XyloVan needs advice - BRC DMV denial

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XyloVan needs advice - BRC DMV denial

Postby factoid » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:13 am

Friends, help!

Long story short, I spent six months hand-building and mounting gongs, xylophones and metallophones all over XyloVan ( http://XyloVan.com ) and the DMV just denied my application for an invitation. It's our first mutant vehicle, our first massive playa project, and possibly the coolest thing I've ever made.

While XyloVan is wonderful, interactive, musical and entirely in the spirit of Burning Man, DMV says it isn't visually "mutated" enough to earn a coveted playa license. They were kind and encouraging, but firm. I now have 6 days to make an appeal, based probably largely on a radical redesign.

Unless I figure out something fast, we'll be doomed to sit in camp or park in an Artery-designated patch of playa for the entire event, instead of driving around letting everyone play, jamming with other musical installations and generally enjoying it as we intended. [i]Not[/i] a great option.

I'm thinking the fastest mutation without destroying the base vehicle (or rendering it street-unlegal) would be to use PVC and fabric to create a shell that hides XyloVan's Ford-iness.

I know how to handle myself around PVC, bolts and rivets, but have absolutely no idea what the best (and cheapest) fabric would be, nor where to get it in huge sailboat-like quantities in Los Angeles, fast. And cheap. (did I mention cheap? You should see our budget).

Any help or advice would be massively appreciated.
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Postby This Woman » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:23 am

I personally think DPW has crossed over and fully embraced mindless beurocracy.

Good luck with your appeal, though I don't hold out much hope for you (see above). Neighbors last year made a huge groucho marx fake glasses, eyes and nose for their golf cart, which was declined for the same reason.

It was completely lost on DPW, that the golf cart retaining some of its look was crucial to the piece. Hello?

In the last two years this has become the rule, not the exception.

Your art car sounds awesome - I truly hope to play with it on the playa.
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Postby Dr. Pyro » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:28 am

Last year Camp Incognito's design (the Groucho art car) was finally approved.

You could always appeal and do the honorable thing: Lie to them and hope the people at the DMV on the playa like your design. Not that I would ever do such a thing, because that would be wrong.
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Postby This Woman » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:30 am

LMAO it was!? I thought you just...you know....doing something wrong. I should have known better.
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Postby Lord Of Ruin » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:31 am

I understand the frustration.

Did you not pre0submit plans and such to them? I've never done an art car myself, but my understanding is that one of the very basic guidelines for approval is that it be nearly unrecognizable as the original vehicle.

I understand the complaints of some artists, but I can totally undersand why the "glasses on a golf cart" wouldn't get approved at all.

But I digress.

I guess my tack on this would be to ask you, what does mobility do for the art itself? I don't get why driving it around from place to place vs. having it placed as a stationary art installation is so bad?

Depending on placement, it's likely to get far more interaction/participants than driving around could ever get.

I say you take the tack to support having it placed as an art installation and whatever that would require of you to do. Much easier than radically mutating the vehicle at this late date. Unless they've told you otherwise, the bar would be pretty high to get it approved, even with the sheets/shell idea.

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Fabric?

Postby factoid » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:32 am

Any thoughts on the best/cheapest type/source of fabric? I really need to solve this conceptually.
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Purposes

Postby factoid » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:35 am

Lord of Ruin -

As 7-time burners with two kids (who are 8 and 10, coming now to their fourth burn) we built the van with 3 purposes in mind:

- Make big art
- Quit spending $700 on rental vans to carry our kids and all their/our apposite camp crap out to the playa every year
- Have a vehicle allowing us to stay out on the playa with the kids well past their bedtime

Parking is not an option, so mutation is the way to go.
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Postby This Woman » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:36 am

I like the mobility idea. I can even imagine playing with it on the run.

Dangerous? Hell yes. Doable? Why not?

Though it now occurs to me that may be some of your problem. Maybe DPW is imagining people playing your gongs right before being thrown under your wheels.
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Postby Token » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:40 am

Garment District, Helloooooo.

