Author Archive

Close enough is perfect

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

In our fourth installment of the Forging Community blog series, Benjy briefly expounds upon the FAZ, a philosophy which is in many ways core to Balsa Man.

This morning our beloved Smallest, Colin Fahrion, said something to me that I found truly inspiring. In the tradition of Zen koans like “Does a dog have Buddha nature?” he offered me insight in the form of a question: “Where’s the fucking blog entry you said you were going to write two weeks ago?”

This question snapped me out of an unproductive mindset—namely, that it’s hard to be creative—and replaced it with a far more useful approach: turn the goddamn braincrank until your monkey mind poops out some art, then go get lunch.

Easter Island moai

They're all dead now. Fuck big art.

I am reminded of this brief essay: The Cult of Done Manifesto

The whole thing is brilliant, not only because it was written in 15 minutes, but because it’s a razor-sharp X-acto blade you can plunge into the cardboard excuses that keep you from being awesome. Foremost among these, for me, is this:

Laugh at perfection. It’s boring and keeps you from being done.

Balsa Man is a standout example of what the philosopher Rakim Yay termed the Fleeting Autonomous Zonelet—the FAZ.

Rakim’s essay comes to us from a single surviving manuscript hastily scribbled in a taxi in South Passaic on the back of a coupon good for one order of Krab Rangoon at the Jin Glatt Kosher Chinese Restaurant. The essay reads, in full:

Between now and soon, there is a wall; pee on it.

1 beef chow mein / rice for 2 / free Krab

Fortunately for posterity, the coupon had expired, and the manuscript was published in 1993 in the now-defunct “Dress Warm”, the official samizdat of the Balsa Man underground community.

In conclusion, don’t worry about finishing anything. Just start, and the rest will

Watch out for counterfeit tickets!

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

As you know, Balsa Man is a donation-supported event, which means we don’t sell tickets. Nevertheless we’ve heard secondhand reports of counterfeit tickets circulating, some of them featuring full-color art and flawless microprinting depicting the Balsa Man statue in flagrante inferno.

Below is one of the better counterfeit tickets we’ve come across.

If you encounter any more of these counterfeit tickets don’t buy them, but please send us photos because they sound freaking awesome!

It takes a child to raze this village

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

In our second installment of our Forging Community blog series, Benjy Feen, discusses the ever controversial topic of the Balsa Man Theme…

You’re probably aware that there’s been some grumbling about the Balsa Man 2010 theme. There are those who feel that “The Forged Village” reflects a trend away from Balsa Man’s original spirit; they point to Wikipedia, citing as much of the Wikipedia entry on “Village” as will fit into 140 characters:

A village is a clustered human settlement/community, lrgr thn a hamlet w/the pop. ranging from a few 100 to a few 1000s (sometimes 10000s)

“Tens of thousands!”, folks say, somewhat louder than necessary. “Balsa Man has finally jumped the juvenile nurse shark!!1!11!!!!”

I can hear the shrill whine of the jaded now, claiming how no year can top the year the theme was “Fishies!!!” or tirelessly repeating how Balsa Man was better before it had themes. In answer to all this, we’d like to give you a small glimpse into how this year’s theme was decided upon…

The Balsa Man theme selection process is not random; the theme committee doesn’t just dream up next year’s theme while in the shower. A countless number of minutes of discussion and debate went into deciding the theme for this year. Several ideas came out of the meeting, but ultimately most of the ideas put forward were deemed either not in keeping with the diminutive spirit of Balsa Man or so esoteric, kooky, and trite at the same time that they were evocative of nothing.

Here are some examples of themes we discarded:

  • Aspiration and Anxiety: The Future
  • The Big Wheel of Time and Space
  • Amorphous Substance
  • Seven Ages of Man

Ultimately, the decision was to go with “The Forged Village” for a number of reasons. Colin Fahrion, the Chief Tiny Officer of Balsa Man—who’d like everyone to know he is in no way the tyrannical autocratic leader the rumors have him to be—has this to say about why he thinks “The Forged Village” is the perfect focus for the 2010 event:

“Balsa Man is rapidly becoming a victim of its own modest success, and with attendance promising to set new records, we are headed for an identity crisis. The Forged Village theme was selected in order to inspire attendees to think about the Balsa Man community’s role in both the minuscule event’s future and how the small community of Balsa Man can change the world at large. We’re glad to see that inspiration in action.

In addition, we knew that people were going to freak out no matter what theme we chose, so we decided to just go with whatever was the least retarded.”

We look forward to seeing the mild irreverence we so prize in the Balsa Man community!