Archive by Author | paxus

Ten Different Captains

Originally published in Random Roads (a hitchhiking magazine).

In 1989/90 I sailed across the Pacific Ocean from Los Angeles to Sydney. Hitching on sailboats is easier than it sounds. I took 10 different boats, mostly on the west coast of the Americas.

Ten different captains and ten slightly different agreements for passage. Mostly, it was berth space, food and passage in exchange for some work around the boat and especially steering and adjusting sails.

Every boat is different, though not that much

In one case a skipper asked me to pay 1/4 of the diesel fuel bill for the passage, so I would sail as much as possible. There were several times when there was almost no wind and the captain would ask me if i wanted to start the engines and i would say “i am not in a hurry”. We sailed a lot. When we arrived in Panama, he declined my offer to pay my agreed share, saying he just wanted to cut fuel expenses which I had done dramatically.

Most sailboats are owned by persons of affluent background and they want to sail with their friends. Often their friends think it is a good idea and agree to come along and then find out that sailing is not their cup of tea (too dirty, bumpy, boring, too little personal space, cramped – any number of reasons). Thus crews are constantly unexpectedly reforming. This is your opportunity for a ride.

Most Captains are looking for celestial navigators

In all the ports I visited in Central America and the South Pacific including Australia at 8 AM local time all the boats in the harbor talk with each other over radio on channel 19. They talk about all kinds of things they need, like where to get the bottoms of boats scraped and where is a good place to buy diesel fuel that is not watered down. At the end of this broadcast I gave my name and said: “I am looking for a ride to the Marquesas and I can navigate.”

The four capabilities that boat captains are most often looking for are

  • cooks
  • people with the capacity to repair diesel engines
  • navigators
  • people with medical skills, especially emergency medical skills

I mostly choose navigation, since I am good with math and dangerous with cooking. Learning navigation is relatively accessible, by going to a course or getting a book.

You don’t want my cooking in a moving galley

The navigator also turns out to be one of the easiest jobs, because almost all sailboats going long distance have satellite navigation systems which make directing the boat relatively easy. Navigators, like medical folks, are to be able to deal with emergencies, specifically lightning hitting the boat.

The author Paxus Calta-Star

Toasters and Sheets

I had a long time crush on Kat Kinkade.  Our time at Twin Oaks overlapped for the first couple years of my membership and we were involved in several projects together and generally appreciated each other.  In a configuration that would be impossible today, Kat, Keenan, Pam, and i were in a group which meet weekly that i called “the shadow planners” (Twin Oaks highest executive office is the plannership and all 4 of us had served as planners, though i had not been selected when this group started).  We talked about the different problems the community faced and what we thought were clever solutions to them.  

Kat with NYT reporter circa 1970

Kat had been married in her younger life, but had definitely moved on from romance being a focus; she was doing other things and happy with them.  So i was not surprised at her hesitancy around my proposal.

“We should get married.” I proposed one day while visiting her.

“Why on earth would we do that?” Kat asked, more curious than surprised.

“Because we could throw a large party …”

“And we both know a lot of people who care for us and the commune …”

“…yes…” Kat was waiting

“And we could ask them all to give us only sheets and toasters.”  I concluded.

My friends wouldhave sent these.

Kat cracked up laughing and never seriously responded to my offer.  We had spoken several times about the ephemeral nature of both sheets and toasters in the commune context. These are two of the things the commune burns through at a pretty stunning rate.  We are hard on toasters and they don’t last long in our busy kitchens.  And apparently we have some combination of sheet flight/hoarding or rough sleepers because we are regularly in need of sheets.

Kat cofounded Twin Oaks, East Wind and Acorn communities.  She also wrote the books Walden Two Experiment and Is it Utopia, yet?

Kat was interviewed by Tamara Jones of the Washington Post Magazine in 1999.

This is why we can’t have nice things

October is Tangle

We had an amazing QuinkFair event, really beyond what most of the disorganizers had dreamed would be possible.  On a conventional funological scale it was an A+ event for me, it changed my life in positive and likely lasting ways.  The emboldened friendships with Jason Taylor and Rick Haley have already changed what i thought i was doing.  I got quinked hard this year, it was not always comfy, but it’s a better path.  