You never been to Santi street?

It's downtown. Go early in the am and you must haggle and drive a hard bargain or they will not sell you anything.
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Purposes

Postby factoid » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:41 am

And sorry, to your point, Lord of Ruin -

The thing is heavily wired and amped, and needs some babysitting to sound right.

The choice without a license is to either park it and have it sound like crap, plus miss all the great interactions with people we've enjoyed at MakerFaire and over events, or to have one of us chained to the van at its Artery-sited location, babysitting.

The whole point was to make it mobile so that we could drive around, jam with other installations, bring it to people rather than hope they stumble across it.
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Re: Purposes

Postby ygmir » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:43 am

factoid wrote:Lord of Ruin -

As 7-time burners with two kids (who are 8 and 10, coming now to their fourth burn) we built the van with 3 purposes in mind:

- Make big art
- Quit spending $700 on rental vans to carry our kids and all their/our apposite camp crap out to the playa every year
- Have a vehicle allowing us to stay out on the playa with the kids well past their bedtime

Parking is not an option, so mutation is the way to go.



how do those goals, mesh, with the goals of "mutant vehicle licensing"?

seems a close examination of your goals and the goals of DMV might help.

It sounds like you're driving it out there, then, going to mutate it?
nothing wrong with that, just wondering.

from the pics I saw on your site, it looks very much like a van, with stuff (albeit cool stuff), hanging all over it........but, the "looks like a van" part is probably what is hanging you up.
and, the more of the "public" it can/will carry, the better......it does not look like it's made to let people get off and on easily, or often....or carry folks around.
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Postby Lord Of Ruin » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:43 am

I have to say, having read the email thread in your link that I side with the DMV here.

I just don't get why it has to move for it to fulfill its purpose.

In fact, it seems to me that a great amount of it cannot work when it is in motion, unless you envision peole running alongide at 5 mph playing the xylophone, goinging etc.

Again, I see a real opportunity here to go the Artery route and get great placement and become a destination/focal point for people as an art installation.

Honestly, it feels like an art installation that you simply mounted on a Van chassis to make power and structural mounting more convenient to me.

This is not to say that I don't appreciate it...in fact I've added it to my list to seek out on playa that I build each year.

And to those that complain about DMV, I totally get the frustration. But in prior years, the subjectivity of it all generated complaints. So now they are trying to be very objective about it, which seems "beauracratic" to folks. But park her butt at DMV for a couple hours with a cold drink and just watch the asshattery of people bringing golf cart after golf cart up with nothing more than some pasted on daisy decals. Poorly diguised personal transportation trying to trojan horse into the event as "art"...

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Re: Fabric?

Postby EmilyD » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:45 am

factoid wrote:Any thoughts on the best/cheapest type/source of fabric? I really need to solve this conceptually.
I suggest you find some local sewers right quick. Because you're in the LA area there are tons of great, cheap fabric jobbers right downtown. Since your time is limited you need a small army who knows how to deal with fabric. Try finding some help here:

viewtopic.php?p=562328&highlight=#562328

and here on Tribe:

http://craftyvixens.tribe.net/?_click_path=Application[tribe].Tribe[7db22391-eeef-4a0e-8fc6-e4e0978c4065]

http://artcars.tribe.net/?_click_path=Application[tribe].Tribe[402e9fcb-b307-4c7b-b5c5-81122af736dd]

If I were closer I'd definitely help you being both a costumer and an artcar artist.
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Driving

Postby factoid » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:49 am

Actually, yeah, we did envision people walking alongside playing it. That's how it worked in a parade we were lucky enough to join, and its something that would only reinforce its purpose.

But I didn't want to get into a long discussion of whether DMV is right on their initial decision, or whether we actually somehow "deserve" a license.

Obviously they're enforcing the policies strictly and correctly due to the increasing number of vehicles and dwindling number of BLM vehicle permits.

