negative forums and the experience itself

Share your pictures and video. Tell us about the sights, sounds, and scents, as well as the rumors and truths found at Burning Man.
sarcastica
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negative forums and the experience itself

Post by sarcastica » Tue Sep 05, 2006 7:49 pm

I'm just back and have been logging and reading many of the experiences you had at our "counter culture" experiment called Burningman. Seems there is much work to do with respect to human interaction on the playa. Let me say this, this is not my first burn, rather as I count it is either 10 or 11. Back when it was 4000 people it was in fact a "counter culture" experience, a community. We had no stolen bikes, no rapes, no fights, very little direspect of persons, few creeps with cameras, video or other, shooting pics to whack to after the event (c'mon you jackasses put the fucking cameras away at critical tits, shit I'll give you the 4 bucks for a porno mag to spank your poor little useless peepees to) and few drunken judgemental pinheads. We now have 40,000 people and our experience has turned into a "hey, lets go to buringman, get shit faced and look at all the naked women. We have changed from a "counter culture experience with few rules to a party with more rules every year. Someone once said "self government without self disipline will not work". This we are finding to be true. The organizers will have to continue to restrict and govern our little experiment unless we of the true spirit of Black Rock City find a way to self govern. Case in point, video cameras used to be ok, not any more. How much longer are the women of Black Rock City going to be allowed the freedom to express themselves as they please without being subject to constant unwanted photography? How about this bike mess? Go to the burns sunday night? I must have tripped over 3 or 4 bikes right up front because people could not be more than 5 feet from their bike. Park the damn bike away from the front so all of us can have a view of the burn. I have yet to see a bike with functioning eyes so maybe you could put the damn thing somewhere besides right up front. My point to all of this rant is to ask for help and suggestions as to how to keep the event from further decline. Please feel free to post any and all comments. Journey in peace.

Abductor
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Post by Abductor » Tue Sep 05, 2006 8:11 pm

As a first-timer I had a great time and I wanted to say that some of us "got it", I felt like I really loved the experience and I tried to be a good citizen of Black Rock, as did my old and new friends.

I'm especially crestfallen to read the thread on rapes and assaults on women and I would love to see some kind of solution to that problem. How does one solve that problem without lots of cops?

Are there events or cities that have overcome these problems that the event is now plagued with?

I have one suggestion: Might the festival attract fewer assholes if it weren't on Labor Day Weekend? Are most of the attacks by college age men? Perhaps it should be a week when most university students are in school? This idea may or may not suck, just a thought.

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Steel Kitty
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ugh

Post by Steel Kitty » Wed Sep 06, 2006 7:47 am

well, I have to agree with you. As a functioning city of 40,000, you do not have the safety and security you once did when there were only 4000 people -- partly because you knew someone who knew someone else who knew that person that did whatever. I went to a small college in VA, and it was exactly like that --- self policing, since there were only 4000 of us.. you knew, or knew of, the person committing the shameful act.

This topic came up in our camp, as I'm sure it has in others. This isn't bitching but rather, a discussion:

Keep Burning Man closed after Thursday. You'd virtually eliminate the weekend warriors who drive in an RV on Friday night, stay till Sunday morning (dump out your grey water next to our camp) and then leave. We've basically made it convenient to NOT CARE. You eliminate the planning and resource management that goes into this event.

Critical Tits should be unannounced, or announced on Tuesday by word of mouth, and should be out on the open Playa away from camp. Give the women a special wristband, have them meet past the fence and let them ride out into the open, guarded by a few ranger trucks. let the gawking men with telephoto lenses (who cannot LEAVE) try to find them and/or take photos. This is a very empowering event for women and it really needs the protection of all BM participants.

Re: Bikes. You don't think yours will be stolen, but it's a long walk from the back fence when someone decides they don't want to walk home. I've started bringing a bike lock (which SUCKS, but it's a necessity)
Life isn't about arriving at the grave well preserved, but rather, sliding in sideways yelling "Holy Shit, what a ride!"

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Post by transgirl » Wed Sep 06, 2006 10:12 am

Locking up the entrance after Thursday is a great idea.

Abductor
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Post by Abductor » Wed Sep 06, 2006 10:26 am

Here's a good one: Burning Man Corporation needs to divert police actions away from drug use and more toward protecting the women.

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Post by Ugly Dougly » Wed Sep 06, 2006 10:27 am

We are baboons, or haven't you noticed?

