What do YOU do?

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"Burners" can be very rude and judgmental people sometimes. It is probably rude and judgmental of me to say so, if you know me, you probably know that I am totally guilty of snark, you may have seen me be, ahem, direct with someone and you probably also know that I've been actively working on being nicer, and I am nicer than I was 10 years ago. Whenever I catch myself being a jerk I make note of it and analyse it to death later (most of my blog is exactly that). Part of my Burning Man experience is to review how I interact with humans, work on my findings, and go back to retest. If you have been reading, or keep reading you'll learn I've got some real issues and reasons to be a little defensive. I'm the first to admit that I act a lot like an abused dog, because that is exactly what I am. I'm head-shy and I don't like to be petted.

Recently I'm finding the question, "What do you do?" coming from within the Burning Man community to be a more and more offensive question. It comes up a as I meet new people, I'm new to my present city, people don't know me and I honestly don't expect them to. However, the tone this question is usually delivered with can be so "Burnier Than Thou" and completely supercilious. It grates on me that people develop prejudices simply because I'm unfamiliar. It's tribal, protective behavior, but come on, we're citizens of the same city, we have mutual friends and relatives. Cut a lady some slack. I've never-ever been one to be "Burnier Than Thou" and I have never-ever been the guy who says "Do you know who I am?" I just show up and work when and how I can. I like to meet new people, but recently more often than not I'm met with condescension. I'd like to meet people as equals please.

More and more the things I devote time to are my own projects or within a field in which I have a minimum of 12 years of experience, you know - putting in where my skills and experience are well suited. What I do is based on what I have done, as is what I will do in the future. It's the way the world turns you know. Even when I dig into is brand new territory, my previous experience in Life as well as Work and Art will guide how I approach my new experiences. At this moment in my life I am focused on school and limited but well developed projects, projects which require years of skill development and practice, years of hard labor, years of networking, and years of community participation.  

It almost seems reasonable to prepare a personal Burning Man Participant Legitimacy Binder of our burner and community related projects. How would one do this without sounding like a prig? Perhaps the question is stabby for me because I'm unemployed (seemingly unemployable) and have been since 2008, or maybe because my injury stopped me from being able to do the kind of work I've built my skill sets on, (I'm retooling to stay active in a different way). Perhaps it's annoying because the question often comes from people who's entire basis of participation is dependent on their outfits rather than labor, research, art or organizational skills. Maybe (just maybe) the question bugs me because when I answer the question I'm considered arrogant, but my male counterpart is praised for his strong work. It is entirely possible I just do a lot of work, rather than good work, I'll accept that. Balls up and tell me if that is true. Maybe I am "Burnier Than Thou", it is entirely possible. I do require that people work as a contribution to our society. Perhaps the question bugs the crap out of me because I don't have a short answer. How does anybody in their mid 40's who's been an active burner for more than a decade succinctly summarize their community participation?

You know... fuck it. If anybody asks again, I've got this handled.

What do I do?
Nothing really. I don't seem to be employable.

more after the jump...

The Burning Man Project, Fire Conclave Council, 2010-Present

Critical Massive Portrait Studio 2008-2011
Three time grant recipient of Ignition Northwest’s Critical Massive microgrant for project 2008-2010

SeaCompression Portrait Studio 2009-2010

Ignition Northwest, Board of Directors, 2008-2011
Arts Committee Chair, 2009-2010

The Seattle Center Winterfest Winter Solstice Fire Festival. Seattle WA, 2008
Production Manager

Fremont Solstice Parade, 2008

HBO Real Sex, Aired 10/2007
Fire Dancer: Performed and interviewed for HBO's Real Sex television show

"Death Wish Live” Pyro Boy, Aired 2 February 2006 (Season 1, Episode 4).
Stunt/Pyrotechnician/Dancer for television show

Fire Arts Exposition, San Francisco CA, 05/2006
Stage Manager

Fire Dancing Instructor at The Crucible, Oakland CA, 2006

Fire Coalition, San Francisco CA, 2005-2007
Member: Our objective is to create an alliance between the fire arts community, San Francisco Fire Department, Entertainment Commission, Arts Commission and the City of San Francisco todevelop an affordable means by which fire arts can perform legally in San Francisco to increase awareness of the art form; bolster San Francisco’s reputation as an innovative arts culture by leveraging our prominent status in the global Fire Arts community.