Mason Serenity @ QuinkFair burn

From a more mundane perspective, we succeeded in avoiding common festival problems: no one got hurt (beyond a nick with a kitchen knife or a bruised knee), nothing got broken, no one freaked out, no one had to be asked to leave the event.  We did not do serious damage to the property.  After hanging dangerously below the 100 ticket “break even” point until the day before ticket sales closed, on the last day we sold 50 tickets, putting us comfortably into the black.  (The disorganizers don’t make money from QuinkFair, but could lose money if we sell too few tickets to meet the cost of necessary supplies, which would likely have prevented any future attempt.)  The weather was almost perfect, with warm days and cool dry nights, few bugs and a light breeze.  Cold for swimming, but a lovely lazy river to watch and spark a new friendship.

But these measures can’t begin to capture the magic of the event which we created.  Participants fell in love, got bounced out of funks, discovered new communities which they are now thinking of relocating to, and there were all manner of quinks.  Many people announced they wanted to help more with the next event.  Our Happy Hills hosts were sufficiently excited that they started talking about how we can build the site and what infrastructure will be completed by QuinkFair 2022 that will make things much easier (for example Happy Hills is digging a well, making our water transport issues dramatically smaller).  

Jade doing Stand Up Comedy in Delaware

We gave responsibility to a number of people who had not done the particular thing we were asking them to do ever before.  Jade stepped firmly into her stage presence power as the lead act and MC for the Friday night talent show.  I have to confess I always worry when she does stand up, because for it to work everything has to go right – the jokes have to land, the audience has to be open, the comedian needs to deliver well and at best it is a hard act to pull off.  Jade put it out of the park, the audience cheered her which set the tone for each following performer. Storytellers, accordion players, sexy dancers, musical numbers and tiny fireworks followed in a surprisingly professional show for being pulled together at the last minute.

Duncan acting up – Photo Credit by Matan Tzinamon

Duncan volunteered to host the Saturday night effigy burn and coordinate the team of folks crafting it.  Wolf organized an impressive fire conclave.   Jason Taylor (who won the QuinkFair most valuable disorganizer award) repositioned light and sound systems at the last minute with grace.   Macaco inspired a collection of drummers and percussion musicians.  Carmen (aka “Beast”) drove the drum rhythms longer and harder and faster than most of us thought a human body could go.  Several participants said they felt like Duncan successfully channeled Jim Morrison to the event, my personal feeling is this is a polite way of complimenting something that was a tad more dangerous and landed us in exactly the right mindset to burn the effigy monster which had been under construction for some weeks, but took its final form just hours before the burn.  Duncan had us up dancing, screaming, chanting and crying.  It was electric.  For the burners in the crowd, this felt like home.  

Wolf organized the fire conclave

Wolf organized the fire spinners for a pre-effigy burn which was pretty impressive given the relatively small size of the event. This fire conclave had never performed before, but you could not tell that from the show they put on.   Darrell brought in some ringers for the night which really added to the show.  

Running an Aphrodite’s Temple at a small festival with a diverse group of participants is tricky work in the best of circumstances.  Sage and Duncan pulled off consent workshops, play parties and more in the newly named New Amsterdome, at the far edge of the property.  They took a basically empty 30 foot dome and converted it into a comfortable and beautiful, if slightly sparse, space.   Altars from several cultures, low power lights, and impressive crystals drawn from the back of a jammed Subaru made this temple a space to be both respected and celebrated. 

An earlier blog post spotlighted Serenity Communities involvement in the scholarship ticket program.  In the end, over 20 scholarship tickets were offered and the participants were significantly more diverse than most gatherings in the region.  Still more to do, but it is a strong start.

We were graced with amazing musicians of all ages and talents who collaborated in various fashions. Macaco was able to pull together the drummers and singers to help shape the group ceremony soundscape, so that everyone could feel included. Ambient sounds as well as vocalizations, drums, strings, as well as pre-recorded tracks were used to help pull our energies together and raise and heal our spirits. Several traditions including samba and capoeria were also introduced and enjoyed. Truly, our energy soundscapes were orchestrated well.

In our search for quinks, one of the things which came up was taking on a new name, which is a way to communicate that you are doing something which is truer to yourself than what you were doing before.  You are moving towards being more the you of who you want and less how other people want to identify you.  We had a naming party, in an express, but effective version of that commune-inspired activity and a Gibson became Meadow. A last minute choice to put themselves forward as the target of the workshops naming party, which she is still happy about.

