Special opening performance

Ayla Nereo‘s voice hits straight to the heart. With an array of loop-pedals by her side, she builds layer upon layer of vocal melodies into fierce, sweeping harmonies and weaves syncopated threads of guitar, kalimba, piano, and percussion into each live performance. Her lucid storytelling and lyrical imagery are water for the thirsty soul; words and sounds that crack open the heart, and embody the many folds of our own selves.

Raised on opera, 60s folk, and psychedelic rock, living her younger years in the wide open hills and her adult years in Oakland CA, Ayla’s music touches both the timeless and modern; where circle songs and roots music meet tribal beats and folktronica. Crafting an immersive soundscape we can dive into, Ayla’s performance becomes a journey: an inspired, wondrous experience that holds you by the heart and doesn’t let go.




2015 Speaker Announcement

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1:00 - 2:15
- Jon La Grace - “Fail Smart”
- Lea DeFrancisci - “Fake It Till You Make It, The Power of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Change Problematic Personalities, Help with Mental Illness, and Make us Happier”
- Crimson Rose - “Creative Truth ~ Intentional Lives”
- Jamila Reddy - “Making the Rabbit Hole the Reality.”

2:30 - 4:00 
- Harley K. Dubios - “Female Leadership”
- Eamon Armstrong - “From Ancient to Modern: How Festivals Build real Communities from Utopian Visions”
- Cello Joe - Musical Perfomance
- Matt Reyes - Lensing Visualities & Virtualities: One Human’s Thoughts on Sharing Experiences to Elicit Meaningful Change”
- Favianna Rodriguez - “Art & Social Justice”

4:15 - 5:45
- Melissa Arredondo - “A Zero-Dimensional Life”
- Debra Tillinger (aka Dr. Mermaid) - “A Grin Without a Cat: the Math and Madness of El Niño.”
- John Hardy - “Bamboo Future”
- Barnaby Ferrero - Ocean stewardship: Have we all gone mad?
- Gentleman Callers of LA - DJ set

Photo credit: Sidney Erthal Photography

TEDxBlackRockCity 2015 - “Through the Looking Glass.”

Wednesday, September 2 at 1:00pm - 5:00pm in PDT

(Play)A(Skool, 10:00 and Ersatz)

“Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.” ~ Lewis Carroll (1871)  “Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There” (Lewis Carroll Quotes)

To peer “Through the Looking Glass” is to seek alternative perspectives, to imaginatively approach a traditional problem or line of reasoning in order to illuminate impossible solutions. This often requires a willful transformation of ourselves — a creative shape-shifting — so that we see the world with new eyes, new senses, a new consciousness. It is only in this way that a new world reveals itself — as strange, yes, but perhaps also closer to world in which we dream.

In 2015, TEDx Black Rock City will be an opportunity to open and reflect ourselves in new ways, to a new world, in which we are all transformed by ideas that matter.

Deadline for submitting applications for TEDxBlackRockCity 2015 is July 1, 2020 midnight PST.  To apply, please click on the following link and fill out our application form.  All candidates will be notified by August 1, 2020.  TEDxBlackRockCity 2015 Application

Before submitting your application, please review the TEDx Content Guidelines here - TEDx Content Guidelines

Photo credit: Sidney Erthal Photography

2014 Speaker Announcement

2014 Speakers

John Denning — Passing the  Turnig Test by Embracing the Bizarre

David Kittay - How to Talk to Pepole We Can’t Stand:  An Algorithm

Silona Bonewald - “The choice is yours - Wizard or Muggle in the coming age of information.”

Kelly Peters - The Science of Choice

Isabel Behncke - Wild Joy & Uses of Abandon

Andrew Horn - Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

Conner White-Sullivan - Ben Franklin and a Religion of Learning

Theresa Beeler - The Power of Personal Authenticity

Wendy Mogel - The Ben Franklin Life Hack

Beau Lotto - The Neuroscience of Seeing - And Seeing Differently

Deborah Acosta - Imagine a World Where Women Feel Safe

Sharon DeMattia - The Naked Truth

Nelson Gonzalez - Encoding Communal Effort:  Big Data for Large Scale Social Innovation

Stuart Candy -

Levi Felix - Take a Break from your Technology


2014 Performers

Nick Vigarino
Bear Kittay - Animal

Photo credit: Sidney Erthal Photography

TEDxBlackRockCity 2014

Smart & Simple! It is, in two words, just that. SMART is addressing a widespread problem with creativity, innovation, and sustainable resolution. SIMPLE is not only presenting in an idea in a digestible yet fascinating way, but devising an answer that is relevant and scalable to our community, and beyond.


