Monday, July 11, 2022

Burn ONe

By Bixyl Shuftan

Many in Second Life are familiar with the Burn2 festival that takes place every October, in addition to the yearly event in real life that inspired it: Burning Man. This festival takes place every year in the Black Rock Desert a couple hours north of Reno Nevada. But in it's first few years, it took place at a beach in San Francisco: Baker Beach. Recently, I was informed by one of the Burners about a place made as a tribute to these early days: Burn ONe in the Highup sim, described as "A celebration and tribute on June 21 to the Baker Beach Summer Solstice events of 1986-1988."

Dropping by, I arrived at a spot in the northeast corner of the sim, with a road in front of me, going south. Behind me was a theater. 

To my left at the eastern edge  were some hills and to my right was some grass, rocky soil, and trees.

Almost halfway down the road was a wooden pathway, with a nearby sign calling it the Sand Ladder, leading down the slope and onto the beach, with a bike rezzer nearby. 

At the south end of the road was a painting of cartoon character Wile E. Coyote painting a tunnel opening over the rock. 

There was also a news truck nearby. It seems the Burners caught the attention of local media.

To the right was a dirt trail down to the beach. 

Before getting to the beach was a parking lot, full of various cars, vans, trailers, motorbikes, and a huge RV. 

There was also a porto-potty and not far away down a trail an outhouse. 

I also saw a garbage can, of which the local wildlife was taking advantage of some thrown-out food. 

Going onto the beach, one could either take the rest of the trail or hop on a zip-line.

At this end was a group of tents and chairs. There were also some floats in the water and a couple surfboard rezzers. The western fourth of the sim was mostly ocean and surf, with some rocks.

The tent area would go halfway down the beach, with the largest tent roughly in the middle of the sim.

It had a few chairs, lockers, a bookshelf, terrarium and plants, and a few other things inside, including someone's cat. Next to the tend had a few tables and some cakes and champagne. 

Nearby were a couple piles of logs, arranged to light a bonfire, with a couples danceball rezzer over an open area of sand nearby (while there, a brief flaming animation erupted on the beach). 

This was where the Sand Ladder path from the paved road led to the beach.

A little further down was a smaller lit fire area with crates around it. 

Then came a cave.

It had a rope ladder to one side, which led up to a camper and an overhead tent, with a large statue of a howling coyote nearby. 

Near the edge of the sim was a build of the Golden Gate Bridge, with an "Under Construction" sign. 

Next to it were a number of floats.

The sim was owned by Wisdom d'Avi (Wisdom Davi). We met at the camper and tent over the cave, which was her own place in the sim. To begin with, she told me "This sim is not really related to Burn2."  I asked her where she got the idea for it, and she answered, "The idea came to me after the last event, Burnal Equinox. I was Placement Lead for that event. and I really had a great time doing it. I was kind of still in high energy mode at the end of the event and I wanted to do something else. I knew the summer soltice was approaching and the connection between Burning Man as it's where it all began. So I decided to rent a sim for two weeks and open it up the burner community to reanact the Baker Beach Burns (laugh). That is how it began, June 7." She would remind me of the name "Burn ONe," the "N" in "ONe" was deliberately capitalized, so it could also be read as "Burn On."

So how did two weeks turn into a month and counting? Well, there's some trouble with the Burners, "I don't know if you are aware, but Burn2 is going through some issues." The very day after the sim opened, the Deep Hole sim was closed, "They closed all communication and the Burner Community was left kind of homeless. So Baker Beach became the focus. Peeps came and set up camps." 

Others have contributed to the upkeep of the land, "At the end of the two weeks, a burner approached me and said they would like to contribute but remain anonymous. They added another 2 weeks to the tier. And there have been four additional contributions since by Jeff Olhoeft (jolhoeft), Indy (DoctorKen) Dz Questi, and Cobbie (CobwebHDC). I think we are paid to the end of July, when Burn 2 is schedule to reopen. Burners are generous peeps, and the experience here has been very rewarding. My intention was to do just the two weeks for the Summer Soltice, but it's become bigger. Picture another universe where the Man does not have to leave Baker Beach but evolves as an annual event there."

I then asked how much have others contributed to the building, pointing out the nearby coyote statue having been made by Mia Wallace (Mia Quinote). Wisdom answered, "When I opened the sim I set up a xl sheet with different categories like: terraforming, beach building, bridge building, landscaping, etc. So peeps just signed up under the categories and then contributed. Jeff and Dr. Dave did most of the terraforming. Mia, Cobbie and Rayvynex contributed to the landscaping, JT Castanea set up the waves, XiledSol pupulated the landscape beneath the sea, Miranda (MirandaNomad) organizes the movie nights on floats events and Dz built the Space Station. Minka (Saraminka Nova) set up the Zip-line. Trinity Rooney, Belli (Bellibutton Jewell) and Xiija have provided beach and other toys scattered about. While Candace (DanceHike) set up picnic tables. I know I am probably going to leave peeps out and I apologize in advance. But everything you see here has been created through group participation."

Of the events at the sim, she tols me, "All the events we have had have been more or less impromptu. Most of the events have been spontaneous. The two weeks leading up to the summer solstice we had gatherings every night. Dr. Dave (ThomasRaowulf) was building the man effigy and he would have test burns. The most memorable one for me are a couple. One night we broke out into a jammin session. And one night Cuga (Cuga Rajal) provided the stream. I think it was test burn night. It all came together. Also, the last one we had the 4th of July. That one was magical. But every time a bunch of us get together here, it tunes into a memorable event." Of the two log piles not far from the large tent, "The piles of logs are important. They represent the embers remains from the Summer Solstice Man Burn."

Wisdom would show me a few other things. Someone had told me about something in the sim that allowed one to swim 700 meters offshore. I asked about it, and she showed me a small wooden sigh next to the water, "Touch to swim." 

Doing so, (after putting on some trunks), I ended up in the water. I was able to swim far beyond the edge of the sim. While I couldn't say anything out in the open, I still could in IMs. Wisdom would also go under the water and turn a wave machine on. 

We then went to the surfboard rezzers, and one could take on two people. She would tell me one of the two could do kite surfing.

We checked out the movie projector near the landing area. "This video was really what inspired this whole Baker Beach idea," Wisdom told me, "We also RPd the police officers and drummer on the solstice burn (laughter)." 

She would also point out a yellow cylinder not far away from the landing area. "One of our Burners built a space station," she told me. 

Going up, it was a space-station club, complete with a DJ booth with some fancy tools, and had a few levels and floors that were transparent in places.

Of future plans, Wisdom told me, "We going to plan one major event before the end of the month." But beyond that, she was uncertain, "I don't know really. Most of us want to see Baker Beach continue. However, it's very expensive. I would like to see it continue as well. This sim will close down at the end of july, but we may regroup on another sim if we can find a way to make more economical where maybe more people can contribute."

So for those who desire to see this tribute to the early days of Burning Man, you have until Sunday July 31.

Bixyl Shuftan

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