Our third ever Best of Black Rock City
compiled by The Mysterious D
with submissions from the Piss Clear staff
We wouldn't really be an alternative newspaper unless we fulfilled that hoariest of alt-press clichÉs: the annual "Best of" issue. So of course, we saved the "Best" for last.
Here then, for the second year in row, is our highly-opinioned list of camps and things that we love in this little cosmo-politan burg known as Black Rock City.
Best city representin' this year at Burning Man
Now that all the dot-com money has moved out of San Francisco, L.A. has taken over as the place where all the best theme camps seem to hail from. We think it might have something to do with film industry people having access to cool shit. Or maybe they just want to get their creative ya-ya's out on projects they know they could never get away with in Hollywood. Either way, these Angelenos have high-concept ideas, excellent execution, good style, and they really know how to party. L.A. Burners are representin' with Bollywood, Bunnywood, Gigsville, Nuclear Family, Paul Is Sexy, Temple of Atonement, Eleccentricity with Dr. Megavolt, The Mutaytor, Kult of the Feral Kitten ... the list just goes on and on.
Best view of the playa
Esplanade and Karmic Circle
Yeah, yeah, we know the top of the Temple of the Burning Man probably has the best vantage point to take in a view of Black Rock City. But for a truly unique perspective, hit the Kaliedosphere in Center Camp. You get a nice view of the city from within a three-story-tall kaliedoscope tower thing, with trippy visuals! Just watch your step crawling up into it.
Best appropriation of this year's stupid theme
Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir
Every night at 7 PM, under the Man
If you're gonna do "Beyond Belief" - and let's be honest here, it's just Religion as a theme - at least go all out with a fire-and-brimstone Reverend and a jubilant gospel choir! Halleleujah! Its gospel, urging people to stop shopping, is one that speaks especially to Black Rock City denizens. Once you've seen the light, hop on stage, and sing with the choir!
Best opera fix without having to sit through one of PepÉ's pretentious opera productions
Diva Marisa at Death Guild Thunderdome
Esplanade and Revered 8:00
Yeah, yeah, we know that PepÉ Ozan hasn't done an opera production here in Black Rock City for the past couple of years ... but hey, who needs it when we've got Diva Marisa at the Thunderdome? Get there before the battles start to get a real slice of true opera. This classically-trained vocalist performs a beautiful aria every night, and we think it's the perfect intro to the violence and chaos that follows.
Best neighborhood bar
7:45 Center Camp
If you're in Center Camp after dark, and you need some liquid refreshment, fuck the Cafe. Stop by the Starlust instead!
This is definitely Piss Clear's favorite neighborhood bar, and a great place to kick-start an evening out on the town. Or, grab a nightcap before heading home. The bartenders are friendly, with just the right hint of attitude, and they have some funny-ass theme nights, such as the Larry Harvey Look-A-Like Night.
Best place to dance on the bar
This is definitely the best bar in the boonies. Get off the Esplanade and come party at one of Black Rock City's best-kept secrets. Explore the back streets long enough and you'll find it. Many who do end up having the time of their lives. Tell 'em Piss Clear sent ya!
Best cultural import
Shiva Las Vegas at Bollywood
Esplanade and Karmic Circle
Those kids at Bollywood sure know how to entertain! This little slice of Bombay in the Black Rock Desert has been one of our favorite camps this year, with big production shows and great costumes. Did you see Shiva Las Vegas? It was total spectacle. If you weren't there, you should be "sari' you missed it!
Best way to abuse a press pass
7:00 Center Camp
After a hard day of trying to come up with some new angle for that Burning Man article or documentary you're supposed to be doing (and trying not to get distracted by all the fun to be had), it's nice to be able to go somewhere to hang with your big city media counterparts. Have a cocktail or six, and use the broadband satellite connection to let your bosses back home know how hard you're (not) working.
Best DJ to drool over
DJ Lorin Bassnectar
We mean drool over the music - no, really! Heh, heh... If you're lucky enough to catch a DJ set by the sexy Lorin, you're in for an ass-shaking treat. Phat, funky, and tribal, he's got breaks and beats that will get you movin' on the playa floor. The energy he creates with his music is beautiful and organic - just like the DJ himself.
Best place to wear your sunglasses at night
Esplanade and Profane 9:30
These technicolor tribesters have once again created Day-Glo heaven. By day, it's a super-bright, super-colorful, neon playground. At night, it becomes a glowing raver's wet dream. Vapo-rub not included.
