September 8th, 2008

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Burning Man was FUCKING AWESOME this year. I'm finally going to post a quick summary, and some of my pictures, here on the group, because I posted this in my personal journal and didn't think to post here.

The Summary:

Thunderdome, the spontaneous Death Guild Dance Party while volunteering at the ice booth, falling off a car, table dancing, Fire Lounge, walking across the desert at night, riding on the back of the Satellite in a blinding dust storm, driving the Satellite, shenigans involving a megaphone and floodlight, no love for glow sticks, laying in a hammock suspended 20 feet in the air, morning naptime, white night and a wedding in the dome, Jungle Pig, heartfelt talks, best friends, Kurt's hat, hair extensions, seeing falling stars and satellites, high fives, FIRE, Death Guild, ice cream, bacon, bad jokes, good times and our very own bathrooms.

Do I need to say more than that? Like everyone says, it's a personal experience :)

The Photos (mostly of me, sorry...):






(the last picture is the entire death guild thunderdome crew on White Night - it was someone's wedding)
community, art, friends

Debate on previous post.

Hello, this is a public service post.

It appears that the author of the previous entry has decided to use the comment moderation powers to delete several comments critical of the post's content. Since he has also mischaracterized the content of these comments, I think it would be appropriate to have another area to debate the post where no comments will be deleted. An area for free and fair debate.

Thank you, have a nice day.

"I Have An American Dream..."

2008 Burning Man was AMAZING for me.
I still have so much to process.
Unfortunately, the decompression is coming TOO fast and furious this year.
The thick cultural smog is more than I can handle.
I spent a week basking in the deepest personal truths singing from inspiring individuals.
Now all I hear are the most sophisticated manufactured phrases spewed from political conventions.
It is WAY too abrupt for me.
“Decompression” is the term Burners give to that abrupt shift from a love-fueled community to the normal interactions of regular life.
And it is always hard.
(My camp mate Nanda was shocked when, on the ride home from his first burn, the Taco Bell cashier would not accept his gift of a beaded bracelet and refused his hug. “But, dude …you brought me *tacos*!!”)
The timing of this year’s presidential election has created an unusually harsh shift for decompression: The dust in the air has been replaced by a heavy political odor.
It would *seem* a more natural transition since the theme of this year’s event was “American Dream.”
But so far, that is not my experience.
What I saw in the art and people of Burning Man was the very BEST of America.: Intense Individualism, a profound value of Liberty, and the exaltation of Freedom.
What I see in the political media landscape feels combative, manipulative, and deceitful. Is it just me?
To be truthful, I was not a fan of the Burning Man theme when it was announced. How could something I find so sacred, dirty itself with the shallow realm of politics?
But I’ve discovered that The American Dream is very different than politics.
In fact, I am starting to see that it is the opposite of politics.
The American Dream is about creating a system that defends my rights, regardless of the opinions, beliefs, and faith I hold dear.
I think the founding fathers would be Burners.
I say that without any intention of humor.
It is easy to compartmentalize Burning Man into a caricature of faux fur, dance parties, and fire.
Perhaps I am guilty of promoting this type of perception.
But being a flamboyant pink superhero was what my dream looked like.
Through my creativity, my mom’s crafting skills, and a community’s support, I was allowed to make a ridiculous dream real. What is amazing is that, in that ridiculous state of freedom, I have been able to get in touch with things far deeper and profound.
Things like love and spirituality. Things like honor and respect.
I’ve always said that the overall attitude at Burning Man is, “You can do whatever you want that doesn’t cause harm to others. I may not choose to join you, but I’ll certainly hold your coat while you do it.”
If you tried to turn that sentiment into legalese, I think you’d get something pretty close to the Bill of Rights.
It seems to me that The American Dream is about protecting Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
NOT defining what any of those things looks like.
America’s Founding Fathers wanted to guarantee us all a canvas and access to paints.
Because life, like art, can only be judged by the one who lives it.
How we live our lives is the most sacred thing we have. And the Founding Fathers knew it. They fought for it. They bled for it.
Thomas Jefferson said that, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” I hope with all the love in my heart that we find a way fuel our dreams with a different type of manure.
Lord knows we have a surplus of shit to burn.
I just hope we have the vision to remember what is sacred, and what needs to be destroyed.
Because, come November, if election fraud and corruption fill the void of our deflating Hope, I’m not sure what will happen next.
Will the status quo continue to allow a place for the fringe?
I don’t care if I’m in control, embraced, or even liked…so long as the right to be free from persecution remains self-evident.
All I want is Life & Liberty. And to be allowed to choose my own path to happiness.
I hope this is the American Dream our candidates fight for.
I hope this is the American Dream we all fight for.
Burner & Patriot,
John Halcyon Styn

A Virginal Question...

