Strong winds put the Burn on hold for awhile last night, but The Man finally went up in flames around 11 p.m. The harsh conditions earlier in the evening forced the cancellation of the fire conclave beforehand. By the time the big guy burned, though, the dust storms had cleared and the night had turned beautiful.
More random thoughts, because that’s the only kind we are capable of, and really, trying to get your arms around this beast is pretty damn impossible right now.
We crashed a fancy party last night, and things were very fine. It was an outreach network gathering, bringing together a lot of the far-flung Burning Man operations. The Black Rock Arts Foundation, Black Rock Solar, Burners Without Borders and a lot of the regional clans were represented. For a lot of the folks, it was a reunion, like the people who were down in Peru helping after the earthquake. And there were regional reps from all over the world — Canada, South America, Japan … it’s a big Burner world out there.
Maybe it’s just me, but there seem to be many more live performances on the Playa this year. The Red Nose District is in full swing, but it seems like there’s a lot more of everything live, too. Last night at around 8:30 and Esplanade, we watched a beautiful dance piece, the dancers glowing under black lights in the desert night. Beautiful.
If you live in the Bay Area, it must seem like you have the city to yourself these days. On the bright side, certain restaurants might be a little easier to get into. (And oh how we long for a restaurant experience, ANY restaurant experience:
Even though I have been eating relatively well (and by relative I mean probably better than I do at home), still, we will soon go to a restaurant, we will sit down, we will pick something off the menu, anything we like, and then they will bring it to us, and perhaps there will be wine. Oh yes, we are ready for that.)
But still, the Bay Area has to be lacking a certain energy. And maybe a common sense of longing for those not able to make it out here this year… (more…)
Things are in full swing, and words are becoming kind of beside the point. The activities are taking off in a thousand different directions, with thousands of people at the helm.
So here are some random sentence fragments and ill-formed thoughts:
a) Weather completely gorgeous (moderately hot, with a chance of dust)
b) Esplanade very big and surprisingly easy to get lost on at night. Weird but true.
c) Where would we be without Moto (who can fix broke-ass art cars)? I’ll tell you exactly where we’d be; still trying to push the Trojan Sloth back home.
d) Fire, fire everywhere.
e) There is a drop-box for glow-sticks at around 5:30 and D. Use it.
f) Pabst is the vitamin water of Black Rock City, and Jameson’s is the WD-40.
g) Ice cream. Must. have. ice. cream.
h) What the hell day is this?
i) Reverend Billy is a good dancer.
j) One of the most phenomenal photographers here is Dimitre, who had a reception last night at the Commissary. He’s so good he makes you want to put away your camera and weep quietly in the corner. Also? An amazingly good guy.
k) Age is just a frame of mind; except when you feel it in your bones.
And here are some pictures (the black and whites are by Dimitre, too). I hope they suffice for now. (more…)
It’s gorgeous again; bright, sunny and cool, even at almost 10 am on Tuesday. “Could we get this to last all day?” my campmate Scout asked. “I’d pay money,” I said, but there’s no commerce on the playa.
Well, almost none. Coffee and ice. That’s it. Everything else you have to score (although that’s probably not the best way of putting it). But you can buy lemonade and electrolyte fluid in Center Camp now, in addition to the coffee and latte and chai.
Yesterday seems like a long time ago. There aren’t a lot of happy ways of dealing with dust. Ed had to choose between getting hammered in the tent, or suffocating in the car. He chose the car, with an occasional blast of AC.
I’d been laboring under the impression that the worst of it was localized in the center of the city. So Kid Hack and I took off for outlying regions, hoping for a break. We found it out at the airport. Plenty of wind, but no dust storm. We could look back over toward the entrance road and see the mess everyone was in. But we were blissfully clean and clear. I felt like I was being dusted by a can of air, like the kind you use to keep your computer clean. But this air was cleaning my whole body. Heaven.
The airport is in a far corner of the city, and on the way back we took a trip through the “suburbs” of the city. It was still very roomy out there, lots of spaces between the camps, but that’ll change as the week goes on. But right now, it’s Walnut Creek; plenty of room, and houses on big plots of land. And the vibe is extremely friendly. As we cruised by, one of the camps was setting up for dinner, three or four utility tables set up end to end, covered with food and drink. One guy saw me looking longingly, and he shouted, “Join us!” But we had missions to accomplish and had to carry on. (more…)
The gates opened last night and the cars and trailers and trucks and mutant vehicles came streaming through, to the whoops and hollers of those just arriving, and from the people welcoming them Home. All the weeks and months of work had coalesced into this moment of relief and joy and anticipation and excitement. The guests have arrived, and dinner is served.
It was a beautiful night in Black Rock City. There had been steady winds of about 25 mph all day long, and the forecast was for increasing gusts, but when night fell the air was calm. It made for a festive night.
“I love this place!” one person shouted, for no apparent reason. “I love this place more!” answered another.
Out at the Man, cars and bikes and blinking people lined up around the perimeter of the base, waiting for the clock to strike 12 so they could climb the winding staircase to the top. BMIR was broadcasting the countdown, like some mutant version of Dick Clark’s New Years Eve show on TV. When the witching hour arrived, and the radio was playing “Consider yourself, at home! Consider yourself, part of the family!,” up and up the people went to get a view of the Man and a view of the city. Poor Betty June was stationed at one side of the staircase, patiently telling people that the “up” stairwell was on the other side, and then helping people as they made their way down. She’d be on duty till 4 in the morning, and there will be someone stationed there round the clock, all week long, letting people know that one way’s up, and the other way’s down.
Over at Kate’s Raudenbush’s “Altered States,” the work lights blinked off, and then the birdcage glowed red in the darkness. It is just so gorgeous. There was a sweet moment for Kate and the crew; appetizers were spread out inside the dome, champagne corks were popped, and heartfelt words were spoken. “This is for all of you,” Kate said, tearing up. “It just couldn’t have happened without you.”
Then she had everyone, on the count of three, pull out a branch from beneath the table, each person coming away with a little piece of the whole. It was very touching, and they all seemed like family standing there celebrating together.
And the piece really does look like a glowing Capitol building from a distance (it’s designed after the U.S. Senate building). (more…)
Gary Miller of Philadelphia has installed Papover Rubrum Gigaxiticum (the big red poppy) field. Those are solar-powered garden lights in the center, surrounded by cut and riveted aluminum, on PVC pipes that sway in the wind. Can’t wait to see it glowing in the darkness.