I can’t believe that it’s been almost two weeks since the Burn..

Posted by Ted on Sep 18, 2004 in Burning Man

two weeks ago I was on the playa.

Burning Man seems so long ago already.

I’ve wanted to post about this years experience, but I’ve been so damn, yet wonderfully, busy since I got back. prepping for and going to Vermont and auditioning for MitC sucked a bunch of time. also, I was focused on getting my pictures online and captionated. but mainly, just busy.

so as I was saying, time is always relative. while I was there, at least for the first half of the week, time was blissfully slow. coming home to the City, feeling the comfort of not being a newbie, and settling into life in the desert. around Wednesday of that week, I remember feeling like the weekend was coming too soon, but even then, time still seemed to move slower. then the weekend passed by in a blaze, and so have the last two weeks.

this year’s Burn was much different than last year. this year was more mellow.. less of the ohmygodthisisintensewowlookatallthiscoolstuff, and more “hmm, so this is what the City looks like this year..” that’s not to say that I didn’t see and do amazing things.. my pictures tell the barest of stories. but it was all within the context of familiarity. things that bothered me last year didn’t, either because I’m different now, or because I came into the Burn with a better sense of expectation. or both. I can really see why people go back. although not one’s home for most of the year, it certainly is a home. a place where walking down the street swinging poi or spinning a staff isn’t uncommon. a place where you bring your cup with you, or you don’t get a drink. (or you stand up on the bar and get spanked, in some cases.) a place where you can go to presentations on female orgasms, or classes on aerial silk performing. a place where you don’t need a wallet for a week. a place where it’s decadent to make yourself a cheese omelette for breakfast, and to be able to give someone crisp Dolfin chocolate kept cool by your Camelbak. a place where one can drive a BattleZone tank around at night, or send a message to Vega.

I did all of these things, and more. but what’s also interesting is what I didn’t do. I didn’t make it to the Burn preshow, for one. the Burn I could skip.. but I didn’t want to miss the Drumming and Fire Conclaves beforehand. I also didn’t make it out past the Temple, and that really surprises me.. I mean, I nearly lived out there last year. I didn’t compete in Thunderdome, take a naked swing at the Swingers Lounge, nor even spend much time on the 3:00 side of the city.

but I did watch the sunrise from the Temple, after having stayed up all night being a Guardian. I gave Francesca Keck, daughter I think of William Myron Keck, a Hubble trading card. I put up an art project, which could not have been made possible without the help of many people, not the least of which are Wil and Liz. I did get to see the Eyes of Gawd in the air, and that was amazing. I also saw the hottest fire performance ever, and I mean both sexy and on fire. I saw a band called Soul in the Machine which had a huge light-up drum set and a laser harp. I watched the Temple Burn from the front row, 20 feet behind David Best. I got to roll down the playa in a German Wheel. I met a woman named Stryper with a power supply strapped to her back, and a 150mW green HeNe in her hand, and we talked about not only how cool it was to have a high powered green laser gun in the desert, but also that it would be a great teaching aid for astronomy. I learned how to do a backwards poi weave, and to transition between backwards and forwards. I got to see the fire vortex machine and Dr. Megavolt.

so ya, it was a Burn. I went there for twice as long as last year, and probably saw only 20% more of the City. and like any week, it had good days and bad days. although, to be honest, even the bad days were pretty damn good. I really enjoyed the experience of putting up an art installation. I’m especially proud that I got off my ass early enough to make it onto the official list, and into What, Where, When. in addition to Ms. Keck, I had a dozen other people come up to me while I was setting up SoundScape on Thursday and Friday. a few of them even thanked me for putting up art before I’d even gotten it all working. it was an amazing feeling to give something back. to contribute something towards the richness of the City. it was also nice to be a Temple Guardian.. to stand by a bridge in the middle of the night, and make sure that the constant stream of people, even then, wouldn’t get hurt on the stairs. and to be someone that they could personally give thanks for the existence of the Temple. although I had no part in its erection, I feel that I was a vessel for people to pour their somber gratitude into.

so I didn’t get out beyond the Temple this year.. maybe I just didn’t need to.

