Raygun Gothic Rocketship. Opening Reception: August 6, 2010. Pier 14, San Francisco. FREE.

8 08 2010

Raygun Gothic Rocketship. 1

raygun gothic rocketship 3

I love summers in San Francisco.

Sometimes it feels like everyday is a superhero street fair day.

Raygun Gothic Rocketship. 2

Even Gavin Newsom showed up. That’s him holding court to the left of the rocketship.

That’s yet another reason to love San Francisco; it’s not uncommon to show up to a fringe Burning Man type art opening only to find yourself bumping into the mayor.


Ecstasy by Dan Das Mann and Karen Cusolito. Opening Reception: March 19, 2010. Hayes Valley, San Francisco. FREE.

First Annual Burning Man Pre-Compression. San Francisco. June 19, 2010.

21 06 2010

First Annual Burning Man Pre-Compression. San Francisco. June 19, 2010. 1

I really love that dogmatic cult icon.

The first thing I do once I win the lottery is buy me a Burning Man. I know a lot of people would consider that blasphemy, but that’s part of what makes it the holy grail of collectable action figures. I must have one for my living room.


Burning Man in Oakland Next Week.

Ecstasy by Dan Das Mann and Karen Cusolito. Opening Reception: March 19, 2010. Hayes Valley, San Francisco. FREE.

22 03 2010

"Ecstasy" by Dan Das Mann and Karen Cusolito 1

"Ecstasy" by Dan Das Mann and Karen Cusolito 2

"Ecstasy" by Dan Das Mann and Karen Cusolito 3

I’m really enjoying all these Black Rock Art Pieces in that sexy new little Hayes Green / Patricia’s Green park in Hayes Valley.

The Inverted Burning Man Head Plate.

30 11 2009

Tar-Hong Red Life Pattern Inverted Burning Man Head Plate. 1

The Tar-Hong Red “Life” Pattern plate is one of my favorite plates. It’s very much an Outer Sunset thing and a San Francisco Asian thing in general. You can buy these plastic plates in most Asian import stores and you’ll find that both locals and restaurants use them because whether you have kids in the house or you’re running a restaurant, plastic plates tend not to break when you accidentally drop them on the ground so you get a much better return on your investment.

Tar-Hong Red Life Pattern Inverted Burning Man Head Plate. 2

The design is really nice and if you’ll look carefully you’ll see an Earth-2 Burning Man character woven into the design. Look carefully.

Tar-Hong Red Life Pattern Inverted Burning Man Head Plate. 3

That’s like Burning Man’s evil twin. All you have to do is swing that triangle head upside down and you have The Man right there. He even has his own smiling cloud like altar.

And that would also be a great promotional idea.

Dear Tar-Hong ,

I’ve got a great promotional idea for you.

In June of 2010 release a limited edition version of the Tar-Hong Red “Life” Pattern plate with some alterations –

Rotate the head on your stick figure 90 degrees

Remove the mandarin characters in the white circles and replace them with a flaming lotus or flaming Jiffy Lube or flaming whatever.

Sneak in the year 2010 somewhere into the design.

Tweak some of the smaller designs but keep the overall layout and the border the same. That’s a good look. Don’t fix what isn’t broken.

Market it as the limited edition Tar-Hong Red “John Law” Pattern.

It’s a perfect product for Burners. Everyone has to have a plate to eat his or her food on the playa and you don’t want it to be a paper plate that will generate trash. These plates have already proven that they are incredibly sturdy and can hold up in desert use for several years. I’ve had my plates for over a decade now and even though they show their age I have no plans to replace them anytime soon. Release it as a limited edition product leading up to August and then discontinue it.

Release a 2011 edition plate with some alterations to make it unique in July 2011. Maybe we can weave a Smiley Face into the pattern of that one and release it as the limited edition Tar-Hong Red “15th Anniversary of The Friends of Smiley” Pattern.

Rinse. Cycle. Repeat.

Burning Man Decompression 2009. San Francisco. FREE for people 12 years old and younger.

13 10 2009

Burning Man Decompression 2009. San Francisco. 1

Burning Man Decompression 2009. San Francisco. 3

Youth is King.

Balsa Man 2009. Baker Beach San Francisco. FREE

8 09 2009

Balsa Man 2009. Baker Beach San Francisco. FREE .5

Some local San Franciscans that don’t Burn anymore have started this tradition of creating a miniaturized Burning Man down at Baker Beach, back where the original Burning Man used to happen when it was free and in SF.

Balsa Man 2009. Baker Beach San Francisco. FREE 28

Balsa Man 2009. Baker Beach San Francisco. FREE 8

Balsa Man 2009. Baker Beach San Francisco. FREE 2

Balsa Man 2009. Baker Beach San Francisco. FREE 4

I was kind of amazed at how many of these structures I recognized, even the ones from years that I didn’t go to.

