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#33 thelerner

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Posted 25 June 2015 - 12:25 PM

Here is a write up of last years Regional Burning Man. One of the shorter smaller ones that try to replicate the spirit of the Big Burn in Nevada. Which is going on right now, Burning Man 2011; themed Rites of Passage. Wish I could be there.



Lakes of Fire is a regional burning man event. There are a couple of them (6 or 7) around the country each year. Lakes of Fire (LoF) is the Midwest's one. They're cheap, LoF was only $40 to sign up. It lasted four days 3 nights. There were only about 1,000 or so tickets sold. It could be considered Burning Man (BM) light.

I was a bit apprehenscous heading to it...

Regionals and Decompression parties happen all across the U.S. There are also other similar events happening. Its a great way to meet other strange people, experience strange things, kick back and try to create your own little piece of paradise....

That was 2010, nowadays its $90 and hosts 2,400 people.  Hit it last weekend, Thursday to Sunday, had a nice mellow time.  Third time going, the last two were at Lucky Lake campground near Rothbury Michigan.  Much nicer place then that original burn, where we were eaten alive and it has a lovely lake.  Still the original spirit back in 2010 was amazing.  The giveaways at the camp were so generous, Raku pottery, photo opportunites, etc.,   There was less big giveaways but maybe thats because there were so many more people. 

 

The FireCreek Saloon people weren't there either.  They had a wild place.  Late night strip dancing.  This year there was a XXX adult space away from the main area.  I didn't hang out there much.  I did follow one of my camp mates to a 'beaver eating' contest in one of the large tents but I didn't go in myself.  Hours later he emerged ecstatic. 

 

Instead I went nearby to the Radical Consent bar.  It was small and outdoor, a guy was pounding the table and coughing violently.  I told the bartender 'I'll have what he's having.'  I was no, I had to do the Pachinko machine.  It was about 7 feet high, had an opening at the top, a puck you put in that bounced around on nails, then landing into a bottom slot.  Mine landed on BEER.  note the next in line landed on 'Show your Junk' and she did.

 

Told the bartender and mentioned I thought that was kinda boring.  He asked if I wanted the house specialty.   I said yes, cause thats the way of Burning Man, 'Yes' is the word.  He poured me a tall shot of a Pepper Whiskey, made in my home town.  I eat spicy so it was no problem, a quick downing, and loud Haaah to see if there vapors coming out of my mouth.  Nope. 

 

It was pretty mellow time.  Favorite things, watching movies or collections of short videos late at night at the Videogasm tent.  Drinking and playing pinball at the Secret Gentleman's Club.  They served top notch drinks.  I kept it simple, bourbon and soda.  Big place, they had a generator that ran everything including the pinball machines.  An old Mata Hari, where four people could play.  Being an old timer, I rock at pinball.  I was even able to solve some problems when the ball would get stuck.  They had a talent show one night.  Amazing talent on stage.  Really blew me away.  From belly dancing, extremely witty comedy acts to great great singers.   I'm sure some of them were professionals. 

 

The lake didn't have the floating bar it had last time, but it did have a float.  No volleyball nets either.  But it had a nice, if somewhat cliquey crowd.   I helped a small boat dock to it and was rewarded with some beer.  Just like colorful mutant vehicles, colorful boats came and went.  One with a mermaid lounged casually.  Without being double decker there was no relief from the sun, so I left after 45 minutes, a bit redder for the experience. 

 

Jumping off I got some lake water into my horn cup.  Hopefully not too much.  On shore someone with a portable was making fruit smoothies.  I had'em pour some in hoping the cold would neutralize any bad lake bug remnants.  Not recommended, but I didn't get sick.  Strangely I didn't get hangovers in the mornings either.  Sun and fresh air, little sleep, must neutralize the poisons some how. 

 

As usual my favorite times were spent sitting and bullshitting with others.  I found a camp of native Michiganers who had built a big geodesic dome.  Entered, introduced myself, got a drink and sat around talking to them.  We talked about stuff, particularly a discussion on aspects of human nature, good or bad.   It made for a mellow evening.  My nearby tent mates were half my age and bit more drug oriented.   So being with an older mellow crowd was nice.  There's usually an undercurrent of desperation with those who are into drugs. 

 

My tent neighbor Jazz had a fateful story.  The night before I got there he was camping and a random guy came into his tent.  He nudged him to leave but the guy was passed out.  In the morning he got up on all fours, threw up, and left.  Thank god it wasn't my tent.  But that's burning man for you. 

 

At night the Smorgasm camp always a camp fire and smore material, including strawberries, that roasted and worked very nicely.  Two camps had gourmet pancake giveaways.  That were delicious and much appreciated since I'd brought 8 frozen Smucker premade PBJ sandwiches with me.  Plus junk food, wine, cheese, crackers and cereal. 

 

That's about it, unless I think of more. 


