Road Tripped

Skydiving Over Burning Man, 1996
Skydiving Over Burning Man, 1996

[Tony “Coyote” Perez first set foot in Black Rock City in 1996, where he immediately went to work, ultimately becoming the Department of Public Works’ Site Manager. He is renowned amongst the staff as Burning Man’s Poet Laureate, as well as being an accomplished saxophonist with his band “Second Hand Smoke.” This post is part of the Metropol Blog Series.]

Did you know that the basic layout of the city of Boston was planned by the cows? No, it’s true. It’s not just something I heard on “Cheers” from Cliff Clavin. Boston was one of the earliest-settled cities of the new world and the settlers of the times, being from various parts of Europe and such, threw down camps apart from one another to start their own separate farms and villages. The open range pastures of these early farmers allowed the cattle to roam from farm to farm and from village to village as they were raised and traded. Paths formed.

I remember my first Burning Man. No, it’s true. The ’96 burn didn’t have a fence yet and the dust plumes of caravans came from all points like slow motion meteors. People started throwing down camps apart from one another to start their own separate camps and villages. A road formed.

Put a group of people together and, given time, communal geometry happens. Old as the hills. Given time, the single celled life of pre-history took a billion-year old leap and started arranging themselves into organisms where cells started taking on tasks – started working together. In a sense, multi-celled organisms were single-celled communities. A blood stream formed. Funny how the conduits are amongst the first things that a community builds. Funny how one can get the word “communicate” out of the word “community”. Seems the words have something in… common…

Doggie Diner Head, 1996
Doggie Diner Head, 1996

I’ll never forget my first glimpse of Black Rock City in ’96. It was that of a Doggie Diner head shimmering ahead in the shimmers, emerging like the dot of an oncoming twilight zone. What was this place?! Maybe my buddy who was guiding me to this planetoid had something new for me after all. Couldn’t really ask him at the time, his head was blasting off out of my sunroof as we approached one ten on the speedometer. Even at this speed, the grand vacuum of the playa was reducing us, and everything else, to a mere dust plume – just another slow motion meteor.

About the author: Tony “Coyote” Perez-Banuet

Tony “Coyote” Perez-Banuet

Tony “Coyote” Perez-Banuet has been coming to the desert to build and strike Black Rock City since 1996. A professional musician for over twenty years, Burning Man culture was an easy shift for him. He co-founded the Department of Public Works of BRC in 1998 and has been the City Superintendent ever since. Known as the “Bard of the Desert”, telling stories around the campfire is among the things he does best. He has been blogging under the moniker of “Coyote Nose” for many years, and he is Burning Man’s first Storytelling Fellow.

3 Comments on “Road Tripped

  • Epiphany Starlight says:

    Now we’re multi-celled communities creating Metropolis. like another slow motion meteor, and the calendar is clicking…

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  • Joelle says:

    I was wondering if anyone knew of information about skydiving into Burning Man. I am not sure if this is a normal thing that goes on every year or how to go about it, seeing as last year was my first year. Can anyone help? I would really appreciate finding out where I could locate this information.

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  • Cody says:

    Coyote, your story is really cool and I can’t wait to hear more about your first time. I thought I knew allot about burning man history but you give a new glimpse as if we got to go back in time. Oh lets put our tents here it will be the corner. So… that’s how the mightiest camp of camps was started. What an amazing journey from something so simple to the brigadoon Metropolis.

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