Burner Resume: Ester the mental molester

Burner Handle: Ester the mental molester,

YMFFGM (your mother fucking fairie goddess mother) but Mama called me razor lips. I’m the M in S&M Productions, your Promo Team

Defaultia Region of Origin: Southern Michigan.

Years Burning/home burn: 4 years. Lakes of Fire, Paradox, and Mosaic Experiment. Years of being a radicalized dirty hippie over eighteen: 51

NSFW: Pretty much everything about me is nsfw...

Years of Servitude, ahem, volunteering: All of them. I have always volunteered at least 8 hours on site. I started volunteering with LNT at Lakes to get a volunteer ticket the next year. I can't step over moop as a rule anyway.  I’ve worked with LNT, TACO, DPW and PROMO. Made great friends and continue to do so.

Lead Role: Promotions co - lead and LNT co - lead
Why: experience, enthusiasm and snark.

I helped plan and execute an flower show event for 10 years that drew 22 to 30 thousand attendants, hundreds of entrants, and used 900 volunteers to stage., so i thoroughly understand the underpinnings and loved the work..

My areas of expertise were:

Data control, database design and programming, participant, judge, clerk, vendor and equipment tracking,

Press releases of judging result within 4 hours of completion so i can hussle.

Transportation for 22,000 (route design, driver schedules, snack service for drivers, coordination with UM Dept.of Transportation,)

Vendor vetting, selection, placement and service (I delivered via volunteers, water, their lunches and dinners for 4 days and spotted for their pee breaks so they didn't have to abandon their shops.)

Document production: 24 to 48 page color glossy program guide, reports, contracts, And for Matthaei Botanical Gardens: pamphlets, handouts and friends organization newsletter, reports, grant proposals, newspaper articles, and grant proposals (professors can be quite pompous)

And a bunch of life experiences (And a lot of biker events we don't need to talk about.)

I worked for Grounds Department at University of Michigan for 10 years and got my PhD in trash picking at that time.

Why does your dept matter?
The promotions team is the circulatory system in our collective body. Information on all the things is made available as soon as we can possibly get around to it. This is why burns don't happen with nobody there!

The LNT team makes sure we’re welcome back to the land we use and we’re not an embarrassment to ourselves.

Why does volunteering improve your burn/make you happy/work for you?
It gives me purpose! Oldest girl in a large family, I can't not do it.

Why should someone consider volunteering for you?
The last line in all my job descriptions is "Have a good time." Also I always do a good inservice, so what is expected is clear as well as what is not acceptable. I don't do favorites and I will get out in front and work my ass off. I lead by making my crew try to catch up with me.

What's your favorite volunteer story?

I can't tell you that one...

What's your choice nugget of wisdom for a virgin?

Don't get locked into a group where you can't go and do until the last one is ready. Fly solo at least part of the time.

What's your best burner skill?
I paint with words and I have some good tales. Also not catching on fire and listening.

What's your drink of choice?
Bunny's Reaper Bloody Marys!

What keeps you sane in Defaultia?
Who said I was sane? Who said I live in defaultia? My forest is my “hole in the wall” from hoomans.

Why do you love burning?
The application of the concept of consent in a fulsome way, along with the principle of radical self expression provides a maskless mass, willing to be. I feel at home, vibrating with my tribe. Normal just doesn't light my fire like unique does. I have suffered much for being unusual and at burns it's a cause for celebration.

Has burning changed your life? How?

I found my fairies. I found my tribe. I'm a misfit with bells on, sore thumb sticking out, purple, yellow and green, but I do belong somewhere., and it's in the burner community.

What does consent mean to you?

Everything. I insist. Also I have a touch of PTSD and will come unglued if consent is breached by surprise. Always ask, every time. You can get it down to lifting an eyebrow with someone you know, but ask!

Ask. Every. Fucking. Time.

Which principle is primary for you and why?

Radical self expression because I've been told to stifle it all my life and have suffered much for my refusal. I feel like I've alway kept the mask a half inch from my face. I find such joy in watching others peel it off. And they're so much easier to love without it.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Esterized, thoroughly Esterized.


