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Take back Black Rock City! - 2001
by Adrian Roberts

We‰ve always wanted to do a ‹Take Back Black Rock City!Š cover. Not because we really mean it, but just because we thought it would look cool.

Although maybe we do really mean it. As you‰ve probably figured out, we‰ve been coming to Burning Man for a long-ass time š nine years, to be exact. And let me tell you, this town used to be different.

But before I get all wistful and misty-eyed, let me just state that, for the record, I hate BM old-timers pining for the days of yore. Sure, things have changed. Hell, I figured that one out back in ‰96, when I ran into some ex-co-workers of mine out on the playa who were just the sort of frat-boy jocks I would go to Burning Man to get away from! Trust me, it was all over, even back then!

Tell everyone that Burning Man sucks!
That‰s why I‰ve gotten into the habit now of telling people back home how Burning Man sucks. I‰m tired of being an evangelist š besides, it‰s easier convincing people not to go. Of course, I don‰t really mean it. If they‰re smart, they figure out my ruse. And if they don‰t, then they probably wouldn‰t make good Black Rock citizens anyway.

‹Oh yeah, the weather is awful. Last year was like a constant dust storm. You eat food and all you can taste is playa dust. Oh, and the people! Annoying candy ravers and crusty hippies and slumming yuppies. And everyone is so pretentious. Oh yeah, it‰s just awful š I guess it was cool a few years ago, but now it sucks.Š

‹So why do you still go?Š

‹Oh, well, you know, I publish this newspaper out there, so I kinda have to go...Š

Playa street cred
So yeah, maybe we do want to ‹take back Black Rock City,Š and get it back to the magical glory days of the early ‰90s.

Or maybe we‰re just saying that to regain our ‹playa street credŠ š especially after spending the last two days hanging out with our next-door neighbor, Larry Harvey.

Yeah, yeah, a lot of you have stopped by the Piss Clear offices the past few days š so conveniently located in Center Camp š and have accused us of selling out. Softening up. Being co-opted by the Burning Man Powers-That-Be. Well, let it be known, we‰re still as independent as ever, and we‰re still the playa‰s only alternative daily newspaper. Now, when the BMorg starts forking over $20,000 in cash to fund us, like they do with the pampered wussies over in the air-conditioned offices of the Black Rock Gazette, then you can start calling us sell-outs.

But until then, we‰re going to keep telling it like it is, rather than like they‰d like it to be. Because let‰s face it, you read the Black Rock Gazette for boring BMorg propaganda and rhetoric. You read Piss Clear because you actually want to.

No more dork-ass BM themes!
So is it just me, or are these Burning Man ‹themesŠ getting increasingly more lame? Seven Ages of Man, my ass! The whole thing is coming off like a half-assed attempt at cobbling together a bunch of non-related art shit out on the playa š which, okay, let‰s face it, that‰s what it is! That Maze š which, by the way, we absolutely love, and always have š has been out here for years, long before it somehow got integrated into this year‰s dork-ass Burning Man theme. Was it a stretch to fit it in? You bet! But then again, when your theme is as vague as the ‹Seven Ages of Man,Š you can pretty much make anything fit.

The thing that really annoys me about this year‰s theme though, is the street names, which are hard to remember, much less know what order they go in. Sure, you want the street names to reflect the theme, but you also want them to have some easily-navigable logic. So why would anyone know that The Soldier comes between The Lover and Enlightenment? Or that Oblivion comes after The Pantaloon? Could these street names be any more stupid?

In past years, the order of the streets was obvious, whether it was alphabetical (like streets in many American cities) or something more creative, like the order of the planets, or parts of the body (like it was in 1999 and 2000, respectively). But this year, there is no discernible logic to the steet names, and frankly, it‰s fucking annoying! Memo to Larry Harvey: stick to themes you can easily and logically name streets after.

Or better yet, screw the whole ‹themeŠ thing. It‰s not like we need a special theme for Burning Man, other than maybe ‹DustŠ or ‹Crazy FunŠ or ‹Burn Stuff!Š Sometimes, I think the only reason the Burning Man organizers come up with these dork-ass annual themes is so they‰ll have something to do with themselves the rest of the year. I mean, whatever happened to just having cool, weird, arty stuff out on the playa, without it having to relate š no matter how remotely š to a theme?

Your Black Rock City tax dollars at work
Admittedly though, for the most part, the stuff out there is pretty cool this year š we especially like Amazing Larry‰s Cube Club. And it better be cool, because that‰s your Black Rock City tax dollars at work! But sometimes I wish they‰d just spend that money on more porta-potties instead. Maybe next year.

But until then, there‰s this year, and so far, despite the weather, we‰ve been having a blast. We hope you‰ve enjoyed reading Piss Clear š this is our last issue for the year.

What, you ask? Aren‰t we a daily newspaper? Sure we are, but tomorrow is a holiday, so we‰ve given ourselves the day off! It‰s Burn Day and we want to go out and play! We‰ll see you out there on the playa!

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