Thanks to Burner Danny for sharing this interactive guide to Psy-Trance festivals in 2014.
Reno’s Morris Hotel is being turned into a Burner hotel – quite literally. They now answer the phone as “Morris Burner Hotel”, and the web site is morrisburnerhotel.com. From the Reno Gazette-Journal:
The building, purchased last July by brothers Don and Jim “Jungle Jim” Gibson, has since undergone renovations removing its aged, yellow layers and turning it into the beginnings of a creative hub for Burning Man participants, artists and the community.
Next week, it will open its door in a soft-grand opening with artist group NadaDada for its second annual, three-day spring Dada art and music event, “NADAgras.” The event will include artwork, tours of the Morris, food, live music and performance art displays.
We’ve told you tales before of NadaDada and their motel shows.
“’NADAgras’ is a match made in heaven for us,” Gibson said. “NadaDada is one of my favorite events — I have wandered around for one or two days every year, visited with the artists; it’s so fun to see all the crazy art. Doing it here is an honor.”
During “NADAgras” the hotel’s third floor rooms will be filled with Nada artists and their work. He said hosting a grand opening during the event also offers exposure to both the hotel and Nada that the community may not have experienced before.
“The art part (at the Morris) has turned into such an important piece of the puzzle,” Gibson said. ”It’s not only how we’re decorating the place, but we have an art proposal and program that we put together that defines how we deal with the art in the hotel and in the community, and relationships with other art galleries and groups.”
On nearly a half an acre of land and with more than 30 rooms, the Morris is home to over a dozen residents, a series of themed art rooms, such as the Goddess of Creation room and the Sparkle Pony room, and the alternative media source, LoadedTV, featuring “Studio M” streaming interviews and segments about the Burning Man and art community.
“I didn’t go out intentionally looking to buy something like this — it kind of happened and the rest, as they say, is history,” Gibson said. “What has happened here is nothing short of amazing and it’s turning into what could be an incredibly-nice boutique hotel.”
Gibson said as the first phase of renovations comes together, there are future plans to create a coffee shop, an organic food restaurant and an aquaponics greenhouse and outdoor seating area in the backyard “playa” space.
He said he would also like to use the 18-foot high “M” from the 2009 Burning Man art installation piece, “MOM” created by California artist Laura Kimpton, as an entrance gate on Valley Road behind neighboring businesses Abby’s HWY 40 and Studio on 4th.
“We’re on the books as a hotel, but the reality is that we’re an art and a community space,” Gibson said. “It’s something for people who want to understand Burning Man and it’s for the greater Burning Man community around the world. When they come to Reno, they can stay here and they immediately get to know the burner community. That’s always been a real driver for doing this.”
In room 223, “NADAgras” coordinator and performing artist James Dilworth will present a silent, interactive performing art piece, “Room of Silence.”
He said holding the event at the Morris is ideal because there is the overlap between Nada and burners where anything can happen and people can come out of their normal world and experience something they’ve never experienced before.
The Nada movement began in Reno four years ago with its “Dada Motel” exhibit featuring artists residing and exhibiting in the El Cortez Hotel on West Second Street for a weekend. The Nada artists’ work challenges conventional art politics and portrays a variety of more eccentric themes.
“There’s an artistic revival going on in Reno, and there’s a lot of artistic things happening here,” Dillworth said. “I think the community at large should be aware of this. It’s something to experience, appreciate and be a part of it. It’s not just for artists; it’s for everyone and they need to participate.”
Last year’s first off-shoot of the main Nada event started in midtown with “NADAgras” in the Best Bet Motel. Dilworth said this year’s event is more extensive and features a wide-variety of activities to participate in.
“I think there is going to be a lot more buzz about NadaDada,” Dilworth said. “With this event, we’re testing the waters to expand the Nada movement. It isn’t just gallery shows; if you have an idea with Nada, try it out — get a room, put it up and see how it works.”
Displaying in the Oxbow Press group show, “Naughty, Taboo and Just Plain Wrong,” British artist Carole Anne Ricketts joined Nada in the summer of 2010. She said the magic of Nada is allowing the artist the opportunity to speak directly to the public in their own words.
