Some dudes discussing Burning Man. Two have been, two haven’t.
The Simpsons go to Burning Man this Sunday, November 16 at 8pm on FOX. The name of the episode is “Blazed and Confused”, and it guest stars Willem Dafoe as a Scarface-like teacher, and art cars Dusty Rhino and El Pulpo Mecanico.
Bart faces a tough test at school when he gets a new teacher, Mr. Lassen (guest voice Willem Dafoe), who vows to crush his spirit in the all-new “Blazing Guy” episode of THE SIMPSONS airing Sunday, Nov. 16 (8:00-8:30 PM ET/PT) on FOX
David Silverman, aka Tubatron, is a big-time Burner. You may recognize him by his flaming Tuba:
He played a massive role in The Simpsons. From Wikipedia:
David Silverman (born March 15, 1957) is an American animator best known fordirecting numerous episodes of the animated TV series The Simpsons, as well as The Simpsons Movie. Silverman was involved with the series from the very beginning, where he animated all of the original short Simpsons cartoons that aired on The Tracey Ullman Show and went on to serve as director of animation for several years…Silverman is largely credited with creating most of the “rules” for drawing The Simpsons. He is frequently called upon to animate difficult or especially important scenes…Silverman is also the director of the The Simpsons Movie, which was released July 27, 2007
The Simpsons will join some other popular comedy shows that have featured Burning Man:
<a title="Here come the Trumpet Strumpets – burn the van, if you happen to have a pet just like a cat then you need a timed cat feeder to feed your pet on time.!” href=”https://burners.me/2012/02/27/here-come-the-trumpet-strumpets-burn-the-van/” target=”_blank”>Malcolm in the Middle
The now not-for-profit, charitable organization The Burning Man Project could learn something from the Simpsons. Co-creator Sam Simon was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2012 and given 3 months to live. He pledged to give away all his $100 million fortune, to stop animals from being killed in shelters and to feed the homeless. He’s still doing it: read all about it in this Vanity Fair profile.
BlackBook has a great story about veteran Burners the Lucent Dossier Experience.
re-blogged from Blackbook:
I think I stumbled onto something big. Except I’m two years late. And it’s so esoteric there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of it. It starts off with a flyer. Once you’re committed, you get an e-mail with a street address. Once at the address, a shuttle picks you up and takes you to a warehouse space in downtown LA. For the rest of the night, you’re exposed to a wild event full of freaks, hippies, goths, and everything in between dancing, socializing, and engaging in a number of cabaret/dance/aerial performances. There’s a lot of make-up and costumes, wigs and props. It’s a twisted experience with a nod to the Victorian era and Burning Man. It’s Marie Antoinette gone wrong, Cirque Du Soleil on acid, but also the best thing that ever happened to L.A. nightlife. As producer/perform Dayna Riesgo likes to call it: “It’s a fully immersive experience where vaudeville meets the future dressed as a Victorian Mad Max warrior.” Enter: Lucent Dossier.
Lucent Dossier has been around for almost ten years, producing stage performances of the cabaret variety, traveling around the world, and even entertaining the thousands at Burning Man every year with trippy stylings and, sure, a pinch of crazy. They put together their first large-scale Experience event as an underground party two years ago. It was so successful that they threw another one only two months later, which was busted by the cops. With a proper license, they unfurled their world once again this past weekend. Pre-sale tickets to the show sold out within hours with a maximum occupancy of 470, so they tacked on an extra night, which also sold out. So it only begged the question: what the hell happens at Lucent Dossier?
I arrived around 10 PM, when show time started, with my friend Cat. The warehouse space was as expected—industrial with concrete walls, exposed pipes and beams—but tricked out with laser stage lights and design touches that revisited the mid-1800s. A laundry line of lingerie hung along the beams, a twiggy iron chandelier piece racked high above the dance floor, glittery curtains draped, a loft-style second floor with surprises to come. It was unabashedly theatrical.
But it’s not the first thing you notice. Cat and I were completely underdressed for the occasion. It was a costume party, or felt like it. There was a lot of fish netting with bare asses, corsets and ballerina slippers, bejeweled and painted faces (thanks to the “Transformation Station” in the corner), top hats and furry vests, feather head dresses, velvet, silver, leather, stilettos, 1920s-style suits, teddies, capes magicians wear, and cloaks that vampires wear. The place was full of theater geeks, neo-ravers, goths, hippies, and what I would like to think was combination of all. Often, we didn’t know the difference between the patrons and the performers, who were also decked out in similar, outrageous period pieces that one would otherwise never wear to, like, The Abbey. Even still, there were “normal” dressers, like skinny-jeaned hipsters, a handful of Asians in J. Crew, a bunch of gays in flannel, sorority girls in high-heels, jocks on MDMA, and real estate brokers with business cards. And somehow it worked. It was a melting pot of scenesters who just let go and be themselves, whoever they might be.
