Category: Burning Man


OK so time for a little write up and some pics from the burn…. 

All of my pics are here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/k8et/sets/72157607189941551/

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.).
 
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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. 

Photo by Chuntr

Photo by Chuntr

-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.

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Going Home!

Heading out tomorrow to Reno for Burning Man! Limited internet access until Monday, and then going completely off-grid for a week!

Hey, I submitted a blog on the burn to my local website’s blog – don’t know when they will post it, but hopefully today!

If you are heading out the burn, stop by my camp. Home Brew camp with the casket beer tap on the corner, along 5:30 somewhere.  We were also in the Jack Rabbit Speaks newsletter –

“HOME BREW CAMP WANTS TO FEED YOU PICKLED THINGS, AND PICKLE YOU

Hello, I would like to invite everyone to Home Brew Camp at Burning Man to get pickled at 3pm on Wednesday afternoon for a tasting of pickled stuff (cukes, watermelon, onion, eggs, beans, peppers, okra, olives, etc.) please bring your favorite to share!! There will also be home brew.

On Thursday morning 9am we will be holding our lounge Brunch so put on some fancy silks and bring a brunch treat to share … we will have booze soaked fruit pancakes for those who dare. Please stop by ANYTIME for a beer we are a non-registered camp and plan to be on 5:30, just look for the coffin serving beer and soda.

gAWD”

(It’s not entirely clear, but the brunch is a lingerie brunch!)

Yup, so Home Brew for a Home brew, with the coffin on a corner along 5:30 – that’s where I’ll be!! Stop by and visit!

Also, catch me perform in the conclave group – performance at PEX on Thursday night at 8 pm (PEX is in Fifth Dimension Village, Esplanade and 8 o’clock) and before the main burn Saturday. We were given our position as between 3 and 6, but if the group goes in the same order it is listed, I suspect we’ll be closest to 4 on the circle. However, group sizes vary, and we have a smaller group…. get there early and look for us if you want to be sure of where we are!

Flying out tomorrow from Philly, returning late Tuesday Sept 2. Hope to see you on the playa!!!!

Working to find cool stuff I can never afford!!

The daisy-chain of websites started with my daily check of http://notalwaysright.com – great for a laugh, or waste a week reading the whole site. *looks innocent*

Top of the page is a link to a new site of theirs, http://theawesomer.com – where cool stuff of various price ranges is showcased.

And now, equine lover that I am… I want this stool!!!

How much? If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.

And now I’m curious about what exactly IS lomography, and how can I get some of these cool cameras without reverting to pricey film development??

A camera with a fake fur bikini? Come one, what burner DOESN’T want one?

How about disposable cameras with optional color filter over the flash? Hmm starting at $10 each, I don’t use too many cameras out at the burn… If only I had spare cash right now!

Some of these are just TOO cool…

OK OK… If I’m going to get credit for staying this late at work I’d better get off my blog.

(More cool cameras here)

 

How many days till the Burn???

Procrastinating from working, wanted to share some upcoming events!

Friday 8/8/8! An auspicious day, and World Hoop Day!!!! For jersey folks, Teri is having a gathering in Wayne from 5:30 onwards. Contact me for more details! I’ll be there until dusk-ish.

Saturday 8/9/08 – PEX Compression Party!!!!  You know the PEX parties of past, through experience or reputation.  Yes, this is a different venue – we broke it in for Phoenix Rising.  It still has the awesome PEX energy (despite overpriced drinks and thorough searches by bouncers! Be respectful and law abiding and they’ll treat you fine. You are allowed in and out of the place however, not that I’m condoning any illegal behaviour… But I suppose a drinkypoo in the parking lot is not illegal if you don’t drive with an open container or while inebriated! right? ;o)  AND no pesky limits on invites, we have plenty of room for all! Just remember to dress up (ARrrrgh! pirate or ninja??) or you’ll pay a hefty entrance fee. 

The following weekend I’ll be winemaking Friday night, hanging with some cool cats in frenchtown Saturday night, and freaking out about packing the rest of the time. 

Friday Aug 15th, 9 pm, Playa del Fuego tickets go on sale!  My awesome crew of gals is talking about making our group an official theme camp this time… If you are interested in attending for the first time, or camping with us, contact me because space near me will be limited! But we’ll have a satellite area in open camping as well.  Fall PDF is October 9 – 13.

