Burners.Me are sponsoring a few projects this year, and one of them is Tiki Island, brought to us from the Playa Surfers crew. I like the idea simply because I was recently in Tahiti – why not have a whimsical reason to support something at Burning Man? None of it is any more meaningful than anything else, so it makes sense to support the projects that resonate with you personally. There is a lot to this project, billed as the largest art car ever on the Playa with a 45-foot diameter platform. The people behind it seem cool, and it seems a good fit with the popular Cargo Cult theme. They will be hiding it somewhere out at Deep Playa – find it on your treasure hunt.
The Playa Surfers are a crew from Venice Beach in Southern California. They seem to have the Pacific attitude to life:
The Playa Surfers are members of a local Burning Man theme camp inspired by the stress-free beach culture of the Pacific. Our goal is to provide a fun, interactive daytime beach experience for attendees of Burning Man and keep that culture going year round in our own lives. If Gidget were a Burner, she would definitely camp with the Playa Surfers. – we are Moondoggie’s Surf Shack on the Playa. 2013 will be our 7th year at Burning Man as a major modern theme camp, and every year we get bigger, better, and stronger as a community. This year we are expecting over 100 campers to join us in the dust at the center of the Earth!
A band of diverse individuals, if you have camped with us before you know that our mantra of surfing the playa translates to a lifestyle of enjoyment and using our unique skills to create some amazing experiences.
Burning Man is about self expression and participation, but not everyone has the spare time or skills to make their own art car or art project. Without the people who fund such projects, as well as the people who give their time and talents to make them, Burning Man would be some coffee, ice, and portapotties. Even costumes take funding – next time you see one of those steampunk leather bikini getups, remember that just because they’re small, doesn’t mean they were cheap. The great thing about all these Kickstarter and Indiegogo projects is that you can support multiple at once. Is giving money to this to support several art cars and theme camps, as valuable a contribution to Burning Man as giving a free 10-hour performance as a dancing clown? Who’s to say. Certainly, I feel that Whatsblem’s contribution to the Control Tower this year is more meaningful and valuable to all of us Burners than me paying for a laser. Particularly since he is going to be documenting his adventure and sharing it with all of us over the next few months. People will get an inside look at what it’s like to create a Burning Man major art installation. They need patrons as well as volunteers. Both things contribute to the party, and both things are valuable. He is spending hours of his life, as are most of the crew on this project. I’m spending a few minutes on a web site. Do we need to judge between them? It’s not America’s Got Talent, it’s the largest free art festival in the world. Every bit of contribution and gifting makes it better. Made by the participants and their financial sponsors – and, as they used to say back in the days of the old skool: NO SPECTATORS. Give what you can, do what you can. If you’re not artistic, then support a few people who are. This is something everyone can do to support Burning Man, no matter how much you can afford to give, and even if you’re not going to be there.
ple The Playa Surfers have a great layout on their web site which we would encourage all Burning Man and Regional Theme camps to adopt – a standardized format would make it easier to parse through the thousands of camps on offer. It goes:
Burning Man provides a guide book when you enter, if you have time to read all the details on 1500 or more camps (there’s no pictures). Usually we just wander around, on foot, on bikes, catching a ride on an art car, or flying through the Universe. As the ADHD generation starts to take over from the snarky and sun-wrinkled old-timers, and the paper book gets bigger – fewer people will be reading it. If you want to read go to the library, if you want to pray, go to church, if you want to educate your kids, take them to school. If you want to express yourself, if you want to peacefully coexist with others no matter how freaky they are, if you want to party…go to Burning Man. Start mixing those up and you could get in trouble.