May 24, 2018

Black Rock City Census 2017

Results from the 2017 Black Rock City census are available now, and I think the summary needs to be summarized. So here goes.

9,168 self-selecting people completed one (or more) census forms. That's 13% of the population. The BRC census people say they have good statistical ways to adjust the resulting numbers to make them reflect reality. I have my doubts, but they're the ones with college degrees in the subject, so let's go with that.

Total BRC "population" 69,493. I that means the number of people who came through the gate with a ticket. It does not necessarily mean that we actually had 69,493 people on the playa at any one time since people are free to come and go. It also doesn't count those who get in without tickets, like law enforcement and other third-party hires (water trucks, ice delivery, RV delivery, porta-potty people, etc.) I think last year they said the real number of people would be around 80,000.

Virgins were 36.2% in 2017, which is in line with previous years. I'm in the 11+ category now, which made up 4.8% of the population.
1. BRC virgins

The peak age range is 30-34, which made up 26.2% of the population in 2017. I'm in the 60-69 category which was 4.4%.
2. Age ranges

Highest education: that's bachelor's degree at 43.3%. The 0.6% who claim no education are, I hope, mostly kids under the age of 5.
3. Education

The peak in personal income is $50,000 - $99,999. Those with personal incomes of $300,000 and higher (all the way up to those pesky billionaires) are only 3.6% whose well known powers of destruction should be easily counterbalanced by the 42.4% of us who suffer with incomes under $50,000.
4. Personal income

But when you count household income, the category for billionaires and their ilk increases to 9.4%. Those under $50,000 drop to 25.8%. So the problem is that the poor people are also single...or at least single income sources for their household.
5. Household income

Male vs. female stays really steady through the years at roughly 58/40 with the difference made up by those who answered "fluid/neither/both."

"Ethnoracial characteristics" confirms what we all have seen: there are extremely few black people at Burning Man. Only 1% according to the survey. Compare that to Native Americans who report in at a rate of 0.5%. 77.1% white. But there is the category of "Other or Multiple" which was 9.3% in 2017. That could (being optimistic here) include a lot of people that might appear to be black to you or me.
6. Ethnoracial

Residence still shows the vast majority are from the USA (76.2%) but that's edging downward from a high of 84.3% in 2014. Canada stays in second place at 7.3%. Latin Americans (any place south of the Rio Grande) made up 3.3% and 4.4% in 2013 & '14, respectively. But those percentages dropped to 1.0%, 0.8% and 1.2% in 2015, '16 and '17, respectively. I'll bet we will see a further drop in 2018 numbers. I suppose Israel gets counted as part of Asia.
7. Residence

U.S. state of residence, Californians makes up 47.1% of the residents of Black Rock City [there should be a designated site where we could all meet and talk about which way we drove there and how it was]; down a bit from 52.3% in 2014. Nevada comes in fourth place at 5.6%. New York became the second most popular state of residence, surpassing Washington in 2015 (NY 7.2%; WA 6.3%) and was in second place in 2017 as well (8.2%). Massachusetts consistently lingers at the bottom of the top 12 states with only 1.5% in 2017. Occasionally, it is more popular than Florida (also 1.5% in 2017).
8. US State

77.5% report English as their native language. Spanish is only 3.8% (the percentage who consider themselves "Hispanic/Latino" was 4.9% in 2017). Hebrew reports in at 0.8%—that's where we'll find those Israelis, plus a scattering from NYC too, I'm sure.
9. Native language

These are the numbers for "relationship status." The question was "In the default world, do you share your life with a partner." Answers were No 35.9%; Yes - not married 31.3%; Yes - married 25.3%; and "It's complicated" 7.5%. No question asked about monogamy...not even about monogamy on the playa. How is one to know?
10. Relationship status

