RADICAL CHANGE FOR BM

Share your views on the policies, philosophies, and spirit of Burning Man.
sparkletarte
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~

Post by sparkletarte » Mon Sep 13, 2004 8:50 am

Ooooh, I like the idea of a big opening ceremony!

Sam you are a nutball (this is meant in only the most affectionate way). I don't think it would change anything. The reason so many 'yahoos' (I have an issue with that but that's naother post) show up later in the week is it's the weekend! They would show up regardless of a burning man or not.

The man burn is not the highlight for me. I thought it was rather over-rated, although it was the only night I stayed up way past sunrise, but I think that would have happened anyways.

I did have an urge to set afire all of the mini-men I saw.

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Kiba
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Post by Kiba » Mon Sep 13, 2004 10:05 am

I hate to be contrary,... but I'm gonna. Okkay, that's a lie - I really like it.

I don't think BM needs to change at all. All these suggestions sound alright and good, but have a decreased scope of acceptance. Bottom line, the suggestions to change BM come from those who think it will be better for others that way. I strongly encourage people to rather than try and alter it, alter your perception and method of approach to BM. INVITE those frat-kids to tent and give them a feel of what BM is really about. I spent 3 (sober) hours conversating with a rip-roaring drunkard in my camp who didn't have the decency to let me speak (we got into it on the Iraqi war). The reason he didn't have the decency? He was incensed at the knowledge that a guy who he had grown up with was killed in a military convoy ambush. Now, at the time I wanted to tell him to get the %@#$ out of my camp, but I sat with him, talked with him, and gave him a little feel of what I define as the BM experience. Instead of kicking him out for who he was and what he was doing, I including him and shared my fruit. Will he be a better person for it? That depends on one's definition of better, but I guarantee he enjoyed himself more than if I said "Hey, get out". I may not have had the best time during that 3 hours, but is it really all about me?

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Badger
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Post by Badger » Mon Sep 13, 2004 11:06 am

I tend to think that what's important about a thread like this is the realization that none of us are going to resolve the myriad issues that the event faces as it matures and grows.

What can happen is that collectively one's input based on experience and observation can contribute to revealing patterns where not only problems lie but where the event still maintains resonance with a good number of us. We're all just looking at differing facets of the same soiled jewel. Kiba's post is a good example where personal interaction might very well affect change on a one-to-one basis. Others look at the blights (and brightness) from a larger perspective. Neither is right or wrong and all contribute to the dialogue. Having said all of that I think that there are some real questions to be layed at the feet of the Burning Man project concerning direction, scope, agenda, hopes, etc. If things remain the same I believe the static - the stasis - will in the end dissolve what I belive the event has been about for a good number of years. Change, real change, may in fact have to be radical in order to insure that some things don't about the event don't change. Hell, am I even making sense here? Off for coffee....
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Rob the Wop
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Post by Rob the Wop » Mon Sep 13, 2004 12:57 pm

OK, here's just a wee bit more sniveling and whining...

I've been on the Eplaya (or it's incarnations) since 97. You can pretty much go back in time and find the same threads popping up over and over again.

The BM is too X is one of the most rehashed items. I firmly believe the stasis you refer to is a matter of event attendee perception of 'participation'. As you go farther back on the boards, at least I noticed a change in the idea of participation. A common thread is the 'I brought nothing but costumes (or not even that) and I danced- that is participation'. As you go farther back in time on the board, you see more people rallying against that idea.

Plainly speaking- if enough people believe that this is the extent of participation- there would be no art, no theme camps, nothing of what makes BM unique, right? As the ratio of people that thinks simply showing up is the extent of participation- the ratio of peformance art, physcial art, gifts, and theme camps go down. In the 'kinder, gentler' BM, we tend to lose sight of the fact that WE build the city- and if you don't bring those things that you want to see, why should some other person? People tend to be more gentle and accepting of other people not bringing anything to enrich other's experiences. In my opinion, this trend in itself will be the deciding factor of when BM dies. IMO, this is the 'stasis' you refer to.

