Burning Man 2014

Burning Man 2014

 dusty playa
Hi there, It’s probably best to convey my 14th Burning Man to you now while it’s fresh rather than wait till the 11th, so, here goes.

After a Spring and Summer where I wasn’t doubting for a second that I’d be attending this year’s Burning Man, I suddenly got a very strong NO from the universe with about a week to go before the event. I earnestly talked to friends about the 500 reasons I didn’t want to attend; and it literally felt like there were that many reasons and more not to go. I may compile those reasons at some point, but to continue the story, I had a visit from Mr. Yes and that turned me around on the Thursday before the weekend we were to leave for the playa.

Mr. Yes? Why, yes!  One night, I turned off my phone, put it down, hopped on my bike, and started riding southeast from my house. During that ride I had the idea that I could adjust my course and visit a massage place that I’d heard about on 82nd and Division – a walk-in place. Well, that course adjustment and my subsequent excellent full-body massage for $20 reminded me of some of what I love about Burning Man – the opportunity to change course at will for something that caught my fancy. Sonad (“Spinning on a Dime“) as my friend, Abigail, pointed out! So, after my Mr. Yes visit, I decided that building my business could wait; that Eecole had arranged the most amazing transport/living situation I’d ever experienced at Burning Man; and that I could travel to Burning Man with my favorite person in the world, Eecole. Best friend, partner of almost 9 years – why would I not want to do this?

The Egg
The Egg

So, away we went!  Trailer (we called it the egg) lent to us by our friends, Dwight and Nicole; massage table; tons of food; clothes; bikes – we got going on Saturday. First up was an overnight at Summer Lake Hot Springs (one of my favorite places on the planet) where we pulled in by the lake/pond and had our first night of sleep in the Egg. Delightful. Quiet. The next day we cruised to Burning Man, spent 3 hours in line and another hour trying to figure out where to park ourselves. Then, we hopped on our bikes and cruised the playa for a couple hours and arrived. That night we also stopped by to visit our Portland friends Bob, Sam, and Ted who brought their amazing art car – Pipes of Passion (NSFW), to the playa. We had thought about camping with them, but their neighborhood was full of art cars/noise – so, instead, we plopped ourselves down in the quiet burbs of K & 7:50.  This is also one of my favorite areas to camp over the years as it’s a great place to watch the sunset – as it’s almost all the way out on the Western edge of things – facing some dear mountains. 

Playa sunsets rock  

Early Monday morning we heard the crashing sounds of thunder and lightening! 3-4 times – and then, Rain!!!! If you know anything about the Black Rock Desert, you know that rain can make the surface very clompy – and make it impossible to move about – especially with vehicles. We rushed outside, and brought in some of the things that could get damaged, and then went back to sleep. When we woke again and looked outside it was cool, and damp. We couldn’t easily leave, so just slept some more 🙂  But for thousands of Burners, this was a very hard time – many theme camps couldn’t keep building their infrastructure – art projects were stalled; and thousands of people were halted at the entryway to the playa – where a small lake had formed. Many had to wait in their vehicles for 24 hours until they were given permission to come in! Those who were along the road coming in were advised to travel back to Reno and try again the next day!

Burning Man Is Closed 2014 Part 1
Burning Man Is Closed 2014 Part 1

One result of the rain and the fact that Monday arrival didn’t happen was that the playa was quieter than I’ve experienced it since my first year in 2000 (after the rain that year :)(see above video). It also meant that the streets were not filled with cars trying to park; ports-potties were easily accessible and clean from the day before. It was really noticeable difference. We spent the morning setting up camp and then the rest of the day tooling about the open playa and enjoying the art and car-empty streets. This led me to think that it might be a good idea for Burning Man to try staggering the entrance, on purpose.  2 days on, 1 day off, would really make a big difference.