The performances were top-notch with almost a dozen choreographed dance numbers, cabaret, aerialists on rings, and performance art—some comical, some intense. Every ten minutes or so, the dance floor would break apart for these vignettes; then the patrons would gather again when the short show was over. Music ranged from swing to dub step and, again, it just worked. It’s the type of act bars and lounges are trying to deliver in Los Angeles, like the speak-easy style of Pour Vous, a fancy lounge that offers aerialist shows a few times a night. Or even the new Emerson Theatre by SBH, with the cabaret theme weaved into the entire set-up. Lucent Dossier has managed to take all these elements and do it better. A lot better. There was something interesting here, something that felt future-forward and not relying on the past in a gimmicky sort or way. Lucent Dossier was an idea, a statement, a movement. At one point, the host said, “Ladies and gentlemen, everything is a fantasy.” And if fantasy is the future, then they’re on the right track.
Cat and I left just after midnight, when more shuttle vans were arriving with late-night revelers dressed to the goth nines, and we knew we were going to miss the best part. Turns out they concocted a human sundae: a claw-foot tub full of people. “Lucent Dossier would never work in New York,” she told me when we were dropped off at my car. And she’s right. Only in L.A., but the L.A. of the future, which is, thanks to Lucent Dossier, now.
Original article at BlackBook
If you ever get the chance to see them, jump on it.
by Whatsblem the Pro
You goddamn kids, dancing on my lawn in your underpants! Why, in my day. . .
We didn’t always have the Internet, you know, and the world was a lot less openly, deliciously freakish before you could go online and discover millions of people happily indulging in every fetish you’ve ever even thought of. . . like it’s normal! Because it is normal.
People didn’t necessarily know it was normal then, especially teenagers. As recently as the ’70s, the ho-hum trivialities of 21st Century non-vanilla sexuality – like mere transvestitism – were considered way beyond the pale; even something as ordinary and normal to us today as flamboyantly gay culture was seen as completely outrageous, in every sense of the word. . . unimaginable, even: there’s a scene in the film Behind the Candelabra in which one character points out to another that the audience in a Vegas nightclub watching Liberace perform in all his decadent sartorial excess on a stage dripping with gay pride weren’t being accepting of the star’s homosexuality; they were simply unaware of it, completely and totally. The Stonewall Riots didn’t take place until 1969, after all, and that shot heard ’round the world was still in the process of being heard.
If you were young then, you probably witnessed a lot of social horrors among your mates at school; kids seem to be significantly less vicious with each other now than they were in those days. The Internet, decades of integration, and the greying of the ’60s generation seem to have done a good job of getting kids to be nicer to and more comfortable with each other. In the ’70s, the peer pressure was intense. If you were a little unsure of yourself back then, possibly a little nerdy, maybe not too confident in your own sexuality or in expressing it, you didn’t have many avenues or outlets available to you for empowerment and camaraderie, or even for more information; you mostly had to wonder and fret about what kind of freak you really were.
There were touchstones of culture that helped, that allowed kids to identify each other as friendlies on the same fringe. Some of them were as simple as quotes from Monty Python skits. If you joined in on the first round of “spam, spam, spam, spam, lovely spam, wonderful spam” then you had communicated that yes, you too got bullied and beaten up and mockingly called Professor Einstein for your smartitude, and now were among your own people. If you were a punk rocker in 1978 and you saw another punk rocker, your clothes and hair told the tale and you were instant friends, because there were so few of you and you had so much in common. Being gay or lesbian or bi or what have you? That was mostly some kind of super-secret club that did a lot of hiding out. The unlucky kids never twigged to the signal, or lived in places where they really were truly alone.
Some touchstones were deeper than others; some were real lifesavers for a lot of kids.
In the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, midnight showings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show around the country gave a wide variety of people with certain unusual inclinations in common a way to meet each other and do a little acting out in a way that was terribly nerdy and terribly sexy. . . and tremendously liberating and empowering, often to a life-changing degree. Not just a film; a powerful message: don’t dream it, be it. Sound familiar? It should, ’cause in 1975, the Rocky Horror Picture Show was a lot like Burning Man.
If you haven’t seen the movie, don’t watch it at home until you’ve seen it in the theater with a good crowd. It’s a theatrical experience, an audience participation experience, not a sit-on-your-ass piece of passive entertainment. Hit the nearest city and find a theater that shows it, dress in your most outlandish duds, and go. . . or, you could get your very first Rocky on (and maybe your rocks off) with the 2013 lineup of the Six-Minute Players at Camp Videogasm, a Burning Man theme camp located in Snowflake Village.
