Dreaming of Bacon

ManThere are 40+ thousand people these days eating on the playa every year and there’s really no way to encapsulate that entire experience but if I had to point to one word it would be BACON!

Sizzling salty swine in a pan. Love the smell and the taste of that stuff out on the playa. Make it free range if you will, but BACON.

At Burning Man, Bacon is a gateway meat for vegetarians. Bacontarians, if you will. They may taste it when that morning pan fried aroma is slinking through camp and offered to them. They’ll promise to swear off the pig when they leave the playa with much consternation, but for now they’ll imbibe in the irresistible bacon.

BACON MAN! Bacon without Borders, Bacon as currency, Optimus Bacon, Megs and Bacon, Bacon Gunz, Squeez Bacon… just search for “bacon burning man” on Google and you’ll find everything you need to know.

Heron Project Morning

Fannie Brice once sang a song called “Cooking Breakfast for the One I love” where she says, “My Baby likes Bacon and that’s what I’m makin’” Fannie would have had a good time on the playa.

In 2000 this tall, tan guy was pushing his bike around the playa and he had a gas stove attached to his handle bars. This was right after the sun came up and Bird and I were relaxing on our dusty couches on the Esplanade at the Headless Maiden. The guy stopped and asked, “Would you like some bacon?” to which we stood and said, “Yes please,” and he stopped there naked with his bacon sizzling, pushing it around with those metal tongs.

We asked him if he’d ever burnt himself and he said, “So far, so good”. This was the first time he’d done it and he did it because he’d always wanted to make bacon for the City naked.

That was some of the best bacon I’ve ever had. Sharing food, simple and sweet, fruit, meat, pancakes, whipped crème and all manner of breakfast is the GRAND POTLACH defined as:

“… a festival or ceremony practiced among Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. At these gatherings a family or hereditary leader hosts guests in his family’s house and hold a feast for their guests. The main purpose of the potlatch is the re-distribution and reciprocity of wealth.

.. The word comes from the Chinook Jargon, meaning “to give away” or “a gift”. It is a vital part of indigenous cultures..”

Gift Economy Center Camp Art

There is Canadian Bacon, great veggie scrambles, granola and coffee of every variety, power bars and scrambled eggs. Smoothies, wheat grass for the hippies and snow cones sometimes. Early morning at sunrise can be a great time to take a bike ride and you’ll encounter a great cooking of meat and eggs, protein delivery to the Tribes waking up on the playa. If you are sincere and lucky and not expecting anything, wonderful things can happen in Black Rock City, you may encounter the equivocal American frontier meal of breakfast to fuel you after your dreaming.

And what dreams may come from such a MAGNIFICENT POTLACH?

That first morning after sleeping sound from your trip out there…. and you’re crashed in your tent or tarp or yurt or trailer or RV or camper special or container or whatever and your bed is the most fantastic dusty rose you’ve ever seen, a Lake Lahontan Strawberry Rose into which you slumbered even with all the ambient 24 hour noise.

And regardless of what baggage you brought with you, that first sleep in the morning you may perhaps partake in the greatest breakfast ever will you have pilgrim, as if it were your last ever. Or you may go another 72 hours with no food, it is all up to you. Just make sure you drink water and Piss Clear.

However, whatever demons may have tagged along with you, with a good night of dreams and a hearty breakfast, you will have the strength to make those demons flee if you tell them to. Black Rock City cleanses.

And for many of us, vivid dreams start coming from the GREAT UNWIND as we sleep.

Our City is full to the gills with the Potlach, be it Meat Night or grilled cheese or Food for Artists or Vegan Paradise, vegetarian or Tuna Guys or any random chance upon feast laid out before you, unexpected, or planned, there will be feasts. Bring your own to share and everything will be good out on this desolate lake bed.


Morning Bloody Marys, afternoon Mai Tais, Gin and Tonics, any iteration of drink and potent potable you can imagine, is at your reach if you want it. Share and share alike. Gift. And everything from your camp stove to a bus equipped with stoves and refrigerators is making food and sharing it. I even hear there are slushy machines full of BullFrogs and Mohitos day and night. There are bicycle powered blenders, and the swirling smoke from some camp’s grill cooking Tri Tip or Chops as you pass along the avenues is there offering itself to you.

This is just alkaline minutia, like every particle was a moment of our short experience in this human, most wonderful realm. For some the landing is a never ending propulsion of work, raising scaffolding, radio towers, tents and tarps, installations and other sundry things to make Black Rock City what it is. For some it is landing and going to your predetermined almost ridiculously large RV you hired to bring out here, because you bought your way past the gate.


...we ALL dream out here regardless of whether we are maimed by privilege, or are here as a working pilgrim to the vibe of the now. And the playa calls to you all because you are a creature crawling along with scuttling claws across the dry lake bed where you lay your head regardless of your accommodations. Welcome to the amplification station zero, the crash pad of flowing dust that pulls you away from your situation in society to a place where the roles are up on their heads because if you have water and AC and electricity and can keep everything together in the worst of climes, you are the billionaire there.

This is a place where the reality that is part of your DNA says come to find the reason for your season. You are a second in time’s eye and you are here to be all you are, to share all you have inside you.

Tangled BankLet your dreams speak to you, because they are you’re telling yourself where you really want to be. Remember them in that waking moment when you’re sitting there in your structure with the cold pale morning seeping in.

Or you dream of that girl or guy you want, the damn reason you came out here, only to hook up with them. Or you dream about the demons or angels that got you back before the playa made them dissipate. The default world for so many is illuminated by that ambient moon that out here dripped down long before she was bought and trademarked.

