Monday, November 20, 2006
Burning Blog Trois...The People of BM
This guy was the first to make me think, "Gee, Dad would have fun here..." This was a self-propelled... something. I don't know what to call it, but it was driven by an offset axel on the back wheel (kinda like a spinning wheel!) which was moved by bouncing up and down on the middle platform between the wheels. I saw it when it was participating in a obstacle course race put on by Kamp Apocalyptika, across the 3:00 spoke from my camp. (I don't remember what the first entrant in the race was, but the last was someone driving a truck over all the pylons, to great cheering by all..)
The Man would be off to the right - this is a shot taken on Esplanade, probably around 2:00 or 3:00, facing towards Centre Camp at 6:00. Note the dust being stirred up as people go by, and all the bicycles... Black Rock City is HUGE, and a bike (or a Mutant Vehicle, more on those later) is the only way to get around.
Art Project, with two of my fellow ePlaya Bar Campers. Pick up a rock, picture all your negative thoughts, fears and energies being forced into the rock, let the rock slide... Simple, fun :)
Another art project - I think this was called the Mandala? Beautiful bamboo structure, and HIGH up.. there was a gap of about 10 feet before the spokes actually started, so the folks up there were climber/monkey types. I asked permission before I took her picture, 'cause that's what you're supposed to do.
Free popsicles! Yes, in the middle of a dried-out lake (there's a special term for it I can't remember), there were people gifting free popsicles. Damn tasty. Oh, and this was one of the first people to pose with metal Dave for a photo op. Note my oh-so-stylin' costume: tube top cut for fring, shorts, massive PodBelt to carry everything I need, a bandana and shades.. ooh.
The ice lineup (and another shot of CostoSoulMate Chris).. this was one of two places on the playa that was allowed to sell things. Camp Arctica sold ice in block and cube format, for people to haul off on their bikes or other forms (pity the fool who had to pack it back without wheels).. for the bar, we'd usually take a two-bike rickshaw build by Desert Duck (campmate also on the pre-event build committee), three giant coolers, and spend about $40 per day to keep the bar and campmates supplied with ice.
Buildbuildbuild... Called something in Flemish that translated to "A message from the future", this became commonly known as The Belgian Waffle... the artist shipped in a ton of Belgians to build a giagantic free-form shape that acted as a nightclub for most of the event, and then burned all $300,000 worth of 1x4s on the last night of the event. So hot, I moved back from the safety margin.. HUGE fire tornados wicking off that thing when it went up... and such an enormous singular example of waste that I think more people will be ready for next year's theme of Green Man...
A lovely example of gifting: I was admiring this man's necklaces in the lineup for Ice, and was given permission to shoot them. A common gift for craftspeople to make are Burning Man pendants, bracelets or keychains, so others can wear their Burniness year round.
Costumes! The photo gallery at www.burningman.com will have fantastic photos of all the amazing things people were wearing around, but I liked these two especially. The guy said that the blower that kept the horse inflated was wonderfully cooling! This photo was snapped as I was sitting/dozing in the Quonset hut put up by the Body Painters Guild.. I was waiting for the henna painter to arrive ("well.. he's supposed to be here.. but sometimes he doesn't come in, or he comes in later...")... and after waiting an hour, I left.. and my friends who were getting airbrushed said he showed up about 10 min after I left. Ah well :)
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Burning Blog Two....
The last..3? k heading into the Gate had little signs all the way along it. This was a boring sign. There was a stretch of about 60 signs that related to the theme "Hope and Fear" either with a full quote on a single sign, or a story stretched over many signs. Good incentive to go slow, even if there wasn't a huge lineup of traffic. Other sign content included "no firearms or fireworks" and "no pictures without permission, no video without registering with Media Mecca". That was only somewhat successful (as my later posts of video will show, oopsie! I'm so bad...)
Gate story #1: the single snaky line branched into five or six lines to go through the actual Gate.. and while sitting in one of these lines, I noticed the stilts strapped to the car beside us, and was about to comment "Hey! Nice Stilts!" when I realized the driver was my friend Todd, and his passenger was my friend Natalie, both who have been students of mine in my Vancouver hoop classes. SCREAM! LAUGH! HUG! They'd already gotten started on.. tequila, I think? So.. pretty extra happy :)
Gate story #2: The Gate crew were dressed like pirates, and had actual pirate-y tshirts made, which mentioned plundering... their job was to make sure that we weren't sneaking people in.. and the poor woman who got us was pretty adamant that we somehow unstrap and unpack everything so she could stick her arm into the middle of the pile and make sure there weren't any bodies. After showing her the tie-down job (through the window, over the pile ' o ' stuff on the roof, in the other window) and that the back hatch wasn't gonna open without undoing that, she allowed us through anyway.
