Best Alarm Clock Ever

sk8 or die

SK8 camp are coming back to the Playa for the 6th year, bringing free skateboarding for everyone. Support their Kickstarter, let’s bring more stoke. Look out for them at 7 & Esplanade, Dustfish Village.

Post by Marcus (Playa Wood, Founder of SK8 KAMP)

sk8 logo

HISTORY OF SK8 KAMP STOKE – YEAR 1 – 2011- The BEST Alarm Clock Ever!!!

As we get amped up for SK8 KAMP 2016, we wanted to give everyone a little glimpse of the magic that is SK8 KAMP, we are going to post a series of posts about the memories of each of the 5 years of SK8 KAMP. Here goes Year 1…


Getting awoken out of a deep sleep by cheering, I think to myself for a moment, ‘What is going on? I think I need more sleep, so let me just ignore it.’ Then, the sound of skateboard wheels rolling on a wooden ramp shakes the moving truck that I’m sleeping on the floor of and another roaring cheer reverberates…30 seconds later, the truck shakes even more and an even louder cheer erupts. Time to get up and see what is happening out there. I crawl out to find 3 or 4 skaters (who I later found out were an awesome crew from Santa Cruz) riding the ramps and about 20 people and an art car huddled around the front of our small camp at 9 & H. That was the moment I realized what we had created, a magical space where people from all over the world, all ages, races, genders, and even in any attire or none could come together and skateboard freely for the first time or the millionth time and have tens if not hundreds of people cheering on their accomplishments of landing skateboard maneuvers. This was like no other skatepark, it was only about positive encouragement of anyone who wanted to skateboard.

SK8 KASTLE 2016 Rendering
Many would call it a bad idea for trying to get sleep on the Playa to have a wall ride against the truck you were sleeping in (which may be true), but we surprisingly realized that this is what I’ll called the ‘Best Alarm Clock Ever’. Whenever there was incredible shredding going on at SK8 KAMP, it would wake me up and I could either lay there and simply enjoy the sounds or I could wake up and join the excitement. Since SK8 KAMP is a 24/7 skatepark, this way I could lay down and get some rest when the park was quiet and whenever things were going off I could choose to wake up if I wanted to join the action. Not completely rational logic, but made sense to me and that was all that mattered. The sounds of the skateboarding was music to my ears knowing that I created something that not only skaters but the many spectators could experience joy out of, as well. TRY IT OUT YOURSELF WITH OUR ‘NIGHT OF SWEET DREAMS UNDER THE RAMP’ REWARD.

This iconic (and tallest) part of our installation of our first year of SK8 KAMP was the 10’ tall, 4’ wide wall ride (we actually made a 8’ radius transition cut off at 6’ so it could fit into our moving truck, and it had 4’ of vert) that used the moving truck that we slept in as the supporting wall and this had a opposing 6’ tall roll-in to gain speed to ride the wall.

2015 SK8 KAMP
This first year of SK8 KAMP had a pretty small park with having a relatively small committed build crew and being a little unsure if everything would fit in the 24’ box truck that we rented. We staged and built the ramps before the burn at Mission Motors parking lot in San Francisco where Derek worked. We had a few late night builds with Derek, Jameson, Ilya, a couple others, and Myself. The pre-built ramps included the 2’ tall, 8’ wide half pipe and a 4’ tall, 8’ wide half pipe (purchased from two local families for $100 for the 2’ and $200 for the 4’ because the parents wanted to get rid of the ramps since the kids no longer rode them) that were separated by 2 opposing 4’ wide banks we made out of a couple manual pads that Jameson had. In the other direction of the flat bottom, we built a 6’ tall (3’ radius with 3’ of vert to re-create the Berkeley Banks) wall ride that was 8’ wide with a DJ booth behind it. And, opposing the wall ride, we had a mellow 4’ tall, 4’ wide quarter pipe. This formed a corner less bowl that we could ride around. A few great artists including Jameson, and Taylor Reinhold and others blessed the ramps with amazing artwork.

