Lightness

Light as a feather – that’s how I feel. Light and loose. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so relaxed.

This year’s Burn was an affirmation, of… well just about everything. The human spirit, the desert, love, compassion, intuition, energy, direction, brilliance… I could go on forever. So brilliant a manifestation of the human spirit its hard to even think about anything else. I am a creatre dedicated to play.

Coming back to work hasn’t even dampened my spirits. How could it when so much is right in the world? How could it when I’m soon to strike out on my own, powered by the wings of my own genius (the mythical interpretation of the word, not the Einstein sense, though perhaps that as well).

I can do anything, be anything, desire anything and recieve anything. Its all there to be had and more importantly to give. The gifts, the giving, so much of it. Who’d ever have thought that giving out poutine, a heart attack in a bowl would be such a profound and fulfilling experience? Certainly not I.

There will be stories and photographs, but for right now I’m just relaxed and content. Light as a cloud and ready for whatever is meant to be.

A brief note

From Midnight Poutine’s San Francisco office. The place is a mess. Not our mess mind you. The mess of a genius google employee who plays with lasers in her spare time. She’s moving, we’re sleeping on the floor, the futon, wherever aren’t boxes and books and other junk that spurts and foams from every conceivable place when you’re moving. Not sure where it all comes from, but there it is.

Buying things for the Burn. Only the Burn. What the hell is the point? Its strange to follow the path set down in what seems like a previous life. My intentions and values today aren’t exactly what I had in mind when I created this freight train, but with the momentum of a whole camp of people its impossible to sop, even if that’s what I wanted – and it isn’t really. Its just that I probably would never have conceived of something like this in my current incarnation, my new life, meNOW. Midnight Poutine is resource intensive, large scale, certainly not the poster of small simplicity that I’m striving for now. In that sense its a living relic, but what a relic.

I’m excited. This is going to be epic, but parts of it are hard to resolve with who I’ve become. I mean no matter what we do its going to be expensive and there’s going to be waste. Arrrrrrrgh! I need to accept that this is how these things roll. You have to break eggs to make cookies (omlettes don’t suit my palette). Still, I find myself asking what justifies it all sometimes. Beh. It doesn’t matter really. “Because its cool.” is the mantra of the Burn and that’s good enough for this year. I’m just making sure I’m aware that it might not be in the future.

Burning Man. I actually cringe a bit when I hear the word. I notice that I don’t use it much. I talk about “going to the desert” and being “on the playa” a lot more than I say “I’m going to Burning Man.” The very utterance of the words just conjures up the fabric of branding for me, of elitism, the cult. The goddamn desert cult. You go to Burning Man? That’s great. Nobody cares. You are not a special and unique snowflake just because you go and choke on prehistoric fish feces – I’m sorry.

This is not to say that I don’t like Burners or Burning Man. It is the more magical community I have ever found. I love it, but…

I suppose we are most critical of those people and things that we love the most. We see their potential and expect them to be that at all times when really, that’s impossible. So it is with Burning Man and all that goes with it. I am becoming a Cynical Old Burner – a COB. Well fine. That’s okay.

No, cynical isn’t right, perhaps a realist. I still love it and expect the best from it, but I’m not surprised or offended when it doesn’t deliver, and I’m willing to look at the parts that aren’t ideal. I think the main thing is simply this; Burning Man isn’t special. You aren’t special for going there. The art there isn’t special because its there. Its just a week in the desert, no more, no less. The magic that you may or may not experience there also exists in countless other corners of the globe at all times of the year. That is if you take the principles and ideas you find there with you. Hell, we all know people we’d call Burners who have never even been to the event. What more proof do you need that it really isn’t that special?

I would like to see the magic in more times and places. Gifting water at Burning Man – not so extraordinary. Gifting water in Parc Lafontaine on a hot summer day – kind of extraordinary. That’s what excites me these days. Burning Man is a model, a testing ground, a training centre, but its not in an of itself a terribly important place, what’s important about it is what happens when the world of the Burn intersects with the real world. If the energy that went into the Burn were instead directed outwards from the desert into other communities, cities and towns. That’s when the real, tangible, lasting magic starts to take place.

Its easy to create magic in a place where magic is acknowledged to exist. Its a much greater feat to create magic in a place that has forgotten or even suppressed what magic is. This then is the greater triumph and the greater quest.

