7:30 "Gayborhood" 2015 Fail

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Chowski
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7:30 "Gayborhood" 2015 Fail

Post by Chowski » Wed Jan 20, 2016 11:20 am

Halloo Halloo ePlayans.

As a longish-time member of the gayborhood, I wanted to see what other people thought of 2015's offerings. Personally, I was seriously disappointed in the 7:30 plaza area (generally from B street through G street) this year - I think placement, in an attempt to de-gayify the 7:30 corridor, made the whole street generally underwhelming, and turned it from a significant nighttime corridor into a comparative flop.

Full disclosure, I am gay, and have run a smallish mixed gay/straight placed camp with a bar in the 7:30 corridor since 2009. We have been on or near 7:30 at G, H, K, and J. Our camp numbers have ranged from 12-40.

I have conflicting thoughts. Over the years, I watched as the neighborhood became increasingly gay, changing from a neighborhood with a gay-inclusive character, to being a neighborhood which I found to be exclusively gay. By 2014, I found myself avoiding the area for the most part (even though I am gay), because it seemed to be nothing but gay dance clubs, default world "celebrity" drag shows, and DownLow tents. The focus drifted from inclusion and art and interactive experience to bars and jack-off tents and men in short shorts and exhibitionism. Certainly not a welcoming place for ALL Burners (Radical Inclusion), and in some respects, a recreation of the kind of predictable gay nightlife you can find in almost every major city, but with skimpier costumes and fewer rules. I totally understand why placement took steps to make the neighborhood more inclusive for all people, and I support it.

My problem was, the neighborhood went from being a lively and exciting place, if somewhat exclusive, to a total bore. In previous years, 7:30 was amazing - lots of sound and light and forward-facing camps. In 2015, there seemed to be multiple camps placed on prime 7:30 land with rows of cars FACING 7:30. At night, the street was comparatively dark and silent. There were a few forward-facing camps, but their offerings were often difficult to ascertain from the street, or their hours were daytime only.

So what is the future of 7:30? How can our Neighborhood regain some of its nighttime excitement? Did any of you notice the change? Did it bother you?

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Re: 7:30 "Gayborhood" 2015 Fail

Post by trilobyte » Wed Jan 20, 2016 5:56 pm

I'm moving this to the Stories board, since that's a better fit for discussions about on-playa experiences.

To answer the questions you posed... your post makes it sound like you may not have been following the communications from the placement team. They didn't de-gayify anything, so much as they expanded the operation. In the past, the 'gayborhood' had centered on the 7:30 spoke street... which has extremely limited real estate. In 2015, they centered it on the D radial street. That significantly opened up the amount of space for camps, and allowed for expansion into the 9:00 and 6:00 sectors (and could go all the way around the dial if there was enough interest).

I also understand and kind of share the conflicting thoughts, but from the perspective of a different orientation. Full disclosure, I am straight, and run a smallish mixed gay/straight placed camp (honestly we don't care about campmates genders/orientations). We've been placed in different parts of town over the years, and were on C at 7:45 in 2014 and on D at 7:45 in 2015. I saw the mention about the change, and while we weren't really asking to be in the heart of the gayborstreet/hood/whatever we welcomed it with open arms (as we would any guest who visited). I believe placement even asked the camps who had placement on C that went all the way back to D to please consider making sure their frontage was on D. We had some great neighbors (not counting the RV fortress across the street) and overall had a great burn, but the neighborhood did have something of an exclusive (or slightly less inclusive might be the best description) atmosphere in spots.

Being new to camping in that part of town I couldn't really say whether the vibe I got was unusual for the neighborhood or not, but being Burning Man I just kept moving along and quickly found other fun and awesome things to do, etc.

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Re: 7:30 "Gayborhood" 2015 Fail

Post by Chowski » Thu Jan 21, 2016 8:47 am

I definitely followed (and supported) placement's attempt to change the character of the 7:30 corridor, I just thought that in moving the majority of the gay supercamps to D, they allowed 7:30 to fizzle. They made a change, but didn't fill the void they created with anything approaching what was there before.

For those camped on the outer rings of 7:30, there was a long trudge up to the front of the city for any significant interaction. A big change from the trajectory of the past few years.

