Boogie Universal Pyramid Project 2007 : World Premier of Moontroll's documentary video!

In 2007, Boogie Universal, a volunteer collective based in Bellingham, Washington dedicated to "building better community through music," decided to take their good music, good vibes and good peoples to Burning Man. The project that we organized around was the construction of the Boogie Pyramid, a 40 foot-tall performance/gathering space made of recycled billboard vinyl, rivets, grommets, cable and a galvanized steel mast. There was much amateur engineering and high school math skills involved as we tried to figure out how this prototype would work. Over 30 people pitched in with dozens of hours of labor, free welding work, generous use of a secret farm field construction site and good cheer.

But building the Boogie Pyramid was only one part of the story. Boogie Universal also met weekly to plan a myriad of camp logistics: food, Leave No Trace, transportation, camp theme, entertainment in the Pyramid, camping, furniture, costumage, generators and power production, booze, camp wellness, showers and grey water evaporation â the list goes on and on and then on some more. We hash through all this for hours -- impossible to say how many hours went in to this project, this dream, this folly â actually, we probably don't even want to know.

But many of us found an odd sense of satisfaction in focusing our free time on an endeavor that is ridiculous, a mission that that made no sense. I got a surprising jolt of inspiration in spending precious time, resources and energy on a project with aspirations that lie outside of normal boundaries: we won't make any money doing this. There is no fame and glory to be earned in all of this, no job promotion nor merit badge.

So why did we do it? Why work to set up an enormous 35,000 watt sound installation in a 3,600 square-foot pyramid a thousand miles away from home in the middle of a desiccated lake bed in Nevada? Hard to pin down the reasons, and I'm sure each member of the Boogie Universal collective would provide a different answer.

What is it that draws one to Burning Man anyways? An infinite amount of answers, all correct.

Anyways, this 19-minute movie documents much of the process, from backyard brainstorm to construction to transportation, erection and execution. Things didn't turn out exactly like we had planned, but that was part of the magic of our experience, and I hope this video succeeds in sharing the love we had for the Boogie Universal Pyramid Project at Burning Man 2007!

More videos from DJ Playaduster at www.destinationburningman.com. Feedback: [email protected]

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Hekter back in the Default World


Instead of processing my playa time through sleep deprived saucy slang and freshly roasted thought pockets, I have found myself entangled in pure cordtitude - obsessed with alternative media and battling to just get the lil' digital tidbits tamed into their perspective corners. My digital realm has really become incredibly complicated, especially since dropping my computer on it's hard drive... now it's a special needs tablet and I'm fresh out of meds. Layers of cords for all types of electronic madness become vague in their functionality and mock me in my oneness. Perseverance will prevail and Hekter Vision will be born... even if I have to get cesarean section on it's ass.

Re-integration has been but a speed bump upon return this year, mainly just traffically confused. My habitat is clearly the side streets and back alleys. Spose' that I've been burning up for over a month now and the next chapter is the culmination of it all - Earth Dance! Possibly the final summer festival for Hekter as he prepares himself with fresh mitten-wear for the upcoming blizzards of joy.
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Burning Bookshelf: Books about Burnign Man

Reviews by moontroll

In less three weeks, the Man will burn. Over 45,000 revelers, seekers, artists and freaks will gather around an effigy on a remote, desolate, dry lake bed in a forgotten corner of Nevada to drum, dance with fire and lose their minds to the magic of the moment. The energy of Burning Man 2008 is growing in strength daily, and Burners the world over can feel the pull to the playa.

In 2007, I went to Burning Man with a large group of Bellinghamsters organized under the Boogie Collective umbrella. We built a 40-foot tall Boogie Pyramid, threw all-night dance parties and lived communally beneath a billowing green parachute for ten days. While it has long been obvious that I wouldn't be returning to participate in The Event in the Desert this year, I have to admit that with the arrival of August, Black Rock City's invisible, inevitable gravitational forces are agitating my soul. I have other projects I am dedicated to this year, but that doesn't negate my natural affinity for ritual and release, intentional gatherings, inward reorientation and creative pranksterism.

I might seek for a vicarious Burn instead, browsing the many different books about Burning Man published in recent years.

