The first time you ever heard about Burning Man?

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The first time you ever heard about Burning Man?

Postby Mosin » Fri Oct 22, 2010 10:27 pm

Who remembers the first time they ever heard about the burn? How many months or years was it in between your first becoming aware of it and your first burn?

In 1996 the graphic artist working for my friend's fledgling garage-based Internets company came in to work looking like he had been beat up. We instantly put down the guitars (the garage was also our jam space) and asked him what happened. He went on to explain that he had driven his jeep alone to Burning Man--quickly explained as some sort of epic festival/rave/gathering out in the Nevada desert of Bumfuckistan somehwere--where he proceeded to take way too much acid. (Note: to this day I don't know what day/s he was there, and/or whether this happened on his first night or not). In retrospect he knew he had taken too much acid because he started to get this really freaked out/paranoid vibe after seeing a guy wearing Spock ears...which led him to believe that there was some kind of Spock/Vulcan conspiracy going on. Pretty soon he was seeing/hallucinating that everyone had spock ears, and had visions of some kind of Invasion of the Body Snatchers scenario where he was about to be discovered by the Vulcans as an actual human and... who knows what. Of course, fearing imminent doom/conversion, Spock Pinch(or whatever Vulcans do to you lol) he didn't stick around to find out. There were apparently the days when you could drive vehicles freely, so he got in his jeep and tore ass out of there, speeding away from the encampment (I would assume towards Gerlach) at a very high rate of speed...at least 50mph he said, perhaps faster. He then remembers waking up with his bloody face planted in the dust (wasn't sure how much time had passed but it was still dark) and realizing that he rolled his jeep... which was flipped and undrivable if not totaled. Apparently at that point he either had come down a little or just decided to seek Vulcan assistance, as he walked several miles back to the festival to get medical aid and help with his jeep. As it turns out, it was very thrashed but not totaled, so after righting the craft the next day he was eventually able to limp it home to the East Bay...alive, unVulcanized, and very sheepish.

For the next ten years every time I heard about Burning Man I would chuckle and think "Ah yes, D___'s zany Vulcan gathering!" each time learning a bit more about this Spock-infested desert happening. Finally in 2007 we decided to chance it and visit ourselves. Look Ma, no Vulcans! :P
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Postby weirdscience » Fri Oct 22, 2010 11:10 pm

first time ever was the malcom in the middle episode... second time i watched as my old next door neighbor come home after being gone for 2 weeks covered in dust .. i asked him where he had been and he told me burning man he explained how things were up there and third as when my best friend alex (may he rest in peace) would never shut the hell up about it and say how even though he never went it was the best thing on earth and he couldnt wait to go (sadly he died in a carcrash 3 years ago and was never able to go) i will be going this coming year both for him and me
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Postby jkisha » Fri Oct 22, 2010 11:16 pm

First time I was with friends of friends that were talking about the event and that they went somewhere out in the desert and set up a misting space and who knows what all. None of it made much sense to me at the time and I forgot all about it. This was maybe 8 or 10 years ago.

Then I met my partner. He went to his first burn the year before we met and was getting ready to go to his second, but didn't want me to go along with him. Somehow after he got back and we really started talking about us going together the next year did I recall that story and thought--oh, that's what they must have been talking about. Duh!

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Postby Sham » Sat Oct 23, 2010 9:58 am

What's Burning Man?
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Postby oneeyeddick » Sat Oct 23, 2010 10:15 am

1995, there was a 8x11" poster on the bulliten board of the coffee shop/bookstore in downtown Olympia, WA.
It looked pretty cool, and the rest is history.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Sat Oct 23, 2010 10:46 am

Simon's real sig line?

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Postby Mosin » Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:25 pm

oneeyeddick wrote:1995, there was a 8x11" poster on the bulliten board of the coffee shop/bookstore in downtown Olympia, WA.
It looked pretty cool, and the rest is history.


