Jrs V12 I12


Burning Man Update: The Jack Rabbit Speaks
Volume 12, Issue #12 – Special BWB Edition
March 18, 2008

Hello there!

AG here (nice to see you again!) back in the saddle and reaching out to you with a bit of special news about Burning Man and Burners Without Borders today…PQ will be back atcha later on with a regular edition of the JRS.

Even if you can’t join us at this special work week event/community picnic in Mississippi (see below), we hope you’ll enjoy this look back at the history of Burners Without Borders as we approach the second anniversary of BWB’s departure from the Gulf Coast…check it out.

As ever, unsub info is at the bottom of this email.

PEARLINGTON, MS 3/27 – 4/5

Back To The Bayou: Join Burning Man and Burners Without Borders at a Community Picnic/Work Week(end) on the Gulf Coast in Pearlington, Mississippi this spring! During this special week, March 27-April 5th, you can help restore the communities affected by Hurricane Katrina, and provide an evening’s enjoyment for those still working to rebuild…plus, be among the first to view a special private screening of the new film, “Burn on the Bayou,” the amazing post-Katrina story of how Burners Without Borders came to be!

The values and ethics of the Burning Man Project are making their way out into the world in ever-evolving ways. Burners Without Borders (BWB), an effort that began in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, is a huge part of that evolution. BWB is more than just an organization or a group, it’s an idea: We can take what we learn at Burning Man and bring those values with us off the playa, by getting more involved in and giving our gifts to the rest of the world around us. Through civic activity, relief efforts, and many other forms of volunteerism, BWB has become a way for Burners to show the outside world what Burning Man is really all about.

This Community Picnic brings Burning Man back to the bayou to help lend a hand to a community still struggling to rebuild, and to celebrate an important moment in BWB’s history in the place where it all began!

Here’s what we’ve got planned:

**WORK WEEKEND March 27-30:
Help paint, build, plant, clean, repair, restore homes and lives in Pearlington, Mississippi — a small town still working to rebuild from Hurricane Katrina.

**COMMUNITY PICNIC March 29 (Saturday):
Celebrate the two-year Anniversary of BWB’s Gulf Coast departure!
5 PM: BBQ and potluck for residents of Pearlington
6 PM – 7:30 PM: Evening of burner-style entertainment, bayou style.
Got talent? Get in touch! Art cars, performers, chair masseuses, stilters, etc. especially invited to attend.
7:45 PM: SPECIAL PRIVATE SCREENING: “Burn on the Bayou” — a documentary detailing what happened when Burning Man participants responded to our country’s worst natural disaster – an effort that would become known as “Burners Without Borders.” Be among the first to view this new feature film!
9:00 PM: Bonfire and performances (bring your fire toys!), followed by a trip to the Turtle Landing Bar.

**WORK WEEK CONTINUES (March 31- April 5):
Got more time? Stay all week in volunteer housing and help out with continued restoration projects around Pearlington.


– Skilled AND unskilled labor needed – all are welcome
– You are responsible for your own transportation to the area
– $5 per person per day will help cover your place to stay in a volunteer bunkhouse and three meals a day
– Space is limited. RV camping is permitted on site – sorry, tent camping is not allowed at the Pearlington Recovery Center (aka “Pearlmart”). Bunkhouse space onsite will be available and covered in your $5 a day. There is also a Motel 6 available for $33 a night in nearby Slidell, LA (12 miles away).
– Just like Black Rock City, you’ll need to bring everything with you you need to survive. Also helpful: work gloves, your own tools, etc.
– Weather should be pleasant, although rain and bugs may be present – be prepared.

Whether you’ll join us for the whole week, just the weekend, or just Saturday’s picnic, please email Carmen at carmen (at) burnerswithoutborders (dot) org and let her know when you’re coming. Also, let her know if you happen to have a particular skill (gardening, carpentry, electrical, plumbing, etc.) to contribute.

Are you an art car owner, fire performer, massage therapist, musician…or something else you think would lend some fun to the picnic/BBQ/film screening? Contact Bettie June at bettiejune (at) burningman (dot) com — she will be helping to coordinate entertainment for this event.

Your donations will sponsor other volunteers who have time but not money, and any and all proceeds raised beyond what we need to support volunteers will be donated in the community to support recovery efforts… or, you can still donate/volunteer to help continuing BWB relief efforts in Pisco, Peru. Donate here: http://www.burnerswithoutborders.org/contact-info-1


Pearlington is a small, out-of-the-way Mississippi town without a Mayor or a city council. Pearlington’s residents have been, for the most part, left to their own devices after Katrina, and many of the people in the town literally haven’t had a single day off since the storm.

In 2006, every Saturday night while Burners Without Borders volunteers were in Pearlington, they would gather to make art from debris, enjoy it for a moment, and then burn it in a bonfire. At first, the locals couldn’t understand this practice, but soon the appeal of creating beauty from nothing and then letting it go drew them in, too. The final weeks in Mississippi, the BWB camp was filled with pieces of art created by locals — many of whom had never made art before, much less burned it. Even the beautiful town sign (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Pearlington_mississippi_sign.jpg) was built by BWB volunteers during those final weeks, created entirely from hurricane debris (demonstrating that anything, even garbage, can be made into art). It has become a proud local landmark.