Best place for male bonding
Jiffy Lube at Penetration Village
Dogma and Ridiculous 7:30
It doesn't matter if you're looking for a mid-afternoon snuggle or a late-night snog, there's always someone at Jiffy Lube ready to offer a helping hand (or other body part). While it might seem a bit sleazy for the uninitiated (i.e.: those who have never been to a seedy San Francisco gay bar), this is the perfect place to find your true love - and not need to bother with learning his name.
Best place to go while your boyfriend is at Jiffy Lube
Poly Paradise within Shangri-La
Esplanade and Inspired 4:30
The Piss Clear staff tends towards playa-amoury, so we're always happy to see a place for the bi and het members of the community to play. This is a great place to pick up a partner (or three), and see what all this "poly' fuss is about.
Best hangover cure
10:00 Center Camp
Mmmm ... smell that? It's breakfast, and it's for you! We love this place (when we wake up in time). You can always count on its pancake-y goodness - as long as you don't mind waiting in line. Whether you're still up after a hard night of partying, or just waking up with a hangover, it hits the spot.
Best post-coital pick-me-up
Vietnamese Iced Coffee at The Isle of Avalon
Dogma and Ridiculous 7:30
It's the middle of the afternoon, and as the playa dust starts to stick to your freshly wet-napped naughty-bits, that old familiar torpor is setting in. Dozing off could guarantee waking with either a sunburn or a body-paint rendition of Condoleezza Rice eating a taco on your back. However are you going to muster up the energy to continue on with your day? Stumble on down to the Isle of Avalon and grab yourself a Vietnamese iced coffee. Cool, sweet, and refreshing - you'll be firing on all cylinders in short order.
Best bang for your barter
Temple of Atonement's Slave Auction
Esplanade and Dubious 5:00 within Gigsville
Hey, if you have to barter, you might as well get something good out of it, right? Well, the best barter deal on the playa is TOA's Slave Auction. Need someone to burn your trash? Wash your feet? Hug you on command when the drugs kick in? Why not all three? Bring your best barter materials to the auction - we assure you that you'll be getting far more in return.
Best place for PDAs
Asylum, Esplanade and Serious 3:30.
No, we're not talking about your Palms. We're talking about showing off your gushy love! Found a new love for the evening - or the hour? That E hitting just right? Pucker up and come play at the Smooch-dome, the best place to share a kiss.
Best mobile distribution
of Piss Clear
Black Rock Bookmobile
Karmic Circle and Paradox 6:00
While it doesn't quite fill the void left by the Freezing Man ice cream truck from a few years back, the Black Rock Book-mobile still offers up the same sort of nostalgic warm fuzzies. Come on, didn't you experience a bookmobile when you were a kid? If not, here's your chance! And while you're there, pick up any back issues of Piss Clear you might have missed!
Best place to Black Rock out with your cock out
The Burning Man Metal Meltdown with Lethal Dose 50 at Transcendent Funktions, Thursday night
Authority and Revealed 2:30
It's really nice to have a respite from all the techno beats, especially when it's loud, obnoxious RAWK! We gotta admit, here on the playa, heavy metal seems so wrong, that it's gotta be right. Last night's Metal Meltdown with Lethal Dose 50 was awesome, dude - although we would have liked to have seen more spandex and big hair. For those about to Black Rock, we salute you!
Best potential lawsuit
Swinger's Lounge Zip Line
Strip off your clothes, climb up the sketchy scaffolding, grab a hold of the handlebars, and ziiiiip down the 130 foot long line, crashing into the mattress target below. Hey, that's worth a free beer, right? These guys are nuts but it's a lot of fun watching, even if you don't have the balls to do it. Whether from personal injury, or incriminating nude photos of your fun, this camp is a lawsuit just waiting to happen.
Best substitute for toilet paper
Every year, NAMBLA the Clown promises that he's going to write an article for Piss Clear. And every year, we save copy space for him because, well, we love NAMBLA the Clown. And every year, he completely flakes out on submitting anything. Why? We suspect it's because he's too busy publishing his own self-serving, ego-gratifying newsletter - printed on one side of a sheet of paper and posted inside the door of the porta-potties. So that way, if the toilet paper runs out, you've still got something to wipe your ass with:
NAMBLA the Clown's face.