I got in touch with El Smith, the Six-Minute Players’ Coordinator/Director, and she was kind enough to write up the following brief history of Rocky Horror on the Playa for me in answer to my questions:
“RHPS on the playa was started by Tiki Bob in 2005 at Videogasm in Snowflake Village. I played Columbia that year and accidentally started an orgy onstage during the pool scene. . . but that’s another story. Someone at Videogasm called us “the Six Minute Players” because we had no rehearsal and didn’t meet up until six minutes before the show. We liked the name so we kept it. We put on a shadow show complete with a devirginizing ceremony, which changes every year.
Tiki Bob retired from RHPS at the end of the 2007 season and I took it over. At that time, and up until 2011, we had pretty much a new cast every year. With a new annual cast and no rehearsals, we were pretty much just a trannie free-for-all. Some people knew their roles well but for most people it was just an excuse to show off onstage while fucked up. . . which I didn’t have a problem with.
The Six Minute Players had a one-year hiatus in 2010 while I was recovering from a neurological disease that had paralyzed me twice, and I dropped the ball on temporarily handing over the reins. Videogasm still put on a shadow show that year but it wasn’t my cast and I didn’t have a hand in it so in my selfishness I don’t consider it one of the Six Minute Player shows.
I picked the show back up in 2011 and we’ve steadily taken it more and more seriously. I have a core cast now that will be returning for their third year with me, the costumes have gotten better, we have actual props now and there’s even a rehearsal! Of course we drink pretty much the entire rehearsal but we still do manage to get things done.
The show has just gotten better and better since 2011. We did experience a setback with our audience attendance last year due to our placement in Bumfuck, Egypt. We usually have an audience of at least two hundred people, and last year it looks like we only had about a hundred at most. I don’t care so much about attendance for myself; I don’t really do anything besides coordinate/direct the show and manage props, but I care for my actors. They put in a lot of work every year to make sure we only get better and being pissed on like that by placement is not cool. I don’t know, maybe one of the placement people used to be in the show and I told them they sucked and I didn’t want them back. Sounds like a reasonable explanation to me. Complete speculation of course.
Once again in their infinite wisdom, placement has decided for 2013 to once again marginalize the hard-working cast and crew of the Six Minute Players (not to mention the incredible audience-driven Videogasm) and has put us even further into Bumfuck, Egypt. We’ll be at 8:30 and E this year, and the ‘E’ does NOT stand for Esplanade. We were back in the middle of nowhere last year, too, but before that we were on the Esplanade for nearly fifteen years. . . which explains how we went from an audience of at least two hundred to less than a hundred last year.
The future of the Six Minute Players could very possibly be in jeopardy due to the increasingly poor decisions of the placement team. While there will always be a Rocky Horror Picture Show showing at Videogasm, regardless of the camp location, the Six Minute Players could very likely decide that the show is far too much work for so small an audience. We love and appreciate our audience and do it all for them, and would hate to have to close the curtain on our troupe. . . that would mean the terrorists, aka BMOrg, win.
I would like to do an actual live stage production of the Rocky Horror Show but until I can afford the equipment for that to be possible it will remain a pipe dream. I’m not interested in doing a Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or other crowdfunding thing.
I have no plans to hand over the reins or end the show unless I’m paralyzed and stuck in the hospital again. Otherwise, we’ll keep on dancing in our fishnets and stilettos.”
This is the Six-Minute Players’ cast and crew list for 2013; core cast members are marked with an asterisk:
Frank. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Alyssa Smith*
Janet. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kristen Craig*
Brad. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Michael Charles Douglas Reed
Riff. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Sam Fish
Magenta. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MarZ Attack
Columbia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Heather Bewsee
Dr. Scott. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Hal Wrigley
Rocky. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . Geordie Van Der Bosch*
Eddie. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . .Ranger Genius*
Crim. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . .AntiM*
Trixie. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Heather Tyler Harrell
Emcee. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Nick Fedoroff
Backstage/Prop/Lighting. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Heather Tyler Harrell, Howard Clayton, Nick Fedoroff, Nathan Goulette
Photography. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Wendi Corbin Goulette
Hosting Camp. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Videogasm @ Snowflake Village
Coordinator/Direction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .El Smith
(Jan Dirk Roggenkamp is also a core member who plays Brad, but is not able to make it to the playa this year due to the birth of his sons last week)
Behind the scenes on the film’s set, with interviews
by Whatsblem the Pro
Jerry Snyder’s enthusiasm is infectious. His face breaks out in moonbeams as we hit the high points of the Pier Crew’s project for Burning Man 2013. We’re at the Generator, a fee-free community art space in Sparks, Nevada, where Jerry and the crew are building his brainchild: a giant wooden puppet of an ichthyosaur skeleton.
WHATSBLEM THE PRO: This is a puppet? And there’s a sort of carny tent revival show, right?
JERRY SNYDER: Right. It goes with our premise of this guy, sort of an uneducated miner who finds these bones and thinks these are God’s image on Earth.
