April Showers Bring May Flames (2015 Vol 3)


April has brought its fair share of content to present, so strap yourself in and forge ahead! I’ve added a Table of Contents, because this is a rather large Flame… Feel free to jump around, but please take the time to read the whole thing.

Remember, if you have things you’d like to contribute to the Flame, please check out the Flipside Flame/Announce Submission form. You can find it under “Contact” on the home page of burningflipside.com. There is only one more planned Flipside Flame before Burning Flipside 2015: The Wizards of Odd. Let’s get to it!

Get Involved

DaFT participation invite to community: make art!

WizHowdy from your friends in DaFT 2015! This is a call/invitation to all interested parties (individuals, theme camps, volunteer groups, families, etc.) wishing to CONTRIBUTE ART to the community effigy. CHEERS FOR ART!!!

The Wizard FEG is zooming right along! Please ADD your ODD to the wizard by creating 2 1/2′ x 2 1/2′ fabric patches to be attached to the Wizard’s hat. Camp logos, whatever, etc., due back to DAFT by May Day (that’s May 1.) Drop it off at the wherehouse on any Church Nite or ping onemarva@yahoo.com. We can’t wait to see your special, magic touch!

Zone Czars

czar_gdorange_toptubeZone “Greeter” was too confusing so we asked the community what a suitable replacement was, and after wading through the submissions there was a clear winner. Welcome to our new name!! It has a nice ring to it huh? Zone Czars. Yeah…

On to the real news of the day. You spoke, and we listened. Wednesday and Friday (when very few cars are coming in) can be exceptionally boring either hanging out by yourself waiting for a car to come, or insane running around trying to catch everyone by yourself, so we are trying something new: BIKES! Yes, if you sign up for a Wednesday (there are only a couple left, so I may close this one down quickly) or Late Friday shift there will be bikes and we will be a mobile crew. If this is not something you are up for, you can still sign up for a Thursday or Friday morning shift and we will run status quo (a group of 3-4 folks per zone ready for cars to come in.)

Sign Up Now! Welcome to 2015 Zone! EXCITED!!!!

Combustion Chamber

The Combustion Chamber is an advisory committee to the Austin Artistic Reconstruction LLC to facilitate community input & transparency for the policy-making process and organization of burn community events. There will is one more meeting in April, and only one in May before Burning Flipside 2015, each starting at 7:42 pm at the Warehouse. Special topics are as follows:

April 20:

  • Warehouse – AAR will give a State of the Warehouse update.
  • Theme Camp Leads Mixer topics – The fabulous Emily Sparkles has asked if there are any topics that the CC feels it might be beneficial for theme camp leads to discuss at their upcoming mixer.
  • CC retreat – Does the CC feel that a retreat would be beneficial?If so, when & where should this event occur?

May 4:

  • Volunteering – General State of the Volunteers address. Are there volunteer needs in any departments? How can we sufficiently support those gaps? How can the organization as a whole encourage more volunteering?
  • Burner Arts Fest similar to EAST – Does the community want this? Who is willing to work on the team to make it happen? Is there a budget or is the a contribution-only festival? If there is a budget, from whom or where do those monies come?

Work Weekends

Neither Hell nor High Water happened, and the Third (yet First) Work Weekend went on as planned! Poison Ivy was pulled (but there’s always more, so don’t get complacent), broken limbs were downed, downed limbs were burned, brisket was cooked and consumed, and while a lot got done, there’s plenty more to do!

The final Work Weekend of this season is May 1-3. If you’re coming, please email wwcomm15@burningflipside.com, or sign up on the Work Weekend wiki.
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Call For Volunteers

Choose Your Own Volunteer Adventure

Do you want to get involved, but maybe don’t know where to start? Would it help to have a kind of tour guide to ask you the right questions about what you want to do? Did you know you can Choose Your Own Volunteer Adventure? Check it out, even if you think you know what you want to do. You might be surprised and find out another way you can contribute!

Help / Store / Accept THE HIVE

You know it and love it: The Hive.

hive-logoThis beautifully designed, expansive structure has been at Flipside for the last 3 years, and now The Hive needs an ongoing, committed group of people to bring it back to Flipside this year. It also needs a new storage location. So………

  1. If we can get a critical mass to join the Hive crew, we can keep it going.
  2. If anyone can provide a storage location, please get in touch.
  3. If a theme camp wants to take it over and make it their own, we are open to gifting The Hive to a major theme camp. You provide a dedicated team to assist with load-out of the structure from its current location in Driftwood and on site at Flipside for build and break-down, so you can manage it in the future on your own. In return, your camp would receive all the infrastructure (valued at $12,000) and the expertise to bring your camp to a new level. We’ll provide a small team on-site to help put it up and tear it down, and pass on our knowledge to you.

