burning man

Missing Burning Man

For me, Burning Man has never been about epiphaneous moments or breakthroughs. It hasn’t helped me gain a new understanding of human diversity or my own potential. It’s hasn’t helped me discover the real me nor has it changed my appreciation for my everyday life. What it has been, however, is the best week of my year for the past four years (and five of the past six).

This year has been about a different kind of adventure for K and I, one filled with joy and fear and hard work and community. A bit like a Burn, but not really. Despite being immersed in and overjoyed by this experience I couldn’t help but feel some wistfulness for the playa during the first week of September.

I missed the smell of the dust. I missed the intense three days work building our camp, More Carrot: The Black Rock City Farmers Market. I missed coming together with friends old and new in Reno and the anticipation of the night before we hit the playa. I missed the art and the noise and the kaleidoscopic variety of people and outfits and moments.

It was impossible not to remember moments from Burns past. Of minarets at dusk and the trash fence at dawn, of PBR for breakfast and sushi feasts offered by new friends, bike obstacle courses and pop-up Chinese restaurants, of our wedding in 2008 and of watching a memorial service while on duty as a Temple Guardian last year.  So many amazing, moving, inspiring, hilarious times.

And I realised what it was I missed most: The uniquely immersive immediacy of Burning Man.

When I’m at Burning Man I feel so present with my surroundings I forget I’m present with my surroundings. I forget for long stretches of time that there is anything else I could be thinking of. I think creatively, I imagine, I sketch out future projects, but I don’t worry about my to do list or about money or question my relationships or stress about politics. I’m just wherever I am, engaging with the person I’m there with.

In my everyday life I’m seemingly-unavoidably scheduled. I have days I’m working from home and days I’m in the city, daily meetings in person or on skype or by phone. I’m engaged in a constant battle to keep my inbox close to zero and I’m throwing presentations together in the hours before I give them.

At Burning Man I feel almost completely unscheduled. This despite being part of a theme camp with shared meals and shifts to be done on the market and despite the other volunteer stuff I always do, whether delivering the Black Rock Gazette newspaper or serving as a Temple Guardian. Beyond these specific experiences which I play just enough attention to what time it is to turn up to I plan almost nothing. Maybe one musical act on a particular night. But mostly I don’t chase bands around the playa, I don’t organise to meet people at particular times or places, I don’t target specific events or workshops. The last three years I haven’t actually looked in the What|Where|When events guide at all. Not once.

Instead I go where the mood takes me with the people I happen to be with, mostly my closest friends but sometimes delightful new people. Sometimes we decide to open a pop-up restaurant, sometimes we play cricket, sometimes we go looking for art, sometimes we go to the steam bath, or a cocktail bar, or to visit friends. It’s wherever the mood takes us and it’s always the perfect place, close-enough. I never feel like I’m missing out on anything because where I am is always spectacular.

This immediacy brings a real freedom to it, a sense of being in flow, at one with space and time. It’s a rare feeling, something you also feel when you’re falling head-over-heels in love, during the birth of a child or in the midst of creative production.

I’d like to try to create more of this in my everyday life but it’s so much harder here. These meetings (mostly) need to happen. I love collaborating with people and making things happen and that means deadlines and meetings and to do lists. And without these structures and habits and commitments I really can’t get much done, and there’s a lot I want to do. This busyness stems from my purpose and my passions and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The key, I think, is balance. I couldn’t live Burning Man year-around. As glorious as it is there’s so much else I want to experience in my life and a satisfaction and meaning that can only be gained through hard work and sticking with something. Bringing immediately into everyday life doesn’t require giving up meetings or to do lists but rather cultivating time for reflection and to connect with others in open and creative ways. Bodhi helps me be more immediate (although also makes me more scheduled), as does time outdoors, catching up with friends, going to festivals and riding my bike. I want to live with the spirit of Burning Man year-round, embracing immediately and generosity and shared experiences, even as I commit to the hard work of making difficult things happen.

