All posts by rednikki


By Larry Breed

The water situation was growing desperate at the Beacon camp, that Wednesday in 2005. Fresh water had been plentiful on Monday, and now every available container was filled with graywater, with more, always more, on the way. Graywater is runoff from kitchens, showers, and sinks (but not toilets). It’s a major aggravation at Burning Man because it’s highly unsanitary (bleach helps) and because there is no easy disposal method. The rules — and courtesy and common sense — prohibit dumping graywater on the Playa: participants must cart it out, pay the porta-potty company (one of the few examples of real-world commerce at Black Rock City) to suck it up, or do something truly creative to make it disappear.

It’s no surprise that some Burners were already intrigued with the problem, and had created solutions ranging from super-sophisticated to super-simple. At the high end were complete water purification systems. BRCMUD camp’s “Freshmakkur” filtered, flocculated, and purified, and watered a domeful of plants with the result. In another camp of sanitation experts, yesterday’s shower became this morning’s coffee.

Continue reading Gray-B-Gone

Burned Out

By Lexi Feinberg

Burning Man may only happen for one week every year, but many Burners spend the other 51 weeks fantasizing about it. It’s the Holy Grail that helps them tolerate tedious corporate jobs and the monotony of the default world. But for various reasons in this year of recession, some won’t be joining the festivities on the Playa.

“In my opinion, the event has gotten too large and has too high a percentage of people just there to party,” said six-time attendee Michael “Chef” McQueary. “The last time I went was 2007. While I had a wonderful week, the event had changed in ways that I don’t like … I’d rather leave with fond memories than come to hate what I’m seeing happen.”

Continue reading Burned Out

Altered State to New York State

By Mitch

Photo by Taymar

“Altered State,” the sculpture that made its debut at Black Rock City 2008, has a new home: it is going to a new art complex in Wappingers Falls, N.Y.


Kate Raudenbush, the artist who created “Altered State,” said it will be placed at the new Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, which is moving from New York City, about 50 miles to the south. The original facility was a museum in Chelsea that housed artist Alex Grey’s painting series of the same name, but the new site is set on 40 acres and is intended as a “sanctuary of visionary art,” according to its website.

Continue reading Altered State to New York State

Playa Future Past, Part II

By Dust Bunny

Photo by Taymar

They have stopped.

I don’t know why but they have stopped.

The consistent pounding throbbing pulsating din that goes on and on and on.

Sweet Jesus (pronounced “Ha SOOS!”) Look at that!

The pitch blackness of night is turning orange, slowly at first, hardly noticeable. But the eternal nothingness of night is ending. Thank God!

Jesus looks at me “Kay Paso?”

Continue reading Playa Future Past, Part II

Playa Future Past, Part I

With Black Rock City looming in our future, the Black Rock Beacon presents a weekly column that looks at life on the Playa, to whet the appetite of returning citizens and wisen up the newbies.

By Dust Bunny

Photo by Taymar

On the Playa there is nothing.. not a bug, not a plant, not a drop of water.

What we have plenty of is grime, dirt, dust, Playa graduals, dirt, and more dust. You will notice that the wind blows from the Southwest, the Southeast, Northeast and from the Northwest. Often it blows from all directions at once.

So you want to live there for a week? If you don’t like what we have lots of, don’t bother. What we don’t need is you new idiots kicking up all our precious surpluses. I am talking about our ample supply of dirt.

Continue reading Playa Future Past, Part I

Frogs and Forth

By Deb Prothero

Photo by Caleb Ahnefeld/Swamp Monster

Most Burners don’t have the fortune of visiting Frog Pond nor the potential misfortune of traveling the Jungo Road. But as America celebrated Independence Day this year, about 100 Burners observed the Fourth of Juplaya in the steamy environs of the hot springs near the mysterious desert thoroughfare not far from Black Rock City.

Meanwhile, about 300 other Burners braved the dusty Playa proper to try out different aspects of their art for the 2009 Evolution theme.

For several weeks leading up to the 4th, Bob Noxious’s Duck project was the subject of scorn on, a social-networking site popular with the Burning Man community. Upon arrival at Frog Pond, each vehicle drove past a larger-than-life Duck sculpture crafted from scrap metal. The purple Duck’s tail feathers were large pipes serving as fireworks launch pads for the whole weekend. Suffice to say the word ‘duck’ will never be quite the same among Burners.


Burners drove into Frog Pond over a few days with a full house by late Friday in preparation for the big day on Saturday. Some fireworks were ignited Friday evening but the most excitement was left for Saturday’s celebration after the elimination of Frogbat for the sixth straight year.

Frogbat is an endearingly hideous metal amalgam of a frog and a bat. It was created by Otto Von Danger and filled with various explosives and fireworks, with a couple of propane tanks thrown in for good measure. Once set up, the artwork is destroyed by firing squad. This year, it was more like a whole company, with about 75 participants taking aim.

Risky brought her Bushmaster Carbine 223 and was inundated by those who would partake of the special weapon. Compared with the rat-a-tat-tat of the hunting shotgun or long arm rifle, the Bushmaster’s concussion was persuasive.

Frog Pond is off limits to Burners during Black Rock City’s fleeing existence, since the ecosystem is considered too fragile to accommodate hoards of dusty Burners. Nevada is home to many hot springs, often, like Frog Pond, in relatively remote locations.

The springs are north of Nevada Highway 447 on Jungo Road, that tire-eating short cut from Winnemucca to Gerlach that Burners are warned to avoid. Yet Frog Pond is only 12 miles away from 447, and the road there is passable if you pay sufficient attention to the road’s washboard effect.

Over in the coolest pond, a reported sighting of the Swamp Monster was confirmed by several participants. Various other fauna were also spotted including many bats, a rattle snake and at least one scorpion. The bull frogs sang us to sleep in the early hours just before dawn.

Some say 4th of Juplaya is much like the old days of Burning Man. Smaller crowds, lots of guns and fewer rules than modern Black Rock City, but the 10 principles hold the community together. Many from the Playa wandered over for a dip in Frog Pond when they were departing on Sunday so it was a lazy day surrounding the ponds for visits.

Naturally, excessive quantities of bacon were consumed.

Mutaytor Changes Its Mind

By Pulpracer

 Without stating the bleeding obvious, LNT stands for Leave No Trace. Enough said, I say. However here are some LNT practices to consider:

After uncertainty with the arrest and departure of its founding member Matty Nash, The Mutaytor, Black Rock City’s own house band, is planning a return to the Playa in 2007. Having declared after its 2004 show that it would never play Burning Man again, the drum-heavy performance group is coming home with new members, new music and three shows culminating in a collaborative performance with Dan Das Mann’s and Karen Cusolito’s art installation “Crude Awakening.”

Continue reading Mutaytor Changes Its Mind