And at this same workshop Ericka became Tangle.  She had been looking for a community name for a while so she came to the naming workshop. The name “Twist” was suggested because of her organizing style of bringing diverse players together to manifest her projects (like the Carbon County Catholic Worker giant beautiful building or forming Serenity Community for Justice and Peace.  But when someone suggested “Tangle” she jumped on it, it felt so right.  Because both her dreadlocks were “tangled” as well as her enthusiastic style of organizing.  Drawing from lots of different communities and movements she is able to tangle being a mom with direct activism at Line 3 direct activism at Line 3 , to forming a new community while handing off another one.  Some newly taken names are hard for me to remember.  Tangle will not be one of them.  I often rename months for new babies or new beginnings.  October this year is called Tangle.

Tangle and Mason

There was also a Flip 2020/Flip Georgia reunion of sorts.  Spiderman came up from Florida and did a workshop on Metamaterials, Cyprus (formerly Erik from Atlanta) told stories and played other peoples musical instruments. Allison (having just helped boot corrupt politicians out of Bridgeport) and Erik came down in time for the burn and Carlos and Malia did a workshop with many names but encouraged folks to move their activist experience out of their minds and into movement.  

Zoltan will return with reinforcements

There are a couple of QuinkFair participants who i met for the first time and i want to call out because they are doing important work and they are offering to help with future events.  Zoltan hails from nearby Emerson Commons Cohousing and is past president of the on thousand member Cohousing Association of the US. Unlike Meadow and Tangle, Zoltan’s parents chose his impressive name.  And Zoltan surprised  me by exhibiting the behavior that disorganisers cherish. After an engaged goodbye, saying he wished he could stay and help, but he was booked hours away, he came back and blew off his appointment and helped us take down New Amsterdone. Like a fair few participants Zoltan promised to help with future Quink build camps, and i am sure he is good to his word. I asked Zoltan to bring the two most engaging folks from his cohousing association next year and he says he’s bringing more.

Charles Plank is a visionary.  He pioneered coworking which changed the way many workers interact and now he has his eyes set on the broader collection of community movements.  He used QuinkFair as the first few days of the brainstorming retreat for a handful of new colleagues in a new project.  The HomeWorlding project looks to train and strengthen the networking between members and their communities.  Versions of this type of project have been discussed for years. [Aron Heintz, who developed this year’s festival map, coined the term Communiversity – a school designed to teach better shared living skills and how to build cohesion in a group of would-be communitarians and those needing refreshers. ] HomeWorlding has a beautiful host site outside Philly which is close to where i spend time these days at Jetpack. It’s an ambitious and important project and i have already been offering them more advice than they bargained for.  

Charles touched

The origin story of the QuinkFair project was a challenge from Spacious (aka Darrell) who came to Cambia and said basically “i have the hardware you need, i have the network of possible participants – if you want to throw a festival i can make most of the logistics happen. “  It was not presented in this direct fashion, but Spacious was clear that if we wanted to try he would be willing to support the project in a significant way.   With this offer comes hundreds of training moments, and in the months leading up to the festival Spacious really lived up to his name and showed occasionally frustrating volunteers how to operate the 10 thousand piece construction set which makes the infrastructure of Camp Contact.  


“I come to these events to do contact improv” – Spacious

There were many quinks, especially stemming from the Temple of Oracles.  We had nine different tarot and other oracle card readers.  It was not uncommon for the Temple of Oracles to have three readings being done in parallel.  Some people had intense (and often unexpected) emotional breakthroughs during their readings, including some folks who normally don’t hold the divinatory arts in much esteem.  

And the Temple of Oracles in the heart of the festival encouraged these quinking conversations throughout the festival. Rick told me of one with Joy, who was the principal organizer of the Temple of Oracles. 

A path to wisdom?

After listening a bit to Rick, Joy said, “Rick you need to talk with the spirits of the land.”

“But” Rick protested “I talk with the land everyday here”

“You talk with the turtles and the trees, that is not the land” Joy replied.

In telling this Rick broke from the story and looked at me in disbelief. “How can she know that?  How can she know that?” he exclaimed.  He shook the grey beard of a hard working man weary of trying and said, “Well, I got my homework.”