Spirituality: "Spiritual, not religious" (yeah, yeah) 46.4%; atheist 24.3%; agnostic 15.2%; I don't know 7.6% [man, this is more of a godless horde than I had imagined!]; religious 5.5%; deist 0.9%. I repeat, Religious 5.5%. There you have it. That's every single religion and denomination you ever heard of, whether they have a nice building on Main Street or if they have secret live human sacrifices. 5.5%. And yet the Temple is the second most popular gathering spot on the playa (last year's Tree of Ténéré being a rare exception).
11. Spirituality

But when you actually ask about religious denominations, you get something a little different. 71.8% no religion; 7% Roman Catholic; 6% Jewish; 4.1% other Christian; 3% Other other; 2.6% generic Protestant; 1.9% Buddhist [only 1.9%?! I'd have guessed there are at least 40% playing at being Buddhist judging from superficialities]; 1.4% pagan (they didn't ask them to specify time of day); 1.2% Pastafarian - you include it as a choice, this is what you get; 0.6% Muslim (if that's true, then I've met all 0.6% of them - I think a lot just prefer not to openly identify); Hindu 0.4% [again, like Buddhists, not counting those who just play at it].
13. Religious denomination

U.S. voting: I'm not entirely sure what to make of this, since I think they included all respondents in this count; That is, it wasn't limited to those claiming US residence or citizenship (they don't ask about citizenship, anyway). So 62.8% (of who?) say they voted in a US election in the last four years. 7.8% said they did not vote - are we to assume this means fully eligible but didn't vote? 29.5% said they were not eligible. Is that not eligible because they aren't American citizens, or not eligible due to age/felony status/not registered? 62.8% voting is way out of line with average U.S. voting, so it would be nice to know if it's because Burners highly value the democratic process or because of the way this census worked.

U.S. political parties. 5.4% Republican vs 51.7% Democratic; not like that wouldn't be obvious to a blind man. I would have expected a bit higher percentage for the Greens (1.8%) but OTOH, Burning Man isn't an environmentalist's dream and being a successful Burner means meeting the challenges of reality head on. Not saying that the Greens don't -- well, on second thought, I guess I am saying that.
14. US political party

If you continue down the report you can find other interesting statistics, like these:

  • Page 27, the use of generators has almost caught up with the declining use of batteries (about 50%), while solar holds steady at about 40%. There are actually 0.8% who claim to use NO power source - so, not even a flashlight (or maybe they use only hand-cranked flashlights). Hard to believe.
  • Page 28, just a bit under 30% say they lived in an RV/camper-trailer on the playa.
  • Page 29, the population residing in placed ("theme") camps has risen from 54.3% in 2013 to 67.4% in 2017. 2012 was the year of the ticket lottery debacle, when the organization learned that, no, not everybody is equal; that those who build theme camps are the people who make Black Rock City. Beginning in 2013 the ticket system was rejiggered to give a preference to theme camps...and others who contribute solidly to BRC.
  • Page 31, reasons for attending Burning Man. This was multiple choice and "to consume intoxicants" came in at 4.8% in 2017. Nowhere to be found is "to abandon myself to orgiastic sex" or anything even close to that. But 43.1% said "to play and experience freedom" which could cover a lot of territory.
  • Page 32, important question introduced in 2015: "Did you feel safe in Black Rocky City this year?" 96.5% said very or mostly safe. 0.7% said mostly or very unsafe. It might have been informative to break that question down by male/female, but they didn't.
  • Page 33, the second question boils down to "Did you make any new friends at summer camp, honey?" And the campers answer yes at a rate of 78.2%. "Good for you, honey!"
  • Page 34, "After going to BRC, were you inspired to learn or practice any of the following skills?" The one answer to this that I really like shows how many are impressed by the DPW: 15.6% said yes to "construction/heavy machinery." If you liked to read about Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel when you were a little kid, you might love Burning Man.
  • Page 40, which of the Ten Principles is the most difficult to practice back in the real world? 40.5% said "decommodification."
    Decommodification
    In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.
  • Page 43, total spending in Nevada (not counting ticket price) averages $667/Burner or a total of $46,351,831. Yeah, so thanks Nevada, for adding a tax just for Burning Man on top of that because obviously we were such a drag on your economy spending all that money and then going out to an empty place in the desert and building everything at our own expense and then taking it all away at our own expense. Yeah, we musta nearly busted Las Vegas, we were such a leech on the state budget. The smell of money could turn any state into California.
  • Page 44, total spending on Burning Man, excluding ticket (and vehicle pass, I assume). This is for those who think Burning Man is "too expensive." 2.2% said they did it for under $250. 7.8% kept it under $500. 24.3% kept it under $1,000! I'm sure I've never exceeded a thousand in any one year, and several of my years were under $500, and I'm not miserable doing it. OTOH, there were those 7.8% who just couldn't keep it under $5000, but maybe a lot of that was for gifts.
  • Page 45 ticket prices. This does not tell you much, because they ask only about "face value" not dollar amount. The face value is whatever is printed on the ticket and that can be $425 (regular price) or "half price" which is $190, or one of the high priced tickets for those who want to donate more: $990 and $1,200. So 86.6% paid face value. This tells you nothing about how much they paid. It's more of a question of who got ripped off (paid more than face value, 1.9%) or got a great deal (by paying less, 0.9%).

