Party Floats are not Art Cars

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

Postby Isotopia » Wed Sep 10, 2003 9:43 pm

It's true darlin'.

Sounds like you was had.
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Postby Kinetic » Wed Sep 10, 2003 9:46 pm

For once, even in my jaded, skeptical, melancholy 9/11 funk you got me to smile. Damn.

I had no idea. And I was in BRC and the theme was beyond belief and I should have remember that I was in a place where anything is possible.

Guilty as charged....
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Postby Juju » Wed Sep 10, 2003 10:58 pm

what I want to know is, WHERE WAS THE CATBUS?!

Truly my favorite art car. Nowhere to be found this year, which saddened me as well as other campmates who'd had great adventures riding the tail in years past.

I wanted to drive it this year. :(

But uh, yeah. I was annoyed more than once by the sheer volume of loud party vehicles pumping techno at me as I tried to disappear into the playa.

gotta go farther out next year to walk in the darkness unmolested, I spose.
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This shark you speak of...

Postby Stormy » Thu Sep 11, 2003 12:33 am

By any freakin' chance do any of these look familiar? Or anyone have an image, for the BRC Community Watch? :twisted:

http://images.burningman.com/gallery/redtux.10525.jpg
http://images.burningman.com/gallery/postg.10210.jpg
http://images.burningman.com/gallery/wo ... o.6521.jpg
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Postby Julie » Thu Sep 11, 2003 12:55 am

I haven't read through the entire thread yet but I'm going to post regardless.

It's weird that you mention the abundance of "party floats" carting mass amounts of people at the event this year. After reading one of the articles in Piss Clear early in the week I immediately made myself pay more attention to the lack of artistic expression put into such vehicles. I noticed something was missing in certain art cars before I read the article but just reading about it articulated my thoughts into patterns of more acute observance.

I have to say that although this was only my 3rd burn, my 1st being in 2000, I still noticed an undenying sense that certain art cars, or party floats as you may have them, were missing that spirit of creativity I crave. This feeling being more pronounced that in years past.

I'm sorry but pretty lights thrown onto a two-story rectangular party float with loud music doesn't equal artistic expression IMO. Just because there's pretty naked women dancing on the top level of a self-proclaimed art vehicle, does not mean it's in the spirit of Burning Man.

With that being said, I don't believe they should be regulated based on their artistic quality or worse yet, told they can't be a part of the Burning Man experience. Obviously they were built and brought to Burning Man for a purpose and although I don't agree with the purpose or the way that they look doesn't mean I think they shouldn't be allowed in.

I hold it up to the individuals who make these transport beasts to put creative effort into their endeavors; to hold themselves artistically responsible for bringing well thought out pieces of art to Burning Man. I don't expect a lot but I do expect ingenuity.
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Party floats are Lame!

Postby Troy Van Berry » Thu Sep 11, 2003 2:12 am

Sorry, the social services argument is lame. What, you gonna stay in camp and keep to yourself because you can't get a ride. Please. My best arguments are they promote passivity, sitting on your ass and basically doing nothing as the city rolls by, and they are usually way beyond lacking in the creative dept. Ultimately the BLM will resolve/govern this issue.
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Postby Borris » Thu Sep 11, 2003 6:22 am

precipitate wrote:you bring in an art car, you go straight to DMV and either get a permit or an impound. Or when you get busted for driving an unlicensed car, the car is immediately disabled.



Instead of Impound I'd just force the guy to park it somewhere and then disable it from moving (remove battery or starter coil or distributor, all fairly easily done and can be easily undone after the event) the guy is still entitled to show his "DMV not approved" art-car in fornt of his camp or on any place he seems fit on the open playa (unless they started regulatin non sponsored art placement as well)
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Re: Party floats are Lame!

Postby Borris » Thu Sep 11, 2003 6:49 am

Troy Van Berry wrote:Sorry, the social services argument is lame. What, you gonna stay in camp and keep to yourself because you can't get a ride. Please. My best arguments are they promote passivity, sitting on your ass and basically doing nothing as the city rolls by, and they are usually way beyond lacking in the creative dept. Ultimately the BLM will resolve/govern this issue.



No, they promote interaction between people, just like regular bars do.
I don't mean service as in geting you from place to place, I mean they add to BM's interactivity and meeting new people factors.
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Postby tbone » Thu Sep 11, 2003 11:28 am

Isotopia wrote:Still, anyone familiar with getting playa dust out of a tubo charger?


