"Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

No matter your skills or interests, there's a way for you to participate in the creation and manifestation of Black Rock City, both at the event and year-round.

Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby JCarter » Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:17 pm

Savannah wrote:
. . . I am tentative in my thoughts so far, because I don't want all the virgins to be in the Medical tent by 6pm Monday of the event because they help set up other camps all day and have heat exhaustion. :lol:


See, that is what I'm getting at. Due to the OP having tendonitis I didn't want to make her feel pressured that she needed to be all "grr" and physical. Even though for some people Burning Man seems to be about Sacrifice(TM) I absolutely feel it doesn't necessarily have to be. People who can't bench press 250 lbs or swing a hammer all day under the playa sun can still give fantastic gifts.

I think when trying to figure out what one's gift should be a person should think not only about the validity of the gift(which is important) but also the cost of the gift to the person, taking into consideration not only one's bank account but also one's health.

If your gift to someone costs you your health I am not sure I would call that a good gift. Dramatic, yes. But maybe not good.

Savannah wrote:
JCarter, where have you been? We've needed this. :lol:


If I told you you would loose all respect for me. It involves a mix of things horribly geeky and even more inappropriate. However, I do think that I need to stick around.

I fade for a few months and you people go buck wild!
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby graidawg » Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:22 pm

Hi beyond indigo, Tamarakay nailed it

i was a first time burner in 2011, full of fire and spirit and really wanted (just like you) to volounteer and got exactly the same advice as you did, so all i volounteered for was the fire conclave, i was supposed to be fire safety for the english conclave that was doing the fire dance on saturday night. I never made it.
i did however have the most amazing time, nearly killed myself brathing fire (before the gates even opened) had one day when i was just physically overwhelmed and another when i was emotionally overloaded.
I'm not saying your burn will be the same, it wont but i strongly suggest not voloounteering for anything.
however two other virgin burners i know volounteered a lot for things they seemed to feel mattered to them and it worked for them. if you find something you really want to do give it a go, but let them know you are a virgin so they at least dont put you in a critical position straight away. its your burn, do it the way you want to.
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby 5280MeV » Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:25 pm

How about participate AND don't commit?

If you have never camped out in the desert before, you are in for an awakening. I have done a lot of camping, backpacking, overnight whitewater canoeing in the winter, but it was all on the wet and humid Eastern US and the playa is nothing like that. On my first burn in 2011, I learned to quickly drop any notion that I was an expert at camping, at least out there. On top of the playa, the city itself is an alien environment that is both visually and socially unlike anything that one typically experiences in the modern world. It is a beautiful mindfuck.

On the other hand, you shouldn't feel obligated to do nothing more than stand around and consume what people give you!

- Do focus on your survival and comfort in the desert. The people at BRC make it look really easy, it isn't.

- Do find something (or nothing) different or ridiculous to wear. Don't worry if it doesn't seem to fit in with the "burner style", and don't worry it seems to be a playa cliche. At the last minute, I bought to cheap bright colored sarongs on overstock (definitely a cliche!) and ended up wearing them just about the whole burn. Do bring clothes that you know will be comfortable, physically and psychologically, but bring a few fun things to try.

- Do offer to help out wherever you go. Do pick up trash. Bring a few extra trashbags. Declare yourself a MOOP commando, and go clean up (you might find treasures).

- Do come up with a fun culinary or art project, but DONT worry if it breaks or does not work or you never end up using it. I brought a setup to formally serve espresso, which fit compactly on the plane, and thought I would go around the city with it. I ended up mostly just serving it in camp, and later just walking around with the moka pot yelling espresso.

- Do buy some LEDs or EL-Wire and go to town with it. Lighting falls under both art, costume AND survival. You must have light. Bring a backup system for when you break your EL-Wire.

- Do volunteer with the lamplighters. I didn't my virgin burn, but my friend did and had a blast. You can walk up around 4pm and be working that night, so you don't need to commit in advance.

- Do give back to the bars and theme camps that you may frequent. In the 'default world' it would seem insane to serve the bar. On the playa it is great fun. Bring a few mixers to give away to your favorite bar on Friday afternoon when they inevitably run out.