permalink | May 24, 2018 at 05:52 PM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2018

No Spectators - The Art of Burning Man

No Spectators - Renwick Gallery (1892)

No Spectators - Renwick Gallery (3040)

No Spectators - Renwick Gallery (4544)

Penny Bear (4604)

Greg & Shep view the Penny Bear (4613)
That's Greg & Shep looking at the penny bear.

Maya Angelou bust (4589)
Maya Angelou
.

No Spectators - Renwick Gallery (1889)

The Temple at No Spectators (4586)

XO (4629)
People played around on this in pretty much the same way Burners did
.

"Truth Is Beauty" replica (7686)
"Truth is Beauty" one-third scale replica.

"Truth Is Beauty" replica shadows (4536)

No Spectators - Renwick Gallery (4580)
These people are looking up at a small version of the artwork seen at the beginning of the following video:

This complete set of photos can be seen here.

permalink | May 12, 2018 at 11:30 PM | Comments (0)

April 5, 2018

Arriving At Burning Man, last year

Self Upon Arrival in Black Rock City, 2017.
My shirt is clean; my tent behind me is not yet covered by my shade structure, so it's midday of my first day on the playa last year, 2017. Photo by George Post who is always there when I arrive and always still there when I leave and I'm beginning to suspect he might live out there all the time.

The umbrella hat, to my surprise, proved very practical. Kept my head well shaded, well ventilated, and the headband did not irritate me. That was what I expected to be my main objection, but, no, it's fairly comfortable. Not practical in wind, however.

If somebody wants to give me a word balloon, send it complete (not just an idea or suggestion) to me at RonsLog@RBGilbert.com

permalink | April 5, 2018 at 09:18 PM | Comments (0)

Gigapan Aerial Image of Black Rock City 2017

The Gigapan image is here. Below is the view of our Burner Buddies camp.

BurnerBuddies

permalink | April 5, 2018 at 11:39 AM | Comments (0)

February 2, 2018

Burning Man Dates For 2018

In a handy graphic!
Burning Man Dates For 2018

permalink | February 2, 2018 at 11:38 AM | Comments (0)

January 18, 2018

Le Sacre du printemps Under The Tree of Ténéré At Burning Man 2017

This is really good!

permalink | January 18, 2018 at 11:27 PM | Comments (0)

January 11, 2018

Seen at CES

I'm just back from two days at CES in Las Vegas and here's a video of one little thing I saw. This costume would, I believe, be acceptable at Burning Man, but wouldn't draw a crowd.

