Friday, October 10, 2008

Burning Man 2008, Black Rock City, NV

Lafayette, CO. - Ok... August was busy enough. We had the ski condo renovations to finish up, we had our wedding to plan, and Suwei had volunteered to make the wedding cake for her friend, Jackie's wedding (on August 23rd), so there was a lot of trial cakes to make & taste test (she cooked, I ate). On top of all that, Suwei had agreed to let me go to Burning Man this year... right smack in the middle of the madness. It was to become my week-long bachelor party. So while she was baking, I was busy tearing up the garage look for Burning Man detritus from years past, assembling a makeshift shower, and eating cake.

On August 22nd, Gary, my fellow burner, flew in from Ireland. He was a little jet lagged and a little more upset when the lovely, profession people at Jet Blue told him that the bag he paid $120 extra dollars for in New York (it was "overweight") did not actually make it to Denver. Not only that, but they had no idea where it was and had no way of finding it until it showed up somewhere.

On August 23rd, we dumped Gary in Boulder to shop for last minute hippy gear while we attended Jackie & Hank's wedding. Gary ended up making friends in a kite shop and bought out almost their entire stock of solar-powered, blinky name tags... except... he can't find anyone's actual name, so he assigned names (mine was Dude and it's still sitting on our coffee table, blinking away.) As of 10 pm that night, Jet Blue still had not located Gary's bag. Gary went ape-shit on the lovely, professional people at Jet Blue. We delayed our 6 am departure time, hoping for one more chance to get the bag before we took off towards Nevada.

On August 24th, we gave Jet Blue an early morning call. They had found the bag. It was still sitting in New York, right where they had left it 3 days prior. Jet Blue agreed to fly it to Salt Lake City, where we picked it up when we passed through. By 9 am we were on the road. The bag, luckily, arrived in Salt Lake City about a half hour before we did. It took a bit of effort to wedge the massive sack into our already bulging truck, but we managed. Early, early the next morning we waited in line at the event gates.

This was my 5th year at Burning Man. Although, I've missed the last two. Gary was on number 7...he hasn't missed one since we were Burning Man virgins together way back in 2002.

Friends have asked me what Burning Man is like...what's it all about? And well, it's not easy to describe. I usually talk about the fact that it's an art-fest and a massive party and an event like none other, and a... blah, blah, blah. They nod and go "uh huh. Yeah, I see." But really, you can see that they don't. So, I usually tell them they need to see it for themselves to really understand. And although Burning Man is not for everyone (far from it) this still rings true. You may go and hate it or love it or not care one hoot one way or the other, but you will understand better what the event is about...for you (and it's different for everyone.) My point... I don't want to describe Burning Man here. I'm hoping the pictures do most of the describing for me.

How was it this year? How was the art? Who all went? These were the questions that came from past burners who couldn't make it this year (of which there were plenty). To them I mostly answered, "different". And it was. And that's a really good thing.

To summarize:
- We came to the event from Denver instead of San Francisco.
- There were less of us in camp (just Gary and I till Thursday when Randy and his friend Todd showed up).
- I met a lot of new friends. There was Hilda and Karla at Quixote's Camp. Gary had met them at Nowhere, an burner type event held in Spain. Matt (whom Gary had also met at Nowhere), his boyfriend Cary and the rest of Yes Please Camp where they were staying (and where we spent most of our chill time). And let us not forget Skeleton Man... aka. Adam, aka Michael... the multiple personality Dutchman.
- The art was on the light side. Me thinks it might have something to do with a sagging economy.
- The Burn was delayed and almost canceled due to high winds. We ended up watching it burn from afar instead of fighting the hoards.
- More people. There were over 10,000 more people attending than the last time I went in 2005.
- Everything was further away. The whole layout of the playa grew to accomodate the growing number of participants.
- More flurry. The playa was riddled with sand traps, making it very difficult to ride bikes.
- Upon Gary's recommendation I volunteered to work as a temple guardian. It was nice to feel somewhat connected to at least one amazing piece of creativity.
- I was at a very different stage in life (ie. engaged).
- We stayed longer than I ever had before (8 days).


Clockwise - Gary / Hilda/ Karla & Michael / Matt & Cary's Wedding / Randy, Gary, & Todd / and one more of Hilda & Gary.

Looking Playaward From Center Camp

The Basura Sagrada Temple

Sunrise on The Playa

For much, much more check out the slide show. Just click the link below.

Burning Man 2008, Black Rock City, NV

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