Resilience Is Our Middle Name

The coronavirus outbreak is unlike anything any of us have experienced in our lifetimes, but in a way, Burners seem uniquely prepared for this moment. Aside from possessing current-day staples like air filtration masks and hand sanitizer, we’ve long believed in the Principles of Radical Self-reliance and Communal Effort, meaning we’re quick to look after our physical and mental needs — and those of others.

This time is no different. Around the world, Burners and friends are rushing online to share their talents, and rally resources and spirits. Here are just some of the many ways the community is coming together from home when it’s most needed. We’d love to hear your story here for the next roundup.

Helping Others

Calling All Black Rock Citizens: Donate Your Masks, Goggles & Gloves

You know you have them, buried somewhere deep in that playa bin — a handful of masks and more than a couple pairs of goggles. Burners Without Borders (BWB) is sending out a global call for Burners to donate clean, unused Personal Protective Equipment such as N95 masks, goggles and gloves to medical centers in need. Read about it in BWB’s projects. Found something? Check this list to see where you can drop off your donation.

An Ever-growing List of Ways to Help in San Francisco

Are you a San Franciscan looking for a way to help out? Pore over this growing list of opportunities to volunteer and donate in The Golden City. Need a hand contributing support goods or services? Add your project or need. It’s magic.

Supporting COVID-19 Prevention in Haiti

Over the last seven years, grants from Burners Without Borders have enabled a community center in Jacmel, Haiti, to develop their own sewing and screen printing programs. Today, Jakmel Ekspresyon is putting these capacities to good work, printing COVID-19 prevention posters and sewing face masks for the town’s vulnerable citizens.

Seeking: Immunocompromised Chicagoans for Local Food Deliveries

Seven hundred Burners in Chicago are ready and able to deliver prepared food and groceries to local immunocompromised friends. As of March 22, their crew had only 10 clients, with hundreds of volunteers prepared to help out. If you’re in Chicago and stepping out for groceries poses a risk to your health, contact Eric Branson. Eric adds: “Instead of looking around you and asking ‘What is being done?’ Look around you and ask ‘What’s not being done?’ There is where you will find a caring mission and your role in fulfilling it. <3”

Hackathon: The Quest for an Open-Source Ventilator

Because we know there are more than a few tinkerers out there…Hackaday has put out a call for folks to design and deploy an open-source ventilator. Specifically, the race is on to create plans for a nasal cannula-based NIV that can be quickly distributed to factories around the globe. Not in your skill set? There are other problems to solve, such as creating negative pressure tents or designing N95 masks at home.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Cat Carlton, a City Council Member in Menlo Park, CA, tells us: “In Menlo Park, we are using our existing relationships and NextDoor to divide up the streets to be ‘Block Captains.’ We identify the elderly and people who are alone/may need help. The captain shares phone numbers, and checks in with people every few days. If a person needs meds or anything, the block captain can run to the pharmacy or call the EOC (Emergency Operation Center) representative. This is following a plan created by the Red Cross. It gives us something positive to do, may save lives, and when this is over, we might have more friendly and cohesive neighborhoods.”

Pooling Resources to Access Essential Supplies

East Side L.A. Burners are coming together on Facebook to trade and barter needed supplies — which can be anything essential that’s not easy to acquire. There’s also a general call out to donate N95/N99 masks to hospital staff. To date, the community has distributed more than 500 masks.

Expressing Yourself

Send a Voice Memo to “The Intersection” About Your Stories and Hacks

“If anyone’s ready for the apocalypse, it’s Burners,” says “The Intersection” podcast host and Burner David Boyer. (The Intersection’s third season takes place in Black Rock City.) David wants to hear how “this community of MacGyvers is responding to COVID-19.” Record a voice memo and send it to him at or record a message at 415-625-3757. Learn more here.

Art of Self-Isolation

The outbreak and its effect of canceling every event in its wake has inspired artist Burning artist Meloday Hesaraky to work on a new series of illustrations called “Postponed.” “This series of illustrations is inspired by the current situation here in New York City, where I currently live and work. It is quiet out and it feels like the loud, vibrant, bustling city is now mired in slow motion. It’s like I’m watching a surreal movie,” she writes.

Connecting With People

Virtual Shabbat Prayer Service with Milk + Honey

Black Rock City’s preeminent purveyors of radical Shabbat rituals are hosting Kabbalat Shabbat, SHELTER-IN-PLACE EDITION, Friday, March 27, 2020 at 6–7 pm PDT. Expect all the beloved hallmarks of Milk + Honey’s signature service. Take a break from your jammies and dress for services in your finest white playawear — face paint, headgear, adornments, onesies. Then stay online after the service to partake in a post-service virtual Shabbat dinner (but make sure you have your meal prepared in advance).