Burner Resume: Everyman

Burner Handle(s): everyman

Defaultia Region of Origin: Cleveland, Ohio

Years Burning/home burn: I’ve been burning for 18 years, starting with Burning Man in 2000 (That Thing in the Desert, aka the Gerlach Regional.) As soon as I returned from the playa, I wanted everyone I knew to experience at least a small piece of it, and started hosting small burner parties in my house several times a year (called Recycled Rainbow.) Those eventually grew too large for my home, and after attending the very first Scorched Nuts, me and my wife were inspired to turn Recycled Rainbow into a small outdoor 4 day event in Northern Ohio, helping to facilitate what would become a sizable burner community. Eventually that burn outgrew the land, my mom died, and we took a year off. We regrouped with a new spontaneous team of burners who ultimately created the Mosaic Experiment which I have been a part of ever since, all of which have been held at the same Reclaim site as SN. Other than Scorched Nuts and Mosaic, I've been a frequent flier to Lakes of Fire, been to Alchemy once, spent a half day at Transformus, and attended the Gerlach regional 6 times. I stopped attending the Gerlach regional after attending my first Ohio events. I've learned over time that the local community of artists was more important to me than the size of the event. I do not regret my multiple trips to the Black Rock Desert, but prefer the challenge of building one with a community of friends over experiencing one with a community of strangers. Both have value. I may go back some day.

Years of Servitude, ahem, volunteering: 18 years building burns of various sizes, and 11 years as an official Burning Man Regional Contact, and 4 years on the Burning Man Meta Regional Committee. .Also, when I stopped going to the Gerlach Regional, I attended several Burning Man Global Leadership Conferences in the Bay Area, which I attended only so I could learn to better serve my local regional community. I was one of the very few voices representing small regional burns with a comparatively small community.

Role: LLC co-lead

Why: 1) Inertia and experience, having been there from the beginning when the bank account, insurance, and business entity were first created. 2) It's how I keep myself burning 24/7/365. Burning is fun! Making burns is fun. Making anything is fun! 3) This team is truly a pleasure to work with, and every single one of them are needed to create these events. Huge bonus that we all play nice together.

Why does your dept matter?

The LLC is the corporate entity that signs the insurance for the burn. We take on the liabilty risk of the event. We build business relationships with the property owner, the insurance companies, our attorney as needed, local authorities as necessary, and work with the bean counter to keep our ledger in order, making sure we have enough money to run the event AND give out art grants.

Why does volunteering improve your burn/make you happy/work for you?

I hate it when the burn ends, and volunteering is how I keep the flame lit all year. Once you experience an event full of burners putting paint all over the canvas to create beautiful, experimental, and unusual works of art, the desire to facilitate their blank canvas becomes irresistible. Most importantly, the work really isn't hard when everyone is pulling their weight, and I mean everyone who attends the burn, not just everyone who helps organize the event. When every burner pitches in a little volunteer time, no one has to work a lot. It is a joy and a privilege to work with this very enthusiastic community.

Why should someone consider volunteering for you?

Because you love the event and want more of them!

Because you're all burners and volunteering IS burning.

Volunteering is all over the ten principles as "Communal Effort" and "Civic Responsibility" and "Participation" and "Leave No Trace" and "Radical Self-Reliance."

I try to put people in positions where they feel the most comfortable, where they feel they can personally do the most good. All the team lead roles are important. Some of the jobs may seem easy but if we drop the ball, the community and the event suffers. If we leave enough trace, believe me, we won't be invited back to use that land. If you don't have a good Fire and safety team, you can risk scarring the land, setting your camp on fire, or setting the woods on fire. If you don't have good rangers, the "conscience" of the event is gone. Rangers are burners looking out for other burners. You don't have a parking lot or department structures built without a DPW, and you don't get to park cars without a parking team, and you don't get people checked in without a gate, and you don't acculturate new burners without greeters, you don't patch up wounds without medics, you don't stop the neighbors from complaining without a sound lead, you don't file your taxes without bean counters, you don't know who needs volunteers without a volunteer coordinator, and if you don't have meeting agendas or notes without a scribe, and you don't have a production calendar without a project manager, and you don't learn our event exists without a promo team, and you don't get art grants without an art grant lead. Sounds like a lot but none of it is all that hard when people are fulfilling the necessary roles.

They are all linked together and if the community doesn't keep those links strong, the chain breaks, and the event suffers. When the chain is strong, the event gets better, grows, and evolves along with the community.

What's your favorite volunteer story?