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Post by Dork » Wed Sep 06, 2006 10:38 am

Abductor wrote:Here's a good one: Burning Man Corporation needs to divert police actions away from drug use and more toward protecting the women.
We had an incident across the road and the Pershing County police came in full force to deal with it. I was impressed with how they handled the situation. It was after the fact, though, and the only reason the guy was caught was he remained passed out longer than the woman the next morning. I don't see what they could have possibly done to prevent the incident. Are they going to check every drink and food item that is handed out to a woman at night? Impossible. Are they going to verify every man getting into a tent with a woman is not taking advantage of her in some way? Impossible. Education and looking out for each other is the only way to prevent things.

Abductor
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Post by Abductor » Wed Sep 06, 2006 11:27 am

I was actually talking about what I've read here, that there are burning man staff devoted to looking for drug use in the camps? just seems to me they could be applied toward the most serious threats to well-being. But your point is taken.

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Post by Myliatronic » Wed Sep 06, 2006 12:17 pm

I had an amazing experience this year, as I did last year, and wouldnt trade it for anything in the world. I love my city, and the people in it. Because of this, I am concerned about the things you speak of sarcastica.

I believe wholeheartedly in the idea of radical inclusion, but come Friday and Saturday it becomes somewhat dangerous for a small young woman like myself to behave the way I do earlier in the week. I tried to be as open and friendly as possible, and it got me groped, sucked on, and kissed by 3 pushy disrespectful men who thought it would just be alright to move in on me even though I had made no signal, verbal or otherwise, that this was okay. I was also approached by a very very creepy man who I was fairly sure was a predator. If I was a less assertive preson, or more naive, I very easily could have been raped. My campmate also had his bike stolen.

There was much discussion in our camp about these things, and we all agreed that something must be done about it if Burningman is to thrive in the longrun. In my opinion, closing the gates Thursday night would do wonders for the health of the community without creating more restrictive rules or excluding newcomers. If anyone reads this thread who gets to make those desicions, please consider this option!

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Post by ubu » Wed Sep 06, 2006 12:47 pm

Myliatronic wrote: I believe wholeheartedly in the idea of radical inclusion, but come Friday and Saturday it becomes somewhat dangerous for a small young woman like myself to behave the way I do earlier in the week. I tried to be as open and friendly as possible, and it got me groped, sucked on, and kissed by 3 pushy disrespectful men who thought it would just be alright to move in on me even though I had made no signal, verbal or otherwise, that this was okay. I was also approached by a very very creepy man who I was fairly sure was a predator. If I was a less assertive preson, or more naive, I very easily could have been raped.
If I had seen any kind of behavior like that I would have stopped those men right away. You said it, Mylia, we have to be strong, and we have to be forthright. We do not have to be nice, or even like each other. Truth told, however, is that the early burningman had bigger, freakier, freaks and worse predators, gun nuts, and out and out outlaws than it does now. We were big enough to handle any freaks ourselves in thoses days. Burning man is a little less for not having the super wierdos and fire farmers of old, in some ways. A little less for us not being able to say yes we can handle you as well, we can coexist, as adversaries if need be.

You learn to be strong. You learn how to negotiate. How to talk down the violent and the stupid. Those are good things to learn.

One big guy slapped a girl on the ass in front of me and she almost kicked me. I grabbed the guy and made him apologize to her. He did. and he even thanked me for it later. I was prepared to be his adversary if need be. not a problem. I acknowledge him. I note my indifference to his plight and my distaste for his manner.

Beware the petite woman. If you know anything about women, you know that they are the strongest of spirits.
Many a man has been fooled by a petite, outer form.

The most fearsome of the animals to the very violent Aztecs was the little hummingbird, otherwise known and the black god of the third black sun. beware. be aware.

I am thankful to still be alive. Even if you have your shit together out on the playa, other people and their lack of awareness are a huge liability.

Beware. Be aware.
ta epi ta

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Post by Eric » Wed Sep 06, 2006 1:13 pm

The Burning Man Corp can only do so much to prevent this sort of stuff- and for a city of it's size the crime statistics are probably much lower than anywhere else comparable in the US for a week- esp. for a place with so much nudity, alcohol & drugs.

That said, if we the participants are unhappy with the way things are heading, then we ourselves, not the BORG, need to find ways to fix it. If you want change, make it happen. Come up with ideas, get the word out, spread new ways to deal with these issues.

It can even be something simple- if you're concerned, why not gift women "back-off" whistles? Simple, and a loud shrill whistle will definitely attract the attention of people near by.

"Safe-Camps"? Display a placard in front of your camp that says it's a safe zone for someone feeling threatened. Of course, the pervs could put these up in front of their camps as well.

Toss in your ideas- if you see something you like, grab it!

