Saturday, December 7, 2013
True Grit is our winter Official Burning Man Regional Event, a community gathering and celebration. Our last beach burn event was MPYRE Strikes Back in August 2012— Jennie Kay’s last hurrah as Regional Contact in Monterey and Alicia Tao’s first as incoming RC.
This edition of True Grit was the first since December 2010, and Alicia’s first major event head den mother. Plans came together with several leads returning for music, fire, and art and new people stepping up for greeters and costume swap. In addition, we had new theme camps participating—Dark Sparkle from Davis, CA and Freedom Lounge from Reading, CA.
Attendance was much lower than expected, as California was enjoying a cold front, with that Saturday’s high temperatures only in the low 50s. Without a gate and tickets for accounting bodies, we estimated 200+ people attended over the twelve hours. Despite our smaller gathering, the universal feedback was more than positive. All loved the atmosphere and totally appreciated our community gathering.
Donations were adequate, but lower than expected—again probably a result of the weather and attendance. So we missed breaking even on production costs.
Pre-Event Donations $225.00
Day of Donations $514.00
Bank Charges $8.33
We had a great turnout for set up of all spaces: two sound stages, effigy & fire ring, art projects, theme camps, costume swap, and greeters, which was completely well stocked throughout the day and night. Thank you to Pinky and Kerry for organizing everything and everyone so well.
Load out was also managed quickly, and the beach was clear by 11p.
To whom it may concern, this is Marian (pinky) writing about the MPYRE beach burn on Dec. 7th. I helped with getting the greeters signed up and help to set up the greeters booth in the morning of the Burn. The whole experience was really fun for me, and I felt like it was very organized. Once the sign up sheet was up for the greeters, it pretty much flowed along and many people signed up quickly. Thanks to Kerry Nickols for the sign up sheet. We all communicated by group email, which was working great, and thank you to everyone who helped. Alicia Tao is an awesome leader and has such enthusiasm!!! She kept us all organized and was always available by email. She and Don (Alicia’s +1) really put so much in to the whole event!! Ellen and Allen lent us so many decorations for the greeters booth, as well as hosting our effigy creation. I think the event was really successful and people had so much fun!! Thank you for the chance to participate and hope to do it again soon, Marian Spotswood (Pinky)
Suggestions for the next event: Greeters station wants light and wind breaks. Have tarps or blankets available to install to cut the wind. Or bring small propane camp heaters. The pop-up ‘walls’ might also be used as a canvas for spontaneous creativity and decoration.
The Germ, most recently on playa at Fertility 2.0, was installed. With its own lighting and cozy space, the sculpture created a quiet area, and loungers were welcomed to contribute to the available notebooks. Taking shelter inside from the cold wind was nice too.
Our effigy, Kraken, invited everyone and anyone to ‘Feed the Beast your Fears,’ with wood scraps ready to be personalized and fed to the squidish monster. Noted: We need a defined fire safety perimeter and plan for our fire receptacle. There were concerns about the burn ring being unattended.
Regarding placement, post-event opinions were that we set our burn ring & effigy in line with the Main Stage to create a more cohesive central space, enhancing the ceremony and intention when the effigy is set aflame and fire performance begins.
In addition, we would like to invite more art theme camps other local community art groups to participate by bringing interactive art projects, pieces to install, or just coming to engage with the art our group brings to the beach.
Fire performance was mesmerizing as usual, though spinners struggled with the wind shortening each performance significantly. Fewer spinners participated because of the weather, but 10+ were present. A safety meeting was scheduled at 4:45a, and all performers were present to follow procedures for re-fueling, spotting, and performer and viewer safety. A circle was defined with tiki torches, facing the main sound stage on the water-side of the beach. Viewer safety was not an issue this year, as most people stayed closer to the effigy burn container, set to the left of the main stage and towards the tide line; people did not circle the fire spinning space as in past years.
Despite the smaller turnout of attendees and spinners, fire spinning was again a highlight of the evening.
Lucho handled sound again this year, and all was great, of course. We repeated 2012’s set up with two sound stages. The Chill Stage shut down at 6p to focus on fire spinning in front of the Main Stage. Sets were on the hour, with breaks for burlesque performances.
