Sunday, September 21, 2008

"Be The Man" Work Party Success

After what seemed like a fruitless search for used lumber, I finally found someone who had a big pile of 2x4's laying around in his yard. It was more wood than we needed for the project but the deal was too good to pass up. There were about 60 boards, almost all of them over 16 feet long. Some of them were redwood and most of them were in pretty good shape. I got the wood just in time for our first work party.

The mission was to build at least half of the structural sections of the sculpture. We did way better than that. We were able to get all of the structural sections completed for the Be The Man sculpture and we had time to start making decorative bits, too!

There were several people helping. When Joey showed up with the nail guns, the pace really picked up. Yay for nail guns! Thanks to Cat Herder, Tom, Pete, Ray, Joey, Pam, A.T., Crispy, Ashley, and Lindsey for helping put it all together. All we need to do now is make more burnable decorations and then assemble it at Decompression in two weeks.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Be The Man - A Burnable Art Project

Be The Man will be a small decorated wooden building I designed that is both a tiny temple and a tower that you can climb. It will be about 17 feet tall and is 8-feet square at its base. It will be on display at the Arizona Decompression - an after-party of sorts for Arizonans who have gone to the Burning Man Festival.

The sculpture is collaborative. People are invited to participate in building it and designing and making the burnable decorations that go on it. When it's assembled at Decompression, participants can climb to the top of the tower and Be the Man! That is to say, they can imitate the Burning Man figure in miniature.

It will only be standing for about a day and a half. At the culmination of the Decompression event we will put a wooden figure on top and the whole structure will be lit on fire and burned to the ground while the crowd cheers. It's a testimony to beauty, spontaneity, and the temporariness of all things.

Many Arizona burners have contributed to make this happen. The more people that get involved, the more fun the whole process will be. Thanks to all who helped and who will help. It's all happening fast. Decompression is less than three weeks away!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Prescott Valley Kinetic Sculpture Race

Yesterday we entered the Seussian Pedal Tractor in the third annual Prescott Valley Kinetic Sculpture race. There were 10 entries, up from last year's 7 or 8 entries. There was also a much larger crowd of spectators than before. It's good to see the event growing. We need more wacky events. It's too much fun!

The Seussian Pedal Tractor performed flawlessly, piloted by Janabanana, A.T. and Cat Herder. Halfway through the race, I traded places with Cat Herder and rode the tractor to the finish. The only spot we couldn't get through without help was the mud bog. We needed a push from three or four people to get up the steep edge of the mud pit.

We finished dead last. This was by design actually. We wanted a leisurely ride. Why work hard? We rode the whole course, did not take any shortcuts, and had a great time. After all, kinetic sculpture racing is not about speed. It's about fun!

We won three trophies! That's three times as many as any other entry. We got trophies for The Most Artistic, The Craziest, and Racers' Choice. Two of the trophies were made by metal sculptor Rick Hartner. The other sculpture was made by my lovely wife, Nita, who also was a race judge (Judge Mental) Not only do we feel exceptionally honored to win the trophies, it's a special treat to have the trophies be sculptures by respected sculptors.

Special thanks to the following people:

Cynthia Jones for creating and managing this fun event.
Judge Mental and all the other judges for graciously accepting our bribes.
Janabanana, A.T. and Cat Herder for piloting the Pedal Tractor.
Ken and Nils for being our pit crew and helping us out of tricky spots in the race.
All our friends who came from far and wide to cheer us on.

After the race we spent the afternoon at Prescott Valley's World Arts Festival. We laid out a blanket at the back of one of the big performance tent and watched the musical performances. Between performances A.T. brought out her hula hoops and we entertained spectators and ourselves while still dressed in our racing outfits - tutus and striped tights.

Click the arrow in the middle of the picture below to see a short slide show.

Click here to see larger versions of the photos in this slide show.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Burning Man 2008

I have just returned from Black Rock City, the location of the Burning Man festival. This was my ninth year. Once again it was lots of fun. The Seussian Pedal Tractor was a success -- mostly. There was one problem that we just couldn't seem to fix. It still worked, though. There was a lot of great art and tons of fun people. There seemed to be a lot of tricycles this year. More than I have seen there before. The weather was mostly good. We had a severe dust storm on Monday and another on Saturday. The days between were perfect. I shot a lot of still photos and only about 2 hours of video. I will edit the video later. Right now I am still tired from the trip and from getting way too little sleep during the week. See photos