(oh- there have been gay rapes out there as well, so it's not just the women who need to be aware)
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Post by ubu » Wed Sep 06, 2006 1:45 pm

more pressing than non-consensual touching is just plain safety. Be aware applies to all of us. just try communicating and negotiating. Most people are kind and will help you when in need. Many are just not aware.

Drink less alcohol. Doctor's orders.

Stay paranoid and you will have a decent time out there,
ta epi ta

Abductor
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Post by Abductor » Wed Sep 06, 2006 10:54 pm

Lots of studies of male behavior show that men act badly when there is a lack of older men around to make them behave. I think that perhaps more strong male role modeling is called for. Us guys need to be more vigilant and when we see someone mistreated, grab some other guys and run over and run the guy off. Of course it feels good to say that, but I didn't see any bad behavior myself, and therefore couldn't stop any of it.

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Post by Abductor » Wed Sep 06, 2006 10:56 pm

Forgive me for being so active in this topic.

There is the pink gun argument against gun control. Most violence is committed by men and very little by women, the idea being that if you gave every woman a pink gun, men would think twice before attacking a woman. She might not be the type to carry a gun, but she might just be carrying that pink gun, because every woman gets one.

Now that's never going to happen, but what about a pink whistle? Every woman who wants one gets a special whistle, and when a whistle blows, we all come running toward it.

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Post by wanderingpixie » Thu Sep 07, 2006 8:06 am

Came back from my first Burning Man on Tuesday afternoon. It's already Thursday and I'm only JUST beginning to return to the default world mentally/emotionally. I'm not even going to go into it all here, otherwise I'll unintentionally monopolize one of these boards :shock: If I do ramble a little, please excuse me....

Both my boyfriend & myself agree with SteelKitty's sentiments: Keep Burning Man closed after Thursday.

We were talking about it last night and these are some of the ideas we had:

Cut off all ticket sales at 11.59pm on the Thursday night
This would discourage the "weekend warriors" and the last minuters who decide to come to BM just for something to do on the weekend. Even I noticed a difference in the vibe of the crowd (if you'll permit the expression) around Friday/Saturday/Sunday. On the Monday morning, it felt like BM was back to 'normal', normal being that nice mellow, chilled feeling it had early during the previous week, rather than having the weekend yahoos running around.

Given the above statement, I do realize that there are genuine Burners out there who are, for one reason or another, unable to get the full week off for the Burn. However, both my b/f & I are of the opinion that if one REALLY wants to go to Burning Man, one would get organized a lot earlier in the piece.

For instance, if a Burner can't make it to the Burn until the Thursday or Friday, all he/she/they would need to do is buy their tickets prior to the event and simply let BM know they'll be arriving late. I have heard there were some problems with the Will Call system, mainly to do with lack of confirmation and payment details, resulting in a few people being unable to attend as planned.
Erm...isn't that what printers are for? Every time I'm organizing anything travel-related, I always always ALWAYS print out my confirmation/payment records as a back up. I'll put some trust in technology, but never entirely. Call me old-fashioned (says the 26 year old grandma :wink:) but I believe having both hard copy paper & CD backups of important information is a Very Good Idea.

On the topic of women & safety...
Being a young woman myself, I'm happy to say I had no major problems during BM at all, apart from the occasional D.O.M. (Dirty Old Man) and camera here & there. I remember one old fart trying to grab a shot during Critical Tits but I caught his eye and he got the message. :twisted:

I hate to say this, but given the nature of BM it's almost guaranteed there's going to be a couple of pervs with cameras in the crowd. I accepted that early on in the event and didn't stress out about it much at all. Guys are fascinated by breasts, pure and simple. I don't mind them looking. Indeed, being what could be politely termed 'a little on the larger side', it was strangely empowering and flattering for me.
What I didn't/don't like, however, were the D.O.M. photographer types (as mentioned earlier) who would happily snap away at me and probably every other young nude/semi-nude woman in the place without asking permission. If they have the decency to at least approach me on the eye level and ask my permission then sure, not a problem!

I have to say, given some of the other experiences I've read about, I've been pretty fortunate. Indeed, overall I found most guys to be at least respectful and refrained from unwanted touching/groping/lewd comments, in my case anyway. Even during CT, although there were the expected D.O.M.'s and yahoos in the crowd, I did notice quite a few of the men/boys were politely appreciative and thankful to witness such an event.

OK, I'm getting off the soapbox and back to making my webpage now :D
Please to bend down for the one called the greenman
He wants to make you his bride
Please to bend down for the one called the greenman
Forever, to him, you're tied
- XTC, "Green Man"

Abductor
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Post by Abductor » Thu Sep 07, 2006 7:40 pm

I really like the idea of whistles. No one else? PEople seem so willing to come running to someone's aid, seems like it would work really well.