So go the Burning Man. Dress like rabbits. Ride on rocket ships. Shoot flamethrowers. Do crazy drugs and have crazy sex. Just remember that its only a dress rehersal. The true spirit of it. The spirit not of Burning Man, not even of art, but the spirit of Life. That has to exist 52 weeks a year.

Burn, hee haw!

So I’ve got a bit of a hankering to build something and burn it since we’re not doing a regional this year in Montreal.

I’m thinking one option would be M00seman, though I’d also really like to do it with a bunch of Montreal peeps since it could help corrupt some malleable minds here in town.

Anyways… my ten-till-tent-itive plan right now is to ask people to watch out for and bring in found wooden objects – broken furniture, wood scraps, etc.  Moving Day here in Montreal would be great for that kind of shit. Then on-site of the burn (wherever that is) have drills, nail guns, saws, etc. to assemble something from whatever shows up. Anyone is welcome to work and construction of the thing will be do-ocratic.

Then torch it…

Maybe these are some of those hurts…

…that never heal. Possibilities that, at some level demand to be investigated, pondered, remembered, lost…

It was this video that brought it back;

http://www.chycho.com/?q=node/1803

I suck at embedding. Bleah. Anyways…

I couldn’t help myself. I thought of Triple-B, because one of the B’s stood for brain, and I loved hers. She would have eaten this like Muslix with fresh berries on top. Le sigh. I am a big ‘ol neuron that can connect with complicated molecules in any number of ways, each producing a different result. Some create art, contemplation, comfort, sexual arousal, she stimulated a part of my brain that very few people can. Receptors quivering and pulsing, impluses darting with thought and challenge. Blue smoke illuminated by laser light. What random beautiful patterns might emerge?

But anyways she also lied, and generally treated people around her like cheap chess pieces so fuck that. But it doesn’t mean I can’t long for that particular connection…

Its raining. Thunder rolls down from on top of the mountain… er… hill. My courtyard turns into a marsh after storms like this. I should get a gun and shoot waterfowl from my bedroom window.

The place is strewn with costumes and camping supplies. Burning Man. Sonofabitch. Nevada is a long ways from Montreal. And apparently its dusty as a million year old tomb. Its going to be an interesting year.

Montreal has finally turned to gold. A fantastic poutine sendoff, the warm embrace of spinning fire in the parc, the presence of someone who understands something that can’t really be said. Its a good time. I’m in the right place. One year and it seems just about right. Just a few more things to do…

So begins two and a half weeks of insanity and bliss, excitement and stress, travel and wonder. By any estimate I’m going to be making two or three hundred bowls of poutine at this year’s burn. Good god. What am I thinking?!

Happy, but always wanting more. I’m like that. Content, yet ambitious.

See you on the other side.

The Pound

Just got back from a Bruleurs get together, and love ’em as I do I have to say things are slow. I know there are a lot of burners in town, but the critical mass of a bunch of them all in once place at one time doesn’t seem to happen much. Which brings me to…

The Pound

open-mic-at-the-pound-may-8-2008

This is my place, the greatest place I’ve found so far in Montreal. The Pound is so fucking magical its hard to describe. Anything can happen. Its so open and chaotic and bubbling with potential and creativity. I’m seriously bummed that I’m not going this week due to work. It truly is the highlight of my week.

So, the plan is to try and mix the ingredients. Get Burners to the Pound. Get people from the Pound involved in Burner kind of stuff. Heck. If I can mix some UE into it all who knows what’ll happen!

Party at my place. Soon.

Titles Suck

Blogging really is a cruel passtime, not entirely sure why I do it, besides the obvious inflated ego. I mean really, when its dry its dry – nothing to report on, zilch of interest, just ho hum. Then a ton of things happen and you’re too busy to write about them and feel hopelessly overwhelmed when finally you decide to put fingers to keyboard. Aye. Well, such this is being of the latter. How’s that for craptastic English?

First things first. The move is on. I have to say a big fucking merciful thanks to the ditz who manages my building for letting me move in a week early. What a fucking Godsend. With memories of stuffing my car to absolute capacity for the drive across country its a relief to only jam a managable number of boxes into its every orifice for a multitude of short trips to deck the place out. I’ve done two loads and I think I have two more, the second just because I have no Internet set up there yet so I’m going to leave this humming strumming machine on this desk until the last possible moment, otherwise I lose all of you wonderful people. Yeah fuck whatever.