Edited by thelerner, 28 June 2015 - 09:14 AM.

Push hard to get better, become smarter, grow your devotion to the truth, fuel your commitment to beauty, refine your emotional intelligence, hone your dreams, negotiate with your shadow, cure your ignorance, shed your pettiness, heighten your drive to look for the best in people, and soften your heart. A creed from Pronoia

Where we have stopped dancing, singing, being enchanted by stories, or finding comfort in silence is where we have experience the loss of soul. Dancing, singing, storytelling, and silence are the four universal healing salves. ~ Gabrielle Roth

#34 Orion

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Posted 27 June 2015 - 02:03 PM

I've always wanted to take part in Burning Man, but it's a very privileged event that takes a lot of financial and material resources to take part in... which is one of the biggest critiques people tend to direct at it. The same can be said for most major festivals. I've done harm reduction at some festivals here on the west coast and those let me get in for free as a volunteer. But because of the United States of Arrogance, there can't be official harm reduction units in American festivals because they are seen as endorsing drug use, which the DEA doesn't allow. Burning Man's Zendo Project is totally renegate and I support it... they use the same model as one of the major festivals in Canada that I attend, but they have no ability to get you in at reduced cost.

 

I see all the wonder, beauty and amazement that happens at Burning Man, and from everything I've heard it sounds like an epic adventure. I just wish it wasn't so positively middle/upper class... there are so many barriers to entry.



#35 GreytoWhite

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Posted 27 June 2015 - 09:04 PM

Aye it is extremely expensive for many people. I would like to go next year - we shall see what arises but I'm going to some festival or another! It's been too long.



#36 cobi

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Posted 28 June 2015 - 12:40 AM


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Edited by cobi, 18 July 2015 - 09:47 PM.


#37 thelerner

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Posted 28 June 2015 - 08:55 AM

$90 for the Wednesday to Sunday morning regional Burn in Michigan (2400 people vs 70,000ish), that's $22.50 a night.  Not bad in my book, though you need to get there and camping supplies etc.,  FWIW, I didn't get tickets to Lakes of Fire the first day and was put on a waiting list.  A week before I got an email giving me 24 hours to buy a ticket.  An organizer told me most people on the waiting list had a chance to get a ticket, albeit very late in the game. 

 

Nevada has gotten expensive, though its what $400ish (for ticket, some <$300)?  That still under $100 a day, not too outrageous for a vacation of a lifetime.  Again, supplies and getting there easily double or triple that cost.  Still worth saving the ducats for and maybe contacting some of the established camps (2nd time around I joined Whiskey and Dust) in order to have community support once you land. 

 

My biggest complaint is that you can't get tickets at any price.  They sell out immediately.  Its a victim of its own success, until people start creating there own versions.  That how it started anyway.  A few dozen people camping and keeping things loose, building a little effigy and lightening it up. 

 

 Maybe its time for hundreds of 'Burning Twig' festivals, keeping the spirit & ideals, but losing the crowd. 

 

<actually that's brilliant.  Burning Twigs, the idea of setting up miniature unofficial Burns.  Advertise through a few channels.  Get the land, sell tickets 50 to 150.  I'd also say make sure most of the people, at least early on, were former Burners, because without the Burner spirit it'd just be camping. 


Edited by thelerner, 28 June 2015 - 03:43 PM.

Push hard to get better, become smarter, grow your devotion to the truth, fuel your commitment to beauty, refine your emotional intelligence, hone your dreams, negotiate with your shadow, cure your ignorance, shed your pettiness, heighten your drive to look for the best in people, and soften your heart. A creed from Pronoia

Where we have stopped dancing, singing, being enchanted by stories, or finding comfort in silence is where we have experience the loss of soul. Dancing, singing, storytelling, and silence are the four universal healing salves. ~ Gabrielle Roth

#38 GreytoWhite

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    If you do random qigong crap you're gonna have a bad time.

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Posted 28 June 2015 - 11:22 AM

Yeah I've been talking with my cousin about Burning Man but we may go to a different festival because of exactly that - no tickets.



#39 Spotless

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Posted 28 June 2015 - 11:07 PM

If you do go to the burn you will see more smiling people on average than any event you will ever attend except perhaps an old Dead concert.

Other than the cost of the ticket it is not very expensive because once you get there you are not trying to go somewhere else and you can't really spend any money unless you are buying drugs there and even then in the spirit of the event they are probably dirt cheap.

Many people are not into drugs or alchohol there so don't think it is one big naked drinking drug party - it IS a big art party.
In 1996 their was a two story drive through vagina. A huge 150 person Opera. An installation with 110 pianos and many other huge and wonderful installations all of which were burned to the ground and completely cleaned up and carted away at the end.

Some years it is very hot - some years they have rain - some years it is relatively mild but with intense wind/dust storms.
Their are quite a number of cops within the grounds but they are actually on a very friendly level with the staff and are basically hands off in trying to kill the goose. (They make massive amounts in traffic fines and fees and other things - the whole region has gone from nowhere to somewhere because of this event).

