsible for the camp? If they were invested in the camp they wouldnt need to be told to do anything, they would know a job needs to be done and get it done. It seems to me like you had to remind everyone that they have to pitch in, and if you hadnt, they wouldnt have pitched in.

If you have to scold folks and remind them well in advance that they have to work the net effect is that it shows that these people are not equal to the majority of the hard workers on the playa. It shows that you realize people wouldnt be doing anything if you didnt remind them.

Mentioning reminders well before the event that playaskool clients would have to work really shows that their responsibility to the camp is limited to what someone tells them it is.

Responsibility for the camp, the 10 principals and burning man shouldnt come from a scolding, or a reminder, it should come from a desire to BE, to DO, to WANT to do that.. again, it seems to me that the culture that a camp like PLayaskool (whether for profit business or not for profit) creates is one where you have people who have to be told to DO, and wouldnt WANT to do it.. if they werent reminded to be doing the right thing.


7 of us form what we call the” Fakulty” — a group of volunteers who spend the entire year planning the camp. What an incredible journey it is for these people — the sacrifice becomes a test of many things: relationships, jobs, mental health. Last year our planning team were scattered all over the world: 2 in Cambodia, 2 in California, 1 in Canada, 1 in Colombia and 1 in London. We planned all year via Skype, WhatsApp, Free Conference Call and loads of emails. We never met in person — not once — until we were standing on the Playa in 2011. We didn’t pay anyone to do this job, we each volunteered our time and effort in the planning of the camp. To me, that smells like Self-Reliance. (And it sure felt like it — this will be year 13 for me and last year was one of the MOST demanding in my tenure at Black Rock City.) As a group of planners we dealt with Placement, Interactivity, Infrastructure, Kitchen Plans, MOOP, Layout, PR and Communication,etc.. Let’s face it — planning a camp of 200 takes a team of dedicated volunteers.


So in other words.. you are bringing out the old 'I WORKED REALLY HARD' spiel.. but as mentioned by another poster. We ALL work really hard planning our activities at the burn.

The difference here is that youre planning to work hard under the umbrella of a business (for profit or not) with clients that expect a certain level of service.

That difference represents the gap that you mentioned earlier, ..the gap rearing its ugly head.

No matter how hard you worked and how many months you planned.. the gap still remains!




Setting up camp and breaking it down is still the FUN pain in the ass it has ALWAYS been — Yes, a vast majority of our campers camped in RV’s, many who already own their own vehicles. And yes, we provide an infrastructure for our campers.


So the infrastructure is provided, as a gift? Or, do the campers (clients?) pay for the access to infrastructure and expect it to be provided because theyve paid for it?

Most camps I am familiar with who pool resources would allow folks who helped pool resources to use certain infrastructure.. but if something went wrong it would be an effort of the entire camp to get it fixed, and if it didnt work out people would be upset for the camp.

Would the campers (clients?) of playaskool be invested in making sure the generators worked in the same way as most other non-vendor camps? Or would they be the customer expecting to get what they paid for?


We are not new to the Playa. MANY in our group are long-time Burners. So this conversation is not new to us


Long-time burners or not there seems to be some concern about whether the people involved in Playaskool, and camps like it, really are embracing the principals and cultural norms that many in this community have largely agreed to, in the form of the 10 principals.

The reason we are having this discussion is because there appears to be, if not concern.. need for clarification.

In your attempt to clarify, so far, at least.. I have only seen more reasons to justify any possible concern for this issue.



We are a camp of 200 of the most incredible, giving, wonderful, dedicated Burners who come from all over the world for a week in the desert


But you arent. You got RED on the MOOP Map.

There were numerous bad interactions people had with at least one of the mutant vehicles that was related to your camp relayed by participants here on eplaya and elsewhere.. We have had people in this thread mention bad interactions with campers, and bad interaction with the camp itself when they came under the understanding they would be participating in an activity only to find out it was something different.


I’m proud of our Plug and Play camp and campers as I think we exemplify the creative spring and the fabric of Burning Man. I think we are a model community in many ways — and therefore really hope to continue the conversation about what Plug and Play means.


If this camp is a model community, why the apparent concern and need for this discussion, and video, about what such business related ventures (for profit or not) mean to the community?

Apparently if this was truly a model community we wouldnt need to have a discussion about whether or not we should even allow such business venture related camps at burning man (non profit or not).. We would be holding it up as an example of what people should do.

The very fact that we are having this discussion makes me believe that Playaskool, and ventures like it, may be a model of a community that the overall culture of burning man seeks to AVOID, based upon the largely agreed upon values espoused in the 10 principals.



