New tricks for an old dog

Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby Elliot » Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:47 am

ygmir wrote:
Elliot wrote::D
To my own great surprise, I found myself sort'a accepting the techno thumping, in spite of the fact that I deeply dislike it. It took me a year or two, but techno became symbolic of the event, and my mind "embraced" it on that basis.
Then I learned to camp in the "southern suburbs" (5 & G with Figjam), and that area is fairly quiet.
So no serious worries.

(I still wish they would keep that c-r-a-p down!)


that 5 o'clock spoke is a sketchy neighborhood..........

Yeah, some very rough characters living on that street. :mrgreen:
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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby FIGJAM » Mon Mar 10, 2014 12:46 pm

And we get to see them almost EVERY day!!! :lol:
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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby Savannah » Tue Mar 11, 2014 7:53 pm

ygmir wrote:
Elliot wrote::D
To my own great surprise, I found myself sort'a accepting the techno thumping, in spite of the fact that I deeply dislike it. It took me a year or two, but techno became symbolic of the event, and my mind "embraced" it on that basis.
Then I learned to camp in the "southern suburbs" (5 & G with Figjam), and that area is fairly quiet.
So no serious worries.

(I still wish they would keep that c-r-a-p down!)


that 5 o'clock spoke is a sketchy neighborhood..........


I hear it's lousy with scoundrels and rapscallions.

SquireM wrote:I've been combing the internet for anything and everything Burning Man. My wife (who is not all interested in going) mentioned that I'm not hearing any negatives. Indeed, the only negatives I've heard have been in reference to the dust. There is sometimes mention of particular people who are there for specific purposes and are harsh to anyone not serving their interests. In a few podcasts I've heard people say they were taking a year or two off Burning Man because it didn't go so well last year, but they never get specific. The biggest criticisms I've heard have all been from people who haven't attended but are sure it would "be stupid".

I guess I'm looking for negatives I can wrap my head around. Complaining about the heat and dust is a bit like going to Mexico and complaining that there are to many Mexicans and to much Spanish being spoken.


I agree.

But believe it or not, I do know of at least one person who has been and the heat and dust was more than they could take. I'm not sure why it wasn't anticipated, but . . . whatever. Now they know. Sometimes you can't know for yourself until you try.

Similarly, I've seen several comments about how disgusting all the naked people are. I don't think anyone complaining about the desert or self-expression of the participants had any idea of what they were doing there.

So... What are the negatives? Has anyone read or heard from people who really didn't like it?


* Storms. I've watched virgins leave halfway through the event because the storms (on the years they happen during the event) are longer or more destructive than they expected. They can definitely tire an unwary soul after 8+ hours of crazy dust, and may physically rip a camp apart.

* Overwork/overextension. I've a friend who left early one year 'cause he felt unappreciated and overworked, and was struggling with other issues. After seeing some deeply unsettling jerkface freaked out on some drug nearby, my friend decided he was simply done for the year.

* Noise. The thumping techno can be a bit much near 9-10 and 2-3 on the clock and at other unpredictable pockets, especially on the 9 o'clock side, which is slightly more active. Sleeplessness can be a bitch, and is probably my greatest issue at the Burn.

* The unexpected ailment. It's possible to get pretty sick or injured out there. And while there is medical treatment, the flu is simply not compatible with the playa. I left the playa 1.5 days sooner than expected last year because of it. In 2003, one of my friends left after just a few days, also because of flu-like symptoms. On the upside, I have seen people with fresh casts out there, who stay, and have a friend who returned to the playa after getting his kidney stones medicated in Reno. :)

* Great expectations. There are people who go out there expecting their whole lives to change, and are disappointed because that is simply not guaranteed. Might happen. Might not. Might be fun, might be hell. :)
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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby SquireM » Wed Mar 12, 2014 6:58 pm

Savannah wrote:
* Great expectations. There are people who go out there expecting their whole lives to change, and are disappointed because that is simply not guaranteed. Might happen. Might not. Might be fun, might be hell. :)