Jessica Bruder's "Burning Book: A Visual History of Burning Man" (Simon Spotlight, 2007) is a dizzying piece of artwork, a shuffle-play of favorite Burning Man deliriums throughout the years, designed by the venerable collagist Martin Vensezky. It features photo contributions from hundreds of playa snapshooters and loads of playa ephemera, like reproductions of tickets and maps from past Burns, stickers and buttons from different theme camps and all the little trinkety stuff that are gifted out and circulated throughout Black Rock City.

The trajectory of the book is shaped to represent the journey to and through Black Rock City, and thus early chapters include drives through Gerlach and the first burns in San Francisco before introducing you to playa legends like Thunderdome, Dr. Megavolt, Contessa and the Belgian Waffle. There are chapters on music, vehicles and costumes/identity before the reader is brought face to face with the Man and his many inflammations. The end of the ride lands softly with a retrospective of David Best's temples and closes with a look at the city's dissolution in the chapter "Leave No Trace."

Dale Pendell's "Inspired Madness: The Gifts of Burning Man" (Frog Ltd., 2006) is a loose interpretation of the tribal, post-pagan gathering told through short, abstract episodic vignettes and sketches, which could be hell to read if Pendell wasn't such a interesting storyteller wading up to his eyeballs in the spirit and joy of each moment.

"This is Burning Man" by Brian Dogherty (Benbella, 2004) is much less abstract and subjective, and less fun too. It seeks to tell the story of what BM is, where it came from and why it is what it is from a journalist's perspective, though Dogherty claims no impartiality: he has been burning for over a decade. Warning: knowing *too* much about the people pulling the levers behind the curtain can spoil the fun and dull the mystery. Mostly, Dogherty does a fine job of translating the untranslatable and he has a deeper grasp than most on what draws so many diverse people to the desert gathering year after year.

What happens when a bunch of academics go to the Burn, drop acid and start taking notes? You end up with the book "Afterburn: Reflections on a Burning Man" (Univ. of New Mexico Press, 2005), offering essays like "Utopia, Social Sculpture and Burning Man" and "Fires of the Heart: Ritual, Pilgrimage and Transformation."

Finally, I love the exquisite collection of black & white photos presented in A. Leo Nash's "Burning Man: Art in the Desert" (Abrams, 2007.) Nash's is an unusual look at Burning Man – his colorless, arid photographs focus on the diversity of art that is brought to the party. His camera is trained on the sculptures, interactive installations, vehicles and structures that populate the empty playa on the outskirts of the city. Nash has a natural gift for composition and capturing detail, though it is unsettling to view these otherwordly, fantastical dreamworks frozen in time and outside of their original dusty context. Rich and mysterious.

If you are a Burner left behind this year, you might consider buying or borrowing something from this reading list to keep your soul in alignment in the dim days of the Default World.

"but most of the time you went for it, you decided to be genuine, and it came right back at you"

photo by Ramona Mayhem

It’s like a memory now, isn’t it?

The dust is out of your hair and your clothes. You’ve been sleeping in your own bed again, and maybe you’ve been out to eat. And you’ve gone to the refrigerator in the middle of the night, and you’ve had whatever you damn well pleased, because you could.

And isn’t it sad?

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not just knee deep...

Edubious and I are back from a week of wandering Oregon backroads in search of hot springs, starry night skies, riverside campsites and peace of mind -- we had our alternative burn on Burn Night on the banks of the Metolious River. Ramona Mayhem is back in Seattle from Black Rock City. Hekter McElliott is back in Humboldt from Black Rock City. All is well. Destination Burning Man awaits the stories, photos and videos of Burning Man 2008 from Ms. Mayhem and Mr. McElliott and will post them as they start floating in, so stay in touch.

In the meantime, we really like these photos from
The Blight.

