Author Archive

The Raygun Gothic Rocketship at Beakerhead

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Five Ton Crane had a fantastic time showing off the Rocketship in Calgary last week at Beakerhead.

Here is a great photo from the event by Andre Goulet



The Rocketship lands at Beakerhead- Calgary, Alberta Canada

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

The Rocketship has been invited to set up a temporary Launch Pad installation at a five day city-wide event on Art, Science and Engineering in Calgary, Alberta Canada called Beakerhead! Sept 11-15, 2013
Look out Canada… Five Ton Crane is heading North!

RGR lift-off!

SF Chronicle: All Over Coffee

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

full article

The Raygun Gothic Rocketship featured in the Wall Street Journal

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Full Article

photo by Winni Wintermeyer for The Wall Street Journal

“Burning Man’s Backers Take Nonprofit Route”


The group behind Burning Man, the giant annual arts festival in the Nevada desert, is poised to turn itself into a nonprofit, which the famously quirky operation thinks suits its ethos. Nonprofit status also could help the group better raise and spend funds than the limited-liability corporate setup it now uses.

Organizers of the Burning Man festival and Black Rock Arts Foundation near a sculpture placed by the arts group. Left to right, Freddy Hahne, the arts group’s board president; Tomas McCabe, its executive director; Larry Harvey, its chairman; and Harley DuBois, board member of the arts foundation and Burning Man Project.

But creating a nonprofit amid a weak economy may be no picnic. So Burning Man’s organizers say they are taking cues from the lessons learned at the Black Rock Arts Foundation, a San Francisco-based nonprofit adjunct to the festival that was formed in 2001.

For the past 14 years, the Burning Man festival has been managed by a San Francisco legal entity known as Black Rock City LLC. In August—the same month this year’s festival took place with about 50,000 participants in northwestern Nevada—the group announced it would form a nonprofit called Burning Man Project that may become the parent organization of both the annual event and some of its related offshoots.

A nonprofit organization would better gel with Burning Man’s stated principles such as “gifting” and “decommodification,” said Freddy Hahne, an artist who journeys to the festival every year under the pseudonym Dr. Really? and is board president of the Black Rock Arts Foundation.

The Burning Man Project also would be better able to raise money since it could qualify for grants awarded only to nonprofits, and donations to the group would be tax-deductible to the givers, organizers say. Moreover, it would more readily be able to form partnerships, they add.

Having nonprofit status also would shield a group from federal income tax and could be “a reputational enhancement,” said Darryll Jones, an associate dean at Florida A&M University College of Law and an expert on nonprofits and taxes.

The Black Rock Arts Foundation funds the placement of art from the Burning Man festival on city streets and provides grants for new art projects around the world. Funded works include a 40-foot-tall rocket ship on San Francisco’s Embarcadero and an art gallery installed in the rear of a motorized pedicab in Beijing.

The foundation also was formed during an economic downturn, the dot-com bust last decade, and struggled through some uneven fund raising and difficult years. As a result, Burning Man’s organizers say they absorbed real-world schooling on how to build a board of directors, raise money and implement fiscal discipline.

Harley Dubois, a co-founder of the arts foundation who now serves on the boards of the foundation and the Burning Man Project, said the foundation’s experience will be instructive for the Burning Man Project as it forms partnerships and works with public officials. In addition to her board memberships, Ms. Dubois serves as “City Manager” of Black Rock City, the temporary locale that Burning Man attendees conjure on a Nevada playa every year.

The art foundation’s “largest lessons were on running a business entity,” said Ms. Dubois. “We had a hard time getting started, essentially because we didn’t know what we were doing.”

Larry Harvey, who launched Burning Man on San Francisco’s Baker Beach in 1986, helped get the Black Rock Arts Foundation off the ground in 2001 with a $30,000 loan. The group at first lacked expertise in attracting talent and managing its finances, Mr. Hahne recalls.

More trouble arrived with the recession. In 2009, donations to the foundation from “Burners” who purchase tickets to the week-long Burning Man event fell sharply. That year, the foundation reported about $406,000 in revenue, a decline from $439,000 in 2008. Expenses totaled $278,000.

Black Rock Arts Foundation Executive Director Tomas McCabe said the organization responded by cutting over a fifth of its administration costs and holding back on certain projects. Last year, it reported over $478,000 in revenue and nearly $462,000 in expenses as it resumed projects, tax filings show.

The foundation has had many supporters, including Christopher Bently, who operates real estate investment firm Bently Holdings Corp.; Mark Pincus, chief executive of social gaming company Zynga Inc.; and Bob Pittman, a former AOL executive who is CEO of Clear Channel Communications Inc.

Mr. Bently also backs the new Burning Man Project nonprofit. He said the Burning Man Project will help establish more community support for local artists based on the Burning Man ethos, which includes principles such as “communal effort” and “radical self-expression.”

SF Chronicle article by John King

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Here’s a recent article about the Rocketship in the SF Chronicle by honorary Space Cadet John King. Thanks John… we just heard back today that the Port Commission agreed to extend the Rocketship installation at Pier 14 in SF for another year… until October 2012!

