Saturday, September 6, 2008

Burning Man: The verdict

Burning Man was amazing and awe-inspiring and a whole lot of fun. I laughed and danced and gawked and survived two all-day windstorms and one nasty bout of heatstroke. I met lots of great people and took a few pictures, but mostly I flew by the seat of my pants and found wonder and excitement at every turn. I watched people fight in the Thunderdome, danced on cages and rickety three-story structures, donned devil horns, and competed in the Potato Olympics. I jumped on trampolines (once during a white-out sandstorm), spun the wheel at the Skinny Kitty Teahouse (home of several mummified cats), and partied with Canadians and Belgians and Australians.

I would definitely go again, though I don't think I would camp with the same people. And I would work harder to avoid heatstroke (note: getting drunk all day isn't so smart when you're in the desert.)

Anyhow, now I'm back to my own little life, a weird sort of melancholy has set in, but I have a spring in my step and a new joie de vivre that I didn't have before.

So I'm good. I want to get a new job in the worst way. But I'm good.

Some pics:

Entering Black Rock City for the first time. I carpooled with my friend Brian, who was also a first-timer. Since we were virgins, the greeter let us ring a big bell. Hooray!

Sunday night: Our campsite when we first arrived. Since we registered as a theme camp, we had a nice slice o' land carved out for us.

Monday around noon: we'd just finished setting up our mess tent and a huge windstorm kicked up. It didn't let up until 10pm or so! We spent the day aimlessly wandering around Black Rock City, all decked out with goggles and bandannas. In hindsight, it wasn't fun at all, but we were just so happy to have arrived in BRC, and there was lots to see even during the storm. My favorite windstorm sighting: a naked old guy waiting for a nonexistent bus and jokingly asking passers-by for change.

Hanging out in Center Camp during nicer weather. Center Camp was a very impressive, stable structure, and there were always dancers and other performers to keep one entertained. On this particular day, an old man was parked near us and was putting pasties on willing women as they passed him. Hilarious!

The Man, perched on a three-story structure that people could climb and get a great view. Sadly, I didn't get to ascend the Man before he burned, but I climbed plenty of other structures and got to enjoy great views (sorry, no pictures).

Hanging out on the Esplanade (the main drag) on a particularly hot day. I happily accepted cold water, beer, mistings, etc. from all of those camping on the Esplanade.

The Skinny Kitty Teahouse earns its name.

The kissing booth near my camp where I spent lots of time. I worked the booth probably about 15 hours over the course of 3 days, and kissed hundreds of people. It was tons of fun; I especially enjoyed the gifts - booze, food, trinkets, etc. people brought me after I kissed them. I think my favorite gifts were Young Wife Blend coffee (from a Salt Lake City couple) and an Eiffel Tower keychain from a French man. Also, a Russian guy had an old typeweriter and let us type on it. Fun!

A sign at one of my favorite bars.

A band playing in a rolling concert venue. That would be impressive enough, but when you consider that all this was brought to the middle of fucking's pretty awe-inspiring.

Another awe-inspiring sight: two massive pieces of metal artwork alongside the crane that put them in position.

So those are some pics. They hardly capture the energy or debauchery of the festival, but I let the fancy photo-taking for others because I was so busy cavorting. Also, the dust was hell on electronics and I didn't want to kill my camera.

In summary, I would describe Burning Man as a rave meets Woodstock meets total anarchy. It was smashing.

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