Epic Proportions


Burning Man is the best adult playground ever devised, a vast testing ground for one’s resourcefulness, imagination, and sense of adventure, managing to amuse 50,000 or so tech-addled, sleep-deprived, uncomfortable Moderns for up to a week or longer, while keeping them active, eating less, constantly testing their limits, morals, and comfort zones, and providing them with a social arrangement of managed freedom within limits acceptable to the paying participant.

It’s even more fun than college.

This was my sentiment on Thursday night of Burning Man 2010, as I sat by myself on the benches outside the Temple, aiming my dying headlamp into my little, red, dust-coated notebook. It was Metropolis, the biggest burn ever. In fact, it was my second biggest burn ever. The American Dream, 2008’s Thompsonian seizure of that mythological, materialistic nirvana for our own twisted purposes, was my first time.

When they first burnt the man on Baker Beach, I was negative one year old.

I think it’s safe to say that Burning Man has changed a few times since then.

Photo: Mischa Steiner

I would submit 2007 as the year Burning Man bloomed into its present incarnation. Veteran Burners had become increasingly fed up with what one participant called the “alterna-Disney” transformation of the festival, and The Green Man saw this come to a head in a… let’s call it a counterproductive way. Read more about it, if you like. My first burn was the year after that.

I could see from the art that some people hated 2008’s American Dream theme. Some of the disgust with “alterna-Disney” seemed to have firmly entrenched itself that year. Right on 4:00 (I think), behind their giant chicken, a camp had planted this sign, which I felt summed up the curmudgeonly element’s opinions about what had happened to their festival.

Photo: Jon Mitchell

But my young crew had no nostalgia holding us back. We had made a whole year of preparations, looking forward so eagerly to this, and we expected nothing less than the biggest, brightest party we had ever seen. We got exactly that, only bigger and brighter. Sure, it was grotesque. Yes, the fireworks that year were obscene. But we loved that about it.

I had been warned repeatedly not to develop any expectations beforehand, but of course, who can help it? Nevertheless, to my amazement, Burning Man actually managed to exceed my expectations, as far as the scope and the scale of it. Considering the effort we had made to get out there, it all seemed perfectly appropriate. Burning Man had gone viral, whether or not its participants were ready.

Consequently, there’s a new crop of Burners in town. We’re the same age as Burning Man. We learned about it on the Internet. We shared our pictures there when we got home. Some of us came from the East Coast (but the sensible among us have since moved Out West). Some of us, yes, are too reliant on faux fur and EL-wire. But we’re here now, and Burning Man is on South Park.


In my tenure on the Burning Blog, I’m going to ask us, as a tribe, to talk about the generational shift underway at Burning Man. I want to observe how a new generation of participants is coming of age, learning the principles, and contributing to the life of the city.

Some thoughts about Millennials as Burners, to be continued in future posts:

We’re nerds. We’re going to need some help with the whole Immediacy thing. Starting in 2011, I intend to help people with the aid of a megaphone in the face. I swear, if I see you iPhone-ing on the Esplanade, everyone in Black Rock City, and Gerlach, for that matter, is going to find out about it.

We’re hipsters. Sometimes, we comport ourselves with too much irony. Eventually, we will learn that Burning Man is immune to ironic attack, and we will stop wearing pot leaf McDonald’s tee shirts on the playa.

Finally, We love the word Epic, and I think we can work with this. One of my pet peeves is the way great English words get their meanings watered down by overuse. Gen-X killed the word “awesome” forever, so it now sounds like a totally brainless way to describe Burning Man. Millennials have begun to pervert the word “epic” in the same way, such that I have heard more than a few grimy basement keg parties described that way. Well, if any word describes Burning Man’s new format, this NASCAR-sized, iPhone-enabled, virtual reality-enhanced, Ein Hammer-era metropolis, “epic” might be it. The word is out about Burning Man. The hype will only continue to grow. Now we have to live up to it. Help me out, people. Don’t let an epic word like “epic” go to waste.

(If you’re interested, here’s my BM08 journal, which got me into this mess.)

