OONTZ OONTZ OONTZ
Burning Man is different things for different people, but I think if you didn't like house music, it would drive you absolutely crazy. There is a constant BOOM BOOM BOOM from ALL directions at ALL hours of the day or night. But especially at night.
Being right on the Esplanade, The Soulicious camp was basically a 24-hour nightclub, with two speaker stacks blasting beats that could be heard a mile away. We had DJs scheduled just about every hour of the day. The only exception being from 8am-Noon, when the camp right next door borrowed our turntables for their own booming sound system. Going to sleep 100 yards from two speaker stacks is a challenge, but after the first night or so, nobody cared.
The Souliscious dancefloor was a big, dusty patch of sand facing the center Esplanade. People would ride up, drop their bikes, and get down. they'd stay for a few songs or a few hours and then ride off in to the night.
Half the reason I joined this camp was that they were known for great house music, and they did not disappoint. Marques Wyatt from LA. Rafael De La Cruz from San Fran/LA. Small Change from NY. And a slew of people who's names I never even caught.
I DJ'd 3 different times during the week and had a blast each set. We had a residents' night on Tuesday, where I got to throw down with some disco, funk, and afrobeat. It just seemed like the gap needed to be filled. I also played a nice 3-hour-long downtempo set on the last day as we took down the camp.
THE MINISTER OF SILLY WALKS
One thing that really spoke to me at Burning Man is the collective, undying, unwavering devotion to absurdity. So much of what you see is just pure, unfiltered silliness. Silliness for silliness' sake. And it's all the more silly and hilarious because of where you are. You know how hard it was for you to get all the way out there. How much money you spent. All the planning you did. All the worrying you did. All the shit you had to buy. All the logistics. And then you see people who did all that AND they went out of their way to give the gift of absurdity, either on a grand scale, or a tiny one.
My favorite example of this was a guy I saw on the second day. It was at least 100 degrees. He was wearing a mask and a little tiny cape. And he was riding across the entire middle of the Playa on the tiniest fucking clown tricycle I have ever seen. His knees were right up in his face. He could barely peddle the damn thing. He was probably going about 1/100th of a mile an hour. He could have walked 10 times as fast. But he didn't. He brought this tiny fucking tricycle all the way from god knows where, JUST to ride t across the desert, JUST for the visual pun. He did this in the blazing mid-day heat. It probably took him 3 hours. But he did it. Not for recognition. Not for any money. He did it simply because he knew other people would think it was hilarious. The purity of that intention just blew me away. And you see SO MUCH of that.
Why did somebody build a working martini bar three stories up worth no ladder? Oh of course, it's for people on stilts!
Why are there two giant shark fins swimming through the desert? Oh of course, two people made 8-foot shark fin costumes in their garages back in Boise and now they're walking around out there, circling people and sculptures, probably roasting half to death inside those things, just for the visual joke.
I didn't even see these bunny slippers. This pic is from 2010 (I think). But I post it here to illustrate my point: Absurdity. Absurdity. Absurdity. If that kind of shit appeals to you, you may just be a Burner. At the very least, you and I should have a beer.
EVERYBODY RUN, IT'S THE COPS!
The funniest thing about the entire week was our Nowhere Men costumes. Remember that whole plan we had? Dressing up like a military unit and giving out secret missions? Yeah, well, we hit a snag on that one. Thursday night we all got suited up, ready to dazzle the camp with our clever spin on the superhero theme. But first we did a little recon, because on Thursday night they burn the inner circle of sculptures and we didn't want to miss that.
While out on the Playa watching the infernos, we noticed people were acting really weird around us.
"Excuse me, where can I leave my bike during tonight's burn?" said one dude.
Another guy patted me on the back as he walked past.
"Is it OK if my girl and I sit down over here?"
WTF was going on? Why were all these people talking to us?
And lastly, right outside of our RV, a guy came over and said "Thanks for all your hard work. You guys rock!"
It was then that we realized, our Nowhere Men suits were identical to the Park Ranger suits. AKA the cops. We were dressed like cops! Talk about a Picard facepalm moment. The last thing you want to do in a place where every single person is tripping is dress like a cop. Oh well, There went that idea LOL.