August 15th: I Live in Black Rock City

I got back from Reno last night, just in time for dinner on the playa and a really great night out at Crane Camp.  People are starting to drive around now in the evenings, visiting each other and checking out the different camps.  You can see multiple sets of headlights off in the distance, rolling randomly down the Esplanade or open playa like a colony of confused ants, missing each other by minutes along different trajectories.  As we were hanging out under the stars on couches attached to the back of renovated Caddies, some of the Temple crew cruised by in their rocket car to see what’s up.  It’s just like any other neighborhood really.

I moved out of the trailer park and onto the playa today.  It feels so great to be here, it’s actually hard for me to describe.  I remember the first moment I laid eyes on BRC as I was rounding the bend on highway 447 just outside of Gerlach in 2001.  I immediately thought, “Oh my god, where have I been?”  I couldn’t get there fast enough, and I barely slept during the event so that I could take in every last drop.  Burning Man’s been a part of my life for six years now, through good times and sad, and it’s always exhilarating when I arrive.  Today was no exception.

I set up my rig near Burners Without Borders across from Camp Carp, and went over to have a beer with my neighbors, the girls from the sign shop, Russ, and Snatch.  We laughed about the day’s events as the sun started to set over the hills.  After 5 dared us all to eat an habañero pepper, but the closest we came was putting juice from the jar on Russ’ mouth, which caused him to experience a serious level of anguish for quite a long time.  He tried everything to make it better, much to our demented delight.

Tonight was the first party at the DPW Ghetto.  It was a blast.  Everyone had a really good time.  I had a really really good time.  At one point I was hanging out at the bar with Johnny Payphone, awesome Rat Patrol dude from Chicago, and we noticed a flaming hackey sack game break out at the other end of the dance floor.  There was an awkward pause as we both looked straight ahead and said nothing.  Then he said, deadpan: “It makes me want to kill them.”  I just nodded.

-Wanda Power

About the author: Marnee Benson

Marnee Benson

Marnee is Burning Man Project’s Associate Director of Government Affairs. Her work focuses on permitting and relationships with the Nevada Legislature, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Pershing County, and multiple other Nevada agencies. She helps Burning Man navigate Nevada politics and federal issues affecting the Burning Man event. Marnee’s first trip to Black Rock City was 2001, and in 2007 she worked with the Department of Public Works and the Communications team, writing and photographing content for the Burning Blog “Building Black Rock City”. From 2009 to 2013, she served as the Deputy Director at Black Rock Solar. She loves the way Burning Man expands her world and flips ideas upside down.

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