About the author: Jon Mitchell

Jon Mitchell

, a.k.a. Argus, was publisher of the Burning Man Journal, the Jackrabbit Speaks newsletter, and the Burning Man website from 2016 to 2019. He joined the Comm Team as a volunteer in 2010 and as year-round staff in 2014. He co-wrote a big story about spending 24 hours at the Temple of Juno in 2012. His first Burn was in 2008.

48 Comments on “Epic Proportions

  • Jon Mitchell says:

    Hello, all. Thank you for reading my thing. If you would like to communicate with me, you may find me on The Twitters at http://twitter.com/JonMwords or in a variety of ways on http://about.me/jonmitchell

    I will also happily respond to any comments here, no matter how ridiculous.

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  • Buff Sanitized says:

    I’m with ya on most points… but please don’t hate on AWESOME. Awesome loves you. Awesome thinks YOU are awesome!

    I mean, there is so much awesomeness in Black Rock City… it’s just EPIC.

    Playa dust and sun kisses,
    Buff Sanitized.

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  • Pen says:

    Gear fab! My opinion, old curmudgeons are the final resting place for misplaced irony. I welcome Mellennials (having spawned a couple) and their energy and optimism and willingness to go beyond whatever the Boomers brought. They also need to get smacked for doing stupid Millennial shit but we’ll have to wait and see what that turns out to be.

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  • David says:

    2007 was my first BM so whatever came before it is not on my radar. 2010 was my 3rd and I did notice a larger number of youngin’s – I’m 40 – that I would definitely say did not “get” it. I don’t mean in a wearing pot-McD’s t-shirt way but in the spiritual and artistic way. That dude who kept shouting about partying at the Temple Burn for one. He about got his ass kicked into next year for not shutting up.

    Some people make BM about the PARTY which is totally fine. But it just seemed to me that an inordinate amount of youngin’s were there for that reason alone and it tainted things a bit for me. Just a bit.

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  • Snow Fox says:

    Nice post. 2009 was my first Burn year and this year was even more special, meaningful, and wonderful for me. One thing I love about Millenial Burners is that we come to the Playa already disillusioned by the status quo. Our generation was raised on promises that couldn’t be kept and for most of us our journey towards better alternative life paths began before we even stepped on the playa. Irony is our generation’s social sedative and Black Rock City is a perfect place for rehabilitation.

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  • AJontheplaya says:

    I’ll be 54 tomorrow and I’ve been to BRC for the past 4 years. I love every aspect of it, even the things I hate, because it opens me up to accepting others as they are. As a mother of (almost) 18 year old boys I am constantly reminded that ‘youth is wasted on the young’. There seems to be a proportionate amount of rudeness, slovenliness and self interest in the younger attendees but I am learning that it is the by-product of immaturity and not just by the current upcoming generation. I hope that the ones that do “get” it will open the dialog with those they observe who are ignorant of the tenets of the Playa (found at Burningman.com for all to read before they arrive). I saw boys pissing on the playa in a drunken stupor and voiced that it was uncalled for but I’m sure it fell on deaf ears.

    I do believe that, no matter what your chronological age, if you are born to be there you show the love and respect because you simply can’t do it any other way. If you’re only there to gawk and party, well, I hope you do have the party of your life. I know I intend to be there for the rest of mine.

    As a newbie myself, I do find that I feel a bit shoved to one side or sort of overlooked by the youngsters and that is annoying to someone who is still as vibrant as myself. I totally wish I could remind the smug ones that the folks who started this crazy party are of my generation and not to act so superior but I just chalk it up to the aforementioned immaturity and keep on partyin’…

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  • Jon Mitchell says:

    Believe me, I will get to the pissing on the playa in future posts.

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  • Brody says:

    Hey, Jon. Welcome to the Burning Blog.
    I’m 28, and 2010 was my 7th year at Burning Man. I’ve been going for most of my ‘adult’ life (I use that term loosely), and I know it’s helped me become a better person. Instead of helping me Grow Up (I have a history of being too serious and trying to be as adult as possible), it’s helped me relax, taught me the value of play, helped me learn how to interact with people, assisted me in getting over my extreme face-in-book-awkward-shyness.

    It’s good stuff.

    I look forward to reading your posts in the future!

