Burning Man has been in the news a lot, lately. The event has a way of drawing media coverage like, uh, The Donald (that’s in Trump, not Duck). Among the stories: “One-percenters have taken over; The Bureau of Land Management wants Burning Man to pay for million dollar accommodations— plus ice cream, and; (my favorite) Gazillions of bugs are crawling out of the ground. ” The list goes on. Naked people, hippies, and drugs are almost always worked into the story. It improves ratings and readership. If accuracy suffers, oh well.
I thought the 2015 theme, Carnival of Mirrors, was one of the best ever, not to mention an excellent reflection of most media coverage for Burning Man (and presidential politics).
I didn’t think I would be at the event this year, having failed to score in the annual grab bag ticket sale, which rarely works as promoted. But three days before Burning Man, my friends Don Green and Tom Lovering managed to find tickets on Craig’s List in South San Francisco. Don drove down from his home in Lafayette with a thousand dollars cash in his pocket and met a person he didn’t know around midnight on Thursday at a coffee-house he had never been to. The money was for two tickets and a vehicle pass, a real bargain in this age of massive scalping.
I spent all day Friday racing around taking care of the myriad details that involve surviving in the desert for eight days. (Peggy sat this year out since she had just returned from a two-week trip to England with her sister.) The van had to be made ready, my bike checked over, food and water purchased, and a minimal costume assembled. Plus there were the inevitable questions. Where had I put my goggles and bandana for dust storms? Which box hid my bike lock? Did I have enough glow sticks to avoid being run over by mutant vehicles at night? Etc. Eventually, I had everything together and by 10 a.m. on Saturday I was on my way to the small town of Cedarville on the northeastern border between California and Nevada.
Cedarville is our jump off place for Burning Man. We normally stay at the fairgrounds. Not this time. The Modoc County Fair was taking place. You know the old saying, “When you are given lemons, make lemonade?” So I camped at the City Park and walked to the fair. It was perfect. The pigs hammed it up, a goat nibbled on my shirt, and country-western singer sang “Pistol Packing Mama.”
I’ll be writing about Burning Man off and on over the next few months, adding stories in between the other things I blog about. Those of you who have followed my blog for a while, know that Burning Man is one of my favorite things to do— that I love the art, the creativity, and the magic. Regardless of what the media may report, it is one of the greatest shows on earth. What’s not to love about an event where a huge catapult is built to toss a flaming piano for 100 yards? Or where Susan Sarandon shows up with a portion of Timothy Leary’s ashes to re-cremate. (Leary was the guru of LSD in the 60’s and coined the phrase, “turn on, tune in, drop out.” His ashes were distributed among friends after his death. Some were rocketed into space, along with those of Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek. Susan decided that Burning Man was the perfect place to distribute her share.)
Today, my objective is to introduce Burning Man 2015 with a series of photos. Enjoy. NEXT BLOG: I’ll return to my backpack trip into the Grand Canyon.