Monday, November 9, 2009
the real question is what do you see being out on the playa in the year to come. Do you see a grand magnificent form? Do you see a structure static in the ground? Do you see a kite in the air? Do you see an auto-mobile driving round and round? help us see our colletive dream and make it a waking reality.
your local electro-mechanical-hypnotist
Friday, September 25, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
In the shot with tetris camp you can see the tst's big blue dome just poking out behind crtt's budget rental truck.
5 Things Cities Can Learn from Burning Man
Burning Man's Larry Harvey says the city the project creates in the desert every year has done some radical things other cities should try
"Really?" the guy at the Alamo Rental Car place said, when I'd told him about Burning Man. "I heard it was just a lot of naked people running around on drugs."
Coated in gypsum dust, and still high not on drugs but on the altered consciousness of radical creativity and community, I had just tried to describe what Burning Man is, somehow. I think I'd said something like, "It's a temporary city of 50,000 people, devoted to radical self-expression. So you'll find anything you'd find in a regular city -- art museums, dance clubs, yoga studios -- only in the middle of the desert, with no money, and with more creativity than you've ever seen."
Of the two descriptions, surely Rental Car Guy's is the more familiar. When Adam Lambert revealed that he'd gotten the idea to go on American Idol while on mushrooms at Burning Man, America groaned. The image, I assume, was of a drugged-out weirdo coming up with a loopy idea in the middle of wild, crazy party.
The truth, though, is that Burning Man is an ideal place for self-reflection and self-transformation, whether substance-aided or not, and as someone who's just gotten back from his 8th Burn, Lambert's revelation didn't surprise me a bit. Friends of mine have changed their names, their professions, and their entire lives at Burning Man. And not because they were stoned or tripping, but because Black Rock City -- the temporary city (built and erased within a month) where the event goes on every year, the week before Labor Day -- has a tendency to expand horizons, reveal possibilities, and question the assumptions most of us make about how we're supposed to live our lives.
Burning Man does this, I think, because of a combination of factors. One of them is the sheer size and scope of the thing. 50,000 people. Hundreds of cars and trucks modified to look like dragons, whales, radios, and steamboats; many breathing fire; most with dozens of revelers dancing on them. It's like "Mad Max" meets "Blade Runner" meets "The Ten Commandments," and it's real, it's actually happening.
And it's happening without capitalism. There's no vending at Burning Man -- it's a gift economy. Entire "theme camps" exist just to give away spaghetti, to serve people free margaritas, to make pancakes. Yes, it does cost a lot to get in (between $150-350), but that mostly pays for the rental of the land from the government, the porta-potties and other infrastructure, and grants made to large-scale art projects. No one -- not the celebrity DJs who were there this year, like Armin van Buuren and Carl Cox, and not the people who build the solar electrical grid -- gets paid. No one is making a buck.
This is incredibly liberating. It's not sustainable, but it is a temporary autonomous zone of bullshit-free living. And just being there, just participating in the creation of an entire city devoted to what we want to do, rather than what we have to do to make money, has the tendency to invite self-reflection like Lampert's. Who am I? What do I really want to be doing? If people can create a twelve-ton sculpture of a bird's nest made entirely out of plumbing pipe, what are the limits on my own creativity? "Once you are free," said Baudrillard, "you are forced to ask who you are."
The freedom is more than just freedom from conventional economic life, though. Yes, there are some naked people running around on drugs, because the culture of Black Rock City is a very, very liberal one. (It's not free of law enforcement -- this year in particular, I heard many stories of people being busted for drugs, and for giving alcohol to minor-aged-looking undercover cops.) Of course, how people choose to exercise that freedom is up to them. For every NPRAOD, I'd guess there are two people wishing they had the courage to do so, one person playing the violin on a sofabed in the middle of a desert, two people cooking pumpkin ravioli, and another person writing the name of her beloved on the wooden walls of the Temple -- this year a three-story, Lotus-shaped construction just north of the center of the city, that was burned last Sunday night.
Of course, we don't hear about these other people, which, to me, says more about the puerility of the default world than the sexuality of Black Rock City. It's as if radical self expression is boring, but if it means naked people on drugs, then it's titillating, easy to condemn -- and also comprehensible. Oh, I get it.