We went out to Burning Man without a plan of what we would do with the ramps afterwards. Would we burn them all or bring them back? We decided on Playa that we wanted to keep most of the ramp, but would be willing to burn a few pieces. We spent a couple days asking around if there was an ‘approved’ way to burn the ramps at Burning Man. We asked around BMORG and got the general response that if we wanted to burn them that it had to be pre-arranged as part of the burn plan for one of the organized burns, so ‘NO’. The temple in 2011 was an incredible sight (as most years are) and we decided that we wanted to do a skate session out by the temple before the temple burns and hopefully burn that ramp section with the Temple. Jameson had a pickup truck so he said, let’s load up the 10’ wall ride and roll-in and burn them with the temple. I thought there was no way it would work, but he said that he would figure it out, so I helped him load it into his truck with a little crew and went with it. No more than 15 minutes later he drove back to Kamp and said, grab your boards, and he threw on a couch with the Grandmas (from Smile for Grandma Camp that was across H street from us). Jameson said he was able to get it arranged by telling rather than asking. He drove out and said, where should we place these ramps so that they can be burned with the temple. The crew around the temple was stoked at the idea of a skate session and burning the ramp with the temple, so they in fact helped unload and set-up the ramp and carry it into the burn pile they were prepping. We re set-up the entire 10’ tall wall-ride and roll in out at the perimeter of the Temple. This turned out to be the most magical morning with amazing blue skies with puffy white clouds, a scene that almost could have only existed in our dreams. We did a session for about 45 minutes with Captain Booya, Jameson, Velly Vel, Loren Thompson, James Bones, and me that was a great farewell and thank you to the ramp before burning it.

SK8 KAMP 2014
So, we asked around to see if anyone was interested in taking them home or knew of a skatepark that could benefit from having them. Jameson who lived in West Oakland at the time said that K-Dubs who organized a community skatepark at West Oakland’s Town Park would probably be interested so I got his number so I could call him on our drive back. It did work out to put some ramps at Town Park. The 4’ half pipe and the 2 bank ramps were re-installed in West Oakland’s Town Park Skatepark that lasted for about a year before we replaced it with the 3/4 bowl from SK8 KAMP 2012.

Kool Karlo who we met on the Playa and was at SK8 KAMP almost 23 hours a day the whole burn had a warehouse in San Francisco that he installed the 2′ mini ramp in that was there until July 2016 and we hope to bring it back out the the Playa this year.


Please donate to help us build the SK8 KASTLE 2016 and share with everyone you know!

Dustfish Village

RockStar Librarian – Going Strong For Ten Years

rockstar librarian

Now this is an art project I can get behind.

Rockstar Librarian has been publishing a guide to the music of Burning Man for the past decade. It has now grown to a 32-page booklet, listing more than 5,000 DJ sets and live music performances.

Rockstar Librarian, President of the Galaxy, 2008

Rockstar Librarian, President of the Galaxy, 2008

She is raising money to help with the production costs. Now that the guide is so big, it creates a lot of work for her and her designer who have to work around the clock for 3 days straight.

It’s an amazing offering, and one that BMOrg themselves could easily donate $5,000 to, given how integral it is to their event.

As well as the guide, she also compiles as many of the DJ sets from the Burn that she can link to. Sign up for her free newsletter to get access to last year’s sets. Here are the 2013 sets on Soundcloud: 229 of them. It takes a massive amount of time to put this kind of information together, and it is incredibly useful to all Burners – as well as fans around the world of the thousands of different DJs .

Please support Rockstar Librarian, let’s thank her for all the spectacular work she has done for the Burner community to date and encourage her and her team to keep working so hard for us in the future.

Donate here.

If you want to get your set listed in the guide, the deadline is August 12 – but please don’t leave it to the last minute, if you can avoid it.

Google Employee Creating Burning Man Musical

A couple of weeks ago we brought you news of Burning Man: The Musical – a new Kickstarter project. It seems the idea is ramping up fast, with a big profile from the Reno Gazette-Journal.

The man behind the idea has never been to Burning Man. Does that make him a pre-Burner?

The musical is the brainchild of Matt Werner, a 30-year-old New York City-based Google employee who has never been to Burning Man. This year will be his first.

The Oakland, Calif. native — a former “hacker house” resident and a friend to many Silicon Valley hipster techies — admits that he sees the irony: A virgin Burner orchestrates a musical version of the world’s favorite desert Utopian festival that he has never been to.

His own story seems to be a little bit reflected in the plot of the unborn musical. The story line focuses on a 25-year old techie named Joe who lives in San Francisco and commutes down to Silicon Valley.

Joe goes to Burning Man one year and it disappoints initially.

Who wants to dance with a sparkle pony, right?

Who wants to dance with a sparkle pony, right?