Burning Man Decompression, October 2005, 2006
Assistant Fire Stage Manager

Reel Grrls, 2004 & 2005
Volunteer Mentor: Reel Grrls is a unique after-school media & technology training program that empowers girls to critique media images and to gain media technology skills in a safe, open environment, mentored by a network of multi-cultural women media professionals.

Northwest Fire Conclave, 2004 - 2005 & 2007

Seattle Center's Winterfest, Winter Solstice Celebration, 2004-2006
Fire Dancer

Cirque de Flambe, Seattle WA, 2004-2009
Finer fire tricks, fun for all! Circus Arts Workshop Coordinator and Registrar, Production Coordinator; Assistant director; Costume designer; Use poi, finger torches, palm torches, fire fans, flaming hula-hoop, flaming costumes, staff, fire clubs, eat fire and fire breathing, pyrotechnics and fire effects; Website contributor.

Be, Black Rock City NV, 2004
Director, ceremonial performance for Burning Man honorarium artist Chico Raskey, for his project Rise and Return.

5ive, Seattle WA, 2003
"Hearing" Installation
Community Collaboration and Interactivity. A total sensory experience through performance, music, visual art and more. 5ive pushed interactivity between artists, artists and audience, and within the audience itself.  I designed and executed Hearing: the audience entered into a sensory depleted space forced to find their way through black space to a pod of comfortable light and sound, moving from one pod to another each evoking different emotions finally to find an interviewer, questions and answers were broadcast outside the room to other interactive spaces, influencing work being made in those spaces.

Playboy Channel Sexcetera, Aired April 2003
Fire Dancer: Performed and interviewed for Playboy Channel Sexcetera television show

Treasure Chests, Seattle WA, 2002-2005
Fire Dancer: Manage, promote, book; Assist with creative direction of Modern Cabaret Dance Troupe. Performances specific to Arson Island Resort fund raising events and breast health awareness events.

Persephone's Choice, Seattle Fringe Festival, Seattle WA 2002
Fire Dancer, Costume Designer.

North American Fire Arts Association, 2002
Founding member, contributing editor

Pyrosutra, Seattle WA, 2000-2003
Performer +: Design/build Website; Manage promotion, booking and publicity of troupe; Program performances, concept, art direction, choreograph, and perform using fire and Ultra-Violet light; Maintain safety standards documents; Design and created costumes; Community project coordinator.
Self Produced: Casandra's Prophesy 2002, Freezer Burn 2002, The Bandits Ball 2002, A Benefit To Fight Scurvy 2002, The Pirates Lair 2002, Phoenix Festival 2000-2002, Big Tent Revival Tour 2001, Agni, Fire of the Devoted, 2001 
Festivals & Fairs: Orcas Island Music Festival 2003, Bite of Seattle 2003, Santarchy 2000-2003, Earth Dance 2000, String Cheese Incident 2000-20003

Corporate & Private Events: World Freestyle Ski Championships Park City Main St.Celebration 2003, U.W. Surgery Pavilion Opening 2003, Appaloosa Club, Colorado Springs 2003, Intimania, 2002. Scintillating Rhythms, Intiman Theater Fundraiser, Wa. Assn. of Hospitals 2003, USC Freak Night VI & V 2002-2003, Fremont Winter Feast 2002, STARS Cabaret 2002, Monkey -vs- Robot 2002, Mystery Spiral 2002, Fashion Underground 2002, HEAT 2002, Mutagenesis 2001, Gallaher-Airola Wedding 2001, Fugios 2001, Burning Man Recompression 2000 & 2002, It's Like That Still 2000, Burning Man Decompression 2000 & 2002, Why Not 2000, Hunt for Rave October 2000, Sea-Burns CoM 2000-2001.

