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Haute couture, hot couture - 2003
by Adrian Roberts

For years, we talked about doing a Fashion Issue, but we could never really get our shit together - until this year. With a little help from Mandy Hixson, who models many of the outfits inside, and photographer Claudia Goetzelmann, from k23creative.com, we finally pulled it off - or put it on, as the case may be.

Yes, we love playa fashion. I just wish I could have afforded new outfits this year. As it is, I'm pretty much just running around in my underwear all week - which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Hell, if I could get away with it in the Real World, I would! It's one of the best parts about Burning Man.

So my "editor uniform" is the same as it was last year: Piss Clear tank top, cute underwear, big platform boots, and a cowboy hat. All black. Simple, but it's me.

Hey, at least I finally got a Utilikilt! Now I can be like all the other cool Burning Man dudes - nothing says "Burner" like a Utilikilt. And I got a "Black Rock City' Neighborhoodie too, because not only do I need to stay warm on a cold desert night, I need to represent!

We had a lot of fun putting together this fashion issue, and I strongly suspect that it will become an annual tradition. Black Rock City definitely has a unique sense of style - both good and bad - that you won't find anywhere else. Inside, we put together a portfolio of various "looks" one can find out here on the playa. We admit, this is hardly a definitive catalog of Burning Man attire - after all, we never did manage to get down our Death Guild Thunderdome look, all big-ass platform boots, bad-ass black leather, and dreadlocked hair extensions.

But it is a good place to start for the aspiring playa fashionista - at least most of the outfits. Like I said, we included some, uh ... bad playawear in the mix as well. I especially liked dressing up resident staff artist and sari cover model Halcyon as a yahoo. How else are you going to torture a Newbie?

Yahoos are a dying breed
The truth is, yahoos are a dying breed here in Black Rock City. And anyone dressed like one is probably just faking it for fun. Hell, I remember when this town was literally crawling with for-real yahoos, especially on the weekend.

Not all yahoos were scary, though. Some were just funny. Wanna hear a humorous tale from "back in the day?" Too bad, you're going to anyway.

This happened way back in '95, before anti-yahoo sentiment had really fully developed. A bunch of us were warming ourselves by our very own campfire (remember those?) when a group of drunk college boys stumbled over. Keep in mind, back then Burning Man was only a few thousand people. We figured anyone who turned up on the playa was probably cool enough.

So we end up chit-chatting with these kids, and despite their t-shirts and baseball caps, they were actually quite charming. Turns out they were from Las Vegas, and they had heard there was some big party in the northern Nevada desert. So they just drove up. That night.

Now here's the funny part: when they got to Burning Man, it was after dark, and they wanted to park someplace where they would be able to find their truck later. "So we just parked by that big blue neon thing over there." That's right. They parked underneath the Man. Oh, those wacky yahoos! Those were the days, huh?

Sussing out the competition
Now that I think about it, that was the first year I ever did Piss Clear, back when it was supposed to be just a one-off 'zine. Trust me, had I known this newspaper was ever going to last beyond one issue, I never would have named it something stupid like Piss Clear.

Speaking of dork-ass names for playa newspapers, what's up with the Spock Science Monitor? Great little read, but what a gawd-awful name! And I thought we had a stupid name for a newspaper!

What the fuck does Mr. Spock or Star Trek have to do with anything in Black Rock City? A big fat nothing, if you ask me - unless you're some Trekkie geek, then I suppose it somehow makes sense, though I don't see how.

Still, the SSM is almost always entertaining and we look forward to reading it - even if most of the stories are complete fabrications. If Piss Clear is the Vice magazine of the playa, then they're The Onion. We love watching them kick the Black Rock Gazette's ass. Hell, somebody has to, and frankly, we're sick of being the ones to do it (figuratively, if not literally).

Every year, we give the Gazette shit, throwing down the gauntlet in the hopes that it will spur them to improve. And every year they disappoint. It's still just a boring read.

Hopefully, you can't say the same for us. We try our damnedest to give you, the people of Black Rock City, the newspaper you truly deserve.

And I just want to say a big thank you to all our sexy paperboys and papergirls who help deliver this esteemed publication to the BRC masses. You all rock! We'll see you out on the playa!

2002 Piss Clear
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