August 25 – Sept 1: Burning Man WHEEEEEEEE!!! I’ll be camped along 5:30 somewhere, look for a casket bar/keg system on a corner, a bunch of old hippies in tiedye, and possibly a pool table as well.  Home brew for the home brew is the name of our unofficial theme camp.  Catch my conclave group performance at PEX’s camp (Esplanade and 8:00) Thursday evening, 8 pm, or right before the Man burns Saturday night!

 

Is there life after Burning Man? Yes, there is…. It just gets much more relaxed. ;o)  I’m not planning on fall Wildfire (and it sold out in less than 2 days!) and we have PDF of course.  And before you plan any fun halloween parties, put PEX’s decompression halloween party on your calendar for October 25!!!

Conclave Video

This is the true story… of 24 fire artists… picked to make a conclave…and have their performance taped… to find out what happens when people stop being polite… and start getting real…

At the bottom of this page you will find the link to our conclave submission video, which we are all very proud of. This labor of love is a testament to what happened when people take their arts to new levels, pushing concepts, dedicating their time and energy, and working together.

With mighty hopes, next stop: The Playa. (burning man) 
 
wording above by Lucky (the conclave shin/leader), because well I can’t say it any better than that…. ;o)

The conclave video (for application to Burning Man in order to perform there) is online!!!! Click here!!!

My connection from work (and work like people hanging around me) has kept me from seeing more than the first 1/3 so far, but it’s. freaking. amazing.  Of course I knew it would be, Hedy and Erik are amazing videographers!!  So since I haven’t seen it all, I have no idea if there are any embarassing bits with me, but I’m sure if there are, only I will think so because I trust their judgement.

The American Dream vs. The Human Dream

As we journey to Burning Man 2008, we embrace the theme of the American Dream. This country was founded on two concepts: Patriotism and Liberty, represented by the figures of Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty.

Liberty’s torch ready to welcome immigrants into its land, shares her light with Patriotism. The characters of this country are presented, creating the melting pot, which is the United States of America. Uncle Sam takes his new flame to light all those who enter this land, promising them of a good life. From families to punk rockers, soldiers to hippies, protestors to religious figures; all are welcomed. But Patriotism turns a selfish eye; leading rather than honoring, enslaving rather than freeing. Drawing further away from Lady Liberty, Uncle Sam shouts at his constituents, cracks a whip of fire, and demands falling in. The inhabitants of this new land become part of this new machine, moving in sync, conformed; their individualism lost under the guise of unification. That is until one breaks free.

A little girl, frightened by Uncle Sam, looks to Lady Liberty, dancing with sparklers refusing to listen, unwilling to fall in. She ignores the demands and slurs of Uncle Sam, risks being called a traitor or a terrorist to live in a free land. She strips herself of her patriotism and even of her clothing to find her human self – raw, tribal, real.

Uncle Sam directs his people to bring her back to his side, but inspired by her rebellion, they seek to join her. Stripping down, they find themselves. Lady Liberty’s torch extends to a dart revolving over and protecting her free people until all have left in the name of Liberty. The final two individuals take their tools, once lit by Uncle Sam, and breathe fire at their falling leader. Others lift themselves up to strip Patriotism down to its roots – a lost cause built by one of their own. Now free from his own constraints, he joins the group as the intended United People of America.

A single line of fire lit by Lady Liberty and aided by its own people, lights the group ablaze. Moving in groups by their own accord, the people of this land spread out and come together, creating a living clock. As the clock ticks, each individual exhibits his/her own beauty, while others stop to admire and look on. From a distance, time passes, the clock turns, and the land of the free becomes a reality. Lady Liberty’s torch bursts with sparks, and the people wave in succession, not as a flag, but as a people.

Aish Tamid (eternal fire) is born.

 

Solstice

 

Next Friday, I’ll be attending a special solstice event.  Kristin Hoffmann is an outstanding musician who has really developed her interest in healing music, meditation, and yoga – and ways to incorporate all 3!   She’s been offering YogaSong classes in CA and NY, but I haven’t been able to attend.  I do have a copy of her music meditations from these classes, and it’s very calming and great for meditation or sleep.

This special event will have a yoga class, all levels are welcome, and a concert following.  You can attend one or both for just $20.

If anyone wants to go with me, just let me know. I’ll be doing both.

 

On an unrelated note. If you are a blood relative (except for my cousins) you don’t want to click this link. ;o) It’s better that you don’t know.  Trust me.

