Burnt and loving it

A collection of snapshots and potshots from Burning Man ’05:

I’m now of the staunch opinion that the best day to leave Burning Man is Sunday. Preferably Sunday morning. Take it from a guy who hung around this year until Monday. Sunday is it. I’m guessing it’s about five times easier to leave Black Rock City on Sunday than Monday. That’s just a rough estimate, however. It could well be 62 times easier to get off the playa on Sunday. All I know is there are a whole bunch of burners who hang around for Temple Fry on Sunday night, and if you ain’t all hung up on this most solemn of burns, you can make your exit much less pissy, stressy and hassly if you pack up and mosey on Sunday.

Speaking of Temple Burn, here’s a scene from that particular conflagration that justifies all the travel hassles of Monday. The Temple was in full-burn mode, raging beautifully, when I pulled up on my trusty playa steed (which used to be dark green but was now a lovely, two-toned, light green/dust combo). I am one of thousands in attendance. Off to the side and close by, a bagpiper begins to blow. With him are two percussionists, playing the Scottish war drums, or maybe they’re simply congas. While the fire rages, so does this trio, expertly going through a medley of the World’s Most Beloved Bagpipe Melodies (a mercifully short but potent list, for sure). The guy was a terrific player, his rythmatists were rock solid, and the music they played, for themselves and all of us nearby, was stupendously proud, thoroughly joyous, and utterly glorious. A better send-off for the guy’s grandpa or pet turtle or whatever it was that lay at the root of his inspiration would be difficult to imagine. These musicians appeared unannounced at an event that, to this reporter, is getting close to becoming dangerously institutionalized (the Temple Burn, that is), and bestowed upon it a sublime, perfect grace.

And this kind of stuff happens all the damn time out there at B-Man. Yes, it’s a pain in the ass getting ready, and the dust storms are tiresome, and that full-on body cramp can go ahead and go away any time now, but … I miss the place already.


All of those great ideas you’re having about what you’re gonna do for yourself and your camp for ’06 … trust me, you need to write those down. Now. They will have flown the coop by December, flown off to that Purgatory of Thought from which there is no retrieval.


If one of the definitions of a good vacation is where you lose track of the outside world for a few days, B-Man definitely qualifies. I just walked in the door at 11 p.m. on Labor Day night, and it appears that there are some problems in Louisiana. Looks like I got some catchin’ up to do.