Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Cult of Burning Man or I’m empty inside…I need a FESTIVAL!

Yeah, I did it a couple of years ago...I went to the Burning Man Festival in 2002. We were invited to go for free because my friend Dimitri does the pyrotechnics for the week and all I had to do was assist with the pyro on Saturday. I rented a R.V. and set off for the festival with my girlfriend at the time Suzie and my friends Greg and Tony.

It was pretty fun but also hard on a body. It was hot, there were white-outs (sandstorms where you see only a foot in front of your face), and the drive back was murder.

The idea of a festival of this type is a great idea, and in the beginning it was probably a really amazing experience. But (as if you didn’t see this coming) when you have something like this festival, the inclusion of people ultimately takes the original concept and makes it stinky shit.

Case number 1: Say it as it is.
When you get your paperwork for the festival they mentioned that you should “Turn your bike into transformational sculpture or just plain get wacky widdit!” because this is a “ crafty way to avoid unwanted bicycle appropriation”. What? Sod that! What they should say is “If you bring a bike watch out because some drunk/stoned lameass will swipe it as sure as the day is long and hot” This type of “good buddy” verbiage is prevalent with this festival. Say it as it is! “There are thieving scumbags that flock to our festival and will steal your shit. Yeah, sure we’re all hippies and dirts, and hell, some of us are stupid and stoned and will keipe your goods out of drunken stupidity, but there is an element of filth…besides us…who will go out of their way to steal anything not directly bolted to your ass.”

Case Number 2: We’re non-conformists! (Until we all get together that is)
The creators of this festival really prided themselves as non-conformists and wanted to convey that into the festival. The whole element of self-expression is done in when you see them building the big wood temple adjacent to the Man in the middle of the festival. Here I thought that this festival was dedicated to art, drugs and self-expression. Imagine my surprise when I went to this temple place and realize it’s been canonized as a “holy place”. What? I came here to be creative and drunk, not to show my reverence for some wood structure built from piles of wood dinosaur kit flashing. Here’s the scene. Imagine a pile of blocks where you write the names of the dearly departed. People put the blocks into a large pile of dead-people blocks to burn later in the cataclysmic last night burn. People are crying, there’s people playing “Stairway to Heaven” horribly on acoustic guitars, people are hugging people they don’t know in sympathy, as well as tons and tons of incense burning. What the Hell? Did I just step into some hippy variant of the Catholic Church? For being so quick to be “quirky and original”, most of these sheep quickly converge to the things they know, namely religion. Then they burn this thing and everyone who all week has been drunk, drugged, dirty, naked, erotic and out of control, has a minute of reflective, contemplative silence. What…a…load…of…crap. Your excesses are NOT forgiven nor should they be. If you’re going to have a crazy out of control, find yourself experience, then have one…leave the religion back in civilization. Okay?

Case Number 3: One week a year = my life.
I also find it odd that this festival is so deeply ingrained into people’s lives that it BECOMES some people’s lives. There are groups of people who “bonded” at Burning Man while on drugs talking about the dynamic of color and smells in relation to the groovyness of the world, and kept it going every weekend at “Burner” parties. Burner parties are fun. I went with my friend George to one and had a blast. But every weekend?!? Gimme a break! I can only drink so much and then my friends have an intervention. It’s like a constant group of Star Trek enthusiasts who hang out every weekend and get impossibly loaded. There's a quiet desperation with year long Burners. It's like reality is too much so they hang on to that one precious week a year and hope and pray that the rest of their lives can live up. And what's this where people make names up for themselves at Burning Man? I want to go as Mister Peacock Ass Trumpet and wear a big boa and pimp hat and have a kazoo in my mouth AND ass. Then I’m going to make a website for the other “Burners” named “Mister Peacock Ass Trumpet’s BURNERS CORNER” where we talk incessantly about how much of a fun time we had on the playa. Why don’t I just wear a costume and become a crime fighter and use my lameness for good? Why stop at Burning Man? “While crime exists MISTER PEACOCK ASS TRUMPET fights an unending war against the tyranny of crime!” will become my battle cry. And yeah, it’s pretty much the same level of assitude.

Case Number 4: I’m free to be me! Free to be naked and express myself! Free to make everyone else sick to their stomach because of the fat, flabby crap-flesh hanging from my buttocks!

This is self explanatory.

In closing, I just want to say that everyone should see Burning Man once in their life and yes it is a life changing eye-opener. But please, leave the festival back in the desert when you leave.

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