(Random thoughts of post-virgin)
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby MyDearFriend » Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:20 pm

5280MeV wrote:... the city itself is an alien environment that is both visually and socially unlike anything that one typically experiences in the modern world. It is a beautiful mindfuck.


This is more true than you can understand without being there. You may find yourself, as I did, in such a state of post-coital bliss that caressing and grooming the beloved is irresistible. 8) We call this MOOPing.

Individual camps become the landmarks on a lover's body; you explore, and praise, and enjoy them. This is Participation.

But, as with lovers everywhere, there are points where you just won't get each other. I have walked into camps, open camps where I knew people, and not been welcomed. In other camps I have been been given long and detailed explanations of the wonderful treats they offer, without ever being actually offered anything. :lol:

All part of the incredible mind-fuck. Amazing wonders, hypnotic pleasures, sharp reality checks, repeated every hour for days on end. Unless you really need structure to be happy, don't try to schedule your days ahead of time.

Not until you find your feet. 8) Be kind to yourself. Understand yourself. Be yourself.
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby dr.placebo » Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:38 pm

There is good advice above, and I hope that this is a good addition.

While it is critically important that you stay healthy and hydrated out there (the desert does want to kill you), I've found structured and unstructured ways to participate, and that participation is essential to the experience. Be a lamplighter, or give a hug, or join up with some random performance art, or tend bar, or just do some moop (trash) patrols. That does not mean you can't sit back and watch, too. If you see a performer it can be a gift to be their audience. But it's not like TV. It's not passive. It's playful, uncomfortable, joyful, and a bit dangerous.

Best wishes for a great burn!
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby B the B » Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:08 pm

You said you had big boobs, thats a couple gifts right there! Go and have fun. You already know enough from this thread alone. You are ready to start participating, and you are going to the perfect place to learn how. 8)
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby ranger magnum » Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:38 pm

It is customary for burgins to give blowjobs as gifts on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.



Ok seriously, you are thinking this out way too much. Arrive. Drink a lot. Then drink some more. After your mind slows down a bit, go sign up for lamplighters, or playa info, or the ARTerey.

Keep in mind this is your holiday, so its totally ok to make it about you...
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby BBadger » Sat Apr 14, 2012 3:07 am

It's funny seeing people think of "participating" as having to sign up for something, serving someone, or doing things in an official capacity. It's even more ridiculous when people use such things as a metric of worth when judging others.
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby lemur » Sat Apr 14, 2012 6:14 am

BBadger wrote:It's funny seeing people think of "participating" as having to sign up for something, serving someone, or doing things in an official capacity. It's even more ridiculous when people use such things as a metric of worth when judging others.


how do you participate BBadger?.. ..outside of ePlaya.. on the playa.. what do you do
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby BBadger » Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:32 am

lemur wrote:
BBadger wrote:It's funny seeing people think of "participating" as having to sign up for something, serving someone, or doing things in an official capacity. It's even more ridiculous when people use such things as a metric of worth when judging others.


how do you participate BBadger?.. ..outside of ePlaya.. on the playa.. what do you do


Who's keeping track?
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby lemur » Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:58 am

o.. i thought you were gonna regale us with tales of participating at burning man that didnt involve signing up for something, serving someone, or doing things in an official capacity..
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby BBadger » Sat Apr 14, 2012 8:12 am

That was my fault. I should've kept more extensive records of my participation for posterity--or maybe next year's ticket allocation scheme.
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby lemur » Sat Apr 14, 2012 8:35 am

you dont have a "burning man Résumé" ?!

AWKWARD!!!!
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby BBadger » Sat Apr 14, 2012 8:47 am

I really don't think I can participate without proper participation titling and ranks. "First commander of the MOOP Squad" or "Eternal Flame of Lamplightdom" or something like that. Gotta have medals, plaques, and exclusive parties to celebrate and reward the participators. Maybe even some special line at the gate like those exclusive airline club memberships. I've never been personally thanked by the captain of the airplane for being a gold frequent flier member. Maybe I can fill that hole with something equivalent at BM.
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby lemur » Sat Apr 14, 2012 9:09 am

im trying to wade through the sea of sarcasm on that one..

it reads like you think people only participate to get perks and titles!!!