Smart & Simple takes the idea worth spreading one step further to find practical applications for creative genius. TEDxBlackRockCity seeks to highlight the ideas of those members in our community that elegantly and succinctly address global problems.

Photo credit: Sidney Erthal Photography

Paradigm Shift Speakers 2013


In many cases we look for the large drivers for human behavior — but in this talk I would like to give many examples about the need to focus on the small details and how they end up mattering a lot in changing and influencing the way we behave — at the end of the day this will be about the importance of small details in our environment as influencing our behavior.



What do one million doctors agree is the most effective treatment for every disease?

Doctors are leveraging social networks and big data to capture, structure and share the experiential knowledge of every doctor on the planet.



My life’s work heading my architecture and urbanism office for the last 11 years has led me to understand the importance of cities, both what it gives to people living in the city, the relationships we generate with rural areas, and what it requires from us to live this way.


Cities will be the turning point in our relationship to nature, bringing ecosystems into the urban fabric and part our daily lives will enhance not only our water, air and food systems; this will also make us healthier, happier, more connected with our communities and averting a planetary crisis the best way possible. Making things better than they have ever been.


Mexico City is at it’s core a Cosmopolitan city, the first time 4 of our 5 continents where present in

one place. 500 years ago. Globalization started with the Columbian Exchange, and Mexico is still at it’s vortex. Providing the world with resources like corn, chocolate, tomatoes, and silver. Creating a world market and the distribution of organisms around the world.


Latin america in general is a glimpse of where we are headed, almost 80% live in cities. It is crucial for our people-city, community-watershed dynamics to change. Have them bring a positive impact to our environment. From simple things like: ride your bike to work, talk and get involved with your neighbors and community, instal a rain water harvesting tank and plant an urban food garden. To more complex things: shifting national policy from grey to green infrastructure, generating cross-disciplinary dialog and generating the social cohesive movement that will carry projects forward.


The time is now, we are working and implementing a number of micro scale interventions and working on bigger scale projects by joining forces with other emerging regenerative practitioners, to be able to transition together towards a more integrated, beautiful, enhanced, healthy city-eco-systems.



“Phase changes” are usually used to describe the near total transformation from one state to another, such as liquid water to ice or steam. Human civilization has begun to under a change so dramatic and complete that it can be considered a true phase change. We are entering an era when we may be able to make anything out of anything anywhere at any time. An age when the old definitions even of what it means to be human will be almost as changeable. An age when immortality is not inconceivable. An age when the entire planet’s climate is our to control and destroy or repair. An age when life and machine will blend into one. An age when nothing will ever be the same again. I will show how.



Traditional physical planning paradigms for urban revitalization are proving woefully ineffective in the face of city government bankruptcies; wide spread urban decline, and bureaucratic gridlock. This reality is fueling a paradigm shift towards grassroots community engagement that unleashes the human potential of the unemployed (and underemployed) creative class through cultural events, rapid prototyping, and gorilla entrepreneurship. Ephemeral Black Rock City is a Program-Based Virtual Community that, relative to the untold invested hours of human labor, creativity, and capital, is physically manifest for only a fleeting instant. BRC as a phenomenon is emblematic of how creativity and innovation have replaced physical redevelopment planning and capital investment as the true drivers of community development and urban revitalization. Program-Based Planning is the codification of this phenomena, laying the ground work for how communities across the globe can harness the untapped human potential of their local citizens to re-purpose our declining neighborhoods as urban innovation ecosystems, where the new fruits of locally grown sweat equity can ripen on the vine, contributing to a renewed age of community-centric prosperity.



This is a big vision paradigm shift talk designed to spotlight the crux of modern slavery on this planet and show how we can dismantle unjust & cruel systems in just a few years by supporting each others growth in a global DIY maker movement. We will talk tools, strategies & big levers to push to get it done.



Millions of people cook all their meals with a wood fire on the ground. At the same time, many corporate executives fly around in their own jet planes. These are the two extremes of the energy access spectrum.


Access to energy directly relates to quality of life. If you are cooking your meals with wood or cow patties, your access to energy is extremely low and, non-coincidentally, most other quality of life indicators will be low.


In parts of the developing world where people have no electric power, it’s often cheaper to build solar micro-grids than to extend the utility cables. These locally owned mini grids can help communities LIFT THEMSELVES out of poverty.


