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Art Outside 2012

Posted in Austin, Burning Man, and Firedoglake

Art Outside 2012

I’ll be leaving this afternoon for Art Outside 2012. Last year I wrote about Art Outside here on 8,000 Words in two parts — one for each day I attended before intense rain sent me back to Austin. The first part was mostly about the differences between Art Outside and a Burning Man event:

 It is not a Burn event — it is a commercial event with vending, trash service, and paid performers. It is, however, inspired by the playa’s creativity and draws extensively from the Burning Man community for artists, musicians, crafters, performers, and volunteers.

… We were very overtired from too little sleep in the previous days. I think this made the culture shock and the adjustment to being at the event a little harder than it otherwise might have been. Art Outside isn’t a Burn, but it is similar enough to be jarring at times — you can dress freakishly fabulous but you can’t go naked. The vendors are largely Burners and freaks themselves, but there is still a strong element of commerce unfamiliar to the playa.

By Saturday, I settled in to enjoy the art itself:

The rest of Saturday was full of exploration, good company, and wonderful music. Mizz Honey J was off to another shift with the waste team while I watched ‘Who Said Vaudeville Was Dead?‘ on the folk stage. Musicians Bold! Daring! True! performed with comedian Steve Harwood and producer/actress Jessica Ryan as ‘Vaudey’ and ‘Villa.’ Between the setting, costumes, and music it felt like the performers had stepped out of a time machine from the genre’s golden age. I also caught part of Maestro‘s amazing set of looped beatboxing and pop-and-lock dancing. Like much of the audience I had to get on my feet myself, moving to the rhythm while awed by a succession of jugglers, breakdancers, and hula hoopers.

This year promises a different experience — I’m attending not just as a blogger & Burner, but an accredited member of the media. Like last year, I plan to share a day-by-day report of the events here. On Firedoglake, I’ll be focusing on some of the more intriguing artists as part of myFDL’s Saturday Art series. I’ll also livetweet the event from @KitOConnell.

If you’re going to Art Outside 2012, be sure to say hello!