Where I’ll be…

Stealing this idea again from people on tribe.  I’m always trying to invite all my friends to things I do, but I assume some people are on the same lists I am, or I forget that someone expressed interest in joining me…  So here’s important dates coming up, where I’ll be, and whether you can come too and how ;o)  Don’t tell me I never tell you about these things!

Saturday April 19th – Backyard Burn in Northern NJ. I’m not recruiting for this LMAO anymore than I have. If you are on the NJ burner email list or friends with the hostess on tribe, you know about it and how to get more info.  I hope to see many familiar faces there!!!

Sunday April 20th – (private) – Baby Shower

Sunday April 20th – evening – Possibly BPAL Will Call out in PA…. Anyone want to go with me? I don’t want to drive alone.

Friday April 25th – Morristown Critical Mass Bike Ride and Happy Hour – out on the town, I believe this time.

Saturday April 26th – privatish – Housewarming up in Lake Hopatcong! (privateish in that I could bring a friend, but can’t publish the details for the world!)  I MAY do Ag Field day beforehand, need to find out what time the housewarming starts.  

May 1 – Wildfire tickets on sale

May 10th – PEX Phoenix Rising! One of only 3 PEX parties in Philly this year, in a new location, LIMITED IN ATTENDANCE!!!!  You MUST check out the PEX tribe on tribe.net and send in your invite request ASAP!!!! (If you are stuck and need an invite, let me know.)

May 22-26 – PLAYA DEL FUEGO!!!! Tickets still available!!!!

June 12-16 – WILDFIRE!

July 12 – NJ Burner Beach Bash

July 18-21 – TRANSFORMUS!

August 9 – PEX Compression Party

August 25-Sept 1 – BURNING MAN!!!!  Where I will be performing in the fire conclave with Aish Tamid, a Philly fire conclave group, if we get accepted!  We’ll also be doing the performance at PEX’s camp earlier in the week.  I’ll be camping with my friend from Reno again (with the yummy home brews!) but will be spending much more time in Camp Jersey and PEX than before.  If anyone needs a place to stay in Reno, my friend’s house is open to any burners.

September 5-7 – privateish – Lhiapalooza (silly girly slumber party with lots of drinking!)

October 9-13 – PLAYA DEL FUEGO!

October 18-19 – Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival – I’ll be taking an out of state friend up and we may get a hotel for the night.

October 25 – PEX Decompression/Halloween Party

 

 

Welcome Home

Last year, I wrote and posted the blog entry below on Tribe and Myspace… I want to share it again, with some additional comments.  To shift focus from some drama on Transformus discussion lists, people have been sharing their favorite memories.  I haven’t been before, but I can share why I’m going.

Like a drug, I’ve become addicted to this amazing community of people called “burners”.  I’ve come to realize that term is misleading, because many people belong in this group who have never heard of or attending Burning Man or any other “burn”.  And so, this is the Year of the Burn for me – I have a summer packed full of PDF, Wildfire, Transformus, Burning Man, and who knows what I’ll do after that but I think I’ll always return to PDF no matter what.

Over time, I’ve been working on not keeping this part of my life segregated from my mundane life.  I’ve come out of the burner/fire artist closet to people at work, to my parents – I held back on the fire spinning because I knew my mom would worry!  I’m trying to realize that in this world of “muggles” (forgive the overuse of quote marks, but it’s hard to convey this in written tones sometimes) that not everyone is the close minded, judgemental, prejudicial, conservative stereotype that they can appear to be at times.

The burn community is not about events, it’s about the people.  Charlotte Martin wrote a song/album titled “Stromata” – by definition, “The connective tissue framework of an organ, gland, or other structure, as distinguished from the tissues performing the special function of the organ or part”.  But to her it was more a representation for the networks that connect us to each other as humans.  (I want to quote her more but I can’t access my old interview with her, at work here (Shhhh) the browser crashes each time I try – you can read it though, hopefully, here. ;o)  Burning Man and other burns are our stromata, our connections, woven like a spiderweb – we are always together and never alone. 

And that’s what my favorite memory of any burn is – the people.  Not the ticket process or bickering online.  Not the bad weather or good weather.