This is what I'm most worried about. I running under the assumption that if I focus on keeping my mind and heart open I'll get as much as I can from the experience. I plan to wonder around and offer to help people with anything I can, maybe make some friends and hang out with them. My greatest hope is to feel that sense of community I keep hearing about. In a larger way I'm looking for a greater hope, a hope for humanity. How is that for a "Great Expectation"? :oops:
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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby TT120 » Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:58 pm

When you're out there, just live in the moment. Don't have any agenda, let yourself be distracted and go chase shiny things, climb on shit, say hi to everyone you see, pick up some moop, get distracted again. You'll have fun without even realizing it. You might have a life changing epiphany or you might not, don't sweat it.
Life's a bitch, then you go to Burning Man - Unjonharley

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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby BBadger » Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:52 pm

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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Sat Mar 15, 2014 5:00 pm

I almost didn't return after my first year for the opposite reason: my expectations were met almost exactly. I had done so much reading and research in preparation that I somehow forgot to be amazed that the event comes together at all. Day to day the annual events and landmark artwork fell into place as anticipated and things almost felt familiar... which was unexpected.

You mention looking for a sense of community; after that first lacklustre year, it was my participation in a repeated communal effort to create functional art that convinced me to go back. Basically, some hooligans enlisted me to do manual labor every evening while wearing funny clothes. Now the work is what I look forward to most:

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If you find yourself around Center Camp in the mid- to late afternoon and itching to do something in the line of communal effort, maybe give lamplighting a try? Or if you just want to hang out with a crowd of fun folks, our bar has a theme party every day starting at 3pm.

Regardless, focus on logistics and survival for now and let the burn be what it will be for you when you get there!
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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby SquireM » Mon Mar 31, 2014 12:05 pm

For better or worse I'm listening, reading and watching everything I can get my hands on related to Burning Man. All good stuff, some better than others, but all pointing to one part of a greater whole. I heard something this morning that gave me pause.

I'm listening episode TID #14 of the Vine Street Media Podcast. The guest is VinnieMac, a photographer who has been a Burner for the past 5 years. He was talking about how BM has changed. The conversation turned negative as he described Art Cars and camps where "only guests are allowed." He mentioned an Art Car that was only for Sparkle Ponies.

I get that Everyone is welcome, and as such all sorts of people are there. That's one of the great appeals for me. But specifically excluding people seems to be at exact odds with what I understand Burning Man to be about. He also said that 2013 was the first year where he didn't feel like he could just go up and talk to anyone. As people walked past his camp, he'd say 'Hi' or "G'Day' and only about half returned his greeting, the rest looked away or pretended not to hear. This is the first generally negative thing I've heard.

I keep hearing about growing pains as BM gets bigger. Similarly, things get lost as it expands. I heard an interview with Larry Harvey where he pointed out that people seem to think whatever size BM was their first year was the ideal size. I've also been reading about the very early days at BRC with high speed night driving with no headlight, a drunk person at the at the wheel and and people piled in the back having sex and shooting big guns. If that's what you miss, I imagine the current Burns are so different as to be unrecognizable.

My biggest attraction to BM is the community. The idea of finding a city of 70,000 friends is just shy of Utopian. Even if I'm not into whatever someone might be doing at any given time, we recognize our shared experience. As Larry Harvey is famous for saying "We know This."

I met up with a Burner this weekend and, frankly, met exactly what I expected. Open, honest, genuinely interested in my story and interest. We were sitting outside a coffee shop (A big deal in Minnesota) and a random lady walked by and handed me a bag with "Emergency Sidewalk Chalk". I wrote "I HOPE" on the sidewalk and felt like I had my first "Burner" experience.

I'm learning that Burning Man has everything. Most seem to agree that it is, whatever you make it. You can only get out of it what you put into it. I plan to jump in with both feet, naked (figuratively... though maybe...) and open to every possibility. I just hope the stranger looks back and smiles when I catch their eye.
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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby Ugly Dougly » Mon Mar 31, 2014 12:17 pm

Can't expect everyone out there to "get it".
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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby tamarakay » Mon Mar 31, 2014 1:43 pm

Emergency Sidewalk Chalk!!!!! Brilliant. Must do this.
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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby engineer2012 » Fri Apr 11, 2014 4:00 am

Hi there and welcome,

Indeed be prepared to survive in the desert for a week.
I too read a lot and had seen some video's, but the real thing is totally overwelming.

Below words I offen say to people who has never been, they come from Trilo I thought:

To those who've never been, no words can explain it. To those who have, no words are necessary.
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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby SquireM » Thu May 01, 2014 6:57 pm

I went to my first Burner meeting last night.
AWESOME!
Everyone was so welcoming and encouraging.
Our local event takes place in July and I'm signing up to volunteer. I can't make the Playa this year but I'll get as much as I can from the incredible people I'm meeting.
Do you think Burning Man will actually change the World?
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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby aserendipity » Thu May 01, 2014 9:04 pm

It is a portal

we can work through

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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby theCryptofishist » Fri May 02, 2014 6:44 pm

SquireM wrote:Do you think Burning Man will actually change the World?

No. And I think that's the long way to frame it. People like having good times. People will go long out of their way to have a good time. They will build mutant vehicles. They will eat ramen and peanut butter (not together--unless that's how you like it) all year. They will make ridiculous costumes and buildings and drag them out 2000 miles to get them to the burn.
But there have always been festivals. And there will be festivals long after the burn is ashes.
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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby SquireM » Fri May 02, 2014 7:14 pm

I agree that festivals have always happened and will always happen, at least in some form or another.
But I've been to music festivals, art festivals and Renaissance festivals, rendezvous, conventions you name it. Fun? Usually. Celebratory? Yep. That feeling of being part of community? Sometimes.
This feels different.
Baring in mind that I've never been there. I've consumed everything I can get my hands on about Burning Man. There are things I don't think I'll be into, aspects that I'm not looking forward to, maybe even some things I'm scared of, but there is still this pull.
I realize that I'm searching for something I can't even define, but it's something very important. It could just be wishful thinking (desperate hoping?) but it feels like its in Black Rock City among the people who dwell there.
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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby theCryptofishist » Fri May 02, 2014 8:03 pm

It's a week long camping trip in the desert
not the redemption of a fallen world.
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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby *Kat* » Sat May 03, 2014 1:29 am

I am yet undecided if I should feel sorry for people who have seen pictures and videos and read other stuff than the mandatory BMorg reading/technical stuff before they head out there for the first time. A friend dragged me along for my first Burn. I had never heard of Burning Man except from him. I was told I might want to get some funky clothes (I ended up shopping at second hand stores in SF). I had some experience on camping under "harsh conditions" (studying geology - that 4 week field trip in the Atacama desert etc.). I was prepared for survival. But I had no idea about anything beyond that. Literally zero expectations.

To this day I think that's what made my experience so special. I was in this crazy awed state all week. The people I spontaneously camped with are the biggest factor. My friend and I just happened to stop there for the first night thinking we'd look for a good spot in the daylight. Now we meet out there every year and it's like a big family reunion. Lots of serendipity was involved.
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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby Eric » Sat May 03, 2014 2:17 am

SquireM wrote:Baring in mind that I've never been there. I've consumed everything I can get my hands on about Burning Man.


Stop doing that now - you are setting yourself up to be disappointed. Do your prep for a harsh camping trip, and let yourself be surprised by the event itself, as much as possible. "Consuming everything" is just setting yourself up for disappointment - one of the top rules around here is No Expectations. They can destroy your Burn faster than anything else.

This is a quote from another member of the board who went for her first time last year, and had all sorts of thoughts about what Burning Man is/ was/ would be like:

Kyanite wrote:I guess it goes to show that you really can't explain or understand Burning Man without experiencing it for yourself.


I'm with Fishy - Burning Man will not change the world (and I love the event - obviously, I've been on this group for over a decade). The world is a really big place, and Burning Man is a small little festival in a remote part of it. Hell, the Hajj has over 2,000,000 people attend it a year and it hasn't changed the world (and it's part of an actual religion), and the Kumbh Mela had an estimated 100,000,000 people (that's one hundred million) in 2013, and it's barely known outside of India/ Pakistan, let alone changing the world in general (and is also an actual religious gathering). Burning Man is a great camping trip with a 7 day long 24 hour party at it, but any changes that happen will be personal. And that's fine.
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