Friday, September 9, 2011

There's a Burning Man in ALL of Us!

Burning Man.

As this annual event seems to grow larger I wonder what the attraction is. One of my friends has attended for a number of years, he returns refreshed, exhausted and inspired. One of my relatives had mentioned they’d love to attend, but timing for college professors just doesn’t work out with the new school year pre-activities and registration just beginning at the same time as BM on the calendar. When I thought about this, my feelings were that both of these people are rather old for this sort of thing, I know I am, was my reaction. It dawns on me that there’s a lot more to it than that, which inspires me to write my story here.

On a similar level, since 1972 Rainbow Gatherings have taken place in a different and diverse location each year, an event that tries and strives to promote spirituality and creativity. Rainbow Gatherings are attended by devotees, new-bees, and curiosity seekers, all seem to have quite a fun time and take from it a positive experience.

The Barter Town of the “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome” 1985 movie seems closest to the spirit of this event. Not for the crazy Mel Gibson antics, but instead for the total artfulness of the film. The design team must have had a blast creating this set and that’s what Burning Man in all it’s arty-ness seems to be to me. Not quite art as you’d see it in a NYC Gallery, but creativity flowing and having an enormous good time. What does happen to all that artful stuff that is created for BM. For that matter I’d like to know what happens to all that artful stuff that’s created for all the amazing sci-fi and other films.

Since the website Kickstarter has come to be a place for finding funds for underfunded art projects, many Burning Man projects appear as funding projects through them. It’s a good fit, but with all the BM projects listed, at some point there’s a tendency to overwhelm the other just as worthy projects listed on Kickstarter. KS it seems to me will eventually sort this out and not offer as many BM projects in the future. The scale of BM projects, seem to be enormous and well in need of some serious funding. Perhaps BM would consider having a grants committee as part of their mission to evolve and inspire.

“The Wicker Man” 1973 film is another vein entirely but it sticks in my mind as valid in my thought pattern here. A large human like stick figure is set ablaze as part of a Celtic Paganism event.

Also, the ‘Burning of Old Man Gloom’ Zozobra in Santa Fe, New Mexico, comes to mind visually. This is a large sculptural puppet set ablaze at this time of year. Originally created by local artist Will Shuster in 1924, now an icon of Fall in the Southwest.

The radical political beliefs of the Monks who set themselves on fire as living breathing and painfully dying devotees of something I, and most of us will never understand. Obsessed devotion, willing to die for the cause. Yet, this is Not what BM is all about.

Well, I come to this conclusion, we all want to be “Burning Man”, thus some of us move to places like Taos, New Mexico, or other ‘art colonies’, (even if it’s just for a season).

Some will join a ‘stable’ of gallery artists who have similar taste and aesthetic. Some will attend an art salon, or even an art opening for that matter. We just want to have some form of creativity or creative element in our lives. We may become enriched or inspired, but sadly in the scheme of things only a few will have the opportunity to become a Burning Man. Maybe I just wish they’d have called it something else!

Long live the Burning Man in us all.

...since he's not a 'member' he could not post this so here it is from: Tony Abeyta

Burning man is somewhat like a a misunderstood genius amidst a classroom of A+ students, The class follows directions and there are assignments turned in on time but there are those few who choose to ditch class to create outside the lines and boundaries and expectations of a responsible world. No one quite understands why. People, often speculate why it is in the middle of a hot, dusty & desolate pastel desert, part of that begins with the long pilgrimage. once there , it is a celebration and creative experience like no other. there are no "hippies" there. In fact they frown upon the didgeridoo and rainbow attire that belongs to another genre, I see more organized and well financed crews of professionals, spending beaucoup duckets on theme camps with persian rugs, chandeliers and huge generators and swanky RV,S stocked with whole foods wish lists that line up for up to 6 hours to just park in that dust.
{ they say google shuts down its operations in SF, for the week}
I have had no less than several spiritual experiences that are part of the burn, it is an ephemeral mecca in the desert that was birthed from our cultures, its there as a reaction to the banality of the everyday. It is everything you cant possibly think of imagining and then it becomes your community for a brief moment in time.
yes, there is nakedness, drugs, bikes, fake fur coats, bartering,dubstep beats and dusty heat. but then there is the Temple, which is a sacred space where people go to release their crippling pain and post notes to loved ones lost, their stories like painful tabloids, mementoes and artifacts and the desperation to "let go" ,all later to be consumed in celebratory flames. its a vital part of what occurs there, a celebration of freedom from the confines of the world we have constructed for ourselves. Burning man is not for everyone, its a labor intensive, expensive and not very practical or even a responsible endeavor but its a manifestation of who we are , what we can create, and surely there is magic there like no other place.... purely transformational, and for those who know that playa well, it is sacred. T