What ever it once had, it no longer has...

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

What ever it once had, it no longer has...

Postby dragonfly » Thu Sep 11, 2003 7:47 am

I saw very little community. I experienced very little trust. Every day I started out with a smile and a good attitude, but by Friday morning I had had enough, and left. Too many losers without costumes, trying to be cool, looking for nudity and booze. Oh yeah, and some cowardly weasle stole my bike on Tuesday. And from this forum it seems that there were a lot of things stolen, and one or more rapes.

Bunch of bullshit.

I would recommend that the powers that be abandon BM next year, and move on to create something smaller, with more integrity, in some other place. Then whenever the crowds get too big, and the spirit flies away on the smoke of the last sacrafice, it be re-created once again. For whatever Burning Man once had, you know, that "thing" that made it so wonderful... it no longer has.
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Postby consumer » Thu Sep 11, 2003 8:11 am

Perhaps its you that's changed more.

BM is not perfect and the org is very hypocritical, but compared to what I normally encounter day-to-day in the 'civilized world', its a blessing that I'm happy to enjoy once a year.

If you want to experience the smaller, more intimate, starting-from-scratch thing: get involved with your regional burn.
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Postby Kinetic » Thu Sep 11, 2003 8:22 am

Dragonfly: We had a bike stolen Tuesday night at Reorient, I had hassles with Playa Info, and I had some negative experiences this year that at one point had me wanting to leave. But the negativity was offset by my experiences with the Rangers and then with campmates and others who pulled together and helped me.....and I can go on and on. Also my 15 year old sister had a 30 year old Argentinian dude try and drag her into his tent....even with all that we both feel this was an awesome event...the positive energy we gained from it far outweighs the negatives.

People say you make your own experience....normally I'm the poster child for negativity but I sucked it up and decided to give the concept a chance....it worked beyond my expectations. You do make your experience and I was able to turn ours around. I won't preach at ya, but don't give up on BM just yet. every group has assholes but the overall core group of burners are the best people I've met...I hope you come back in 04 and let them show you how positive BM can be.
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Et Tu, Et Cetera?

Postby Rob the Wop » Thu Sep 11, 2003 8:29 am

I posted something about 2-3 years back asking opinions on whether the Man should go out while in it's glory, or become something lesser. Will people remember the height of Burning Man, or will it be remembered as "that Rave where 30 people were raped, 20 people killed, etc. before the county shut it down?" <i>(BTW, you wouldn't believe the flack I got for presenting the idea. This was when I truely was awakened/sickened by the "moonie" aspect that some Burners have adopted. Unfortunately, most people in a cult never realise it, even if it's a cult they built in their own mind. Burning Man is not perfect and Larry Harvey is not God, folks.)</i>

Since then I've rethought my line of thinking. I've come to realize something.
<ul>Those that came to the beach burn, but didn't like the desert- may have quit going.
Those that came to the desert, but didn't like the theme camps- may have quit going.
Those that came to the camps, but didn't like the increasing crowds- may have quit going.
Those that came to the bigger crowds, but didn't like the publicity that was happening- may have quit going.
Those that came after the publicity, but didn't like the new rules and regulations- may have quit going.
Those came during the new rules, but didn't like the trend towards more sound camps and partying- may have quit going.
</ul>
I left early, due to a number of reasons. When talking to my campmates that stayed, on of my buddies hit the nail on the head for me. He said, <i>"Well, you stated your reasons right. <b>It doesn't work for you anymore.</b> I just don't like it when people say the event sucks. The reasons you went aren't going to be the reasons I go."</i>

Burning Man has always been changing. Many people that used to go quit, while many people that just started going will be there next year. I won't be going back, but that's because it's changed to the point where I don't want to attend anymore. Some evolve with the event, some liked it at various stages in it's developement. Now it's more dance & party, and less art & performance. Doesn't mean it's bad, just different.
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Postby sunsh1ne » Thu Sep 11, 2003 8:32 am

I saw very little community. I experienced very little trust. Every day I started out with a smile and a good attitude, Too many losers, trying to be cool, looking for nudity and booze.

