A DECLARATION ON INTERDEPENDENCE: A MANIFESTO FOR RENO

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

A DECLARATION ON INTERDEPENDENCE: A MANIFESTO FOR RENO

Postby brighteststar » Sun Jan 30, 2011 10:46 am

A DECLARATION OF INTERDEPENDENCE: a manifesto for reno and northern nevada

Imagine if you will a way to turn a liability into a advantage, an advantage that requires nothing besides a different way of looking at a problem. Would you be open to that? I think you would be. I have great faith in you. And what if i told you,that in the process of allowing this to happen you would not need to become something that was foreign to yourself but to simply embrace a slightly different vision and spirit that was arguably there from the start. What if i told you that despite the apparent simplicity of this act of magic, it would require a way of thinking intrinsically foreign to yourself and might constitute the most difficult thing you have ever done?

Do i have your attention? Good.Now let us replace a personal perspective with that of a place,in time and geography and history that many of us call home:RenoN. Let us see our future through the eyes of a community.

Before we can formulate a vision of where we wish to go,we must be brutally honest about where we have come from and where we are in the present. Reno and Nevada in general have existed to serve the dark side of human longings, from divorce to prostitution,from gambling to drinking.And who can blame us? We needed a reason to exist,a way to grow, a path to survive.And we did it well, maybe too well. We made a model so successful,so attractive and so alluring that eventually we sowed the seeds of our own destruction.nevada made gambling seem cleaner,easier and more respectable to the rest of the nation and in doing that, exported it as a way for other states and communities to pay their bills. our bill is now coming due.Theirs will come later.

Our problem of course is the same one faced by cities across the country, a weakening economy and job market, budget shortfalls that will continue to lead to diminished services and amenities provided by the city. With an economy that has been based largely on tourism fueled by gambling and large scale events, we have additional problems that need to be addressed and questions that need to be asked. Do we believe we will continue to keep the lights on here in the same way we have in the past? If not, do our leaders in both the business and political world have a long term plan for managing our descent from our primary source of revenue,gaming? Wishing for something will not make it happen. Our future has little to do with bringing retirees on tour buses from california and the northwest to spend their meagre social security checks on games of chance. We need to replace this picture with a new one.We need to dream big.

Richard Florida,an author of books like "The rise of the creative class" and "Who's my city" speaks about the increasing competition between cities and regions for the types of people who are an asset to any place they choose to live in: artists,inventors,entrepreneurs,techies,visionaries and dreamers. These places are where the lions share of americas future will coalesce, as they create a magnetic pull for the best and brightest to live in close proximity to each other to network and share ideas.We all know some of these places: San francisco, Austin,New York city,Portland,Boston and more.

Perhaps it is just a coincident that the one city that experiences the largest number of these creative types traveling through is beautiful, Reno Nevada. In the weeks before and after labor day weekend, reno is teeming with thousands of amazing people from all over the world. Our unique location sitting between americas most creative metropolitan area, the sf bay area, and americas most creative temporary city, black rock city is a largely untapped source of potential transformative energy that cannot be ignored any longer. Any city in this country would kill for our advantage.remember,its location,location,location. If for a moment, we can deny the coincidental nature and instead perceive it as our destiny as the bay areas closest out of state metropolitan area to enter into a symbiotic relationship with one of the worlds great creative gatherings, burning man,we might be on our way to being mentioned along with the aformentioned places.

I know many will say that in the past few years, reno has embraced burning man. Businesses greatly profit from supplies being bought,trailers rented and rooms occupied by grateful burners. Every year, the various reno newspapers run ads by local businesses soliciting business from the burning man community. And each year,there are more ads. Reno should express its gratitude right back. There are three different levels i think we must move through here in order to create this symbiosis.the first is obviously economic and i see that happening quicker and quicker.I believe at a certain point that it will benefit both the business community and burning man to have some sort of decal that businesses affix to their windows and doors showing their support for the event, basically a welcome decal. Maybe it will simply be a decal of the man.This is a good first step. The second level is artistic and i see that happening,albeit, a little more slowly.Public works of burning man related art are slowly beginning to appear in reno, including the installation at the airport and on the lot next to the riverside artist lofts.There have been displays at renos amazing nevada museum of art as well as at other art galleries. The fire festival during arttown is certainly playa inspired. This level may be a bit slower than the one below since it does take an open-mindedness to display art that some may find a little out of the ordinary. It is absolutely essential that this happens in reno.We are simply blowing a huge opportunity if we think only in dollars and cents here. Public and privates displays of black rock inspired art will signify to travelers all year our openness to change and innovation. I dream of the man being set up and illuminated on the way out to the playa in the mapes plaza for a week in august. The man has certainly stood tall in san franciscos civic center.why not here? What would that say about renos intention to not let fates good fortune slip through its fingers?

