(As the East Coast begins its preparation to head West for Burning Man, I’m deeply honored to bring you an interview with Kevin Bracken, one of the low-key legends of the Brooklyn & Toronto party scenes. While the name isn’t familiar, if you partied in Brooklyn in the later oughts, Newmindspace & their dope Bushwick loft was a storied institution not to be missed. A member of Opulent Temple, he’s moved up to massive Pillow Fights, Bubble Battles, tangling with the Empire With Ears & bringing a big metal swan to the playa! He’s friends with Ryan & Erika from our first Why We Burn as well, so I hope you enjoy the chat!)
1. What’s your favorite Burning Man memory? My favorite memory was the first sunrise I spent with my wife Marie at the burn, a.k.a. the moment we started dating. I’m pretty sure we both knew even then it was going to turn into something magical 🙂
Not my favorite memory, but my most unforgettable moment: It would be hard to top Paul Addis burning the man early in 2007 while most people were distracted by a lunar eclipse. For those who don’t remember, that was the year that Burning Man allowed Tesla to put an unmarked prototype in the Green Man “Corporate Pavilion.” It was an unmitigated PR disaster that was magically swept away by the deranged actions of a sick man. And even though I do think what Addis did was dangerous and pretty messed up, a tiny part of me does think it was the final chaotic, anarchic action of a Burning Man most people will never experience.
Star Wars. Desert camping. Talks on topics aligned with Leave No Trace and Self Reliance. A nod to the Davos World Economic Forum. Sharara, Arabic for “spark”, has it all…
Sharara desert camp-out festival @ the Star Wars site in the Tunisian Sahara (inaugural edition 1-3 April 2017) has a ShararaTech call for submissions that is open till 31 March 2016 on Water, Energy and Self-Reliance around the Mediterranean. Burners are welcome to participate.
This solution-based festival and geography anchored event (Sharara which stands for “Spark” in Arabic) was conceived by a lady entrepreneur who was selected by Davos WEF in 2002 as a Young Arab Leader for her role in creating the first venture capital fund in the Arab part of the Middle East. As a burner she, Amal Alayan could see long back, Sharara as an answer to a question raised by the Guardian recently with the title “What would it look like if Davos and Burning Man would have a baby?”. For a snap shot of Tatooine where Sharara will take place, check out this link. Leonardo Journal of MIT Press, Sharara publishing partner, plans to publish a special section on artworks participating in this event.
It’s an Art and Science festival. No word on if there will be DJs, or drinking, or any other kind of partying. They’re looking for art and tech talks.
Their publishing partner is the Leonardo International Society of the Arts, Sciences and Technology. Your art might get featured in MIT Press’s Leonardo Journal, which would be a nice gift to give your friends patrons at Da Vinci’s Workshop. Well, it would be except that this event won’t actually happen until 2017.
Next step? Time for an Arab “spark: a Burning Man-like story”. Something futuristic, the best of the West, at Star Wars no less. Followed up with a bunch of venture capital flowing into the startup sector.
ShararaTech Art & Science Mediterranean Festival (also known as Sharara Art, Science and Technology Mediterranean Festival) is an emergent desert camp-out festival that aims to travel on paths around the Mediterranean to celebrate creativity-for-change at the intersection of art, humanities, science and technology.
For the inaugural edition of ShararaTech, ShararaTech Challenge on Water, Energy and Self-Reliance is launched with a focus on decentralized water and energy solutions.
The festival aims to host desert installations of artistic intrigue and scientific novelty that can evoke holistic insights into new solutions and practices for mitigating difficulties of living around the Mediterranean. ShararaTech sees change rooted in reconnecting with nature, in communal self-reliance, in fostering socially and ecologically responsible entrepreneurship, and in the circularity of gifting and financial support for the creative process.
Whenever possible, ShararaTech aims to include installations that fuse art and technology with self-referential poetics, myths, symbols and universal ethos that defined the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean and its surroundings.
From the Sahara where Transmedia and Communications Technology arguably provided non-violent Arab Spring with the tools necessary to bring down hierarchical and centralized ways of organizing that did not work, ShararaTech will be launched. The aesthetics of these decentralizing tools remain essential to celebrate within such a creativity-for-change festival in order to maximize the potential of access to information, learning, corrective feedback loops, creative circularity and alternative modes of self-organizing.