My favorite memories include: Hugs from new friends and old, especially when I’m feeling the most fragile.  Meeting amazing people that are now part of my life.  Sharing the gift of fire performance – watching it, learning it, teaching it. Spontaneous performance art.  Sharing camping supplies and food.  The gift of music.  A soft place to rest.  Support to become a better person.  Artwork that inspires and touches.  A caring shoulder to cry on.  Glitter when your world is lacking it.  Fire when you feel cold or passionless.  Laughter.  Memories.  Possibilities. 

I do not yet have a favorite moment from Transformus, but I know I will.  Already I look forward to meeting someone from across the country that I spoke to on Tribe, and have been welcomed to camp somewhere puffy and yellow.  Most importantly, I know I’ll be at home at Transformus, because that’s what any burn is to me.

BM home 

Welcome Home (Written July 2007 – after attending BM05, PDF 06 S&F, PDF 07S, Wildfire 07S, and PEX 777 party)
Forgive me for the sappiness, I may still be running on too little sleep and too much caffeine. But I have some ramblings in my head that need to get out. ;o)

As we turned around a bend in a road, for the first time we could see our destination in the distance. Rocky mountains and desert brush gave way to a wide flat area where a temporary city had been built. A black smoke ring rose from the city and floated up in the air, above the dust trails from cars and the city of tents. Inching closer, we could see the figure of a wooden man standing taller than anything else in the city.

At this moment, I remember thinking, what have I gotten myself into.

I am in the middle of the desert in Nevada, traveling with someone I only met in person two days ago. I’m usually a pretty self reliant traveller, but she is providing my transportation and lodging, and there’s no escape route if I need to run away to civilization, a shower or air conditioning. Oh, and I’m not that much of a camper either.

Luckily, my hostess and I hit it off better than I could have ever hoped for. We know each other from an online community, and while I had met some wonderful friends from that source it was a risk to spend so much time with someone I never met. While shopping for supplies and driving from Reno, we felt an immediate kinship.

So as I feel sudden dread at the sight of our home for the next week, she asked me what I was thinking. I said something along the lines of feeling like I was going down the rabbit hole and not knowing where it would lead me. Excitement overcame the nervousness and we were greeted at the entrance to Black Rock City with a hearty “Welcome Home” by a guy wearing a hat and a messenger bag, and…. nothing else. He dared me to roll on the playa (the dry lakebed that hosts the city, an alkali dust that WILL get everywhere) and not one to turn down a dare, I made a playa angel.

As it was my first time, I was able to ring the virgin bell and proclaim my arrival to my new home. Did it ever feel like home? It felt like a wonderful magical world, which I knew would never last — thankfully, somewhat, because I am not nomadic enough to live without modern conveniences. It was like running away and joining a circus, as I sat in Center Camp watching performers just having fun. It was better than Cirque du Soleil!

I entered another world for a week, another planet, or galaxy. When we left it was with mixed feelings of sadness and anxiousness to get back to real world comforts. It took a long time to get used to going back to work, and not seeing crazy unexpected things at every corner. Like waking from a dream that you try to go back to, and never quite can succeed.

I started looking into regional events closer to home. Playa del Fuego (PDF) was a regional burn closest to me, held twice a year in Delaware. I went the spring after my first Burning Man, not knowing a soul, but after a week stuck in the middle of the desert, how scary can a weekend 15 minutes from a Dunkin Donuts be? I volunteered as a greeter, camped with Camp Jersey (a loosely organized group of people from New Jersey), and got to know some camp neighbors.

Greeters at PDF also say “Welcome Home” when you arrive. But it was still all so new. I thought I “got it”, but I realize I still felt like I only had a traveler’s visa to this strange country.

I made new local friends, and started doing more things with them. From parties in the summer and at New Years, to the fall and next spring PDF, the mermaid parade in Coney Island, any excuse to dress up and have fun. I started to be interested in poi, or fire spinning (although if you asked me a year ago I would have said I’ll NEVER do fire, just the glow toys!) and drove to Philly to take poi classes. This spring, I took the plunge and spun fire for the first time, and went to a weekend of fire arts classes and fun called Wildfire.

It used to be really hard for me to go out and meet large groups of people I didn’t know, but I started to get used to expecting the unexpected, and knew at these events that there were no strangers, only friends who haven’t met yet. It started feeling comfortable, less like this was a one week event in the desert, and that it could almost be a full time way of life.