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  • DhammaSeeker says:

    2010 was the first burn for this 35 year old seeker, and the inter-generational aspect of the event is one of the most intriguing to me. I felt a palpable energy brought by the folk younger than me and an abiding wisdom brought by those older. In the end, though, age is only a state of mind. AWESOME debut post!

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  • Erin says:

    Never been to this event, but I am intrigued by it (and of course would like to go someday). Your piece on epic reminded me of Ayn rand’s Fountainhead. Definitions of what is current and hip have a way of becoming part of our national culture and definition of what is morally acceptable.

    San Diego, CA

    P.s. Need an editor?

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  • jher says:

    2010 was my 4th burn. I started back in 2000, did 2001 and 2002 and took some time off to raise a kid. I’m in my 40’s now and BM is waaaaay different than I remember it. Granted, its 20,000+ people larger…

    Gone (for me) were all the people wearing el-wire on costumes. I saw less small art cars (read: bikes/golf carts). A huge surge in rave-style dance parties. It seemed like a lot younger crowd. Lots of fur wearing, hair-extentions, and glitter make-up.

    Granted, I did take 6 years off but it was amazing how it had evolved since my last visit.

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  • Jason Youngdale says:

    Next year will be my first Burn. I go for the art. I don’t need raves, booze, or naked people. Express your feeling and very soul into a piece of art you stick out in that desert and I will be in awe…. :)

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  • Jason Youngdale says:

    Generation “X” still gets “it”…. :)

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  • PUNAPETER says:

    This was my first burn. I had really discovered ALL of BM only 30 days before hand. I was 56 a month or so ago now 57, I was healed on the Playa and it wasn’t the magic, or the dust or was it? No one’s been able to tell what physiological attributes the alkali dust has. And yes I saw the video with guy w/red nails.

    My expectations were only that I thought all participants would be on a similar page if not the same one with respects to the ten principles. The pee on the plaza trip really was like peeing on the face of Burning Man. Quite disrespectful to the Native Americans too, it’s their aina.

    Having said that, and I hate that expression, the youth of today are probably as obnoxious and ill-mannered as older adults thought we were when we were in our 20’s. Dirty stinking hippies my grandma, a native San Franciscan, used to call them. “When are you going to get a haircut” was always the second sentence out of her mouth when I used to visit. I certainly have had more than my share of harassment by the man over 30 years cris-crossing the country, I got plenty reason to burn the man. When I was in my 20’s I’m sure I relieved myself in many opportunistic places when I had to go after drinking too much. But there wasn’t a Burning Man there. Ummm @ Altimont I think we were caught on film makin it in the grass at the back of the crowd, I’m sure several would have thought that rude. I can only imagine what her dad may have thought about it if he knew.

    Well I don’t drink to much anymore and have my own property and I take serious anyone’s property abuse. I was brought up with manners and being considerate at any rate. The youth today is very self-centered and into the now, ONLY immediacy. Instant everything at their twitching thumb pad.

    My nephew was a green man in the Bay Area and he came to stay on my farm in Hawaii. Didn’t last a month, bout’ 3 weeks. His thumbs never stopped texting. He got a job selling cell phones at the mall, not a job that will last through a depression. I had offered him knowledge in several hands on skills that could take his 20 year old know it all butt through life. But no, he knew it all.
    so good! I told him it was the best time for him to go. Right now! this is the time, when you know it all. bye

    In some ways they are us, the most disheartening thing is that they go for fluff not substance. In your 20’s life is nothing but a party, I remember. No responsibilities, no employee problem, accountants and lawyer or politicians involved with their day to day like ours.

    I say I don’t like what they’re doing but then I’d be a hypocrite because they are doing exactly what we were doing, upsetting the elders.

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  • Jon Mitchell says:

    I’m very glad everybody’s so down to talk about generational issues. That’s not going to be my sole focus, of course, but I do think it’s a conversation well worth starting.