WTP: He wasn’t an archaeologist? He was a miner?
JS: Well, in reality, Dr. Camp was a UC Berkeley paleontologist who did serious work very painstakingly, over the course of years. . . he did science. The name, though, is way too good to waste. We figured, he’s Dr. Camp, let’s make him campy. We’re sort of reinventing him as this itinerant miner who wanders into Berlin, Nevada, an ignorant, uneducated guy who has this revelation that this is God’s portrait on Earth. This is the face, the image of God!
WTP: God looks like an ichthyosaur. Sounds legit so far.
JS: God is a fish-lizard! This is God’s message to his Creation! So he recreates this skeleton and goes around preaching to people from town to town in this sort of tent revival, saying “I’ve seen God, He saved me! He pulled me up from the depths of despair and sin and privation! He showed me His face! If you really believe, you may make the bones of God move, you may manipulate God Himself, become one with God, and make God’s bones dance across the desert night!”
WTP: Preach it, brother Camp!
At what point exactly does this story diverge from the actual story of Dr. Camp?
JS: Oh! Uh, entirely. It’s entirely made up. Dr. Camp was a respectable scientist who wasn’t a bit kooky, as far as I know.
WTP: Let’s talk about you for a minute. . . how did you get here?
JS: Well, my first burn was 2004. My first almost-burn was 1994, when I was an art student at UNR, and a friend told me “hey you should go to this Burning Man thing,” and I didn’t. Oops. Ten years later, we finally made it out there.
I’m from Yerington, Nevada originally. I lived in the Bay Area for a few years but moved back here in 2001.
When I was an art student at UNR, I always felt like Reno was right on the verge of something really big; it’s felt like that ever since. Things come and go, but it really has developed a lot. Burning Man has had a lot to do with that, and that fosters a very specific kind of art; it’s often very sophisticated outsider art, by insiders in non-art worlds. . . techies and geeks.
WTP: I think some of it could fairly be called craft, or even research, but I like the way it inflames the passions of the inner child in people.
JS: With the Pier, and the ship, and this project, we started thinking: let’s just build the stuff that we wanted to build when we were seven years old and weren’t able to.
WTP: Yeah! I know exactly what you mean. . . that’s why I wrote an obituary article when Gerry Anderson died.
So the Ichthyosaur is a marionette?
JS: Yes, it’ll be hanging from a 20’x20’x60′ structure. It’ll move in a swimming motion, the flippers will move, the head will move side-to-side, the jaws will open. . . of course, this is all dependent on how well we can figure out how to do all this stuff. No one’s really done this. . . it’s not like you can just Google “how do I build a giant dinosaur puppet” and find much on the Internet.
WTP: And you’ll have a live human playing Dr. Camp?
JS: Yes, I’ll play Dr. Camp; Ed Adkins will play Dr. Camp, I think Brandon Russell will play him, and so will Ian Epperson.
WTP: What sort of interactivity will it have?
JS: Aside from making the puppet move, Dr. Camp will be preaching and there will be hymns sung, pilgrims will come and be saved; basically, we’ll have a full free-form tent revival meeting going on. The rest of the time the place will be staffed by one or two people so that you can come and play with the puppet if you like.
We’re working on the hymnal; Brandon Russell, who wrote the ship’s log for our project last year, is writing our hymns, and they’re hysterical. A few of them are on our website.
WTP: Why do this? Will you burn it, or are you taking it home from Burning Man?
JS: (laughs) Because I want to see it. It’s in my head and it wants out.
What we’re thinking about is possibly donating it to Great Basin Brewery, if it’s technically feasible. They have a location that has a high ceiling, and I’m hoping we can hang it up there. They’ve been really generous and wonderful to us and to other burners so many times, we would really like to do something nice for them. We didn’t get a Burning Man grant, so Great Basin has been a godsend to us and really gone out of their way to help us out.
WTP: The Pier Crew is also running this build space, right?
JS: Yes! It’s called “The Generator” and we’re super excited about this project. I just look around and smile whenever I’m here. . . we have an incredibly generous donor who foots the bill, and we’re going to be able to provide this amazing resource to the community, with tools, full metal shop, full wood shop, and so on. Anyone will be able to come down here and make art, when we’re all set up.
WTP: Tell me what you want people to know about the Ichthyosaur Puppet.
JS: In part, it’s silly. In part, it’s just making a giant dinosaur. . . but there’s also a sense in which I am totally fascinated by the intersection of art and religion, and this notion of them both being made-up stories that are trying to get at the truth. I don’t mean that to be insulting to people of faith at all, but I like playing with these notions of misinterpretation, and faith, and the ways in which we try to explain the world. Maybe the way we see the world is just wrong, and the things we accept as reality are something else altogether. I like putting characters into that particular kind of confusion.
WTP: Thanks, Jerry.