The festival season begins with the 17th annual How Weird Street Faire on Sunday May 1, 2016. For one day only, in the emerging heart of downtown San Francisco, there will be a sensational spectacle of art, music, and creativity. Join thousands of people in colorful costumes from around the world, who have come together to celebrate diversity, multiculturism, and peace. And have a lot of fun!
Each person has different experiences in life, and is the sole member of a spectacular tribe. Now is your time to celebrate you. We ask participants of the How Weird Street Faire to come in costumes that reflect their unique identity, however they define that. Be an exaggerated and colorful expression of yourself, and the communities that you identify with.
Come as yourself, your true self.
How Weird 2016 will be a weird World’s Fair of individuals and post-modern communities, mixed together with all of the traditional ethnicities to form a cosmic stew of new potentials and reach a deeper level of understanding. It will be a chance to experience the world in one place.
What is your identity? What is your community? How do you define yourself?
Look at a random participant of the faire: How would they identify themselves? It could be based on their gender or race or height or body type. It could be based on their place of origin, perhaps they were born in Russia and moved to the United States at an early age, and they identify as Russian or Russian-American or American. Perhaps they have lived in San Francisco for a few years and identify as a San Franciscan, or Californian. Maybe they identify themselves based on their political beliefs and values. Maybe they identify themselves based on their spiritual beliefs, either directly experienced or through religions. Maybe they identify themselves based on their culture, perhaps they really like house music and wear the same clothes and participate in the same lifestyle as other house music fans. Maybe they identify with a new global community made possible by the internet. Maybe they simply identify themselves as a spouse, or child, or friend, or neighbor. Maybe it’s a combination of these in varying degrees. Maybe it’s none of them. Or maybe they just identify as themselves, a unique perspective with unique experiences. We can all identify with ourselves.
Chief Oren Lyons of the Onandaga Nation explained,
“Although we are in different boats, we share the same river of life.”
In spite of the many ways in which we could identify, overall we are far more similar than different. As human beings riding aboard this Spaceship Earth, with its limited resources and fragile atmosphere, we are all basically the same. The same functions and desires and passions and fears, and the same fates. We all smile when we’re happy and cry when we’re sad. We all share the same air and water that is constantly recycled around the world. We are all warmed by the same sun, whose energy fuels all life on this planet. As an ancient Japanese saying goes: “There are many paths up the mountain, but the view of the moon from the top is the same.”
At the global level, we are all part of the same community. It is possible to find common ground with everyone. There are some aspects of our shared lives and experiences that unite everyone. Socrates once summed it up by exclaiming, “I am not an Athenian, nor a Greek, but a citizen of the world.” Viewing our differences from a wider perspective makes our cultural and ethnic intolerances diminish, as we realize that it’s the diversity of the whole which gives it beauty and meaning.
The first step in coexisting is acceptance of different cultures. Just as an inspiring work of art can be made up of many different colors and elements, the many diverse ways that people have grouped together and the cultures they share make the world a more interesting place. Life is a symphony of different instruments working together in harmony.
How Weird 2016 will bring tens of thousands of unique cultures together to coexist in peace, proving that it is possible. The How Weird Street Faire celebrates acceptance and appreciates diversity, showing the world that relative differences can be a good thing, and that being weird is wonderful.
It’s a weird, weird world that’s becoming more connected every day.
It is urgent that we learn to live together peacefully.
How Weird is a menagerie of attractions, including a world renowned music festival featuring 10 stages of different styles of dance music, an open air art festival filling an expanded Art Alley, a unique market of interesting vendors and delicious food, and a platform for performers of every type. The faire is from Noon to 8pm. Get there early to enjoy all of the fun.
The How Weird Street Faire is centered at Howard and 2nd Streets, or 37°47’12.4″ N, 122°23’53.7″ W. The faire is located in the SoMa district, what has become the center of the technology industry for the city, and perhaps the world. How Weird attracts many of the area’s innovative technologists and internet pioneers, who are making a profound effect on the world with their digital tools. The area is home to a large concentration of art galleries and museums. How Weird also attracts many types of artists and lovers of art and culture. The faire, the area, and the participants represent the convergence of art and technology, the fusion of creativity and possibilities. How Weird is a place where evolutionary ideas can form, paving the way for fresh perspectives and new ways of viewing the world.
