Theme Camps that were NOT!

Whether you're a registered theme camp or not this is the place to discuss and share camp plans, find a camp to join, or recruit new campmates.
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Dr Helix
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Theme Camps that were NOT!

Post by Dr Helix » Fri Sep 06, 2013 12:52 pm

Pulled this definition of Theme Camps from the BM site:
THEME CAMPS

Theme camps are the interactive core of Burning Man." Harley K. DuBois, Burning Man's Director of Community Services & Playa Safety Council, hesitated a second. "I hate to call this a rule, but if I have to have one it's simple: A theme camp must be participatory." It's a playful challenge to the vast reductive desert landscape, an expansion of the infectious celebratory nature of the event. "The camps keep getting bigger and better, more thought-out and polished. But," she spoke firmly now, "you always welcome anybody and everybody." We offer some guidelines to help you plan your project.

Your theme camp should create an ambience, a visual presence, in some way provide a communal space or provide activity. It may be the anchor for a larger event taking place. The best camps succeed by simplicity. Concepts that are too big, like scholarly attempts to debunk complex social theory or Titanic-length storytelling arcs, will die from disinterest. Harley shrugs and says, "People walk in and they just don't get it."

Well based on the above definition there were at least two camps on my block (7:00 to 7:30 and C) that did not qualify in the least. They held no events, and were virtually closed off to the public. One group freely admitted they were "freeloading" on a theme camp space, as they had been included so the camp could ask for more space. How do these people get theme camp space? And is there a way to report them so they can fix the problem or be denied camp status?
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Re: Theme Camps that were NOT!

Post by VultureChow » Fri Sep 06, 2013 12:57 pm

Just because you are a theme Camp or village, does not mean that every square inch of real estate, or even frontage must be a publicly accessible camp.
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Re: Theme Camps that were NOT!

Post by Dr Helix » Fri Sep 06, 2013 1:03 pm

Sure. But there has to be SOMETHING that defines it as a theme camp. So when you see a trailers thrown across the front as a barrier, nothing even remotely trying to define what it is, and nary a welcoming activity in sight, you start to wonder.
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Re: Theme Camps that were NOT!

Post by lemur » Fri Sep 06, 2013 1:04 pm

our neighbors in center camp..... colloquially known as 'fuck you [name redacted] camp' .....didnt [do their interactive thing] one time all week long, as far as we could tell, and as far as one of the people from the camp said..

all they did was the "camp" part.

its a bummr when ya see that!

cuz here we are working and having a manned bar and 8000sq foot public space with a kickass retractable shade over the 2nd story viewing platform open to the public 21.5 hours a day and ..and... and then right next door someone who signed up and was obliged to do junk does nothing..

its understandable things may not come out as planned, problems happen.... logistics fall to shit... but that is the job of running a camp, to prepare, to make plans, to avoid it.

it feels like some example people either: A. didnt give a shit and didnt plan to do much. And/or B. didnt plan very well and ended up unable to do anything due to not making sure they could git er' done.


these dead camps are a drain on resources (at least in this area of the city they are on 'the grid') and space that coulda been used by someone who was actually gonna kick ass.
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Re: Theme Camps that were NOT!

Post by VultureChow » Fri Sep 06, 2013 1:20 pm

That's a shame. Even Kentucky Fried Camp (who had all of their gear stolen on their way out there) managed to put something together.

Plaza and center camp placed camps especially should be bringing their A game.
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Re: Theme Camps that were NOT!

Post by Nipple » Fri Sep 06, 2013 1:22 pm

VultureChow wrote:That's a shame. Even Kentucky Fried Camp (who had all of their gear stolen on their way out there) managed to put something together.

Plaza and center camp placed camps especially should be bringing their A game.
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Re: Theme Camps that were NOT!

Post by illy dilly » Fri Sep 06, 2013 1:36 pm

FWIW Art, MV, and Department support camps are typically "placed" in the theme camp shaded areas. Ya never know what a camp might have going on else where on the Playa. The MV support camps are easy to spot... cause they often have an MV rolling in and out of camp.

One year we were placed next to a theme camp whos theme was to be mechanics and provide mechanical and tow support. Mostly for MVs but also other vehicles on Playa. They tried to dress up their truck a bit, but mostly it was just a big truck with a ton of tools and general parts. Mind you, we were back on G where placement requirements are different than Center Camp, Esplanade, etc.
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Re: Theme Camps that were NOT!

Post by lemur » Fri Sep 06, 2013 1:47 pm

sure!.. not all placed camps are interactive. (by design of the placers who put them there)



but out of roughly 1000 placed camps theres surely quite a few deadbeats in that list.
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Re: Theme Camps that were NOT!

Post by Dr Helix » Fri Sep 06, 2013 2:27 pm

VultureChow wrote:That's a shame. Even Kentucky Fried Camp (who had all of their gear stolen on their way out there) managed to put something together.