BTW, this company (Hisense) was displaying a 150-inch dual laser TV (in a darkened room) that was just stunning. Supposed to be easier on the eye because the laser light is reflected to your eyes rather than beamed directly as an LED screen (for example) would. Won't be on the market until later this year. They wouldn't estimate a price other than to say it will be more expensive than their 100-inch single laser display. That one goes for $30,000.

permalink | January 11, 2018 at 11:04 PM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2017

Sonic Runway in San Jose

The Sonic Runway was an installation at Burning Man in 2016.

permalink | November 15, 2017 at 03:19 PM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2017

A Few Of My Burning Man 2017 Photos

Burning Man 2017 (7182)
Dusk on Sunday, just before the Temple burn.

Action Figure Family - Atlas (7209)
Atlas, of the Action Figure Family, had this little surprise for those Burners who were sufficiently curious to open the door on his crotch.

Action Figure Family - Atlas' Chest (7201)
Inside the chest of Atlas.
Quite remarkably, there was no vandalism of the Action Figure Family, as far as I could see. Someone did steal the mini-Etch-a-Sketch, but it wasn't attached to anything and I kind of expected it to disappear.

Action Figure Family - Jacky (7206)
Jacky at the end of the week.

Action Figure Family - Jallen Arrives (7213)
Jallen arriving at the scene of the art.

Action Figure Family location tag (0381)
Our address tag, sort of.

Action Figure Family location on the Artery map (7215)
On the big master map at the Artery.

My Tricycle (1733)
My tricycle on the evening of the Temple burn.

Tree of Ténéré during disassembly (7181)
Beginning to disassemble the Tree of Ténéré.
This was one of the two brightest pieces of stationary art on the playa. (The Flower Tower was the other one.)

Placed Camps Along Four-Thirty
Map of the placed theme camps along the 4:30 axis.
Burner Buddies are in pink.

Lasers at Burning Man (2578)

Cool Bike (7150)
You can tell this is the boy's bike because the tires are pink.

permalink | September 21, 2017 at 05:27 PM | Comments (0)

September 7, 2017

The Action Figure Family on the playa

Action Figure Family by Pat
This photo by Pat M. shows how the Action Figure Family looked after a few days on the playa of the Black Rock Desert
.

Action Figure Family in Rolling Stone
Andrew Jorgensen's photo of the Action Figure Family at twilight
. Here's a link to the Rolling Stone article with more pictures of other art projects at Burning Man.

AFFcrew
The Action Figure Family crew (Palm Springs Branch)
. L to R, top row: John, Jallen; bottom row: myself, Dennis. The fifth member, Stitch, is the San Francisco branch and primarily helped with dealing with Indiegogo and other financing attempts.

permalink | September 7, 2017 at 08:04 PM | Comments (0)

July 10, 2017

Action Figure Family Donation Request

These are photos of the creation of the Action Family Figures, which is taking place right in lovely Palm Springs. I think that you'll agree that, like every great art project at Burning Man, this one will bring about world peace and a transcendent consciousness linking all souls. If not that, it will at least generate surprise. The playa has never seen anything quite like this. It's going to be four mannequins covered with the action figures, Lego people, Muppets and even Happy Meal toys that young Jallen has been acquiring throughout his 50-odd years, 20 of which he has spent as a Burner. Do you see the Viewmaster serving as the eyes for the little boy? Look into the little boy's eyes and you'll see some of Jallen's photos from the last 20 years of Burning Man. Of course, you'll have to come to Burning Man or one of our work parties to do that.

Besides its stunning artistic qualities, this project is what's getting me to Burning Man this year. Now I'm working for the price of my admission. Working on this project will get me a ticket, a vehicle pass and an early arrival pass! If they would throw in a free shower on the playa, it would be an even better deal, but that's not to be this year.

Who are the patrons supporting this Sistine-Chapel-of-the-desert? Uh, well, me...and others, and you should too. I've actually contributed more than the value of the ticket & VP, so now it's your time to join the fun.

Go here to make a donation, and don't shy away from a 4-digit donation. Check out the rewards you get for one of those!

You get real value for those, not just a t-shirt or other souvenir. And Jallen's going to tell me who made contributions.

