I'LL SLEEP WHEN I'M DEAD
By the third night I had figured out the magic formula for sucking it dry: Wake up, eat some California brownie. Go explore wherever the road (or lack there of) takes us. Come back, eat lunch, quick nap. Wake up. Explore some more. Headphone bike ride at sunset. Come back. Eat dinner. Nap until about 1am. Wake up and head out tripping the light fantastic until sunrise. I think I saw the sunrise almost every day after that. It was glorious.
Ben Cruz - my man fifty grand and my general partner in crime for the last 15 years. Game for pretty much any damn thing at any damn hour of the day or night.
This was some pulsating LED thing that constantly undulated with colors and patterns. It came with 3D glasses. Laying underneath it was like "MY GOD IT'S FULL OF STARS"
ONE FOR THE TREBLE
The parties at night are fantastic. All types of club music. All shapes and sizes. Huge riotous dubstep assaults inside a 4 story pyramid with lasers and enough sub-bass to dislodge your teeth fillings. Tiny gatherings in makeshift tents with one working JBL speaker a few Burners playing old funk songs from their itunes folder. Moving parties on art cars with mobile techno DJs and mobile cocktails cruising around the black light wasteland and the back streets of Black Rock City. By NYC standards, much of the music is just "aiight". It will get you by, but you really need to dig to find the real shit.
Some of the cooler parties are these massive gatherings in the middle of the great void, where 10 or 20 art cars gather together in a big circle. All but one turns off their sound system, and everybody dismounts and goes nuts to 12 straight hours of house music. The best of these seemed to be "Robot Heart". Whether 3am or 10am, it was jumping. DJs like M.A.N.D.Y., Lee Burridge, and DJ Three. Almost no vocals. Just beats beats beats. Not all of it was my cup of tea, but the DJs knew their crowd.
This is some place called Opulent. I think Carl Cox DJ'd there one night. It was so bananas in there I couldn't even go inside.
All that said, my best nights out were the tiny underground tent parties that we just stumbled upon. A handful of music lovers and DJs who stay in their camp and just throw a party for whoever happens to wander by. These are magic.
My favorite set all week was Rafael De La Cruz, from our crew, playing for a very intimate crowd in The Kundalini Camp. We danced for hours in the middle of a large dome-shaped tent while a serious orgy was in full-swing all around us. Naked bodies writhing in all directions. It was a sight to see, and a night I'll not soon forget.
12 RANDOM MOMENTS YOU KINDA HAD TO BE THERE FOR
- 2 mini people in leather bondage gear zooming across the playa on 2 mini-segways.
- Howling at the full moon with 5000 other strangers as it slipped behind the mountains at 6am.
- Running in to a kid I knew in high school while tending bar completely off my face.
- An art car blasting Huey Lewis "Power of Love" at the Sunday sunrise at the temple.
- Swinging around at 100mph in a tripped-out blur with 30 other strangers on one of those playground roundabouts built around a massive disco ball, whilst driving across the barren desert at 5am.
- The heat of gas flares exploding all around you and that unmistakable smell of butane. I don't quite get the fascination with fire, to be honest, but it does have its moments.
- Eating some weird Cali caramel that, after 30 minutes, felt pretty much like I'd been shot with a fucking tranquilizer gun. Beware.
- Shots of the Green Dragon. Beware the green dragon too.
- Sitting on a couch with Ben, right on the Esplanade, just watching freaks go by for hours and hours.
- Listening to two strangers on MDMA lamenting the absence of psy-trance, and specifically how it has "more texture" than all other forms of music. I kid you not.
- Watching my friend Dave air-conducting to Johann Strauss' "Blue Danube" while zooming across the wasteland on his bike on one of our headphone odysseys.
- That orgy thing I mentioned above. A sight to behold.