March 30th, 2012  |  Filed under Culture (Art & Music), Participate!, Technology

A Blue Electric Thread

March 30th, 2012  |  Filed under Culture (Art & Music), Participate!, Technology

One year back in the last century, after our peculiar yet determined convoy made it to Black Rock City through gate, unpacked and set up enough of our tents and shade, we did what everyone does and found ourselves skipping off into the playa dust like giddy children and making our way out to see that year’s Man up close and personal. We walked up his hay bale steps and it was still early dark, just nightfall with a few people milling about and large red and black fireballs boiling up near center camp to faraway cheers.

the Man 1998 by Andrew Penn

The Man stood tall over us and I touched the steel support that held his leg and at that moment also accidentally touched my friend and shocked him. After a breath we slowly tried it again and realized that one of us could hold the Man’s leg and then just barely almost touch a finger tip with another and this tiny, delicate thread of light neon blue electricity would dance between our fingers. It was so beautiful and unexpected, like it came to visit us and wanted to play a while. We formed a chain of people almost touching out from the leg, adding one after the other until eventually the person at the end of the chain would say, “I don’t feel it.”

When that happened, we’d move that person to the front at the Man’s leg and another line of us would form and barely touch finger tips until this repeated and another person from the rear was sent to the leg. This went on for a time until some other sparkly thing distracted us and we set out with one purpose across the dusty playa to investigate, leaving our discovery for others to enjoy.

This, of course, was right before Burning Man was officially declared dead.

Now I’m no Burning Man scholar, but I hear things and miraculously after the event died in 1996 when Bruce Sterling became the Johnny Appleseed of Burning Man tech Culture and sent out “Greetings from Burning Man” to the Wired world, Burning Man was back, even with all these dot commies crawling around in their Cyber Busses and goggles and other odd playa hardened contraptions.

Rave Man by By: Salvatore Vasapolli

That year large sound camps popping up randomly around the city were killing the event. The year before I’d camped at 4:20 and Uranus as I am wont to do and I slept in a pup tent that shivered slightly with THUMP-THUMP-THUMP ground vibrations from Hotel 666. They went 24/7 even at 5am with a DJ talking to nonexistent crowds about his childhood issues. Having experienced such indignity, I attended the Town Hall after the event to observe question after question on what were we going to do about those large sound camps among other things. I was amazed at the sense of ownership they, and soon I realized, “we” felt about our little upstart child, this Burning Man.

Not long before I came upon the scene I am told there were evidently issues with porta potties and generators. There were veiled conniptions when driving in camp and firing weapons were outlawed and when the first scent of the police arrived. That was back before social networking online, when Town Hall meetings were where the community would come to sit around and talk about Burning Man. If you know a Burner, you know they like to talk about Burning Man A LOT.

The large sound camps were moved and Burning Man once again pulled off the event the next year.

Not long after, one night I was out there on the playa, communing with mud sculptures all towering crumbling and vagina like, when across the expanse we saw this flickering neon Kangaroo with her little Roo hopping. They hit us like brain candy cartoons splayed out in the darkness, moving forward yet hopping all dissociative animation in the kind of bright electro-luminescent colors that make your teeth hurt from their snow cone sweetness. We were awestruck at seeing something we’d never seen before and we instantly raced our bikes to follow and meet them.

Spinning glowsticks by Leigh Anne DelRay

That first sighting of El Wire Kanga and little Roo heralded in an age of electro-luminescent light crawling along the playa that would effectively replace the prevailing strange skittering chemo-luminescent glow stick pony light beings. There is no better canvass to introduce an entity like that into reality than our flat tabla rasa that is the playa.

I started volunteering for the Man and made many, many friends and a lover and I drank from that loving cup of Burning Man like it was the lifeblood pouring into me that I’d searched for all my life, but now I was helping to create it.

Unfortunately, Burning Man died soon thereafter.

This time it was the weekend photographers, those spectator bastards, who drove the final nail into our coffin. We screamed, “Put away the fucking camera!” And the ticket prices, oh, how they spiked (The Man don’t want you to have a Fire. The man wants you to pay to come to his fire!) The next year we were given stickers with a camera with a red line through it to stick on media types which we did. This was around the time that video voyeurs ruined Bianca’s. No more grilled cheese for you. And the cops kept coming. Who brought all these police here? And WTF is a burn platform? I’ve got your burn scars right here buddy. The rules, oh the RULES that each year threatened to change Burning man FOREVER!

Again came the contentious Town Hall meetings where people voiced their outrage and umbrage. NAMBLA the Clown moderated and Ouchy the Clown was Sergeant at Arms. Someone once told me that using clowns to keep order has a way of disarming aggravated people who tend to work themselves up. Oh the absurdity.

And of course, the event was delivered on time, wrapped in Postmodern wrapping paper, all Free Range rearrangement with our colorful teetering carnival wagon trains wobbling at dangerous speeds to make it out there.

Full Moon over the Man by Don Jackson

We built large scale art. We wrote for Piss Clear, danced all night at the sound camps and drank with the best of them at Eggchair’s and Hair of the Dog. One year in the observatory Man Base we sent a message to Betelgeuse that read “You’re part of history in the making so make the most of your time,” and right at that moment we saw Mona Lisa in the persistence of vision thing and said “Mona Lisa” as everyone else suddenly saw it then we all ran out as one pod of giggling wobbly Burners onto the playa as lasers spread out across the sky alerting alien spacecraft to our exact whereabouts and fireballs abounded around us.

However, Burning Man died soon after this but this time for real.