So, balance. An hour a day. A day a week. A week a year. Time without pre-established priorities, restrictions or responsibilities, without a to-do list guiding your actions or an event I’m preparing for. Unstructured time for thinking, playing, feeling, being.

Missing Burning Man this year has also given me more perspective on the big questions of whether and when to take Bodhi to the burn. Since we knew Bodhi was coming we have been discussing this. I’ve vacillated between thinking it would be great fun to take him when he’s young and to see him experience such a fantasy land through the eyes of childhood and thinking that it would be more fun not to take him and to use it as a week off (every two years, say) from the priorities and responsibilities and constraints of parenthood.

Missing this year’s Burn has made me realise more strongly than before how much I value the unstructuredness (somewhat: I still help organise a theme camp so compared to how unstructured your burn could be it’s pretty structured, but compared to how structured my life usually is it’s very unstructured) and openness of Burning Man and the immediacy I experience there. It also made me feel the loss of the balance Burning Man has provided over the past four years, the way it has inspired and recharged me, the new ideas and, new friendships and new insights into myself I would come back from my week in the desert with.

All of which makes me lean towards not taking Bodhi, for a while at least, and using it as a chance to step away and recharge every couple of years. I’d love to take Bodhi when he’s a bit older, when I trust him to look after himself sufficiently in the conditions and socially, but the stresses and pressures of taking a baby/toddler/tiny child to Burning Man would, I think, restrict much of what I most value about the experience. For now at least.

How do you create unstructured time in your life?

Workshops at Festivals: What Works

I was meant to run a workshop on social change communications at Regrowth Festival the weekend before last, at 10am on Sunday to be precise. A few things went wrong with this plan:

  • I was given the wrong workshop title in the program: “Sharehood” (a collaborative consumption website which, while cool, I have nothing to do with);
  • Instead of camping with our two-month old we were staying in the nearby town of Braidwood and got away late and took two wrong turns on the way to the site in the morning, resulting in me arriving at the workshop tent twenty minutes late, which sucked, but not too much because;
  • Only a couple of people actually turned up looking for the workshop (despite a blackboard prominently displaying the correct topic of the workshop, so can’t blame the Sharehood thing too much).

Which is fair enough. I can’t remember a time I’ve been at a music festival – let alone at 10am in the morning on Sunday, when it’s possible, just possible I’m saying, that I’ve had a late night the night before – and I’ve felt like learning about social change communications.

So this got K and I thinking, what does make a good workshop topic in this kind of setting?

Festivals are experiential. You’re not there to spent too much time in your head, you’re there to run around and dance and see friends and listen to music and hang out in your campsite and so on. The best thing about festivals is how present-ing they are. With so much immersive activity and social interaction you find yourself deeply, completely, present with everything around you.

So to firstly want to go and secondly to remember to go to a workshop requires that it be something you strongly want to participate in or learn about. We decided it required a topic which is specific enough to give a strong sense of guarantee around the outcome – ie. a specific practice like yoga which you know you enjoy, or belly dancing which you’ve always wanted to try or permaculture which you’ve always been curious about.

There’s a two-word title and it describes a specific and knowable experience or outcome. But the topic must also be general enough that sufficient people at this specific event have heard about it and are interested. And it must be actionable enough that attending makes a difference, ie. the experience is either intrinsically satisfying (yoga, dance classes, lantern making etc) or you can imagine using what you’ve learned in the near future (a how to massage, permaculture, music production, etc).

We tried to imagine what we could share at next year’s Regrowth Festival (which will be back at its usual time of Easter) which is specific, general and actionable enough, unlike my workshop this year which, while somewhat actionable, was neither specific nor general enough to attract participation. We came up with the idea of teaching a “prepare for the playa” workshop to help people plan for and go to Burning Man.

This is specific enough to be knowable – ie. you know you’re going to find out about what’s involved in attending a specific festival in Nevada. It’s general enough, given that it seems like everyone has heard of Burning Man these days (all of a sudden) and those that haven’t gone tend to have a real curiosity around it, and it’s actionable, because if you’re planning to attend next year’s Burn in August you should probably be starting to plan a little, or at least get your head around what you need to plan, by April.