If you have dust in the turbo, you're fucked.
I'd recomend a good air cleaner to keep it from getting in there in the first place.

And I really hope you're kidding.
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Postby tbone » Thu Sep 11, 2003 11:36 am

Borris wrote:Instead of Impound I'd just force the guy to park it somewhere and then disable it from moving (remove battery or starter coil or distributor, all fairly easily done and can be easily undone after the event)


1) Remove the battery? Get one from your tow vehicle.
2) Starter coil? something got lost in the translation
3) Distributor? I'm guessing you don't know that it's really a bitch to put them back in correctly, and it leaves a nice hole in the engine to fill with playa. Very, very bad idea.

I know you mean well, but I've seen Rangers do stupid things to try and disable vehicles, and feel it should be left to people who really understand engines.

If you make it too easy, like a battery, it'll be on the road again soon.
If you fuck up the vehicle, like removing a distributor, you just bought an art car.

A fiend had his art car disabled by LEOs and several days later, they weren't exactly sure where the missing parts were. The LEO who did it was going to have to go to Reno to buy new parts for him. Bad cop. No donut.

Nothing personal, just an automitive rant.
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Postby tbone » Thu Sep 11, 2003 11:52 am

Julie wrote:I'm sorry but pretty lights thrown onto a two-story rectangular party float with loud music doesn't equal artistic expression IMO. Just because there's pretty naked women dancing on the top level of a self-proclaimed art vehicle, does not mean it's in the spirit of Burning Man.


As a non-dancer, non-techno, non-party-barge kind of guy, I have to disagree with you here.

The party barges aren't my favorite thing out there, but in reply to the "spirit of Burning Man" part, I think it is. Create something to bring to the burn and share it with other people.

If nobody liked them, they'd be empty. In reality, they appear to be full all the time. Not saying that just because they're popular they're good, but there's obviously a lot of people who like what they provide.

In this same thread, people are praising Barzilla as a wonderful, interactive, blah, blah, blah. Barzilla is great, but it's just a small party barge. There's nothing artistic (in the standard way) about it. It's a rolling platform with stools and a refrigerated box for beer. The best part about Barzilla, is that it was made before the owners went to B M. They built it for going to the dry lakes races (land speed races, like at the bonneville Salt Flats) in So Cal. Its shaped in a way so the driver drives, the bartender navigates and does crowd control, and the seats face the same way - so you can see all the racing.

I love that thing, and have spent lots of time on it (although almost none at the burn). It's lawn furnature at my friend's house, and I'll most likely be sitting on it Sunday morning having a bloody mary.

Party barges aren't my thing, and I think most are boring, but they're also a part of the burn.
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re: Party Floats are not Art Cars

Postby matzoboy » Thu Sep 11, 2003 12:54 pm

Kilmore: Your point that I overused the “should” button in my original post (Party Floats are not Art Cars) is well taken. Mea culpa - guess I forgot that whole lesson about “I” statements. But I’m not sorry I took a somewhat harsh tone. As my ex-boyfriend (the one who said I have a heart like tiny pieces of chewed-up ice) once said during couples counseling, sometimes you have to exaggerate to get noticed.

The solutions - i.e. new rules - I proposed may not be the best ones, but, nevertheless, I think we need debate in our community about these problems. Safety is obviously a real problem. And I wish to articulate my view that amplified sound levels have become a problem.

Tezilas: No, I have never made an art car. In 2000 I built an installation that emitted sound. The volume level was such that you had to stand very close to the objects to even realize they were making sound. And, in fact, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that carry-over sound from playa raves did not ruin my piece as I feared they would. Multiple sources of sound art can coexist peaceably under the right circumstances. So, no, I’m not carrying a chip. Thank you, John Cage.


Borris and Guavas: I appreciate the social function of the party floats. And I appreciate the beauty of them. I actually have little complaint about the execution of most of the floats. I would not presume to minimize the hard work, creativity, collaborative effort, and plain fun that went into building these machines. I even enjoyed them myself. One of my peak experiences this year was Thursday night after midnight, riding my bike all over the playa chasing motor vehicles. For hours, whatever motor vehicle came by, I followed it or rode circles around it, and had no negative experiences to speak of.