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Re: 7:30 "Gayborhood" 2015 Fail

Post by Elderberry » Thu Jan 21, 2016 10:40 am

That's the first criticism I've heard. Nobody in our camp said anything other than positive about the new Gay Avenue.
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Re: 7:30 "Gayborhood" 2015 Fail

Post by Bless » Thu Jan 21, 2016 12:13 pm

This smacks of ethnic cleansing.
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Re: 7:30 "Gayborhood" 2015 Fail

Post by Captain Goddammit » Thu Jan 21, 2016 4:37 pm

I can't decide if you have half a point or are complaining for no good reason.
I was right in the middle of the gayborhood last year and it seemed like a pretty colorful and active area that compared well with most other parts of town.
I'm assuming you brought a fabulous, interactive, vibrant 7:30-worthy camp yourself. Otherwise you've got no point.
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Re: 7:30 "Gayborhood" 2015 Fail

Post by Ratty » Thu Jan 21, 2016 5:05 pm

Posted for the 2015 event.
Fun Connection hopes to make its first appearance in the 7:30hood following many placed years under different names. You may remember us as Stumble Inn (7:30 and K, 2014), Homotron (7:40 and K, 2013), Black Rock Neighborhood Association (7:30 and G, 2011), The Treehouse (7:35 and G, 2009) or Franklin's Tower (7:40 and G, 2008).

Our population is growing, so we hope to add to our existing fun (Bar, Living Room, Wheel of Misfortune, Frontyard playground) with a new art car, more interactive playground equipment, a new viewing tower, and a real-live gay wedding ceremony and reception in this, the first year of legal marriage equality in Nevada.
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Re: 7:30 "Gayborhood" 2015 Fail

Post by trilobyte » Thu Jan 21, 2016 5:46 pm

Fair enough, though your first post didn't make any mention that would indicate you knew that.

I don't think it's fair to say placement let anything fizzle, it's the camps that make and bring the fizzle. Once you saw the word that the primary focus was going to be on D, what did you do to reach out to fellow 7:30 camps to encourage people to step up their game or make sure things rocked? Did you raise this issue with any of your neighbors on the playa at the time?

Seriously though, BRC is a city of constant change and evolution and strives to defy expectations... being disappointed by change or saying your expectations weren't met kind of serves as a reminder for why leaving expectations behind is a good idea. Instead of a week of disappointment and an experience you deem a fail, you could have connected with an even larger and more vibrant experience in the local neighborhood.

Your mileage may vary, I suppose. If it were up to me, I would have centered everything on the Boulevard G radial street, since it intersects the plaza. My guess would be that they didn't want to effectively push all those camps to the back of the city. I still have mixed feelings - on one hand, boo on what's effectively a weird segregation and elitism thing when in reality all genders/ethnicities/orientation are pretty welcome anywhere in BRC, but on the other I thought the radial was a great success and allows it to expand out throughout the city... instead of just making it more and more difficult for camps to get placement in that zone.

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Re: 7:30 "Gayborhood" 2015 Fail

Post by Elderberry » Fri Jan 22, 2016 10:28 am

trilobyte wrote: I still have mixed feelings - on one hand, boo on what's effectively a weird segregation and elitism thing when in reality all genders/ethnicities/orientation are pretty welcome anywhere in BRC, but on the other I thought the radial was a great success and allows it to expand out throughout the city... instead of just making it more and more difficult for camps to get placement in that zone.
I like the fact that there is a gayborhood. But the thing I like best is that everybody is welcome and are actually attracted to that area because it's a lot of fun being there gay or straight and it is open and welcoming to all. Our camp attracts quite a few straight singles and couples that camp with us, just like your camp has some gay people camping with it. The atmosphere in the/a "gayborhood" is just "different" somehow. And people of all sexualities seem to enjoy that atmosphere and energy. And I like the idea of the radial street layout as well.
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Re: 7:30 "Gayborhood" 2015 Fail

Post by Captain Goddammit » Fri Jan 22, 2016 11:26 am

I'm straight and loved the gayborhood last year! It made the rest of BRC look like your average ghetto tent city.
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Re: 7:30 "Gayborhood" 2015 Fail

Post by Dr. Pyro » Fri Jan 22, 2016 11:59 am

I wish they had taken back BAAAAHS! Worst. Neighbors. Ever.