The tide of technology evolved and discontent from originally the dioxine list and Eplaya all a twitter, shifted somewhat to a Tribe that eventually sputtered itself into oblivion that gave way to a thousand Blogs, Facebooks, Tweets and You-Tubes. Discontent began dumping into a spawning frothing online cacophony of disparate voices wailing into the vast online ether about that desolate wilderness and there was no longer the need for a quaint meat space of a Town Meeting. There was no need to send in the clowns. They cried: keep your kids out of my sound camp, keep your stuffed bunnies out of my sacred stone circle, fix entry and exodus, what about prowling frat douches? God save the children and keep them a safe distance away from where wild eyed mechanized boy signs were doing the nasty up there in all their glory hole. Oh Burning Man has been compromised by CENSORSHIP! There was the year the ART died, as in goodbye post apocalyptic freak nation so a group of BORG2 hooligans gave the event a jumpstart in spite of themselves with a kick in the ass. Then the great green experiment brought out an innovator, clean-tech, Man curious, moneyed class on an eclipse year to shine inside a grand pavilion that was scorched as the Man burned prematurely. Look at them in Business 2.0. Oh hell, that’s finally it. BURNING MAN IS DEAD.

I wonder if every year that Man knows he’s never leaving the playa alive.

I’m convinced that the fact that we argue so passionately about Burning Man pretty much shows how much we care about it.

And yet, year after year we go and it just keeps getting better in spite of the change. Some take time off, others never return. Many say, “It was SO much better LAST year.” Some haven’t missed a year. But it keeps happening and we are the ones who make it happen. The canvass is laid and we are the ones who fill it up. Who would have thought after all the issues that have come and gone, our greatest challenge would come from success?

oil derrick explosion by Jason Polanchek

We’ve become an entity rising miles as a pillar of fire high above that dry lakebed, swirling and forming into a deity of our own design, a ghost with fifty thousand painted, masked, sun burnt, dusty, fire spitting or otherwise bejeweled faces steeped in playa colored tea, all so large it is splashing and spilling out over the sides and running down into grand rivers ridden upon by tipsy boats and on the backs of green turtles or in odd Victorian Mansions and exquisite Pirate ships, or hidden in the backs of minds so blown that they will repeat the story of the playa over and over again and use the internet to spread video and pictures and words about what happens out there. Burning Man flows along these interconnected rivers into the far reaches of the planet, landing in Regionals and Robodocks, Makers Fairs, symposiums, and other gatherings of mad sociological scientists, malcontents and dreamers.

Usually selling out an event is a good thing. For Burning Man this year, eh, it is not so good. This thing we’ve all been part of for so long has hit a limit and tickets are now more a commodity than they’ve ever been.

I’m sure you’ve heard, some people are pretty sure that this, finally, is the end of Burning Man. The Man is dead! Long live Burning Man!

I want to believe that this thing we’ve built, that has spread out across our planet and has taken strong roots as Regionals, even if it has outgrown a particular space for a week, is too far out of the bag to ever disappear. For what it’s worth I do know that the people working there at BMHQ are doing everything they can to keep the man alive and that they, like you, care deeply about the event.

I heard that someone wrote this on the Burning man headquarters wall: “Spoiler Alert – everything will be ok,” and when I look back at that sparkling blue electric thread coming from the Man’s leg last century, I think, if someone else is at the very front this year so be it. Hopefully this year won’t be DOA. I want to believe that we will all look back at this year and say, well, the ticket sale thing in 2012, *that* didn’t work out too well, remember that? Glad they figured it out this year. I’ll make my way back up to where I can indeed feel the Man’s spark dancing at my finger tips from person to person. That’s how we Burners are. I’m sure of it.

93 Responses to “A Blue Electric Thread”

  1. lovely Says:

    That is a much more legit way of looking at our current situation, thank you for a little something about home besides tickets and plug and play camps. Change is the spice of life…maybe.

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  2. Dr Bungee Says:

    AWESOME POST!!! It made me tear up. THANK YOU. I’ve been thinking of writing this for a few days, so here goes.

    I would think that most burners, being the intellegent, creative people that they are, believe in evolution. Evolution is defined as: a process of continuous change from a lower, simple or worse to a higher more complex or better state. All things evolve, or die. Things that evolve include organic life forms, societies, relationships, people, and theme camps. The only thing that is constant is change itself. Burning Man has evolved from a few friends on Baker Beach, to the incredible mind blowing event of 2011. What’s next? Who knows, but it’s only going to be as good as the people that are going make it. Evolution is adapting to the situation, creating change. After being blasted by countless dust storms, you figure out that sometimes having a metal box to wait it out in is a good thing. You adapt, change, EVOLVE!
    Burning Man is different every year. It is recreated by it’s participants each time. My camp has been different every year. Different people, different ideas, different toys to play with. It evolves. WE create it every year
    Creation is defined as: the act of making, inventing or producing. Sounds like creation, and evolution are very similar indeed. (So why the big Creation vs. Evolution controversy?)
    Back in one of my early burn years, my parents (who are allways amused by my antics), sent me an article from the N.Y. Times about BM. It was the first time they had seen or heard anything about it, other than from me. The article said something like BM is the future of entertainment in America. Events like this is where our soceity is headed. I thought this was a crazy idea 15 years ago, but maybe that’s what is actually happening. Did soceity evolve to accept BM, or did BM evolve to fit soceity?

    Either way, The Man is dead, long live the Man

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  3. Foam Says:

    Awesome post John, as usual. Thanks.

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  4. affinity Says:

    Moze: You rock my world!

