BEQUINOX! L.A. Debuts a Burnal Equinox Celebration of Their Own

by Whatsblem the Pro

Seraphim - Photo by Curious Josh

Seraphim – Photo by Curious Josh

The two big Burnal Equinox celebrations in Nevada City, CA and San Francisco have come and gone, but you don’t have to feel like you missed out. Los Angeles is throwing their hat into the ring too, with BEquinox. . . and you’ve still got time to make the party.

I caught up with David ‘Widget’ Wedeen (aka Ranger Strider) to ask him about the event.

Whatsblem the Pro:

How did BEquinox come about?

David Widget Wedeen:

There has been interest in a LA Burning Man Regional Camping Event for many years despite having one of the very best Burning Man Decompression Events in the country.

Last October when we found out that we would not be able to burn our art piece ‘Seraphim’ where we hold our Decom Event, we decided to reach out to our community by circulating a survey asking how long folks would be willing to drive, and offered a choice of one of three months in which they would like to attend an overnight camping event.

When the results of the survey came in during December 2012, we were a bit surprised that the month of March received the largest number of survey responses, and most participants would be willing to drive two to three hours away from downtown L.A.

After checking to make sure that there were no competing events scheduled, we settled on the month of March for our event and began the search for a site that would allow us to burn such a large effigy within a three-hour drive, despite the short amount of time this allowed us to prepare.

Prior to selecting a site, my co-producer Topless Deb and I began to identify and approach leaders within our local Burner community, and ask if they would be willing to help create a brand new Regional Event from the ground up. With their help and that of others in our community we were able to rapidly vet potential event sites, and finally we found a home at Joshua Tree Lake Campground. We filed the forms for a Special Event Permit that included a Burn, arranged for insurance, and went ahead full-tilt recruiting enough volunteers to support an event with a thousand participants.

Whatsblem the Pro:

How did you settle on the name BEquinox?

David Widget Wedeen:

Since the Burnal Equinox occurs early in March we originally thought that our event would land somewhere close to that date, but during the process of vetting a date we realized that there were other Burnal Equinox events occurring that weekend. Our event site campground had a weekend available close to the Vernal Equinox so we took that weekend. Wishing to retain a connection with the Burn, we took the letter B and added it to Equinox. We ask participants what they want to BE, who they want to BE, and how they want to BE.

Whatsblem the Pro:

Have you got a theme?

David Widget Wedeen:

Yes! This year’s theme is “The Human Spirit.”

Whatsblem the Pro:

What inspired that?

David Widget Wedeen:

Well, the ‘Seraphim’ design was the 2012 Los Angeles CORE Project, and when we decided to rebuild it for the LA Decompression as a local community outreach project, we felt it should be modified and this time would include a ‘reveal,’ as originally envisioned for the playa. Artist Michael Lanni assembled a terrific team of Burners and constructed a steel Angel to fit inside of the central vortex of ‘Seraphim.’ This piece is called ‘Human Spirit’ and it fit perfectly not only inside our effigy, but also in our hearts.

Whatsblem the Pro:

Are there still tickets available?

David Widget Wedeen:

The remaining tickets for the Inaugural event will go on sale Friday, March 15th at 10 AM in our “OMG” Sale.

Whatsblem the Pro:

Thanks, hope to see you there.

2013 Burnal Equinox Followup

Kindergarten Kamp's Phoenix - photo by John William Fairclough

Kindergarten Kamp’s Phoenix – photo by John William Fairclough

by Whatsblem the Pro

Burnal Equinox came and went this weekend in Nevada City, California, and I’m still trying to stop smiling.

I told you this would happen, and boy did it ever.

I got to the Miner’s Foundry in Nevada City early in the day, floated around helping out where I could, and put up some art of my own — two short stories and an introductory graphic with the title SCIENCE WINS AGAIN — on a wall near the live music stage. Right about the time I was thinking I should get myself a ticket before the box office ran out, friends from BRAND UR ASS CAMP showed up and gifted me one in a sordid, perverse attempt to do me irreparable harm by exposing me to deeply corrupting influences (THANK YOU).

There were live musicians and DJs galore, but thanks to the layout of the venue, the music didn’t overwhelm everything else going on. The Miner’s Foundry boasts two big rooms with stages, other smaller and acoustically distinct spaces for all kinds of other activities, and an expansive outdoors area where theme camps set up booths and art and events, giving us the best of both worlds: choices in continuous sound, and the option to just hang out and converse comfortably.

My personal musical highlight was the kick-ass set that SNAIL TRAIL played; there were other, more high-profile acts on the stage Saturday night, but Snail Trail’s raunchy-librarians-meet-Pussy-Riot aesthetic made me want to get down on my wretched man-knees and service them.

KINDERGARTEN KAMP and the CONTROLLED BURN folks were in full effect out back, with major fire art lighting up the night and inspiring shock and awe in the locals who turned up to see what in the hell was going on.

Also amazingly fun was the Jedi Training, in which padawan learners armed only with toy lightsabers attempted to defend themselves against a vicious onslaught of electrically-lit frisbees thrown at them by the crowd. . . bravo to Coryon Redd for coming up with a featherweight idea that yielded a kiloton of fun, and for hitting me in the dick with an electric frisbee.

An amazing time was had by all, thanks to the skill and hard work of the organizers, the participants, and our hosts at the Miner’s Foundry. Even the local cops assigned to police the event looked like they were enjoying it thoroughly; I saw a pure grin worthy of the third grade lighting up one beefy face at the sight of a giant metal skull, wreathed in roaring flames that spilled from its eyes and mouth.