I'm just looking for technical advice on the mechanics of completing a satisfactory mutation - something that will factor into the design I need to come up with in the next six days if I'm to pull this off.

Can anyone point me to the best type/source of cheap fabric to use over a PVC frame?
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Postby jella » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:50 am

I've read the whole sage and it's certainly a nail bitter.
Being in LA should get you the ability to try the fabric district. I recommend a spandex type fabric for ease of application to a pvc frame given it's stretch quality and light weight. I have my fingers crossed for you, and kudo's for all your effort thus far. :D
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Thanks!

Postby factoid » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:52 am

Emily's reply slipped in while I was replying to Lord of Ruin.

I can sew, not worried about that, just concerned that all the fabric we considered for our sunshades over the keyboards is too expensive to buy in the sort of quantity we'll need for a full mutation.

Thanks so much for the pointers, and the kind words, Emily. I'll dig into those and post back here on success.
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Postby ygmir » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:53 am

those picnic table covers.......the colorful plastic ones....come in big rolls, and, are pretty darn cheap.......available at lots of home and party stores.

might be quick and cheap, and colorful..........
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Postby oneeyeddick » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:55 am

been there , done this.
lycra does well on strethed pvc frames, and lets backlight through quite nicely.
I mask my vehicle with cut up water tanks(fiberglass), but you are already heavy enough as it is.

the correspondence you have had with the DMV was an interesting read, that is actually a lot nicer than the way things have been sometimes in the past, I guess they are getting better at nice (don't tell Doc Pyro).

don't panic, just draw them a pic, then piece your final concept together, it doesn't even have to be exactly what you drew, as long as you are "covered"

do beware that even if you are approved to bring it, you still have to go to the DMV and have awhole nuther' set of hotties test your muster before you can finally drive it.

check your PM in a few minutes.
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Postby factoid » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:58 am

Oneeyeddick - yep, I know this is only step one of the Mighty Trial by Fire. Tx for the encouragement, to be sure.
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Postby gaminwench » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:59 am

factoid...PM sent
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Re: Driving

Postby EB » Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:28 pm

factoid wrote:Actually, yeah, we did envision people walking alongside playing it.


Even at 5 mph, this sounds very dangerous. Especially with the crappy playa conditions we've been having the last few years. It's not outside the realm of possibility somebody could fall under a wheel and get run over before you knew what was going on.

And now you want to cover it in fabric?
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Postby percussivepaul » Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:28 pm

When I read your description I imagined a van absolutely gobbled up by xylophones. I was honestly disappointed when I saw the actual photo and I am sympathetic to the DMV here. (http://www.xylovan.com/wp-content/uploa ... yloVan.jpg)

My suggestions are not to half-ass this and cover it with fabric, but rather to take what you've done and go further. Think big and crazy and overwhelming, you want people's jaws to drop. Make some massive gongs and cymbals and mount them shooting off every which way. So many that they totally obscure the doors and windows. Make it look like a wild forest but instead of mushrooms and flowers, it's cymbals and steel drums and plastic tubs and xylophone keys. Make every square inch of the vehicle percussive. Maybe resonant wood blocks too. You could make marimba blocks that are so fucking huge they make the earth shake and you'd have to play them with a sledge.

Also, one of the great things about mutant vehicles is hitching a ride on them and hanging out. It's hard to tell from your photos but it looks like the only way to ride in this thing is in the seats. That's boring and not very inviting. I don't know if it's workable, but what I would really love in a vehicle like this would be if you built a deck on the roof, with a railing, maybe a canopy, and a ladder of course, so people can jump on. You could have more instruments up there too to allow for mobile jams. The railing itself could be an instrument.