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over & out

Edubious and I are getting ready to hit the road for 5 days -- we were planning on a long backpack trip out Copper Ridge in the North Cascades, but it is seriously rainy here, so we've decided to head towards Central Oregon sunshine. We have hot springs in mind, and getting in to the backcountry, but no clear plans. We're gonna be looking for the wave of inspiration emanating from Burning Man with our soul surfboards, ready to ride. To everybody on the playa, we'll be thinking of you constantly. For the rest of us, get out and bring the burning energy in to where you're at (and utilize the links in the previous post to stay in touch with what's goin' down in BRC). Looks marvelous down there. Miss it so much....click for more…

Transmissions to the Default World

Well, the gates are open and Burning Man 2008 is officially "ON." Ramona Mayhem and Hekter McElliott, one-half of our glorious '07 posse, are on-playa right now and tens of thousands more are on the road, waiting in line, streaming in to the city. Edub and I are both in our cubicles this morning, logging in the Default World's mainframe. No comment. Where are you? Well, at least we only have 2 work days until we head off for 5 days deep in the mountains.

So I just start feeling really restless and homesick and happysad and nostalgic and excited this time of year. I'm reallyreallyreally excited for everybody who is down there in Nevada -- it is no easy feat to pull it off, just getting you and your shit and your dreams to the playa in one peace. And I'm just so thankful that Burning Man is happening, period. It's good for all of us -- on-playa, off-playa, other side of the planet, dark side of the moon.

I'm trolling around the internet, here in my cubicle, looking for sights and sounds and stories from BRC. Each year the city seems to get more and more wired to the outside world.
I wouldn't want to be at the Burn and responsible for transmissions to the Default World, but am mighty grateful for those that do take the time and effort to broadcast. Here are a few outlets I've discovered, though word is slow as the gates have only been open for about 10 hours --

Burning Man Information Radio: Live streaming radio programming -- interviews, music, commercials for theme camps and BRC news.
Current TV: Short video reports from BRC and live Burn webcast on Saturday night. They do a great job, and are promising to post
Burncast: Da'Bomb is branching out from her roots in audio to host short videos from Burners.
*Willamette Weekly's
Burning Blog: Supposedly updating daily from BRC. So far, so good.
Radio Electra: Live radio from BRC.
Gerlach webcam: Crappy blurry images from downtown Gerlach, last town before the playa.

Also, I found a streaming webcam transmitting from somewhere in the city. In years past, it has been based at Center Camp, but right now it is hard to say what it is showing, or if it is working well -- some grainy images floating across my work computer screen, but the mountain/skyline tells me it is indeed the Black Rock Desert. I expect the view will get better as the week progresses. Instructions for tuning in to John Graham's "Burningman 2008 Live" stream: Launch Quicktime; click "File > Open URL"; plug in "rtsp://qtss.telascience.org/live.sdp." See what happens!

Send an email or leave a comment if you know of other ways to be a distant Burn-voyeur: [email protected]

Hekter's Last Words

It's Tuesday (whatever the fuck that means other than I have a short week to get burn ready) and I find myself back in sun-cradled California with soul-sauce just dripping out of all of me.  These last three weeks have lit my fuse and this boy is already on fire.... combusticated benevolence.  Tal' started with Reggae Rising with my Cali crew then it morphed into Shambhala with my Sandpoint crew and a few new intergalactic teammates.  Now "it" is going to Black Rock with a new old hat, some fresh wigs for my weary top shelf and whatever else lies semi-dormant in my fun box....click for more…

more views from BRC 08

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Raging duststorms in 2008?

"In many previous years, precipitation during the winter and spring have wet the land, allowing the crust to reform as the desert dries out. That helps mitigate the human impact from previous years, said Kelly Redmond, a climatologist also at the Desert Research Institute.

But no precipitation has touched the Playa since the last Burning Man, the BLM's Cooper said. That could mean that festival-goers will face trouble traveling around, and if a weather system comes through the area, the dust storms will be severe."

Full report on Wired's
science blog.click for more…

southward soul pull

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BRC Rising!

The Burning Blog has been mostly sleepy, with the occasional interesting ponderings, but has in recent days finally started picking up steam as the city is taking shape and empty playa slowly filling up with peoples and structures. It really, truly is underway, and several friends are dusting off their wigs from last year, packing up their cars and getting ready to roll.... Here are some scenes of Black Rock City taking shape in the desert.

(More photos when you "Click here for more...")click for more…

The Man, 2008

Browsing through the official Burning Blog today, I nearly choked on my chai when this image popped up on my screen at work --

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The Burn is Near

25 days until the Man burns in Black Rock City…and I won’t be there to see it.