Balsa Man 2009. Baker Beach San Francisco. FREE 13

There’s a miniature La Contesssa.

Balsa Man 2009. Baker Beach San Francisco. FREE 6

Miniature Flock by Michael Christian.

Balsa Man 2009. Baker Beach San Francisco. FREE 11

There’s a condensed version of the Deep End, Opulent Temple, Space Cowboys, and Illuminaughty, rave camps.

Balsa Man 2009. Baker Beach San Francisco. FREE 7

Miniature David Best Temple.

Balsa Man 2009. Baker Beach San Francisco. FREE 27

Miniature Paul Addis

Balsa Man 2009. Baker Beach San Francisco. FREE 35

Coked-up, Napoleon Complex, Anger-Management Issues, Only-Been-to-Burning Man-Twice-Before-and-Now-Is-a-Self-Appointeted-Expert-on-the-Topic-Mr-Know-It-All-Paul Addis.

Balsa Man 2009. Baker Beach San Francisco. FREE 14

Miniature Belgian Waffle

Balsa Man 2009. Baker Beach San Francisco. FREE 17

Miniature The One Tree from 1998. By day it was a public shower where you could go and be a Woodstock Hippy. By night it had flamethrowers shooting out into the sky.

Balsa Man 2009. Baker Beach San Francisco. FREE 22

Anyone else think it’s hilarious that they keep shutting down the Bay Bridge during Burning Man? Not that many people can afford to go on Labor Day vacations these days, but each year thousands of San Franciscans migrate out to Nevada for Burning Man and we keep chopping up the Bay Bridge once they’re out of town. That just cracks me up.

Burning Man has been called a lot of things by people who both love it and loathe it, but it wasn’t until this day that I realized it was very much something that I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone call it before. Corny.

Burning Man is really fucking corny.

I’m not talking 2009 San Diego Comic Con corny, which has evolved into a very hip kind of multimedia event these days. I’m talking like 1980s Doctor Who convention corny or 1990 Stargate One convention corny. I’m talking Renaissance Faire corny. People were even talking to each other in Burning Man catch phrases like it was a Renaissance Faire.

“Slow down! You’re driving to fast!”

“This was a lot cooler last year.”

“I’m going to check out the other side of the playa, I’ll tweet if I see anything cool” – bonus points for the 2009 reference.

I say this as a 34-year-old adult who has spent over 2/3 of his life buying comic books and action figures, Burning Man is pretty corny and the Balsa Man speaks to that inner fanboy. I’ve already started to brainstorm on what is the most obscure or unique thing I could bring for next year. Like a 2009 Thunderdome that was punked with the Hot Topic banner, or the red dice from 2001, or the Doggie Diner heads, or Jim Mason’s sundial from 1997, or a 2001 Jiffy Lube with Larry Harvey on megaphone talking down the angry mob of queens. Funny, I just now noticed that there are no pictures of the Jiffy Lube on the burningman.com image gallery. Kind of odd considering what a fuss everyone made about it at the time.

Burning Man is pretty corny and Balsa Man is like a free miniature convention for Burning Man nerds right on the beach. I’m sold.


Skatin’ Place at Burning Man 2001 – 2002.

31 08 2009

I actually crossed paths with The Godfather of Skating at the Tom Jones Panty camp during Burning Man 2002.

It’s kind of a funny story that’s not even appropriate for posting online.

I took the Green Tourtise to Burning Man 7 years in a row. Going to Burning Man is like being struck by lightening and I had that once in a lifetime experience 7 years in a row. I started in 1996, the Hell year. The year that people were being decapitated, run over by cars as the slept in their tents, and maimed left and right. At times the skies were filled with Medivac helicopters, it was like Apocalypse Now but with House and Trance beats in the background. Check out the aerial view from to get an idea of how scattered brained everyone was back then.

Look how honky-tonk The Man’s altar was back then. It was just a couple bales of hay. These days it’s these really unique and elaborate alters or temples. I remember they had a temple a few years ago that was the size of a Home Depot, but back then it was just on some bales of hay. It felt like the Dukes of Hazzard were running the show in ’96. Yee-haw!

Then keep in mind that the Rave Ghetto was TWO MILES away from the main camp and they had not yet banned cars on the playa.

Burning Man 1996

At night you’d be walking the desert feeling like a cross between Lawrence of Arabia and Charles Manson and then a BMW would zip within a few feet of you going 80 miles per hour. With its lights turned off. Yee-haw!

It was a completely different experience back then. From 1998 on they’ve been in the same spot, which has always felt like camping at the Burning Man Mall. You had the Black Rock mountains, the train tracks, line of cars waiting to get inside, and all of these other distinctive landmarks to give you a sense of perspective. These days, after The Man burns you can ride your bike for miles and still navigate your way back to your camp without a problem. Back in 96 after people starting breaking camp you could walk 20 feet away from your tent and be completely disoriented. It would be like getting off MUNI downtown and finding that Market St and the Finical District had disappeared. It really was like camping on the moon.

