My passenger is gorgeous. I had assumed she was performing at the cabaret/burlesque show tonight, except she's not carrying a bag of gear.

"It's funny," I say, "I'm trying to remember when 'Sinferno' became a big enough thing to be a destination."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, it used to be on Sunday night people would get in and say, 'Dante's,' yet these days it's enough to say 'Sinferno.'"

She looks out the window. "Yeah, I think that's exactly the reason I don't perform there anymore."

I ask how that's a problem.

"Well, it used to be that you knew almost all the performers, and you knew a bunch of your friends were there watching. Later on, though.... I remember the first time I went on and realized I didn't know any of the other performers, and fewer and fewer of my friends were showing up. After a while, I just didn't want to do it anymore. This is the first time I've even gone to watch in over a year."

"What brings you out tonight?"

"One of my friends from the early days is going to be there. She has a new fire routine, so I wanted to come watch."

We talk the rest of the way about how Burning Man has infiltrated the culture to such a degree that even people who've never been to or heard of the festival are influenced by it. Like many who cheer on the fire performers at "Sinferno."