And that takes us to the third level, a level that is admittedly a dream but not a delusion, the difference being a dream is possible. This level is philosophical,spiritual, beyond money and art.Its a partnership between two equals who have acknowledged the benefits implicit in a working relationship with the other.our future will always be tied into our massive neighbor to the west. What would renos future look like if our leaders created an atmosphere in the city itself conducive to the experimentation,play and innovation that forms on the playa every year? What if reno became the place where inventors,entrepreneurs,artists and others could work on their dreams and visions unimpeded by the bureaucracy and expense of california? What if 100 of the best and brightest could be encouraged to move here and do their thing? What if our business,university and political leaders committed money and resources to allow this to happen? What if we made sure a percentage of these resources went to the amazing local burning man community?

Nevada needs to reinvent itself and yet despite embracing vices and eccentrics of all sorts for over a century, we cannot seem to wrap our head around the immense possibilities that are right in our lap. It seems we cannot recognize that the other embraces values nevada holds dear. Burning man could not have emerged anywhere else besides san francisco and could have never found a home anywhere else but the the black rock desert. In my eyes,its a perfect,symbiotic match between the bay areas creative energy and nevadas blank canvas of possibility. Let us evolve and prosper and not waste one more moment fearing what is an enormous gift given to northern nevada every year. We cannot afford it.
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Postby Bob » Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:10 am

What the word I'm looking for...

creepy?
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Postby Kinetik V » Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:56 am

Wow...an interesting post. To say the least.

That being said my suggestion to you would be to take a history lesson. You can start by taking 30 min or so and reading up on Nevada history...a relatively quick way to do so is to see what sites the State of Nevada has marked as historical...and one man's quest to see them all and document them. It will take you on a whirlwind tour of a state many think they know but they really don't. I know that after looking at this site I had a better mental snapshot of Nevada's history...and the true symbiotic relationships that exist.

http://www.nevada-landmarks.com/

(This is not a good site for skimmers or speed readers)

Again I have to say that without an understanding of the past...and the mindsets involved and that are still very active today one won't understand Nevada. You just can't do it. I see your spin on Reno and Burning Man and I agree with you on several things...but tapping into the creative power of Burning Man even with everything falling perfectly into place...it is not the answer to Nevada or Reno's future. It's just one part of a much larger puzzle. One needs to understand Nevada's role as a bridge state...and it's greater role in supporting the rest of America. One needs to look beyond Reno. Mining history, geography, Western water, energy policy, trade and transportation, gaming, heck I can even discuss how not being able to land an Airbus A380 at McCarran is going to hurt the state...it's all in play...and it makes the symbiotic relationship of even 100,000 burners and their 1 week art festival become not so important. Granted it should not be ignored...and it can accomplish some awesome things...but it's impact will be greatly overshadowed by the issues I mentioned.
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Postby brighteststar » Sun Jan 30, 2011 12:02 pm

thanx kinetic for the insight.much appreciated! just one persons take on a very interesting subject.i just finished "renos big gamble" a great book on this area.i have lived here for well over a decade.i am not suggesting i have all the answers but always good to start a thought provoking conversation.i hope that happens.

peace
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Postby Trishntek » Sun Jan 30, 2011 12:24 pm

There is certainly an impact on Reno for those few weeks in late summer. All you have to do is walk the halls of any hotel the week after labor day. You can smell, see, and even taste playa dust everywhere. But those are just a few weeks.

I realize you desire Reno to embrace Burning Man as a year-round source of identity, commerce and culture. That is highly unlikely.

The culture of Burning Man is tolerated in Reno but it is seen as a "seasonal" event like skiing, hunting and fishing. All of these "events" contribute to the likelihood of money being spent, and therefore left behind, while the maintenance of said populations belongs to another community far away.

