I have been to many, many festivals in my life, but DirtyBird Campout is something unique- it’s fun for adults! I haven’t been to a festival that has so many games- and DJs host different games to interact with fans! This makes the entire environment inclusive and friendly. Between water balloon tosses, sac races with DB Producer Claude VonStroke (“The Claudefather”) and yoga with Omnom, there is always a wide array of activities going on during the day, along with delicious food (I was so happy to see a vegan BBQ menu alongside a traditional meaty BBQ!) . During the nighttime, amazing techno and house DJs take over the stage, with everything from dark techno to funky house mixed with hip-hop to trancey house. Camping with a group of amazing Canadians, it was awesome to see that they had traveled outside of their country because they enjoyed DBC so much the last two years! It’s this kind of energy that keeps this festival going, bringing back fans annually. I met a lot of people who have been to every DBC, which is unusual and says a lot.
People can say what they want about Burning Man- that it causes immense carbon emissions (which goes against its principles), and has been sold-out and popularized into the corporate world, etc., and these things are true. But the point people are missing, and haven’t felt is this community open to adaptation and change, coupled with acceptance, to combat the hypocrisy of the global world in which we live. This acceptance encompasses the bad which comes from good, and good which comes from bad. We cannot glorify nature and condemn technology, or glorify technology and condemn nature; we must realize we live in a world where they are now, in large part, very dependent on each other. Technology must be, in many ways, modeled after nature, and the survival of natural resources against pollution and other human activities is largely dependent on our ability to find the technology to undo the problems we have caused with technology. It is in this madness that we find ourselves living everyday life in the United States and much of the world, uncertain of the facts we are given by news and the media, and still feeling as though the structures around us protect us from harm when we know that they often cause it.
This past Burn, there was a light show of 600 Drones (above), created by Studio Drift, a couple from Amsterdam, who modeled the design after the migratory flocking of birds. Here, we can see how technology can not only mimic nature perfectly, but also do so in a way that shows the peaceful side of technology, with an immense capacity for creating interactive art and live art installations. Ironically, as many issues posed by climate change drive bird species to extinction, this Drone show may well be a way for people of the future to see how birds once migrated. Interestingly, the Playa (the desert landscape of Burning Man) doesn’t hold any life (no plants can grow there, nor animals live there), but there is a different energy of liveliness created by a collective consciousness created by the human visitors who come onto the playa with intentions for their week there, artists who have been tirelessly working on their installations for months, and workers who have been creating the structures (both physical and institutional) so that Black Rock City (the formal city which hosts Burning Man) is created.
In fact, the creator of Burning Man Mr. Larry Harvey said, “The essence of the desert, is that you are free to create your own world, your own visionary reality”, so that there is a ”deep parallel between desert and cyberspace”; “‘Both Burning Man and the Internet make it possible to regather the tribe of mankind.” Where there is chaos, there is room for endless possibilities. However, Harvey also hinted that the desert and Burning Man also reveal the limits of technology by showing the spirituality which can be shared by collective living beings, which no technology can emulate. In many religious contexts, the desert is a place for reflection on our relationship with God, and reminds us of our vulnerability by stripping us of most resources under harsh conditions.as we are challenged both physically and mentally.
“The desert reveals the paradox between simplicity and complexity. Both visually and symbolically, it exalts clarity, honesty and cleanliness in all its manifestations. It is maximum freedom and at the same time the impenetrable maze. The void that it projects works as a complete mirror that shows us, reflected, as a synthesis of what we are. In the desert, the exterior void obliges us to look inwardly, making it plain what poets, philosophers and scholars have been saying for centuries: that which is outside of us reflects us.”
Thus, the location and nature of Burning Man brings us to the human paradox, of endless submissiveness to nature, the elements, and God, while simultaneously wired for adaptation and creation as influenced by our outside world, and how we interpret it.
While technology moves us forward in many ways, we can also see how it contributes to our access but not necessarily sustainably, especially with Art Cars (below). Although not sustainable in use of gas, these are another form of art themselves, and fuse music with movement, which encourages dance and brings people together in amazing ways. It is seen within all forms of life, animals, plants, everything, the need to create. We build nests, we raise young, we make art installations and music and artcars, we tell stories of our experiences and those which we imagine and dream of, much in the same ways that octupi can build their own homes with coral decorations. We are all united by this thread of the need to create, and adapt to the changing world around us. What we create is destroyed at some point by nature and other forces, or else lives on through time. In this way, the world has always been shaped by innovation, and the ability to create new and adapt to circumstances which change.
The Dragonami from Colorado
Flower Power Art Installation
This past weekend, I worked Mystic Valley Thailand, in Khao Yai National Park. I was blessed enough to talk to two of my favorite artists (Nakadia and Alle Farben) who performed, and take many pictures of many beautiful people and moments (below). <3<3
Nakadia (Thailand). Nakadia is one of Thailand’s most loved underground techno DJs. Even just watching her performance, her charisma and personality sparks laughter and smiles in the crowd from her pure light and energy. She grew up with little resources, and is self-made in every light possible, making her success all the more inspiring and beautiful. After working on her skills in Braunschweig, Germany, in the summer of 2003, she decided to move from rural Isaan in northern Thailand, and she started to DJ and play for European tourists in Koh Samui. She then started touring internationally as she gained fans, and since has been one of the first female DJs from Thailand to gain global recognition.
Br33zzyy Question: What is your favorite part of making music?
Nakadia Answer: To bring people together, to be able to represent my country and bring people a taste of Thailand that they normally don’t get, especially in the Western world, is amazing. I love music’s ability to do that- I bring all my friends onstage, and to be able to have friends from all over the world is awesome. If you have a passion, a drive, a desire to do well- you will always be successful. Every moment of your life will feel precious, and you will infect those around you with happiness- that is what living is all about.
Alle Farben (Germany).
Br33zzyy Question: Have you been to Thailand before? How does performing here compare to other places where you have played?
Alle Answer: Yes, I have been to Thailand before, but never to Khao Yai, and I feel blessed. I just played at Koh Phagnan, and it’s a magical place. All of Thailand is. Soon I will be touring in the US- I start out in LA. I’m excited to see California. This is one of the smaller festivals I’ve worked, but that’s nice because when they get too big it’s overwhelming and the vibes can get off-center. You can connect with the crowd and see individuals and their beauty a little bit more easily. Thailand has a vibe different than many other places- the locals are some of the most hospitable people I’ve ever met, and there’s an eclectic expat community that attracts a lot of free spirits (besides all the old dudes trying to get girls). I definitely want to come back to Thailand soon.
Some depressing poetry to fit the mood of this beautiful, ancient place that was abandoned after Buddhists took power in Cambodia.
This bus window reminds me of Los Angeles, of dodging people dried out by drugs and the sun, drunk wanderings and eating Thai food. Arguments, lots of them, about things irrelevant, blowing through the air like beautiful dragonflies (ugly upon first glance), but blossoming into beauty, becoming nothing in a sky of love and hate and endless energy.
Did you come to say goodbye? Fire and water were never meant to balance, both selfish in their burns and drowns. Igniting the other, jealous of different strides and the qualities they wish they could both possess.
Distance and time have changed our minds, dreams and goals our spirits. I must be free, free, and you want security because you never had it. I let my flame down to lie, and watched your Grandmother die. I know you regret letting me in, and haven’t been right ever since, but how can love work when we both know that to trust is a sin?
I’m just speaking my mind, I’ve found the path of divine love that will never lead you astray. Once you love what makes you different, you’ll see that we’re all the same, and life is just a greedy game, darling it pains me to see you float away. No time or touch wasted, just growth for ourselves, addicted to each other, love our medicine instead of looking for help.
Lately I’ve been livin like I don’t care if I die, you say we’re too different, we manipulate with words like sweet cherry pie turned sour, too early or too late, always competing for who could have less on their plate, to feel empty inside to match how we’re feelin, if you compare us to others then life will have no meaning.
You say I don’t talk, but I’ll say I love you forever. Just hoping sanity and sanctions stay together, stronger for having known you, learning about my flaws and strengths. Your first true love, I wanted to love life like me, never wanted you to break. I can’t say if things will be better or worse, just know that I have always put you first. I’ll never forget holding your life’s strings in the hospital, playing with fate, for me it was always just love and hate, no one can do the same.
Sometimes I wish I could go back, before I knew the world was so big, now I see the truth and there is no time to waste on unhappy things.
Rainy dinner, Chinatown, Bangkok
Thailand: the land of smiles and flavours. In any given meal, a Thai tongue seeks to taste salty, savory, sweet, and sour all at the same time. Markets offer fresh fruit and vegetables (what a novelty compared to the GMO-ridden produce of the United States), as well as seafood that has been caught a couple hours earlier. American food is bland, dull and uninteresting in comparison (not that I eat “normal” pizza or cheeseburgers anyway).
A morning market at Som Lom
However, Thai people also eat lots of meat- practically at every meal! Usually it is made up of chicken, cow, and mystery meat;). But being in the city of Bangkok, I have yet to see any of these animals. Which begs the question: where do they come from?
Similarly as in America, Thai meat is produced in the countryside in large slaughterhouses that mistreat animals and cause environmental degradation and pollution. According to The Guardian, in June, Thai police found a tiger slaughterhouse used to raise tigers for their skins on the black market. The act of raising animals unjustly for human consumption is equal in both countries, although Thai people eat more seafood, leading to less of a demand for meat than in the US.
Chili crabs at the floating market
According to Forbes, America is the second largest meat consumer in the world after Australia. Reducing our meat intake is the most environmentally conscious action we can take to reduce our carbon footprint. That, combined with how energized I feel when eating vegan, and how great I feel about not mistreating animals, is why I have been vegan for a year and a half. Interestingly, under Buddhism one must not harm any living creature, yet Buddhists eat meat (so they must harm these animals which they eat).
Black Chickens, Ban Tai
In regards to the ease of being a vegan, I would say that it is about equal in Thailand and the United States. It has been more difficult for me in Thailand because I cannot fluently speak Thai, and it is therefore difficult to communicate my dietary needs because all I can say is “jay”, or “vegan”, but often the Thai people are not familiar with that word. It is not popular for people to not eat meat or animal products here; there is fish sauce in most stir fry and curry, and almost always milk in coffee. “Thai sweet” describes how drinks such as coffee and tea are served here; sugar with a little bit of liquid.
Jay pad thai with tofu, one of my favorite dishes near our dorm, Green Park
However, I have found a few places where I can eat “jay” and the workers remember me and make delicious vegan options! Above is from pasta lady, a wonderful woman near our dorm Green Park who makes delicious noodles. Pad Thai with fresh peanuts and lime juice is hard to beat.
In America, being a vegan is much easier in some instances. Living in Los Angeles, I was constantly surrounded by healthy, vegan food options (ironically, most of what I ate was vegan Thai food). Even back home in Maryland during the summer, we grow corn and zucchini in our own garden. However, if one is living in a food desert in a city like Baltimore, then they will not be able to have ready access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
Ladies sell their fresh seafood at a local floating market.
But regardless, in most American cities one can purchase produce from a local supermarket or Walmart. I am greatly missing kombucha from back in the states, but have been enjoying the delicious desserts that make use of lots of sweet rice and coconut milk. Thailand offers many vegan desserts, while in America it is difficult to find enjoyable ones unless made at home or living in an urban place.
Mango sticky rice and coconut pudding, both delicious vegan desserts, Chinatown.
I am so grateful for all of the love that I experienced in San Francisco at Pride! Many people said that there were much less people because of the incident in Orlando, which is hard to believe because of how many people were there! It’s such a beautiful thing to experience people loving and appreciating each other regardless of sexual orientation, race, class, and what is considered “normal” (there is no such thing).
Another Wednesday – getting through a week of work that may seem endless, stress that may seem pointless, and conflict that is eating up your energy. Finding happiness in the simple is essential for moving forward! I have to put together some thoughts during my recent times of stress from moving across the country that have kept me going:
2. Appreciate the beauty in every being. Everyone has a purpose to fulfill, and we must appreciate their path. We must constantly act as both teachers and observers for every interaction we have with everyone we come into contact with. That homeless man might just have some great tips on how you can be less of an asshole today.
3. Appreciate the beauty of yourself and recognize that your beauty resides in all other things as well as yourself, so that the world, as a whole, is beautiful and as worthy of appreciation, just as you are. Failure to recognize self worth is often what leads people to undermining themselves and prevents them from moving forward into self growth. Embracing the elements that make you different from any other person will bring you strength.
4. Find the gifts and talents which have been bestowed upon you by practicing what you love. Allow this love to guide you on the path which will bring love and light both to yourself and others. Yes, money is the root of desire and evil in the real world, but it must also be acknowledged as a source of restoration for positivity by placing funds in the hands of people who will share it.
5. Recognize that others will doubt your purity and the extent to which you are able to do anything which the mind creates. Allow your dreams to prod you forward, reacting to negative influences with positivity to allow the growth of both yourself and others.
6. Do not be intimidated by the prospect of lost opportunity, or failures that you may have. Focus on what you want everyday to achieve that- it will always happen, but not as you plan it. Fate chooses what will best serve the universe. The law of attraction will bring you all of your desires- you must just have trust in its omniprescence. “I know where I’m going, I just don’t know how I will get there”.
7. This is especially true of love: you must appreciate how beautiful you are, your partner is, and the entirety of you together with mutual understanding. By straining to make a relationship work and being anxious about whether or not someone likes us, we continuously put stress on ourselves and force ourselves into relationships with people that may not always be constructive.
8. Appreciate the beauty of all things constructed by man- although most of it is detrimental to the Earth’s well-being. This has happened for a reason: we must see the pain that can be felt in the world before we can reconcile with each other and realize how beautiful it could be instead. Whatever the object may be, it was created by a combination of animals and nature, it just as much a part of us as we are of it. Objects define us: how can we use this to our advantage and change the way in which the objects we have created define the world?