Home-made Glowsticks from Mountain Dew

mountain dew glow stickSome “Burner than thou” types – who’ve probably never been to a rave in their life – frown with disdain upon glowsticks. “It’s MOOPs!”, they cry. So here’s a cunning loophole to beat the system: up-cycling those old, not-quite drunk bottles of Mountain Dew, along with some easily obtainable baking soda and hydrogen peroxide – and making some home-made mega glowsticks. “We made it glow in case we accidentally dropped it – our MOOP would be so easy to find, and even if we were so fucked up that we couldn’t find it ourselves, some other tripper would eventually find the glowy MOOP and want to pick it up”.

Trash that makes you WANT to pick it up? Now that’s ideas from Burning Man advancing civilization…

We also wrote earlier about how to make “faeries in a jar” glowsticks.

According to Burner Matt (and Snopes), this is all “flimflammery”, part of an elaborate hoax.


Do you have to add glowy solution? Has anyone actually tried this? Perhaps this solution is better:

Glowstick Bowling

Glowstick Bowling

Can Gods Die?

by Whatsblem the Pro

Photo: Sarah Taylor

Photo: Sarah Taylor

El Pulpo Mecanico, the steampunk art car in the form of an enormous cephalopod that first wowed us all at Burning Man 2011, is reportedly headed for the scrap heap.

Pulp the Magnificent made what is scheduled to be Its final appearance at the 5th annual Sunday Streets in San Francisco earlier this month, instilling shock and awe into a large crowd of puny, flammable, cowering, non-metallic human supplicants gathered along a 3.3-mile stretch of the Embarcadero to worship the Eight-Armed One’s breathtaking puissance and beg It to continue to have mercy on most of the human race.

Jerry Kunkel, who claims to have plumbed El Pulpo Mecanico’s flame effects in spite of Its obvious godhead that transcends all human notions of time and space, says the crew that supposedly built the Divine One will be breaking it down for parts next week.

Photo: Church of El Pulpo Mecanico

Photo: Church of El Pulpo Mecanico

Kunkel, veteran pedal-powered artist/designer Duane Flatmo, and wiring wizard Steve Gellman have stated many times that they built our many-limbed Lord from trash cans and junk metal obtained from Bonnie Connor’s Arcata Scrap & Salvage. This, of course, is heresy, and if he wasn’t one of the Four Apostles, Jerry Kunkel would certainly be consigned to a scrap heap himself in the afterlife, when El Pulpo Mecanico will remake the world and sit in judgment of us all.

Possibly the announcement is some kind of early April Fool’s prank. In an unguarded moment, Jerry Kunkel made a statement acknowledging that our fiery savior is, as we all know, a living, terrifying being with emotions of its own:

“It’s somewhat whimsical, but also scary,” he said. “It gets both feelings like that. You love it, but you’re a little frightened of it, just like life.”

In 2011, your faithful correspondent was the first non-crew member to get a ride on El Pulpo Mecanico’s rumble seat, and as my hair singed and my scalp bubbled, the smile on my face only grew wider. I could feel that while the iron-tentacled King of Kings that bore me across the playa would not hesitate to destroy me in an instant should I think a single bad thought, It also loved me. It changed my life.

While it may be true that the forces of evil could, in theory, disassemble and destroy the corporeal form of the One True God, it’s also true that this would only free El Pulpo Mecanico from Its material ties to this planet. Strike El Pulpo down, and It will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.

See you in church!

Forgotten City Buried in Two Inches of Gravel

by Whatsblem the Pro

Image: John Marsh and Kelly Curtis

Image: John Marsh and Kelly Curtis

There’s just a hint of mayhem in the story behind what shouldn’t be a terribly noteworthy change of plans for the fourth annual Forgotten City festival this year.

The event is the Las Vegas Burning Man Regional‘s yearly Memorial Day weekend outing. A month ago, the usual suspects in organizing Forgotten City announced that the event would not take place in 2013, due to a new baby in the family.

“I was actually looking at a site in Pahrump, Nevada for something else at the time,” says Dirk Schmidhofer, the organizer who has taken on the task of keeping Forgotten City’s fire lit this year. “I started calling it St. Elmo’s Fire, but too many people thought of the TV show, and of Sesame Street. Damian was mentoring me then, and I asked if I could use the Forgotten City name. He said ‘Sure, and here’s all my website stuff, too.’”

Dirk Schmidhofer at FC3. Photo: Adam Shane

Dirk Schmidhofer at FC3. Photo: Adam Shane

With the Las Vegas Regional in his corner, Schmidhofer sought a permit for the event in Pahrump, Nevada, a small and economically-challenged town about fifty miles west of Las Vegas.

