Burning Man – Must See Festival

Burning-Man-Unicorn

A magnificent unicorn struggles to emerge from the cracking dust-covered playa

Burning-Man-Flames

Rotating installation that breathes four hot streams of fire into the air at night.

Sand(wo)man made out of metal bowls celebrates the universe with outstretched arms, a fertile womb and dancing feet.

Over 200 feet long and 50 feet high, this awe-inspiring Conexus Cathedral, built in 2006, was a hallowed place that inspired both reflection and dancing.

Burning Man

Never knew what it was. Now I know … a bit.

Freelance Journalist Meredith Price describes the magic of the Burning Man Project, held yearly in the Nevada desert, with the help of some truly amazing photos.

Every year, over 40,000 people come together in a Utopian experiment showing the most stunning artwork, grandiose costumes and outlandish art cars and there is some fire too.

Held in Black Rock City, Nevada, the festival is named Burning Man after the ritualistic burning of a wooden effigy in the shape of a man.

Via the Tripbase Blog

The 10 Burning Man Principles are:

  1. Radical Inclusion
    Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.
  2. Gifting
    Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.
  3. Decommodification
    In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.
  4. Radical Self-reliance
    Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.
  5. Radical Self-expression
    Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.
  6. Communal Effort
    Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.
  7. Civic Responsibility
    We value civil society. Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.
  8. Leaving No Trace
    Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.
  9. Participation
    Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.
  10. Immediacy
    Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.

The Benjamin NYC

The Benjamin’s 10th Anniversary Package

the benjamin hotelThe Benjamin, a Manhattan hotel located known for its pillow menu and other sleep-focused amenities, has announced its 10th Anniversary Package. The package starts at $439 per night and includes one 40 Winks spa treatment at the hotel’s Wellness Spa, a bottle of champagne, choice of a pillow from the hotel’s 12-choice pillow menu delivered to the guest’s home after their stay and a stay in a one- bedroom suite. The package is available for stays through December 31, 2009.

Via Luxist

Books about the common roots of UK, US and Dutch societies

the_island_at_the_center_of_the_world_the_epic_story_of_dutch_manhattan_and_the_forgotten_colony
In my previous post I promised to share two books I’m currently reading.

Recently, on occasion of their return to Texas, we offered a farewell dinner to an expat couple that had resided with us as long stay guests. They concluded their stay in The Netherlands of over three years with the observation that there are more similarities in character between Americans and Dutch that they would have believed. They also pointed me to a recent book of Russell Shorto, The Island at the Center of the World, that gives some background explanation.

It is an epic story about the discovery of New Amsterdam and it’s early years as a settlement of the Dutch West Indies Company (in Dutch Geoctroyeerde Westindische Compagnie). The book is based on historic material kept under dust for ages, but popped up in Albany, New York, of all places. For over 25 years there sits a historian who is in the process of translating over 12,000 Dutch language documents dating back to the first half of the 17nd century. The Dutch were too tidy and destroyed most of their West India Company’s archives so it is a sort of wonder this new material popped up. It is known as The New Netherland Project or NNP. Do visit their site as they have a wealth of material!

I learned Englishman Henry Hudson discovered New Amsterdam on commission of the Dutch East India Company (VOC or Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie). On a former trip he had discovered Newfoundland on commission of the British Muscovy Company, in search of a northern passage to the India. He had hoped that via the rivers Hudson or Connecticut he could reach the great lakes and from there there was a passage to India.

Going Dutch by Lisa Jardine

When buying The Island at the Center of the World I stumbled on the book Going Dutch, How England Plundered Holland’s Glory, by English writer Lisa Jardine.

Coincidentally Robbert Russo penned an insightful column for the New York Times Going Dutch about how an American looks at Dutch society.

Lisa uses the subtitle more as a eye catcher than as a flag covering her cargo: She describes the early 17nd century more from a view of an art historian. How thinkers, architects, landscape architects, sculptors and painters from the low countries influenced the English courts. How members of the Royalists party got refuge in The Hague during Cromwell’s reign and how the various European courts especially those who were not in the Roman Catholic league like the Spanish were related, intermingled and intermarried and tried to cooperate in their struggle against the Spanish. All up to the year 1688 when William and Mary took over the English throne.

It is really fun to read the two books together. If you’re interested in Dutch, US and/or UK history both books are a must read!

Hotelier Ian Schrager into Chicago Ambassador East Hotel?

Ian Schrager

According to Chicago Business Ian Schrager is negotiating with the present owners to buy the 285-room Ambassador East with its “Pump Room” restaurant at 1301 N. State Pkwy in Chicago. Not really a “boutique” size property I would say. But comments are that he could be the man to re energize this 1926 built landmark hotel.

East Ambassador Chicago Pump Room Bar

Reportedly Peter Dumon and David Bossy, the present owners, have settled on a $25-million offer from Ian. Together with a former local partner they paid $44.5 million for the hotel in December 2005. What a sumptuous loss for a sumptuous hotel!

Am curious whether this acquisition will breath some new life in the Marriott – Schrager partnership named Edition Hotels that was announced with a lot of pomp in January, 2009 and not much in the news lately.