so, if participating in an official capacity, or to serve people, signing up for something, is a load of dung because its only there to give people titles and perks to people who want to get recognized... what is left?

the artery asks for all art on the playa be registered as a "requirement/request" ..the DMV asks all stuff be registered.. theme camps wanting placement go through the official process..volunteering in the infrastructure is apparently out of the question.... so, making playa art, vehicles, volunteering, placed theme camps.. fire conclave.... are all official stuffs, within the system and the directed tickets that go with it..

that leaves us with the ways to participate that appear to be acceptable (could be wrong): talking, hanging out, non-placed theme camps, non-playa art, spinning fire/performing while in the city.. helping yer neighbors..

is that last list a good summation of the BBadger-approved-list of ways to participate at burning man?
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby Playa Status » Mon Apr 16, 2012 12:21 am

This isnt really related but I just wanted to share my excitement about being able to join the playa again this year! WOOOP!
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby BBadger » Mon Apr 16, 2012 5:41 am

Ah, I'm misunderstood again. Yes, that entire "titles" post was entirely tongue-in-cheek. Don't take any of it seriously.

Oddly enough, for this post:

BBadger wrote:It's funny seeing people think of "participating" as having to sign up for something, serving someone, or doing things in an official capacity. It's even more ridiculous when people use such things as a metric of worth when judging others.


I actually had a full explanation for what I actually meant written at the time of that "titles" post, but didn't add it. I probably should've stuck with the explanation rather than that lame titles post. So here is the explanation I was going to give as far as I can remember it:

I don't have anything against people choosing to participate in any shape or form, official, signing up, groups, whatever. The point of that post above was that you should participate because you want to participate, not for status symbols, not as an obligation for payback (or try not to approach it as such), not for titles, and not to hold under peoples' noses. Also, don't go around feeling that the way you're participating--however that's supposed to be defined--is less worthy just because others may judge it so.

That original post was not directed at anyone in particular (no, not you Lemur either). Looking back at the posts, I'm not even sure what prompted that post of mine. Maybe what I've seen in other posts in the past. I can't remember. Oh well, what has been said has been said.
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby robbidobbs » Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:43 pm

Participation is what you make of it. If one defines participation as being there, helping your neighbors, being self-sufficient, treating all public facilities (porta-potties!) better than you approached them, bringing joy to someone, leaving absolutely no trace upon leaving, and taking the Playa back home, then that's GREAT!

I have made a commitment to bringing virgins out on Poop Patrol, to see the City, deliver tp to the masses, and contributing in an extraordinary way. I LOVE virginitis! There is something special and benevolent about what my volunteers do, and I'd hope they feel pride about it. They are truly "cooler" than their campmates for doing this amazing duty.
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby PKF » Sun Apr 29, 2012 4:09 am

Sorry this may be the wrong area to post this (actually I'm 99% sure its the wrong place) but...sorry, this forum has so much to wade through. Plus I'm drunk :P

Just to add something to this forum-I agree that first timers should allow themselves complete freedom when it comes to participation because virgins often participate in one of the most appreciated ways-pure wonder! You can't replicate that! But at the same time, if you're interested in giving back, allow yourself to be spontaneous and make sure to check in with the volunteer booth at center camp. But I wouldn't commit to anything before you get the chance to see what BRC is really about!

For me personally, after a few years, I really want to be involved in the Sanctuary! I feel like I could be a soothing and calming member of the sanctuary caretakers. If anyone knows who I can talk to about being involved, I'd appreciate it!

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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby theCryptofishist » Sun Apr 29, 2012 9:01 am

I'm not certain what the requirements for Santuary are, but the guy I knew was a psychiatric nurse.
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby veleda » Sun Apr 29, 2012 9:14 am

I am biased but I am going to say.. all this talk about not doing much but wandering around and 'gifting' your presence places is bologna to me.

My first Burn I participated in a theme camp and volunteered a ton on the playa. I loved it and its what has had me coming back the last 8 years. I know lots of friends who 'dived' right in through major ways - theme camps, art projects, org-based volunteering (ice, center camp, radio, etc) and everyone of them had an amazing time. I think it deepens the experience of then burn, takes away the separation between spectator and participant, increases the feelings of connection, helps you push yourself in new ways..and generally rocks.