Burning Man 2014 Walks on the Playa
Burning Man 2014 Walks on the Playa

Burning Man this year was different from other years in many ways. For the past couple years there have been a huge influx of 1st-timers (virgins). Just like any activity, it’s useful to know the “rules” and Burning Man sends all ticket-holders a beautifully-written Survival Guide (after all you’re entering some very harsh conditions – hot during the day, cold at night – possible storms…) that really should be required reading by all. By now, I could probably write the guide in my sleep; but for those who have never read it and show up at Burning Man it’s very easy to hurt yourself, hurt others or make big mistakes. Note: leave your car keys, passports, valuables at your camp – don’t take your phone to a rave 🙂

Playastan Crossroads!

On the plus side the event has continued to attract beautiful, interesting, gigantic pieces of art (and incredible thinkers, dreamers, revolutionaries, and the curious). And there’s nothing like plying the playa by bike and seeing specs in the distance suddenly turn into art before your eyes. And the backdrop of the Black Rock Desert is the greatest gallery that could be imagined – dusty or not. This year was not a huge dust year. It was a big heat year, though. Traveling around during the day I felt my back getting fried at times. Luckily, there are great camps like Northwest Mist, which provide a respite from the heat and light.

This year’s PO9

One of the things that guided me this year was my understanding of how to use mail at Burning Man as a guide. I’m overdue to write up the history of the Postal System at Burning Man. If you’ve been reading my thoughts over the years, you know I’ve been involved in this “theme camp” since 2002. This year I decided to retire, and instead used the Burner Map appto locate my friends and create cards to lead me to them. Each day I’d pull out some cards and travel to the camps listed – sending myself as post, in a way. I visited people I am friends with on FB, only, and people I work with. I got to visit Carrie Katz, who I lived with on Kibbutz Urim in 1979 and hadn’t seen since! That was certainly a highlight. She’s become a professional songwriter and is also out there changing the world like me!

Burning Man - the Man
Photo by Eecole

I had a hard year. I often say “this is my last year” or “I’m not going“, but this time, I really think I’m done. Though Burning Man is an incredible experience, I may have gotten what I need from the event after 14 years of going and it’s probably time for me to move on. It also can just be incredibly challenging to go, set up one’s camp, participate intensely and endure the conditions. This year felt harder on my body than year’s past. Maybe I’m just getting older 🙂

That said, wow – the lessons one can learn from going are quite incredible. I often say to people it’s like getting a graduate education in a week. Part of my excitement about the number of virgins going is that I hope they will learn some of what is offered and not just waste their time there. You can often learn lessons so quickly at Burning Man. Also, with a collection of so many smart people; artists; musicians; makers; you learn so many interesting references that it can take you a year just to follow up on all of the great ones. And, it can be super fun. And funny.  And sexy. And smart. And uplifting.

Being a part of a gifting economy for a week – I don’t know anywhere else on the planet where one can experience that.  Do you?

El Pulpo and Mini Pulpo
El Pulpo!

We left before the Burning of the Man. It’s something I’ve been doing for the last 3 visits to the playa. It leads to not having any lines on the way out and for some beautiful sunsets on the way North. This year we stopped overnight in the Modoc National Forest which I’d been wanting to do for years. Though we were a bit fried, we did not swerve for bunnies (which is one way people die leaving the event each year) – sorry, Mr. Bunny. We also did not swerve for a skunk. Sorry, Mr. Skunk. 

On the second day heading back to Portland, we overnighted outside of Sisters, Oregon and woke up to see the sunrise at the 3 Sisters Wilderness area – see these pictures – it was one of the most beautiful mornings and this lava bed area is worth a visit.

Dee Observatory near Sisters, OR

Dee Observatory near Sisters, OR

Today we finally finished cleaning the Egg and returned it. 

I’m so appreciative for the opportunity to make this pilgrimage each year. It’s such a luxury. If you have never been, you might want to try it, sometime 🙂  Tickets go on sale in the Spring. Also, there are a lot of ways to travel to Burning Man as a volunteer.