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  5. Eric Says:

    The thing that seems different about Burning Man dying this year as opposed to previous years is that this is the first year the LLC blatantly turned their back on their own guiding principles by deciding that some people are cool enough to be radically included and thereby radically excluding others. The problems inherent in a sell-out situation are analogous to past problems you have laid out–they are surmountable. The reason Burning Man seems dead is because of the elitist way the LLC has chosen to handle them.

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  6. Corvus Says:

    @Dr Bungee:
    Well said. “Evolution” as a theme was a few years early, is all. Come August there will be over 50,000 people in a temporary metropolis known as Black Rock City. Will some of our friends be missing? You bet; it is looking like a good friend of mine for 30 years, the one who turned me on to Burning Man, will not be there this year. Will some of the first timers ‘not get it?’ Yup, but a healthy percentage of first timers every year are in the same sad boat. Will the art be as fantastic? That’s a toughie. I can certainly see artists balking about getting passionate about a five-figure sculpture without an assurance they and their crew won’t be able to deliver it to the playa. I predict the art this year will be smaller in scale or built by someone who can do things in a hurry.

    The point is, Burning Man changes. Constantly. The ones on Baker Beach are not the same as the ones on the playa, and the ones with 2,000 are not the same as the ones with 50,000 in residence. That’s one of the charms about it. We here in Arizona hold a Virgins’ Briefing in July to let first timers know what to expect. The regional coordinator tell them, “You’re lucky for what you will see and do at Burning Man this year will be unique and shared by only a few thousand other people. Suppose you spent your vacation in . . . Jamaica. It’s a nice place — there’s a reason Jamaica’s a popular vacation destination. But the Jamaica you see and experience was seen and experienced by millions before you, and will be seen and experienced by millions after you. Burning Man will practically be yours alone.”

    So long as there Burners, Burning Man will survive.

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  7. Sandy Coblain Says:

    One cannot ignore that the Borg put one of our own in real life jail for 2 years for doing the same illegal thing Larry did at Baker Beach.

    They could have submitted damages below $5k but they didn’t – they stuck it to him.

    You can say that burning man dies and then lives again. For me, it died for good when they stuck it to Addis. And after hearing the majority of this community call for Addis to be raped and sexually mutilated in prison, I have no desire to socialize with such people.

    Open the gates and prop the corpse back again this year. Bring in the thieving DPW and gate crew. Bring in the gawkers and poseurs who believe rape is justified punishment for a prank. Call it Burning Man.

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  8. Dan L Says:

    Bruce Sterling, I suspect; not Serling.

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  9. Thermal Says:

    @Corvus: in response to “Burning Man will practically be yours alone”. Everyone should be reminded that attendees have an obligation to the burner community, local residents who have to endure the masses (from the ranchers who may have cattle at risk from traffic, to town residents who have to endure the traffic and empty stores), as well as the desert environment (trash, car fluid leaks).

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  10. Raven Says:

    Wow, I feel like someone just rebooted the way I was feeling about this year. Thank you for bringing me back to earth and to the playa. It will all be ok.

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  11. Brody Says:

    Great post! Love your imagery and the writing style. Reading this from the Regional Summit where Marian just had some wonderful words to say about the culture moving forward and how it’s so much bigger than the event in the desert now.

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  12. Wawu Balabalu Says:

    Words like cool water to the parched, nicely quenching, thanks!

    Comes to mind Dickens Tale opening line, written in 1859 about 1775… (perhaps the more things change, the more so they remain the same)…

    “IT WAS the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way- in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only”.

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  13. Nessa Zee Says:

    thank you! really good read :)

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  14. Corvus Says:

    Indeed, those very topics are covered during the Virgins’ Briefing. The part I mentions was a minute or two out of two hours when we (rarely) stay on schedule.

    @Sandy Coblain
    Larry burned his own art on Baker Beach, not someone else’s. Further, Larry’s torchings were not done with people unawares sleeping in the base. Addis got off easy.

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  15. Sandy Coblain Says:


    the burns on baker beach were illegal. it doesn’t matter that it was his art – he broke the law burning it. he should have been punished by being raped in prison.

    no one was sleeping in the base when addis lit the man. you’re misinformed.

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  16. Baronvonfritz Says:

    I think this years gonna be a great year to make some new friends!!! Lookin forward to get to know you all!

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  17. neldamarie Says:

    John, This is pure poetry and so right on..I love your positive spirit and it is contagious. This is a beautiful piece.

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  18. Zach Says:

    @ Sandy Coblain. You won’t be missed. Addis is my hero. We need more people like him. Not wining sour pusses like you. Yes people were in the base. I was there. You were misinformed. Again, you won’t be missed. And DPW doesn’t want your Patchouli anyways!

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  19. Bumba Says:

    I love this. Thank you. <3

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  20. Sandy Coblain Says:


    i was there. this story that there were people sleeping in the base started on eplaya after someone suggested it as a possibility.

    i watched addis get arrested. the only people who were under the man after it started to burn were people who went looking to see if there were other people.

    addis is your hero? that’s a pretty sad statement. that’s the other extreme from those calling for him to be raped. i’m sure you have a lot in common.

    enjoy the festival and your new ‘friends’.

    Wining Sour Puss

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  21. RadicallyExcluded Says:

    Nice propaganda piece to fan down the flames. Gotta love this passive/aggressive crap from management and the Lemmings who eat it all up. Oh you guys suck! Oh you guys are great! Oh you suck! Oh wait! LOL

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  22. RadicallyExcluded Says:

    Long Live Regionals! Death to corporate Burning Man, bury that damn thing after you burn it and rape the people with the ticket prices. Enjoy your club and hand picked minions.

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  23. Janice Says:


    “Long Live Regionals!”

    fuck the regionals too. just another group of borg sycophants trying to climb the corporate ladder so they can one day an email address. fuck the community – it’s all a load of shit.

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  24. RadicallyExcluded Says:

    The community is alive and out there….just mis-guided by the powers that be and pocket elitists. I hope to see new festivals crop up to take the place of what once was and now is not…

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  25. Wawu Balabalu Says:

    @Janice, right arm! bm is a load of bm… no one goes there anymore, it’s too fucking crowded! We might as well just stay home and make art in our toilets, thanks for your insight!

    @RadEx… crocodile tears… sorry you didn’t get tix, that sux.

    @Sandy… Paul A. pulled off a prank and got caught. It so happens that his prank involved destroying property and is considered a felony by the state who sentenced him. I know Paul and I thought it was a misguided, sad act that was not worth it. I would have liked to see the supporters that road on his questionable mental stability serve some of his jail time for him, if only possible, that might have been cool in a civil disobedience sort of way. He was their fall guy. I believe a good prank does not include destroying property. Like the Billboard Liberation Front code of conduct for example.

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  26. David Johnson Says:

    Great Post. I was a first timer last year and had a life changing experience. sometimes I feel like people look down on first timers or the cameras or the loud music. for a first timer it was everything I could ever want and I thank all the old timers for making that happen for me. The experience will change from my first time but adapting to that change is what it’s all about. Life isn’t the same thing every year and neither should burning man be. I was fortunate enough to get a ticket this year and I think that just means that I need to put 100% into it this year to help give another first timer a life changing experience.

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  27. Sandy Says:

    @Wawu Balabalu

    “I believe a good prank does not include destroying property.”

    Well, there’s no accounting for taste.

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  28. whimsical buggy Says:

    right on. you are awesome.

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  29. Wawu Balabalu Says:

    I think a mo’ betta’ prank on the “green” man mighta’ woulda’ coulda’ been to lash a proportional sized brief case to one of the mans hands and remote control it to pop open at an opportune time to release scads of green bills to the wind.

    When Paul put silver cyber balls on the man (was that ’97?), they were left up for quite a while as I recall. Also, he was careful to not break any neon that time.

    Not really clear what statement was meant by burning the man early, other than a grinchy kind of spiting.

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  30. harinama Says:

    Thanx Wawu, i love the phrase “grinchy kind of spiting.”

    I loved that the man was burned early. I loved the chaos that ensued to bring him back to life. I did not love the flagrant disregard for human life that act entailed. That entire canopy could have gone up, and with no fire ring, could have caused serious injuries.

    It was a stupid idea and he paid the price due to his angry heart.

    Burning Man is what WE make it to be. I am excited by the idea that we have to remake what BRC is this year. We can choose to focus on the issues, the problems, the chaos, or we can choose to learn, to be compassionate, creative and excited. This BM will be like no other, that is for sure. Let’s take it back to it’s roots, toss off all the negativity and bring forth a renewal of what it means to us and to our lives.

    Change is in the air all around us. Embrace it and become renewed by it.

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  31. Miles Says:

    “It was a stupid idea and he paid the price due to his angry heart.”

    it was a prank, you retard!

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  32. harinama Says:

    This fellow had a history of doing stuff like this before. He was trying to make a statement against corporations and their influence on BM from what i remember.

    Fire is regulated on the playa for a reason. Arson of a netted structure of that size is far more than a Prank.

    There are far better ways to protest…

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  33. Dirt Wheel Says:

    This a post to get aligned with. We should be thankful these issues are on the table now. To bring them out in the open. Are there really that many big slugs out there on the playa gettin’ served. Those types lose out on essence of experience on and off the

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  34. Dirt Wheel Says:

    the playa. The blind fold will be lifted for them in time. Let’s pour our energy into OUR event. Veterans hold your ground. We got even more time now to plan for next year. I believe an important key to life is to see if you can get to the end without being ‘too’ bitter & jaded. That’s shit works for about two halves a second, just enough to get the fuel started. Then it’s time to spring into action and fight for your right to breathe. I for one breathe easiest on the playa, despite ALL the dust. And we will win inspite of ALL the slugs.

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  35. burk backareat Says:

    somebody should tell the man hes going to “spontaiousely combust” every year.

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  36. AllThatJazz Says:

    the Department for Agitation and Propaganda…

    [now known as the Ideological Department]

    “because the more you *think* you know, the more you *feel* you know!!!”

    community? commodity? committee? comedy? (haha the joke is owned by you)

    but i guess like Syd said “and what exactly is a dream…and what exactly is a joke?”

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  37. Homiesinheaven Says:

    beautiful stuff Moze! i welcome this year as an exercise in how to react when life doesn’t turn out exactly how you want it. bring on the dust storms and the horror oh, the horror!

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  38. Rachel Walker Says:

    Such a well spoken tribute to the cycles of time with its ebb and flow. We could not be euphoric if we were not frustrated.

    I was a birgin last year at age 65 and felt I had come home. The work of the sixties, trying to live love and do right and here was this mass of people open to whatever I was.

    My thought at the outset was that the Burn represented the ephemeral quality of life and we owned it and celebrated it and wept for it and with it.

    I was transformed and lucky enough to get to go again. Ever growing, ever changing. It is Us. Love Valentine of Rhythm Wave

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  39. Playa Friend Says:

    I loved reading this! Thank you, Moze, for putting things back in perspective!

    I’m really disheartened, though, by some peoples’ negative comments and putting others down. Some people don’t like Burning Man, I get that, it’s not for everyone.