I won’t be there to feel the nearly chaotic frenzy of energy, anticipation, and absolute freedom that comes as the energy reaches it’s peak and the city gathers around the burn pyre. I won’t be there to spin with abandon through the relentless soundblender of camps, people and art cars that covers the playa like an audio blanket. I won’t be at Burning Man this year and I know that I’m not alone. There will only be two of the four Broke Dudes representing Destination Burning Man...
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Hearts of Flame Trilogy : Burning Man tributecasts reposted

23 days.

In a little over three weeks, the Man will burn. Over 50,000 revelers, seekers and freaks will gather around the effigy on a remote, desolate, dry lake bed in a forgotten corner of Nevada to drum, dance with fire and lose their minds to the magic of the moment.

Though I've long decided that I won't be returning to participate in
The Event in the Desert in 2008, I have to admit that with the arrival of August, Black Rock City's invisible, inevitable gravitational pull is agitating my soul. I have other projects and efforts I am dedicated to this year, namely establishing a relationship and a new home with an amazing woman and very special 7 year-old boy, but that doesn't negate my natural affinity for ritual, for community gatherings in sacred spaces, for ecstatic release, for psychedelic sojourning, for intense life-reflection and inward reorientation and for creative pranksterism.

My Burn brother
Edubious and I have hatched alternative plans for the Burn weekend, and we plan on some deep-delving and freestyle soul-expression in the land above tree line in Washington's North Cascades. We'll be with all y'all, if not geographically, surely in spirit. More on that journey later...

As the days lean in closer to the gathering, I feel all kinds of emotions bubbling up, all kinds of personal needs I recognize as neglected, and an intense desire to create and share with friends. The most I can muster together for now is sharing music with the listeners dialed in to this dBM network. To that end, I'm reposting my Hearts of Flame, a Burning Man tribute-trilology in a podcast formulation.
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Re: )*( Your Center Camp Cafe Video

Hey Moontrolling,

I just wanted to say hey and thank you for
the Center Camp Cirumnambulation beautiful video (with some Bassnectar to boot!). My name is Heloise Ladyslipper and I'm the volunteer coordinator to decorate Center Camp Cafe. Your video was just what I needed today. I am a bit stressed out and behind on my Burning Man work but seeing this totally brought me back to why I volunteer for this position and spend a great portion of my free time on it. I love the sense of community that CCCafe brings and I really think you captured it in your video. I love the brightness of the color too. I love that you captured to flags because they are my (and the vols that sew them here at BMHQ at craft parties) babies and I was super proud of them last year! Plus the rags to flags pennant flags in the 3 rings and just seeing all the people in there having a blast. it made me heart happy. Love the smiles!!!click for more…

Praises from Wanobi of Ohmland

Hey Playaduster:
I’m was at a BBQ yesterday for a friend’s birthday. Suffice to say I had a few drunken conversations, the one I remember was about karma. I realized that there was this huge disconnect between some of oldest friends and a very small band of merry burners (all of whom don’t know it).
Anyway I woke up this morning, checked out of my friends place and got on the Docklands Light Railway back to Stratford, East London. This is a cool little above ground train that runs really slowly through the docks, the business districts and finally the post industrial heartland of London’s eastend.
I’ve had your Destination Burning Man Trilogy  on my pod for a while but just haven’t been at the time and place. But trust me this was perfect. I put on
Reintegration, as this train wound through equally beautiful business and residential districts. Most are deprived but on this sunny Sunday morning everything took on a new light. Particularly with the perfectly judged, wonderfully paced mix that you’ve created. I could go on about how I loved your choice of tracks (which I did) but that would be missing the main point. I got back from SF to London in Feb and I thought I had that playa feeling all the time. Yeah I was receptive but damn your mix has brought it all back. Not reintegration into the world but reintegration back into the fold. Back to feeling the power of potential. Good shit, my friend. Good shit. Keep it up.
Our camp this year is going that bit larger. Finally a theme camp. We’ll have a DJ rig with some decent soundpressure. It’d be a total pleasure if you could drop by, spin or just hang out.
Wanobi of Ohmland

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Hey Edubious:

All I can say is stupendous…
Damn. Your guys sound is fantastic. Right on the money. I just  sent some feedback to the destinationburningman address (about reintegration) but then listened to
East to West as well just after. In awe. Literally. And this is from someone with a fair chunk of worldy vibes and a long interest in electronica and organica.
Currently hailing from East London having just left SF but will be joining up with the merry crew this summer.  This year we’re going to haul a sound rig up there. Fairly small by soundcamp standard* but we promise to have more love. A set like this would banish inhibitions and just get it going. Get some organic beats going and anything could happen.
Nice one my friend. Nice one.
International vibes from sunny Landan Taaan,
Let me know what you think,
Wanobiclick for more…

Boogie Universal's Electric Mayhem

The Electric Mayhem, staying out way too late the night before the race

A bunch of his playa refugees from the Boogie Universal, along with partners and new friends, participated in the Ski to Sea race on Memorial Weekend. The race starts in the snow at Mount Baker east of Bellingham, Washington and traverses 85 miles over 7 legs before reaching the saltwater of Bellingham Bay 7+ hours later. None of us have run the race before, even though it is an annual ritual in this corner of the country, and we aren't the kinds of peeps that get really in to endurance racing of any kind (unless you count all-night bike riding on the playa at Burning Man!)

Here are some photos & video of the team, Boogie Universal's Electric Mayhem, in action:

(Click below to see action shots of the whole team- who knew Burners could move so fast?!)
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How to enjoy the Burning Man Experience from the Comfort of your Own Home

Tear down your house. Put it in a truck. Drive 10 hours in any direction. Put the house back together. Invite everyone you meet to come over and party. When they leave, follow them back to their homes, drink all their booze, and break things.click for more…

The Green Man Trilogy and reflections at the Burnal Equinox

DJ Playaduster just posted the third and final installment in The Green Man Trilogy podcast series -- you can stream it over at the podcast page right this very moment!

The story starts with the mix entitled
DISORIENTATION, a sonic sound collage made up of DJ sets, conversations and weird late night soundings that were wild-harvested from Black Rock City and the open playa using a digital soundstick during Burning Man 2007. The piece represents the blissful confusion and spun-out enlightenment that can occur when one travels the city, on foot or bike, through the night until daybreak. It attempts to recreate the mad mash-up of noise that engulfs you everywhere you travel.

REORIENTATION follows, naturally, and it charts a musical course meant to symbolize the soul-navigation that must occur when one leaves the playa, with dust in one's pockets and new fire in one's heart, and begins to reassimilate back in to your daily life at home, work and in relationships. Featuring sporadic commentary from Hekter McElliott, as he attempts to explain his Yvonda version 2.0/Marsupial Thumbdrive theories, this mix also reflects the musical evolution that Playaduster underwent at Burning Man (to sample the range of influences, see DISORIENTATION!)

And so, finally, we arrive at the third chapter,
REINTEGRATION. While careful listening will reveal the musical landscape to be in kinship with the groove of REORIENTATION, the tone and tenor of the conversations and philosophizing takes a distinct turn as Playaduster and Edubious look back and reflect upon the crucible experiences of the Burn.click for more…

Big Rig Jiggin' in Seattle

"Big Rig Jig" artist lands Sound Transit gig
By Mike Lindblom at the Seattle Times

Sound Transit is known to push the limits of engineering, by boldly drilling tunnels through wet glacial soil.

Now, the agency wants to install groundbreaking public art.

For its future Capitol Hill light-rail station, transit officials have hired Mike Ross, a young Brooklyn, N.Y., artist whose sculpture of tanker trucks — "Big Rig Jig" — was a highlight of last year's Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert.
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Playa Panoramas

This video does a good job of capturing some of the inexplicable and disorienting playa vision I experienced during my 10 days in BRC. Thanks Zoyous!

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American Dream
Burning Man 2008

Illustration by Jack Haye and Rod Garrett

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moontroll & ramona mayhem's 2007 reports now online

Check out the latest additions to the What is Burning Man page : Field reports from Burning Man 2007 as told by Ramona Mayhem and Moontroll. You can grok them right here...

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