I’ll probably be writing a lot more about Burning Man 2014 because I think the event is at a crossroads. I’d love to see it continue to retain some of its greatness, but I think it can only do that if the people who come get a little more educated about what it is before arriving.  And, the numbers of people are also causing some challenges – this year there were about 70K people which stresses various systems. When I first went in 2000, we were 20K!

If you went to Burning Man this year, I’d be curious to hear your thoughts, and if you have any feedback about my reflections, please write back! Happy decompressing!

OK, enough about Burning Man! I’m home, back in Portland!  I’ll be speaking this coming Wednesday, September 10th, at the Alberta Rose Theatre as part of a marketing mega-event from 9-12 – come on out or tell your friends who are small business people to come! I also have a free class I’m doing with Heather Fulton, on September 24th about the use of Social Media – details below.

Also, a while back I learned about the Garcia Birthday Band (GBB) and thought they’d be fun to dance to in a ballroom.  Join me this coming Friday for the first (and I hope first of many!) time the GBB will be playing at the Village Ballroom!

I hope all is going well in your world and that you’re enjoying yourself and nurturing yourself.

Sincerely,

 

Albert Kaufman

“Nutmeg Alfredo” (my playa name)

 

Gray
Albert Kaufman

Upcoming Events

Social Media Marketing for Small Business Success

Wednesday September 24, 2014 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM PDT

Come learn about social media from local expert, Albert Kaufman. This presentation is a guide for small businesses or nonprofits who have been using social media marketing, but need some tips to take them to an intermediate level and/or add new channels to their marketing efforts. Heather Fulton, Social Media Worldwide, will also be speaking – see link above for more information about Heather! 

Uptown Billiards – Coffee and drink service available. Also, so many people responded positively to the idea of having lunch together after class – that we’re definitely on!  

Heather Fulton

The Eleven, August 2014 – Beloved & Next Door (a new tool I’m ga-ga over)

Hello, and welcome to another edition of The Eleven, my monthly e-letter where I tell it like I see it. If you’d like to unsubscribe, there’s a handy link below. And, if you’d like to know more about what I do for work, please click the “update profile” link below and join one or more of my biz lists that will appear!

OK, first of all, I’ve been secretly and not so secretly giggling over my new found love of NextDoor!  NextDoor is a new platform that is a super-local bulletin board. It allows you to connect with your immediate neighborhood (our cat is missing, is a common announcement (our cat actually is missing – come home, Scooter, we miss you!)). Then, you can also connect with the 7 neighborhoods nearest you. This makes finding others with similar interests (spanish conversation group, anyone?) a synch. I have been waiting for something like this all my life, and I am very excited to share this with you and see what you think. For those of us wishing our lives were lived closer to home, this is a Godsend.

For 3 years I lived at a big group house. Downstairs was The Happy Clam and upstairs, The Lucky Cock. Last month, the last folks who lived upstairs moved out and we had a great, sweet goodbye to our communal home. I had some of the best times of my life in this house on 13th and Hancock (thus, Alex Kain dubbed the house – The Lucky Cock 🙂  We had many great parties; lived with some close friends; and the house is a beautiful 1910 craftsman – a beautiful, historical Irvington house – a great home for all of us in so many ways. I’ll miss this house and the community we experienced there.
Beloved: Photo by Zippy Lomax

Last weekend, at the last minute, I decided to attend the Beloved Festival for my 7th year. I’m glad I did. It’s one of the most beautiful festivals I’ve ever been to – the music, food, people, setting (Oregon temperate coastal rainforest), dancing, art (lots of live painting), camping, community, purpose, (the porta-potties had Rumi and Hafiz poems in them this year!) and general evolved communication and connection – is a welcome change from how our society generally connects. I’ve often mentioned to friends that it’s also a “mens’ retreat” for me. It’s a chance to hang out with my men friends in a relaxed environment where we don’t have to be anywhere else – and so can hang out for long stretches – over a meal; watching some incredible music or going for a walk together. I don’t know, but somehow I find it hard to have that kind of ease with my men friends in the city. I applied to lead a mens’ workshop this year at Beloved, but the workshop was not accepted. I’ll definitely apply again as I think it would be a great addition to an already incredible experience. I could write a book about this year’s experience – here are some quick highlights:

