Accordion, Instrument of the Gods It Happened to Me

Cameo Appearance in “Open Sources 2.0”

Book cover: O'Reilly's 'Open Sources 2.0.'

My friend and former housemate Paul Baranowski is a developer with Campware, an organization whose purpose is to “develop, distribute, support and implement useful tools for independent news media in emerging democracies.” As such, he keeps up with the literature on Open Source, such as O’Reilly’s book-in-progress, Open Sources 2.0: The Continuing Evolution.

The book’s introduction [link leads to a PDF file] covers the spirit of open source by describing the vibrant gift economy that exists within the annual bacchanal Burning Man, which takes place in Black Rock Desert, Nevada. I attended in 1999 — the year I took up the accordion — and as a result, make a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance on page XXXIV:

Unfettered from monetary exchange, however, most denizens of Burning Man gravitate toward a gift economy. Acts of giving range from the mundane to the extravagant: the accordion player who serenades those in the porta-potty line with his renditions of AC/DC; the massage therapist volunteering her services; the water-gun brigade, spraying people down for a moment of cool relief from the midday sun; or the man who brings along a week’s supply of dry ice so he can serve cold ice cream every day.

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