I love the stories about the virgin burners who show up unprepared, don't have the right clothing, enough food, or familiarity with their own tents but the community uses that as a teaching opportunity, the pull together and help that person get through the weekend unscathed, and a few years later that same person is running a theme camp like a lifetime veteran, volunteering as a greeter telling newbies "Don't be like I was!" and eventually becoming a passionate team lead, because they grew from their mistakes but the community didn't punish them for their ignorance....they guided and acculturated them, recognizing their past selves in this new burner. It happens often and it's deeply moving to witness. Some of today's best volunteers were yesterday's least prepared newbies. Those are some of the best teachers to learn from and they have some of the most valuable input to a burner organization.

I've definitely been the least prepared burner in the room before, and suffered for it, but I learned and personally evolved from the experience.

What's your best burner skill? (What is your favorite burner principle?)

Radical self-expression is my favorite principle. It's what drew me to the burn. It's what keeps me burning. My skill? Perhaps realizing art is an experiment and it's okay if it fails. Failure teaches you how to improve your art, and in turn, improve yourself. Art forces me to think differently about things, whether it succeeds is immaterial to the experience of creating something new, doing something unusual, and forcing myself to go outside of my comfort zone. It's how I grow as a human being.

What's your choice nugget of wisdom for a virgin burner?

Remember to eat a couple times a day. No, really. It's easy to forget but your burn is so much better when you force yourself to consume nourishments and water. Don't blow it off.

Remove expectations and be certain only of uncertainty. Bring everything you need so you can do anything you want. Expect rain even when the forecast says otherwise. Read the survival guide all the way through, you'll be glad you did. I screwed up my first time at a burn and was very uncomfortable. You can at least prepare to ensure you are physically comfortable, well fed, warm, and dry. Once that is taken care of, the psychological uncertainty is much easier to handle (at least it is for me.)

Why do you love burning?

It's an opportunity to create whatever world you would like to live in. It is literally turning dreams into reality, or helping someone realize theirs, taking part in their vision and watching it manifest before your eyes. You can step outside of yourself and become another person for a week, or you can step out of that other person you usually are, and step into your true self for a week, and BE yourself. You can take your geeky obsession and turn it into a theme camp with others who share that mutual interest. That crazy impractical idea that makes no sense to anyone is often the starring attraction at a burn. The burn is a blank canvas, and nothing is more mutually inviting and intimidating than the opportunity to fill it with whatever I can dream.

I love making art, participating in making art, and being around others who do the same.

The Gerlach regional is the largest annual exhibit of creative art in the entire world.

The chance to manifest my imagination into something tangible and shareable is the greatest part of being alive. It is why I exist. There is nothing I love more, short of being in a community who feels the same way and cuz I wanna help them build the thing, cuz they help me build the thing.

Why do I love burning? Why would I STOP?

I also think is is an experiment in temporary community that is addressing some fndamental flaws in our societal norms, and is perhaps why the burns themselves keep transforming and evolving over the years, which is fascinating for me to watch.

Have burns changed your life? How?

Yes, after attending the Gerlach regional in 2000, all my friends will tell you I couldn't stop repeating "this changed my life forever" but I couldn't express "how?" Nearly two decades later, I believe the "how?" is that it empowered me by showing me how many others were empowered to do the craziest things they could dream up, and there were tens of thousands of people helping each other do it. I saw everyone being themselves. I saw everyone being someone else. I didn't even know who I was anymore. I saw a little bit of myself in everyone there, and left with a little bit of all those people inside my soul forever. It's how I got my name "everyman." I never saw so much controlled chaos on such a phenomenally large scale in my entire life, nor would I had believed it possible if I hadn't witnessed it first hand. If there was something I wanted to do, there was someone willing to help and had ideas to take it to the next level. I saw artists working with computer nerds and hackers. I saw architects working with musicians. I saw engineers working with poets. I saw carpenters working with clowns and puppeteers. Tens of thousands of people from various trades and countries with unrelated backgrounds, skillsets, and cultural ethnicities working together to build, construct, make, design, and perform, some separately, others together.

It gave me hope. And watching the event in the desert grow bigger, and the regional network expanding in size every year gives me more hope that humanity is slowly but deliberately transforming its default world into something more creative, inclusive, but sustainable,

There is some truth about the essence of humanity I've found at the burn. It's something you want to take home with you, in any manner your default world will allow.

It taught me there is no default world, unless you default.

What does consent mean to you?

We have a consent culture in our burner community. Consent is, to me, a part of your civic responsibility as a human. It is respecting someone enough to get clearly communicated permission to do something that directly affects that person. If you do not have consent to do the thing, DO NOT do the thing. Some people like the thing. Others do not. Respectfully find out.

What keeps you sane in Defaultia?