Joy with other temple

The importance of the Right Allies – Serenity Community

When the nation was exploding in protests over the murder of George Floyd, some skeptics, perhaps tired of the nations inability to hold Trump for any of his many crimes, said “these protests won’t change anything”.  They were wrong.

Viewers of mainstream news could be forgiven for thinking the big effects were removal of confederate statues and the confederate symbol from the flag of Mississippi and NASCAR races.  And i fear the biggest effect of the Trump presidency is that many news sources now focus more on telling us what we will get upset about, rather than what is actually important.  

The Floyd uprising changed policing in America.

However this short list misses most critical reforms and changes, many of which took place shortly after Floyd was murdered.  Some terrible laws were cancelled, including A 50 in New York which protected criminal bad cops by hiding their disciplinary records and complaints filed against them.  Colorado stripped cops of qualified immunity. LA cut over $150 million from the police budget and redirected it to other community servicesOver a dozen police chiefs were forced to resign, including in large cities like Atlanta, Tucson, Richmond and Louisville.  Police chiefs almost never resign suddenly or are fired.  Letitia James, the Attorney General of NY State made history by being the first AG to sue their own police department for use of excessive force.  At one point, i started to track all the things which had actually changed because of this uprising, it ended up being overwhelming by it and i quit.

Serenity Community – circa summer 2021

The communes also changed.  There were disruptive internal protests at these intentional communities about systemic racism and there was a lot of education of white communards about how despite their best intentions they were maintaining racist systems.  And in part because of these internal  protests POC members of communes started more seriously considering options which had only been discussed before.  Importantly, a number of BIPOC community members realized there was a need for a  BIPOC led income sharing community near the cluster of communes in Louisa county.  And so Serenity Community was born.  

OG Serenity

While Serenity (taken for the name for the starship in the Firefly TV series) is still forming, it is already making good things happen.  One of the things we are especially excited about is that Serenity has taken on the difficult task of dispersing scholarship (discount) tickets for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ folks who need economic assistance to come to QuinkFair.  Recently, has also agreed to take on the granting of scholarship tickets to other economically disadvantaged participants.  

And while they have been actively dispersing scholarship tickets, there are still more people who want to come to this event than can afford it. If you could help grow these scholarship funds it would be quite helpful.  If you are on Facebook, you can donate at this fundraiser or you can venmo 541-505-0803, be sure to include a note “QuinkFair Scholarships”

George Floyds death forced America to admit it had a systemic racism problem and while these important changes are to be lauded, we know the real work lies in front of us, but i am glad and excited to have the talented and energetic Serenity folks help in crafting a more fair and equitable world.

Quink Books – Open your mind

Good festivals build on people’s excitement, this is why so many events are designed around performers and their personalities.  But there are lots of other excitements which are available. 

 As we have been talking about quinks more, people keep asking for examples – and especially what are common quinks?  Things that don’t require the heroics of breaking a toxic relationship or the mastery of enlightenment.  

Wolf (on left) coordinates fire and flow arts for QuinkFair

Wolf suggested Quink books.  Almost everyone has read a book that has changed their life in a way which they look back on positively now.  These books hold a power and story for you and as organizers we want to bring that to our event.

On Friday Oct 1st at dinner we will have the participants of QuinkFair bring copies of their favorite books to dinner with the intention of discussing them, why they changed their lives and seeing if that is a message someone else in the group needs to hear.  

We ask that people consider bringing a copy to give away.  [If that’s not doable (financial challenges, difficulty finding a copy, etc) then you could also print the title and author on one side of a 3×5 index card and write why it was so important to you on the other side.  We’ll take photos of these cards and share them on the QuinkFair blog, as well as on Facebook.  ]

These are the three clear quink books for me and a sentence about what i took away from them:

The Dispossessed

That anarchist societies don’t make problems go away, they just shift how they are discussed and decided.

Be the revolution

Woman at the edge of time 

Was a compelling smack in the head about how my blindness to gender and racial inequity did not exempt me from at least learning about them and hopefully doing something about them.

The Fifth Sacred Thing

This book taught me that a good author can have me crying by page 4.  It showed exhausted heroes who looked a lot like people i loved.  And it showed our type of consensus decision making in impossible situations sparking effective non-violent resistance.