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  • Smallfry says:

    I like your post! This past year was my 3rd burn. I myself am 24, so I am a part of the generation you’re talking about as well. I agree about the lack of maturity of some or lack of understanding that some people discussed, but I don’t think that that is merely related to age. I think it has more to do with the individual and their own awareness of self and others. I saw people from all ages embracing the full spirit of the burn, and people from all ages falling into the selfish party mode. I think it is often more common among the younger of the burners, but it’s not only them. I think it is up to those of us that do appreciate every aspect of the burner culture to share with those that seem lost. Too often we just get frustrated or jaded with them. But maybe they just need someone to help them see past the surface of the bright lights and parties…

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  • Stu Sands says:

    Thanks for the post, Jon. I think you got some of it right, but I disagree about the generational stereotyping. Yes, some complain how much better it used to be. Screw ’em. No matter what one does, there will be people who have an issue with it. That’s the reality. I’m sure you could find a cranky millennial who had been there for several years now, who would think the best days are gone. I don’t feel that way at all. I’m 52 and have been going a dozen years now. I think 2010 was the best year yet. It was awesome *and* epic! I also think that first-timers likely will behave differently if/when they come back…and probably leave the pot-leaf McD’s shirts at home. And that’s a pretty cool thing. It’s the change.

    But, I do really have a personal issue with lugging a laptop out to the temple. (or anywhere else out there). It turns you into a spectator, pure and simple and puts up a wall around you that keeps real experiences away. Forget the phones and laptops…I’ve got stuff to see, feel, do and people to meet and speak with. I don’t even bring a camera anymore…I travel around unencumbered with just my water to keep me going. (But that doesn’t mean I am unconnected or not tech savvy…I write and design applications, including mobile ones for a living…I just think they get in the way on the playa…my 2 cents).

    Burning Man will die a sad death if new blood does not come in and contribute. Without that it would be hollow.

    Looking forward to the next installment.

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  • Tomcat says:


    And by that I mean, if it’s your trip to come and think there’s some sort of generational shift happening, that’s cool. Just try to have fun and don’t pee on the art.

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  • booster says:

    Wait a second…generational differences in BRC? This was my 10th burn in the FLAT OUT MOST FANTASTIC space on the planet. I’ve watched the city double in population and sure things have changed. In 2001, a lady who had approached me for a light took one look at my-eyes-popped-out, jaw on the ground gaze as I was knocked flat by the playa all lit up and pulsating and said, “So it looks like you must have had your playa cherry popped. Too bad you weren’t here when it was still cool.” I just about fell over since what I was witnessing was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen and said, “Say what?” She dismissively pointed to…I’m sorry to repeat myself here but…THE FLAT OUT MOST FANTASTIC space I had ever seen…and dismissively waved it away with, “Who needs all this?” She (actually looking back on it now..I think it was a he) had been to the Baker Beach burns and thought the city had sold out. I couldn’t have disagreed with her/him more. In 2008 I was appreciatively watching the Critical Tits ride when two obvious virgins (they were wearing Khaki’s and polo shirts) approached me and asked where they could get some roofies. I had no idea but when I asked them what they would possibly want with that shit…they pointed at this wave of beautiful women and said, “Dude…look at them.” I just about fell over and said, “Why don’t you just try smiling and asking them their names for a start?.” I know of nowhere else on the planet as incredible as BRC. As long as you enter the city with an open mind and an open heart….the city and it’s population will give you back ten fold of what you put in. Young, old…..it doesn’t matter if you just listen to the playa: we are all one,

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  • Dirt Wheel says:

    The camera on Elvis’ hips used to make a lot of people angry as well. All things growing are going to go thru some sort of change. This change is something we have fallen in love with since our first burn. Keep this in mind at all times. This is a conscious party and we need to, of course, be the change we want to see. When you bring newbies you see how they rekindle a new sense of wonderment and awe, like when they were kidz. This alone is the magic that turns the cogs for change, community and beautiful new ideas. This is our basis. Young or old, you are changed the second you decide to journey to Black Rock City. Veteran’s have a perfect opportunity to instill change because of thier knowledge. Invite young burners into your ‘self awareness’ and ‘being’ of Burning Man. Let’s not get all bent on young and old, but how we can better our city and each other.

    Age is only a state of mind.

    P.S. If my grandpa can pee in a bag then so can you.

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  • Brother Dave says:

    Been three times and going back next year. The one dumb thing I saw that I attributed to being young was some dudes putting up a speed bump in ’09. They thought it was funny at the time till peeps started hitting it throughout the night in the dark.

    Still the dumbest thing I have seen.

    By and large the different generations are about the same and each brings a lot to the party.