While remaining open for the participation of many forms of creative expressions at the convergence of art, science and nature, ShararaTech will organize thematically on annual basis in liaison with its affiliates.
In “springing” out of the Tunisian Sahara in 2016 with artistic manifestations of water and energy decentralized generation, distribution and storage solutions, ShararaTech hopes to be part of triggering a constructive 3.0 Revolution with futuristic visionary ways of living and creating on and around the Mediterranean.
ShararaTech Challenge on Water, Energy and Self-Reliance is intended as a catalytic process for crowdsourcing content for the inaugural edition of ShararaTech Art & Science Mediterranean Festival. A Call for Submissions for this challenge includes incentives in the way of potential noteworthy publishing in Leonardo Journal of MIT Press. Furthermore, a first award of up to $50k will be split between two selected water and/or energy novel submissions: one with the best fit for the Tunisian Sahara and one for Gaza.
The Founding Partner of ShararaTech is Ibtikar Venture Partners LLC. The Publishing Partner of ShararaTech Art Festical is Leonardo International Society of the Arts, Sciences and Technology.
Who’s behind this? An MIT-backed startup fund with ties to big pharma, that front-runs deals for blue chip financial syndicates. At least, that’s what they say:
Ibtikar Venture Partners, LLC (“Ibtikar”) was co-founded in May 1999 by Amal Alayan and Omar Khudari as a Delaware limited liability company with a main base in Lexington, MA. Ibtikar leveraged its founding members’ links to MIT and Route 128 and their operating experience in the Middle East in pioneering venture capital investing in the Middle East and North Africa Region (MENA) and to syndicate its investments with blue chip businesses . Ibtikar made a number of early investments in Arab Internet start-ups when there were no more than 2M Internet users in MENA. In 2013 Ibtikar went through restructuring and a new member joined Ibtikar, Mohmmad Saffouri, a major shareholder of Al-Hikma, a leading MENA Pharmaceuticals company based out of Jordan. In 2013 Ibtikar sought, and on 25 September 2013 obtained, an approval from the Tunisian government on the organizing and the production of an international art, science and technology event in the Neck-of-the-Camel desert and in its adjacent George Lucas Star Wars Décor of Tatooine near Tozeur airport in the Tunisian Sahara. On 20 July 2015 the Tunisian newly elected government renewed this approval and confirmed its support.
Leonardo/The International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology (Leonardo/ISAST) is a nonprofit organization that serves the global network of distinguished scholars, artists, scientists, researchers and thinkers through programs focused on interdisciplinary work, creative output and innovation. From its beginnings, Leonardo/ISAST has served as the virtual community for purposes of networking, resource-sharing, best practices, research and events in Art/Science/Technology.
Leonardo serves as critical content provider through their Publications Program — scholarly journals published by MIT Press (Leonardo and LMJ), the Leonardo Book Series (MIT Press), as well as the Leonardo family of websites and experimental projects on evolving digital platforms.http://www.leonardo.info
Just like Stanford has its non-profit Defense contractor SRI International, MIT has its non-profit Defense contractor the MITRE corp. Wonder if they are involved in any of these projects? Maybe some of Reagan’s Star Wars will be out there mixing it up with George Lucas’ Star Wars – if they weren’t from the very beginning, anyway…
Ronald Reagan writing about Star Wars and Bohemian Grove. From Reagan: A Life in Letters by Kiron K Skinner
[Update 3/8/16 7:51am]
A Balanced Perspective has pointed us to the Dunes Electroniques festival, a rave that was recently held at the Star Wars site in Tunisia. More than 1000 security personnel were employed. Here is a great write-up of the event.
“The majority of Tunisians are now in a state of war against barbarism,” he said from the capital, Tunis.