  • Rafe Pearlman‘s shabbat invocation on Friday night was like nothing I’ve ever heard before – part mystic, part kirtan – it was other-worldy and beautiful.
  • YogiTunes. They did some sound-scaping at the yoga dome which was delicious. I’m enjoying continuing to learn about them. Kristen, Ryan and Jon R’s sound-healing offering was super-fine, too!
  • The fountains of green drink, oxygenated water and vitamin C water that was provided by Healthforce Nutritionals.  Kept me dancing and hydrated all weekend long. In the food category, I was also elevated by Lydia’s Kitchen, Get Fried Rice, Coconut Bliss – you get the idea – delicious, conscious food, at a reasonable price, available all weekend long.
  • My friends. Their friends. The kids – bouncing all over the place and having the time of their lives.
  • the art – and especially all of the alters.  Annie and her crew were at the festival a week early to install dozens of little and big alters all over the grounds. They were beautiful – temporary – created by Nature and Annie Eshaia.
  • Here’s a nice collection of pictures that can give you an idea of what the Beloved Festival is all about.  I look forward to going back again next year – it keeps improving from year to year.
  • Oh yeah, I almost forgot – hanging out talking to Michael Meade for a while – definitely a highlight!
Work-wise, I’ve been going a bit lighter this August. Meeting with clients (feel free to refer people to me who are seeking to up their on-line presence through email marketing and social media!). I’ve got a couple free classes coming up (see below).
Yeah, Summer! – heat, sunshine, friends, playing guitar, and being my activist self, too 🙂  Making sure friends are registered to vote (for labeling foods with GMOs in them in Oregon this Fall – to Legalize Recreational Marijuana here in Oregon this Fall, and more).  More on these issues this Fall.
I hope life is treating you extremely well. Rest, relax, and please take some time to have a Summer 🙂
Much love,
Albert

Upcoming Events

Getting Your Business Thriving with Email Marketing

Wednesday August 20, 2014 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM PDT

Getting Started with Email Marketing is the most cost effect way to build your business – join me, Albert Kaufman, for a a guided discussion about how email marketing works and how to get up and running. 8.20.14 – great inner NE PDX location.

Holladay Park Church of God

Social Media Marketing for Small Business Success

Wednesday September 24, 2014 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM PDT

Come learn about social media from local expert, Albert Kaufman. This presentation is a guide for small businesses or nonprofits who have been using social media marketing, but need some tips to take them to an intermediate level and/or add new channels to their marketing efforts. Heather Fulton, social media expert, will also be speaking!

Uptown Billiards

 

 

