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Articles: Burning Man 2007: Green Man
Posted by Comedian on Thursday, November 01, 2007 - 11:39 AM PST

Experiences
Coming back from the burn, daylight lights the coppery-tinted windows of the skyscrapers and cityscape in a way that seems vastly foreign; a week in the desert, dust-soaked and beige-limned, the cleanliness of any urban landscape is alien, dystopic, and an alien distance in the past; like re-visiting the futuristic landscape of a 50's sci-fi drama after living in the neo-post-apocalypse for better than a week. Out on the playa, where the dust storms fly like Afhgani sand and the beat never ceases, just changes tones into the bizarre James Brown-techno-pulse from merengue, these creature comforts of showers and toilets are strange bliss. I rode out there in a car weighted to the tire wells with water, provisions, a futon mattress for a bed and a few spare blankets and clothes I didn't mind trashing. The beer was burned up after a few days; but luckily, the playa giveth (and the playa taketh away), and I was quite possibly never sober for more than a few hours. But it isn't cathartic neo-hippy giving that makes the burn so bright; it's the people - the tens of thousands of people. All there. All tripping. All dressing in the grand-daddy funk style party-fur and day-glo, all wearing Hazmat strap-on boggle goggles and jaws quivering with ferverous anticipation of what the next block will bring.

Black Rock City is set up like an old military base; clock face, hours between 10 and 2 open space for the art displays, which run the gamut, emerging from the cracked playa surface like flowers of ironwork, wood, and light. In an odd way they present themselves as the post-apocalyptic Hindu rebirth; death and life, creation from destruction, the ash-covered children of the ashen-minded artists bringing forth their imagination on this empty canvas. The blocks are dileneated by half-hour sections, and range in name from A to L block, titled after the 'Green Man' theme: A for Arctic, L for Landfill.

At night, when the red sun burns out over the Northern stretch of the sierras and the wind stops blowing and playa heat radiates out into the empty space above, the lights come on, and it's not like a rave, but Mardi Gras meets cyberpunk and Mad Max referees the deathmatch. These aren't raver glowsticks, this is a city of resplendent light, glow-fur lit with electro-luminescent wiring and fur-covered bicycles that rolled out of the low-rider emporium and into a fabric store. Art cars trundle past on a myopic quest, sound systems like oases of the last century pop-funk and cheering partiers leaning over the rafters and beckoning you to join. But they aren't cars; they are pirate ships and dragons and Moby Dick and the Yellow Submarine; an armadillo-clad dodge duster towing a couple of massive trailers loaded to the rims with flamethrowers and screaming nudists. This isn't your trip-tastic San Francisco love-in, it's a city.

Five miles of RVs and intermittent rows of porto-potties dot the landscape, rolling on the roads at any hour. Food can be a necessity, but the "Bloody Mary's and Bacon" theme camp and "Screwdrivers and Pancakes" camps, both open just before the sun makes the heat of the playa a workout to play in, will keep you fed for breakfast and are far apart enough that you work off the calories just biking between them.

To describe the entire week would be a book; sitting on a corner at 5:30 and Kelp Forest, playing pool with a beautiful makeup artist from Chicago and Mark Laskow (Ask me How to Get Money From the Government!?), double rainbows tracing a line across a dusty afternoon while the peyote was passed around the camp. Volunteering for graveyard shifts at the center camp cafe and making lattes for people from around the world, all the while being able to curse at them, love them, dance with them (the most cathartic customer service experience anyone could ever wish for) and hug them, the zoetropic hypnagogue of a snake being devoured by a monkey swinging from tree branches fourty feet in the air, and culminating with a breathtaking fireworks show and a 130-foot oil derrick explosion that, from three-hundred yards away, still knocked me on my ass and brought the frozen desert temperature soaring back into the 70's for just a few moments.