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  • Steve D says:

    went with my wife in 09 for our first time. We love Burning Man, it changed us both for the better, and we are going back for 2012! (plans in the works all ready)

    I’ve gotta agree wit Brother Dave that both generations bring a part to the party. Burning man is always going to grow and move forward with the new generations due to the acceptance that has always been there.

    And Tomcat and the others bring up a good point about pissing. bathrooms are too far all the time… my brother-in-law made a good point too: “I should write a book about my experience at burning man and call it… I Was Having The Time of my Life (At Burning Man), but then I had to pee.” I’m sure anyone who’s been to the toilets on the playa after 12 knows what he means by this. Maybe better access and more toilets are needed.

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  • Jon Mitchell says:

    Okay, it’s obvious what my next post is gonna be about.

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  • Steve D says:

    …and people with bladder problems, it can really become hell. All you end up getting to do at the burn is going to the toilets. Just cant pee your pants.. sorry

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  • Steve D says:

    loved the article too! Keep them coming!

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  • Damian Plumb says:

    This year being 2010 was my first burn and i loved it. I have built a few things that where headed for the burn over the years. I was going to go 2009 but got hurt in a moto wreck. I am better now. I was part of building an art car for the 2010 burn, maybe you saw it the spider car. This was really fun to be part of something that was enjoyed by so many. I took care of the welding and some of the engineering of this car. I have a small shop here in Reno Sparks area, you know the biggest little city on your way to the burn. I also have a bit of space to park art cars for the off season. I would like to offer my shop and storage spaces to people that want to build an art car and be part of its construction. Have you ever seem the joy on a guys face when he or she says “I built that”. This was one the most gratifying parts of the burn. The owner of the art car that I helped had the biggest smile I have ever seem when people hopped on this thing and road around with us. I have come up with a new business plan, at least I hope so. I would like to offer my shop and my labor to help people build and store there art cars. Lets say you have a vision and no way to make it happen. You can come out to Reno, work with me in my shop building your dream, them we just park it at my place. When you get ready for the burn just come pick your art car, batteries will be charged, gas tank full, tires aired up and you head for the burn. Does this sound like something you might be interested in or does it sound like a waste of time as a business plan for my little welding shop. Please let me know if this sounds like something I should keep looking into go back to the old plan. Thanks Damian ddplumb@hotmail.com

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  • Jo-zeff says:

    This year was my third burn. I absolutely love it. Adore it. Can’t imagine not going every year. I think about it all the time, it takes me a full year to assimilate all that I learn there. It is a huge part of my life, and how I identify with myself….

    Change is a constant, those who cling to the way it was, that’s too bad, kind of sad, because something extremely special is definitely still happening, it’s just different. Things change.

    Age doesn’t matter, just doesn’t. and there will always be A-holes just looking for a mindless party. I’ll bet you anything there were even a few of them at Baker Beach. Guaranteed. Romanticize all you want, but there’s one in EVERY crowd….

    I’m 52 years old, and I don’t have bladder problems, but when you hydrate as much as you’re supposed to on the playa, peeing frequently is the result. There were simply not enough porta potties this year, and they were all at least three blocks in from the playa. I couldn’t figure out how people could dance way out in the middle of the playa for hours without peeing…when you drinking water constantly, you pee constantly. It was IMPOSSIBLE not to pee on the playa a couple of times, I would have had to stay home at my camp otherwise….or drink a lot less water, which is a bad idea!!

    In fact, it was the ONLY downside to being there for me this year, the constant quest for a place to pee…..and Dirt Wheel, peeing in a bag doesn’t work…unless you’re sitting in front of your TV.

    LOVE Burning Man! ♥ ♫♪♪♫ ♥♫♪ ♫♪ ☀

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  • Joshua "2.0" says:

    I got on the bus in ’95…in time to see the end of an amazing run…and met people in their 80’s down to 20’s that had been seeing Dead shows, some their entire lives… Then Jerry passed and i went back to school… 14 years later I found a way back home, to the Playa… And i see the same diversity of wisdom, and stupidity on the Playa as i did on tour… There is a disproportionate experience quotient at play here as newbies join the ranks, but that doesn’t presume a lack of eventual wisdom. True it’s the job of community members, elders and leaders to share, promote, and even enforce our code, written or not. But id like to think that as they unplug, relax, open their minds, and participate in a true commercial-free experience…they too will rise into the ranks of the seasoned. You’re not an adult until you regret the things you cannot change…doesn’t matter how old you are.