Any respectable casino has more cash on hand than most banks. It may not be said openly, but the gambling industry in Reno thrives on the passerby, the visitor, the non-resident. These are people who come and spend and gamble and eat and sleep and leave. Reno benefits because of outside money coming into the community without having to maintain the population year-round who delivers that money.

That is a culture of generations in the making. Sorry, but Burning Man is just another season of tourist activity as-far-as the City of Reno is concerned.
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Postby brighteststar » Sun Jan 30, 2011 1:36 pm

trishntek,i think that a culture that has been generations in the making can change very quickly, especially in these times.i believe all options that will help northern nevada in the future will be on the table. if our future here is going to be tourism based, there are certainly other options besides gambling.the city has been thinking about this for awhile. but really,i am talking about something deeper than simple economics and tourism. im talking about creating an atmosphere in reno than is conducive to the type of thinking that burning man embodies: experimentation,freedom,openness.and there is no reason to not believe that this atmosphere can eventually lead to a diversification of our economy.burning man is forward thinking and it should be clear to all that spending too much of our energy embracing something that is passing (gambling) wastes valuable time and resources and obscures our view of the future, which may be feared or embraced. i prefer to be hopeful and the creative spark of burning man can be a large part of that spark.anyway,just some ideas and i respect everyones opinions greatly.
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Postby mdmf007 » Sun Jan 30, 2011 2:45 pm

Reno is great but there are so many more events that bring in more money and are not looking to "transform" the city.

Hot August nights alone will bring 100,000 plus to the city to stay for the duration of the event. Hotel rooms and food for all...
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Postby fbcota » Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:38 am

I like the idea of Burning Man becoming more of a cornerstone event in our community. But I think I agree that it is not the foundation. Reno needs to grow up before it can even keep the creative, inventive people that run away from it as they grow up.

If our little western town can learn to appreciate talent above social connections, then that will be a step in the right direction. If our little town can clean up its appearance and remind everyone that we are not a bunch of drug addled rednecks then maybe new artists will come. If we can avoid growing too fast, letting houses get too expensive and focus on bringing meaningful jobs (not a borders warehouse) to the region that will help.

As an artist I have a thousand reasons to leave Reno and 3 to stay.

1. Friends
2. Acessability
3. Burner Culture

And only the first one really matters. It is an absolute fight to survive in Reno making art. Most of our great Burning Man artists do something else and just make art for the Burn. I love our community, I just wish our backwards government would do the things it needs to bring strong business to the region, to encourage education and to keep the smart people in Nevada.
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Postby brighteststar » Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:46 am

hot august nights is drying up here.it will continue to be less of a factor in the future due to competition from other cities and energy costs.i look forward to the day that big events that irritate the locals and mostly dont benefit them are replaced by other less invasive tourism. i am not proposing that bman be the foundation but i believe it can be part of the solution.
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Postby lucky420 » Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:38 pm

Hot August Nights will eventually leave Reno/Sparks. I think it was last year that Long Beach Ca, bought the rights or whatever to hold Hot August Nights down there. The guy who owned the rights to HAN tried to to reassure Reno/Sparks city councils that it was also going to keep having HAN up here, but I don't think many believe him. It might survive a couple of more years in Reno but it is on the move to Long Beach...
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Postby LostinReno » Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:57 pm

I don't think Hot August Nights is really drying up, will it be impacted by the Long Beach merge? Sure! HAN started here and will always be a part of Reno. I personally wouldn't mind if it shrank a little in size. I haven't been downtown during HAN in more than 10 years because you can't move! With that said, I give the City Council props for finally giving up on trying to be like Las Vegas. We will never be like Las Vagas (thankfully). It seems over the last 10-20 years they've been pulling more events that bank on the outdoors. The River Festival has been growing steadily every year, as has Artown, Rib Cookoff, etc. Burning Man has definately had a positive effect on our area. I love that our community embraces it, but I'm with fbcota on this one, I don't ever see it being the foundation.
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Postby lucky420 » Mon Jan 31, 2011 2:47 pm

lol Yeah I have never gone to any Hot August Night events, not really my thing and the traffic is terrible. Having grown up in Reno I have seen a lot of good changes and hopefully it continues...there is a lot more going on now than ever before in Reno despite our bad economy
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Postby Bob » Mon Jan 31, 2011 2:56 pm