An adventurer at heart, Ted Beatie is at his happiest when he’s off the beaten path. His deepest passion is sharing the world through photography and writing, found at The Pocket Explorer. He is also managing editor for Rolf Potts' Vagabonding, where he curates a Case Study series. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

11 Comments

make_your_move
Sep 18, 2004 at 7:32 am

Sounds amazing … Burning Man is something I’ve always wanted to do … at least I can experience it in part through you. Still looking at the pictures

~sends smooches~ just ’cause.


 
weegoddess
Sep 18, 2004 at 10:13 am

Burning Man sounds a lot like the FreeSpirit Gatherings. Only with lots more dust.

BTW, I want an 8×10 glossy of that picture of you. ;-)


 
bluepapercup
Sep 18, 2004 at 1:18 pm

I’m so glad your art was so well received. I went and looked at the pictures…they’re so awesome. Wish I’d been there to experience the soundscape, but I’ll be there next year.


 
amberwood
Sep 18, 2004 at 1:36 pm

Me too… about the 8 x 10 glossy… makes me lick my lips .. hehe


 
Ted
Sep 18, 2004 at 1:53 pm

Sounds amazing …

it really is. it is a completely foreign world, and yet.. comforting in its openness. and the city’s really got just about anything you’d care to look for. bars open 24/7, dungeons to play in, or vietnamese iced coffee.

Burning Man is something I’ve always wanted to do … at least I can experience it in part through you. Still looking at the pictures

I’m happy to share at least a glimpse of what it might be like to someone who hasn’t been. it truly is a wonderful place. I don’t know if you were reading my journal this time last year, but if not, my entries last year might interest you..


 
Ted
Sep 18, 2004 at 1:54 pm

oh, and thanks for the smooches ;)


 
Ted
Sep 18, 2004 at 2:00 pm

Burning Man sounds a lot like the FreeSpirit Gatherings. Only with lots more dust.

I’ve also heard similarities to Rainbow Gatherings.. the one thing it is not is spiritual or nature-oriented. there is spirituality to be found, sure, but it isn’t an overriding theme. and it’s also very modern.

BTW, I want an 8×10 glossy of that picture of you. ;-)

*blush*

if you’re serious, I’m sure I can manage something :)


 
Ted
Sep 18, 2004 at 2:09 pm

I’m so glad your art was so well received. I went and looked at the pictures…they’re so awesome. Wish I’d been there to experience the soundscape, but I’ll be there next year.

thanks! I’m actually kind of bummed that you didn’t get to hear the ocean., you were a wonderful part of the design process.. just knowing that you were actually listening to them and giving me feedback. but yes, I think I’ll definitely be putting it up again next year. and to make it interactive, people will be able to choose which one they want to listen to. (and of course, go random when no one’s listening ;)


 
bluepapercup
Sep 18, 2004 at 3:35 pm

glad I could help. Trust me, I thought about all you folks a LOT while you were gone. Two weeks without one’s friends and lovers is a long time, especially when you know they’re all having a group experience.

As to the interactivity, I kinda like the idea of NOT having it be interactive. It appeals to me to climb into this space where a soundscape is happening and have it be an experience, rather than a choice.


 
Ted
Sep 18, 2004 at 3:58 pm

As to the interactivity, I kinda like the idea of NOT having it be interactive. It appeals to me to climb into this space where a soundscape is happening and have it be an experience, rather than a choice.

believe me, I agree with you. and that was and still is my own personal vision of it. but interactivity is something that is at the heart of Burning Man, and I want to be able to address that. I’m thinking that I can make whatever interface subtle enough such that one would have to actively investigate the enclosure, but left to its own devices, it would simply play them randomly as they do now. I don’t know, I might change my mind, but it’s a thought.


 
bluepapercup
Sep 18, 2004 at 4:03 pm

but interactivity is something that is at the heart of Burning Man, and I want to be able to address that

*nod*

I will think on this.


 

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