We (Sunshine+Romulus) did it again. And our second burn was even better than the first!
Burning Man is that thing in the desert where a community of 70.000 hippies, steam punks and crazy creatures build up a whole city for one week. While there is no center stage every camp and every inhabitant is part of the show. Radical self-expression is the magic word and one of the 10 principles.
First time on the playa, you're overwhelmed with blinking lights, great art and awesome parties and you try to get it all, what is just impossible. At your second burn you already know that you will miss 90% and you can enjoy your time much more. Black Rock City is so big that you can just sit naked on your bike and follow your dick and where ever you go, you will discover happy people and unexpected delights of this generous gifting society.
Gifting is what makes Burning Man so happy. Every camp gives parties, attractions, art or hugs to anyone who drops in. It feels so good to be welcome everywhere and it feels great to give that feeling to anyone else just to see a smile on someone's face.
Some camps like Distrikt give a party every day and drinks for thousands of people for free. Insiders know which SF bay area clubs are standing behind these parties but you see no label and no advertising at all. It's just a give back for the party crowd that we all hold in high regard. If you give something at Burning Man you don't expect anything in return. But you can be sure that your generosity comes somehow back to you.
Americans who come to the playa load their trucks full. Burning Man is not a green event. It's a giant wastefulness. Officially they call it radical self-reliance. You must have everything to survive a week in the desert. But when you come to Burning Man, you don't want just to survive - you want to be fabulous!
Arriving by airplane our luggage was limited to 22.5 kg. Then we bought gallons of alcohol, firewood, LEDs and everything else that people might make happy and that we could find quickly in any Walmarts on our way. Time was our shortest resource because we could not get more than 14 days off and we had to drive 3 days from Seattle down to Nevada, because Motorhome rental prices in the San Francisco-Reno region were insanely overpriced.
Our first adventure overshooted our self-reliance: Two flat tires at the same time and a broken jack just 10 miles in front of the gates. It was probably a rough cattle gard that I crossed a little too fast. We could have arrived shortly after noon but it took us ten more hours until we made it to our camp called Comfort & Joy. When we arrived, the camp was alredy set up by the crew who really did a great work. I would love to be once part of them building up all our structures but time, time, time...
The downside of the no-money gifting economy is that you feel bad to ask for things, while you only can give your friends what they alredy have, like beer or vodka. I met some guys from Spain at a party who saw all these happy people dancing while they only could drink gallons of booze, which doesn't give you really the power to dance all night thru. The vicious entrapment methods of Nevada's undercover cops make it impossible to ask the obvious question and it completely ruins the trust of burners in anyone you don't know. Of course I told the poor Spanish guys the same answer: No idea what is ecstasy - get drunk to be happy, that's the law!
Burning Man is not a drug party like many other festivals. It is so much more! If you look at all the fantastic art and the millions of lights at night, it almost feels like a trip on acid, but honestly, if you had a trip it would be even better! Well, state law is state law and even if pot is already legal in all other states around, it's still a serious crime to enhance your perception or happiness in Nevada.
While spending a week in the dust between crazy (naked) people is alredy something that worlds leaders like the Google founders or Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook officially do, many other Americans still hide their burner side. Always ask everyone in a picture for consent. This rule sucks and makes pictures of fun events like the naked pub crawl which ended in a great party in our camp impossible. I obey and do not publish any pix. But guys, if you wanna go naked in public and don't stand up for that, please wear at least some dark sunglasses! When nobody is allowed to publish pictures of happy and naked people that show public nudity in a positive way, body freedom will never gain acceptance in our society.
The idea of Burning Man, the acted out freedom of diversity including tutus and naked dicks on the street should really be reported to the world to speak out: love is better than war - drop your weapons, get naked and dance with us!
But many people in the world can't understand that. Narrow minded jerks only see unlawful drugs and condemnable sex and nudity and scream out what populist parties and fanatic religions hammered into their brains: Everything that is not normal is evil. Period. Can Burning Man change the mind of these people? The first principle of Burning Man is radical inclusion: Every jerk is welcome. I noticed a few assholes in the 70.000 people community. Guys who stand in front of all sitting crowd watching the temple burn and bawl into the silence. But there were many others who just came for a week of party and went home with a whole new experience of life.
When I look at our society I wish everyone would spend at least once a week at Black Rock City. The alcaline dust of the desert may be bad for ones health, but the environment of this city with the unbelievable diversity of its inhabitants who live in peace in a confined space could heal many egocentric, xenophobic or racist ideologies.
Burning Man is not only a festival. It's a way of thinking. Ideals like a gifting economy without money don't work in the real world for more than a week, but the spirit of generosity and freedom could create a much happier environment than our daily self-centered chase for money.
The burning man had a dick!
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Burning Man 2014 - Staub und Liebe