Hopefully this will go a little better than this year’s effort!

What do you think of our criteria for successful festival workshops? Did you miss anything?

Photo by jemasmith via flickr, available on a creative commons license.

On friendship and tribes

Image One of my tribes.

I’m writing this on the train from Vancouver back to the Bay Area, sitting in the glass-encased observation carriage as farmlands and forests sweep by, dramatically snow-capped mountains in the distance. We are in southern Oregon and it feels like every few minutes we cross another river near-bursting its banks. It’s all so lush and gorgeous, characteristic of the Northwest Forests I’ve had the chance to experience in recent days. Trains really are the best way to travel. While yesterday I had wifi from Vancouver to Portland this 18-hour stretch from Portland to San Francisco is offline, which I don’t mind as it’s a good time for clearing my head and doing some writing.

The past couple of weeks have been unusually stressful, with my visa to re-enter the US initially being rejected, stranding me in Canada with my pregnant wife left back in San Francisco and time ticking down to our departure from the US back to Australia, unable to help with the tasks of relocation or say goodbye to my friends in person. This is all thankfully behind me as I steam towards the Bay, with 17 days once I get there to finish packing and depart.

Despite the stress and frustration when in the future I look back on this time I don’t think this is what I’ll remember at all. Instead I think I’ll have overwhelming positive feelings about these two weeks, remembering the incredible support and love our friends showed both K and I, which managed to turn what could have been an awful experience into truthfully one of the most moving and uplifting of my life.

When we first announced the visa rejection on Facebook, the response was immediate and near-overwhelming. Offers of support and advice poured in. I was connected to Australian, American and Canadian diplomats, immigration lawyers, and people who had gone through the process before to get advice. I was offered numerous places to stay and people to connect with in Vancouver and Calgary. Our friends in San Francisco really stepped up to help K with packing up our house, at one point she had seven of them working under her direction, or just to deliver her food and offer her company and support.

Beyond these specific actions was the unbelievable sense of love, concern and solidarity we both experienced. When we could have felt very alone, kept apart by border and bureaucracy, we instead felt deeply connected to our community. It’s a feeling I will always treasure. Thank you to everyone who reached out and offered comfort during this time.

In the most practical and necessary way possible I also experienced incredible hospitality while in Canada. In Vancouver I stayed with a new friend who I had only met at a street party in San Francisco this past New Year’s Day. It’s not as random as it sounds, we share a mutual close friend who was at the party and she spent five years in Sydney previously.  While we never met we were part of the same cultural community in Sydney, the outdoor psytrance scene, and this sense of being part of the same tribe, despite having only recently met, was powerfully connecting, even as my intended 3 days in Vancouver stretched to 11. Last Saturday night we went to a psytrance party in Victoria, on Vancouver Island, and the feeling of the community there was reminiscent of the tribe we both missed in Sydney: open, fun-loving and expressive.

I had the same experience in Calgary, staying with a relatively recently-met friend who I share many social ties with, both having been part of the beautifully close-knit Burning Man community in Washington DC, but never having lived there at the same time. While in Calgary I also met a group of the local burners (Burning Man devotees) and the ease with which we bonded was both unusual and yet also expected.

The lesson: when you are part of the same tribe, you take care of each other.

I’ve thought a lot about tribes over the past several years, and it’s my belief in the power and abundance of our communities that inspires me about crowdfunding (or tribefunding as I increasingly think of it).

I believe a deeper sense of tribe is only possible when you share a form of cultural expression which is sub-mainsteam. In other words it is sub-cultures that form community. Sub-cultures tend to be based on participation, whereas mainstream cultures are based on consumption. Once a culture gets too big a certain level of intimacy and sense of connection and participation, of having something important and vital in common, gets diluted then lost. You can feel this even in San Francisco, where Burning Man culture has become mainstream, and the truly tight-knit communities are the next sub-cultural level down, groups of burners based around specific camps or sounds.