“Nada is where the truth can be told or the outrageous can be put on display,” Ricketts said. “It’s not the words of a hanging committee or a curator looking for commercially viable items, then the show going up after the subject has lost its current cultural relevance.”
For this year’s “NADAgras” event, Ricketts along with the help of artist and musician Jill Marlene, created the Goddess room she hopes will inspire creativity in those that stay in it.
“It (”NADAgras”) is a perfect fit for the Morris Burner Hotel, where the show takes on a mini ephemeral art community, much like that of Burning Man on a way different scale,” Ricketts said. “Although Nada is non-exclusive, so tickets for entry have no place here. Within the rooms of the Morris, the exhibitions take on a level of intimacy, while the corridors, indoor spaces and outdoor area, provide an almost carnival banality with the possibilities of spontaneous entertainments of burner style revelry.”
Sounds great, I wanna go! If anyone in Reno could take a picture of the neon purple Burner sign for us, we’d be much obliged.
NADAgras starts March 7
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, March 7; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday, March 8; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, March 9
WHERE: 400 E. Fourth St.
Business Insider just loves to reference Burning Man. Their latest is a long story about Firefly, a $269 portable electronic vaporizer designed for people who make $75,000/year or more and want to, ummm, smoke tobacco and scented herbs?
the inventors of this high-end vaping implement built the Firefly for legal substances, such as tobacco or, as the Vape World website delicately puts it, “aromatherapy blends.”
You know, this tool is supposed to appeal to that market of people who would be puffing away on pipes like John Cheever and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but have been clamoring for a beautifully designed high-tech gizmo that produces a lung-caressing vapor instead of a bronchi-blistering smoke.
“The tobacco is the business,” says Firefly co-founder Sasha Robinson. “To ignore that market or to think it’s a secondary market is just wrong.”
That said, if someone happened to want to load the Firefly’s chamber with another dried out herbaceous substance, who’s to stop them?
“We respect the consumer’s right to choose,” Robinson adds patriotically. “We have to be respectful of federal laws while understanding that the market in the United States is changing rapidly.”
It’s a different world now than it was back in 2007, when Robinson and Firefly co-founder Mark Williams met and bonded over their shared passion for Burning Man — a wholesome gathering in the desert where upstanding citizens come together to engage in perfectly innocent activities.
…Instead of igniting the leaves — a technology that hasn’t been updated since Prometheus — vaporizers like the Firefly heat it to extremely high temperatures, slowly drying the vegetable matter and emitting a smooth vapor for the user to suck in.
Business Insider then takes us on a look back into vaporizer history, and the lengths tobacco and aromatherapy smokers will go to in order to get their fix a different way…
Five years ago, if you encountered a vaporizer, you were probably sitting in a college dorm room surrounding a clumsy, vaguely sinister-looking contraption with a motley collection of hygienically challenged dudes — alternative types, hobbyists. The kinds of kids who order mysterious packages from websites that end in .net. You probably also saw a few computer parts scattered around and maybe some Grateful Dead posters on the walls. It was a very niche audience.
This was pre-Firefly. The vape of choice back then was a desktop contraption called the Volcano. Developed by German manufacturer Storz Bickel, it has a base that looks kind of like the bottom of a blender, and it comes with a plastic bag you fit over the top of it.
You load your herb of choice, plug in the machine, turn it on, and wait. The bag fills with vapor like a Snoopy balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and once it’s full, you take it off the base and inhale. It’s a little like huffing glue or getting anesthesia — neither one of which are especially appealing to a mass user base.
Adam Schoenfeld, one of the early distributors of The Volcano and now a prominent business consultant in the shadowy vaporizer industry, calls The Volcano “the Mercedes G Wagon of vaporizers.”
The Firefly, on the other hand, is more like a Tesla. It’s a high-end luxury product — one aimed at consumers making upward of $75,000 a year. Retailing for $269, it would take months of grocery bagging to afford one.