Oregon Country Fair 2014

ocf2014

Face-Painting at OCF: Photo by Nadi
Hi there,
I thought I’d send this newsletter after returning from the Oregon Country Fair. I’m glad I did. Now I know what to say 🙂  I started writing as I was heading out the door for the Fair, and could not put the words together – instead, I packed, and trucked to the Fair.
The Ritz. I really have to start here. The Ritz Sauna/Shower complex at the Fair is something really special. Here’s a picture of the entrance-way. Photos aren’t allowed inside, so it’s hard to find any on-line!  
Well, not that hard 🙂 And, to see some video of the Ritz and a current project there, visit here.
Why do I love The Ritz so much? Well, the Fair can be hot and dusty – then, for a small bit of $ you are welcomed into a world that is pretty unbelievable. Two sections of hot showers; dozens of happy, shiny naked people of all shapes, ages and sizes – add on 2 large saunas – an older one – circular on the inside – 4-5 levels of seating. And, a second, newer sauna – same height – possibly able to fit 50-75 people – imagine singing, yoga, quiet sitting and a lot of sighing – repeat, washing, rinse, – an area to brush teeth/shave and then to top it off – a lovely seating area with a fire in the middle and some seats around it – standing around a fire to dry off – add then, some of the best talent of the Fair playing music on a small stage by the fire.  Do that for a couple hours each day and you, too, will see the light 🙂  This year, a new addition was a mid-section high fire, between the changing areas which is brilliant.
If I had my way, I’d live somewhere with such a sauna/shower area available for daily use. I would never get tired of it. But OK, I’d eventually have to step outside, and when you step outside of the Ritz you are faced with so many great pathways, food booths, and smiling faces – it’s hard to figure out which way to go. And luckily, my work with Wileyware affords me a great reason to “be” at the Fair – sharing beautiful practical artistic glassware to people young and old. I realized this year that it’s a treat for people to know about Wileyware – whether they have any or not – to just see it, hold it, and learn about it is a valuable/interesting experience all on its own. And, to watch kids’ faces (young and old) as they pick up a glass and turn it around in their hands – that’s fun! 
Wileyware
Part of my Fair experience this year was coming early, setting up camp with friends and then building our booth.  Here’s what it looks like after a Winter of flooding in the area of our booth! Video by Paxton, who is an OCF Board member.
Our booth imagery starts around minute 2:40 (L12).
Left Bank Walk through
Left Bank Walk through – video by Paxton

Building our booth consists of building a floor – think boards, skill-saws, cordless drills and we build and take it down each year when the Fair is done. There is a strong Leave No Trace ethic here – the woods are turned back so it’s hard to find evidence so many people passed through (parades, marching bands, and thousands of visitors for 3 days!).

Then, there’s the music. A long-time favorite of mine is Seattle Jim Page. I’ve been seeing/hearing Jim play (often with Artis the Spoonman) over the years at Pike Place Market and OCF. Here’s a song that Jim played on the main stage that was haunting.

Jim Page - Ghost Bikes
Jim Page – Ghost Bikes Lyrics (if you want to sing along)

One great thing about the fair is that many of the artists will play shows on various stages and then play along the pathways. So, I got to see Jim with hundreds and then with just a couple people a few hours later. If Jim had great marketing and some luck, he’d be as popular as Bob Dylan. His songs are hard-hitting – and capture what’s really going on in our world. Sometimes the message is hard to hear, but it’s always right on target.

Food: oh my. So so good. From gluten-free cupcakes to falafel to amazing Get Fried Rice – the salads, and egg rolls, and tastes of friends’ choices – simply incredible. Possibly the best selection of food anywhere on the planet.  Food, music, catching up with friends – it was such a wonderful, kind reminder of the beautiful planet we live on and how it’s possible to live in harmony together.

Because, really, that’s the brilliance of the Oregon Country Fair. It’s a picture of how humans can be together – come together and harmonize – be kind to one another – take care of one another – treat each other well.
If you’re ever interested in being a part of the fair (and I mean being someone who is doing something in the Fair which leads to a wristlet allowing you to stay in the fair grounds over night) – please let me know. It’s not that hard to find a group to participate with – but planning and effort are essential.
Here are some more photos by Nadi who helped Eecole and Brian in the Energy Park face-painting booth (Grounded).
Well, there you have it – 5 days in Veneta, Oregon – a little taste. You can find tons of pictures on FB right now.  Everyone who attended is posting all of their pics on-line.
I hope your Summer is going well.  I have a couple free classes on social media/email marketing coming up – please come or spread the word. Details below!
Yellow Stripes
Take care and have fun out there!
Albert Kaufman
Portlandia!