    However, what I don’t get, is if some people dislike Burning Man SO much, why are they spending so much time reading BM articles and posting negative comments???…

    I think you’re preaching to the wrong choir and may want to consider focusing your efforts elsewhere… I don’t think you’ll change anyones’ minds, just like we won’t change your minds…

    It’s interesting to see how hard it is to forget about Burning Man. It’s life-changing, and something that will stay with us for a very long time, no matter what happens to the big burn in the desert.

    Burn on!!

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  40. Mamasharon Says:

    Nice piece, Moze.

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  41. Jackalope Says:

    The end of this article kind of made me want to vomit. People say that Burning Man is dead because they realize the event they once loved is slipping away from them. Saying things like “It keeps getting better every year” and talking about “Regionals” just puts a good face on what is a real problem. If you want Burning Man to mean something you have to look at the situation more critically than, “They keep putting on the event and I always have a great time there, so everything’s gonna work out.”
    When Nietzsche said God was dead a couple hundred years ago he meant it rhetorically. He said it to try and wake people up to the reality that God’s could die. Similarly when we say that Burning Man is dead, we realize that it’s not actually dead, but we are trying to point out that we might be killing it. And maybe it should die and maybe that’s the natural way of things; but you’ll have to excuse me for being angry for feeling that it’s death is being accelerated by the people in charge.

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  42. Ali Baba Says:

    @ Sandy Coblain –
    I’m a bit shocked, and definitely saddened, that you perceive the majority of this community to want Addis “raped and sexually mutilated in prison”. I certainly don’t want that, and I don’t think anyone I know ever claimed to want that. Perhaps a majority of vocal yellers wanted that, but I wouldn’t extrapolate the feelings of those rabble-rousers to include the whole community. I cannot believe that MOST Burners would want such violation as punishment for a mega-prank property-destruction.

    *Could* they have submitted damages below $5k? I don’t know. If they *could* have, certainly that would’ve been kinder. I had the impression that the Org was under pressure from the BLM.
    I also got the impression that he was off his meds, and if that’s the case, I don’t know why ‘temporary insanity’ wasn’t used as a defense.

    @Moze -
    Great piece. Your writing is always very evocative and nearly-tangible. I’m glad that I was there to see those Clowns keeping order at Town Hall, and at-least walk past Bianca’s my first year.

    I’m actually looking forward to educating [acculturating] some of those many first-timers this year. I mostly-hope that the Org is correct about the majority of ticket-buyers being first-timers, rather than scalpers. The alternative is to hope that the scalpers will be waited-out and forced to sell at or below face-value.
    We shall see.

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  43. Sandy Coblain Says:

    @Ali Baba

    i said the majority of the community was calling for sex crimes against addis. if that doesn’t include you, that makes you the exception. it’s not about you.

    you may have missed shooter’s ‘art or arson’ poll thread on tribe. the majority called it arson, and along with that claim the thread (and others like it) was LOADED with calls for sex crimes to be committed against addis in prison. the only people who were against the sex-crime chorus were long-time burners who supported addis.

    the vast majority of the community either chimed in with violent wishes, or remained silent, giving their tacit approval.

    the lie that there were people sleeping under than man is still believed today.

    it was the Org that gave the community the impression that there was pressure from the BLM to inflate the damages. larry and crimson (i want the first shot) rose were out for addis’ blood, and this was confirmed by insiders.

    there was a private group set up on tribe to try to understand the calls for sexual violence against addis from the community that was always thought to be so peaceful. there were various conclusions that no one who continues to attend BM would like to accept about themselves and their neighbors.

    oh yes, and the ‘he was off his meds.’ line. as if a person would have to be insane to perform such a prank – a prank that was joked about for many years and even plotted several times prior 07. as if most people on the playa are perfectly sane and not some form of mind-altering drug or excessive alcohol.

    the ‘he was off his meds’ line was used by people who were not entirely comfortable calling for his testicles to be removed. still of the same ilk.

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  44. RadicallyExcluded Says:

    What a happy peaceful forgiving group of people we all are….

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  45. RadicallyExcluded Says:

    People who post negative comments are just pointing out the obvious and are commenting because they care. The people who couldn’t care less about the event’s future (like any dis-gruntled customer in default world) just walk away and you never hear from them again. Like in government, we must be critical and analyze when certain decisions are made from the top that seem weird or questionable. Apathy and blind acceptance are the killers of nations….and Burning Man

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  46. Sandy Hendlicks Says:

    Im surprised Tribe was up long enough for a poll to be responded too back in 07. If you want to take a sampling of how the community feels about Paul’s actions why not give the same weight to comments up here. No one wishes Sandy ill will and most want to move on past this years ticket problems and see what happens. I suspect that Sandy wants to make sure Addis name is mentioned here and they have an axe to grind but calling for shooting someone shows your hand. I’m not going to reply to “Sandy” when they reply to this. People, don’t feed the trolls. From what I can tell Burning Man is better off if Sandy stays home you they threaten violence on the org. How does that make you any better? Sorry about what happened to you Sandy, er to Paul, but most burners do not wish the darkness you are obsessed with on anyone. And RadExc you make a good point.

    Report comment

  47. Vodka Says:

    Thank you for the great read.
    It is dead, and we will have a new one. Isn’t that the whole point? Isn’t that why we burn him anyway? And the temple? A new start for us all. Something we can not even imagine yet? The beauty of the past burned, to make room for the beauty of the future? Maybe that is just me. I am personally upset because my tiny camp, that only needs four people, only got two tickets and we are scrambling to figure that out, but I am also very excited to see my city again, and see how it has changed. Burning man, I love you.
    Burning Man is Dead!
    Long Live Burning Man!