One of the most often used images to depict utopia comes from this book

What are the books that changed your life and why?  Can you provide copies for others to learn the things you did and perhaps other important lessons?

QuinkFair is a transformation celebration borrowing from several festival cultures and striving to spark positive and healing experiences.  It takes place on beautiful private land in rural Virginia in the town of Mineral on Oct 1 thru 4.  Tickets are still available

bring the books that sparked a quink thought

For some event participants this has been a lovely exercise, they get to go to their favorite used book store, shop for the books which help them become who they are and then bring them to the event and press them into the hands of someone who you hope has a similar strong resonance with the book.

9/11 pop quiz “Why?”

Like most white Americans I did not learn the history of the burning of Black Wall St until the George Floyd protests. And I am a bit embarrassed about my minimal knowledge of the history of Union organizing and civil rights. Unsurprisingly I do better with anti nuclear activism history

But the question I find surprisingly few US Americans (including highly educated ones) can answer is “Why was the US attacked on 9/11?” It seems like an important question for us to have a consensus historical answer to. It is not like this was something Osama bin Laden was cagey about. He gave three very specific reason for the attacks on the U

  1. the US boycott of Iraq which had already killed 600k children 
  2. US construction of military bases in Saudi Arabia
  3. US political and military support for the Israeli’s war in Palestine

The more you dig into each of these reasons the more reasonable it becomes (if you lived in the region) to think the only way the US will stop doing these things is if you strike them dramatically at home. While bringing these issues to the attention of the world – because each represents an injustice or danger of US expansionism.

Merchants of death win!

But with perhaps the most dramatic terrorist attack in history, in the US least, bin Laden and friends lost control of the message.  Instead George W Bush told the country “they hate our freedom” as preposterous as that is.  I find that collectively we are much more likely to remember the “Freedom Fries” debate with France that the actual US instigated actions that sparked this retaliation.

Interestingly, this is another thing the US tends not to recognize – 9/11 did not start these wars. There were already happening, people in the Middle East were already dying because of US policy , but people in the west were just ignoring humanitarian organizations which were trying to call out these injustices. 9/11 was a surprise because we were happily ignoring our policy effects in the Middle East.

While we are fighting the Big Lie, it is important to remember we have likely been duped by other politicians.

Meet the Communities – An evolutionally stable design

Evolutionarily Stable Design

There are some evolutionary marvels out there.  Designs so stable that they make the dinosaurs look like the new kids on the block.  I am speaking specifically of dragonflies, jellyfish and cow sharks.  

Turns out one key to all of these creatures is their success in hunting.  Top hunters stay on top.

Say you have an event where you have brought together 200 participants and perhaps 100 of them are hunting for a new community (the others are from communities or are just community-curious).  Let’s say there are 40 communities represented.  How do you get the key information to the right hunters so they can make good choices?

I don’t know exactly who developed the Meet the Communities format that the Twin Oaks Communities Conference has used for decades, but it is an evolutionarily stable format, because it works so well. 

Can you be compelling in 1 minute?

You could say it is basically formatted around the controversial propagandist axiom “there is no such thing as a long story”.  You line up all your communities and say “you have 1 minute to present yourself and then people who like you will come for more personal and longer talks after all the communities present themselves”.  Yes, the communities movement basically invented speed dating.

After these introductions community presenters spread out to picnic tables and put up their signs and hunters who were intrigued at the short presentation come and have a longer, more personal and more focused conversation.

There are some organizational pieces you have to include to make it work.  You need someone who is watching the clock and when people hit their 1 minute mark gently moves them off the stage.  Ira did this for many years.  [Which resulted in Pat Therrian intentionally running over her time so Ira would have to grab her, which Pat quite liked.]  And you have to explain to the sustainability network guy how, while his project is important, he can not get up and present himself as a place based residential community.

Ira kept things moving

Another proof of evolutionary stability is imitation.  The West Coast Communities Conference (when it was happening before the pandemic) also used this format as does the QuinkFair event happening Oct 1, 2, 3, and 4 in Mineral Virginia.  These are the communities who have been invited to present themselves during MtC (most of whom have confirmed and/or said they are likely to attend) on October 2 in the morning.