2002 was a great Burn for me. Normally the burns have been all hype and very anti-climatic for me. It’s like Super Bowl Sunday. You sit around doing nothing for 4 hours, get up to go to the bathroom, and then when you get back it’s all over. Yee-haw! But 2002 was a great Burn and I felt like I had accomplished everything that I set out to do and wanted to go out like Seinfeld, just exit stage left on a positive note.

I think the 2002 Temple really sealed it for me.

I’ve always been really impressed with David Best’s work, every year it kept getting better and better and he kept taking more chances, but he nailed it that year and for the first time I felt like it actually upstaged the burning of The Man himself. Everyone loves to bitch and complain, Hell, we’re Americans, that’s our national pastime these days. But ultimately not only do you have a hell of a lot more freedoms at Burning Man than you do else where, but if you’re talented enough your art can actually upstage The Man himself. If you’re talented enough, your Burn can actually be more spiritual and touch more people than the burning of The Man at his own party. That’s something to think about.

Fast-forward 5 years later

System downtime means that I actually get home from work at a reasonable hour. I’m channel surfing when I hit Dave’s Skatin Place show on public access. Just to back peddle a bit,

David Miles Jr is like the Afrika Bambaataa of Golden Gate Park. I’ve always seen him as not only one of the local community activists that are always trying to make San Francisco a better place to live, but also one of those guys who just does it without looking for some political payback or favor. D was instrumental in having the Golden Gate Park side streets closed off to traffic on Sundays, does roller disco in the park, and has his own roller disco ring by Center Camp at Burning Man each year since early 2000. I want to be just like this guy when I grow up.

Back to the show,

Dave’s public access show is on and has footage from Burning Man 2001 and 2002. Excellent ! It’s all there, the La Contessa , the Taj Mahal, Drago the Dragon, the David Best temple even the Green Tourtise. Awesome. It’s one of 3 episodes he did on Burning Man, so I go online at to find out when the others are but for the life of me I can get the public access show site to work.

http://www.accessf.org just got a retarded public relations upgrade. I was on there a few years ago because I noticed some local house music and 9/11 conspiracy public access shows that popped up on my radar that I wanted to keep tabs on. Before, it was a really basic site but was at least functional. You could easily search to find a show and if there was a url associated with it. Now it’s useless. There’s a PDF file for listings? What the hell? Why not just put it on micro-fish and have it down at the library…

So I got Dave’s cell phone number from the end of the Burning Man episode and I cold-call the guy the next day.

I’m all “Hey, I really enjoyed your show last night. I don’t Burn anymore, but those years that I did are really special to me and it’s amazing when I can find footage of that time. I was wondering if you could help me out though. I was just checking out the public access site and for the life of me I can’t find when your next episode is gong to air.”

And then D goes off. “I don’t know what’s going on with those turkeys. That used to be a really fun station but now there’s big money involved. You have these political cronies that are pulling in 6 figures and running that station into the ground, they are wasting over ten thousand dollars every month on the new Market Street office that they really don’t need but just want for the prestige. Those clowns are fucking up that station.” Ten minutes later D is all “Sorry to go off, I talk a lot and those idiots just get me worked up.”

And I’m all, “No, I hear you. I see that everywhere. It’s the same thing with work, it’s the same thing that’s going on with the government right now. It’s the same thing with Bush putting one of his incompetent horse judging buddies in charge of FEMA and then watching New Orleans fall apart. These guys are corporate raiders that don’t know how to manage anything, they just give kickbacks and cushy jobs to their fuck-buddies from bowling night and just dick around while Rome burns.” About ten minutes later I finally wrap up my “Never underestimate the awesome power of incompetence, fuck Chris Daily, and fuck nepotism.” speech.

Dave’s all, “Yeah, glad you enjoyed the show. I have no idea when those turkeys are going to air that again, but you can check out the entire thing on my site for free. I’ve also got that and the Malcolm in the Middle Burning Man episode.” And then Dave goes off on the Malcolm in the Middle Burning Man episode for another 10 minutes. Classic.

Check it out.

Skatin’ Place @ Burning Man 2001 and 2002.



Amazing 2009 BM footage from stevesf123 that was posted online on the Sunday of Burning Man (!)

Amazing turnaround and amazing aerial view as they fly into Burning Man 2009 and later into San Francisco Labor Day 2009.

I love those clouds too.

It’s easy to get caught up in the human spectacle below, but just look up and there’s this amazing skyline untouched by skyscrapers or telephone pole lines.


Great footage by Mr. Holehead of the BrassTax Boom Box at Burning Man 2009

I love it when DJs have a sense of humor…



Sunday Skating at Skatin’ Place.

Skatin’ Place. Ride the SoulTrain at Burning Man 2008