Participate in a Virtual Burnal Equinox

Crestfallen that Burnal Equinox was cancelled in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Colorado? Maybe you can’t mingle in your protein form at the moment. But you can don your freakiest avatar and celebrate the Burner year’s halfway point at the virtual Burnal Equinox 2020 Beneath the Stars on May 1–3, 2020. The event is run by BURN2, Second Life’s virtual extension of the Burning Man culture and community, and an officially sanctioned Regional.

Staying Inspired

Love in the Time of COVID-19

What do you love? What do you want to protect? How can we grow together in the current context? Samantha Stein created to aggregate messages of hope and things that make people smile. Just use the hashtag #loveincovidtimes on your social network of choice, or use the website to submit examples of what people are doing to spread the love in these times.

LED Talks: Bright Ideas About the 10 Principles

Members of the Arizona Burner community will share bright ideas about the 10 Principles during “LED Talks” (“like TED Talks, only brighter!”) at 7–9 pm PDT on Thursday, March 26. The speakers will share pre-planned, eight-minute talks on topics such as ”Artpocalypse: Creativity in Quarantine,” ”Porto Potty Pirate Radio: Fecal facts and figures” and “Can the 10 Principles solve our existential crisis?” Tune into and/or RSVP here.

Shared Calendar for Participatory Activities

One creative theme camp set out to shift the energy from dark to lighter by establishing a shared calendar of activities to lift spirits. Different crew members are signing up to host virtual events, including a photography course, workout sessions, meditation, virtual karaoke, origami happy hour, Ask Me Anything from the camp doctor, and even a bed time story, ’Go the Fuck to Sleep,’ in latex. Doesn’t that sound like fun? What ideas could you and your friends or campmates come up with if you did something similar?

Montreal’s Leonard Cohen Sing-along

On the evening of March 22, a Facebook group invited Montrealers to stand on their balconies and sing local poet Leonard Cohen’s “So Long Marianne” in chorus. “We as Montrealers are proud of our ability to work together through difficult times…So while there are dark clouds ahead, let us gather together and conjure the spirit, endurance, and wit of our favourite son, Leonard Cohen.” Ready for tingles? Watch it here.

Heartwarming Stories From the Playa

For sheer feels and joyful nostalgia, spend some time perusing this Reddit thread asking about the best, kindest person you ever met in Black Rock City.

Oh, the Projects We Will Start…and Finish!

Self-isolation can feel like maker heaven. Many of us can spend hours and hours (and hours) at home sewing, sautering, hot glueing, tweaking and tinkering. Miss Glitchy on Reddit explains how the pandemic gave her time to turn all her precious Black Rock City stickers into fridge magnets. What are you going to create with all your newly found spare time? Share with the class.

Having Fun

Don’t Forget to Dance

Many Burners find a lifeline in music so it’s a natural outlet for sharing talents and bringing joy to others. Whether it’s sharing sets online, playing live music from living rooms, or making playlists for friends, music definitely sounds better with you. There’s also the internet Burner radio station Shouting Fire broadcasting live from South Africa, New Zealand, and Las Vegas. Follow them on social media for the latest offerings.

Official Stuck at Home Online Party

A group of UK Burners was featured on BBC News recently when they hosted an online dance party. Organizer Iona McNeil was inspired by a Madonna-themed party she enjoyed at Black Rock City. While self-isolating, she wanted to bring the community together. People turned up from around the world to shake their booties. “Staying positive and virtually-connected to our friends and loved ones is going to be important in getting through all this,” she said. The next party is set for March 27, 2020. Details here.

Get Fancy. It’s Formal Quarantine Friday

With Formal Quarantine Friday, Burner Kylie Pinski is virtually summoning a group of friends to slip out of their sweats and into their finest, most suave and dashing formal wear. Don’t ask yourself if your outfit is too fancy, ask if it’s fancy enough. Pour yourself a quarantini and share pics for everyone to ooh and ahh over the magical transformation. To quote Kylie: “Let’s take a s****y, boring situation and turn it into a pretty roaring situation.” You, too, can start your own Formal Quarantine Friday, or Pajama Quarantine Friday, or Leather Quarantine Friday…whatever does it for you!

Doing something wonderful for your community or heard of other Burners doing the same? Don’t forget to submit the story here. We love you! Stay safe.

Top photo by Jeremy Roush