But aesthetic thrills do not always trump common sense. Burning Man has all kinds of restrictive rules for very good reasons.

My complaint focuses on two points. To reiterate in slightly different terms:

1) Too many people are abusing the special privileges given to art cars and using them PRIMARILY as a form of transportation, and only secondarily as a form of expression.

2) The trends in party float design have led to an exponential increase in sound volume. Mobile sound systems, by their very nature, are prone to competition and upsmanship. The decibels that a human ear can tolerate are not an unlimited resource. We need to start talking about sound as an environmental issue.

**************************************

Do I wish to ban party floats? No. I proposed restricting them to a remote region of the playa, and limiting the number of people on a MOVING vehicle to 4.

That means you could take your 500 person portable night-club out to the playa and invite the whole world aboard - as long as it stays in one place during the party. After everyone gets off and goes home, you could move it somewhere else.

Under these restrictions, party float drivers would have a natural incentive to avoid parking right next to each other, and hence there would be less reason to compete over sound volume. And the risk of people falling off or getting run over would be reduced.

Drivers of smaller art cars would still have the pleasure of turning figure-8s on the playa, and I would still have the pleasure of following them on my bike.
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Postby telizas » Thu Sep 11, 2003 3:12 pm

I have not had a chance to read all the replies, so forgive me if I'm being redundant here (at work :( ). As a camp member of a responsible art car owner, I was dissappointed at the lack of respect for pedestrians a lot of art cars had, esp. Sunday afternoon during the dust storm. The license for art car drivers clearly states that no art car should be operated during a white out. I was about 3 feet from an art car shouting for it to stop because I could hear it coming and was afraid of getting hit - I was sitting near one of the the lamp poles, waiting it out. I got berated by more than one driver for suggesting that it was dangerous to drive (above 5mph mind you) in a white out. When I finally decided to try and walk home (I was near the ashes of the Man), I stood and had to jump out of the way of the big white bus (it was red last year, anyone KWIM?). I was FURIOUS on my walk home, went to the DMV and the entire operation was gone.

The rest of us, who DO operate in line with the DMV license and who DO make art cars for the sake of the art. (Whoever said most sound systems are run off the vehicle battery was right on!) Art cars are ASKED to be taxis for BRC citizens so that the art can be shared, and art car owners are trying to be hospitable. It's sad that others see it differently. I know for a fact that the Cow Bus didn't go over 100 decibels, but in the desert, it can sound like a lot more with nothing absorbing the sound. :?

As for the unfortunate death involving an art car... it could have been any one of us. It could have been ME. The cow bus can't stop for the dozens of people who want to get on and off, makes designated stops and whomever wants to risk climbing on top while it's moving has a right to do so, or not. I choose not to, because it terrified me, and others climbed up and down the ladder numerous times. It was not Captain Adaquit's responsiblity to hold everyone's hand. (He's the owner).

As for the art of art cars, well, art is open to interpretation. Cpt. Adaquit, I know, I had year long dispute over his Zebra Car being allowed a license in 2001, and then denied in 2002 because it was not "altered" enough. Though a car identically painted with the addition of removable wire fins (the Zebra Fish) *was* granted a license. Very sad IMO, because the Zebra car was well recieved and had become a playa staple as a taxi in 2001. Now, during the burn any golf cart and 4 wheeler with crepe paper was allowed to drive out to the man. WHY? And do *I* (or anyone else for that matter) have a right to tell someone else that their art is not art.

I'm sure there are plenty of people who built a hasty art vehicle just for personal use, in fact, I saw many "So and So Only" signs on a lot of vehicles, and that saddened me. The owners of the Hummer Pirate Ship wouldn't even discuss it with us when we asked about it (jerks). I wish that the DMV would be more attuned to licensing vehicles that are built with the spirit of the art car in mind, rather than base it on pure execution, KWIM? But, then again, it comes down to interpretation I guess. :(

I'm rambling now... sorry. :D
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Re: Party floats are Lame!

Postby TheJudge » Sat Sep 13, 2003 7:49 am

Troy Van Berry wrote: Ultimately the BLM will resolve/govern this issue.


Actually, the BLM doesnt give two shits about art cars unless you attempt to drive one to Gerlach. But even then its probably the Nevada Highway Patrol and not the BLM.

This thread is appreciated and like I've said in other posts, bolting a lay-z-boy to a dune buggy or wrapping a bunch of rope lights around a golf cart does not make it an art car.
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Re: Party floats are Lame!