There are also some Special Ops in attendance - but believe it or not, they are there mainly to experiment with a massive temporary off grid city - what it is like and how it is happening. They are not in hiding and not there spying - I know this because they were in my camp the last two times I was there. (We had a big camp)

Many may not be aware of the following: if you are from the networks and news stations you must check in at central and be trained in how you will be there or you cannot be there. I remember the main camera man from ABC going in one door and coming out naked from the other. He shot in the nude for the entire burn. They are required to participate, not gawk, not horn in on the naked people and not intrude as though they are in any way special.

The main job of the Rangers is to see that the spirit of the event is open and free, that people coming to the event inadequately prepared are warm at night, they take care of lost people and people over the top on drugs or booze. They help people that are dehydrated, have lost a boyfriend or girlfriend, broken a bone or torn a muscle or had a heart attack.

For several years my camp had a portable radiology lab - it saved many a great deal of money and reduced helicopter "emergency" flights to real emergency flights.

The Rav camps are generally way out in the perimeter areas so the noise from them is not a problem.

In the early days their were very few RVs and only a handful of planes. None of the fireworks were commercial fireworks and it was all a bit more mad max and tents.
Today the commerical fireworks are huge, the airport has a great many planes and the wealthy "dropping by" and a fair number staying in $3000 a day condo RVs. I drove a group of them around one day in our Angler Fish art car - unfortunately while this group was all a bunch of great looking girls, some very famous, they were not in the Zen of it and were actually stereotypical brats - but with the overwhelming fun of cruising around in a great art car and being fully in the Zen of it - I had a very good time anyway (and some were quite nice in every way).
If you are able to arrive a week or more before the main 4 days you are in for a treat.

During my first year the heat was intense and oppressive from 11am to 4:30ish so getting up early to see the day was the best - and in the Playa the lighting is also the best at this time - the cracks in the dry lake are black from the angle of the sun.
1996 - over a week before the main events: you wake up a sunrise and jump on your bike and drive to the nearest spec.
The spec is a two story vagina. Next spec a long way off and it is a huge hanging wire face. Next spec you arrive to see two tall two story towers connected by a bridge - it is still being stuccoed - it is the setting for the Opera. Next spec - 110 pianos.
And so on and so forth each day.

Then there is the big tent raising and Ms P is serving coffee. After that it's off to shoot propane tanks and then off to the mud baths area outside of the burn perimeter. Or you might just have decided to drive your car 100+ with your hands behind your head because there are no lanes and the place is flat as a pancake.
Is is amazing to see fewer than 100 people at the playa and then within about 6 days it goes to 25,000 - and now it's upwards of 75,000 with corporate sponsors spending $300,000 or more on super big burns that are many stories high (without a single corporate logo or corporate related agenda). At today's burn the Man is among the smaller burns.

Go for the art and the freedom to be who ever you would Like to be - the vast majority are not naked or drunk or drugged - their is no need to be paranoid unless you are clearly missing a few bolts - drive in and out at the speed limit. Take in what you will need and take out all of your trash and you will be fine and have a very good and unique time.

I used to pack two or three sealed and taped shut coolers with dry ice in them. Opening them one at a time as needed.
Now I typically fly in on one of our camp planes and stay in one of several air conditioned RVs (sick - but I have never paid to go to the burn and I am not wealthy by any stretch - friends just invited me and some of the big Whigs that started the event used to crew on my sail boats).

Playa dust is so fine it will infiltrate your phone, cameras and every pore in your body - you will get in touch with your humanity out there and the wild life that is everywhere having the time of their life.

Edited by Spotless, 28 June 2015 - 11:07 PM.


#40 Perceiver

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Posted 29 June 2015 - 12:39 AM

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the opening post.

#41 thelerner

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Posted 29 June 2015 - 09:51 AM

I enjoyed reading Spotless's account.


Push hard to get better, become smarter, grow your devotion to the truth, fuel your commitment to beauty, refine your emotional intelligence, hone your dreams, negotiate with your shadow, cure your ignorance, shed your pettiness, heighten your drive to look for the best in people, and soften your heart. A creed from Pronoia

Where we have stopped dancing, singing, being enchanted by stories, or finding comfort in silence is where we have experience the loss of soul. Dancing, singing, storytelling, and silence are the four universal healing salves. ~ Gabrielle Roth

#42 Blackfinger

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Posted 02 July 2015 - 06:43 AM

Hey Thelerner

 

Just discovered this thread....have only read half of the first post so far (saving the rest for later) but it's a good read, very entertaining, informative...easy on the eye, crisp and solid prose. Kerouac meets Bukowski ;) Thanks for posting - look forward to reading my way through the pages ;)

 

and if you have anything similar, i'd say: keep em coming!

 

all the best






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