The Tesla comparison is also apt in that the Firefly — and similar handheld vaporizers on the market— depends on advances in lithium battery technology, just like the Tesla. The Firefly was not the first handheld vaporizer on the market. In 2008, the butane-heated IOLITE, by Oglesby and Butler debuted.
In terms of battery-powered vapes, another pioneer was the Magic Flight Launch Box. It hit the market around 2010, and is basically a tiny box of wood that comes with a rechargeable AA battery. Jamming the battery into a hole in the side activates the device. It’s not the sexiest or most powerful gadget, but it gets the job done.
In the high-end vape market, a device called the Ploom Pax beat the Firefly by a year or so. And while the Pax is smaller and lighter (and thus more discreet), the Firefly is far more powerful, running on 50 watts rather than Pax’s 4.
The Firefly also works differently. Whereas the Magic Flight and the Pax use conductive technology, heating up the area on which the plant matter rests, the Firefly is convective, heating the air in the chamber to an astonishing 400 degrees. Some purists argue that this technique, known as convection, makes for a better tasting experience.
How did it all come about?
Try this: Graduate from one of the best schools in the country, have a wildly successful career in Silicon Valley by your late 20s, get a prestigious job at a firm people would die to work for, get married, be sort of happy.
Then chuck it. Quit your job, ply your savings into a new venture all your own, and design a fetish-like new product for a vaguely shady industry that few people even know exists. Then take a look at your knuckles — they’re white.
When they met in 2007, Robinson and Williams were dancing to a mix by a party crew called The Space Cowboys at San Francisco’s Burning Man Decompression party.
It’s a party for people who wish they were at Burning Man.
Both were health-conscious smokers (a rare but growing species). They had experimented with vaporizers and found the results promising. But there was a problem: The older models looked like bulky science experiments — like model spaceships — and they weren’t always reliable.
“The early inventors were great pioneers,” says Williams. “We have a lot of respect for what they did. But neither of us wanted to buy any of the products that were around at that time.”
Normally that would be that, but Williams and Robinson were not your typical “burners” (as aficionados of Burning Man are called).
Williams spent years rising through the ranks at Apple designing Mac OS software, and Robinson had been working at prominent Silicon Valley companies for decades.
They’d both built things, and they had that hacker mindset where you look at a problem and assume you can solve it. Together, they resolved to invent a vaporizer of their own, one that would do for smoking what the iPod did for music. It would be the perfect meeting of form and function, a sleek, intuitive device that would make vaping “as quick as lighting up.”
It wasn’t exactly an easy decision.
“I walked away from a pretty sizable amount of money to work on this project,” Williams told Business Insider. “I could’ve ridden Apple into the sunset.”
Robinson had it pretty good, too, having bounced from Silicon Graphics Incorporated, to Juniper Networks, a networking equipment manufacturer, before bailing out before he was 30. “I retired,” says Robinson. “I was basically like f— this tech stuff. I’m going to learn to weld.” He cashed in some stock, bought a house in San Francisco, and traveled — to Thailand, Cambodia, Poland, Costa Rica. You name it, he wandered there for weeks.
Back home in San Francisco, he got pretty good at metalworking. He constructed jaw-dropping installations for Burning Man and danced a lot. “I achieved every single career goal I had for myself by the age of 29,” says Robinson, now 41. “It’s a weird feeling to be both really proud and lost.”
Proud and lost – welcome to Burning Man.
Since becoming friends, Robinson and Williams were constantly meeting at house parties, or at late-night events in San Francisco’s vibrant electronic music scene. It was Williams who came up with the idea to build a vaporizer. They began spending their Tuesday nights tinkering with coils and testing different power supplies in Robinson’s basement, which was jammed with everything from power tools to Burning Man projects, including a colorfully painted bike with a fur-covered seat. Because “if you’re wearing short-shorts and not much else in the desert, it’s nice to be sitting on fur,” Williams explains.
The device is now out, with an order backlog of 5000 units. It seems a lot of tobacco smokers really want a new device to get their nicotine from!
