Flaming Lotus Girls
The Angel of the Apocalypse
There's this place in San Francisco out by Hunters point
The Box Shop!
Basically there's a large yard filled with shipping containers that are available for rent. They are usually used to store materials for folks that like to build mechanical things like Art Cars, and intricate sculptures of Industrial Art and assorted Pyrotechnic devices.
From the street you will see this sign painted on the side of one of the shipping containers.
As you approach the yard, you come to a gate, sporting yet another nifty sign with the street address on it.
Once you enter the yard you may think to yourself.. "What
the Heck kind of Junkyard is this?"
Well Boys and Girls, Believe it or not. You have actually entered a magical place, filled with imagination, fabrication, multiple personalities (sometimes in the same person), periodic flashes of fire, plasma arcs and other assorted mayhem.
The yard also contains a large shop filled with Heavy Steel tables, welders plasma cutters, torches, machine tools, and of course assorted hand tools.
Amidst all of this random chaos a massive project is in motion.
There is a simple Motto on the wall, that says it all.... We Can Do It!
You soon find out that you have luckily entered the realm of ....
The Flaming Lotus Girls!!!
For the last few months the work pace at the Box Shop has been getting more and more frantic. The Flaming Lotus Girls have been involved in a massive project called The Angel of the Apocalypse. Rebecca is seen here working on the Giant head of a Bird that is part of the center piece.
Normally it's really hard to get a picture of Rebecca since she is usually in the center of huge showers of sparks or she is bathed in Ultraviolet light from the MIG welder.
Ah.. The Birds head needs just a little off the top.
Rebecca again doing what she does for a living and a hobby. She is busy grinding metal, welding, heating, bending Steel with her bare hands (well she doe's wear gloves) and often uses a hydraulic press for the thick pieces to conform it to her will and artistic visions.
The Birds head probably uses around 1500 lbs of Steel when it is finally completed.
The girl on the right is Pouneh . She keeps the project moving and finds stuff for everyone to do. If your not doing something, she will find something for you to do.
She will ask you a question like "Have you ever cut Steel pipe with a chop saw?"
If you happen to say no, she will take you over to the chop saw and instruct you on how to cut a piece to a specific length. After your brief lesson and a little praise. She will say " That's good now cut 14 more just like that".
Then she will be off to find yet another unsuspecting, soon to be busy, factory worker. She also takes care of the logistics and parts purchases. On a project like this, that's a very Big job.
Caroline (Mills) is demonstrating a version of Cardboard Aided Design. She is making a pattern from paper to lay out the cutouts needed for mounting the control valves on the large feathers.
Here.. Caroline is getting some advice from Rebecca on
how to make a shape that is functional and yet possible to make out of
There was a design change on the Kerosene fuel outlet jets on the large feathers. It was decided that about the lower 6 feet of jets were not needed.
This was done to conserve fuel and also to keep the fire above peoples heads. Hmm.... Safety at the Burning Man, what an interesting concept.
Of course this involved welding up the jets on 8 of the Large feathers and a lot of grinding for Caroline. Why do I get the feeling that Pouneh was involved in this decision. She loves assigning those endlessly repetitive and yet necessary tasks.
Getting the control valve mounting brackets to fit properly,
proved to be a bit difficult.
Still not quite sure if this is going to work as planned.
Pouneh, Rosa Anna and Caroline ponder the problem.
Caroline, Rosa Anna and Rebecca all get together and ponder the problem. This is how things work in this shop. Everyone comes up with ideas and suggestions and finally a solution is found. It's a very open and beautiful process to observe and also be a part of.
"Hey Pouneh"," some American Bloke tried to tell me this
was 12 inches". "I think that it's more like 12 millimeters".
Boy it's difficult to be a fellow with an overly optimistic imagination around these girls. ;)
With a smile that could light up a dark moon less
night on the playa without the need for pyrotechnics or petro chemicals.
Caroline returns to her work.
Rosa Anna and Caroline discuss the finer points of grinding Steel.
Did someone say CAKE? Periodically food actually arrives at the Box Shop and the folks take a welcome break.
Then it's back to work.
Pouneh and Rosa Anna head for the yard to search for places to store the feathers.
I worked with Rosa Anna quite a bit. She's quite a capable girl. We worked on some of the plumbing problems and also spent a some quality time unwrapping some very dirty and sooty used Kevlar from one of the Large feathers. We also tried a different way of wrapping the Kevlar to get rid of the dreaded (Vapor Lock) problem that plagued early test runs of the large feathers.
From what I observed she really enjoys working hard and
has a great sense of humor. She kept me smiling even during the difficult
and messy jobs
It turns out she's a Bio Chemist and a Research Scientist. I imagine working with Steel and Fire is a nice change from Lab work.
Were the heck are we going to put all of these feathers?
It's hard to believe, but you can run out of places to store all of the
parts even in a large place like the Box Shop.
The Angel Lives
The SanFransisco Bay Guardian article
QBOX.ORG Home of the Box shop ..
Flaming Lotus Girls Home of The Girls
TeamKiss.com My team and stuff.