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”.


from Kickstarter.com:

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 burningmanthemusical@gmail.com.

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:https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mattwerner/oakland-in-popular-memory-book-project

Impossible Light

A documentary about the Bay Lights is premiering later this month in the NYC area. Created by Burning Man Director – and Disorient founder – Leo Villareal, the $8 million Bay Lights Project is the world’s largest ever electronic art installation.

IMPOSSIBLE LIGHT reveals the drama and the daring of artist Leo Villareal and a small team of visionaries who battle seemingly impossible challenges to turn a dream of creating the world’s largest LED light sculpture into a glimmering reality. 

On March 5th, 2013, San Francisco’s skyline was transformed by an amazing sight: 25,000 LED lights that, for perhaps the first time save the 1989 earthquake, caused people to consider the Bay Bridge instead of her iconic sister. 

How did this happen? Who was behind the eight-million-dollar installation? How in the world did they pull it off? 

The story behind the making of THE BAY LIGHTS—a project whose very “impossibility made it possible”—answers these questions, revealing the drama and the daring of artist Leo Villareal and a small team of visionaries who battle seemingly impossible challenges to turn a dream of creating the world’s largest LED light sculpture into a glimmering realit 



The Bay Lights is an iconic contemporary art sculpture by internationally renowned artist, Leo Villareal. It features 25,000 LED lights strung along the 1.8 mile Western Span of San Francisco’s Bay Bridge. In 2011, I stumbled into the unbelievable concept of turning an entire region’s traffic workhorse into a stunning, abstract light sculpture that changes an entire city’s skyline every night from dusk ‘til dawn.

I first met Ben Davis, the man with this not-so-simple idea, at a charity event. He was there trying to convince people on the possibility of The Bay Lights. The idea was brand new and no one had yet thought to document such an historic achievement. I basically nudged my way in, begged them to let me bring my camera, and never looked back.

In the beginning, when the installation was still an idea, I couldn’t conceive of how they would do it. That immediately made me interested. On one side, you have paperwork, permits, and all sorts of government agencies with endless red tape. On the other, you have a massive engineering structure meant to provide a very practical service to the region, which is now being viewed as an abstract canvas for contemporary art. And on top of all that, there is the very real need for millions of dollars to appear out of thin air. All kinds of questions immediately entered my mind and suddenly the project just spoke to me; I absolutely had to witness it first-hand.

I started this project because I thought it would be amazing to chronicle the process of turning a crazy idea into a stunningly beautiful reality. Along the way, I grew to appreciate and love the often-overlooked bridge itself. For the past three years I have come to know the Bay Bridge intimately. I have climbed up, crawled under, and hung off the side of this significant structure. I’ve also been busted for breaking a few traffic laws along the way.

IMPOSSIBLE LIGHT explores what we as human beings are capable of when obstacles seem insurmountable. It’s about the human spirit of collaboration and finding a way to make the impossible possible.




– Jeremy Ambers

Jeremy Ambers is a video editor by trade and a filmmaker by passion. He graduated from SUNY Oswego in 2000 and spent much of his early adult life working for a small production company in midtown Manhattan. In 2009, Jeremy married the love of his life and moved across the country to San Francisco. While trying to build a steady flow of freelance editing work, his wife encouraged him to pursue his lifelong goal of becoming a filmmaker.

In 2011, he bought a Panasonic HVX-200A and a questionable wireless lavelier mic and caught the very early musings of lighting the Bay Bridge by complete coincidence. Jeremy spent three years obsessing over the bridge, Leo Villareal and the iconic sculpture now known as The Bay Lights, capturing its beauty and inspiration. The result of his endless dedication can be seen in his first feature length documentary film: IMPOSSIBLE LIGHT.



Leo Villareal received a BA in sculpture from Yale University in 1990, and a graduate degree from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Interactive Telecommunications Program. Recent exhibitions include, a survey show organized by the San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA, which continues to tour several museums in the United States.  