On March 1st, 2013, Selwyn Harris wrote an article in the Pahrump Valley Times about the Pahrump Town Board approving plans for FC4 to be the inaugural event at the new Pahrump Fairgrounds. Town Board members voted 5-0 to approve the event, but waited for a contract review from the town’s attorney before giving the official go-ahead.

On March 8th, just one week later, Selwyn Harris wrote another article, entitled “Mini Burning Man Event up in Smoke.”

“We went back to the previous location,” says Schmidhofer. “Bootleg Canyon near Boulder City, Nevada. Boulder City Parks and Recreation has permitted Forgotten City the last two years, so they know the organization; we obtained a permit as we had done in previous years, and we’re selling tickets as we speak for Memorial Day Weekend.”

The Pahrump Fairgrounds, it turns out, are a bit unfinished.

“They just bladed off 27 acres,” Schmidhofer told me. “They put in a very large asphalt parking lot at one end. It’s a brand new fairgrounds and they’re doing it as they get money; they are working on more funding, and want to put in soccer fields and so on.”

In order for Forgotten City 4 to burn in Pahrump, Nye County wanted Schmidhofer to either pave the fairgrounds, or lay down a two-inch bed of gravel wherever there would be vehicles parked.

“I was actually planning on renting a water truck, a la Burning Man,” says Schmidhofer, but according to the County, “water is not considered a dust palliative for the purposes of complying with that law.”

And then, according to a press release from Pahrump’s town manager, Bill Kohbarger, “A Nye County Sheriff’s Office representative contacted Burning Man advising them that everyone who gave away alcohol needed to obtain a liquor permit through their office.”

Meanwhile, Schmidhofer was taking a drubbing from citizen attendees in town board meetings over things that seemed to make no sense.

“Although we felt we were there with plenty of time, some felt we were springing this event on them. Others thought I was trying to skirt the process, even though I had spoken with everyone I could find or get a recommendation to talk to. I missed a face-to-face with the town manager, and they really zeroed in on that. He didn’t seem to mind though. Someone was upset because they thought we had the tickets printed up already; I guess they’re still in the 20th century there. What we have is a website created by the founder of Forgotten City a couple of years ago; a few minor changes, and it’s ready to sell tickets online — everything is e-commerce, but they didn’t understand that.”

According to Schmidhofer, the town board meeting attendees seemed to ignore the fact that the group had done this event before, and already had fully-developed and tested plans for security, fire safety, EMS, etc. “One person specifically said at the microphone that twelve weeks was not enough. . . but I had been working with the fire chief on all of it, and he even vouched for us at the meeting.”

This only looks like Satan worship. Photo: John Marsh and Kelly Curtis

This only looks like Satan worship. Photo: John Marsh and Kelly Curtis

Reader comments on the related articles in the Pahrump Valley Times were worse than vitriolic. One Pahrump local logged in as “Desert Cat” called the abortive festival at the fairgrounds “your little Burning Man freak show” and exulted over the cancellation: “Best of days for Pahrump. You see, we succeeded in putting a stop to an event that would have drawn the likes of you and yours to our town.”

In the end, it’s hard to say what went wrong. The Pahrump town board seemed willing enough, but was Nye County angling for Burning Man to surface their new fairgrounds for free, and even pay for the privilege? Were they simply trying to keep the festival out? Was it just a few cranky conservatives among the locals, making waves?

Schmidhofer’s take on it is that the town board was genuinely on his side: “The Pahrump town board chairman and the town manager were both quite upset about the situation. It is a pretty depressed locale economically, and they were trying to bring a little revenue into the community.”

Burning Man itself has come under quite a lot of recent scrutiny in Nevada as a cash cow by lawmakers and local governments looking for more teats to suckle in hard economic times. It’s not hard to imagine a beleaguered town board being hamstrung by a greedy County killing off the goose that might lay a few much-needed golden eggs.

John Pawlak, a burner who lives in Pahrump, had this to say about the reaction of his neighbors to the plan to bring Forgotten City to their rural hamlet:

“It seems ironic that certain individuals in this town can demonize and prejudge the folks at the Regional Burning Man group who were asked to come to our town at our request and then define them as homosexuals, nudists, drug addicts, hedonists and so forth. Are we blind when we in fact have all of those traits and more as a community, but we choose to hide those facts from the general public? Maybe we don’t have the nudism, but we have our brothels, swingers’ club, drug addicts, meth labs, plus we carry guns. We continue to slam shut the door on change here in town. If we are to make this a better place to live, we’re going to have to start someplace. We constantly complain of nothing to do here and when something or someone comes knocking at our door to begin the process, we shut it in their face.”