Burning Man Org pulls the plug on The Black Rock Gazzette

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Postby Chai Guy » Wed Apr 13, 2005 7:07 pm

We actually hardly saw one and often it was sequestered by Borg for other BORG related activities to our dismay


No doubt racing across the playa undecorarted to take some important person to a "meeting".
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Postby Gothalot » Wed Apr 13, 2005 7:13 pm

I did happen to get a ride from Cafe to Media Mecca once with a 10 ton news rack in my lap and our crazy Publisher, god love him, Durgy. All of 100 feet. Im going to write about the experience in the next paper.
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A paperboy chimes in

Postby Biff the Paperboy » Thu Apr 14, 2005 10:40 am

Howdy,
I've been a paperboy since BM 2000.
Work the 3:00-3:30/3:30-4:00 routes and remote camping.
Delivering the paper.
Every day.

I've realized the BRG is the only outreach tool from the BM to the campers. Daily we literally reach out and touch thousands of burners with a smile, a joke, a gift, and a copy of the Gazette.

The hundreds of daily interactions are connections that remind us of the choices we get to make here.

The paper has been an incredible instrument.
More than the articles and photographs.
It has become a part of the fabric of our community.

That will not die.
Whatever form change takes...

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Postby HughMungus » Thu Apr 14, 2005 10:53 am

I'm wondering about this myself. Why can't it be produced on one laptop computer in a camp or RV or wherever and copied on a copier onsite? Why not get the paper by requesting that some people bring a ream of paper as a gift? Sounds like it got too big (expensive) for its own good (tho i agree that it is important).

Chai Guy wrote:From: viewtopic.php?t=8467

We looked carefully at our organization’s current communication needs and our expenditures, not only for printing, but buildings, golf carts, radios, staff support, and computers


Ummm.. are they saying that golf carts function as a communication tool, or that golf carts were part of the BRG budget?
It's what you make it.
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Postby Janka » Thu Apr 14, 2005 12:39 pm

I would like to just say (in support of the Gazette) that in my opinion (in my first burn 2004) the on-playa editions were more important than the Gate one. The Gate version mostly repeats what you know already or is in other materials. It was nice, but not essential. The on-playa versions, especially delivered by the lovely paper boys and gals (I love you guys), were soooo great.

I for one wouldn't mind a drop in print quality etc; on-site copier quality would be fine, if it was feasible. It might be a pain to procude in the heat and dust - copiers hate, hate, hate heat and dust, and you would have to run them for longish time in a row.
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BRG

Postby dirty bird » Thu Apr 14, 2005 12:51 pm

It's true. By the time you get there, the Gate Edition is olds, rather than news. Some peolpe on the BRG actually viewed the BRG as their art project and gift to the community. I hope that energy gets channelled into something more radically expressive, and less propagandizing, whether it is at BRC or not.

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Re: A paperboy chimes in

Postby Bob » Thu Apr 14, 2005 2:14 pm

Biff the Paperboy wrote:...I've realized the BRG is the only outreach tool from the BM to the campers...


Strictly speaking, the Greeters are bigger tools.
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Postby Sensei » Thu Apr 14, 2005 4:37 pm

I wonder if Adrian (Piss Clear) is doing the happy dance, or if he's depressed because he doesn't have anyone to beat the shit out of anymore.
Good riddance, I say. Maybe they'll use the 20K to fund centercamp WITHOUT the Starfucks. Uh-huh. Sure.

Viva la Piss Clear!
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Postby spectabillis » Thu Apr 14, 2005 5:04 pm

I cant believe no one is throwing down the BRG is a conspiracist BRC propoganda Tool argument and its a minor victory for the people. Not even Apokiliptika.

... I think its time for some renegade cacaphony cell to print up some bogus fun. *BMF Hint*
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It was a propaganda tool!

Postby dirty bird » Thu Apr 14, 2005 5:27 pm

That was the sanity saving thing about it! I, as Publisher, embraced my inner Joe Goebbels and purposely tried to push it in that direction. If you got that it was pure propaganda, then you got half of the joke. If you recognized that it was purposefully moved in that direction with an almost sickening sweetness then you got more of it.

We do what we gotta do to get by. Sorry to subject y'all to that, but it was some of the only common ground I could find and still do the thing.

Don't forget to drink lots of water and wear sunscreen. I love everybody, except meanies who break the rules.