Action Figure Family (9347)

Action Figure Family (8033)

Action Figure Family (6762)

Action Figure Family (5988)

Action Figure Family (1831)

The complete set of photos is here.

permalink | July 10, 2017 at 06:01 PM | Comments (0)

June 8, 2017

Queer Burner Retreat

Over Memorial Day weekend I returned to Saratoga Springs, this time for what used to be called the "Queer Burner Retreat," but has been renamed to the meaningless "All Of Us." As a result we got one paying guest who feeling the need for a meditative weekend Googled and found Saratoga Springs, which led her to "All Of Us." She read no further, knowing that she must be one of us. She submitted her credit card and showed up to be rather surprised to find a Burner party underway. She stayed one night and then escaped.

Dan Reeves
Dan Reeves, the artist behind The Journey Project
.

The Journey 43
About one-quarter of the Journey Project
.

The Journey 19

The Journey 20

Home at Saratoga Springs
My little camp
.

Tent View
The view from my tent door
.

Comfort & Joy cabin
The well-known colors of Comfort & Joy, the biggest gay camp at Burning Man
.

Hottub
The jacuzzi, all fresh and clean when I arrived
.

Hottub after a couple of days
After a couple of days of hard use
.

Main Lodge Front Porch - Saratoga Springs
On the front porch of the main lodge
.

Rand Larson & Me
Rand Larson on the left
.

Saratoga Springs 23
A new fire escape and an entirely new deck!

Unicorn Poopie

The complete set of photos can be seen here.

permalink | June 8, 2017 at 07:53 PM | Comments (0)

June 2, 2017

The Journey Project at Saratoga Springs



About a quarter of The Journey Project was constructed at Saratoga Springs over Memorial Day weekend for the Queer Burners Retreat. Their fundraising page.

permalink | June 2, 2017 at 08:51 AM | Comments (0)

May 1, 2017

The Journey at Saguaro Man

Saguaro Man is the annual Arizona regional burn (for Burning Man), and it took place this past weekend. Here's a video that shows you Saguaro Man and highlights The Journey Project which built one-quarter of the project that they are going to put on the playa in August.

More info on The Journey Project which is mostly San Diego based.

permalink | May 1, 2017 at 09:24 AM | Comments (0)

April 26, 2017

Burning Man Wrap-Up Video - 2016

I have had bits and pieces of video from last year's Burning Man just kicking around so I made this video with them. Some of the bits you've seen before, probably, but not all. The music is "Riw Akoii" by MigloJE.

permalink | April 26, 2017 at 06:16 PM | Comments (0)

April 22, 2017

Action Figure Family Fundraising Party

Action Figure Family Fundraising Party
This is a fundraiser for the first art project that I've ever worked on for Burning Man
.

Here's the Indiegogo page for donations.

Here's Jallen:

permalink | April 22, 2017 at 11:21 PM | Comments (0)

April 4, 2017

Burning Man Census 2016

The Black Rock City census for 2016 has been released. I suspect the results are not accurate because completion of a census form is entirely voluntary and, I imagine, birgins are more likely to fill one out than veterans. But the BRC census people insist they know their statistics and can correct for the sampling bias. Maybe they are right. Anyway, I want to point out just a few of the interesting bits in the census that I noticed.