“His lofty ambitions to network with high-powered executives are not met. Between getting dumped by his girlfriend, dancing with sparkle ponies, and nearly dying while on a vision quest in the desert, he reaches a real low,” according to Werner’s web page.

“In the midst of this low, the acceptance, connection, and playfulness he experiences at Burning Man make him start to question his past life of ambition and power in Silicon Valley. The sharing economy and free spirits he meets in the desert make him wonder--is his real mission in life just to make money? Or is it maybe to authentically connect with others and help others?” the synopsis reads.

The RGJ asks the hard-hitting questions:

Q: Are you going to be critical at all of Burning Man and its direction? Is this just about a trip to Burning Man, about Burning Man? Or is it about Burning Man and its direction today?

I’m using “Book of Mormon” as a model. It does satirize the Mormon faith, but it does celebrate it too. It’s laughing with them, and not at them. It is going to be a satirical piece. It’s going to be a musical comedy. I mean, people recognize the absurdity of the festival. It is going to be a celebration of the values, and about the conflict between Silicon Valley and Black Rock City.

Q: Which side of that conflict are you on?

For me, I live in multiple worlds. I’ve worked at Google for five years, but I’m going to go to Burning Man. What is interesting to me, this notion of utopia. Some people I know, they believe that technology will solve all the world’s problems. Then there’s this other version of utopia, where we’re really in tune with ourselves. What I think is fascinating is seeing these worlds collide. I’ve lived in both of them. I used to live with these Russian programmers living in this “hacker house” pad. But we’ve had these really deep, meaningful conversations about all of this. Some of the media depictions have really hammed up the influence of these guys.

Q: So, do these techies come back changed people? Can you be a Google guy, or a tech savant, and be a true Burner too?

If you’re a billionaire, can you really say you’re a Burner? I really don’t know. Working at Google, the co-founders, they’ve all been to Burning Man. Some of the Silicon Valley people that go — some of the guys, they’re going to hook up with girls, and do drugs, and dance. There’s others who are radically transformed, and who do decide to find other work. I don’t have a statement I am trying to make: Silicon Valley, bad; Burning Man, good, or vice versa

[Read the rest of the story at the Reno Gazette-Journal]

There’s a conflict between Silicon Valley and Black Rock City? Could’ve fooled me. But perhaps that is the ironic premise for this Big Farce. Donate here if you want to find out.


Burning Man: The Musical

Some New York veteran Burners are raising funds on Kickstarter to create Burning Man: The Musical. Inspired by Book of Mormon, it will feature songs like “My Sparkle Pony” and “The Only Black Man In Black Rock City”.



Burning Man: The Musical is a Book of Mormon-style musical that celebrates the ecstasy and agony of Burning Man, an annual festival of community, self-expression and radical self-reliance in the desert of Nevada.

About the musical

The story is driven by a 25-year old white guy named Joe. He’s a techie who lives in San Francisco and commutes down to Silicon Valley. He’s been driven his whole life by external validation, and does anything he can to get ahead–no matter how many people he has to burn along the way.

But, when Joe finally gets to Burning Man, his lofty ambitions to network with high-powered executives are not met. Between getting dumped by his girlfriend, dancing with sparkle ponies, and nearly dying while on a vision quest in the desert, he reaches a real low.

In the midst of this low, the acceptance, connection, and playfulness he experiences at Burning Man make him start to question his past life of ambition and power in Silicon Valley. The sharing economy and free spirits he meets in the desert make him wonder–is his real mission in life just to make money? Or is it maybe to authentically connect with others and help others?

Will Joe make it out of the desert remaining a power-hungry douchebag? Or will the heat, dust, art cars, dancing and kind strangers allow him to get back in touch with the heart and soul of his younger self? You’ll find out if you contribute to this Kickstarter project.

About this campaign

We’re in New York City developing this musical with Broadway and off-Broadway actors, as well as veteran Burners. This campaign is to raise funds to create a 5 minute video of the beginning of the musical to post on YouTube by August 30–the start of Burning Man. If we raise more than that, our stretch goal is to put on a short production of the opening number at Burning Man itself this year. If we exceed this stretch goal, the extra funds will help us as we enter the second phase of the development process and write and record the love song “My Sparkle Pony,” and the satirical song “The Only Black Man in Black Rock City.” Based on the reception of this opening number, we will develop a timeline to create the full production.

Collaborate with us!

We’d love to hear your ideas, and collaborate on this project with you. Please email us at

Thanks for your help, and we look forward to seeing you on the playa!

