We invite you to learn more about our regular contributors to the Burning Blog. To say that we are proud to have these individuals as part of our community would be a tremendous understatement.
Affinity, a Burner since 2000, was legally married on the Playa in 2001, was wedding coordinator and then training coordinator at Burning Man, before becoming the Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) Social Media Coordinator and an Advisory Board Member. An attorney, she served on the Board of Directors of the Western Pension and Benefits Conference. She interned with the Human Awareness Institute for 10 years, loves living in San Francisco and is a craft dilettante. She will write about BRAF, and how art is envisioned, produced, created, installed and its afterlife.
Summer Burkes has been attending Burning Man since 1998, where she first met the group of dusty DPW dirtbags she would come to call her family -- and then proceeded to participate in almost every non-sanctioned activity the Bad Kids are not allowed to talk about. Now a Perimeter/Gate worker, she still won't call herself a "Burner," but loves the Black Rock Desert and the creativity and community action that Burning Dude inspires in its participants. Back in the day, Summer wrote "Dilettante," a column in the San Francisco Bay Guardian in which she covered the city's diverse subcultural nightlife. When not working on novels and music and whatnot, she tours with SF's Heavy Pedal Cyclecide Bike Rodeo, a punk rock bicycle circus which salvages monster bikes from junkyards and boasts a pedal-powered carnival midway. Currently, in a new fit of inspiration, Summer moved to New Orleans and bought a "Katrina house" in the Lower Ninth Ward, which she plans to renovate using self-sustaining and apocalyptic methods of construction and maintenance. Someday, she will retire as a saucy lounge singer in the dive bars of NOLA. She also blogs here.
Will Chase is a member of Burning Man's Communications Department, where he acts as the High Priest of Propaganda for the Man. If you don't get that that's tongue-in-cheek, you're doing it wrong.
John Curley has been Burning since the relatively late date of 2004, and in 2008 he spent the better part of a month on the playa, documenting the building and burning of Black Rock City in words and pictures. John is a longtime newspaper person and spent many years at the San Francisco Chronicle, where he was a deputy managing editor in charge of Page One and the news sections of the paper. Since leaving the Chronicle in 2007, he was a contributing editor on Blue Planet Run, a book about the world's water crisis, and for the past two years has been a lecturer at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. He has also started an event and editorial photography business, and is also working on a book about the "Ten Dollar Doc" from Arco, Idaho, which will make a lovely film someday.
Erik Davis is a San Francisco-based writer, performance lecturer, and independent scholar who explores the intersection of technology, culture, and consciousness. He is the author, most recently, of The Visionary State: A Journey through California's Spiritual Landscape. His book TechGnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of Information is a cult classic of visionary media studies, and he also penned a short volume on Led Zeppelin's fourth album. He has been attending Burning Man sorta regularly since 1994, and became one of the first national journalists to cover the event. More recently, he penned the libretto for "How to Survive the Apocalypse," a Burning Man-inspired rock opera. He posts at techgnosis.com.
The night Molly Ditmore arrived at Burning Man 1998, she told everyone that she had come home. She didn't pack a flashlight or get any sleep. The playa, she said, opened her heart. She volunteered at Media Mecca for six years, where she handled press inquiries from the music community and hosted an art tour. Because of Burning Man she started sewing again and is now a couture pattern maker. Molly attended from 1998-2007 and is returning in 2009. She'll be blogging about practical matters, personal art projects and relationships. Her favorite drug is sleep.
As she entered her first Burning Man, the greeter said "You're a Firecracker, aren't you?" and she thereby took on that name, which perfectly suited her character. Firecracker comes out of the gates quickly and with enthusiasm, makes a loud pop and generally fizzles out, in most areas of her life. She began writing for newspapers at age fifteen, attended school in New England, and now resides in the San Francisco Bay Area as a full-time PR professional. She's been working on a novel for three years, is a terrible piano player, and an obsessive foodie who doesn't cook due to lack of dishwasher. She has supposedly been spotted around the Marina district wearing Polo shirts and pearls with her collar popped, but has also allegedly been seen on the playa wearing body paint and dancing to techno music. You be the judge.
Lee Gilmore blogs on her mainstay obsessions: culture, ritual, and spirituality. A Bay Area expat, she teaches Religion and Anthropology at California State University, Northridge and currently resides in LA. She is the author of Theater in a Crowded Fire: Ritual and Spirituality at Burning Man (forthcoming 2010) and co-editor (with Mark Van Proyen) of AfterBurn: Reflections on Burning Man (2005). While serving on the Media Team from 1997-2001, she met and married the father of her now 2-year old future Burner. She made her first pilgrimage to the playa in 1996 and hasn't been quite the same ever since.
Andie Grace is a member of the Burning Man Executive Committee and the manager of the Communications Department and the Regional Network - in plain English, that means she goes to an inordinate number of meetings. Her staff bio is here.
People have often described Jessica Hobbs as someone trying to lead a compulsively artistic life, which is more or less true. She started off her adventure in a small Sierra Foothill town and eventually meandered her way to the San Francisco Bay Area. Along the way Jess has worn many hats; running and creating community art programs, counseling teenagers, curating, exhibiting, designing, photographing and playing with some girls who love lipstick and accelerants. She is an MFA graduate from the San Francisco Art Institute and has been wandering and creating in the dust fest for well over a decade. She believes collaboration is key in community and art. This idea formally began with her collaborative performance work at UCSC and has continued to be a core element in her artistic practice. This core value can been seen in her collaborative project with Felecia Carlisle, Wedding Portraits created for SFAC's Art On Market Street Program, in her work directing the Crucible Steel Gallery at CELLspace, in her creations as a Flaming Lotus Girl and in her work wrangling the Shipyard Labs.