Good luck. I realize it's easy for me to say all this when I'm not the one who has to put in the time, but I hope you manage to make this work somehow as I would really love to play this thing. I'll look for you on the playa, let me know where you'll wind up.
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Postby peachandpapa » Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:57 pm

Go downtown to the garment district. We have used Neuman Bros. and Michael Levine in the past. Once you start walking around, you will see that there are a shit load of fabric stores. Barter your ass off and cash is king! Some type of lycra material is just what you're looking for: stretches and is strong. Your concept is great: interactive and fun! Make it look like anything but a van and they will pass you. Good luck!
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Postby factoid » Thu Jul 15, 2010 1:04 pm

Percussive Paul

- sure, that's the end goal, but I can't get there by Burn Week. It took me six months of nights and weekends and close to $6,000 hand-building instruments to get even this far. Check out the blog - it's a pretty laborious process.

I'm forced to half-ass not only the mutation but the current visual aesthetic because the DMV definition of mutation is weighted almost exclusively on visual impact rather than sonic or interactive impact.

Trust me - the van has to be played to be fully appreciated - and you'll definitely get your chance. Even if we fail to get a license, we'll be out on the playa with it.

But half-ass it I will, if that's what it takes to get permission to show the vehicle and interact with burners in the way we envisioned when the crazy idea first came into our heads.

As for giving rides - there's a substantial roof deck with a ladder up, that we'll be fitting with shorty beach chairs and more instruments for people to play as we drive.

EB - far from dangerous - we ran it in a parade with no mishaps, and me running alongside at like 6mph - but yeah, considering dust, booze, drugs, stupidity and just-plain human haplessness, we won't do that on the playa any faster than 1.5mph, and not without a lot of caveats to those surrounding it at the time.

Peachandpapa - thanks very much for the names - that's exactly the kind of pointers I needed. I'll keep y'all posted.
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Postby Token » Thu Jul 15, 2010 1:09 pm

Whoopsi daisy

Just saw the picture PP linked and I gotta say, no amount of Lycra is going to save you.

When you first talked about this I thought the van chassis would be gutted and replaced with the xylophone pannels.

Right now its a decorated van art car, not a mutated vehicle.

Don't waste any more money and effort. Do it right for next year with liberal application of palsma cutter.
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Postby factoid » Thu Jul 15, 2010 1:14 pm

Listen, I *get* that it isn't a mutant vehicle by the very strict DMV definition. What's frustrating is that people don't get what it *is*.

Rather than try to persuade them when they just can't see it, I'm working to turn it into a mutant vehicle by the DMV definition so that I'll have the chance to do so. Damn me for trying, I guess.
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Postby oneeyeddick » Thu Jul 15, 2010 1:19 pm

Ignore Token , he didn't read the whole thing from the DMV and has an ugly beard.
My MV is street legal also, and I have had to "raise the bar" 3 times in the last 9 years. get the drawing done, get your approval and then go shopping for cloth or whatever you choose.
There is a lot you can do without fucking up the vehicle and having that nice rack on top will make it easy peasy.
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Postby Bling » Thu Jul 15, 2010 1:22 pm

Having looked at the photos, if you use fabric, I hope it's to cover the windows with something that LOOKS like a giant xylophone, so folks get an idea of what it is before they get all the way up to it. So, different colors representing keys. A roof rack would be wicked cool, too. Maybe a drum set on top...
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Postby Token » Thu Jul 15, 2010 1:27 pm

***pout***

Oh I read it but I guess I'm just a hairy jerk.

Due to the high number of applications and limited number of vehicles we can invite, we simply can not invite all applicants, even when they meet the minimum requirements. We don’t want anyone to have the sad experience of bringing a vehicle out to the playa and having it denied a license after all that work! We do our best to give invitations to those most likely to get approved on playa.


I'm a pessimist and reading this part tells me that you are fighting the quota no matter what you do. i.e. You be fucked.
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Postby factoid » Thu Jul 15, 2010 1:31 pm

Dude, I want pessimism, I can talk to my 10-year-old. :p

I'm workin' the problem in the only way that seems to make sense.

And no one ever called you a jerk. But the hairy? daaayummmn.
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