Gate story #3: now through the unfriendly-but-neccessary gate (they also check to see that you have the means to survive for a week, like water, and that you're not being stupid and trying to bring in pets).. we pulled up to the actual Greeters. "Have you been here before?" asked a lovely man in a floor length fake fur coat and fabulous fuzzy hat.. "No!" we cried with glee... and then were hauled out of the car, given wonderful warm full-body hugs from said lovely man, made to ring a gong and scream, which got much applause from those around us, and told "Welcome Home!"... there was pretty consistent gonging happening, but no one seemed to tire of cheering... He gave us each an info package, checked to see if we had a theme camp with a preset location to go to, and gave us directions to get there.
Gate story #4: as I was about to get back in the car, a woman from the vehicle behind me said "Are you Xta?" ... and it was Cin, one of the Virgins with Vaginas I'd met online when I was trying to organize that as a camping option, before getting hooked into the Eplaya Bar Camp... she recognized me by the hoops on the back of the car, BC plates, and the pictures I'd posted online. Putting this in regular world perspective: imagine driving into a city of 40, 000, and the person who is directly behind you turns out to be your roommate.
Gate story #5: After pulling away from Greeters, a scantily clad woman (also lovely) waved us down, leaned her head into my window, and tells us that today is MakeOut Monday, and our jobs are to make out with as many people as we can. A few other pieces of advice, mostly lewd, and then we were off... at a roaring 5mph.
We knew that our camp was located at Anxious (the first ring road back from the main Esplanade) and 2:45 (Black Rock City is laid out like a clock, with the entrance at 6:00 and the Man at 12:00).. so we started heading to the right... with a potty stop at the first potty bank we saw, where I immediately realized that having my head lamp out would have been a Good Thing. We also knew that our camp would have a big white star tent, and that the setup crew had promised that there would be some sort of a light show to make them easy to find. We were late getting into the city, about 1:30am when I'd said "Midnight!" in my naivite, so I was worried that they would have all gone to bed... but no. I spotted the star tent from several blocks away, "I wonder if that's it!" as I saw a white point with lots of colourful lights dancing around it... and then we were there.
Lots of greetings and hugs from people that I'd only met online, eventual setting up of areas and tents (the pre-planned camp layout had been toasted almost immediately), the first meeting of my back-door neighbour, DJ BigE, who has one of those deep dark growly voices that just sounds so... deep dark and growly, but he was really sweet and helpful... and then eventually an attempt to sleep.
Star tent, as seen from Anxious and 2:50. Note the stripper pole and hoop-friendly platform (and I DID hoop on it...)... feedback on the pole from people who knew how to pole dance was that it was too short, so they couldn't jump up high and twirl gracefully down on it...
Star tent in action, as "ePlaya Bar Camp". Yes, even though I'm a relative non-drinker, and generally dislike drunks, I was camping at a Bar. Next year, this will be different.. but it was fun. The few times I made it behind the bar and attemped to serve, I was generally pretty clumsy, but had fun anyway. This is also a picture of my boring day-time uniform: bikini top and shorts. Note for next year: create better day-time costuming so as not to feel like a boring spectator.
Someone actually managed to take a picture during one of my rare moments behind the bar... The guy in the flowered skirt is my CostCo Soul Mate, Chris. I love men in skirts :)
This was the view from 3:00 and Anxious. This is the home of Radio Free Burning Man, DJ Big E's project, and my first homing beacon (the second were the flags flying from the top of the shipping container Those Damn Texans had next door at 2:40.. yes, that was their camp name). This was also one of the loveliest pieces of finished construction that I saw on the playa.
The other important homing beacon I used was from the keyhole plaza at 3:00 between Anxious and Brave... 'cause the nearest porta potty bank was at 3:00 and Destiny, so I learned to use the Rangers (police-types) at Brave, and the bright neon cross of Medical at Chance to find my way there... and then coming back into the keyhole, a lovely rune-inspired chill dome had bright blue neon lighting across the top.. and I could walk right beside them into the gap between our camps to find my tent. Took me about three days to figure out what was at 3:00 and Esplanade, the main strip, so for a while I just relied on the actual street signs they had posted all over the city.