Wow...the power of a cool poster! In Bastille, Paris there's a killer traditional French restaurant called Bofinger that has a very incongruous Burning Man poster in their front lobby featuring the oft-photographed Buddhist monk-lookin burner with the red umbrella. I wonder how many Parisians (or tourists) have been motivated to look into it further after catching this glimpse? Unfortunately google street view doesn't allow you to walk into the lobby otherwise I'd show it off here!
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Postby Mosin » Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:34 pm

Addendum: talked to my buddy and he's positive the Vulcan conspiracy was 1995 and not 1996, since his garage enterprise was toast by 1996 and he went to work for CNET. As for our friend D___ who rolled the jeep, it seems he fell off the face of the earth soon after. I hope the Vulcans didn't get him!!
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Postby Eric » Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:46 pm

The first time I heard about it was in 1992 I think. I had a friend who had heard about it from friends (oh, San Francisco...) & wanted me to join her & her girlfriend on the trek. Things came up, we couldn't make it, so we decided to go in 1993.

'93 rolls around, they break up & they're the driving force behind the trip. It gets dropped off my radar for years, even though if you're even vaguely connected to the arts scene in SF you can't help but know about it. I hear tons from my friends who later turn out to be "playa celebrities", esp Adrian Roberts (founder/ publisher of Piss Clear) and Ggreg Taylor (Nambla the Clown)

In '99 I had two really good friends go, they couldn't stop talking about it. It was back on my radar.

Finally in 2003 my life was in a place where I was ready to go for it, I talked to Adrian about it & ended up joining him & his wife and the staff of Piss Clear and the rest is history.
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Postby brushfire on the playa » Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:23 pm

I think the first time I heard about burning man was in 2004 when my boyfriend was going with his parents. his mom had been the year before with his older sister and decided the whole family should go the next year. I watched him each year go off for a week, I would watch his dogs and wish I was with him. He would always come back, covered in dust with awesome stories and tons of pictures. Each year, I would see the new pictures and just KNOW I was supposed to be there.

Finally, in 2008, I had the time and money to go. I knew I was home the moment I did my first playa angel right after ringing the virgin bell.
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Postby drucake » Sat Oct 23, 2010 6:47 pm

first time ever was the malcom in the middle episode... second time i watched as my old next door neighbor come home after being gone for 2 weeks covered in dust .. i asked him where he had been and he told me burning man he explained how things were up there and third as when my best friend alex (may he rest in peace) would never shut the hell up about it and say how even though he never went it was the best thing on earth and he couldnt wait to go (sadly he died in a carcrash 3 years ago and was never able to go) i will be going this coming year both for him and me
_________________for sure write something on the temple for him....im sure you have already thought of that but i just had to say it. i cant wait for you to have your first bm! yay!!!
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Postby teardropper » Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:59 pm

I'd sure like to see that Malcom in the Middle episode.

10 or 12 years ago a friend of a friend from SF was in town, I lived in Iowa, and in conversation told me about this thing in the desert. I've always been attracted to the desert, so I paid attention. Sounded very cool. Unfortunately, I didn't know anyone else who even knew about it, let alone want to go 2000 miles to camp in the desert, so it just stuck there. Then, I came to Oregon. It's only 200 miles to the playa. I met an 8 time Burner who said I should go, in his camp-- the rest is, as they have said, history. Life has never been the same. It wasn't exactly my first rodeo, but I knew I was Home.
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Postby weirdscience » Sun Oct 24, 2010 12:34 am

teardropper wrote:I'd sure like to see that Malcom in the Middle episode.