Honestly, i can't really imagine going to the burn without being a major participant. Wandering around drinking others people booze, eating others peoples food, and listening to others peoples music, and wearing a costume.. well.that is fun for sure..but if it was all I was doing..well that is just like to a paid music festival..to me that isn't burning man.

Burning Man is DIY. It's jumping in pool head-first not knowing how many feet deep it is and hoping you're gonna survive. It's breaking down barriers of can and can't in the self. It's breaking down barriers of us-you-me-them. It's a heady blend of creativity, collaboration, and chutzpah.

Don't get me wrong, be prepared that it will be more tough than you realize, that you might end up toasted and unable to do everything you want to do (That is OK!) Be gentle with yourself and let people know you're a virgin.. but participate both before the burn and during the burn. Find your local regionals, art projects, and theme camps that need help.. they all do...and you'll end up going to the playa knowing you helped make 2012 Virginopolis the best burn ever..
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby misfit » Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:22 am

PKF, rangers handle sanctuary, ESD will also staff 1 (one) medic in sanctuary.
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby Krokodyle » Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:13 pm

This has been an invaluable thread, and essential reading for potential first time burners. I'm hoping 2013 will be my first burn and this thread has given me lots of good advice. :D
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby BrockLanders10 » Sun Feb 17, 2013 2:25 pm

i'm looking to participate and volunteer. drop me a line and i'd be glad to help :)
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby CornMan » Sun Feb 17, 2013 3:50 pm

If you join a really good camp, you'll get to participate plenty, and you'll have fun doing it without it feeling contrived or feeling that it's taking over your whole burn.
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby Elliot » Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:00 pm

BrockLanders10 wrote:i'm looking to participate and volunteer. drop me a line and i'd be glad to help :)

Bwahahahahahahah! Click on this guy's name and read his Occupation! Of course, now he'll change it. It says "single guy with 10 inch penis".

All right, we all can use a good laugh once in a while.

This is otherwise a wonderful thread. Glad it was resurrected.
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby Riv » Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:04 am

I'd been wrestling with this too. (Having 4 years of my local regional under my belt, I do a lot of thinking about how I can contribute there--but when I go to the desert I'll be a newbie all over again.) I think that a good balance could be to help out with an art project or mutant vehicle a bunch in the months before the burn, and/or to show up early as part of a theme camp with early arrival and build stuff before things get super crazy. Along with (of course) having my shit together survival-wise and bringing fun outfits and being open to the experiences around me (with an eye towards connecting, being helpful when I can, and sharing) :)
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby TomServo » Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:08 am

Like if I don't volunteer for anything, how am I going to get really, truly involved and contribute to this community?


When you help your new neighbor set up their carport...or help fix their bicycle...or help them lace up their corset, you are participating. Participation, does NOT mean you are required to be a SPECTACLE. You simply need to be a part of your immediate community.


I though about this, after my first night at BM..a little disappointed, that Bianca's Smut Shack wouldn't accept my porno Barbie for entrance...this was when we were on the "Barter Economy." That night we had record winds and lots of destruction. I spent the first couple hours, after waking, helping people secure their tents. Afterwards, a spent some quiet time with a beer and my kilt...which needed repair..and I finally understood.
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby VultureChow » Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:53 am

You don't have to sign up ahead of time to volunteer and participate.

I signed up to bring a few things for our camp events last year, my virgin year (food mostly) but didn't sign up for any volunteer shifts. I still wound up doing an ice shift, cooking for the pancake breakfast, helping with the naked pub crawl. Hell, I even did a stint as perimeter at Burn Wall Street. The opportunity to participate and help will come up every day. When you're comfortable with it, join in.

But those first 24-36 hours I was a fucking wreck. I could barely manage myself, let alone help others. Fatigue due to some poor travel choices contributed, but the heat and dust and wind took some time to get used to.
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby AntiM » Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:10 am

Acclimation does vary a great deal from person to person, and for some, even year to year. There's plenty to do without loading your schedule with shifts which would leave others hanging if you don't adjust as quickly as anticipated. Or you may take to the dust and heat without a blink. In which case, you can trot down to Playa Info and see who needs help with what.
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