Oh how things have changed from the Rainpocalypse of Monday’s downpour, hail, and lightning strikes that shut down the city and kept gate closed for hours. Black Rock City is in full force with roaming dusty bands of painted and festooned citizens and with flowing flocks of decorated bikes ridden by enthusiastic, wide eyed merry makers. There are shiny newcomers all acclimated and fabulous, as well as those who’ve been out here a while and who are now relaxing and taking it in. Art has burned, parties have been thrown and like all cities, we’ve weathered this together and become closer. There are peals of laughter and general hilarity across the city, howls as the sun drops behind the granite range and the magic hours begin, sizzling grills smoking at all times of the day, be it bacon hour or the dinner cocktails time, with art cars of all types and sizes: cats, ships, dragons, camels, rolling slow, shimmering disco and techno as they slowly cruise and create temporary ambient environments prowling up and down the avenues of our city.
So many rumors swirl around us this week. You encounter them one day, then they return, just a little changed the next time you hear them. There were tales of purple streaming electric fingers before the lightning strikes. There’s the story of Lucky Strike reported by the Black Rock Beacon. He was juggling in the rain when lightning struck a few feet from him and he was indeed a lucky man. We heard there was a forty two percent chance of rain on Wednesday and by Friday, that rumor had become a seventy percent chance. Rain storms are the new dust storms, although at this moment we are experiencing flowing alkaline as our Man Crew disassembles the Souk in preparation for tonight’s Burn. We were at Playa Info yesterday, and a woman there who was helping someone, stood up and loudly proclaimed, “There is NO percent chance of rain.” We heard there were scary clowns keeping order in D lot during the rain shutdown but most people just set up temporary camp to ride it out. We’re a hearty bunch for the most part and Burning Man is, if anything, a training ground for dissolving society that is emerging into a new society out on this harsh post-apocalyptic environment. We aren’t quite sure where the fuzzy pink boots fit into that scenario, but you gotta have fashion I suppose.
Last night at the Alien Siege Machine there was a perimeter and the fire safety folks asked those in the front rows to sit down. Someone was walking along the line of seated folks carrying a flash light, asking if they’d paid the 40 bucks for their front row tickets. He was shining his light on them all, asking to see their wristbands. Everyone was surprised and showed their wrists and were relieved when the big dude told them they had the proper credentials. It really is amazing how programmed we are to believe anyone with a flash light.
We also heard that someone made a mistake and accidentally purchased flame retardant wood that was used to build the Man. Evidently they have to replace all the wood Saturday before the burn. This obviously isn’t true, as Man Crew would never make a mistake like that, being the professionals they are. Likewise, depending on who you talk, to we heard the legs of the Man are either made from those Redwood trees from 2007’s Crude Awakening, or that they are made out of steel girders and when the Man burns those girders will be coated with thermite, so be sure to bring your welding goggles to the Burn … those welding goggles you brought because, Burning Man.
Supposedly Gate found a record number of people in an RV using their new infrared technology. We hear next year there might be three burns over the summer, each bigger than the next, then there’s going to be Christmas Burn which will present a whole new challenge for surviving out here. And we’ve heard unconfirmed accounts of camels. But that is, of course, just hearsay.
We’ve heard there’s a push for a new “JADED Burner Lane” at Greeters for those of you who hate hugs and just want to have to slow down as you pass through, beneath a big black sign that reads “JADED” all the way to the right where a Greeter will just flip you off and throw a map and WhatWhereWhen through your opened window. Likewise, for first timers, rumor is there’s a Home Depot in Empire, right behind the Empire Store if they’ve forgotten anything. A group of people who needed a shower were told to go to “Licked by Kittens Camp” out at the Trash Fence. You walk in and lay down in tub of misty goodness where 42 kittens will lick you clean. Evidently they are placed next to Puppy Breath Camp.
I like to believe that Burning Man is kind of an inside joke and we’re all inside, with our own jokes. Burning Man was built on the prank, and if we lose our sense of humor about all this, we might as well be attending a business seminar. We’re all creating this thing and while it can be a serious endeavor, the element of absurdity helps us to readjust reality and make life a little more fun.
As we’re slouching towards Saturday night, all of us comfortable or at least settled into our situation for the most part, where our concept of cleanliness is somewhat adjusted over the course of the week, we’re making more friends, taking more pictures, re-visiting art we saw early in the week if it hasn’t burned yet, making more connections, sharing our food and drinkables, spending more quality time with our friends we sometimes only see out here, and adding new acquaintances we hope to see again to our lives. Even us Jaded Burners have to admit that this week means something.
After the Burn, we’ll probably end up out there, where big sound art buses roam like discordant beasts, lighting up the darkness and moving slowly criss-crossing the playa, to eventually gather and form colonies of sound where mad max boys and girls shoot fire up into the night and dancetronauts pump through massive sound systems with members of all the tribes gyrating; thousands of us grooving around. Boots and Pants and Boots and Pants. And we’ll hit the dance clubs along Esplanade from the uber techo million dollar deals to Fur Camp where NeonBunny will spin with Fou Fou Ha to Planet Earth to soak up some 80s. We will end up at fire circles and sit on the ARTery couches playing go fishing with blinkies, fishing poles and passing Burners who think they’ve discovered MOOP, and we will celebrate. There will be hugs, there will be happy new years all around. We will go until the dawn, amped up on the energy we will release into the cosmos when that Man burns.
Luckily it looks like there is, indeed a zero chance of rain.