Sunday, March 4, 2012

Is Source Maui Worth Going To?



Mud jousting at Source Maui 2012 aka "Soggy Man"



I really like the idea of Source Maui. I'm in love with the idea - people getting together, wearing costumes, being silly, showing artwork, sharing, people offering their talents for free. It appeals to the child part of me. The part that wants to go out and play.

But, like other things, Source Maui isn't for everyone. In all fairness, I wasn't there for the entire event. I had to cut it short to get ready to go to Oahu to take care of my mom's apartment and deal with the mortuary.  I didn't get the full experience. DH and I even thought of trying to sell/exchange our tickets (memberships) since my mom was in the hospital and things were up in the air. But I didn't get an email back from the Source Maui people about what to do - they were probably already going crazy getting ready for the event, and then my mom passed away, and we decided to just use the tickets even if the timing was terrible. 

The parade of animals. 


Dragon mosaic sculpture. 

Everyone told me how much fun Source Maui is, and how cool it is, and how great it is. A lot of these friends were artists who gave glowing descriptions about one exhibit after another, and it sounded like a big artist date with fountains and water works and a burning garden and pyrotechnics. Maybe it's been better in other years. I think it was particularly rainy this year, so rainy that DH dubbed the event, "Soggy Man: Maui's Answer to Burning Man."



In a nutshell:

There's a lot of music, mostly loud, at all hours. If you're the kind of person who likes going to concerts and live shows at Casanova or Charley's or Stella Blues, then Source Maui could be a good event for you. Friends suggested that we bring ear plugs for sleeping.

"I'm ok with rain and mud!"

This event takes place in the rainiest part of the island, at the rainiest time of the year, and there's probably going to be rain. If you don't like rain or mud, stay home.  If you have a tiny pup tent from Wal-mart, make friends with the people who have the industrial strength military surplus tent the size of a couple of 7-11s put together. If not, you will get wet. But you can probably find a place inside, like one of the larger tents, or go into the womb room for that night. If you're lucky, or got there the week before to help build the camp, then you can snag a bed inside the dorm rooms, called Bedlandia. 







A shared lounging place, out of the rain.
Watch out for muddy air mattresses.


If you have good friends who are going to Source Maui, then by all means go with them. It can be a great bonding experience if you have enough good friends. If you don't have friends who are going, and you don't like rain and you don't like loud music, then stay at home.  Soggy Man is more fun with lots of close friends, so you can be silly together.




Make sure the friends who are going have good drugs, preferably legal, but it's Maui... so.... mushrooms, pot, whatever. If you don't do drugs, then you may want to stay home. Ok, I'm not advocating drug use here, but I think my whole experience of Source Maui would have been so much better with drugs. The rain, the mud, the boring moments, would have all been much better if I was stoned out of my mind or loaded with booze.

Getting the water off the tent. 


There were free tarot readings and healing sessions at the womb room. But there are only a few slots each day, and if there are no slots left, too bad for you.

Get a schedule when you arrive - there is a schedule for various events, including music, talent show, yoga, various group healing circles, and the sweat lodge.  Some things are not on the schedule, like the smoothie give aways, so stay awake. 

Sweat lodge, open only from 10 am to 1 pm.
I heard good things about it. 


Lining the top hat with pitch. 
Day time can be dull if you're not into live music and dancing, and mud and rain and waiting around for the smoothie stand. The quality of live music was variable.  The talent show was hit or miss, just like an open mic event.  One woman sang about her G spot.  I think the best time was probably Sunday night, when they were burning the big basket and setting other things on fire. On Saturday night around midnight, they were burning a big top hat. 




There was a very cool catapult that I think was going to be used on Sunday night.












One reason to go to Source Maui - burning and fire dancing. These pics are of the basket burning on Sunday night at previous Source Maui events. 


 


Happy mud people. 





We missed all that, so if I could do it all over again, we would have made sure to be there for the fire dancing and burning.  There were a few cool daytime moments watching people slide around in the mud and an aerial silk performer moving in the rain. 



Some events or exhibits sound so much better on paper than in reality, in the same way that resumes often sound better than the actual person at the interview.  Some events were listed on the flyer, but I'm not sure they actually happened. 

