The Man’s man

Anybody who visits my place knows, especially if one visits at night—this guy is a Burner. The yard shows definite signs of playatization. In fact, it’s kinda drenched in it. I call it Classic Playa Slam-eye, incorporating a brazen decorating strategy of “If one is good, two is better, and 47 is just about right.”

The festival of the Burning Man has been a convenient cultural phenomenon that I easily gravitated toward. A few friends and I went out early on, in ’93, and we had no idea what the hell we were doing. We just wanted to spy upon these wacky Friscans who were coming out and reportedly making some very creative merriment out on the Black Rock. And burning all kinds of shit! Imagine that early Burn, with about 300 people, no streets, no cops, just a cluster of chaotic camping out in the Deep Playa. Back then, you had to drive around all over the playa before you finally found The Action. You got off the road north of Gerlach, hit the playa, and off you went. Very Mad Maxy. Of course there were no directions. None. Good luck!

The memories, over the years, have accumulated into a gigantic glowing Burntasm of the bodacious, hilarious and memorable. One thing about B-Man—every year, you’d be assured of something or somebody crackin’ your cranium, and indeed, that’s probably why the recidivism rate among Burners is so high, because it’s pretty neat to go live in a city that gobsmacks the shit out of you on a daily—and nightly—basis. Whether it’s the surprisingly interesting conversation you have with a guy wearing a neon blue tutu while waiting for a Sani-Hut, or the mind-boggling Agogitude of The Burn Itself—where else does this happen? Ibiza? Mardi Gras? Coachella? Homey, puhleez.

Larry Harvey and his pals took a match to an eight-foot Man on a beach in SF in ’86, and man, oh man, did this thing catch a buzz. As in a BUZZ. And, of course, it hasn’t sold out. I mean, yes, it sells out these days, but it hasn’t “sold out.” Anybody tries to tell you that, it’s a cinch they’ve never been. Larry and the board knew that the essence of this wingding was Community. They always knew that was the sacred beating heart of Black Rock City.

Whatever problems Burning Man has now all stem from the reality that too many people wanna go. What does that tell you? And it’d be nice this year if The Man can somehow—wear a Hat!