I so agree!!!!!!!!!
I got online before the burn and did all this research.found a camp that I thought excepted me and my bf. Thought Burningman would change my life...I mean it seemed to change everyone else's. Got there..realized very few people in my camp had the time of day for us. Men were taking pictures of my breasts, but using a lame excuse to do it. I met people that were just there for the drugs and for the nudity. And the night of the burn.....what rude and inconsiderate people everyone had become...pushing and grabbing,the need to be what they are not.
I will come back, but not because of the "life changes" but because the meaning behind the original burningman was a wonderful one. Someone should tell Larry Harvey that bigger isnt always better. :?
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What did it once have?

Postby TimberNala » Thu Sep 11, 2003 10:02 am

It was our first time, i was amazed at how openly we were welcomed and pampered at BM. I don't know how it USED to be, but how can you take it away from us when we have just now found it?

There is disrespect everywhere, and should be handled accordingly in each situation. But what about people like us, that want only to belong and contribute to the next year? do you shun us because we are new to the event and watched more than participated?

I for one did come unaware of the Idea of BM, gifting and working the playa, I did spectate but as a virgin, what else could I have done with out comprehension?

You can't get the feeling through the website as you can the survival guide.
NOW~ I get the feeling, if not the full understanding of all the theme camps and artists.

I want to learn more, be more for BRC. And you speak of moving the event, make it smaller, keep us out....????? :cry:
~~~virgins no longer~~~
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Postby Flux » Thu Sep 11, 2003 12:05 pm

Well, you stated your reasons right. It doesn't work for you anymore. I just don't like it when people say the event sucks. The reasons you went aren't going to be the reasons I go.


Rob, you (and your campmate) nailed it. People change. Burning Man changes. For the vast majority of humans, the intersection between where they are and where the event is never occurs; for a few tens of thousands, it happens only once or a few times; and for a much smaller number, the intersection may last a lifetime. None is good or bad, better worse; that's just the way it is.
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Postby stuart » Thu Sep 11, 2003 12:19 pm

What ever it once had, it no longer has...


I hate this shit. I am no moonie. Each of my years has been different. There are many ways to ride the burning man ride. Expectations will kill you.

And fuck off for thinking, because I was not in costume during the day, that I was there for the nudity. I slaved for 9 months to give your faery wing wearing ass an art installation. I was a little too busy with that to contemplate what color to paint my nuts.

For pete's sake. If you aren't into it, don't fucking go. And please don't hang out here and tell the rest of us, who are already thinking about how we might make next year even better, how it was only cool when you thought it was cool. Go throw yer own goddamned event.

>whew<
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Postby Chai Guy » Thu Sep 11, 2003 12:28 pm

Burning Man is constantly changing, for the good, and the bad.
I enjoy participating in the community and hope to make changes for the positive, even if just in the small personal interactions I have with others. Burning Man is simply a canvas I use to share my art.

I often hear people talk about the negative changes, and there are some very valid points like:
1. Unreasonably high ticket costs. (I paid $40 for my ticket in 1998)
2. More unnecessary rules and bureaucracy.
3. Less participation and more "spectacle" (the Disneyfication).

But there are positive changes too like:
1. The greatly improved porta-potties (you should have seen them in 1998 )
2. More respect for the land ( no more 100's of random couch fires everywhere)
3. More regional and local events to participate in.

I'm sure we can think of more on both sides. My point is that I plan to stop coming to Burning Man when I stop growing because of it, and when it stops becoming fun for me. I often think "this is my last year" right before I depart, then I encounter a virgin burner in my camp and I see the event through their eyes, and all the possibilities it has to offer and I'm invested for another year.
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Postby PJ » Thu Sep 11, 2003 12:40 pm

Chai Guy wrote:negative changes...Unreasonably high ticket costs. (I paid $40 for my ticket in 1998)...

positive changes too...The greatly improved porta-potties (you should have seen them in 1998 )


Sure it costs 4x what it used to. If you want a real personal financial issue to complain about, remember that there was a time when Federal income tax was fixed at 2% of income and not even one citizen in a hundred had to pay it.

What else can you do for a week, day and night, that costs under $300? So what if you bought food and gasoline--you'd do that for a ski trip or fishing outing too.
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Postby precipitate » Thu Sep 11, 2003 12:50 pm

> would recommend that the powers that be abandon BM next year

