Ever wonder what the suits in this business get up to when they’re not on the job? Well, Ragdoll’s VP of business affairs and development David Levine has been known to paint himself head-to-toe green, don a loincloth and cowboy hat for the sake of decency (just barely), and bike around an arid lakebed with more than 25,000 inner-child-seeking neo-hippies. It’s called Burning Man, and it’s an annual week-long celebration of radical self-expression that takes place the last week of August each year in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.
Absolutely anything goes during this temporary experiment in unfettered creative freedom, and it’s not uncommon to see such oddities as naked neon clown troupes that perform loosely choreographed dance routines to the speed of audience applause. Some folks have chosen to deck out their clunker cars with decals, paint schemes and molds in order to transform them into pirate ships, while others have spent time saving the world in a cape and mask at a superhero play camp. ‘Burning Man is all about experiencing the moment, and it’s completely different from being a serious executive all year,’ says Levine. ‘It’s a place where no one cares what you do for a living or how much you make. They’re more interested in what you and your life are all about.’
Beyond being able to shuck his professional persona for awhile, Levine says attending Burning Man also recharges his creative batteries. ‘You get an artistic exposure there that’s like nothing else, and there are lots of opportunities to reconnect with yourself and rediscover all the things you loved as a kid.’ That’s probably a good thing for anyone working at Ragdoll, the company that specializes in creating out-of-the-box preschool shows like the Teletubbies and Boohbah, a new 104 x 20-minute series that launched in April on CiTV and GMTV in the U.K. Levine’s already hard at work mapping out the State-side plan for the property, so no doubt he’ll be ready for a break come August.
If romping in the desert with thousands of free spirits determined to express themselves sounds like your cup of tea, maybe you should join Levine this year. Feel free to drop him an email at email@example.com or hit the Burning Man website at www.burningman.com for more info on how to get involved.