This year, the three main entrances to the faire are at Howard and 1st Streets, at Howard and New Montgomery Streets, and at Mission and 2nd Streets. We recommend taking public transportation to the faire. The How Weird Street Faire is located a short walk from Market Street and the Montgomery BART station, as well as Caltrains Station, Transbay Terminal, and many MUNI lines.
The theme for How Weird 2016 celebrates diversity and multiculturalism, exploring the many ways in which we identify ourselves and how we can all live together in peace.
The How Weird Street Faire is filled with thousands of people in colorful costumes. We ask that everyone come in costume to the faire. Come as the you you’ve always wanted to be. Be something colorful and inspiring and weird. Weird is always in style. The Magic Sticker is the perfect compliment to every costume.
Art Alley will showcase the visual arts, with live and exhibited artwork, interactive pieces, and local craft vendors. See the extreme creativity that San Francisco is famous for, and participate in the creation of exquisite art. Art Alley will expand again this year, filling all of Tehama Street from 1st Street to 2nd Street. Stroll the legendary open air gallery, and be inspired. Art Alley features fantastic visionary artists from around the Bay Area.
New this year is the Art Alley Annex, at the end of Tehama Street off of 2nd Street. This is where the dub and reggae stage will be, along with a photobooth, local craft vendors, and live art.
Music and dance will be featured on multiple stages throughout the faire. How Weird showcases some of the best electronic music played on some of the world’s most advanced sound technology. Cutting-edge artists from across the Bay Area will provide an ideal soundtrack for your dancing pleasure. This year, there will be many stages of electronic dance music, along with beats from around the world. Each stage represents different styles and communities. Together they form one of the most diverse and talented music festivals ever held.
The How Weird Street Faire will participate in National Dance Week again, for the third year. Join with people from across the country in a special dance for 2016, and watch dance performers of many different styles on the Dance Stage near the center intersection. Celebrate the wonders of dancing, and all the many forms dance takes.
Skyhigh Odditorium presents the TAROTales with musicial score by Cerebellum Projekt, featuring aerialists dancing in the sky. They will be performing over the center intersection of Howard and 2nd Streets. Their schedule of performances is…
12:30 – Veterano el Shaman
1:00 – Madamn Burnz & Astral Gazelle – the dragons
2:00 – Daenara the Magician & Gina The Joker
3:00 – Dark Rosaleen
4:00 – The Intergalactic Court ( Sarah Lorraine, Mystic Mel, Lisa Truly)
5:00 – Independent Gina
6:00 – Lady Napalm
7:00 – Cerebellum Projekt
Introducing the First Street Wrap Around this year, connecting Howard Street to Art Alley, with two live bands to entertain you. Willie & Allie is a California country band, that plays upbeat honky tonk music. Dr. Abacus is a jazz band, that plays a weird fusion of styles and influences. Together they will provide fun and unique sounds for your stroll along the edge of the faire.
The How Weird Street Faire is filled with vendors from around the world selling unique and designer goods. From clothing to art to jewelry and accessories, you can find interesting things and new styles for the beginning of the 2016 festival season. How Weird features an unusually diverse shopping experience that you won’t find anywhere else. Check the Magic Sticker page to see who will be there, and what specials they will be offering.
Stop by the Info Booth, to chill and learn about peace. That’s where the Lost & Found will be located, as well as the answers to all of your faire questions.
$20 is the cost of the Magic Sticker this year, which comes with even more magic. Enjoy all that the faire has to offer! You can enjoy lots of discounts and fun specials and many free things, at all of the faire vendors and bars. Plus you can show off your support for the faire. The Magic Sticker is your ticket to a world of fun and adventure, and it makes you look great. You can get the Magic Sticker at the faire main entrances, or you can get them online before the faire.
We recommend getting the presale Magic Stickers, so you can save money, save time when you arrive at the separate presale entrances, and show your early support. It has become very expensive to produce the faire in the middle of San Francisco, and your contributions keep it going.
If you really want to show your support for the faire in style, get the Exceptionally Weird VIP Experience. Treat yourself to a world of comfort with access to a special lounge tucked away from the crowds. There will be couches, tables, chairs, a couple of bathrooms, and a bar. You will get two free drinks and a poster of the faire! Plus there will be some special entertainment for the lounge. The extra weirdness is $50, and comes with the world famous Magic Sticker.