I would recommend that <i>you</i> abandon Burning Man next year, and do
something locally. Asking the LLC to change is futile. Kinda like fighting
with the IRS. Don't waste your energy. Put it instead into a local group
that can go out and do cool stuff on a smaller scale.

For me, the jury's still out on whether I'm going back next year. In one
way, I'd really like to because I know that there'll be a lot of cool stuff
going on. But then I've been going for a number of years and I'm
wondering if maybe there's something else that would be more fulfilling for
me personally. But that decision doesn't have much to do with the
increased size of Burning Man.
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Postby Guest » Thu Sep 11, 2003 12:54 pm

stuart scanlon wrote:
What ever it once had, it no longer has...


I hate this shit. I am no moonie. Each of my years has been different. There are many ways to ride the burning man ride. Expectations will kill you.

And fuck off for thinking, because I was not in costume during the day, that I was there for the nudity. I slaved for 9 months to give your faery wing wearing ass an art installation. I was a little too busy with that to contemplate what color to paint my nuts.

For pete's sake. If you aren't into it, don't fucking go. And please don't hang out here and tell the rest of us, who are already thinking about how we might make next year even better, how it was only cool when you thought it was cool. Go throw yer own goddamned event.

>whew<


what stuart said. ditto.
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Postby bgirl » Thu Sep 11, 2003 12:55 pm

8) For you ,Dragonfly, BM has obviously lost whatever charm it held.That being said ,I think your expectations might have been a bit high,am I right? Maybe, maybe not,either way..... going into a event like BM ,the last thing I would bring is my expectations.I haven't and it has worked supremely well for me.( even though I did not attend this year,I have already heard from people raving about the great time they had ,etc...)Sometimes what you put out , is all you get. As for the bitchin' e-playa posts, I have viewed many posts and I believe the positive ones far outweight the negative.And bitchin' is sometimes fun , 'nuff said. :mrgreen: Sorry about yer bike :cry: ,they should be strung up and dragged behind a team of bikes :twisted:!!!!!!
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Postby Flux » Thu Sep 11, 2003 1:06 pm

It blows my mind when people complain about the ticket price. (I realize you weren't doing so, Chai Guy; I'm just using your post and PJ's response as an excuse to go off on a rant.)

I paid $200 for my ticket, which I would guess is probably the median ticket price. $200 is a fair amount of money to me; to some it's a much bigger deal, while to others it's a piddling sum. Either way, how does Burning Man compare in value to the "real" world?

A "primitive" camping spot for 10 days (I came early to work on setup), based on a quick-and-dirty Google search, would cost $8 to $20 per day elsewhere. Given that "primitive" here means that I have graded and watered roads, nearby frequently-cleaned porta-potties, ice and beverages and medical care available within a short walk, etc., I think that using $15 per day is more than fair. There's $150 bucks right there.

Friday night I saw Lost at Last perform live at the Church of WOW. The tickets to see a band like Lost at Last would be at least $25.

Ditto the Mutaytor; there's another $25.

There, my ticket's paid for! That means that everything else that is Burning Man is effectively FREE!

Or, consider how easy it is to go out to drinks, dinner, and a concert or movie and blow $200 in one evening (or two, or three)! Not that I can afford to do that often, but it has happened...

By my reckoning, Burning Man is far and away the best bang-for-the-buck "entertainment" value I've ever encountered.

I've also been known to spend more than $200 per day on seminars and workshops in search of myself / enlightenment / spiritual liberation / whatever you want to call it, and gotten less out of those experiences than I get out of Burning Man, too.

So consider it camping, consider it entertainment, consider it a personal quest -- any way you slice it it's a pretty damn good deal.

There, let's hope that settles that question once and for all! (Yeah, right!)
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Postby Rob the Wop » Thu Sep 11, 2003 1:08 pm

[quote="stuart scanlon]
I was a little too busy with that to contemplate what color to paint my nuts.
[/quote]

Jesus Stuart, c'mon and get with the program! How can anyone be too busy to contemplate how best to present their testicles? Get some priorities man!!

<i>Hmmmm... black goes with everything, but mine were predominately blue during the event. What to wear to match, what to wear, what to wear...</i>

Oh crap. Thread drift. Sorry.
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Postby Chai Guy » Thu Sep 11, 2003 1:09 pm

Sure it costs 4x what it used to. If you want a real personal financial issue to complain about, remember that there was a time when Federal income tax was fixed at 2% of income and not even one citizen in a hundred had to pay it.


