Posts for category Preparation


September 5th, 2013  |  Filed under Preparation

How To Work Through Feeling Weird After Burning Man

Hi, Burners. If you’re anything like me, this has been a rough week. Re-entry after Burning Man is always strange, and I think it gets stranger every time.

Fortunately, my friend Hannah is getting pretty practiced at dealing with decompression, and she wrote up a list of suggestions she’s shared with us for the Burning Blog. Read on!

BM2012_027 Read more »

August 25th, 2013  |  Filed under Culture (Art & Music), Events/Happenings, Preparation

I’ll be fine here, back home.

I’m SO excited to be taking this year off Burning Man.  I just wanted to let you all know.

At homeThe last month has been a bit of a drag, following online art project and theme camp arrangement discussions along with noticing random shopping Burners all a flutter in mad rushes at various building supply and thrift stores, picking through bins of clothes, pulling out the unseemly, ironic or costume re-purposeful stuff.  I see them there, hoarding Boy Scout shirts and tuxedo tops, grabbing odd hats, bridal getups, impossible shoes and other affluent refuse donated by a spoiled culture steeped in planned obsolescence.  I noticed them at scrap and big builder outlets buying pipes and steel, tarps and wood and screws to build something they have no business erecting anywhere without zoning permits.

Yea, I saw you buying up all the solar lights and goggles and dust abatement gear, filling your bags with anything that glows or blinks, anything that can entertain off the grid. I see you loading your almost-clean-of-playa-dust-after-a-year trucks all covered with BRC stickers. I know what you’re up to.

Ah,  to avoid the hassle of going to Burning Man!  Have a good time this year suckers.

I’ll be fine here, back home.

There’s plenty to do when skipping Burning Man.  I can log some extra hours at work and avoid this blog that’s brimming with stories and images of how fantastic things are on the playa. Some friends may get together to have drinks on Saturday night. I doubt we’ll webcast the Burn, or perhaps we will. We certainly won’t talk about Burning Man, no, not at all. We won’t tell stories of Burns past.

So tell me, what’s going on this week?

Also there is always this awesome list of ideas that goes way back. It made the email rounds back in the day and I have no idea who originally wrote it but it’s always been one of my favorites, with such great ideas to experience Burning Man at home such as:

“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.”

Yea this week is going to ROCK.

Read more »

August 23rd, 2013  |  Filed under News, Playa Tips, Preparation

Law Enforcement in Black Rock City

The Man, 2013 (photo by John Curley)

The Man, 2013 (photo by John Curley)

As the Department of Public Works toils away building the infrastructure of Black Rock City, the law enforcement agencies who patrol our fair metropolis are also on site now, setting up their own infrastructure.

These law enforcement agencies — BLM Rangers, Pershing County Sheriffs Office — are there to enforce the Federal, State and Local laws that apply to us on the Black Rock Desert — yes, these laws still exist at Burning Man. While Black Rock City is certainly a remote and freewheeling place, it’s also a functioning metropolis. And just like in any other city, law enforcement patrols BRC day and night to keep the city safe and compliant with the laws that allow us to have the event in the first place. So yes, any illegal action on your part can lead to a citation (more common) or your arrest (rare).

The Burning Man organization works hard year-round and on playa to establish a solid working relationship with these agencies, and while there are always growing pains in a new year and with a new BLM crew, we’re committed to cooperative collaboration to create a workable and sensible environment for everybody to enjoy. To that end, we encourage participants to report all interactions with law enforcement — both positive and negative — by filling out a Law Enforcement Feedback Form at Ranger HQ, so we can use that information in our daily on-playa meetings with law enforcement.

Law enforcement officers have a difficult yet important job, both on and off the playa. Please respect the valuable work that they do. It is the duty of all law enforcement personnel to enforce the law, and they are there to help protect our citizenry.

That said, you should absolutely know your civil rights, as they are still in full effect on playa as well. For more information, please watch this video from the ACLU about protecting your civil rights at Burning Man:

August 21st, 2013  |  Filed under Playa Tips, Preparation

Sometimes a few stakes and rope are not enough

On Wednesday, August 21st, a very powerful wind front blew through the beginnings of Black Rock City. There was some warning from weather services, and the staff communicated what was coming to artists and staffers. Most art crews were prepared, and afterwards the ARTery conducted a survey of the art projects for damage.

Many staff camps dove into action in the initial whiteout, strapping down tents and shade structures, despite the fact that most were secured the previous night. But this very powerful storm had higher winds and bent structures that only shook before.

So here’s the lesson: plan carefully for the prevailing winds, and use very long stakes and more strapping and ropes to secure your structures than seem necessary. You’ll be glad you did.

Last night's storm was only a warm up.

Last night’s storm was only a warm up.

The wall of dust signals an incoming dust storm. Hurry for shelter and be ready to help your neighbor's camp.

The wall of dust signals an incoming dust storm. Hurry for shelter and be ready to help your neighbor’s camp.

Read more »

August 6th, 2013  |  Filed under Playa Tips, Preparation, Spirituality

Burning Expectations

Survivors of an afternoon dust storm. Walk-in Camping circa 2007.

