Tuesday, September 02, 2008

the 'Shrine' at Burning Man

(as always, click to enlarge)
We made it (barely) to Burning Man and (barely) lived to tell the tale!
Michael and I left Graton at around nine on Tuesday night and arrived at Black Rock City at about 5:00 a.m. on Wednesday and after a two hour nap at our camp (the beautiful and peaceful "Harmony in the Dessert" camp) we worked until sundown, just the two of us (with the exception of a nice young woman named Pet, who did her best to help and encourage us) and at that point, no generator yet. Not our most fun day.Me and Pet, doing her best to cheer us on.

The next day was an entirely different animal, as my friends Terry (Retro), and Natalie and her daughter Maddy came by and suggested I go over to "Volunteer Camp" (or as they called it-The "V" Spot). Well, almost immediately we had help. We had so much help that at one point we had to turn people away!Look! Lots of helpers!

And those that we didn't turn away quickly became some of our favorite Black Rock City encounters. Thanks Kelsey, and Ron, and red cowboy hat-we forgot your name!, but our most heartfelt thanks go to Ben (Beaner) and Will (below)--true playa heros! They were with us almost the entire day, helping us build, even bringing us cold beer (oh my God, the best beer of my adult life!)--we truly can't thank them, and everyone who helped us that day, enough.
We also finally got our generator (courtesy of Easel Park, and thanks to Phyxx) and so by late Thursday, our Shrine was almost assembled. MC went off for some well deserved rest (he worked so hard and with so few breaks that his muscles started seizing up and cramping, plus at one point he basically drilled a screw thru half of one of his fingers!-Arghh, the playa surely can test a man!) and I lingered for a bit, mostly anonymously to watch people check out our piece.
And then just as I finally packed it in at around 2:00 a.m.-Lisa and Else and Pati arrived! So of course we all had to go back out to the playa for a look-see. I got back at 5:00, everyone else as the sun rose.
Finally, after some good rest, and a slow morning/afternoon--and now with Lisa's and Else's help too, we got the last details done. Here Lisa helps me with the curtains.Else walks towards the back after helping with the wiring and lights. I'm in the back hoping Lois and Mark's "Wiring For Dummies" instructions passes the true dummy-test.Pati brings us a much needed snack! Yum! And when we finally hooked up Mark's special lighting effects to our wheel of fortune and gave her a spin-we all let out a triumphant roar as we saw that indeed-it all worked!
And from that moment until late Monday afternoon, when MC, Else, and I broke it all down, there wasn't a minute that our shrine wasn't being explored and appreciated by someone, and often, by dozens at a time.

(this last photo above was taken by Kraig Meyer, pulled from Flickr)

So to all Art Farmers--a huge thanks for being part of this amazing experience! To all the drawers, thank you!-especially Joe Leonard, Jason D'Aquino, Thomas Yeats, Lori Almeida, Neng Yang, David Aguayo (a big thanks to you!), MJ Lindo, Claire Cotts, Gary Amaro, Lisa B, Else Olava, & Erik Friedman, along with Jaclyn Finkle, Olivia Yeats, Joe Balestreri, Drew and Ruthie Merritt, Michael and Truman Coy, Sandra Maresca, Richard Hensley, Chris and Zeke Hataway, Leslie Zumwalt, Barry Stone, Kim Webster, Amy Stabler, John James, Joel Beck, Bob Stang, Rebecca Scalf, Meika Stang, Anna Kallas, John, Ted, and Carl Ballantine, Pati Wilson, Barbara Jeppesson, and I bet I'm forgetting a few...hopefully not for long.
To Stacey Moltchanoff and Sarah Campbell and Steve Tierra and Drew again--thanks for excellent scissor work!
To the wheel team-Phyxx, you out-did yourself...such a beautiful mechanism! Else-great work again. And Lisa, well, this is the best one yet. Also thanks to all who contributed fortunes to our wheel.
To the painting crew-Else, Lisa B, MC, and Drew (again!), and Nadise Whiteside.
To the fabric team-Laurie Smyth and Ruthie Merritt and Lisa B, -you all rock! Thanks Ruthie for all the encouragement and enthusiasm!
Thanks to Wendy Addison for the books and inspiration.
To Mark and Lois-when we asked for something extra with lighting, I knew we asked the right people. Dr. Danger- you were so much there when we let out our triumphant cheer when we realized our ( your) lighting worked! Yay!
And I gotta say biggest thanks to the Shrine builders--especially to Michael Coy for not only building the Shrine (twice now), but co-designing the mother as well. It was bigger than we both originally thought, but man did it look great! And l owe you a case of Pepsi for the back painting.
And Tim McG.- we truly couldn't have done it without you. In a piece all about luck-you were the good luck we were always hoping for. Same goes to our younger crew--especially Drew and Truman, but you too Jackson and Pearce. Thanks for rockin' it back there. And Else-thanks again for all your work and energy. You were so huge to our project. Are you recovered yet?
Last and not least, our neighbor Catherine, who donated her back yard for almost two months of insanity. I actually thought we could do this in our driveway???
Thank you everyone!!!
MC, Tony, Lisa, Else, Pati