The Firefly launched at the end of last year to much acclaim. Gadget site Gizmodo declared it “portable perfection.”
In other words, after over three years, they can finally exhale.
But Williams and Robinson aren’t through innovating. They want to expand the Firefly line to vaporizers that accept cartridges of liquid or wax, and to make improvements to the core product, which could be lighter, sleeker, faster. And while the Firefly is definitely being marketed for tobacco users (in total compliance with the U.S. criminal code), the partners have no way to control what a consumer might do in the privacy of his or her own home, or dorm room, or the back of a van.
Or, for that matter, at massive music-and-art festival under the stars in the desert of northern Nevada.
Future Now is the Institute for the Future Blog. Lindsea Wilbur has shared an interesting story there, with snippets of ideas and conversations about Governance Futures heard at Burning Man Cargo Cult 2013.
An iterative and experimental governance system, Burning Man takes place in a desert in Nevada christened Black Rock City. The desert environment provides the platform for the participatory layer, the festival where the citizens interact. Then, the governed body dissolves into a distributed community, remaining connected by a network in cyberspace. This past year 70,000 people gathered in camps to create a temporary city, complete with a daily newspaper and street signs, only to disappear again back into “the default world.”
Managing the protocol is Black Rock City, LLC—the house of the “benevolent dictator” and co-founder of Burning Man, Larry Harvey. In 1986, when Burning Man first began, it was a far looser, smaller operation. The private corportation which owns and controls the now popular event is transitioning into the non-profit Burning Man Project, making necessary governance adjustments for the growing community.
The following “overheards” all came directly from conversations initiated by the Social Inventor’s Toolkit. In a tea house, a pirate ship, a Southern front porch (pictured below), numerous and never again seen bars, and while wandering the desert, participants discussed challenges of government today, values and personal philosophies, the mechanisms which uphold our values, and the style and experience of governance at Burning Man.
And speaking from extensive experience, whipping out the Social Inventor’s Toolkit at cocktail parties will add significant weird to the conversation (in the best possible way)!
“Our governance system is a transmedia story…it’s just not that good.”
“Why don’t we talk about governance in more spiritual terms? We need new words to describe the same phenomena.”
“The purpose art serves to humanity is clear and elemental—something not fully accomplished in the language of politics. Why is art and poetry so separate from the way we govern?”
“Assess the situation, and do what you want.”
“Is it more efficient to have meaningful, positive interactions?”
“Out here, there’s no alternative but excellence.”
“Everything’s built on relationships, each camp a microcosm with its own governance system based on their own particular values. Fantastic and utter chaos!”
“There are holes in the general consensus of reality, alternative access to truth. Everything is entangled in the universe with the information flowing through it.”
“When we jump forward technologically, we have years of social, emotional, spiritual progress to catch up on.”
“What governance system will uphold the safety of women?”
“Pioneers need to break down the psychological walls.”
“Burning Man is an expression of the renaissance in art and science.”
“Is it just escapism? One social structure [Burning Man] within another social structure [America], yet based on such different values.”
“It’s all forms of self transcendence, the spiritual experience of creative expression, fully knowing the inevitable destruction which follows, a purposeful moment through time. The flock of birds in the sky simultaneously taking a dive.”
“Culture is primarily the way we communicate many of our rules and the progression of self in society.”
“We should work together as cities, diversifying social metrics—some combination of the more feminine trust exchange vs the more masculine, achievement-based tiered incentives/badge system. And flag raising, collecting people around purpose.”
“The global climate crisis is a Rite of Passage we’ve created for our society to mature. And our collectively maturity is measured by how effectively we use our resources.”
“We are ‘templating’ and ‘in training’ now as a society for the shared burden and other phenomena we’ll be forced to react to on a planetary scale.”
“We’re practicing with these new templates for communities—new ways of being-in-the-world. We’re beginning to create an infrastructure as these disparate templates connect and merge the networks of these communities.”
