September 09, 2004

Burning Man 2004: Vault of Heaven

Vault o' Heaven

talk about a heroic dose of the playa... it's taken me a week just to gather my senses and collect my thoughts.

whoa, daddio, how do you even begin to describe that which defies description?

well, the answer is, you cant. there aint no describing it; ya just gotta experience it. wrap yourself in it and let it flow. slow and low. that is the tempo.

but for kicks, a little commentary for the archives...

Burning Man

year three on the playa for the Bojon crew. not exactly 10 year veterans, but not fresh off the boat either. smart enough not to pack tons of clothes we wont wear... but still jamoke enough to shop at costco beforehand and bring jars of pickles that we dont touch.

and it's funny how each year begs comparision with years past. anybody who's been to the burn before is automatically an expert on what it used to be like.

in fact, i've met people who have never been to burning man who won't go because it's not what it used to be.


Old School

the chronicle ran an article last monday saying that despite its increasing popularity (35,000 people this year) burning man is facing an identity crisis.

is it a social experiment in community, a techno charged rave, a cutting-edge art festival, or a counter-culture anarchic utopia?

um... yes.


however you want to classify it, burning man is chalked full of hyper kinetic energy combined with more than a pinch of diabolical ingenuity.

if there's a better event out there. let's go!


oh yes, we met Yarl. sort of like carl. but with a "jai."

and what do i say about the ambassodor? you know, the obvious one. horticulturist extraordinare. he of the heroic doses. wow, the mescaline has had a tremendous effect... on his friends (none of whom are quite the same as they used to be).

ah ha, one must be ever cognizant of the mutant locust. that sneaky machine almost took out uncle velvet.

and don't look now, but here comes the judge (thanks for the beats, lucas).

this year's crop of rookies in our camp was en fuego.


and three cheers for the trio of lap dancing vixens who charged our living room and put on a show. mid-day. mid-conversation.

so, during his first night on the playa, the director of entropy declares skeptically that "no one thinks in the desert."

but on his second night, the director, clad in an organge jump suit, cricket legguards, and wielding a cricket bat, declares that he has "turned the corner."

thought IS possible in the desert. in fact, his thoughts have just turned to reggie the milkman who used to visit the family and entertain the household during the early years.

and that calls for a haiku. and a mosquito net. and, of course, the smith corona laptop.

    Beer can hits the floor
    Borrowed bicycle leaving
    Before the snow fell


and yes, the new guard was present and accounted for. let it be said: AgentUnder_30 gets it done. the future of the kingdom is in good hands.



ART INSTALLATIONS... not the dominant force they have been in years past. nothing really matched last year's Temple of Gravity or the chandelier from heaven. but i will give BIG props to our very own agent headley who came up with the most recognizable piece this side of the Man and the Temple.

Alien Semaphore

and a solid effort from team graywood as well. nice to have such talent in our pool.

The Cube

and a personal favorite: the berating chair. becasue it is ALL YOUR FAULT. pure genius.

Off Yourself


THEME CAMPS... oye, the closer you look, the more you appreciate the effort that goes into this festival. all sorts of well-planned wackiness going on at various levels. cant go wrong with themes like the Hokey Pokey Planet, Pandora's Matchbox, Hokahdome, and Ubercarney (small hands). the Deep End was solid again this year, and the Barbie Death Camp and Wine Bistro was just outright bizarre.

Die Barbie Die


BIKING THE PLAYA... kicks ass. nothing like ripping across black rock city on your favorite cruiser taking in the scene. part of the beauty of this activity is that the playa is downhill in every direction. look mom, no hands, and optional peddaling.



ART VEHICLES... mutant machines rule the day. think mad max, star wars, and chitty chitty bang bang. lots of cool vehicles and not nearly enough opportunity to check them all out. some of the best nights are had on board these crafts. perhaps doug B FRESH will have the double decker ready for next year.

Mutant Vehicle


THE TEMPLE... one little pilgrim declared that "the temple is the new Man." i'm not sure this is true, but the temple has no doubt established itself as every bit as sacred as the Man. designed each year by master architect david best, the temple honors lost loved ones and souls departed. the true meaning of the temple struck close to home this year, as our camp payed tribute to one of our best friends who passed away this year. tears were shed, but laughter was present as well. the temple draws forth a cathartic experience that involves both a grieving for loss and a celebration of life.

The Temple


THE MAN... and hot damn, Peter Pan, the Man took on a slow burn this year. some fireworks at the outset, but then a slow but steady crackle until the flames overtook him. i find it sad to see the man go down each year. but it's part of the cycle of life, and it is a fitting way to bring closure to the festivities.

The Man Burns


anyway, enough said. my conclusion for last year still holds: either you've been there and you know what i'm talking about, or you haven't, and you really need to go check it out in person.

our campmate relayed a story that sums up the burn pretty well. during the first night back with his family after the burn, his young son looked at him across the dinner table and proclaimed: "Dada, Burnin' Man is good for your head."



Posted by bojon at September 9, 2004 10:11 PM