03/31/14

Black Rock Observatory: Yes, We Have a Model!

by Pat Rapp

 

The Desert Wizards of Mars are making great progress on Black Rock Observatory, the newest project for the crew that is known for its ability to create art that gets people excited about science. If you haven’t been over to blackrockobservatory.com yet, or are not yet following the project on facebook, prepare to be amazed. Black Rock Observatory (BRO) will be coming to Burning Man 2014, bringing the gift of the universe to the citizens of Black Rock City. The plan includes an architectural design by Gregg Fleishman, architect of the Temple of Whollyness, which appeared at Burning Man 2013. On Saturday, March 29, a group of seven Wizards got together to build a 1/6 scale model of the Black Rock Observatory. The model included about 300 pieces of 3-ply and 5-ply ultra thin birch. The router cut pieces each replicate what will be the full size components of the dome.

Architect Gregg Fleishman and Lead Artist Tom Varden lay out the pieces of the BRO model. Photo by Michael Tupá Engel.

Architect Gregg Fleishman and Lead Artist Tom Varden lay out the pieces of the BRO model. Photo by Michael Tupá Engel.

 

The BRO will be assembled on the playa using rubber mallets to fit the pieces together like a giant puzzle; no other tools will be required. Once assembled, the BRO will be a fully functioning observatory that will enable the residents of Black Rock City to see stars, planets, and deep sky objects.

Desert Wizards assembling the model observatory. Photo by Charles White.

 

Follow us over the next few months and watch this come together. Black Rock Observatory is going to be a beautiful site on the playa.

03/27/14

Bequinox 2014

by Anthony Lanni

 

This last weekend was the second annual Bequinox, the Los Angeles Regional Burn event. A little background:

Bequinox was conceived after the Fire Marshall at L.A. Decompression told the L.A. League of Arts that there couldn’t be a burn at Decom, due to fire hazard. With the Seraphim structure built, and the plan for the reveal of the Human Spirit in place, the leaders of LALA decided that Los Angeles deserved–nay, needed a burn. A campground was found in Joshua Tree that would allow us to burn a structure, and Bequinox was born.

This year was, if anything, better than the inaugural Bequinox. Starting Thursday night, Los Angeles Burners began to arrive and set up, and by the time I arrived Friday afternoon our little version of Black Rock City was all in place. Conversation Camp and the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, the Effigy we were to burn and the Mars Rover Art Car, all were up and ready to go. For the rest of that night until early Sunday morning, I wandered through the camp, drinking, dancing, mooping, everything a Burner does.

Home again, exhausted, I took a couple of days to reflect on the experience. Among the camps, the art displayed, the food and drinks shared, the costumes (and lack thereof), the music and dancing and singing and everything else, one thing came through to me:

These are not the things that make the Burning Man community great.

The thing that makes the community great is the community itself. Among all the activities of the weekend, among all the laughter and partying and drinking and wildness, the best time I had came Saturday afternoon, sitting in a lawn chair under the tarp my brothers and I set up for shelter.

You know that feeling; it’s midafternoon, you spent all night partying and when you got up you spent a few hours wandering around the city. Now, you’re back at camp, maybe napping or reading a book or sewing EL wire on tonight’s costume, recharging for the evening to come.

I was reading. My brothers were sleeping. Somewhere in a nearby camp a couple was making love.

And, slowly, one by one, people began to join me. First a brother; then the girl camping next door. Another girl, from the camp on the other side, and then one of her friends. My other brother. One by one, our little shelter became full of people, chatting and laughing.

And I realized, right then, that this was what Burning Man is all about. It’s about people connecting, making friends, the human connection. All the sharing, the radical inclusion, the projects, the Temple and the Burn; they all bring us together, show us that each and every one of us is connected to the other, all friends whether we’ve met yet or not.

And I love you all.