Tuesday, September 8, 2009

fun and games at burning man 2009


photos on picasaweb.google/terryw100/bman09


Its different out here on the playa. it was cool this morning and still, but windy and dusty yesterday on the way in and setting up camp in a crowded corner. we had total of 3 flats on the way in , 2 punctures which i plugged on the spot, and one trailer tire shredded at the gate to the event. i had picked up moondancer, another geezer to give him aride to his camp, and he helped change the tire. cathy, as is her wont, primped and put on her tutu and brought an out rageous cat in the hat hat which i promptly ripped off.

good times with canyon last night, we partied with her desert guardians group, then piled on board a salmon fishing boat mounted on a truck chassis, climbed up about 100' above the ground and toured the site at night. the man is beautiful, with free form waves or mountains around the base and 100' of neon above that perched on a double helix. brightly lit and outrageously decorated art cars, trucks, an articulated bus from england cruised with us. walked back from the temple with canyon, past the man again and over to more fire sculptures, with a line 200 feet long of propane nozzels spouting fire bursts all computer controlled.

Always the thump thump of techno bass gone mad in the background, generaters powering everything. my solar is doing well, so i have all the ions i need fo run my little stereo and charge my computer and run led lights.

had the shitz last night, used my portapottti for the first time. oops cathy and pete just came in, jabbering jabbering, so ill sign off, and write later when i get time. and maybe even put some pix up on picasaweb. love t

things gettin hotter, 98
today, and we are fortunate to have canyon's trailer with ac to hang
out in. i did an ice run this morning, 5 10 lb blox, carried handily
in my old ladys grocery cart, a fold up number, bot at flea mkt in
mina for 5 bucks. wednesday, almost 1/2 way through, my hair is stiff,
and needs washing, tonite, hopefully. problem is what to do with grey
water. silver bob usted to bring a 55 gal drum for that, but he isnt
here this year. i surruptitiously dump our gray on the road, where the
water truck comes by and obliterates any trace of the very uncool

i cant see missing a year of this show, its incredible, the
outpouring of passion and hedonism and artistic talent. we go on an
art tour with the artists tmw morn, hopefull on a big art car bus, or
ride our bikes behind and listen to the narrative on a huge pa system.

great roam last night with cathy on foot, several bar/night clubs are
going full tilt boogie, including one next to our camp. loud thump
thump music. went to a concert in a huge dome with electric bass and
violin playing melodic and strangely woven tunes with a popping drum
machine behind. then to a structure with towers and a set of tracking
lazers on top, so when you walked or danced the lazers would follow
you and play different notes on a big stereo system, all controlled by
a guy at a computer.

moon cast an incandescent glow over the playa, punctuated by green lazers sweeping the dusty air and more art cars belching flame, and blaring techno (one had big rock candy mt on), with crowds of people waving and shouting their glee at being free to party their asses off. We (c and cyn) walked out onto the playa after a party with the earth guardians crowd (eg from now on) and gave the man a through going over, revelling in sweeping free forms of towers built from 2x4s . clouds did a warm air night, people stripped down to the bare essentials. we visited the temple already with many names and keepsakes, pictures, poems etc adorning the jigsaw cut walls, climbed up 3 stories to the top and watched a wedding happen, champagne open, cheers all around. I wonder if its for the duration of the event???

c and cyn head for a monster art car, an articulated bus with platform top spilling over with people, they can only fit 150 on the bus, and im feeling fat legged, so i head to my bike stashed at the man, loc by gps, and tottle on home, stopping at some great installations, a bank of light bulbs 10 feet thick, with 4 colors in each bulb and patterns all controlled by computer. people lying on the ground looking up from underneath.

quiet at camp, the disco is closed for the night, last night they went till midnight.

c wakes up at 9 am, ready to prep for the art tour, it takes an hour to do this, and i putter, fix things, find my sunglasses, charge my camera batts, and off we go, hot, windy, big crowd at the art tour place, so i opt out, hang in the jazz tent for a while, then to cyn, who has been barfing all night long with a migrane. we may not do the black rock tonight after all.

cyn recovered slowly and it is on, we hang with the eg crowd, c goes with the art tour, i do a psa (public service ann.) for the radio, and hand at center camp, big crowd packed in, bumping into each other, many performances in the center ring and at 3 stages.

we snooze, cathy bouncing in and out from various adventures. fire up cyns tundra and drive the dusty, crowded streets to our camp, organize and load up for the night at the black rock playacita. we return to the fashion show, one guy has wings of steel slats that pop open using a co2 cartridge, some outrageous costumes, cyn is in a long prarie dress and pilgrim hat, printed save the earth all over. a true devotee of the earth.

now for the safari onto the playa, we have the radio, the correct forms and our tickets, and we are out of the madding crowd, into the open at last, cyn cruising 40 mph across a perfectly flat white landscape. totally nuts, totally different perspective. we follow a track well beaten up the playa for 15 miles, then branch off to the right toward the black rock, totally visible for 20 miles. It looms up as we approach, and wind our way through the dunes into tthe shelf and there is water (140 deg hot), and an old wagon skeleton, part of the applegate trail. Another burner is there, guarding the hot spring for desert guardians, as part of their role as support for BLM. Talk and talk, a van arrives to take her home, and drops off tracy, another volunteer. she is off in a corner sobbing, very depressed, but canyon cheers her up, and we pile in to the playacita, a perfectly round 1 km playa in the hills above the black rock. we set up camp on the shore, and commence partying, watching the full moon up over the desert mts is spectacular, roaming around the vast flatness of the playa is great , with occasional views of a person for scale. i set up the fire launcher and start popping off fireworks, some mortors hundreds of feet up, and the ball of fire from the launcher gives an apocolyptic effect. we soon fade out, blessed with the silence, no thump thump of bass, no people crowding around, and perfect temperatures.

up with the hot sun, masked by clouds for a while, red sunrise, coffee, hb eggs, and puttering, i play guitar, tracy has a mandolin type instrumnet, and we plink a little. cathy washes her hair, and we pile into the monster truck and are off for the main event. back into the thick of things, everything is dusty now, pepole are dusty. c reviews the sched, and the little black dress (lbd) party is at 5 at spankys wine bar, so we aim for that, cowering , in the ac, until it goes off. oh well. tmw my talk and the man burns.

back to camp and snooze after a cruise on the blm covered wagon art car, with a painted nude, 2 guitarists doing doobie bros and niel young songs. we head home and dark falls, over sleep, 930, and head out to the spaceship launch on the playa. interminable wait, we cruise tthe art cars, watch naked fire dancers, and finally things start happening, a round of ground white explosions segue into huge rocket display with fire coming out of the bottom of the rocket ship, then suddenly a set of blasts from a row of sources with billiowing red, yellow and pink clouds the concussion wave hitting our chests like a sledgehammer. back to cyn camp to get our bikes, then back home to crash, the thump thump thump of the techno beat.

red sun, and coffee, great basin bakery bread, and prep for deep playa. to the temple, post dianes poem, don and lars holbeck passed. deeper we find a garden with columnar joints, and huge ss tables, then to the nest, a eagles nest with comfortable pads. back via the 10 oclock rave domes, pallets made into towers. putter at camp, have long talk with abalone al, and his crew, then prep for the talk. snooze and then off with cathy to the eg pavilion , set up, then people start arrivng, packing in to hear me and my geology presentation. cathy and canyon help with demos of volcanos and subduction. great fun talk, 240 people bilbo counted, and many questions, up to the balcony for a safety meeting, and guiness, and views of the playa fading into fog of blowing dust. a mournful cry of a foghorn echos across the playa. then to canyons for lowering conciousness, more costumes bilbo and darlene, a friend from grass valley. more blowing dust out there, but stilll visibility is good, so we'll do the burn.

lotsa wind yesterday, the burn was late and spectacular, I'll post a description to you soon. breaking camp, plan to leave 5 am after the temple burn which will be watched from a lift truck in our camp complete with balcony, couches, a bar (always a bar). cathy left early, lotsa stuff, i organized the trailer and stuff and all i have to do is throw it in and head out in the morning.

The burn started with a windstorm, packed into cyn's trailer, raging fun, crackling conversation. whoops and shouts, cathy and cyn changing costumes, dancing to classic tunes, wine bottles, champagne popping. we mount the platform and look out into the dark, nothing visible, but the rangers radio is announcing the start of the procession, the fire twirlers will be soon behind. finally we motorvate after interminable costume changes and gathering together of equipment. finally we enter the fray, people on bikes, on foot, art cars, scooters segues, you name it. now a huge wheeled vehicle 50' high roaming along all decorated with flashing lights, neon, video etc.

The density of people increases exponentially as we enter the perimeter, a line of nose to tail art cars 2 miles long, blaring techno, belching fire, people hangng on to platforms for a view above the playa. c and c and i play tag hard to find, several separations, i have them lead and follow, they hold hands to stay togetehr. the twirlers are twirling and a huge flaming dragon enters the mass of seething dancers, with flaming wings flapping. now we look for a spot, the girls want to be up front, and i settle down on my tripod chair to watch the show.

it begins with a spectacular fireworks display, with accompaning blasts , then the man starts spouting sparks from his hands, and soon the whole statue is on fire, now the understructure starts up, people throwing flares into the wooden columns, shoots of flame starting up,then the whole display is enveloped in a monster white billowing explosion the concussion almost knocking us over, leaving the wood flaming, consuming the whole base, that we hung out in and admired as art in the desert. the mans head falls off to a great cheer, but it has a superstructure of steel, and it isnt going anywhere. the vortexes start whirling off downwind. I am tired, but determined to watch the fall of the man, but it isn't happening, so i wend my way past some art cars, one with 3 stories and huge video screen, and a wall of sound, more huge speakers and a gut fluttering bass line.

quiet on the playa, stroll over toward the lightbulb cube and stare at that for a while, great patterns of lights with bulbs changing color constantly.

back to snug nest, just drifting and i hear cathy, "you wimp, its only midnight, get up and party with us" ok, the ladys are back with another bottle of shiraz open, i drink water, enuf for the night. visit some clubs, and now finally they leave me alone to repair.

On 9/6/09, terry wright wrote:
> lotsa wind yesterday, the burn was late and spectacular, ill post a
> description to you soon. breaking camp, plan to leave5 am after the
> temple burn which will be watched from a lift truck in our camp
> complete with balcony, couches, a bar (always a bar). cathy left
> early, lotsa stuff, i organized the trailer and stuff and all i have
> to do is throw it in and head out in the morning.

sunday was busy with helping cathy pack and off early, then packing most of the camp myself, the plan to leave at 5 am with too tall sherry, fun fun debbie, pete and tahoe bob. segue over to canyons, tri the internet to no avail, snooze party visit watch the teardown of camp all going into 2 huge containers to be unearthed next year. the wind blows off and and on, we mosy out to central camp, it is crowded, no good music, a n amazing group of individuals and costumes and performance art. now a stroll out onto the playa picked up by an art car for a ride to the man, then back to eg, and fond farewells to cyn, her camp in tatters.

oh i forgot about spankys wine bar saturday afternoon, this was a hot
spot with all kinds of people coming and going on the esplanade. 50
cases of wine in various states of disrepair sitting in the hot sun,
cooled with ice. the name comes from the spankometer, a contraption
where you pulldown your pants, bare butt, to be spanked by a board
that repeatedly thwapped your butt. great sport. good music too, no
techno, a few knopflers, joanie, jazz. great costumes and great
performances with dancing, on the bar and a crowd gathering to
celebrate life.
also deep playa on sat morning early cool, to the temple to post
dianes poem then a great garden with columnar joints and huge rock
tables, and the eagles next high above the playa, snugging in pillows
and watching the world go by.

back to sunday....back to camp and finish packing up, all i gotta do
is turn the key and drive outta there, most stuff in a heap on the
trailer covered with playa dust, gotta find a leaf blower to clean up.
we have a low keytime on the lift truck balcony couch watching the
temple burn, then turn in, sleep soundly until the neighbors fire up
the stereo thump thump. finally at 1 am they calm down, i sleep till
4 30, and make coffee, secure the camper pop top, find the rrear
taillight is out, and not fixable, and finally sherry and i roar off
into the sunrise. a slow procession tot he gate, and out onthe road
smooth sailing to nixon, where i try to get gas to no avail, they are
out. oh well, fume it to the wigwam in fernley, no sign of sherry, a
few other burners are there, 2 recognize me from the talk at bman, and
im tearing into steak and eggs when sherry pulls in, looking hasseled,
nailed for speeding in nixon and pissed. we have a good conversation
about life and plans, she is 15 miles from her house in silver city,
almost home, i contemplate my 3 hour drive to benton and am ready to
hit the road. call heather to relay message i have emerged from the
playa, and debbie and pete pull up, we visit for a short time then im
off on the road again, snoozing several time to stay awake, sail past
mina to montgomery pass, the bug station , the po store and home. to
sleep perchance to dream.

things are low key in benton now, im gonna lie low, maybe do some fishing, clean up the gear after bman and visit around. my friend from tulsa arrives in reno on the 16th and we do the millpond music fest. that weekend, and im back for dr appts on the 24th. ill be around a week, but plan a southland odyssey to a weekend party in lancaster, then to santa barbara to visit cathy in her mansion about to be foreclosed upon, then gunkholing up the coast to a ranch on big sur and friends in monterey and santa cruz, then to the dylan/willie concert at the greek, then home for a while. oh well sieze the moment...

rage on.