The How Weird Street Faire is a project of the educational nonprofit World Peace Through Technology Organization, inspiring peace and showing the world what is possible.
The 17th annual How Weird Street Faire
“The Cosmic Stew”
Sunday May 1, 2016 from Noon to 8pm
Centered at Howard and 2nd Streets, San Francisco, Earth
$20 for a Magic Sticker at the faire.
Use the hashtag #hwsf to talk about the How Weird Street Faire.
More info at HowWeird.org
Presale Magic Stickers are available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/how-weird-2016-tickets-22471620221
THE COMPONENTS OF A PEACE EVENT
Music is a bridge, connecting everyone. Music is the ideal medium for crossing barriers, and uniting diverse people. Music knows no boundaries. More than any other form of communication, music is able to transcend differences between people. Music has the power to change us physically, directly affecting the emotions and the chemical balance of the body. Music inspires us and takes us to other places. Music can lift our spirits and increase our creativity. Music can heal people. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said recently, “There are no languages required in the musical world. In this era of instability and intolerance we need to promote better understanding through the power of music.”
Electronic music plays a key role in the How Weird Street Faire, and one of the reasons why the faire attracts people from all over the world. Electronic music is the most diverse and globally listened to music in human history. Every culture and every country has DJs playing and creating music, and communities forming wherever people dance together. In some places it is the mainstream culture, in others it is alternative or underground, but electronic music is present everywhere on the planet.
How Weird features the full spectrum of electronic music styles, bringing different communities together to connect them to each other and encourage cooperation and mutual appreciation. This gathering of the tribes at How Weird creates a unique music festival that is always full of surprises. Faire participants are encouraged to see and experience all the different music stages, and try something new. Great care has been taken by each stage to create a high quality environment to enjoy the music and dancing, and have a maximum amount of fun. Electronic music is a good choice of music for helping to create peace, as represented by the cultural motto of “peace, love, unity, and respect”.
Dance is a fun activity that everyone can participate in, and find common ground and similar interest with anyone else. It is a very effective way of connecting with others. Dance and music are powerful ways to reach a deep meditative state, used for thousands of years with much success. A meditative state is helpful for bringing inner peace, and building the foundations for lasting peace with others. Dancing in a group also synchronizes the individuals on a collective level, enabling deeper understanding and acceptance of others, and forming coherence among the group. In spite of our differences, when we dance to the same beat, we become one.
A Cambridge University study published in the Psychology of Music journal in 2012 found that “interacting with others through music makes us more emotionally attuned to other people,” resulting in an increase of compassion and understanding of others. Another article in the American Psychological Association journal Emotion in 2011, called “Synchrony and the Social Tuning of Compassion” described how “synchronized movement evokes compassion” in groups of people. Science is noticing the same things that we did, that dancing together creates very deep connections and increases empathy, which leads to peace. As Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen, professor of developmental psychopathology at Cambridge University, explained, “Any problem immersed in empathy becomes soluble.”
For the third year, the How Weird Street Faire will participate in National Dance Week, a massive celebration of all forms of dance. At the center intersection on Howard Street will be a special dance stage featuring diverse styles of dance, and world beat music. Cultures all over the planet have enjoyed dance since before the written word, it is a universal expression of life. As Nelson Mandela once said, “It is music and dancing that makes me at peace with the world.”
Visual art, like music and dance, is a form of communication that bridges separations, and speaks directly to the heart and soul. Art can lead to greater understanding and appreciation of others. How Weird showcases many kinds of expression, including visionary art. We found that being surrounded by visionary art helps to recreate those states of awareness, and lay the foundation for deeper connections and understanding to take place. Music, dance, and art have always been recognized as having powerful effects on human consciousness, and being a fundamental part of our existence.