Plaza and center camp placed camps especially should be bringing their A game.

My camp, Interaction Café also had their truck stolen with our entire camp inside. We received incredible support from other camps around us (kitchen gear, shade structures etc.), managed to put a very respectable camp back together and did all our planned activities. Thanks to all who helped. You are amazing!
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Re: Theme Camps that were NOT!

Post by Savannah » Fri Sep 06, 2013 8:32 pm

Dr Helix wrote: Your theme camp should create an ambience, a visual presence, in some way provide a communal space or provide activity. It may be the anchor for a larger event taking place. The best camps succeed by simplicity. Concepts that are too big, like scholarly attempts to debunk complex social theory or Titanic-length storytelling arcs, will die from disinterest. Harley shrugs and says, "People walk in and they just don't get it."

Well based on the above definition there were at least two camps on my block (7:00 to 7:30 and C) that did not qualify in the least. They held no events, and were virtually closed off to the public. One group freely admitted they were "freeloading" on a theme camp space, as they had been included so the camp could ask for more space. How do these people get theme camp space?
By over-promising.
And is there a way to report them so they can fix the problem or be denied camp status?
Sure. If you're certain by looking at the map that a camp was 1) within a placed zone, and 2) contributed nothing all week based on your own observation (&/or their being foolish enough to tell you) you can write to placement(at)burningman(dot)com and tell them about it.

I recommend stating just the facts as you witnessed them with your own eyes & ears, and not sounding either like a disgruntled person with a bone to pick (credibility fail!) or as if you blame Placement personally and want answers. (They seem to work their asses off, and I'm guessing they do their absolute best with the info camps give them + past history.)
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Re: Theme Camps that were NOT!

Post by CapSmashy » Sun Sep 08, 2013 3:05 pm

What a curiously poignant thread based on an interaction we had with a neighbor across the street this year.

Myself and Dr Jet had just settled in on the roof of the bus in preparation of watching the Man burn and do security overwatch on the camp/village while most everyone else went out to play. From behind us we hear "Excuse me." We look behind us and one of the people from across the way is standing at our fence looking a bit peevish. "Hi." says Dr Jet.

"So what do you do?"

"What?"

"Your theme camp. What do you do?"

In jest, Dr Jet replies "We're a sparkle pony camp, we look good but don't really do a lot." with the appropriate smile and a chuckle. Across the street neighbor was having none of it and obviously not in any kind of good mood. He goes on to expound upon how much shit they get from placement over 'stepping it up' every year and starts going on about their mutant vehicle, playa bar, etc. apparently not being enough to satisfy placement. He and Dr Jet went back a forth a little over stuff and he simply did not get the concept of a theme camp receiving placement based more on aesthetics vs interaction. He also did not seem to realize that we were one camp in a village of 3 other camps that all ran bars of some fashion and provided visual setups as well instead of the wall of RV's, campers and car ports with cardboard signs that seem to dominate the theme camp rows these days.

I found myself getting annoyed by this interrogation as I really just wanted to enjoy sitting up here with my awesome lady and enjoy our evening. And of course, the potential chance of swoopng down like a ninja spider monkey onto some undesirables looking for a five finger discount in our camp areas.

I hoped I did not come across as being surly or annoyed when I chimed in with: "We have a lot of volunteers in our camp as well. Gate, DPW, DMV. Organized activities do not necessarily line up with all the schedules our people have while they are busy keeping things running in the city."

Dr Jet: "So we can't really run a bar or things like that, but we do have a mutant vehicle that goes out 2 or 3 times a day."

"Oh, so a lot of volunteers. That makes sense."

Dr Jet: "That's why we are more of a visual camp."

"Well I think real ponies look better than this." He was obviously not a fan of our set up. Dr Jet wrapped up the conversation quickly after that.

When we told others about our conversation, we had to calm down a few of our village mates that got pretty pissed off over it.

For reference, our camp at night.
Image
Image

Yes, part of what we do is light up the street from sundown until at least 3 or 4 in the morning. Street lights are usually up and running by Saturday night before gate.

Now, did we bring it as nice as we have in years past? No. But we were also short about half of our regular campers because default issues made their journey to the dust with us impossible this year. Our feedback from placement has always been positive and the 3 different placers we have worked with over the years have always commented on our street lights and frontage being awesome. The frontage across the street was the typical camper/car port/rv view you see so often in the theme camp areas these days.
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Re: Theme Camps that were NOT!

Post by GreyCoyote » Sun Sep 08, 2013 3:15 pm

You had far more patience than I could have managed.

Next time tell them you are here to "suck it". And if they want to start any "shit", tell them you are well-armed. :mrgreen:

Playawaste Raiders, you guys ROCK!
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Re: Theme Camps that were NOT!