We need to find a way to remove this perception and get everyone to make at least a token effort at creating the city. I see the radical changes I suggested as a way of shoving participation down the throats of those attending. You would need to plan far ahead and, in the very least, be creative enough to think up an idea for a theme camp (whether you follow through or not). Less passive acceptance of the trend, more active resistance.
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Post by mamasaid » Mon Sep 13, 2004 4:24 pm

[quote]INVITE those frat-kids to tent and give them a feel of what BM is really about. I spent 3 (sober) hours conversating with a rip-roaring drunkard in my camp who didn't have the decency to let me speak (we got into it on the Iraqi war).[/quote]

thanks, Kiba. I hear you, and I wrote in another post elsewhere about this very issue. I'ts so typical to bitch about people who ain't as pure as us, ain't as this or that as us. (don't take us the wrong way, please...I ain't speaking for anyone by myself here...) Quite frankly, I'm really trying to purge myself of this way-too-easy mentality. No matter where you look, there will be someone not living up to my or you-alls standards.
It undoubtedly feels weird when you look around and you feel like, "Where are the REAL burners?" (whatever the fuck that means) What's going on here? That's the time to make some fucking noise, just start rallying and hollering, get extra freaky, speak in tounges or something. Either you'll strike a nerve of total fear and maybe they'll go home, or you might actually get someone to get into the freakzone and be unafraid to be themselves. If there was a point, is this not possibly one of them???

snarlsmilearrgh...
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Bring on the small anarchistic burns, please. the big one was sorely disappointing for me this year. couldn't see, too much blabber, people just walking right in front of you. but 3 hours after, i had a beautiful experience sitting by the fire mostly naked after most peeps were gone...
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Post by baubles » Mon Sep 13, 2004 4:57 pm

I agree with Tiahaar. Leave it alone. Everyone seems so caught up in the whole "frat boy" yahoos that we are going to change the whole event in order to keep them out. That doesn't really seem like the spirit of things.

There are a lot of Burners who just can't get out there any earlier. Someone is proposing we close the gates on all of them just to keep the frat boys out. I am a teacher, school is in for one or two weeks by the time BM starts. I am very fortunate that I can get away for the last 2 days of the week. I get out on the playa about 3:00am Thursday (after working Wednesday and flying across the country and driving out that evening). We have a theme camp (there is usually a small group of us out there already who have at least claimed our space) and we throw several events at our campsite thursday through saturday.

I would hate to be denied access because I couldn't get out there any sooner. I would hate to see that happen to anyone who wanted to be there.

I think we just have to roll with the times on this one. Imagine how Larry and his friends are laughing when they read this sort of stuff (okay, not that they read it, but...). I'm sure things changed pretty radically in the first ten years of Burning Man, and none of us might be there if they had made a bunch of rules deciding who, how, where, and when they wanted people to go.

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Gadg
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Jumping on the bandwagon...

Post by Gadg » Mon Sep 13, 2004 5:49 pm

I have to agree with Rob and Maldita... There is no "they" who are going to make the changes that you speak of... it's us. If there are changes to be made, you or me or we should make them. Burning Man is about coming up with fantastic ideas and then executing on them so let's not just talk about it, but let's make it happen.

So... if you don't like the burn of the man, create a burn of your own. I think that's a great idea. The burn of the man, while billed as the crescendo of the event, is little more than a collaborative work of playa art with great placement. Instead of knocking it, make it better. Better yet, make your own. The temple, in all of it's incarnations, is a good example of this. For many, the temple burn is much more meaningful than the burning of the man.

Kiba.. there's a lot to be said for you comments and I agree with you entirely. Thanks for making that effort. Like you, I had an epiphany this year that there's more than one way to deal with yahoos. Instead of trying to come up with a way to keep them out, perhaps it's up to us to show them what burning man is all about and turn them into good burners. Personally, I made a big effort this year to give to those who, at first glance, weren't necessarily deserving. In some cases, this was as easy as offering a playa gift to that person looking for the place to buy water or the guy ogling women in the hard rock cafe T-shirt. In other cases, it was initiating a meaningful conversation with that person sitting across from me and slipping in comments about how rewarding volunteerism is. While I don't fool myself into believing that everyone I interacted with with become the ideal burner, I am certain that a few of the connections made a positive and lasting impact. I just hope that others are willing to do the same.

-Gadg

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souldancer
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Post by souldancer » Wed Sep 15, 2004 8:50 pm

Fat SAM wrote:OK. This is not a "what's wrong" post. It's actually a "what can be changed to make things really different?" post.
Says so in the first line of this thread.