The very image of Burning Man, the beautiful costumes and incredible art and one-of-a-kind experience — a great deal of those ARE Play)A(Skool, a Plug and Play camp. We are but one, there are others that are less self-reliant. But all things change in time and to just merely discount the value of this model would be dire.


Dire to whom? The business ventures who apparently seek to turn the burning man experience into a commodity?

It seems to me that the very reason we are having this discussion is that some think that the very existence of such camps could be dire.

No, I think that from what youve said here on eplaya, what we saw in the video, and what I have learned elsewhere in my time.. It just might be possible that not discounting such ventures would be dire.


I was very pleased when Harley Dubois and Terry Schoop invited us to participate in this conversation because there are many different ways to do Plug and Play — but suffice to say — our model is NOT a Disneyland ride of tourists being whisked from place to place on the Playa like some sort of Falling Down the Rabbit Hole ride.


Were you pleased because it offered you a chance to sell the idea? To make your case?

Or were you pleased because you think that these types of business ventures (for profit or not) actually have a place in the community and that now you might actually be recognized as a welcome element?

If you havnt been looking at the feedback to these camps and this idea i'd encourage you to do so.. Many in the community seem to be pushing back very hard against such ventures. We still have many who are confused at what this, perhaps intentionally, confusing term "plug and play" means.

The talk of financial models, or clients, as mentioned in the video, reveals the true nature of this.. Business ventures operating within the confines of an event that has a community which largely embraces decommidification.



“Every generation gets a chance to change the world
Pity the nation that won’t listen to your boys and girls
Cos the sweetest melody is the one we haven’t heard”


hmm, the usage of this quote seems quite interesting to me!

So, do you mean to imply playaskool is taking its chance to change burning man.. And pity the community that pushes back against ventures that seek to commodify the experience? ..that the sweetest melody burners could hear is the sound of cash register chiming ?
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby pagis » Wed Mar 21, 2012 7:09 pm

Many things bother me about P&P camps. I feel like most of the problems were already mentioned in this thread. While if it was only up to me I might decide not to have P&P camps, burning man is about radical inclusion and one of the main parts of that is accepting other people, their ideas, their wishes and what they want to do. Not just allowing it but accepting it.

I also find it very hard to know that some people work in burning man. Not work for burning man but in it. When you work for the foundation you are, in a way, working for the collective. Also, as far as I know very few people are getting paid (but I really don't know just something I've heard). But when you work for a P&P camp, you're job is not to make the playa a more awesome place for everyone but to make the tent for your clients, to make money for your boss or to make money for rent.

I feel like this year we finally took a huge step as a community, switching from an LLC to a nonprofit. This move was done for a reason and that reason, in my mind, should play a big part in why P&P camps should not be allowed in. Exactly that. I will be much more willing to see P&P camps organized by the burningman project. This will make P&P camps a contributing part of BRC, both by making money for the community, which can pay for grants, low income tickets etc. and by making sure that P&P camps are there to really introduce burning man to people who will otherwise not come (and I do want to include these people, I just don't want to include the LLCs that bring them). It will also allow the community to make sure that campers and P&P camps are really included and including (AKA part of burning man) and not just tourists, alien to our society and community.
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby alt12 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 7:30 pm

Headmaster Janus wrote:@Cosmic --- not taking it personal, no worries there. If you mistake somehow how sharing my perspective is seen as defensive, then something is lost in translation. I understand that people feel strongly about Plug and Play and I've offered to take part in the conversation, hopefully shed some light about how we do things, create visibility to another model of Plug and Play, engage in conversations that seek to find a solution to something that is a reality: whether they register or not, people come to Burning Man and are tourists.

To be clear --- that is not Play)A(Skool. We are not catering to tourists nor providing tours. We don't build our programming around amusing JUST our Skoolers. We build our programming around the entire Burning Man community and our Skoolers participate and GIVE BACK through this venue --- our SkoolHouse. The Art Cars are another form of giving back and yes, I know that people get upset when they can't get on one. If you've ever been involved with an art car you know --- it's not easy. And there are restrictions for safety that come with a Registered vehicle. And sometimes there are times you don't mind 50,000 people wanting to ride on it, and other times you just wanna roll with your friends. That's how it works. Again, I don't see harm or foul in that. There have been many times when I've tried to hop a ride on an art car and I did just that. And there have been a few times I was told I couldn't. I guess my rose-colored lens on life just keeps me from dwelling on whether I got dissed or if it just wasn't meant to be? No biggie.