Having access to energy means having light to study at night, being able to charge a cell phone, having a radio or TV. You can keep food from spoiling…  If you have energy you can work smarter and make more money, in turn enabling you to buy more energy, which …, see what I’m getting at?


The mini grid operator is building a local business that supplies a product, ENERGY. As the local economy improves, more energy is affordable, and the system can grow. Locals build a local supply chain and learn the job skills for maintenance routines.


The entire community is able to leverage itself out of poverty with a sustainable business model. A much better approach than donating free solar panels is build an enterprise around energy usage.



There has been growing interest towards space (again), and a certain pioneer in the field even wants to die on Mars. Space travel tickets are sold, and the Mars inhabitation is modeled after Burning Man. However, taking that first step on to a different planet, we as humanity will take an irreversible step: always having humanity off Mother Earth.


The implications are widespread, but one thing we crucially need to think of, right now, is what we as a humanity need to do on this planet before spreading like a virus into the universe ( and possibly bringing children up planets apart). The BRC community are the perfect people to ideate solutions for the challenges we are still facing on earth - such as having no common understanding - and changing the status quo..



The infrastructure of government will become software - really, really good software. When this happens, communities around the globe will have the option of governing themselves and becoming democratic simply by utilizing this software. What would Egypt’s revolution look like if the entire population could have voted on the different elements of the new constitution? What will elections in Pakistan be like when an online third party counts the votes? What would Occupy Wallstreet have looked like if the occupiers had shared one set of demands that all of the United States could have voted on? What will international affairs look like when citizens can collaborate without self-interested government entities managing the interactions?


The tools that are available today are in their infancy, but can already be put to use in your community. If anything, we in the free world have a moral requirement to use and develop these methods for others around the world.



You’re walking down a road and see a child drowning in a lake – most would say the moral imperative is clear: you ought to save the child. But when that child is on the other side of the world, or that lake is extreme hunger, human bias kicks in. Nowhere are these bias’ more evident than in our current food system. The violence inherent to this system pushes us into making an ethical decision each time we sit down for dinner whether we believe it or not. In this talk, the psychology of ethical decision-making will be discussed – unveiling the mechanisms of bias in our brain (from cognitive dissonance, to dealing with cognitive load) and revealing the simple mental techniques for reaching rational conclusions during moral dilemmas. By merely acting, we are always already making a moral judgment, and recognizing our basic psychological bias’ can propel us towards a more holistic perspective and a more peaceful world.



Following the abduction of a friend, a travel photographer alters his way of seeing the world, and learns the power of giving back.



Even though almost everybody in this world uses money every single day, very few people think about what money is, how it works, and how it maybe might work in a different way. How it could be redefined or even changed.

Isn’t money after all just a tool?

Our current form of Money, detached from any tangible asset and only backed by our trust, has seemingly taken on the role of an omnipresent Philosopher’s Stone, magically turning any quality of life into a measurable quantity of bigger or smaller heaps of cash, or rather digits on our computer screen. But not all values and qualities can be converted that easily into a pile of banknotes. After all, isn’t what we really value in life ‘priceless’?

Daniel will talk about his experiences, value(s) of art and money, how the way money works affects our thinking, gift-economy, crowd-funding, and how doing this project has changed himself.



The word “FUCK”, regarded as one of the most vulgar words in English for the 500 years of its history, is becoming increasingly acceptable. In the past, religious blasphemy (e.g. _God damn_) was considered extremely offensive, as were words insulting someone’s parentage (_bastard, whoreson_). Both categories are now regarded as fairly mild. Sexual and scatological terms (_fuck, shit_) have more recently started to climb the ladder of respectability. At the same time, ethnic and racial terms (_nigger_) have rapidly become completely unacceptable.

What does the future hold for vulgarity in English? Jesse Sheidlower, the Editor at Large of the Oxford English Dictionary, President of the American Dialect Society, and author of _The F-Word_, a comprehensive history of _fuck_, will explain the history of offensive terms in English, and discuss what changes we can expect in the next 10, 50, and 100 years.



The talk will explore paradigm shift from a structural perspective, analyzing the myriad of inter-related factors that create systemic changes in culture. By tying together aspects of personal values, business and finance, collective action, art, and spirituality into a cohesive narrative, it will empower individuals to understand their place in the shifting landscape of society and be more effective in enabling the change they would like to see. Want to bring Burning Man culture into the world? This talk will explore many of the structural elements for how we can collectively make that happen.



Many have said print is dead!