I also had the chance to connect with my other community, social entrepreneurs and changemakers, when I presented at events in Vancouver, Calgary and Portland, and loved the energy and passion of the people I met. I hope we’ll be able to support many of them on StartSomeGood soon.

It is my connection to these tribes, my pursuit of the subcultures I love to participate in, which has provided a platform for my last four years in America, which has allowed me to quickly make friends and find community in each city I arrive in.

I am so grateful for the support of friends new and old over the past couple of weeks, and for the tribes and cultures which connect us.

“True [dance] music consists of four main ingredients: a cup of spirituality, a tablespoon of love, a dash of togetherness, and a pinch of soul-penetrating beats.” – Bamboo Forrest.

Apologies that may or may not be in order

From StreesideSF.

Life has been so busy lately that it would make many a good blog update but rarely do I seem to have the time, or maybe the patience, with bashing out a proper post at the moment. Part of this is just the raw hours I’m working across three major projects. Part of it is that so much of all these projects takes place on m computer my eyes get tired and I crave time away from this particular screen.

I’m not sure I should feel very guilty about this – I never have been a terribly serious blogger – but I do. At least some of the time. It feels like a goal I’m failing at, even if in many ways it’s been sacrificed so I can achieve the more important goals of the moment. But it’s easy to pick apart our own behavior I think, to be more critical and less forgiving than we would be with a friend.

The truth is I am actually blogging quite a lot at the moment – more than ever before – but just not here very often.

Over the past 9 months I’ve set up a couple of visual and short-form blogs on posterous. One, Bits & Bytes, features my favourite bits of media, information and ephemera I find online. The other, StreetsideSF, is a shared blog with K featuring the street art we see all around us in San Francisco. IF you haven’t checked them out yet please do and consider subscribing.

In addition I currently run two blogs for HopeLab – our main Sticky Notes blog on HopeLab.org and the blog at the JOYcampaign website I manage, both of which I regularly contribute to myself – and I try to write for the StartSomeGood blog whenever I can manage.

We are also eight days away from leaving for Burning Man, and it’s been another epic organizational challenge to pull together a theme camp primarily of first-timers from all around the world. I can’t wait to move beyond the organizing phase, hit the desert and get dusty with my family (literally, my sister is coming) and friends.

Despite all this busyness I'm having a lot of fun, challenging myself to get a lot done and feeling extremely fortunate to be able to work on such exciting and meaningful projects with people I admire. There's nothing I would rather not be doing. I would like to post here more often however :)

I hope everything is great in your world and that life is full of joy.

We built this city

Burning Man is famously difficult to describe. It is so many different things to so many different people: a huge rave in the desert, a spiritual journey, a temporary community, the world’s biggest sculptural art exhibition, a survivalist gathering, a place to discover new parts of yourself, for grieving and letting go, for exploring, expressing and sharing.

It’s hard to summarize all of that for people who haven’t experienced it for themselves, hard to link your individual stories to this larger context, hard, in a way, for even an experienced burner to make sense of it all, the unique jumble of experiences, emotions, observations, visual stimulation and desert living. Every year I’ve gone I’ve aimed to write about my experience but every year I hit this wall and the gap since the festival grows and eventually I give up. But this year, as my camp-mate Elly would say, “I’m doing it!”, very late but sooner than never.


What Burning Man is, fundamentally, is festival 2.0. Just as web2.0 is a platform for user-generated content Burning Man is a platform for user-generated experiences. The Burning Man Organization ensures that the very most basic infrastructure exists for the event to take place: roads, medics, port-a-potties and, of course, the Man. But everything else that makes a festival a festival is created and provided by the participants themselves: the music, art, venues, workshops, performances. All of it. Some of the major art works get grants to assist them to create their pieces, but this rarely covers costs and never covers labour.

What’s more there’s no vendering at Burning Man. No commercial food stalls. No souvenir stands. You cannot even buy water, despite our location in the middle of a desert. Everything you and your camp need to survive you need to take in yourselves: water, food, structures, bikes. (You gotta have bikes. Burning Man is ten miles across, way too big to walk around.)