I had a freakin blast, and yes, although there were some bad vibes there, for the most part I didn't let them get to me. I looked at EVERYONE like they were "true burners", and didn't think twice about saying hello or hugging or giving a gift to someone because I thought they might be a "yahoo" or "frat boy". I noticed there were a lot more people by the end of the week, but I didn't think anything negative of it. I thought, "Yay, more people." True, my only negative experiences with other people happened towards the end of the week, but so what, I was at Burning Man! I'm having the time of my life, I'm not going to let some old guy "giving" away t-shirts if I do a sex toy demonstration for him bother me. (although he did give me a creepy vibe) I just moved on, without getting a t-shirt, and then hugged yet another random stranger.

I will attend Burning Man again and again and again, as long as there is one to attend. I LOVE IT! I loved giving gifts, and giving hugs and getting them. I loved meeting all these wonderful people. I loved the entire week, and didn't care I was like 50 rows of people back for the burn. Yes, we are there because one time in the mid 80's a man burned a wooden man on the beach. And so look what it's grown into. A beautiful, thriving community, that burns a man.

I still like the idea of burning the man on Monday though. Switch things up a bit. If you like the idea of forced participation...burn the man Monday, and don't even put up street signs...that would FORCE people to talk to each other, wouldn't it? "Where the hell am I, man?"

I actually like the ideas on this thread. Burning the man Monday, building mini-men, involving the "yahoo" types, "forced" participation (on occassion, you know, those who have gotten their citizenship are "allowed" to be spectators from time to time), etc. I think we all have some pretty good ideas. The mini-man idea is AWESOME though, and I would totally be down with building one of them. My husband and I have actually burned a mini-man before...but when I say mini I mean TINY...about 8 inches tall, and made out of toothpicks. It was fun.

Yeah, um, what was the point of my post? I have no idea. So goodnight. I love you, fellow burners.
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icebox
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Post by icebox » Wed Sep 15, 2004 9:03 pm

We love you too.

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geekster
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Post by geekster » Wed Sep 15, 2004 11:39 pm

So I just had an idea ...

Imagine regional events being held the SAME WEEK as burningman in Black Rock City ...

And all the events connected electronically ... sort of a Greater Global Playa

Interactive art where you are interacting with people at other events in other places in the world. It keeps the population at BRC down to a more manageable level, allows people to have a good experiance without having to go so far from home, yet all the events are connected.

Almost a Planet Playa idea where there is a main city at BRC, much like there is a capital city in a nation ... and smaller cities scattered out over the surface of the planet.

Walk up to a screen and see someone standing there looking at you, they see you standing there looking at them. They are in Europe and you are in BRC or maybe someplace else. People can talk to each other, send ideas back and forth, maybe for an impromptu parade or a prank that spans cities, who knows. Everything you can do without actually building a transporter between cities. Heck, a connected chill room where people can hang out together, separately. people can talk and tell jokes and maybe sing if the lag isnt too bad ... you know, crap like that.

Sorry, just a weird crazy assed idea.
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Gadg
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Post by Gadg » Thu Sep 16, 2004 12:12 pm

geekster wrote: Imagine regional events being held the SAME WEEK as burningman in Black Rock City ...

And all the events connected electronically ... sort of a Greater Global Playa
interesting idea, but remember, you can't email a hug.

-Gadg

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stuart
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Post by stuart » Thu Sep 16, 2004 12:24 pm

I saw 'burners' not 'yahoos' leaving trash all over my camp
I saw 'burners' not 'yahoos' turn BM into a meat market
I saw 'burners' not 'yahoos' using bullhorns to project their vitriol

you can burn the man any day of the week you want
you can close the gates any time you want
'burners' do sucky things too.
call me baby

sparkletarte
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~

Post by sparkletarte » Thu Sep 16, 2004 12:55 pm

My husband and I have actually burned a mini-man before...but when I say mini I mean TINY...about 8 inches tall, and made out of toothpicks. It was fun.
How cool is this! You are so keen! It's Rachel, right? Fatsammy's lady?

~

Yes stuart, true. If I have a megaphone next year, will you think less of me??? :(

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Post by peggyo » Thu Sep 16, 2004 2:43 pm

what about not knowing when he's gonna burn?


hee hee. think of the buzz it'll create when it starts and everyone rushes the playa!

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stuart
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Post by stuart » Thu Sep 16, 2004 3:06 pm

If I have a megaphone next year, will you think less of me??? :(
you would be on dangerous ground. Still, depends on what comes out of it.

My sister in law was going to get a monster one and follow around the abusers with nothing but positivity. Saying things like...

nice pants!
love your smile!
you're great!
pretty bike!
great camp!

etc.
call me baby

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Rob the Wop
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Post by Rob the Wop » Thu Sep 16, 2004 3:12 pm

A idea for a minor step in the right direction, I think.

Bringing newbies into the fold...an idea.
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Post by Bitterman » Thu Oct 14, 2004 12:28 am

:twisted:
ROB FOR MAYOR OF BLACK ROCK CITY! Goddammitt yer good!
Bah! Psshhh!

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robbidobbs
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Post by robbidobbs » Fri Oct 15, 2004 7:22 am

Bringing newbies into the fold...

I got to talk to a LOT of newbies this year. Because we had a 50% newbie population, this isn't surprising. Some just stared at me while I spewed forth about potty ettiquette, some were grateful for the education. A few volunteered to help. I believe that the majority see BM as something they want to be a part of, but are still too city-fied to break out of their pre-conceived notions on what's proper and what's not. When I would tell them what's not proper (baby-wipes in the potties), they would acknowlege this and wander off. It was when I invited them to truly help the Event, that they would jump at the chance to participate.
Examples: two girls who came into the event with nothing but a grocery cart and some necklace making supplies. They went around trading stuff to make their "living". I indoctorinated them into the Poop Patrol.
A newbie Israeli guy who didn't speak good english was collecting cans for Recycle Camp. I roped him in too.
A couple older gentlemen camped near a potty cluster had really nothing better to do than to look at the perty girls. They got in on my game cheerfully.
A young newbie chick accepted my invitation to be my sidekick for a day. She got a good education about what DPW's all about in the bargain, for she rode along with me at the DPW Parade. She got a good supply of beer too for her efforts.

Bottom line: newbies can be "tourists", or they can be Participants just waiting for an invitation to join in.

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geekster
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Post by geekster » Fri Oct 15, 2004 9:13 am

robbidobbs wrote:Bottom line: newbies can be "tourists", or they can be Participants just waiting for an invitation to join in.
I agree 100% with that. What Rob proposed was an easy way to get newbies involved culturally simply by having a little event aimed directly at them. Some activity specifically aimed at saying "hey, all you newbies, over here, we are going to do some cool shit and want you in on it!" if they decide to join in, they have a fun time if they don't ... so be it.

Thanks for giving the newbies a chance to participate with you. I am willing to bet that it made a big impact on their feel for the event. They probably felt like they were participants and did something important for the community while they were there. Awesome.
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swampdog
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hmmm

Post by swampdog » Fri Oct 15, 2004 5:26 pm

this occurred to me after reading this thread. I was a newbie this year, and I tried to hold my own in terms of participation, but I think of myself as art-impaired so it wasn't awe inspiring - I gave things away (booze, extra tarps, etc), helped other camps, made some mix cds to give away (don't tell ASCAP) and so forth and so on. I could have pushed myself a LOT harder, but I was somewhat timid and tentative.

The point is, one of the messages that I got from the BM web site was, "your smile and a hug might be your participation" and so on. Maybe that message needs to be toughened up a little. Maybe newbies have to be challenged a little more in upfront communications. I was quite intimidated by the "how to prepare" stuff for survival type gear and worked really hard to be sure I was ready (and ended up over prepared in some ways), but maybe a little intimidation on the participation front would also be good.

It's a hard balance, maybe a little more pressure there would have scared off good people who are an asset to the community, and supposing that pure yahoos would pay any attention at all is a bit optimistic. But I think some guidance for the art-impaired in ways to participate artistically might help.

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Post by diane o'thirst » Fri Oct 15, 2004 7:06 pm

The Shah of Furbackistan said:
  • Close the gates on Wednesday. If you can't make the commitment, then sorry- but it's just not meant to be for you that year.
  • Sell NO tickets at the gates, ever. Put a cap on tickets sales to- say 24k people.

I'd say close the gates Thursday/Friday midnight and don't sell tickets at the gate. Will-call only. This could also serve as a security measure; no cash being handled, no cash-drops needed.

  • Make and enforce a 'silent zone' of a couple pie slices of the event. Mark up the silent zones on the street signs so there are no excuses when their plugs get pulled.


