Once again I hit the road to find out just what the heck is happening in Regional Land. This time, my visit took me to Apogaea, the Colorado Regional Burn.
Located about an hour outside of Colorado Springs on private land, Apogaea is a little treasure tucked up in the mountains. The drive from Denver took about 3.5 hours and was one of the most majestic and beautiful drives I’ve taken in years. Snow capped mountains, green fields, winding streams, big jagged rocks, it’s been years since I have traveled to such mountain country. I had forgotten the massive scale of things in this part of the country and found myself in awe for most of the drive.
At 9200 feet elevation, you absolutely MUST take care of yourself and be sure to come prepared with plenty of water, sun protection, and clothes for the elements.
Nestled away on private land, rather deep in the woods I was pleasantly surprised to pull in and be greeted by none other than BRad our Boulder Regional Contact and also to find the familiar faces of Niko, Kamikazee, and Not Coyote from our very own DPW at the Gate. I picked up a Who What Where When guide to the event and went about getting my Apo groove on.
Having read the Apogaea Survival Guide, I did my best to prepare for this event. I’d never camped in bear territory before and wondered just what it would be like to cross paths with a giant, furry beast. Admittedly, I received more than a fair share of giggles when I expressed my concern to a few. One response was ‘no bear will join us this weekend, we’re way too loud and annoying”.
Apogaea is a smaller event than Flipside. I enjoyed the cozy, intimate feel of walking through the woods and finding all the camps tucked away in the aspen groves. A few familiar faces were there, friends I had made at Flipside and a couple other volunteers from the playa. I’m quickly starting to learn that when it comes to Regional Events, everyone goes and you often find the same people traveling to each of them over the course of the season.
While the event site might not have been huge, the Apogaea Board did a fantastic job of filling it with incredible art and theme camps and several stages.
Over $7000 was set aside in the form of art grants for this event and it showed. Installations like Hand ( a giant interactive hand with moving fingers), Daedakys and Icarus (statues), a Conversation Place (amazing hammock and swing installation), The Orb ( a giant glowing orb that could be crawled inside) filled the grounds and kept people on their toes and giggling as people played and experienced interactive art on their own. There was even a Hoot-n-Nanny hosted by Smokin’ Bones camp that drew more than half the participants eager to taste the slowly smoked meaty and tofu treats the camp cooked up.
The Pink Pussy Palace was a vision in hot pink and kitty glory. They hosted hoola hoop lessons, live djs, kitty tails and ears for all. Always a smile on the faces of the pussy cats and their visitors. I was shocked to find the painting that hung in my very own camp on the playa hanging behind their DJ stand. It was sent as a gift to the pussies from Bunnie Reiss the 2006 Burning Man ticket designer because she was not able to join her former campmates in person as they celebrated Apogaea. It wasa pleasant surprise and a nice way to know that people were participating in this amazing event even if they couldn’t be there in person with us.
A puppet stage hosted a most wonderful performance by Iron Bananna – the all sock monkey metal band. The main stage was never dull. From DJs, to fire performers, to giant puppets and belly dancers, from spoke word to the most awe inspiring Miss Apogaea Beauty Pagaent; there was ALWAYS something fun going on there to experience.
I watched the burn perched on the yet unlit Tunnel of Transformation with my new buddy Johnny One Spur. Oo and aaaaa’s errupted from the crowd as the Fire Conclave strutted their stuff and showed us some new tricks.
There’s one thing I can definitely say about Apogaea, those Colorado Burners sure do know how to bring it! So much art, so much fun, so many wonderful new people – it was a beautiful experience and weekend and I’m looking forward to keeping in touch with my new friends made there and hopefully making it back again someday.