Despite going to Philly for poi classes and some spin jams, I had never made it to their large parties. I’m not a raver, and oontz-oontz music was never my thing. (Although since Burning Man, that sound, like tarps in the wind, is not a nuisance but nostalgic!) So when I planned to go to their 777 “Recompression” party, I half expected that it would be fun but not really my scene, but there’s always fire performers to watch and drinks to drink!

I helped a little with set up, and was the first greeter of the night as people in costumes started showing up at the door. About every ten minutes, someone I know would arrive, and there would be hugs and kisses and spankings for those who love them, and people I didn’t even know greeted me by name. While I’m getting used to seeing the Jersey folks more often, I don’t see the Camp Sexy Rochester crew except for PDF, or Chad and the other Boston people that I just met at Wildfire. With a friend of mine that I’ve known for years (who is a burner at heart but never attended any kind of burn event) standing by me, I felt like my various worlds were colliding. (You know that feeling when people you know from work, high school, college, etc. suddenly are talking to each other at a party you throw? That kind of feeling.) And it felt good.

It makes sense now. Yes, at BM and PDF, you are welcomed home, and those events are starting to feel like a home not a vacation.

But the true meaning of the word home is the people. This “new” home is not a place, it’s not an event that you buy a ticket to get into, and leave when you pack up your car. You carry it with you where ever you go.

My home is this amazing network of friends and friends who I haven’t met yet, who delight and surprise me at every turn, who accept and support me, who are genuine and good and amazing authentic people. Whose hearts burn bright with love, not of just a wooden man in the desert, or an annual camping trip. But a love for the amazing connections between all of us, who are, and what we can be.

Welcome home. We’ve always been here, even if we didn’t realize it.

Fire Conclave

So.  Let me set up the scene.Burning Man. It goes Monday to Monday. The energy and the number of people each day grows and grows.

Saturday, as soon as it’s dark, suddenly the mass of 50,000 people and numerous art cars that were running around in chaotic directions up to now all start to migrate to one place.

The middle of the city is where the Man stands. And tonight, he burns.

You sit down as close to the man as you can. Rangers stand guard to protect the inner perimeter. Drinks are passed, you make new friends with the people sitting next to you as you pass the time.

Suddenly, you hear a drum beat. a procession of drummers and keepers of the flame walk around the inner circle

The processional members eventually reach their destination in various places around the man.

The man, for the first time all week, has his arms reached above his head.

And as the drums pick up from a slow beat into a tribal rhythm that you can feel through the ground you are sitting on, the Conclave starts.

The Conclave is the word for the fire performers who perform at this special moment.

Troupes from all over the country and world apply to be part of this. They work on their choregraphy and costumes for over half a year.

when they are done, fireworks will engulf the Man and he will burn.

and guess what….

I’m going to be part of it!!!!

I joined the philadelphia fire conclave group!!!! I’m equal parts scared and excited.  Many of the people in the group are just OUTSTANDING artists, and I’ll have to bust my ass from now until Burning Man (last week of August).  But I’m excited about how much better I’ll be by then, and the people in the group are amazing and supportive.

Now I need to figure out a character/costume for the first part of the piece – we are supposed to pick something that represents America, a stereotype or symbol of the melting pot of the country.  My only idea so far is from Halloween – I dressed up rockabilly/50’s style (I didn’t know what rockabilly was, but it’s pin-up type style, like the opening credits on LA Ink).  I’d have to redo a dress, because it needs to be natural materials (so they don’t melt if hit with fire ;o)   But, I was also thinking of really chopping my hair before BM and coloring it funky.  So the hairdo would be more difficult… 
Still pondering, if you have any ideas for a costume I’d love to hear it! ;o)
 Mr. Green
(All photos in this post are from the www.burningman.com photo galleries. Sorry I didn’t pull proper credits on them…)

The American Dream

Please, I’d love to hear peoples’ thoughts on this.  Especially people who do NOT attend Burning Man or regional events.

  • What do you think of when you hear “The American Dream”? What does that mean to you?
  • This is the theme chosen for Burning Man this year, which is a counter-culture festival.  Whatever you know or don’t know about BM, how do you think this theme fits the event?
  • After you answer the first two, please read this description of the theme and it’s meaning for the event.  Does this change your viewpoint of the theme and how it fits the event?  

It’s a very controversial theme this year, even more so than the Green Man (environmental) theme last year.  The fire conclave group I joined asked our opinions about it, and I was curious what outsiders thought.  Please if you have a moment, share your opinion!! Thanks!