Time to go get ready for Circle Craft Christmas Market, woooo! Uh, for just research purposes. I swear. Honest. I have no idea how that lovely crafted piece of jewelry/fibre art/metal art/pottery got in my bag. :)
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Burning Man Blogs Begin! (yeah, two months late..)
Uhm.. don't think I'm going to get into how or why I decided to go to Burning Man (may have addressed that in earlier posts and I just don't remember.. and right now, I don't actually remember how I got to this point so...) Right. Onward.
Organizing was supposed to be easy. There was a ton of advice for Burning Man Virgins (henceforth referred to simply as "BM" and "Virgins") available online, at both the main BM site, the ePlaya (chat forum links to the main BM site) and a couple sites on http://tribe.net geared towards Virgins. I had (still have, actually) a folder in my "Favourites" for all my BM stuff, including links to Packing Lists, Camps to Visit, Costume Ideas, Food Ideas, Travel Plans, and more. I was prepared.
Okay, I was prepared mentally. In reality... I was in panic-mode. Didn't have the day-glo pink ripstop nylon (19meters!) sewn into a shade structure, didn't have the three-different-colours-and-pile-heights of fake fur sewn into anything, and didn't have really cool boots. (in hindsight, I did okay.. the two things I really could have taken and been happier with, were proper goggles for the dust, and better daytime costumes so I didn't feel like an observer. More on that later).
We had a roommate leave at the beginning of August (sniff, bye Lindz!) and another coming at the beginning of September (yay Brendan!), so I had a spare room to use as a staging area for all my gear.... and it worked wonderfully. On the last night before we left, I pared down my clothing to what I was actually ready to wear, attempted to make a couple last-minute things that didn't work (and one that did!), and got the rest of the "potentials!" out of the room. When my friend and travelmate Heather arrived on Saturday morning, I was ready to haul it all out and stuff it in the car.
The car. The little, small, not-so-big car... did a really good job of containing stuff. We spent at least an hour repacking it, all her stuff out, then sorting what we would need for the drive down vs what could hide until we arrived at BM, and then got everything back in with some sense of logic. Jammed in, in fact.. from the imaginary wall created by the front seats, to the roof, to the hatchback, it was solid. On the bike rack that H picked up for $20, were our two bikes, and seven hoops. Posed for pictures (though we can't figure out whose camera they are on).. checked for passports and BM tickets, and we were off! (okay, almost.. ran into two of H's friends walking down 33rd about a block down the road, so we stopped to chat.. and THEN we were off!)
Stop for Starbucks, try to remember which street actually led to the border, decided to go for the main crossing rather than try to find the truck crossing, and find out 500m later that it was a poor decision.. construction along the way gave us an hour and a half wait.. but once we got into the actual Peace Arch area, we took turns inching the car forward while the other person spun poi, did cartwheels, danced.. whatever. The Border dude was actually utterly cool - after our fears of "We're going to Burning Man!" resulting in a full car- and body cavity-search, it turned out that he was savvy about the event, and checked in with us that we knew we had to bring everything in, and asked if we had enough water. (stranger checking water supply #1) With assurance that we knew everything and had everything, we were through! On with the road trip!
I had made travel plans (according to one of the sites on my aforementioned collection of links) that included camping overnight at a Burner-friendly hot springs. Unfortunately, our unplanned delays put us about three hours behind getting there, and with neither of us being really happy about driving in the dark, we started looking for camping options that were closer. The travel guide mentioned three along the Washington/Oregon border point we were heading to, so we aimed for those.. passed the first one, didn't see signs leading to the next two, then Oops! We're in Oregon! And then Oops! We're on a stretch of highway with a meridian so no U-turns are allowed! And then Oops! I'm getting cranky 'cause I've realized I really really don't want to be driving anymore 'cause I'm scared I'm going to crash into something due to sticky eyes!
.. and THEN.. I make a wish, something along the lines of "I wish that we get to the next pokey town and find a RV site or SOMETHING that has a place we can throw down the tent and take really hot showers.