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  48. Wawu Balabalu Says:

    Sandy Coblain stated… “you may have missed shooter’s ‘art or arson’ poll thread on tribe. the majority called it arson, and along with that claim the thread (and others like it) was LOADED with calls for sex crimes to be committed against addis in prison. the only people who were against the sex-crime chorus were long-time burners who supported addis”.

    Geez… I just slogged through that tribe thread you mention and there was not even a single “call” as you site.

    The poll results as reported:

    Arson = 81
    Art = 32
    both = 14

    (0 for “sex crimes”)

    How you get from zero to “LOADED” is kind of perplexing, you seem very passionate about your critique of this “community”, though I wonder if you may want to reconsider your position.

    At this point your credibility is looking right up there with the likes of Mike Daisey (the exposed Apple/Foxconn con-”artist”).

    Report comment

  49. RadicallyExcluded Says:

    All those pretty ladies on the playa can perform as many sex crimes on me as they want to….lol :P

    Report comment

  50. Sandy Coblain Says:

    @Wawu Balabalu

    i stand corrected about the ‘art or arson’ thread. i lumped that thread in with all the others. that thread was famous for illustrating the divide of the community.

    here are just a few to chew on from tribe:

    there are more, but i don’t feel like trying to remember the violent fantasies and threats people were making, specifically with knives and razor blades.

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  51. Playa Whole Says:

    How much truth is there to the rumor that the Burning Man org is “cracking down” on regional events that abide by B-Man principles and use the Burning Man name? Is this just some ugly rumor? (Hopefully this rumor is just insulting know, like claiming that most Burners wanted Addis raped in jail.)

    Report comment

  52. Sandy Coblain Says:

    @Wawu Balabalu

    my response was deleted. so there you have it. have fun at your extreme-disneyland. you should volunteer.

    Report comment

  53. skyzer Says:

    Great post! I got my tickets this year and just like the past 6 years in a row I am soooo looking forward to getting back home again. Its going to be different this year….maybe for the worse maybe for the better. I know of a few giant sound camps that are not coming back. In my opinion I could go either way with that whole scene. All that Im worried about is how all the virgin burners who havent been influenced by other veteran burners will participate in the whole community life aspect. I have made so many connections and friends with the neighbors I have had the last few years and im always looking forward to camping next to each other again. After about 4 days of stupid ass tourists speeding down our street sightseeing in their cars I had snapped and my neighbors began applauding me when I came running out screaming at those idiots to SLOW THE FUCK DOWN!! Im pretty sure i even scared a few of them. If they stay away this year it will be fine. If they all tell their friends then this might be my last year. I just wanna chill and hang out with friends and see cool art. Is that too much to ask??

    Report comment

  54. skyzer Says:

    BTW in my opinion this years theme is stupid beyond measure! Armageddon should be the theme. I will be practicing that one instead

    Report comment

  55. Wawu Balabalu Says:

    Sandy Coblain responds: “my response was deleted”.

    So let’s add this up… whatever you say… the opposite is true… albeit befuddling, there we have it, your m.o. here.

    @skyzer… they did seem to skip over “Helco 2.0″ (I think they’d like to think they put the final nail in that coffin, scary movie stuff). I’m a bit curious, how might you “practice” this theme, if you care to elaborate? (I did hear a rumor that Pepe Ozan was going to do one of his old school ‘operas’ this year, those were pretty fire and brimstone).

    Report comment

  56. Sandy Coblain Says:

    @Wawu Balabalu

    “So let’s add this up…”

    You can’t add anything up when one side is permitted to speak and the other isn’t. My response was deleted by the Org for whatever reason, and you need to deal with the fact that 2-way dialogue is not permitted when discussing things the Org would rather not be discussed.

    Have fun!

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  57. SpaCeLuK Says:

    this is change,
    what we wanted for life……
    is happening at last!

    the past should teach how to create a suitable future !

    the man burns, new ideas are born :-)

    Report comment

  58. Moze Says:

    @ Sandy and Wawu. This is Moze who wrote the blog post. I have a policy of not responding to comments on my blogs, but I saw that you said your comment was deleted and I went into the blog admin and saw it was marked as SPAM, probably due to the URL links in it. I’ve moved that to approved and it is now showing up here. It is not my practice on the blog to delete or censor comments and there is a system built in to catch comments that are SPAM. The titles of those posts in your links are pretty sad however even there you have people disagreeing with the poster. IMHO Tribe has always been a very loud echo chamber of people screaming back and forth about Burning Man but I’m not sure if it is enough of a cross section of Burners to use it to condemn all of us. I for one, am hopeful about our event and haven’t given up on it.

    Report comment

  59. RadicallyExcluded Says:

    There is always hope…..but we ALL must be honest and open and do what is best for the event. Core principles and values must be re-established and re-affirmed….

    Report comment

  60. Wawu Balabalu Says:

    @Sandy… Thanks for your acknowledgement on being wrong about the ‘art or arson’ thread. However, I have now read the other links you posted and none of them, to me, show a majority of people who attend bm have the attitude you site either. I agree the subject is in bad taste, but the posters show they are a small handful at best and I’m not sure any of them were more than just joking around. Also I acknowledge that things were heated at the time, but now it’s mostly water under the bridge, just sayin’.

    Nuf’ on this subject for me, sorry Moze for yammering up your blog space. Just getting a bit caught up defending a little general character pot shot.