That’s not to say Burning Man doesn’t have bars, restaurants, café’s and food stands. It does. It has not only everything you’d find at any festival (music, art, food) but also the things you’d find in the coolest part of a city: venues, restaurants, art galleries, spa’s, mini golf, roller disco’s. These hundreds of venues, events, parades and happenings across the city are created by autonomous groups of participants and everything they provide is gifted. Just like web2.0 what makes Burning Man tick is generosity. And all of this takes place in one of the harshest places on earth, the Black Rock Desert in Nevada.

Truly, it is a miraculous, empowering and inspiring thing.

This year K and I and an amazing group of friends from around the world came together to create a first-time Burning Man theme camp: More Carrot. Theme camps are the official interactive zones of the city. To qualify as a theme camp you must have things at your camp for other people to participate in. If selected as an official theme camp you get placement in a prime location in the city (ours was amazing, only a block from Center Camp) and the right to arrive early to set up. You can read more about the our name and formation here.


In thinking about this year’s event, and its theme of Metropolis, we felt that an essential element to any great city was access to fresh, local, organic food. And because this is Burning Man we decided that we would create this ourselves. From Tuesday-Friday during the event we hosted the Black Rock City Farmers Market (Black Rock City is the name of the city formed by Burning Man. For the week it exists it’s the third-largest in Nevada). We distributed over $1,000 worth of fruit and vegetables, about 80% of which were sourced from local farmers in Nevada, most of it organic. In addition to the market the More Carrot camp featured a chill-out dome, dj set-up (including power), 20 ft tower, communal kitchen and extensive décor and shade. The front of our camp featured the Illuminatrix project, which invited anyone to submit animations which ran on a screen created by a 19x19 array of ping pong balls with multi-spectrum LEDs inside. Like so:


The 25 members of our camp flew in from six countries, convening in Reno where we had rented two houses in which we do the pre-construction for our camp including building the farmers market stall, the bike rack and two giant glowing carrots. There was storage and truck hire to organize. Hundreds of litres of water and hundreds of dollars of fruit and vegetables to pick up and get to the site and, in the case of the perishables, keep fresh for almost a week.


In other words: it’s a really significant undertaking. And coordinating all of this from multiple time zones required using all our skills in online collaboration and team-building. Starting in January we invited selected people into a Google Group which was used for brainstorming and getting to know each other. Teams were formed for each project, both infrastructural (transport, power, lounge, etc) and interactive (the Farmers Market, Countless Carrots March, gifts, etc). These teams developed their plans and made budget submissions to our Organizing Committee for approval. Total camp budget was $6,250 ($250 each) but many members of the camp showed generosity that went far beyond this, providing additional elements individually. The Organizing Committee used Basecamp and met fortnightly on Skype (at 2pm SF time, 5pm DC, 11pm London and 7am in Melbourne), moving to weekly for the final six weeks.

This level of organization was necessary to manifest our vision in the middle of a desert but also because 17 of the 25 members of our camp where first-time Burners. We invested so much time and effort in More Carrot because those of us who initiated the camp had a goal that was, in a way, bigger than any of our specific events: we wanted to create a camp which was a true community; where everyone was involved, respected and included; where no one was a spectator. Burning Man is a massive platform for individual experience and participation and it was really important to us that More Carrot also reflect the Burning Man principles of community, participation, self-expression and self-reliance. In a way, this was the real project, creating this community, and the specific projects simply means to this end. They were also, of course, a whole lot of fun; a chance to play and interact and contribute to the magic that is Burning Man.

And truly, magic things happen at Burning Man, things that could happen nowhere else. My favourite only-at-Burning-Man moment this year occurred on Wednesday. I noticed that two guys appears to be working on some sort of wooden sculpture in our camp’s front yard, right between our two carrots. Intrigued, I wandered up. “Hi”. They looked up: “Hi”. Went back to their work. “What are you guys up to?”. “We’re building an onion.” Said as if this were the most obvious thing in the world. And indeed, now I looked closer, it was an onion, and a bloody good one, created by folding thin slats of wood together. These guys had come to the farmers market on Tuesday and, impressed, promised to be back the next day to build us an onion. No-one took this seriously at the time but here they were, creating an amazing 7-foot tall onion sculpture for our camp. So now instead of simply two carrots we had the beginnings of a veggie garden. What an amazing gift.