Its big, its empty, it echoes like a motherfucker. I need furniture and appliances like nobody’s business. But I’m a cheapskate so aside from a bed I intend to pay little to nothing for all my new stuff. That’s what the curb is for. The dumpster diving ban is officially lifted and I can’t pretend I’m not thrilled. I already scored a corner planter thingy that sort of fits the steampunk aesthetic I think I’m going to go for. Next trip is to the wealthy Anglo neighbourhood of Westmount. Oh yeah…

Next off is last Thursday night at the Pound. Good times. Jan wasn’t there but the other German was with his Belgian friend in tow. I love how Montreal is kind of a default Europe where I get to meet all sorts of ex-pats and visiting Euros on their way through the crass joke that is America. Why travel when the people come to you? Of course Alex and Dave were there as well, along with Jacob and the usual Pound “staff.” Everyone got invites to my house warming, Maud got two because I was so baked by the end of the night I couldn’t really remember what was going on. We played soccer in the back during one of the sets. That’s what I love about the Pound, its just freewheeling. There was a dog too, no idea…

I ended up sleeping in a nest of coats at the new apartment since its a shorter walk there than it is to the place on Fullum. It may sound uncomfortable, but when you have a dozen coats for every possible ocassion from cyber-punk invasion to Siberian death marches you’re talking about a lot of padding.

So I worked though a hangover Friday afternoon dreading my later night obligations. See I’d agreed to help volunteer at an event Friday night for a woman off of Tribe, mostly out of curiosity as to what her events looked and felt like. What I really wanted though was a chance to sleep, not minding the door from 11pm until 2am. Well truth be told it was one of the best things I did because it was like wandering into a dome tent at Burning Man around Destiny and 8:30. The vibe was amazing. Definitely on the hippy end of the spectrum, but after the punk DIY sense of the Pound it was the perfect pendulum swing. I got a rhythmic massage (which finally seems to have solved that kink I’ve had ever since a wave in the Dominican took me and thrust me headfirst into the beach like a reluctantly terrified ostrich), then had some wonderfully open and honest dialogue with some truly beautiful people, danced a bit and… oh hell. Got to oogle four of the sexiest young women I’ve seen in a long, long time.

Unfortunately I got stuck there until almost three thirty, my damn volunteer gene kicking in and making me stay to help clean up even though I had to be up to work today. But it was all for the best, with no kink in my back and still wafting throught he scent of that wonderful vibe I had a great day at work, at once focussed and calm, fully able to express myself and have fun.

So now I’m packing the last of my things to load into the car tomorrow morning and bring to the loft on my way to work. Everything is proceeding beautifully. Life is good. Montreal is good. Things will only get better. Wheeeee!

Its in the dictionary

Merriam Webster to be precice. Pynchonesque. Its a word. The English police said so.

Oddly enough though there are films, sentimental personal effects, a beautiful old projector and other rare and valuable things coming to me soon in an old chest, the thing I think I’ll be most excited to break out is my copy of Gravity’s Rainbow. Pynchon you son of a bitch – its been far too long.

I’ve just read two reviews of the author’s newest book, one from the New York Times claimed it felt more like a homage to Pynchon by a wannabe than a great work of art. The other review from some obscure UK publication painted a picture in all of Pynchon’s proper colour and forms. Pynchon’s books aren’t literature as we know it. They’re something else. Forced to classify I’d almost rate them as psychotropics and anyone who’s a true conniseur of drugs knows that you need to go into the trip with the right intention and mindset.

I think digging my oculars into a Pynchonian tome is just what my mushy little mellon needs about now, after being shrink wrapped, freeze dried and custom cut for the corporate world I’ve been inhabiting for the past few months. Its causing the death of me. I feel like I’ve been eating mental cardboard. Here I’m trying to be creative and witty and this is all I can produce. Laughable. But still…

I was inspired by skimming the contents of an inferior book, if you can call things that dont’ really inhabit the same genus superior or inferior to each other. Anyhow after reading a few pages of tripe and imagining better ways to write the same thing I realised I needed some literary sniffing salts. So I looked up Pynchon on the web.

But let’s break from all that to something not altogether unrelated. Burning Man. Speaking of disconnected narratives, the human menagerie, drugs, sex and alternate scientific possibilities for the soul – Burning Man. Has Pynchon ever gone? Considered it? Bah! Useless to ask. Just go on with the story. Okay.