Post by CapSmashy » Sun Sep 08, 2013 4:30 pm

I was feeling extra "organic" and happy that evening. :mrgreen:
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Re: Theme Camps that were NOT!

Post by BBadger » Sun Sep 08, 2013 6:09 pm

I wonder if the guy-across-the-street just wasn't producing something of noticeably good quality, or had some illusions about what they brought to the table/playa?

From my own camp, I remember how one year our camp was once again trying for placement, having been denied in previous years. The guy who organizes our camp mentioned the application form, and I asked to see it to help with any wording or other stuff that might build a good case.

So I look at it, and quite frankly it's pretty damn lame. Big on the list: 1) a Thursday-night party where we have the regular booze, some music, and people can join us; 2) our Thursday-day bike ride around the city where we ride around and "meow" at people (we're a cat-themed camp), 3) sporadically bringing a mutant vehicle, but a 2-seater. Quite frankly I wouldn't have even applied with that portfolio. Okay, yeah, we had fun with those things, but as far as real "interaction" or bringing something to the party... well, not so much. I actually loved our camp out at the I-ring that year.

The subsequent year I think we got placement because we had a public MV that rode around the playa, but who knows? (the camp coordinator was actually surprised we got it that time). We also had a grilled cheese cookout which was a last-moment idea. In the end, I'd sometimes rather not be placed and have our random events and low-key interaction, than get bent out of shape trying to get things just right for placement.

But I wonder what about that guy-across-the-street, whether the kingdom he built was really not that impressive by objective standards? Were they simple single-day events? Was that MV just a camp-MV like some of ours were at times? Some people just don't seem to get it.
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Re: Theme Camps that were NOT!

Post by Savannah » Sun Sep 08, 2013 6:21 pm

*makes casual note of meowing bike rides*
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Re: Theme Camps that were NOT!

Post by CapSmashy » Mon Sep 09, 2013 8:51 am

BBadger wrote:But I wonder what about that guy-across-the-street, whether the kingdom he built was really not that impressive by objective standards? Were they simple single-day events? Was that MV just a camp-MV like some of ours were at times? Some people just don't seem to get it.
I never saw them doing much other than sitting in the shade outside their camper all week looking glum. They may have been part of the big bar/MV on the corner though. It held a lot of people, but I never saw it leave camp without it being full of people on departure. Now, whether that was all camp members from that camp always filling the seats or pre-arranged excursions, I do not know. I am choosing not to name names here as I do not want to make any erroneous assumptions on who they belonged to or were speaking for.

Our MV was the Shuttlecraft Galileo. There were several times we went on away missions stuffed to the dilithium chambers with villagemates, but there were also several times only a few of us cruised out of camp and spent half the day/night picking people up for playa rides. If we had room, we always stopped and picked people up.
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Re: Theme Camps that were NOT!

Post by Nipple » Mon Sep 09, 2013 11:24 am

What really pissed me off about those big lit up camps like MASH and Playawaste Raiders, is that it ruined my ability slink by with a gallon of urine in my hand under cover of darkness.

Way to highlight my shame, guys. Good job.

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Re: Theme Camps that were NOT!

Post by Savannah » Mon Sep 09, 2013 11:31 am

Nipple wrote:What really pissed me off about those big lit up camps like MASH and Playawaste Raiders, is that it ruined my ability slink by with a gallon of urine in my hand under cover of darkness.

Way to highlight my shame, guys. Good job.
I think my pee bottle next year will be covered with huge psychedelic flowers, LED lights, and some large print reading, "NOT AT ALL PEE".
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Re: Theme Camps that were NOT!

Post by CapSmashy » Mon Sep 09, 2013 12:14 pm

Nipple wrote:What really pissed me off about those big lit up camps like MASH and Playawaste Raiders, is that it ruined my ability slink by with a gallon of urine in my hand under cover of darkness.

Way to highlight my shame, guys. Good job.
:mrgreen:

Happy to help.
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Re: Theme Camps that were NOT!

Post by facefetish » Wed Sep 18, 2013 7:47 am

I actually was turned away from many places/...It was my first time, I was alone, I didn't know what to expect but i know what I expected ad I didn't get it....it was however the most lifechanging experience of my life...radical self reioance, I DID it in the deep desert...It was AWESOME!!

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Re: Theme Camps that were NOT!

Post by trilobyte » Wed Sep 18, 2013 8:12 am

If you felt a placed camp was somehow not meeting/exceeding the criteria, or doing something that they shouldn't have, you should send an email to placement@burningman.com with your feedback. Remember, though, some camps that are placed are art support camps or internal department camps. Feedback about that or any other aspect of Burning Man could also be sent to feedback@burningman.com.

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Re: Theme Camps that were NOT!

Post by Simon of the Playa » Wed Sep 18, 2013 8:46 am

GreyCoyote wrote:You had far more patience than I could have managed.