1) My wife! She keeps my feet grounded when my urge is to float into the sun's heat.

2) Volunteering with a team of burners who are organizing the next Mosaic Experiment. I highly recommend it!

3) Being able to keep in touch with burners and creatives around the world has given me daily inspiration and motivation as well.

4) Great coffee.

5) My pets. :)

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Peter Pan

What's your drink of choice?

Aviation cocktail, The Last Word cocktail, Bloody Mary's, the Old Fashioned. red wine from Portugal, and whatever beer Mike Little has on tap.


Burner Resume: S-Laughter

Burner Handle(s): S-Laughter (rhymes with laughter) – I’m the S in S&M Productions, your Promo Team

Defaultia Region of Origin: Indianapolis, Indiana

Years Burning/home burn: I’ve been burning for 4 years, starting with Mosaic Experiment in 2014. I met this guy named Likewise at a party while he was planning this huge effigy for this fall burn in Ohio. I fell in love with the project, fell in love with him, and fell in love with burning. The rest is history. I’ve attended over a dozen burns since, including Reclaimation, Scorched Nuts, Transformus, Mudsaic, Paradox and the Gerlach Regional.

NSFW: I’ve visited 8 different kink and sex clubs in 6 different states and 2 countries.

Years of Servitude, ahem, volunteering: Four years – I’ve volunteered as a large scale burnable art artist, Ranger, resident Green Dot, and Promo Lead

Role: Promo Lead

Why: Three reasons: 1) Using my professional abilities on behalf of my community makes me happy. 2) My volunteer obligations will be DONE when I arrive at the event. 3) As the town crier, information conduit and chief communications guru – I KNOW ALL!!!!!!!!!!! mwuahahahaha


Why does your dept matter?

In order to have a burn we need people to come, and we need people to volunteer! Making sure all our online info is up-to-date, tantalizing all of you with snark and silliness, herding the other Leads to promo their departments, getting graphic artists like Big Mike to volunteer their time and talent to make graphics for our theme – all of the critical and sparkly parts of the Burn belong to my department.


Why does volunteering improve your burn/make you happy/work for you?

So umm… I’m socially awkward as fuck, believe it or not. Volunteering, especially when I was first burning, gave me a Thing to go do and reasons to talk to people. I quickly connected with other folks who really love the burn life. Plus, if your friends are all the cool, self-reliant, communal effort kind of burners, it means you know the USEFUL members of our community!

Our Volunteer Leads do a great job of rewarding and supporting our volunteers, like there’s usually at least one meal given out each year. Unlike other volunteer experiences I’ve had, I find burn volunteering rewarding, inspirational and more than a little cray-cray. As a Dept Lead, you get an invite to the Winter and Summer Planning Retreats, where you can watch Everyman attempt to be an effective leader, do good work while avoiding sobriety, and influence the entire burn itself.


Why should someone consider volunteering for you?

If you’re a graphic designer or social media whiz, it’s a great chance to use your professional skills for a fun reason instead of work. You don’t have to volunteer for a shift during the event. And you’re part of a very exclusive team, as we only need a handful of folks to accomplish our nefarious goals.


What's your favorite volunteer story?

So I’m the kinda person who’s either a wallflower or I am ALL IN! When I began to learn about Burning Man in 2014, I quickly came off the sidelines. Which means I showed up to attend a Black Rock Ranger Training to be part of one of the coolest departments ever. As part of getting things started, the trainer asked people to raise their hands if they’d been to 15+ burns, 10+ burns, 9, 8, - you get the idea. When he finished, I hadn’t raised my hand, and he looked at me. I raised my and stated I had been to ZERO burns. Yep, I showed up for volunteer training BEFORE my virgin burn. Try to be as cool as me – I dare you ;)


What's your best burner skill?

Logistics – I love keeping inventory of our gear and making sure Slaughter’s Bloody Bar is ready to serve the best Bloody Marys in the ‘Verse!


What's your choice nugget of wisdom for a virgin burner?

Leave your expectations at home. Bring your enthusiasm and an open-mind


Why do you love burning?

I love burning because of the community the 10 Principles creates. When you tell people to radically express themselves and participate, and by the way you’ll be included no matter what you do – it is astonishing and inspiring how the best of humanity shows up. The Principles are ideals we all strive to implement better – some of us naturally excel more at some than others. I find most burners are weirdos in some way shape or form, and it’s lovely to connect and party with each other in a world we all collectively create.


Have burns changed your life? How?