Abrams Creek/CFNCStorm Mountain WV
Baltimore Free FarmBaltimore
Community of PeaceLouisa
Cosmic HoneySan Francisco Bay a
Cuckoo CompoundCuckoo VA
Cville EcovillageCville VA
Federation of Egalitarian CommunitiesUS
Foundation for Intentional CommunityNorth America
Glow HouseDC
Hawks CrestRichmond
Living Energy Farm (LEF)Louisa
Little FlowerLouisa
Magnolia (LEF affiliate)Louisa
Open CircleEtlan VA
Serenity (forming)Louisa
Twin OaksLouisa

Sadly, there is no Twin Oaks Communities Conference (TOCC)  this year and QuinkFair is quite a different type of event.  Nevertheless, this long held tradition will be repeated in an undisclosed location in Mineral VA on October 2.

Pronto & Presto

If someone asks you “What is the best type of site for a transformative festival?” you might consider answering “a former paint ball course”.  I would not have thought this way a year ago, but today I am delighted at our good luck in finding this beautiful site with supportive and engaged property owners. The paint ball course was designed with a spagetti like collection of roads an paths. Add to this wild flowers, bee hives and lovely water features and you have a ready made fairy land where with the right people and activities you might just change someones life.

Early map without most of the spaghetti trails, hidden nooks and magical features.

We had a pretty successful ProtoQuink event recently, which was a build up camp and systems test for the QuinkFair celebration.  We got the first dome up, we tested the gazebo that will host the Temple of Oracles as well as the water system. The first pieces of the solar system kept the refrigerator going (once we remembered to plug it in, that is).  And it was great to be with so many helpful, resourceful and thoughtful folks. 

“Proto” means the earliest form of something, and we have definitely started forming the elements of the QuinkFair event which will happen in the first 4 days of October. We tested the kitchen, rain and drinking water systems, compost, humanure, electric, recycling and trash systems. We had some failures, but those have been mostly resolved by now.  We’ve also had successes, both in building systems and in bringing new members onto the team to help with parking layouts, chili making, trail marking, and more. 

We were sufficiently excited by the results of Proto-Quink (and the amount of work that still needs to be done so significant) that we decided to have two more work/test weekends.  In the “starts with P” format that ProtoQuink established, we decided to call them “ProntoQuink” (Sept 11-12) with perhaps the thinking that we are in a hurry now, and “PrestoQuink” (Sept 25-26) on the weekend before the event we when will make it slightly magically all come together.

There are now several cultural elements we want to test while we are building up the infrastructure at the next Quink work camps. ProtoQuink is September 11 and 12, [Facebook event] and ProntoQuink is Sept 25 and 26, which will lead into the final build week from Sept 27-30.

And the menu of things we are going to be working on and doing during ProntoQuink includes:

  • Erecting the second 30’ dome – “New Amsterdome” (Saturday)
  • Mini-talent show and fire spinning demo
  • Setting up a yoga space 
  • Assembling wooden benches
  • Naming spaces, mapping the layout, and sign making so folks can find places
  • Testing sound system with DJs and dancing
  • Building a dock for the lovely river access point
  • Setting up the Temple of Oracles and doing readings (Sunday)

Saturday morning we will build the New Amsterdome

If you are interested in this event, write to or call 541-505-0803

And we will give you the undisclosed location.

So you want to build a festival?

On August 28th and 29 we will be preparing the QuinkFair site. We are in essence running a mini-festival to help prepare for the full sized event on Oct 1,2 & 3. This free event is at a location which will be disclosed to volunteers and is just a few miles from Acorn Community in Mineral VA. Below are some of the things we are working on:

  • Assemble Domes
  • Build a floating dock
  • Mapping/Naming and Sign making
  • Tiny bridge upgrades
  • Assemble wooden benches
  • Decorate the Temple of Oracles
  • Craft a Riddle Garden
  • Clear brush
Build a dome, create a space, craft a culture

Assemble Domes: We have 2 thirty foot diameter geodesic domes which we hope to assemble in this work weekend. These domes have seen many events and the components are well marked for easy assembly. And it is still a satifsfying and challenging experience getting these up.

Build a floating dock: The South Anna River flows thru the festival site and there is a well designed ladder down the banks to the river. We have boats and canoes a many, but we need to craft a simple floating dock to launch them and for folks who want to sit beside the water.