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  61. Liam Be'em Says:

    Hey you kids,

    This blew my mind today: a 12-mile-wide dust devil photographed from space 30 miles above the Martian surface:

    I can almost hear Martian desert sacred dance music from those little valleys waaaaay down below in the photo… but that’s one beautiful dust devil (seen from above, no less)!

    Liam Be’em

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  62. RadicallyExcluded Says:

    We’re all gonna die in December

    Report comment

  63. Peace Says:

    RadicallyExcluded said “Core principles and values must be re-established and re-affirmed….”

    Out of context that’s a terifying statement…not sure it’s much better in context.

    Report comment

  64. RadicallyExcluded Says:

    Ah-ha you got it :) muuuwwwahahahahhaa
    join the cult

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  65. AsOfTime Says:

    What a happy place… when your fucked up on drugs and looking for a transmitted disease. Rock on you happy people.

    Report comment

  66. Rand Says:

    Yes Asoftime! You nailed it. It sux. Please don’t come. Will you sell me your ticket now?

    Report comment

  67. AsOfTime Says:

    Not yet Rand… we have a ways to go and prices will rise. Its like
    stock in Apple.

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  68. SandyBunny Says:

    There are many opportunities to make a lot of money off the burn. Now that the Borg has opened up commerce on the playa, some serious profits can be made. Just on scalping tickets alone – if I put my mind to it, I could make about $10-20K next year on tickets alone.

    Not to mention hiring out equipment like generators. Now that the doors are open, as long as BM continues I really don’t have to work a real job. Thank god!

    Report comment

  69. AsOfTime Says:

    Thats right SandBunny… 10-20 grand can sure feed a small village. Something good from something that’s dead.

    Report comment

  70. RadicallyExcluded Says:

    Why does it burn when I pee?

    Report comment

  71. SandyBunny Says:

    “10-20 grand can sure feed a small village.”

    it sure can, especially in villages in east africa where they are in desperate need of clean water.

    but in san francisco, $20k hardly covers my bar bill and cocaine. one of the principles of BM is ‘immediacy’, and i honestly don’t have time within the framework of ‘immediacy’ to deal with inconveniences.

    safety bacon!

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  72. Mutant vehicle owners of America Says:



    May all beings have fresh, clean water to drink.

    May all beings have food to eat.

    May all beings have a home.

    May all beings have someone to share love with.

    May all beings know their true purpose.

    May all beings be well and happy.

    May all beings be free from suffering.

    Today I shall do what I can to make this so.

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  73. Mutant vehicle owners of America Says:


    May all beings have fresh, clean water to drink.

    May all beings have food to eat.

    May all beings have a home.

    May all beings have someone to share love with.

    May all beings know their true purpose.

    May all beings be well and happy.

    May all beings be free from suffering.

    Today I shall do what I can to make this so.

    Report comment

  74. Mutant vehicle owners of America Says:

    Oops….brownies kicked in.

    Report comment

  75. Epiphany Starlight Says:

    I’ve lived and worked in many places, even the brothel I’m working at right now has more rules than the conventional default world. Burning Man is the only place I’ve ever been where I didn’t feel estranged and out of place. I love the changes that occur every year, it’s sort of the point isn’t it??? Why would anyone that hates BM and Burners be on this site??? Haters will always be haters, I suppose. Thanks for the humorous comments aimed at defusing the hostility. And thanks to Moze for a well written blog. I count the days until I’m finally HOME again. I only wish I never had to leave.

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  76. Dirt Wheel Says:

    I’m with you Epiphany Starlight. To many so called ‘rules’ are being considered. It’s like my Great red haired step grampa used to say, “You concentrate on you Dirt, don’t worry ’bout what someone else is doin’ “. Who cares if someone is makin’ money on the playa or thier inside the RV playing “Wheel of Fortune” reruns or payin’ high dij to be served or even if they spend a week not participating, just looking. Only to be inspired to participate the next year. It’s ever changing, right? No rules, just principles. Follow if you wish. Or not. They’re just pointers. Someday they’ll get it or they’ll just stop coming. Simple. After I get in though, I’m gonna deep fry my ticket in peanut oil, dip in sweet ‘n’ sour sauce and wash it down with an ice cold pint. Should take about a day in a half of laughin’, dancin’ & singin’ on that thing and I’ll be skippin’ all the way to the porta potty to do a ‘Deployment 2.0′ “…There are no rules about how one must behave or express oneself at this event (save the rules that serve to protect the health, safety, and experience of the community at large); rather, it is up to each participant to decide how they will contribute and what they will give to this community…” It’s just a week. 50,000 people though. What’s next, no fires or amplified music after 10pm. On another note though. Riddle me this. Are there any Vets out there that have been here from day one? How did you ever recover from someone telling you that you would ‘now’ have to ‘pay’ to come burn the man? That’s a big change. Even if you haven’t put down any principles yet. Although you knew like minded people were coming together. And it was something that needed to happen, get bigger. Still no one is going around saying that their not getting thier monies worth out of Burning Man. It is constantly changing. It’s an open area to create and just be. Let’s just concentrate on being more creative with printing a larger number of tickets, so we all can get out there. One and all.

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  77. Dogknee Says:

    I wonder if Burningman is related to Kenny on Southpark? He dies every episode.