Next time tell them you are here to "suck it". And if they want to start any "shit", tell them you are well-armed. :mrgreen:

Playawaste Raiders, you guys ROCK!



i was making meth ALL week inside my tent and handing it out to our neighbors...

You can't get more interactive than that.


Tweaksgiving Dinner was great, BTW....
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Re: Theme Camps that were NOT!

Post by tattoogoddess » Wed Sep 18, 2013 2:53 pm

CapSmashy wrote: Now, did we bring it as nice as we have in years past? No. But we were also short about half of our regular campers because default issues made their journey to the dust with us impossible this year. Our feedback from placement has always been positive and the 3 different placers we have worked with over the years have always commented on our street lights and frontage being awesome. The frontage across the street was the typical camper/car port/rv view you see so often in the theme camp areas these days.

Excuse me? What is wrong with car ports being used in a theme camp? They get the basics taken care of.. Shade. They are quick to put up, provide a lot of shade for little money. I'm sorry you think camps that use ese are some hpw inferior to yours. But bottom line, that's pretty asshole-ish for you to say that. We are a highly interactive camp. We run a bar that served thousands all week and we both work for DMV pre event and during the event.
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Re: Theme Camps that were NOT!

Post by maladroit » Wed Sep 18, 2013 3:29 pm

tattoogoddess wrote:
CapSmashy wrote: Now, did we bring it as nice as we have in years past? No. But we were also short about half of our regular campers because default issues made their journey to the dust with us impossible this year. Our feedback from placement has always been positive and the 3 different placers we have worked with over the years have always commented on our street lights and frontage being awesome. The frontage across the street was the typical camper/car port/rv view you see so often in the theme camp areas these days.

Excuse me? What is wrong with car ports being used in a theme camp? They get the basics taken care of.. Shade. They are quick to put up, provide a lot of shade for little money. I'm sorry you think camps that use ese are some hpw inferior to yours. But bottom line, that's pretty asshole-ish for you to say that. We are a highly interactive camp. We run a bar that served thousands all week and we both work for DMV pre event and during the event.
I believe the good Captain was specifically talking about frontage, in that a theme camp might present to the street only the closed side walls of carports, RVs, and campers, rather than anything welcoming or artistic.

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Re: Theme Camps that were NOT!

Post by tattoogoddess » Wed Sep 18, 2013 3:36 pm

Our frontage on the corner of 3 and f was car ports.... Why is this a bad thing or shamed!?
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Re: Theme Camps that were NOT!

Post by Jackass » Wed Sep 18, 2013 3:39 pm

Please. Take. Deep. Breath.

Not every comment on this board is aimed directly at your forehead.

Just sayin
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Re: Theme Camps that were NOT!

Post by maladroit » Wed Sep 18, 2013 3:44 pm

I doubt anyone would really care about blocked frontage back on F ring. There are a lot of support and non-theme-camps there. Up in A through D, it might be bad taste to completely box in your theme camp so that, even if you do have a bar buried in there, there's no obvious way to get to it without feeling intrusive. If you had four carports on B road and three of them were creating walls to the frontage but one of them was open to the road and obviously a bar or public chill or performance area, I doubt anyone would complain that you weren't being interactive.

Again, no one is saying carport owners are scum, but that some people get upset that a theme camp gets good placement and early arrival in return for providing something to the community, but then some of them appear to create a walled compound.

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Re: Theme Camps that were NOT!

Post by trilobyte » Wed Sep 18, 2013 4:05 pm

There is nothing wrong with carports, or with RV's, or any other kind of structure or vehicle. Where things can be problematic is when people use the placement and orientation of their structures and vehicles to 'build a fortress' and create exterior walls or blocking out the neighbors, or when they take up big chunks of a theme camp's frontage. Every case and situation is unique, and in reviewing feedback sent to the placement team if there was a camp they had an issue with, they'd reach out to the camp leader in question to find out more information.

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Re: Theme Camps that were NOT!

Post by Dr Helix » Wed Sep 18, 2013 4:14 pm

Nothing wrong with carports at all. We use 4 as our frontage, stacked side by side and just use a low white tarp piece so you can see in. It's the basis for our restaurant, The Interaction Café. The were various structures along our street and they all worked to some degree. Except one, who did "fortress" themselves in.
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Re: Theme Camps that were NOT!

Post by TomServo » Wed Sep 18, 2013 6:22 pm

trilobyte wrote:There is nothing wrong with carports, or with RV's, or any other kind of structure or vehicle. Where things can be problematic is when people use the placement and orientation of their structures and vehicles to 'build a fortress' and create exterior walls or blocking out the neighbors, or when they take up big chunks of a theme camp's frontage. Every case and situation is unique, and in reviewing feedback sent to the placement team if there was a camp they had an issue with, they'd reach out to the camp leader in question to find out more information.
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