Mapping/Naming and Sign making: The property has a spagetti swirl of paths, creeks, rivers and roads thru it. There will be domes and temples scattered across the space and we need to name and maps the diffent aspects of this temporary village. The outhouse at the back far edge of the property is already called “Back Drop” but a myriad of sites need to be named and roads and paths identified.

Tiny bridge upgrades: There are several simple plank bridges over creeks and a ravine. We need to put hand rails in place and stabilize some for heavier traffic.

Assemble wooden benches: Our hosts have asked us to produce as sustainable an event site as possible. We will have workshops and performances which need chairs and benches. Fortunately a significant number of wooden benches already have their legs cut and bench bodies fashioned. It will take a bit of crafty woodworker magic to make these come together, but we have the tools, the pieces and the fasteners needed to make something rustic and functional.

Decorate the Temple of Oracles: The gazebo which houses the Temple of Oracles pops up in minutes, but creating the right ambiance and specifying the missing furniture and cushions is going to take some more time. You can brush up on the Temple of Oracles here

Craft a Riddle Garden : Beside the hammocks garden we are building a garden of riddles. Some of these are historic and logical (like the Riddle of the Sphinx), some are drawn from fiction (like Bilbo’s riddles with Gollum) others are comic or trivial. Bring your riddles and we will decorate this piece of the forest with tiny mysteries and revealing solutions.

Come to the Riddle Garden

Add a comment if you want to come and we will coordinate logistics with you. Or you can RSVP on this Facebook event.

A Festival with Homework

This is an ambitious event. We are striving to create a temporary community celebration where we positively change the lives of participants.  This experience strives to strike the delicate balance between joyous celebration and transformative self reflection.  We want you to have a crazy good time, and we also want you to walk away from the event a wiser, wilder, and more inspired person.  

To this end we are trying some unusual things: this festival has homework you need to complete before arriving. We are asking everyone to bring a very specific type of memory.  A rememberance where you made a choice and things in your life improved. It could be a little thing, standing up for yourself or taking a small risk. It could be a large thing, like breaking an addiction, falling in love or reaching a spiritual enlightenment. Reflecting back on the lock downs, how are you different in an improved way and how did that happen?  This memory will be the core of a story we want you to tell.

Homework for a festival?

What the talented storytellers explain is that the way you improve your story is to often retell it.  And this is also the way you understand your own story.  But we are often discouraged from telling these types of stories culturally because they are immodest.  Yet especially in these extraordinary times, modesty is dangerous and we need to honor and herald these heroic choices.

What event is this?  QuinkFair is an event on October 1,2, 3 and 4.  It is located in Mineral Virginia to be close to the communes of Louisa county.  A festival inspired by many other events and cultures including the rainbow gathering, burning man, and the intentional communities conferences.

The story we are asking you to develop is about a quink from your life, a quink is roughly defined as the opposite of trauma, where after some identifiable event your life improves or you experience a healing.  When people share these positive stories we observe two important things happen.  The first is that you think more about these experiences and pay attention to how they might happen in your future life and how you might best ride them.  And secondly, these are intimate stories of (in part) how you became who you are and this vulnerability brings intimacy with the group.  

Beyond crafting a story, we are asking folks to consider presenting about their quink experiences so others might learn from their paths.  Examples bondage class, group building with challenge course material, or try your hand with divination at the Temple of Oracles.  We discourage the term audience in favor of participant and co-creator or maker.

We borrow from other festival cultures and are strongly committed to both a high consent culture and a decommodified one.  Consent culture means we have a shared respect for bodily autonomy and feel safe.  For example, one of our the consent examples on the QuinkFair website suggests to “Ask open ended questions- for example, avoid saying “It’s okay if I hug you, right?”  Instead try saying “I’d like to hug you, how would you feel about that?”

Decommodified cultures don’t use vendors internally: no vendors, no service fee,  no barter, no corporate sponsors, no money based markets, and nothing for sale.  

Can we guarantee you will have a quink at this event?  Certainly not, but we do have both clever guides and powerful tools to help you find at least where you might look for your future quinks.  We also have intentional communities and especially (income sharing) communes coming to present themselves, so perhaps your Quink will be leaving your straight job and moving to a commune in the country?

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We have a strict “vax or test” covid policy, please understand it before you buy tickets.

QuinkFair origins and inspiring festivals.