I've never been to BM.

Can one go and simply have a good time taking in the art, meeting people, enjoying music, being part of the community and have an experience there without having a "thing" going on of their own as far as some kind of art or special camp or mobile art effort or whatever? Is there some policy that you cannot come and not "participate"? Isn't being there and contributing in some way participating?

I think I might wear a sign that says: "Mobile Massage Parlour" and give massages on the fly... that's about as creative as I want to be because it fits in with who I am.

Sometimes when I look at pictures I think.. wow, just like in the real world, you have to be beautiful, artful, interesting, look good naked, or have green hair, or no hair, or be pierced, tattooed, etc, in order to go to this thing.

I'm not a gawker, but I'm not sure I want to haul out into the middle of the desert, in addition to supplies and stuff for a week, something to build for the sake of art, or wear impractical garments that might be annoying and uncomfortable, or be naked in any way.

Will I fit in? Do I have to? I thought this was one place where one did not have to "fit in" at all?


Cheers to the Org for the Clean Portapotties

I gotta say that the porta potties were the cleanest I have ever seen them in all the years I have been comming - its really too bad that that was the only shit the ORG could clean up.

1. after approving the plans design and pictures for the camp art car and getting us all to dump thousands of dollars in materials and manhours - the DMV rejected it once it got to the playa becasue it looked like what we said it would look like.

2 All the rules and regulations about propane use changed and we couldn’t get permits to do any of the flame effects or flame art we had built - even though all the other art on the playa didn’t have to follow these same rules.

3. I got the total run-around and mistreatment by the rudest women at both media mecca and playa info about getting camera tags for a art doc about our group I was working on - so I couldn't even shoot video of our own campmates.

4. and our campmates and close friends who spent half a year practicing and all the time and expense of submitting a video and choregraphing got the shaft when they cancelled the conclave.

One of these things failing is inconvenient but it can be expected at Burning Man, two failures a serious run of bad luck - but all 4 is a total wipe None of it our fault, all of it totally controllable at the org level. (as per #4 - dust storms finished at sundown at 9:00 - there was more than enough time for the conclave before they burned the man...)

So overall as a janitor - the Org gets an A
but for arts support it failed us miserably this year.
and its report card reads "DOES NOT WORK WELL WITH OTHERS"

The Virgin Advice post

Ok Virgins here ya go:

First - read this - the First-Timer's Guide -

Read Everything,

Click every link and read those too,

Then click on the links on the side of the page and read those as well,

Then go roaming around the BM website at random and see what it has to tell you,

After that type "Burning Man Advice" into google and hit "I feel lucky" - repeat as often as you like

Finally type your left over questions which nothing else has answered into google and decide how you want to get your answers - images are fun.

Now, after you've done all of this - if you still have questions (which you should find you have even more than when you began) - come to the vets and begin asking.

Remember :

~ to leave your expectations or any assumptions, that you have any REAL idea what the heck you're about to get into by going - at the door.  

~ You don't know really know till you get out there, heck most of the time We don't know either and that's what makes it so freakin fun!

~whatever you think is simultaneously 100% right and 100% wrong. (how is this? It's Burning Man.)

~freak outs are a normal thing for burners, especially during preparations/traveling/arriving/set-up/the whole event/teardown/traveling back home/decompression.

~it is more amazing and harrowing than you can ever imagine it to be, so stop imagining it and just experience everything as it comes your way.

~there are no stores, nothing within about 20+ miles - if you need it to survive, bring it in yourself.   
***Don't bitch about this, we all have to do it and it's extremely annoying to listen to virgins complaining about having to make sure their own survival is assured all by themselves. Yes it's inconvenient - That's The Whole Point of Being In Black Rock Desert!!!!

Anything else? ;'D

Oh Yeah! Many veteran burners like to give out disinformation.
They like to screw with you and tell you the exact opposite of what you need to actually know.
Don't ask survival questions, look those up yourself - people can be down right cruel and their friends back them up because they see the humor in You, poor sap, actually believing them.

(See the concerned post by the vet about the online store posted earlier today.)

  • Current Mood
    chipper chipper