He has completed many site specific works including, Radiant Pathways, Rice University in Houston, Texas; Mulitverse, The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; Diagonal Grid, Borusan Center for Culture and Arts, Istanbul, Turkey; Stars, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, New York, and the recently installed Hive, for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority at the Bleecker Street subway station in Manhattan. Villareal is a focal point of the James Corner Field Operations design team that will renew Chicago’s Navy Pier, and commissioned installations at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, and The Durst Organization in New York City, will be in visible public spaces.  Villareal’s work is in the permanent collections of many museums including the  Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY;  Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum, Kagawa, Japan;  Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.



Ben Davis is the visionary behind THE BAY LIGHTS and the creator of Pi In The Sky. He is founder and CEO of Illuminate the Arts, the non-profit that aims to alter the arc of human history through the creation of transformative works of public art. He is currently championing major art installations in San Francisco and beyond.


Official Website: www.impossiblelightfilm.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/impossiblelight

Twitter: @baylightsfilm #findaway

Upcoming Screenings:

October, 2014

Theatrical Screening Events:

  • AMC Clifton Commons, Clifton, NJ (October 27, 2014)
  • AMC Loews Shore 8, Huntington, NY (October 29, 2014)

November, 2014

SF Urban Film Festival, San Francisco, CA (November 7, 2014)

  • Opening Night Feature-Length Film

November, 2014

Special Screening

  • San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco, CA (November 13, 2014)

November, 2014

Napa Valley Film Festival, St. Helena, CA (November 14, 2014)


* For a full list of upcoming screenings, visit www.impossiblelightfilm.com/events




First We Take Manhattan

“Die Religion … ist das Opium des Volkes” – Karl Marx

If there’s one thing Burning Man founder Larry Harvey can do, it’s wax lyrical. The New Yorker brings us a tale of how he went there and did exactly that, along with new Burning Man Director (and QVC Home Shopping exec) Matt Goldberg, a pharmaceutical ad salesman, a tree physiologist, and a chemical mind control researcher…all giving advice to the Prez on how he should run the country. Self-Reliance goes hand in hand with Obamacare, according to one Burner who believes Burning Man even has the power to heal the sick.



re-blogged from the New Yorker (emphasis ours):

Image: Tom Bachtell, New Yorker

Image: Tom Bachtell, New Yorker

Idea Lab JANUARY 13, 2014 ISSUE



As 2013 wound to a close and dismal year-end assessments poured in on the performance of the Obama Administration—the N.S.A. surveillance scandal, the botched Obamacare rollout—the President was looking for idea men. His move was to fly in a cadre of brainy Silicon Valley types. But he might have also dropped by Harlem, where a fund-raiser for the Burning Man Project, the nonprofit spinoff of the annual arts festival and bacchanal in the Nevada desert, had taken on a chin-stroking air. “You know what I’m really interested in?” Larry Harvey, the festival’s founder, said, in his remarks onstage. “Governance.”

Burning Man is no Model U.N., but as a congregation of self-appointed outliers in silly hats it was a forerunner of the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street. The festival began in 1986, when Harvey and friends burned a generic human-shaped effigy on a beach in San Francisco, but in recent years it has acquired an establishment vibe, in part because of its role as a laboratory for social organization. This year, it attracted sixty-eight thousand people, who lived for a week in a tent-trailer-and-motor-home civilization, which has its own gift-based economy (there is no money allowed, except for buying coffee and ice), airport, law enforcement, emergency services, and electrical grid.

Harvey spoke about the festival’s global ambitions. Burning Man is guided by what initiates call the Ten Principles: Radical Inclusion, Gifting, Decommodification, Radical Self-Reliance, Radical Self-Expression, Communal Effort, Civic Responsibility, Leaving No Trace, Participation, and Immediacy. These ideas, Harvey suggested, might one day form the basis of a new world order: Burners have helped revitalize downtown Las Vegas and met with members of the Australian government. “We’re planning for a hundred years,” Harvey told the crowd. “If we can govern the way we want, then what we’ve all experienced”—at Burning Man—“will be a very common experience.” He concluded that “when the world comes to a crisis—and we know it’s coming”—that’s when the Burner knowledge will come in handy.