Um... I like the Reno Rodeo. Can't get enough barrel racing. And it's a run as a non-profit, unlike some orgs.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Jan 31, 2011 3:30 pm

There's always the Bowling Alley.
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Postby montanaprometheus » Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:46 pm

What if our business,university and political leaders committed money and resources to allow this to happen? What if we made sure a percentage of these resources went to the amazing local burning man community?
Emphasis Added

Are you suggesting taking what is this era’s incarnation of Dane Gold? Does Burning Man really want more governmental (even state level) strings attached to the event? There is nothing the government does that can’t be done more efficiently by private individuals.

im talking about creating an atmosphere in reno than is conducive to the type of thinking that burning man embodies: experimentation,freedom,openness.and there is no reason to not believe that this atmosphere can eventually lead to a diversification of our economy


If you really wanted to create an atmosphere that would be more desirable to attendees, consider trying to reforming Nevada’s archaic drug (and other) laws. No really, I live in one of the most conservative states in this union and our drug laws are less restrictive than Nevada’s. WTF

Nevada has loads of nearly worthless state land. Why not talk them into wagering some of it on us? When Burning Man was younger, a large part of the event was to establish a Temporary Autonomous Zone* (See Cacophony Zone Trip #4 aka Burning Man ‘90.)

Since you shared your pipedream, what about this: A PAZ, Permanent Autonomous Zone? A piece of land where there wouldn’t be any victimless crime laws…a year-round Burning Man community with no Jackbooted Thugs, a community which strives for self-sufficiency, and I think could attain it too* I don’t think the gifting economy would last long*… but it would have a fighting chance if the community screened perspective refugees for viable skills*.
OTOH what would the effects of turning it into a closed community be?
OTOOH, the event is already quasi-limited as it is; $370/tickets.
OTOOOH We can cross those bridges after you talk your state into parting with authority over a couple dozen sections (640 acres) of land for us. ;) Or [whips out industrial sized can of Vaseline) we can continue with the mental masturbation.
I’m sure you won’t have any problems explaining that we want full autonomy, included exclusion from everything- including taxes, all laws -including drug and gun laws- and trade tariffs. You can mention that we will be trying to be as self-sufficient as possible. That combined with our lack of consumerism will mean there won’t be much in the way of imports, but I’m sure anyone confident enough to use “manifestoâ€
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Postby pinemom » Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:59 pm

nah, Nevada just needs to legalize pot FIRST, so we can go back to being the sinner state!
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Postby 1durphul » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:27 pm

Brightstar, I feel your enthusiasm and your excitement. I think your proposed approach though is not large enough to create the change you want.

Gambling isn't going to go away, Reno has the infrastructure for it, and it is free money from wealthy neighboring cities like Sacramento, and San Francisco.

If you want to see the sort of change you're talking about that draws creative types you should push for these things:

1. Density in the form of mixed use housing/retail. (NOT in the form of giant corporate strip malls like Emeryville's Bay St.)
2. Public transit improvements (artists are often poor, I know.. hard to believe, but it is true!!)
3. Allow building codes that enable communal artist warehouse live/work spaces.
4. Allow late night parties and gatherings in those warehouses. (those parties fund artists living situation, and their art.)
5. Encourage the city to advertise the top 4 things during Burning Man, and during the rest of the year in creative hot spot cities.

Oakland has all these things (except 4, which is done without permission underground) and that is why it has been stealing the creatives away from San Francisco for the last decade. It is, in my opinion, reaching a critical mass as of the last two years. I imagine a day in the not so far future when somebody in Oakland is talking to a friend in San Francisco and laugh when the San Franciscan asks if he'd be willing to come into the city.
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Postby fbcota » Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:02 am

1durphul:

Reno is working on your list. Its getting a bit better.