If that’s not magical enough for you, on Monday afternoon, as the rush of people entering the event was beginning to slow down and our camp was almost finished there was an intense rainstorm, the like’s of which I’ve never seen at Burning Man. If this wasn’t surreal enough already when the rain finished there was an absolutely epic DOUBLE RAINBOW, truly the most vivid I have ever seen. Sobs and cries of “what does it mean?!” rang out across the city. Check this out:


And then there was my favourite artwork on the playa this year: Ein Hammer! Ein Hammer was a giant metal hammer emerging from the playa surface, capable of throwing fire out from its shaft and head. But it was more than just a great piece of fire art, it was a game! Similar to the iconic carnival strength test where you hit a target with a hammer to see how high you can make the bell go this required three players to strike sensor pads with sledgehammers, with the height of the subsequent flames the result of how in-sync you hit. If you succeed the fire makes it all the way to the top and bursts spectacularly out the head of the hammer as it spins around. And if this wasn't enough it was more than just a great fire art game, it was a fully themed performance piece with a ringleader crying out in a German accent, cheesy 80's music and screens embedded in the desert showing the workers toiling in the furnaces beneath the surface, shoveling coal into a great fire to sustain the hammer. I had a go, it was unreal. Crazy, magical, fun.


We tried to do a lot this year, perhaps too much. Bring 17 virgins to their first burn. Run a farmers market. Host two parties and a sock wresting championships at our camp. Organize three roving events including taking on the well-established Billion Bunny March with our own Countless Carrot March. Support a team spread out across the world to work together and get amazing things done.


And we did it! There were, of course, mistakes and hiccups. The early-entry crew discovered we were missing poles to erect the kitchen, and had to send people out of the festival to where they could get reception to send a message to the group still in Reno. Our power set-up can be improved and next year we’ll have a bigger kitchen. But this is all so minor compared to what we achieved. We were a part of building the most extraordinary city on earth, fueled by creativity and passion and community. And for carrots, of course. Gotta have your vitamin A, especially in a desert.

The response to the market, and to our other events was fantastic, and I’m super-excited to take who we learnt this year and apply it to next year’s camp.


Thank you to all my fellow carrots who made this experience so fulfilling and so much fun. Building our camp and our community with you was an amazing experience. I can’t wait to do it all again.

More photos: [vodpod id=Video.4979368&w=425&h=350&fv=]

My Life. By Tom Dawkins.

Recently our esteemed Regional Contact for the DC Burner Community, B, decided to organize a monthly get together called the Burner Salon. Each month a member of the community would be interviewed, talk-show style, in order to give us an insight into their life and work. There's an amazing variety of people of all walks of life in the burner community and I love the effort so many people put into showcasing the talents and stories of our community. I was honoured to be the featured guest at the third Burner Salon, after being nominated by the ever-supportive K. It was actually a lot of fun; I thought we had a great conversation, and those there seemed to enjoy it. I met some great people and got a chance to reflect on some aspects of my own journey.

The whole thing was filmed and is now online. So, to anyone who has ever wanted to hear me talk about myself for an hour, this is for you:








Burning Man Karaoke Statistics

As part of our Oasis 47 camp at Burning Man a group of our friends from San Francisco who go by the name Deadly Muppets built the Caveman Caraoke, a caveman-themed, dragon-pulled, karaoke-focused mutant vehicle. A member of the gang just compiled all the statistics and in the interests of future research into the karaoke preferences of Burning Man attendees vis-a-vis the population at large, and what this says about our culture and community (tell me there's not a PhD in that!) I am posting it here.