[Update 3/9/16 9:24am]
Amal Alayan, event organizer, says the President was incorrect in his statement that the majority of Tunisians are now in a state of war, and in fact the clashes are only in one town at the border area.
the closing line about the president of Tunisia making an announce that the whole country is declared “war zone ” is not true and hurt the people of Tunisia who r the only people in the region who made Arab Spring succeed. I am in Tunisia now and know for a fact that the war zone is in one town on the east south borders with Libya . I am going Friday as a woman on my own to the west south were out Star Wars site is and will be sending u a photo .. I ran ur article by the ministry of tourism earlier today and on your quote if their president , they said “he was not referring to the whole country”
I’m not sure who to believe: the President of Tunisia, the Minister of Tourism, or the event promoter. YMMV.
Although Ben Guerdane, where 53 people were killed in an ISIS attack on Monday, is next to Tataouine, the festival site is on the other side of the country at Mos Espa
The U.S. Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the risks of travel to Tunisia and recommends that U.S. citizens in Tunisia maintain a high level of vigilance following the February 19 U.S. airstrike targeting a Tunisian terrorist facilitator at a terrorist training camp in Libya near the Tunisian border. The Tunisian government has visibly augmented its security presence in recent months, but challenges persist. This travel alert expires on March 31, 2016.
U.S. citizens should exercise extreme caution in Tunisia when frequenting public venues visited by large numbers of foreigners, such as: hotels, shopping centers, tourist sites, and restaurants. Two attacks in 2015 targeted tourists: the Bardo Museum in Tunis on March 18 and two beach hotels near Sousse on June 26. ISIL claimed responsibility for both attacks. U.S. citizens should also be alert in general to the possibility of kidnapping.
The general security advice for Tunisia and Algeria contains more details. Some highlights:
The Tunisian government officially designated the group Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia (AAS-T), a group with known anti-U.S. and anti-Western sentiments, as a terrorist organization on August 27, 2013. The Tunisian government continues security force operations against AAS-T, ISIL, and al Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). While security forces have successfully foiled a number of attack plots, the potential threat posed by violent extremists in the country remains real…
Certain cities and governorates in Tunisia have a fluid and unpredictable security environment and travel to these areas require additional scrutiny before U.S. Government personnel may travel to them. These include but are not limited to the geographical areas adjacent to the border with Algeria (Jendouba, Kef, Kasserine); the Libyan border (Ben Gardane and Medenine) and central Tunisia (Gafsa and Sidi Bou Zid).
Travel to the Algerian border region (Jendouba, Kef, Kasserine) is only allowed for U.S. Government personnel if deemed mission essential, and should be avoided by U.S. citizens given the periodic security incidents along the border regions, including the Mount Chaambi area where security operations continue against armed extremists.
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Tunisia are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. You may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you or if you take pictures of certain buildings. Driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. If you break local laws in Tunisia, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution.
LGBTI Travelers: Consensual same-sex sexual relations are criminalized in Tunisia. Penalties include sentences of up to three years in prison. In February 2015, a Swedish man was sentenced to two years in prison, and in September 2015 a Tunisian man was sentenced to one year in prison for violating Tunisia’s law against consensual same-sex sexual relations. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.
At last...a festival with lightsabers and lasers in equal supply. Celebrating its second outing this past February, the Les Dunes Electroniques Festival returned to the dunes of southern Tunisia to a crowd of cosmopolitan locals and adventurous Star Wars fans
Before you pack up your costumes and catch the next plane to Africa, you might want to actually watch the videos. I don’t see much Star Wars going on. All I count is one Darth Vader mask, and zero lightsabers and lasers.
Image: Paris Bouge
Tunisia is the place George Lucas chose to be the planet Tatooine in his movies, and it is also being used by JJ Abrams in the new installment. The location of this set is close to where the rave takes place. It seems that Fest300 is stretching this connection to call it a Star Wars-inspired EDM festival.
At the end of last month thousands flooded to the Dunes Electroniques festival, which is nestled away in Nefta in Tunisia, also the place where parts of Star Wars were filmed.
The festival takes place on the site of Mos Espa, known to lovers of the film franchise as the spaceport on Tatooine. IRL, the exact spot is known locally as Ong Djemel and was built four decades ago by George Lucas especially for Star Wars.
Now in its third year, Dunes Electroniques welcomed Kölsch, Superpitcher and Derrick May, among many others, to the dusty town.