Blogger Ben Gertzfield said...


Beaner here! I can't tell you how immensely significant it felt for me to join your adventure last week at Burning Man. Thank you so much for letting us help out!

William and I made a bunch of trips back to the Shrine over the weekend. It was seriously rewarding to see the looks of awe on everyone's faces as they spun the Wheel of Fortuna, and hearing their laughter when they read their fortunes.

You guys really did something incredible out there. Thank you!

1:58 PM  
Blogger C. L. DeMedeiros said...



7:57 PM  
Blogger TheSingingBird said...

Oh just incredible!!! CONGRATS! on your work and to the whole team that helped make this happen!!! :)
~Becky McG.

11:38 AM  
Blogger Michael Coy said...

To Beaner and William,

You are both incredible! The piece would not have happened without your hard work, inspiration, humor and care. You guys are what this piece and Burning Man are all about. Beaner, if not for you, I might be a twisted lump on the playa right now if not for the fluids and the fruit and the patience you supplied.

So, thanks to you both for dragging us the last mile. It was cool to see so many people get into the shrine and it couldn't have been done without you two and the other volunteers who contributed so much. That was the most inspirational part of the whole week for me and I'll carry it with me.


2:12 PM  
Blogger tony S said...

vesta copestakes said...
My sweetheart Alan saw parts of your shrine while visiting during China's B-Day party. I was working on the Gazette - of course - and missed the whole thing. Pity, I may never see your group creation. I heard through Alan that the shrine will not make an appearance in Graton for Graton Day after all. And from the story he told, I can understand why.

I am immensely impressed with artists - once many years ago, I considered myself one. But even in graphic design, there is mania for the creative process and meeting the deadline. Your story is impressive - thank you for sharing it. There is more than likely a compromise between your immense creativity and talent and the realities of life.

I suspect all that will clear up over time. You are young. I know from time passed - that so many things become calmer and more clear with time.

Thank you for being one of those astonishing individuals - and groups of individuals - who cling to the end of the bell curve by the tips of your fingers.- Vesta

10:26 PM

2:12 PM  
Blogger tony S said...

thanks so much for the nice words! And (with luck) you CAN see our Shrine-at the Hand-Car Regatta later this month (see above post).

And Beaner and Will-
can't add much to what MC already said, except to say THANK YOU again. We met so many great people at B.M. (what a surprise!) but with you two especially our luck really changed. Thanks for being part of our insanity, and lots of love to you both.


2:46 PM  
Blogger Ben Gertzfield said...

Hey Tony! I finally got around to uploading my Burning Man photos to Flickr.

Got a great photo of us putting up the Shrine.

Oh, and another of the lady at night.

Enjoy! Let me know what you think!

5:05 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Go to older posts