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Post by Lady V » Fri Sep 08, 2006 6:05 pm

Yes, yes. Close the gates on Thursday afternoon! Definite vibe change happens Thurs. night. Awful. People who can't get off all week could come help camps set up Sun and stay until Thurs. :) We may do that next year, anyway...

Whistles are good, but I feel women might be reluctant to use them. It gets intense out there. Men who stand up for women are very, very sexy.

;)

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Post by Zulegoona » Fri Sep 08, 2006 6:59 pm

It’s way to simplistic to blame behavior problems on late arrivals, nothing stops a jerk from buying a ticket in march. the vibe does seem to change on Thursday but I would guess that has more to do with the nature of the event it’s self, the excitement, disappointment, sexual energy, all builds to the climax of the burns. You can’t just say oh we who come earlier in the week are ok it’s those guys that are the problem. A real hard core predator would be on the early arrival list getting the lay of the land and picking out targets. There is no one thing that can be done to insure safety, we all have to be aware of potential problems all the time, and do what we can to calm the situation and educate the people acting badly. Even now as we tell our friends and coworkers about it are sure we aren’t giving the impression it’s a no holes bard anything goes party . If your leavening people with that impressing your part of the problem. If you help perpetuate the myth that only real losers can’t get laid at burning man Your part of the problem. Do what you can to change the false assumptions about Burning Man and the people who looking for that won’t come.

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Post by wanderingpixie » Sun Sep 10, 2006 1:00 pm

Hi there Zulegoona :)

I must say I still stick by my previous opinion, but you have raised a few good points there.

Personally, whenever I told people about BM, I always described it as being "a temporary community out in the middle of the Nevada desert, with theme camps, music, art pieces, people in interesting costumes and a wooden man is burnt on the Saturday night." Or words to that effect, anyway.

Although 2006 was my first BM, I knew enough about it beforehand to fully realize that there was much more to it than just sex & drugs. Quite a few people I spoke to about BM did have that impression of the event being a sex & drug freakfest, but I did what I could to correct that impression. Having experienced my first BM, I feel I can certainly convey that impression with more authority now (so says the first-timer, but hey there you go... :wink:)

Most of BM for me was about participating - creating an art poster piece in Centre Cafe, doing a little volunteering here & there, scoping out the art and the people and zipping around the playa and BRC on my bike like a pixie possessed. Sure, there was the occasional drinkie and what have you, plus some sex....with my boyfriend, of course :wink: but that wasn't all it was. And that's the way it should be. There's more to life than getting wasted and trying to get laid as much as possible, IMHO.

As for your point about jerks & predators buying tickets and/or getting in early - you're probably right there. If some nutbag was that determined to do some dodgy shit at BM, they would plan early. However, thankfully it seems that they're in the minority....I hope? :?

Now, if you'll excuse me, I think it's about time for me to shut up and scoot back down to the bottom of the garden now. 8)
Please to bend down for the one called the greenman
He wants to make you his bride
Please to bend down for the one called the greenman
Forever, to him, you're tied
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Post by Barbie » Tue Oct 17, 2006 7:34 pm

People Please remember to pay attention---We tend to put down our guards in our fair city....If someone is acting in a way you find offensive say something if that doesn't work walk away....If someone grabs you make some NOISE kick and scream....don't feel like you can't say anything YOU CAN
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Post by diane o'thirst » Tue Oct 17, 2006 8:17 pm

transgirl wrote:Locking up the entrance after Thursday is a great idea.
It is a good idea, but at the same time you'd be enabling gate crashers. People would still want to get in, even if they have to force their way in. This puts gate staff in the line of fire and would divert security personnel to catching people who just rushed the gate.

Side-note: I support the idea of diverting LEOs from drug busting to protecting women. I also support education efforts and letting people police themselves. <b>DON'T ACCEPT DRINKS FROM STRANGERS UNLESS YOU ACTUALLY WATCH THE DRINK BEING MADE.</b>

Advice: Cranberry juice has been proven to counteract the effect of rhopies.
[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 diane o'thirst » Tue Oct 17, 2006 8:26 pm

Abductor wrote:what about a pink whistle? Every woman who wants one gets a special whistle, and when a whistle blows, we all come running toward it.
When I was in Opera Camp, we had a predator stalking us. We had a number of buskers and carnies in our camp and they taught us the Carny SOS. You yell, "HEEEEEYYYYYYY, RUBE!!" at the top of your lungs. Let's implement 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 Atar » Wed Oct 18, 2006 3:57 am

I'm thinking to convince my camp to make a big sign that says:
"Negativity free zone!"
Leave all grudges, bad cravings, sexual frustrations and negative feelings outside please. This is a place to thoroughly enjoy life, beautiful human beings and empathic ramblings of the dust clouded mind. Try to be openminded and even better, openhearted if you enter this camp and you will find we will respond likewise.
Maybe I -or preferably, someone else- should elaborate a bit on that, I'm not that poetic ;) I like the "empathic ramblings of the dust clouded mind" though! :mrgreen:

Is anyone willing to add to that or rewrite it?
It shouldn't read like a rulebook to enter a (our) camp, more like an invitation for those seeking good human interaction. Like a safehouse for those who know what they're looking for. We're a crazy bunch anyway, but you wouldn't find one guy in our camp that would allow a woman to be touched in a way she doesn't like it and not speak up.

We also catch people with a big cargo net and force them to eat our pancakes :roll:
Burning with inspiration! [size=134])'([/size]

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Post by SED » Wed Oct 18, 2006 5:44 am

Atar wrote:I'm thinking to convince my camp to make a big sign that says:
"Negativity free zone!"
Leave all grudges, bad cravings, sexual frustrations and negative feelings outside please. This is a place to thoroughly enjoy life, beautiful human beings and empathic ramblings of the dust clouded mind. Try to be openminded and even better, openhearted if you enter this camp and you will find we will respond likewise.
Maybe I -or preferably, someone else- should elaborate a bit on that, I'm not that poetic ;) I like the "empathic ramblings of the dust clouded mind" though! :mrgreen:

Is anyone willing to add to that or rewrite it?
How about: Enter, And Do As Thou Wilt.
It ain't the hanging, it's the drop.

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Isotopia
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Post by Isotopia » Wed Oct 18, 2006 12:40 pm

Here's a good one: Burning Man Corporation needs to divert police actions away from drug use and more toward protecting the women.
It's unfortunate when people come up with ideas/opinions that have no anchor in reality. In some quarters folks call it talking out of one's ass. I'll take the higher ground and just say that the poster doesn't know what the hell they're talking about.

The BMOrg has absolutely *no* say whatsoever in how local, state or federal law enforcement operates, what they choose to enforce or how they focus or prioritize their resources in performing their duties. For a newcomer heading over here for the first time the above statement might be taken as truth when in fact nothing could be further from it.

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Post by unjonharley » Wed Oct 18, 2006 1:11 pm

Black Rock City is no longer a small hick town. I has growen to 35000 plus. In that number there is bound to be a bunch of bad ones.

I had three negitive contacts this past year. Two of them I have done my best to change. The other is one of those fact of life things. I'm able to change if it spills over on me again.


To complain how bad it and compaering it to years ago at 4000 partiers is just plane dumd

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Post by MikeVDS » Wed Oct 18, 2006 4:21 pm

More cops would not deteur rape at all. There are 40,000 people and I hope almost every one would do something if they saw something happening. I know not everyone is equipped to defend someone but there are lots of us bigger folk who'd answer any distress call (actually got me into some interesting situations this burn). Unfortunatly these things are part of some humans nature; we'll always find bad people no matter what we do. I don't know if there is much we can do except watch out for ourselves and our "neighbors" the best we can.

I think whistles are a good idea. If someone found a bizzar looking wood or clay whistle, I know they'd get worn and used. The normal looking plastic or metal ones would probably stay at camp in most cases.

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Post by MikeVDS » Wed Oct 18, 2006 4:32 pm

Ok. Who are the woodcarvers who can pull one of these off?

Image
Image
Image


Here is a basic plan for a wood whistle. Would obviously need some modifications.

PDF:
http://www.lackwood.com/basic/basic_whistle.pdf

(edit: pulled out some no longer valid image links that were bringing up login prompts)

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Post by Kinetic IV » Wed Oct 18, 2006 4:55 pm

I have a couple canes and ceremonial staffs with the faces on it like the one you posted in 3rd picture down. I pick one up every year at our local Ren Fest but this was our local artist's last year. He's retiring and plans to head to Arizona before the snow flies. I don't know where the cane you pictured come from but it sure looks like what our local guy was carving. I might still have his card around here but I've got this place so packed full of boxes right now I'm doing good to find much of anything.If I find it I'll PM you the info.
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Post by MikeVDS » Wed Oct 18, 2006 5:17 pm

That is actually a common carving style from what I can tell. I've seen many different carvers making staffs and other art that looked the same. I stole all those pictures from google images searching for "wood whistle" without the quotes. I just grabbed some ideas from the first few pages. I thought I'd do a little work that might spark someone's imagination to do something grand.

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