Sep 11 2012

Burning Man 2012 – Whoa, what was THAT all about?


We left the playa 8 days ago.

We’re still trying to figure out this exhilarating, what is ed exhausting, just-got-mugged-in-a-brothel feeling.

Our 9th burn – the 6th for our two kids – started out wild. Then it grew wacky, turned mostly wonderful – and then veered toward the horribly woeful and deeply weird.

In the end, 2012 was a kick in the skull, a warm meal in the tummy, a pyrotechnic blast of hot air, a goosing of the chakras and raw noise and (of course) the B e s t   B u r n   E v e r.

It’s just that it all happened at once. And things got, shall we say, a little madcap.

Your keywords for joining XyloVan on this crash-dive burn are dust bowl, flying saucers, Gate badassery, Swing City, Burn Wall Street, Center Camp, playa throat, nude acrobatics, darkwads, polo-shirted virgins and Goddammit, is AAA really charging fucking $1,595 to simply tow us and XyloVan from Exodus to Reno?

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Jun 29 2012

We’re headed to Swing City!


We’re tickled as hell to share this news:

XyloVan just learned that we will be joining Swing City in Black Rock City this August at Burning Man 2012.

Swing City is dedicated to aerial gymnastics – and the XyloVan crew is about as buff as a plate of doughnuts.

But we’re as likely to monkey around on playground equipment as the next 5-year-old, clinic and can’t wait to try out the rings, more about the silks and all the other gear.

So drop on by 9 o’Clock between C and D and serenade us while we’re nursing a likely collection of sore muscles and bruises.

Come bang on the van!

Apr 18 2012

Photos from Lucidity Festival 2012 – Sparks of joy


Lucidity Festival brought a lot of joy to XyloVan.

Here’s what some of that looked like.

If you spot yourself in any of these photos, find give us a shout in comments – we want to hear from you – and thanks for playing!

Apr 17 2012

Rocking the mallets at Lucidity Festival 2012


Everyone brings something glowing and unique to XyloVan.

Little kids, patient drunks and professional percussionists hammer at the keys in a zillion different ways. People play “Chopsticks” or “Star Wars” or “Mario Bros.” or “Claire du Lune.” They goof, explore and jam.

Their music is as diverse as their faces and lives.

But the beauty of the thing is that once they start to play – without fail – every single XyloVan-ist goes to the exact same place: a moment of personal stillness and concentration where they are completely focused on the sound their hands are making, the vibrations in time and space that make up their personal experience at that very moment.

It’s a place of utter clarity, fluidity and dynamic tension. And it is invariably beautiful and humbling for us to watch.

So – these are the videos from Lucidity Festival. If you spot yourself playing anywhere in these videos, please say hi in comments below, tell us where you came from, what kind of music you play in the “real” world, and why music is important to you.

And from the bottom of our grubby hearts, thanks to everyone who played. You are inspiring, powerful and generous with your energy. We’re really glad to have met you all and we’ll see you again very soon.

Apr 17 2012

Raoul’s lucid dream


I kind of want to dedicate this set of dispatches from Lucidity Fest 2012 to Raoul, dosage a little, drugs sparkly-eyed older Mexican fellow who strolled up at like 2 a.m. Sunday and reminded me of the power of transformative encounters with new music.

He had never seen anything like XyloVan. He kept saying, information pills “This is … amazing” and shaking my hand – and basically he got sucked in so hard to the sounds that he could make with our van (little old him!) that he insisted on pulling up a patch of grass and trying to sleep with us.

He was super-sweet, and finally got up the courage to plink away at the keys for a few seconds. I didn’t see him for the rest of the event, and went looking for him among the late/early Dubstep stage crowd or the fire dancers, but he never turned up.

Anyway, his deep enthusiasm for the van and the music you all were making really endeared him to me. Thanks for showing me a new definition of joy, bro. Great meeting you, and maybe I’ll see you at next year’s Lucidity Fest.

