At Burners.Me, we’re very supportive of Burner culture diffusing out into the wider world. We try to live Burning Man every day, not just pretend to be someone else for one week a year. Burning Man makes an impact that can affect your whole life, and I make a conscious effort to maintain and develop relationships that begin at Burning Man out in Meatspace as well.
We were recently honored to be invited by Che of the Space Cowboys, to a Temple Burn at Paradise Ridge Winery in Santa Rosa, California. The Temple was built by Burning Man art supremo David Best, who is taking a break from this year’s Cargo Cult Temple, and instead building a more permanent structure in Sonoma County. Paradise Ridge is hosting “The Spirit of the Man“, an outdoor exhibition of sculpture art including a number of pieces from Burning Man. The exhibition is dedicated to Che’s late father Al Voigt, and it showcases 38 major works by sculptors based in Sonoma County and throughout the US. Most of the sculptural works are available to purchase.
A visit is highly recommended, as the San Francisco Chronicle said “this place has the feel of an insider’s secret…it’s well worth the effort to find”. Actually not much effort required in these days of GPS, 4545 Thomas Lake Harris Dr Santa Rosa 95403 , (707) 528 9463.
Che observed that no-one needed instructions for the Temple:
“people just came up, and started writing messages on red and gold ribbons and tying them to the Temple. We didn’t have to say what it was, everyone just knew what to do”
Space Cowboys go back to the days when Distrikt was called the Deep End, and they are famous for their Unimog ATAVAV at Ghost Ship on Treasure Island and the Breakfast of Champions party.
The Space Cowboys are a San Francisco based collective that began its exploration of the cosmos over a decade ago, as a diverse group of talented individuals who came together in the pursuit of the creation of unique entertainment events, mechanical contraptions, and art projects. The group consists of members from all walks of life and vocations – engineers, doctors, programmers, massage therapists, designers, architects, nurses, video editors, producers, corporate executives, animators, and financial advisers. Mostly in their thirties, Cowboys reside not only in San Francisco, but Los Angeles, Sacramento, and even Laos. The collective serves as an outlet for the members and their friends and family to creatively and socially express themselves beyond their “day jobs”.
Our story begins with wrangling good times in the wild west of Black Rock City. As one of the first large scale dance camps at Burning Man, the group essentially constructed and ran a nightclub for a week each year on the playa, providing free beats and beverages to all nightly. As one of the oldest, continually existing Burning Man camps, the Cowboys have constructed a variety of other playa art projects as well. The collective is responsible for the creation of a mechanical horse, mechanical wagon train (the Beast) consisting of a chopped-down 1963 Valiant with a welded steel superstructure and 4 tow-able wagon cars, SCTV versions 0-3 (various forms of video art structures with the latest being a fifty-foot wide video wall comprised of five CRT projectors and 5 acrylic screens measuring eight feet square supported by over 2 tons of steel), and a range of other art cars including a duck, horseshoe, peapod, turtle and two ponies. In 2003, the Cowboys inherited Martha, a deconstructed Toyota minivan from their sister camp SpaceLounge (now defunct). Martha has since been fully rebuilt and dutifully serves as a transport for the troops and a mobile lounge on the playa and off.
Since 2001 the Space Cowboys are perhaps most well known for their UNIMOG All-Terrain Audio Visual Assault Vehicle (ATAVAV). Originally a 1973 Mercedes German Military vehicle, the Space Cowboy’s UNIMOG is the largest off-road sound system in the world, completely self-sufficient with lights, video projectors, screens, radio transmitters, on-board generators and wireless network. The UNIMOG has gone where no other sound system has gone, from the desert of Black Rock, to the snow covered slopes at Squaw Valley and the urban canyons of San Francisco as to the lead float in the city’s LoveParade since its inception.
To fund these activities the Space Cowboys produce a series of fundraisers throughout the year in San Francisco. The parties have become legendary events in their own right. Over the years the Space Cowboys have developed an international reputation for producing the finest underground events, including the annual Breakfast of Champions; a party beginning at 6am on New Years Day, it has even had a full-length album named after it.
No one but the greater community profits from the activities of the Space Cowboys. Each Cowboy pays yearly dues and any additional monies from fundraisers are used to create future art events and projects for the greater community. For us it not about the money, but rather creative expression, community, and something called a good time.
The world’s largest off-road sound system, and one of California’s largest sculpture gardens. Dope! The exhibit will run for another year. You can also catch the Space Cowboys on April 11 at Yuri’s Night at Nightlife at the California Academy of Sciences – another highly recommended tour.