Three minutes later, the universe delivered. Rufus, Oregon has a lovely little RV site with tent sites (though we couldn't figure out which was which in the dark, so we just pitched on some grass in an RV site) and hot hot showers and the sounds of highway and insects to lull us quickly to sleep.. and we did. Breakfast the next morning in a truck stop, 'cause Rufus catered to the truckers (highways crossed nearby), with yummy greasy eggy food. Num.
More driving, and a stop at the hot springs around lunchtime.. lots of Burners pulling in, all sorts of interesting vehicles, and a bit of cash got us access to the barn, which was filled wall to wall with a big concrete pool, smelly mineral water pouring in through a pipe, and carvings ("GK loves BT" etc) EVERYWHERE.. it was hot, and slightly greenish and dim, but felt SO GOOD. Chitchat with others ensued, including a guy who had only heard about BM about two hours earlier but was now planning to buy some supplies and go... with a day of prep, whoa.
Stopped for groceries.. and pulled out the list of supplies we needed to pick up for the ePlaya Bar Camp, the group of people we'd met online and would be camping with. We had both committed to bringing a lot of mixer, and after collecting all of that, AND all of our own groceries.. we had two shopping carts full. Remember how full the car already way? Yeah, full. Two and a half hours later (now in darkness), we have completely emptied out the car, packed all the tents and sleeping bags and soft things inside a tarp, strapped it to the roof, jammed stuffed crammed packed all the food and beverages and the remainder of our gear back into the car (now including water, after the nice manager of the Safeway saw us rolling our carts out of the store and stopped to ask if we already had water.. stranger checking water supply #2.. and I had COMPLETELY forgotten that I had planned to fill all my collapsing water jugs, so she kindly pointed out that "someone" had turned on their faucet around the back of the building, and it was going to take her "a few minutes" to find someone with the tools to shut it off... and that she'd look the other way if I happened to keep all that water from going to waste.... so, thanks to Safeway and the three people who loaned me their containers for the week, I got free water. Woo!
There was a restaurant sharing the same parking lot as the Safeway, so once we had the car loaded, we CAREFULLY drove over the speed bumps to test out the handling, then pulled in for dinner. Staff at this place (and another we stopped at on the way out from BM) looked like they would be quite happy if the hoards of weird people would stop coming by, thankyouverymuch. We were careful to say please and thank you and show our appreciation.. but they closed up early anyways, so a bunch of fellow Burners were turned away.
It was now dark, and we were both tired and somewhat cranky, though pretty amused about the packing of the car, but I really wanted to get into BM just around midnight when the gates opened, because some of the other Bar Campers had told me it was "magical" to arrive in the dark with the electric energy of everyone's excitement... so I pushed on, and H dealt with me pushing, and after a bit more snapping at each other, and driving with sticky eyes... we got to this:
Oh. Hm. There appears to be something wrong with my picture uploader. Grr. Okay, I can deal with this...
Imagine, in your mind's eye, a long empty road. You are the only vehicle around. You see one other vehicle in the space of two hours or three hours. Then, you come to a town, and stop for groceries and dinner. Now, when you pull back onto the road, you have company.. and they usually pass you, since your car is overloaded and can barely move. But hey, that's okay, 'cause if you breakdown, at least now there's traffic on the road to stop and help you out. Another two hours of driving, and the traffic gets thicker.. the people who pass you are staying within sight now, as they catch up to the last people who passed you... more curves, more sticky-eyed driving, then you see a sparkling chain of lights in the distance! That must be it! We can see it already! You drive more... and once you get close enough, you realize that the sparkling chain of lights is the line of headlights of cars, bumper to bumper, now crawling in a slow lineup to an as-yet-unseen destination. A sign says "This way to Burning Man", pointing to the left. You merge (with some bickering about "Go now!" "Now!" "Now!" and a tight response of "Christa, *I* am driving.. I will decide when it is safe to go..").. and drive quietly along, now part of the glittering string of headlights yourself, following a red snaking line of taillights off into the distance....
Oh, there we go.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Oh, and I have a new blog.
As part of my desire to create an online dimension to my knitting involvement (and pattern sales, and design critique), I'm going to try to be blogging there at least once a week. Honest. Like, scheduled. This one might get some of that action, too.
(if you're lucky)
Does this sound like me?
Link: The 32-Type Dating Test by OkCupid - Free Online Dating.