Disclaimer: Burning Man: The Musical is the working title for this piece. This is in no way sponsored or endorsed by the Burning Man Project, but is a satirical theater piece celebrating the festival and its unique impact on American culture.

Risks and challenges

Because musicals take so long to develop (Book of Mormon took 7 years from concept to opening night), we’ve set a defined, achievable goal for this Kickstarter project. We’re not using this project to fund the creation of the entire musical (as that’s a multi-year project and very costly). Instead, we’re creating a 5-minute video of the opening number and posting it to YouTube. This will set the scene for the musical, introduce the main cast and score for the piece. Based on the reception of this opening number, we will come up with a roadmap and timeline to develop the full production.

This project will require many people to work on tight deadlines to deliver the final product by August 30, 2015. We need to record the opening song in a professional studio, choreograph the opening number, and film it professionally with Broadway and off-Broadway actors. We luckily have access to the YouTube Creator Space NYC, connections with the New York theater scene, and a track record of delivering on Kickstarter projects on time.

For our prior Kickstarter projects, see:

Dream Big, Or Go Home

So far the most exciting announcement about Burning Man 2015 is not the $800 VIP tickets, or the “chumps and suckers” circus theme…it’s Big Imagination, who are going to bring a 747 Jumbo Jet as their art car.

747 cad drawing

This is surely the most ambitious project ever on the Playa. As we were packing up at the end of Cargo Cult, I heard a rumor that there was a plan to bring an art car that required 100 crew. I dismissed it at the time as bullshit – “what art car needs 100 crew? A cruise ship?” – but some rumors are indeed true, and this is very real.

3 stories tall, 4 buses wide, half a football field long, on 18 squishy wheels, able to carry more than 300 people. And it moves.

747Ken is one of the main instigators of the vision, and he’s someone who knows what he’s doing. He designed the very popular Charlie the Unicorn art car, and was part of the Robot Heart team.

I’m the knucklehead who dreamed up this crazy idea.

My Playa background was being a workerbee on Robot Heart from 2008-11, then I designed and built Charlie the Unicorn (with a lot of help). In the default world I have a varied background but experience in managing large, complex projects from aerospace to film.

Charlie The Unicorn. Image: Jun/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Charlie The Unicorn. Image: Jun/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Big Imagination Foundation is a arts and education non-profit. Specifically, the mission is to incubate and support projects that bold, inspiring, and visionary. We’re purposely trying to stay flexible on our first project.

As for why this big thing? I sketched this out on the Playa dust in 2009. I swore I would never do another art car after Charlie unless it was truly epic. When I found out we could get our hands on a scrap 747, welllll, it was just too good of a chance to pass up. Once in a lifetime, right? I’m not necessarily shooting for the “biggest” just because. We could do a plane-oriented project much easier with a smaller fuselage. However, the 747 is iconic, and that upper deck is spectacular. When this baby rolls down the playa, peoples minds are going to melt. [Source: Reddit]

Truly epic is right – my mind has melted already. If you have the resources, better to do something like this and share it with everyone, than sell exclusive hotel rooms with porcelain toilets to VIP guests who hand out a few popsicles.

The top of the plane will be cut open to make an outdoor lounge.

The latest design...the "mohawk look" is gone

The latest design…the “mohawk look” is gone

Despite what some Internet armchair pundits have speculated, they will not actually be flying a 747 onto the Playa. The aircraft will be chopped up and moved by truck from the Mojave Desert airplane boneyard. The route has already been surveyed for the length they are considering.

A couple of years ago, I stopped to get gas in Inglewood, Los Angeles. If you’re familiar with LA, or hip-hop music, you know that Inglewood is not exactly Beverly Hills. “The hood” would be one way to describe it. So when I saw 3 helicopters hovering above me, I was somewhat concerned. A crazed shooter on the loose, perhaps? Then I noticed thousands of people lining the freeway overpasses. What was going on? As it turned out, the Space Shuttle had been retired, and Endeavour was being towed through the streets to its resting place at the California Science Center. How did they get the Space Shuttle to LA? On the back of a 747. That’s how big this aircraft is, Space Shuttles ride on top of it.