Postby Kinetic » Sat Sep 13, 2003 8:25 am

TheJudge wrote:
Troy Van Berry wrote: Ultimately the BLM will resolve/govern this issue.


Actually, the BLM doesnt give two shits about art cars unless you attempt to drive one to Gerlach. But even then its probably the Nevada Highway Patrol and not the BLM.

This thread is appreciated and like I've said in other posts, bolting a lay-z-boy to a dune buggy or wrapping a bunch of rope lights around a golf cart does not make it an art car.


Finally....someone hit on one of my gripes. Now if it's a sofa and elevated 5 feet up in the air with LCD screens hanging from the shade canopy showing porn and covered with enough el-wire to keep Cool Neon afloat for months....that's different. I hate the laz-y-boy golf carts.

I was going to rant on personalized single occupancy art cars but after seeing the really cool scooters converted to P-51 Mustangs this year, I'm inspired to build one next year...or maybe a P-38 if I could be creative enough to pull it off.

The bottom line is they should encourage more bike use...if I can get off my rear end and ride....almost anyone can.
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Postby pollinator » Sat Sep 13, 2003 11:32 pm

:mrgreen: I too hate rules. Yet, I agree that that stricter regulation is needed. I don't think a panel deciding if the car has been sufficiently modified is judging someones "art'. Its just filtering the lazy fucks who just want to get from point A to point B faster, and I'm all for it. The verdict is out on "Party Floats" I think we all can be pretty responsible for our own behavor,but more safety is in order. Lets start with no art cars towing trailers. Anyhow, I do dream of a day when common courtesy and true community values overpowers out of contro egos. I think we can have radical self-expression without total chaos and cacophany.
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Postby precipitate » Mon Sep 15, 2003 11:18 pm

> Lets start with no art cars towing trailers.

Why? Because someone who didn't know how to disembark a moving
vehicle stumbled?

More rules is not the answer.
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Postby playasnake » Tue Sep 16, 2003 2:20 pm

pollinator wrote: I think we can have radical self-expression without total chaos and cacophany.


LOL!!!
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Postby Chef » Wed Sep 17, 2003 9:23 pm

pollinator wrote::Lets start with no art cars towing trailers.


So you would do away with Drakka?
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Postby Badger » Wed Sep 17, 2003 9:33 pm

So you would do away with Drakka?


For starters, call the Drakka people on their shit for having fundraisers for the thing and then have it turn into just another private party gig.
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Postby ness » Thu Jun 10, 2004 2:54 pm

one thing about cars pulling trailers they go pretty slow.
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Burning Man is not Club MTV

Postby chickenfish » Thu Jun 10, 2004 3:27 pm

Draka has been kicked out of BM, along with the whale and the galleon, if you're gonna kick out the dangerosue art vehicles, you should also disallow the dangerous non-art party barges. In my opinion the party barges are FUCKING LAME. I said it and I'll say it again the party barges are FUCKING LAME. Lets see some real art now folks, cmon. Building some rickety ass two level party bar on the back of your pickup is not a fucking art car. Neither is attaching some boat replica to the outside of your fucking hummer. An artcar should be permanently altered to where people recognize as art first and a car second. If you can take its costume off after the event and it looks like any other car, then, it is not an art car. You want a roving party, then do something like the barzilla or other effective traveling parties, as I did see some traveling arty parties that weren't just party floats towing a generator on a trailer. The catbus was awesome, as was the buddha bus and the upside down goat from 2000. But the party floats, towing generaots and pumping out bad house music, well this isn't club MTV folks- get over it.
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Re: The name art car may be misleading

Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Jun 10, 2004 4:17 pm

bradtem wrote:
There should be one set of rules though. DMV, Larry's golf cart, BLM rangers, even emergency vehicles should make you say "cool" when they go by. Why not? The city can afford it now.
ESD vehicles need to be functional first. I don't dispute that "cool!" would be nice, but these are service vehicles and form should not interfere with function. That includes the "invisible attrition" that might result in expecting the medics, etc., to put in additional hours and money (I don't see the LLC paying, not for the PErsonally Owned Vehicles, not for rentals--maybe if they were buying, YMMV) and thier just not participating at all. Most of the Emergency Services people I've know work hard to make their part of the event happen and they gift their skills and services to make it better for everyone. Can't we just accept thier gifting without poofing about what more they should be giving in addition?
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Re: The name art car may be misleading

Postby dragonfly Jafe » Fri Jun 11, 2004 11:25 am

theCryptofishist wrote:
bradtem wrote:
There should be one set of rules though. DMV, Larry's golf cart, BLM rangers, even emergency vehicles should make you say "cool" when they go by. Why not? The city can afford it now.
ESD vehicles need to be functional first.