BECOMING MORE AWARE
The How Weird Street Faire tries to raise people’s consciousness through music, art, dancing, and ideas. By viewing the world from a wider perspective, the connections between us become more apparent, as well as our common interests. By raising our level of awareness and understanding, we make it easier to live in peace, to develop connections between people, and to find solutions to the many problems facing humanity at this time. As Albert Einstein explained, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”
The How Weird Street Faire celebrates extreme diversity and individual expression. Those attending and participating in the faire are a vast multitude from all over the planet, and perhaps other planets as well, representing a very unique and interesting mix of sentient beings. All of them potentially finding common ground and connecting with each other and new communities. Every continent on Earth, with the exception of Antarctica, is represented at the faire. There are babies and small children to young adults to elderly, and all in between. There are very wealthy attendants, and struggling students and artists. There are people of different politics and religions and perspectives, that have chosen to attend the same faire and enjoy the same activities. The extreme diversity of people at How Weird is testament to the universal appeal of inspiring art and music, and the desire of all people to celebrate peace. That deep connections are made, and a collective cohesion is formed, is proof that these elements can unite even the most extreme differences.
The faire is open to people of all ages, all backgrounds, and all points of view. Everyone is encouraged to be accepting of others, and to appreciate the differences between us. One faire participant explained why he liked the faire, “Instead of trying to bring us all into one line, we all get to enjoy what makes us different.” A visitor from the United Kingdom last year exclaimed, “I loved how expressive and accepting everyone was.” Strategic Retreat blog wrote, “Weird it was. The weirdness was only outshone by how inclusive and fun it was.”
AN OPEN MIND (or as we say “being weird”)
We chose the name “How Weird” as a play on Howard Street, the street where the faire took place. At first, we thought everyone would see the play on words, and didn’t really appreciate our own weirdness. Over the years, we grew to embrace being weird. We found that celebrating weirdness encouraged people to freely express themselves, and readily accept others. If everyone is weird, all viewpoints are equally valid, and everyone has an opportunity to be appreciated. Suddenly, the person who was an outsider is now a valuable part of the community. Differences between people become so great, that they become something interesting and amusing rather than dividing. Similarities that would usually remain elusive are brought out, enabling connections where none could have been imagined before. Being weird means doing things differently, and seeing the world in a unique way. Being weird enables us to step outside of preconceived notions and stereotypes, and think things we normally wouldn’t think. Having a festival of weirdness is an excellent way to open people’s minds, and prepare them to accept others no matter how different they are.
We weren’t the only ones who noticed these traits of weirdness. Being weird used to evoke emotions of fear and intolerance. In our modern world of rapid changes and extreme complexity, weird has become a desirable attribute, especially in the technology industry, which continues to play a major role in How Weird’s regional environment and immediate neighborhood. Weird has become associated with being creative and innovative. Thinking in a weird way has become the popular key to “stepping outside of the box”, as we try to solve the planet’s problems, as well as our own. Being weird somehow plays a part in creating an effective peace event. Perhaps, like clowns and jesters, being weird gives people permission to tear down preconceptions and rewrite all the rules, placing them in a position to find new ways of living and interacting with others. Being weird encourages people to open their mind and accept new perspectives. Being weird allows people the opportunity to be outside of their usual way of doing and seeing things, and try a fresh approach. Plus being weird is fun.
Having people arrive in strange and colorful costumes reinforces the element of weirdness and unexpectedness, that anything is possible. At first, we just liked wearing costumes. But soon we noticed that it is an excellent way to encourage individual expression and acceptance of others. Costumes enable people to be themselves. Individual costumes break down the associations with groups or ideologies, and allow people to appreciate others based solely on their creativity and interests.
How Weird inspires peace by bringing people together and allowing them to experience a place where everyone is accepted no matter what their background is. At How Weird, everyone is appreciated for having a unique perspective that is valuable to the whole. We encourage having an open mind by embracing the weirdness within us all, the things we do differently, the things that make us unique. What political or religious affiliation someone has makes little difference when they are in an outrageous costume, dancing in the middle of the street. How Weird provides a place where people can be understood by their similar passions. At How Weird, people are surrounded by unexpected opportunities to connect with others and find common ground. Despite the extreme diversity at the faire, it is all one community.
The extreme participation of the faire goers, especially the costumes and dancing, encourages a level of acceptance and appreciation rarely seen at a public event. It is an environment that fully embraces inclusion and appreciation. By accepting others’ perspectives, we increase our capacity for empathy and understanding. Allowing yourself and others to be weird can be an important lesson in peace. In a place where everyone is weird, then every way of seeing things becomes equal, and differences are more appreciated. This leads to collective empathy and understanding. If this level of respect for each other was the standard way of dealing with each other, there would be no more wars.