Please!
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Re: A paperboy chimes in

Postby bullD » Thu Apr 14, 2005 8:57 pm

Bob wrote:
Biff the Paperboy wrote:...I've realized the BRG is the only outreach tool from the BM to the campers...


Strictly speaking, the Greeters are bigger tools.


not so strictly,,, yes indeed! a greeter looking folks in the eyes as they arrive and informing,,, priceless!
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Postby Lassen Forge » Sat Apr 16, 2005 12:01 am

Mmmm... delete the one that has 7 posts to keep the one that has 3. Bushanian of someone!! Freggyan Awesome.

Goin back to another topic now...

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Tool Factor

Postby dirty bird » Sat Apr 16, 2005 5:07 am

The tool factor is certainly debateable. What is undeniable is that with official status comes a limiting of radical self expression that runs counter to the tenets of the event. It's oxymoronic.

To be fair to my team, we did get to run some stories as we would have liked to have written them. However for every one of those, there were at least two stories we couldn't touch because of content control, and another that was rammed down our throats.

Within the event, through the variables, people had come to expect some continuity. It's frustrating that people on the BRG thought that they would be running around on playa playing journalist for a week. Some of them who had volunteered for years probably thought they were going to be able to get a ticket to the event (again) based on their past service, and promise of current efforts. Others, I will have to mail them back their check for the staff price ticket that they thought that I could get for them. Which I thought I could get for them. So if former BRG people want to go, the costs will be more than if we would have had more advanced notice than an hour before our first team organizational meeting.

The team will likely still make papers together. It may not be the paper that some people would like to see, but at least it will be honest.
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Postby Janka » Sat Apr 16, 2005 11:13 am

The team will likely still make papers together. It may not be the paper that some people would like to see, but at least it will be honest.


Yay!

(For my own mental safety, I'll ignore the other, more worrisome sentences of your post.)
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Postby sierrahiker68 » Thu Apr 21, 2005 4:10 pm

As a newbie last year i found the BRG extremely useful to help me get through this wonderful experince. I didn't know it was delivered. I got up each morning and went to center camp to get a couple for our camp. Duh
It was alittle like the real world: coffee and a paper. UUUHHHMMM!!! Comforts of home out on the Playa!!!
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Postby Piss Clear » Wed May 04, 2005 5:27 pm

No happy dance here, just bemused interest. Also, I don't really believe that the Black Rock Gazette is going the way of the dinosaur. Let's face it, the BMorg actually needs that damn rag to get information and propaganda out to the public -- which is why it hasn't really been much of an interesting newspaper to read over the years, since much of it is simply regurgitated and/or updated info from the Survival Guide.

But still, when you've got the sanitation company threatening to stop cleaning the porta-pottys that year because too many idiots are throwing in moop, you can't really count on Piss Clear to get that information out there. If for no other reason, that's why you need something like the Black Rock Gazette.

You see, Piss Clear functions more like a Black Rock City lifestyle and culture magazine, rather than a traditional company newsletter -- which basically what the Black Rock Gazette is.

While certainly I have no interest in Piss Clear suddenly becoming -- by default -- the de facto establishment newspaper on the playa, there are certainly other ways that BMorg can get information out to Black Rock City citizens without having to publish it in a pretend "newspaper" -- much of which simply contains space-filler in the guise of nepotistic articles on someone's theme camp or art project.

Perhaps a scaled-down version of the BRG is in order. Personally, I am APPALLED that the Gazette costs $40,000 a year to produce. That is ridiculous and bloated, and sounds like a HUGE waste of money (not unlike most of the BMorg departments, I'm sure.)

Why does the BRG need an air-conditioned trailer? Or multiple workstations? Or a staff of dozens? Too many cooks ... I tell you.

Scale down and scale back. Spending $40,000 on the BRG is just plain stupid. It doesn't have to cost that much ... certainly Piss Clear doesn't cost that much, otherwise we wouldn't still be publishing after ten years. We keep our staff small and our costs low.

For one thing, use newsprint instead of photocopies. The price difference is HUGE. And publish every other day instead of every day. Piss Clear only does three or four issues, and we still manage to pack twice as much content as the BRG into each issue, just by using a standard newsprint broadsheet.

We'd hate to see the Black Rock Gazette go ... however, if it in fact does go defunct, its loss is tempered only by the fact that it was never really all that interesting to read anyway. I've said this before, I'll say it again: Most of the useful information the BRG provides is simply regurgitated mantras for newbies. As for the rest of the editorial content, well ... the citizens of Black Rock City deserve better.
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Postby Gothalot » Thu May 19, 2005 12:17 pm

**Yes I'd agree. The Org wanted us to re-print and rehash a lot of old stuff that was covered in many other publications handed out. Much was redundant.

(quote) "You see, Piss Clear functions more like a Black Rock City lifestyle and culture magazine, rather than a traditional company newsletter -- which basically what the Black Rock Gazette is. "

**You are entitled to your opinion.

(quote) "While certainly I have no interest in Piss Clear suddenly becoming -- by default -- the de facto establishment newspaper on the playa, there are certainly other ways that BMorg can get information out to Black Rock City citizens without having to publish it in a pretend "newspaper" -- much of which simply contains space-filler in the guise of nepotistic articles on someone's theme camp or art project. "

**ooh I hardly thought we were pretending. Can you please wash the mud off me now?

(quote) "Perhaps a scaled-down version of the BRG is in order. Personally, I am APPALLED that the Gazette costs $40,000 a year to produce. That is ridiculous and bloated, and sounds like a HUGE waste of money (not unlike most of the BMorg departments, I'm sure.) "

** A VERY inaccurate statement. It was approximately 20k.
Why does the BRG need an air-conditioned trailer? Or multiple workstations? Or a staff of dozens? Too many cooks ... I tell you.

**Another exaggeration BRG had 2 on staff BMorg. I believe actually it was only one, the publisher who would have received a small stipend to organize the whole thing. As far as AC'd trailers, this was to keep the many very old donated computers running and to cut down on dust in the machines. It is actually not a great thing going in and out of the heat and me personally I worked on my laptop in my non AC'd old trailer in camp. Multi work stations were needed for volunteers that wanted to come and write their own stories, or submit photos. We take submissions from all of BM not just our own crew. Its part of being an interactive camp and community.

(quote) "Scale down and scale back. Spending $40,000 on the BRG is just plain stupid. It doesn't have to cost that much ... certainly Piss Clear doesn't cost that much, otherwise we wouldn't still be publishing after ten years. We keep our staff small and our costs low."

**Piss Clear also does NOT do current news. We reported and wrote 90% of it on the Playa. Big difference. We actually had to produce there. The paper would get uploaded to a place in Reno where it was printed and then brought down the next morning for our disreps to get it out there way before noon. In regards to your 40k budget claim I refer to my previous statement. That seems to be an issue with you, take it up with Larry at the burn and publish that in your newspaper, oh wait thats not possible you are likely printing your issues now.

(quote) "Most of the useful information the BRG provides is simply regurgitated mantras for newbies. As for the rest of the editorial content, well ... the citizens of Black Rock City deserve better."

**We're you not a newbie once? Should we ignore them?

**Better? Well most of the xBRG staff hopes so thats why we've started the Black Rock Beacon, reported, produced and printed solely on the Playa.

**So all in all, we're still out there, aiming for the same size circulation and hustling out there for donations. Anyone that would like to volunteer, donate cash, write, photog, distribute papers, come see me or write: gothalot@blackrockbeacon.org . A website should be up soon. www.blackrockbeacon.org

**Thanks everyone for your kind words of support, please come by our camp and say hi over a cup of coffee at the Int'l Press Bar located in the Black Rock Beacon Camp.

-----Gothalot
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Postby Piss Clear » Thu May 19, 2005 2:10 pm

Gothalot wrote:Paper costs are around 20k, 15 to actually get it printed and produced and 5k for running costs such as production trailer etc.


Sorry Gothalot, I was just doing the math based on your figures above, which adds up to costs of $40,000. If what you actually meant was $20,000 TOTAL, then you should have stated that more clearly -- especially if you're planning on writing and editing a newspaper.

Speaking of editing, you might want to brush up on your spelling. Am I the only one to notice the irony that this thread's subject -- about a journalistic endeavor, no less -- is MISSPELLED??!! By the way, that would be 'Gazette' with ONE 'z'.

Okay, all snarkiness aside (and damn, we've got a lot to spare this year) we seriously wish you nothing but the best of luck with the Black Rock Beacon. I'm glad to hear that you're giving it a go, and am especially excited to hear that you'll be an independent entity, apart from the BMorg. Meaning, of course, that you might actually be able to report some REAL news. Because I can't tell you how many times someone has come up to our camp complaining that their news story got cut from the BRG by Maid Marian for "political reasons," or how they weren't allowed access to report on internal things or write about police actions and the like. You know, stuff that is REAL NEWS.