Attending burns has dramatically decreased my social anxiety, enabling me to take risks and engage in my life in a different way wherever I find myself. I found Radical Self-expression and Immediacy to be my most challenging points of growth. Working on both of those helped me discover my own agency – and that changes everything.


What does consent mean to you?

Consent has 5 main components: Caring, Communication, Caution, Consent and Context. Caring means the person I’m interacting with gives a shit about my well-being. Communication means we are actively negotiating and confirming that everyone is down with what’s going on – before, during and after. Caution means we’re paying attention to what’s going on and acting with some intention (or trying to). Consent means we want there to be a clear YES before anything involving someone’s body or other resources occurs. Context means we notice changes in the situation and check-in, for example, my partner might be totes down with boob grabs in our house but not consenting to boob grabs while out at the pub.


Which principle is primary for you and why?

Communal Effort really stands out to me right now. Burns really are what we collectively create, period, end of story. Unlike other festivals, burns rely strongly on the community to exist and function. Without volunteers, without theme camps, without artists – we don’t burn.


What keeps you sane in Defaultia?

Rituals and self-care maintain my sanity. You’ll prob see me outside my shade structure doing my morning yoga flow each morning (by the way, that’s also a sign that our bar is going to open in an hour or so).


What do you want to be when you grow up?

I want to be the kind of person who makes you feel better about yourself because we talked. And not in a cheerleader kind of way – in a shame-reducing, radical self-acceptance kind of way. Life is too short for fear.


What's your drink of choice?

Complex beers and excellent bourbon!



Art Grant Deadline Extension

Greetings Experimenter,

Out of consideration for those of you still decompressing from LOF who ran short on time to get your art grants submitted before the close, everyone's favourite rabbit has extended the Art grant submission deadline by a week.

New closing date is now June 30th.

Please get those grants submitted. Any questions reach out via email to artgrants@mosaicexperiment.com


Art grant form

Effigy/large burnable art form


Criteria selection

Prohibited burn materials list


Calling all artists! We need some art to be arted!

Hey, You, out there in Defaultia - do you feel lonely, out of place and unwanted? Then bring your Misfit self to Mosaic Experiment 2018: The Island of Misfit Toys! Here your uniqueness will be celebrated and radically included! Starting with... an art contest!

Now is the time to Art! S&M Productions encourages you to begin to think about this year's theme by submitting original art expressing it! Your submission could be our Facebook cover image! Please post all designs on Facebook, Imgur or Instagram, then EMAIL THE PERMANENT LINK to the image to: promotions@mosaicexperiment.com

Voting for the 2018 Theme has begun!

Announcing to all the creative, zestful, sensual souls of Mosaic Experiment: Voting for the 2018 Theme has begun! Please use the link below to cast your vote. Submissions are due by next Sunday, March 11 by 11:59pm.

Our Radically Participatory Community submitted a whopping 24 suggestions! The MOrg used rank order voting to select a glorious half dozen for your careful, methodical, detailed, contemplative, goofy, absurd, delightful, do-whatever-the-fuck you want vote. Please complete the same rank order voting form below. ~ You're welcome, S&M Productions

Voting is now closed.

Artist Spotlight: #ReclaimUtopia

Lets face it. The year of 2017 isn’t going to go down as an uplifting point in our history. For many of us, Mosaic is our only reprieve from the outside nasty. And now, Andromedea Arts International(AAI) has the nerve to corporate take over our burn and call it a consequence of utopia.

You’ve heard our call to arms. If you find yourself believing corporations are burners, stop reading. Walk away. Sign your sucker soul over to AAI.

For the rest of you, Welcome to occupy mosaic. Just your mere presence will send a message.  We are camping in “their” space and not leaving until we need to drive back home! We have major camp involvement (shout out trash pandas). Skrambles**!* will have petitions for signing and a pin maker so you can wear your #resistance. We have alt-gate and alt-greeters to provide our movement with corruption free hugs. Bring your signs!

This time, at this burn, righteousness and reason will win. This is our chance to prove that the real consequence of utopia is an unbreakable community. This is our chance  to #ReclaimUtopia.

This is the first in a series of posts from our 2017 Mosaic Experiment artists. #ReclaimUtopia #OccupyMosaic was selected for funding by the 2017 Mosaic Experiment Art Grant Committee. Stay tuned for more art updates from participants just like you. The theme for Mosaic Experiment 2017 invites participants to contemplate the Consequences of Utopia.