I spoke with Nevada City Chief of Police Jim Wickham the day after the event; Chief Wickham (stop snickering, you kids) expressed some concern over the noise we made after 2:00 AM, when the festivities were scheduled to end. The Miner’s Foundry is adjacent to a residential neighborhood, and residents called in to complain that while their expectations had been set by a well-organized flyer campaign, the noise went on well after two o’clock. I got the impression from the Chief that this is something we really need to focus on taking care of next year, if we want to continue being welcome in Nevada City.

There was so much to see and do, and I won’t even try to cover it all. . . just be sure and get your hot ass to Burnal Equinox next year, even if you have to make it yourself in your own town. I mean, I’d tell you more, but you unwisely chose not to attend the shenanigans, so now you’ll just have to wonder what else you missed out on (HINT: plenty, plus belly dancing).

You may now watch this wholly inadequate video while you rend your garments and gnash your teeth because you weren’t there. FOOLISH MORTALS.

Burnal Equinox 2013 is Coming!

by Whatsblem the Pro

The Machine - Photo by Douglas Hope Hooper

The Machine – Photo by Douglas Hope Hooper


Burnal Equinox is coming up once again on Saturday, March 2nd, halfway between Burning Man 2012 and Burning Man 2013. There will be multiple celebrations of the Equinox in various parts of the world, under various names; Portland, Oregon, for instance, has their annual Halfway Home party.

There’s even a virtual Burnal Equinox held online as part of Burn2 in Second Life. . . which is a bit of a full-circle proposition, as Linden Labs founder Phillip Rosedale was originally inspired by his experiences at Burning Man, which he first attended in 1999.

As far as events go, the main hoopla seems to be in San Francisco, which has been holding Burnal Equinox events since 2006, and at the Nevada City, California event, now in its third year.

The San Francisco event, billed this year as an “art salon and mixer,” is themed. The 2013 theme for SF’s Burnal Equinox is “Technology as Savior,” which is explained in more depth here:

Through a multitude of technological devices we have expanded our sense of what is real, what is possible, how we relate and what we find gratifying. We can text one another instantaneously across oceans, meet online and converse with groups of strangers at any given moment about the trajectory of asteroids, express our opinions to political leaders via on-line petitions, and expand our social network of “friends” seemingly without limit! We watch reality shows about other people’s lives and create virtual versions of ourselves as we fly through the Interwebs in enhanced real-time. Miraculous devices have become so ingrained in who we are, how we work, think and relate that we could not imagine life without them or the immediacy and satisfaction they offer. And why would we?! Technology is SAVING our economy and way of life, even as it reinvents everything! That is its magic! That is the miracle! It reinvents itself and our relationship with it in mysterious and accelerating ways! There is no problem Technology cannot help with. Nothing Technology cannot and will not do to enhance our lives and save us from any number of impending destructions! Technology WILL SAVE US, even as it helps us relate to one another in better and more convenient ways!

The San Francisco event will be held from 7PM to 3AM at Public Works, 161 Erie Street, SF, CA 94103 (between Division & 14th St. in the Mission). Please note that this is a 21 and over venue. Tickets are $20 at the door, or $15 with donation of art supplies for Hospitality House’s art program, which puts art supplies in the hands of the homeless and indigent. Supplies especially needed are watercolor brushes and paints, watercolor 140’ paper, quality marker sets, canvases, working sewing machines with all necessary parts included, and craft and jewelry supplies.

For more information about the San Francisco Burnal Equinox event, please visit the Flambé Lounge 2013 special events page.

According to Marketing and Community Outreach Committee member Coryon Redd, the Nevada City event, which is not themed, began in 2011 as a concert by the band Albino. At the urging of local burners, it was expanded into a full-blown burner event with the help of Gretchen Bond, director of the Miners’ Foundry Cultural Center in Nevada City, California.

Redd will be running an event at Burnal Equinox called “Jedi Training School.”

I also spoke with the Nevada City event’s archivist, Kathleen Hoffmann, who gave me this snippet of history: “Our event started in 2011 and has grown larger every year. In 2012 the event doubled in participation. This year we joined with Sacramento Valley Spark, a non-profit organization of and for the burner community.”

I asked Kathleen what she has in store for us. “This year,” she says, “the event is busting at the seams with bands, fire effects and performances, theme camps, art cars, gifting, performance artists and SHENANIGANS!”

From the Nevada City Burnal Equinox press release:

Gold Country Burnal Equinox will be a celebration of self-expression and creativity inspired by the Burning Man event, complete with art, fire performers, fashion shows, costumes, and theme camps. It all takes place at The Miners Foundry, located at 325 Spring Street in Nevada City.

Three stages of entertainment will feature live music, DJs, and performance art. Bring yourself and be yourself. Playa wear is welcome and encouraged. This all-day event begins at 2:00 p.m. and continues until 1:00 a.m. Tickets are $20 in Advance and $25 at the door.

Uchronia - Photo by Douglas Hope Hooper

Uchronia – Photo by Douglas Hope Hooper

Advance tickets are available online from Vendini and Nevada City Box Office. You can also call Nevada City Box Office for tickets at (530) 265-5462, or buy them in person at the Briar Patch Co-Op, 290 Sierra College Drive, Suite A, in Grass Valley.

If you are interested in contributing, volunteering, performing or have questions, please email

For more information please visit:


Is your community having a Burnal Equinox event? Tell us about it in the comments!