Tag Archives: Flaming Lotus Girls

July Parties Part 2: Celebrating Fire & Arts

11 Jul

Though I don’t entirely understand it, I realize that Burning Man is not for everyone. Maybe you don’t like the idea of braving extreme weather conditions in the desert, or you don’t have the money to spend, or maybe you’re convinced Burning Man is full of hippies and that scares you away. Well, it’s ok, because in Oakland you can get so many of the benefits of Burning Man without so many of the troubles. Check out the events below this weekend and next to get a taste of the Burning Man arts scene and support Oakland artists.

Saturday, July 11th – Sand by the Ton

Part of an art piece by Dan Das Mann and Karen Cusolito, two of my favorite artists who create their recycled metal based work in Oakland.

Part of an art piece by Dan Das Mann and Karen Cusolito, two of my favorite artists who create their recycled metal based work in Oakland.

Tonight, Big Arts Studio presents Sand by the Ton, a night full of art, music, and what sounds like a spectacular atmosphere. It’s being organized by Karen Kusolito and Dan Das Mann, the artists who helped stop the Uptown parking lot from being built. The night will showcase some of the best Burning Man artists, including the Flaming Lotus Girls, Michael Christian, and Kinetic Steam Works. And then there’s this – “4 live music stages, 4 electronic music stages, full boardwalk carnival midway with rides, 200 tons of sand with 5 swimming pools (swimwear encouraged), a quarter million square feet of space under one roof, thousands of your best friends, more lights blinkin’ than ever blinked… bookoo (6) bars….you thought you knew the drill till you came here.”

Sounds like an incredible night to me. The party will be held Saturday, July 11th from 4pm to “late” at the American Steel Building, 1960 Mandela Parkway. Tickets are  $25 presale, $30 @ door and $125 VIP (check the site for VIP info, includes a 50 ft. yacht suspended from the ceiling). Close to BART~LATE NIGHT BUS SHUTTLE TO SF! and ample secure parking. Find more info @ www.thebigartexperience.com.

Wednesday-Saturday, July 15th-18th – Fire Arts Festival

If Sand by the Ton sounds a bit too adventurous for you, the Crucible’s Fire Arts Festival is what you should check out instead. The past several Fire Arts Festivals have been incredible, more fantastic year after year, but this year’s should be the best yet since they’re moving it to a MUCH larger location. That means more art, more entertainment, and most importantly, more fire! Out of 40 art installations, 35 of them will involve fire. Plus, there will be fire dancers and other fire performances.

If you’re having a hard time picturing what this looks like, there’s some of this:

acrobats-1

And this:

And a bit of this:

fire

If you’re still having a hard time visualizing, check out my posts on the 2008 and 2007 festivals.

The festival will be be held Wednesday-Saturday, from 8pm-Midnight at 2020 Engineer Road in West Oakland. There will be a free shuttle from West Oakland BART, which sounds like the most convenient option, since free parking is a couple blocks away from the event. You can find out all the other details and buy tickets at the Crucible’s website.

Lots to do this weekend – art, music, parades, and… fungus?

5 Dec

I think I’ll be staying in and recuperating this weekend, but if you’re looking for something fun to do, there’s no shortage of great events to attend:

Tonight (Friday): Oakland Art Murmur

The monthly evening of art gallery shows and entertainments in Uptown. Read my review of the art murmur here. If you’re coming from anywhere south of Uptown, I encourage you to stop by Awaken Cafe first, where they have an art showing every first Friday of the month, complete with music, snacks, and drinks. You can find out about tonight’s show here.

When: Friday, November 5, 2008 from 6:00pm-10:00pm (individual art gallery times vary)
Where: Uptown Oakland, mostly between Broadway and Telegraph, and Grand and 29th
How Much: FREE!
More Info: http://www.oaklandartmurmur.com
Accessible by 19th Street BART station or by AC Transit lines 1/1R, 51, 72, 11, 12, 59.

Tonight (Friday): Fundraiser Party for the Flaming Lotus Girls

The Flaming Lotus Girls are some of my favorite Burning Man artists. Every year, they create an interactive fire sculpture that usually becomes one of the favorite gathering places out on the playa. They also like to share their artwork with Oaklanders, often bringing their art installations to the Crucible’s Fire Arts Festival. Here’s a photo I took at the 2007 festival of the Serpent Mother, my favorite piece the Lotus Girls have created:

Well, making this incredible art is not cheap so they’re hosting a fundraiser to fill in their budget gap for their most recent piece, Mutopia. Early in the evening, they’ll be having a cocktail party and gallery showing, and later in the night they’ll be a huge party with three rooms of electronic music. It should be an amazing party.

When: Friday, November 5, 2008 from 7:00pm-6:00am (that’s not a typo – it really does go all night long)

Where: Location TBA – call 415-963-3555 (my sources tell me it’s likely to be in West Oakland)
How Much: $10 before 11pm, $15 after
More Info: http://www.flaminglotus.com/party.html

Saturday: Oakland Holiday Parade

V Smoothe raves about the Oakland Holiday Parade every year, and if it’s as good as she says it is, you won’t want to miss it. I hope they bring back this AC Transit float that V Smoothe photographed a couple years ago:

When: Saturday, December 6, 2008 at 2:00pm
Where: Broadway and 11th Street to 20th Street, to Harrison Street
How Much: FREE!
More Info: http://oaklandholidayparade.com/
Accessible by 12th Street BART station or by many AC Transit lines.

Saturday-Sunday: Fungus Fair

The Inadvertent Gardener wrote a hilarious post about how she found out about the Fungus Fair, and you really should go read the whole post if you’re looking for a laugh. She reminded me about the annual Fungus Fair, which takes place at the Oakland Museum every year. I’ve been meaning to go to this for years and have heard good things about it so if you like learning about mushrooms, check it out.

