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.

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

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There’s a miniature La Contesssa.

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Miniature Flock by Michael Christian.

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

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Miniature David Best Temple.

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Miniature Paul Addis

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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.

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Miniature Belgian Waffle

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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.

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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.

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Grand Opening of The Big Art Studios at American Steel

13 07 2009

It was raining on my way from SF to Oakland for the big Sand by the Ton Burning Man Art Carnival, which was kind of odd because I pay attention to the weather reports and I hadn’t heard anyone predict showers for the weekend. At first I thought it might just be one of those flash monsoons, but it lasted for the entire ride and by the time I was over the Bay Bridge I saw this amazing double rainbow over the American Steel building.

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I haven’t Burned in over 7 years now but I remember seeing pictures and hearing stories of this amazing double rainbow at a recent Burning Man, so it felt like one of those moments where God was letting you in on in an inside joke.

Or like one of those coincidences in LOST. Take your pick.

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The American Steel building is HUGE. It’s got it’s own block. Hell, it has its own zip code.

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It also has some neat graffiti nearby.

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The Tesla Coil was back and was rocking out right behind the Gravity Point camp.

There was also some loud constant banging, like someone was dropping a cargo tank from the roof. It was loud enough to obliterate the noise made by several raves. It was like trying to dance during the firecracker scene in Boogie Nights.

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Fire and lasers and beats and Mayhem. Oh my!

This space reminded me a lot of the old Gathering parties at Home Base.

Paging Martin O’Brien – if you’re reading this you really want to talk to the Big Art Studio people. The American Steel place would be an amazing location for a Gathering. No. Wait. I take that back. Not a Gathering, not a Freedom or even a Come-Unity, but still taking something from those inspirations and putting it together to make something new.

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I see you, you see me
Watch you blowin’ the lines when you’re making a scene
Oh girl, you’ve got to know
What my head overlooks
The senses will show to my heart
When it’s watching for lies
You cant escape my

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Private eyes
They’re watching you
They see your every move
Private eyes
They’re watching you watching you watching you watching you

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Related Posts –

Serpent Mother. FREE art opening on Treasure Island.





Burning Man in Oakland Next Week.

3 07 2009

Michael Christian’s Bone Arch at Burning Man 1997.

I remember this year. 1997 was the first, and God-willing, only time that Burning Man was moved to the Hualapai Playa. The local sheriff’s department pulled an Enron. They put armed cops in the ticket booth and collected 100% of all the ticket money as it came in. This is a shake-down, suckers! Burning Man almost went bankrupt that year.

This was a piece that Michael Christian had put together from local horse and cow skeletons. Talk about using all the parts of the buffalo. I remember all that dead grass on the playa and everyone was riding around with cow skulls that year.

I had a lot of fun in 1997, but I never want to see the Hualapai Playa ever again.

Amazing Burning Man Art Carnival in the post 9/11 / Oscar Grant / Lovelle Mixon Oakland next week.

With Michael Christian art.

And The Flaming Lotus Girls

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And The Mutaytor

How crazy is that video?

There’s like 50 people in that band, including the bassist from Oingo Boingo, and 100 people on the stage for one song.

It’s like what Lollapalooza could be if Perry Farrell still did drugs.