Space Shuttle Endeavour being carried to LA on a 747. Image: Nasa HQ / Flickr (Creative Commons)

Space Shuttle Endeavour being carried to LA on a 747. Image: Nasa HQ / Flickr (Creative Commons)

The Space Shuttle caused quite a scene on the streets of LA. Image: J Jakobson/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The Space Shuttle caused quite a scene on the streets of LA. Image: J Jakobson/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A full size Boeing 747 is 231 feet long, and its wings are 196 feet wide. Its fuselage is 32 feet high and the tail section reaches to 63.5 feet. The aircraft weighs just under 200 tons without fuel or passengers – more than enough to sink into the Playa.

This is not quite full size. They are not bringing the 4 engines, the wings, or the tail section – not to mention all the wiring, hydraulics and seats that will be removed. They will chop the Jumbo’s fuselage at 120 feet, about half the total length. In the future they may turn the tail section into another art car, able to move independently and perhaps “form like Voltron” when the 2 art cars get together at the same event. The cut-down Jumbo will weigh 55,000 lbs, which is about the same as a semi-trailer. The fuselage width is 21.3 feet, as opposed to a standard semi-trailer width of 8.5 feet and a road lane width of 12 feet. The 747 will take up 2 lanes of road for the nearly 500 mile journey between the Airplane Boneyard at the Mojave Air and Space Port (CA) to Black Rock City (NV). All care and consideration is being given to the necessary permits for transportation, and minimizing impact on the Playa. They have a moving company that has been “hauling big ass structures for years”.

A 747 dwarfs regular commercial airliners

A 747 dwarfs regular commercial airliners. Image: Airliners.Net (via Kampungkai)

Big Imagination are considering a variety of options for moving the thing around at Burning Man, including towing it behind an aircraft tug. One spokesperson for the DMV has said that the tug needs to be a mutant vehicle too, it can’t just be a stock airport vehicle. Safety third! It would be a shame if this wonderful project was green-lit by the BLM but got killed by BMOrg’s bureaucracy. Big Imagination have been speaking to the DMV and seem to have support at the right levels.

An airport tug is not exactly a small vehicle. Image: Christian Junker/Flickr (Creative Commons)

An airport tug is not exactly a small vehicle. Image: Christian Junker/Flickr (Creative Commons)

I have complete faith that these guys know what they’re doing and can pull this off. Hat’s off to Big Imagination: it will undoubtedly be the greatest thing Burning Man has ever seen, and will be the place to party at Carnival of Mirrors. Expect massive amounts of press coverage – it has started already, with stories in Mixmag, Gigwise, Bangin Beats,  Music Times, Cool Hunting, YourEDM, Dancing Astronaut, EDM Tunes, Less Than 3, EDM Nations, EDM SaucePulse RadioFestival Sherpa, Fest300…and skeptics at Airliners.Net and Yahoo Answers.

They are looking for volunteers in LA (and possiby Tucson) to help them out – that’s the “100 crew”. Get involved at Support the project with a donation.

The non-profit Big Imagination arts foundation has a broader vision than just a week’s partying in the desert:




747 pic 3

Here are some further comments from Big Imagination about the project:

Zero wristbands…We are focused on “radically inclusive exclusivity”. Everything will be First Class and top shelf, and everyone is invited. No private events, no “hot chicks only”, no “we don’t know you”. Hey, we WANT to know you. As long as we’re safe and not too full, everyone is welcome. And we should have plenty of space…

I spoke with the BLM this morning.  They said there are zero restrictions on weight and as long as the DMV/BORG give us the green light, we’re fine…this plane has been completely gutted.  No seats, no hydraulics, lots of wiring out, I could go on and on.  The heaviest parts left are the wingbox and and the rear landing gear.  I’d be stunned if we tip the scales over 70,000 lbs. Just to give you an idea, when the front 80′ are scrapped (section 1200 forward, I believe), it comes out to about 30,000 lbs of aluminum and such.  We’re going to section 1480, which includes the wing box and gear.  

We won’t be leaving marks any more than anyone else…

We’re aiming to drive around deep playa but could come into closer to the space between center camp and the man if a single spire of each 3,6&9 o clock trail is removed. That way, we could have a path to drive into the circle…

The 747 is a substantial upgrade to previous aviation-themed art cars.

Black Rock Air Force F-15. Image: Fest300

Black Rock Air Force F-15. Image: Ranger Twilight/Fest300


Playa One. Image: Sick Dog/Facebook

Playa One. Image: Sick Dog/Facebook

Playa One at sunset. Image: James Santos/Facebook

Playa One at sunset. Image: James Santos/Facebook