True, but not 6 years ago. I wonder if the current plan is to continue to raise ticket costs until it is no longer affordable, and ticket sales level off. I spend far more money on things like food and gifts than I do on my actual ticket, but for every dollar I put towards my ticket is a dollar less that I have to spend on gifts/food/art. More importantly, I don't see a dramatic improvement in the quality of services that Burning Man Provided for me in 1998 for $40 vs. 2003 for $300 (gate prices). I realize that some of these costs are unavoidable things like increased BLM permit fees, Police and Fire services etc. that are out of Bmorg's control. I could however, do without the giant pedestal the man now stands on and all the Disney fireworks that go along with it, especially if that translates into lower ticket costs.
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Postby Jp » Thu Sep 11, 2003 1:18 pm

I find it interesting that a lot of people who have tired of burning man not only "aren't going next year" but also don't seem to want the event to happen at all, or at least not in its present incarnation. That seems pretty selfish. Clearly some people are still enjoying the hell out it. I don't see where anyone gets off "telling Larry Harvey" to stop the event because they don't like it, or asking him to make it smaller. What's the Bmorg going to do, starting asking for resumes and screening potential burners to decide who's special enough to attend? Like everyone says, if you don't enjoy it don't go. If you still enjoy it but don't like the direction it's heading, get involved and try to shape it into the event you think it could be. Or just bitch on the eplaya....

People might also want to start thinking about the notion of adaptation, Burning Man will never be the same magical place for me that it was my first year (2000 if you're curious). However, the fact that I may be a little more jaded about things doesn't mean that it still isn't a great and transformational event for me every year.

this year I changed the event for myself by dedicating myself to volunteering and helping others. It was hard work but infinitely rewarding and showed me several new sides of Burning Man that I'd never seen before. I feel more part of a community than ever before and my enthusiasm for the event has been rekindled a lot, even though I saw a lot of disheartening things this year.

a few things to think about
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Postby papabear » Thu Sep 11, 2003 1:36 pm

I think its real simple.

Nowhere in this world of ours, Not one country, not one nationality and not even in the past has there been an event-gathering on the size and scale of burning man that has so much art, music, education and self realization all put into one place that submerges you into becoming a living part it. freedom to participate or observe. Now after that run-on, I personaly feel blessed and lucky to be even be able to go to such an event like this. You are Dragon... you are just as lucky to have been going for many years. See it for what it is. Unique. one of a kind. and priceless. and changing.

This was my first year, and i can see many ways to change... without change there is no growth. I am growing and you are too. never stop learning and never stop changing... if you do Dragonfly... You might as well consider yourself dead.

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Postby papabear » Thu Sep 11, 2003 1:42 pm

oh yeah, and i had over $1500 in stuff stolen from my camp. Bike, GPS, $300 in Lights and Installations bought for the camp and bike spokes. Radios, camera and my favorite Jack & Coke drining glass. I let them go and still had a wonderful time. There are people who suck out there and they do go to Burning Man. They found me but i found many new friends. Its all how you make it.

Take care DragonFly.

papabear.
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Postby Isotopia » Thu Sep 11, 2003 2:04 pm

I would recommend that the powers that be abandon BM next year


Actually this is an interesting idea although not likely to go anywhere given the number of people now employed by the ORG.

This summer I went to the Glastonbury Festival in SW England and was the guest of one of the main players in the event. His contemporary here is a combination of Will, Metric and a little bit of Marian and Crimson thrown in. He's in charge of building this event each year that deals with 140 thousand people for three days on this 800 acre dairy farm in the middle of this ideallic valley. The nearest town - hamlet actually - is smaller than Gerlach. The event has been going on since 1970.

In giving me his version of the oral history of the event he noted that there's been several times (four or five I believe) that the event was intentionally cancelled so that all the players could regroup, deal with issues and get on with the business of putting the event on the following year. He noted that each time this has happened that the focus has become sharper, the identified problems have been addressed and usually resolved and that the staff and volunteers have come back even more focused than before. He actually thinks it's a very good thing.

It is important to note that Glastonbury is a very, VERY commercial event now even though the roots of the festival started out very much like Burning Man. Also, there's a lot about the event that just doesn't translate into what we're doing in the desert although judging from some of the behaviors and attitudes I experienced this year there's a creeping similarity that I find very unsettling. I guess what I'm suggesting here is that not all suggestions put forth here are necessarily bad ones. The idea of holding off a year is one that I think would be interesting to see entertained given that I believe so many issues and ideas about the event need to be looked at again and perhaps reiterated in some cases and ejected in others.

One of the Big Ones I believe is what (or will) the LLC address the issues that seem to be cropping up when it appears that a good number of people are envisioning Burning Man more as a week long party and less as an experiment in cullture or community? I don't know. I sure as hell hope so. Probably LOTS more on this later...
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Postby Chai Guy » Thu Sep 11, 2003 2:12 pm

I have long advocated that the event take a year off, if for no other reason than to give a "wake-up" call to the BLM and other agencies that greatly profit from Burning Man and yet continue to treat the event like unwelcome guest. Take a year off and let's see how many hoops we have to jump through the following year.
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There are possibilities still...

Postby dragonfly » Thu Sep 11, 2003 2:20 pm

There are gatherings out there full of art, music, and wonderful people that have community and spirit. They may not have a 100' sculpture to burn down, but hey, who does?

Mine is not an idle bitch. My experience was a drag and I won't return (quiet please), but I do not presume to take this event away from anyone else. I say let everyone who seeks to spend a week getting drunk and stupid have every opportunity to do so. I would also not presume to put everyone at BM under my critical umbrella, after all, I did meet some cool people on the playa, and I enjoyed participating - handing out kits for the Safer Sex camp. My expectations may have been a little high though, and they were based on all the reports I got from all the people I know who went before me. I would now amend those expectations to be something like this:

"If you want to see cool art and wild shit, that's the place. But as for all the hype about gifting, friendliness, sharing, community, open-mindedness, well... you're on your own."

Peace all... and you can paint your balls whatever color suits your own silly ass.
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Postby PureJoy » Thu Sep 11, 2003 2:21 pm

BM is what you make of it.
This was my first burn and I had the time of my life.
(worked for a few months before, and during BM, on an ambitious art project). Never seen so much positive energy gathered in one place.
If you don't like it, don't go, there are other things to do for vacation -- but no need to be a joy killer for the rest of us !!
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Postby glam_daddy » Thu Sep 11, 2003 2:32 pm

let everyone who seeks to spend a week getting drunk and stupid have every opportunity to do so


thats your problem right there. In your mind you have already judged everyones experience. Were you there to get drunk and stupid? I doubt it.

My first year at BM was amazing. The next year was very good but not as amazing.

this year was not even as good as my second year but it was still 100 times better than anything else that I have been able to attend. I will continue to go and make the best of it.

paz
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Postby PetsUntilEaten » Thu Sep 11, 2003 3:15 pm

I have to chime in with an old point of mine - one I've made at the event when people turn to me with an us-verses-them whisper about "do you notice all the fratboys / yahoo / spectators ?"

I think for many people their first layer of freedom involves getting drunk & getting physically "free" (by being naked or looking at nakeness) - much like college when some people are free of their parents for the first time. Many will move beyond that. Many will sit with their "yahoo" friends while secretly planning their escape - planning to make something amazing.

Two of my favorite people went to burningman the year before they took me - and to see the pictures & hear the stories - they would be considered frat boys at a glance. But each of them left the event with big plans & continue to do major works of art, art fundraising, treat people with love & respect, and generally add something undeniably great & unusual to burningman.

If we gain one amazing artist out of every 20 jerks that show up or even open a few eyes - then I say fine. There's plenty of exclusive art venues - and exclusive havens for alternate living. I like the experiment. I like the struggle.
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Postby Zane5100 » Thu Sep 11, 2003 3:19 pm

PetsUntilEaten wrote:I have to chime in with an old point of mine - one I've made at the event when people turn to me with an us-verses-them whisper about "do you notice all the fratboys / yahoo / spectators ?"

I think for many people their first layer of freedom involves getting drunk & getting physically "free" (by being naked or looking at nakeness) - much like college when some people are free of their parents for the first time. Many will move beyond that. Many will sit with their "yahoo" friends while secretly planning their escape - planning to make something amazing.