The iPad has caused a significant decline in the number of computers, I only use my iPad/iPhone.  I use them because I love the user interface, it’s based on touch.  I love paper, books, posters, newsprint, wall paper etc, its the most pervasive user interface. Add touch to paper, a processor, some sound and a connection to the Internet and I believe it won’t be long before we no longer see computers as an object on their own.



There is a direct scientific link to humans and planets and in this talk I will guide the audience on a journey from the hydrogen molecules in our bodies, through the magnetic van allen belts that surround the earth. Traveling to the magnetic flux of the sun and ending with the influence planets have on the sun and in turn us.  I will point out how exactly planets could affect our moods, decisions, behaviors, etc. with the physics principle of magnetohydrodynamics.  The missing link in astrology.


Photo credit: Sidney Erthal Photography

Production Volunteers Needed

Putting on TEDx BRC involves a lot more than meets the eye. While our performers and presenters command the attendees’ attention, dozens of people work behind the scenes and a few out front to see that everything runs well. Please be one of our production volunteers. Among many positions, we need stage hands, greeters, tech assistants, people to set up and break down seating, and backups to step-in for the inevitable no-shows. So sign up to participate one of the playa’s most provocative programs now and then see us Aug. 29.

Sign up to be a part of TEDx BRC 2013


Photo credit: Sidney Erthal Photography

Law Enforcement @ BurningMan

text courtesy of Will Chase -The Jack Rabbit Speaks.

To subscribe send an email to: bman-announce-subscribe(at)burningman(dot)com


“The Jack Rabbit Speaks”- August 5th 2013


[BManUpdate] V17:#34:8.5.13



While Burning Man is certainly a remote and freewheeling place, it’s also a functioning metropolis. And just like in any other city, numerous law enforcement agencies patrol Black Rock City day and night to keep the city safe and compliant with the laws that allow us to have the event in the first place.

This JRS topic is extremely important: all Federal, State and Local laws still exist at Burning Man. Any illegal action can lead to a citation (more common) or your arrest (rare). Law enforcement officers have a difficult yet important job, both on and off the playa. Please respect the valuable work that they do. It is the duty of all law enforcement personnel to enforce the law, and they are there to help protect our citizenry.

Finally, a huge thanks to the unsung heroes of Burning Man — our Government Relations and Legal team, who did the hard work to compile all this valuable information for YOU. Hats off!

The Man burns in 26 days!


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Aspire Village

Aspire Village was an idea that sprung from the 2013 Burning Man Global Leadership Conference.  A group of theme camp leaders, artists, regional coordinators, Burning Man Project members — all dedicated Burners — met and brainstormed the idea as a means of creating a collaboration focused on art and interactivity.  From these discussions, one of the largest Villages on the playa was created consisting of over 1800 people from the following camps:  PlayaSkool, IDEATE, La Calaca, Kostume Kult, Sacred Cow, Kardashev III, Black Rock City French Quarters and Enclave.
The highlight of the collaboration is the interactivity zone and “Learning Center” which features several days of some of the most exciting and compelling programming ever brought to the playa.  Not only will it be the site of the 3rd TEDxBlackRockCity but it will also host The Space Conference, the Un-Conference, the Art Car Forum and All Things Burning Man Conference as well — suffice to say — an amazing gift back to the community.
Not only will there be incredible talks but also performances, art exhibits, films and much, much more.
Hope to see all of you throughout the week.

Paradigm Shift - An agent of change

A paradigm is a worldview underlying theories, methodology and belief in a particular subject.

A paradigm shift changes the way people think.  It is revolutionary and transformational.

The term “paradigm shift” was coined by Thomas Kuhn in his 1962 book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

A Paradigm shift is not a spontaneous occurrence and is driven by agents of change.

Are you an agent of change?

Paradigms shifts which usually have their start in the science realm affect the rest of our everyday world.  New discoveries or advancements in technology cause dramatic transformations in our society, how we view each other, our world and system.

The invention of agriculture allowed humans to no longer be nomadic tribes.  This advancement forever changed how we organized our clans and eventually our societies.

Remember when we stopped believing the earth was the center of the solar system and gave the Sun its proper recognition?  This shift towards a heliocentric world view not only caused scientists to change course on past and future astronomical discoveries but also was the start of the end of religion’s control on everything as it began to lose its “infallibility”.

The banning of the use of slaves, basic human rights, woman’s equality, homosexual equality and other societal changes are all examples of societal paradigm shifts.

If you had 10 minutes in front of other burners at this year’s TedxBRC, what would you blow our minds with?

Have an idea?  Let’s hear it!

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