The faire is a lot of fun. Peace is fun. Fun makes everything better. Having a positive attitude helps to connect with others and appreciate them. Plus it’s hard to fight when you’re having fun. Fun often results in smiles, which are very contagious. Smiles help to make people happy, even at a distance. And happy people are at peace.
Buckminister Fuller noticed that to create change, you need to built something new that makes the old way obsolete. We feel that in order to create a new world that is sustainable and at peace, we need to build something that is better and more fun. Peace is badly needed now, so that we may thrive on this planet and coexist with each other. It is through music, art, and the imagination that peace is always possible.
What is How Weird?
The How Weird Street Faire is a project of the educational non-profit World Peace Through Technology Organization. The faire, like the non-profit, aims to inspire peace through music, art, ideas, raising consciousness, and the benevolent uses of technology. The faire is a musical and visual sensorium, a term used by Chet Helms to describe the Family Dog venue located in the former dance club of Playland at the Beach. The faire is also a paxorium, or place of peace, filled with thousands of people accepting and appreciating each other, connecting with each other, and forming one glorious community.
The faire and non-profit grew out of a community of artists called the Consortium of Collective Consciousness or CCC, which was formed 20 years ago. They were part of a larger movement that had spread around the planet. This new type of music and culture was made available by the use of extremely powerful new tools, especially the computer and internet. Suddenly, a whole unexplored world of possiblities opened up, limited only by one’s imagination. This global dance culture started in the industrial cities of America and Europe, and then blossomed in India before settling in San Francisco, where it merged with the area’s legendary alternative cultures, and created some truly amazing experiences. Throughout the years, and many changes, the How Weird Street Faire has maintained this cultural spark, focused on bringing people to a greater level of understanding and connection, and ultimately peace.
The Consortium of Collective Consciousness used advanced sound and light technology, inspired music and art, and active dancing to facilitate transcendent experiences which deeply affected the participants, and brought a greater awareness of themselves and the universe. In addition to the profound individual effects, the synchronized dancing brought the entire group to an even more elevated state of consciousness. This is similar to the experience had by people in cultures around the world for thousands of years. Only now, it was made far more potent through the available tools and global scale of the new culture.
Inspired by what was happening, and seeing it’s potential to bring peace to the world, a non-profit was created called “World Peace Through Technology” to explore the potential for connections and understanding through music and art, and find ways to inspire and create peace using technological tools and cultural gatherings. The CCC events had become too crowded, forcing the participants to be more and more limited. The new non-profit decided to create an event in the middle of the street in order to bring the transformative experiences out to public, and invite everyone to participate. A street faire was born on Howard Street, on the block outside of the CCC warehouse and World Peace Through Technology non-profit office. The same energy and experience that had been taking place indoors had now spilled out into the streets, without losing it’s intensity, and the rest is history.
For the first two years, the faire was a direct extension of the CCC community. This enabled the faire to grow, and attracted a wide variety of interesting people from all over the world. In 2001, the space that housed the CCC community was lost due to rising costs. The community became decentralized, and soon the events stopped. But the faire kept going, serving as a reunion of the CCC, and a gathering of more and more communities. As the faire expanded in size, both in attendance and physical space, more sound stages were added to the two original stages that were produced by the CCC. How Weird welcomed other dance music communities to join the celebration of peace, seeking to bring all the different tribes of dance music together and form one interconnected community. How Weird gives people a chance to learn about what the diverse dance music groups are doing, and get a taste of some of the world’s most vibrant culture and expression.
The How Weird Street Faire has been an experiment on how to create a peace event, one that allows “opposing” sides to find common ground and similarities, and to share in experiences that can lead to bonding and mutual understanding. We identified the essential elements of the Consortium of Collective Consciousness experience, including cutting-edge electronic music, synchronized group dance, inspiring visionary art, a collective expansion of consciousness, a very diverse group of people, an open mind, and a lot of fun. Then we applied them on a large scale in a public venue with amazing results. We found that those elements are the ideal ingredients to a peace event.
The need for creating peace has only grown in the years since we started the faire. We want to share what we have learned, and open source the elements of a peace event, in the hope that more of these events can help bring peace to the world.
We encourage all people to make their own peace events. We need gatherings that can bring different people together. Please let us know what you learn and what elements you find to be useful for bridging divides and connecting people. As the Dalai Lama explained, one of the best things that people can do to bring peace is to hold festivals with music and art that bring people together.