Those dreams…those initial times where you sit up and try to remember where you put your toothpaste or where is the water, or that one time you wondered where your keys and wallet were laughed over that for about 5 minutes. No, in that first morning, with the cool gray morning pallor on your face is when you hopefully realize that everything “back there” melted away into the sudden realization of life “out here” and you slip outside your blankets and sleeping bags, exposing your entire carapace to the lake bed chilly reality and you stretch, stretch and see the sun up. And the humanity is not a bad thing, it is the sacred caring thing that doesn’t know who you are but still wants to make sure you have water if you look like you need some. It doesn’t steal or covet, it doesn’t want to compete with you, it wants you to be ok, so your dreams will help you manifest what good lives inside you.

Let your dreams be your teacher out there. The dreams that come unnatural to what you’re used to. Learn from them and realize that you are alive while you sleep.

Realization of that simple fact will make your life twice as long.

And in this Grand American Camping Trip, may you emerge in your morning to the mess tent with bacon and sausage and coffee and eggs sizzling, with friends abundant when you realize, what’s that SMELL??

let there be BACON

About the author: Moze


John Mosbaugh aka Moze is a SF Bay Area heretic and writer who's been hauling himself out to Black Rock City since the Nebulous Entity first beckoned him to check out this phenomenon known as Burning Man. Moze is a "Life Collector" who scribbles down encounters with you to share on the blog. He enjoys the hyper reality of that week in the desert enough to keep coming back. He's been on the Burning Man web team since aught two and has written for Piss Clear and the YEP (Yahoo Education Project). He doesn't speak for the org and he finds you fascinating. He celebrates you and loves it when you take away ideas from Burning Man and share them with the rest of the world. He likes to make grilled cheese on Burn Night afternoon and gift it to you because you're probably hungry. Moze is a big fan of fire, art, freedom and community.

13 Comments on “Dreaming of Bacon

  • L says:

    I never really respond to things I read such as this. However, I just had to say the last few paragraphs of this made my teary eyed. How brilliantly stated. Thank you for reminding me why I go to Burning Man and why the “Grand American Camping Trip” has changed my life.

    Report comment

  • Andia says:

    I heart bacon :)

    Report comment

  • JV says:

    Really, really good.

    Report comment

  • Joel says:

    Beautifully written! I LOVE that our camp, Bacon Without Borders, was named. Its only our second year together as a camp and we were so excited to have so many people out looking for and in most cases finding us this year. Cant wait to cook up some more love for you folks next year!! Thank you from my greasy little heart for writing this article!!

    Report comment

  • The Corman says:

    This was my first time at Burning Man.
    I did not know what to expect and all expectations were greatly succeeded.
    BM did indeed ‘manifest what good lives inside of me’.
    I wrote a small blog about it.
    I was going to post it here, but you already have enough. Just wanted to offer it for those looking for more details.
    Looking forward to another Burn.
    The Corman.

    Report comment

  • Megan says:

    This vegetarian did not imbibe in the bacon (I simply can’t support factory farming) on the playa this year, but still enjoyed every minute of my playa experience. Well, getting scraped up by the big slide and having the playa somehow possess my camera and delete all my pictures weren’t the greatest moments, but it was all part of the experience. No bacon necessary (thank goodness). Also, there is tempeh bacon, no cruelty necessary! :)

    Report comment

  • Sunshine says:

    Eloquent and heartfelt. BRAVO!!!!

    Report comment

  • TheFlyboy says:

    My girlfriend and I brought 1.5 lbs. of precooked bacon with us this year and t became our new playa diet. Just add a little dust and wash it down with bubbly before 12 pm and wine, beer and or tequila. Who knew eating well on teh playa could be so friendly. I saw photos somewhere from this year of a camp that went around handing out fresh cooked bacon. I don’t even know these people…. but already love them!

    Report comment

  • solomon says:

    thank you for this. wandering the playa in 2008, considering what to contribute in 2009, i had much the same realization: the playa craves bacon. i thought, perhaps i could bring bacon to the playa in 2009. as i thought about this i heard the strains of a violin meandering into my ears from across the playa. “more classical music, too,” i thought.

    so, with the help of some friends and campmates, I did Bacon & Beethoven this year on the playa. it was one of the happiest moments of my life cooking bacon in the whiteout duststorm on saturday night. people would hear the beethoven or smell the bacon and wander over as if from nowhere to our small shelter. to my delight, to their delight, they’d stay long enough to smile (and eat bacon).

    Report comment

  • Pamelita says:

    i camped directly across from a bacon camp on 730 F. While in our dome i could smell the bacon and couldn’t contain myself. I gathered a friend and went across the street…waited patently for the bacon to finish cooking. It was hot and delicious. the aroma of maple was insane…and def a delight to have on the dusty playa

    Report comment

  • 2010 will be my very FIRST burning man experience and I have wanted to attend for 20 plus years – dreams DO come true. This is also the first comment online I have made since I got my ticket. Full disclosure! I eat bacon EVERY morning. I have to have it. My excuse is I cook it for my husband but really I need it for myself. I am SO happy to see bacon plays a playa part at burning man. My breakfast treat: bacon, cheese, and tiny bit of onion omelet. Lunch is bacon half cooked on top of “American” cheese and toast, broiled. That bacon gouda mac and cheese sounds perfect for dinner. Bacon on the bakin’ playa…I love it!

    Report comment

  • Comments are closed.