Am I trying to say we are perfect or that I don't see how this is about Culture? No way! That's how this entire Plug and Play conversation started --- because we weren't perfect but we are an interesting and long-standing part of the cultural fabric of Burning Man. We are a group of 200 people who have camped in other camps before for years and formed Play)A(Skool this year, for it's first year on the Playa. We are friends and a growing global family who through the years have enjoyed Burning Man and hope to see it grow and prosper because the impact it has on me, you and anyone that attends is profound. Why would you ever want to NOT share that? Virgins are always welcome but no one is able to "buy" a ticket to our "tour" of Burning Man on some website or otherwise. If I want to introduce a Virgin friend to my camp and Burning Man, then I'm welcome to invite that person. And that person will hold a share of responsibility for the camp duties. But there is no slated tour. They can do whatever they please. They will be expected to fulfill their camp responsibility, faithfully just like everyone else. If they want to go and disappear and come back after the Temple burn --- good for them as long as they have done their share! If they want to do absolutely nothing: then they don't get invited back. We hold our own to our standard as Burners and we are all in it together and choose to do it in a way that we believe is best for the entire community.

Do we look at the impact we have? Absolutely. Again, that's why I'm a part of this conversation. I wonder how many camps actually do though? Personally, I think our SkoolHouse programming last year was really great, thanks to the hard work of our Interactivity team. They curated classes by looking at the full spectrum of our community, published in JackRabbitSpeaks asking for speakers from the community to come and share ideas. We look at the full-spectrum of our Interactivity program that we offer as a camp on the Esplanade. And yes, we look at our impact and believe that it's positive and fulfills our Mission of helping to Bridge the Gap. We want to share the amazing world of Burning Man, not selfishly lock it away just for ourselves.

Play)A(Skool this year will continue to spread it's global reach through participation in Burning Man, but also other Regional Burns including: AfrikaBurn, NoWhere, KiwiBurn, Appalachia Burn, Siberia Burn and Ayer's Rock, to name just a few. Our Skoolers believe in the principles of Burning Man and act on that by bringing visibility of this incredible experience to people and places around the Globe.



It sounds to me like a camp of primped-up entitled brats that hire people to make their art (e.g. the mutant vehicles crews you hired) and clean-up after them (i.e . the clean-up crew you hired). If this is where is Burning Man is headed, we are indeed lost...
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby Headmaster Janus » Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:26 pm

PapaBear2120 wrote:I was shown this video last summer by someone who was part of the build crew and catering for this camp. I don't know anyone but her and I'm going to refrain from making my own comments about it for the time being. I do think it's a fitting video for this discussion.



Man OH MAN! Obviously NO ONE has watched this video and connect the dots! Even caught ol' Janus by surprise. It certainly makes this conversation ALL the more interesting.

Does anyone see the elephant in the room?
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby lemur » Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:35 pm

Headmaster Janus wrote:We had daily MOOP crews made up from our camp volunteers. Every person who participates in Play)A(Skool is fully aware that we are volunteer based and each member must fulfill that obligation. In fact, everyone was assigned a day to Moop and a day to Cook.


How exactly are these people volunteering if everyone in the camp is expected to fulfill their obligation of doing their part? It seems to me a misuse of the word, especially in the context of the event itself.

We have volunteers who work to make the event possible for the people who show up (DMV, Rangers, Gate, etc..etc) They are volunteering as a service to the community at large to make burning man possible. many of them without any form of compensation.

Who exactly are the people in playaskool volunteering for if they pick up moop in their own camp? Themselves? If everyone in the camp is expected to pitch in, that isnt volunteering. That is being a part of a camp...

The use of the term in this context seems to me to be one of "LOOK AT HOW HARD WE WORKED, WITHOUT BEING ASKED" rather than "we are all committed to this project and we do it whether asked to or not" ...and youve already stated that youve had to remind people that they had to work, and assign tasks to these supposed volunteers.

The volunteer depts at burning man dont own the event, it isnt explicitly their project. Burning Man is the project of the LLC for profit business. These volunteers rarely get any compensation and they volunteer for something that isnt really their own to make it happen for others.

Camps doing an art car or an awesome camp thing might have done so on their own behalf, but in doing so theyve owned their own project, and anyone directly involved in that project isnt a volunteer, not in the context of burning man...not in my mind.

Cleaning up moop in your own camp isnt a volunteer effort. Its an effort to sustain your own project.


Let me just state for the record here --- we are a diverse group of people, economically as well. The Fakulty, including myself, are Volunteers --- we GIVE our time and effort.


You might do it on your own behalf, but running a theme camp isnt volunteering in the context of burning man. Not in my mind. You are running your own project.. And I dont really think you deserve a pat on the back for GIVING your time and effort, just like every single other project that does their thing at burning man.. ..I will emphasize that, THEIR THING. Again, it might be done on your own behalf but without it burning man would be just fine, if you decide to give out snocones thats your choice, but if you dont nothing is gonna go undone.

Burning Man is a project of the for profit LLC. the people who work the event are volunteering, and largely do so without being compensated. Without these volunteers burning man couldnt happen.

Working the DMV, Rangers, Recycle Camp, Airport, Arctica, Cafe, Earth Guardians, Greeters, Lamplighters, Lost & Found, Playa Info... etc.. THAT is volunteering.

Choosing to pay money to ride around on a fancy art car you built? Or run a really awesome theme camp? Perhaps of your own accord, but not volunteering. Not at burning man. Because even without your theme camp that you chose to do, burning man could still happen.

Playaskool isnt required to make burning man function, and in that aspect, whether you do it of your own volition or not as a gift,.. in my mind, it aint volunteering.. not in the context of burning man.



For example, I'm not being paid to take part in a conversation about Plug and Play. I choose to spend my time on an issue I find important when on the one hand Plug and Play is being totted as posing an existential threat to Burning Man and on the other hand I believe that we are one of the largest contributors at Burning Man and our programming and art ARE the creative fabric that people come to participate with.


I think youre demonstrating the fact that you dont get it..

One of the largest contributors at burning man? Clearly you miss the point when much of the community seemed to agree upon the words that Larry Et Al wrote up: "The value of a gift is unconditional."

And whether you believe you are one of the largest contributors at the event or not.. you seem to be forgetting this one: "our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation."

You seem to think that its a teeter totter scale, that you can outweigh the damage of turning burning man into a commodity with contributing interactivity.

If that was so, surely we should allow Smirnoff, Absolut and Ford to setup shop on the playa, so long as they give back, whats so wrong with them turning the event into a commodity ? (IF you arent aware this is exactly what the people at Bonnaroo do.. the sponsors have to give a free participatory service/event to the concertgoers, of course plastered with advertising.. in order to take part)

You can give back the most out of any one ever at burning man.. and people will still consider camps like PLayaskool an existential threat to the event... Because they are a threat.



I think the bias is based NOT on radical self reliance, but instead on economics.


The bias is based on the community seeking to avoid ventures like Playaskool (whether for profit or not) going against quite a few of the things many of this community agree upon as shared values.

Apparently youre able to rationalize these things away, or able to believe that you can put heavy weight on one of the values and nullify your transgressions on another.. But really.. as you see in the feedback to this issue all over the community.. It doesnt work that way.
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby 5280MeV » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:19 pm

I don't get it.

This conversation here is missing pieces... or some people are not saying the whole story.

Frankly, P&P sounds stupid. I would not want to do that.

The art of BM is amazing because it is a testament to what crazed people can accomplish out of the sheer madness of bringing their shit out in the desert - art establishment and critics be damned. If there was a big check written then it is all invalidated, it is all subject to the standard critique of commercial art.

If you just made some giant fire breathing car with the skills and resources that you and your friends scraped together for shits and giggles then you are so awesome that I want to cry.

Burning Man was incredible because I had to choose between melted powerbar and smoked clams for lunch - both purchased in Reno because I didn't know what the fuck I was doing - and there I learned the power of smoked clams. I learned the importance of moleskin when my toes came apart. I drank the saltwater from the canned tuna - because that shit is delicious while sitting in the dust under a small patch of shade.

Drinking canned tuna water is super-important. This is where radical inclusion comes into play. When you drink the canned tuna water, you don't look down at another person, you don't think - "that guy seems nerdy or undesirable - I don't want to hang out with him." You don't think that because you are drinking canned tuna water, and under these circumstances you have little room to judge the social standing of others.

I am sure that many other people have stories like these, but you are all doing it wrong. The canned tuna water is essential. I don't think that you can can this experience though. If you make it a group activity then it loses its power. It has to be spontaneous.

I am trying to say something here, but I cannot find the right words. Things that are amazing in the conventional sense - the large and spectacular - ultimately these become commodities and are built from commodities at a large enough scale. Something happens in the heat and the dust, something that I don't think you can get if you don't surrender yourself to it - more or less alone.
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby simoneski » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:22 pm

I meant to reply to Janus' video post but messed up.

