Sunday, September 19, 2010

Burning Man

I was trying to think of a way that I could explain burning man to those non freak crazy druggy hippies out there (you know who you are), who haven't been yet.....but I don't know that it's possible. The first moment I set foot out there, I had a feeling I have never experienced was just complete sensory overload (and barely any drugs were involved). It was a world where pretty much every single thing had never even been a consideration in my mind. The mere fact that people ride their bikes through the desert because the area is so big (circle 1.5 miles in diameter), is crazy and would cause complete brain malfunction in normal people.

Since my first experience at burning man, my view of it has changed significantly. My first impression of it was totally Party! Party! Drugs! Sex! Party!

Not to be lame or cliche, but it seems much more significant than that now. It is a culture that is utterly community focused. In case you didn't know, nothing is for sale at burning man. No food! No water! Nothing (except ice). This means you have to bring in (and out) everything you need to survive for a week. However, you could easily manage as well by bringing absolutely nothing. You could sky dive in (as many people do) and get along quite well by the charity of others. Everyone is looking to give to the others and the community. Everywhere you go there are bars setup where the drinks are free...all you need to do is bring around your cup and they will fill you up.

At meal times, everywhere you go, people are grilling up hundreds of grilled cheeses, quesadillas, crepes, breakfast burritos, etc. Everywhere you go, there are huge tents setup that hold from 20 to 100s of people with full on couches, lounge chairs, etc. and every tent is open to everyone. Any time of day or night you can go right into one of these tents and lie down on a couch and sleep.

In addition to just giving out things for free (and free is the wrong word...its really benefiting the giver as much as the receiver), people spend a significant part of their year creating items for the event. The coolest part of the entire experience IMHO is the art cars. People break down cars to their base and then build them back up into crazy looking vehicles like dragons or birthday cakes or pirate ships. These can be based on buses and hold 50+ people.

All the larger art cars have DJs spinning on them and like everything else at burning man, all are welcome. Anyone can jump on and off these vehicles at any time and at night they simply roll around in the center with no destination in mind.....rolling sick!

Often times the art cars will stop for a while somewhere and be pumping their music which causes a crowd of passerby's to check it out and from an impromptu party. Basically everywhere you go there is a party. The ship below took 3 wide load trucks to bring up.

People also spend their time outside of burning man building huge trippy art installations for the event. These are some of the coolest things you will ever see.....and are perfect for staring at if you happen to be on some mind expanding substances (not that I ever would be).

There are just some amazingly creative people who make stuff for this simply because they love to.

For some reason, the percentage of attractive people at burning man is ridiculously high. I swear to god theres like a 10 to 1 ratio of models to ugly chicks (I'm sure the guys aren't bad either....I mean I'm there....nice!). Plus these girls are dressed in the most ridiculous outfits, or simply no outfits at all. There is a fair amount of naked people at any time of day or night (ask me for pics), some bad, but mostly good 8-) People walk around like this not to be sexual (usually) but just to be liberated. Nudity is so prevalent and people take it so lightly that it takes the sexuality out of it (well not entirely (wink)).

Oh man, and the music is unreal. I'd say at least 75% of the music spun there is Dubstep. I always was a huge fan of electronic music, but Dubstep is just a whole other level. It has such hard beats and I am totally obsessed with it now. There aren't really live bands at burning man, but more DJs EVERYWHERE. If its ok with you let me explain a little bit of the layout....

The area is a 3/4 of a circle 1.5 miles in diameter. In the middle is the man and for .25 miles in every direction is wide open desert with an occasional random trippy art installation. Outside of that is the inner ring known as the esplanade. This consists of all the major "clubs" and tents. There are numerous tents and domes holding hundreds+ people, playing music all day and night. Some ridiculously amazing (biggest in the world) DJs spin at the bigger stages. Outside of the esplanade for 1 mile is all the tents, RVs, etc. where everyone lives. Placed among peoples "homes" are bars, massage tents, misting tents, trampolines, swings, games, and chaos. Everything is brought in by attendees for the benefit of everyone.

Even the weather in crazy out there (duh, it's a desert). It's hot during the day (upper 90s) and cold at night (50s). Sudden dust storms kick up at any and all times. These can lead to white out conditions where you can't even see ten feet in front of you.

Last year I happen to be wandering through the open center area during one of these white outs with no shirt.....looking for answers to life's questions. All of sudden, out of the dust, comes a booth with a stool on each side and sign that says advice. Some dude is sitting on one side and has been clearly waiting for me. So I sit down and this guy completely covered in dirt with sand whipping across his face sits there and talks to me in complete seriousness about my life. This description really didn't do it justice, but it was hysterical.

When the weather clears up you can see so much stuff. The last night I was there became a perfectly clear night and looking out from the middle, all you could see was shit loads of lights for miles in every direction. Not city lights, but party lights ( lights). Everything and everyone is decked out in crazy colored lights. It the most ridiculous sight which gives the most ridiculous feeling. Sometimes I wish I could take this feeling, this experience, and roll it all up into a pill...check. I would go to burning man and take that pill....check.

Is this picture on the right not the perfect fucking picture. I mean look at her leg for god sakes.

There is tons more I could say about this and probably some better stories. But there is still no possible way you would understand. I suggest you get naked, grab a boombox, and bike down the street with glow sticks....then you'll get it.