All posts by rednikki

Burning Man: This Place Sucks and I Want to Go Home!

By Doxie

Burner Doxie penned these thoughts shortly after returning from her first trip to Black Rock City in 2006.

Finally after three long years of wanting to go, I made it to Burning Man in 2006. Now, mind you, I had camped on the Playa two years earlier, after graduate school one amazing night under a full moon. I even got to enjoy the often-off-limits hot springs. That was — bar none — the most special night of my life, as the Playa is magical whether Black Rock City is there or not.

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That said, I just spent the last seven days of my life living in harsh desert conditions, eating a quarter of the food I normally do — and for a hypoglycemic that is a huge feat — showering only twice in seven days and not brushing my hair even once. All the while covered in a fine dust, I felt as if I had died and gone to heaven.

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Howeird’s Positively Playa!

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“Pen! Paper! The muse is upon me! Just as well considering there are less than 100 days until the Burn.

To the newcomer, welcome. You are the most important person on the Playa. You won’t get your virgin ass whacked on the way in to embarrass you. It’s just so we can get to know you better. If you wear green solar powered undies you’re golden.

If you want a list of Do’s and Don’t’s, they are few, and are more suggestions than rules. The only thing you need to do 100% is to be Radically Self-Reliant. Anyone may be part of Burning Man if they have a desire to participate.

Continue reading Howeird’s Positively Playa!

Bacon in Bacon

07_1_Bacon_in_Bacon1There is no Bacon in Bacon, Indiana. This reporter travelled 200 miles out of the way enroute to Burning Man on an intrepid search for Bacon from BACON. About 40 miles west of Louisville, Kentucky, just off Indiana Highway 37 and about 15 miles north of Interstate 64, you will find Bacon Road, which the locals call Bacon Ridge Road. Along this unimproved road, there are only four residences; two custom-built beauties, one modular unit and one mobile home that hasn’t moved in a couple of decades.

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Flames and Beats

By Tony Tohono
There were forecasts of heavy rain, and, indeed, several interludes of fire’s dreaded adversary showered the event, but in the end the third annual FireDrums went on, more intimate for the threat of a deluge.

Perhaps the rain kept the spectators away. Last year, there seemed to be a lot of people who were there more for the party. This time, it was all about fire and the drumming.

FireDrums was first held at Pismo Beach in Oceanside in 2004. The year following it was moved to Red, White and Blue Beach just outside of Santa Cruz where it was also held this year, from April 14 to 16. About 250 people attended, camping in tents over the weekend. The event’s promoter, Sky, has talked of moving it again next year and also of the possibility of making it biannual as interest grows.

Sky is quick to point out that FireDrums is its own unique event, not one of the regional Burns that recreate, in a smaller way, Burning Man. “The vision of FireDrums was—and is—to bring together both fire artists and drummers to share knowledge in a place dedicated to that and only that,” he said. Black Rock City “has been a very inspirational place for so many, but there is so much going on there that it’s difficult to gather a solid core of fire artists and drummers for any length of time. Also there are many who haven’t yet made it to Burning Man.”

We arrived Friday afternoon during the second day of the event. After helping build a dome with the rest of my campmates from Sacramento’s fire troupe, SaDa Fuego, I put up my tent and then took a walk down to the beach.

For those of you who have not been to Red, White and Blue beach, the site of the local monthly beach Burn for San Francisco Bay Area Burners, the place is a paradise. The small valley foots a freshwater creek that ebbs out onto a large crescent-shaped beach snuggled between flora- and fauna-fringed cliffs with breakers rising up between them.

I walked past the staging area where most of the fire performances would occur and watched as a few volunteers filled a wheelbarrow with sand to fill in the puddles that marred most of one side. Within moments I was recruited, and even though it was hard work I found it fulfilling and fun. When the last puddle was filled I turned my attention to the beach.

Small knots of people were scattered to each end, some with a more playful aura, while others seemed nearly as formal as a specialized training course at a trade convention, albeit with a backdrop of the Pacific Ocean rolling up behind them and somewhat more colorful attire beneath the occasional beaded dreadlocks and oft-pierced visages. The fire dancers worked out intricate moves with the passion and determination of any serious athlete. These sessions filled the daylight hours throughout the weekend.

The sense of community was just as warm as at any other Burn-like gathering and there were plenty of hugs to go around. It’s always amazing when you realize you recognize someone from some completely obscure moment in time lost at the edges of your memory and then they remind you it was laughing together at some band of traveling zombies out on the playa last August. “Oh yeah . . . That was it!”

