OK so time for a little write up and some pics from the burn….
All of my pics are here:
But there were many many photos we didn’t get — the man burning (we had front row seats and a camera that had no pictures left!), art that we just didn’t take photos of for whatever reason… I wanted to go back to the art piece I have the tattoo of during the day and get a good shot of me with the sculpture, but it never happened.
I’ve searched out and favorited on flickr photos that either rock or that are of things I missed seeing or just missed taking a photo…. so feel free to browse through them to see some better/other pictures! http://flickr.com/photos/k8et/favorites/
The weather was bad a few days, but overall it was the best burn yet for me!
Biggest news/favorite memory, probably is getting married to Random (Nate). Yup. We had a playa marrage. (there’s no I in marriage!) performed by bluebuddha. We were invited to join a reception, and then asked if we wanted to get married. Sure, why not?! They lent me a veil and flowers, as well as a maid of honor and a “father” (peter pan). Random got a best man (peter pan’s boyfriend!) The marriage is valid until the “alcohol, novelty, or drugs wear off, or until you leave the playa”. Wedding rings and a certificate completed the ceremony, then it was time for the reception. Introduction, first dance, chicken dance, hokey pokey, conga line, last dance… all the cheesiness, right on the street between the wedding camp and the DJ across the way! it was a blast. I hope they send me photos they took, we signed a book and asked for them to email us.
Right before this, we had stopped at the Barbie Death Camp and Wine Bistro, and I spilled wine all over myself 😦 Luckily, I never travel anywhere there without a sarong, and I was thrilled to realize I had a special one with me that day (it was given to me by a dear friend, and I wore it at my first burning man during critical tits in her honor!) So I changed from wine stained capris into the sarong for the wedding 😀
My other most favorite moment was watching sunrise Sunday morning, with the man gone, the temple stood out, and the sun rose behind it from our position at PEX. (We had wandered, danced, spun glow poi, mini-golfed, and cuddled/chatted with some friends the entire night)
(Photo by Lisa)
As for conclave… well we performed Thursday night at PEX. Except for one part not going as planned at all and not making sense to the audience (taking down uncle sam between fire pieces), it went well. Then saturday, it was a little dusty all day, and full white out for a few hours before sunset. News on the ranger radios was that the man burn was delayed. When it cleared, we made our way to PEX, to hear that we had no idea if we were performing or not, but we went out to the man. They ended up just burning the man with no conclave performance – I’ve heard various reasons (no performing because he was loaded with fuel/fireworks, or because they didn’t want the wind to pick up and end up missing the window of opportunity… *shrug*.) we were all disappointed, and some were very angry. I appreciate that I enjoyed spending so much time with this amazing group of performers, becoming better friends with them, and we had front row seats for the burn. I don’t know if I’ll do it next year, just not sure I want to commit the time and driving again, but it was totally worth it.
The temple burn was magical, my first time sitting up close (for various reasons the past two times, I watched from mid-playa or esplanade). The Man burn had the longest fireworks show I’ve seen in my attendance there.
As those of you who have been know, it’s just a crazy week full of amazing memories, and hard to put them all into words. the list of things we meant to see/do is long, but I know we would have sacrificed things we did experience if we held to schedule.
Random had a great time as well – and we travelled well together. yeah we each had little cranky moments but that always happens at burning man, the weather and lack of sleep can be harsh. they passed quickly, and even after spending almost two weeks together, we didn’t want to leave each other, so I say that was a complete success 😀
and so I’m going to be totally lame and use parts of something I wrote for my town’s blog rather than recreate some of the things it says (I was pestered by one of the main bloggers to contribute. I posted before I left for burning man – http://www.nj.com/morristown/index.ssf/2008/08/not_your_usual_summer_vacation.html – and once I have all my photos will submit the full follow up post as well.).
Journaling attempts (both photographic and written) fail, as time becomes fluid and you are continually distracted until exhaustion catches up with you out in the desert. My boyfriend and I attempted to write in a journal and only got about two days worth before forgetting it entirely. Trying to catch up post-event, it’s become a list of favorite mental snapshots and moments that even full paragraphs or photos could not do justice.