On top of this, attendees were given the opportunity to explore the set and watch artists from the Tunisia’s local music scene in an area surrounded by beautiful landscapes.
While not everyone gets into the spirit of things at the event, a number of festival-goers take it upon themselves to dress up as their favourite characters, so seeing a Darth Vader or Princess Leia wandering round isn’t considered a strange sight.
For general ravers, who don’t have to get into Cosplay to have a good time, this could be an interesting experience. Of course, you’ll be in a country where many of the young men have run off to fight for ISIS. Protestors to the festival drive around with megaphones yelling “Allah-uh-Akbar!”
On Saturday the ultra-conservative group Hizb ut-Tahrir held a small protest in Tozeur against the festival, arguing that it went against local values. The next morning, a car drove through the main square with a man yelling “God is great” and waving the group’s flag bearing the Islamic testament of faith.
Most locals, however, seemed pragmatic about the regional benefits. “Some people support it. Some people are against it,” says shop owner Naceur Hamadi, shrugging. “It’s bringing business to our town.”
While the number of tickets sold this year — 6,500 — fell short of a projected 10,000 visitors, the hotels and shops in Tozeur and Nefta enjoyed record sales for February.
Despite the bad weather and organizational issues, most of the young people interviewed said they planned to return next time.
Emna Bouguira, a 23-year-old medical intern, had spent half her first-ever monthly paycheck for a two-day pass — $155, the equivalent of one month’s minimum wage here. Interviewed at a rest stop on the six-hour drive back to Tunis, she says she had had a “mixed” experience. “The music was good, but it was badly organized,” she says.
But for her and others, it was a chance to see the Tozeur region for the first time, and she would like to return.
“Young Tunisians, we like to have fun. We like this atmosphere,” says Atef Braham, an electrical engineering student from the coastal town of Monastir. “This is the real Tunisia,” he says, taking a sip through the straw hooking up to his beer helmet.
He takes a moment to join an impromptu dance circle led by a guy wearing a fluorescent orange T-shirt that reads, “Always find a reason to smile.”
The full article from Al Jazeera is quite interesting, read it here.
Save yourselves a trip to Africa, Star Wars fans…you’ll see more Star Wars stuff at Burning Man.
Sandspeeder in a Dust Storm, 2005. Image: herby_fr/Flickr (Creative Commons)
Jawa Sandcrawler, 2007. Image: Rubin Starset/Flickr (Creative Commons)
Image: Duncan Rawlinson/Flickr (Creative Commons)
[Update 3/4/15 4:56pm]
A Balanced Perspective has pointed us to this up-coming Star Wars themedrave event with DJs in California on May 22. Star Wars art cars, unite!
A long time ago, in a Galaxy far, far away….
“Luke Skywalker has returned to
his home Planet of Tatooine in
an attempt to Rescue his
friend Han Solo from the
clutches of the vile gangster
Jabba the Hutt.
Little does Luke know that the
GALACTIC EMPIRE has secretly
begun construction on a new
armored Space Station even
more powerful than the first
dreaded Death Star.
When completed, this ultimate
weapon will spell certain doom
for the small band of Rebels
struggling to restore Freedom
to the Galaxy…”
We invite you to our 2nd Annual Epic Star Wars Cos-Play Event… “Return to Tatooine” May 22nd – 25th
Memorial Day Weekend…
Return to Tatooine, This Time to Help the Rebel Alliance….
Come Dressed as your Favorite Sci-Fi Hero. From Dragon Ball Z to Boba Fett come let your Geek hang out. Don’t Have a Costume? Relax you can always Fake it…
THIS IS NOT A RAVE!!! SO DONT COME IF THATS WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR!!!
Here is the Listing of Happenings…
Hawaiian Luau on the Kona at Dusk, Sat 23rd & Sun 24th of May. Don’t forget your Hawaiian Shirt, and Board Shorts, yeah..
The Corusant Ball (Late Saturday Night)
Lose yourself in the Fun, and Dance the night away at our Corusant Ball, with welcoming Host, Lando Calrissian. Costumes are encouraged, but certainly not required!