Things kicked up a notch when night fell. Everywhere you looked people carried their gear toward the sound of the drums and the glow of center camp. At the performance area, groups of fire dancers gathered around the burn barrels to discuss moves and techniques while awaiting their turns. Groups of drummers talked shop while peeking up at the sky from beneath temporary shade structures. Every few minutes someone would light up out on the beach and glowing reflections would illuminate the estuary.

Sometime after midnight the clouds opened up and the rain fell hard. Fortunately, it lasted only a few minutes and once it was over, although the crowd had thinned, the drumming and the fire dancing resumed. It was during these late hours that some of the more intimate and breathtaking performances took place. Around 4:30 on Saturday morning I happened to be sitting to the side of the circle with a group of my campmates.

Our mostly whispered conversation was a conflict of beauty and silence. Someone pointed up the fierce light of a full moon as it peeked through ominous clouds. “No, it was full last night,” a barely audible voice insisted. Tired or burnt and sleep were often alluded to and then shushed away. I glanced over at the fuel dump and wondered if anyone else was going to light up.

Over on a makeshift bench a group crowded around a burn barrel. I was about to call it a night when someone dipped wicks over the edge of the barrel and pulled out two lanterns of fire swinging from the ends of two lengths of distinctively complacent chain. The individual who looked up from behind these swaying vials of light looked part alien and part magician. There was a sense that something special was about to happen.

got up, walked over and stood behind those seated on the bench as this creature started doing his thing. I have a feeling everyone watching would have been mesmerized into oblivion had Vatra, leader of the San Francisco-area fire troupe the Pyronauts, not been present to banter throughout the spin. “No one is going to believe that Arashi actually spun,” he claimed.

At times Arashi looked entirely in control and at other times he looked entirely under the control of his poi. Part juggler circus freak, part martial artist, part break dancer, part Texas bull whipping rope swinging desert dreaming shaman, he moved in the most poetic herky jerky momentous on the verge of inert fashion I had ever seen—incorporated into fire dancing. He continually stepped into his performance only to stand back and watch it unfold before him as if he were just another spectator who just happened to be attached to the ends of his arms.

His wicks burned for a long time and when it was finally over there was a collective “Wow.” And then we were left in a stunned silence. With no cameras or video cameras present it was as if, as someone would later say, it didn’t happen. I headed back to camp to call it a night.

When I look back on FireDrums I think Arashi’s performance exemplifies the significance of the event. The best parts of it are what were shared on an intimate level, between individual components of the community. There are of course the larger parts going on the entire time that everyone shares together, but it’s those unique little secrets found out on the periphery or when everyone else has gone in that made it a special experience.

“In comparison to last year,” Sky said, “though the numbers were a little less, due to Mother Nature, the vibe was still very positive and we had some amazing fire artists and the drummers added a really awesome vibe.”

And that is what FireDrums is all about.

Supracompression Rocks London

By Wanda

For Burners in and around Britain, it was costumes ’a go-go’ at Supacompression, an event organized by the Euroburners in London on May 6.

Visually, it was a real treat. Overall, the atmosphere and great friendliness made the night a success. The event was a fundraiser for Nowhere, an annual summer weekend Burner event held in Spain, this year from July 6 to July 9. It brought together an assortment of brethren out to parrrrrrrdy. Fashionistas frolicked with “French waiters” in a night full of freaks and geeks. About 350 people attended, raising £1,300 ($2,400) for Nowhere and Quixotes Cabaret Camp Bar.

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Art Appreciation 2005

By Tony Tohono

Wednesday night I was invited on an art appreciation walk. I arrived at my friend Tracy’s camp sometime after dark, and she introduced me to most of her friends as they congregated in the main camp area. 20 names I knew were going to be difficult, if not impossible to remember. When we finally got off the corner of Fetish and hit the road there were 22 of us; 21 Canadians and one Californian; We made a quick stop at the porta potties and one dude, I can’t remember his name, but he insisted it was something Greek God-like, possibly Narcissist suggested we all pick a partner to be responsible for. I clung to the hand of the beautiful woman who had pressed me into the fold.

Walking down 5:30 one rule was made: “Stay off the Esplanade”. I felt strange as we crossed it, and I made a point to tread lightly on the hard-packed surface. Off to one side I looked over to where I knew Mardi Storm’s Twilight Amina Rising, was located. I wanted to suggest we stop and look at the unicorn climbing out of the playa, at the bright and shiny psychedelic eyes that were watching us pass, but I was in fear of its proximity to the Esplanade. I kept looking back over my shoulder, wanting to go back, wanting to peer up at that translucent horn, wanting to slip between those clawing hooves.