But what wisdom could our government take from Burning Man right now? The fund-raiser was held at a swanky converted church owned by a man named Michel Madie. “I’m a healer,” said Madie, who had a white goatee and wore a top hat with a peacock feather. “My work is soul boxing.” He is also a successful real-estate broker, whose firm handles hundreds of millions of dollars in annual sales. Madie said that he would not advise the federal government to adopt a gift economy. “The idea that Burning Man is anti-capitalist is totally incorrect,” he said. “You have to have a pretty hefty amount of money to go there and enjoy it. I think capitalism is promotion of self, and so is Burning Man.”

Marceau Guérin, a Ph.D. student researching tree physiology at Columbia, said, “To Obama, I would say, ‘Come have a look.’ It’s about the crazy hidden part of people.” Matt Goldberg, the former C.E.O. of Lonely Planet, said, “It’s about change. I first went out in 2003”—he was working in corporate development at the Wall Street Journal. “I came back with renewed energy about how to innovate.” A man named Earth offered Obama revelations he’d picked up on the playa: “Talk to more strangers. Truly think that anything is possible.” He explained that Earth is his given name—Earth Bennett—and that by day he’s a pharmaceutical-ad salesman. When it came to Obamacare, the writer Julia Allison offered a bit of advice: “If people took self-reliance”—one of the Ten Principles—“as a central tenet of health, we’d have people taking really good care of themselves. Since I’ve been to Burning Man, I haven’t gotten sick.”

Nina Urban, a psychiatrist at Columbia, does brain experiments on what she called “party drugs.” She said, “I divide the Burning Man population into five subgroups: hippies, raver kids, true artists who want to build something they could not build otherwise, and the technologists who roll in for a few days from the Bay Area. The last group is the one I belong to: the costumers, who want to express themselves by dressing up.” Her boyfriend, Jim Glaser, who goes by the name Costume Jim, is the head of Kostume Kult, a group that is a leading participant in SantaCon—the annual parade of drunk people in Santa outfits. Costume Jim shook his head and said, “It grew beyond what we could control.”

This served as a reminder: Burning Man doesn’t have all the answers when it comes to social organization. The festival is plagued by the same problems that plague American society. In recent years, regulars have complained about the influx of rich celebrities—Sean (Diddy) Combs—and tech-world fat cats: the Winklevoss twins attended, and Mark Zuckerberg choppered in for a day.

An artist named Eric (Knuckles) Forman said that he was over Burning Man. “I’m someone who goes and loves it and then hates it,” he said. “And every time I think I’m done with it, it pulls me back.” ♦


Source: the New Yorker  http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/01/13/principled

Self is God. Burning Man shall become the Secular Selfie Destination of the New World, and the Regionals shall be its colonies, founded on Principles.

Yes, it seems The Burning Man Project’s vision is for the Ten Principles to form the basis of a New World Order. This explains why everyone from Presidential Candidates, Armed Forces Commanders, Billionaire Burners, Tech Titans, Political Dream Teams,  real princes and Fresh Princes and Hollywood Royalty to P.Diddy and his daddy, have now been brought in to BMOrg’s global PR blitz.

The New World Order needs a religion that Radically Includes, unlike the mass population control systems of the past which have been based on difference and exclusion. Divide and Conquer will now be replaced with “hug it out”. Transhumanism is here, we can all merge with the Internet and put nano-bots in our body and genetically and socially re-engineer ourselves. We can become gods, living forever in The Matrix, worshipping at the AltUr of The Man.

The System of The Man, the Google and Facebook and NSA Artificial Intelligence network, the Web that connects us all together in a big Net, needs its blinking, pulsing, phat beating robot heart.