For my fifth Burn, I was well-prepared, busy, overwhelmed, so happy. It was another one of the most amazing weeks in my life…and you can better believe I have already been talking about “next year…” (And for the record, while waiting for dinner at the party central Burner-ified hotel, the Grand Sierra, Wayne and I made a list of things we need to do for next year. Top of the list: Puff’s plus to soothe my sore constantly-needed-to-be-blown-due-to-playa-dust-nose.) But the dust is still around my heart, glitter on my soul, and my body feels relaxed and happy in a way it hasn’t since last year.
Wayne and I spent five days in San Francisco prepping. He kite surfed during the day, I worked virtually from an apartment we rented in Bernal Heights, and nights we spent prepping: I doing cooking, Wayne doing errands, like shopping for wood. I cooked a bunch of meals (cauliflower tomato curry, curried tofu, pesto pasta with veggies, roasted mint carrot lentil stew, white beans with sage and garlic, garlic tomato pasta with veggies, coconut turmeric rice, etc.) and froze individual meals in zip loc bags. Then, Wayne and I would defrost from the cooler and put it in a pot of boiling water, and yummy meal would be ready in minutes – with little on-playa prep and clean-up.
We arrived on Friday with early arrival passes. We began setting up the camp – tent up first, and then we had a smaller older tent we used as our “kitchen tent” where we had room to store our coolers out of the sun and all our other food. I organized things inside and outside the car, unpacked the container (we shipped out some stuff on a shipping container from NYC to BRC) while Wayne hammered in rebar. I hate setting up camp and building things because I’m not very good at it, but Wayne is fortunately good at it and he likes doing it. Go figure. We complement each other in a lot of different ways.
I found myself doing a lot of organizing for the ultra – registering our camp and events at Playa Info, registering at Media Mecca so if I took any photos I could put them in Ultrarunning Magazine, meeting with Emergency Services to make sure we had all the logistics hammered out, getting radios, and of course, measuring the course for the Burning Man Ultramarathon. I also spent some of Monday and pretty much all of Tuesday meeting with runners, describing logistics and outlining the course for them. It was fun and people seemed excited about it, but it was a lot of work and a lot less time for drinking and dancing. Hmmmm. I didn’t get to Distrikt to dance yet again this year. Sigh.
|NYC Core Project|
|Wayne and I packed into the car at the gate|
|Utah and me!|
|Great core project!|
|Dusty love :)|
|in the car...|
|asking god for advice...|
|protection from the dust|
|zip tie art...seriously wayne was drooling!|
|look closely...i'm a turtle!|
|okay i love this boy....|
|biking to dementha, my fave fave fave camp at burning man|
|only a librarian would write this|
|view from our plane ride...|
|gwendolyn, james cherry (our pilot!!!), me, wayne|
By the time our friends had arrived, Wayne put up the monkey hut and built the shower and evaporation pond, we were ready! We spent a lot of time biking around the playa, looking at the amazing art. BM has started the “core projects” which are amazing pieces of art built in the circle directly around The Man, built by the different regional groups of Burning Man, and all pieces are burnt on Thursday. The pier was back, but with an abandoned pirate ship off the end of it, which was so cool, especially the slanted feel. There was a wonderful piece of art entirely made of zipties, various domes, and since many pieces of art at Burning Man are interactive, it doesn’t mean you simply gaze at a piece, maybe take a photo. Instead, you climb in, climb under it, ride it, spin it, push buttons to make it spit fire, hang upside down from it, engage with it. It’s a much better way to experience art in my opinion. It’s always hard to go back to the DO NOT TOUCH art of art museums in NYC because I want to rub my face against the furry part of it, sit on it, straddle it, climb it, worry it’s going to collapse on me, enjoy the view from it. Art should be interactive, as art is a big part of life. It is life. Living creatively and experiencing life to the fullest are core to my life – and Burning Man.
I biked around and interacted with art. I visited with friends. I gave out info about the ultra. I visited my friends at DeMentha and drank minty mojitos and danced my butt off. I talked with strangers. I built words out of alphabetic blocks. I tossed back shots of tequila after a stamp. I did RESIST, an old radical cheer chant. I talked with people. I asked for advice. I hugged strangers. I smiled. I gave compliments. I received compliments. I did some improve acting with my awesome campmate, Yosvany. I loved the costumes – the ones I made, the ones I saw, the ones my friend Gwendolyn made. I covered Wayne with glitter kisses. We danced in the sand. It was beautiful. Wayne and I went to a Thai massage workshop and massaged each other. We visited grilled cheese camp and ate tasty sandwiches. We drank wonderful drinks my friend Caretaker made us. We went to the gay Christmas camp where extremely hot gay boys in practically nothing danced with us to awesome tunes with lesbians served delicious snowcones. I visited DeMentha. I visited DeMentha. I visited DeMentha. I visited DeMentha. Yes, please. I’ll try that. Dancing. Dancing. Kissing. Am I flying? Faster on the bike. Let’s stop here. Art. Space kitties. And more.
We walked around deep playa – in the heat of the day, we visited the infamous Kathy Donofrio’s space kitty art piece. Wayne once again pointed out the Big Dipper. We avoided the cops with their unlit cars. We held hands, understanding that our love would carry us through yet another burn.
The Core burned on Thursday. We visited “Wall Street” with “Bank of Unamerica,” “Goldman Sucks,” “Merrill Lynched,” “Chaos Manhattan.” I loved the graffiti, especially the “Shopping at Wal-Mart is not radical self-reliance.” Wall Street was burned on Saturday night – it was supposed to be Friday, but insane winds prevented that from happening. The Man was burned on Saturday, as usual, which was the usual spectacle of wonderful fireworks, flames, and partying. Sunday was the burn of The Temple – it was also the anniversary of my grandfather’s death. I put up a note and picture for him in The Temple and bawled when the temple burned. (I also cried throughout that day and the week, remembering him. I still miss him.)
Background on The Temple – this guy built a temple for his friend, a Burner, who had died. He burnt it, like any good Burner. The next year, people began the tradition of writing memories to those they had lost. The Temple is a very special place – it’s not a party night when they burn it down. People are crying, remembering those they have lost. It’s also sad because BM is over. Sigh.
Overall, Burning Man has tons of workshops, but between planning the ultra (which was a lot of work but went quite well), meeting up with friends, running the 50k and 5k (the latter of which I somehow won, the former of which I was plagued with stomach probs and felt wretched during), hanging out with my awesome campmates Wayne and Gwendolyn and Ofer and Ray K. (who had an absolute blast) and newbies Yosvany and Teddy. Yosvany is a former bartender and kept making wonderful playalicious drinks, like a sangria punch and using my jarred peaches and champagne to create bellinis. We all had fun riding around and laughing and joking around and doing some improv and being extremely loud and hilarious. Burning Man is about making new friends and bonding with old ones. You run into people when you least expect it – like when you are moving outside your normal limits and are tipsy-riding-over-bicycle-tipsy and you run into an old friend. Plus, by organizing the ultra, I ended up making a lot of new amazing friends (like Matt who wanted to run with his pith helmet which provided AC). Wayne and I grew closer, talked about our relationship, calmed each other down, and as usual, he ate more than everyone else at Burning Man put together and impressed all of us.
This year was about improving the organization of the ultra, spending time with friends, seeing amazing art, drinking lots of mojitos, listening to great music, meeting new people, and having some wonderful fun. I’m so glad I had yet another wonderful amazing Burn…and yes, I can’t wait to be back next year.