In previous posts, I have mentioned Burning Man.
In my post on the field trip to visit Duane Flatmo in Eureka I showed photos of his flame-throwing pulpo mecanico, a Burning Man sensation for several years.
In my post on Murray Street, I touched on Burning Man via Jim Mason’s Shipyard (a Burning Man maker’s space), and Burning Man artist Michael Christian.
In my post on Edie Greene and her Harper Street Doggie Diner head, I took a tangent and posted about the Doggie Diner heads of John Law, a Burning Man founder.
It is Labor Day weekend, meaning it is a holiday weekend, meaning it is time for a notional holiday field trip. It is Burning Man weekend. So, why not take a notional field trip to a Burning Man launching pad?
I have a better idea.
Why not a notional holiday field trip post on each of the three days of this three-day holiday weekend? All geared around Burning Man?
Brilliant idea Tom!
First stop on this holiday road trip is NIMBY.
NIMBY is at 8410 Amelia Street in East Oakland, self-desribed as “a do-it-yourself (DIY), maker, hacker, and industrial art space that provides artists, craftspeople and the average Joe a place to create and innovate in a collaborative environment.”
Michael Snook created NIMBY in 2004 on Peralta in Oakland.
There were problems with the neighbors and authorities.
These two photos are of the Perala NIMBY space.
In 2009, Snook moved NIMBY to Amelia Street in very industrial East Oakland.
Snook is all that quirk can be. Creative and energetic and amused by life and wicked good at what he does. His background? A BIG MYSTERY. It doesn’t matter. Consider Balthus – Balthasar Klossowski de Rola (1908-2001), a Polish-French artist who had no interest in conventions of the art world. He resisted all attempts to construct a biography. He sent a telegram sent to the Tate Gallery in 1968 as it prepared for a Balthus retrospective. It read: “NO BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS. BEGIN: BALTHUS IS A PAINTER OF WHOM NOTHING IS KNOWN. NOW LET US LOOK AT THE PICTURES. REGARDS. B.”
In that vein – Michael Snook is all about making and makers and doing and tools and projects. Now let us look at NIMBY.
Shipping containers serve as individual work spaces.
Plus – there are shops with big power tools and fork lights and scissor lifts and a gallery.
Creativity crackles in the air. Too much of a cliche? I don’t think so.
A lot of what happens at NIMBY is geared towards Burning Man. We first visited in late winter, months before Burning Man. Evidence of Burning Man past and future was everywhere.
Tracy Feldstein and Don Bruce made The Disgusting Spectacle for Burning Man 2005.
Here it is at NIMBY a few years ago:
This is their description of the project: “The Disgusting Spectacle is an enlarged coin-op toy. The “coin” is a 10’ human hamster wheel which will force a hand (with finger extended) into the nose of a 12’ long steel face that has been raised up on 21’ steel tower. Yep, it’s a nose picking machine.”
The Clown Cafe/Media Tent was originally a Burning Man installation.
It is the work of Clody Cates.
Cates’ workplace is the anchor of the outdoors portion of NIMBY. She has been a full-time member of the NIMBY volunteer crew since February 2010. She is the founder of NIMBY’s Team Good Job, which facilitates collaboration among NIMBY artists and conversion of ideas to reality.
She made this devil:
My goodness. Scary!
The Big-Ass Amazingly Awesome Homosexual Sheep project known as BAAAHS is part mutant vehicle, part penetrable sculpture, part socio-political statement, and part gay disco. The only entrance is through his rear end.
In these photos, BAAAHS is between Burning Mans, resting up for visitors.
Here he is in his full playa glory.
The Laughing Squid! Its website tells us: “Laughing Squid was founded on November 16th, 1995 in San Francisco by Scott Beale as a film and video production company, producing documentaries on the surrealist painter Alonso Smith and The Cacophony Society’s Portland Santacon ’96 event. In 1996 Laughing Squid launched The Squid List, a San Francisco Bay Area events email list and calendar. For a while Laughing Squid offered publicity and web design services, but then started focusing on hosting in 1998 as its primary business. Laughing Squid became a LLC in 2000, with partners John Law and David Klass joining Scott Beale. In 2003 Laughing Squid launched its blog, which relaunched on WordPress in 2005. Laughing Squid moved its headquarters to New York City in 2010.”
And now let’s just wander, unworried about whether what we are seeing is directly related to Burning Man or not.
Boats from a children’s ride, with the prototype of one mounted on a wheelchair. I want one!
Rat Fink! A hot rod character created by Big Daddy Roth, a founding father of Kustom Kulture. Rat Fink, who first appeared in the July 1963 issue of Car Craft, is an anti-hero foil to Mickey Mouse.
A tiny house! Or at least a small house under construction. And not your typical HGTV setting. Sarah Susanka has been credited with starting the recent tiny house countermovement with The Not So Big House (1997). Earlier pioneers include Lloyd Kahn with Shelter (1973) and Lester Walker with Tiny Houses (1987). Henry David Thoreau should not be overlooked either.
There are murals throughout NIMBY.
Best of show:
Norman “Vogue” Chuck is an American graffiti artist, calligraphist, illustrator and graphic designer best known for his photorealistic “Spraycan Art” and Murals. He is a member of the TDK Collective – those damned kids. He rocks! There is a Quirky Berkeley connection with Vogue, a couple of degrees of separation. I think that Berkeley could use a little Vogue art.
And variations of this throughout:
Along with being a DIY maker space, NIMBY hosts occasional events, such as the June 2017 Burning Man Precompression event.
NIMBY also hosts Rallyball. Say what?
The Rallyball website describes the game: “RallyBowl uses regular bowling balls and pins, in addition each lane has an obstacle that challenges the player in unique ways. Scored the same as bowling with the exception of extra throws, or you can just throw the ball for the fun of it!”
So that was NIMBY in the winter, when it drizzles. Snook suggested we come back in August, closer to the frantic build-up, load-in, head-out to Burning Man. We agreed.
The person who referred Quirky Berkeley to NIMBY was spot-on here. They have been on every tip so far so I shouldn’t be surprised. This is not a world that I would have known but for this tip. Good job ANONYMOUS!
I showed the photos to my friend. He was drawn to the little boats.
He remembered his twin brother Earl freaking out on a kids boat ride at a Detroit shopping center. “It wasn’t pretty” he said. “They had to stop the ride.”
Good story! What about the post?
“I’m all about NIMBY. The other NIMBY too at least the way that the carpet-bagging, supposedly-progressive-but-I-don’t-think so developer cheerleading shills are using it to describe people who care about old dear old Berkeley. This NIMBY too, I dig it.”
What about the post?