After Flipside 2015, transport, storage and maintenance is your responsibility. Interested? Email a proposal to runsarisk@gmail.com.

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Why You Shouldn’t Wear A Headdress At Flipside

by Kit O’Connell

TLDR: You shouldn’t wear an Indian headdress at Burning Flipside because it’s not your right to wear one. The headdress is a special ritual garment only worn by Plains Indian tribes members who have earned their headdress and were ritually awarded the right to wear it by the leaders of their nation.

You may have seen people wearing these headdresses at other events, like music festivals. Members of the tribes that make the real thing have asked us very nicely to stop. So we should.

If you’d like more information, please continue reading. Also, if you plan to argue with me, please read on so at least you know what you’re talking about.

What is a headdress?

The wearing of feathers and warbonnets in Native communities is not a fashion choice. Eagle feathers are presented as symbols of honor and respect and have to be earned. Some communities give them to children when they become adults through special ceremonies, others present the feathers as a way of commemorating an act or event of deep significance. —Adrienne K, “But Why Can’t I Wear A Hipster Headdress?

The idea of a soldier earning medals for acts of valor is similar to the meaning of the feathers on a headdress, but with an added spiritual and religious significance. Further, headdresses are never given to non-natives — in fact, they aren’t given to men who aren’t members of specific Plains Indian tribes where the headdress is traditional, or even to every member of that tribe.

You may have visited a Native American gift store or art vendor who sells specially made artifacts, designed to be bought by tourists and other non-natives. Just like souvenirs you bought in other places, these are specifically made for you to buy and display or enjoy later. A true Plains Indian headdress is never sold in this way.

Why shouldn’t you wear one?

“As wearing a headdress reinforces stereotypes about Native people and appropriates our culture with little or no regard for our traditions, I think it is egregious and contributes to the dehumanization of our people.” — Jacqueline Keeler, founder of EONM (Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry)

“The headdress is reserved for our revered elders who, through their selflessness and leadership, have earned the right to wear one. It’s a spiritual garb, not just cultural; it’s not merely an addition to one’s attire. Wearing one, even an imitation headdress, belittles what our elders have spent a lifetime to earn.” — Simon Moya-Smith, citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation and journalist

Quoted from Brenna Ehrlich, “Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Wear A Native American Headdress

Because of the stereotypes associated with the headdress (remember the Indians in Disney’s “Peter Pan”?), non-natives wearing headdresses is a similar racist practice to wearing black face. Whatever your intentions are in wearing that headdress, other people will perceive it as an offensive roleplaying of another race.

Some people argue that they wear the headdress out of respect, not as a fashion prop. Lighting In A Bottle is a Burning Man-inspired event that happens over Memorial Day Weekend in California, and they’ve added a special section to their survival guide asking participants not to wear headdresses. They point out that there are better ways to show respect:

Sporting that headdress or other imitation accessories that were not received through cultural rights or permission and the understanding that comes with it, means being a walking representative of 500+ years of colonialism and racism.

We embrace raw, creative, and authentic self-expression. But by embracing the current tribal trends you aren’t asserting yourself as an individual, you are situating yourself comfortably amongst a culture of power that continues to oppress Native peoples.


Although the land where we celebrate Burning Flipside is private property today, Apache Pass and its waterway were used by people indigenous to the region for thousands of years before we arrived. Show some respect to their legacy — and the struggles their descendants face today — and find another way to decorate your head.

Besides, the headdress sheds and creates piles of MOOP (matter out of place, garbage). A lover and I once spent hours following a trail of feathers left behind by a headdress through Pyropolis, until we’d filled an entire HEB plastic grocery bag (remember those?).

What if you decide to wear one anyway?
Yes, some people will mock these symbols.  However in order to do this, they have to understand what the symbols represent, and then purposefully desecrate or alter them in order to make a statement. They cannot then claim to be honouring the symbol. –âpihtawikosisân, “An Open Letter to Non-Natives in Headdresses

I’ve been attending Flipside for 15 years now, and I know that at its heart, it’s impossible to tell people what to do — anywhere, really, but especially in our community.

Some people will choose to wear headdresses anyway — because they have their reasons for disagreeing with me and the Native peoples I’ve quoted above. Or even out of deliberate flaunting of taboo.

That’s your right. Our community prides itself on radical self-expression. No one’s going to kick you out of the event for doing so.

But, “we welcome the stranger” — we also pride ourselves on being an open and accepting community. Wearing a headdress might be interpreted as insensitive, and some people will certainly consider it racist. Do you want to be the Burner who makes a Plains Indian feel unwelcome at our event because of your insensitivity?

Maybe you don’t care. Your headdress is MOOPy and leaves bits of feathers everywhere, but maybe Leave No Trace doesn’t matter to you, or (hopefully) you’re planning to spend extra hours picking up after yourself.

But at least, having read this article, you’ll know what that headdress actually means.