The Force is Strong With This One (Costume Contest)
Join in our Costume Contest, held at the Main Stage, Friday and Saturday nights, and show off your Finery, and win amazing Prizes, and throngs of Admiration. C’mon, take a turn on that Catwalk — Rrrrowww!
Mos Eisley Bazaar…. (Vendor Area)
Our Vendor and Artisan Area, Mos Eisley Bazaar will be packed with Weapons, Books, Artwork, Clothing, Jewelry, the Paintball Shooting Gallery, and oh so much more. It’s a Market like no other in the world!
BRING LOTS OF FIREWOOD!!!!
(no plastic or painted parts ie. must be striped of any moop)
this is a self-reliant Event, if you come you bring your own Equipment, Power, Etc, no one is paid to bring there Art, Perform or Set Up a Theme Camps
all ages 14 and under, are Free.
For those with RV’s, right up the road is a very inexpensive Water refill, and Grey Water Dump station, at Red Rock State Park Ricardo Campground, please call them for up to date info. ( http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=631 )
Its on 20+ empty acres of private desert land, up Highway 14, near the City of Mojave California. Its just to get a head count of how many are coming so we can get enough Portos. Some Cell Phone and 4G Data services do not work out there, however AT&T seems to work fine.
You can Tent, RV, Camper, or sleep in your Vehicle. Radical Self Reliance must be practiced here. Just like any Camping Trip, bring everything you will need. You will need your own H2O as well. And as always, Leave No Trace.
You can come out as early as Thursday May 21st, but I’m sure most will arrive on the 22nd …..
We will have several nice sound systems out there, and various DJs will be spinning a set and Live Bands playing. If you want to provide some entertainment, please let us know. You are welcome to bring your fire toys, but also bring your fire safety equipment as well. All musical instruments are welcome.
(will be posting more info such as performers etc. later on in the month as time slots/spaces are filled)
Hey Guys Just So You Know…
We are a “VENDOR FEE” FREE Event… Come and set up a table, sell your wares, there will be no set-up/Booth Fee of any Kind. We encourage Artist Painters Jewelers, Artisans to Barter, Share or Sale Their… We may set up a Bartertown” area over by the Chill Dome. Sound like something you be interested in Contact Princess Hamade or myself… “Support the Arts, and the Artist.”
Our World would be just a little bit duller without you…
On the property there are 2 little Bars (mostly BYOB), Volley Ball, Badminton, a 2 Story Pyramid, 16′ Dome, Desert Golf, Horse Shoes, Darts and 2 private RVs. Oh, and Fun…
In the area there are many really cool things to do as well. The Mojave Boneyard or the Airplane junkyard, and Mojave SpacePort are right down the street. There are a few Ghost Towns in the nearby area, one Living, and some awesome yet bizarre manmade Rock Formations. And you are welcome to bring some of your Art out there as well, large or small.
Bikes are welcome too, and highly recommended, the desert is a big place.
Yes, Pets are allowed.ONLY IF THERE ARE PET AND HUMAN FRIENDLY THE OWNER OF THE PROPERTY IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR PET, YOU ARE!!!!
Please RSVP the following information:
Camp Name or Your Name:
Number of people in camp: (not everyone in your camp needs to RSVP. We just need a total head count)
Type of camping: RV, Camper, Tent, Vehicle
Approx. footprint size needed: (No one will have assigned camp areas, we just want to make sure there is enough room for everyone. )
IMPORTANT INFO FOR PERFORMERS, ARTISTS, DJS, ART CARS, AND MAJOR THEME CAMPS PLEASE EMAIL ME at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, general info, (ie. phone number, email where u can be contacted) and your ETA. This is a non paid gig, all money made from the event helps establish the ranch for future events..so that we can continue providing a safe place to play! it also covers portos!
Don’t forget to include a short summary, pics etc of what you would like to bring to be considered for two comp Tickets. Please note: Theme Camps unfortunately still only get two Tickets..we may be able to provide discounted Tickets.
THERE IS A DEADLINE OF March 21st TO HAVE THIS INFO TO US AND TO BE CONFIRMED, PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU TAKE NOTE OF THIS AND GET YOUR INFO IN PROMPTLY THANK YOU…
For Future Info and Pics/Videos of the Event, as well as Questions about the location… join our group