Bay Area MakerFaire 2012

I was at the Bay Area MakerFaire last weekend, and had a much different Faire experience than the previous two that I attended (last year’s Bay Area and Detroit iterations). It was… stale. Staged. Commercial. There were massive booths and displays reserved for companies that had nothing to do with makers or the maker movement. They were riding the wave of innovation that the community has fostered to hold a captive audience and misinform those who were being exposed to the world of making for the first time. There were phone companies and tech giants that, through massive amounts of cash, were able to gain priority over the hallmark agent of making: the little guy. The “hack-it-together with duct tape, spit, and hope” kind of tinkerer that is SUPPOSED to be in the spotlight. I was disgusted by some of the companies who were sponsoring crowd-sourcing projects to further their own R&D by taking the ideas of these innovators and KEEPING THEM. No rights are given to the progenitors of the illuminating inventions; a small check is cut as a prize while the company makes bank. It was tawdry, and I am disappointed in MAKE for allowing this to take place.

I had to take a few minutes to cool down from my MakerFaire-incited soapbox rant before coming back to anything even vaguely related. I must, however, point out two excellent parts of the Faire that I encountered. The first is the Bizarre Bazaar, the market area of MakerFaire that is specifically geared towards craftsy artisan works. I saw beautiful work there, and I’ll be posting more on some of my favorite stuff from the Bazaar later on.

The second part that I was blown away by was the utterly orgasmic paella.

Now, I’ve had some good paella. I’ve had paella in a couple cities in Spain, for chrissakes. This, this stuff is better than anything I have ever had. MakerFaire invites Gerard Nebesky (who kicked Bobby Flay’s ass in a 2008 cook-off), to preside over pans bigger than most British cars.

image via Jack Sparx

The line for this addictive crack-food is an hour long AT LEAST. It is a good idea to send someone for beer at regular intervals.

As if allowing people to taste this veritable manna wasn’t enough, dude passed out the recipe:

I made this face: