Day Five at Burning Man (read all Burning Blog posts here)
BLACK ROCK CITY, Nevada – A Burning Man Haiku
Searing sun beats down
Saline dripping from my nose
A guy without pants
—Ashland's Michael Kerr
The thing most people love about Burning Man is the people. Nowhere on earth is there a more concentrated burst of raw creativity. And nearly every endeavor is undertaken for the noblest of reasons: just to be cool.
Less than a block away, Sunrise Coffee Camp provides a much-appreciated service every morning. I don't even like coffee, but I enjoy the people who run the camp.
“Burning Man isn't about the art or even The Man burning,” Pat said. A large man from Chico, Calif., he is wearing a green headdress that makes him look like the Jolly Green Giant. He runs the coffee camp and had just explained how the wind destroyed his shade structure. “It's about THIS. Me and you talking and being real. There's no bullshit here. Or maybe there's so much bullshit that it becomes real again.”
THE DEEP ENDS
The largest daytime disco on the playa – and maybe anywhere outside of those lame MTV Spring Break set pieces – kicked in Tuesday morning. The Deep End is one of the largest camps at Burning Man, so big they have their own communal shower and most of the people don't even know their campmates.
Its sound system is so powerful it can be heard miles away. It had been pumping for less than 15 minutes before the intersection near our camp began to buzz. After an hour, there were thousands of half-naked manic gyrators.
“It's the goosh,” Kate said. “The music goes goosh-goosh-goosh all day.”
I met Kate when I went to see a friend she was camping with at The Deep End. She had no idea I knew anybody in her camp and assumed I was a squatter.
“I didn't know what you wanted and I was afraid you were going to ask for water or food or something,” she said.
This is supposedly The Deep End's last year. All the theme camps are created and paid for by the camp members and The Deep End – which also supplies copious amounts of Red Bull/vodka – has been operating at a severe loss for several years. The journalist in me tried to push for numbers, but the camp is so big and self-sustaining that no one could point me to who was in charge.
PLAYA NAMES REDUX
While I still do not utilize a playa name, they can be fun. Ostensibly, the name must be given to you. If you pass out on the playa, you might get a name like “Sunburn” or “Tea Bag.” An anime-looking girl named Spoon dubbed me “The Rainmaker” at our party last night. When I told my wife, Tammy, she was not amused—so I dropped it.
I STILL LOVE TECHNOLOGY
Word travels fast. Slutgarden's wi-fi system has attracted numerous beggars, desiring to connect to the Internet AND use our laptops. We always say yes, but tell them there is a suggested donation of whiskey. Wayne is our resident tech-head. He is able to project images from his computer onto a screen during our parties. His RV is nicer than my house.
CIRCLE OF BIKES
On the issue of Angry Guy's bike: Angry Guy threatened to kill us on Monday, then left his bike. On Tuesday, we swapped his straight tire with my bent one. The plot thickened when Emile arrived from another camp and said someone had stolen HIS bike. Now we all understood the reason why Angry Guy's bike had been left behind in the first place. Angry Guy had stolen Emile's. So, naturally, Emile took Angry Guy's bike and immediately turned our camp into a chop shop, stripping off the customizations and painting the bike silver.
“Asshole tax,” Emile said.