Our arrival on Monday afternoon was a dusty one. It was clear driving on the roads, but once you turn off the pavement and onto the playa (the dry lake bed) it grew dustier as we drove, and we could not see the city through the cloud hovering over it. The caravan slowed as soon found out that the gates to the city were closed, with full white out conditions in the city it was unsafe for driving. We alternated between sweating in the van (with no working air conditioner) and suiting up with goggles and dust mask to stand in the cool breeze of the storm.
As the weather cleared up where we were, an impromptu party of neighboring cars started as people broke out a box of wine, a guitar, and marshmallows. Odd combinations like this are the norm on the playa, and we enjoyed making new friends as we waited. Once the gates were opened, they rushed us past the greeters rather than giving “virgins” (first timers) the fun inaugural speeches and dares. I was disappointed for my boyfriend as it was his first burn, but he says the white out was the best initiation for him.
By the time we set up camp and said hello to old friends, we were too exhausted to go any further, and decided to rest up for the first full day on playa.
And from there, it was one adventure leading to another. Whether you start out for a task or a leisurely wander, it easily can last longer than expected as you run across friends you haven’t seen, or an unusual piece of art. Stopping to smell the roses is essential, as the next time you pass that way the object of interest could be moved, or non-functioning (as functioning pieces of art tend to have down times), or despite all good intentions you may not pass that way twice.
Some burners fall into definite “day” or “night” categories – meaning they will live one up to the fullest and spend most of the other recovering/sleeping. We did our best to do a little of each – managed to see two sunrises by staying up all night, but the day after was always a wash out. Other days we did daytime art exploration. And even if you don’t need sleep for some reason, there are still not enough hours in the week to see everything you want to see.
While the large art works and the burns of the Man and the Temple certainly are memorable, it’s the little things that mean the most to me. They are snippets of memories and no longer hold any order or timeline in the conventional sense.
-The synchronicity of sharing a plane route (and even a row) with a familiar face, both on the outbound and inbound trips.
-Playing “spot the burner” in the airports (some are easy, carrying fake fur coats and sporting colorful hair – some are more of a challenge!)
-A picnic in a shady spot out in the middle of the hot playa on an art piece, offering passersby blueberries and strawberries and seeing their delighted reactions.
-Standing in line at the 30′ tall ketchup bottle, waiting for fresh french fries, and making friends while we wait.
-Watching skydivers at night with sparkly firework effects, leaving trails in the sky.
-Speaking of the sky, the clearest view of the stars I have ever seen, and shooting stars are a common find.
-Staying warm and chatting with friends as we wait for the sunrise – which rose behind the temple from where we were sitting.
-Being invited to have an impromptu “playa” wedding – only for the duration of the event – with strangers standing in as father of the bride, best man, and maid of honor, complete with a reception featuring a first dance, the chicken dance, hokey pokey, conga line, and last dance. Our “cake” was a s’mores Poptart, given to us shortly before hand from the off duty art car “Dust City Diner”.
-Having a “brainwashing” at Cleu camp (
www.cleu.org) – which is a relaxing meditation as they explain the meaning of their symbol, and they give you a copper necklace with the same symbol.
-Leaving notes/messages at the Temple, for those who passed on and for those who could not return to Burning Man this year.
-Watching my boyfriend (er, husband at the time!) experience the city for the first time with such joy and awe.
-Performing our conclave piece during the week, our last rehearsal. (It ended up being our only performance of it – high winds and white outs on Saturday precluded the conclave groups who worked so hard all year from performing before the Man burned. He still burned, just later than usual, and we did have front row seats. Many were angry or disappointed, but the time spent practicing with my group was wonderful and it was worth it even if the end goal was never completed.)
-Sharing wine and chocolate with neighbors before the Temple burned, and walking home in a white out at night afterwards.
Those are just a few of the highlights of the week. Yes, the weather was harsh at times. However I find the Playa (and it does take on a personality of it’s own) tends to bring you what you need, whether or not it’s what you want. Mostly, for me, it brings me back to the moment. You can’t focus on things you need to do/see – the only things I had scheduled were our last rehearsal and our performance, and you know how that turned out. You can’t rely on a mental list of things you want to see, or return to in the daylight. When you leave camp, you need to have your bag fully packed with water, snacks, dust mask and goggles, because you never know what is in store for you. You may have a goal destination, but it usually is just a starting direction for your journey. Wherever you are, whoever you are with, you need to enjoy that to the fullest. Because that’s a moment you’ll never get back.