Conceived by Michelle "Smallfry" Lessans as an art installation at the 2011 Burning Man celebration in the Nevada desert, the Zenith Project aims to create peaceful zen garden in the often chaotic party that Burning Man can be. "I love burning man, it's a wonderful experience, but at times I've needed a sacred space to just get away from all the noise. It made sense to have a zen garden and when I saw that there wasn't, I decided to make one," she says. And so Smallfry's vision was born, and by connecting the community in what might be many wonderful nights of music and dancing, she's determined to make her zen garden a happen this August with help provided by a second Zenlightenment fundraiser.
The centerpiece of the zen garden will be its 25-foot wooden dome featuring five meditation platforms that will be painted beforehand by local artists to represent the five elements. Each platform will have its own set of headphones for the opportunity to zone in on whatever element you park your burner butt on: bird and forest noises for the earth, breezes and wind for the air, heartbeats for the spirit, crackling fire and gurgling water for, well, fire and water, but even more special will be the binaural beats underneath all that ambient peacefulness -- rhythms played at two different wavelengths in each ear so that the way they meet up together in your brain can help the listener achieve a higher level of meditation.
The garden itself will be a traditional zen enclosure with boulders, pea gravels and special rakes for the combing of the gravel. In accordance with Burning Man's strict "leave-no-trace" policy, this will all be settled on pond-liner stretched from one side of the dome to the next, ensuring that all materials brought in can be successfully brought out again.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
The first Zenlightenment fundraiser on march 31 was a huge hit, but Smallfry says the project still needs as much funding as it can get -- and what better way to be a part of something special than by dancing your ass off? Come down, join the drum circle and get your boogie on under the stars, or rock your face to some local talent, but whatever you do, it'll be a unique opportunity to be a part of the community.
This installment will feature two different music rooms showcasing the California headtron label with Sugarpill, Stephan Jacobs and ChrisB. all the way here from the west coast, as well as some local talent like Project Aspect, Slim Thugz ( FrequentC and Candyman), Entactogenics (Cubone and Peacemonster), Citrus, Raw Russ and Papa Skunk (Dan K). You'll have a chance to go tribal at the drum circle planned under the night sky of Denver outside while watching fire dancers, poi spinners, live painters and, as Smallfry tentatively promises, "hopefully even belly dancers!"
So don't miss your chance to have another go at your own slice of zen at Zenlightenment round II at 8:30 p.m. this Friday at Quixote's True Blue. The show is 18+, tickets are $13 in advance and $18 at the door.