We had 3817 songs available, of which 214 different ones were sung. 58 were sung more than once, for a total record of 274 karaoke performances. That comes to just over 20 hours of singing, or 4 hours per night. Here's the breakdown of songs which were sung more than once:

7 Janis Joplin- Me & Bobby McGee 6 Grease- Greased Lightning 5 Aerosmith- Walk This Way 5 Journey- Don't Stop Believing 4 Scissor Sisters- Flithy Gorgeous 4 Eddie Money- Take Me Home Tonght 4 Peter Gabriel- Sledgehammer 4 Davd Bowie- Space Oddity 4 Neil Diamond- America 4 4 Non Blondes- What's Up 3 Guns 'n' Roses- Welcome To The Jungle 3 Abba- Dancing Queen 3 Madonna- Die Another Day 3 Crash Test Dummies- Mmmm 3 The Doors- Touch Me 3 Red Hot Chilli Peppers- Scar Tissue 3 Abba- Gimme Gimme Gimme 3 Aha- Take On Me 3 Madonna- Like A Virgin 3 Joan Jett- I Love Rock N Roll 2 Buddy Holly- Oh Boy 2 The Stray Cats- Rock This Town 2 David Bowie- Life On Mars 2 Carly Simon- You're So Vain 2 Jet- Are You Gonna Be My Girl 2 Four Seasons- Big Girls Don't Cry 2 Frank Sinatra- My Way 2 Neil Diamond- Sweet Caroline 2 Elton John- Sad Songs Say So Much 2 Duran Duran- Hungry Like The Wolf 2 Cardigans- Lovefool 2 New Order- Blue Monday 2 The Kinks- Sunday Afternoon 2 U2- One 2 Talking Heads- Road To Nowhere 2 Tears For Fears- Everybody Wants To Rule The World 2 The Lovin' Spoonful- Daydream (What A Day For A) 2 The Doors- Light My Fire 2 Smashing Pumpkins- Perfect 2 Roy Orbison- Crying 2 The Darkness- I Beleve In A Thing Called Love 2 Marvin Gaye- Sexual Healing 2 Wham- Careless Whisper 2 Dusty Springfield- Son Of A Preacher 2 Carly Simon- You're So Vain 2 Pat Benatar- Hit With Your Best Shot 2 Depeche Mode- Just Can't Get Enough 2 Guns 'n' Roses- Paradise City 2 Gorillaz- Feel Good Inc. 2 Billy Joel- Big Shot 2 Barry Manilow- Copacabana 2 Jimi Hendrix- Purple Haze 2 Wham- Last Christmas 2 Queen- Killer Queen 2 Def Leppard- Pour Some Sugar On Me 2 Pixies- Monkey Gone To Heaven 2 Donovan- Sunshine Superman 2 Duran Duran- Reflex

More Carrot at Burning Man: The Movie

Kate and I finally finished editing together the footage we shot at Burning Man. We had intended to get much more but the persistent dustiness of this year's event made this impossible, and given how long it's taken us to edit perhaps it's just as well. It's the first film we've ever made and we wanted to do it as a gift to our Burning Man crew, More Carrot, but we hope others will enjoy it also. [vimeo http://vimeo.com/7465679]

Burning Mushroom Part II

I've been meaning to write up my Burning Man experiences but it's harder to do than it sounds. Meanwhile, let me just update you on my excitement to see Infected Mushroom at Burning Man. And boy was my excitement fulfilled; it was one of the most adrenalating, annihilating, wildly surreal dance music experiences of my life. Infected Mushroom were set left on a stage with a projector screen behind them, two lasers arching overhead and a flamethrower directly in front of us throwing jets of fire thirty feet up as ten thousand people stomped and shook and screamed their passion into the night air. It was dance music at its best, as a return to a more tribal state, a giving of yourself to the ancient human pleasure of pounding the earth with our feet, finding unity in repetitive music and motions. It was madness, glorious madness.

Here's the video I took. The sound quality is awful but hopefully you get a sense of the setting. Check out the fire at 2:36.


Here's another good vid of them playing Cities of the Future, one of my favourite Infected Mushroom tracks and very apt for the setting: