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.
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).
On January 11, Afrika and I went to LACMA. It helped dispel some of the writer’s bloc that I had been feeling, which I captured in the poem below prior to going.
It flows and floats
From off the pen
I don’t want to correct it again
It’s rubbish, it’s trash
I wish it would fix itself
So my brain I wouldn’t have to rack
Make it belong to someone else
It’s my pride, it’s my joy
My precious, my peril
Fertile thoughts that I sometimes wish were sterile
They’re not good enough
Or they’re always too good
Believe in ourselves-
I wish we all could
On January 8th, Afrika and I visited the abandoned zoo in Griffith Park with our friend Taylor. What ensued were some mystic poetry and photos that could never be captured in the daylight.
The setting sun twinkles with
Bits of Hollywood glass
They slice the sunset sky
To make a night with fake airplaned stars
And ask me if
My dreams will last
This past January 6th, before I took off for India, model Afrika Sharif and I decided to day drink and see where we could end up. We drunk wandered all the way from Hollywood Western to West Hollywood for some nice shots before the sunset. The following is a poem I wrote later that night thinking about the human condition, captured by my expression in the photo above. Who Are We? Ordinary is all we seek Suppressed by praised silence Of virtual worlds we see and speak Thinking, not talking, of dreams and violence Old hopes decay in human dust Dropped on the floor in doubt Would soar before in self trust ‘Don’t listen to them’ my mangled mind shouts