Pop quiz: what makes for a solid playa conditions? Answer: A winter season full of precipitation, which compacts and solidifies the playa surface.
Whiteout Inside a Tent, photo by Joseph Pred, taken August 13, 2012.
Well, folks, due to one of the most anemic winters the west coast has seen since 1977, this promises to be one of the dustiest years ever in Black Rock City. If 2011 was your first year, YOU WERE BLESSED BY UNBELIEVABLY GOOD WEATHER AND PLAYA CONDITIONS. It was an anomaly at best, and it won’t be like that this year, no siree. Veteran Burners will tell you that dust is always an integral part of the experience, and it’s so very true … but as much as we revel in and love its alkaline awesomeness, it’s much less fun when you’re not prepared for it. Read more »
Tales From The Playa are dreams and memories of events that took place at Burning Man, as told by its participants.
“Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and adventures are the shadow truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes and forgotten.”
– Neil Gaiman
We love to hate the dust. It gets into everything, it sticks to anything. What it touches is marked for the remainder of it’s significantly shortened lifespan. I believe we ingest a lot more of it than we imagine. Fighting it — believe me, I’ve tried — is useless.
But I find that when I quit fighting and embrace the dust, and I mean truly become one with it and of it and in it, it becomes almost impossible to become actually dirty. And my camera gets a magical Shield of Immunity against playa, and so I go out and shoot what the dust reveals.
Hawaii CORE project
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Aught six was Tornado Alley in the Keyhole. They’d form over by Earth Guardians, at Carousel Corner and start spinning all erratic and slow, trying to find their focus, some becoming almost an entity but most of them becoming sputtering dust disturbers and nothing more.
The Devils that built into something substantial started the same, swirling and sometimes halting then starting again, but they eventually stood tall on their own, spitting up playa until they formed a wobbling body that gained legs then inevitably started marching head first into the City with a frenzy of vengeance. Though they held such promise, most shot their load in that first block and dissipated into nothingness.
We enjoyed watching Black Rock City citizens flock towards those promising funnels on foot and bike, trying to be there when the big one manifested itself.
photo Moze 06
That day our camp mate Alanna was performing his BIG BLACK MAN SHOW in Center Camp, so after an afternoon tour of the playa Art, we made our way back to camp to find he and his troupe lazing beneath their shade structures. We alerted them that they were almost late for their show which sent everyone into a mad buzzing of costumes and props and makeup flying while they became fabulous.
Ms. Bird, HotDamn and I made our way to Center Camp and found an empty couch whilst Alanna, Jerome, Alison, Bambi, Adam L.and the others in the BIG BLACK MAN SHOW all got ready to take the stage. While we waited, the hippies moved slowly about, all dreadlocked and tie dyed and smelling of patchouli. They imbibed and stretched, prayed and Tai Chi’ed.
Then Alanna took the stage. He is the BIG BLACK MAN and he is quite huge and entirely muscular, like some sculpture of a God. He’s got a hell of a voice and he’s amazing in his cosmic freak drag.
He sang “Colored Spade” from the musical Hair. He talked about how there were like 20 black people at Burning Man and 40 thousand white people but he wasn’t scared.
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