afterburn sectional graphic

AFTERBURN REPORT 2001

SF Office

The San Francisco office is our base of operations in California. It is an amazing hub of activity throughout the year. Before we were financially able to rent an office space, we worked out of our studios, bedrooms, and storage units. It was not until 1999 that we took a leap of faith and found a place that we could call a home away from home. This made us more efficient and increased our ability to organize. It also gave back our private lives.


Photo: Crimson Rose

From the outside, the business complex at 3450 Third St., San Francisco, looks like any other complex. But, inside the dual level 3200 square foot space (and the 2000 square foot annex 2 doors down, both of which include offices and meeting rooms with warehouse space in the first), the walls are covered with memorabilia, photographs, art, site maps, collages of decorated ticket order envelopes, goodies from our travels, silly/serious sayings, and a bulletin board filled with an array of pictures, drawings, upcoming events, and newspaper articles. We hate to throw anything away, which is good for the archives.

We have normal jobs here at Burning Man, just like any other business. The organization pays taxes, maintains a phone system, interfaces with the Internet and an internal network, manages printing runs, oversees transportation shipments to Nevada, and keeps the computers and facilities in running order. We also store a thousand and one things that are used by our departments: art supplies, signs, draperies, videos, boxes of survival guides, small tools, salvaged furniture, bicycles, large alien heads, and all of the components of a wooden pipe organ. Items, scavenged from all over the Bay Area, have a way of turning up on our doorstep. Each person has a myriad of responsibilities related to his/her job. The office provides a vital focal point for us to interact with each other, participants, and volunteers.

Our office staff and volunteers fluctuate throughout the year. Some are seasonal, others year-round, and include a receptionist, data entry personnel, a part-time bookkeeper, accounting manager, accounts receivable manager, office administration manager, support staff, and a technical support team. Volunteers drop in to help stuff envelopes, copy documents, assist with data entry, organize our archives, load and unload vehicles, and craft decorations for the playa. More information for volunteering can be found at this address: http://www.burningman.com/participate/volunteer.html#top.


Photo: Crimson Rose

The office also functions as a meeting place and workshop for all of Burning Man's departments. Excitement builds as we draw closer to the event and the office becomes a crossroads. Artists, theme camp organizers, volunteers and staff members begin to crowd into the space. It's not uncommon for lights to be on for 15 hours straight. From March onward, there is no less than one meeting per night at the office -- sometimes, as many as four -- and it is used every weekend.