The Indescribable Wow
To all those who made Burning Man happen this year, from the conceptual visionaries to the Porta-potty pit crews—people deserving special and numerous words of gratitude—I’d like to simply say: Thanks. I don’t think I’ve ever said so in this space before, and it’s long overdue.
Yes, I’m well aware that Burning Man and Black Rock City are now much more than just a big party in the desert. That the overall gestalt of the place is now driving and accumulating some amount—I’m not sure how much—of political and cultural inertia that echoes through the cyber-grapevines long after the last ash of The Man has blown away and landed in the front yard of a tire store owner in Winnemucca. Those aspects of the event are now greatly acknowledged and much-discussed and will continue to be. But we should not overlook (as if it could be overlooked) the sensorially agogolicious skullskittle of The Party itself, and I’m referring here specifically to that which takes place on Burn Night, the Saturday night before Labor Day.
We live, after all, in a culture that takes great pride in its appetite for “partying” and its ability to satisfy that appetite. Since the ’70s, when “party” became a verb, one gets the distinct feeling that to not “party” is to somehow miss out on critical experiential explorations as a human being. So in this context, where the planning and throwing of a truly stupendous party is a most worthy and appreciated endeavor, a special certificate of merit must be bestowed upon Burning Man LLC for creating The Greatest Party in The West. I’m tempted to call it The Greatest Party on Earth, but I have no idea if that’s the truth. I strongly suspect that it might be, but, in the end, it doesn’t mean a burn barrel full of baked beans. It’s gotta be Top Five, though. I’ll dare that much.
Have no fear. I’m not about to try to describe the thing. Talk about an exercise in feebility. I’ll just call it The Indescribable Wow and go on to say that, while it’s supposed to be theoretically impossible to ever have Too Much Fun, I can report, with all the journalistic objectivity I can muster, that somewhere out there on the playa after this year’s Burn, I came hysterically close to reaching that loftiest of emotional plateaus. In fact, I think it was around midnight after The Man went down that my fun chakra, the one that’s right in there between those of the ‘nads and the liver, was spinnin’ so hard and fast that the somebody-somewhere-must-be-having-a-real-good-time detectors of at least 14 faraway fundamentalist Puritans went off, awaking them from their snarling sleeps and putting them in a most foul mood for the rest of the night. I hope.
And I will never, ever try to leave the playa during the gruesome gridlock of Monday ever, ever, again. That was one major fucking mess, the epic yang to Saturday night’s bodacious yin.