Post event, some felt the Chill Stage’s location, facing the public bike path, and style of music played, heavy dubstep in a few sets, might have deterred people from ‘entering the space’ and engaging more deeply with the effigy, the music, the art, and the community. So for the next beach burn, we will go back to one sound stage to keep music and sound integrated and not distracting.
Theme Camps and Public Participation
Two new theme camps joined us: Freedom Lounge and Dark Sparkle, and the StegaTron art car made its local beach burn debut.
Freedom Lounge, based in Reading, CA, offered channeling, spiritual readings, and psychic experiences for all. They had a great vibe, and were enthusiastic about creating their space on the sand. It would be fabulous if they joined us again!
Dark Sparkle out of Davis, CA brought their DJs and burlesque performers for several great acts. The dancers were especially engaging, as several of us got on stage for some impromptu dancing. Thanks for Kerry for bringing so many of her campmates to Monterey!
Cat’s Meow again donated to the Costume Swap, as did many of our local MPYREians, though the space this time might be better described as Costume Closet. All participants were super-engaged, as they dressed up, then wandered about for time, then returned to change into something different, new, and fun. We ended up with more costumes than we started with, so our next event will have a great collection to share.
Two participants set up food to share: one offered hotdogs, chips, and popcorn, the other hot toddies. Everyone loved eating and drinking together, but we are in agreement that our beach burn’s food and drinks will remain participant-driven only.
The weather was cold, and also sunny, rainy, windy, aka normal Monterey Bay weather. I shared hand warmers around, but small propane camp heaters will be included on our supplies list from now on.
Local papers did not cover us that day, but a Reuters photographer attended. A number of images were picked up in various outlets as image of the day. Very exciting to make it online at Paris Match and Reuters Image of the Day.
Responses to our event piece, a postcard, ranged from ‘Great!’ and ‘Love it!’ to ‘What’s True Grit?’ Suggestions included using a bigger man icon to make our Burning Man connection more obvious, along with photo images of art, fire, and our decorated beach space.
We had four rangers in attendance: Rangers Jamye, Climber, Archer, and Lothos. It was really great to have so many present. And if we count Sonia, Jamye and Climber’s soon to arrive little one, can we say 4½ rangers?? The day was calm, with no incidents to report.
Apparently law enforcement did not get any calls about the event, as we had not one visit from Monterey Police—not even for a routine check-in.
Leave No Trace
With several trash and recycle barrels set up in the event space, we had no issue with garbage. The City of Monterey donated recycle cans and liners, along with a recycling dumpster up the way, though a fair amount was captured by homeless community members who live at Del Monte Beach. All trash was taken home by local MPYREians to dispose of personally. The next morning’s final LNT sweep yielded less than ½ a grocery bag of zip ties and cigarette butts. High fives to everyone for leaving the beach cleaner than we found it.
The next beach burn is planned for 2014, month to be determined. Stay tuned…
True Grit! returns to Monterey for a fabulous full day of engaging art, spectacular music, joyful dance, captivating fire, energetic fun, and–best of all–our inspiring Burning Man community! Come! Participate! Connect!
MPYRE invites YOU to bring the spirit of Burning Man and Black Rock City to Monterey.
Artists, Musicians, Performers, Volunteers and Neighbors together create the connection and community of our event. How would YOU like to contribute the gift of your amazing imagination, your creative expression, and your superb energy for True Grit, and share the beauty of Burning Man at Del Monte Beach?
Find us online! We welcome you!
Huge THANKS! HIGH FIVES! and MPYREian LOVE! to Patrick Watson for our beautiful event piece! Printing in process. So please come to our next meeting so you may proudly distribute to all your friends, neighbors, and favorite local businesses. Monterey, Santa Cruz, and Beyond: TRUE GRIT! is on its way!
Oh, when’s the next planning meeting?
Sunday, October 27, 2013
London Bridge Pub
256 Figueroa St, Wharf #2
Monterey CA 93940
I will have updates on permit, insurance, porta potty, and you’ll have updates on all the fun stuff: music, art, fire, theme camps, costume swap, community, connection!
Looking forward to see you there!