Gothalot wrote:Piss Clear also does NOT do current news. We reported and wrote 90% of it on the Playa.


Yeah, but reading the Gazette, you'd never know it, because only about 10% of what was in a typical issue had anything topical in it. Everything else was crap that could have just as easily been written off-playa. THIS is probably the biggest reason we've been so down on the Black Rock Gazette these past few years -- it's simply NOT all that interesting to read, especially if it's a newspaper that's not really reporting any news!

However, in the BRG's defense, it was a much better newspaper before the BMorg started having a more heavy-handed input in its content. Back when Stuart Mangrum was the editor, it was actually quite a lively read! But things started going downhill when Shibumi became editor, and every issue had to be submitted to Maid Marian for "approval" before going to press.

With the Black Rock Beacon, we're assuming you won't have these editorial restrictions, which we can only hope will result in a much better newspaper -- and we look forward to it! Seriously, we hope that you can pull it off, because I would hate for Black Rock City to become a "one-newspaper town."

And yes, it is true that Piss Clear does much of its pre-production work off-playa. We're not there to REPORT news, we're there to offer insight and commentary on the culture of Black Rock City. And as I've mentioned in many of my editorials, we're there as culture vultures, not as reporters. We're not on the "inside," and therefore, we don't get access to the REAL, behind-the-scenes news. Trust me, the BMorg makes sure of that, because they know we print the real dirt -- but only if we can get our hands on it.

Piss Clear will be there again this year -- our 11th year of publishing, DAMN! Are we sick of doing this already, or what? We've already got some good shit planned. Perhaps we can collaborate on some mutual mud-slinging? I think our respective readerships would like that!
:D
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Postby Gothalot » Thu May 19, 2005 2:38 pm

LOL okay fairs fair but I should tell you I am the PICTURE EDITOR and Camp Manager, they dont pay me to speel wel . Hey wait they dont pay me at all, wtf?! I am on the Executive Board (woopie doo huh) Our Editors, God bless em, are much better spellers and they let me be creative with the occasional scolding about too many words to fit here or there, cut this that. Ruthless. Our Publisher this year will be Mitch, you may know him from last years BRG. The Board voted to make him the one to get the ulcer this year, though I came a close second.

In reference to the 20k coment, that was misleading of me, the PRODUCTION costs were aprox. 20k including "PAPER". My bad.

Yeah I heard some stories about org cutting stories, Durgy was well cheesed off on a few occasions when we couldnt print certain valid news stories. Plane crashes and art cars to name a few. Durgy will be doing a bit of writing on the Beacon I can asure you and it WILL be informative I have no doubt.

Dont forget Spock Science Monitor, he'll be out on the Playa this year too.

Mutual Mudslinging, ooooh whatya think, could be fun. Possible rumors?

Adrian, I look forward to meeting you this year. Who couldn't envy Piss Clear just a bit for being able to Piss off whoever they wanted. Oh and by the way piss clear makes great TP, just a rumor I heard, care to comment?

All the best, Gothalot
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Postby Gothalot » Thu May 19, 2005 2:39 pm

Black Rock Beacon kicks Playa Butt over Piss Clear - Black Rocks FAVE paper. Film at 11.
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Postby Piss Clear » Thu May 19, 2005 4:36 pm

I hope Spock Science Monitor is there again ... but hey, let's talk about an endeavor that has no need to go through the trouble of printing out there on the playa. All their "news stories" are FAKE! They are definitely "The Onion" of Black Rock City.

I think the only reason they actually publish out there is just to prove to themselves that they CAN. Because there's certainly nothing topical in their brand of fake news journalism. They could print the whole thing before they even got to the playa, and it wouldn't change any of the content!

Unlike Piss Clear of course, who have printing people who bring an old offset web press to the playa in a truck every year, and do a press run of 10,000 papers (give or take a few) every night!
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Postby Gothalot » Thu May 19, 2005 5:44 pm

10,ooo a night ehhhh? And you keep that truck where??? Im more the Pirate type but I do happen to know a few Ninja's that for the right amount of saki will do me a few favors. Mind you a Ninja truck driver on saki isnt pretty.

