Of all the things that amaze me about Burning Man, the thing I’ve always found the most amazing is the breadth and variety of people—where else could you sit around talking about art and culture with a socialist doctor, a libertarian stripper, an atheist with a Master’s in Divinity from Harvard, aid workers who crosses dangerous borders for a living, and a saxophone-playing software developer with a pilot’s license from Britain?
(n.b. – these are all people I’ve met at, or via, the Event)
The backstory of all this is, I got given a pair of tickets to Burning Man this year. This became a very valuable gift very suddenly as tickets, for the first time ever, sold out. Most of the people I knew either had their tickets or knew that they should have taken care of it early-like.
So I decided to give them away, posting on my blog (and twittering it out to the world), sending emails out to the Playadust & London’s Burning lists, and posting on my Evil Social network profile. I think that the twit-posting also probably went out to my SchnooglePlus and SchnoogleBuzz and some other places of lower relevance.
In about a week, I got 20 responses, ranging from “I’ve not got a good reason but really want to go”, to deeply personal and moving stories of their time on the playa, to a desire to share with other friends. I even had several people apply on behalf of other folk in their camp who they knew wouldn’t ask but could really use the help.
So then I had a pretty unenviable choice. I’m not going to name names here, but what I thought I’d use as (completely arbitrary, but hey, they’re my tickets) criteria were:
- How much of an impact would my ticket make to the Cool Thing?
- How much of an impact would their Cool Thing make?
- Was it going to multiply the experience – either making it deeper or reach a wide range of people?
The 2 people who get my gift tickets are:
– A pilot, who’s going to work with the Temple team and give airplane rides. The Temple team had apparently gotten an airplane, but no pilot. Flying around Burning Man has always been a dream of mine—I won’t get to, but someone will (note: I do hope that they get BMFlight virgins)
– Someone who is going to use the cash saved to cook an EXTRA 500 meals for the early-arriving hardworking artists who build their stuff out there on-Playa. I’ve been out early, and some of these guys are here for a month ahead of time. A hot meal at the end of the day? Beats a Tasty Bite any day.
Congrats to the 2 winners. I wish I had another fair few tickets to give away. Best of luck to everyone going (or trying to get tickets).