10 or 12 years ago a friend of a friend from SF was in town, I lived in Iowa, and in conversation told me about this thing in the desert. I've always been attracted to the desert, so I paid attention. Sounded very cool. Unfortunately, I didn't know anyone else who even knew about it, let alone want to go 2000 miles to camp in the desert, so it just stuck there. Then, I came to Oregon. It's only 200 miles to the playa. I met an 8 time Burner who said I should go, in his camp-- the rest is, as they have said, history. Life has never been the same. It wasn't exactly my first rodeo, but I knew I was Home.


the malcom in the middle episode doesnt portray bm correctly but it has some ideas from it i think theres a post on here talking about it and a link to it try to search it... the episode only introduced me to the name burningman

EDIT: found it viewtopic.php?t=20815&highlight=malcom+middle
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Postby FIGJAM » Sun Oct 24, 2010 7:23 am

"Don't buy ur Burn...........Build ur Burn!"

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Postby AntiM » Sun Oct 24, 2010 7:50 am

In spring of 2001 I was struggling to finish my teaching certificate. My oldest brother had died of cancer in February, and I hated the classroom teacher I had been paired with. Life sucked. I was online looking for art and the American West for a teaching assignment. I think, I may have been just browsing. I ran across the Burning Man site and the image gallery. The very next day, I got my Triple A Via magazine and there was an article about Burning Man. I got online and bought tickets as a graduation gift to myself. I printed out the survival guide and handed it to Larry when he got home. "We're doing this, and this is what you need to do to make it happen." He did, splendidly.

My back went south that summer, and we still made it. At one point, Larry was hauling me around the playa in a garden cart he pulled with a strap across his chest. I love that man!

I don't recall ticket tiers that year, I don't think anything was sold out the way it does now.

I didn't know any burners, never heard of it, just bought tickets, got ready, and went. Been ten years now!
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Postby Elorrum » Sun Oct 24, 2010 8:21 am

as an aside, and with do-ocracy in mind. I am going to investigate the development of a customizable myLarry clone-o-matic.

A co-worker told me about an underground propane explosion and effects event a friend of his was involved with, and mentioned Burning Man and the desert event... '98, 99? I was going to a lot of music festivals and camping at the time, and he thought I might enjoy it.

I followed the website from time to time, mainly to get dates, I wasn't investigating very well, and didn't quite get (what a moron I was) what there would be to do, besides camp in the desert. Then around 2004, I started running into people at events that had just been to Burning Man, and they were so charged up, and smiling, as they told me about it, that I figured "Wow, this has some true merit." Still I felt it took a special hardiness that I wondered if I had. I had the "this year" feeling for three years, and finally just read about what I'd need, bought a shade shelter, and got there in 2007.
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Postby weirdscience » Sun Oct 24, 2010 11:19 am

drucake wrote:first time ever was the malcom in the middle episode... second time i watched as my old next door neighbor come home after being gone for 2 weeks covered in dust .. i asked him where he had been and he told me burning man he explained how things were up there and third as when my best friend alex (may he rest in peace) would never shut the hell up about it and say how even though he never went it was the best thing on earth and he couldnt wait to go (sadly he died in a carcrash 3 years ago and was never able to go) i will be going this coming year both for him and me
_________________for sure write something on the temple for him....im sure you have already thought of that but i just had to say it. i cant wait for you to have your first bm! yay!!!


im actually going to write something for him and im also taking going to ask his dad if i can have something tht belonged to him thats not too important that i can take to bm and put on the temple to burn
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Postby goathead » Sun Oct 24, 2010 11:32 am

Whatever the first years on the playa was.
What are those dumb fucking hippies doing out here?
Didn't have any interest in it.
You all fuck up the traffic, gas station, store....
Plus why would I want to camp on the fucking playa?

99, Donny at the store flipped me a couple of tickets.
Told me and the wife we REALLY needed to get out on the playa
and just check it out.

You still all fuck up traffic, the gas station, and store.
LOL
I really don't care though, because by then, I am on the playa.


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Postby TomServo » Sun Oct 24, 2010 11:37 am

In 1998, our neighbors came back from the burn. We invited them over for drinks, and they brought up Burning Man. My wife, at the time, became obsessive about going. I wasn't too keen on spending a week in the desert. Money was tight, at the time, and every little excursion, we discussed. Not long after, the band CockSparrer was scheduled to play. I really wanted to go, but tickets weren't cheap. Bout $80...same price as BM tickets then. We made a deal...I could go to the show, and we would go to Burning Man. Turns out, the show sold out...I was stuck at home watching figure skating, and that August (1999) we made it on the playa. It turned out, I DO like the desert!
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Postby ibdave » Sun Oct 24, 2010 4:11 pm

Heard about BM in '97 after watching a TV station in Sacramento did a live broadcast a few times from the site that year.. My son's soccer coach @ the time told the parent that he was going to be gone for the upcoming week. I asked him where to and he asked if I had heard about BM...? Said yes and that I want to go sometime.. I was in the middle of my mid-life at the time, went home and told my wife and started planning and packing. That was less than 2 weeks before the burn in 1998. I didn't know anyone other than the coach. He said if we found each other I could join his camp. I pulled my landscape trailer with our jeep( it over heated 5 times heading up). Drove all night looking into the darkness looking for signs of life... Really.. After driving through Gerlach about 3a.m. I saw some fireworks. I got through gate and greeters thinking these fuckers had been out here way to long... Found a spot to park, slept in the jeep without getting out to see what the fuck I got into. Found the coach later that day, moved to his camp....Changed my LIFE... My wife joined my the next year.. This past year was my 1st year to not go. Hard as that was, I'm glad we did. Making plans for more of my family to come this next year... 8) 8) 8)
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Postby Mosin » Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:47 pm

Not only is this all utterly fascinating, but the diversity of tales/experiences shared so far blows my mind :!: :D :!:
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Postby Deb Prothero » Sun Oct 24, 2010 8:59 pm

In fall 1996, I was doing a post grad certificate in communications and had to organize a seminar on using new technologies in media. I chose to focus on the use of Virtual Reality in Business. My cousin, Jerry and his partner developed the first version of Virtual Reality Markup Language while studying at the HITL lab at UW in Seattle. My seminar was a video conference with my cousin as the guest speaker. He talked about the applications of VRML in its very earliest stages then answered questions from my classmates.

To return the favour he asked me to assist him in editing an article of his for WIRED magazine. When I went to the local newsstand I picked up that month's WIRED magazine which had a feature article about Burning Man.

Virgin burn was in 2005 - the idea of traveling 2500 miles to go camping took a little while to gather steam. I wanted to be there much sooner but it's a bit of a haul!

Hooked up with the Black Rock Beacon gang online ahead of that first burn and joined the volunteer staff there right away. My former husband had an interest in Alternative Energy so we camped in the AEZ those first three years. He's not a burner though so I'm in the process of divorcing him and I'm certain I've got my priorities straight on that call!
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Postby shroom » Mon Oct 25, 2010 6:35 pm

I think I had heard mention of it once or twice but didn't pay attention to it. I guess 5 years ago when current tv first showed a few pods about burning man I knew I had to go. Went this year and can not wait to come back.
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Postby LostinReno » Tue Oct 26, 2010 2:02 pm

I think it was about '91-'92 (whatever the 2nd year was "on the Black Rock", they didn't really charge to get in yet, at least not on the Weds. we were there), myself, an ex-boyfriend and his roommate had heard about a party in the black rock, soooo roadtrip!!! We got to the playa about 1pm, it rained, became a mucky mess, nekkid people were rolling around in the mud, thought it was super stupid and drove home about an hour later (we were back in Reno before dark).
Watched the circus pass through town for another 5-6 years without giving it much thought. By the late 90's, several of my friends including my brother and sister started going. By this time I'd really wanted to check it out but couldn't convince hubby to go, he couldn't justify paying 80 bucks (seems so funny now) to sit in the black rock when we can camp at Pyramid on the same weekend for 6 bucks a night and have a lake?? LOL! ...and in all fairness Pyramid Lake on Labor Day weekend is quite a party and most beaches burn a man of some sort!(I know, I know, not the same!) Well, 2009 rolled around and my husband was offered to work out there (yesss! I get to go to BM, happy dance of joy!), by this time we had af fully contained trailer, we really couldn't turn it down....the rest is history.... still blows me away how much has changed in 18 years!
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Postby Tiahaar » Tue Oct 26, 2010 11:52 pm

I'd heard about it from Wired somewhere in the early 90's when working as a pinsetter mechanic in a bowling alley. Never really looked into where it was or what, just that it was a hot tribal desert thing, which was a fantasy of mine.

Years later, October-ish of 2002 I was walking up the cliff steps from a fairly hard-to-get-to beach, in a loincloth, and was met halfway by a guy and his girlfriend walking down. He said something along the lines of "hey you belong at BurningMan...they call me megavolt there..."

Yup, true story, and I did not yet know what fate had just crossed my path. Contacted a friend, said 'we HAVE to go to this Burning Man thing', (2003) he said yes, and I've participated every year since.
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Postby FaeTora » Wed Oct 27, 2010 6:13 am

As some of you already now, I first heard about this "big party in the desert" in High School. In short, i had been transplanted to an overly privileged high school and some kids were talking about going. I was never that party animal kid and said had fun and didn't think about it again for many years.

That is at least until 2 years ago. B got sick and was in the ICU, barely alive and her biological children were on their laptops looking up massive tents. I asked why anyone would need such a large tent and they explained they were going back to Burning Man. To make a long story short, B survived and bought me my ticket to BM to make it possible for me to go. Unfortunately 2 weeks later she passed and I brought her ashes to the Temple.

Weird Science, know that the burning of the Man, the Temple, and just the sights and sound will excite you but bring a tear to your eye because you are carrying them with you, seeing what they cannot see, touching, what they can not touch, living where they could not. If you need anything - please feel free to PM me. ::hugs::
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Postby maryanimal » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:02 pm

I heard about Burning Man in 2001. My current husband (I'm separated now) and I took the kids to disneyland for a vacation. While resting from the long drive, BM was on the news. I sat and watched the photojournalist pan across a scene of Burners and the first thing that came to mind was "Are those people crazy? Looks like a hippy revival." and finding out it was in the hot dusty desert make me think that YES they were nutburgers! I thought, "I'd never go to anything like that. It's probably just a big fuckfest." Well 9 years later I met a burner in my chat room and we got to talking about it. He raved about how it was an experience like nothing I've ever experienced before. I told him the above story and he guaranteed me it was nothing like that. He gave me the website and I listened to more of his stories about BM and the people, the art, the freedom of radical expression so I read everything on the website. Then I watched a lot of videos, looked a what seemed like a million photos. As the months went by I decided I had to go! It tried to go this year but was unable to go. I went to SeaCompression and got a dose of what it's like and I'll be going next year!

I forgot to add I watched the video stream of BM live! I watched the ceremony of the burning of the man from beginning to end wishing I were there.
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Postby motskyroonmatick » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:38 pm

It seems to me that my sister signed me up for some email group as soon as I got dial up internet in 1996. I believe there were times where there was heavy volumes of Burning Man related emails. Then she gave me The Happy Mutant's Handbook which had a chapter on Burning Man. I made the decision to go some time around 1999 but was unable to attend until 2004. Never missed a year since.
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Postby Teo del Fuego » Fri Nov 05, 2010 10:52 am

a friend at a wine party in 2002 or 2003 was showing photos of her trip to BM. Knew immediately that was for me. Was supposed to go in 2004 but work clogged my calendar. Jumped in at the last moment a few weeks before in 2005 and have been back every year since.
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Postby gaminwench » Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:03 am

Friends invited us on a camping trip in the desert... we were meeting them there... drove through the gates in a rainstorm at 2 AM on Friday, with an air mattress and a cooler - our only instructions "look for the colorful flag near center camp"...uh huh...
We found them the next day, and thanked them profusely for 'preparing us' so well (NOT)... had a great time, came home, started a theme camp, and the rest is history...
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