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Playa Con Dios

By Howeird

According to the locals, our beloved Playa is in the best shape it has been in since 1997, when a jet-propelled car called ThrustSSC broke the sound barrier there on October 15th and set an new world land speed record of 763 miles per hour.

Precipitation was plentiful last winter and the playa even had a decent layer of snow on it, according to Dave Lesfevre at the Winnemucca office of the federal Bureau of Land Management. Once the white stuff melted, the continuous wave action of the wind provided all the levelling old Lake Lohontan needed to take on its billiard table appearance.

Maid Marian, Burning Man’s mistress of communications, noted that the Playa was “hard and chunky” when she arrived earlier in the summer, “so there was hardly a plume when you drove,” but more recently, the ground has dried and “the dust is more noticeable.”

On June 25 that around 9 p.m., some customers of Bev’s Miner’s Club in Gerlach found their drinks were being watered — 2 inches of rain in 15 minutes caused a flash flood that flowed right in through the back of the bar, shorting out two refrigerators and taking out the floor in the store room and an adjoining bedroom. Only quick action with some brooms prevented the mud from remaining ankle deep in the bar, but repairs will still take several weeks.

The same flood decimated Dooby Road’s southern end and it should only be visited from the north or by foot.

Announcing the Black Rock Beacon

From the dust of playa papers past comes the Black Rock Beacon, a new daily publication for the Burning Man community. Our gift is an independent source of news and information to brighten the week in Black Rock City and a website to keep people up-to-date on Burning Man happenings the year round.

Although we are a brand-new publication without official ties to the Burning Man organization, our team has years of experience in producing daily newspapers on the Playa. As you may know, the Burning Man organization has announced that it will cease publication of the daily editions of the Black Rock Gazette, but we’re betting that Burners still want to be informed and entertained by Black Rock City Burnalists.

For 2005, we are planning five daily issues brimming with news and views for Black Rock City.

To learn more about us, please visit our website at www.blackrockbeacon.org and our message board at theblackrockbeacon.tribe.net. We welcome volunteers who want to help us create the most memorable publications ever to grace Black Rock City. Enthusiasm is more important than experience, and we have plenty of pre-Playa work to do. We’ll be a mapped camp as well, with our own Black Rock mansion as headquarters and a limited amount of space is still available.

Do we need financial aid? Glad you asked, of course we do! Donate what you can, every bit helps; if you can offer $5 or more, we’ll guarantee that you receive five daily issues, which you’ll be able to pick up at our camp. Those donating $20 or more will be entered into our Breakfast in Bed With a Playa Hottie raffle. Donations are tax-deductible in the United States.

Sit back in the morning watching the sun rise with your cup of coffee and the latest copy of the Black Rock Beacon knowing it was YOU that helped make it happen!

To contribute by PayPal
Go to www.paypal.com
Logon (or create an account)
Click on the Send Money tab at the top.
Send money to “donations@blackrockbeacon.org”
(keep the PayPal electronic receipt for tax purposes)

To contribute by check, money order or cash, send your donation to:

Black Rock Beacon
31811 Pacific Highway South B-123
Federal Way, WA 98003

Please include your name, address, and email.

Many thanks to those who have already shown their support. We hope to provide Black Rock City with the most exciting Playa papers ever. The Beacon is our art and our gift.

Smile High: Fundraising Post-Haste

By Gothalot

What, you thought the Black Rock City Post Office just ran on bribes? Those insatiable postalites may never get enough playa schwag, but like any other theme camp they need cold, hard cash to provide their disservices to our fair municipality.

“Although we like bribes, Frankly, [ed. note: we don’t know who Frankly is] you can’t run a post office serving thousands of Playans on kickbacks alone,” exclaimed Post Office organizer Nutmeg Alfreado. So Nutmeg and his merry marksmen looked to the Founding Fathers for help. No, not Larry, the ones who have been dead long enough to be immortalized in green and black.

Continue reading Smile High: Fundraising Post-Haste

Burning in the Rain: The Portland Region’s First Soak

By Jason

Soak, the first regional Burn in the Portland area, was held on the Central coast of Oregon near Waldport over the first weekend of June. It took place on 80 acres of beautiful landscape containing a lake, sweat lodge, playground, orchard, and many other attractions.

I was the main organizer of 1derland, a loose collective of Burners and other friends from the Portland area inspired by the tales of Lewis Carroll. The weekend pulled over 240 burners from all over Oregon and included a few family members from California, Washington, and even Vancouver BC. Most everyone was set up in a tent with a small minority in trailers and RV’s.

Continue reading Burning in the Rain: The Portland Region’s First Soak