Piss Clear  -- Black Rock City's favorite alternative newspaper

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Five years - 1999
by Adrian Roberts

Five years. Hard to believe, huh? I know I can't. But somehow, Piss Clear has not only survived on the playa, we've thrived! And in the process, we've become a fixture here in Black Rock City, attracting national advertisers, and confusing the local populace over exactly which Burning Man newspaper is the "official" one.

Well, rest assured, there is nothing "official" about Piss Clear. As Black Rock City's only alternative press, we're proud to say that we have never worked for "the Man." So stop asking us questions about the so-called "official" goings-on of the Burning Man Project! Because we haven't got a clue. All we can offer is the sassy, snarky perspective of our rabble-rousing selves, plus the seven years of experiences we've had in attending this here "arts festival." I mean, really, what more could you want?

What's that? You want to know things that the Burning Man Powers-That-Be won't tell you? You want the tips and tricks that they won't print in the Survival Guide? You want a totally unbiased report on what's going in Black Rock City, without having to deal with the Burning Man propaganda machine? Well, consider us Black Rock City's "reality check." The backlash starts here! Hell, that's what we're here for!

Why are we called Piss Clear?
When I first started Piss Clear back in 1995, it was originally meant to be a sort of irreverent survival guide to Burning Man. And with a ridiculous name like Piss Clear, we had to be irreverent! After all, our number one survival tip for Burning Man has been, and always will be: drink enough water so that you piss clear.

Little did I know at the time that the word "piss" was one of the "seven deadly words" that one can't say on television which must be why our humble newspaper never gets mentioned by the media, while our vastly-inferior competitor, the Black Rock Gazette, gets all the glory. But that's okay. It just gives us more "indie cred" points, and reinforces our lofty status as a truly alternative newspaper.

Oh, alright, fuck it, yes I'm bitter about not getting any media attention, especially since we're all such media whores. But I'm not about to change the name, because, let's face it: while you're here in Black Rock City, it's really important that you all piss clear.

One can't survive on water alone
Of course, we have a lot more survival tips beyond simply telling you drink a lot water, and I'm proud to say that this particular issue is chock full of them. Our award-winning sex advice columnist, Dan Bitter, is back again, and I'm happy to report that he's even more of an asshole than ever. Lois Layne shares what he learned at Burning Man last year, while ggallin13 dispels some of the more common Black Rock City urban myths that circulate here from year to year.

We've also got some real survival tips that you can actually use, along with the ever-important fashion and beauty tips, a topic sorely-neglected by the "official" Burning Man Survival Guide.

Why am I still doing this?
After five years of doing this, you'd think that my enthusiasm for doing this newspaper would have waned. And you know what? You'd be absolutely right. So why am I still doing it? I'll tell you: a firm sense of obligation. Yes, the Black Rock City public not only expects their Piss Clear every year, they deserve it especially considering the shoddy, propaganda-fueled efforts of the Black Rock Gazette.

Besides, my work's been cut out for me this year. I'm very thankful to be working with such a fabulous team of writers, who have made my life as an editor that much easier. I mean, really, come on. Don't you think I have a life? Unlike some people, I've had a lot more going on in my life this past year than endlessly preparing for Burning Man. In fact, I didn't even start packing until Sunday!

Shameless rock star plug
So why have I been so non-plussed about Burning Man this year? Because I've been way too busy with my band, Blue Period. I mean, when I should have been writing and preparing potential stories for Piss Clear, I was instead locked away in a recording studio, laying down vocal tracks for Blue Period's upcoming second album, Nightlife Casualties, which will be released on the San Francisco indie label, League of Bureaucracy. If you like glamorous, kick-ass glitz rock, and you live in the Bay Area, then come see Blue Period.

But if you like glamorous, kick-ass glitz editors of alternative newspapers, then stop by the Piss Clear offices at 4:00 and Venus and say hi. We're the big, 30-foot RV with the (duh!) big Piss Clear logo on both sides. We're part of the M*A*S*Hcara camp, so who knows, you might even be able to get an emergency make-over as well!

Come visit, and grab a Piss Clear sticker before they're all gone. And be on the lookout for our next issue, scheduled to come out this Friday. Until then...

2002 Piss Clear
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