I’m SO excited to be taking this year off Burning Man. I just wanted to let you all know.
The last month has been a bit of a drag, following online art project and theme camp arrangement discussions along with noticing random shopping Burners all a flutter in mad rushes at various building supply and thrift stores, picking through bins of clothes, pulling out the unseemly, ironic or costume re-purposeful stuff. I see them there, hoarding Boy Scout shirts and tuxedo tops, grabbing odd hats, bridal getups, impossible shoes and other affluent refuse donated by a spoiled culture steeped in planned obsolescence. I noticed them at scrap and big builder outlets buying pipes and steel, tarps and wood and screws to build something they have no business erecting anywhere without zoning permits.
Yea, I saw you buying up all the solar lights and goggles and dust abatement gear, filling your bags with anything that glows or blinks, anything that can entertain off the grid. I see you loading your almost-clean-of-playa-dust-after-a-year trucks all covered with BRC stickers. I know what you’re up to.
Ah, to avoid the hassle of going to Burning Man! Have a good time this year suckers.
I’ll be fine here, back home.
There’s plenty to do when skipping Burning Man. I can log some extra hours at work and avoid this blog that’s brimming with stories and images of how fantastic things are on the playa. Some friends may get together to have drinks on Saturday night. I doubt we’ll webcast the Burn, or perhaps we will. We certainly won’t talk about Burning Man, no, not at all. We won’t tell stories of Burns past.
So tell me, what’s going on this week?
Also there is always this awesome list of ideas that goes way back. It made the email rounds back in the day and I have no idea who originally wrote it but it’s always been one of my favorites, with such great ideas to experience Burning Man at home such as:
“Stack all your fans in one corner of the living room.
Put on your most fabulous outfit.
Turn the fans on full blast.
Dump a vacuum cleaner bag in front of them.”
Yea this week is going to ROCK.
With every other friend changing their profile picture to the “Gone to Burning Man” image as their Facebook status, I’m hoping the continual posting of what’s going on on the playa will forthwith and immediately slow to a trickle. The little bit of internet you have out there is going to choke Monday night when the hordes arrive, so enough already. Cell phone usage was a frantic chicken with its head cut off a couple years ago but even Papa Legba couldn’t keep the text finger set connected and they had to experience what was happening around them rather than text and post pics. Good thing that. Look up from your phone. You might get run over by a walking insect or pirate ship or a laughing zebra. I think that’s called Immediacy. Not sure.
Come to think of it, once you’re out there and you’ve gone through all the hassle to arrive, the weeks of planning, the packing, the drive and the ingress into the City where you set up your camp and endure dust storms and the insanity of acclimation to the severe environment and the travails of keeping your shit together while your mind is being blown by art that’s never existed before, art that rolls by you making odd maniacal and distracting noises, art that explodes or excites your senses so much you think maybe there are senses you haven’t discovered yet, well, that and after you’ve connected with friends and rolled in a comfortable dancing bacchanal that is as old as our species and you’ve had your eyes opened or fallen in love or realized you want to change your life into something greater than it currently is and you have this support system of weird corporeal lunatics as context creators that put together a City where you can live out your dreams once a year to return again and bring your brand of you into existence, well, after all that, Black Rock City is just like any old subdivision really.
And there are ladies dancing with fire on their heads. That’s kind of cool.
Did I mention how pleased I am to be not going out there this year?
Although, as reality sets in, I look around and notice that in town a little bit of the weird has wandered away. The studios are silent and American Steel no longer clangs and whirs with showers of orange sparks or the crackling of welds a popping. The smell of ground iron flecks has abated and the place is still since all those monsters artists worked on for so long have caravanned out to live a week or three at Black Rock City.
And our favorite Art Cars are gone, that weird Carthedral, Danger Bus or Fish that you’d see in various spots around town is gone to ferry merry passengers across the playa. We still have plenty of eclectic folks in the SF Bay Area, but there do seem to be more parking spaces. I’m not getting invited to any more fundraiser parties. I was getting a little addicted to those so I’m ready to go cold turkey.
It might be nice to make it out there this year, if only for a few days, but no. Not this year.
