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 …

Oct 23 2011

What is the sound of a XyloVan wash?


It sounds a little like this:

Sep 7 2011

Music in the night


The beauty of sharing a huge musical mutant vehicle is that – at any moment – something like this can happen:

… or this …

… or this …

… or this …

Thanks to THAT Damned Band, sale Titanium Sporkestra, viagra sale
, and all the musicians – trained, wild and accidental – who breathed life into XyloVan when we weren’t around to enjoy. You’re the reason we built it, and you’re welcome to play it any time you like.

Jul 18 2011

XyloVan –> JANUS – walkaround video


Jun 13 2011

Back at the Egyptian – movie, art, glitz and Burning Man newbie orientation


We returned to the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood for a screening of the new cut of “Journey to the Flames, stuff ” a travelogue/chronicle of one camp’s 11-year citizenship in Black Rock City.

As usual, remedy XyloVan attracted some wonderful music: Here’s a member of the Dirty Beetles art car crew just pouring himself into Keyboard 1:

Here’s a more experimental/contemplative approach …

And here’s how fabulous some of you all looked before, during and after the newbie orientation and playa fashion show. See you in BRC in a couple months!

Sep 13 2010

Post-burn chilldown


Here are a few clips from XyloVan’s final hours on the playa – from just before the burn on Saturday night to just afterwards – and then a bit from Sunday morning before we began packing in earnest.

Seeing all these people play again while I was editing the clips (and I mean play, what is ed as curious, nurse rhythmic humans, not as professional musicians) – was deeply satisfying.

I’m in the first clip – and really very joyful, despite the glum exterior. Building this vehicle, bringing it out and igniting people’s passions with it has been simultaneously deeply fulfilling and raw, bareknuckled fun.

The second-to-last clip is one of my favorites, a view of the van from inside our camp, where you can hear – but not see – the people playing Keyboards 2 and 3 on the other side of the vehicle, as it glitters in the dark.

Sep 13 2010

XyloVan on Burn night – a blessing of flame and ashes, or What’s It All For?


At some point we all seek meaning in our lives.

Some dive into religion headfirst, generic damning all who fail to follow them and shaming the very values they claim to hold dear. Others plunge themselves into work, approved drugs, sex, gaming – or even a quiet spirituality that has little to do with god or gods.

But the more we learn, the more obvious it becomes that our time here is limited, so we all run around willy-nilly trying to either ignore death or plug into what we perceive to be immortality.

I guess I’m somewhere between those two camps. Raised Catholic, I walked away from the Church at 20 when I learned how deeply soaked in blood, money, power and misogyny the institution itself really is. I try to keep what really matters from that dogma close – love, respect, charity, empathy – and I do believe the communal energy that humans share is something approaching divine.

But mostly, I think we’re just plain lucky to be alive on this pinprick of light somewhere in the belly of a small galaxy in a massive universe – and we’d better spend our time making the most of it for ourselves and those around us before the light goes out.

That’s why I built this thing – and it has paid me back a hundredfold.

Burning Man – the raw creativity, the debauchery, the noise, the ritual of torching the man on Saturday night – is not a religion. It’s a relentless, if Brigadoon-brief dedication to life and to art and to each other.

If that’s not a crystalline kernel of meaning, a reason for living that’s worth throwing hundreds of hours of your life and thousands of dollars of your hard-earned money at, worth slicing your fingers open, filling your nose with aluminum dust, depriving yourself of sleep, worth stomping through hellacious dust storms and standing close enough to the fire to hurt, well then I’ve probably missed the Entire Point. Let me know what that is, soon as you can figure it out.

Meantime, I always liked Bill Hicks‘ little riff about the purpose of educating each other – “so that we can all learn, evolve and get the fuck off this planet.”

And with that thought close to mind, here are the videos of the Burn. Enjoy:

Sep 10 2010

Beauty at Burning Man 2010


Soak humans in art and the playa’s environmental extremes (harsh wind, for sale high heat, relentless dust) and you bring out something significant in them: happiness. They’re working their tails off to be here, to create something meaningful (if temporary), and to delight and shock each other.

Black Rock City is populated by some of the most beautiful souls you’ll ever meet. That said, sailor guy here drummed so fiercely on Keyboard 2 that he actually snapped a fiberglass mallet. Ah, well – there are 20 more. That ought to hold us until the next burn.

Rangers stopped by in camp (here) and out on the playa …

Children loved XyloVan – this dude (probably barely 20 months old) banged away on the tubular bells for quite a while … Continue reading