1. Mix use housing retail is starting to grow here. It will take some time but its happening.
2. The bus system continues to get better. Once again slow, but its coming. Reno is small when you consider the core of the city. Its a short bike ride and I regularly walk large stretches.
3. We have some Burner City council members that are working on just that. Yes, Reno has burner city council members. A group of friends formed The Salvagery which in a warehouse off 4th street with a bit of help from the city. Its where we built our art project last year.
4. Many a late night party have happened at said places. We also have some great burner venues. The Underground bends over backwards for the community and Red Rock is a great spot for smaller parties.
5. Good idea!

Reno is a great city to create in. We have plenty of room. The community is very open. We don't have a ton of regulation. Your chance of experiencing a tranny hooker or crack head is about nil. And your not likely to get robbed.

And, you don't have to be one of the cool kids to be part of a huge art project.

We do have a HUGE one up on Oakland. Reno is amazingly safe in comparison.

At the end of the day I really think Reno is only missing one thing, the jobs that creative people want (which ties into the old boy network). We have a great community that is open and accessible (something I was never able to find in the Bay). We have space to build in. We have a community that is fully open to us. We have support from all the local government entities (Reno, Sparks and Washoe). And we have one of the most accessible art communities I have ever experienced (anyone can make and show art here).

Just need a way to make a honest days pay.
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Postby 1durphul » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:04 am

fbcota wrote:1durphul:

Reno is working on your list. Its getting a bit better.


Great. Reno has always seemed stuck in 1982 to me unfortunately.

Reno is a great city to create in. We have plenty of room. The community is very open. We don't have a ton of regulation.


Those are great selling points.

Your chance of experiencing a tranny hooker or crack head is about nil.


You realize that tranny hookers make the world go round, and usually for cheap.


We do have a HUGE one up on Oakland. Reno is amazingly safe in comparison.


I think safety may not be as big a selling point as you think. Look at Detroit's booming art scene. The city's collapse has been like a call to war for artists.

Just need a way to make a honest days pay.


yeah.
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Postby brighteststar » Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:09 pm

great input by all! for those of you who are viewing nevada from the outside,i can assure you there are good things happening here on all levels. the local bman and art communities in reno are exploding and the visionary ideas of specific people here who have some influence will manifest. i know because i had the pleasure of talking to one of these people the other night at the opening of the salvagery collectives hobson gallery on east fourth street, a stretch of reno that will be at the center of the citiers changing fortunes.

cities evolve.reno is evolving. keep your minds open and when you pass through our lovely city this fall, check out the efforts of all the great people here!
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Postby LostinReno » Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:09 pm

pinemom wrote:nah, Nevada just needs to legalize pot FIRST, so we can go back to being the sinner state!


ooooooh where's the "like" button! :D
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Postby fbcota » Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:00 pm

Before I moved here I thought the same thing. Reno was stuck 2 decades in the past. But after living here for 6 some odd years I have found that this place can push forward with the best of them. We just aren't quite as boisterous about it.

What the Salvagery is doing is soooo inspiring. They are all people who do rad art and scrape by. They aren't rich. Their is no special funding. They are just dedicated people doing rad art on their own terms. :)

Safety may not be a huge selling point for the urban artist, but there are a whole lot of us who make art and hate the big city. Plus, I kinda like keeping my tools in my possession. Its hard enough to scrounge the $100 for a used genny, let alone doing it twice.
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Postby Trishntek » Wed Feb 02, 2011 7:03 pm

but I like tranny hookers
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Postby brighteststar » Wed Feb 02, 2011 7:36 pm

safety is not a big selling point but how about lower cost of living,sunshine,still only a 4 hour drive to the bay area, lots of warehouse space, and a guarantee that if you are doing good work, you will get some attention in reno. now maybe that is not a big deal since it is no ones goal to be a big fish in a little pond but its a big confidence booster to get some praise and acknowledgement every now and then. just a thought.......
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Postby brighteststar » Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:12 am

thanx for reading. RENO ROCKS!
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Postby dinks » Fri Feb 11, 2011 3:43 pm

TL;DR
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i will be 700.thanx for reading this!

Postby brighteststar » Fri Feb 18, 2011 1:22 pm

ok
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Postby 1durphul » Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:09 pm

dinks wrote:TL;DR


That was rude.
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Postby brighteststar » Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:55 pm

not if you dont know what it means...
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Postby 1durphul » Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:37 pm

brighteststar wrote:not if you dont know what it means...


Oh, in that case, it means "Totally Love; Don't Retreat."
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