I took 2007 off and missed a rather unplanned fire event. We went camping in Bear Country up near Shasta with friends. We drank and walked around looking at the amazing trees and pinnacles in the mountain. We hiked and biked. We listened to music and spotted trains passing us across the river that shook our campground as they thundered through the valley. We burned a man of wood we built in our campfire on Saturday night. We left on Monday and got stuck in traffic on the 5 for a couple hours. It was entirely nothing like going to Burning Man, except for maybe the Bears…
This year I wonder what I’ll miss besides all the amazing art and events, the meeting new friends and the joyous swarthy parties and feasts, the celebrations and Esplanade parade of Art Cars moving past. That and being with most of my friends during that sublime moment when we all watch the Man burn and our year starts anew.
I suspect that if any year was it, this would be the one where the Mother Ship that’s been watching us for so long finally arrives and takes away our best and brightest who gather in Black Rock City to form a new civilization before the whole “earth” thing collapses.
As the Man burns a giant saucer slowly turning and the size of Black Rock City, all blinking against its dark space exoskeleton, will be mistaken for the largest mass of drones ever assembled and will quietly descend to begin pulling Burners up into its hold, rapture like, through a sage and soap infused mist to avoid playafying the interior of the ship, and it will be communicated (telepathically no doubt) that this year’s Burners have been chosen to start a new society somewhere in paradise.
Of course, that would make for a pretty quiet Temple Burn Sunday night.
And evidently they’ve found the oldest petroglyphs in North America near the event at Winnemucca Lake just recently (Thanks Danger Ranger for reading Archaeology Magazine) which can only mean that our alien creators are returning this year to see if we’ve figured out what they wrote on those rocks ten thousand years ago. Maybe Danger Ranger figured it out and they know.
People have their reasons for taking a year off or even never returning again. Caring for yourself or a friend or family member, the start of school (a bane of teachers and students who long to burn every Labor Day), lack of scratch, or just a general malaise or coordination hiccup keeps us away. And there are those who’ve had their expectations tweaked and who won’t ever return but even some of them comment on the event and that is important to this movement in particular. It’s like they still have feelings for the kid they helped raise and want to still be part of its life.
Yea this year is going to probably be great staying home.
For those of you on the playa who can’t read this, sure, you think you’re so cool, with your BBQs and parties and Bloody Mary mornings and tutu Tuesdays. You with your Bunny Marches and Red Rovers, prankster decorations in the PortaPotties and your habit of handing out gifts or food on the Esplanade, yea you enjoy that. I’m going to catch up on the entire past season of my TV Vampire Story. So there.
There’s DANGER in Black Rock City. The warnings are all on the internet. Think about it.
There’s too many people, too many Yahoos, too many Cops, too much Rain, Thunder and Lightning. There’s undoubtedly too much DUST and No Running Water!
It’s SO HOT
It’s SO COLD
The Hippies have ruined it. The Dot com folks have ruined it. PortaPotties? Hello? There must be some new rules we don’t even know about yet. Is the Man Base finished yet? And who wants to deal with Entry OR Exodus?
Rumors abound and they all reinforce my decision to stay home but I don’t take my decision lightly.
However I can’t help thinking, what if this was the last Burning Man?
Sure, aliens’ coming to abduct the entire City is plausible, but what else could happen?
I don’t know. I don’t want to find out.
What would Burners do without a year on the playa? Would they even still be “Burners”? How would the blinkie, glowie things and el wire industry hold up? Could other events handle the influx of people wanting to be all Radically Inclusive, Leave No Trace and Gift? Would the Utilikilt industry just disappear?
What of the Bunnies and Clowns, Animal Control and Pirates? Where would one “Shirtcock” and where would the pants cannon roam?
Would we see despondent fire spinning Burners at night, standing on bridges around the country, spinning poi and looking sadly down into the depths below, tears streaming down their cheeks lit from the glow of their firesticks, only to jump and spin, spin, spin to their watery deaths?
I shudder to think it might ever go away. But no, I’m staying home this year. I hear there are Stinging Sand Mites and Biting Flies that just drifted in with the last Cloud of Locusts. Oh the gnashing of teeth, wailing and rending of garments that’s going to hit the playa more than likely this year. I’m vaguely aware that was verified in someone’s last Facebook post.
Yes, so glad to not be going. Well, I’m pretty sure I’m not going. Almost positive… I mean, maybe, if I could get it together to get out there, but probably not.