Sean Orlando

“There is no social message in this artwork of oversize whimsy. It says nothing about local history or culture. The aluminum skin is a surprise amid the Embarcadero’s masonry buildings. It is what it is: a curvilicious gleam that captures the gee-whiz air of futurism past, on loan from the Black Rock Arts Foundation. The Port Commission will vote Tuesday on whether to let Raygun Gothic stay until October 2012, and how can anyone say no? This is art that sparks imagination and joy, the stuff of which vibrant cities are made.

Raygun Gothic Rocketship Pier 14 | Artists: Sean Orlando, Nathaniel Taylor and David Shulman (and members of the Five Ton Crane Arts Group)

Style: Buck Rogers Baroque | Size: 40 feet | Date built: 2010″

Full article here

The Raygun Gothic Rocketship “Rocket Stop” by Almost Scientific

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

The Rocket Stop (2010) from Almost Scientific on Vimeo.

Hyperbolic RGR

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Hyperbolic projection of a spherical panorama

photo by Steven DosRemedios

Raygun Gothic Rocketship @ Pier 14, San Francisco

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Painting by artist Alan Street

The Rocketship featured on the cover of the SF Chronicle’s Datebook section.

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

Positive changes around S.F. and environs in 2010

John King

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Laura Morton / Special to The Chronicle

The “Raygun Gothic Rocketship,” a retro-themed sculpture, was installed at Pier 14 in San Francisco in August.

The odd extremes of 2010 come down to this: Within 24 hours, the San Francisco Giants won the World Series, and the flat-earth movement captured Washington, D.C.

And when we narrow our focus to Bay Area architects, I’d be hard-pressed to name the 10 best buildings of the year – or even 10 major structures that got built.

On the bright side? The year saw neighborhood-scaled planning that teases us with the promise of sustainable, transit-friendly urbanity. Long-overdue infrastructure projects finally started construction, such as the fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnel and the reinvention of Doyle Drive.

Last, but adamantly not least, San Francisco and environs saw positive changes we can touch and experience, not just read about. Here are 10, in no particular order:

Bootstrap urbanity: My name for the ingenious efforts by architects and public space advocates to carve eddies in the urban swirl – from the “parklets” concept that is replacing parking spaces with bits of seating to more ambitious efforts where awkward intersections are being converted to “temporary” landscaped plazas. Aesthetically, some work better than others, but San Francisco’s lucky to have such experimentation in its midst.

San Francisco transit shelters: Naysayers carp that on rainy, windy days, these shelters are no shelters at all, because they include wide openings on the back to allow easy access for people in wheelchairs. With 100 shelters now sprinkled across the landscape, in seven site-specific permutations by Lundberg Design, what I see is a rippling treat, roofs of red and orange that add grace to our urban terrain.

One Hawthorne: When (if?) construction cranes again appear on the downtown horizon, let’s hope they spawn new towers as neighborly as this 24-story residential high-rise designed by EHDD Architecture. It’s a too-snug fit for the site, but the clean modernity is right at home near Yerba Buena Gardens.

H2 Hotel: At a time when so much infill development is tawdry skin-deep mockitecture, this five-story inn near Healdsburg’s central plaza shows how to do it right. David Baker + Partners crafted a building at once contemporary and contextual, so keyed to its location that on warm Wine Country days, the ground-floor walls fold up and disappear.

Potrero Branch Library: San Francisco’s Bureau of Architecture worked wonders with a mid-block library on Potrero Hill from 1951, turning the dilapidated structure into a glassy beacon of literacy – including panoramic walls at the rear that showcase the city beyond. Bureaucracy at its best.

“Raygun Gothic Rocketship”: My plebian idea of triumphant public art is something engaging and brash, a charmed surprise up close and from afar. Bonus points for the local angle: This 40-foot-tall stainless steel whim will be on display along the Embarcadero through next fall, thanks to the Black Rock Arts Foundation of Burning Man fame.

Oakland Museum of California: Kevin Roche’s understated collage of right-angled concrete was brought into the 21st century by Mark Cavagnero Associates. The changes exude a disciplined order, such as a crisp new canopy at the Oak Street entrance, but they also make space for Job One: the enticing display of art.

Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory: The year’s most ingenious building addition can’t be seen from the street; instead, a high school at the base of immense St. Mary’s Cathedral filled a courtyard with a concrete-walled theater, its scalloped form taking cues from the icon that Herb Caen often likened to a washing machine. Case + Abst Architects.

Gallery House: I tend to ignore private homes, but this three-story insert is on the uber-public South Park. It’s also a tutorial by Ogrydziak/Prillinger Architects in experimental design with opaque glass along the street and two black voids above, screened by a web-like abstraction of weathered steel rods. A focused provocation that earns your double-take.

Robert I. Schroder Overcrossing: In today’s “crabbed and fearful” America – thank you, Jon Carroll – any government expenditure beyond pothole repairs is scorned as a debt-inducting frill. But with this metallic footbridge that leaps across Treat Boulevard near the Pleasant Hill BART Station, engineer Arup and architect Donald Macdonald show that our society can still create public works of lasting merit, worthy of pride, if only we try.

This article appeared on page E – 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Read more:

The Raygun Gothic Rocketship featured in the San Jose Mercury News “The Year in Photographs”

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

Mercury News photojournalists make images every day of the year. The images don’t always come from a breaking news or sporting event – they may be portraits of interesting people, “moments” that connect with the reader, or simply something out of the ordinary. In 2010, our photojournalists captured thousands of images: These are among their favorites.

Click Here for the Slide Show