Innovating Through Artistry

Bohemians and Burning Man

In Author: Adam Shames, Authors on August 5, 2009 at 3:03 am

In his research investigating what helps drive economic growth in cities, Richard Florida discovered that the concentration of certain groups of people in geographical areas is clearly correlated to economic success. One of those groups he calls “Bohemians”–the artists, hippies, non-conformists and those “open to experience” who have generally lost favor among our MBA nation of the last few decades. Florida’s Bohemian Index (learn more in this interview) is much higher in the regions and cities whose innovation and economy are thriving.

So where are these very important Bohemians? Seek out more about Burning Man and ye shall find.

Unbeknownst to most people here in the heartland, this time of year once again beckons the Bohemians to gather in the Nevada desert for a week-long, mind-expanding, creativity-exploding festival culminating in the burning of a huge wooden man on Saturday night of Labor Day weekend. We’re talking 50,000 people, many of whom have worked on museum-worthy art projects throughout the year that they will showcase, coming together for the most unbelievable creative experience now available on the planet. While words can’t do it justice, here is a glimpse into Burning Man through my eyes a few years back: Read my experience of Burning Man here.

Now, while it’s been a cool summer in Chicago, many people would be surprised to learn that some of the creative heat of Burning Man can indeed be found in Chicago each month at the Full Moon Jam near Foster Beach. If you’re in Chicago and would like to see and experience a little Bohemian energy–not to mention fire spinners, drummers, dancers and people preparing for the trek to Burning Man in a few weeks–come out this Wednesday night around 7:30pm with your own openness to experience. Last time I ended up jamming on my harmonica with some sax players (picture) and enjoying the amazing pyrotechnics of the performers.

Given the research from Florida, I think it’s high time to let the Bohemians out–or at least let the Bohemian side of you show its feathers and spread its wings around town much more often.

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