I would be happy if all staff vehicles were clearly marked as such. With a number. That way staffer's abusing their vehicles could be identified, and vehicles that are neither for staffer's or registered as mutant could be eliminated. As it is now, anyone could say "I'm with DPW" and roar off without a 2nd thought.

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Postby buckethead alien » Sun Jul 18, 2004 6:45 pm

I dunno if it has been mentioned on this thread, but I think that art cars, well, riding around on them, can be major buzz killers. After a couple of BMs in a camp with a pretty nice art car, I can say that I plan to stay away from them this year. Too much riding, not enough contact with what is really going on. Driver making all the decisions for you. Frantic activity when the car is about to leave looking for that really great thing. Same faces over and over. My best times at BM were probably had when I had to share a bike with a friend. Screw art cars except to look at. 'Course it's nice when one shows up when you are out at the trash fence at 4 in the morning and want nothing more than to get back to your tent...or need to haul a bunch of heavy crap out to your installation.
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Postby sparkletarte » Sun Jul 18, 2004 7:01 pm

Except when the party floats are making an art of partying.

Too much riding, not enough contact with what is really going on.


Maybe that is what is really going on for the people on the float. Maybe not for you, but maybe for them.
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Re: Burning Man is not Club MTV

Postby ckburn » Sun Jul 18, 2004 7:36 pm

chickenfish wrote: Neither is attaching some boat replica to the outside of your fucking hummer.


Did you look at that thing up close? The guy who built that is an artist. That was art. I don't care if it WAS a $100k vehicle underneath it. That in itself, as abhorrent as it may be to some folks, should not disqualify the art car. In my opinion.

chickenfish wrote:An artcar should be permanently altered to where people recognize as art first and a car second. If you can take its costume off after the event and it looks like any other car, then, it is not an art car.


Again, I disagree. I probably would have agreed before I saw the hummer, although I've seen some pretty radical shit done with vehicles where you never would have known it was completely removable. I think "permanently altered" is limiting and short-sighted, and I personally call bullshit on it.

With all due respect.
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Postby Bob » Sun Jul 18, 2004 10:20 pm

Chef wrote:So you would do away with Drakka?


If only because it nearly took Harley's leg off on its maiden voyage.
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Re: The name art car may be misleading

Postby robbidobbs » Sun Jul 18, 2004 11:09 pm

In 2000 I worked for DMV, and the rules have changed only slightly in my estimation. It's the enforcement that has changed, and this year is getting stricter due to abuses. (Isn't it always a few fuck-wits that forces more rewls on us?)

My understanding of the DMV rules is that Staff, ESD, DPW, etc have a "Staff" sticker on their vehicle. Look for that. They are indeed numbered, so you can bust'em for inappropriate behavior.

BTW: Whenever I see an ESD vehicle, I *always* say "cool!" Sometimes I holler and wave my arms around in delight!

And what is this shit about "the city can afford it now"??? Let's review once again that the BOrg doesn't have money jumping out of their collective asses.

Stickers is one thing, but doing structural changes to my real world vehicle is out of the question. My poor little truck gets enough abuse as it is. I'd love to get a DPW sticker, but that's just me being vain. And if you want to see my art, just hang out at the porta-potties, and I'll be doing my show soon.

You want something "cool" to look at??? THEN BRING SOMETHING COOL. (fucking spectators)

And as to party cars, I usually jump on them in order to cross the city. By nightfall, I'm way pooped, and can use a breather. I try to flirt with the driver, if possible, too.
Sometimes I just tickle myself.
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Postby Bob » Sun Jul 18, 2004 11:25 pm

Face it, it's a fucking joke.

Put fake fur Lite Brites on a Buick and it's still something that belongs at Hot August Nights in Reno, not Burning Man.

And the worst, most broken down end up on Burning Man's ranch property, leaking ennui until they get picked up and carted off to the salvage yards in Reno.
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