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If your camp is having a fundraiser, we want to let people know about it. We’re not talking about vending, just good old fashioned fundraising for camp needs. Yes, you can make that event on the book of faces, but we’d love to hear about what you’re doing and help you get the word out! Use the Flipside Flame/Announce Submission form to send me details.

TinderBox Update

The art jury has made their selections, and TinderBox art grants have been selected. This year, thanks to community love and support, we are able to give out well over $4,000 to help fund a total of 15 projects. We appreciate everyone’s help in making ART!go! Stay tuned to our Facebook page, and further editions of The Flame for a complete list of winners.
Kate, Susan, Turtle, Casey:
Your TinderBox team.

And now, the fundraisers that your friendly neighborhood Content Lead could find:

  • Serious Camp has a garage sale:
    Come out on this beautiful Spring day to buy the odd and ends that you didn’t know you needed.  Updates later with specific items, but there will be clothes, electronics, small furniture and various home decor. Proceeds will support Serious Camp’s Flipside 2015 endeavors, including an Apothecary addition to The Sweet Shop and the Theme Camp Leads Appreciation Mixer. Help the Serious Bunnies make your Flipside AMAZING!
    Saturday April 18 from 7AM to Noon at 4915 Avenue G Austin, Texas 78751
  • Tortuga is having a fundraiser garage sale:
    Saturday April 25 and Sunday April 26th at 13008 Hunters Chase, Austin, Texas 78729
  • Mecha-Gator Storms Pyropolis!
    Help Mecha-Gator come back to the pecan playa. It’s already built, so it just needs a little love for transportation and fuel.
  • Spindra, Momma Spider
    Spindra, Momma Spider is a 10 foot tall steel spider, created by SoS and Fireball and friends  to play with. Her sparkly bouncing eggs are stuffed into her belly and  need your help to be turned. Yup that’s right – she’s interactive!!! Step right up and give that big old belly a turn to light up your eyes and heat up the night. She’s going to be near the Fire and Ice Camp so come visit her there.

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Theme Camp Leads Mixer

All Theme Camp Leads are invited to participate at the Theme Camp Leads Spring Mixer at the Warehouse at 7pm on Wednesday, April 22 (Church Night). Come meet other Theme Camp Leads and share experiences.

There may be homemade chocolate chip cookies.

Hot Dog King Returns

Flipside Franks will once again be serving all the doggies you can eat. We will be in the bad lands as always located behind the greeters station. Come join us, and regroup your thoughts with a full belly.
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Community Contributions

Sometimes, we get contributions from the community, and this is a way to showcase the art of language. This kind of gift is perhaps best given before the event, where we can take time to savor the words. This is just another form of art, so please accept it as such!

Angel of Nudity

© Dirac 2015

I saw her at FreezOrBurn, a few years ago, when it was still at Rec Plant. I had just woken up on the last day, so I was contemplating the tasks ahead of me to depart. I had slept well, in a heated trailer, and I was still in the sweatsuit that I had slept in. I decided that I would keep these clothes on for now, then shower when I got home.

I saw her as I came out of the bathroom. She was nude, crouching over a campfire, frying bacon in a skillet on the open flame. She was a vision of loveliness. She had a nice body, a little skinny perhaps, but young and beautiful. I thought she looked vulnerable, unprotected against the spattering and popping of the bacon fat. I approached, remembering that it is always good luck to smile and say hi to a pretty woman, and more so when she is so obviously comfortable in her skin.

“I guess you beat me to it,” I said, “I’m usually the first one nude around here.”
“Oh no,” she replied, “I’m always the first person nude among my friends.”
I could not refute her. I realized I was not really qualified to talk about how often I am nude, while I am clothed and she is nude.

“I’m a little lazy to get cleaned up,” I said, making some attempt to excuse my clothiness.
“Yeah, I’m lazy too,” she said, “but it’s worth it because it feels so good to have the sun and the breeze on my skin.”

Of course she was right, I knew she was right. I have said most of those words myself! Instantly I knew I must shower and go sky clad. I don’t know if it was my pride that demanded it, but I felt a little shown up, when this little wisp of a girl, who has barely been alive as long as I have been nudist, is telling me why to go nude.

After I was showered and shaved, and wearing my usual protective gear of socks, shoes, and visor, I went back to that campfire. She was not there. Apparently it wasn’t her camp, she was just using the fire for cooking. My impulse was to go seek her out, to thank her for what she did for me. And also it’s still a good idea to chat up a pretty nude woman. But I stopped.

I came to see that this was one of those burner type encounters, unforgettable, transformative, but over. She had given me the gift of nudity. Not just her nudity, which was a significant gift by itself, but my nudity, even better.
Even though I don’t know her, I will always remember my angel of nudity.

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Tune in next time for more Flipside Flame action!