"Madame, bear in mind That princes govern all things--save the wind." -Victor Hugo, The Infanta's Rose

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Burning Man Redux

Burning Man is over for another year. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the art at this year's festival was some of the best and most ambitious ever. One that stood out -- literally -- was a 15-story spiraling wooden beam structure called "Uchronia" (translated as "No Time") made of over 5,000 2-by-3 inch planks of wood that had been designated by a construction company as flawed and were to be destroyed. Instead, a group of artists from Belgium transported the wood to the desert and constructed a massive cavern, reminiscent of Frank Gehry, which they called a "message from the future" but was promptly nicknamed "The Belgian Waffle" by burners. Although arranged in what appears to be a haphazard fashion, the structure was inspired by a Belgian art movement and designed to invoke the feeling of a world without the concept of time. At night, the cave became a massive neon-lit club where burners could dance inside it to throbbing techno music.

But the highlight of the week-long festival was last night's closing ceremony; just under 40,000 people gathered around the 40-foot tall stick figure of The Man, dancing, hugging and cheering as the iconic namesake went up in a pyrotechnic orgy of fireworks and flames. More artwork (including the Belgian Waffle) will be burned tonight, and the mass "exodus" of participants will begin on Labor Day. A small group of volunteers will remain, clearing every last bit of the gigantic party that may have been left behind as they observe Burning Man's "leave no trace" ethic.

For those who were unable to make it to the Playa this year, don't despair. Courtesy of long-time burner Lewis Foulke, here is how you can enjoy the Burning Man Experience from the Comfort of your Own Home:

• Pay an escort of your affectional preference to not bathe for five days. Have them cover themselves in glitter, dust, and sunscreen, wear a skanky neon wig, dance naked, then say they have a lover back home at the end of the night.

• Tear down your house. Put it in a truck. Drive 10 hours in any direction. Put the house back together.

• Invite everyone you meet to come over and party. When they leave, follow them back to their homes, drink all their booze, and break things.

• Stack all your fans in one corner of the living room. Put on your most fabulous outfit.Turn the fans on full blast. Dump a vacuum cleaner bag in front of them.

• Buy a new set of expensive camping gear. Break it.

• Lean back in a chair until that point where you're just about to fall over, but you catch yourself at the last moment. Hold that position for 9 hours.

• Only use the toilet in a house that is at least 3 blocks away. Drain all the water from the toilet. Only flush it every 3 days. Hide all the toilet paper.

• Set your house thermostat so it's 50 degrees for the first hour of sleep and 100 degrees the rest of the night.

• Cut, burn, electrocute, bruise, and sunburn various parts of your body. Forget how you did it. Don't go to a doctor.

• "Downsize" last year's camp by adding two geodesic domes, a new sound system, art car, and 20 newbies.

• Don't sleep for 5 days. Take a wide variety of hallucinogenic/emotion altering drugs. Pick a fight with your boyfriend/girlfriend.

• Spend a whole year rummaging through thrift stores for the perfect, most outrageous costume. Forget to pack it.

• Shop at Wal-Mart and Home Depot until your car is completely packed with stuff. Tell everyone that you're going to a "Leave-No-Trace" event. Empty your car into a dumpster.

• Read "Dhalgren" by Samuel R. Delany. Read "The City Not Long After" by Pat Murphy. Cut off the bindings, throw all the pages up in the air, and shuffle them back together.

• Reread "The City After Dhalgren" by Samuel Murphy. Burn it. Read the ashes.

• Listen to music you hate for 168 hours straight or until you think you are going to scream. Scream. Realize you'll love the music for the rest of your life.

• Spend 5 months planning a "theme camp" like it's the invasion of Normandy. Spend Monday through Wednesday building the camp. Spend Thursday through Sunday nowhere near camp because you're sick of it or can't find it.

• Walk around your neighborhood and knock on doors until someone offers you cocktails and dinner.

• Bust your ass for a "community." See all the attention get focused on the drama queen crybaby.

• Get so drunk you can't recognize your own house. Walk slowly around the block for 5 hours.

• Tell your boss you aren't coming to work this week but he should "gift" you a paycheck anyway. When he refuses accuse him of not loving the "community".

• Ask your most annoying neighbor to interrupt your fun several times a day with third hand gossip about every horrible thing that's happened in the last 24 hours. Have them wear khaki.

• Go to a museum. Find one of Salvador Dali's more disturbing, but beautiful paintings. Climb inside it.

• Before eating any food, drop it in a sandbox and lick a battery.

• Mail $200 to the Reno casino of your choice.

• Spend thousands of dollars and several months of your life building a deeply personal art work. Hide it in a funhouse on the edge of the city. Hire people to come by and alternate saying "I love it" and "this sucks balls". Blow it up.

• Set up a DJ system downwind of a three alarm fire.

• Search alleys untill you find a couch so unbelievably tacky and nasty filthy that an SFASU frat house wouldn't want it. Take a nap on the couch and sleep like you are king of the world.

• Have a 3 a.m. soul-baring conversation with a drag nun in platforms, a crocodile and Bugs Bunny. Be unable to tell if you're hallucinating. Lust after Bugs Bunny.

• Make a list of all the things you'll do different next year. Never look at it.

Only 364 days until The Man burns again!


  • At 9/06/2006 02:51:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    just passing through to say howdy! man you can write so perty like.

    you will just have to guess who this blogger is as it won't let me make a damn comment using my blogger name! so i will have to be the invisible commenter.

  • At 9/06/2006 07:40:00 PM, Blogger bossann said…

    Thanks for the dose of "reality"...I'll leave it up to you to decide which post I meant... a week in the desert, huh?


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