Jonesy Jones has been attending Burning Man since 1999. Jonesy's projects for Burning Man have included Spoon Return Center, Waffling Waystation, and participating in The BRC Dog and Gun Racing Team. He served as the San Diego Regional Contact from 2004-2005. Jonesy now resides in San Francisco, where he serves as the Artists' Advocate for the Burning Man Art Department and heads the Cafe Art Team. Jonesy has been with the Burning Man Special Events Team since 2005, serving as the layout coordinator and miscellaneous cat herder. He also publishes the weekly San Francisco Announcement regarding events in the Bay Area. Jonesy plans to write blogs regarding special local events and the people behind them.
Amani Loutfy comes to the burning blogosphere as a 2008 transplant to the Bay area, by way of a former life in Seattle. She's been involved in many projects, both on- and off-playa, from the Temple of Light, to the Machine, to Ze Arc of Hawaii, Pillow Fight Club, several iterations of Arson Island Resort, and beyond. A current resident of Gigsville, she brings a crusty and opinionated perspective on the burn. Amani has retired her megaphone in favor of the keyboard, but that doesn't mean you're going to shut her up any time soon.
Michael McHugh aka Nurse has been transatlanticly hopping for the past five years to attend that thing in the desert, both as a participant with European-based camps and volunteering for Black Rock City's Department of Public Works. He has attended the event since 2004, and has also joined forces with a legion of Euro peeps in hosting Nowhere, Euope's largest burn-inspired event, which takes place in Spain. In amongst a few decoms and regionals and working for the Man, he can usally be found in London's east end. Jump in the kool aids, lovely.
Kay Morrison is a Washington State girl. Born in Vancouver, WA, Kay moved to Seattle in 1995 and has been there ever since. Having no concept of what Burning Man was, she attended the event for the first time in 2000 and will be celebrating a decade of attendance in 2009. A Space Virgin for seven years, Kay more recently has hitched up with the Iron Monkeys Metal Collective and is now participating in creating scuptural steel pieces for the desert and the default world. Kay participates year-round in the Seattle Burner community as a Burning Man Regional Contact, she is also a founding member of Ignition Northwest, the Seattle Burner-based nonprofit organization which is entering its fifth year of supporting Burners, their events and their art in Seattle.
Mosbaugh aka Moze is a San Francisco heretic and writer who spends his time producing pornographic puppet shows, writing novels and dark fairy tales and building art installations to haul out to the desert. He's been on the Burning Man webteam since aught two and serves as section manager for the art and afterburn sections, deputy image wrangler and overall whatever you need kind of guy. Moze has the complete works of Shakespeare on his iPhone and he's written for Piss Clear, the YEP and has been blogging about Burning Man since blogs came into existence. The Nebulous Entity first beckoned him into the community and he's been returning to the dry lake bed ever since.
Tom Price is the Executive Director of Black Rock Solar. Prior to that he was the Environmental Manager for Burning Man during the Green Man theme, and was in the Gulf Coast for six months during the genesis of Burners Without Borders. He's been attending Burning Man since 1997, and he's proud to say that his decade plus streak of breaking down from sun stroke on the playa on day day three remains intact.
Meghan "Megs" Rutigliano has been burning since 2005. She is currently the full-time Regional Network and Media Relations Coordinator for the Burning Man Project. Meghan is co-anchor of an independent radio show called Shouting Fire News (www.shoutingfire.org) and works on playa at Media Mecca. Meghan is addicted to traveling and performing and is a seasoned singer, actress, and voice over personality. Meghan will be exploring the art, events and culture of various regional Burning Man communities in her blog posts.
Paul Showalter is part of the Burning Man tech team, focusing on making our computers a little bit smarter. He has made his own beer, computer controlled fire art, demographics matching engines and sourdough bread. He is currently working on the Fishbug project and his own copy of a reprap. Paul's single favorite thing to do is to bring out the nerd in people, and he will be exploring the science and technology at Burning Man.
Starting in San Francisco in the early 90's Reverend Billy Talen began to explore "a new kind of American preacher" - a post-religious one, but a good whooping preacher anyway, inspiring people toward a spiritual event that did not need the mediation of organized religions or other corporations. Moving to New York City, he preached on the sidewalks of Times Square, and found people clapping and singing along with him, and the choir grew to empower the message of resistance to Consumerism. They called themselves the Church of Stop Shopping. They came to Burning Man in 2003 ("Beyond Belief"), but many of the singers and musicians were longtime Burners. They were invited to perform on a stage built in the base of the Man that year. Two years later they gathered with Joan Baez and the jazz musicians of the playa to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Their hope is to continue to preach and sing against Consumerism, and for the Life After Shopping! Change-a-lujah!
Mark Van Proyen is Associate Professor of Painting and Art History at the San Francisco Art Institute. He is a widely published art critic specializing in northern California Art from 1945 to the present. With Lee Gilmore, he co-edited the Anthology titled Afterburn: Reflections on Burning Man (University of New Mexico Press) which came out in 2005. He was also one of the founding directors of the Black Rock Arts Foundation, and still remains on the Advisory Board of that organization.
Bex Workman is the Regional Network Administrator for Burning Man. She is fond of rubber chickens, clowns and pirates. Ye have been warned.