When: Saturday & Sunday, December 6 & 7, 2008 from 10:00am-6:00pm
Where: Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak Street@ 10th St.
How Much: $8 general/$5 seniors and students with ID/members and kids under 5 free
More Info: http://www.museumca.org/exhibit/exhi_fungus_08.html
Accessible by Lake Merritt BART station or by many AC Transit lines.

Replay 7/22/07: Fire Arts Festival

25 Aug

Every year, the Crucible’s Fire Arts Festival in West Oakland brings the Bay Area a preview of the best part of Burning Man: lots of great art, tons of fire, a mixture of people, and man-made beauty in an unexpected place.

Athena, BART, Cranes

Photo by Dave Wright, courtesy of thecrucible.org

This year was no exception. I went on Friday night and enjoyed fire arts with thousands of others from the Bay Area and beyond.

Though I go most every year, this year I knew I had to go because the Flaming Lotus Girls brought back the Serpent Mother, which was my favorite art piece on the playa last year. The Serpent Mother is a nearly 170′ long skeleton of metal and fire, its tail wrapping around and protecting a precious egg in the center, and its robotic head moving up and down spewing fire. But the best part is that it’s interactive. Approach its spine and press buttons to shoot flame throwers in the air off various vertebrates. At both Burning Man 2006 and the Fire Arts Festival, it was the communal gathering place. The location where you could be assured to run into your closest friend and an acquaintance you haven’t seen in years.

serpent-mother.jpg

But amazingly, the Serpent Mother was not the most over-the-top attraction at the festival. Imagine this: an opera in an empty lot in West Oakland, with BART trains passing by, the faces of incredulous onlookers pressed up against the windows. And this was not just any opera, it was “The Fire Odyssey,” the Crucible’s interpretation of Odysseus’s story. Zeus and the gods were perched in several story high metal sculptures of the female body, created by Karen Cusolito and Dan DasMann, the artists who brought us Passage in 2005. (These 4 figures are just half of the figures that will be featured in this year’s Crude Awakening at BM.)

trojan-horse.jpg

On the stage, all the familiar characters of the Odyssey appeared, including the Trojan Horse (above), the Cyclops, the Sirens, and Calypso. Every scene featured fire and/or water, moving from graceful to jarring. When Odysseus travels to Hades, lines of fire engulf the stage and surrounding set. Odysseus moves on to do graceful dances with the Sirens and then Calypso. And in one of the final scenes, Odysseus and his son draw swords and shields to fight off Penelope’s suitors, and the suitors fight back with fire. One spins poi, another fights with a fire hoola-hoop, and yet another plunges upon Odysseus from a tight rope on fire.

While the Fire Arts Festival is no substitute for Burning Man, it’s really great to see this annual event becoming part of the larger Bay Area culture. Oakland residents who might never be able to afford Burning Man (or who might just not want to spend a week in the desert) are able to appreciate the awe inspiring fire and arts that burners have been appreciating for years.

And it’s a great reminder that Burning Man is less than a couple months away and I need to start getting ready. Which I really should be doing right now…

Fire Arts Festival

22 Jul

Every year, the Crucible’s Fire Arts Festival in West Oakland brings the Bay Area a preview of the best part of Burning Man: lots of great art, tons of fire, a mixture of people, and man-made beauty in an unexpected place.

Athena, BART, Cranes

Photo by Dave Wright, courtesy of thecrucible.org

This year was no exception. I went on Friday night and enjoyed fire arts with thousands of others from the Bay Area and beyond.

Though I go most every year, this year I knew I had to go because the Flaming Lotus Girls brought back the Serpent Mother, which was my favorite art piece on the playa last year. The Serpent Mother is a nearly 170′ long skeleton of metal and fire, its tail wrapping around and protecting a precious egg in the center, and its robotic head moving up and down spewing fire. But the best part is that it’s interactive. Approach its spine and press buttons to shoot flame throwers in the air off various vertebrates. At both Burning Man 2006 and the Fire Arts Festival, it was the communal gathering place. The location where you could be assured to run into your closest friend and an acquaintance you haven’t seen in years.

serpent-mother.jpg

But amazingly, the Serpent Mother was not the most over-the-top attraction at the festival. Imagine this: an opera in an empty lot in West Oakland, with BART trains passing by, the faces of incredulous onlookers pressed up against the windows. And this was not just any opera, it was “The Fire Odyssey,” the Crucible’s interpretation of Odysseus’s story. Zeus and the gods were perched in several story high metal sculptures of the female body, created by Karen Cusolito and Dan DasMann, the artists who brought us Passage in 2005. (These 4 figures are just half of the figures that will be featured in this year’s Crude Awakening at BM.)

trojan-horse.jpg

On the stage, all the familiar characters of the Odyssey appeared, including the Trojan Horse (above), the Cyclops, the Sirens, and Calypso. Every scene featured fire and/or water, moving from graceful to jarring. When Odysseus travels to Hades, lines of fire engulf the stage and surrounding set. Odysseus moves on to do graceful dances with the Sirens and then Calypso. And in one of the final scenes, Odysseus and his son draw swords and shields to fight off Penelope’s suitors, and the suitors fight back with fire. One spins poi, another fights with a fire hoola-hoop, and yet another plunges upon Odysseus from a tight rope on fire.

While the Fire Arts Festival is no substitute for Burning Man, it’s really great to see this annual event becoming part of the larger Bay Area culture. Oakland residents who might never be able to afford Burning Man (or who might just not want to spend a week in the desert) are able to appreciate the awe inspiring fire and arts that burners have been appreciating for years.

And it’s a great reminder that Burning Man is less than a couple months away and I need to start getting ready. Which I really should be doing right now…

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