ONE SERVING OF SOUL PLEASE
Our camp's big chance to give back to Burning Man was the Soul Brunch - an all-day / free food / free booze / free beats throw down for everyone's enjoyment.
in the morning, JC and Rafael called a big meeting under the shade structure. We stood in a circle, held hands, and all pledged to spend the entire day serving others. We divided up in to to rotating teams. 6 people on cooking. 6 people on serving. 6 people on trash duty. 6 people behind the bar. Etc Etc. Everybody went to their tents and RV and brought out as much food as they could spare. We had already given 2-3 bottles of liquor each to the bar, but everybody gave more. It all came together incredibly smoothly. The party was humming along solidly for about 6 hours at least. We never ran out of food or booze and the dancefloor was packed by the end.
The Soul Brunch aside, I must say, I think Ben, Welly, Dave, Andreas & myself each felt incredibly lucky for having been welcomed in to the Heroes & Supervillains camp so warmly by JC, Caro, Daniella, Chorizo, Rafi & everybody else. These guys had amassed such a great mix of people, and everybody was indeed down for the cause in their own way. Having a home base full of wonderful weirdos to return home to after each long day was a real blessing.
Camp divas Nikki & Daniella struttin' their stuff
Juan Carlos and Carolyn. The freaks who roped me in to the whole madness.
I opened up with a mid-tempo set of classics to get shit moving. A dude named Sabo and DJ Small Change from NY kept it moving. Rafael De La Cruz from San Fran and Marques Wyatt from LA held it down until the very end. Our camp definitely had the best house music on the entire Playa. I was just proud to be down.
David Evans and the one that got away. Peep the green socks pulled over his shoes for the Robin Boots. Fresh.
BURN BABY BURN
They burn an inner perimeter of sculptures on Thursday. This was a huge wooden Anubis that you could climb on.
When it burned, there were massive gas explosions. It was pretty awesome.
Fireworks explode around the man on Saturday night, as the base of the structure is set on fire. 60,000 people go wild.
Eventually, it all comes down, and everybody parties like its the last night on earth.
SUNRISE AT THE TEMPLE
The madness after the man burns is some next level type shit. At dawn, a lot of the survivors ride out to the temple to see their last Black Rock sunrise. It was a magical morning for me.
THROUGH THE FIRE
On an interpersonal relationship level, the week was a real bitch for all of us. Being utterly covered in dust in every imaginable crevice, with cracking feet, random cuts and scratches and bruises, sunburnt, constantly recovering from over-indulgence, and severely needing 80 hours of sleep was definitely taking its toll. Despite having the time of our lives, we were all a bit on edge and seriously in need of a little private space. But we kept going. We just had to hold it together for one more night. Then we could laugh about it all the way back to the first hot shower in Reno. That shower was the dream that kept us going.
THE BURNING OF THE TEMPLE
They burn the temple on Sunday night. It's really the climax of the entire event. About 40,000 people ride their bikes or hitch a ride on an art car out to the site. Everybody sits in a big circle around the building and waits for the ritual to start.
At this stage, just about every single person is emotionally invested in this now sacred space. Either you dedicated a memorial to a loved one of your own, or you sat in there during the week, reading dedications scribbled in sharpee on the temple walls and listening to the dozens of weeping, mourning people all around you. It's impossible to not be touched by it in some way.
When they set the building ablaze, you could hear a pin drop. To hear 40,000 people go completely silent at once was almost deafening. It was an incredibly profound moment for me. Something I'll carry with me for the rest of my life.
If this kind of cathartic group experience speaks to you, then you may indeed be a Burner after all.
There's a million other things I'm leaving out. Really, you just need to GO.
AM I IN, OR AM I OUT?
That's the question I keep asking myself. Either I'm never going back, or I'm going back SO FUCKING HARD every year from now until the day I die. It's hard to say. It's an incredible experience, yet, to be honest, I don't really connect with that many people out there. They're great people, but I'm not quite sure if they're really my people - "my tribe", per se.
Still, my camp had some outstandingly cool people, and at the very least, Burners and I do certainly share a lot of commonalities: A love of extremes, a love of absurdity, a love of house music, and a love of revelry for revelry's sake. In the end, that may just be enough.