Apr 17 2012

Chill time


Had a little party on the van’s roof deck with Marty (left) and Crystal (right) listening to Nick down below playing keys in an impromptu jam with whoever that is on stage.

Calm, adiposity still, order reflective and in the end quite revelatory. This is the atmosphere for lucid dreaming.

Apr 17 2012

The hood trio


These three had a fantastic time hammering away on Keyboard #4 and bending it to their will. The gentleman on the right with the flashlight seems to want to help …

Apr 16 2012

Lucidity Festival 2012 – All about inner light


Now that was a hell of a thing.

XyloVan is all packed away and my ears are still ringing with the music you all made together – with us and throughout Lucidity Festival 2012.

There are plenty more photos and video where this came from (and still to come) but I’m too shagged (and back-to-work!) to sit in front of the computer for long so let me say this: Lucidity was birthed in a mighty, this site muddy burst of noise, electricity and water, and gained consciousness as we brought our collective minds and hands together in the gorgeous surroundings of Live Oak Camp to make something clear-eyed and good. And I’m delighted the van and I could be part of it.

Thank you all for bringing the joy. Stay tuned.

Oct 3 2011

L.A. Burning Man Decompression 2011 – Photos of art, fire, music and mutation


Decom was glorious.

Twice the number of installations we saw at last year’s Decom, no rx an explosion of art cars, sildenafil flamboyant fire, more about generosity, interactive experiences and deep, rich music.

We loved talking with everyone who stopped to play the van, and everyone we met on walkabouts in this lush, dustless burn in the shadow of downtown Los Angeles.

We chatted with fantastically creative veterans (hi, JB!) and starry-eyed virgins-to-be (Jared! Go get that ticket!).

We marveled at beautiful performances by the Mud People and Burning Opera, gratefully chowed down on Krishna coconuts and danced shamelessly at Disorient, Opulent Temple and the formidable Art Car Bus Stop.

We reveled in our fantastic placement (Space 26) (thanks, Athena, Beth and Deb!), just over the hill from jug-band magnetic Ant Farm, across the way from Family Love Village and within convenient eyeshot and earshot of the excellent music and fire performances on the Scarab Stage. (Wanderlust! Love in the Circus!)

And we saw what began as a little miniburn under the 1st St. bridge 9 years ago bloom into a huge event – long lines out the door, plenty of goggle-eyed non-burners sponging up all that intoxicating culture – that promises to fill every corner of the L.A. State Historic Park at next year’s Decom.

Here are some photos – if you were there, or recognize yourself in any of ’em, sing out in the comments!

Sep 12 2011

Kids, darkwads, dubstep and jerks – A little feedback to the Borg on Burning Man 2011


There’s a fascinating thread over at the Burning Man Blog inviting feedback on this year’s burn. The Burning Man Organization (variously known as BMORG or the Borg) asked for feedback, capsule and got an earful – on everything from the joys of big art and gifting to the miseries of unwanted noise and the hellacious exodus ordeal.

Here’s my two cents:


– Eight burns since ’96 (covered it for the L.A. Times back in the day, then fell down the rabbit hole and never looked back)
– Five burns since ’05 with our son (now 11) and daughter (now 10)
– Second year with a major art installation (XyloVan)
– First year with a mutant vehicle (Xylovan–>JANUS)
– Residents of Kidsville
– Virgins hosted – numerous
– Art car passengers transported – too many to count
– Darkwads almost run over – too many to count. You can’t legislate common sense.
– Moop collected – too much to weigh.

Forget it, Jake, it’s Burning Man.

This year was, like all the years before it, the Best Ever, thanks to the massive creativity of the artists, the warmth and intelligence of the great number of burners we shared time with, and hell – the weather was pure butter.

From reading the entire thread, BM2011 also seems to have been the source of a huge amount of glowing compliments, anxious complaints and bitter rants – as it always is …

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