Random rants, tips and tricks - 1995
by Adrian Roberts
There are no
observers, only lofty ideals
"There are no observers, only participants" is a nice thought, even if it is
total bullshit. There are tons of people here just observing and not
participating. After all, if everyone were participating, there would be no one
left to observe them, and then what?
There’s just too much
the long and ever-growing list of performances, bands, theme camps, and other
attractions and diversions taking place at this year's Burning Man, a creeping
feeling came over me, and then it hit me like a ton of bricks: "Shit! I can't
be fucked up on drugs this year! There's just too much going on that I want to
check out! If I were on drugs, I'd probably be too messed up to care, and I'd
end up missing out on some of this cool stuff that's happening! I'd feel so
lame! I'd be so out of the loop! Fuck! How did this happen?"
I used to
worry about the Burning Man festival selling out. It was something I termed the
"Lollapalooziation" of Burning Man. I was fearful of showing up to the Black
Rock Desert one year, only to be inundated with a plethora of greasy food
trucks and cheesy souvenir vendors, hawking everything from Burning Man t-shirts
to Burning Man spoons to Burning Man shot glasses to Burning Man snowglobes.
You know, the usual assortment of tourist trap hellspawn.
But then, I
started to realize something. Despite the fact that the festival gets larger
every year, attracting an increasing amount of so-called "participants", I
don't think it will ever completely Lollapalooziate. Why? Because, let's face
it. Hauling your sorry little ass out here to the middle of fucking nowhere, to
camp for three days with no running water or electricity, is hardly what anyone
would call low-maintenance. Being at least two hours from anything resembling
civilization doesn't help either. It's just too difficult of a trip for most
coddled urban dwellers to deal with.
it. How many people did you talk to about Burning Man, and how many of them are
actually out here this weekend? You know the story. They all hear about how
great Burning Man is, make plans to come out the following year, and then, one
by one, they all flake out. Knowing that the basic inconvenience factor will,
by its very nature, probably never change, we can take solace in the fact that
your average, everyday person probably won't deal very well with this
environment. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing either.
Be nice to people on
presents an opportunity for people to explore another side of themselves, and
oftentimes, that exploring involves drugs and other psychoactive substances.
They probably don't do this very often from where they come from. But out here,
they are on vacation from the responsibilities of their everyday lives. So
please, be considerate.
The sun is your enemy
rigorous real-world testing, we here at Piss
Clear have determined that the best possible sunblock you can buy÷at your
neighborhood drugstore, that is÷is Coppertone¨ Sportú, SPF 30. It's creamy
blend of ethylhexyl p-methoxycinnamate, oxybenzone, and 2-ethylhexyl salicylate
clearly makes it a winner. Gliding smoothly into your skin, it then totally
stays there, resisting sweat, water, and, most importantly, ultraviolet rays.
With both UVA and UVB protection, its PABA-free formula doesn't run into your
eyes, and it doesn't make you feel slimy either, like so many other sunblock
brands. Okay, so there is that little problem of it being a real bitch to wash
off, but for those as sunburn-phobic as we are, it's a small concession.
performers here one-track-minded, or what? It's like, someone came up with fire
as an artistic motif, and it worked so well that now everybody's doing it! It's
all fire-this, and burn-that. Whatever happened to originality? Geez, all
anyone can think about out here is burning stuff.
Burning Man burn-out
of ironic how the Man is meant to be the focal point here, but by the time we
get around to burning him down, it seems practically anti-climactic. We spend
so much time cramming in so many other cool activities, that when we finally
get around to Sunday night, it's like, "Okay, we've done all this cool shit,
now what?" "Oh, I suppose we should burn down that big neon figure now." "Oh
sure, okay, whatever."
Mixing organic with
reason, early-80's synth-pop and techno music work really well for me out here.
The more synthetic, the better. I think it's a context and irony thing.
Besides, drum circles just seem so obvious, don't you think?
Sex and drugs
A lot of
people come out here for spiritual enlightenment. Some come here to revel in
earthy paganism. But mostly I think, people come here for two things: sex and
both are relatively easy to find. All you have to do is ask around!
less socially-inclined however, there are other options. The bulletin board at
Central Camp provides an easy forum for those in search of drugs. There are
always fliers posted from people who are looking to either buy or sell
psychoactive substances. Just check the board.
it's been three years since there's been anything resembling a sexual personal ad
on the Central Camp board, it wouldn't hurt to check. Or better yet, post your
own! After all, it's worked before.
you could always place a small ad in the Black
Rock Gazette. I'm sure they'd run a personal ad if you asked them÷or if you
gave them money. Don't worry, it doesn't conflict with their ethics. Besides,
they could probably use the advertising revenue anyway.
No better place to
time I ever seem to rave these days is when I'm out here in the desert. There's
just something about dancing outside on the playa, underneath a blanket of
stars, that not even the best warehouse party in the City can compete with.
Once I raved out here, it became difficult for me to rave anywhere else.
Bicycle light debacle
year's registration materials, it states: "Finding your own tent...may prove to
be a challenging task at night. A small bicycle flasher on your tent may be
So now everyone's going to bring out to the desert a small bicycle flasher to
hang on their tent. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see how this is going
our camp? Oh, it's that one over there, the one with the flashing bicycle
light. No? Well, maybe it's that one over there. No? Well, there's a flashing
bicycle light over there. Maybe that's the one. Or maybe not. Is that one is
ours...no? Well, maybe that one..."
Ground Control to
around the Black Rock Desert at night without a flashlight often feels as if
I'm floating through deep space. Especially when I'm all alone. Especially when
I'm walking all the way out to the rave camp.
omnipresent backpack begins to feel like an astronaut's jet pack, as I gaze up
at the stars and float through the cosmos. Eventually, I head toward some
distant star system, the one with the bright star that pulses at regular
intervals. Jetting across the inky black void, the deep space waystation
becomes visible, and I prepare to dock. After landing, I decide to hang out,
visiting with the people whom I know. Removing my astronaut's jet pack, I dance
around, reveling at the fact that I can be so far from home, yet feel such
though, it is time for me to be on my way. I bid farewell, and leap back into
deep space, to float toward my own space camp, somewhere in the distant night.
Flaming Man: Big
It seems as
though the buzz surrounding this year's Burning Man festival is, "Okay, well,
betcha didn't think of this!" But we have.
In honor of
the queer contingent at Burning Man, we welcome the arrival of a bigger flamer.
Yes, Flaming Man, Burning Man's younger queer brother, is here. He has at last
made his way to our desert to partake in some enchanting pagan fun. (He thinks
the idea is totally cute!) So salute!
It was hard
work outing the creature, so please, come visit him Burning Man Eve. (That's
Saturday night.) Share some stories, drink, and dance to music in celebration
of us queers in the desert. Or just bring a nice pair of shoes to offer up.
Flaming Man forgot his. See you there!
It is one of the great injustices of life that chocolate
melts in the desert.
Why there are more people out here this year than last year:
"They told two friends, and then they told two friends, and so on, and so on,
Try not to camp downwind from the porta-potties. You will