Upcoming Events

Campaigns That Drive Action: Offers & Promotions & SEO Basics

Wednesday July 23, 2014 from 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM PDT
Increase & reward loyalty while driving new customers to your door. And, a special SEO session with Jesús Meca Rodríguez @ Portland Microsoft Office

Getting Your Business Thriving with Email Marketing

Wednesday August 20, 2014 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM PDT
Getting Started with Email Marketing is the most cost effect way to build your business – join me, Albert Kaufman, for a a guided discussion about how email marketing works and how to get up and running. 8.20.14 – great inner NE PDX location. @ Holladay Park Church of God @ 21st and Tillamook, NE

Luna Bell – Photo by Nadi

Addendum: At the Oregon Country Fair this year I saw a woman with the best t-shirt. It spelled out the word B-I-T-C-H on both sides. Here are the words that were written to spell out the word:

Beautiful Intelligent Thoughtful Caring Honest

and then on the other side

Being In Total Control of Herself

 

Moving Time!

sunflowersHello, and welcome to this month’s The Eleven, my monthly e-letter.

Have you ever had a destination in mind but had to complete many tasks before you could get there? That’s how this edition of the 11 has been for me. Whew, and I’m there and ready to write!!!!  First, the news.

Yes, after 3 years of happy clamming I’m going to take my show on the road and relocate to … Southeast Portlandia. Yes, I know, you were possibly expecting something a little more exotic, but actually, living in SE Portlandia is pretty frigging awesome, and I can’t wait to get there. I left Burning Man this year partly to get a head start on the moving process, cause I’m so jazzed! I’ll be over in the Division/44th/Stumptown/Village Merchants section of town – the house has a great porch and I’ll be living with two women I’ve known for a good long time. I’m looking forward to a quieter neighborhood and closer proximity to work and and and!
And, doesn’t it seem like life is speeding up a bit, lately? Between Syria, Climate Change, the R’s bringing us to the brink of not having a government budget, and traffic speeds increasing (at least that’s my sense) it just feels like the pace is quickening. Which is why it’s great that this calming site exists 🙂 Go ahead, take a minute or two 🙂
shoes post burn 2013
shoes post burn

In fact, this has been my lesson from Burning Man this year – which if anyone who can help is listening – WAS WAY WAY WAY TOO LOUD.  We take some of the most intelligent people on Earth; bring them to an incredibly beautiful part of the world; fill that space with amazing art; and then drown everyone in a sound mush that is so abrasive that I don’t think I’ll ever go back again. My 13th year was so loud that I think my system has been completely overloaded and I’m having a very hard re-entry. What?  And, if you’re interested in links to pictures/videos, let me know – I have a great list, because of course, this was also the best year ever. Yeah, it’s like that out there…

One of my favorite parts of this year’s Burn was actually our SideBurn – time spent with friends at Summer Lake Hot Springs in Paisley, Oregon.
I’m finally finding work that I am passionate about – teaching social media and email marketing to small biz people. If that’s you or someone you know I have a bunch of classes (mostly free) coming up – look to the right. I’d love you to refer me to people, thanks!
I hope your life is full of love, laughter, surprises, dance, magic and lots of touch. If you haven’t seen the video on touch put out by my friends, please have a look. Make sure you get plenty of hugs, rest, healthy food and I’ll speak with you soon,
With gratitude for life’s abundance,
Albert Kaufman

Upcoming Events

Facebook for small businesses – You Can Do It!

Come learn how to promote your small business via Facebook – I’ll help you take out the frustration and add in the fun! – Monday, Sepember 23rd, 9am-12pm – $30

1823 NE 13th Avenue

—————–

The Power of Email Marketing

Monday October 14, 2013 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM –Free

This information-packed seminar will demonstrate how email marketing can really help drive business success.

Holladay Park Church of God

—————–

Getting Started with Email Marketing

Tuesday November 12, 2013 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM –Free

This is a guided discussion about how email marketing works and how to get up and running.

Holladay Park Church of God

Sarah
Sarah is my favorite comedian
todays’ soundtrack brought to you by my new friend, Spencer. He gifted me with a collection of dance hits from the 70s – got me shaking my head while writing this, Keep on Truckin! yeah!  
Albert and Sunflowers 2013
The sunflowers are doing well this Summer – click on the pic to learn more about my sunflower project
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