    The kids are alright. Just remind them to eat fruit and keep wet wipes outta the shitters.

    I’m 36. Use Epic and Awesome daily. I also like to say fuck a lot. I find the idea of restraining ones use of language absurd. But i agree the expounding on a basic McDonalds dialogue menu would be a good thing. Is fucking epic allowed? ;)


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  • Soulaye says:

    Oh so EPICALLY Tomcat…
    I was 2 when they first burned the man on Baker Beach. Seems to me that the “old timers” have been complaining ever since the exponential growth patterns took hold, oh about 2 years after the event started. It was always better next year and 5 burns ago… but then it doesn’t seem to change much either… shit’s on fire… people’re on drugs… the temple makes you cry… the man looks bigger in pictures.
    I’ve met just as many assholes in the 35-55 range as I have in the 18-35 age range. Some people get it. Some people don’t. Snark appreciated to put them in their place.
    Bring your own art. Participate. Enjoy now. Don’t be a sparkle pony!

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  • Epiphany Starlight says:

    I can and do wax eloquently and endlessly about the most amazing event on the planet, that’s attended by the most creative, and brilliant minds on said celestial body. When people look at me and hear my exuberance, they realize… “hey if that old gal can go out there by herself, have that much fun and be so passionate, maybe I should take a chance and go see what’s happening out there”. It’s all about consciousness and if people don’t “get it” right away they either wander away in their unconsciousness with the seed planted or are moved to a subtle awakening… regardless of age.

    I wasn’t even aware of the event until a beautiful 30-something friend invited me in 2002. I was too scared to take the plunge on such short notice, she asked me in May, but took the next year to read and assimilate the website. I hadn’t been to a public festival since the 60’s, and needed to be clear (haha) about what to expect. Wow… read the website but don’t think you’ll understand what to expect. Age has nothing to do with what happens in BRC, only your willingness to be moved and changed. AND please participate, it’s the most powerful vehicle for your transformation.

    Thanks BM for bringing meaning and purpose back into my boring default world, for we’re never too old to really live.

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  • Budgoodies says:

    Peeing on the playa is ok because the potties are to far away and you’re having too much fun? Do you pee on the stairs next to your seat when you go to a concert or a sport event? Why should the other participants and the cleanup crew have to deal with YOUR piss? Residents of BRC should be responsible for themselves and to the community. Enough about that rant and more to the point of this thread. Tech on the playa isn’t bad, just different. It will be used and accepted just as it is in every society. It will take time to integrate into the fabric and manners of the city. I support aging parents and own a business. For several years I’ve taken a satellite phone to the playa. I use it as discretely as I would a cellphone in a restaurant. I don’t want my needs to distract others from their experience.

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  • David Bell says:

    B-Man 2010 – A Year of Virgins and Overseas Visitors !

    My camp, Camp Shrunken Heads, edxperienced being inhabited by 2 germans and an Italian along with some cool locals.

    Ilario rode his 1070 Vespa scooter from Alaska to the man! He is now entering the Amazon rainforest! (vespanda (dot) com)

    Toby and Ilario met in Alaska and then Toby rode his bicycle form Alaska to b-man. 120 mile his last day! his nickname is “The beast from the East”!

    I would say that 90% of those i met this year were VIRGINS! Or from another country.

    This was my 6th burn and 2nd best ever (I’ll bet ya all know which was my “best”)

    DBell, Oakland, CA

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  • spectabillis says:

    it really reads like an abstracted attempt to define another generation, another group of people that are somewhat different?

    first: not the best idea to attempt definitions and classifications then apply them to others at a place like burningman. actually, its kinda lame. no clue where you have been slumming it, but we always have new camp members who would violently disagree with you making attempts to define what things mean to them, and they are not all that nice about it.

    second: your experience is far different from other newcomers i know. so just because you find like souls and voices of agreement it does not validate anything. its minor, and you errantly tried to apply observations based on such a limited scope

    third: drop the cultish longings, please, already. one of the primary things we developed all this was to escape those kind of auto-generated guidelines that builds social structures, to escape your tendencies that paint your value and ideals over everything. we may all have them, but yours are not all that more important than everyone else’s. you just got over-excited and dreamy, hey, it happens.

    finally, drop the academic applications of your interests. its stale, and reads like a closet intellectual locked in by insecure and murky career aspirations.

