Sep 9 2010

Art cars, Tinytropolis and spinning till you get sick

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Here’s a hodgepodge of images from Tuesday – art so thick you could barely see the playa – Black Rock City’s population was 51, health 000-plus this year, and it showed.

There were brilliant art cars, and an excellent installation called Tinytropolis, which consisted of internally-lit dioramas that 100 artists had stuffed into otherwise identical, solar-powered cardboard boxes.

This gorgeous globe of woven, welded steel spun just 50 yards away from our site, which made it a) easy to find at night and b) somewhat sickening. Biomass (my son’s playa name as of this year) got physically ill looking at it and had to be led away clutching my arm, while Hitgirl (yes, my daughter’s playa name, and more accurate than you would guess) spun herself happily around it like a glittery, giggling moon.

Extra bonus – here’s a video of my favorite art car at the entire event, the Maria Del Camino. Though I didn’t get to witness it, the car apparently lifts its body up to reveal the image of the False Maria robot from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, rendered in tens of thousands of holes drilled into her body:


Sep 9 2010

Bells, keys and chords in the night

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Our official site turned out to be pretty remote since we were assigned to it late (out near the Temple), viagra but we still had visitors:

That evening, buy information pills we took a circuitous route back to camp, stopping here and there to let people play:


Sep 8 2010

Burning Man 2010 – XyloVan’s first drive on the playa

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Tuesday began with the lowering of Keyboard 1, information pills which is truly a six-hand job – one roof-monkey to loose the straps and push it off, approved two adults on the ground to catch it and install the support stanchions (and one mischievous camera-girl to record it all. Never entrust videography to a 9-year-old if you want any kind of serious documentation.)

With the crew enjoying the view from the roof, I cruised down 5:30 to cross the Esplanade and head towards The ARTery to get our driving permit and site assignment.

Heady. That’s the only word I can muster for the sensation of ending eight months of building and preparing an elaborate art car by driving the goddamn thing out onto the open playa, where thousands can see and play it …
Continue reading


Sep 8 2010

Arrival at Black Rock City for Burning Man 2010

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After driving all night from Los Angeles with the kids sacked out in back, there we arrived at the gates to Black Rock City around 9:30 a.m. Monday – and immediately hit traffic.

It took a good three hours to wade through it. After a quick greeting at the gate (and the customary warnings about driving under 5mph and not at all during whiteouts) we plunked ourselves down in Kidsville at 5:30 and Florence and set to work pitching camp … Continue reading


Sep 6 2010

Well and truly burnt

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I don’t think I ever could have imagined the response to debuting an art car. But what a rush.

We just got back a few hours ago, illness full of the glow of meeting hundreds of cool people who found themselves sudden, happy xylophonists in the wastes of the playa.

We’re also short on sleep, having driven all night and unpacked and cleaned all day, so time to crash. More photos and videos will follow here as I process them – If you played the van out there, we really want to hear from you.


Aug 29 2010

Locked, loaded, and rolling out

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After eight long, help amazing months building XyloVan, visit web we’re finally going off the grid this evening and heading 10 hours north to Burning Man.

To all our friends and family staying behind – we love you. Thank you for all your support in bringing this crazy dream so far.

To all our fellow burners – see you on the playa!


Aug 28 2010

Teardown, preparing to launch

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We pulled down the canopies last night, dosage collapsed the booms and began packing in earnest. Our work is done. See you on the playa!


Jul 23 2010

Backsides and elbows

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Looking back on it, page the past couple weeks have been an utter blur.

After all this, viagra order and seeing all the tasks remaining (wiring, view lights, instruments, sunshades, roof deck) between now and Burning Man, I have to admit that having our DMV application denied was the very best thing that could have happened to us.

So much to do, so little time, as Dean Motter’s Mister X was wont to say.

So here’s all the crazy work we’ve been up to, compressed into one massively overdue blog post:

We started in on replacing the headliner … Continue reading


Jul 17 2010

XyloVan will be stationary in BRC – and that’s okay

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So: We could have pulled together a mad/brilliant mutation in time to qualify for a driving license at Burning Man.

But we would have died trying.

It’s hot. We’re exhausted. There’s a lot of wiring left to do. And we seem to remember enjoying spending time with the kids, generic and hope we can get some of that in before heading out to the playa.

Plus, we figure that with good siting, plenty of people will find it, and maybe recommend it to their friends, and come back to play it repeatedly if they like it. Our vision still stands – we want people to find it, interact with it, bring their own instruments and talents and sick noise-making inspiration, and play the van. That’ll work whether we’re moving around or not. And maybe even better … not.

At right is a crudely photoshopped image of how the sun-shades should look once we get ’em installed.

And here’s what I just wrote to the DMV: Continue reading


Jul 16 2010

Second thoughts on how XyloVan can interact with Burning Man (updated)

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Had a long talk with my infinitely wise wife and co-creator last night and maybe … just maybe … having XyloVan sited permanently somewhere on the playa would actually be better in some ways than getting a driving license.

More thoughts on this as they develop in my addled brain.

But for now, seek here’s my letter to the ARTery. We should have had a siting application in to them by July 1, but apparently you can apply at the event as well:

(UPDATE: my email bounced at artery@burningman.com – the very address they give on the site. Does anyone have a good contact email for the ARTery crew?)

Hey, folks:

After being denied a Mutant Vehicle license on Tuesday, I’d like to ask the ARTery team about getting our extraordinary interactive piece XyloVan sited on the playa.

Yes, I know it’s past the 7/1 online reg deadline, but I just found out about the DMV rejection on Tuesday, and I want to make sure we can secure a good spot for our project – an art car.

So – below is our DMV application (the ARTery form is no longer available online) and attached is a photo of XyloVan in its current form, augmented with a mockup of the sails/sun-shades we’ll be installing once we arrive.

Please disregard the safety and operation clauses since – obviously – we won’t be driving it around. However, we also wanted to ask you as early as possible for permission to simply move Xylovan back and forth – once a day – between our playa site and our camp in Kidsville … Continue reading