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  78. Peace Says:

    I am not in a “bad” place
    I am in this place
    And this place is neither bad nor good
    It is simply this place
    And I am in this place at this time
    … This is not a bad time to be in this place
    It is simply one moment
    Out of all moments
    That I could be in this place
    This place and this time are nothing more
    Than the perceived location of my consciousness at this moment
    The extent to which I am unhappy with my circumstances at this place and this time
    Has nothing to do with this place
    Or this time
    Or for that matter
    My circumstances
    Which have no intrinsic value
    Beyond the fleeting pleasure they provide
    Or suffering they induce
    Which are not a product of the circumstances themselves
    But my perception of the circumstances
    So it becomes clear
    If I don’t like this place
    Or this time
    Or these circumstances
    The solution is not to change my place
    Or time
    Or circumstances
    But to clarify my perception
    That all places
    And circumstances
    Are part of a perfect continuum
    Which itself is a projection
    From a perfect This

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  79. Dirt Wheel Says:

    @ Peace – Awesome thoughts. Ultimate truth. Love it. In other thoughts. ‘Nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.’ I’ve spent the last three years really trying to be ‘present’. Having total awareness. Being total awareness. The ‘trying’ really gets in the way. Most moments tougher than others. Wait out the storm. Nothings ever over until it’s over. And it’s never over. ‘Reality’ I’m against it. ‘Death’ I’m against it. ‘No to Death!’ I know the Universe will produce a most excellent ‘Burn’. Of course, it depends on how you view it, each and every one. There or here! Again, trust that everything is working in its most perfect order. Anticipating viewing a pair of tickets in hand as well though.

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  80. Peace Says:

    @ Dirt Wheel

    Keep it up – best Burn ever

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  81. Desert Dog Says:

    Todays news said that BRC is on probation! with BLM. And they could lose the chance of getting a permit.
    Will there be refunds?

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  82. AsOfTime Says:

    “Here you have a multimillion dollar business and you don’t even know how to count” Traffic and patrons has had an adverse impact on the environment. Most land owners do not want you there. But money trumps anything. So don’t ever call yourself a no trace festival. You leave more bullshit behind than any other event I have ever been to.Keep your trash in San Fran,we don’t want your cancer growth in our desert. You are nothing but a sellout now.

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  83. AsOfTime Says:

    …stay at home and make the community you live in full time a better one. Stop going to someones backyard and fucking it up for them,making them miserable while you think your changing the world in a fake ass makeshift city. I was lucky enough to get several tickets to this event. They will be sold to the highest bidder and the money will be spent on villages that really need it. Real people,real communities that will prosper from it. No costumes,no drugs,no bullshit. Just real help in a real community. Take notes you fakes.

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  84. Zephre farouk Says:

    There is a laundry list of things that have made the Burn a challenge for me each and every year: from angry lesbians with a chip on their shoulder, snotty exclusive campmates, Russians in RV’s, to Neuro-Syphlis, and that man I loved so much; that threw me under the bus when we got out there. Still, those problems seemed to never stick in the transcendent Playa air. Sure, it’s what you make it, and some might get caught up in the veteran Burners disease that no future event could equal the past, and wallow in that bitter space, devoid of the very possibilities that created the magic that changed their lives. It’s work to keep flexible, but, “Flexibility IS the key to success”. Re-invention, however uncomfortable, or upsetting, is personally, and socially imperative to this community. Regardless of what malicious hi-jinx might pop up in that otherwise sublime environ, killing my current concept of what it’s all about. I always seem to have to question myself when I’m leaving each year; “and was this so well done”, these high minded aspirations and dubious machinations? “YEP”! says I.

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  85. Dirty Hippie Says:

    The Mona Lisa piece AND Hair Of The Dog mentioned in one article?? Can’t get better than that! I miss me that Mona Lisa, and I expect to be visiting Hair Of The Dog again this year! (Unless I’m wise and go to South America instead.)

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  86. Desert Dog Says:

    Core principles my a__ Soon there will be Sony big screens, corn dogs for $5.00
    and a muntant car rides for $10.00
    Long lines again streching out to the Playa for hours and hours no porta potties for the long line.
    At least Disney Land has parking and flushig toilets and it is right off the free way.
    Next a water slide with a phot finish

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  87. Mutant vehicle owners of America Says:


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  88. netta Says:

    one question….why if its so big dont they have smaller pieces, there are after all 4 seasons, with different patina’s, and various weather. I for one would love a Darker Burn in October, and a Solstice in Spring….

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  89. Mutant vehicle owners of America Says:

    You wouldn’t like the playa in the spring……usually lots of standing water

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  90. Osh Ooh Ahh Says:

    Holy shcnikeys!
    @ Moze: Nice article…… a more expanded perspective really can be a treat when mucking about in the closeness…..

    @ anyone who was talking about the “so called prank” of burning the man early:
    All I can say (and of course this is my lousy two cents….) is that while I didn’t have the privilege of making it that year, when I saw Addis’s face and that shit-eating grin that was on it, I slept better that night knowing that ANARCHY could still have a go a things…. yeah yeah blah blah safety blah blah money and arson… but all said and done, this too is in the spirit of things…. and is remarkable even if it was selfish….


    If you want to live in the past, submit yourself to a museum.

    Otherwise, let’s keep it moving eh?

    Cheers and shit….

    Safety Third

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  91. Osh Ooh Ahh Says:

    The coolest part of this thread was the original post…
    Electric Blue light coming from the man and being transmitted to others in a recirculating/extending line creating not only an incredibly novel experience but also community in one of it’s simplest forms? YES!!!!

    that’s rad!


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  92. jewelle Says:

    I’ve always heard oof this event. As like most, I snapped to judgement about what it really was. After “studying” this event for a couple yrs now, I have an uncontrollable need to attend. I won’t be making it this yrs but will shoot for next. Don’t let this event die. Evolution is the key for survival!!

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