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Re: 7:30 "Gayborhood" 2015 Fail

Post by Elderberry » Sat Jan 23, 2016 2:16 pm

Dr. Pyro wrote:I wish they had taken back BAAAAHS! Worst. Neighbors. Ever.
Tell me. We were right across from them. :(

I think the MV got dinged too. It was too wide to use the streets so they were only allowed to drive around in open playa. (Or so I heard.)
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Re: 7:30 "Gayborhood" 2015 Fail

Post by uncle sticky » Thu Mar 17, 2016 5:25 pm

I'm still trying to figure out who decided that a camp devoted to face punching and neck choking got placed next to a pretty serious S&M camp. Wait, I think I just answered my own question.
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Re: 7:30 "Gayborhood" 2015 Fail

Post by trilobyte » Thu Mar 17, 2016 9:35 pm

To be fair, that could happen in any neighborhood in Black Rock City :D

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Re: 7:30 "Gayborhood" 2015 Fail

Post by MyDearFriend » Sat Mar 19, 2016 6:20 pm

it sounds like, from the OP, it really sounds like the issue is not gay-ishness or placement, but dark boring streets.

Dark boring streets are a mistake made in every part of BRC. I personally believe, and enforce in my village through the village map, that every piece of street frontage needs to be lit and welcoming. No parking lots are permitted along the street frontage of my village. We carve out a 10 foot allowance all along our street frontage for a "sidewalk" of sorts, to allow free passage around freshly-watered streets and for the safety of pedestrians. No parking on our sidewalk at all :evil: or you will be hearing from me. :lol:

I encourage everyone to remember we are Black Rock City, not Black Rock Industrial Park, or Black Rock Strip Mall! We should strive to create the best streetscape we can imagine.

Those who are fortunate enough to touch two streets, or three (as in my village), need to step up their game. I totally understand the challenge. If you need advice or ideas, ping me. This is your city. Make it great.
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Re: 7:30 "Gayborhood" 2015 Fail

Post by BoyScoutGirl » Sat Mar 19, 2016 10:29 pm

MyDearFriend wrote:...
I encourage everyone to remember we are Black Rock City, not Black Rock Industrial Park, or Black Rock Strip Mall! We should strive to create the best streetscape we can imagine. ... I totally understand the challenge.
...This is your city. Make it great.
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Re: 7:30 "Gayborhood" 2015 Fail

Post by uncle sticky » Tue Mar 22, 2016 10:03 am

This pattern is seen repeated in almost every decent city in America. Gays move in, neighborhood greatly improves, becomes both safe and really fun, then the straights move in, things get bland and boring, neighborhood eventually begins slow decline. Repeat.
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Re: 7:30 "Gayborhood" 2015 Fail

Post by Elderberry » Tue Mar 22, 2016 10:46 am

uncle sticky wrote:This pattern is seen repeated in almost every decent city in America. Gays move in, neighborhood greatly improves, becomes both safe and really fun, then the straights move in, things get bland and boring, neighborhood eventually begins slow decline. Repeat.
Hahahaha True! :shock:
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Re: 7:30 "Gayborhood" 2015 Fail

Post by abbaa1234 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 11:49 pm

:D

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Re: 7:30 "Gayborhood" 2015 Fail

Post by Chowski » Mon Mar 28, 2016 10:40 am

I think I may not have been clear. The newly placed Gayborhood on D was great - lots of interactivity, lots of forward facing exciting camps with day and night interactivity. My complaint wasn't with D or with these camps.

What I thought was a fail was the area that USED to be the Gayborhood. The 7:30 street from Esplanade down to the G plaza. If I remember correctly, as recently as 2009, the French Quarter was part of this radial street. More recently, huge interactive spaces like Glamcocks made this street a major day and night destination. But 2015 was a dud. Long blocks of cars, dark camps, small-ish camps with hard-to-decipher interactivity.

The area in general was good, but the street itself and the G plaza were underwhelming - a situation I attribute to placement. By removing those largescale camps which had made 7:30 a desirable placement, and then NOT replacing them with anything comparable, the street was a dud. Dark, quiet, unwelcoming.

I am sure it will change again. It was just disorienting to be on a street so formerly exciting, and to find it dull. I mean, it may as well have been 4:30!

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Re: 7:30 "Gayborhood" 2015 Fail

Post by ranger magnum » Fri May 27, 2016 10:04 pm

I thought it was pretty cool. Full disclosure: I am straight, and until last year, camped with a mixture of gay/straight participants (and a few who may not know what that are!).

I love the flamboyant nature of that 'hood. I don't see that stuff often where I live, so for me it's new and exciting. But I didn't notice any measurable difference between the years, and I think it's one of the cooler places in the city.
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