I just started a thread addressing that very issue. See "West-planade?"
  • You must be listed as being part of a theme camp when you buy your ticket, and the camp must be on a list. Newbies, don't whine on this one- simply MAKE A FUCKING CAMP AND PRE-REGISTER IT.
[/b]

Or join an established camp.
  • Cut WAY back on the grants.
[/b]

They gave out grants as usual this year, but there was a dearth of art anyway. I think if they stopped giving grants, the art would disappear.
  • Remove all vending from Center Camp. This forms a dependancy that removes self-reliance. I blew my mind that they were selling everything from lattes to Gatoraid this year. Turn Center Camp back into a performance art/chill space.
[/b]

Hear, Hear!!
  • No kids. I know this one will piss a number of folks off, but the local LEO and BLM have a 'lever' on us due to children attendance. They can imposed 'morality', which -as we well know- is very interpretive. An 18 or older age limit means never having to hide anything, regardless of it's nature.
[/b]

"For The Children!" has been used to devastating effect, but I think if we barred kids we'd get more fratboys. They'd say, "Oh look, there's no kids, there'll be even more sex and boozing it up and drugs, let's go!"
[url=http://tinyurl.com/245sagf][img]http://tinyurl.com/2bbr28j/.gif[/img][/url][url=http://tinyurl.com/23753ws][img]http://tinyurl.com/2auqebj/.gif[/img][/url][url=http://tinyurl.com/m4y82q][img]http://tinyurl.com/l56rdn/.gif[/img][/url]

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diane o'thirst
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Post by diane o'thirst » Fri Oct 15, 2004 9:05 pm

So while we're on the subject of culture-jamming the Burn...here's an idea.

Have a big art burn every night. Have seven separate large installations on the order of the Temple and Pepe's towers scattered around the Playa, and burn one each night.

I loved the idea of the Wheel of Time "tour" around the Playa back in '99. A bunch of big burns culminating in the Opera. I missed it unfortunately because I was in the Opera and we spent all night getting ready, but that would have seriously rocked to participate in a tour of that scope. A thousands-strong kaffeeklatsch! Why didn't they stick with that?
[url=http://tinyurl.com/245sagf][img]http://tinyurl.com/2bbr28j/.gif[/img][/url][url=http://tinyurl.com/23753ws][img]http://tinyurl.com/2auqebj/.gif[/img][/url][url=http://tinyurl.com/m4y82q][img]http://tinyurl.com/l56rdn/.gif[/img][/url]

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Post by geekster » Fri Oct 15, 2004 9:12 pm

diane o'thirst wrote:So while we're on the subject of culture-jamming the Burn...here's an idea.

Have a big art burn every night. Have seven separate large installations on the order of the Temple and Pepe's towers scattered around the Playa, and burn one each night.
I hear that something VERY close to that is in the works ... stay tuned.
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saturday is the way

Post by typewriter » Wed Oct 27, 2004 4:26 pm

We look at him all week.

He is our beacon, and our idol (oh yes).

The only constant in a swirling mosaic.

Knowledge of his impending burn rings in our minds all week : "death is inevitable"

He gathers us together, unstably packed in a small area. Critical mass is surpassed.

Then everything explodes.

Completely encircled by color.

Realization : man is uneccesary
I pledge allegiance to the flame
Of the united camps of BlackRock
And to the autonomy for which it stands
One nation, under the influence
With liberty and dust storms for all

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Badger
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Post by Badger » Wed Oct 27, 2004 7:41 pm

What Rob proposed was an easy way to get newbies involved culturally simply by having a little event aimed directly at them.
More importantly what Rob's done is to remind all of us that there's many a good idea just waiting to happen out there.
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Post by sputnik » Wed Oct 27, 2004 8:07 pm

I just looked through this thread and see all this talk about building and burning an alternative man. I've been talking with my friends about 'pissing man'. Somewhere near the man, back to it, head down a bit with a neon stream to the playa. Build it like the man, but slightly off.

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Alpha
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Post by Alpha » Wed Oct 27, 2004 8:12 pm

And that, in my opinion, should be the guerrilla theme for 2005. Take back the burn, grass-roots style!

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Post by Rob the Wop » Wed Oct 27, 2004 8:45 pm

Alpha wrote:And that, in my opinion, should be the guerrilla theme for 2005. Take back the burn, grass-roots style!
I too, advocate a gorilla theme. All attendees must be in a gorilla suit at all times or they must sit in the Comfy Chair!

Viva la cacophony!
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Alpha
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Post by Alpha » Wed Oct 27, 2004 8:51 pm

Image

NEXT YEAR

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Post by geekster » Wed Oct 27, 2004 9:01 pm

Alt-Man isn't a bad idea ... Alt-Theme too while you're at it. Can he wear a pink tutu? As for a theme suggestion, I think Yogi Berra said it best when he said "The future ain't what it used to be."
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