(okay, the reveal of the Playa Naming will come later... I think I didn't get it til Thursday, and I'm only at Monday night so far...)
Monday night, post-unpacking, the whole group of us decided to ride out to The Man and check it out... This year's theme, The Green Man, had a fair amount of eco-content, and part of that was being hosted at the pavillion under the Man, traditionally filled with works of art but this year filled with exhibits and demonstrations of eco-friendly goods and devices and such, that Burners could see and explore and then go home and seek out.. for this wasn't supposed to be an experience of advertising or sales, just 'educational'... anyway, pavillion with a lot of diplay thingies. I wasn't quite ready to settle in and read through it all, and figured I had the whole week to come back and check it out (oops, wrong, but more on this later).. so I spent a bit of time staring up at the faces that someone had carved lovingly into the giant logs that were holding up The Man. Angled together, somewhat like teepee poles, prob 5-6m high (okay, I'm making that up, I have no idea.. but high, okay?) with the bark peeled and all these faces looking out from them.. new-age totem poles. Was cool. All around the pavillion were trees that various artists had created. The one made of bones was pretty creepy, but I really enjoyed the TreeSaw - a tree whose trunk was the centre-point for a giant seesaw! No handles, not particularly shaped, just a giant slab of wood that you could straddle and hope that you didn't slide too far one way or the other.. and then you would get nasty BUMPs when your partner on the other side would shift their weight so your end slammed into the ground. Ouch, but fun.. but the first point this year that I had to turn away and remind myself that I wasn't on 'injury prevention' duty.
Monday night was the lunar eclipse, fully visible from the playa, and there was a hooping party to celebrate it... which I couldn't find. Rode around the area where it was supposed to take place, eventually gave up, hooped briefly beside an art car (okay, moving night club) that had awesome music, and then it drove away... so I headed to the far end at 2:00 to see if there was still a giant sound-camp there.. hooped for a little while, alone but not freaking out about it, shared my glowing LED PsiHoop with a couple people who were brave enough to ask, and kept an eye on the slooooowly moving eclipse. Way cool.. but much browner than I expected. Got tired, started heading for home... when I hear someone yelling "Open your Eyes! The Man is on Fire!!"... over and over... and sure enough, the Man was burning. Six days early. I was almost back at our camp, and ran into a campmate who had also heard the news, so we rode out (with the rest of the lookey-loos, yeah) to see what was happening.. got to watch two high-pressure pumper trucks hose the man down for a good amount of time, and then the DPW (Department of Public Works, the crew who build and teardown the event) started yelling at the crowd to Get the Hell out of the Way so that they could get in and work on the rescue effort. I didn't make it back to see if the pavillion contents were moved, but the Man DID get rebuilt by the end of the week, to burn at the appointed time.... apparently a bit of the rebuild effort was serindipitous, that someone in Reno had a huge amount of green neon that he'd been hanging onto for years, hoping someone would come in and buy it all... and lo! A buyer was found :) The person who set fire to the Man.. well, I'm not sure if I should believe them, but the posters with his costume'd photo on it said he was out on bail and ready to sign autographs. Bizarre, but not surprising at this event.
