I'm going to Burning Man!

my ticket

I’m really excited about this… Bought the ticket a little while ago. I’ve wanted to go for a long time. Once I was in San Francisco around that time of the year, about 8-9 years ago–late summer, week before labor day. I met some folks who were going, and it sounded like so much fun. But I didn’t get my act together, and I didn’t want to show up in the Black Rock Desert unprepared, and these were new temporary California acquaintances, not people I’d trust with my life, so I didn’t go.

Not like I’ve always regretted it: they do this every year. But at some point I began to think, ‘I’m too old for that.’

Then I found out that an old buddy from grade school has been going for three years. Treiops. (He was Scott when we were growing up. I don’t know the whole story, though the name change wasn’t entirely a surprise. Great guy, nonetheless. Interesting artist. Lives in LA.) He said I wasn’t too old. I mean, I’m two days older than he is, and he goes.

So anyway, somehow the subject worked its way into my consciousness again, as I was beginning to contemplate turning forty. (Yes, I’ll be forty in July.) My birthday is about a month before Burning Man. What better way to mark the occasion?

So there are arrangements to be made. Things to buy–a tent, a bike, food to eat in the desert… Art to make. Participation to envision. Like minds to connect with. Of course when I bought the ticket, I got very excited, but it seems that the community isn’t awhirl with creative abandon this time of year. So I’m waiting, a little impatiently, for things to get started.

Of course, lots of my art ideas are art-bikes. The bass drum bike concept comes to mind–I have a bass drum, like a marching band drum with the big furry drumsticks, collecting dust in a closet here. I’ve wanted to build a tandem bike around it. I also have an idea for a bagpipe with the air source driven from a bike’s chain–the bikepipe. And it would be cool to do some kite aerial photography.

Any of this stuff has to withstand the rigors of the desert. The Burning Man site has lots of admonitions about the hostility of the Black Rock Desert environment. It’s a dry lake bed, an alkalai desert, and windy and dusty, with this nasty, chemically active dust that gets in everything. And hot. And dry. Like, drink-a-gallon-of-water-a-day-to-survive hot and dry. Except when it rains. Which can be torrential, but is usually brief.

Anyway. Exciting. A little daunting. Should be crazy fun. I’m reminded of that old JFK story about the two Irish boys who tossed their hats over a fence so they’d have to figure out how to get to the other side. I love that story.


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