Two of my favorite people went to burningman the year before they took me - and to see the pictures & hear the stories - they would be considered frat boys at a glance. But each of them left the event with big plans & continue to do major works of art, art fundraising, treat people with love & respect, and generally add something undeniably great & unusual to burningman.

If we gain one amazing artist out of every 20 jerks that show up or even open a few eyes - then I say fine. There's plenty of exclusive art venues - and exclusive havens for alternate living. I like the experiment. I like the struggle.


<sigh>

Now I'm falling in love with you...
middle-aged, wannabe-hipster, dilettante
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Postby stuart » Thu Sep 11, 2003 3:36 pm

...I like the experiment. I like the struggle.


yay pets!

you can pry burning man out of my cold dead hands.

in the spirit of radical free expression and self reliance, for those of you who would like to see the event take a year off, you can take that week and go do nothing or something else somewhere else. Make camp 'burning man was called off this year' in your living room. For the rest of you, see you on the playa in 350 or so days!
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Postby Isotopia » Thu Sep 11, 2003 3:40 pm

Hey Stuart, kinda surprised to see you post that one.

Seems very much in the same vein of the "America, Love it or Leave It" mentality.

I guess I can't agree with you ALL the time.
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Re: What ever it once had, it no longer has...

Postby tbone » Thu Sep 11, 2003 3:46 pm

dragonfly wrote:I saw very little community.


Might I suggest that you weren't looking? Or perhaps you were looking in the wrong spots? Or had a vastly different view of "comminuty" than I did?

I experienced very little trust. Every day I started out with a smile and a good attitude, but by Friday morning I had had enough, and left. Too many losers without costumes, trying to be cool, looking for nudity and booze. Oh yeah, and some cowardly weasle stole my bike on Tuesday.


Ahhh. 'no costume = spectator' oh boy do I love that one.
It makes you sound really ignorant to assume that people without costumes are losers. I've said the same thing a few times on other threads, but I'll say it one more time just for you. My Burning Man experience is about trying to stay in the shade and fixing broken things for people during the day and going out at night.
The sheer dollar value of the tools in our camp was staggering - we can start with a $1,600 welder, plus gas, plus wire. 3 gas welding rigs that would set you back another $500 each. Hand tools beyond your small imagination. Free bicycle parts to anybody who asked. Free booze, water, gatorade or food (if we were eating) to anybody who was there. Professional welders, auto mechanics, plumbers, artists and carpenters available for free - just for the asking. If your stuff was too broken to move, we'd go tow it back or fix it in the field.

Any you'd call us yahoos because we want to drink a beer and not wear a fucking tutu while working on your broken crap?

I would recommend that the powers that be abandon BM next year, and move on to create something smaller, with more integrity, in some other place.


Fuck off.
Oh, sorry, that sounds mean. Let me try again you loser yahoo, costume wearing freeloader.

Anyway, where was I? New event. New venue. Right.

Try attending a regonal burn. They are smaller, more intimate, have more integrity and they're in another place. Please try and pick one where I won't be. Please try and get all the "I didn't have fun so Burning Man should be cancelled" people in the same spot.

For whatever Burning Man once had, you know, that "thing" that made it so wonderful... it no longer has.


For you.
Not for everybody. Please don't try and think for the rest of us. Please don't try and shove your thoughts and values down my throat. Didn't like it? How about getting involved to try and fix what is missing? Or just go away.

I went from '98 to '01. '01 was horrible for me and most of my camp, and not many of us were interested in going again. Rather than ask Larry to cancel the event, we skipped it. Some went to Europe. Some went elsewhere. I ended up in the San Fernando Valley in a suburb. Other went to the burn anyway. This year, one of our newer people had an idea, and it grew and became infectious. Everybody was excited and started throwing out new ideas. Camp got bigger, more people wanted to camp with us, and the ideas kept coming in. By the time we got to the playa, there were 30 of us, a bar (oh, wait booze is bad), trucks full of tools, people eager use them, bikes to build fix and give away and a line of people with broken stuff wanting help.

We had our best year ever, and we're already throwing down ideas for next year. Will we be back? I don't know; it's a big world out there. Are we asking Larry to stop the event because things weren't perfect? No.
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tbone
 
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Postby stuart » Thu Sep 11, 2003 3:52 pm

sorry for using the old cliché

what is meant is...

I am sorry BM did not work out for you. It worked out for me. I love it. Please don't suggest it go away, just don't go.
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stuart
 
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