Spock isnt true? So Elvis didnt come to Burning Man. Damn you for taking my dreams away!
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Postby mo_corleone » Fri May 20, 2005 1:14 pm

Piss Clear wrote:I hope Spock Science Monitor is there again ... but hey, let's talk about an endeavor that has no need to go through the trouble of printing out there on the playa. All their "news stories" are FAKE! [...] there's certainly nothing topical in their brand of fake news journalism. They could print the whole thing before they even got to the playa, and it wouldn't change any of the content!


adrian, i agree with just about all of your sentiments about the canned, party line safe haven for Org-isms that was the BRG. i do, however, have to question your assessment of the Spock paper. in 2002 i was involved in a "surprise" project that was later covered by the folks at Spock Mountain. they took us in, conducted an informal interview, shared some sort of evil and powerful homemade moonshine, and published an impressively honest and humourous story about the topic later in the week that included quotes from our interview session. it's a bit misleading to claim that all of their news stories are fake.

incidentally, the BRG also covered the story. it was complete with reproach and verbal wrist-slapping for the "perpetrators", pictures of our handiwork, and the associated cautionary tale against stepping out of the boundaries of acceptable art at burning man.

i thoroughly enjoy reading piss clear, but there are other relevant playa newspapers out there. the BRG just doesn't happen to be one of them. hopefully the Black Rock Beacon will be a different story.
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Certainly different

Postby Gothalot » Fri May 20, 2005 1:48 pm

I can assure you it will be different. Its not profound and it may be oversimplifying it but what it comes down to is the people involved want to publish the news as it is without being told what we can or cannot print.

Some news may be riveting to some and boring to others. You may not want to read about a new bacon sandwich recipe or how some slippery crafty monger got by the gate for free and how they did it. On the other hand one mans junk is an-others treasure. I make no promise here of some great grand newspaper- however - we will report BMorg issues as well as Burner issues. Its just the right thing to do. Tell both sides and let the reader judge for themselves. Piss Clear differs. As my colleague has said they are more of a style section, whereas The Black Rock Beacon will likely give a small portion to that. Hell we only get front and back to put it on sorry.

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Postby mo_corleone » Fri May 20, 2005 2:03 pm

hey, don't apologize. the new paper sounds like it has a lot of potential. best of luck to you, and i'll certainly keep my eyes out for the new and improved publication.

:D
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Postby Gothalot » Fri May 20, 2005 2:06 pm

Thanks. We are optimistic the paper will be what it should have been. Not perfect but at least what we think news should be.
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Postby Piss Clear » Fri May 20, 2005 9:02 pm

Heh, heh, I like that: Piss Clear -- the Black Rock Beacon Style Section. I think that's going to be our new tag line!

Of course, we're actually more like the Vice magazine of the playa, but that sounds SOOO last year.
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Postby robbidobbs » Fri May 20, 2005 9:54 pm

Hi Adrian, Hi Gothalot,
I just need to pipe in about the news that I was involved in last year. The story was about the potties of course, and it was *important*. The story was delayed by 2 days until it could be "authorized". That so burned my biscuits.

If either of you'd lovely gents would like to interview me on or off playa, pls PM me, and I'll give you the whole messy truth of what's going on with the Temples of Smell this year.

Gracias,
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Postby Gothalot » Tue Jun 14, 2005 2:13 pm

Alright, email me at gothalot@blackrockbeacon.org or atomiclens@sbcglobal.net .

We are hesitant in doing ANY more porta potty stories but you just never know what evil secretes lurk there.

We're like AP we could just sell/gift the story to Spock since its too distasteful for PeeClear folk.
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Postby Biff the Paperboy » Wed Jun 22, 2005 12:42 pm

Howdy,
My how exciting when the dynamics start up.
Some controversy to stir the pot.
Makes for interesting reading.

My earlier comment concerning the paperboys was intended to illustrate that they are the only "daily" outreach to the camps.
I was in no way inferring any quantification of importance.

I also realize not all paperboys have the same understanding or appreciation of that particular aspect of their role in the community.

Like the Laws of Physics, some things don't require our belief or understanding. They work anyway.

Let's start slinging the mud.
The daily (or so) papers in our town can galvanize interest.
A free press can and should be a catalyst for our community and the temporary neighborhoods we create.

The more discussions over various topics the better.
Communication is our salvation.
Between "them" and "us" and between ourselves.
Strangers to each other when we arrived, but parts of a wonderful, extended family today.

Let's just go now.
I'm done waiting.

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