Seriously, this rich guy based his bday party theme camp, on Maslow's hiearchy of needs? I want to puke.... Sure the gourmet food and deluxe lodgings sound great, if you are on Bora Bora, but this is Burning man. Did you notice how clean everyone looked? I don't think the guests got to experience anything that wasn't arranged for them. If more of these types of groups become the majority, it will be the end. I doubt that this camp invited any poor burner folk in for dinner or cocktails. :lol:
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby Stickygreen » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:44 pm

lemur wrote:
Headmaster Janus wrote:
Let me describe Play)A(Skool to you so perhaps it frames how our Plug and Play camp works. We are a NOT FOR PROFIT organization. Our books are open to anyone in our camp who requests to see them, as well as to the Burning Man Organization.


Im not a member of your camp and not the LLC. Can I look at your financial records?




Still waiting to see those financial records.....

Post that shit, make it public if you're so proud of your not for profit-ness...
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby Whyknots » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:57 pm

Anyone get invited to the Krug Party last year? I hear they contributed in a big way too....MOOP!

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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby ZaphodBurner » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:21 pm

Headmaster Janus wrote:
Does anyone see the elephant in the room?


I see an RV that can be rented by calling an 800-number and a bunch of people talking about how cool some guy is. Well, I ain't the one to j-judge, but...

Let me just say that I hate all videos about Burning Man because absolutely zero of them represent my experience. Except the Soul in the Machine demo vid and maybe some old Mutaytor shit. And the fireworks. It's hard to fuck up fireworks.

I think every time Burning Man is captured on film and sold on a disc or shared on the internet, part of its soul dies.
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby cosmicgiggle » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:35 pm

lemur wrote:You seem to think that its a teeter totter scale, that you can outweigh the damage of turning burning man into a commodity with contributing interactivity.


thank you so much lemur for articulating to Janus some of the issues I was trying to bring up and a double thank you for clearly stating what is obviously at stake here...

the lesson here seems to be that even a bunch of long time burners can get together to produce a camp which seems perfect and ideal on paper but is in fact, extremely destructive in real life to both the community and culture as well as the playa itself.

the problem is not "what or who" but "why and how". the way you answer the "WHY" with the "HOW" is what makes each year at the burn a memorable success or an utter disaster for both yourself, your camp and the community. hope that makes sense. (the "HOW" being where playaskool and other PnP camps are getting it wrong)

commodification can not be demystified on or off the playa, so Janus you should not seek some kind of exception that makes your ideas viable but other PnPs undesirable. especially when you seek to be involved in various regionals beyond the main event...
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby LegendZero » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:53 pm

Thank you lemur for saying almost everything I wanted to say better than I could have said it.

I wante to add that all my life I have believed in some things, and it always bugged me that people around me never seemed to understand. When I met burners and found out about TTITD I felt for the first time that there were people out there who really "got" it, who really understood things I had trouble expressing. I understand now that these were things like radical inclusion, communal effort, leave no trace, and thanks to much help I am finally beginning to "get" self expression, radical and otherwise.

The discussion so far has been mainly about decommodification and I can get behind that 100% but there is another principal as well here that is intertwined with the question of vendor camps, everyone is talking about it without mention it by name (or maybe I missed it I'll admit to skimming a bit) and it is communal effort. There was comment in one of the tickets thread about the difference between sucking dick for a ticket and scalping one, the moral being that using money to earn the privledge of going was against the values of the community. Money does not equal effort (despite what an economist might tell you) A broke college student who earns a ticket as camp masseuse, who brought their outfits and tent made an EFFORT to be there, to participate. A disabled person who needs help just to survive out there but wants to come because it has that much meaning, who much then as friends and family to make this thing possible for the are making an EFFORT to be there. An able-bodied man who brings his yurt and dome and arts and booze and a cool light bike is making an EFFORT. As Lemur pointed out, one of the binding forces of burning man is we all went through roughly the same amount of effort to get to the playa, either in planning and asking for assistance and doing whatever they could or in building preparing and setting up. These vendor camps allow people to use money instead of effor and that causes a fundamental psychological difference in the experience.

lemur wrote:I dont see why you felt the need to preface your comments on this issue with this list of activities your camp was involved in. It really doesnt seem to be the subject of the discussion. It seems like an attempt to ingratiate..... ..it reads like youre attempting to sell us on the idea.


One thing I feel when I read your posts janus is that I am listening to a politician, I feel like a car salesman is trying to tell me shit is sugar. I feel like I am listening to any of the tens of thousands of people I have met before that simply don't "get" it. My hope is, that because this is happening in a group where a majority does GET it that it will see that you are using your STATED INTENT to mask your ACTIONS which point to an entirely different ACTUAL INTENT.
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