You don't get it. You don't get what it's like to have 50,000 people circle around a wooden effigy, with 1000 people spinning fire and 500 more playing drums, all encircled by 200 art cars -- and then all roaring in unison as the effigy is set afire. You might think you get it, and it may scare or tempt or delight you, but I assure you, you don't get it. None of us do, because it's not about any one thing in particular; "it" can be an orgiastic celebration, or the sad mourning of a lost loved one. Or a warm, hippie-like community. Or a mean, Mad-Max-like apocalypse. "It" is chiefly a space in which all these things are possible.
The temporary erasure of societal, social, and personal boundaries is, for most of us, terrifying. Such boundaries help build the structures of society and self; they give form to human life, which is often chaotic and unpredictable. Thus they have been the bedrock of religious and civil life for millennia, even before the Furies were imprisoned under Athens, and Moses descended from Sinai.
But if religion creates boundaries, mysticism and spirituality efface them. In the transcendence of ordinary distinctions, peak experiences such as those encouraged at Burning Man give a glimpse of the ultimate, the infinite. It may seem absurd to suggest that Burning Man is a mystical event. But then, if it's just a big party, why is there a temple in the middle of it?
+ m i s s s a b a d o +
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Here is our current vision for a camp layout. There is a gods'eye view, showing the dome, quonset huts, RV's car park and open area that we will fill with umm stuff. There is also a elevation view as one would see it from 9'oclock plaza showing the dome with the spread of two quonset huts side by side. creating a back drop for the stage.
I may switch over to sketch-up for the next version.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
We are really excited about this! We love the art at burning man and are honored to be able to feed a whole pile of black rock city's finest Artist.
Well actually it will probably be our first time running a kitchen. However, it will be the last Dinner before the event starts.
This is going to be great fun for everyone involved.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Now that we have the essential tools and techniques for cooking we must figure out the essentials of cleaning up our mess and dealing with gray water.
However, when out on the playa for a week, or as some of us are planning, two weeks, we need privacy from time to time. We all have the need for personal space. Tents almost work for this. Though, they lack protection from the dust and are just a little bit on the flimsy side for the desert environment. Over the next month, members of our camp will be spending time exploring personal space units(PSU's) The criteria we'll be optimizing for are:
1 Ability to completely protect the inhabitant from all weather on the playa (wind,sun,rain,dust,people)
3 Ease of: day to day use, transport, setup, tear down.
4 Looking awesome.
Here are some links that may provide some inspiration.
Desert Shade Structures
Shade structure photos on tribe
Well it's a start.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
From our friends at Pancake PlayHouse:
I'm the kitchen manager for Pancake Playhouse. I can give you a rundown of the steps we take to meet code. We have evolved to this point from a pretty crappy kitchen that probably should have been shut down in 2001 to what we are today (still pretty budget, but functional.) I don't know how much detail you want, or how much of this will apply to you, but here is everything we do.
Our kitchen is made up of 2 carports, we got ours from Costco, but lots of places have them. We carpet the floor, and spike the carpet down with those crappy little tent stakes that no one uses out on the playa, just stake the edges of each piece of carpet down about every 4 or 5 feet. This reduces dust. We have a couple of large fans to circulate air in there so we don't get too hot.
We store our dry food on shelves to keep it up off the floor, we place these shelves on the windward side of the kitchen, this helps secure the structure.
We have 4 large trash barrels, one each for aluminum, trash, glass, and burnables. These are staked down and attached to the structure support poles on the windward side. We use heavy duty contractor's bags instead of trash bags, as even the strongest trash bags will tear under the kind of stress the playa puts on plastic, but contractor's bags are a lot tougher. You can find them at any good hardware store. When a bag is full we tie it shut and tie it to the outside of the kitchen on the leeward side.
Our washing, cooking, prep, and serving are all done on large 30"X72" folding tables, four for cooking, 1 each for prep, serving, and dish washing.