The Mathroom, Seattle WA 11/2000
Multi-media interactive installation. An Intentional space erected within a soundscape space of three large scale sound systems, operated by DJs and phonographers. Signage modeled after restroom signs invited the audience into the space where they found a podium of interactive math learning toys. The toys were connected to the sound systems, their sounds were projected into the soundscape with the output from the DJs and phonographers.

Animated Fusion, Seattle WA. 2000
Founding Member, Core Fire Performer: Conceptualize, choreograph, organize, manage troupe and perform fire presentations. Use poi and staff.

[nrr] consortium, Seattle WA 1999-2000
Collaborator: Seattle area music event promoters putting their heads and resources together.  Accomplishment of note: Produced “Sundazed”, amplified, electronic music gatherings twice monthly through the summer months (May-September) in Seattle City Parks.

QT Productions, Seattle WA 1998-2000
Event Promoter: Volunteer coordination, talent scout booking manager, managing equipment rental, space design and decoration, coordination between space leasors and local Fire Marshals, promotion and marketing by hook or crook, accounting and best of all, being on everybody elses guest list. E-Bot September 1998, I<3U February 1999, Floriala May 1 1999, I<3U2 February 2000.

Seattle Webgrrls, Seattle WA, 1997-2000 Digital Eve, 2000-Present
Member, Volunteer: Website Redesign Team, splash design and production 1998.
Taught Basic HTML classes. Steering Committee Member, EducationGrrl / Community RelationsGrrl 1998.

Sparqily, Seattle WA, 1999-2006
Proprietor: Hand crafted clothes, costumes and accessories.
A lifetime of experience designing and drafting patterns, constructing and sewing garments and costume crafts. Focus on fire dance and performance costuming, concentrating on safety, freedom of movement and durability I’ve also been known to make great club wear, and straight up cute clothes. I like making reconstructed clothing and have a lot of fun working with what I’ve got, which tends to make for cool one-offs. In recent years I’ve been making 3D objects such as miniature creatures and life sized stuffed replicas of cameras.
Fashion Underground, Seattle WA 2002
Fashion Designer
Wearable/Remote Internet Entertainment, Seattle WA 10/1998
Using laptops, head mounted webcams and wireless modems, cyberchix.org webcast private events

2009-Present Iron Monkeys
2003-2008 Cirque de Flambe
2002 Arson Island Resort
2001 Alien Love Nest
2000 E-Ville with Church of Mez

Academic Work
MOOP, graphic novel, 2001
Paying it forward, Paying it Back, Thoughts on Gift Economy, 2011
Explanation For The Rise of Towns, Burning Man's Black Rock City As A Modern Model, 2009

Published Work (I'll come back to fill in publishers)
2011, Rustrocket, cover photography
2011, Artifact/Artifiction, photography and two essays
2010, Spindrift, juried literary magazine, photography
2009, Portraits of Critical Massive
2008, Woman of a Certain Age
2008, In Her Own Image, contributing photographer
2008, Red, contributing photographer
1998, 10 Things Zine, contributing columnist

Awards (not all burner related)
2011 Dean's Scholarship, Pacific Northwest College of Art
2011 Merit Award, Pacific Northwest College of Art
2010 Ignition Northwest Microgrant
2010 Dean's Scholarship, Pacific Northwest College of Art
2010 Merit Award, Pacific Northwest College of Art
2009 Ignition Northwest Microgrant
2008 Ignition Northwest Microgrant

In addition I was also doing weekly open mic performance-readings where I debuted many essays and poetry. Most activities managed while maintaining some flavor of day job.
What do you do?


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