Many burners find themselves in a dilemma when confronted with seemingly sophomoric inquiries from friends whom haven’t yet taken the playa plunge. In an effort to facilitate a beneficial connection between the pristine and unclean and to prevent quixotic retorts that only further estrange the uninitiated, I have compiled a list of stock replies to the question, “So, what was Burning Man like?”

  • Imagine the inside of Satan’s vacuum bag. Now, imagine sticking your head into it and seeing things very clearly.
  • Did you know that buttless chaps are quite comfortable, when worn backwards?
  • I didn’t know Belgians built giant Bowerbird displays.
  • The art was fantastic at night. I can only imagine what it looked like in daylight.
  • Do you know that industrial tech-house song with a driving bass line? (You mean there’s only one?) Have you ever heard it looped for 7 consecutive days? It works.
  • If Walt Disney’s Electric Light Parade was conducted by Edgar Allan Poe and Jim Morrison, the mutant vehicle line-up at BRC would still have to tone it down to fit in.
  • I heard there was a fair bit of partying.
  • It changed my life. I now firmly believe in the pee-bottle approach.
  • Rocky Top Tennessee sounds best with a banjo, a didgeridoo, and 2 gallons of sangria.
  • I thoroughly enjoyed being very dirty. The dust, however, was rather unpleasant.
  • While routinely removing parts of my shade structure during a midday dust devil darkening, I couldn’t help but wonder why one thousand pairs of pants were flying against the wind. Then I recalled the three-story trebuchet.
  • For some it’s about hatha (i.e. hung over) yoga, parades with or without stilts or clothing, bad beer tasting good, baked goods, electrical arcing, dying santas, skirmishes with mean bunnies, satirical faith, desiccation, friends, strangers, combustion, singing, dancing, singeing, admiring, winding, and unwinding.
  • Every night around dusk I kept wondering, “Where is everyone going?”
  • Washed bright. Dim neon night. Peach colored hills. Still silhouette. Fall brake. Moons on fire. Vegas’ dream child.
  • The complaint booth at center camp was understaffed.
  • My favorite work was by Johnny on the Spot. Perhaps you’ve seen his creations. It’s participatory art. I would describe it as a plastic polymerization of blue and white miniature houses. It’s mostly an olfactory experience. I always feel lighter after a viewing. One of his early, primitive works was located around 7:30 midway between the temple and the man. It had no title. It was simply a pile of excrement marked with a red bandana. Brilliant.

by Derek Sloan

About the author: Tales From the Playa

Tales From the Playa

Tales From the Playa are dreams and memories of events that took place at Burning Man, as told by participants. Submit your story here.