The end of the official burn is the Temple: a massive construction, elegantly engraved wood panels etched in the style of classic Chinese buddhist monasteries burning. The thoughts and wishes of 45,000 people are scrawled across it surface: pictures and candles and keepsakes and momentoes of things long past are all swept away, while a crowd of more than 40,000 people line the corona, silently crying in the night. The cheer starts at the 3 o'clock edge of the circle; it runs the length, people ushering it as the wave, falling silently again back down to the ground, waiting for it to return. The flamethrowers are fired in harmony with its call, and the cheer rounds twelve times before the last supporting stand falls into the pyre, enveloped in ashen renewal.

This isn't a festival, it isn't a rave. It isn't a party, it never was a drug-fest or a music gig. It is a city.

Become a citizen.


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Most read story in Experiences:
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Burning Man 2007: Green Man | Login/Create an account | 9 Comments
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Re: Burning Man 2007: Green Man
by Meranda_Jade (Meranda@mymind.com)
on Nov 02, 2007 - 07:38 AM
(User info | Send a Message)
I loved reading this. It brings home to me all the reasons I have been just dying to go to Burning Man. I can't wait until my opportunity comes. Until then, I'll just have to get by on hearing my friends' tales of the experience.

It's good to read something from you, Comedian. You were always good for an evocative, to-the-point, tale.

Thank you.



Re: Burning Man 2007: Green Man
by IamSquid (undisclosed)
on Nov 23, 2007 - 03:13 PM
(User info | Send a Message) http://www.goodandevilgoround.com
Heh, yoo do realize I was there, camped with three other Shmenglings, right?



Re: Burning Man 2007: Green Man
by Comedian (eccentrically_long@yahoo.com) on Nov 25, 2007 - 12:08 AM
(User info | Send a Message) http://http://www.com.sex
I probably passed you on bike man.


[ No anonymous comments ]


Re: Burning Man 2007: Green Man
by IamSquid (undisclosed) on Nov 26, 2007 - 10:33 PM
(User info | Send a Message) http://www.goodandevilgoround.com
next year yoo should stop by and visit us!


[ No anonymous comments ]


Re: Burning Man 2007: Green Man
by Comedian (eccentrically_long@yahoo.com) on Nov 27, 2007 - 06:11 PM
(User info | Send a Message) http://http://www.com.sex
Where were you all camped at?


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Re: Burning Man 2007: Green Man
by IamSquid (undisclosed) on Nov 28, 2007 - 02:26 AM
(User info | Send a Message) http://www.goodandevilgoround.com
In 2007, Andree, Kira, pAris, and myself were camped near 6:30 and Habitat at what we came to refer to as "Morning Wood Manor." In previous years I was camped with Spike's Vampire Bar (which, if yoo didn't attend those years, didn't suck back then) and the Cow Bus (which is now DPW property) before that. This was the first time in 4 years I wasn't working for a theme camp and the freedom was both relaxing and horrifying.

Next year, I (and the others as well if they so choose) will be camped at Arachnophobia, a goth club which is composed mainly of people who left SVB before it turned to shit. Obviously, placement hasn't put us anywhere yet (and there are alot of politics involved in getting decent placement) but we're asking for Esplande placement, as close to 6:00 as possible.

Where were yoo?


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Re: Burning Man 2007: Green Man
by Comedian (eccentrically_long@yahoo.com) on Dec 01, 2007 - 09:31 PM
(User info | Send a Message) http://http://www.com.sex
Around 8:15 between Estuary and Freshwater. We had a lodge-style setup with a long white tarpaulin with a bunch of day-glo spray paint set out for free-form Grafitti.


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Re: Burning Man 2007: Green Man
by callei on Dec 22, 2007 - 06:21 AM
(User info | Send a Message) http://http://
miss you bro. wanna hit mardi gras this year when we can both play as grownups and children?



Re: Burning Man 2007: Green Man
by Comedian (eccentrically_long@yahoo.com) on Feb 12, 2008 - 09:22 PM
(User info | Send a Message) http://http://www.com.sex
Back in Reno, hon. I do wanna go back so bad.. I can taste the po'boys again.


[ No anonymous comments ]

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