It seems like Burning Man’s “experiment in temporary autonomy” inspires a lot of people to think about the future, and new ways of living together. For some, it’s the camps that matter – a chance for the members of their tribe to gather. For others, it’s the Man – worshipping casting off His shackles for a week of debauched independence, before shedding a tear at the Temple and returning to the shackles of Defaultia once again for the rest of the year. For others, it’s the city that inspires them – to be a part of so many people celebrating similar aspects of the diverse tapestry of our lives.
As far as an experiment in governance goes, it’s not one - neither “experimental”, nor “iterative”. The governance model has barely changed a fraction since the incorporation of Black Rock City LLC in 1997. Soon that’s going to be twenty years. There is really no process to change it, other than the whims of the founders. I guess you could write a letter to Larry Harvey giving him a few pointers…good luck with that.
I think there should be other “Temporary Autonomous Zones” that Burners could travel to around the world, where the culture and vibe are familiar, but the governance and the rules and the magic and the petri-dish experiments are different. Something new and improved. Burners create the culture, create it everywhere, make it slightly different each time. That’s what Nature does, and her system seems to have worked pretty well for billions of years. The alternative is to accept that the exciting potential future being described here, is something we must wait for the BMOrg to provide us with “one day”. Wishful thinking indeed.
We’ve been contacted by Loop Cycles, an organization that wants to donate Burner bikes to Africa once they’ve had a full Playa workout. Delivering nobility through mobility:
My name is Lily and myself and some fellow Australian Burner friends have started an organisation this year called LOOP Cycles. We are supplying Custom designed bikes for Burning Man ordered online, that are picked up in Reno, and then returned to us after Burning Man. We then donate them to Namibia, Africa where they are re-cycled and re-purposed as a means of mobility.
Here is our website: www.loopcycles.org
We are very excited about the potential of this project and the positive impact it can make in Namibia. We also feel that it a is very unique way for Burners to extend the Burning Man way of GIFTING beyond the vicinity of Black Rock City…We want people to be able to personally make a difference 1 bike at a time!
+1 310 893 4096
We’re happy to promote anything Burners can create out of Burning Man that makes a difference in the world, Loop Cycles probably doesn’t have tens of millions of dollars in their budget, but this initiative seems like it could be more impactful to someone’s life than a $150 scarf. Just sayin’…
[Update ... Lily from Loop Cycles has visited us and explained further 2/7/14 7:26pm]
Hi guys. just a little more information about the project. Loop Cycles is not just ‘shipping these bikes off to Africa on a whim thinking we are saving the world. We have partnered up with an Organisation called Bicycles For Humanity who are an established grassroots movement and have been supplying bikes to developing countries for 7 years. If you check out their website (http://bicycles-for-humanity.org/) you can see the work that they have provided for the communities throughout Africa, not only providing mobility to healthcare workers, students and empowering females, but turning the containers into bike workshops. With tools, spare parts and comprehensive training material on bicycle maintenance it is designed to empower people and their communities with transportation and the means to maintain it. Nigel who runs the Namibia chapter lives there and works with these people all year round. He has developed an understanding of the needs of the community, and is working with them to improve their health and lives, not just dumping a whole lot of bikes on their door step as a token gesture. Hope this bit of information is helpful in understanding our goals at Loop Cycles and why we think this is a good idea.
…and in regards to the issue around bikes getting trashed, we have specifically designed this bike for its 2 lives. Firstly we have custom designed features of the bike to survive its duration in Black Rock City and endure the playa dust, and secondly we have worked very closely with LEKKER bikes and Bicycles For Humanity to design a bike that will also withstand the conditions of the kalahari desert. Luckily these two lives have similar needs…big thick tyres, limited amount of superfluous parts that can easily break, and no gears, single speed with back pedelling breaks. Also the bike has a steel frame as a key feature, allowing the community bike workshops in Namibia to easily weld extra parts onto the bikes, (eg. a day bed to carry patients) depending on the specific use of that bike. And with the Namibian communities receiving multiple of the same bike allows them to familiarize themselves with the parts, and easily fix anything that might be broken. Most bikes you buy for Burning Man are not designed for the desert, that’s why they are trashed by the end. But we have spent the time to make sure ours is!