Our plan now is to head back to Pearlington to say hello again, and offer them a break from their work – by helping out with rebuild projects, and by offering a day of relaxation and entertainment that might otherwise never happen in such a small, out-of-the-way place. The entire Gulf Coast still needs help, and not just in Pearlington…but Pearlington is part of where BWB’s history began, and it’s an environment where just a little help can have a big impact on peoples’ lives. We hope you’ll join us.


For years, we’ve all known that Burning Man meant *something* more than just a party in the desert–the question was always how to define just what. Hurricane Katrina provided at least part of the answer to the question: What happens when we take the values we share on the playa outside the orange trash fence, and into the default world? The answer: a lot, and in a little over two years, members of this community acting as “Burners Without Borders” have shown the world those values through civic action time and time again.

Within hours after the news of the Hurricane Katrina tragedy reached the playa, participants spontaneously reacted. In two days, they’d collected $42,000 for the Red Cross and other relief efforts–all the more impressive considering that Black Rock City is an environment. where nobody really carries cash. Soon dozens of volunteers were streaming toward the Gulf Coast. Many ended up in hard hit New Orleans; others, including many from the Temple Crew on the playa, coalesced at a shattered Buddhist Temple in Biloxi, MS. Over the next seven months, supported entirely by donations large and small from the Burning Man community, the group in Mississippi became known as “Burners Without Borders.”

After months of working to rebuild the Buddhist temple, they moved down the coast to tiny Pearlington, Mississippi, a forgotten rural town devastated by Hurricane Katrina. BWB volunteers lived there for three months between January and the end of March 2006, removing tons of debris, leveling dozens of ruined homes, and doing whatever else was needed to help folks get back on their feet–all in a uniquely Burner style. Before the storm, bringing creative, expressive Burners to a small, rural town might have been a recipe for disaster. But in the wreckage the town’s residents soon warmed to this unlikely-looking band of hard-working Burners who offered them a gift: their helping hands, and support for rebuilding their lives, with no expectation of return.

March 31st is the two year anniversary of Burners Without Borders’ departure from the Gulf Cost, and the improbable–and yet perhaps entirely predictable–story of Burners Without Borders did not stop when they left., The idea of BWB is now being used by groups of Burners as a way to self-organize together around community service projects, all over the world. Since leaving the Gulf Coast this concept of “Burners Without Borders” has racked up an impressive list of community outreach and service projects large and small – all supported entirely by the Burning Man community. Some examples:

* On May 5th 2006 and 2007, BWB organized “Cinco de Playa” clean up days on beaches and parks in 23 locations around the world.

* In the summer of 2006, BWB helped a group of party promoters in LA raise money for homeless kids in the city’s warehouse district

* At Burning Man 2006 and 2007, BWB organized a massive wood recycling effort for Habitat for Humanity in Reno, saving more than eight flatbed trucks full of lumber from camps and art projects that would otherwise have been destined for the burn platforms. Then, in January 2007, BWB volunteers gave up their Super Bowl Sunday to return to Reno and help turn that lumber into low income housing, working side by side with Habitat volunteers.

* In Chicago, BWB projects are changing the landscape and the lives of thousands of residents–they’ve done so much, we can’t begin to explain it. Read all about their amazing ways of turning art into action here http://www.burnerswithoutborders.org/global-action/chicago-bwb

* In the Midwest, a BWB group has helped to build a shared artist space in central Ohio, cleaned up after a barn fire in Wisconsin, and helped restore the Wolf Run Wildlife Refuge.

* In LA after the fires, local BWB volunteers helped clean up the Madre Grande site, host of the Xara event

* In San Francisco, when the National Park Service proposed banning fires on Ocean Beach, BWB and Burning Man rallied to help get 3,000 letters opposing the move–then raised $42,000 to have Burning Man artists build artistic fire pits along the shore, preserving access to fires while creating an outdoor “museum of fire art.”

* In the fall of 2007, BWB volunteers joined in the “Black Rock Solar” project to build and give away solar power systems to a hospital in Lovelock, and the Gerlach schools–the largest solar arrays ever given away anywhere. Next week, they’ll start on a new one for the students of the Pauite reservation, at the Natchez School in Wadsworth, NV. (see: http://www.blackrocksolar.org/)

*In January 2008, after a flood devastated Fernley, Nevada, BWB volunteers were on the scene within hours helping to clear out, then stayed on for two weeks, supported by $7,000 in donations from Burners around the world.

Today, BWB has gone international, and now has over 40 volunteers working in Pisco, Peru, helping the local community rebuild following a devastating earthquake.

And now we’re going back to the bayou, the place it started, to remember where we’ve been, and where we’re going.

For more information about BWB, visit: http://www.burnerswithoutborders.org.

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