Food was not on time. Quantities were not large, but the food was totally fine. Not gourmet, but the kitchen staff was full of happy, prancing elves, like in a Monty Python movie. The first dinner consisted of quinoa, some salad, and a tomato sauce with bits of fish and opihi (a Hawaiian mussel). They ran out of salad for a while, and we waited for them to make some more. Dinner the second night kept being postponed and we finally decided to take off and go to a friend's potluck in Pukalani. Definitely bring your own food because the meals are only breakfast, a snack, and dinner. Portions are not that large, unless you are friends with the kitchen staff, and you may need more food than that, especially if you have the munchies. Thank goodness for the smoothie stand and the free KonaRed beverages. 





Other events may or may not be on time. It's Maui, so think Maui time!  And if you're stoned, it doesn't matter if it's on time.

Parking was awful. There was no parking at the lot at the YMCA Camp. Cars were parked along the highway, and the Source people constantly growled and announced to move cars because the state police would tow cars. I didn't hear of any cars actually being towed, but I imagine the YMCA staff and police have to be hard-nosed about the parking.





There was another parking lot down the road to Keanae, all the way down, past the landing by the ocean, past the banana bread stand, all the way over the river to grandma's house and then a little further to the baseball field. In the dark, it was a bit freaky to find, since there were no signs and it was raining and blowing. People stood under a little shelter in the dark waiting for the shuttle driver to come by. 

One of the shuttle managers quit the first night, and other people volunteered. The shuttle was supposed to run every day at least till midnight between the far parking lot and the campsite. The second day when we arrived, the shuttle had stopped running for several hours, and we found out they  had run out of gas and went to go get some. Remember this is basically a hippie event, so little snafus like this are normal. Rumor has it that one of the major exhibits/booths didn't take place because the person responsible for it bailed out to open a yoga or massage studio. Yet, the fact that the Source Maui folks could put this event together is pretty amazing. It took a lot of work to create the event, and a lot of people didn't mind the rain and mud. 

Source Maui sign makers at work on a Saturday afternoon. 



People were exceedingly nice. They were often stoned or happy, so conversations were not generally deep or insightful. "How do you like it?" Glazed eyes and a happy sigh, "Yeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh, it's greeeeaaat... Looooove beeeeiiiiing heeeere."  The rare exception was maybe Casey or KC in the art gallery talking about his video mapping project and the folks who were doing talks for the Franklins, a mini TEDlike symposium. 

Bring your own cup or refillable water container. The free smoothie stand did not provide cups. 

I  had thought the event would be a massive art experience, and maybe it was, at night time on the very last night. Despite a few interesting meetings with people and occasional fun moments, the day time moved slowly. The rain didn't help, at least not for me. 





I had wanted to do a labyrinth out of Christmas lights and was going to apply for artist funding, but my mom went into the hospital, and we weren't sure if we were going. I ended up giving a few Chinese face readings. One of the things that Soggy Man really emphasizes is that the event depends on everyone's participation and contribution. I realize now, even if I had made a labyrinth there, the design would have disintegrated with the mud. 

The Soggy Man crowd is fairly young and nimble. They really don't mind the rain or mud. They don't mind sitting on the ground on pillows. Other people may need to bring their own fold up chairs, or something to dry the mud-stained chairs left outside. 

Some things that I liked:


  •    The silk screening art booth - people could bring their blank t-shirts or bags and silk screen them with the Source Maui design.


Silk Screening booth
  • People were generally happy despite the rain and mud and they would have been happy in thunder or snow. They were just happy - or stoned. 
A happy mud person. 
  • There was a cool tent called the Den of Iniquity, where stuffed animals hung from the ceiling, and there were lots of empty beer bottles and glass pipes and cigarette butts. 
  • We ran into other people we didn't know would be there. 
  • The aerial silk dancer in the rain was amazing - wish the performance had lasted longer. 

Coconut Glen's ice cream was fabulous - he gave small ice cream scoops on a ti leaf at 11:11 pm, or you could plead with him and he might take pity on you. 






Climbing up the pirate's look-out in the rain. The rope and bamboo ladder wobbled around and I didn't notice the hand holds at the top so I freaked out. But it was fun. 











I know my review of Source Maui kind of "pans" the event, and maybe if I had stayed for all of Sunday, especially the night time burnings, that would have made up for the soggy times. In a fantasy world, is there any way they can hold this event at Olowalu next year? It's a lot drier and sunnier. 

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