Tuesday I discovered the Black Rock Bookmobile just up the street, and snagged a bunch of mystery novels to read during my afternoon siestas.. and Tuesday may or may not have been the day I wandered into Camp Artica (three spots around the playa that sold ice, this one was Ice3, Ice Cubed), saw a giant lineup outside and a bunch of folks inside looking harassed, and asked if I could help. Next three hours were a lot of fun (okay, wait. .the first hour was a lot of fun, the next a bit okay, and the third kinda tiring)... as I got to help sling bags of crushed ice, and ice blocks.. after the first thirty minutes or so, of watching and getting in the way and figuring out what sort of system would work, I wound up standing on the tailgate of the giant ice trucks, where I could reach the blocks or bags that were being set down by the two slingers working inside the truck, and then pass them directly to the runners taking orders from the cashiers, or break the packs up for smaller orders (a six-pack of bags of crushed ice could be taken as-is, or dropped down to a four- or three-pack, with the remaining singles stacked in another pile)... eventually spelled off the slingers in the truck, and realized that the job I had been doing was cushy compared to schlepping the giant bags and blocks from the pallets stacked farther back in the truck. The whole shift wasn't quite the social opportunity I'd hoped for, though everyone on the crew was pretty darn night.. next year, though, I think I'd like to take a swing at running one of the tils, 'cause then I get to see/meet/greet everyone coming through! I DID have a lovely social moment at the end of the shift, though, when a man from the next shift came up to me to tell me how beautiful he thought I was.. face, body, attitude, everything :) Lovely compliment! One of the things I love about Burning Man is that everyone seems to feel freer about giving and receiving compliments - it isn't the same sort of suffocating oh-god-will-s/he-think-I'm-a-fool-if-I-say-anything atmosphere that is present in day-to-day life... refreshing.
Again, I have a feeling that I may be getting my days mixed up, but I *think* that Tuesday was the night of hooping at Centre Camp - Philo of http://hooping.org/
had organized a time slot in the centre for us to gather and hoop together, and it was good. Group hoop with a bit of struggle for space, and then Stefan of http://groovehoops.com/
organized us into showcasing regions.. "Canada" got to be its own, and all three of us were from Vancouver! Vicki, Jonilyn and I hooped madly, and got cheers from the crowd, and then got to sit back and keep watching the other amazing folk from around the globe. Video link to YouTube to come, whenever Jonilyn gets around to posting her footage. Party afterwards saw us head to the Flying Monkey Pub - good music, a nice platform that I was able to sprawl upon (and have my first practice-flirting session with another man sprawled thereon) and later claim as my Sharpie-Tattoo parlour: my gift this year was body art and time spent applying it for individuals.. poor Vicki got my warmup effort, a mehndi-like design on her wrist, but the hoopers and non- who lined up later got some nifty abstract work.. hmm, I should see if Shadjuah got a picture of his, a giant orange spiral/swirl/swoop down the side of his torso.. cute little gay boy :) A bit more hooping outside with our LED hoops (it could have been a commercial for Patrick and his brand, http://psihoops.com/
) and some fire hooping (I was wearing dangly fire-hazard clothing, so I didn't do much), and I was done for the evening. Vicki and I headed to find a women's party, but it had mostly been over by the time we arrived, so we headed back to our respective camps.
PsiHoopage issue: I'd run down the batteries by this early point in the week, but Ali had brought her charging unit so we could plug the hoops in and light 'em up again.. but something went quite wrong, and instead of lighting up brightly when plugged into the charger, my hoop went dead. Yikes!! This is a $300+ hoop, that may perhaps have carried some warnings about taking it onto the playa, perhaps even with some suggestion about using tape to cover the plugs and switches to protect them from dust... which I didn't do. Slacker. Anyhoo... the hoop never did regain charge that week, and I was quite freaked out about ruining it within the first month. but when I got it home and plugged in here, it lit up just fine, and has been working well ever since. (shrug)
Morning hooping, late night hooping, hooping at the Lemuria party where a big Vancouver camp was hosting their home event for the week, and I had a TON of admirers stopping by to watch and chat with me, and hooping at an unnamed camp that had the best lit outdoor space with a nice corner where I could hoop and be less likely to have people accidently walk into me or my hoops... and THAT camp seemed to be home-away-from-home to a bunch of thickly accented fellows who ranged from being nicely complimentary and interesting, to staring and then asking where I camp so they could come find me later. Yeek. Anyway, good music, great space, and lots of people excited about playing with my spare hoop and trying things out... this place, and the Deep End (a daytime dance camp - full sun and heat, eek!) were awesome hoop spots whenever I came by. Good times, good times...
One more picture of hooping... and then the next installment will (possibly) hold the story of how I came to be known as Fluffy. Check out my cowboy boots: best $7 ever spent at a thrift store.. add $20 gel insoles, and my feet were happy for the whole week! And gawd, I love men in skirts :)