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 joined Black Rock Solar in 2009 as an environmental journalist and project manager who had recently organized a worldwide sailing expedition and global warming lecture series. While growing up in New Mexico, Marnee played tennis in the high-desert sun, ripped it up at local ski resorts, and rode bikes with her friends. She’s lived in Reno for more than ten years, after stops in Jackson Hole and southern California– where she played beach volleyball and studied math at San Diego State University. Marnee traded in her tennis racket and bikinis for carabiners and climbing shoes when she hit the Sierra Nevada, and she recently graduated from UNR with two master’s degrees in Environmental Science and Environmental Policy. She organized the Tour de Nez bike race for three years and sailed with Greenpeace International before turning her attention full-time to Black Rock Solar. In her spare time, Marnee counts her lucky stars for being able to work with the Holland Project and March Fourth Marching Band.

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