The dishwashing table is located on the leeward side of the kitchen. We use 3 shallow sealable storage tubs for our dishwashing. One for washing, one for rinsing, and one for bleach sanitizing. For the sanitizer use the gnarly chlorine bleach, we used the environmentally friendly seventh generation stuff one year and got dinged for improperly sanitizing our dishes. You can get basic litmus paper from a restaurant supply store to test the ph of your sanitizer. We use a simple wooden shelf above the tubs to hold 2.5 gallon water jugs to serve as spigots. Once the dishes are dry we pack them away in large sealable storage tubs.
Next to the dishwashing station we have a hand washing station. It is just a 2.5 gallon jug of water with a small tub underneath it to catch the runoff. We have liquid soap and hand sanitizer gel. We keep a nail brush in a bowl of relatively high ph bleach water. We had a paper towel roll from the kitchen wall above the station.
The prep, cooking and serving tables are cleaned before and after each shift. After each shift all of the stoves are cleaned and stacked. Before each shift we give them a quick wipe down to get all the dust that they accumulated off.
The serving area has syrup jugs with pump tops and at least one of us serving the pancakes using tongs and wearing gloves.
You are not allowed to have open beverage containers for people working in the kitchen, but sport top bottles are acceptable so we makes sure to put one by each stove, so that the cooks can stay hydrated without breaking the rules. We also make our people take frequent breaks, as it can get hot in there.
Every one in the kitchen has to be wearing a hat or hairnet and some sort of clothing that covers the front of their body.
We have at least one runner to take the food from the cooks to the servers, this keeps the food flowing quickly.
We have one person whose job it is to deal with the health inspector each day, they probably won't come every day, but they might, so we pick someone that refrained from heavy extra-curricular activities the previous night so that they are relatively fresh and coherent. If you have volunteer cooks, make sure they don't talk to the health inspectors.
We don't serve food that requires refrigeration, but we cook it for ourselves, if you need to keep food cold using only ice chests, make sure the chests stay in the shade. If you are using a refrigerator I would suggest putting it on a dolly so you can roll it into the shade as needed. It will keep the compressor from getting over worked, well no it won't, but it might make the compressor last the week. I have never had a fridge survive a trip to the playa, but if you have access to one you are going to toss anyway I highly recommend taking it up there.
You get the permit application here http://health.nv.gov/PDFs/TempApp.pdf
This is a helpful checklist, if you answer yes to all the questions you will pass your inspections. http://health.nv.gov/PDFs/SelfInsp.pdf
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
This past weekend two members of our camp rambled up into the high desert of Nevada about 30 minutes further away from civilization than the playa off to burning mans dwp ranch. It was a wild and surreal space. It consisted of a 1 square mile track of land with in which there was a 3 acre compound filled with sleeping trailer, workshops, large sculptures, and some of the sweetest hippypunks you ever met. We worked hard saturday and sunday building projects to get dpw ready for setting up black rock city. They start working on the playa in july. One night made spaghetti dinner for about 40 people.
Cooking the spaghetti was fairly easy. We fired up the burner at chow time and waited 30 minutes for 1.5 gallons of water to boil and then tossed in 4 packages of spaghetti. It took about 15 minutes for the whole wheat pasta to cook up. We pulled the pasta out of the pot with a pair of tongs and threw it into a serving dish and placed a bowl of sauce next to it. It was a big hit with the dpw crew. There was about .75 gallons of gray water left in the pot at the end. It looks like we didn't use very much propane in the exercise.
Looks like we are on a good path.
On the way out of town we swung by the playa. It rained while we were there. There is standing water in some places. The playa looks like it will be super hard this year! YAY!
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
-It takes 1.5 gallons of water and 45 minutes to cook one package (11 bowls) of spaghetti.
-A tasty anchovy sauce can be made with garlic, olive oil, and anchovies. It's easily prepared during the time while the spaghetti is boiling.
Here are the advanced notes from our resident chemist:
• 6 qt of water to one package of spaghetti
• Estimated 8 qt water for 2 packages ~ 4 qt water per package of spaghetti
• homemade anchovy sauce serves 15 bowls ~ 1/4 cup per bowl
- 1/5 bottle of oil
- 3 can of anchovies
- 4 cloves of garlic peeled and diced and onions
• home made sauce took approximately 1 hour for 1 competent person to make.