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  • Jon Mitchell says:

    Everything I write is up for discussion. I didn’t define anything, I just observed things. Take it or leave it, sibling.

    Don’t know where you saw any “cultish longings,” but if you’re talking about defined principles, Burning Man has those.

    I also didn’t do anything academic except make fun of college.

    … and I’ve been “slumming it” at Skinny Kitty Teahouse for the last few years. If that doesn’t ring a bell, Matador called us the best place to crash at Burning Man after Center camp. You should come by sometime.

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  • spectabillis says:

    then i am humbled and apologize. especially for misunderstanding because i read from your reply you got a couple of things wrong… so maybe i didnt do a good job explaining

    but a sibling? at my age i thank you for the complement, i wont even bother disagreeing with you, its so charming!

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  • spectabillis says:

    oh its just too endearing, i have to reply…

    not to call you out or anything, but you have examples of defined developments in cultures like burningman? you mentioned the principals, how about starting with that? know how they formed? which ones were naturally emergent, which ones have evolved to enforcement? maybe something that hasnt been repeated across tribe or eplaya?

    i mean, making fun of educational institutions can be an easy target, but i hope that doesnt include throwing the practice of research away

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  • Jon Mitchell says:

    I’m having trouble following the various and tangled threads in your comments. Could you maybe prioritize them for me, or something, so I can respond to them?

    Are you quizzing me on the history of Burning Man? I don’t understand.

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  • spectabillis says:

    sorry, my bad, nevermind

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  • Jon Mitchell says:

    All right, then. Have a good night.

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  • Kitty says:

    Thanks to the next and the next generation for giving an old timer like me renewed inspiration. I realize now that I don’t need to bring it bigger and badder year after year, that those we have raised and inspired should be past the torch and boy have you all grabbed the torch.

    2010 brought me back as a born again virgin (after a break, took ’09 off) and I think that many of us lifers have felt this over the many years. I came home feeling like I did after my first burn but with a whole lot more know how. I feel this great new intoxication is from all you other fresh generations, younger/older, so thanks again. See you all soon!

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  • Austin says:

    I love the burger King sine keep it up.

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  • ronjon says:


    Someone has to represent for the oppressed curmudgeons.

    I know Larry, also.

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  • spectabillis says:


    hey thats the place, right, where all that bad homo sex goes on and shit? all those whacked out freaks giving each other handjobs? ok, the stripper poles were too much, and i cant get my sixteen year old daughter from wearing fur and fucking some hippie now… but dude, someone call pershing’s 911, quick

    thats too much, thats not burningman

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  • flipit says:

    I’ll argue that 05-07 was a transitional period for a very different reason. I call them the Man’s “college years”

    05 was the year Katrina and the failed levees took out the gulf. While we were on the playa. In the months that followed, burners realized that the innovation, generousity, and skill sets that made the playa happen could also be used to change the world.

    By 06 that became Burners without borders, and wood from art and camps started getting recycled instead of burned. Ditto Reno-based recycling options, green bikes,more veggie oil vehicles, etc.

    In 07, I saw less an issue with Disneyfication, and more that the theme had artists and other participants thinking about their impact on the world. The solar panels that lit the man that year led to the first Black Rock Solar installations.
    (not to mention that the observation platform atop the solar panel control center being a great place to make out).

    And I sense that sensibility… That we can both party and do good – a 20something style – pervading the whole event…

    Flipit, virgin class of 2005

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  • spectabillis says:

    then lets hope, perhaps flipit, we all graduated already from incarcerating a nutjob bman vet. because while you had the opportunity to party it up, those were also the prison years for other reasons… for many of us

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  • I can see that you all got happy faces! You must have enjoyed this event huh!

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  • Fascinating blog post you have hereabouts. I hadn’t given due consideration such.

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