For those of you unfamiliar with Burning Man and Black Rock City, it's hard to put into words. It is most definitely one of those things you have to see with your own eyes and sometimes it feels like a cop-out to say that, but it's true. Anybody who has ever been will tell you exactly the same thing. You can hear stories for years, but until you set foot on the playa and see it lit up at night there is no way to describe exactly what you're experiencing. So the best I can give you are pictures and words:
*Disclaimer - BM is a very free society, alcohol, chemicals and nudity are just a few of the common behaviors/occurrences on the playa. Please keep that in mind and try not to judge.
We started out on Tuesday night: 2 hrs behind schedule, but let me just say there were some of us ready to go on time and let me just say again, it's the same group that is always ready on time! The SLC group included, Trock Daddy, JV, Tommy, AmyT, Karen, Linds, Foxy, Simy and myself. We had decided to make the trek in two days and overnight in Elko. On Wednesday we met up with Dean and Tracy in Winnemucca and drove the rest of the way into Black Rock City, which is approximately 80 miles north of I-80, 60 miles west of Reno. We finally pulled into Burning Man about 5:30 after getting through the ticket line and the Greeter Station. All virgins (newbies to BM) must get out of the car, ring the bell and most likely make dust angels in the playa. We finally located our friends from Park City - Kelly, Mike, Cyn and Di and made camp, or at least as much as we could before night fell. We geared up and headed out to the playa at nightfall. The playa is always lit up with lights of all sorts: neon, el-wire and fire. There is music of all sorts, mostly the constant thump, thump, thump of house music. You see art cars of all sorts, most spewing fire, blaring music and trolling around the playa with dancers on top of the car. This is one of the amazing things about BM is the ingenuity and creativity that is everywhere, from the costumes to the cars, your creative is jolted and you are forced to open your eyes just a little bit wider to take it all in. Our group hit the playa and journeyed to the center where the man stood in it's neon pavilion. The theme this year was The American Dream and the man was lit with Red, White and Blue neon lights. All around the pavilion stood numerous arts projects connecting the Burner to the theme. We partied and danced and roamed and took-in the playa. This year the sand was very difficult to ride through, so we ended up covering a lot of ground on foot rather than on our bikes. It makes for a long night!
At this point I would love to give you a day by day rundown, but I can't remember day by day, so I will henceforth post some pictures and tell stories.
Coco! Coco is my nemesis! Coco is not a real woman you see, but the feminine alter-ego of Tommy. There are a few alter egos of Tommy, to name a few: Cletus, Coco, Tony, Vic Binnion, etc. Ladies and gentlemen - this is Coco.
Coco decided to come out and play when Tommy decided to take a break. She got all gussied up, put on her favorite aqua blue, short dress and decided she wanted some action. Then pouted like a scolded school girl caught kissing another girl in the bathroom, after nobody wanted to play. The SLC group toured, Karen and Linds walked the tightrope, Trock Daddy pushed his bike around all night, Foxy taunted Coco, JV held the group together and I felt, well let's just say I was feeling no pain!
The afternoon foray! - Notice how dirty the boots got, but believe me they were the best purchase I made for this trip....along with the pink & black corset!
The playa always looks different in the daytime. AmyT, Linds and I set out one afternoon to see the temple and other art structures, we donned our afternoon attire, including the bunny/cat ears, parasols and went exploring. Shade is a must, you take your own with you when you go!
One of my favorite reasons to attend BM is to stretch the ability of my costume designing skills. On the playa almost anything goes! Seriously! You can wear everything to nothing. I prefer the clubbing wardrobe. Since in my everyday world I am pretty much a suit, I try to break out, just a little at BM. Corsets, fur, satin and wigs!
Mike & Kelly in the 10 hr dust storm on Saturday. There was actually a question as to whether or not the Man would actually burn. Due to weather there was no Fire Conclave this year, which was a disappointment, but necessary due to the amount of pyrotechnics that were packed around the Man. During the afternoon, we huddled in Dean and Tracy's trailer and played board games, drank, ate and basically enjoyed the A/C - huge bonus! When you're out in the storms, the only thing you can do is wear protection and/or take cover. Protection includes: dust mask & goggles!
This is one of my favorite photos to come out of Burning Man this year! JV and Linds on our 2nd night (I think).
We were all in a group watching the various fire groups putting on shows and we were surrounded by 9 ft. propane torches, which lit the area around us like daylight. This picture was taken about mid-night and no flash.
These are the girls on Burn Night! LtoR: Linds, Me, AmyT & Karen.
In the back on the right is the Man burning. We were in the midst of 50,000 people and surrounded by art cars. Since this picture was taken with flash, you can see all the dust particles floating in the air. The playa dust is so fine and sticks to everything, as evidenced on our footwear.
And this is where our photo journey ends. I definitely have more stories and more pictures, all you have to do is ask...nicely!
Our parting shot!
LtoR: Simy, Me, Linds, JV, Foxy, AmyT, Karen, Tommy, TrockDaddy
* Update: Since at least one reader asked ever so sweetly for more pictures, I promise to steal some photos from Linds and post them tomorrow. Due to prior contracts of promised decorum (haha) I will not be posting nudity and/or compromising photos of anybody, other than myself...even then I won't be posting any nude photos of myself!