  • 39.3% of the Burners in 2016 were birgins, which is consistent with prior years. 4.2% had been to Burning Man 8 to 10 times...that includes me.
  • Only 1.3% of Burners were under age 20.
  • 72.5% of Burners had attended college.
  • 3.4% had an income above $300,000.
  • The median household income (back in the default world) was $94,200.
  • 56.8% male, 41.4% female, 1.8% fluid/both/neither.
  • 8.8% said they were sexually attracted to either mostly or exclusively the same sex. 7.8% identify as gay or lesbian. (I thought it would be higher).
  • 35.9% were not in a committed personal relationship (i.e., married or something like that).
  • 1.1% of Burners identified themselves as black. 4.3% as Hispanic/Latino. (I thought it would be higher).
  • 6.7% reside in Canada; 5.5% in Europe.
  • In the U.S. 48.5% of Burners resided in California. New York was the second most popular state of residence at 8.1%. Nevada was 5.7%, in 4th place behind Washington.
  • Only 2.8% named Spanish as their primary language, while 3.7% claimed French! 2.2% Russian.
  • 46.5% "spiritual, not religious." 24.8% atheist (hoo boy!). 14.7% agnostic. 6.1% "religious." (I had no idea!)
  • Breaking it down by religious denomination shows Burners were 7% Catholic, 2.6% Protestant, 6.4% Jewish, 4.6% other Christian, Buddhist 1.9%.
  • 89.6% arrived at the gate by motor vehicle. 1.1% flew into the landing strip.
  • 18.8% came in an RV (I thought it would be higher). 47.3% arrived by car, pickup truck or SUV. 0.8% came in a semi with trailer.
  • Most popular reason to come to Burning Man? Survey says "To see/experience the art" at 62.5%! 3.7% said it was to consume intoxicants. "Bucket list" was 10.2%. "To grow or connect spiritually" was 21.6%
  • 91.8% said they enjoyed Burning Man either "extremely" or "a lot." 0.1% said "not at all."
  • 94.4% absolutely or probably intend to come back. 0.4% said they would absolutely not be back.
  • 81.6% sort their trash at Burning Man.
  • Power sources include batteries (54.1%), a camp generator (46%), solar (40.1%). 4.3% get it from the Black Rock City grid. Burning Man, using diesel generators, supplies electricity via buried cables to a few select camps and installations...how did you think they got the lights on the Man to work?
  • 64.3% were in a placed (i.e. theme) camp.
  • 52.6% of those not in placed camps said they chose their location based just on where they could find space.
  • 34.7% were in camps with a population of 50 to 199.
  • 32.6% came with at least one family member.
  • 28.4% stayed in an RV or camper-trailer. I guess it just seems like there are more RVs than that because each one takes up so much more space than a tent.
  • 66.7% spent $1000 to $5000 on Burning Man, exclusive of ticket price.
  • On average, each Burner spent $635 in Nevada, mostly on food and lodging. 0.9% spent more than $5000 in Nevada.
  • 39.4% got a ticket in an open sale from Burning Man. 3.1% got their ticket from a stranger.
  • 2.5% paid more than face value for a ticket. 1.7% paid less than face value and 7.8% received theirs as a gift.

permalink | April 4, 2017 at 06:58 PM | Comments (0)

February 2, 2017

Investigation of Dan Love

Dan Love, you may have forgotten, was the BLM agent who was "Utah's former Special Agent in Charge...who oversaw law enforcement at Burning Man for several years." He was the man behind the request for a million dollars worth of luxury for the BLM agents at Burning Man in 2015. Well, he had that position until he was removed from that position for that request...among other things. He was the Choco-taco man.

And those other things are coming out now, according to this article in the Reno Gazette-Journal. The official report can be found here. The BLM investigation revealed many of Love's abuses of the system, including buying three regular priced tickets after the point where all of those were supposed to have been sold out. He also brought family into the event and had on-duty BLM agents transport them around the playa in official vehicles. Love also created and placed a memorial at the Temple while on duty.

Love had been the BLM agent in charge at the 2014 Bundy standoff. After that he was transferred to a position in Utah where he seems to have managed to piss off just about everybody in Utah. And then he came to Burning Man and embarrassed the BLM there, after which he was transferred away, in time to get him out of there before the 2015 Burn.

permalink | February 2, 2017 at 12:44 PM | Comments (0)

October 6, 2016

The Temple Burn

My video of my ride from the Burner Buddies camp out to and around the Temple on the night of its burn. This was shot entirely from a camera mounted on my tricycle's handlebars.

permalink | October 6, 2016 at 07:43 PM | Comments (0)

September 29, 2016

"BURNING MAN: LIKE A VACATION, BUT TERRIBLE"

A year old, but very good.

permalink | September 29, 2016 at 02:02 AM | Comments (0)