I’ve noticed that when I dream of Black Rock City (and this happened only last night) that nowadays there is a pervasive impending threat. Out there by the trash fence, at the edge, where there and here meet. What do I see? Condos. No word of a lie. Legoland condo developments with their legoland inhabitants – you know, the ones with the switchable hair/hats? Yeah. Fucking condos man. They steal UE and they’re threatening to steal Black Rock.

Its interesting that for me the condo is the embodiment of all things banal, conformist and evil. Mass produced huksterism with nary a thought for the actual future or quality thereof. Am I a throwback or what? And to think I almost bought one. Holy Shit! That’s a great art project!

This terror can’t be mine alone! What about a giant billboard at the trash fence advertizing the pre-sale of Black Rock codominiums! Oh motherfucker what brilliance! Eris send me horrors that I may make them into art!

Further proof that ANYTHING can be reframed.

Good night.

Eureka!

One of the difficulties plaguing Burners from outside of the United States is the difficulty with bringing things across the border without arousing suspicion. As if distance weren’t problem enough many an ambitious art project was rejected for fears that the Gestapo at the 49th parallel would confiscate, arrest or otherwise block passage of the industrious art or artists. The challenge then is to figure out things which can be easily and unobtrusively transported, or put together after crossing the American frontier. Call it working within the limitations of the form.

Well I think I just came up with one. Its based on some art I recently saw on the Internet, right about… here!

A nice thing about the playa and Burning Man in general is that from a distance it looks pretty similar year to year. I mean really, big blue sky with a few wisps of cloud up there, mountains, some crazy structures and domes waaaay off in the distance, then down to cracked and parched desert sand. Pretty standard. Which means… perspective camouflage is actually pretty easy to do. My first thought was to simply print off a costume using some photographs of the playa in previous years, but then I thought, what about body paint? Sure the application of such a detailed work would be pretty time intensive, but the effect for people seeing it from the right vantage point would be pretty trippy.

Another idea borrows from my friend Amira who painted a gorgeous Burning Man scene on a discarded billboard. What about a time warp? Somewhere out on the playa put a giant picture of the playa at night so that during the day you can see what it looks like 12 hours opposite? Likewise have a sheet that’s the playa during the day illuminated at night to create a portal into the daytime. Neither would be too difficult to set up, aside from begging for the wind to pick them up and toss them into the nearest trash fence.

Hmmmm.

Bringing the Burn Home

There you are on the playa, wearing a sarong, an army issue canteen half full of last night’s sangria, devil’s horns and goggles when suddenly you notice that your precious chapstick is gone. Yes somewhere between that big merry-go-round with the 6000 watt sound system with coloured stobes and the ride on the flame throwing calliope that — has gone missing. Damn fucking shit. Now what’s going to happen to your precious kisser? Then you find a cool zebra print tophat in the middle of the naked desert, no people or vehicles in sight. <shrug>

This is something that I’ve taken home from the Burn. The aptitude to lose things gracefully. In fact, I don’t even think of it at losing anymore. I didn’t lose that chapstick, and I didn’t find that hat. I gifted the chapstick to the fortunate soul that finds it, her lips rough as a crocodile’s back and I graciously accepted the gift of the tophat from… whomever.

Stuff is just stuff. So something that I used to identify as mine isn’t mine anymore, because I was careless, or forgetful, or drunk. Well no biggie. Someone else will enjoy it. Let it be their gift.

Sometimes the gift comes right around and the lost item finds its way back to you, but often times it just keeps bouncing around out there – person to person – place to place – having adventures it would never have had with me. So it is when I find some cool do-dad in someone elses’ garbage, or carelessly left behind after a party with the owner nowhere to be found.

I lose things from time to time. Often times I have a good idea of where they are. Those books you loan out that you never see again, or that cool little toy you forget in someone’s car… No biggie. Enjoy it. Use it. Keep the cycle going. They’re gifts. Let the universe do its work and carry them around to where they’re needed next.

Incidentally, speaking of gifting. Its snowing like God and all the angels were dumping the excavated clouds from the most recent divine palace construction project up in heaven. Loads of the stuff is coming down. I think I might wander out there and shovel a couple of strangers’ walks. Why not? Imagine if everyone gave a gift every day…