• Prego (container is about 8cups) ~ 1/4 cup per bowl
- 30 bowls
• 6 qt water took 30 minutes to boil on camp stove. [in the 12qt pot]
• 1 package of pasta takes 15 minutes from putting the pasta in the water to being done.
- takes about 10 minutes to cook once it's all in the water and water is back to boiling.
• 1 package of spaghetti made 11 bowls.
• We can use this info to figure out how much water is needed.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
well, well, Do we think we might have tst up and running in time to provide a meal to another art group? I think we could maybe have a group over for diner sunday night before the event starts? If you are planning on going early shoot me a line and interested in participating shoot me a line and I'll set us up with the program.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
The Starving Artist Stage is our collective art project. Of course, will the performances shown on stage be wonderful works of art. Lets not forget that the stage and the back drops will be hand painted by members of our theme camp under the art direction of our very own Ben! He will be using this experience to gain credit as an independent study project at sdsu. Although, he is yet unaware of this fact until reading these words.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
What's in a name?
Twilight Spaghetti Theatre, the name TST is a throw back to the film tradition spaghetti western. My second year at burning man I ate at a camp named Spaghetti Western, the camp served spaghetti as sunset and on video monitors in the camp played clips from varrious films from the genra. The spaghetti western film genra was kind of a hodge podge of scenes loosely tied together involving cowboys and lawlessnes. Similarly we hope to have a wide varriety of acts on our stage with little congruity between them. For many members of the camp one of our favorit activites has been stopping people on the street and asking them to preform for food. TST is a more structured setting for the same activitiy.
What is involved.
This year we will only be running TST for 2-3 nights out of the week of the burning man festival. Durring those nights we will need members of our camp and possibly members of LPP to run varrious posistions of TST. One of the beautiful things about the free form nature of this event is that we are in charge of when we start and when we end. We can decide how much spaghetti to serve and what kid of spaghetti sauce to serve. We do not need ot exhaust ourselves putting this event on. The whole things can be rather leasurely incomparison to camps like pancake playhouse.
Durring the months leading up to the event we will conduct reserach into what will be the easiest to prepare and clean up foods. Presesntly we are commited to pasta of some sort but not tied to spaghetti and tomato sauce. In august we will be building a large sign which will attach to the dome and flushing out the stage experiance. There may be some other activities which I'm not able to think of at the moment.
Do we really need to have a gray water pond?
Yes! Camp members need to take showers. The amount of water used in showers will dwarf the spaghetti gray water. I think? Anyways we have a rather large camp now and we need to be better responcible about managing our waist. I think the graywater pond will be nice to have and not moch trouble in comparison to the pleasure being able to be clean.
Just a heads up on our latest thinking about what TST. Some of this will change as we conduct more research about TST.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Introductions: We have a few new members to the group joining us tonight as well as one or two new members who cannot make it.
Refresher of the plan to date. What is TST?
Scheduling a test run in June or july
Job tasks and responsibilities. Some of us have jobs, the rest of us need jobs
adjuring : go do it!
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Friday, May 8, 2009
I'm writing you to let you all know that you are now(if you were not already)on the list of people who will automatically receive and email every time we update the tst blog. If you would like to only find out about tst via the blog then email me and I'll remove you from the list.
your local electro-mechanical-hypnotist
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Sunday, May 3, 2009
We at in the slumber marshals understand that black rock city is a clothing optional town. However, twilight spaghetti theater reserves the right to refuse service to it's customers. Due to heath and safety regulations and the fact that it is just in bad tast. shirt cocking = no service in our dining area.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Wait, lets back up a minute. Who are these love puddle folks? What are they doing with our camp? If you didn't make it out to the playa last year or you didn't really ever make it out side of your tent in the afternoon let me clue you in.
Last year we camped two doors down from a camp that had a bar that served love puddle punch (read: tang and potato juice.) They were a jolly lot and kept our camp well lubricated. They had a gigantic twister board which they kept threatening to apply us towards.
We've all kept in touch and when the notion of throwing our theme camp together came up they were agreeable to joining us on the playa once again with their famous love puddle punch and giant twister board.
So, the slumber marshals are starting a village. Maybe we need a name for it?
Thursday, April 23, 2009
TST the blog.