Survivors of an afternoon dust storm. Walk-in Camping circa 2007.

There is no one as enthusiastic as a second-time Burner. After our first time, we can’t wait to go back and we can’t stop talking about the playa. Our restlessness is palpable. Second-year Burners have been stoking that fire for 12 months, fresh off a transformative experience. We want to do it all over again, only with better gear and more art and more friends. We understand the lay of the land and the porta-potties and we’re ready to pitch in.

All the costumes and camping supplies and decent food — the things I needed that first year when I didn’t even have a chair — don’t add up to the exquisite mind-blowing first Burn. Burning Man changed my life. My experience as a virgin Burner was typical: my mind was blown wide, wide, wide open. I was grateful, gracious and disbelieving. It’s all I could think about when I returned to the default world. I ached to be back on the playa. I came back to BRC ready to do it all over again and my expectations fell flat. Where was the lightning bolt to my psyche?

Subsequent Burns are more about reigniting that original flame, more life-affirming than life-altering. Some years it’s a big fire; other years it’s a lot of dust. The months spent daydreaming of electric moonscapes and deep playa kismet and … well, I still do that. I want to be closer to that wide-eyed wonder. Could y’all bottle that for some of us old-timers? Maybe start a theme camp that serves some of your fresh-Burner juju?

After 12 Burns I don’t expect the catharsis and epiphany I experienced walking around Black Rock City in 1998, colliding with splendor at every turn. A few years in I accepted the ebb and flow. Don’t get me wrong — I am excited for BM2013. I’m looking forward to driving with a friend and camping with a group of women. Mixing it up is a good way to get a fresh perspective on the event.

Taking time off from the playa is one of the best things for reigniting the flame. My return to the playa was resplendent and relaxing and hilarious and serious and sad and wonderful. I still get teary driving into Black Rock City; the first glimpses of the event on the horizon feel like coming home. I cry when I take my annual solo bike ride along the trash fence and stare back into the city. I may be a realist but I’m still a softie.

I’m not trying to bum you out. Burning Man is the greatest. Your second Burn will be splendid; so will your tenth. But after you know what to expect, maybe things start to seem a little less grand. Your mind gets occupied by other things. You consider using that vacation time elsewhere. Everything evolves: Burning Man, Burners, anticipation and expectation.

August 1st, 2013  |  Filed under Playa Tips, Preparation

Exodus: Let’s do it again! This time with feeling.

[Kristy Evans is Burning Man's Gate, Perimeter & Exodus Manager ... she knows whereof she speaks, so listen up.]

exodus_2

Exodus. Don’t let this happen to you!

The most common question I received after the 2012 event: what did you guys do to make Exodus so much better? The short answer is that YOU were a major part of the solution. You spread out your departures over enough days and times, and did it in a fairly balanced way. That is the most effective solution to reducing Exodus wait times. Let’s do that again, shall we?

Now, here’s the thing … we can’t get complacent! Because if everybody thinks, “Well 2012 was a breeze, clearly the problem is solved and I can leave anytime!”, we’ll find ourselves right back in long Exodus lines again. What we need to do is make a plan for Exodus. All of us. Read more »

August 1st, 2013  |  Filed under Environment, Playa Tips, Preparation

Trash bags on the highway: OUT! Cargo net: IN!

Sexy! Strong! Kinky! Flexible! And oh, so stylish. What’s not to love about cargo net?

An 1897 stereoscope from Meteora, Greece. Source: andthenface2face.wordpress.com

An 1897 stereoscope from Meteora, Greece. Source: andthenface2face.wordpress.com

This year, Answer Girl and the theme camp placement team are officially naming cargo net as the #1 Most Great Thing To Have At Burning Man.

Why?

Read more »

July 22nd, 2013  |  Filed under Preparation

I’ve been doing it wrong

Maybe I should have skipped the tie.

Maybe I should have skipped the tie.

Successful theme camps, it seems go through a common life-cycle.  According to organizers from various camps I’ve spoken to:

-          They start out as an incredible idea.  “Hey, do you think we can pull this off?”

-          And then they pull it off, and it’s amazing, and more people want to get involved, and a couple of growth years go by.

-          Then there comes a point where people who have spent so much time and energy and money on this project for the last several years ask themselves … “why are we doing this again?”

-          At which point they either recommit to taking the thing to an even crazier next level of awesomeness … or they let it go and find something else to do with their time.

Individual burners seem to have a similar life-cycle.  It’s noticeable how many serious long-time Burners I know have lost all interest in “The Man,” and most interest in the Temple, and keep only a low-grade interest in the art and spectacle.

Instead they keep coming back for the people:  to see friends who are lost to them the rest of the year, or to be there when their friends dress up and go crazy like they otherwise never would.  They’re here to chill out with their people, and everything else is secondary.  Go out to the fire sculpture and dance naked under the moonlight?  Maybe, but … their friends are all right here, with deck chairs and whisky.

I’ve noticed the change in myself, and have come to the gradual conclusion that – at least for me – I’ve been doing it wrong. Read more »